Thursday, March 17, 2016


I'm supposed to be writing a review of "Spotlight," which I watched over a week ago, then watched again this past weekend. I think what I'm going to do is rewatch "Philomena" first, then review the films together because they both deal with grave injustices perpetrated by the Catholic Church: sexual predation by deviant priests in one case, and the selling-off of bastard children in the other.

Today being Saint Patrick's Day, the film I'd most like to rewatch is "The Commitments," hailed by many as "the most Irish film ever." I've seen it several times already; it's an awesome, cheerful, life-affirming film about a group of young Dubliners who just want to perform American-style soul music. Alas, the only two Irish-themed films in my video library are the black comedy "In Bruges" (which I've somehow neglected to review) and "Calvary" (reviewed here), which is a fantastic film, but way too dark and sad for Saint Paddy's.

So instead of all that, I'll be settling down with a nice, warm bowl of chicken-and-shrimp curry while I watch "The Hateful Eight," a Tarantino film that's supposed to be something of an oblique sequel to "Django Unchained."

En avant!



  1. I've always thought the most Irish film ever was The Quiet Man with another Ford masterpiece, How Green was my Valley being the most Welsh film ever. Anyway, if you haven't seen either, they are well worth a viewing even though "The Quiet Man" will make you cringe in several places due to both religion and societal norms back in those days.

    A more recent Irish flick that really stuck with me is Hunger by Steve McQueen (the director) and the always first-rate Michael Fassbender. It is extremely hard to watch and stomach, but it doesn't stop it from being a truly great piece of art and a testament to the strength of some human spirits as it is based on a true story.

  2. I came over from Malcolm's blog. Saw the re-tweet about the Irish which tells me a lot about you. Despite my better judgment which usually prevails, it even upset me for five minutes, because I expected higher standards from M's readers.

    My father was Irish. He was super-clever and actually, very handsome. He devoted his life to the service of others. He joined the British army as a medic, which he didn't need to do as a person born in Ireland.

    I have some Korean friends. A close friend of mine has spent a large amount of money trying to look more Irish than Korean. I suppose it's a case of peat faces versus what you have. I hear that eye surgery is big in Korea? Why is that?

    Don't bother to reply unless you really want to, because I'm not coming back.

  3. Musey,

    Perhaps you'll see this reply; perhaps you won't. I do hope you realize that PJ O'Rourke (himself of Irish descent, as you see from his surname) is an A-one satirist, and everything he has written has been tongue-in-cheek. I guess you missed that aspect of his humor and got too consumed by its literal import. I have no doubt that O'Rourke is very proud of his Irish heritage and, like so many Irish, he has a keen, subtle, and often-twisted sense of humor. The Irish have long known tragedy; they have a knack for gallows wit. I'd say it's a given that O'Rourke loves his ancestors and has inherited something of their dark, wry outlook.

    I mean, for goodness' sake, Musey, re-read this:

    "They [the Irish] can be trained to do nothing useful that a dray horse can't do in half the time."

    Do you honestly think this is serious? Come on.

    The tweet in which the O'Rourke piece is mentioned includes the sarcastic phrase "trigger warning," i.e., a warning to the oversensitive and easily offended. People with no sense of humor—or too narrow or tender a sense of humor—have no business reading, and being upset by, jokes they fail to understand.

    I have some Irish in me as well, and when I retweeted the O'Rourke piece, it was in the spirit of O'Rourke's own satire. Please think about that deeply before jumping the gun next time. There are many reasons to dislike me and/or my blog, but the "reason" you think you found doesn't even exist.

  4. Holy crap! Definitely a hair trigger. Musey went straight to DEFCON 5 with no stops between 1 and 4.

  5. John,

    Not sure, but I think DEFCON 5 is the state of least readiness for nuclear war. Anyway, thanks for your sympathy, if that's what that is.

    It's sad, really. She seemed like a nice, intelligent, rational commenter over at Malcolm's blog, then she comes here and becomes an instantly judgmental harridan who can't process satire. (I'm using "harridan" as opposed to the four-letter words I've been thinking.)

