October 24th, 2006 | photography
October 24th, 2006 | Uncategorized
October 24th, 2006 | researchmaterial
Charlie Stross on the storm churned up in science-fiction-book circles by some bullshit article about bloody Star Wars and the perspective it puts on the future of the form. This is one I need to digest and ruminate on.
(For God’s sake, don’t read the comments section beyond the main article at the link.)
October 23rd, 2006 | researchmaterial
Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday he was considering a run for president in 2008, backing off previous statements that he would not do so.
The Illinois Democrat said he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. He said he would not make a decision until after the Nov. 7 elections.
“That was how I was thinking at that time,” said Obama, when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about his previous statements. “Given the responses that I’ve been getting over the last several months, I have thought about the possibility” although not with the seriousness or depth required, he said.
“My main focus right now is in the ’06. … After November 7, I’ll sit down, I’ll sit down and consider, and if at some point I change my mind, I will make a public announcement and everybody will be able to go at me.”
October 23rd, 2006 | researchmaterial
Despite repeated denials by the Mormon Church and Governor Mitt Romney’s advisers, e-mails from a key Romney consultant state that the leader of the worldwide church was consulted on an effort to build Mormon support for the governor’s potential presidential bid and that a key church leader has been involved in mapping out the plan. One e-mail also describes Romney’s personal involvement in the planning…
As tax-exempt nonprofits, the church and Brigham Young University are both prohibited from advocating for any political candidate or party, and some tax specialists have suggested the activity by church and university leaders could violate federal restrictions.
October 22nd, 2006 | brainjuice
(I wrote this for Bad Signal this afternoon, but it didn’t go through. So I’m putting it up here, so I can get a look at it with some perspective.)
There’s an oft-spoken rule in the writing of fiction: don’t write about writers. It’s the cheapest version of “write what you know,” and it’s often creepy and self-serving. You run the risk of being labelled the writer of a “Mary Sue” by people who know nothing about writing — the term comes from a fan-fiction writer who’d insert herself into Star Trek stories to save the day and fuck Spock or something, and denotes a character who stands in for the writer within the fiction to act as the hero. There are tens of thousands of people out there who still think I’m Spider Jerusalem, which is the irritant penalty for breaking the rule and spending five years writing about a writer.
But there is a Romance about writing. There’s a truth in Cronenberg’s NAKED LUNCH, with Bill Burroughs rubbing bug powder into the clitoris of his monstrous typewriter. Cronenberg himself spoke about the difficulty of externalising the Romance of writing: it’s just a guy sitting there writing, maybe he wears a hat, I dunno. That was one of the big problems I had to solve in TRANSMET.
There’s Ben Gazzara as Charles Bukowski, reciting poetry as he slides into Ornella Muti from behind in TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS; not a perfect film, but I like it better than (the better-made, better-acted) BARFLY. Stephen King’s MISERY, of course, every known author’s nightmare.
You even get hints of it in STUDIO 60 (and there could stand to be more, but Sorkin probably feels he’s airing enough dirty linen as it is): Matthew Perry in a black suit and tie, exhausted as he slips out of the wrap party early, ten years of stress cut into his face now, his brain clearly shot, leaving alone. That hideous clock in his office, ticking down the seconds until drop-dead, is a masterstroke.
There’s Romance in it, because it wrecks us all the same way. We’ve all been Jack Kerouac, sitting in a cafe writing as the sun comes up, blasted by sleeplessness and sex or drugs or music or booze and just trying to get it all down while we can, because we’ll be somewhere else tomorrow and we’re dead longer than we’re living.
One of my favourite films is TALK RADIO — I’ve stolen so many camera moves from that film – and particularly the climatic sequence of Eric Bogosian glaring at his microphone with wild hatred and just blasting his audience in one long monologue. Writing on the fly. The Romance is in his ex-wife going to a phone to call into him while he’s on air, and when asked why, she says, “He’s all alone out there.”
I bring it back to TALK RADIO because for the last year I’ve been thinking about writing something set in the near future about a radio monologuist. I was struck some years ago by Peter Biskind’s description of Jack Nicholson’s characters in THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS, a broadcaster: “he soliloquises into the wee hours, getting lost in the tangle of his own memories.”
TRANSMET is my personal haunting, now: I can’t let myself repeat that book. But broadcasting fascinates me, as do people who speak the truth, or at least speak to something in us. Radio seems weirdly archaic now, even with the recent innovations of podcasting and Visual Radio. It comes from another time: for me, it comes from my childhood. To half of my audience, it probably comes from their parents’ lives, a previous generation. Podcasting has given rise to things like street monologues: the likes of Jean Snow or Momus will stick an iTalk on their iPod and record their thoughts as they walk around Tokyo or Edinburgh, and upload it when they get home. There’s the real-world scaffolding for a story about a live street monologuist, whose voice is shot straight from the device on to the radio waves. It’d be nice to write someone verbal again: Jones is always either listening or muttering.
(JONES breaks a crucial rule of heroic drama: Steve McQueen would always have scenes of him listening to explanations rewritten, because, in his words, “I don’t want to be the man who listens. I want to be the man who KNOWS.”)
I’m rambling, and have probably broken the K limit on this posting. Let’s see if this sends.
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October 21st, 2006 | researchmaterial
The US Republican Party has launched a controversial terror-linked TV advertisement to bolster support ahead of mid-term elections next month.
The footage shows al-Qaeda leaders with captions of threatening statements, while the soundtrack of a ticking bomb plays in the background. The advertisement, which ends with the sound of a bomb exploding, is due to air from Sunday.
Democrats have hit out at the commercial, calling it scaremongering. US voters go to the polls on 7 November to elect members of Congress…
October 21st, 2006 | admin