Friday, February 22, 2008

Quantum of Solace

So there is a bit of an uproar over the title for the newest James Bond flick coming out this November. Seems people don't like the title "Quantum of Solace." Doesn't sound Bondish (or Bondian?) enough for them. But to real Bond fans, those who enjoy both the books and the movies, the title is a pleasant surprise. 007 movies have always been fun...but now they can be smart. "Quantum of Solace" was the title of a short story in the Ian Fleming penned anthology "For Your Eyes Only." The other story in "For Your Eyes Only" is "The Hillderand Rarity."

When I was a columnist for my college newspaper, The ECHO, in the early nineties I actually stole (or borrowed since I did make reference to Fleming) those titles for one of my columns. That particular column piece was entitled "The Laundromat Rarity Leads to a Quantum of Solace." The column was a pitiful little essay on mulitculturalism in the United States. I had just finished "For Your Eyes Only" and liked the titles to those short stories so much I appropriated them for my little read column.

How I miss that weekly was called "Metaphysically Sober featuring Dave White and the 42nd Street Insomniacs." I'm quite sure it looms quite negligably in the memories of those ECHO readers at Southern Nazarene University between 1992-1996. It made no real contribution to the intellectual discourse of the campus yet allowed me to release those inner demons of a desperate pseudo-intellectual.

Anyway, I never thought the 007 producers would be daring enough to use the titles on an actual movie. But Bond has moved into the 21st Century as the ultra-cool "Casino Royale" proved. I believe we have the Bourne movies to thank for that evolution. So as a true Bond afcianado...I think the title "Quantum of Solace" is freakin' supercool.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Radiohead in Big D

I am superfreaking stoked because my wife just scored tix to the Dallas Radiohead concert this May. The tickets sold-out in ten minutes. They have not played Dallas in ten years...1998 the last time they graced Big D. The old Starplex is not the best venue in town...but I'd see Radiohead anywhere. Yeah...I'm counting down the days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are you Kiddin?

As a Mavericks fan I guess I'm supposed to be excited about the Jason Kidd trade. I would have been seven or eight years ago. But now I see the Mavs trading away their future (Devin Harris) for an old (he's almost exactly my age for crying out loud) wife-beating punk. Sure he may still have skills...but at what price? Maybe I'll think differently if they win the title. But that's the only way this trade will be considered a success...if the Mavericks bring home the trophy they should have brought home two years ago.

Photo: Me (wearing my supercool retro Mavs hat) and Grandpa

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Death of Mass Politics

My European History class has been discussing the rise and effects of mass society/politics in the 1880s through World War I. The enthusiasm of the working classes must have been intoxicating. Concurrently I just finished Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" and his description of the euphoria flowing through the working classes of Barcelona was visceral. His description of the bitter in-fighting that destroyed the republican coaltion and doomed the loyalist fight against fascism was equally depressing. So our discussion ran into a comparision of that time with our own. The class pretty much surmised that we live in a society that deludes itself into thinking it dictates the direction of society but in reality follows along like the lap dog the lower and middle classes have always been.

Their raw and basic evidence is...

1.) Pitiful voting turnouts...50% at most for presidential elections and considerably less for the local elections which have a much greater impact on your every day life.

2.) Celebrity driven news cycles. How much of the news is driven by Paris Hilton, Jamie Lynn Spears, Lindsey Lohan the cult of the celebrity (i.e. the death of the Heath Ledger). At 6:30 pm on the local broadcast networks in Dallas, Texas your choices include...Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, TMZtv, The Insider and Inside Edition. The elites drive fashion and issues of morality in our culture.

3.) Corporate control over the major television media conglomorates.

4.) Out of control campaign finance and lobbying influence on the poltical process.

The tragedy is that in the United States the people could have a greater say in government if pulled away from their myspace accounts, video games, meaningless addictions etc. Americans are not shackled by fascism or an authoritarian poltical system. The mass of Americans shackle themselves by laziness, ignorance and apathy. Stand in line at your local Wal*Mart to see that in first person.The tragedy, as recognized by my students, lies with the inevitable truth that freedom taken for granted is freedom lost and worse yet lost voluntarily...yet there are many throughout history and the globe that risk life and limb to attain a mere fraction of our political freedoms.

Mass politics is dead in America and has been for some time. Its death (or more optimistically, hibernation) is due to the same laziness that allows for sub-prime mortgages to spiral out of control and for the United States Government to run massive deficits which destroys the worth of the dollar around the world. Hopefully we won't turn into Orwell's proles of 1984 and remain asleep. Hopefully we'll wake up before we've lost our souls to atrophy.