Lancelot Links postsWednesday July 29, 2015
Saturday July 18, 2015
- The Cecil the Lion story? Jimmy Kimmel's response was pretty good. I have newfound respect for him. I also like his use of “vomitous.”
- The Associated Press, along with MovieTone news, has made one million minutes of history available on YouTube. For some reason the piece is written in the future tense while the YouTube channel is already available. I guess AP might need a CE.
- In the wake of Lafayette, Adam Gopnik writes about Obama's evolving outrage on guns, but doesn't give quite the evidence I would've liked. But the piece does raise this thought: Do we have the right to not to have to bear arms? Not according to the NRA, which treats every innocent victim in every schoolyard, movie theater or recruitment center as if they were the saloon owner in “Unforgiven,” saying, essentially: Well, they should've armed themselves, so they got what's coming. Assholes.
- A video of Obama in Africa arguing for African leaders to step down after their term is over. He says the law is the law, and he himself is looking forward to serving in other ways and having a smaller security detail. But what made news? Saying if he ran again he thinks he could win. He'd have my vote.
- The more loutish Donald Trump gets, the more popular he becomes within the GOP. Tim Egan isn't sympathetic, saying: “The fault, dear Priebus, is not in your stars but in yourselves.”
- Speaking of fault: The New York Times really flubbed it with that Hilary story last week.
- Six years before the controversial publication of “Go Set a Watchman,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote a critique of Atticus Finch and the old style Southern liberalism he represented. In a way, it anticipates “Watchman.” Or it indicates how the hero of “Mockingbird” could become the tarnished father of “Watchman.”
- I agree with Jeff Wells on the one-sided debate on the way men and women look at (and reject) one another. It's one-sided because the way men reduce women (traditionally: into sex objects) has been a longtime cause for complaint, while the way women reduce men (by job, status, wealth, fame and/or looks) is hardly mentioned. Opportunity for someone, I suppose. Maybe me. Maybe you.
- Yesterday I posted my top 10 American movies in answer to the BBC's top 100. Jeff Wells did me one better. OK, 150 better.
Go Set a Lancelot Links
Friday July 10, 2015
- The plaintive howl coming from the progressive South isn't about the Confederate flag; it's about what's happened to Atticus Finch. Georgia native Candice Dyer asks “Why, Atticus, Why?”
- The answer to her question seems to be: Because Harper Lee's sister and caretaker died and Harper can't speak for herself—but her lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, can.
- Wait! There's more! Another another Harper Lee book! So says Carter, who could be a good lawyer, and could be a decent person, but is most definitely a lousy writer. Here's the beginning of her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed trumpeting the new book and announcing there may be another: “Accidents of history sometimes place otherwise unknown people in historic spotlights. Such was my fate when last August curiosity got the best of me and I found a long-lost manuscript written by one of America’s most beloved authors.” Holy crap is that bad.
- Neely Tucker of The Washington Post goes in-depth on the ickiness of the publication of “To Set a Watchman.” What isn't answered? How Carter became the caretaker of Lee.
- In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik is more interested in whether the book is any good. The verdict? It has its incidental beauties, but...
- Others actually applaud the news, as a chance to rid ourselves of the white savior myth that Atticus embodies.
- But I still say the best reaction I've read, certainly the best defense of Atticus that takes into acccount all the facts of the case, comes from antitrust attorney Allan Van Fleet of Texas, who became a lawyer, in part, because of the great lesson of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He's a lawyer, in other words, because of the example of Atticus; and now, as that lawyer, he defends Atticus. And well.
- In other news, Joe Posnanski goes over baseball fans' votes for “the four greatest living players” (Aaron, Bench, Koufax, Mays) and asks, essentially, What about the last 30 years?
- Almost everyone has some comparison to make about the idiotic and insulting presidential campaign of Donald Trump. But Jelani Cobb has the most innovative angle: Donald Trump is a rapper.
- Via Rick Perlstein: Bloomberg Business has a good piece on how quickly the U.S. changes its mind—usually in a progressive direction. It tracks the number of states the legalized same sex marriage, interracial marriage, women's suffrage, prohibition and abortion before they became laws of the land. It happens all of a sudden. Yes, Malcolm, like a tipping point.
- Is the Iran nuclear deal a good deal? A nuke expert says yes.
- Why is the New York Post writing scathing front-page stories with banner headlines about a homeless man? Apparently because he lives (resides/hangs out) in the same upper west side neighborhood as the Post editor, Col Allen.
- Dear U.S. Post Office: The day you give us a Harmon Killebrew stamp is the day I buy 100 stamps. Maybe 200. Maybe more.
Lancelot Links in Cars Getting 'Right Stuff' References
Wednesday July 01, 2015
- The latest “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is with Stephen Colbert, who, while squeezing into Jerry's 1964 Moregan Plus 4, says, “I want to ask you for a stick of Beemans before I strap in here.” Made me smile. If you don't get it, see No. 3 on this list.
- What is Greece teaching the EU and the rest of the world? All about capitalism, according to Business Insider's Jim Edwards.
