June 29, 2007
I have a new Brainwash column today.
(By the way, just in case you're wondering why I've been MIA from AmSpecBlog for the last few days: We've been out of town in advance of my brother-in-law's wedding tomorrow, and filing said Brainwash column is pretty much all the work I've had time to get done.)
June 26, 2007
Ruing Rulings Written by Roberts
In today's AmSpec column, I critique yesterday's Supreme Court rulings in WRTL v. FEC and Frederick v. Morse.
June 22, 2007
Bloomberg, Blow, and Banning Bloviators
I've got a new Brainwash column today.
June 15, 2007
Our Highly Unpopular Political Class
I have a new Brainwash column today about the Nancy Pelosi demanding free plane rides, everyone's poll numbers sinking, and Mike Gravel's quest to figure out where he is.
June 12, 2007
Are You Not Entertained?
Sopranos creator David Chase's comments to the New Jersey Star-Ledger's TV blogger should give pause to defenders of the series finale:
"No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God," he adds. "We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds, or thinking, 'Wow, this'll (tick) them off.' People get the impression that you're trying to (mess) with them and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them."Nearly every defense of the ending that I've read has relied on praising its audaciousness: It's a Rorschach test for the audience, it was the only way to truly surprise the audience, it boldly breaks narrative convention, and so on. But if we take Chase at his word, then the only criteria to measure the ending by is entertainment value. By that measure, almost anything would have been better than cutting to black. By the artist's own standard, isn't the fact that so many fans are unsatisfied -- and do indeed feel "(mess)[ed] with" -- an indication of artistic failure?
June 10, 2007
Years ago I saw a movie with no ending -- they just cut to the credits with the fate of the main characters in limbo. (The film was, in fact, called Limbo. Sorry about the spoiler, but you weren't going to rent it anyway.) I was talking to my wife today and worrying that The Sopranos would end that way. Sure enough: We leave Tony swirling in the middle of possible assassins, a probable indictment, betrayals and implied betrayals... and that's it.
If they were going to end the series with unresolved foreboding, the finale was extraneous, wasn't it? The penultimate episode, with Tony lying in the dark gripping his AK-47, would have made a perfectly good ending. That last bit of dialogue -- "remember the good times" -- almost seems like a message to the audience: Hey, if you think this ending is a dumb cop-out, don't let that spoil your memory of the rest of the series, okay? Okay.
June 08, 2007
Making a Monkey Out of Mike
Mike Huckabee and evolution, the Democrats and bin Laden, Stephen Harper and Bono: all appear in my Brainwash column today.
June 06, 2007
In today's AmSpec column, I note how much Fred Thompson's presence was felt at last night's GOP debate.