Isaiah's wonderful comic. Love the ocean and its colors. Another lying photo op on water. Remember the last one? When Bush was on board the carrier and it arrived much later than it should have because it had to go slow to 'justify' Bush flying out to it (to justify his strutting around in a codpiece and military garb)? So Barack, Bush's twin, decides to pose -- with his daughter -- in the ocean to 'prove' it is safe. The jokes on the American people. Despite the White House saying he was in the Gulf, he wasn't.
"Why WikiLeaks Won't Stop the War" (Noam Chomsky, Information Clearing House):
In May, WikiLeaks released a March CIA memorandum about how to sustain Western Europe’s support for the war. The memorandum’s subtitle: “Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough.”
“The Afghanistan mission’s low public salience has allowed French and German leaders to disregard popular opposition and steadily increase their troop contributions to the International Security Assistance Force,” the memorandum states.
“Berlin and Paris currently maintain the third and fourth highest ISAF troop levels, despite the opposition of 80 percent of German and French respondents to increased ISAF deployments.” It is therefore necessary to “tailor messaging” to “forestall or at least contain backlash.”
The CIA memorandum should remind us that states have an internal enemy: their own population, which must be controlled when state policy is opposed by the public.
Democratic societies rely not on force but on propaganda, engineering consent by “necessary illusion” and “emotionally potent oversimplication,” to quote Obama’s favorite philosopher, Reinhold Niebuhr.
The battle to control the internal enemy, then, remains highly pertinent—indeed, the future of the war in Afghanistan may hinge on it.
Noam Chomsky is really making a difference. Few are. Few ever do. But he offers a clear, concise explanation. I've been going back and forth, sidebar, with a friend from college. He's had it with Howard Zinn. (Howard Zinn passed away earlier this year. Though listeners of Pacifica would never know it since every other broadcast is a 'talk with Howard.') I finally have to agree with him. Howard really does reduce history to conspiracy in many ways and, in the process, rob us of our sense of action. I wonder if he would have realized that himself if he'd lived longer?
I have no idea.
But I have more use for Noam than I do for Howard. Howard talked a good game (I knew Howrad for many, many years going back many, many struggles). He started out 2008 as though he actually believed his game. Then he whored.
I have no idea why he whored. But he became an Obama Whore.
It was not pretty to watch. You hoped (or I did) that after the election he would come back down to earth. But he offered the meekest of criticques about Obama.
At a time when we needed leaders, Howard Zinn offered nothing -- nor did Grace Lee Boggs, to offer another example.
They both disgraced themselves.
Noam's really the only one who stood tall. I think he drank the Kool-Aid for a bit as well. But when the first drone strike hit Pakistan after Barack was sworn in, Noam didn't hestitate to provide the same kind of critique he would for any other War Hawk.
"TV: Midnight Blue" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Writing is not the problem for either Ben Bass (plays Sam Swarek) or Gregory Smith (Dov Epstein). Ben Bass' main problem appears to be someone thought "rough trick" would play as desirable. Bass isn't attractive. Bass really isn't attractive. He looks better when he smiles but even then he's not all that. Andi's supposed to have a longing for Sam. In fact, during a blackout, they went far beyond flirting, got into heavy petting and were about to do it when the lights came on (revealing Bass' abudnance of lower back hair, by the way) and Andi wisely got out of there lickety-split. Ben Bass looks like a weasel and that's really how he should be cast.
Looks aren't something Gregory Smith possesses either; however, he has enough other problems. We don't critique child actors while they're children. It's really not fair. They've got enough on their plates, in our opinion. Gregory Smith was a child actor and he demonstrates how child acting can destroy an adult career. Now some child actors go on to be very skilled performers. But it's the difference between a Buddy Foster and a Jodie Foster. Conventional wisdom, for example, is that Jodie is hugely talented and Buddy just wasn't. That's not accurate. Both Jodie and Buddy were talented as children and both should presumably still have talent as adults. But while Jodie took chances with her role choice long before becoming an adult, Buddy didn't. You can spend a lot of time blaming casting directors but part of that blame goes to Buddy who, like so many child actors before him, paid attention to what expressions and line readings were met with approval and then proceeded to repackage them over and over into a 'performance.'
Gregory Smith's offering the same sameness that kills a career. His looks can best be termed "tepid" and his chops just aren't there. If he were still doing bit parts in Andre or Harriet the Spy, that might be okay. Even if he were still playing the whiny Ephram on Everwood. But ABC isn't the WB or even the CW. And no one needs simpering Smith trying to play a man. In his little-girl haircut (think Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon) that played so well on the WB, he tries to twinkle and sparkle and he just reminds you that leading men on the WB go nowhere. It's Joshua Jackson, after all, who has the career today, not James Van Der Beek. Jackson was second banana Pacey on Dawson's Creek while Van Der Beek essayed the title role. Pre-teens and pedophiles ate it up. But beyond that niche world, Jackson's an actor and Van Derk Beek's a pretty boy from a faraway time.
Gregory Smith probably would have benefited from taking a year off to study the craft. Not just because it would have made him a stronger actor but also because it would have given him time to reflect and that might have done something (maybe not) to wipe away the callow and shallow air he forever projects. It might have taken him out of the endless audition cycle and taught him something about the real world, allowing him to convincingly play someone who didn't appear to have been reared on the sound stages of Nickelodeon. Instead, he's rushed from project to project, 'playing' the same character over and over. It's beyond stale, it's mildew.
I loved that section of the review best. I do think they're on to something when it comes to certain child actors. Eager for approval, they repeat and repeat and it doesn't provide the applause it once did and soon becomes embarrassing because what's cute on a 10-year-old is really embarrassing on a 21-year-old.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):