Outsourcing of torture

Zizek's article also mentioned the "outsourcing" of torture, just like the outsourcing of the "dirty" process of material production: "Torture is nowadays 'outsourced' to Third World allies of the US, which can practise it without worrying about legal liability or public protest.

Interestingly, in the same 12-page tabloid-sized "Re|view" supplement of the Australian Financial Review which reprinted the Zizek article, there was a satirical piece on outsourcing - I was only doing my job ... or not - a reprint of Cullen Murphy's article "Let Someone Else Do It" in The Atlantic (Nov 04). Murphy observed that "so, too, sometimes, is torture [outsourced to the private sector], as Abu Ghraib scandal reveals, although the more common practice is for squeamish governments (i.e. ours) to outsource problematic interrogations to less squeamish governments (Cairo, Manila) - a practice that goes by the artfully bland term "rendition"."


Shitty stuff

Slavoj Zizek wrote in "Knee-Deep" (The London Review of Books, 2/9/04, reprinted in Australian Financial Review, 29/10/04):

"In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, ie shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finaly, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these oposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected."

Why is he writing such shitty stuff in an article reviewing Timothy Garton Ash's new book "Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time"? Well, he is trying to illustrate that each toilet design reflects "a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement" in the "European Trinity" of Germany, France and the UK. Perhaps he believes that this observation is as insightful as Hegel on their existential attitudes: German reflective thoroughness, French revolutionary hastiness and English utilitarian pragmatism.

According to Zizek, "it is easy for an academic at a round table to claim that we live in a post-ideological universe, but the moment he visits the lavatory after the heated discussion, he is again knee-deep in ideology". Hence the title of the article!

Well, I have never been to Germany, and I regret not having paid much attention to toilet design when I visited France. I always have the impression that there are only two types of toilets in the world: The full-of-water type in the more developed world, and the "no-water-no-hole toilet" in the more underdeveloped, agrarian world. Naive me!



《 新聞周刊》封面故事 "重構中國精神"

《 新聞周刊》(總第200期, 18/10/04)的封面故事,是"重構中國精神",一個非常具野心的專題。

秋風在導言中問:"想想我們的心,有所歸宿嗎? ... 缺乏信仰,心靈不受任何約束;不相信未來,只相信現實的享受;不相信周圍的人,只相信自己, ... 人們找不到心靈的歸宿,社會上因此彌漫著一種普遍的焦慮症。"

但導言的基調是樂觀的。"今天,我們已經看到了中國人重建其精神世界的某些跡象。也許可以說,中國已經進入了人的精神重建的時代。 ... 人們確實已經看到,中國經濟經歷了長達20年的增長期,各項政治法律制度也在逐漸轉型;人們也一直在抱怨這個時代的精神荒蕪。但其實,始終有一股潛流在物質的世界下面湧動,那就是精神重建的努力。這些努力在物欲橫流的時代看起來如此渺小,但它卻是我們這個社會的希望所在。"


在同樣是秋風寫的結語中,基調就灰暗的多了。"人們看待世界的方式越來越狂妄,而對本民族的文化也越來越喪失信心。為什麼中國人的精神會沿著這條向下的軌跡加速下滑?首先,貫穿於20世紀的全面的反傳統思潮與運動使中國人的精神陷入虛無。 ... 另一方面,全能政府的權力滲透到社會的方方面面,侵蝕了人們的精神空間,妨礙了中國人精神生活的自發性發育。"


他認為,"精神重建乃是社會領域、由每個普通人自發地參與的事情,不能指望政府借助於權力進行強制。但政府的確可以為人們的這種努力創造某種條件。比如,政府需要克制自己的權力,有所為有所不為,從而讓人們可以更方便地尋找自己的精神寄托,結成各個社團以從事公益活動,讓各個群體自我治理。 ... 一旦人們從權力的控制下獲得自然的自由,則人們會本能地尋找一種更為正當、更能贏得尊重的生活;一旦人們剔除了對傳統的怨恨、平心靜氣地面對自己的祖先、自己的文化,也可以悠遠的歷史接上脈,滋養健全的道德、價值和生活方式,安頓中國人的身心。"

可惜,在一個還是要指望政府克制權力的社會,要談精神重構,無可避免地只能避重就輕,顧左右而言它。就像朱學勤隱晦地說,"八十年代末。'改革'原生兩翼,折一翼留一翼,諸多改革是幹了再說,甚至幹了也不說,改革因此而刪削了左右;能深入,足令鄰人羨慕,卻也因此收窄了社會參與。一代人的時間裡,從貧富不均到貧富懸殊,市場經濟未必是'原罪',卻最可能成為'替罪'。 ... 二十年後,市場經濟第二次出現,如此市場經濟並不是一般的市場經濟,卻是一個特殊的市場經濟,它一身而兩任焉:既通向舊體制,新利潤滋養老權貴;又可能蛻化出新因素,反噬其母體。"

Startlingly beautiful, characteristically challenging "Dear Heather"

Pamela Murray Winters described Leonard Cohen as "warm and mysterious, alternately mournful and romantic" in her review of his new album (Leonard Cohen's 'Dear Heather': Dark Territory, The Washington Post, 27/10/04).

