January 10th, 2005



Here's what I liked best about Spanglish. Essentially, the movie is about people who are trying to do the right thing and mostly succeeding. The characters tell the truth when most movies would have them cover up and use the lie to build ever greater levels of plot device.

I really liked this movie. Morally, it speaks to me. So many movies these days have crap for morals. And I don't mean that there's too much sex in movies. I'm all for seeing hot famous people naked. No, what I mean is that serious cinema these days is often about excusing bad behavior. And some of the less serious cinema espouses some odd do what your superiors tell you types of views (e.g., Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings) or other moral nonsense.

On top of that the acting is superb. The kids are great even.

The movie should win an Oscar® or two.


January 2005 Harper's

Notebook, Lewis Lapham
Article on the election, espousing the view that it was not presentation at all that caused to lose the election. Instead, he proposes a vast and not so secret conspiracy by Republican officials to skew the election their way. Whatever. Evidence presented not convincing. Even if it is, what're you gonna do about it? Nothing? Shut up.
Saving Israel from Itself, Bernard Avishai
Article by the author ot The tragedy of Zionism: How it's Revolutionary Past Haunts Israeli Democracy. Somewhat interesting article, mostly because it includes the authors first hand anecdotes about emigrating to Israel in the early 1970s. He presents the case that Israel must become secular except in a token manner, or they will lost both the chance for peace with Palestinians as well as the devotion of its youth who increasingly look to the U.S. for their dreams. According to him at a least. I don't think the conclusion necessarily follows from his evidence.
A Romance of Rust, Donovan Hohn
Hohn describes living in the UP with a relative who collects old tools and describes an avid tool collecting community. He might branch off into other more meaningful directions later, but I got bored after a couple of pages and moved on.
Grand Opening, Jake Silverstein
Silverstein describes the building and opening of a McDonald's in the second to last province/state in North Amercia not to host an outlet for the billion-burger-selling retail chain. Zacatecas became home to a McDonalds recently. Explores the somewhat anti-left-establishment view that perhaps some folks want globalization rather than to re-heat leftover tortillas the traditional way.
The Secret Ingredient, Frederick Kaufman
The writer seeks to witness the the exact moment a food becomes kosher by observing a rabbi who works for the Orthodox Union as he inspects food making facilities.
Skipped the rest of the magazine, which was mostly reviews.