Embarrassed by Trump & Bannon & CNN too

Surprisingly, Stephen Bannon – apparently the Goebbels-to-be in the Trump Administration – got one thing right in his recent anti-media rant: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and listen for awhile.”

The only thing is that Bannon’s context is wrong. The media should have shut up and listened when Trump made his first speech and then stopped their obsessive coverage on the campaign trail. As reported in The New York Times, “Media commentators have accused CNN of giving preferential treatment to Mr. Trump to lift ratings. The network is on track this year to collect $1 billion in profit.” Yes, that ship has now sailed.

As terrible as Trump is – uber-racist-liar-son-of-satan and all – the bigger problem is this money problem of capitalism. There’s nothing else to it, no empathy and understanding, nothing but making money and then more of it, which is why Trump is in the White House and why we’re all going to die. Prematurely, I mean, from a fucked-up planet. Trump isn’t the thing. And Bannon most certainly isn’t the thing. We’re the thing. It’s my problem and yours, this wanting, this pretending to care with likes and shares, this superficial bullshit that is dragging us down, back to the ooze. So, yeah, Bannon is right, they should shut up and listen. And so should he. And I guess me too.

David Bowie’s Death on Facebook

Social media – yes, like you are reading now – is fatuous and inane, worse than anything ever produced on radio or television – and that includes The Bachelor. getting aa roseFacebook posts on the death of David Bowie serve as sad exemplars.

Mark Pautz 06h30 this morning. I was awake. Strange, as I’d only got to bed four hours earlier. But it was then that the musical soundtrack of the first 55 years of my life came to an end.

Terry Boyd I am 43 and I have always known David Bowie to be singing he was an iconic singer, and there will never ever be another David Bowie of his kind.

William Lemos David Bowie a true hero

What is it about any of these people – indeed anyone, you or me – that makes one a David Bowie expert? Our facile love of his music? Our hyperbolic connection to his lyrics? Good god, even The New York Times sounded ridiculous in their piece on how Bowie “transcended” music and art. 20160112_BOWIE_HP-slide-DMXR-videoSixteenByNine1050-v2The truth is his music didn’t transcend anything. He was a great musician, and all of this  blather only acts as a depressing testament to how lonely everyone is too scared to admit. 20150820_162923While keeping up to date with each other’s life moments on social media can be a nice thing, as is watching cute red pandas, reflections on the importance of an artist for an individual is irrelevant and utterly pathetic.20151205_162003Someone to claim us, someone to follow
Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo
Someone to fool us, someone like you

We want you Big Brother, Big Brother

Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate”: The Price of Criticism

What is a critic’s opinion worth? How much money in real dollars? What is a star out of five? What is it per vitriolic word?old men muppetsI understand that these idle gadabouts don’t actually create anything and that they are bitter and dissatisfied because they just, well, criticize, but there’s a number in there somewhere. The recent ballyhoo about Michael Cimino’s work, Heaven’s Gate, has given me pause. Heavens-Gate softWhile the film is much like his masterwork The Deer Hunter in its majestic landscapes, focus on hypnotic ceremony, retributive violence, characters lost in a foreign land, love triangles and touching score, Heaven’s Gate was derided and Cimino vilified.

Dwarfed by the mountains in "The Deer Hunter"

Dwarfed by the mountains in “The Deer Hunter”

Dwarfed by the mountains in "Heaven's Gate".

Dwarfed by the mountains in “Heaven’s Gate”.

The film has been resurrected and re-screened as of late, and now has many on its side including Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, celebrating the “complex choreography and cinematography (as) seductive, at times stunning”, while others stick to the poo-poo trail like Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York) calling it, oddly, an “inert disaster”. heavens gate shotThe truth is that it doesn’t matter so much what Joshua and Co. say now. It’s 30 years ago that mattered. I would love to have seen Heaven’s Gate in its initial release in 1980, but I didn’t because the film only lasted a week…due to devastating critical opinion.

I have come to realize that this is not only a frustrating fact, but a crime. Having seen the film just now in the theater, I know that, like The Deer Hunter, it would have been a great boon to my developing psyche. deer walkenAnd so back to my original question: What is a critic’s opinion worth? There’s a dollar figure in there somewhere. Whatever it is, I want my collateral damage.