Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Various links/Twitter posts on the fall of Occupy L.A. City Hall.

"During the park closure, a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps." --[Los Angeles mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa--Neon Tommy (via Twitter)

Dear Media: When the police tell you to leave IS WHEN YOU STAY. You're supposed to be a check on this kind of power!--Wil Wheaton (via Twitter)

Notable unlawful assemblies: Second Constitutional Congress, Southern lunch counter sit-ins.--Devin Faraci (via Twitter)

For Context for non-LA ppl, #occupyLA is about 3 blocks from a permanent tent city for the homeless, never shut down for health reasons.--Nick Robinson (via Twitter)

RT @KPCCLive: As far as we can tell, LAPD did not ever employ non-lethal enforcement like bean bags, tear gas.--Kevin Roderick (LA OBSERVED) via Twitter.

‎3:14 AM Just now on OccupyFreedomLA Ustream, a witness says she is looking at about 20 undercover police officers fist bumping with uniformed officers. They apparently looked just like all the occupiers clad in 99% t-shirts--via

#OccupyLA peaceful protestors held on $5,000 bail for "unlawful assembly" To date, Wall Street Banksters go uncharged & are free. #OWS~OA--Official Occup L.A. tweet

Ruth Fowler of Occupy L.A. on what happened outside the LAPD-allowed "media pool":

Tuesday, November 29, 2011



(for poet Scott Wannberg and his Canine of Truth Sparky)

get along little protesters

get out of the street

get onto the sidewalk

fold your banners

and pack up your tents

because you're making


and television journalists mad as Heck

now the hounds are baying for Charlie Beck

to tear off his peaceful-interaction

make-them-disappear-by-attrition mask

and emerge as the Incredible Two-Headed Hybrid

of Darryl Gates and Ed Davis

crying havoc

and unleashing the tasers and batons

get along little protesters

business must do whatever it wants

we're not going to listen to you Occupy people

since our city is not a city of "the people"

but a city of, by and for

the Very Important People

of AEG


get along little protesters

go play with the other weird fuzzy-haired,

fuzzy-brained hippie kids

in Occupy Orange County

or Occupy Long Beach

or wherever you can be more easily ignored

by the state, nation and world

go away little protesters

go home and eat low-fat granola

drink your soy lattes

watch your Noam Chomsky videos

and let us govern,

while the silent majority occupies sidewalks

outside theaters and big-box stores

we love the silent majority

they know to SHUT UP AND CONSUME

and take what they're given

no matter how bad it is now

or how much worse it will be

we'll be glad when

everyone forgets all about

this trouble-stirring business-unfriendly

nonsense of Occupying public space

that we'll always find reasons

to throw you out of

once we're tired of your madness


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remember the Bonus Army of 1932 in wake of Occupy crackdowns.

Below is a history lesson that, ideally, should be read by people like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and L.A. OBSERVED business columnist Mark Lacter (both of which fulminated on the Occupy movement last week, throwing out the usual "dirty, intellectually incoherent, unrealistic hippies" stereotypes).

Wikipedia entry on the Bonus Army of World War One veterans who occupied Washington D.C. in 1932:

From the Wikipedia article:
Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.
A second, smaller Bonus March in 1933 at the start of the Roosevelt Administration was defused with promises instead of military action. In 1936, Congress overrode President Franklin D. Roosevelt's veto to pay the veterans their bonus years early.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Observations for this Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving originally was a holiday celebrating diverse cultures being able to sit together and share a meal, marinating in good will towards people other than themselves.  In 2011, Thanksgiving is a holiday where employees of megastores get to curtail their family time to go to work very late/very early to service
consumers on what is now known as "Black Friday."

"Black Friday" was once an inside-business term for the Friday-after-Thanksgiving sales.  In recent years, the store-opening times were switched to ungodly hours like 5:00 a.m.  This year, because megastores expect the economy to improve enough to strip $20 billion from consumer wallets, Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday-and-Friday.

In 2011, families will sacrifice their family togetherness/good will to stand in front of megastores most of Thanksgiving Day to enter stores as early as 10:00 p.m to buy high-tech items at low low prices.  Or, if they're interested in shopping at Best Buy, they're already sleeping outside or in tents--a method of occupying public space that's more acceptable to government/corporate cultures than the Occupy movement that's being beaten/pepper-sprayed in a city near you.

