Tuesday, December 05, 2006

De-Lurking Myself

I seem to have missed "De-Lurking Week", but I appreciate the concept so I'll oblige and play catch-up.

First of all, here's Terry Teachout's belated review of The Big Lebowski -- a Coen Brothers' phenomenon (for the most part, they tend not to make just plain movies). I don't qualify as a Teachout "lurker", because the man is on my sidebar of links, and I on his -- civil acknowledgement all the way around. But I frequently consider commenting on his material, only to lose the urge once my fingers start typing. Today that ends. I have to disagree with Mr. Teachout's final word on the Coens'; their films may frequently portray a nihilistic point of view, but their ever expanding ouevre contains enough contras and variety to indicate another, larger aesthetic (and world view). Good luck, though, trying to nail it down on their behalf. On that point, I'll simply parrot The Dude: "That must be exhausting."

In my recent kvetching about the state of television, I kept looking for an opening to introduce Denis McGrath's blog, Dead Things On Sticks (h/t to Scott). McGrath isn't just "in the biz", he's writing for Canadian television, which gives him quite a unique perspective on the whole unruly shebang. He's got worthy things to say about non-Canucklehead entertainment issues, too: here he makes a pointed distinction between Mel Gibson and Michael Richards. And here he is, demonstrating more patience than I have, and expounding on When Good Series Go Bad. If this kindles your curiosity, here's his list of his recent favourite posts. If I were a producer, I'd greenlight this guy and give his series a Deadwood-budget-times-two. Then I'd kill it young.

I occasionally hint at my capacity to brood over, if not actually commit to Deep Thoughts. To that end, when I was an earnest young Mennonite I frequently took a hearty stab at "dialoging" with people from "other faith perspectives" (every once in a while my gammy leg gives out, and I find myself falling into that temptation yet again). I'd like to think I'm learning to listen. But mostly I'm just lurking. This cat is more avowedly Anabaptist than I am -- and he's British! He's also unorthodox (a trait I'm typically drawn to) and a practitioner of Aikido. I trained in Aikido for one brief, ineffective year and promptly quit after a Russian black belt dropped me on my noggin. The fault was entirely my own. The first thing you learn in Aikido is how to fall. Then you learn it again and again and again. I decided I didn't want to learn with my head anymore, and took up Tai Chi instead (FWIW, neither of these "martial arts" is likely to be effective in hand-to-hand combat -- unless you're Russian).

And finally, a Prajer link to the blog of Mary Scriver -- PrairieMary -- is long overdue. I hardly know where to begin the recommendations: this entry appealed to me (contains the word "dialogic"!); anything she has to say about the Blackfoot (sorry, PM, but I'm north of the 49th) should be listened to -- start here; and I am of course drawn to her Manitoba musings. This woman pretty much embodies my ideal of a writer: her craft continually demonstrates the virtues of focus, patience, discipline ... and irreverence. A very winning package, believe me. Or don't: see it for yourself. Now. GO!


DarkoV said...

Re. TT's review of "The Big Lebowski":
As with some of his stuff, I have a hard time finishing his reviews becuase he has the little things oh so wrong.
Case in point. TT says "(The Dude) slurps down White Russians more or less continuously and hangs out at the neighborhood bowling alley with his foul-mouthed friends".

As anyone who has paid attention to the movie, The Dude calls these drinks Caucasions. Minor item? POssibly, but when TT goes on (and on to the nth degree) about a musical he's wild about on Broadway, his attention to motes of feather dust are pored over for scores of incredible lengthy sentences. He finishes off his Lebowski review with this polished niggly little pedantic point "Satire occurs when scorn is ignited by passion, a commodity rarely found in the work of the Coens, who prefer Gen-X cool to baby-boom angst.", a pre-written concoction at the ready for a review-via-sentence-fragments methodology.

He seems to operate, at times, under the delusional directive of "What I don't like I will eviscerate."

O.K., I feel much better now.

Jim said...

I don't read Terry Teachout only because I've traveled in different blog circles and now find myself without the time to read wordy, new (to me) bloggers.

Regarding The Big Lebowski... I laughed my ass off. And did the same the second time I saw it. Even now I can't help but break into a fit of giggles if I so much as think of John Turturro as Jesus the bowler.

I'm afraid to watch it again as I might have a heart attack. "Man down!"

Whisky Prajer said...

Like I say, for the most part the Coen Brothers don't "release movies", they unleash phenomena. If that doesn't match up to your assessment of things (and it certainly doesn't for Mr. Teachout), then your review of them will be at best bewildered.