Reason Morning Links: Secret Money, Secret Tapes, Secret Sex

|

• The Fed refuses to release information about where the financial bailout money is going.

• The CIA is even more secretive about torture.

• Two Wikileaks contributors are assassinated.

• Hillary Clinton: "Never waste a good crisis."

• Ron Paul persuades D.L. Hughley that the Civil War shouldn't have been fought.

• The hidden history of homosexuality in Iran.

• I didn't think much of the Watchmen movie, but I'm even less impressed with some of the lazy negative notices it's received.

• How minstrel shows begat Hee Haw. (Scroll down for the Hee Haw bit. You kids who don't remember Hee Haw can get a quick refresher course here.)

Advertisement

NEXT: Recently at Reason.tv: Rep. Jeff Flake on How the GOP Can Get Its Groove Back

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

    I am breathless in my anticipation of Naomi Klein’s Disaster Socialism.

  2. I have been resisting the temptation to attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence, but the repeated statements by Obama administration officials that they intend to react to the economic crisis, not by doing anything to help, but instead:

    Using it as political leverage to implement their pre-existing agenda, really makes me think that they are intentionally trying to destroy the investor class and increase the dependency of the US population on government in order to cement a new generation of Democratic control.

  3. I didn’t think much of the Watchmen movie

    Care to elaborate? I thought it was fine; I never read the graphic novel, but all my friends who had said it was remarkably true to it (other than how they fooled the populace at the end), including reproducing exact frames. Overall, I didn’t find Moore’s themes to be overly compelling, so I doubt I would have been too impressed with the graphic novel either.

    If you think about it, a graphic novel is already storyboarded by default. That’s got to take all the challenge out of it.

  4. Care to elaborate?

    I guess the short version would be that I thought the direction was overstylized, much of the acting was subpar, and the effort to compress the book into feature-film length turned a carefully crafted story into a poorly paced muddle.

    On the bright side, I thought the soundtrack selections were clever, I liked Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as Rorschach, there were a few set pieces that worked, and I enjoyed the novelty of watching a period piece about the Cold War ’80s.

  5. I am breathless in my anticipation of Naomi Klein’s Disaster Socialism.

    How much money did she make from her book sales to gullible moonbats? She should be a millionaire by now.

  6. Wow, the article on Iran has a lot I could comment on.

    1) Its description of gay relationships sounds very much like the Ancient Greek system. I’m not surprised when I see it in history books. In modern times, it should be legal, but only with the age of consent raised to 18.

    2) The movie “Guests of the Ayatollah” contained an inverview with one of the hostage takers. She said they were not radicals, just students. It struck me that she saw the student protests in the West as an example to follow. Progressives were a big part of the Iranian revolution before the clerics eliminated them. So, I’m not surprised to see elelments of 1920’s Western tabbos incorporated into Iranian policy in the name of Islam.

    3) Iran had thriving B’hai and Jewish communities before the revolution. The 20th century history of Iran shows how societies can easily change in any direction. Improvement over one’s lifetime is not a guarantee.

  7. “graphic novel”

    Just what the hell is a “graphic novel”? I mean to they rip off people’s limbs or is there lots of close-up anal sex?

  8. She said they were not radicals, just students.

    Ah. I believe the correct term is “useful idiots.”

  9. I thought the direction was overstylized

    Welcome to Zack Snyder.

    I thought the soundtrack selections were clever

    I thought the exact opposite. I felt that using massively overplayed songs (“All Along the Watchtower”? Really?) was distracting and cheesy.

    I enjoyed the novelty of watching a period piece about the Cold War ’80s

    I was enjoying that too, but as the film went along I felt like the 80s vibe faded out.

  10. I think the one serious mistake Snyder made was one of slavish imitation. One scene in particular captured this; there is a shot of many graves (the establishing shot for the Comedian’s funeral), and then the camera pulls back slowly through an arch which is slowly revealed has “cemetery” written on it. That entire pullback was really pointless, and wasted a great deal of time, only to tell the audience that, yes, this group of graves you are looking at is in fact a fucking cemetery.

    Most of the movie’s pacing problems were exacerbated by this lazy establishing shot procedure, with the camera lingering on nothing in particular in a way that doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

    ——

    Other than that, I loved the movie.

  11. On Bush, Obama, and Economic Crisis

    Once the current partisan generation is long gone, analysis of our current situation will be able to recognize that the housing bubble, disastrous wars, imprudent, stupid loans and banking practices, and the painful and expensive process of moving away from fossil fuels would not have been enough to completely bring this economy to its knees without the constant drumbeat of doom and gloom put out by the Democratic candidates and their enthusiastic supporters in the mass media during the 2008 election cycle. It will be understood that the Democratic superstructure attempted to do what it did in 1992–namely destroy confidence in our economy through the media to get a liberal/left candidate elected–but this time did it to a weakened economy and rather than stagger it, they knocked it completely out.

