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  • Monday, August 14, 2006


    Another Wide-Eyed Punter in Thrall

    Like so much of my mental process, the title of this post is inscrutable and narcissistic to the outsider; obscure and cryptic phrases are a specialty of mine.

    I finally saw V for Vendetta on DVD a little while ago and enjoyed it. There were some alterations from the graphic novel/comic in this adaption for the screen but, by and large, these were concessions to the limitations of film storytelling rather than neutering of the strong anti-authoritarian themes. The film is remarkably well-attuned to the zeitgeist of the post 9/11 USA. I was sorry to note the dilution/excising of the Anarchist content. (This was apparently a big issue for Alan Moore, the writer of the original comic, and he completely disassociated himself from the film version.) Still, the film is very well done and I enjoyed it. The parallels to the current US administration and policies are obviously intended and unmistakable. It's also a measure of my ignorance of English culture that I read the entire comic without ever recognizing that the iconic mask "V" wears is a likeness of Guy Fawkes. D'oh! I also recommend reading the graphic novel if you are interested in a more complex and nuanced version of the story. With the popularity of the film, the graphic novel has seen much broader distribution recently so should be easier to find at mainstream bookstores. At 300 pages, it's a chunky read and worth the price ($20).

    My recent reading has been quite fun. Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast is great and should be required reading. I sometimes find his humor a little, um, stupid and forced but the detail and signal/noise ratio is worth it. It's a bleak picture he paints but I'd rather know the bad stuff than try to live in blissful ignorance. His reporting on the manipulations by the GOP of the elections in 2000 and 2004 is particularly interesting and compelling. This is the information I thought I would get in Fooled Again by Mark Crispin Miller. Palast makes me really hate the Democrats. They are either stupid or frozen with indecision over the issue of election and voter massaging by the GOP. I was also impressed with his research on the whole "peak oil" theory and his analysis of the motivations behind the whole Iraq invasion. Totally worth reading.

    A book that I want to read is Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berman. (His blog on the book is here.) I saw the end of a segment with the author on BookTV on C-SPAN and liked what I saw. Apparently some people find his writing pessimistic and lacking in "uplifting" conclusions but I suspect there is a Cassandra effect at work. That, and he seems totally unapologetic about his views about the decline of the American Empire. I'm undoubtedly stating the obvious with the observation that inhabitants of an empire in decline rarely note the circumstances of the decline until said decline is in an advanced stage.

    More on my recent reading later. Ciao!

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