1. "Laugh, Cry, Believe: Spielbergization and Its Discontents": And J. Hoberman as Captain Hook.
["Something less than artist, Spielberg is also something more. He is the institution personified—the genius of the system, the whole Oscar Night shebang in one bearded, baseball-hat-wearing package. Spielberg is Hollywood's most successful director and most powerful producer, as well as a nouveau mogul, cofounder of the DreamWorks studio (recently sold to Paramount). He is a presidential friend and the Hollywood equivalent of a public intellectual, called upon, in the afterglow of Schindler's List, to furnish a Congressional investigating committee with expert testimony on the nature of hate crimes."]
2. "Tony vs. Paul": A popular and impressive YouTube offering.
["A stop motion battle between two friends turned enemies."]
3. "Cage Confirmed as Liberace Favorite": "Really gentlemen, I'm dismayed. Oh heavens, NOT THE BEES!!!"
["NICOLAS CAGE has been confirmed as the favourite to play camp showman LIBERACE in a new movie musical. The actor has been linked to the role for years, but now screenwriters JASON FRIEDBERG and AARON SELTZER have confirmed Cage is in talks to show off his musical skills as the late pianist. Speaking at the Sundance Film Festival, where the writers are promoting their new comedy EPIC MOVIE, Seltzer says, "We met with Nicolas Cage last year and he really wanted to star in it; he wanted to direct himself in it too.""]
4. "How "Japanese" is it?": From the Chicago Reader blog.
["Apparently the consensus regarding Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima--more than 11,000 Google hits for the critical rubric so far--is that he's given us a picture of the island's World War II invasion "from the Japanese point of view." Well, maybe he has and maybe he hasn't--and don't you love the defining article in either case?--but let's consider this: is there any significant Japanese director of the last 50 years who'd have filled the wide-screen frame with so many in-your-face, isolating close-ups and acres of empty space, who'd have gotten such fetishistic mileage out of glimmering swords and pistols and heavy-duty armaments in general, who'd have thrown you helter-skelter, without the slightest reticence or discretion, the gimlet-eyed withholding that an Ozu or a Naruse might bring, into the welter of sentimentality that defines the melodramatic line of action here? Utterly alien to anything I'd think of as Japanese, at least in terms of filmmaking--but maybe that's just me being stereotypical again."]
5. "Gender and the Pulpit": From Newsweek on MSNBC.
["At the time of her "transition," Swenson did not resist the church's questions nor blame its reluctance. "I had been in the closet for 30 years, learning to accept myself," she says. "It is difficult for me to be angry at others for not accepting." Married with two daughters before her transition, Swenson described her struggle, years later, in a sermon: "I had spent the better part of four decades wrestling secretly with the unreasonable and incorrigible desire to be female." After almost three years of grueling questions and debate, the Presbytery finally agreed, 181-161, to sustain her ordination, making Swenson the first known Protestant minister to transition from male to female while remaining in office. Now 59, Swenson is tall and blond, with shoulder-length hair and an assertive manner. Erin, as she's called, continues to work as a pastoral counselor and, she hopes, as an inspiration for others who find themselves living out, what may be, the last taboo in society, let alone organized religion."]
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.