story behind the story

An idiosyncratic mixture of personal narrative and analyses of news accounts where the real narrative is found buried beneath the reported story. send to:
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
Salon has a timely and fortunately sympathetic evaluation of Don Delillo here, enlightening in view of recent events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001
It's good to know James Woods is unafraid to take potshots at the dreck in the small sliver of significant novel-talk available today.

Friday, October 12, 2001
Driving into work this morning and listening to the coverage of the Islamic protests, I longed for the possession of common sense in the matter of evenhandedness with news coverage. In order to show both sides, often we skew something into the 50-50 range that's really 95-5. Forget the stack of unread Journalism Reviews and academic analyses on the floor that my sister doesn't miss the opportunity to snigger about when she comes to the apartment. What we need is the ability to give proportion, not balance. And that involves the development of instinct. March on. Hunker down. Give sleep short shrift. Do it right.

Thursday, October 11, 2001
Welfare as slave reparation? Thoughts are here.
When it comes to hypertext, I think the idea of most enthusiasts is that it is a further way of reading, rather than a replacement for the book per se. Even if you're not a Birkerts-ite you probably don't see the particular values of book-reading disappearing with the (albeit limited) advent of screen-reading. So the worth of this article from JoDI is minimal but focused.

Monday, October 08, 2001
Where you really find the news is WalMart. After a round or two with some bees in the back yard, I returned to buy yet more spray, and found it all of a sudden gone. Completely. Whereas they'd had tons of it two days before. We had been hearing murmers in the paper and radio about "africanized" bees in the surrounding parishes and counties, but nothing official, nothing major. Want to find out the status of an issue? See what's selling at WalMart.

Monday, October 01, 2001
Got a chance to see Apocalypse Now Redux over the weekend, and found an old message eerie, given the recent terrorist attacks. "You must make a friend of horror, and moral terror." Kurtz loses his rational western mind once he realizes that a primitive society will hack off the arms of its children who have received vaccinations, feeling no remorse. The old question: how do you battle the beast who does not mind dying in order to kill you?

In other matters: the benefits the additions bring to this extended version seem to be cancelled out by their weaknesses. It's good to have the extra minutes with Col. Kilgore and Kurtz, but the addition of the playmates and the romance scene at the French plantation, with their attendant obligatory nudity, as well as the depiction of a more human, whimsical Willard, seem to weaken the narrative by trivializing and demystifying it. Still, this is one of the few major hollywood pictures that ever contained any sophisticated moral analysis of war and it is a treat to see it once again on the screen.


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