Category: Hot takes

The new myth of Sisyphus

bowl with cookie dough
Oatmeal cookies, maybe

The race to bake the cookies before I eat all the dough.

Next up: Something on Amazon Prime, perhaps John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King. AP  has had a lot of scuzzy 1970s fare available. No doubt everything that’s not Godfather, Jaws, or Star Wars is cheap to license.

Whatever the reason, in the last week I’ve watched Night Moves, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, and Jeremiah Johnson, all for the first time. Only Night Moves generated any real interest beyond its museum-piece novelty appeal. But even something as so-so as Logan’s Run looks fresh to any pair of eyes that are exhausted by the digital perfection of even the lamest of current productions, with an endless array of overt and covert digital enhancements to paper over the usually vacuous scripts.

I’ve been able to find a few more vintage films to queue up for the coming days: Joseph Losey’s The Romantic Englishwoman (with Glenda Jackson, script by Tom Stoppard), and Wild in the Streets (a counterculture film from 1968).

Eight days in…

magazines and newspapers
January reading

Just caught up with the papers this morning. Today, refugees and travelers from several Middle Eastern countries were banned from entering the U.S., courtesy of a presidential executive order. Protests followed, and the ACLU secured a temporary stay.

Movie

We went to the Carolina and saw 20th Century Women. Very charming period piece (1979!), with some good scenes (“menstruation”), beautiful cinematography, and sensitive acting. But what was it about? It reminded me of Richard Linklater’s nostalgia trips–also impeccable in their attention to detail. But finally, these films are the memories of middle class white males who grew up to be artists, with the help of fondly remembered women. The specific memories — like the Harry Potter midnight sale in Boyhood, or the specific Black Flag album in 20th Century Women — becomes a nostalgia fetish without purpose.

Note to self: Complain to the Carolina about the low volume level of Cinema 2.

Late dinner at Gocciolina in late celebration of my birthday. K had oysters, truffles, and hand-cut noodles. I went for the carbonara.

There must be some way out of here.

So it begins. Many of my friends were in Washington and Raleigh this weekend, protesting in the streets. I was working on the winter futsal season schedule. Twenty-two teams in three divisions is a lot of work. I feel the need to go to work, to shut down the social media.

It’s like we’re reliving the early Bush years, except this is worse. This time we don’t know who is in charge. We truly don’t know what the world will look like a year from now. The only thing I’m sure of is that things will be very strange.

And yet, I want to tune it all out.

Tonight K and I talked about moving to Mexico, or to Europe. If only we could live in the mökki in Vaasa. It sits on the Gulf of Bothnia, facing west. We could bring books, watch Netflix, sit in the sauna, then sit in our robes on the porch and watch the sunsets. We could watch the sun set on the United States of America.

Readings:

Ross Douthat warns the media against “hysterical oppositionalism”.

Micah White, a veteran of Occupy Wall Street, isn’t all that impressed by the Washington protests, which he fears will fizzle out unless the left figures out a pathway to power. He makes interesting points about the French Revolution:

It the first protest march of women in modern history, and it was also the most effective. When the revolutionary women arrived at Versailles, they broke into the palace, murdered two guardsmen and attempted to enter the queen’s bedchamber before ultimately forcing King Louis XVI and his entourage to march with the crowd – now 60,000 strong – back to Paris.

Photo: This is a crop of a Getty image I spotted in a Politico slideshow. I tried to use Getty’s free embed feature on another photo, but I can’t get it to work. I will have to try again later. Meanwhile, apologies to Getty for the improperly appropriated image. I’ll try to do better, and thanks for this.