Tag Archives: america

Quentin Tarantino Films

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Quentin Tarantino: an auteur, a legend, an innovator, a perspicacious commentator, a giant amongst men….bullshit. I know that Tarantino is the darling of all so many critics and film buffs. His witty dialog is consistently quoted and hashed out in the common male vernacular. But I have not enjoyed a Tarantino film sense Pulp Fiction, and at that, I have never had the urge re-watch even this film of his. And although I admit to having a rather macabre sense of humor, I find little to laugh about in Tarantino’s blood soaked productions. His films amount to nothing but hollow scenes: masturbatory works of violence and excess.

And it is not that Tarantino’s movies are an affront to my sense of propriety. They offend me because they are simply not enjoyable to watch, while simultaneously offering no insight or reward for sitting through them. It is not because I do not understand his films, as I am often accused. Being captivated by pop culture, and stylizing gore is not penetrating or pleasant. Holding up a hyperbolic mirror to the baser fixations of society is not an excuse to then indulge them. Tarantino’s acknowledges the cultural obsession with violence and the banality therein, but offers no revelatory criticism or path out. He seems content to relish in the filth. As Allan Bloom so trenchantly opined on the American psyche “it is nihilism with a happy ending.” Tarantino’s message is superficiality squared, couched superciliously as wit and vision. For him, as Bloom puts it, “nihilism is a mood, a mood of moodiness, a vague disquiet. It is nihilism without the abyss.” Personally, I don’t have the time or the stomach to waste on the insipid phantasmagoria of a vapid masochist.

Or maybe I am just squeamish around blood.

Jeff

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The Wave

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America cannot consider itself a civilized nation until the scourge of the wave has been eliminated from sporting events. I do not care if you think it is a magical moment of community amongst fans. Any activity that leads to that much beer spilling can never be considered benevolent. No activity that involves unwarranted exercise can be considered joyous. The only possible benefit the wave has is the shaking of female bosoms caused by the rapid standing, but even on this account, the wave is organized all wrong. Everyone is facing the backside of everyone else. Instead of quivering tits, you get ass crack and back sweat. I came to watch sports, not to do rudimentary calisthenics while having my draft spilled to ghastly sights.

And let’s face it, after the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics no amount of mass coordinated movement will look cool again. Thanks China. So can we all agree that the wave is now unequivocally lame and desist from making asses of ourselves? If the Chinese want to prove how far they come by having thousands of people memorize basic actions and then perform them with slave-driver oversight type precision, that’s fine with me. They can have that honor. But this is American, the supposed land of cowboys and entrepreneurs – a country of self starting, independent thinkers – and the wave flies in the face of all of this. We are not a country of joiners; we are a nation of doers (and borrowers).

Anyhow, can we all hold off on doing the wave, at least until the Chinese call in our debts and we all have to learn Cantonese and synchronized box-crouching? That is all that I am asking.

Jeff

The Middle Class

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I should like the middle class, right? What have they ever done to offend? They work hard and pay their bills (unless it’s their mortgage). They’re content and pleasant. And yet I can’t really stomach the vast lot them – they bore me to no end. If I want good conversation, I head to a dive bar or the University Club, and not the bar at Chili’s.

The way I see it, life exists at the ends. Feast or famine, binge or purge: beauty through conflict. And then there is the middle class, whish is just sort of there, entirely blasé and uninspired. They have few real struggles, and as a result, limited aspirations. Entirely safe, they have nothing to drive them, content to vicariously live through others.

But creativity demands distention and contraction; requires extremes and the internecine quirks of those with too much or not enough. The tragedy is that there are many things that are so destructive (and by extension inspiring) that only the very rich or the very poor can afford to indulge them. The middle classes have just enough to lose to convince themselves to live completely dull lives. Is it any wonder that they are shrinking: they are dying from boredom.

Jeff

Canada

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If Palin/McCain won this last November, half my friends would theoretically be living in Canada now (and the other half would likely be enjoying lower taxes).

