Drooling on the Pillow

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Young Doctor Guevara 

Last year Lane was on the SAG nominating committee for the Oscars and, as a result we got to see, probably for the first time, pretty much all of the nominees and a number of films that didn't make it. All for free. You can go to special SAG screenings, but most of them are sent to you in DVDs. I don't know if its the same this year - apparently they're on red alert for piracy - but my friend Ian is on the committee this year and last night he took me to see a screening of Motorcycle Diaries, the new Che bioflick.

It's not a hagiography, quite. It's more a bildungsroman of a sweet young liberal minded medical student who on a romantic voyage across the continent (the movie understandibly conflates two such voyages) comes to certain realizations. What those realizations were is somewhat vague, which is just as well because if the movie let us know what was going on in that pretty little head it would be a big mood-buster. In the movie, about the most radical thought that escapes Gael Garcia Bernal's pouty lips is that all of South America is, like, one country. He seems very bummed that the doctors are on one side of the Amazon and the lepers are on the other side. He just can't stand that. Beyond that, he writes letters to his mother, quotes Neruda and brings puppies to pretty girls.

The problem with the movie is that this young man did not grow up to be Che Guevara. In fact, the record shows that by the age of 24, this young man already was Che and if this questing, humorous, preternaturally honest, struggling-with-conscience fellow ever existed, it had to be a fair number of years before 1952.

That said, it's a pretty movie. I've always dreamed of doing what he did (the voyage part, not the psychopathic stuff that came later) and South America is a magnificent backdrop to the story. Bernal is fine, but Rodrigo de la Serna as Che's friend Alberto Granado is outstanding. An extremely useful character actor.

The less you know about Che, the more you'll enjoy the movie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Satis Delenda Est 

If only it were true that Rove was smart enough to orchestrate Ra*th*ergate. We could all just relax and concentrate on the wildcard races.

I had the thought today, blasphemous for a blogger, even one as casual as I, that this Internet thingy that all the kids are talking about is not an unmixed blessing. Yes, peeking under Tiffany's skirts has been thrilling and fascinating and instructive. But consider this , via Allah Is In The House. Here's some folks comparing themselves to Jews in Germany in 1938 and discussing the virtues of Vancouver vs. Costa Rica. Obviously there are equally fevered swamps on the right. So far right that these wetlands are virtually contiguous.

These people have always existed and have always sought to exert influence. Fine. But giving them a clubhouse is not good therapy for them or necessarily constructive for the rest of us. Has the internet had the net effect of increasing the power of the fringe? Have the wingnuts, left and right become more influential in driving the agendas of the major parties as a result? Is that the reason for the disappearing swing voters? And how would you go about analyzing these trends?
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