Is the line between fact and fiction being systematically eliminated?
So I was changing channels tonight and I came across a film entitled "the Last Broadcast"
, which is very "The Blair Witch Project" but with an interesting twist. However when I first started watching it I was unsure of it was a documentary or not. It was the very accurate documentary style that reminded me of the Blair Witch Project. The daughter of one of my mother's employee's was terrified and convinced of the veracity of the Blair Witch, until I told her it was a fictionalized story.
Watching this faux documentary the same week as Bowling for Columbine made me realize how popular the documentary style has become for fictional story lines. It has been used by Woody Allen ( Husbands and Wives) and Christopher Guest. Former Python alumnus have used it in "The Rutles", but now it has become such a popular technique that it seems almost impossible to tell real documentary and false apart.
True documentary has incorporated more and more main stream film techniques. Errol Morris has incorporated beautiful cinematography into Mr Death. Most documentarists have edited down thousands of hours of footage into a dramatic arc. ( Moore has been accused of altering time lines to fit into that dramatic arc.) Documentarists have also altered the genre by imposing themselves into the story line ( Michael Moore and Nick Broomfield). The questions of course becomes as documentary incorporates more mainstream film techniques and mainstream film incorporates more documentary techiniques, how are we as the audience supposed to disintinguish the difference?
Or is it our job as the audience to question film makers and documentarists?
Is it our job to do what I did just now when I was intrigued by the Last Broadcast, to go online and research the film until I found out the truth?
Because it sucks to be smart
Bad Bunni posted at 11/01/2003 11:21:00 PM
Somebody give me a stop watch-a whole two weeks of bliss...and then?
Well israel had me over to apartment the other night. He was going to cook, but it was a harder day on him than anticipated. I'm not going to hold chinese take out agaisnt him ( since it was good and I didn't have to pay for it) but here is an issue.
Because I am english teacher, my ability to recognize and process written english is, of course, extremely fast. I used to be a slow reader, but not anymore. Now my students marvel how quickly I can read and write comments on their papers. ( I myself never realized how fast I read material until other people commented on it.)
So I wa sover at Israel's and he wanted to show me some pictures he had been forwarded via email. Now mixed in with his email were emails from his old girlfriend. Now I don't hold that against him. I still have emails from all of my old male conquests ( Vampire Hunter D, Bishop, Luke Duke etc) what I do hold against him is what I read.
It seems that he is always working, ( his former girlfriend always made mention of how he was a busy man but not to forget her) something that I am beginning to discover. One of my big caveats was that I never wanted to have a job was that my life. And I never wanted to have a man who had the same problem. Now maybe that is extremely naive of me considering where I live and the time period I inhabit.
of course, I can't mention this without admitting I read the emails, which theoretically there is no shame in since I was sitting right on his lap while he clicked passed them. What he didn't realize of course is that someone like me can read a short email very quickly.
Why must I be tortured this way?
Can't anything be simple?
Miss Lapin's Complaint
Bad Bunni posted at 11/01/2003 10:31:00 PM
When my father died, I inherited his library. It was filled with the books he had accumulated over a lifetime Huxley, Sartre, Grasse. Some books I already had copies of ( Voltaire's Candide, Huxley's Brave New World, the works of Shakespeare) but I kept them anyway. Even the one's that are falling part, the ones without covers, the ones with pages missing, the ones without any marginalia. Reading was one of the ways I was close to my father when he was alive. Reading is the way I keep my relationship with him alive.
The first book I read after my father's death from his library was Portnoy's Complaint. I had heard about the book, but nothign specific. I knew there was something racy and forbidden about it, but a vague sense of literary taboo was all I had.
Reading Portnoy's Complaint became one of the most formative experiences fo my life. After reading the book, I had a whole new understanding of my father. My feeling after reading was "Why didn't he give this to me before?" The book so seemed to capture my father's attraction to the goyim and the simulatenous self loathing that attraction enduced. It captured the secret fetishizing ( I know that isn't a word-shut up) of blonde haired, blue eyed strictly forbidden shiskas. It also captured the psychological disintegration that my father endured.
Roth would become one of my favorite writers. For me, the term good writer has one basic requirement, you must make me want to read more. And Roth did. Not just his own work. From him I discovered Kafka, Gogol, and Grasse ( including one of my all time favorite novels the Tin Drum).
I cherish my copies of Roth. I have actually rationed my reading of Roth, understanding that he will probably stop writing at some point ( or die) so that I will be able to continue to look forward to reading books of his in the future.
