["Few filmmakers have held my attention, respect and admiration for as long or as deeply as Luis Buñuel. For years I've thought of him as my 'favorite' director, mostly due to a personal connection I feel with his attitudes, humor and outlook. A surrealist, a wandering spirit, a cynic, a recovering Catholic...Buñuel used the cinema to explore these areas and took special delight in society's inexorable draw to the seven deadly sins—especially pride, lust and greed. Among the very few masters capable of channeling elevated social and cultural criticisms into popular cinema, he took aim at the whole of humanity, recognizing the folly of our desires."]
["The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost at least $190 billion in 2008, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, making it the most expensive year in the conflicts since they were launched by President George W. Bush. Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Congress to approve the funding after Bush this month beat back demands from Democrats for a quick end to the Iraq war and said the U.S. presence there would go on after he leaves office in 2009. Gates said he hoped longer-term for a much smaller U.S. force than the 165,000 troops currently in Iraq. He added that 'I don't see' any of the requested money being used for preparing a military attack on Iran, which Pentagon officials say is supplying weapons used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq."]
["This is the sort of movie that's set in an idyllic college town—Portland, Ore., in this case—where everyone seems to have a job and a home but no one spends all that much time working. How else would they be able to spend their days going for long walks, seeking advice from saintly professor Morgan Freeman (who has, of course, a dark secret), playing softball, or having athletic afternoon trysts? A friend of mine would sing the Melrose Place theme song and insert the phrase 'pretty white people with problems,' which pretty much describes Feast of Love. Morgan Freeman is the one person of color present, but in Hollywood movies there always has to be one to give wise advice to the white hero—it's the same thankless role Alicia Keys recently filled for protagonist Scarlett Johansson in The Nanny Diaries."]
4. "Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? (Part One)." By Errol Morris of TimesSelect. In which the author investigates two notable photos of cannonballs on a road during the Crimean War, circa 1855. Morris was spurred to write this piece after fixating on a portion of Susan Sontag's essay "Regarding the Pain of Others," which suggests that the photographer Roger Fenton manipulated reality to make the second picture more striking. The comments thread is a thing of beauty.
["I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the two photographs and thinking about the two sentences. Sontag, of course, does not claim that Fenton altered either photograph after taking them—only that he altered or 'staged' the second photograph by altering the landscape that was photographed. This much seems clear. But how did Sontag know that Fenton altered the landscape or, for that matter, 'oversaw the scattering of the cannonballs on the road itself?' Surely, any evidence of this would be independent of the photographs. We don't see Fenton (or anyone else for that matter) in either of the photographs bending down as if to pick up or put down a cannonball. How does Sontag know what Fenton was doing or why he was doing it?"]
["On his September 19 radio show, O'Reilly said he took civil rights leader Al Sharpton to the Lenox Avenue fixture and 'couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's Restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City...I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship,' he told listeners. 'It was the same, and that's really what this society's all about now here in the U.S.A. There's no difference.' And later, speaking with National Public Radio correspondent and Fox analyst Juan Williams, O'Reilly said there 'wasn't any kind of craziness at all' during his dinner with Sharpton: 'There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M.F.-er, I want more iced tea...It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense that people were sitting there and they were ordering and just having fun,' he continued."]
Quote of the Day:
"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."--Abraham Lincoln
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): All you ever need to know about artists and their public, courtesy of Charles Schulz. For more Peanuts strips, click here.
Clip of the Day: "Don't you dare bring one more thing into this house!" _____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.