Lancelot Links postsThursday September 11, 2014
I didn't even know about this.
Apparently there are 28 pages that the Bush administration redacted from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, citing national security reasons. Congressmen who have seen these pages say the redaction has less to do with national security and more to do with protecting Saudi Arabia. Both North Carolina Republicans and Massachusetts Democrats says this. They want it to go public.
You know who also wants it to go public? Saudio Arabia. “Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide,” the former Saudi ambassador says. “We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages.”
Lawrence Wright reports what he knows: about the first two hijackers, the Saudi community in San Diego circa 2000, and who helped who. And why? The why is still iffy. Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, and chairman of the 9/11 Commission, thinks the ”ton of stuff“ that's still classified, let alone the 28 pages, should go public. So do many officials. Wright quotes Timothy Roemer, saying, ”The more the American people know about what happened thirteen years ago, the more we can have a credible, open debate.”
That's if the American people want to know. I have increasing doubts about this.
- Via The Independent and Karen Tischler: “Abbey Road zebra crossing live feed lets you watch Beatles fans piss off motorists 24/7.” Two things: Infamous cover, Independent? And, yes, sorry Brits, but I would totally be doing this if I were there. Barefoot. With Dave and Doug in front and Pete behind.
- Via Ken Levine: a 2010 LA Times piece by the writer of the “Happy Days” episode where Fonzie jumped the shark. Sadly, the dude doesn't quite get it. He insists the episode wasn't the moment when “Happy Days” began to decline since the show went on for six more popular and profitable years. But we're not talking popularity; we're talking about when real fans knew it was over; when the show bought into its own ridiculousness. That's why “jump the shark” is perfect. Sure, we'll buy that Fonzie can start jukeboxes with his fist and get girls with the snap of a finger. We'll buy him jumping 14 trash cans on his motorcycle. But jumping a shark? On water skis? In southern California? Wearing a leather jacket? Now you're just being silly.
- Via my friend Vinny: Three Reasons to watch (or buy) Criterion Collection movies. I have issues with Criterion. They tend to focus on the style-over-substance movies that I can barely watch, let alone rewatch (see: most of Jean-Luc Godard). But I did just buy three CCs recently—“Nashville,” “All That Jazz,” and “Anatomy of a Murder”—to add to the usual suspects: “On the Waterfront,” “Seven Samurai,” “Children of Paradise,” “Yi Yi,” “Summer Hours.” Plus these “Three Reasons” videos, which Vinny equates to popcorn, have already made me want to watch Steven Soderbergh's doc, “And Everything is Going Fine,” about Spalding Gray.
- Actor Idris Elba on playing Stringer Bell, the lack of diversity at the BBC, and what's so funny about his crotch.
- Bill Gates wants to change history by changing the way it is taught.
- What radical, left-wing site has the headline, “Obama Outperforms Reagan on Jobs, Growth and Investing”? Forbes magazine. So add that to the list of media outlets the wingnuts dismiss. Is The Wall Street Journal next?
Nothing silly about this.
- Rick Perlstein does the “By the Book” Q&A with the New York Times. Among the revelations? Why he's disappointed in Obama, who he reads online, what great authors are overrated, and when his long history of conservatism is ending.
- Also from the New York Times Book Review: the next book I'm reading.
- See also: this.
- The LA Weekly's film critic Amy Nicholson looks at “Forrest Gump,” 20 years later. I particularly like “... fitting for a movie with nothing to say.” And the ending of the piece.
- My latest review for The Seattle Times is up: the French-language giallo homage “The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears.” If you just looked askance at the title, right, then it's probably not for you. Or me.
- Joe Posnanski wonders whether the KC Royals' Alex Gordon is an MVP candidate. By traditional methods, no. By WAR? Yes. Then he wonders whether all of us, and not just neoconservatives, are relying too much on WAR.
- My man Alex Pareene has finally left the awfulish Salon.com, and has been doing some guest-blogging over at my man Andrew Sullivan's site. Here he gives us his take on Takes: the short, quick bits on the Thing We're All Talking About that even serious sites do now.
- You hear about online journalist Nydia Tisdale being arrested for videotaping a GOP event? Even some Republicans were disgusted.
- Jill LePore, in a must-read piece, on the three photographs that haunted her this summer.
- Controversy over the meaning of ISIS and what is a caliphate. Glenn Beck muddies the waters, Dave Weigel clears them.
- Via the American Book Review: the 100 best last lines from novels. It makes me nostalgic for a time when people cared about this kind of thing. Or maybe it makes me nostalgic for people who care about this kind of thing.
- Speaking of: Brainpickings gives us Werner Herzog's advice to filmmakers and all creative people. Essentially: travel, learn languages, read great literature, experience life, hold onto what you experience. Basically everything that isn't much encouraged in our current culture.