So you can imagine the crushing disappointment I experienced when I read the Human Stain. I purchased the book impulsively from Barnes and Nobles in hard cover. I was too excited to wait for soft cover, and being Roth I was fairly sure it would be a book that I would want to keep into old age.
Not that Roth hasn't made mistakes before. Although he has written some stunning novels ( So I Married a Communist, Portnoy's Complaint, Sabbath's Theater), he has also written so ho-hum books (When She Was Good, Our Gang, My Life as a Man). Roth has used politics to his great advantage in some of his books (So I Married a Communist), but he has also been undone by them in others ( Our Gang). Generally, when Roth gets caught up in contemporary politics, he seems to lose his talent. He goes for the pot shot, he goes for the dated reference, and misses the mark of creating something that can exist outside of that moment in politics. (Think Dante's Inferno-certainly there are dated references, but clearly Dante captured something universal in his writings about Italians in Hell.)
The Human Stain falls into the category of a failed attempted. I actually sold my copy on half.com immediately after finishing it. I wish now I hadn't. Not because I have come to a new appreciation of the text, but mainly so I could point to specific areas in the text to illustrate my claim. ( I know, I know, I'm such a scholar.)
The Human Stain ties to two politic events, one specific and one more of a trend. The first is that the novel makes continued references to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. In particular a professor has an affair with a seemingly illiterate woman (after her death he will discover she is perfectly literate). The professor is persecuted by a young female professor, who discovers she is attracted to her target. Sound familiar? ( Lewinsky as the illiterate, Tripp as the attracted persecutor, Clinton as the hero.)
Of course, the book is an exploration of seeming truths and power struggles. Is the literate professor really more powerful than his working class mistress? Is she his victim? Hve women turned victimization into such a powerul tool that MEN have no hope of defending themselves from accusations of sexual dominance?
Unfortunately Roth fails to make the relationship particularly intriguing or provocative to make answering those questions important. The relationship seems to be purely sexual and when she dies the revelation of her literacy fails to provoke much reconsideration of her character.
As for the lust provoke revenger, how cliched is that? And Roth doesn't do much to make her into more of character, she isn't even a particularly engaging villian. She isn't someone you love to hate, or even love to watch. Her behavior is so cliched and predictable ( uptight young female english professor using political correctness to persecute the unobtainable object of her lust) as to leave the reader as bored as being in one of her classes.
One of the only intriguing ideas in the novel is that the professor is being persecuted for making a supposedly racist comment during a lecture. The comment, which could be perceived as a slur against blacks, puts the hero in an interesting predicament. Our hero is, in fact, black, but has been passing himself off as jewish for decades ( even his wife didn't know). So the hero is in this predictament-admit to the lies of a lifetime and prove he is innocent or continue with the subterfuge and lose his life's work.
But even that premise is highly flawed. Roth's idea that simply by admitting he is black, the hero somehow absolves himself of being racist is false. As Roth should surely know from his own experiences (he refuses to speak in public after a particularly disastrous panel discussion at Adelphi University where he spent the afternoon being accused of being a self hating Jew) to be a member of a minority group is not to exclude oneself from being "racist" or making racist slurs against it.
So why out of all the books that Roth has written Hollywood would choose this one to make into film escapes me entirely. The short novel "Good-bye Columbus" was made into a film and was not tremendously successful. After that no films, to my knowledge, have been based on his work ( of course in order to make a film based on his work you would ahve to have a VERY liberal director and cast or at the very least a group of porn stars who are probably not up to the challenge of bringing Roth's prose to life).
I am not going to criticize the film yet because I havent' seen it. But I do have to say casting Anthony Hopkins as a black man pretending to be a Jew is more than a minor stretch. But let's just say I am going to be waiting for this film to come out on cable no matter what the reviewers say.
OK so now that I've totally bored you beyond belief I am going to leave you to wonder how fabulously well my life is going.
Because it is.
Because the times, they are changin'
Bad Bunni posted at 11/01/2003 04:58:00 PM
Just gave John Yule his walking papers. he buzzed me, I let him and told him-piss off. Well not in those exact words, but told him I couldn't see him anymore. He took it well, we talked about books for about fifteen minutes-it reminded me why I liked him-and then he left with a kiss on the cheek.
It is a big moment when Bunni forgoes cheap sex, let me rephrase that, cheap good sex, for a fairly chaste relationship with a seemingly fabulous man.
