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Life Arts    H4'ed 10/4/13

Dionysian vs. Apollonian

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The penalty for reading Combat newspaper was death. 

The writers, who provided content for the underground newspaper that reported information about the Resistance to citizens in occupied Paris, if caught, were tortured in such a precise way that they would beg for a coup de gr- ce to deliver them from their prolonged agony.

Richard C. Blum was featured in a recent issue of the East Bay Express in a story titled "Going Postal" that was touted on the front page with this teaser:   "The husband of US Senator Dianne Feinstein has been selling post offices to his friends, cheap." 

That's the same fellow who has been reported to be a driving force behind the Bullet Train that, according to recent polls, most California tax payers don't want.

Since Senator Dianne Feinstein is currently leading a drive to define journalists as salaried people on the staffs of mainstream media and thus are on an "approved" list, (i.e. collaborators?) and since we don't want to be appear on the lady's s**t list, this column will be a review of the new movie "Rush," which isn't about the miracle working conservative pundit (soon to be officially canonized?) some folks call St. Rushbo.   It is a new movie about Formula One racing and that should be an innocuous enough topic for someone who doesn't meet the Senator's standards for superior journalism or, as some might call it, journalistic exceptionalism. 

In 1966, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City held an exhibition that featured Formula One race cars.   The spectacle of art aficionados walking around the silent machines talking in reverent whispers was a travesty of racing and a parody of the concept of a museum exhibition.

One particular spectator had to struggle for self control and refrain from screaming:   "Gentlemen, start your engines!"   (In 1966, Danica Patrick hadn't even been born yet.   [For all of October, her Go Daddy race car will be pink to help raise breast cancer awareness.])   Quite is for funeral homes.   Anyone who has ever been in the pit area of a Grand Prix knows that the noise is palpable.   There's no whispering at a Grand Prix. 

[If you are in a band that is generating an extreme amount of audience enthusiasm and you want to speak to your bandmate, don't try to shout over the noise.   Put a finger (yes, the middle finger works best) behind you pal's ear and speak in a normal voice.   The sound waves will travel through your bones and be transferred to his skull and inner ear and he will hear you perfectly well.]

Film director Ron Howard got it right.   The engine noise in "Rush" deserves a credit for supporting role.   (Is that a subtle way of saying the sound men deserve a Nomination?) 

The question "Is this the best car racing movie every made" will be discussed for many years to come.   Obviously some hypotheticals will spice up the debate.   If (big hypothetical) Elvis could have played the role of Clay Regazzoni and added some songs to the soundtrack album, it would have been even better, but critics have to deal with what was on the screen and not the realm of woulda/coulda/shoulda.   Doesn't Monte Carlo need a theme song that's just as upbeat as "Viva Las Vegas"?

What about the folks who don't go nutty over cars?   The book crowd might want to discuss the possibility that this film is a classic example of the literary device known as "twinning."   The film raises an age old philosophical question:   which is better: the spontaneous (Dionysian) approach to life or the careful and methodically planned (Apollonian) method?   Who said:   "Spontaneity works well if it's planned right!"? 

In the film Niki Lauda (Daniel Brà hl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) battle for the 1976 world championship for driving.   Lauda's whole life is channeled towards achieving his goal; Hunt believes that life is an opportunity to maximize the number of ways to have fun.   ("Take it easy baby, specialize in having fun   . . .")

Watching the film we noticed that the cinematographer's work might earn a Best Photography Oscar - nomination, which, in turn, made us think that "Rush" may be a serious contender for several different Awards next spring.  

That, in turn, made us wonder if the Oscar - Awards ceremony had changed much since we covered the ones for 1974 and 1975.   Back then getting a press pass was a Herculean task of the myth of Sisyphus level of challenge.   Odds are, it is much more difficult now.

The "Going Postal" article, which is a condensation of a chapter in a new book of the same name by Peter Bryce, exemplifies the kind of journalism that is displayed annually in the series of books published by Project Censorship.  

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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