Oh, Those Guilty Liberals

Frédérik SisaOP-ED

     I’ve been coming across the words “liberal guilt” often lately. My first encounter was via Salon.com’s film critic Andrew O’Hehir’s more or less tongue-in-cheek Liberal Guilt Awards (or Guilties). In this scenario, “Hollywood congratulates itself for its general condition of progressive enlightenment and lectures the rest of us from its newfound position of half-baked moral seriousness.” Website Link

     Next was Steve Lopez’s March 12 column in the Los Angels Times, in which he discusses the furor around Crash. “I’m guessing,” he wrote, “as others have, that some Oscar voters were assuaging liberal guilt over the safety of their own isolation when they feted ‘Crash’ for ‘tackling’ that old devil racism.” This is, of course, similar to what L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote about the Academy’s decision to award the Best Picture Oscar to Crash instead of Brokeback Mountain.


Breaking Up Is Easy to Do

Frédérik SisaThe Recreational Nihilist

     In November of 2005, fifty-eight percent of San Francisco voters approved a ban on owning, buying, or manufacturing handguns. Enforcement will be delayed until June, however, while the courts hear a suit filed by the National Rifle Assn. The basis for the suit: the city is (allegedly) usurping the state’s sole right to regulate handguns. (Source: Associated Press)
     In South Dakota, Gov. Michael Rounds signed a (symbolic?) law banning almost all abortions. The state is shaping up to be the staging ground for an assault on Roe v. Wade, although both sides of the abortion debate are tactically divided. (Source: L.A. Times)

After the Oscar High, the Crash

Frédérik SisaA&E

        So the set was overbearing and, dare I say it, vulgar in its quest for nostalgic glamour; thank goodness for Jon Stewart, who was as incisive and entertaining as we could hope for in an emcee, and a good distraction from the retro-passé stage décor.
        And thank goodness there was nary a hint of that feeble Chris Rock pseudo “edge” to add unnecessary irritation to the ceremonies.
        This was actually one of the better Oscar nights in recent years, despite the few Roberto Benigni moments of ebullient joy. There were, however, a few good speeches (Clooney and Altman). Many of the presenters had good gags to liven things up — Ben Stiller in a green skintight uniform, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell in spotty makeup, Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep’s overlapping dialogue routine.

Waiting for Oscar

Frédérik SisaThe Recreational Nihilist

     Ah, yes, Oscar Night is nigh. It’s time to get wrapped up in the sparkle and glamour of Hollywood’s biggest event. Film critics far and wide are tripping over themselves with predictions as to who will walk away with the little golden man.
     Fashionistas are foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the latest designer wear.

     But instead of fawning over the latest peacock fashions that will strut down the red carpet, or waiting for Philip Seymour Hoffman to squash the debate as to whether Heath Ledger or David Strathairn should win for Best Actor, I’m going for the Big Picture.

The Evil That Men Do…

Frédérik SisaOP-ED

(Editor’s Note: The heavily promoted Steven Spielberg film “Munich” was slow to catch on with fans for the first weeks following its Dec. 23 opening. This Sunday  night at the Academy Awards presentations, however, it will be one of the most closely watched productions. “Munich” has been nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture.) 
     As a general rule, I try not to read reviews or too much news about a movie before I’ve seen it, particularly when, like “Munich,” it comes with a strong buzz. (Call me crazy, but I have enough going into a movie with my own biases that I don’t need other people’s.) Of course, it isn’t possible to be completely insulated. Naturally, tidbits of information and opinion inevitably filter through. In this case, it was that “Munich” is a  “controversial” movie.

Sisa: Part 2 – The Sad Lesson of History

Frédérik SisaThe Recreational Nihilist

Second of two parts

     In trying to consider the effects of religion on society, as the social scientist Gregory S. Paul attempted to do in the Journal of Religion & Society,  the following comes to mind:
     The overwhelming majority of people have been religious, both today and throughout history. Yet war, genocide, poverty and murder exist as much now as they did in the past. It’s rather hard to  argue that the world is better off today than it was a thousand years ago.

Sisa: Part 1 – The Mostly Harmless Bombshell

Frédérik SisaThe Recreational Nihilist

     My column was all set, ready to examine the effects of a  nuclear bomb detonated in the middle of popular wisdom until last-minute research revealed a serious discrepancy.
     The whole thing started with a study  published in the Journal of Religion & Society by someone named Gregory S. Paul. In it, he claimed that “in general,  higher rates of belief in and worship of a  creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult  mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous  democracies.”

Frederick Sisa: No Sacred Cows

Frédérik SisaThe Recreational Nihilist

sisa.jpg     Happy Holidays!
     There. I¹ve offended you. Mortally wounded you, even. On this day after Christmas, I¹ve just wished upon you a horrible, gruesome, drawn-out, agonizing, torturous death. A plague on your house both of your houses, actually.
     Oh, wait. Scratch that. Sorry. I wrote "Happy Holidays," not "Drop Dead."