Speaking of Occupy Los Angeles as it celebrates Thanksgiving before its inevitable forced retreat from L.A.'s City Hall: it's rather pitiful that the city of Los Angeles is unwilling to heed the economic inequity message of the movement instead of making half-assed offers of dollar-a-year store space in the L.A. Mall underneath the Fletcher Bowron Plaza.

[Sidebar: I'm imagining how quickly Occupy Los Angeles would have been crushed by the LAPD/L.A. City Council if the tents/protestors had appeared in, say, Beverly Hills or Century City rather than around City Hall--a part of Downtown that hasn't yet become completely gentrified.]

And, closing this post, here's a Hall of Shame re naysayers towards the Occupy movement:
1. CHUCK HENRY--everybody's favorite blowdried ex-travel host (EYE ON L.A.) turned inexplicably long-running KNBC-TV anchorman made a sort of yucky smiley-face the other night when introducing a story about Occupy L.A.; it was the most contemptuous "they're a bunch of dirty hippies" grin/grimace worthy of the next person on this list.
2. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG--curious if anyone caught MSNBC Tuesday morning to see the grotesque farce of the New York City mayor defending his recent misbehavior to Andrea Mitchell; Ms. Mitchell is married to one-time economic majordomo Alan Greenspan, who helped create the masters-and-serfs feudalism that's the United States in 2011.
3. BERNARD PARKS/THE LOS ANGELES TIMES--the ex-LAPD chief trotted out a whopper of an unlikely scenario--that "neo-Nazis" could one day occupy the space around City Hall ; the city's Newspaper of Record thought Parks' overstatement was so nice, it repeated it twice (both in a "news" article and an editorial).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New developments in Natalie Wood death investigation--apparently a welcome distraction for L.A. Sheriff's Dept.

Two commenters on this story in the LOS ANGELES TIMES:,0,29805.story

Sea Angel at 11:34 AM November 19, 2011

Falling hook, line, and sinker, for Wood's death investigation? Boat's capt. is hawking his book while the ACLU is calling for a full criminal and civil rights investigation by Sheriff Leroy Baca's deputies and accusing him of malfeasance and misfeasance in office because of all of the events they say took place in the jails that Baca should have known about. Not only was Baca covering up violence and beatings against prisoners at the jail, he also covers up that MTA bus operators abuse elderly and disabled public transportation riders. Baca's investigators suddenly have plenty of resources to waste on this actress's death which happened 30 years ago but haven't even began to investigate that on the morning of September 7, 2011, a MTA bus operator became hostile when requested to accommodate an elderly passenger requiring the bus's ramp to get off the bus - he began cursing and insulting her; he shut the old woman's arm in the bus's door and dragged her along the ground with the moving bus. Suddenly he stopped the bus and opened the door. Next he jumped out of the bus and began beating the old crippled woman with his fists and threw her to the sidewalk. Then he drove away and left her injured. The woman's name is Smith and it is now public record.

Bundling at 11:28 AM November 19, 2011

No possibility the Sheriff's Department is seeking some p.r. to distract people from its own problems?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What I keep forgetting about the notion of "friends" on Facebook.

Earlier this afternoon, I unfriended someone who I had known since the early days I participated in L.A. poetry.  We got along fairly well and I even gave him rides to and from readings.  I knew he had a less-than-positive opinion of the poems I wrote at the time, but I (sometimes with swallowed discomfort) accepted it and was happy to have at least an acquaintanceship with him.

Recently, the poet (now living in another state) took to Facebook to complain on a topic I could empathize with--feeling marginalized and perhaps pushed out by a dominant faction in his poetry community.

I read his post and the comments from his friends in the other state wishing him well and hoping he'd continue his poetry/publishing activities.

Backchannel, I wrote him a letter (duplicating the well-wishes described above) and got a terse response of, essentially, "it's nothing, just problems with someone in City X."

I wished him well nonetheless--and later, I noticed he posted another (apparently related to the earlier post) complaint about "incest" in poetry (presumingly about cliques of poets who have a narrow who's in/who's out policy--also something I have awareness of).

And there were supportive comments from his recent friends.

This made me realize that he thought of me (who knew him over a two-year period) as someone not worth talking to even on a superficial level about what was bothering him.  Perhaps he wanted to hear from the "right" people in his city/state.

So, I unfriended him.  This likely made me a bad Facebook "friend" or perhaps "petty" to some people's thinking.

