W. Kandinsky: "There are no 'musts' in art." T.S. Eliot: "There is no freedom in art." Dostoievski character, after the ancient Middle East epigram: "Everything is permitted." (R-rated weblog. Since one has been advised there is no Literature anymore, or even literature, only writing, one proceeds on the premise that this weblog qualifies as not-meaningless, since it is, or appears to be, a form of "writing." Image: Banksy.)
Monday, March 31, 2008
The IMF & Rivers of Blood
Klein cites (pp. 261-62) an open letter of resignation from the IMF written in 1988 by long-time staffer Davison Budhoo, a London School of Economics-trained economist. In his letter, Klein writes, Buddho "characterized the IMF's entire program of structural adjustment [for crisis-torn nations] as a form of mass torture in which ' "screaming-in-pain" governments and peoples [are] forced to bend on their knees before us, broken and terrified and disintegrating, and begging for a sliver of reasonableness and decency on our part. But we laugh cruelly in their face, and the torture goes on unabated . . . . Today I resigned from the International Monetary Fund after over twelve years, and after 1000 days of official Fund work in the field, hawking your medicine and your bag of tricks to governments and to peoples in Latin American and the Caribbean and Africa. To me resignation is a priceless liberation, for with it I have taken the first big step to that place where I may hope to wash my hands of what in my mind's eye is the blood of millions of poor and starving peoples . . . . The blood is so much, you know, it runs in rivers. It dries up, too; it cakes all over me; sometimes I feel that there is not enough soap in the whole world to cleanse me from the things that I did do in your name.' "
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Bear Stearns Bailout Illustrates Klein Thesis
Ford, General Motors & Terrorism
"Foreign corporations did more than thank the juntas [that carried out coup d'etats in Chile, Argentina and Brazil in the late sixties and early seventies] for their fine work; some were active participants in the terror campaigns [against pro-democracy dissidents]. In mid-1969, just as the junta [in Brazil] entered its most brutal phase, an extralegal police force was launched called Operation Bandeirantes, known as OBAN. Staffed with military officers, OBAN was funded, according to Brazil: Never Again [the title of a Brazilian human rights group report], "by contributions from various multinational corporations, including Ford and General Motors." Because it was outside official military and police structures, OBAN enjoyed "flexibility and impunity with regard to interrogation methods," the report states, and quickly gained a reputation for unparalleled sadism. It was in Argentina, however, that the involvement of Ford's local subsidiary with the terror apparatus was most overt. The company supplied cars to the military, and the green Ford Falcon sedan was the vehicle used for thousands of kidnappings and disappearances."
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Report of Murder Directive for CIA
" The U.S. and British governments were determined to end Sukarno's rule [in Indonesia], and declassified documents show that the CIA had received high-level directions to 'liquidate President Sukarno, depending upon the situation and available opportunities.' "
Sources cited by Klein are William Blum's Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 195; and the Times (London), August 8, 1986, "Times Diary: Liquidating Sukarno."
Monday, March 24, 2008
"Now, the securities and investment industry is pouring money into both Mr. Obama's and Mrs. Clinton's coffers. And these donors surely believe that they're buying something in return."
I thought Obama wasn't accepting corporate contributions. If I can find another report corroborating Krugman's, I'm probably going to resort to not voting, adding my number to the millions who do not vote, in my case attempting to undertake an act of protest against a political process that has become so corrupted by money it doesn't deserve one's participation. Campaign finance reform is crucial to the well being of this country. A reasonable level of public funding of US presidential and congressional elections is the only way the undue influence of wealth and unearned income can be removed from the electoral process.
Cf. N.O. Ting: "If a little bit of learning is a dangerous thing, immense learning is sheer tragedy."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Poor Writing, Napalm & Iraq Casualties
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Grandfather's Final Word
"At about half past five the hospital chaplain, whom he [Bernhard's grandfather] loathed so much, had suddenly appeared at the door of his [i.e., the grandfather's] room, carrying his sacrament case. The chaplain's intention must have been clear to my grandfather, and, according to my grandmother, as soon as the chaplain made to approach the bed to administer extreme unction, my grandfather forestalled him by uttering one word: Out! The chaplain duly left the room without delay. Shortly after this my grandfather died, his last utterance being the word Out!"
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Dubious Fruit of Capitalism
"The United States ranks 45th in life expectancy, behind Bosnia and Jordan; near last, compared with other developed countries, in infant mortality; and in last place, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a health-care research group, among major industrialized countries in health-care quality, access and efficiency."
Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Bernhard on War and Childbirth
"The war [i.e., WW II] was always topic number one among the men [i.e., residents of a Salzburg slum, the Scherzhauserfield Project, where Bernhard worked as a grocer's assistant from age 13 to 15]. War is the poetry of men, by which they seek to gain attention and relief throughout their lives. They all took refuge, each in his own way, in viciousness and depravity and regenerated themselves in a state of complete and pitiful apathy. From an early age they had learned to hate, and in the Scherzhauserfield Project hatred was developed to a fine art as a means to be used against everything. Hatred breeds hatred, and they hated one another and the rest of the world unremittingly to the point of exhaustion. And their states of exhaustion served only as means to an end, the end being self-destruction; in these states of exhaustion they devised new miseries for themselves, new sicknesses and new crimes. They fled from one misery to another, one misfortune to another, each one deeper and more inescapable than the last . . . . "
And there's more. In an interview cited in Gitta Honegger's biography, Bernhard is quoted as follows, in a twisted yet bewitching temporal fast-forward to the point of lunacy:
"[P]eople are mistaken to think they bring children into the world . . . . They're getting adults, not babies. They give birth to a sweaty disgusting beer-bellied innkeeper or mass murderer, that's whom they're pregnant with, not children. People say they're expecting an itty-bitty baby, but in reality they get an eighty-year-old who's drooling and wetting himself all over, who stinks and is blind and limps and can't move from gout, that's whom they bring into the world."
