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by Katharine Wray

31 Aug 2009

Michael Moore, the director of Bowling for Columbine, has done it again with Capitalism: A Love Story. Tackling the recent financial crisis and the transition from the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration, Moore ruffles more than a few feathers with this documentary.

by Nikki Tranter

31 Aug 2009

They shared a name, and, it appears, a sort-of friendship. Big-time, big-name journalist Dominick Dunne, who died last week aged 83, is remembered in this article in The Australian by his friend and fellow journo, Dominic Dunne. Dunne, with a “c”, writes of his initial meeting with the other Dunne, and Dunne’s interest in the man with his name.

On that meeting:

I thanked him for making the time to meet me, and he replied, “I wanted to see what the other Dominic Dunne was like.” He wrote in my copy of The Two Mrs Grenvilles, “To Dominic Dunne from Dominick Dunne, in confusion”.

Dunne’s obit is not the first time he’s commented in the Australian on his connections with Dominick Dunne. A year ago, he wrote this article, which offers just a little bit more about this interesting partnership, and how Dominick effected Dominic:

Certainly, plenty of eyes were cast his way as we sat in the bar of a plush hotel in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I ordered him mineral water, and the same for me, out of deference to his status as a reformed alcoholic. (I recently learned that his house in Connecticut is full of booze. He just doesn’t drink it.) He’d just flown back to New York from Paris, and I was visiting New York from Sydney. As we sat facing each other, I understood why he had become such a celebrated chronicler: his skill was to listen, watch and absorb. For my part, it felt rather like a one-way conversation… When I was living in Washington, barely a week went by when someone didn’t comment about my name: “Are you the Dominick Dunne?” The fact that I was Australian and 40 years younger didn’t seem to bother people.

Dominick Dunne’s final novel, Too Much Money is out in December from Crown. (Dominic Dunne is very hard to research.)

by Katharine Wray

31 Aug 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Releasing: 29 September

Audrey Niffenegger’s sophomore attempt to The Time Traveler’s Wife. A hard act to follow, to be sure. This Chicago native takes her story telling skills to London to tell a ghost story.

by PC Muñoz

31 Aug 2009

“Heartbreak Hotel” - The Jacksons
Written by Michael Jackson
from Triumph (CBS/Epic, 1980)

“Bless His Soul” - The Jacksons
Written by Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Randy Jackson
from Destiny (CBS/Epic, 1979)

This entry was originally written in the spring of ‘09. It has been slightly edited since Michael Jackson’s untimely passing.

The first arena concert I ever attended was the Jacksons’ concert in support of their 1980 album, Triumph. The concert began with a film/music video for their hit “Can You Feel It?” which showed the brothers, in superhuman/angelic form, spreading goodwill and brotherhood through the power of song and light. Especially to the eyes and ears of a young musician, it was a stunning opening to an unforgettable experience.

“Heartbreak Hotel” was a highlight of the Triumph tour, and like many of Michael Jackson’s songs which explore the terror of high anxiety, it is kind of like an aural horror film, with fear, paranoia, and emotional claustrophobia replacing blood and gore as the central affrighting components. The song opens with a lonely string section which ably sets the foreboding tone, then, with an eerie scream, it kicks into an archetypal Jackson groove, with wicked rhythm guitar and funky-bump marauding bass. The lyrics describe a hotel occupied by evil, vengeful women who murmur imprecations and hurl accusations at the men who visit.The second half of the first verse delves into the devilish details of the nightmarish scene Jackson wishes to show us: “As we walked into the room /  There were faces staring, glaring, tearing through me / Someone said welcome to your doom / Then they smiled with eyes that looked as if they knew me / This is scaring me!”

“Heartbreak Hotel” is peppered with classic Jackson yelps, squawks, and screams, a countermelody voiced on a theremin-like instrument, and a myriad of strange and scary sound effects, all of which add to the “scary-movie” vibe. The bridge is literally out of this world, with a chugging electro-beat, an insistent high-pitched tone taking the place of the snare hit, and weird multilayered vocals. Of course, MJ being the future “King of Pop”,  the chorus breaks wide open into a sky-high catchy hook after all that weirdness.

by Rob Horning

31 Aug 2009

I’ve got a post up at Generation Bubble about the usefulness of such concepts as path dependency and status quo bias to conservatives. Like the placebo effect, which is apparently growing stronger, the strength of these other psychological effects are probably controlled by ideology—that is, their intensity can be manipulated by how ideas about them are repeated and ratified in the public sphere, ideas that become accepted as common sense, things that we fall back upon as natural explanations for phenomena, and natural ways to respond. These biases are real but perhaps not as inevitable as the way we report on them makes them out to be. And they are downright untrustworthy when deployed in reactionary argument.

A related thought: the rhetorical deployment of the findings of psychological research would seem to have an impact on the ongoing validity of those findings—our psychology may change in reaction to how certain aspects of it are abused in argument.

//Mixed media

U2's 'The Joshua Tree' Tour Reminds the Audience of their Politics

// Notes from the Road

"The Joshua Tree tour highlights U2's classic album with an epic and unforgettable new experience.

READ the article