Roundup (1 of 2)

  • How did I not know about the Body Heat: Deluxe Edition DVD? This great Lawrence Kasdan film pretty much galvanized noir into cinematic action over the past twenty-five years, paving the way for Blade Runner, John Dahl’s fantastic pre-Unforgettable films and Curtis Hanson’s understated offerings (of which I would include The Bedroom Window, which manages to work despite the dreaded Steve Guttenberg presence). I’m not sure, however, if so-called “neo-noir” is really all it’s cracked up to be, particularly when you consider this dubious list. Good noir has a hard edge, rooted in an existential dilemma with the clock ticking. This quality is particularly absent in such pedestrian films as Training Day, Road to Perdition, and Reindeer Games. Kasdan reminded us noir’s dynamo with Body Heat, but it’s too bad many of his followers have been more interested in the lowest common denominator than entertainments which emphasized the human condition. (And as a side note, after seeing Babel last week, maybe I’m alone on this, but I think Alejandro González Iñárritu could direct a great noir if he wanted to. His films have both the darkness, the acting, and the structural heft that good noir often requires.)
  • Note to news outlets: the OJ story is dead dead dead. Please stop reporting on this for the benefit of the humanities.
  • Kakuro: sudoku for smarter people? (via Word Munger)
  • RU Sirius asks various people if America has reached a fascist state yet.
  • A response to Michael Bérubé’s What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts.
  • Tayari collects a roundup of Bebe Moore Campbell obits.
  • Rachel Cooke: always the source of a raised eyebrow.
  • Scott McKenzie reveals the hard truth about online fleshpots.
  • Henry Kisor has some interesting words on L’Affaire Gasparini.
  • Eat me, Tim Toulmin. Do you really want to turn blogs into lifeless husks? Blogging shakes people up in ways that are currently prohibitive to newspapers. What you call inaccurate, I call satire. And I trust readers to separate what are clear satirical fabrications from genuine news. Because I respect their intelligence. Prohibiting persistent pursuit? It is often the inexorable quest for a story that has a journalist, print or online, unearthing the truth. I don’t entirely disagree with Toulmin’s principles (particularly in relation to children and victims of sexual assault), but I have a fundamental problem with Toulmin’s assumption that blogging is newspaper journalism. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, it isn’t. But I cannot subscribe to any uniform code that severely misunderstands the blogging medium.

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