Monday evening meanderings

LONG day. Very long. Very sad on one front in particular, involving an acquaintance of longstanding who went through something horrible the other day. Very confusing on other fronts. Very full with work, very full now with other work. More tomorrow…maybe. So in brief:

  • New band discovery of the day — Cafeneon, who I am reviewing for the AMG. Quite enjoyable debut album, a kind of danker art/new wave take on the kind of things the Studio did on their album last year. A promising start, not a perfect one but much better than many.
  • Jules Dassin has passed at 96. Though blacklisted, easily vindicated by history, for Rififi, The Naked City and Night and the City alone (as has already been widely noted, the star of the latter, Richard Widmark, himself passed away just a few days back). Dassin’s work is something I should know much better than I do, but you get a sense from him that he knew how to make lemons from lemonade more thoroughly than most would do, and that he took a more balanced long view than many: “I’m not bitter…But there’s an unhappiness for so many lives destroyed and for the effect it had on movies that were made, for a long time.” A little something to remember whenever you read about attempts to defend McCarthy’s twisted conflation of protecting the nation with paranoid flailing at all comers.
  • And speaking of paranoid — as the Cunning Realist notes, this story conveys what it’s like to be living in Baghdad for some right now:

    Two US officials and two Iraqi guards of Sunni Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi have been killed since last Sunday, when the first waves of attacks began on the zone, seat of the Iraqi government and home to foreign embassies.

    Some staff members of the US embassy admit they are in a state of constant fear and prefer to sleep on cots inside the embassy building — formerly a palace of Saddam Hussein — than in their less-safe living quarters.

    Warning alarms in the Green Zone, the most shelled 10 square kilometres (four square miles) of Baghdad, give about three seconds to find shelter in one of the numerous “duck and cover” concrete bunkers, a US military officer said.

    “As you drive through, you are constantly assessing where is the nearest bunker,” he added.

    Say it before, say it again — don’t kid yourself about Iraq and the situation there. Don’t be an idiot and hope for more chaos and death, but don’t ignore it either. Don’t try to explain it away, because it’s been five years now. Call it what it is. You might not like the answer but at least you won’t be doublethinking all day.

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