Bernhard, not surprisingly, never married, dying in 1989, never having known the joy of raising a child.
Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2001), p. 41.
MisJoethropism On Camera
"He [Vito Rispoli] glances about him as he walks up and across the busy sidewalk to Joe, who is leaning on the side of their car. An el is in the background; people walk underneath it. Vito hands Joe a slice of pizza. They eat and talk; one of the platform's pillars stands in front of Joe, partially obscuring him."
And there you have it. Partially obscured by a pillar! It's unconscionable. It's unAmerican. It's misJoethropic. Why couldn't Vito have been the one to have been partially obscured? Why? Why did Woody do this?
Three Films of Woody Allen (New York: Vintage, 1987), p. 245.
The scripts in this text are interesting in the degree to which they mirror the fractured way some people talk:
TINA [Mia] (Into the phone)
All ri--? . . . Of course I miss you. But will you lay off the sauce? . . . Ch--. . . All right.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Well, I'm uh-uh, you know, I'm right outside the frame. 'Cause if, uh, the picture went on another inch, I would be, I was back on the, on the, behind the dais and everything.
In any case, the stature that attaches to appearing in a film like this outweighs the pain of the persecution, so, as usual, Joe the Conqueror comes out ahead.
Screenplay Comments XV
[I like Clive and am] intrigued from an actor/acting teacher POV about this guy. A guy that says and does what he does is fascinating and it’s intriguing to think about his mannerisms, and how he holds a glass and how long he lets dishes pile up and everything else. I mean this is no guy you’d ever see riding the bus with the proletariat, you know?
That cat stands out. If he wasn’t nudged into a life of crime he would have been a Green Beret or professional athlete or surgeon or any damn thing he frigging pleased. I think going back to the teacher thing . . . I have to motivate these kids to ask questions and think about their characters.
I really see him as a good guy at heart, absolutely, and he didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Shit, instead of going to my accounting class, I think I’ll rob a liquor store, kill the owner, and start sleeping with his widow.”. This is a guy who changed plans in mid robbery to protect someone—pretty cool.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Origins of Screenwriting
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Screenplay Comments XIV
And then this, from Conqueror Joe:
Also, I see Clive as a guy who can’t lose at anything. He can’t miss a basket, lose a coin toss, or argument (or at least he thinks he wins all arguments). He’s living a charmed life. He can do some things we think are real stupid, but he’s not like us and the laws of physics, the laws of nature, and the LAW itself, do not apply to him. So, we cant’ project our pettiness on him. He deserves better.
In fact while he’s in the liquor store in the opening scene, the first thing he does before pulling out the gun for the hold-up scene is purchase a scratch ticket. Why? Because he’s Clive and that’s what he does. So, first he buys the scratch ticket. Then he does his thing and ends up shooting Frank.
Then while everyone is frozen and in shock and Frank is lying on the floor bleeding, there’s this long awkward silence post hold-up, post murder. Just doesn’t feel right. All the patrons are frozen. That’s when we here little scratchy sounds and next shot we see Clive scratching the ticket with the bump thing he picks locks with. Even Jill shows some interest. Why? Why not?
Why should he change his life just because some guy he shot is dead now. It makes no difference. Dead or alive, win or lose, you scratch the damn ticket! That’s what you do after you buy a scratch ticket. You buy it to scratch it!! That’s why! When he’s done he uses the bump thing to scratch the inside of his non-gun-hand ear (got that?). Then you hear him yell, “I won, I won, damn!, I won!” And that customer jerks his arms back in the air and yells, “How much?” then jerks them down again realizing third hold-up faux-pas, if you’re counting. Then you hear Frank who you thought was dead, gasp his last breath, a very long, gaspy breathy, death breath that’s a comment on the winning scratch ticket. Everyone turns their attention to Frank and his last gasp just incase there’s anything else. Clives not sure what to do, cause he wants to collect. He motions to Jill to pay him and she does. Then he leaves all the money in the register.
Three scene later she says “Why?” and he says, “Why what?” and she says, “Why didn’t you take the rest of the money?”
“Because I was having the thrill of victory, that’s why. Why kill the thrill?”
Screenplay Comments XIII
I enjoyed the car conversation scene of Lorette family snipers in wait at grave site very much. I might enjoy more of that.
What I loved about that scene is that as omniscient voyeurs of that world, we knew something Clive and Lou had no idea of. It set me on edge as the reader (imagine how powerful that scene is watching it in all it’s cinema graphic glory), as to what was going to happen next and scared the hell out of me. Clive is clueless which I find very intriguing/exciting because he’s always so cocksure about everything.
Like maybe if we saw the Lorrett family guy talking about “making a little visitation” to Clive which sets us up for dangerous suspense. Then you can cut back to Karen/Clive live action which takes our minds off it and gives all but the most astute viewers a false sense of security concerning the good looking leading man and lady. You’re watching him on the way to Clive’s while Clive is in bed w/ Karen, or he’s shaving, or eating cheese doodles, and we think he’s going to walk in on them and blow Clive’s brains and/or Karen’s brains, and it’s just the exact opposite like you have it, and Lorrette gets whacked. It messes with our heads. I don’t know…just a thought…for what it’s worth.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Don't Feel Like Writing? Or Reading?
"When I am writing I read nothing, and when I am reading I write nothing. For long periods I read and write nothing, finding both equally repugnant."
Gathering Evidence: A Memoir, tr. David McLintock (New York: Knopf, 1985; Vintage, 1994), p. 205.