23 September 2006

Territorial Maps

I'm crouching here over somebody else's laptop at somebody else's house enjoying the festivities associated with my nephew's wedding. For some reason the old bromide to the effect that the map is not the territory springs to mind, so I guess that's the topic of today's blast. Or maybe not--it looks like things are winding up here, so whatever I have to say is absolutely irrelevant. Or not. Help, you goddamn gods, help is all, to quote--well, never mind.

11 September 2006

Quiet Reflection

Today, for anybody who's interested, I uploaded another page to my Elizabethan Drama site. This is just a list of plays, of Massinger's plays to be precise, and in no other way remarkable. Except that this list, folks, this list comes alive. Tap the name of the play, ladies and gentlemen, and a copy of that play appears in front of you as if by magic. And this copy is no ordinary copy, no sir, this copy has been brought to you from some great repository of books that may be half a world away. Now this is the future I kind of always expected--except that, to be honest, I didn't expect to live long enough to see it--or at least to see it start, which is where we're at now. At one point I thought this was going to turn into something, but somehow the idea never caught.

Fates of living men inform us
We can fake our years of grime;
And above endure enormous
Flashbacks to a life of crime.

ABC's Road to 9/11

First, I have to confess that I didn't watch all of ABC's Road to 9/11, but I did sit it out for at least two hours, finally abandoning it for the latest episode of the Venture Brothers. I'd already been warned that this was a work of fiction, and that any resemblance to any actual persons or events was strictly coincidental, so I wasn't particularly surprised by the numerous departures from the historical record. I watched it purely as entertainment, as ABC itself suggested, and the long and the short of it is--

It sucked.

The opening hour was too damn long. The sequence of events was not explained, and the constant use of short clips from an unsteady handheld camera focusing too close to see anything was at best irritating, and at worst just plain monotonous. I could have done altogether without the character of "Patricia" (who as far as I know has no historical counterpart); she seemed to have no function whatsoever.

The movie wanders aimlessly around the first attack on the World Trade Center back in 1793 or so and gradually gets to various operations taken to capture the criminals and to identify their financial backer. There's maybe a half-hour's worth of substance in the two plus hours I saw, and decent editing (not the hack-and-slash job I actually saw) might have saved it. Maybe nothing could have saved it. I don't know.

As history, it's ludicrous. As entertainment it's--well, not. Entertaining, I mean.

My advice: forget it. I intend to. Skip tomorrow's installment and maybe read a good book. I hear that The Cell is a real page-turner. You might even learn something.
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