Archive for November 16th, 2016


 © 2016 by James Clark

      Just as we have to resist Jarmusch’s Dead Man being seen to be a Johnny Depp movie, we have to resist that remarkable artist’s Broken Flowers (2005) being palmed off as a Bill Murray movie. Roger Ebert regards the latter work as creating “a gentle cloud of happiness,” due to its providing a banal sense of life being short. That would be as close to absolutely wrong as you can get. Notwithstanding the film industry’s survivalist zeal to wrap up their products as various kinds of deluxe candy, the upbeat dimension of Broken Flowers traces to a far from infantile context the neglect of which puts one forever in the dark about the gift at hand.

Don, the protagonist, one of the nouveau riche IT Klondike powers, receives a letter purporting to bring him up to speed that the writer—unidentified and of unknown address—has, after 19 years of raising a child of theirs which had never been brought to his attention, suddenly felt the need to put him on her Friends list. Before she can finalize the dropping of the other shoe, Don has, with the urging and information provided by a sleuthing-besotted neighbor, turned up at her door. If this so-called Penny ever was worth more than her name, she surely isn’t now. “Donny, so what the fuck do you want coming here? I don’t remember any happy ending…” Amidst a rural eyesore cluttered with motorcycles and motorcyclists, the distaff gives Don a seasoned -brawler’s Offensive Tackle’s block leaving him reeling off the Halloween porch. A couple of soft-spoken intimates (sort of sounding like Dead Man’s Charlie just before the killing commenced) beat him senseless and, with multiple facial wounds, he wakes up in his car in the middle of a harvested field you can be sure having nothing to do with Penny’s profit centers. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Studies have revealed that pigs are as cognitively complex as dogs.  Furthermore, they are emotionally and socially sophisticated, they register sensitivity and hurt feelings and they possess sound long term memories.  Some have been known to read people’s temperaments.  Pigs like to play and are also easily bored.  It shouldn’t come as any kind of a surprise then that pigs have fared exceptionally well in literature, both as revered and intelligent animals in children’s literature but also as enterprising characters in some of the most celebrated works by authors as diverse as George Orwell, P.G. Wodehouse and Beatrix Potter.  They were hunted and decapitated in the popular high school novel Lord of the Flies, and they are often the butt of false declarations that intimate they are dirty animals, when in the fact the reverse is true.  Even the phrase “You sweat like a pig” is a fallacy as pigs don’t even sweat!

To be sure the pig has generated some of some of the most affectionately engaging stories and picture books, and in the eyes of children they can do little wrong.  The Little Little Pigs remains one of the most popular fairy tales, and David Weisner won a Caldecott Medal for his own anarchic, multi-dimensional  take on it.  Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith beguiled readers with their irreverent The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, though the big bad wolf was really the star, and the beloved James Marshall imparted his own measure of incomparable humor to his own take on the tale.  Ian Falconer’s Olivia has led to a multiple entry series about the incorrigible female pig with human traits. The most beloved pig of them all is Wilbur, the fun-loving object of the spider Charlotte’s affection in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, the most celebrated American children’s book ever written.  The pig was the hero of the critically-acclaimed movie Babe, which spawned two sequels. (more…)

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