Baghdad Reads

Just wanted to mention an article from today’s Washington Post about the decline in Baghdad’s bookstore culture since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The article describes an active, vibrant intellectual pre-war culture centered around Baghdad’s Mutanabi Street, one that has been all but destroyed by the ongoing sectarian violence. While this topic was a major focus of Sinan Antoon’s documentary, About Baghdad, the article conveys yet another aspect of what has been lost because of the invasion.

Also, because our server was down this weekend, I was unable to write a review of The Last Kiss, the Zach Braff twentysomething-in-crisis movie. Not sure I’ll get around to treviewing it, but my take was remarkably close to A.O. Scott’s, in that I found it to be rather earnest and even more confused. Perhaps more than anything, I felt the female characters (especially Jacinda Barrett’s Jenna and Rachel Bilson’s Kim) were poorly written. For example, Jenna comments at one point that she’s working on her dissertation, but the film never even reveals her field of research.

Finally, I’ve been getting tons of traffic based on my review of Jesus Camp , in part–I’m assuming–because of a recent ABC report (via) on the documentary. At some point, I’d like to revisit my original review simply because of the discussion the film has already provoked.

Update: Some interesting video responses to the ABC report on Jesus Camp posted to YouTube.

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