Monday, February 19, 2007

Wolcott: Grime And Punishment

Today I added a "Blogs I Read" panel on the right hand side of the screen. Now, you should realize that doesn't mean I read them every day. To illustrate that point, here's James Wolcott's Feb. 11 column Grime and Punishment. I love this quote at the end, where he's talking about the series 24:

Not only am I not a torture junkie (the popularity on the right of 24's pulp fiction is proof that the real reason they approve of torture is not because it yields information and saves lives but because they vicariously enjoy the infliction of suffering--it's their favorite brand of porn), a prerequisite for being a regular viewer, but I'm not sure which is more cliched and ridiculous: the Intense Cell Phone Clamped to the Ear conversations or the Straight-Armed Double-Handgripped Gun-Pointing Commando stance; everyone's either barking into the cell or pointing their weapon at the nearest swarthy head and the throbbing doomsday urgency is unrelieved by a single grace note or stray glimpse of fugitive beauty in the post-industrial warehouse sprawl. Politically, aesthetically, 24 is for people who don't get enough fiber from eating the latest issue of Commentary and think acting consists entirely of grimacing.

I'm a fan of the show. The writing is taut, the acting is actually pretty good, and there's enough suspense and mystery to keep folks like me with short attention spans interested. It is, however, almost unreleavedly grim and often quite gruesome, and I can see the appeal Wolcott refers to.

Anyway, it's a little bit of genius, starting with the Grammy awards, moving through 20000 Leagues Under The Sea, thru to the grimly spirited mayhem of 24.

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