Monday, April 27, 2015

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

The question in the title of this post doesn't refer to the cover of the latest TIME magazine, though it could (as in how come they chose such a threatening unflattering mean-looking photo of Ruth Ginsberg, one of my heroes and worthy of at least the gentle photographic treatment the Kanye version of this issue's cover got (you can look it up).

No, the picture I'm questioning is the whole idea of an issue devoted to "The 100 Most Influential People" not only because as usual it's mostly "Americans" and mostly "white" (somehow Canadians and Central and South Americans aren't considered "American" to many in the USA including incredibly many so-called "journalists") but because TIME chooses in some crucial cases to drop any aspect of actual journalism and just bends over for the rich and famous.

For instance, to write about how influential the Koch brothers are, they chose Rand Paul! That's like asking the prostitute to write why her pimp is so great. Is it a surprise this happens again and again when the subject is a powerful right-winger? (E.g. John Boner gets to write why Mitch McConnell is so influential.) But it's not just TIME catering to powerful right-wingers and ignoring the damage people like The Koch brothers and Mitch McConnell have caused this country and the world over the past decades, it's just the mostly ass-kissing back-cratching nature of too many of the pieces in this issue and in too many other versions of this kind of media genuflecting to the powerful.

When I was a kid and began reading TIME it was a very conservative publication that supported mostly conservative Republican politicians and political agendas and justified the domination of politics and society by the white Anglo-Saxon male elite that basically ran the country and big business then. But at least the reporting though biased was based on actual factual events and statements and a modicum of research (of course ignoring facts that disputed the mag's biases).

But the 1960s changed all that and afterwards TIME began including more of the liberal side of politics and political agendas, based on facts and decent journalistic research. More recently, with the loss of readers and revenue due to the digital revolution and the influence of the Internet etc. TIME has begun to cater to celebrity journalism, covering mostly "celebrities" and using celebrity "journalists" or wannabe journalists or not-even-pretending-anymore-to-be journalists.

It's like the inside-the-beltway and other bubbles of elite incestuousness that focuses the few media conglomerates that dominate the media on fellow elite (i.e. the 1% and their mouthpieces) have so taken over the USA on so many levels that they can't even see what fools they are or how no matter how talented they may be Oprah Winfrey writing why Lee Daniels is so influential and great is totally self-indulgent jive, or fluff if you prefer.

The whole idea of "most influential" as a TIME yearly concept (the party seemed even more back-scratching and ass-kissing than the Hollywood, I mean White House correspondent's dinner) is just another way for the elite to congratulate each other on being fellow elite (with just enough of a small percentage of actual achievers thrown in to have someone new to talk about each year).

Friday, April 24, 2015

READING(S) COMING UP

So next Thursday, April 30th, at 6:30PM, at the "official" Rutgers University New Brunswick bookstore (Barnes & Noble), I will be reading some poems from my new book, SWING THEORY, as will Joanna Fuhrman and Tom Devaney from their new books, THE YEAR OF YELLOW BUTTERFLIES and RUNAWAY GOAT CART (click here for the store's event announcement and details).

If you live in the area I'd love to see you there.

[PS: I'll be reading with Dale Herd and Lewis Warsh on May 10th in lower Manhattan for those for whom that may be a more convenient location.]

Thursday, April 23, 2015

BOYHOOD (REVISITED)

When I wrote this post about the film BOYHOOD back when it first came out last year, I thought it should win all the awards. I saw it in the theater that time but did receive a screener (disc made for awards season to send to voters) and watched it tonight with a friend.

Seeing it a second time, I have to say it isn't just the best film made last year, it's one of the best films ever made, for my taste. I had the opportunity to watch more closely the transitions from year to year in a story that covers twelve years in a boy's life in real time and they are incredibly well written and acted and even more incredibly directed and edited.

The performances not only held up, watching it a second time and on a smaller screen, but impressed me even more, including the most minor roles. BOYHOOD is not just a unique work of film art, but a unique work of any kind of art. It's singular and brilliant, especially in the ways it understates that singularity and brilliance.

I know some folks who weren't so impressed because the story isn't flashy or contrived in the usual plot point ways. They're entitled to their opinion, but mine is: BOYHOOD should be in the top ten if not five of any film lover's list of greatest movies ever.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ANOTHER QUOTE FOR POETRY MONTH (YEAR/LIFE)

"When I write my only concern is accuracy. I try to write accurately from the poise of mind which lets us see that things are exactly what they seem. I never worry about beauty, if it is accurate there is always beauty. I never worry about form, if it is accurate there is always form."  —Lew Welch (from the preface to Ring of Bone)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PS TO LAST POST (FAMILY FARMING CLOSER TO HOME)

My oldest child, my darling daughter Caitlin, and her husband Ed have been growing corn especially for Ed's Popcorn on what they call Little Bit Farm for a few years now. If you're ever in The Berkshires you won't find better popping corn, to learn more here's the link to their Facebook Page (to like and follow).

BACK TO THE FARM

Check out this article on and interview with my sister-in-law Luloo and her husband Evan, first time farmers and doing it stylishly.