Lunchtime. Listening to discussion of the Obama speech. This makes the second “let me explain my religion to you” speech in this election; I would gratified if McCain came out with his face painted blue and said “Hell, I’m a Druid. Get used to it.” As I laid out the bread I noticed something on the counter that should not be there: (G)Nat’s lunch box. I shot a look at the clock: I had time.
I ran into the lunchroom just as she was settling into her pot of shredded animal protein, purchased from the cafeteria. The kids tittered, but because I am the Dad Who Played the Guitar And Everything I command a small amount of awe. Not with my daughter, though. Eyes were rolled and palms were extended in exasperation. DAD. Sorry, hon.
Later I showed up too early to collect her from play practice. DAD. Sorry, hon. I redeemed everything by making spaghetti. Would that the world was so easily assuaged.
So I settle down for a little television last night, keen to watch some of that wretched “Titanic” movie from 1953. But first I finished the first episode of HBO’s “John Adams,” which is a remarkable show. The choice of Giamatti, with his scowly peevish pototo head, seems apt, and he’s great; it’s not a period I’ve ever spent a great deal of time inhabiting, but sometimes I think I’ve reserved the 19th and later 18th century for later enjoyment.
Before the show began, however, there was an ad for an upcoming HBO show about soldiers in the Iraq War. They were bouncing along in an armored vehicle, peering out the windows, guns at the ready, cracking wise in the time-honored cynical dog-faced fashion. There was an Iraq man waving to them, and I thought oh no, he’s signaling an attack, and then I thought no, he’s just waving, and then I thought oh no, they’re going to shoot him because he was waving. But they made a crack about how he should stop wearing pajamas. Another Iraqi held up a baby and said something along the lines of “I love America,” and a solider said “Vote Republican.” Shots of a helicopter overhead firing missiles; the soldiers whooped. The title splashes on the screen: GENERATION KILL.
Sigh. Well, I won’t be watching that one. It may be something else, but I suspect they wanted me to think it’ll be what it seemed like in the promo.
After “Adams” was over, I turned on “Titanic.” I was confused by the TCM intro: TCM IMPORTS, it said. Eh? Did I get the British version? No, that’s “A Night to Remember.” I checked the TiVo info: this was “Titanic” from 1943. What? Robert Osbourne ambled up to the camera and explained:
This was the Nazi version of the tale.
I’d never heard of it. (Of course, there are ten reviews on imdb.com.) It was a fairly big-budget item for the German cinema, what with the war and all, and had two directors. The first was killed by the Gestapo midway through production. Must have been hell to arrange a competition bond in those days. Goebbels nixed its release in the end, since so many people dying was apparently a depressing thing to show war-weary audiences. They wanted music, romance, comedy. They got it, but from the clips I’ve seen they were fascinatingly soulless things – everyone seems to be smiling through sheer terror. Imagine a Busby Berkeley sequence in which every dancer has her own sniper in the wings waiting to shoot her if she fails, and you’ll get the idea.
The Nazi “Titanic” is useful evidence against those who think the National Socialists chose the second part of their name for no particular reason – it’s anti-capitalist propaganda. The movie begins not on the dock, or on board, or in a boisterous café by the quay; no, it starts off in the White Star boardroom, where the eeeevil investors are figuring out the best way to manipulate the stock. Yes, that’s correct: insider trading sunk the Titanic. The head of White Star – a tall, dashing, cynical, cunning, selfish Bruce Ismay (snort) pushes the captain to reach New York in record speed to boost the stock, which had gyrated up and down prior to departure, and had been subject to large block purchases by other characters on the ship – oh, don’t ask. The interiors looks nothing like the Titanic, but the special effects aren’t bad, and it’s impressively shot. It’s just all wrong. Every frame is just saturated with a strong dose of Wrong.
Forgot the best part: the hero is a German. He’s a fictional officer who tries to warn everyone about the ice. He’s cool, composed, devoted to duty, and scornful of the capitalists. At least the Soviets had that Russian-soulfulness thing going, so their movies would be soaked with sloppy emotion and Slavic hymns; the Nazis were tin-eared thick-thumbed boors when it came to art. God help us if they’d won; I cannot imagine their sitcoms.
Naturally, the whole damn thing’s on YouTube – unsubtitled. But you’ll get the idea. It’s broken up into ten minute segments. The beginning will show you what I mean.
I wonder if the Germans even knew that White Star was owned by Americans; you’d think they would have slipped that in.
A good day. Upon waking I saw it had snowed, and snowed enough to make my snarky WHERE’S THE SNOW post on buzz.mn look stupider than usual. So. As soon as I got (G)Nat off to school I decided to shoot a video on the snow before the heavy frosting fell off the trees. I ran into actual news, as you’ll see if you watch the video, or didn’t see it on buzz.mn.
Didn’t write as much as I should have, but whaddya gonna do. (Write more, I suppose.) Now it’s this, and then something else, and then –
GAH! Forgot to do the Mpls site. Well, everything’s resized and ready to do, and there’s not much copy to write. Back in a second.