But why Canada? How bad has this generation’s sense of ambition become when Canada is seen as the great utopia for escape? Or is that we are so incredibly lazy that we are unwilling to relocate anywhere we couldn’t drive? And here is the sad part: Canada aspires to be like America, but is just one step behind. Move to Canada and five years from now it will look like the states do today. Leaving the US to become a Canuck is tantamount to dumping your girlfriend to date her less attractive younger sister. It makes no sense.

Think about it. Canada is the US, but the people are slightly fatter and talk a wee bit slower, and perhaps are a trifle better mannered. Oh, and their football field is ten yards longer. Awesome. And don’t give me that shit about universal health care. If you can afford to relocate countries because the politics offend you, then I’m pretty sure that you also have decent health care to begin with. I never hear about poor people threatening to move across international borders because their political sensibilities got hurt.

And to any Canadians that are offended at this, consider: would you move to the US if you got fed up with your government? I think not. Personally, when I can no longer stand living stateside, I’m fleeing somewhere a little more exciting than our frozen neighbors to the north. Maybe Krakow. Now there is change I could believe in. (as opposed to the Loony – WTF Canada?)

Jeff

Church Shopping

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If one uniform message came through during my liberal arts days in college, it was this: there are many ways to lead a good life: universal truths are outmoded and that Right is relative. It was no wonder that my campus bookstore could not keep Anthony Appiah’s works in stock. So when I hear of people church shopping, I feel I should be supportive, but it doesn’t feel right. These people are not seeking a truth larger than themselves, but rather a sanctuary for their self-derived beliefs.

Modern man has succeeded in throwing off the chains of inherited dogmas—the American church has shrunk, and congressional enthusiasm diminished—but in its place did not find higher callings or moral instruction. Instead religion was thrust into the marketplace, the masses falling away from moral authority and prone to worshiping themselves: the seemingly logical progression of materialism and liberalism.

Now there are a thousand sects, and no one has a disagreement with his lord God. Where once the church imbued modesty and moderation, modern churches now praise the individual and tell him: “I agree. You are right!” This is the problem. There is no thought, but merely people’s prejudices projected into the God construct. If you’re gay, you can have a God which embraces his queer sons and daughters. If you cannot stand the homosexuals, then there is a God who condemns them to hell. Like your wealth? There is a god for that as well. Want to forget the world and live alone in a cave? God allows that too. There is a God for anyone who wants one.

Christianity may have won out over paganism in the West, but monotheism is now dead. There are now as many gods as there are points of view, with each incarnation of the God of Abraham competing against the other for your soul. America is no longer one nation under God, but rather a nation of people living under their own, unique, all approving self-lords. Have it your way McLords.

Jeff

The American Flag

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For the past seven-odd years, the renewed sense of patriotism has irritated me more than the Bush administration alone. More than the country songs (I can always change the channel) or FOX reports (because why would I watch FOX?) there is one sore more frequent and painful than herpes on a hooker: the American flag.

I admire what it was meant to represent—the idea that America means freedom, tolerance, acceptance. These days, however, it seems the general public has turned it into some post-911 redneck misconception of “nationalism.” A tattered flag flying from the side mirror is not a symbol of patriotism. A sticker on a grease-streaked windshield is not a sign of pride. The flag you fly in front of your home (mobile or otherwise) should be reserved for certain holidays—we call that tradition, after all. And leaving it out in the rain: aren’t there laws against that?

To treat the stars and stripes in this matter seems to disrespect it more than honor its significance. The flag loses its meaning; it is no longer sacred. It was supposed to represent the principles upon which our nation was founded: no, not the slaughter of those here before us, but independence. So next time you wave your little flags and sing the Star Spangled Banner, think about our Constitution and the work our founding fathers did to create the America you supposedly love today.

Maybe this is why so many yupsters threaten to move to Canada.

I eagerly await your hate mail.

Andrea