I watched Iron Man a few weeks ago in Copenhagen. It is a pretty boring movie - except for fans of Robert Downey Jr. - but it is worth watching for professional reasons alone. Let me explain, briefly. The movie that most brilliantly captured the particular brand of American Orientalism was 1994's True Lies. Can anyone doubt the inspiration of Crimson Jihad? The Middle Eastern terrorists have the perfect mixture of rage, muscles and the technical ineptitude (By technical, I mean both mechanical skills as well as planning and execution skills) that defines America's particular Other. I mean, seriously, the camcorder scene is pure genius. Now, since those heady days of True Lies, we have had some changes. 24, when it emerged in November 2001, went with eastern European bad guys. Reality being what it is. It wasn't until 24's season 6, in 2007, that the True Lies storyline finally re-entered popular American culture. In fact, the fear of nuclear weapon was fulfilled. My one complaint about season 6 was that when, post 2001, they finally went back to the days of True Lies - they denied these terrorists the "mastermind" status. ((The iranian/arab terrorists in season 6 were sweat-soaked, grungy, bumbling Arabs but mere henchmen)) The capacity to think and plan and invent - ie, Reason - is an Enlightenment lag, after all. Iron Man continues the good work of 24, so that even as there is linguistic diversity in these cave dwellers in Afghanistan ((so close to reality!)), they remain bumbling, sniveling and completely helpless in the face of American technical super-knowledge.
In related news, the Wachowski Brothers have finally matched the joy and exhilaration of 1999's The Matrix in Speed Racer - a classic. Unlike the universally acclaimed Iron Man, Speed Racer has received harsh drubbing by the critics. Watch them eat crow in the coming years.
"There is a story by Julio CortÃ¡zar, “House Taken Over,” in which a brother and sister are forced to move from room to room as something unnamed occupies, inch by inch, their entire house, eventually forcing them out into the street. I foresee a day in which my books, like that anonymous invader, will complete their gradual conquest. I will then be banished to the garden, but knowing the way of books, I fear that even that seemingly safe place may not be entirely beyond my library's hungry ambition."
“Modern India was built on a drug”Yes, that's an irritating claim (though the original form is "much of Modern India..."), even if you believe that the British-India-China trade in opium was that important to the colonial economy. This is like arguing that much of Modern India was built on vicious agricultural policy by the British. True, but hardly as interesting as it is provocative. Can we go back to arguing the merits of Nehruvian planning now?
Chicago - Baltimore, MD - Chicago - Greenville, SC - Chicago - Columbus, OH - Chicago - Boston, MA - Chicago - Toronto, QC - Chicago - Dubai, UAE - Karachi, PK - Lahore, PK - Dubai, UAE - Chicago - Amsterdam, NL - Berlin, DE - Copenhagen, DK - Berlin, DE - Chicago. And next week, off to SF. And yes, I was randomly selected for further screening at every single airport entry listed above. "excuse me, sir, i'm going to need you to step over here, please...." stopped in dubai, karachi, and lahore? srsly?
Well, ok, not in Lahore. But Dubai and Karachi, yep. I am a space invader.
"Alberto Manguel edited one of the best compilations of fantastic literature ever - Black Water, which needs to be back in print. I didn't know much about him, though, but his ruminations on his library is a fascinating document." I saw him speak for the CBC Massey lectures, there are recordings of this that were podcasted floating about, but its a brilliant lecture, it should still be available in print. http://www.amazon.com/City-Words-CBC-Massey-Lecture/dp/0887847633 http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/massey.html