Here's a good post from The Bostonian Exile on the weaknesses of talking points. Excerpt:
Ninth grade Honors English: A one-sentence answer -- to say nothing of the one-word response typical of thirteen-year-olds -- is nearly always inadequate. That I used to think my teacher was diabolical would overrate the Devil's power. But, that man, who died far too young, taught me a great deal about how to express myself... ...I don't need to be reinforced in my beliefs by bullet points. I usually find them overly simplistic anyway. That, or my similar conclusion arrives via differing (and, to my mind, sounder) logic. I guess that's why I took to blogging. Thinking people of all different persuasions offering and developing ideas. There are some parrots out there who toe the party line, but I don't bother reading those. Give me the ideas of someone who is truly grappling with issues, not just feigning difficulty because it is politically expedient. Give me those of someone not afraid to be critical of those in his own fold.
I remember one time on C-Span this guy called up and was obviously reading a prepared script, and Brian Lamb and whoever the guest was just nodded and listened, and then about 30 minutes later, another guy called and said the exact same thing, verbatim! Mr. Lamb inquired about this, and the caller got all flustered and hung up.
On the bookshelf immediately behind my swivel chair, I have a copy of Danny Peary's Guide for the Film Fanatic. I have been searching for evidence of Mr. Peary's presence on the Web for some while, and have not found much. Is he even still with us? What I did find the other day was a Peary enthusiast who made a list of all the reviews in the Peary Guide and is tracking those he has seen/still needs to see. A-M is here; N-Z is here. I quote (and very much agree with) with the list poster's comments below:
Danny Peary is the author of Cult Movies, Cult Movies 2, Cult Movies 3, Alternate Oscars and Guide for the Film Fanatic. He is the main reason I take film and film criticism seriously, and most of my cinematic interests (Argento, Tarkovsky, Westerns, etc.) can be traced back to his books.* Guide for the Film Fanatic (1986) is one of his best books, 486 pages covering over 1600 films, from art films to trash to horror to Kubrick to Hollywood hits to hardcore porn. Entries vary in length, and while none go into the depth of his articles in the Cult Movies books (in fact, he's not above recycling text from one for the other), each one is usually densely packed with info and an opinionated appraisal. Some of his criticisms may seem odd, even discredited in 2004 (I'm thinking Dawn of the Dead here), but he almost** has something interesting to say. Criminally, the book is out of print. Above, I've listed every entry in the book (not counting the "Additional Must-See Films" section, which lists another 2600 titles, sans commentary) for anyone out there, like me, who has spent almost 20 years trying to see everything in the book. If you've never seen the book, and are interested in film, you owe it to yourself to check it out from the library, or, if you can find it, buy it.
Also, here are the checklists for his three Cult Movie books. (As noted, there is much overlap. So you might see Zardoz twice - deal with it!)
* Me too! (Well, one of the main reasons, anyway.)
** -- "...almost always..." he probably meant?
Update 11:50 PM: Here's kza's blog, He Loved Him Some Movies. (That's the guy who posted the Peary list.) And I realize looking at my comments again that I didn't say anything about Alternate Oscars, which in some ways is an even cooler book than GFTFF. It looks at the Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress Oscar winners from 1927 through 1991, and explains which movies/performers should have won, along with Award-worty runners-up. Sometimes, he asserts that the Academy got it right, as when they gave Liza Minnelli the statue for Cabaret. But most often, he explains why they got it wrong and why someone else should have gotten the honor. Any of Peary's movie books are worthy of addition to the library of even the non-fanatical film fanatic, and Alternate might be the best one to start with. (End of update.)
There's a Penn & Teller special on tonight that I will probably either tape or watch live. My ♥GF♥ and I have been watching Season One of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! on DVD. (I Netflixed them -- the Blockbusters and Hollywoods by me didn't carry them and this is just one more reason why I am infatuated with Netflix.) If you haven't seen it, check it out (As long as libertarianism and agnosticism don't rile you up too much.) About 12 years ago or so they hosted a fantastic series for kids about the arts called Behind the Scenes. The foundation of its fantasticness was that it didn't treat kids like they were idiots who needed concepts spoon-fed to them. It featured artists, performers, and musicians like Max Roach, Julie Taymor, and David Hockney explaining what they do, and P&T giving appropriate and fun object lessons about the principles involved. If this sounds even remotely of interest to you, you owe it to yourself to seek these programs out. They also have a new-to-DVD miniseries made for the CBC, Penn & Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour, which I have not yet had a chance to see, though I intend to soon.
Proofing concerns aside, this might be interesting -- South Park Republicans. Excerpt:
OK, now we're talkin, this place is getting some color and attitude. This site is not going to be like the other "Serious" South Park site. This is going to be a site of parady that make fun of all side (but mostly of the left because we can). If you are on the left of the spectrum and think you can handle these rules and have something to post email us and we will see about letting you in. if you think that we will listen to the same old talking points then you sould go to the other site. If you think you can have some fun about the topics of today then come on down.
The rules of this site is easy
1) you MUST talk in South Park voices!!!!!!!
2) you MUST be funny. (ears of the beholder)
That is it, nothing more, if you take this site to seriously your post or comment will be removed. The topics are serious, the issues are real, Life is funny enough to make fun of it.