My Blog Week: December 26 to January 1

Posted by ractrose on 3 Jan 2022 in The Latest

A black cat, nicknamed Nortie, who serves as Torsade's site ambassador.

All the Latest from Torsade!












Cartoon of family gathering

Cartoon of the Week: Gathering Clouds






A Word on the Week



Clip Art of GlobeCritical Lapses (part two)






There’s a classic scenario, of the beach bully who kicks apart the sandcastle, just when the finishing touch is added…

So how does the beach bully get a platform, and admirers, for breaking people’s nice things?

Americans (and others) have a weakness for believing the snide and scornful voice is the Teller of Truth’s. We don’t have a lot of kindly sages in our cultural content-feed. Not many movie or TV scenes that feature BS being called, bring us a mild voice of wisdom, instructive and fair-minded. Maybe our elderless state is the root cause of our troubles. But the lazy acceptance, that the holding of a position confers competence to hold that position, allows opinion-givers to present as experts, and lends bogus authority to their sayings.


Rush Limbaugh, Feb. 28, 2009, CPAC speech:


“Most wealth in this country is the result of the entrepreneurial, just plain old hard work.”


Rush Limbaugh, guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, 1993


Limbaugh: I started radio when I was sixteen…

Letterman: How does that happen, because not everybody can get on a radio station at sixteen…

Limbaugh: My dad owned it.

Letterman: Oh, well, there you go.

Limbaugh: But actually […] he had owned it at one time. He was not a broadcaster, he was an investor, which, unwise decision, he was, one-seventh of it he owned, sold it at some point, but maintained influence, the guy who bought it, and I lucked out and got a chance…


Last week, I talked about the movie critic, John Simon, and the type of authority he obtained from the culture. Pundits, like Limbaugh, above, were and are products of the same societal failing, and kick at popular sandcastles because, ironically, undisciplined criticism hides under the cover of standards, of being harsh for a noble purpose. The purpose is not interrogated, the existence of standards at all (and if they exist, where do they come from, are they still relevant, and are they applied fairly?) is not interrogated. And the critic, his qualifications, his consistencies and departures, are not interrogated.


My example of Simon’s work is from, a 2017 republishing of his 1977 Star Wars review, that appeared in New York magazine.


These are the opening sentences: “Star Wars is an impeccable technical achievement: a quantum—or maybe quasar—leap beyond 2001 [1968]. Yet Kubrick, the pioneer, had to be there to make it possible for young George Lucas to forge ahead in that direction, though we might well ask ourselves to what end.


He follows at once with a statement that he doesn’t read science fiction, but has read Flash Gordon. He calls Star Wars its equal in “most respects”, and asks: “…is equaling comic strips, or even outstripping them, worthy of the talented director of American Graffiti[…]?”


What sense do we take from all this? Or, what argument is being made?

La voyage dans la lune, 1902, created by Georges Méliés, is considered the pioneering work of science fiction in film. While, it’s unlikely the genre would have gone untouched through the decades, Lune or no Lune, so that even the phrase “make it possible” raises an odd point—aside from the choice of 2001 seeming arbitrary. 2001 has a tonier reputation than meat-and-potatoes sci fi, so it might be the “I’ve heard of this movie” selection for someone who wants to set himself above sci fi. But leaving out the 1950s famous array of robot and monster movies, between 2001 and Star Wars, there were, among dozens: Colossus: The Forbin Project, 1970;  Solaris, 1972; The Man Who Fell to Earth (with David Bowie), 1976; and in the same year as Star Wars, making it harder to claim Star Wars needed “making possible”, as though Hollywood was leery of space movies, Capricorn One, 1977, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977.

You could also argue that Jaws made Star Wars possible, as both are adventure stories, with, through advances in effects, special excitement for audiences. 

Simon’s next statement, in effect, is that he doesn’t care about science fiction. Then, that he has read some science fiction comic books. Then, he throws some shade with the phrase “most respects”, implying without expanding on the interesting dialogue between comics and film, that Star Wars is somewhat inferior to Flash Gordon. Finally, he asks a rhetorical question of an insulting type. Young George, in Simon’s view, is a naif unready for big things, while at the same time too promising to be wasted on his own work.


(to be continued)






On Monday, a new The Sword Decides!, with Maria overhearing the dispatch of a spy; on Tuesday, the latest Bride to Be, the guests leaving the story behind, to think on privately. Wednesday, “The Blue Bird”, Gitana trying the experiment of leaving her apartment. Thursday, Hammersmith, Hogben thwarted again as he tries to escape. And Friday, part one of a new short story, “Depression Glass”, and the start of a relationship. 
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.







My Blog Week: December 19 to January 1


Marjorie Bowen: The Sword Decides! (part forty-seven)
December 27


Bride to Be (part fourteen)
December 28


The Blue Bird (part three)
December 29


Hammersmith: More Peaceful Pursuits (cont’d)
December 30


Depression Glass (part one)
December 31





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