Not only did she characterise the album as "startlingly beautiful, characteristically challenging", startlingly ( :-) ) she even claimed that "the man can sing. Indeed, the 70-year-old pipes have developed not only gravitas, but a deeper sensitivity to melody."





Time Out (L'emploi du temps)

Vincent loses his job as an executive, refuses to admit it and look for a solution. Instead, he lies, lies and lies more. Poor man - no job, no identity, no worthiness.

Enigmatic Leonard Cohen, enigmatic "Dear Heather"

In Enigmatic Leonard Cohen quietly releases new album Dear Heather (Canadian Press, 25/10/04), Angela Pacienza said "fans will have to read between his well-crafted lines to deduce who Heather is and what caused him to write such an unusual song about her."

"The record is distinctively Cohen, with rich psalm-like poems. The music has been stripped of layers to a simple almost lullaby format, making it a dreamy and hypnotic experience."

Brief reviews of "Dear Heather"

Michaelangeo Matos gave 3 1/2 stars (Rolling Stone) to Leonard Cohen's new album.

"What makes Dear Heather tick are the ladies who look back: longtime co-composer/producer Sharon Robinson and producer-engineer Leanne Ungar, as well as occasional co-lead vocalist Anjani Thomas ... Sometimes their work evokes wood paneling and tip jars ("Go No More A-Roving," with words by another famous poet, Lord Byron); sometimes it's stark (the spoken-with-piano "Villanelle for Our Time"); sometimes subdued and trip-hoppy ("The Letters"). But given how monochromatic Cohen tends to be, the jumbled feel works in Dear Heather's favor."

Mike Ross said that He's a poet, he knows it (Edmonton Sun, 24/10/04) and gave the album 5 stars out of 5.

"Len's latest album adds cement to the idea that song lyrics are in fact poetry - in this case, mournful, vivid sonnets of bittersweet romance and joyful doom, almost every line an emotional dagger, every dirge here inviting deep thought. That Len surrounds his desiccated voice with the sweetest sounds - female backup singers, angelic choirs, string sections, quaint and quirky arrangements - just throws his wise pronouncements into sharper relief."

Joel Selvin said that Leonard Cohen burrows his writing deeply into the fabric of music and voices and sings them as only he could(San Francisco Chronicl, 24/10/04).

"As he grows older, Leonard Cohen gets slower and lower. ... His songs are laid back in the groove further than ever, and his voice is even more impossibly basso profundo. At 70, he's still got that wink in his eye. His songcraft is elegantly and deceptively simple, no wasted motion, almost Zen in the grace and clarity of his language."

Ryan Lenz said Leonard Cohen doesn’t try to play it cool (Associated Press, 25/10/04).

"Instead [Dear Heather] reveals with the stark honesty of a love letter, the reflections of a poet who reluctantly became a rock star long ago." "And in some ways, that honesty is the album’s charm."


Candy 一家秋遊東瀛

Candy 一家秋遊東瀛 全部照片

Candy Kan's Tiny Witch World

"Dear Heather" has its brief peaks of brilliance

Jim Farber, in his column That's how it goes (New York Daily News, 24/10/04), said that Leonard Cohen's new album produced "a few moments worth savoring from this aging sage."

"On Dear Heather, you'll find less of Cohen than on any of his previous recordings. The songs are shorter, there's more writing by others, and different singers take up more space." "Worse, there aren't any pieces as sweeping as Cohen classics like "Tower of Song" or "Hallelujah"."

"Yet the album has its brief peaks of brilliance. The best of them seem to concentrate Cohen's skills — and take advantage of his advanced years. In "Go No More A-Roving," Cohen matches his music to a Lord Byron poem that addresses the waning of a sex life. ... In "Because Of," he tips his hat to the many women who've bedded him later in life "because of a few songs wherein I spoke of their mystery."