- John Oliver mocks his YouTube commenters. It's brillent. No mention of slithy toves.
Angry over the movie version of his novel, author Winston Groom wrote a sequel in which Forrest loses his fortune, creates New Coke and crashes the Exxon Valdez. “Shockingly,” Nicholson writes, “it was never green-lit.”
McConaughey as Det. Rust Cohle. “What do you think the average IQ of the Emmy voter is, huh?”
- Jay Leno at the Emmys: “And the winner is ... Modern Family!” Patricia: “Oh, for god's sake.” My feeling, too. And I love me some “Breaking Bad” but Matthew McConaughey was on another plane with “True Detective.” Nathaniel Rogers suggests some Emmy fixes, regardless of your rooting interests.
- A friend of a friend, under the nom de Twit “One Observation a Day,” offered up just that for 365 straight days. The year's done and here are the results.
- From Digital Music News, how the music industry has changed in one gif. The change refers to the thing we buy (vinyl, CD, download), not the music that's on the thing.
- I wrote my last movie review for The Seattle Times, on “Coach Carter,” in January 2005—I was moving to Minnneapolis—but I returned to their pages last Friday with a short review of “When the Game Stands Tall.” What do these movies have in common? Besides being about coaches and sports? They were both directed by Thomas Carter, Heywood on “The White Shadow,” and he didn't directed any feature films in between. Odd serendipity, no? Plus they're both not good.
- Have you been following Grantland's “Battle for the Best SNL Cast Member”? Have you been casting your votes? I have, nerd that I am. I really thought it would be Carvey vs. Myers in the “Lorne's Return” era (1986-1994) but it turned out to be Farley vs. Hartman. Here are my assumptions going forward: Murphy vs. Farley in the first 20 year bracket, Ferrell vs. Wiig in the second. The championship will be Murphy vs. Ferrell. Ferrell will win. And more cowbell will be heard throughout the land. But I've always been bad at prognositications.
- Why are the big-payroll teams losing so much this year? (Dodgers/Angels excepted.) Joe Posnanski thinks it ties to PEDs or their lack. He thinks it relates to what PEDs allowed players to do ... which they don't do anymore. M's fans take note. Spells doom, shortly. As I warned.
- You often hear things like “John Oliver explained that better than any journalist ever has!” But how often do you hear it from the Columbia Journalism Review?
- From the Onion: Judge orders pretty white girl will be tried as 300-lb. black man. Parody, but spot on. Father: “This is America: Nobody deserves to be treated as a black man!”
- The passing of a family friend. Rest in peace, Mark Saunders.
- From McSweeney's: Classic movies changed to not be sexist. I think my favorite is “Gone with the Wind.” Maybe “Rear Window.”
- My colleague Sean Axmaker is leading a discussion at SIFF in November on Orson Welles' classic, “Touch of Evil.” Should be good. My thoughts on the film.
- Beginning in January, Major League Baseball has a new commissioner: Rob Manfred. Tyler Kepner wants to be more impressed.
- Did Billy Beane make a mistake trading Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester on July 31? John Branch looks at the A's subsequent dive.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfuss hocks her Emmy .. to Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. Love the supporting vs. lead/ comedy vs. drama discussions. But my favorite is JLD's look at 2:14 to 2:18. “It's sort of refreshing .... when they don't.” She's so, so good.
- A big biography of Bill Cosby, written by former Newsweek editor and FOP (Friend of Patricia) Mark Whitaker, is being published this fall. An excerpt.
- How the chief of police of Jonesboro, Ark., harassed a newspaper reporter out of her job.
- Guess what? That police chief didn't make friends in Americus, Ga., either.
- I'm no fan of Gov. Rick Perry but I get the feeling it's Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum who will be saying “Oops” over the indictment. On the other hand, according to the WSJ law blog, McCrum is admired by friends and colleagues.
- If you need to get caught up on Ferguson, the New York Times has provided a handy timeline.
- More from Jelani Cobb on Ferguson.
- And here's the private autopsy on Michael Brown: six shots, two to the head, none apparently at skirmish range.
- The editor in chief of RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz, with a straightforward, personal account of understanding white privilege.
- I'm sure you heard the white, female CNN anchor who said of the cops at the Ferguson protests, “Why not perhaps use water cannons? At least it’s not going to have the same kind of effect [as tear gas].” What I like is the double-take of the black male anchor sitting next to her. Give the guy credit. He remains professional even as he can't help but be stunned by how little she knows of recent American history.
- Finally, Open Carry Texas is back, and this time they're black! The Huey P. Newton Gun Club is marching through South Dallas to protest the police killings. No word yet from the NRA on this development.
Birmingham, Ala., 1963. “Not the same kind of effect.”