But it was a reminder of the lesson that one should think very hard about the people you are tempted to friend--and that this social network contract be based on something a little more substantive than cursorily knowing someone for a few years, months or days

Sunday, November 13, 2011

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES and its Calendar section have a problem with wanting censorship of adult TV series.,0,6941140.story

At the LOS ANGELES TIMES, it seems like the paper's Calendar (entertainment) section has a certain preference, no matter who happens to be running the section.

If you disapprove of certain kinds of entertainment/entertainers, yes, you can get a big think-piece article in
Calendar.  Around 1999, Eric Harris had a shining-star moment with a "STAR WARS is racist" story capitalizing on the controversial Jar Jar Binks character in THE PHANTOM MENACE.  More recently, Mary McNamara took the vapors over too much "gratuitous" nudity in HBO series, including BOARDWALK EMPIRE (singled out for "savage violence" by Greg Braxton in the article linked to above):

Poor naive, stupid me: I believe that implicit/explicit calls to "clean up TV" should have died years ago.

If viewers want to watch "gratuitous savage" television programming intended for adult audiences, then it should be their privilege--a privilege that Greg Braxton and Mary McNamara have no business in writing faux-morality tch-tch, cluck-cluck articles to discourage (as well as implicitly encouraging government/FCC to become a 21st-century Hays Office).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doubting we've seen the last of Rick Perry as Presidential candidate.

Perhaps Rick Perry may be both pundit toast and even voter toast after last night's GOP debate performance.

But I'm guessing Perry will go on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO and do his best to humorously spin lead into at least brass--making himself safe for 2016.

This reminds me of a Democrat who gaffed by making a too-long convention speech in 1988, appeared on Johnny Carson's TONIGHT SHOW and ran for President in 1992.

The Democrat's name was Bill Clinton.

[UPDATE 11/11/11] I was wrong; Perry appeared on LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN--now, by default, Dave's the new Johnny Carson and will probably stay a few years past Carson's retirement age.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brett Ratner does it the "Old Hollywood" sexist/gay-panic way..

Adding my perspective to the above:
Brett Ratner's distasteful, unnecessary and regrettable incident (referring to the too-common use of "fag" or "gay" as a synonym for "weak"/"weakling") proved to one of the most egregious examples of reckless and thoughtless "guy's guy" Hollywood behavior since ex-New Line majordomo/now producer Mike De Luca was the recipient of a woman's public sex act at an A-list Hollywood party:,,282635,00.html

I can't help but wonder what Ratner's career as a producer/director of mainstream star-driven movie/TV entertainment would be like if he put all his attention into making better product (certainly TOWER HEIST could and should have been more than it is)--and less to emulating the never-will-completely-go-away sexist/homophobic "player" behavior prevalent in Hollywood male power figures.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Roger and Chaz Ebert looking for other funding for their film reviews show.

I'll repeat some of what I've said here in the past:
Yes, it's good that Roger Ebert put a film review show on television to take up the gap left when The Walt Disney Company guillotined AT THE MOVIES.

But, like the sad season of AT THE MOVIES when Ben Mankiewicz was shackled to shallow Ben (son of Jeffrey) Lyons, Ignatly the Intellect is handcuffed a la 39 STEPS to supersmiling-though-not-dumb Christy Lemire (essentially Richard "careerist" Roeper in drag).

And I don't understand why Roger and Chaz Ebert seem to have a weakness for too-eager-to-be-telegenic cardboard people like Lemire and Roeper.  Perhaps too much deference to TV execs who were likely in preschool when Roger won his Pulitzer Prize.

If the current Ebert show fails to find non-Ebert money to produce and dies a premature death, all one can say is to read Roger's very good autobiography LIFE ITSELF and seek out old clips of SISKEL AND EBERT in its various incarnations to see film criticism on television done right.

[UPDATE 11/11/11: Here's Chaz Ebert thanking viewers of EBERT PRESENTS for their support thus far:]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seven more thoughts as I leave the SoCal poetry building.

1. The titans of SoCal poetry come in three flavors: a. obnoxious and egomaniacal b. seemingly friendly, but likely to say less than kind things about you behind your back as they advance socially c. genuinely friendly and helpful no matter where you are in the scheme of things.  Have known people in all three categories over the past thirteen years.

