Timelines are neverending cliffhangers. Print newspapers and magazines (the traditional venues for serials), books, the spoken word, and even long-form internet writing are finite; the miscellany of Timelines that is our Facebook news feed is unremitting. There is something comforting and life-affirming about the neverending story. The simultaneous escapism and connection Facebook affords is seductive, and the awareness of always living at the edge of history is thrilling. But when that thrill is ever-present, it can add up to anxiety, and anxiety about keeping up with Facebook can replace anxiety about contributing to posterity in other ways. The preoccupation inherent to the activities of reading and writing is ever-present in the world of Facebook, and too often, slacktivism takes the place of activism as a result.
Annie Abrams on Facebook, time, and the storytelling impulse in all of us. Give it a read, you’ll never look at your timeline the same way again.
I completely understand the distrust so many people feel for Zero Dark Thirty. However, after finally seeing it, I found it to be much more complex and challenging than the controversy and debates surrounding the film suggest. Rather than simply being “pro” or “anti” violence and torture, the film forces its audience to consider the horrific actions that marked the road to the raid in Abbotabad. Even if the film is not entirely accurate, as many critics have alleged, it begs its audience to critically look at the costs of American military projects abroad in general. Rather than simply justifying the use of torture or illustrating it as a necessary evil, it prompts a discussion about the moral and cultural consequences of such forms of violence. It doesn’t subscribe to a simple stance, but provokes its audience to reflect on their own views on these weighty issues. The film doesn’t answer questions, but asks them, and that’s what makes it so successful. While it might be tempting to dismiss the film as a celebration of U.S. military operations abroad, that would be too easy. That’s a reading of the film that doesn’t do it justice and actually undermines the potential for critique within the movie.
I was skeptical about the praise for Silver Linings Playbook. Despite all its accolades, the trailers and synopsis made it seem like it would be, at best, pleasant enough. After seeing the movie, I understand why people have been talking about it so much. Nestled within the expected conventions of the romcom genre is an honest look at mental health, grief, and family. The script’s tone perfectly meets the highs and lows of the characters experiences; this is the type of film that justifies the existence of the word “dramedy.” In addition to Jennifer Lawrence's incredible performance (up until this point, I was positive that all her Oscar buzz was coming from the Hunger Games fan lobby), Bradley Cooper gave an deeply nuanced performance that’s equally deserving of recognition. Same goes for the fantastic supporting cast; Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are brilliant as the overwhelmed parents of Cooper’s Pat, and Anupam Kher has a sizable role as Pat’s therapist that subtly draws upon his range. This is a film that balances the accessibility of most romantic comedies with the depth of other serious awards season contenders, which shows just how successful of a movie Silver Linings Playbook is.
Currently reading The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.
So far, the novel is a beautifully written account of American soldiers in Iraq and the horrifying violence and traumas they both enact and experience. Powers does a great job of neither valorizing or vilifying his characters without downplaying the harsh realities of American military occupation in the Middle East. From what I’ve read, this is a truly impressive debut.
My 2013 resolution is to be invited on vacation with Solange.
For those in the NYC area, this is sure to be a fantastic event!
I seemed to have dropped the ball on blogging, but I’m still taking bad pictures with my iPhone and making them somewhat pretty with filters.