Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? [2000)

This is a damn fine film.

Maybe yesterday I would have spoke as much with a mouthful of tobacco.

But today I take a more measured approach.

And still I must proclaim:  this film has aged like a fine wine.

I can find little fault with it.

No film will express all that we hold inside…exactly as we’d express it.

And so this is as close as we get to serendipity on a Tuesday night ūüôā

Yes sir…let me tell you ’bout it.

I write to stay alive.

[now I’m telling you about me…or the film…by way of me]

We come from a long/short tradition.

Film critics.

Critics.

All the way back to the earliest Homer in the Greek.

Rage.

I owe Nick Tosches a debt of gratitude for pointing that out.

My favorite living writer.

This film [we’re back to the film] could have gone off the rails early on.

Like some errant Ken Burns pablum on PBS.

But the Coen brothers are of the most deft cinematic touch.

I have delved very little into their oeuvre.

Most recently I broached the subject with¬†Fargo¬†(a fine film), but¬†Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?¬†is a¬†bona fide ūüėČ masterpiece.

You see, you must be conversant in na√Įvet√© as much as in erudition.

You must run the gamut from Delmar to Ulysses in order to evoke an appropriately universal sampling of the human condition.

Blind on a Pullman.  Nay.  Blind Sheriff Murnau.  Closer.

Blind but now I see.

Precisely.

Bill Moyers couldn’t get to Shakespeare in the recessed library.

Only God could move fate.

To see beauty.

For a moment to dream of a better life.

Saved from cancer.

I know not.

We feel it’s Isaiah. ¬†Or the Oracle of Delphi.

Pythia.  As in pithy.

Icy.

You don’t get credit for half a master’s degree.

Ain’t no one in the world impressed by that.

Even if they should.

People like awards.  Bob Dylan said.

Grammys.  Nobels.

Sells records.  Books.  DVDs.  Tickets for admission.  Memorabilia.

But I doff my hat to Tosches and Quintilian.

We are all excursus.  As Céline was all ellipses.

[…]

The Sheriff is Cooley.  As in Spade.

A mean son of a bitch.

But we don’t care none about these transgressors no more.

The electorate has spoken.

50 states.

From the words Tommy Johnson.

It’s just a cool drink of water from Robert.

And we won’t even get into Lonnie.

We hear the devil is white.

Go to any American university and you will hear the same.

Indeed, our film only falters when it attempts to be too heavy-handed.

We uncloak what is cloaked in ourselves.

And this is the curse of critics.

No critic is writing about their subject.

In reality.

The underlying gist is always autobiography.

To admit as much should be refreshing.

But that is for you to decide.

Just sing into the can.

Voice your opinion.

On shellac.

For generations to plunder in treasure hunts of old South junk stores.

Searching for the Sugar Man/Soggy Bottom…Robert Johnson already dead when he became ¬† sought after.

A prophet in his own land.

All is dream.  And religion comes to the silver screen.

The common man can relate.  And so can I.

With my Bible on my nightstand.

I ain’t ashamed to say.

I depend on God.

See Messiaen if you need abstraction.

Because Debussy gave the clouds first…and the sirens last.

And feasts or parties in between.

Night swimming.  Nocturnes.  Campfires.  Skip James.

Pulled from routine.

We were nearly eaten alive.

And we would have dived into that abyss out of desperation.

Yet the hand of the Lord was upon us.

Not for any deed which had ingratiated ourselves to Him.

But for grace.

Mercy.

Love.

No horror here.  Just a toad.  And Mark Twain.

And how to keep tobacco dry on a Mississippi River boat.

Uncle Sweetheart smells blood.

Years before Masked and Anonymous.

So be careful not to fall in love with your own reflection.

She said he was hit by a train.

And she looked good in a bikini.

To three pathetic roustabouts with no prospects.

Chewed up and spit out by both Tropics to wade in the water of possibility.

Nerds can box.

Maybe know an arcane martial art.

Don’t fuck with us.

But protagonists of epic poetry need something more than a couple of jabs and pinches.

