Maybe the joke’s on me, but this NYT column by Stanley Fish is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Fish, who once wrote about Paradise Lost and phenomenology and the intricacies of reader-response criticism, now takes to the pages of America’s paper of record to complain about the rigors of ordering coffee.
First you have to get in line, and you may have one or two people in front of you who are ordering a drink with more parts than an internal combustion engine, something about “double shot,” “skinny,” “breve,” “grande,” “au lait” and a lot of other words that never pass my lips. If you are patient and stay in line (no bathroom breaks), you get to put in your order, but then you have to find a place to stand while you wait for it. There is no such place. So you shift your body, first here and then there, trying not to get in the way of those you can’t help get in the way of.
Finally, the coffee arrives.
But then your real problems begin when you turn, holding your prize, and make your way to where the accessories — things you put in, on and around your coffee — are to be found. There is a staggering array of them, and the order of their placement seems random in relation to the order of your needs. There is no “right” place to start, so you lunge after one thing and then after another with awkward reaches.
Unfortunately, two or three other people are doing the same thing, and each is doing it in a different sequence. So there is an endless round of “excuse me,” “no, excuse me,” as if you were in an old Steve Martin routine.
It as though he’s auditioning to replace Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes. Why is the NYT wasting column space on this? It’s not as if we have a corrupt Justice Department that prosecutes cases based on their political implications, or that we’re getting soldiers killed in a war of choice with no clear goals except to save face for an inept administration, or that we’ve just witnessed yet another infrastructure-related tragedy that can be traced directly to the politicians’ negligence and poor decision making. No, the worst thing the average Times reader worries about, in the editors’ minds, is how hard it is to get coffee at Starbucks. Is this some kind of Alan Sokol hoax that Fish is perpetrating, trying to see how far he can push the latte liberal stereotype?
But Fish seems genuinely aghast when he asks, “Why should I put on my own cream cheese?” Why, indeed. I hope I don’t sound this petulant when I claim about self-checkout lines at grocery stores.
On July 30, 2007, two great directors died: Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. Although these visionaries have died, their deaths have opened people’s eyes, appreciating current visionaries. These directors include Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, David Lynch, Alfonso Curón, Guillermo del Toro, and many others. Although these filmmakers use their medium differently than Bergman and Antonioni, they will be remembered for their unique cinematic achievements for generations to come.
An interview with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez:
An interview with Guillermo del Toro:
An interview with Alfonso Curón:
An interview with David Lynch:
George Stephanopoulos’ Sunday morning GOP debate saw the candidates spar over abortion rights and immigration policy. Stephanopoulos, for the most part, did a decent job trying to get the candidates to distinguish themselves from each other, but talking points and partisan rhetoric conveniently got in the way. One candidate who has got a lot of coverage following the debate has been the old-school conservative candidate Ron Paul.
Texas congressman Ron Paul has made waves from his staunchly anti-war stance, from the right. He boldly states that we should bring the troops home because it’s unconstitutional and against our national interest. Although most admit Paul is a long shot, he has gotten a lot of attention for his frank assessment of the President’s policies.
Here’s a warning, well in advance. According to those on the inside, the Fourth Quarter of 2007, the three months leading up and through Christmas, are promising to be one of the biggest ever in terms of DVD product. Not just standard releases of the Summer’s biggest hits, mind you, but epic box sets for long awaited Holy Grails like Blade Runner and 2001. Apparently, packaging is the new marketing tactic, with elaborate presentations and add-ons taking the place of standard audience interest. So start saving those important pennies now. You don’t want to be the only one on your block without a Hogwart’s School Trunk loaded with the first five Harry Potter films, do you? Actually, you need to manage all your money wisely, especially with the blockbuster season about to end. The studios are gearing up with more and more first run releases, meaning you’ll need to figure how to deal those dollars effectively, beginning with SE&L’s selection of 07 August:
Other Titles of Interest
Bubba Ho-Tep: The King’s Jumpsuit Edition
The First Films of Sam Fuller
I Think I Love My Wife
And Now for Something Completely Different
The Film Crew: Killers from Space