More reviews of Dear Heather (dearheather.com)


Alan Taylor on "Dear Heather"

Alan Taylor gave Leonard Cohen's new album 3 stars out of 5 in Echoes of firmer glories (Sunday Herald, 24/10/04)

"His best songs are concerned with the pain and joy of love and lovemaking. As the years have gone by, however, and his libido has been tamed, ... his interest in matters coital appeared to wane. But in Ten New Songs, released in 2001 there was a return to the tender sexiness which was always evident if you cared to listen."

"There is nothing of comparable stature on Dear Heather but it, too, places love at the forefront of Cohen’s consciousness. There are many reminders of his age but few indications that his interest in women will ever be extinguished."


Gold Coast under Blue Sky

Time Canada gives the thumbs down for "Dear Heather"

Kris Menon regards Leonard Cohen's latest album as Twilight of the Master (Time Canada, 25/10/04).

"Leonard Cohen’s eccentric new release is sure to challenge even his most loyal fans."

"Dear Heather is a strange, at times impenetrable, work completed by a respected and masterly writer late in his career."

"In stark contrast to ... Ten New Songs (2001), Dear Heather is underwhelming and incomplete. Ten New Songs showcased ... the gravelly baritone sing-speaking deeply moving poetic verse, set to simple yet emotionally awakening country-folk guitar and piano. Dear Heather offers few flashes of that Cohen brilliance. To get to the gems, Cohen’s fans will have to sift through a fair amount of dirt."


USCBC Report on China's WTO Compliance

China's WTO Implementation: An Assessment of China's Third Year of WTO Membership (US-China Business Council, 7/9/04)

-- 中國與世貿 China and the WTO --


The Guardian review of Leonard Cohen's "Dear Heather"

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave "3 stars out of 5" for Leonard Cohen's new album "Dear Heather" (22/10/04).

"Dear Heather demonstrates that age brings with it its own problems, not least the fact that Cohen cannot really sing any more."

"It becomes hard to escape the sensation that Cohen is expending all his energy on the words and losing interest in music, not least on Villanelle For Our Time and to a Teacher, which sound less like songs than poetry recitals set to vague jazz backings."

"The arrangements are frequently ghastly: ... keyboard noises that sound suspiciously like factory settings on a cheap synthesizer, the oily sax imported from a hotel lobby muzak tape."

3 Chicken for "Dear Heather"

Edgar Hentai gave Leonard Cohen's new album 3 chicken in his comment after my listening.

"Well my first listening of Dear Heather is more possitive then my first listenning of Ten New Songs but that doesn't mean that it is good."


Photo masaic for dummies

I came across an article in Engadget about creating photo mosaics the free and easy way. I downloaded the program called AndreaMosaic from the homepage.

All you need to do is specify a directory of many photos as the mosaic pieces, and a background photo, and hey presto, it's done! If you are a smart guy, you can temper with the parameters, but basically, the default parameters will do a pretty good job.

The mosaic shown here (Biei, Hokkaido, Japan) was my second attempt. I know it is amateurish, but what can you expect from such an easy to use program and a dummy like me?

The first attempt looked awful. I guess not all photos are suitable as the background.

Taken from the front balconey: rainy day, early morning, at sunset


Why are there so many "best sellers"?

Any interesting and informative article by Sean Rocha - What's With All the "National Best Sellers"? How so many books get to the top of the charts (Slate, 15/20/04) - tells you "how do these best-seller lists work? And why don't they all list the same books?"

A notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily?

Michael Pollan, writing in the 17 Oct edition of the New York Times Magazine - Our National Eating Disorder - argued that the Americans are "a notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily."

He cited a survey by Rozin and Fischler which found that Americans worry more about food and derive less pleasure from eating than people in any other nation they surveyed.

"Compared with the French, we're much more likely to choose foods for reasons of health, and yet the French, more apt to choose on the basis of pleasure, are the healthier (and thinner) people. ... The French eat all sorts of 'unhealthy' foods, but they do it according to a strict and stable set of rules: they eat small portions and don't go back for seconds; they don't snack; they seldom eat alone, and communal meals are long, leisurely affairs. A well-developed culture of eating, such as you find in France or Italy, mediates the eater's relationship to food, moderating consumption even as it prolongs and deepens the pleasure of eating."

"He [Rozin] and Fischler suggest that our anxious eating itself may be part of the American problem with food, and that a more relaxed and social approach toward eating could go a long way toward breaking our unhealthy habit of bingeing and fad-dieting."

Join the debate on the "paradoxical American food culture.


