What do you do when you get laid off? Hit the pavement, keep your chin up, and remember to give the healing power of art its proper due.
I say this from experience. As a victim of this wretched George W. Bush economy, I know I'm not the first to be laid off and certainly far from the last. Just when you were beginning to feel a little bit of hope that Bush will soon be far from the reins of power he has so criminally abused, the incompetency of this man and his policies knows no bounds. I'm afraid Bush will find countless ways to keep fucking up the world even after he's out of office. If I have anything to do with it, this grinning chimp bastard will be ducking shoes until he dies.
The good news: I saw the writing on the wall and managed to prep myself as best I could. I'm smarter and more marketable than ever and I'm networking on a scale I couldn't have dreamed of just four years ago when I moved to LA.
Art can help us when we're feeling anxious and stressed. I haven't been able to keep up with all the movies, music and books from 2008, so in addition to the job hunt I'm going to spend some mental health time perusing all the Year's Best lists out there.
Here's my scattered and woefully incomplete of list of things I liked over this last year.
Favorite Movies:Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Iron Man, Let the Right One In, Tell No One, Transsiberian, The Dark Knight, In Bruges, The Wrestler.
Favorite TV Shows: New ones include Breaking Bad, Leverage and The Rachel Maddow Show. Old faves that continue to bring the goods: Battlestar Galactica, The Venture Bros., Lost, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report.
Best Big-Screen Pleasures (tie):
All That Jazz at the ArcLight: My first-time to see it in widescreen and it blew me away. I'm not a big fan of musicals but this one is right up my alley: dark and uncompromising and sexy as hell. Roy Scheider's performance in Bob Fosse's thinly-disguised autobio-pic is the best thing he ever did. Seeing it on the big screen just a few weeks after his death was a great way to remember him.
2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama Dome. Finally, my fave sci-fi movie in its native format! I've waited a lifetime to experience this awe-inspiring masterpiece. Narratively and technically groundbreaking, 2001 is still centuries ahead of its time.
Portishead, Third: back after 10 years and better than ever.
Girl Talk, Feed the Animals: Redefining the fine art of sampling.
Black Mountain, In the Future: Channeling Led Zep loud and clear. And with them ...
Big Elf: Caught their raucous live set at Amoeba completely by chance and was charmed and transfixed. Fun heavy rock in a 70s-throwback style.
The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing: Infectious power-pop from a promising duo.
Long Blondes, Couples: Deliciously dark yet bubbly songscapes of love and death. Guitarist and songwriter Dorian Cox suffered a debilitating stroke last summer and the band has called it quits. Here's hoping he recovers and they regroup as soon as possible.
David Lee Roth, "Running With the Devil" (vocal track): DLR's isolated performance gets more stunning and hilarious with each listen. I found an MP3 months ago and now this site lets you mix and match from one of rock's most vaudevillian performers.
Ever have a crazy next-door neighbor? God, I have.
Right now I'm damn lucky because my apartment building is mostly filled with gorgeous ladies (all of them wonderfully sane and stable). You can see a couple of 'em in my photo to your left. It's all good, believe you me, even though the dorm-like nature of our building is preserved by the understood rule that nobody under our roof can hook up. That would completely ruin the friendly vibe we got going on and make shit all 90210, yo.
Next-Door Neighbor at Smith Magazine's website is a true-life web comic series that I highly recommend. In particular, I found this story about Glenna Evans hilarious and heartbreaking. It's written by Barbara Rushkoff and illustrated by Nathan Schreiber.
Throughout history, legions of prophets have proclaimed the end of the world. All of them have one thing in common: they were flat-out wrong.
Once their apocalyptic predictions fail to pass, these false prophets usually slink back to the obscurity from whence they came, and often with far fewer followers than before. The LA Times recently profiled one such doomsayer who keeps crying "Doom!" even though he's been wrong a dozen times before.
Over at his website Slacktivist, blogger Fred Clarke has devoted much time and space to a very revealing analysis of the best-selling Left Behindseries of apocalyptic novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It's a devastating takedown of a fundamentalist Christian fantasy that is both theologically improbable and artistically laughable.
Look, you can believe in the Bible all you want. America's that kinda country. Knock yourself out. But when you start believing something as jaw-droppingly wrong-headed as Left Behind, well, that's one big-ass super swig of stupid-flavored Kool-Aid:
Left Behind is a fictional world, and as such its creators are free to invent a fictional president, a fictional Manhattan that's 50 miles long and a fictional U.N. with fictional powers. They are even free to invent a fictional Bible full of fictional prophecies. This is exactly what L&J have done. Their problem -- and it's a big problem -- is that neither they nor most of their millions of devoted readers realize that this is what they have done ...
Clarke recently concluded his detailed evisceration of the first novel. Now he's diving into an equally hilarious and revealing analysis of the wretched movie adaptation (complete with YouTube clips). Seriously recommended reading (and don't miss the great comments).
The bipartisan Levin-McCain Report proves conclusively that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and many others in their administration are guilty of war crimes. As if there was any doubt in the first place.
In a just world, they would all stand trial and be convicted of these charges. They would spend the rest of their days behind bars as a testament to all the world that America does not condone torture. But we do not live in a just world, as this administration has proved repeatedly.
The corrupt neo-conservative machine has inflicted tremendous damage on America and the world over the past eight years. This will take much undoing, perhaps over a generation or more. Even our current economic catastrophe will be easier to resolve than the moral vacuum they have created.
Torture was once a trait of our worst enemies. It marked a final and devastating break from civilized society that all but insured the downfall of those who dared to embrace it, from Nazi Germany to Cold War-era Russia. Our moral superiority was never in doubt during these conflicts because we rejected and abhorred the immorality of such actions. We knew we could win without torture. Now, however, torture is a mark born by the United States of America. Bush not only doesn't seem to care but apparently lacks the simple intellectual capacity to understand his own actions.
With this president, it is actually hard to know for sure whether he
is capable of understanding what he did. I have no doubt that Cheney
and Rumsfeld understood very well that they were crossing a legal and
moral Rubicon; they knew they were authorizing war crimes and made
every effort to give themselves phony legal cover and a theory of
dictatorial presidential power that would have made King George III
With Bush, however, his levels of denial are so strong he may simply
be unable to accept that he has committed an absolute moral evil.
That last line pegs precisely why the chimplike Bush is perpetually grinning and joking and blinking away the sorry state of the world he has created. He is a stupid and arrogant Christian -- the worst kind. Because he cannot imagine himself commiting a sin, he thus cannot accept any evidence of such.