Wednesday, 15 February 2012

LEAVE TUCKER ALONE! Lemieux claims that Tucker Carlson’s investigation into MMFA found no evidence worthy of being called such, but he is wrong. For example: During the 2008 presidential campaign, for example, author Jerome Corsi wrote a highly critical book about the Democratic candidate, titled “The Obama Nation.” The Obama campaign responded immediately with a detailed memo. The title of that memo, “Unfit For Publication” (a play on Corsi’s 2004 book, “Unfit for Command,” about then-presidential candidate Senator John Kerry), was the same title used by Media Matters just weeks before in a similar memo about the same book. Does Lemieux expect us to believe that two people both came up with the sameobvious pun? Take it from a professional literary scholar: the odds of two people both choosing to pun on the title of an author’s forthcoming book by referencing the last one he or she published are a million billion to none. Only a vast liberal conspiracy can account for such coordinated punning. Or, for that matter, this: The atmosphere in the office was considerably more tolerant on non-editorial matters. “There were these two folks who got caught [having sex] in the communications war room on the weekend,” said one employee. “People came in, and lo and behold there were two of their colleagues doing the nasty on a desk.” Neither one was fired. Take it from a professional witness of illicit office shenanigans: in the absence of a vast liberal conspiracy, it is impossible for colleagues to do “the nasty on a desk.” The laws of science forbid it. The rest of Carlson’s exposé is of a similarly high quality: revelations about left-leaning groups leaning left and anonymous sources saying terrible things about former employers.
Vincent and the Doctor, Together Alone (This be another one of those posts in which I “[feign] some kind of cultural superiority … even though [my] opinions and tastes are largely shite of the first water [that force most commenters to] make an effort to shaddup when [I] want to wax long and philosophical about some mainstream film [I'm] content to call art.”) I covered the palette of "Vincent and the Doctor" in my post about the Leverage episode "The Van Gogh Job," so I'll save some time and just say the wheat: The wheat: The wheat: The wheat may not seem that important—though damn do I love it—but it calls to mind Woody Allen's famous parody of Ingmar Bergman in Love & Death, which is relevant because "Vincent and the Doctor" is an episode devoted to the consequences of loneliness (felt or otherwise). The Doctor's alone because he's the Doctor; Amy's alone because (unbeknownst to her) Rory's been unwritten from existence; Vincent's alone because Vincent's always been alone; and the Krafayis is alone because it's been abandoned by its fellows. This is a story that's fundamentally about lonely people "coming together," only director Jonny Campbell doesn't shoot it that way. I bring up the visual punning on the wheat because the shots it parodies are relevant. To wit: All they're saying there is "wheat." They're together but alone—speaking but not communicating. I'm referencing the parody instead of the original because of the punned wheat, but it bears remembering that Bergman's use of this technique is equally ironic: he alienates his characters by going against the grain (ahem) of film convention (as discussed here) and including characters whose isolation is destroying them in the same frame. They're made to look more alone by being shot together. Campbell employs a similar shot at the end of "Vincent and the Doctor": It's staged like a Bergman shot, and although there's no mention of wheat in it, the moment Campbell chooses to go full-Bergman is significant: these three lonely souls have just dispatched the fourth mentioned above, but they can't come together either in victory or mourning. Their loneliness is too fundamental to their character. The can (and do) share a moment shortly thereafter, lying in the grass and seeing the night's sky as Van Gogh does: But even this moment is purely compensatory: Amy's still lost Rory; the Doctor's still the Doctor; Vincent's still going to commit suicide; and the Krafayis is now that different kind of alone we call dead. My evidence for this together-alone dynamic is, as I'd hope you'd expect, more substantial than a pun and a parody. Unlike the other episodes this season (linked above), "Vincent and the Doctor" includes more reverse shot sequences in which single characters inhabit a frame. Consider a few stills from a conversation between the Doctor, Amy, and Vincent: There's a moment when the Doctor and Vincent occupy the same frame, but the overarching structure of Campbell's direction is visible nonetheless: instead of framing these characters in a way...

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