Warning: Elevation of mood may cause extreme sappiness, random cliches, and generally hallmark-i-ness
Bad Bunni posted at 10/28/2003 12:47:00 AM
Oh that man of mine. He was over last night. And let me just tell you, it takes a real man, I mean a dirty harry go ahead make my day kind of man, to kiss me in my bed and leave me there fully clothed.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.
And you know what's really amazing? It's a good thing. It's a great thing. It's a fabulous thing.
See most men deal with me the way John Cleese described sex in his sex education class in the movie "Monty Python and the Meaning Life" "Why must we go stampeding towards the clitoris?"
Ok maybe that was a little more graphic than it should have been. But really most men are in such a rush to take me to bed. And this guy wants me. Trust me. The, uh, for lack of a better terms, hard evidence is there, but the man has discipline.
He came over to my apartment last night because he knows starting Sunday nights I get very anxious. So we had half a bottle of wine, and we were sitting on the couch. And he kept looking very seriously in the direction of my bed (I live in a studio). It wasn't a sexy look, more concerned, contemplative. Finally, I asked what he was thinking. He said, he didn't want to rush toards intimacy, that he had even debated coming over to my place after only one week. ( A debate I myself had just hours earlier.)
He is one of the few people who have been in my apartment who even noticed my collages on the walls ( he really liked them-liked particularly the high heel collage, which is of course, my only way of expressing desire and admiration for the shoes I can never wear).
So we kissed for a while. We even kissed in my bed, fully dressed, I swear. OK, OK, he took off his sweater, but it was hot. I mean temperature wise. I mean.
You know what I mean.
( But I would like to say, for the record, MUCH better body than I had imagined. And I have a pretty good imagination.)
Anyway, we kissed for a good long while, but surprisingly what we did the most, even in my bed, was talk. And it's been a long time since a man lay in my bed and engaged in intelligent conversation. And even longer since a man looked at my books and said "What? No history or political science?"
And then after a while, he gets up and goes home. ( Of course as he is pulling his coat on he says, "This is discipline." Yes, yes it is.)
What's terrifying is he says these things to me like "You are very important to me" and "I care about you a great deal" and I am beginning to think they are true.
The problem is in the past I haven't displayed what many people would call extrodinarily competent mate selection. I mean, I spent 2 years with some moron who couldn't tell me he loved me or admit that we were in a long term relationship. And that was one of the not so bad relationships I was in. Especially since Eric, I have a very hard time trusting my own instincts about men. And this is the first man I have had feelings for that I could actually have. No emotional baggage, no significant other, no commitment issues, not even a drug dependency problem ( thank you speed freak, for all the memories). So I don't know if I should trust myself, or call a private detective.
Yesterday we were talking about what was the most attractive. To him it is my intellect ( or actually my twisted intellect as he called). I told him what it was that first attracted me ( the not chasing me into bed) which he simply thought of as manners.
But then, today, I was thinking that was really gotten to me about him is that he is always surprising me. I thought I knew how this relationship was going to go. He was going to be macho and try to chase me into bed. I would play with him for a while, perhaps add him to the harem, maybe not even that, and eventually dispose of him.
Now I find myself waiting for him to call.
And the change in my demeanor is overwhelming even to me. I am cheerful, quipping jokes, not phased by set backs at work.
And guess what? My classes are improving.
What is it about him is that he reminds me of that afternoon on the balcony-the on on Mandalay Bay. With him I feel that same surprise and wonder. That same sense that maybe more things are possible than I imagine. That the world is not such a predictable place.
So in love, so in love, so in love, with you, my love, am I
Bad Bunni posted at 10/27/2003 11:50:00 PM
Cole Porter-"So in love"
I'll expand this post later-but I'm so in love with Israel-not the country, the person-he is just frighteningly good for me
Things I shouldn't have to say during the first week of dating
Bad Bunni posted at 10/26/2003 11:19:00 PM
Here's a brief list culled from actual first dates-
1. The attention is flattering, but really, I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the attention.
2. I don't really feel comfortable talking about my bra size with you.
3. No, I've never thought about being with a woman.
4. No, you can't come in.
5. Sorry, but you have to go. I have to do work.
6. No, I won't dress up like a school girl.
7. No, I have never been asked to pretend to be a thirteen year old girl.
8. No, I have never been sexually molested.
9.No, I have never had a rape fantasy.
Yes, these are all from real first week of dating scenarios from my like-any one care to add?
Bad Bunni posted at 10/26/2003 11:17:00 PM