    Both parties thought the economy was resilient enough to play political football with. The right thought they could use it to fund endless wars of political spectacle and payoffs to the AARP, and the left thought they could badmouth it enough to ride in on a wave of mutilation and then boost it quick enough to fund payoffs, welfare, and wealth-redistribution scheme.

    Neither major party has clean hands and may they both soon be consigned to oblivion for all our sakes.

  12. SugarFree FTW. And not just for the Pixies quote.

  13. Just what the hell is a “graphic novel”? I mean to they rip off people’s limbs or is there lots of close-up anal sex? – Hambone

    A graphic novel is a graphic story at novel length. The first half of the term is used in the original sense.

    The definition neither requires nor prohibits dismemberment and/or high-def buggery.

    Kevin

  14. Ah, there might be some confusion… I was not quoting in my post at 10:41. I just gave it a title so as to clearly note what I was responding to in the links.

  15. I felt that using massively overplayed songs (“All Along the Watchtower”? Really?) was distracting and cheesy. – Epi

    Blame the Dylan references on the source material. Issue 10 of the original Watchmen was entitled Two Riders Were Approaching…, and Issue 1’s title is a lyric from Desolation Row.

    Moore’s script for the comic was rife with music references, some of which may not have seemed so cliched 20 years ago.

    Kevin

  16. Surgar Free, I agree with your analysis if the economic crisis. Unfortunately, when the Repblicans and Democrats go down, they will probably take the country with them.

  17. I think the one serious mistake Snyder made was one of slavish imitation.

    True that. He has an irritating fanboy habit of trying to work a perfect reproduction of every . . . single . . . freaking picture from the book into the movie.

  18. The links on the CIA-linked page all complain about a document not being there. Removed?

  19. SF – my mistake. I thought you were referencing this. (video with sound)

  20. jtuf,

    Like you, I’m just cynical enough to believe that the duopoly we have know would rather see the country destroyed than give up control of it.

  21. BP,

    I was consciously using the Pixies song title, but really more as a turn of phrase than anything else. Although: Other songs explored eccentric subjects, such as in “Wave of Mutilation”, which Francis described as being about “Japanese businessmen doing murder-suicides with their families because they’d failed in business, and they’re driving off a pier into the ocean.” does make it rather apt.

    Also, your link is a bit messed up. Here’s a corrected one for anyone interested.

  22. jtuf: Good point. Team Red and Team Blue don’t exist within the political system, they ARE the political system.

  23. I’m just cynical enough to believe that the duopoly we have know would rather see the country destroyed than give up control of it

    It’s not that; they’re just like two dogs fighting over a scrap of food (maybe a little girl’s leg bones?). They want it, and have no idea if they are tearing it apart instead. Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity…blah blah blah.

  24. True that. He has an irritating fanboy habit of trying to work a perfect reproduction of every . . . single . . . freaking picture from the book into the movie.

    I don’t recall the Spartans in the 300 novel being quite so…oily.

  25. A whole streets belief in sundays roast beef
    Gets dashed against the co-op
    To either cut down on beer or the kids new gear
    It’s a big decision in a town called malice.

  26. I noticed Jesse’s comment on the Infocult forum. I felth this statement from the New Yorker review was a doozy as well:

    You want to hear Moore’s attempt at urban jeremiad? “This awful city, it screams like an abattoir full of retarded children.” That line from the book may be meant as a punky retread of James Ellroy, but it sounds to me like a writer trying much, much too hard; either way, it makes it directly into the movie, as one of Rorschach’s voice-overs.

    So, the New Yorker guy is trying to make the case that Moore is a bad writer? Take your Appletini virgin next time, buddy.

  27. “Neither major party has clean hands and may they both soon be consigned to oblivion for all our sakes.”

    Along with the Federal Reserve for funding this welfare/warfare state.

  28. I felt that using massively overplayed songs (“All Along the Watchtower”? Really?) was distracting and cheesy.

    That was a direct reference to the book, though. He even highlighted the same lyric that Moore quoted.

  29. “This awful city, it screams like an abattoir full of retarded children.”

    To be fair, I found this metaphor to be overstuffed and jarringly inelegant. “Abattoir of retards” would have worked better.

  30. Elemenope,

    Neither phrasing makes it clear if the abattoir is being run by retarded children, or if the retarded children are being slaughtered in the abattoir. While both sound like a bad business model, the difference is significant… and potentially hilarious.

  31. Re Secrest Sex:

    By TAWFIK HAMID
    The film “Fitna” by Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders has created an uproar around the world because it links violence committed by Islamists to Islam.