  6. While I had the DEFCON numerology right in my head, my fingers weren't listening to it as I plucked at those damn keys some time after midnight.

  7. Mister Kim,

    I'm very sure that most of your readers are folks with a great sense of humour, a laid back attitude, and instant recognition of satire when it's in their face.

    The problem is that I'm not that bright and so I take things at face-value. So, maybe you should consider the more stupid people who may be hidden amongst your readers, and don't know that you're not serious.

    I read that "definition" as a reflection of your point of view. Please remember that I grew up in England during the worst of the "troubles" and much as you might think I should be able to distinguish satire from hate, I can't because I have met real people who would say what that tweet said, and then some. The PJ O'Rourke thing...I never noticed: I though (from very flawed memory that it was attributed to David Someoneorother)

    Let me just say, as someone who isn't particularly clever that I did appreciate your response until you became condescending about those who don't understand and have no sense of humour either, so shouldn't be reading. What a bummer. It really isn't fair how some get all the beauty and all the brains, and other get nothing except dourness, and pie-faces.

    I looked in because Malcolm told me that you had responded, also that I had it wrong about you.

    Yesterday, we had a party for my son who has become engaged. We met our other son's new girlfriend for the first time. I had been told that she was Chinese (like the last one, the glamorous Lin) but she's not. She's Korean, she's lovely, and she brought me a huge chocolatier Easter egg, so she knows the way to my heart.

    So, here, I am, "a judgmental harridan who can't process satire". Whatever. I'm just a retard, and as my latest Asian, potential daughter-in-law said, "Thank you for being so kind, and so accepting. I feel so welcome". To me, that's far more important than picking up on nuances and knowing that when someone retweets horrible stuff, it's a just a joke.

  8. Musey,

    Considering the tone you adopted when you commented on my blog, is my attitude any surprise? I had done nothing directly to you, but you were rude and more than vaguely racist with your implication that Koreans get plastic surgery because they want to look white. (That is what you were implying—don't deny it. My friends who read your comment with astonishment interpreted it the same way, and they agreed it was racist. Or was that an attempt at your own O'Rourkean satire? Am I now the humorless one? If anything, I'm not sure why you mentioned Koreans at all if you were upset about O'Rourke's satire of the Irish. Just lashing out randomly?)

    I'm sure you see yourself as kind and welcoming and open-minded, but none of that was in evidence when you commented on my blog. I was surprised and disappointed, too, given your general demeanor at Malcolm's blog. I'd had a most positive impression of you.

    My blog is my foyer; when someone enters my foyer and acts rudely, they are treated accordingly. I tried to be as civil with you as I could in my reply, instead of calling you an ignorant cunt, which is what I was thinking at the time. On that score, I wish you good luck talking about plastic surgery and other supposed Korean foibles with your soon-to-be in-law.

    You still insist on referring to O'Rourke's piece as "horrible stuff," so you obviously still fail to see the humor in it. That's something you'll need to work on. And since you're the one who started this exchange in a posture of attack and for unjustified reasons—all due to your own incapacity—you can either apologize or just not come back to the blog. Either action works for me, and I'll be sure never to respond to you on Malcolm's blog so as to maintain a cool, civil distance. But any less-than-civil reply from you on this blog will be deleted, per my comments policy. To be honest, I should have deleted your very first unenlightened comment. That's my fault.

    If you think things over and wish to continue this conversation in private as opposed to using theatrical hit-and-run rhetorical tactics in a public space ("I'm not coming back"), I'm open to talking further. I'm upset, and I think you do have much to apologize for, but I'm not so childish as to shut off all dialogue. What happens next is up to you. Even angry adults can engage in dialogue. My door is open.



All comments are subject to approval before they are published, so they will not appear immediately. Comments should be civil, relevant, and substantive. Anonymous comments are not allowed and will be unceremoniously deleted. For more on my comments policy, please see this entry on my other blog.

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