The Spectacle Blog

Super Music

By on 6.28.06 | 1:56PM

Since Superman Returns has hit theaters, let me take this opportunity to recommend Michael Daugherty's fun and engaging Metropolis Symphony. Unlike most contemporary compositions, it's as accessible as Beethoven or Brahms; I once heard Daugherty explain that, having been educated in composition in the 1970s, when melodic music was frowned upon, he had to draw on his experience in a rock band to learn how to write melodies. (The one negative review on the Amazon page should be read as a positive review in disguise -- the reviewer speaks highly of the coterie of "legitimate" atonal composers who spent the second half of the 20th century systematically alienating classical music from its audience.)

Re: Religion Has Its Uses

By on 6.28.06 | 1:01PM

I don't really get your point, Wlady. Though Superman was created by two Jews, Superman-as-Christ-metaphor is hardly a new idea. Brando's God-the-Father lines from the 1978 Superman aren't terribly subtle: "They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son." According to the reviewer (I haven't seen Superman Returns yet, though you can bet I'll be heading to the theater this afternoon), the new movie plays up the Christ angle, right down to editing in Brando's performance, and the reviewer is riffing off this. If religious metaphors are blasphemous, than the history of Western literature is one long story of blasphemy.

House to Condemn NYT?

By on 6.28.06 | 9:08AM

The Hill reports that House Republican leaders will introduce a resolution today condemning the New York Times for revealing classified information and compromising government efforts against terrorists. (Hat tip to Tim Chapman.)

I expect this discussion to build momentum for Congressional Republicans on the issue of the war on terror. Like others have written, this could be the Democrats' issue if only they would quit botching it. If this resolution comes to a vote, it will be an entertaining one.

Religion Has Its Uses

By on 6.27.06 | 10:25PM

Is this the most blasphemous thing you've ever read? Here's how New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis opens her review at the top of page 1 of today Arts section:

"Jesus of Nazareth spent 40 days in the desert. By comparison, Superman of Hollywood languished almost 20 years in development hell."

Lest you think I'm kidding, Dargis two sentences later notes that "the Man of Steel has been resurrected..." And there's more where that came from.

A Burning Truth?

By on 6.27.06 | 5:37PM

First its hurricanes, now

GLOBAL WARMING IS CAUSING DROUGHT AND DROUGHT IS CAUSING WILDFIRES!

If you want more biased reporting, see the recent spate of articles about this. Particuarly good is the video clip from CNN. They interview noted global warming alarmist, Michael Hanemann, director of the California Climate Change Center. Naturally, they don't interview anyone who is a skeptic of the link between global warming and wildfires. According to Hanemann, "The last decade is clearly warmer than the previous 400 years and these fires and the drought are associated with that unusual increase in warming."

A Manhattan DC Happening

By on 6.27.06 | 3:16PM

A presidential appearance these days has all the markings of a nice church wedding. Guests are expected to be in place well beforehand -- indeed if they don't arrive by a cutoff time they don't get in -- after which they sit quietly and chat, creating a quiet din that suddenly goes silent in premature anticipation that he's about to show. After a few such rounds, an officiant does finally appear at the podium, and without further adieu he introduces the President of the United States as the audience stands in welcome. It's the next best thing to watching a bride walk down the aisle. Easier on the neck, too.

Sick Freak

By on 6.27.06 | 3:06PM

Ingrid Newkirk has posted her "will" on the PeTA website. Words fail me. Just read it.

The fact that anyone actually listens to this obviously insane person never ceases to amaze me...

RE: Never, Ever

By on 6.27.06 | 3:04PM

I lived in NYC for much of Rudy's mayoral tenure. He had a dramatic impact on the city and deserves enormous credit for that.

He would, however, be a disaster as leader of the free world. I cannot even believe that this is a subject of serious conversation. (Paul, Philip ... with all due respect ...)

Re: Never Ever

By on 6.27.06 | 2:59PM

I remind all of my column last year, "Giuliani Time," here. Key grafs:

In 30-plus years, the religious right as a political movement has grown very sophisticated and practical about what it wants and what it can get at any given time. In the legislative arena, for example, pro-life politicos have picked careful battles, on partial birth abortion and parental notification. Meanwhile, elect more and more Republicans. The judiciary has the muscle on all the social issues, and has had ever since Roe.

Here, the great karmic wheel of politics has turned almost enough to excuse Giuliani social liberalism. After all, what can a President do to affect abortion politics? Most important, appoint judges. By the end of George W. Bush's term, he will have appointed two, perhaps three, justices to the Supreme Court. Would Giuliani appoint a Ruth Bader Ginsburg, either to SCOTUS or a lower court? Given the ex-mayor's bent toward free-market reform and stout crime enforcement, no. A judge conservative on economic and criminal justice matters is likely to take a conservative view of social issues, too.

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