As I said, light week. I’ve had double deadlines at the paper, because we print far in advance, and I need to get out the Christmas columns by the end of June. Or something like that. I could have written something meaty bleaty big ‘n’ bouncy this afternoon, but I blew my 90 minutes of post-work pre-Gnat-pickup time on the Diner. (It’s one of the better ones, I think. But I always think that the ones with the most technical challenges are the best.)
So I must be brief. Links, then.
This is one of the best buildings of the year, according to BusinessWeek. I can’t say it’s one of the best, but I like it. I like it a lot. For a chapel, it seems rather non-committal on the whole God thing, but it is an ecumenical chapel. Modernism is either a bracing slap in the face (thanks . . . I needed that, as the old commercial said) or a tired old bore who still thinks that stripping columns off buildings is a means to achieve utopia.
Oh, my God:
You’ve seen the famous photo of the South Vietnamese policeman executing a criminal – the hoodlum has his face contorted in expectation of the bullet and the void, the cop is remarkably composed. Said the photographer in a later interview:
"I just followed the three of them as they walked towards us, making an occasional picture. When they were close - maybe five feet away - the soldiers stopped and backed away. I saw a man walk into my camera viewfinder from the left. He took a pistol out of his holster and raised it. I had no idea he would shoot. It was common to hold a pistol to the head of prisoners during questioning. So I prepared to make that picture - the threat, the interrogation. But it didn't happen. The man just pulled a pistol out of his holster, raised it to the VC's head and shot him in the temple. I made a picture at the same time."
It makes it sound as if he was the only one present. No such claim was made, of course, but I’ve always assumed that he was. Well: there was a film crew present as well. And they shot the whole sequence. How do I know? Because I’m sitting at the kitchen island, typing away in the dark hours as usual, the sound of the OIWF in the distance, and the TV is on. No sound. Gnat was watching a Tivo’d Spongebob. The TiVo just went to live TV, and there it was: summary judgment.
What makes it notable is the context: it’s in a music video.
By the Monkees.
I’ve never seen “Head,” only heard derisive references: if “Hard Day’s Night” was “Schindler’s List,” “Head” is “The Day the Clown Cried.” It begins with some saucy preconception-deflating song styling:
“You say we’re manufactured, to that we all agree,” they sing, as a montage of TV screens show scenes from the upcoming movie. “So make your choice and we’ll rejoice in never being free. Hey hey we are the Monkees, we’ve said it all before / The money’s in, we’re made of tin, we’re here to give you more.” BANG! Twenty screens show the execution. They use the clip again during a crappy song that prompts teen girls to riot. In between is a satirical skit set in a Vietnam trench.
Jack Nicholson is credited as a co-writer.
(Steps away to watch a bit)
It’s an interesting piece of work, if only to understand the sort of incoherent bong-spawn for which the era was justly known. And in a way, I admire the Monkees for ruining their career and disassembling their TV personas with such cheerful brio. Pity only Mike had the White-Out fortune to fall back upon.
Better than the Batman movie from the same era? You decide. (Warning: sound)
Two viewpoints on the SWIFT program: Tom Brokaw, presented in MP3 splendor to your left, and the chair of the 9/11 committee. You decide. (Audio via Hewitt, right-wing shock jock; link via Powerline, unhinged partisan lunatics. As the links will clearly demonstrate.)
And with that I’m done. Like I said: light week. See you tomorrow!