Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Saturday, June 05, 2004
Oh, Also...

Ronald Reagan died today.

I think it would be for the best if I didn't say anything more about that.

Update:Billmon puts it well.

Digby puts it even better:
You were better than George W. Bush.

Quite.

11:06 PM ::
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Day One

The first day of the shoot went far more smoothly than any I've ever worked on before... a lot of that is probably down to the streamlined nature of the production: small crew, very little equipment, lots of preparation. If we can keep things moving this way, the rest will be quite easy.

The day started with my losing my drivers license... not in the sense that a cop came and took it off me, only in that the actual object has gone astray. I called every place I went to before I noticed its absence, but nobody had turned it in. So I guess on Monday I'll have to go to the DMV and get a new one.

Paul, who had primary roles in Morgan's last film as well as the play he produced, is missing. Nobody at all seems to know where he is; nobody at his house has heard from him, even his (ex?)girlfriend doesn't know where the boy is at. This has been going on for several days... I hope he's okay, especially since he's in a scene we're shooting tomorrow. I'm callous, I know. Come back to us, Paul.

And then tonight, while shooting a couple of scenes by the river, Morgan got a bug in his ear. We spent about ten minutes fishing around with a pair of tweezers while Morgan made really agonized sounds. Eventually it was removed, although not without some difficulty and general freaking-out (it was a rather small fly-type thingy, although admittedly quite large to be in one's ear), and we got on with the last shot. Tim had the presence of mind to film most of the incident, so I have no doubt that it'll make it into the making-of documentary.

10:55 PM ::
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Mike Wilson Hates Michael Moore

I ran across this article just now.

Anybody who wants to know how I feel about Michael Moore need only click the link to the left; I can't really sympathize with him over this stuff too much... he can more than handle himself, and to an extent this kind of thing is inevitable. If you talk a lot and make controversial arguments, you're going to get a certain number of people trying to talk back. I'm sure he can still sleep at night.

But it does rather go to show that, if one side is imperfect, the other can be downright disingenuous:
"What I'm out to influence is how people perceive what he's telling them. I just want them to know documentary makers are inherently dishonest. They walk into something with a point of view," Wilson says.

He doesn't exclude himself from that charge. "I'm being very honest," he says. "I'm manipulating (audiences) with this film."

Huh?
12:01 PM ::
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East Memphis Klan

Okay... so I was at Target a while ago, picking up a few things we need for the shoot... y'know, the one on Colonial off Poplar, in East Memphis. And as I return to my car, something catches my eye: it's a bumper sticker that says -- yep, that's right: "I Ride With Forrest." It's the same SUV as before, parked right next to my car.

Apparently I'm on the Klan's turf. I haven't felt this surrounded by intolerance since the year-long epidemic of anti-Catholic screeds showing up on windshields across the city, placed by some fanatic follower of Tony Alamo. (In fact, not all that long ago Catholics were as vilified in the South as Jews, and not much less than blacks.)

Who are these people? Having seen them twice now, I'm dying to know... are they old-school nigger haters? Are they kinder, gentler Klansmen who don't hate Jews and black people, but can't abide race mixing? Maybe they're the kind of people who, if you talked to them, would babble inanely about the Old South and the Confederacy, or white pride or Aryan Christian values, all in a thinly-veiled attempt to distract you from their fundamental problem: fear.

Because, as I have learned over time, that's what's really at issue: these people are terrified, absolutely piss-their-pants afraid of people who don't look or act like them. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a bigot in Memphis, Tennessee, where 65% of the population is African-American; this is a very black city. Add to that the stress of being a Klansman in East Memphis, the traditional home of one of the South's largest orthodox Jewish populations, and they must spend every waking moment trying desperately not to mix with any other human beings (apart from those at the rally, obviously.)

Running across such blatant racism is always disheartening; it's people like the "I Ride With Forrest" family that make it seem as though we'll never get past the old Southern bullshit that keeps us from realizing our potential. But even so... here in Memphis, where the original Nathan Bedford Forrest once lived and did business, we now have a black mayor. The same is true of Forrest City, Arkansas, which was named after the man. Every place where the General once lived is now overrun with happy, prosperous African-Americans.

I hope that pisses these fuckers off.

