Tuesday, June 08, 2004

That Torture That You Do Do, You Do So Well

So, the cover has been blown. Lots of other people have commented, but I'd like to say my piece.

There was something inevitable about the memo. I was waiting for it, and I'm sure others were too. The chain of culpability has finally after several weeks reached where we suspected it would all along: the top. All we had to do was wait. Now we've been rewarded with a brand new chapter in everyone's favorite nightmarish national fiasco. And, irony of ironies, they're betting on, of all things, the Nuremberg defense.

The memo is a how to guide on constructing the legal frame work to shield the president, his staff, and marginally the interrogators themselves, from charges of torture. Thanks to some fudging and a whole lot of acid the administration attorneys were able to pin new powers to the president. The memo argues that authority to set aside the laws is "inherent in the president." I guess if you're the A-Number-One-Head-Motherfucker-In-Charge then it would make perfect sense. The president can do whatever he wants.

But wait doesn't Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution say one of the president's duties is that "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Oh fuck! That says the complete opposite of what the memo says. Damn you constitution!

I can't believe they're trying to argue this. Its the ultimate executive power grab. Anyone who defends this logic is practically - no, undeniably - saying the president has no obligation to uphold or even follow the law. That the president is the embodiment of the state. Isn't anyone concerned that this sounds fascist? Its practically step by step the same defense used by Nazi war criminals. Just following orders. Only a handful of poorly trained soldiers. Torture is not official policy, etc. etc. Forget godwins law. Its no longer operable. Its not my fault these people have unpleasant historical company. Hopefully to be followed with unpleasant cell company.

This story probably will get even worse. After its all over people need to be put in jail for this whole mess. No pardons. Do not pass go. Do not collect two million dollar book deal.

Shrek 2 Review

Shrek 2 is hilarious. No wait- its laugh-till-you-cry and your-stomach-hurts-cause-your-laughing-so-hard hilarious. It could have been so easy to phone it in on what was going to be a blockbuster no matter what critics said. Thankfully the people at Dreamworks Animation put more thought and work into this film than we're likely to see in any other big movie this summer.

Shrek 2 is Great Entertainment. Yes there are fart jokes. And they work. The lowbrow humor is a then candy shell. Something to grab your attention and fill time. But Shrek 2 also has a brain. A brain that's filled with snarky pop culture references, clever sight gags, wit, and a realistic cynical attitude about all that perfect happily ever after bullshit. Shrek never wastes time. Every single second is used to its full. The screen is jam packed with the kind of detail that only CGI can give. When it comes on DVD you'll want to go through and hit pause just so you can find all the gags. The dialog works the same way. No setting up jokes for five minutes, no pointless conversations. Everything is rapid-fire. You'll have hardly finished laughing when the next joke jumps out at you from nowhere and catches you off guard.

The voice acting is great all around. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, and the rest of the original cast are back. Eddie Murphy, once again, is hysterical as Donkey. But its Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots - possibly the cutest cat EVER - and Jennifer Saunders as Fairy Godmother who absolutely steal the show.

Shrek is the postmodern fairy tail; a fantasy with a twist that makes it contemperary and very localized, but its core message of inner beauty and sacrifice for love, can last well beyond the life of its humor. Which is the down side to movies like shrek that play off pop culture. Ten years from now, much of its humor will be lost on audiences who aren't inundated with the ins and outs of Gen-X culture.

But you can watch it and laugh your ass off regardless of what some fifteen year old thinks about it ten years from now. If he's never seen cops, his loss. Fucking kids.

First Post!

The first of many posts on my film review and political site. An odd combinatin you say? Well, thats why I'm here: to Confound you and Challenge your preconseptions and other nonsense. Film critisism and punditry are, at their core, matters of interpritation, so I think it'll work like gangbusters. If it doesn't work, no one is probably going to read this anyway, and its my blog and I'll cry if I want to.