Monday, February 9, 2015

A quote and a song

I'm reading a forgotten novel from 1936 that I'm enjoying the hell out of (but I'm not naming because I hope to write about it when I finish). I came across a passage that seemed particularly modern, not only for the implication but the choice of words. 

"Maybe sometimes people wonder why it is the law don't stamp out crime overnight. The cops know the street address of all the important criminals in any town and know enough to send 'em to the pen. But they don't do nothin' except talk to newspaper boys about startin' a war on crime. That's because one big crook don't bother with another big crook unless the other one is musclin' in on his racket."
34 years later, during his 1970 State of the Union Address, Richard Nixon would talk about starting a war on crime to a national audience:

We have heard a great deal of overblown rhetoric during the 60s in which the word "war" has perhaps too often been used--the war on poverty, the war on disease, the war on hunger. But if there is one area where the word "war" is appropriate it is in the fight against crime. We must declare and win the war against the criminal elements which increasingly threaten our cities, our homes, and our lives.
And to this day the War on Drugs continues. One critic of the War on Drugs is David Simon and The Wire is largely about the futility of fighting it and the importance of the illusion of making progress over actual progress.

Anyway, interesting line.

Here's a song. "Suicide Sal" by Karen Jonas

And finally, some good reads:

-"This is the best post-apocalyptic cat detective novel you'll read all year"

-"I didn’t like American Sniper (more on that later), but it did get me thinking about all those war films I watched on Sunday nights and the question of what makes a particular war film, for want of a better way of expressing it ‘good’ or ‘bad’."

-"McKees Rocks is an old mill town, the kind of place that lost jobs when all the steel mills moved away. I knew a guy, years ago, who used to score blow in an old house near a tattoo parlor, down by the river. I think the tattoo parlor is still there. I don’t know what happened to the guy who used to do blow — maybe dead, maybe quit, maybe a lawyer, maybe still at home on his mom’s couch. All those people I used to do drugs with when I was a kid and young man seem like characters I know from books, from movies, all of them stuck in time. It’s hard to imagine someone who snorted coke in a bathroom stall with a Budweiser bottle balanced perfectly on his head ever growing up, let alone old, but I was there too, waiting for my line.

The world forgives worse.

But then, other times, the world doesn’t forgive anything at all."

-"Fair warning, though: a lot of jokes won't make sense to you if you have no affiliation or understanding of black culture. But that's okay! King of The Hill was, like, the 8th whitest show in history and I've still seen every episode. Getting out of your comfort zone is good."

-"My father, Andrew Jefferson Offutt V, grew up in a log cabin in Taylorsville, Ky. The house had 12-inch-thick walls with gun ports to defend against attackers: first Indians, then soldiers during the Civil War. At 12, Dad wrote a novel of the Old West. He taught himself to type with the Columbus method — find it and land on it — using one finger on his left hand and two fingers on his right. Dad typed swiftly and with great passion. In this fashion, he eventually wrote and published more than 400 books. Two were science fiction and 24 were fantasy, written under his own name; the rest were pornography, using 17 pseudonyms."

-"Since the late 1960s, Wurlitzer has been a screenwriter. If you've seen Two-Lane Blacktop or Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid or Walker, you've seen his work. None of the films he wrote raked in box-office millions, and many screenplays he's written have gone unproduced. But he enjoys a reputation that makes people speak about him in superlatives—that he's one of a kind, that he's his own genre, that there's no one, no one, quite like him. His work makes people want to mount retrospectives on both coasts."

1 comment:

John McFetridge said...

Good quotes.

Last night I watched THE HANDMAID'S TALE, and it had a great line about totalitarianism being freedom. Over shots of 60s civil rights marches and anti-war demonstrations, the explanation was, "Then, in the time of anarchy, it was 'freedom to.' Now it's 'freedom from.'"