Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March Updates

**Salman Rushdie has written the piece on Slumdog Millionaire that I longed to read as soon as I saw the movie. He attacks it both from a narrative/literary standpoint and from an Indian/postcolonial standpoint, but always with a good dose of sardonic Rushdie wit:
"It used to be the case that western movies about India were about blonde women arriving there to find, almost at once, a maharajah to fall in love with, the supply of such maharajahs being apparently endless and specially provided for English or American blondes; or they were about European women accusing non-maharajah Indians of rape, perhaps because they were so indignant at having being approached by a non-maharajah; or they were about dashing white men galloping about the colonies firing pistols and unsheathing sabres, to varying effect. Now that sort of exoticism has lost its appeal; people want, instead, enough grit and violence to convince themselves that what they are seeing is authentic; but it's still tourism. If the earlier films were raj tourism, maharajah-tourism, then we, today, have slum tourism instead."
The piece discusses a whole lot more than Slumdog Millionaire--its general subject is the art of film (and other) adaptation. A lot to digest, and highly recommended. (Incidentally, this article is just one more proof that The Guardian has the best Books section in the English-speaking world, bar none.)

**Maybe I'm a bit too hard on Slumdog Millionaire, though. My main objection to it is its theme of "destiny"--I believe that characters' free will is the essence of drama, and resorting to destiny as deux ex machina is just lazy and lowbrow. Yet at the same time, I have a pervasive habit of seeking external signs and hints from destiny in my own life. Can something cosmic happen to give me a clue that I'm in the right place at the right time? Is there some deeper meaning behind coincidental encounters? Is this all, somehow, being orchestrated?

**Speaking of adaptation, a month or so ago I planned to do a big ambitious blog post that involved comparing Fitzgerald's Benjamin Button short story, the recent film based on it, and the novel The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which also uses the conceit of a man who ages backwards. But I haven't been able to work up the enthusiasm to go see the movie, and I wasn't all that jazzed about Max Tivoli when I read it, so it's probably not going to happen. I think perhaps I am just wishing I were back at college--I mean, why else would I get an urge to write a big compare-and-contrast essay?

**I also have, from long ago, the beginnings of a blog post about works of art that use reverse-chronology in general... not just the obvious ones like Memento and Betrayal either...but now we are talking about a huge can of worms.

**It's not the Baptistry Doors, but I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out...

I found colored paper at a crafts store pre-cut to the 12" by 12" size I needed, and the photographs come from a book of platinum prints titled Dana Buckley: Fifty. (I don't know if you can see them that well, but they are all black-and-white images of flowers.) I got the book on sale at Stacey's and, though I am usually against mutilating books, decided that it was worth it in this instance.

**Because I'm the kind of girl who gets upset over the closing of bookstores that I've never even been to, you can imagine how torn up I am that Stacey's Books is going out of business. It became my go-to bookstore when I started working in the financial district...and now it's shutting down after more than eighty years?! I have gotten some very good deals as they clear out their stock, which makes me feel like a war profiteer, but really, what else do you expect me to do?

No comments: