URLs du Jour


Going to see Rogue One, finally, this afternoon! My report will appear on the movie page at some point.

  • Speaking of Star Wars: Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia herself, passed away yesterday at the relatively young age of 60. James Lileks has the words:

    Fisher’s Princess Leia did not invent an archetype and change the way we would see women in sci-fi; she manifested something the geeks and nerds had wanted to see. Now, you can call them out for being slobbering Cheeto-fingered dorks whose fantasy objects were just as objectified and unrealistic as the hapless maidens of 40s pulp sci-fi, but it was an improvement, and nothing ever gets perfect right away.

    Mr. Lileks finds her most interesting in the first movie. I'll respectfully disagree: like most people, I think The Empire Strikes Back was (and remains) the strongest movie in the franchise, and she is absolutely stunning in it.

    What sticks in my mind is just one small line from Leia, delivered in close-up:

    "We've got to go back."

    I'm sure my fellow Cheeto-fingered dorks will place it. A few seconds encapsulating steely determination, impossible courage, and character revelation. And, oh yeah, the turning point of the entire movie, pulling a critical victory out of the ashes of defeat.

  • It's hard to work up much sympathy for the New York Times, but it's difficult not to be amused: Their NYT Obituaries Twitter account posted a "brass-bikini Leia" pic on one of their Carrie Fisher obit tweets. Emily Zanotti at Heat Street looks at the eminently-predictable ensuing outrage. Feminists have never cared for the skimpy slave-girl outfit. But:

    But while Carrie Fisher wasn’t thrilled with the costume (as she told Daisy Ridley, when the latter was cast as the lead in the Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens), she was strictly opposed to banning it, telling the Wall Street Journal that the costume had purpose, and that it represented a seminal moment in the character’s story.

    So there.

  • Jonah Goldberg asks: "Does a Never Trumper Need to Be Forgiven?". As a never-Trumper myself, I was interested. To quote Roger Daltrey: "I don't need to be forgiven." Because: it's only teenage wasteland.

    Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah. Obviously, Jonah was wrong (as was I) about Trump's electoral chances. And he is encouraged (as am I) by some of his cabinet picks. But:

    What I have chiefly in mind is that rich nexus of unrestrained ego, impoverished impulse control, and contempt for policy due diligence. I firmly and passionately believe that character is destiny. From his reported refusal to accept daily intelligence briefings to his freelancing every issue under the sun on Twitter — including, most recently, nuclear-arms policy — Trump’s blasé attitude troubles me deeply, just as it did during the campaign.

    How bad could it get? Enough so that I looked up the origin of the phrase "loose cannon". Turns out, it's Victor Hugo! Translated from the French:

    The carronade, hurled forward by the pitching, dashed into this knot of men, and crushed four at the first blow; then, flung back and shot out anew by the rolling, it cut in two a fifth poor fellow... The enormous cannon was left alone. She was given up to herself. She was her own mistress, and mistress of the vessel. She could do what she willed with both.

    Yeah, maybe that bad, or worse.

  • See if you can read Kevin D. Williamson on the "chopped-cheese sandwich" without wondering: where could I get one of those? I couldn't. But anyway, it's a kind of cheese-steak sub except with hamburger. And it's controversial! Having been invented in Harlem, but recently marketed by Whole Foods! Cultural appropriation!

    Chopped-cheese fetishism is an extension of bodega fetishism (my local place in the Bronx was run by two very rage-y Egyptians who were always screaming at somebody on the phone in Arabic and hence was known as the “Bodega al-Qaeda”) which is itself only a sub-current of the worst and phoniest of all New York pretensions, i.e., complaining about how nice the city became once Rudy Giuliani put his boot on the neck of the squeegee man and all his little criminal friends. You hear this all the time, upscale Manhattanites who have never been so much as downwind of a mugging talking about how they miss the old days when Times Square was full of hookers and porn shops and the city was so much more “vibrant” and nobody wanted to live there.

    Yeah, fine, Kevin. But where can I get one up here in New Hampshire?

  • But speaking of cultural appropriation. My high school classmate Steve Lustgarten became a movie guy, and spent Christmas in China, negotiating a film deal. He reports on Facebook:

    I urged Steve to complain. No word yet on whether he's been sent to the bamboo Gulag as a result.

Last Modified 2016-12-28 10:12 AM EDT