11:31 AM ::
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Friday, June 04, 2004
Nefarious Dealings

What the hell is going on in the Bush administration lately?

First George Tenet leaves, under somewhat unusal circumstances. Did he resign of his own free will? Was he sacked? Why -- after everything that has gone wrong with intelligence over the last few years -- did he leave now?

Then today, everybody got a little morning surprise when a second high-ranking CIA official, James Pavitt, resigned as well.

I find it difficult to believe that after so many obvious failures -- which, I hasten to point out, were not the CIA's alone -- the Bush administration would finally realize that the job wasn't being done well enough and fire the guy; that's been patently obvious to even casual observers for well over a year. Thus, it must be political; but the question is, is the CIA pushing, or being pushed?

Some think that Tenet was booted to defuse any intelligence-related criticism the Democrats might use against Bush in the coming election. This is possible, but it doesn't ring true for me... electoral politics in the United States, particularly among conservatives and moderate Republicans, tends to hinge more on rhetoric and "big issues" (like abortion and gay marriage) than on cabinet concerns. I find it difficult to believe that a large enough percentage of the American electorate would care about Tenet's presence or lack thereof to make any significant difference in November.

Others suspect that Tenet left in order to avoid becoming the fall guy for a growing intelligence scandal that has already appeared on the horizon. Alternately, perhaps he got the can as a preventative measure, enabling the administration to say, when the time comes, that it has already dealt with the problem. But the announcement in the Rose Garden didn't seem like an event that was that well-thought-out; Bush was clearly just winging it out there (never a good idea), which smacks of a surprise.

That incident combined with the newest departure seems to suggest that something is very much up. I look forward (with trepidation) to finding out what it is.

But that's not the end of the strangeness surrounding the Bush administration and its relationship to the CIA, oh no. It seems that Bush has recently consulted a private attorney regarding the Valerie Plame scandal. As well he should, it's an extremely serious matter: identifying an undercover CIA operative qualifies as treason, and word is that the question at this point is not "did Bush know?" but rather, "when did Bush know?"

All of these things, it seems to me, are basically appropriate, regardless of the reasoning behind them. Tenet should've gone a long time ago, and Bush has every reason to be nervous about the Plame investigation, among other things. But it's an unusual amount of activity in a short period of time... I can't really help but wonder what's going on.
6:11 PM ::
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Thursday, June 03, 2004
Mark Your Calendar

The Weinsteins announced the release date for Fahrenheit 9/11 today: June 25. They also announced that they hope to open the film on 500-1000 screens nationwide... for a documentary, that's a huge number, possibly unprecedented. The release date is also awfully close; I have a feeling, though, that they're already well-prepared and have been working on this for a while. Why so soon? I figure, they have to push the film for the summer so that they can hit the rental/purchase market in October. A film like this has a limited profit-making (and election-influencing)lifespan, and obviously after November 2 this one becomes significantly less interesting to the general public. (And while I'm looking forward to it, and expect to enjoy it, I don't think it's going to be another "Salesman" or "Harlan County, U.S.A.")

Incidentally, Poppy Bush hates this movie. Good.
3:28 PM ::
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Not Exactly On Hiatus, But...

... not blogging very often for a while, either. We're starting the production of Morgan's film very, very soon, and it'll continue through the month. I've got test shoots for the next three days, and then we launch right into the proper shoot on Saturday. Therefore, I'm probably not going to be posting as often while that's going on; my main priorities will be 1) the shoot, 2) sleep, and 3) everything else. I think you can guess where the blog fits in there.

I'll still try to get a few posts up... this blog may even serve as a release valve if things get tense. (I apologize in advance for anything untoward I might write here in a moment of desperate frustration.) But otherwise, occupy yourself with any of the numerous links found at either side of this page; they're all worthwhile. And don't forget the archives over there on the left; they actually work now (no, really... try 'em for yourself!)

11:26 PM ::
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Monday, May 31, 2004
In Remembrance

While you're enjoying your three-day weekend, bear in mind these two numbers:

74 78 - the number of American troops who have died in Iraq in May 2004, the third highest monthly total since the war began.
635 - the number of troops who have died since last Memorial Day.

Each and every one of those deaths was unnecessary.

(source)
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