Circumstances must have placed them in a true imbroglio…the mother of all situations.

The Gordian knot.

Ulysses is a lying bastard.  A mad man.  Advertising.  Op side coin propaganda.

But these are skills.  For gainful employment.  And we hover to ethics for guidance.

On how to wield words in the age of microblogging and memes.

He needed a story.

Chained together.

An inspiration.

Because we’re (for all intents and purposes) inseparable.

We can dream of $500,000 ($400,000)…as the “major D”…even the¬†m√Ęitre’d…if we’re feeling saucy.

Dream of land.

But what was Everett’s dream?

We know only later.

To spend 84 years in jail.

Released:  1987.

Incarcerated at age 3?

Not counting on these two to do the taxes.

The KKK took his baby away. ¬†–Joey Ramone

Seems very Bohemian Grove.

But we don’t know these things.

We only know what we’ve gleaned from D.W. Griffith.

These synchronized David Dukes are meant to evoke a temple of doom.

It is the hinge (brisure) in the whole film (if we are doing a deconstructionist reading à la Derrida).

And thus auteur theory is vindicated.

Joel Coen had something to get off his chest regarding the treatment of blacks, JEWS, Catholics, etc.

We could deconstruct from there.

It’s easy.

Top psychiatrist Steve Pieczenik does it breezily when he traces Jill Stein back to her Jewish Chicago roots which give her the privilege to run as an agnostic.

But the Coen brothers are timeless artists here.

They have found the trick.

Hillary’s coven must have been on hiatus for the past few weeks.

Demoralized.

But it’s hard to fight back the tears as they get in front of that lozenge mic I’d associate with RCA…

As the Soggy Bottom Boys emerge from obscurity.

And they have a fan base (constituents).

And these mythical performers were not even confirmed to exist.

In the flesh.

Ah, but public relations…

He was proto- “drain the swamp” with his little man and broom.

But the planets shifted.

And he’s on a hot mic inserting both feet into his mouth, one at a time, very slowly, with each succeeding word.

The way politics works.

In Mississippi.  Louisiana.  Texas.

Suck on a cigar.  Think it over.  Maybe some cognac or brandy.

And seize upon an opportunity.

To hire the best.

The best who have appeared on this stage at this moment for this very reason.

Three years after Titanic and the Coen brothers wanted a weightless freak show of inanimate objects floating as Japanese melange symbolism.

I am the man with the can.  Not Dapper Dan.  And no record-cutting lathe.

Just a tin of tobacco. ¬†My floating life. ¬†And all we’ve been through.

Memory soup.

We pull up to the aquarium to peer into the mysteries of other realities.

And, by so doing, try to make sense out of our own.

-PD

Fargo [1996)

America is getting crazy.

Perhaps we’ve always been crazy.

But it seems like people are flipping out for a multitude of reasons.

Life is unpredictable.

We can only plan so much.

And then random events impress themselves upon us.

In America we had pre-election stress.

Very immense.

And now we have post-election stress.

Perhaps one half of the country was more stressed before, and the other half is more stressed now.

But the side which is stressed now (the losing side) is really pissed off.

And they are baiting.  With night crawlers.

And racing.  With illogic.

It’s a sort of contagion one must be removed from often in order just to survive.

This tension, as it turns out, is aptly symbolized by the film Fargo.

I have never reviewed a Coen brothers film on here till now.

And this is a good one.

I hesitate to call it great.

It’s a little too self-conscious to be great.

But it is a compelling watch nonetheless.

Our director is Joel Coen.  Ethan was producing.

1987.

A tangled web woven by a rather mundane fellow named Jerry Lundegaard.

Up in the Scandinavian north of the USA.

A piece of shit towing a piece of shit.

Fargo, North Dakota.

It’s a sad story.

But funny in its idiosyncrasies.

The everyday life of the Dakotas.

Minnesota.  Iota.

It’s edgy.

Murders.

But in steps the marvelous Frances McDormand.

Such a humanizing presence here.

