Wednesday Links

Taking a couple of days to unwind after finishing–and mailing off–the latest version of the book.  I finally made it back to the movie theater last night to see The Dark Knight after not seeing a movie in theaters for about a month (the last one I remember seeing is Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure).  I may have a little more to say about The Dark Knight, but for the most part, it didn’t really live up to the hype for me.   Dark, brooding, morally ambiguous, to be sure.   But  I need to think about it further before I write about it in any detail (if I feel so inclined).  Still, it was nice to be back in the theater.   And now to get back into the blogging routine, here are a couple of links:

  • The Film Doctor has assembled the latest round of the “print critics in crisis” discussion.  I address some of these arguments in the book, including the question of whether blogging is a form of self-exploitation (i.e., unpaid bloggers voluntarily creating value for the film industry by writing reviews and promoting films).  But it’s a good collection of links, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
  • Now that the book is done, I’m starting to turn my attention back to presidential parody videos for a short article I’ve been invited to write for publication.  I’m probably a little out of the loop on many of the new parodies, but I just wanted to mention one that has crossed my radar recently, the Obama Zombie parody.  The video is something like an ObamaGirl video as directed by an art-school or experimental filmmaker.  I don’t think it quite works, although it’s interesting as an attempt to parody Obama’s cult of celebrity by depicting various Obama Girls as zombies.  Oddly, I think the video would work better if it played before an audience at an underground film festival than it does on a computer screen.
  • Speaking of Obama semiotics, I jut wanted to point out the current semiotic association that the McCain campaign is trying to create between Obama and….Paris Hilton (and possibly other “promiscuous white women”).  Josh Marshall and TPM have been addressing this in a couple of recent posts, noting the similarity of this comparison to the attacks on Harold Ford from 2006 when he ran for the Senate in Tennessee.  But the comparison here seems slightly different in that the ads seem less focused on the issue of promiscuity than on the vacuity, shallowness, and elitism of Hilton as a celebrity.  Hilton is certainly famous in part because of the sex tape, but isn’t she more readily identified with being famous for no clear reason, other than her enormous wealth?  The sexual stuff is definitely there, but I think there’s a secondary association happening that is equally problematic in terms of its gender and racial politics.

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