July 30, 2005

This Day In Military History

Today is the 141st anniversary of the Battle of the Crater. If you don't know what that is, i suggest renting Cold Mountain tonight. i love that movie.

Anyways, the Battle of the Crater was one of the craziest episodes of the Civil War. It was an idea that should have worked in theory, but in execution was fucked up from start to finish. If you think of all the Federal blunders committed during the Civil War, it's a wonder we're not two countries today. But we stuck it out, thanks to a man named Abraham Lincoln, whose resolve did not waver despite innumerable setbacks and intense opposition to the war.

Speaking of Civil War films, one movie that i saw recently, which doesn't get enough credit as a fabulous CW movie, is The Horse Soldiers from 1959. It was directed by John Ford, and starred John Wayne and Bill Holden. i think that's all you'd need to know in order to go rent it ASAP.

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July 27, 2005

Over There

If you, like me, were impressed by tonight's premier of FX's Over There, there's one thing we should both remember. Forty Americans died and 426 were wounded, most of them seriously, in the real life "over there" this month. Actors get paid big bucks and go on talk shows when their work day is through. While those who have volunteered to protect you and me in Iraq and Afghanistan don't get that kind of fame or money, but their sacrifices are real.

i hope the show stays centered on the American experience. i was happy to see that they did not try, at least in tonight's episode, to put a human face on the enemy or tell "their side." Let Ted Koppel and his buddies at Al Jazeera do that; there's enough relativism in the media as it is. i also did not detect any overt political messages, either right or left.

i imagine some observers might be upset that not every character was Tom Hanks. i don't mind that kind of realism in war movies. As a war movie fan, i like the Adam Baldwins and Nick Noltes the best. These are the complex characters who may seem like assholes with less than honorable motivations, but they get shit done. i bet there are lots of them in real life and thank God for it.

i'm also not bothered by Over There's portrayal of soldiers complaining about the Army. i'm not a veteran -- and i know that many of my visitors are, so correct me if i'm wrong -- but soldiers always gripe about the military. And there's always some incompetence and poor decision-making in any organization. Hell, does everything run smoothly at your job? It doesn't at my job, that's for sure. People who point to mistakes made in wartime as a reason to surrender are simply people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

So overall, i thought tonight's episode was pretty good, and i would say that if the rest of the series follows the same tone it should help our war effort. Which is more than i can say about anything else i see on tv that's war related.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]
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* If you're interested, you can read about the latest disgusting media attempt to demonize an American soldier here. Also, you might be interested to know that a soldier who used a dog to frighten some detainees might spend more time in jail than the convicted LAX Millenium bomber.

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July 05, 2005

Them's Fighting Words...

Tony Pierce on Jack Kerouac:

first of all if i get called a hipster again im going to move out of los feliz. i dont drink coffee i dont wear man purses, yes im intentionally bald but only because the girls love it. i dont wear white belts. ive worn the same pair of shoes every day for three years. i dont listen to my bloody valentine radiohead coldplay or sleater kinney outside of bars talking about new order. fuck mac fuck jamba juice fuck coffee bean and fuck the nu art. fuck cinespace fuck silverlake fuck vice fuck piercings fuck the return of cocaine and fuck vinyl.

so definately fuck jack fucking kerouac

the pretty facade of the beats. who didnt have the genius of ginsberg, the creativity of ferlinghetti, or the muscle of burroughs.

simply put keourac is the simple plan of pop, hes the costas of broadcasting, hes the jay leno of late night. popular but empty. soft and spineless.

every time that someone compares on the road to huck finn mark twain gets to travel to hell and poke jack kerouac in the fucking eye.

his stories arent sexy theyre not funny theyre not enlightening theyre not innovative and history has not been kind to him.

howl alone dwarfs the entire kerouac catalogue, justly, and hollywood has yet to fully exploit burroughs, so wheres that leave your boy? in history books solely. one hit wonder. lucky to be there. neal cassadys buddy. period.

charles bukowski singlehandedly could take on a army of jack kerouacs, and he provided likeable characters. when you put all your eggs in one basket, that of making yourself the main character, you better hope that people will like you and will be rooting for you. sal paradise? give me henry chinaski and an ugly girl.

Whowa.

i read On The Road years ago and for a few weeks it almost changed my life. Almost. i love Bukowski, but he never had that effect on me. Still, Kerouac never made me laugh like Buk can. i didn't know which side to take in this controversy until i read this:

on the road makes me so happy that i was not on the road with jack kerouac. i first read it when i was riding couchettes through europe as i was turning 21. it was a gift because thats what people give twenty year olds as they head across the pond for the first time. alone.

the second time i read it aloud to prisoners at gitmo who then flushed themselves down the toilet.

people read jack keroac because theyve never read william carlos williams's white mule or hems garden of eden.

its the same reason they listened to pearl jam.

Holy crap, Tony. That was so funny, i think you convinced me.

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