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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

As the comprehensive biography of one rock music’s true legends, Redemption Song is long overdue. Salewicz, a respected British music journalist with a long Joe Strummer/Clash association, offers the insider’s view of this brilliant and complex punk figurehead. Strummer was the John Lennon for Generation X and he gets fitting, comprehensive treatment here. The first definitive Strummer biography, it’s not likely to be the last with a personage this important in popular music history.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

People get forgotten for unforeseen reasons. Raymond Bernard was the star director of a fledgling French blockbuster industry that was smothered by shifting national circumstances. Criterion’s fourth edition of its Eclipse series, dedicated to the director, is a revealing glimpse at his aborted career and his curiously overlooked talent for precisely attuned epics, incorporating a wide variety of artistic and technological developments into populist narrative filmmaking. The uncertain economics of inter-war France couldn’t sustain Bernard’s large-scale films. As budgets were slashed small-scale poetic realism became more popular, a style he in some ways anticipated. But the die was cast and for decades after France’s film industry was largely defined economically and temperamentally by the modest and more personal. Bernard continued to work, but like his idol Griffith, his status was diminished, an observer on the sidelines of an industry that he helped create. Though his fate was undeserved we can at least take pleasure in these testaments to his faint prominence.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

All three books would make a great gift set for any Simpsons fan, especially if they have a modicum of artistic talent. The Greetings postcard book appeals to the sophomoric humor we expect from the Homer level of things. Masterpiece Gallery blends Lisa’ sophistication with Bart’s bratty humor. The Handbook is the best of the lot: quite simply, how to draw all the Simpsons’ characters in all their many modes of comic being. Naturally, it’s funny, too.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007



. . . your mama used to say
My boy is gonna grow up and be
Some kind of leader some day . . .


But you’re a legend in your own time
A hero in the footlights . . .



Carly Simon, Legend in Your Own Time


 



Do media influence us?


This is a question that has been debated for a couple of generations. It is one that, despite thousands of academic studies, directed at a variety of communication forms, has not yet been satisfactorily resolved.


Do media make us: more violent? More sexual? More prone to bend the truth? To seek out the gray in life? To disbelieve? To trust? To think in terms of permanence? Or evanescence?


Well, the jury is still out, as it has been since work on media effects began right after the second Great War. Yet, despite the inconclusive results, one thing that is certain (at least, if you ask me, based on my study and experience): media has been quite effective in getting in our heads, providing models of behavior, impelling us to respond by example under certain situations.


Such as?


Well, how about telling us what to do when we are being stalked by a crazed driver late at night on the open streets of our home towns?


 


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

Yep, they’re trying to push this argument that copying CD’s and turning them into MP3 files on your computer is illegal in a court case right now.  Hopefully, the court will see the lack of wisdom in yet another ridiculous ploy by the RIAA to squeeze money out of consumers and wrestle control away from them.  That would mean that new computers which do this must be taken off the market and maybe recalls of every computer that does that now (i.e. most of them out there now, including yours) plus all software that does this, including iTunes, Napster (the legal one), Winamp and Windows Media Player.  Hope that sits well with Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Gateway et al who would then stand to lose millions of dollars if not more…


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