Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Weekend bits

I'm not a big fan of documentaries--they're typically not cinematic enough for me; why not read instead?--but I really enjoyed Errol Morris's The Fog of War (the kick-ass website is website is worth checking out; click-on-through) over the weekend. Much of what one reads about the film is centered around Robert McNamara's alleged inability to admit guilt for his sins as Defense Secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. (This is truly the splitting of hairs: McNamara clearly states eleven "lessons" that amount to indictments against warmaking policies, and then affirms, just as clearly, that he supported those policies.)
What's striking thing about Fog of War is the frankness of a high-level politician admitting that the government screwed up, and that unilateralism and executive-branch politics (i.e., the job of SecDef is to implement the president's doctrine) are at the root of the problem.
Brothels of Nevada: Candid Views of America's Legal Sex Industry (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003) isn't what it sounds like: there's no nudity, rather, the book is chock full of architectural photographs from the rundown (and, in some cases, abandoned) workplaces for legalized prostitution in the Silver State.
A few years back, I purchased "The Gutenberg Press," a package of German fraktur blackletter fonts from the Walden Font Company of Massachusetts. Over the weekend, I discovered the perfect companion to the Gutenberg collection: Blackletter: Type and National Identity (Princeton Architectural Press, 1998), a project of the National Graphic Design Archives at Cooper Union. Handsome and informative.
Shonen Knife is touring in support of their new record plus a big batch of reissues from Oglio; from "Bear Up Bison," the first track on Pretty Little Baka Guy:
We're only making plans for/
Da da dirty dirty bison/
We don't like him so much/
'Cos he's very very ug ug ugly/
We're only making plans for/
Da da dark brown bison/
He has a right to live though he's/
Ill ill ill ill-shaped/
He's on the way to extinction/
We only want what's best for him
"He's ill-shaped": it's way better on the page then it is on disk!


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