栽培香港 (1/10/04)

為香港人喝采---民主大道四公里 (7/7/04)

另一種專業,城市文化---思索西九龍 (29/12/03)

龍應台迷(我不是)可溜覽 野火再燃 龍應台城市文化效應



Having just re-watched the Norwegian original Insomnia (1997), I remembered something I wrote in 2002 comparing it (from memory) to the re-make by Christopher Nolan:

Catch of the Day (11/7/02): Those who like Christopher Nolan's (of "Memento" fame) new film "Insomnia" should try the original version by Erik Skjoldbjaerg. Some films are good, but some are great, and original too!

Even a remake will not be 100% the same as the original. But in my opinion, Nolan's is similar enough to Skjoldbjaerg's to warrant this question: why a director as talented as Nolan wanted to do a remake of a very good but by no means classic film after Memento?

I guess he himself wants, and the System definitely wants, to bring "Christopher Nolan" firmly into the mainstream. Using Pacino as detective Dormer makes the intention very clear. There is no doubt that Pacino is an outstanding actor. But his very presence in the film makes enjoying the film, and the director's talent, more difficult. Moreover, in order to accommodate this "star", he had to be cast as a famous detective. Just see the awe expressed by Swank. She can even remember some of his famous previous cases!

My opinions:
1. The new Insomia is a good film
2. I would like to see Nolan doing something more original and worthwhile.


Google Desktop Search

For those who like to try out the latest and greatest, here comes Google Desktop Search:

"Google Desktop Search will retrieve your email in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express; files in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and text; your website history in Internet Explorer; and your instant message chats in AOL Instant Messenger. In other words, if you've seen it on your computer screen, Google Desktop Search can likely help you find it. Simply put, it's like a photographic memory for your computer."

Since it is a brand new product (I just installed it 15 minutes ago and it is still indexing my computer), I need time to evaluate how good (or no good) it is. But I already know for sure that at present it does not support searching web pages you've been to using other browsers, like Firefox, which is now my default browser.

Talking about Firefox, I am convinced that it is a superior browser, but I also can't live without IE, since some pages can only be opened by it. Moreover, the fact that the majority of web surfers are IE users means I need to test my own web pages with it. If you are facing the same situation, a tiny "extension" is handy - IE View. If you want to open a page using IE when you are browsing with Firefox, just right click and choose "View this page in IE". Simple.


Talk to her (Hable con ella)

Having just watched Almodovar's Talk to her, I have two things to say:
(1) This is a masterpiece of modern cinema. Almodovar is Benigno - he may be seen as a weird guy, but when he talks to you with so much love, you can't help but be moved.
(2) I regret having waited for so long before watching it. I thought I knew all his tricks already. But I am wrong.

Official sites of Talk to her: Hable con ella en Pedro Almodovar | Talk to her

Objetivo Almodovar: 98 pictures made by the film director about Talk to her


NZ trip in November: Planning (2)

Pacific Blue air tickets booked:

20/11 Brisbane to Christchurch

29/11 Christchurch to Brisbane


D1 Fly to Christchurch (Christchurch)

D2 All day Christchurch (Christchurch)

D3 Drive to Fox Glacier (Fox Glacier)

D4 All day Glaciers (Fox Glacier)

D5 Drive to Queenstown (Queenstown)

D6 All day Queenstown (Queenstown)

D7 Milford Sound day trip (Te Anau)

D8 Drive to Mt Cook (Twizel)

D9 All day Mt Cook (Twizel)

D10 Drive to Christchurch. Fly back to Brisbane.




-- 「橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了」 --

The Gramophone Awards - The deadly serious and the absolutely ridiculous ones

Here are the winners of the 2004 Gramophone Awards.

And here are the nominations and the winner of the Readers' Choice Gramophone-Style Award DISC OF THE YEAR!. On why "Elgar: Cello Concerto; Sea Pictures; Cockaigne Overture. Jacqueline Du Pre (cello), Dame Janet Baker (mezzo soprano), Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli (EMI)" is the ultimate winner:

Yes, we couldn’t help ourselves. This recording has everything a Gramophone reader could want: Britain’s second most tragic female artist (after Kathleen Ferrier, of course); Britain’s second most noble sounding female vocalist (after Kathleen Ferrier, of course); Britain’s most beloved alcoholic conductor; two, count ‘em, two British orchestras, and Britain’s own favorite record label. As long as EMI continues to reissue this recording every six months or so, it will deserve to be Disc of the Year. Nothing else even remotely compares.

But more seriously, as The Gramophone rightly puts it in a feature article, few recordings have exerted such a passionate pull on public and pundits alike as Jacqueline du Pre's celebrated 40-year-old Elgar Cello Concerto recording.