- What's the matter with Seattle's insane rate of growth? A lot, says Jeff Reitman, including traffic, lack of public transportation, and the single, white male phenomenon that is amazon.com.
- MCN's David Poland lists off the landmark events for theatrical revenue models during the past 50 years. Well, *I* was interested.
- Is Ted Cruz, or someone associated with him, attempting to buy his way onto The New York Times best-seller list? The NY Times thinks so. Conservatives, no surprise, are up in arms.
- Milan Kundera has a new book out but no Kindle version. For a reason.
- Jeffrey Wells, who is sick to death of superhero movies, actually loves “Ant-Man.” “Yes,” he writes, “Ant-Man is 'silly' but it embraces that. It's sharp and fast and disciplined as a Marine. It takes itself seriously in terms of its own efficiency and (I'm serious) its own emotional undercurrents.”
- I've interviewed a lot of lawyers who became lawyers because of Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Now the much-debated sequel, “Go Set a Watchman”—which was actually written before “Mockingbird”—is about to go on sale. And how is the ur-Atticus in that one? An Atticus of the 1950s as opposed to the 1930s? According to The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani, this Atticus is a bit of a racist bastard. He attends Klan rallies. He rails against the NAACP and its lawyers. If it helps, Scout is disappointed, too.
- Someone who might be happy about this awful turn of literary events? Indiana Jones.
- Jayson Stark doles out his first-half award winners for the MLB season. Yeah, Harper and Trout. Yep, Max Scherzer. Also Robinson Cano for LVP. Yes, “L” stands for what you think it stands for.
- Donald Trump is an easy target. But whose fault is that?
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, Scout. Take the Klan, for instance."
Saturday June 20, 2015
- On the 40th anniversary of the release of “Jaws,” The New Yorker gives us a three-year old look at Michael Sragow's take on “The Unnassuming Greatness of 'Jaws.'” It ain't new but it's good.
- Remember the cat who attacked the dog who was attacking the kid? The kid's name is Jeremy, his cat's name is Tara, and Tara just won the “Top Dog” award because no dog was cooler than she was. It's still one of my favorite YouTube moment. (At the same time, I wonder why they had so much footage of all this. Do they live in a maximum security building or something?)
- With the Obergefell ruling? Now all these servicemembers can marry. Support the troops, Fox News! (Ya bastards.)
- My friends say I've been crazy to worry, but we're nearly halfway through the season and the New York Yankees are poised to make the playoffs yet again.
- On the plus side? Those post-Robinson Cano signings.
- “You don't have an edge of hostility; you have a giant iceberg of smugness” — Bill Maher to Jerry Seinfeld in their “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” episode. I think this is one of the best conversations in the series, but with each episode I find myself liking Jerry Seinfeld less. When it started, I mostly liked him but the episodes kind of bored me; now the episodes don't bore me but I don't particularly like him. He was once everyman; now he's rich man. No wonder he's no longer funny.
- Joe Posnanski teaches his daughters how to play pinball. He also teaches us a bit of the history of pinball.
- Long read of the week: Connie Bruck on Dianne Feinsein's battle to stop the CIA from torturing in our name. Or are we just too scared of shadows to make them stop?
All previous entries
- I've given Jeff Wells a lot of shit over the years (particularly his advice to Jackie Robinson on how to slide), but I like the bluntness of his blog; and I like this post in particular: Who deserves our truth and who doesn't? Who can we lie to? I'm 52 and still learning this lesson.
- What was it like to be the daughter of Josef Stalin? Olga Grushin on the new bio of Svetlana Alliluyeva.
- Related: I know adding new subtitles to Hitler's near-bunker speech in “Downfall” has been done to death, but this version, about the St. Paul, Minn. Bike Plan, made me, as a cyclist, laugh out loud.
- Alex Rodriguez goes deep for No. 3,000. I'm genuinely happy for him. Good call, too: “Eighteen thousand men have played Major League Baseball! Only 29 of them have had 3,000 hits!” My other thoughts on A-Rod here.
- Related: Were you confused by newspaper and MLB accounts touting A-Rod passing Babe Ruth on the RBI list and then becoming only the second man in baseball history (after Hank Aaron) to drive in more 2,000+ runs, when Baseball Reference (not to mention Total Baseball) clearly states the case: Aaron: 2,297; Ruth: 2,214; Cap Anson: 2,075. Well, Cheat Sheet dissects it all. Seems the RBI wasn't an official stat until 1920; and though you can obviously go back into newspaper accounts, etc., to extract the correct number of RBIs for the Bambino, as statisticians have, to Major League Baseball it's not an “official” stat. To which they can blow me.
- A little video fun with Coen Bros. movies, from Steven Benedict.
- A lot of good dissections of the Rachel Dolezal matter. Jelani Cobb's is one of them. (And the only one that references John Howard Griffin, if not Lois Lane.)
- A lot of good dissections on the racially-motivated killings of nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church this week. David Remnick's is one of them.
- Jon Stewart's is another one.
- And Jelani Cobb's. He ends his piece with the truest words of all in our race-baiting age: “Even if [Dylann Roof] acted by himself, he was not alone.”
Via Dan Wasserman and the Boston Globe.