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Yashoda Sampath
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Surely announcing Brad Pitt as your star carries the same expectations as casting Sean Penn, if not more so? Mike Nichols must have been very aware of the tensions between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as the audience's expectations when seeing the two of them on screen together. It must have added a level of heft to the steady disintegration of the marriage in the film. And yet, there is no sense that either actor is actually playing themselves, whereas in Closer, that sense is ever-present for all the actors except Clive Owen.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2011 on The trouble with movie stars at Some Came Running
I love both Didion and DFW, but I've been having a very powerful urge to re-read Slouching Towards Bethlehem (as opposed to my near-constant desire to re-read Infinite Jest!) So basically I have no advice for you. But they're both great choices.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2011 on Lit Bits and A Bit About Lingo at Counterbalance
Love how many people Maud Newton managed to insult in this piece: DFW fans, DFW himself, bloggers, music writers, readers, Southerners and most importantly, people who choose to make nuanced arguments rather than state "definitive" truths, a la Fox News. Great post! I responded to Newton's piece here: http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-maud-newton-vs.html
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2011 on A Bit About Lingo at Counterbalance
Great post! I still don't find her generalizations on the blogosphere valid (and in fact that irked me more than anything else, as I wrote about here: http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-maud-newton-vs.html But you're right, she offers no defense for the idea that DFW's style is not persuasive or argumentative. She states it, therefore it must be so.
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Newton seems to believe that one cannot write in the style she describes and still be sincere in intent and objective, which is frankly ridiculous and an idea that scarcely bears thinking about. Nonetheless, I thought on it, and wrote this rebuttal: On Maud Newton vs. DFW and "folksiness." http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-maud-newton-vs.html
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2011 on Squarer for Maud at Some Came Running
Making that sort of judgment seems more like a 'game of opportunity cost' than actual basis for political decision making. I would still disagree that humanitarian intervention has become more tenable than anti-malaria. After all, how difficult was it to genuinely intervene in Rwanda and in Bosnia before it was almost too late (in Rwanda of course it was too late). It stops being humanitarian intervention when you enter only to protect some self-interested objective and then leave when that objective is complete. In the past 20+ years, I'd argue the only intervention that HAS become politically acceptable is the horrifying religious human rights practices as sanctified by George W. Bush (abstinence education instead of condoms in Africa!). I'm still working to figure out my thoughts on Libya, but you can find some of them here: http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-it-all-about-in-libya.html
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2011 on Moving the Bounds of the Possible at Dylan Matthews
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Mar 22, 2011