Reason Writers Around Town: Jesse Walker on Country Soul in the American South; Cathy Young on the Anti-American Russian Movie Strangers

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Over at the University Bookman, reason Managing Editor Jesse Walker takes a look at Say It One Time for the Broken Hearted: Country Soul in the American South, Barney Hoskyns' look at the porous border between country and soul music. Read all about it here.

And over at The New Republic, Contributing Editor Cathy Young reviews the new Russian movie Strangers, a film every bit as anti-American as anything coming out of certain precincts in Hollywood. Read all about it here.

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  1. Contributing Editor Cathy Young reviews the new Russian move Strangers, a film every bit as anti-American as anything coming out of certain precincts in Hollywood.

    So, um, what exactly has Hollywood produced lately that is actually anti-American?

  2. “Even the pro-government daily Izvestia criticized the film’s crude stereotyping and absurd plot.”

    The Great Leader Stalin would have known how to deal with Izvestia had it dared to oppose the government line! Putin is such a girly-man pussy.

    “Under fire, Grymov–who had previously described the film as his statement about U.S. policies and the American mentality that ‘sets itself above all other nations’–suddenly began to say that Strangers had been completely misunderstood, that it wasn’t anti-American at all, and that he was ‘simply telling a story about people.'”

    For all his anti-Americanism, Grymov seems to have mastered the American art of spin. “This crucifix in a jar of urine wasn’t meant to be an attack on Christianity – it was meant as a gesture of *respect*!”

    “The audiences didn’t like the film any more than the critics did. Not only was it crushed at the box office (unsurprisingly) by the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace; it was also trounced by the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno–which made 13 million rubles (about $481,000) in its first week of release in Russia, compared to just 3.4 million rubles for Strangers.”

    Or, the humiliation!

    This is one of the few circumstances when the popularity of a dirty movie would prompt me to declare:

    USA! USA! USA! USA!

  3. Oh, the humiliation

  4. Jesse Walker,

    Excellent article!

    The South has risen again, and this time, we’re multicultural.

  5. the porous border between country and soul music.

    Does LoneWacko know about this?

  6. So, um, what exactly has Hollywood produced lately that is actually anti-American?

    Actually, I found the above-mentioned Quantum of Solace to have distinctly anti-American themes, at least. The bumbling, brash and idiotic 70s-style CIA agent is one. The suggestion that America is using the full force of its intelligence apparatus for the pursuit of oil is another shallow and anti-American theme.

  7. The sooner we take over the world the sooner they’ll stop saying bad things about us… like – we’re trying to take over the world.

  8. they’re movies. whatevs. as a side, quibble – “epic movie fail”? really?

    thanks a fuckin’ lot, internet.

    neat story by mr. walker, though. i pity the musicologists of the 22nd century, trying to pull this mess apart. (especially as every recording will exist somewhere, swamping them with data)

    as a side note mr. walker, have you heard the flying lotus album “los angeles”? the outer shell is hip hop, but the insides are all sorts of crazy.

  9. what exactly has Hollywood produced lately that is actually anti-American?

    “Everybody Loves Raymond” comes to mind.
    Also “My Name Is Earl.”

  10. what exactly has Hollywood produced lately that is actually anti-American?

    It depends on how broadly you define “anti-American.” If you go big and say it includes movies where American institutions are the bad guys and have no particular redeeming features, then I would pretty much say take your pick of any movie in the last several years that has as its setting foreign policy, a war (any war), etc.

  11. as a side note mr. walker, have you heard the flying lotus album “los angeles”?

    I have not. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Jesse’s review suggests another item for those “Red State vs. Blue State,” or “cultural left” vs. “cultural right” quizzes:

    If you’re on the cultural right you like “country.” If you’re on the cultural left you like country.

  13. Angry Optimist: Since I see no evidence those scriptwriters had anything against jazz or baseball or apple pie, I don’t know what you mean by “anti-American.” It’s the foreign policy community that starts wars for cheap oil that is anti-American. I think you’re confusing the parasite with the host organism (hint: those tapeworms in Washington and on Wall Street aren’t “America”).

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