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Archive for February, 2014

The Woody Allen allegations

Dylan, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and Ronan in 1988.  Photo credit: Photoreporters Inc/REX

Dylan, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and Ronan in 1988.
Photo credit: Photoreporters Inc/REX

I don’t believe them. Not at all. This piece in TDB by filmmaker Robert B. Weide settles the matter for me. It’s as much as I need to read on the subject.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman in 'The Master'

Philip Seymour Hoffman in ‘The Master’

[update below]

I was shocked to hear the news last night. And I was not alone, in view of the reaction from numerous people on my FB news feed. How the f— does a man of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s stature and fame—not to mention age—find himself with several packs of heroin and a needle in his arm? One associates this with underclass junkies, not someone so universally appreciated and with financial assets in at least the eight figures. Don’t get it. He’s being called the greatest (American) actor of his generation. I’ll put him in the top five, if not the top three. He played in some 50 feature-length films, according to IMDB. I’ve seen 12 by my count, the last one ‘The Master’. In my mini review of this last June, I wrote that PSH’s performance was extraordinary. He entirely carried what would have otherwise been a lesser film. I can’t think of another actor who could have pulled off his performance. R.I.P.

UPDATE: The New Yorker’s Richard Brody has a great tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman and what Brody correctly calls PSH’s genius. He begins with this

Philip Seymour Hoffman gave one of the greatest onscreen performances that anyone ever gave, in “The Master”

Several friends on FB have taken me to task for I what I wrote above on heroin, arguing that heroin is less the issue than addiction, which is a chronic illness, and that PSH manifestly suffered from. Dont acte. (Feburary 4th)

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0613-POP-WARNER-rules.jpg_full_600

I’m watching the Super Bowl as I write, which means it’s well after midnight chez moi. And which ergo means I that must really want to watch the game. It’s almost the end of the second quarter. Denver not looking good. Only one brief commercial interruption so far, which gives an indication as to the size of the audience here. A lot more non action than action during a US football game. Even though I’ve followed the NFL since age nine—with a few gaps here and there—it is, objectively speaking, a lousy sport, which I’ve written on here and here, and has zero chance of catching on outside the US. And while it will remain the nº1 spectator sport in the US for many years to come—and generate billions of $ in profits for the NFL—, it can only decline in the long run (after many of us will be dead). One thing I learned in the past five or so years, that I had no idea of, was the existence of Pop Warner football, where boys as young and five and six-years-old play tackle football in organized leagues—and where most NFL players get their start. I always thought the tackle game began in high school. It’s one of those bizarre phenomena in l’Amérique profonde (like beauty contests for little girls, the existence of which many Americans of my general socio-educational stratum learned about during the JonBenét Ramsey affair in the 1990s). This is insane—and insidious, as, among other things, Pop Warner also involves primary school-age girls cheerleading, of the girls cheering on the budding macho boys (and never the reverse; talk about a gender hierarchy from another era). As US football is a violent, dangerous game—with news of a former NFL player suffering from dementia or dying before his time announced almost every week—it is unconscionable to allow children to play tackle football. The game should be banned for minors. Hah, fat chance.

The fact that NFL players have been playing the game almost all their lives should somewhat reduce the NFL’s responsibility for the brain damage that many suffer in later life, as the players had sustained countless concussions by the time they entered the league in their early 20s.

Increasing numbers of parents are keeping their boys out of Pop Warner and high school football, as is being reported, e.g. here and here. And a certain number of fans—probably not many but still— are turning away from the game on account of the violence, e.g. here and here.

One thing I learned just the other day is that the NFL is tax exempt. This fabulously profitable enterprise earns billions and pays no taxes. Outrageous. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has initiated a bill to put an end to this anomaly. This is one Republican initiative I can sign on to no prob’.

On the subject of Republicans/conservatives, Bill Maher had a commentary recently on “new rules football and conservative bullies,” in which he ridicules right-wingers (Rush Limbaugh et al) who attacked President Obama for saying that if he had a son, he wouldn’t allow him to play football. Oh my, how un-American!! Maher is usually a dick but he’s great in this one (watch here).

But not all right-wingers like the game. E.g. George Will is not a football fan and makes no secret of it (here, here, and here).

Back to the game underway, the Seahawks are mauling the Broncos big time. This is turning into one those 1980s-90s Super Bowl routs. Too bad for Peyton Manning. And for my friends in Denver.

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