Friday, June 11, 2004


The Funeral

Before you think that all the hoopla and reportage regarding the death of Ronald Reagan is appropriate, ask yourself the following question: do you remember when Richard Nixon died?

I barely do...the passing was dutifully reported by all the news outlets of course, and there was the famous image of all the surviving ex-presidents sitting there at the funeral service, but the whole affair was over and done with in just a couple of days. Yet Nixon was in many ways the defining American politician of the last 35 years. He planted the seeds of neo-conservatism (along with Barry Goldwater) that Ronald Reagan fertilized into full bloom. Nixon was a much more sophisticated politician than Reagan was and he had a real, lasting positive impact on global politics that included opening up China for trade, the SALT treaties and progress in the Middle East. Reagan oversaw the greatest military buildup in the history of the world, in a two-pronged attempt to both spend the Soviet bloc into oblivion and make sure that the well-heeled military-industrial backers of the Republican party added several zeroes to their bottom line.

Certainly, Nixon had his Watergate and history has recorded that between that and Vietnam, American politics grew up and the people never looked at their government the same way again. But Reagan had Iran-Contra not to mention an odious deal to free the hostages in Tehran at the expense of the last days of Carter's presidency. But Nixon was an asshole and Reagan was charming. Nixon was the president worth reflecting on (among Republicans anyway), but Nixon resigned in disgrace and Reagan rode off into the sunset, even as his brain withered away in the early stages of Alzheimer's. All those people who idolized the values of the 50's which never really existed and the go-go, me-first, shameless anti-liberalism that Reagan embodied have seen their champion go into that Great Dark Night and now we have a week of mourning ad nauseum. When Carter dies, no one will mention it and when Clinton dies, everyone will remember the scandals but no one will try to put him on a $20 bill. So much for the so-called Liberal media bias and for sanity in the halls of the Federal government.

R.I.P. Ronnie and good riddance. Never mind the war, the torture of innocents abroad and here in the name of the War on Terrorism. Never mind the legacy of homelessness and corporate greed brought on by the policies of the Reagan-Bush cabal. Let's remember the Gipper, the one liners, the charm, the B-movies and wallow in some kind of false notion of a dead America that never really existed. Let's all wave goodbye and try not to be sick.

Quick Movie Reviews

Napolean Dynamite - A-, worth about $8 or $9. A droll, absurdist comedy about geeky losers in Idaho, just trying to find themselves and not get beat up every day. Not as original as the ads might make you think it is, this is nonetheless one weird, funny, offbeat movie. Check it out.

Saved! - B+, worth maybe $7. Biting comedy about holy rolling teens and the hypocrisies of being Born again, featuring sharp performances by Mandy Moore as a holier-than-though high school queen, Jena Malone as a good girl gone "astray" and McCauly Culkin (no, seriously) as Moore's sardonic, paralyzed younger brother who sees right through all the hypocrisy.

The Day After Tomorrow - D+. The only reasons I don't give it a failing grade: the jabs at the current Bush administration are sharp, funny and worth making and the special effects are out of this world. Just try to avoid listening to any of the dialogue or trying to believe any of the movie's dozen or so wooden performances. A classic Roland Emmerich B-movie.

Shrek 2 - A-/B+, if you have kids especially, worth full price. Not quite as fresh and funny as the first one, but the gags are still there, the animation is still terrific and Antonio Banderas almost steals the movie as the hilariously bold and catty, Puss N' Boots.

Feel free to drop us a line at the new email address listed above. Talk to you again after the weekend...