Monday, 25 June 2012

The Very Best of Acephalous 2010 January On the significance of J.D. Salinger and Howard Zinn to the intellectual development of unschooled adolescents. Tell me what you think once you've finished the film, thank you very much. LURKER AMNESTY WEEK! IT WAS A SUCCESS! I'm continually surpised I don't kill myself on the way to class. The ten greatest directors in Hollywood (ranked according to their politics). The Dark Knight is, clearly, a mediation on the Buddha soul of dogs. FEBRUARY Lost in Translation isn't nearly as racist as Avatar will alway be. Does this camera angle make my head look like Tracy Morgan? Paris Hilton : Bruce Wayne :: Roosevelt : Batman How to bootstrap student diction. What is it, with students and, with commas? MARCH On the "moral" universe of Mark Millar. Politcally motivated rape "jokes" are always appropriate. John Nolte stands alone in his defense of surgically-enhanced breasts (and possibly the woman attached to them). I'm allowed to feel sad. Like when Alex Chilton passed. On the persistent metafictions of Alan Moore. APRIL I arrive in England and am immediately told to go home. I'm allowed to stay, but the authorities require I be accompanied by a lonely ghost. Not that the ghost can do anything about volcanos. So now I live in an alternate England in which air travel is impossible. The god in charge of Icelandic volcanos relents and I'm allowed to return home. Where I discover they've done terrible things to Kitty Pryde. MAY What do you mean "I just passed two kidney stones"? What do these words in the newspaper mean? That my apartment's about to burn down? Why didn't you just say so? There's a proper time and place for everything, but right now and in here is neither. Daniel Clowes is better than you. And him too. Not to mention her. JUNE THE GREAT CARAVAGGIO HUNT! Consulting high school poetry notebooks is never a good idea. Ever wondered what passing a kidney stone feels like? A One-Act Play written by SEK and performed by Al Swearengen. JULY Inception was thuddingly dull, so I wrote about it twice. I'm a happily married man who very nearly wasn't. I'm the monster your kittens fear. Until we lose ourselves (or are hit by another car) this narrative is us. AUGUST Finally I can be a proud white man again! Flat characters can't gush about the complex inner lives they lack. At least my position is grounded in historical fact instead of ideological fancy. SEPTEMBER The fact that it sounds like they're planning to rape her is just a coincidence. The many faces of the Republican party (according to the Republican party). OCTOBER How to write like Mark Millar, should you want to, which you shouldn't. NOVEMBER Ceiling Cat's not the only one who can see you masturbating. The Headless Chef teaches you how to bake delicious cheese cake without cheese. James O'Keefe hears the word "nigger," but can't find a conservative to pin it on. DECEMBER Jonathan Franzen blah blah,...
Mad Men: "It's not your tooth that's rotten," it's "The Phantom." (Clearly another installment in this never-ending series.) My previous post, on "The Wheel," discussed in great detail the relationship of Don Draper to his past via the fading photographs of him and Betty and the children. "Nostalgia," Draper says,"literally means pain from an old wound." The "twinge" Don describes to the Kodak Eastman people is tinged with sadness—the life projected on the wall is one his actions have destroyed—but it is also a pain that's tempered by the knowledge that it can be compartmentalized. The Kodak Carousel is more than a projector: the titular wheel effectively functions as a container for captured moments that can be opened and reexperienced at a whim or it can be a simple storage device for memories a person wants to know are safely preserved. This second person doesn't necessarily want to reexperience their lives one twinge at a time, but the thought of being unable to do so could cause a pain unmitigated by memory. This would be a powerful pain, a constant reminder of itself by virtue of its absence. In "The Wheel," Don feels remorse for transforming the family projected on the wall into something that evokes no more than the twinge of memory. He claims that twinge is "more powerful than memory alone," but clearly it isn't. In the fifth season finale, "The Phantom," directed, like "The Wheel," by Matt Weiner, the problem with Don's definition of nostalgia is immediately challenged by, of all things, a toothache: But his toothache isn't an ordinary toothache. As his dentist informs him later in the episode, his tooth had formed an abscess, which means that its core has become rotten and the tooth must be pulled. It's an absence that can only be treated by the creation of a larger controllable absence. Early in "The Phantom," the abscess functions as a physical manifestation of the guilt Don feels about his complicity in the suicide of Lane Pryce in "Commission and Fees." Weiner signals as much in the form of the phantom that accompanies Don's pain: The reverse from Don's swollen jaw and tired eyes to Adam's calm and open face connects the pain to its source: Lane's the second person who came to Don for help and, after being turned away, committed suicide. Don can feel a "twinge" of nostalgia for the family he fathered under his assumed identity, but his feelings for his younger brother, Adam Whitman, are complicated by the fact that he tried to store them in a wheel he knew he'd never attach to a Carousel. Adam had been stored and compartmentalized, incapable of causing a "twinge," at least unil Lane's suicide forces Don to remember his complicity in Adam's. In keeping with the carousel as a central image, Don's abscessed tooth is the equivalent of being forced to watch Adam meet his end a la Once he questions his role in Lane's death, Don is incapable of thinking about his life in the neatly compartmentalized way to which he'd...

Become a Fan

Recent Comments