To draw out “funny-looking”…just “funny-looking”…other than being uncircumcised?

Steve Park is excellent as Mike Yanagita…with a Minnesota accent.

We don’t think of these things as possible.

Down here in Texas.

Like getting cut shaving.

Ouch.

And then a Paul Bunyan axe.

But the bizarre calmness of William H. Macy might take the cake.

Calm until the very end.

Perhaps we would call it bourgeois denial.

And so perhaps panic is natural.

When we see a complete lack of panic replaced by the Nile.

“Funny-looking” comes back.

In several feet of snow.

It might get cold tomorrow (!)…front blowing in.

One socked foot.  Like a periscope.

The sweetest thing is the romance between McDormand and John Carroll Lynch.

At the buffet.  Smorgasbord.  The Swedish meatballs.  Watching TV in bed.

Every night.

And waking up together, every morning.

It is quaint.

It is America.

It is the electoral college.

You have 50 states to which you must appeal.  Convincingly.

Buscemi is pretty priceless.

Foulmouthed small-time criminal…in over his head pretty quick.

Peter Stormare, as it turns out, is actually Swedish.

And taciturn.

And of course we can’t forget the brief candles of Jos√© Feliciano.

Not a masterpiece, but strangely compelling.

 

-PD

We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook [2014)

From a group called Independent Media Solidarity comes this excellent exposé concerning what was almost certainly a false flag:  the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting of 2012.

I had researched the topic rather extensively for the simple reason that it happened on my birthday.  There I was headed over the frozen highways of Utah and Colorado and this pall hung over what should have been a more-or-less festive time for me.

The event pulled me in.  It seemed incredible.  And as I followed all of the false leads which came out about the case (espoused by all of the major American media outlets), I began to see that something was terribly amiss.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Back to the film at hand.

What we are talking about here is essentially a YouTube phenomenon.

The Independent Media Solidarity group have produced quite a professional piece of work.

The documentary’s setting is Newtown, Connecticut.

Ah, Newtown…

It’s sort of like Scrabble.¬† James Brunot.

And it’s definitely like the phantasmic “Woodchipper Murder” (the basis for the Coen Brothers’ Fargo).

Charles Ives might have called it the Housatonic at Stockbridge.

Robert Underwood Johnson.

Sandy Hook is a community within Newtown.

Newtown counts among its progeny the “Father of Robotics” Joseph Engelberger.

So too Renata Adler (who famously ripped Pauline Kael).

Perhaps most notably (as Dr. Steve Pieczenik has pointed out), the town counts among its residents Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games trilogy).

Collins even lives in the Sandy Hook portion of Newtown (where our massacre ostensibly occurred).

Yet Collins has given no statement.

If this had been a real event (the “school shooting”), then Collins would have been among the first likely to be interviewed.¬† This seems to be the point Pieczenik made some weeks back on the esteemed Dr. James Tracy’s radio show Real Politik.

But we push on through the parade:

-Charles Goodyear (rubber vulcanization)

-Caitlyn Jenner (actually, quite an interesting angle given the media blitz surrounding her and Sandy Hook)

-Elia Kazan (the genius sell-out…and most germane to my subject)

-Mead Treadwell (very interesting angle, but he’s a Republican).

What we mostly find is a lot of power.

Newtown.

About 27,000 residents.

U.S. Congressmen.  Connecticut governors.  Dept. of Justice.  U.S. Treasury.

A well-heeled community.  A bedroom community for New York City.

Then there’s Sherman…three-time mayor of Chicago.

And, perhaps most of all, an inordinate number of children’s authors.

But the pithy name we need to understand the film under consideration is that of graffiti artist Emit.

Yes, we have to take a different logic to understand this new brand of filmmaking.

These are filmmakers who dig deep.

They seek to understand Robert Crafts and how he could put his wife Helle Crafts through a woodchipper at Lake Zoar.

Maybe hoaxing goes all the way back to Luther Meade Blackman in the town of Sandy Hook.  Blackman was accused of forging the Bat Creek inscription (an engraving on a dubious Native American artifact unearthed by the Smithsonian [actually, Bureau of American Ethnology] in Tennessee in 1889).