2. As I've said before, I came into a poetry scene that had a larger welcome mat than it does now.  Ironically, the first venue I read/attended workshop at (Midnight Special Bookstore) had a shakeup where certain then-elite poets (Richard Beban and at least one of his fellow Hyperpoets) stomped away--apparently because the venue was too small-d democratic for their tastes.  Today, venues either set out to pattern themselves as/change their booking preferences to the Rose Cafe's Hyperpoets reading series as it existed in the late 20th Century--making Beban sort of the highbrow Carl Karcher, Jr. of SoCal.

3.  A very large number of SoCal poets may claim to be fiercely liberal in the social/economic senses, but they are rather passive and pay little attention to the "poetry community" changing in ways which eventually
discourage their active participation.  They have day jobs and they have fun at the readings they attend--and they, sadly, aren't bothering to take a long-term viewpoint until it's too late.  Then, nostalgia---and silence. 

4. And, as a corollary, they tend not to want to stick their necks out for troublemakers (few Tom Joads in LA/OC poetry).  If one of their own gets in trouble with a popular poetic authority figure, that's not their problem--unless that authority figure says/does something to them personally.  And, then, they're likely to find few-if-any fellow poets willing to listen to their problems should they choose to seek counsel.

5. Some veteran poets in the scene figure that, by embracing prevailing (and sometimes trendy) notions of "what's good", they can prolong their careers and eventually make some money.  The mania of getting an MFA degree to get the Right people to take one's poetry seriously still prevails.  However, I worry that, given the "we will anoint you as a Real Poet when we see fit--it may take years or decades" thinking here, an MFA may not change certain tastemakers' attitudes that easily.

6. Take self-appointed leaders with a grain of sea salt.  G. Murray Thomas knows a few things, but his blow-with-the-prevailing-winds pronouncements/reviews shouldn't make you feel like writing poetry you're uncomfortable with for "career" reasons/wasting money on an MFA if you don't agree with him.
7.  If you choose to remain in the arena, don't hesitate to spawn readings from your home--or even (gasp!) a coffeehouse.  I did both over the last few years--and am happy to have made a positive effort.

Now, it's your turn to pick up a banner and keep Southern California poetry from losing its regional flavor/diversity/idiosyncrasy entirely.

Some day--or some year--I hope to join you again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pauline Kael on THE EXORCIST.

Found a copy of this 1974 review (in my opinion, one of Pauline Kael's best pieces of writing) on

Reprinting it here:

Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, January 7, 1974

Shallowness that asks to be taken seriously—shallowness like William Peter Blatty's—is an embarrassment. When you hear him on TV talking about communicating with his dead mother, your heart doesn't bleed for him, your stomach turns for him. Some people have impenetrable defense sys-tems. You can't kid around with a man who says that he wrote The Exorcist because "as I went along writing my funny books and screenplays, I felt I wasn't making a contribution to the welfare of the world." He says that he looks upon it "quite frankly as an apostolic work." That the work has made him a millionaire doesn't make him a liar. Blatty is apostle to the National Enquirer, and to Cosmopolitan, in which the novel was condensed—so those Cosmopolitan Girls could make conversation without looking tired around the eyes. The crushing blunt-wittedness of the movie version, which he pro-duced, tends to bear out Blatty's apostolic claims. Directed by William Friedkin, who won the Academy Award as Best Director of 1971 for The French Connection, the film is a faithful, adaptation of the Blatty book—and that's not a compliment. Blatty did the intractable screenplay, so Friedkin may have been faithful in spite of himself. The picture isn't a gothic horror comedy, like Psycho or Rosemary's Baby; it has been made as a heavy, expen-sive family picture. It's faithful not to the way many people read the book—as a fast turn-on entertainment—but to Blatty's claims about what the book was intended to be. It's an obtuse movie, without a trace of play-fulness in it. A viewer can become glumly anesthetized by the brackish color and the senseless ugliness of the conception.

Following on the success of Rosemary 's Baby (Rosemary gave birth to a cloven-hoofed infant, her actor-husband having mated her with Satan in ex-change for a Broadway hit), Blatty, a veteran screenwriter, developed an out¬line for a novel about the demonic possession of a child, and Marc Jaffe, of Bantam Books, subsidized the effort. Harper & Row picked up (lie hardcover rights, and the movie deal (stipulating that Blatty was to produce) was made even before publication. Blatty, who once hoaxed people by im-personating a Saudi Arabian prince, and whose screen credits include a hand in Darling Lili, The Great Bank Robbery, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, Promise Her Anything, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home, etc., is not an austere writer. The key personnel in The Exorcist are (a) Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), a beautiful movie-star mother, divorced, agnostic; (b) her twelve-year-old daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), who becomes a foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, blaspheming, church-desecrating murderess; (c) Fa¬ther Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a tormented Jesuit psychiatrist who is losing his faith; (d) a jokey, warmhearted Jewish police lieutenant (Lee J. Cobb); (3) a distinguished, ascetic priest, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), whose archeological work has somehow—it's not made clear how, in either the book or the movie—released the demon that takes over Regan.

