Rumsfeld and the Pentagon: All is Not Well

Posted in Observations on March 31st 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ According to Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, Donald Rumsfeld and his civilian advisors have been handling the day-to-day aspects of the war on Iraq, much to the chagrin and anger of senior Pentagon war planners. Rumsfeld is denying the charge, saying he bullied no one. With the war seemingly dragging on despite being less than two weeks old, news coverage of this article has already circled the globe. Hersh is a respected investigative journalist, having won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for exposing the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968. BTW, my mother brought this to my attention. Thanks, Mom! 🙂

More Moore, More Oscars

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous, Pop Culture on March 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ An interesting take on what might happen in the documentary industry in the wake of both Michael Moore’s acceptance speech at the Oscars, and the success financially of Bowling for Columbine. Has the door been opened for a wave of feature-length documentaries?

The reaction to Moore’s speech has its contrarians, of course. BTW, for the week ending March 25, 2003, Moore was #7 in the Top 10 Gaining Queries list from Google.

Moore is not losing any momentum. His next film, Farenheit 911, will examine the link between Al Qaeda and Dubya Sr.

¦¦ This article pretty much sums up the insanity regarding the Oscar nominations – old news, perhaps, but it’s infuriating to be reminded that Peter Jackson wasn’t nominated for Best Director for Lord of the Rings: TTT. (The error in Devin Gordon’s article appears when he points out that Jackson had been snubbed for the 2002 nomination for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, as well – he wasn’t, he did receive a nomination for that 2001 Oscar.) Also, consider that in 2002, LOTR:TFOTR won Oscars for Best Makeup and Original Score, and LOTR:TTT wasn’t nominated in either category for 2003. Eh??? As David Gordon points out in the article, the work is essentially the same. A backlash against TTT? Duh.

Michael Moore

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ My admiration for Michael Moore has gone up a notch, after reading a number of entries on his web site. He has an essay, “I’d Like To Thank The Vatican“, added on 27 March 03, which offers his view of the Academy Awards. Biased I’m sure, but if he is to be believed, then as viewers, we were hosed when the booing began, and when Gil Cates ordered the orchestra to start playing, and his microphone began receding into the floor. In his words:

Moments later, Diane Lane opened the envelope and announced the winner: “Bowling for Columbine.” The entire main floor rose to its feet for a standing ovation. I was immeasurably moved and humbled as I motioned for the other nominees to join my wife (the film’s producer) and me up on the stage.

I then said what I had been saying all week at those other awards ceremonies. I guess a few other people had heard me say those things too because before I had finished my first sentence about the fictitious president, a couple of men (some reported it was “stagehands” just to the left of me) near a microphone started some loud yelling. Then a group in the upper balcony joined in. What was so confusing to me, as I continued my remarks, was that I could hear this noise but looking out on the main floor, I didn’t see a single person booing. But then the majority in the balcony — who were in support of my remarks — started booing the booers.

Why didn’t we see shots of the actors applauding him, like Ed Harris, and apparently many others? In an article that appeared in Democrat & Chronicle, he answered charges that by dissing Bush and the Iraq war during his acceptance speech, he wasn’t being patriotic:

As for charges that his remarks were unpatriotic, Moore said, “It’s unpatriotic to remain silent when you believe something is wrong. Silence is duplicitous. I want all our soldiers to come home alive.


The American national anthem reminds us that the USA is “the land of the free.” At this time, free speech and dissent are under siege in America. Did I expect to read stuff on Moore’s site bashing Michael Moore? Of course not, and I realize he’s posting words and article links that are favorable to him. I wasn’t thrilled with his speech, but I respect his right to make it – others did that night as well, and were not booed. In their own way, Gael García Bernal, Susan Sarandon, Barbara Streisand, Chris Cooper, and Adrien Brody expressed their concern and fears about the war; however, in the process they didn’t slam Dubya.

Bits and Pieces

Posted in Film, Mixed Bag Special, Observations, Pop Culture on March 27th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ Yesterday in Sydney, Australia, there was a huge protest against the war in Iraq. A participant videotaped some of the march, it’s mostly raw footage with some short interviews interspersed throughout. (Note: an ad plays before you can watch the video.)

¦¦ The only film nominated in one of the major Oscar categories that I did not see in 2002 was Y Tu Mama Tambien. I hope to rectify that soon. In the meantime, read this fascinating short interview with the director, Alfonso Cuarón, from last Sunday’s NYT Magazine. Chances are you won’t guess what film he’s now directing.

¦¦ On March 25th in Toronto, Paul Cellucci, the US Ambassador to Canada, spanked our national ass and sent us to bed without supper.

¦¦ The Book-Film-TV-Video Critiquees are the awards voted on by members of Blogcritics (of which I am one – but didn’t vote, this happened before I was invited to join.)

¦¦ Many reviews of the Oscars have been written this week, and my favorite was in Michael Musto’s column in The Village Voice. His take on Jennifer Connelly is too good.

¦¦ “Should Celebrity Activists Shut Up for Now?” This piece appeared on Salon.com, and is “reprinted” on Bill Maher’s site, featuring interviews with two of my favorite entertainers, Maher, and Janeane Garofalo. (I saw both of them in NYC in November 2002)

¦¦ Did you hear that the Boeing 777 carrying Tony Blair to the USA to meet with Dubya was struck by lightning? A message from God, perhaps?

“Iraq 2003: Sources of News”

Posted in Observations on March 26th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ Two librarians at the Leddy Library, University of Windsor in Ontario, have created a site called “Iraq 2003: Sources of News“. The site includes alternative media sources as well as mainstream outlets. The site creators are encouraging feedback. One of the librarians, Lisa Sloniowski, has sent an e-mail to a library-related listserv, describing the page. With her permission, I’m posting it here as well:
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The Cultural Influence of Harry Potter

Posted in Pop Culture on March 26th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

¦¦ A word from the Harry Potter series has been accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary. In the books, a Muggle is a person with no magical powers. OED has accepted the word and extended its definition to mean “a person who lacks a particular skill or skills, or who is regarded as inferior in some way.” Previous OED definitions of muggle include “a tail representing that of a fish”, “a young woman; (spec.) a sweetheart”, and “marijuana. Also: a marijuana cigarette; a joint. muggle-head…a marijuana smoker” I wonder which of the previous definitions may have influenced JKR.

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