Friday, May 26, 2017


Hadn't listened to this for decades before yesterday. It's even better than I remembered.
The Stiffs Live version is kinda better, right?
But the 2002 retake may be my favorite. Which do you prefer?

• I worried a bit when Barry Levinson's The Wizard of Lies introduced the TV-movie version of a victim-impact statement, a montage of sad stories from Bernie Madoff's victims -- it seemed at first too much like the sort of thing makers of cheap docudramas stick in to show that they're not glamorizing their wicked subject. After a while, though, I realized that I needed it -- not because the film was having too much fun with Bernie, but because Robert De Niro is so mesmerizing that the human cost of Madoff's fraud is easy to overlook. And that's sort of the point. De Niro's Madoff is outwardly a schlub and a cipher -- a guy who offers his marks "great opportunities" with the same sharklike sangfroid when he's winning as when he's trying to avoid prison; when he loses his temper, he doesn't burst into rage so much as wander into it. (One of the targets of his rages: The "rich bastards" he does business with when they won't give him more money.) You keep watching him, because the outlandish things he's done and is doing make him impossible to ignore. But in the end there's nothing there but the wreckage he's left -- he really was a schlub all along. Near the end, after not only ruining the lives of hundreds of outsiders but also those of his wife and children, Madoff looks back on his high school lifeguard gig and reminisces, "Best job I ever had; I never had to save anybody." There's a constellation of meaning in that line. Credit also the Sam Levinson-John Burnham Schwartz-Samuel Baum script, and the director, who knows when to just let his stunning cast of actors work and also, as he especially shows in one particularly tragic scene, when to do some work himself.

Assailant Greg Gianforte's win in the Montana Congressional race is just another Trump-era joke; nothing about it is as rich as Gianforte's outrageous lie that Ben Jacobs attacked him, less than a day before he apologized for attacking Jacobs. Well, nothing except the emissions of rightbloggers. I'll keep my powder dry, but offer this closing section from a column by William "Those Who Can't Do" Teach as a good example:
In other words, a lot of people really didn’t care. A lot of people have little to no respect for the news media. And for all those Democrats freaking out about Gianforte, there’s something to consider:

[Republishes his own tweet: "For Democrats complaining about election of Greg Gianforte, 4 words: William 'Cold Cash' Jefferson"]

Let’s not forget they had no problem supporting Hillary Clinton, who was being investigated by the FBI.
As I've said more than once, when you're this invested in defying logic, your columns inevitably turn into Mad Libs.

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