The book features a murder victim—a British movie director—whose "head was turned completely around, facing backward"; little Regan rotat-ing her head; little Regan masturbating with a crucifix and grabbing her mother and forcing her mother's face against her bloody vagina; vomit pro-pelled from Regan's mouth into people's faces. And what Blatty didn't man-age to have his characters do he had them talk about, so there were fresh atrocities every few hundred words. Like the pulp authors who provide flip-page sex, he provided flip-page torture, infanticide, cannibalism, sexual hys-teria, werewolves. The book is a manual of lurid crimes, written in an easy-to-read tough-guy style yet with a grating heightening word here and there, supposedly to tone it up. ("When the Mass was over, he polished the chalice and carefully placed it in his bag. He rushed for the seven-ten train back to Washington, carrying pain in a black valise.") The book turns up on high-school reading lists now, and the Bantam edition carries such quotes as "Deeply religious ... a parable for our times" and "The Exorcist should be read twice; the first time for the passion and horrifying intensity of the story, with a second reading to savor the subtleties of language and phrasing over-looked in the mounting excitement of the first perusal."

For the movie, Blatty had to dispense with a subplot about the butler's daughter, and, of course, he couldn't retain all the gory anecdotes, but the basic story is told, and the movie—religiously literal-minded—shows you a heaping amount of blood and horror. This explicitness must be what Wil-liam Friedkin has in mind when he talks publicly about the picture's "doc-umentary quality." The movie also has the most ferocious language yet heard in a picture that is rated R, and is thus open to children (to those whose parents are insane enough to take them, or are merely uninformed). The Exorcist was budgeted at four million dollars, but, what with swiveling heads, and levitations, and vomit being spewed on target, the cost kept ris¬ing, and the picture came in somewhere around ten million. If The Exorcist had cost under a million, or had been made abroad, it would almost cer-tainly be an X film, but when a movie is as expensive as this one, the M.P.A.A. rating board doesn't dare to give it an X. Will people complain? I doubt it; the possible complainers have become accessories. Two Jesuits ap¬pear in the cast and served, with a third, as "technical advisers," along with a batch of doctors. Besides, the Catholic Church is hardly likely to be upset by the language or actions in a film that says that the Catholic Church is the true faith, feared by the Devil, and that its rituals can exorcise demons. The two heroes of the film are von Sydow and Jason Miller, both playing Jesuits; Georgetown University cooperated with the production, which was shot partly in Georgetown; and one of the Jesuit actor-advisers enriched us, even before the film was finished, with information about its high moral charac-ter ("It shows that obscenity is ugly . . . vicious ugly, like the Vietnamese news"). The movie may be in the worst imaginable taste—that is, an utterly unfeeling movie about miracles—but it's also the biggest recruiting poster the Catholic Church has had since the sunnier days of Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's.

Whatever Blatty's claims, if The Exorcist scares people that's probably all it has to do, in box-office terms, and basically that's all the whole unpleasant movie is designed to do. "People only go to movies for three reasons, to laugh, cry, or be frightened," Friedkin has said. And "There are only three reasons to make a movie, to make people laugh, to make them cry, or to frighten them." The scaring here is a matter of special effects and sound and editing—the roaring-animal noises from the attic coming at the right instant, Regan's bed shaking just enough, the objects in her room flying about without looking silly, and so on. If the audience ever started giggling at the sounds and tricks, the picture might collapse, because it's entirely mechanical and impersonal. Von Sydow brings some elegance to his role, and the makeup that ages him is one of the most convincing aging jobs I've ever seen, but once you perceive that his Father Merrin is saintly and infirm, that's it. As Father Karras, the most active character, Jason Miller does the gloomy, tormented John Garfield bit—and it's a wheeze by now. All the performances are; there's nothing the actors can do with the juiceless stock roles.

