Wednesday, March 12, 2003

If, like me, you still mourn the good old days of, take heart. Frequent Suckster Ana Marie Cox started her own blog: the antic muse.

Maybe it's the lay-out, but I think of Mizz Cox as the anti-Eve Tushnet, which should not exactly be taken as an anti-Eve dig. I really don't care if you're a conservative lesbian or a leftist wife so long as you write well and wittily.

Okay, so I'm lukewarm. Spew me.
I'm afraid I have nothing much to say about Omoo, Melville's sequel to Typee. I find it quite boring. It's an episodic ramble through Polynesia -- "omoo" means "wanderer" -- and the many incidents Melville (now under the nom de plume "Paul") describes in so many blessedly short chapters are neither inspired nor amusing. I can't wait for it to end.
Listening throughout the day to the late, great Eric Dolphy, the multi-talented jazz instrumentalist -- equally at home on flute, tenor sax, clarinet, you-name-it -- who died in 1964 at the tender age of 36, amidst an extraordinary career as a straight session player, a vital component of Charles Mingus' band, and a remarkable solo artist.

This is the kind of wild jazz you either love or loathe. I don't know the first thing about music, but I think this is the kind of jazz they call "modal" which, if my own experience accounts for anything, means that it is effortlessly melodic, maddeningly repetitive, and also full of wild swooping squawks, squeaks and grunts -- you know, very much like Ornette Coleman. Indeed, these are the things I like most about it; if you're going to make some noise, make it adventurous.
Another perfect summation from Stanley Kauffmann, this time on Kurt Russell: "His acting seems made of cards that are well-thumbed."

God only knows what to make of Mel Gibson's new movie.

Gibson, long known as a conservative Catholic, turns out to be what one might call a fundamentalist Catholic, presumably one who looks on the Vatican with at least as much contempt and loathing as the Bob Jones crowd looks on the Southern Baptist Convention. From the surface of things, it looks as if Gibson's self-financed, -produced and -directed forthcoming film, The Passion, could be as controversial as The Last Temptation of Christ, although for entirely opposite reasons. A lot of people hated Scorsese's film because they thought it blasphemous; most notably in that -- in keeping with the Kazantzakis novel -- it considered the possibility of Christ having lust in his heart. Some people even thought the movie was part of a plot by "Hollywood Jews."

Those very people may be just the audience for Gibson's film; the Times article hints that the film's take on the crucifixion is that Christ was murdered not by humanity, but by Jews.

I'd like to think Gibson is beyond that kind of doctrinaire hatred, but that may be too much to hope for if his views are anything like his dad's. The elder Gibson comes off sounding like a certifiable anti-Semitic loon.

Is anyone going to see this picture? Who is going to distribute it?

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