    Many commentators and politicians — including the British government, which denied him entry to the country last month — reflexively accused Mr. Wilders of inciting hatred. The question, however, is whether the blame is with Mr. Wilders, who simply exposed Islamic radicalism, or with those who promote and engage in this religious extremism. In other words, shall we fault Mr. Wilders for raising issues like the stoning of women, or shall we fault those who actually promote and practice this crime?

    Many Muslims seem to believe that it is acceptable to teach hatred and violence in the name of their religion — while at the same time expecting the world to respect Islam as a religion of peace, love and harmony.

    Scholars in the most prestigious Islamic institutes and universities continue to teach things like Jews are “pigs and monkeys,” that women and men must be stoned to death for adultery, or that Muslims must fight the world to spread their religion. Isn’t, then, Mr. Wilders’s criticism appropriate? Instead of blaming him, we must blame the leading Islamic scholars for having failed to produce an authoritative book on Islamic jurisprudence that is accepted in the Islamic world and unambiguously rejects these violent teachings.

    While many religious texts preach violence, the interpretation, modern usage and implementation of these teachings make all the difference. For example, the stoning of women exists in both the Old Testament and in the Islamic tradition, or “Sunna” — the recorded deeds and manners of the prophet Muhammad. The difference, though, is that leading Jewish scholars agreed to discontinue these practices centuries ago, while Muslim scholars have yet to do so. Hence we do not see the stoning of women practiced or promoted in Israel, the “Jewish” state, but we see it practiced and promoted in Iran and Saudi Arabia, the “Islamic” states.

    When the British government banned Geert Wilders from entering the country to present his film in the House of Lords, it made two egregious errors. The first was to suppress free speech, a canon of the civilized Western world. The second mistake was to blame the messenger — punishing, so to speak, the witness who exposed the crime instead of punishing the criminal. Mr. Wilders did not produce the content of the violent Islamic message he showed in his film — the Islamic world did that. Until the Islamic clerical establishment takes concrete steps to reject violence in the name of their religion, Mr. Wilders’s criticism is not only permissible as “controversial” free speech but justified.

    So, Islamic scholars and clerics, it is up to you to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and that killing apostates is a crime. Such a book would prove that Islam is a religion of peace.

    Mr. Hamid, a former member of an Egyptian Islamist terrorist group, is an Islamic reformer and senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

  32. To be fair, I found this metaphor to be overstuffed and jarringly inelegant. “Abattoir of retards” would have worked better.

    As JW points out, the paragraph reveals that New Yorker guy doesn’t understand how fiction works. The phrase fits the character, not the author’s intent to appear witty, urbane or what have you.

  33. I thought Lane’s Watchmen review in the New Yorker was the best film review I’ve read in years, and I liked the movie.

    I thought Lane’s point was fair and well made (and funny), even if I disagree with it. Lane is arguing that, while Watchmen might be the most mature comic book about superheros punching each other made in the 1980s, it’s still essentially juvinile, and I can’t really disagree.

    One problem with the movie is that it depends on familiarity with the original work. I saw it with a guy who likes comic books and comic book movies, but who never read Watchmen. There is a *ton* of character motivation that is obvious in the book but either well-hidden or completely absent in the movie, which makes the movie challenging for people who don’t already know the story.

  34. Please substitute “even if I would LIKE to disagree with it”, above, so that my second paragraph makes sense.

  35. “The Fed refuses to release information about where the financial bailout money is going.”

    There’s all that transparency I’ve been hearing about…

  36. Yeah, but did minstrel shows have the equivalent of Nurse Goodbody?

  37. You really believe, ‘deeper even than that of meeting a woman who requests intelligent conversation-is that the Warren Commission may have been right all along. rises above the banal and pedestrian?

    As far as his sociology is concerned, Lane is full of shit. His article was more revealing of the attitudes of his particular clique (who apparently believe themselves to be great pussy magnets) than anything descriptive of people who enjoy comic books. I suspect he took notes while watching an episode of The Simpsons instead of actually talking to people in all the various walks of life that have this common interest.

    Most comic books paint in broad swathes with large brush strokes instead of relying on subtle characterization, plotting, etc., may very well be true, but that is also true of Greek Drama. You don’t snark on those few of us who still read Euripides do you? BTW, I had the good fortune of discovering their plays when I was a kid before suffering through any literature classes would have ruined it for me. My favorite author when I was in the fifth grade was Roger Zelazny, and he commented in an interview that that was what he read.

  38. The comments have gotten this far without a reference to Hee Haw: The Next Generation?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W42IY_SgCY4

  39. I would have referenced it if I had know about it. (Hmm, on second thought, after watching it, I wouldn’t have. Too bad. They didn’t capture the feel of Hee Haw at all. Have they ever even seen it?)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.