The book's success may relate to its utter shallowness; the reader can go at a fast clip, following the plot and not paying any attention to the charac-ters. But in the movie version the psychology, which is tiresomely moralistic (as in a fifties TV drama), is dead center. There we are with the freethinking mother feeling guilty about her divorce and its effects on Regan; we may not know why the demon picked on Regan, but we're tipped that that broken home—the first step to Hell—gave the Devil his chance. And there we are with the creaking goodness of the Jewish cop, and the jocular bonhomie of the Jesuits. It's all so tired that we can keep going only on fresh atrocities. Apart from the demonic special effects, which are done in staccato quick cuts, the picture is in a slugging, coercive style. It piles up points, like a dem-onstration. Friedkin, beloved of studio heads for such statements as "I'm not a thinker. ... If it's a film by somebody instead of for somebody, I smell art," is not a director given to depth or mystery. Nor is he a man with a light touch—a failing that appears to have been exacerbated by the influence of El Topo. He has himself said that Blatty's book took hold of him and made him physically ill. That's the problem with moviemakers who aren't thinkers: they're mentally unprotected. A book like Blatty's makes them sick, and they think this means they should make everybody sick. Probably Friedkin really believes he is communicating an important idea to us. And the only way he knows how to do it is by surface punch; he's a true commercial director—he confuses blatancy with power.

As a movie, The Exorcist is too ugly a phenomenon to take lightiy. Its gothic seriousness belongs to the class of those old Hearst Sunday-supplement stories about archeologists defiling tombs and the curses that befall them, and it soaks into people's lives. A critic can't fight it, because it functions below the conscious level. How does one exorcise the effects of a movie like this? There is no way. The movie industry is such that men of no taste and no imagination can have an incalculable influence. Blatty and Friedkin can't muster up any feeling, even when Father Karras sacrifices himself—a modern Christ who dies to save mankind. We in the audience don't feel bad when the saintly Father Merrin dies; we don't even feel a pang of sympathy when the words "Help Me" appear on Regan's body. From the mechanical-scare way that the movie works on an audience, there is no indication that Blatty or Friedkin has any feeling for the little girl's helplessness and suffering, or her mother's, any feeling for God or terror of Satan. Surely it is the religious people who should be most offended by this movie. Others can laugh it off as garbage, but are American Catholics will-ing to see their faith turned into a horror show? Are they willing to accept anything just as long as their Church comes out in a good light? Aren't those who accept this picture getting their heads screwed on backward?

Somewhere in the publicity for the film there was an item about Wil-liam Friedkin's having looked at five hundred little girls before he chose his Regan, and, indeed, Linda Blair is a sparkling, snub-nosed, happy-looking little girl, who matches up perfectly with Ellen Burstyn. I wonder about those four hundred and ninety-nine mothers of the rejected little girls—or about the hundred and ninety-nine, if that's a more reasonable figure. They must have read the novel; they must have known what they were having their beautiful little daughters tested for. When they see The Exorcist and watch Linda Blair urinating on the fancy carpet and screaming and jabbing at herself with the crucifix, are they envious? Do they feel, "That might have been my little Susie—famous forever"?

The New Yorker, January 7, 1974

Examples of the writing of film critic Pauline Kael--subject of new biography and reviews collection.


Kael's essay on Cary Grant "The Man From Dream City":


Kael's controversial pre-release review of Robert Altman's NASHVILLE:

And the review of BONNIE AND CLYDE that led to her being hired at THE NEW YORKER:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As I exit the SoCal poetry building, some random items to ponder.

True story: Years ago, I was offered a chance to sit down with then-L.A. Poetry Influence Richard Beban and still-OC Poetry Influence Steve Ramirez and I rejected it out of concern that it was going to be pressure on me to shut my mouth and stop being contrarian about poetry community matters.

True story #2: The other day, after posting my leaving-for-awhile announcement on Facebook, my hater club called TERRY McCARTY'S WAR AGAINST HUMANITY sent this message:
True story #3: In a backchannel conversation between still-L.A. Poetry Influence G. Murray Thomas and myself within the last year, Murray told me [in context of community acceptance] to "write better poetry."

I'd like to think that I've improved aesthetically over the past decade-and-a-third, even if certain people think otherwise and/or are tired of hearing whatever I write, say or think.

And the sad irony is that I started my "career" in poetry keeping my mouth shut, swallowing disappointment and believing (or trying to believe) just about everything the community says is right and proper.

Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore - Phil Collins

Weeping soft tears over the likely soon-to-be-unmarried state of Zooey Deschanel (indie goddess and THE NEW GIRL) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie).