Saturday, August 14, 2004


I love Michael Mann so much. Loved him for 25 years now, since I caught the splendid Jericho Mile on TV, all hard-ass male attitude and real prison footage and a hero who doesn't quite change...and oh, the little spins and twists stolen from the Rolling Stones. Stuff, in short, that everybody else proceeded to borrow from for the next...25 years.

And I pretty much loved Collateral, too, because I fell hard for Jamie Foxx while watching him just walk from one side of the stage to the other on an HBO special and destroy the audience with laughter. And Tom Cruise being shiny silver evil and not completing anyone at all. And L.A. shimmering at night and untranslated Spanish and, boygasm, Mark Ruffalo shorn close and tight. And ahem, Bardem. Just lonely man central and snappy dialogue, and a true use of the L.A. subways and the reason why digital video was invented--to go into dark scary places.


Do not, repeat, do not, Michael Mann, cast the impeccably sexy/tough Jada Pinkett Smith and then...make her crawl around on the floor of a dark room, defenseless and panting. Because even if the script believes it, and you believe it...Jada Pinkett Smith's body wants to be doing more than that. She is no damn damsel, and her very musculature knows it.

And you know it, too, Mr. Mann.


As Drew Barrymoore might say about our governor outing himself and resigning, so many feelings.

1. Feeling one: sadness. All that energy put into being something you're not. All the people this affects.

2. Feeling two: relief. Glad to know he figured out sooner rather than later.

3. Feeling three: cynicism. Dang, dude, hiring your boyfriend for a job he's not qualified for? Yep, you're still a New Jersey politician.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

R.I.P., Gloria Emerson: NOT a vacation post.

Gloria Emerson, one of the great chroniclers of the Vietnam War and its complex horror, is gone.

I've been thinking a lot about the Vietnam War, between the tales of the Candidate Who Went and The President Who Didn't. I should have been young enough to ignore it (I was 10 in 1968), but, thanks to two very politically engaged parents, I wasn't, and I didn't. Gloria Emerson's work was another reason--her essays, her reporting, her witnessing, made people understand what a terrible complication any war is, and that war was, in particular.

I was, I guess, lucky enough to meet her: she addressed my senior journalism class in 1979; the war was "over," over enough so that some of the students in the class were annoyed when she talked about was so yesterday. She looked haggard. She looked like she wasn't back from where she'd been.

She was the first reporter I'd met from a big newspaper, and the first war reporter, and, oh yeah, the only woman war reporter. And now she has chosen to leave this world because her body broke down, and she couldn't write any more. Were she to be reborn, in this hectic media-drenched world, would she be a blogger, uploading her rage at war from everywhere?

Monday, August 09, 2004


We went on vacation, the Husband, the Dog, and moi. It was excellent.
I enjoyed all that nature has to offer in the Berkshire Mountains, including a hike to glorious Bash Bish Falls, which are named after an Indian maiden (and clearly, a goddess in training) who refused to die—honest. Bash Bish was an adulterous Indian maid. The tribe’s usual custom with adulterous maids was to throw them over the very high, very deadly waterfall, and watch them plummet to their deaths, leaving soggy female corpses at the bottom of this wonder of nature.

However, when Bash Bish got tossed into the water, she vanished. All that was left was a grand swirl of butterflies.

When Bash Bish’s *daughter* became an adulterous maiden, guess what happened? Yup, they chucked her in the drink....But: no body, and more butterflies.

The tribe finally took the hint. They stopped throwing women into the falls after that.
Right on, Bash Bish! Right on, Bash Bish Jr.!