for 16 April 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
The Glamour Crisis
I was just surfing on the way to your site when I found this www.roopooco.com
It's the funniest thing I've seen in years. It's an Aussie site where they sell earrings made from Koala bear poo. The wording is very funny.
Contacting me about jewelry made from kangaroo shit in reference to a Suck piece on glamour is one of the strangest ways I've encountered for anyone to try to promote his website and his product. I admire your pluck. That's why I hate to break the news to you: Your venture is doomed. Maybe a few tourists who visit The Land Down Under would pick up a few of your trinkets to take back to their relatives, but overseas sales? Forget it.
Furthermore, I'm sorry to say that in my experience Australians are among the least glamorous people on the planet. Just look at the list of leading actors Australia has exported to this country. In addition to this year's Oscar winner, there's Mel Gibson, there's Paul Hogan... Hey, where's Paul Hogan's Oscar?
The presence of a trio like that on American screens inevitably calls to mind one question: Why do you keep doing this to us? Or maybe two: Why do we put up with it?
Wait. I take it back. If guys like that can make millions off Americans, kangaroo shit jewelry has a chance. A pretty good chance. Probably better than 50-50. Have you looked into setting up franchise stores in US strip malls? That's where they show the movies those Australians are in, too.
As they say in acting, break a leg.
Slotcar H. (for A.Y. Chahine)
Glamour has been on the decline for a couple of years now. It reached its selling point about the same time suddenly lucrative dot comer's traded in their UNIX books and Jolt colas for martini's and stinky thick cigars. Weren't those the days? Soccer moms wore kinky lingerie under swanky dresses and flirted with bisexuality while Project Managers donned suits and ties that color coordinated with their new SUVs and hoovered nose candy like rock stars. Jay Gatsby would have been right at home in pre-millennium Austin. Style, the yin to glamour's yang along the cultural axis, is making a big comeback. Given the southern direction of our economy thrift store chic is starting to look all the more attractive (although in some circles it never stopped). With any luck fashion will recycle itself back to the early days altculture.com has chronicled. Then all that flannel and the Doc Martins in the back of the closet won't be out of style crap. It'll be vintage, man!
Suddenly feeling vintage myself,
Dear Vintage Clay,
The difference between style and glamour is worth exploring, it's true. But as the dot-com bust slowly fades into legend, you can be sure that its accouterments and furnishings will be revived as surely as the look of the 1920s was recycled in the 1950s and beyond. In fact, one of the hallmarks of the '70s Glamour Crisis was a renewed interest in the flapper-era look that culminated in the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby with, unfortunately, Robert Redford in the lead and, more happily, that '70s duo of evil, Karen Black and Bruce Dern, in supporting roles. The '74 Gatsby won an Oscar for costume design, so I expect to see another film version any day now. And then it's only a matter of time before the late '90s dot-com boom becomes the raw material for a Hollywood version of those glamorous days and nights in the Bay, with the 2012 versions of Dern and Black as Anuff and Havrilesky. That's something to look forward to, isn't it? So stop whining about all the soon-to-be vintage flannel in your closet and get to work on a novel about Suck so someday in the not-to-distant future a Coppola can write the screenplay for the movie, just like one did in 1974.
Slotcar H. (for A. Y. Chahine)
Hi Ali "Fear" Youssef Chahine
Check this the physical result of a lifetime of lapping up the likes of Suck, beginning with bootleg copies of Mad and 'Lampoon, surreptitiously consumed right under the nose of Colonel Profitt, Hugh (Skeeter) Profitt's father who never guessed what was hidden beneath those sheets he bounced a quarter off of every morning. Those were the days. Must admit, the brain is controlling the body, though. Geronimo!
The "Dali Ali"
You showed me something, all right. Thanks for the smack, in French no less. I don't know what Andre Breton would say about the survival of surrealism in Charlottesville, but your manifesto is OK with me, why not?
Maintaining the brain/body split since last Friday,
Slotcar H. (for A.Y. Chahine)
Whoa, I've never seen a reference to Hampton Beach, NH in print anywhere. Are you a former resident of NH?
Wild man, wild,
Subject: Hampton Beach NH reference ?
No, Dave, I'm not a former resident. I'm just a sometime visitor to New Hampshire's spectacular collection of state-run discount liquor stores. Driving through the Granite State as a child on my way to summer visits in Alton Bay, you see, I was always fascinated by the combination of cheap booze and the ready availability of lottery tickets at highway rest stops there. Now, as an adult, I go back from time to time to help out the tax-free local economy. Where I live they don't sell gin or bourbon in 750 ml plastic "travelers," as that practice is illegal here for some reason.
Did you notice I included Seabrook in "Scenes from the Life of the Death Row Film Critic"? Check that out for another cheap Granite State thrill.
Live free or die,
Scenes from the life of a Death Row Film Critic
I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while. You managed to satirize Mumia Abu-Jamal and his followers, the famous anti-death penalty protesters, all of the film industry, and the Bushes in the same column. Almost split my sides.
Colin Seiler, Grinnell College, Iowa
It's nice of you to write in, Colin, and I'm glad I made you laugh so hard. I'm proud to know I've made someone in Iowa laugh. But I won't be happy until every last person in Iowa has read The Death Row Film Critic and then written in to let me know how they felt. Can you help me out here? I'm assigning all of Poweshiek County to you, including the Fun Valley Ski Area. Now get out there and start delivering those url's. Send your gas receipts to Automatic Media and I'll make sure you get reimbursed.
Whoo hoo! James Agee.
Love that guy.
Thank you, Lori, for another testament to the power of James Agee. Nobody ever sends an email that says Whoo hoo! Pauline Kael. There's a reason for that. Whoo hoo, Roger Ebert? Forget about it. Whoo hoo, Peter Travers? If the only way to stop the earth from plummeting into the sun was for one person, just one single person, to send someone anyone an email that read Whoo hoo, Peter Travers, I'm afraid that would spell the end for this tired old globe and everyone on it.
On the Agee-an list of yocks the titter, the yowl, the bellylaugh, and the boffo I hope I managed to get at least one or two out of you as you clicked through the story of Ali's plight.
great article, especially considering film criticism is the equivalent of death.
Danny, thanks. I read you email dozens of times. Well, actually, I read the first two words of your email dozens of times.
One thing about me, though, is I'm easily bored, and no matter what they are I can only read the same two words so many times. It was inevitable that eventually I'd discover the rest of your email. After I happened upon it, I being tenacious and willing to go the extra mile so as not to appear stupid, even to myself read it not just once but like with the first part of your email several times. And I have to tell you that maybe because of its gnomic =E9lan it has remained a little obscure to me. I just don't get it. Film criticism is the equivalent of death, you write. I was wondering if you'd care to elaborate on that, or if you'd rather just leave it hanging, a conundrum no, a dare! to puzzle us for the ages, and if we're film critics, make us feel bad about ourselves indefinitely. Whichever, I'm glad you read "Scenes from the Life..." and liked it enough to write in.
I mean, is it the equivalent of death or is it it just dead? Or what?
I only fear I will wake up some morning to hear a similar story reported by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.
Diane Sawyer's still on TV? Next thing you'll tell me they're still letting Barbara Walters interview movie stars before the Oscars come on. (Yeah, right, like they'd really let someone like her talk to John Travolta and Kelly Preston. No way the publicists of big stars like that would ever allow their touchy clients to expose themselves to the no-stone-unturned approach of a hard-hitting journalist like Walters. Those days are o-v-u-r, over!)