Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TLL: Rick Santorum, the Oscars, and Anthony Shadid

I normally try to get the Tuesday Link Love up early, but the work on the novel was going especially well today between clients, so here we are, a bit late. Around the horn from the week that was, as always, touching on things that made me want to throw my laptop through the window cultural and entertainment newsmakers, some fun happenings, as well as few items you might have missed.

I suppose a Presidential election isn't normally this embarassing considered entertainment news, but in following the GOP "leadership" leadership race, I am continually banging my head at the utter stupidity somewhat surprised by the statements uttered by the candidates and their sycophants supporters. For example, we have Rick Santorum, who somehow as emerged as a challenger to Mitt Romney and is the darling of the Christian Right. Sigh. This is a man who believes contraception is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” He also believes that women shouldn't be allowed to serve in the front lines of the army because "they'll get all emotional." Did I mention that back in 2008 he gave a speech lionizing the past greatness of America while charging that mainline Protestant churches are a Satan-sponsored “shambles” that are “gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.” And so while normally I'd be ranting about this, Santorum's great white misogynist patriarchal views are so unintelligent and stupefying, there's really not a lot to say for anyone with an IQ over 40 and who thinks equality is a pretty damn good idea.

Over at Salon, they think that Santorum's candidacy is a good thing. Like many others, they're tired of Conservatives treating women like dirt seemingly male-oriented policies. One woman, a lifelong Republican had this to say:

I was raised in a conservative, Republican, military family. I support personal freedom and personal responsibility. I support the military. I support a balanced budget. I support individual rights and the constitution. I support small government. But I find myself increasingly separated from the Republican Party, and this is why:


I cannot align myself with a party that repeatedly acts to restrict the rights of women, to deny women protection from abuse and violence, and to trample the rights of women to make their own medical decisions. I cannot support a party where individual rights and freedoms are only protected for people with a penis (so long as they are not gay). (MORE)

And a final note on Santorum, who this week received support from Franklin Graham, son of the famous preacher Billy Graham. Apparently Franklin isn't sure if Obama's a Christian. Of Santorum, he has no doubt, "because of the way he lives his life." Newt Gingrich, one of the most miserable f***ing humans on the planet, a man who cheated on his wife repeatedly and then divorced her when she was diagnosed with MS, and fellow GOP contender, gets Franklin's support as well. The whole issue regarding a person's faith and that somehow it legitmizes them to run for president is insane questionable, but to have someone who identifies himself as a bad teacher of religion designate who is a Christian and who isn't, and then to do so based on race and politics, is pretty gross.

Oscar Week!

This is my favourite awards show, despite its bloated-ness. For whatever reason, the others don't do for me. Maybe because I can only get behind one bloated awards show a year. Over at Grantland, they provide helpful hints for starting a whisper campaign against other nominees. My favourite? A possible reason why Terrence Malick's Tree of Life shouldn't win Best Picture. "I kept saying, 'Where did the dinosaurs go?' That's the movie I want to see, where Brad Pitt raises a pack of velociraptors in his backyard. Make that movie, that's a Best Picture." Also at Grantland, they wonder if Michael Fassbender's, err, big year was "torpedoed" by excessive focus on his large member something other than his acting. Very funny.

Over at Indie Wire, they offer their predictions. There are some more predictions at About. Who do you think will win? Which ones did you like? I can't comment because I haven't seen enough of the nominees. Not yet, at least. I'm usually about 18 months behind on these, unless Lord of the Rings is up for something, in which case I predict that Lord of the Rings will take home the gold. I do know one movie that won't be nominated next year. At least, not according to this scathing review. (The "worst Marvel movie ever made.")

More Jeremy Lin?

Tired of this story yet? I'm not. Not after watching a thoroughly entertaining Knicks-Mavericks game Sunday afternoon. Lin has appeared on back to back Sports Illustrated covers, and though his story has exposed some of the racism still alive and well in the world, it's still the best narrative going, and the best I've seen in a while. And hell, Tebow was a GREAT story.


And finally...


Normally, I don't include obituaries here on Link Love, but the world lost a giant this past week.
As some of you may or may not know, Anthony Shadid, the 2-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the New York Times, passed away this week from an acute asthma attack at the age of 43. A fearless and courageous reporter (and a wonderful writer), he was briefly taken hostage in Eastern Libya in 2011, there to report the uprising against dictator Col. Muammar Ghaddafi. Shadid was lionized by the journalistic community, and for good reason. Here's part of a piece he wrote in August 2010, reporting from Iraq. (Click the link to read the whole article.)

BAGHDAD — In a pastel-colored room at the Baghdad morgue known simply as the Missing, where faces of the thousands of unidentified dead of this war are projected onto four screens, Hamid Jassem came on a Sunday searching for answers. In a blue plastic chair, he sat under harsh fluorescent lights and a clock that read 8:58 and 44 seconds, no longer keeping time. With deference and patience, he stared at the screen, each corpse bearing four digits and the word “majhoul,” or unknown:

No. 5060 passed, with a bullet to the right temple; 5061, with a bruised and bloated face; 5062 bore a tattoo that read, “Mother, where is happiness?” The eyes of 5071 were open, as if remembering what had happened to him.

“Go back,” Hamid asked the projectionist. No. 5061 returned to the screen. “That’s him,” he said, nodding grimly.

His mother followed him into the room, her weathered face framed in a black veil. “Show me my son!” she cried.

Behind her, Hamid pleaded silently. He waved his hands at the projectionist, begging him to spare her. In vain, he shook his head and mouthed the word “no.”

“Don’t tell me he’s dead,” she shouted at the room. “It’s not him! It’s not him!”

No. 5061 returned to the screen.

She lurched forward, shaking her head in denial. Her eyes stared hard. And in seconds, her son’s 33 years of life seemed to pass before her eyes.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she finally sobbed, falling back in her chair.

Reflexively, her hands slapped her face. They clawed, until her nails drew blood. “If I had only known from the first day!” she cried.

The horror of this war is its numbers, frozen in the portraits at the morgue: an infant’s eyes sealed shut and a woman’s hair combed in blood and ash. “Files tossed on the shelves,” a policeman called the dead, and that very anonymity lends itself to the war’s name here — al-ahdath, or the events.

On the charts that the American military provides, those numbers are seen as success, from nearly 4,000 dead in one month in 2006 to the few hundred today. The Interior Ministry offers its own toll of war — 72,124 since 2003, a number too precise to be true. At the morgue, more than 20,000 of the dead, which even sober estimates suggest total 100,000 or more, are still unidentified.

This number had a name, though. (MORE)


He will be missed.

-Steve

P.S. Don't be afraid to leave favourite links or comment if you're so inclined. You can also drop me a line. Cheers, everyone.