From The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy:
Jarmusch and his interviewer really warm up after the first 5 or so minutes. Plenty of references for future viewing. There’s a longer (no-video) Q&A on the Criternion channel.
Here is a list of the films and books I screened and read this semester.
Andres Barba, A Luminous Republic
This short moral fable concerns the sudden appearance of a group of semi-feral children in a small South American town.
Rafael Sabatini, The Sea-Hawk
An adventure romance from one of the best writers of that genre about an English petty aristocrat who becomes a Barbary corsair.
Ottessa Moshfegh, Lapvona
An exceedingly dark story set in the medieval village of Lapvona about a greedy lord and a stunted peasant boy.
Here’s a list of some of the books and films I read and watched this semester when I could have been doing other things:
Among the Thugs
A vivid ethnography of English football hooligans.
A political thriller by Ronan Bennett set in decolonizing Congo.
The Murders that Made Us
Tawdry tales of criminal San Francisco from the Bear Republic to the present.
This is the Beat Generation: New York, Paris, San Francisco
There are some remarkable details and anecdotes about the Beats in this study.
The End of the Golden Gate
A collection of essays by those who have loved and left SF.
Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard
These stories about a young, arrogant cavalier in Napoleon’s army are easily equal to Conan Doyle’s best tales of Sherlock Holmes.
Mailer’s mature yet romantic history of the CIA.
A Year of Gold and Mud
Letters from the first year of the Gold Rush.
Based on the novel by Harold Robbins. Loaded with booze, sex, ambition and avarice.
Let’s Get Lost
A gauzy, black and white account of Chet Baker told by those who loved him and those he betrayed (usually the same people).
The Man Who Haunted Himself
Roger Moore’s best film is a story of dopplegangers and corporate greed.
Basic Instinct 2
Elizabeth Trammel (Sharon Stone) goes on the road to Europe where– you can bet– her perverse appetites and charisma are unleashed.
The Card Counter
Paul Schrader’s noir love letter to poker takes up the psychological aftermath of US sanctioned torture during the invasion of Iraq.
A prime 70s cop drama with Elliot Gould and Robert Blake.
There is not a shred of irony in this epic rendition of the Viking eddas.
The Mad Doctor of Market Street
Despite its title this occasionally bizarre Code-era horror film by Joseph H. Lewis expends most of its energies on an island in the Pacific populated by ethnocentrically rendered “natives”.
Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans 9780802131867
Peter Maravelis (ed.), San Francisco Noir 2 9781933354651
Fae Myenne Ng, Bone 978-401309534
Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute 9781554812394
Assault on Precinct 13‘s original trailer, repurposed for Shout! Factory’s (sold out) blu ray edition:
from Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky trans. Constance Garnet
Raskolnikov had a fearful dream. He dreamt he was back in his childhood in the little town of his birth. He was a child about seven years old, walking into the country with his father on the evening of a holiday. It was a grey and heavy day, the country was exactly as he remembered it; indeed he recalled it far more vividly in his dream than he had done in memory. The little town stood on a level flat as bare as the hand, not even a willow near it; only in the far distance, a copse lay, a dark blur on the very edge of the horizon. A few paces beyond the last market garden stood a tavern, a big tavern, which had always aroused in him a feeling of aversion, even of fear, when he walked by it with his father. There was always a crowd there, always shouting, laughter and abuse, hideous hoarse singing and often fighting. Drunken and horrible-looking figures were hanging about the tavern. He used to cling close to his father, trembling all over when he met them. Near the tavern the road became a dusty track, the dust of which was always black. It was a winding road, and about a hundred paces further on, it turned to the right to the graveyard. In the middle of the graveyard stood a stone church with a green cupola where he used to go to mass two or three times a year with his father and mother, when a service was held in memory of his grandmother, who had long been dead, and whom he had never seen. On these occasions they used to take on a white dish tied up in a table napkin a special sort of rice pudding with raisins stuck in it in the shape of a cross. He loved that church, the old-fashioned, unadorned ikons and the old priest with the shaking head. Near his grandmother’s grave, which was marked by a stone, was the little grave of his younger brother who had died at six months old. He did not remember him at all, but he had been told about his little brother, and whenever he visited the graveyard he used religiously and reverently to cross himself and to bow down and kiss the little grave. And now he dreamt that he was walking with his father past the tavern on the way to the graveyard; he was holding his father’s hand and looking with dread at the tavern. A peculiar circumstance attracted his attention: there seemed to be some kind of festivity going on, there were crowds of gaily dressed townspeople, peasant women, their husbands, and riff-raff of all sorts, all singing and all more or less drunk. Near the entrance of the tavern stood a cart, but a strange cart. It was one of those big carts usually drawn by heavy cart-horses and laden with casks of wine or other heavy goods. He always liked looking at those great cart-horses, with their long manes, thick legs, and slow even pace, drawing along a perfect mountain with no appearance of effort, as though it were easier going with a load than without it. But now, strange to say, in the shafts of such a cart he saw a thin little sorrel beast, one of those peasants’ nags which he had often seen straining their utmost under a heavy load of wood or hay, especially when the wheels were stuck in the mud or in a rut. And the peasants would beat them so cruelly, sometimes even about the nose and eyes, and he felt so sorry, so sorry for them that he almost cried, and his mother always used to take him away from the window. All of a sudden there was a great uproar of shouting, singing and the balalaïka, and from the tavern a number of big and very drunken peasants came out, wearing red and blue shirts and coats thrown over their shoulders.
“Get in, get in!” shouted one of them, a young thick-necked peasant with a fleshy face red as a carrot. “I’ll take you all, get in!”
Far from a question of liberal politics, today’s cultural liberalism is identified far more by a moral framework of consumer choices, consumption habits, personal behaviors, and an obsession with displays of multicultural tolerance and surface-level diversity than any of its overtly political positions, which in reality are a largely settled matter. In fact, pretending those liberal political positions haven’t been settled and are instead under some sort of constant threat tends to be another primary feature of today’s hegemonic cultural liberalism.