The Art of Reviewing: Clive James

Clive James and his many books Every blog needs a large-scale project. The Art of Reviewing will explore reviewing as an art form and as a valuable element to understanding society.  During this project, I will profile specific reviewers of merit.  Several specific cases also explore other facets of reviewing. Clive James and the Spice Girls.  A fascinating interview. Clive James has done it all.  He’s a poet, wit, lyricist, TV presenter, cultural commentator, author, and memoirist.  This Australian native represents the Old Guard, sharing a similar background with Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis.  His critical stance may be a … Continue reading The Art of Reviewing: Clive James

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Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (1945) by Evelyn Waugh

In Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, Pozzo remarks, “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh represents one of those lights gleaming in the darkness between the grave of the First World War and the impending night of the Second.  The novel, published in 1945, is the reminiscence of Captain Charles Ryder.  The story opens with Captain Ryder’s Army Company transferring to Castle Marchmain, an estate all too familiar to him.  Since he looks back on the past, a heady mix of nostalgia and satire … Continue reading Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (1945) by Evelyn Waugh

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #6: The Sierra Club; or Human Labor-power, Commodity Fetishism, and Workplace Rape

Commodities and human labor-power Arrows and Aphorisms “Remember Jamie Leigh Jones, the Halliburton/KBR contractor who alleged she was gang raped by her co-workers in Iraq and then imprisoned in a shipping container after she reported the attack to the company? Well, it looks like she’s finally get to sue the company, in a real courthouse, over her ordeal. “Her legal saga started after Halliburton failed to take any action against her alleged attackers, and the Justice Department and military also failed to prosecute. Jones then tried to sue the company for failing to protect her. But thanks to an employment … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #6: The Sierra Club; or Human Labor-power, Commodity Fetishism, and Workplace Rape

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #5: Belle Chose et le Désordre des Choses (The Disorder of Things)

Belle Chose Dollhouse’s third episode into the season explores the issues of performance and gender.  Entitled Belle Chose (French for “Pretty Things”), the episode begins with a bizarre performance of sorts.  A weird male, in a nondescript room that appears transplanted from a mini-mall, is talking to a group of immobile women.  The women are posed like mannequins yet they look very realistic.  Only when one of the women try to escape the clutches of this demonic incarnation of George McFly, does the viewer snap out of the Uncanny Valley reverie. Terry Karrens (Joe Sikora), the George McFly look-alike, loses … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #5: Belle Chose et le Désordre des Choses (The Disorder of Things)

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Guild Musings: Musing #2: Chat channels and wifi

For Better or Worse: The Knights of Good The third episode of The Guild, the plot hinges on Codex’s inability to bring the Knights of Good back together.  Codex (Felicia Day) cautiously and politely asks the Axis of Anarchy (the rival, evil group headed by Wil Wheaton), if they could get Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda) back.  The Axis of Anarchy smell an intruder in their midst and then verbally assault Codex with all manner of f-bombs and snark.  Wil Wheaton snarked at Codex by quoting Ayn Rand.  Considering Rand’s philosophy of utopian selfishness precipitated our current economic unpleasantness, my money is … Continue reading Guild Musings: Musing #2: Chat channels and wifi

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #4: Season Openers

Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse opened with the episodes “Vows” and “Instinct,” bringing new faces like Jamie Bamber and Alexis Denisof.  The season also began with a critique of two idols within the conservative mindset: marriage and motherhood. In “Vows,” the Dollhouse organization imprints Echo with the personality of an undercover FBI agent.  In her assignment, she married a wealthy amoral arms dealer played by Jamie Bamber.  Bamber (Lee Adama on Battlestar Galactica) uses his authentic British accent.  His good looks and easy-going charm create a false front to his nefarious activities.  He is not above selling dirty bomb components to terrorists … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #4: Season Openers

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