by tom moodyComments Off on John Waters on Marguerite Duras
From Google books (excerpt of an excerpt of Waters' 1987 book Crackpot):
The Films of Marguerite Duras. Miss Duras makes the kind of films that get you punched in the mouth for recommending them to even your closest friends. If there is such a thing as good avant garde cinema, this is it. Even though I believe pretension is the ultimate sin, Marguerite Duras has taken pretension one level ahead of itself and turned it into a style. She is the ultimate eccentric. Her films are maddeningly boring but really quite beautiful. After seeing her work, I think I know what it must feel like to be hypnotized.
Perhaps her most impossible opus to date is The Truck. The entire film consists of the director sitting in a nondescript room with Gérard Depardieu as they read the script of the film while every ten minutes or so the monotony is replaced by yet another monotonous shot of a blue truck, endlessly but serenely driving through the French countryside. If Warhol did it for the Empire State Building, why can't Marguerite Duras do it for French trucks? All I know is that on my first trip to Cannes, in the cab from the Nice airport, I saw Marguerite's "trucks" a hundred times on the highway and felt hypnotized all over again. That's more than I can say for The Car or Car Wash.
NYmag says that the NYTimes is set to start charging for its online content in the next few weeks. Supporting some of my speculation is this bit: "Apple's tablet computer is rumored to launch on January 27, and sources speculate that Sulzberger will strike a content partnership for the new device, which could dovetail with the paid strategy."
So we go from "free on the internet" on a general purpose computer (except its not "free" because the Times has always had a sign-up requirement and its pages are chockablock with ads and "rich media" sales tools, aka intrusive popups) to pay-as-you-go on some obnoxious Kindle-like tablet manufactured by Apple and probably DRM'ed out the wazoo. Couldn't happen to two better companies.
I subscribe to Salon but will probably pass on the Times because it isn't trustworthy (Judith Miller's fictional "weapons of mass destruction" reporting, the paper's general cheerleading for the Iraq and other elective wars, or, for a more up-to-the-minute example, yesterday's poorly fact-checked article on tech company IPOs, and on and on). Didn't subscribe to their columnists when they tried the experiment of putting them behind a for-pay firewall: getting weaned off Maureen Dowd was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
This is a classic Thomas Friedman quote, from that New York magazine article:
Friedman recently told me by phone. "What was coming to me anecdotally from my travels was the five worst words that as a columnist you ever want to hear: 'I used to read you before you went behind the wall.'"
Uh, Tom, that's eleven words. A reader's subscription dollars would be better spent on an honest non-fool such as Salon's Glenn Greenwald.