Our auteurs first focus on the Fairfield Hills State Hospital in Newtown.  It was the setting for the Hollywood film Sleepers in 1996 (a mere one year after the facility [of 1930s vintage] was closed).

Our auteurs further flesh out the tale of Fairfield Hills by relating the story of MTV’s Fear television show (which filmed at the abandoned mental hospital in the tunnels beneath the facility).

The point is that, for all of Fairfield Hills’ psychiatric crypticism, Sandy Hook suddenly replaced the sanatorium as the town’s defining mystery.

It is at this point which we meet the protagonist (who may or may not have actually existed):  Adam Lanza.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik asserts (elsewhere) that Lanza indeed did not exist.

Nevertheless, we are presented with the mainstream cover story (a bit like Lee Harvey Oswald’s or that of the 19 hijackers).

Adam Lanza.  Autistic.

Vs. equally dubious characters like Natalie Hammond (celebrated at a Boston Bruins’ game).

Nancy Lanza.  Dead in bed.

I will admit that the footage of Robbie Parker really started to make me suspicious.

Our auteurs point out that all of the parents (who got copious primetime news coverage) display characteristics at odds with truly grieving parents.

In other words, none of them are very good (crisis) actors.

That is the realization we are faced with:  these are crisis actors.

Valley girl reactions.

The laughing coroner.

All of these personages seem nervous.  Not comfortable in their own skin.

Is it perhaps because they are playing the roles of their lives?

They would, therefore, be breaking the law to a significant extent by helping to foist this false narrative on the American public.

Is this real world or exercise?

Ah, now we are getting somewhere.

Because once you get to the bottom of one of these false events, you are able to chop through the BS of other similar events with a metaphorical machete.

Why should you watch this film?

Because one of the parents (Lenny Pozner) has apparently been harassing Independent Media Solidarity [going so far as to hack or have hacked their Google Drive].¬† Oops…

Public Service Announcement from IMS: Unauthorized Access

Dr. James Tracy lost his tenured position at Florida Atlantic University for standing up to the media barrage of senselessness which narrowly-framed the Sandy Hook debate.¬† Tracy has made it very clear that Pozner and his HONR Network (think Jewish Defense League…terrorizing the targets of their opprobrium) are a stalking Internet gang inconsistent with grieving parents.¬† The dialogue between HONR Network group members (which has been exposed at Tracy’s Memory Hole Blog, the ostensible reason for his termination from FAU) can be characterized as being more like a band of hired thugs than true vigilantes.¬† In other words, their essence is the real terror of a fake terror event.¬† They are the clean-up crew.

Lenny Pozner’s HONR Network: The Fine Art of Online Stalking and Harassment

The mastermind of Independent Media Solidarity appears to be a YouTube user named “mrstosh314”.¬† “MrStosh” pops up again as one of three credited producers of the follow-up to We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook (that being The Life of Adam [another great documentary¬†which I hope to review soon enough]).

Other excellent contributors to We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook include:

-Sherrie QuestioningAll

-Swan Song (editor of insanemedia.net) [whose voice sounds a lot like that of David Knight from infowars.com]

-TyrannyNewsNetwork

-Odinrok

-FreeRadioRevolution

-Sandy Hook Research

-Professor Doom1

-QKUltra

-UpNorthOfThe49th

[keep in mind that these are all YouTube “handles”]

To clarify, the end credits list MrStosh314 as writer and director of this film (which is slightly at odds with the ad hoc structure presented).¬† Regardless, his efforts are much appreciated.¬† I wasn’t sure (until I checked further) whether he was the same person as Peter Klein (another of the listed producers for The Life of Adam). ¬†[It seems he is not.] ¬†As even Lenny Pozner acknowledged in a pilfered series of messages,¬†Klein “has skills”. ¬†Of course, Pozner doesn’t entirely break character.¬† Talented but “evil”.

That’s the pot kettle black.

 

-PD