August 22nd, 2009


in defense of Tarantino

"Taken as a yin-yang whole, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 constitute a globe-spanning feat of genre scholarship, blithely connecting the dots from Chinese kung fu to Japanese swordplay, from blaxploitation to manga to spaghetti Western. Tarantino's reference-happy method is often dismissed as know-it-all geekery or stunted nostalgia, the video-store dreams of an eternal fanboy. But there is something strikingly of the moment and perhaps even utopian about Kill Bill's obsessive pastiche, which at once celebrates and demonstrates the possibilities of the voracious, hyperlinked 21st-century media gestalt: the idea that whole histories and entire worlds of pop culture are up for grabs, waiting to be revived, reclaimed, remixed."


Torture, science, and the oceans

"Americans built the bomb, reached the moon, decoded the genome, and created the Internet. And yet today this country is also home to a populace that, to an alarming extent, ignores scientific advances or outright rejects scientific principles."

* More torture details to be released soon, including reports of CIA interrogators threatening suspects with an electric drill.
* They are, however, notifying the Red Cross about secret detainees.
* And yes, the government still has contracts with Blackwater.
* Stumbling on health care, the White House draws more fire from the left.
* Also, Joe Klein responds to Charles Krauthammer's comments on how to solve the health care imbroglio.
* The health care crisis begins in the ER.
* Taking a new look at ocean stewardship.