Researchers in the UK claim to have discovered that the use of birth control pills “changes women’s taste in men”. (Via Metafilter, where most of the posters rightly pooh-poohed it). This research is worse than worthless in so many ways…
Continue reading “Another Inane Bit of Pseudo-Research”
New scientific research reveals that a cloned animal, in this case a cat, is not identical to the original organism with the same genes. (Via Metafilter). This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that “identical twins” don’t have identical personalities; but it is noteworthy, just because the superstition that clones are necessarily identical to their originals seems to have such wide currency in the popular imagination nowadays. As can be seen both from the Raelians’ claim that they have produced clones–which in their belief system is a way of attaining immortality–and from the horrified public reaction, objecting to the very possibility of cloning.
Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven strikes me as the best American movie of 2002. It’s a brilliant recreation–more than a simulation–of a genre I have long loved, the 1950s melodrama; more particularly, it is a loose remake of, and homage to, the films of Douglas Sirk, most notably All That Heaven Allows (1955). Haynes recreates the style and feel of Sirk’s films, while also interrogating the relations between real life and cinematic depictions of it, as well as between 1950s culture and the culture we live in today. In doing this, Haynes illuminates matters of gender and sexuality in a remarkable way. He endeavors to do this also for race; but race relations are the one area in which (alas) the film doesn’t succeed…
Continue reading “Far From Heaven”
I am enchanted by the mini-genre of “Unauthorized Autobiographies.” Actually, I only know of two books that fit this genre: Chuck Barris’s wonderful Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, recently reissued because it has been made into a film, and the new one, of/by the pseudonymous Lemony Snicket….
Continue reading “Unauthorized Autobiographies”
I’ve become obsessed recently with the weird and rarified microgenre of country music adaptatons of rap and alternative rock. So far I only know of two examples: The Gourds’ cover of Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice, and Johnny Cash’s recent covers of a surprising range of rock, especially–and most recently–of Hurt, originally by Nine Inch Nails….
Continue reading “Country crossovers?”
Donna Haraway is right. “The boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.” Consider how scientists have recently reprogrammed bacteria to use a new amino acid. That is to say, they have not only introduced a 21st amino acid into the bacterium’s environment–in addition to the naturally existing twenty–but also reprogrammed the bacteria’s DNA to code for this new amino acid, so that the organism has genetic instructions for adding the acid to its proteins….
Continue reading “Rewriting the Code of Life”
Adrian Tomine’s latest collection, Summer Blonde, contains four 32-page stories from his comic Optic Nerve. They are beautiful stories, naturalistic in setting, and all about depressed and socially awkward teens and twenty-somethings…
Continue reading “Adrian Tomine–Summer Blonde”
25th Hour, Spike Lee’s latest film, is actually pretty good–despite the rumors of Lee’s decline as a filmmaker, and despite the fact that this is one of his films with a largely white cast, that doesn’t deal at all with African American issues (which is not to say that it ignores race)… (Warning: spoilers to follow)
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Jane Jacobs is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which revolutionized thought about urban planning in the 1960s. But in her 80s she is still very much alive, and intellectually vigorous. Her latest book, The Nature of Economies, is surprisingly fresh and provocative, if also deeply problematic….
Continue reading “Jane Jacobs–The Nature of Economies”
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2003 was to write more in this blog than I did last year–even if the entries are less polished (& hence less good).
I’ll start by talking about Abel Ferrara’s R-Xmas–which I think is the greatest Christmas movie, ever….
Continue reading “R-Xmas”