Why is there so much hate?

Someone says this on the Net on why there is so much hate:

"Because stupid people who are insecure about their own shortcomings think that their God is better everyone else's God, they believe hate is not only great but is also justified based on their religion, and cast their stones at me first, therefore, I must cast bigger stones because my love for my country demands it".

And no doubt people on the other side think along more or less the same line.

Perpetual hatred, guaranteed.



我對 你錯
非友 即敵
報仇 負義
寧枉 毋縱


網中紅樓: 浙江大學海納百川站 StoneStory討論區

浙江大學海納百川站 StoneStory討論區

-- 網中紅樓 --


魚粥 + 乾煎豆腐 + 涼拌二小碟

-- Good Food 街 --

Lexcom Home Network

We have decided to use Lexcom Home Network to "smart" wire our new house.


Paradise (Paradiset)

"Can there ever really be heaven on earth? And who would you trust to take you there?

Whilst working on a story about Paradise - a foundation that claims to protect abused women - journalist Annika Bengtzon receives a phone call from Aida, a young Bosnian woman who needs help. It's a moment in time - for one a fight for life, for the other a possible story. Annika takes Aida to Paradise but neither Paradise or Aida are what they appear to be ...

As the story unfolds both women are forced to confront their own past. very different, but yet quite similar - two small-town girls who's lives touch for a moment on the streets of Stockholm."

Just like the foundation, there is no glimpse of paradise whatsoever in the film. All characters have either a sad past, or an unhappy present life, or more likely, both.

Very depressing. A good film though.


董陽孜「雲門舞集」向右向左之謎 - 終於找到答案

林懷民: 向董陽孜習舞



-- 橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了 --

Ten Years of Web Surfing

I suddenly realised that I have been addicted to web surfing for a full decade.

Although I cannot pinpoint the exact date when I first clicked on my PC modem to get connected to the Internet, I clearly remember that not long after I signed on an Internet account from the Canberra chapter of the PC Users Group of Australia, I heard about the introduction of a "browser" named Navigator from Netscape. Being eager to try all the latest and greatest, I downloaded and used it immediately. Since it was October 1994 that Netscape released a beta version of Navigator to the public, I have chosen that month - which was exactly 10 years ago, as the starting point of my web journey.

Unfortunately I also cannot remember when exactly my web site was first written and uploaded. But it must be in 1995, and my "site" then consisted of only one page: "News on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan". So, in a few months time, you may read my blog entry on why I choose a certain month to celebrate "ten years of joetsang.net"

Finally, October 1994 was also a significant date for Chinese-reading web surfers like me. I read somewhere that NJStar (南極星) was born in that month as well. Today's browsers of course can read web sites in practically all languages. That was not the case in the good old days. To read an online Chinese newspaper, an external application must be run to correctly display the Chinese characters. NJStar has always been the best and helped me a lot.



我說過,董陽孜書寫的文字,「大多是從右向左排列的」 ( 書法是生動的建築)。其實,應該說,我見過的董陽孜書法,全都是從右向左排列的,只有一個可能的例外。大家或許知道,「雲門舞集」四字是董陽孜題的。但這四個橫寫的字,究竟是從右向左,或是從左向右寫的,我卻不能確定。

早前,我在橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了網頁中寫過:




-- 橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了 --

Simple, delicious roast tomato


Amartya Sen on the 60th Anniversary of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom

"An insight into the purpose of prosperity" (Amartya Sen, Financial Times, 20/9/04)

"[Hayek] helped to establish a freedom-based approach of evaluation through which economic systems can be judged (no matter what substantive judgments we arrive at). ... As someone whose economics (as well as politics) is very different from Hayek's, I would like to ... say how greatly indebted we are to his writings in general and to this book in particular. Dialectics is critically important for the pursuit of understanding, and Hayek made outstanding contributions to the dialectics of contemporary economics."

| Taking Hayek Seriously | Hayek Scholars' Page | Hayek Links | Hayek on the Net |

《中國和台灣 兩岸雜志事業 研究報告》

許明: 《中國和台灣 兩岸雜志事業 研究報告》

Freud and Music

I have finished reading a novel called The Cello Player by Michael Kruger. The problem is, I don't get it, so there is nothing more I can write about it. But since I have been writing about Freud in this blog in recent days, I just can't resist the temptation to quote two amusing paragraphs from this novel.

"Psychoanalysis and Music" - I attended the lecture often, along with all the pretty students. Why had the petite blonde chosen the harp she pressed so trustingly between her thighs? Why did the stocky, pimply fellow from Munster blow his sparse breath into a trombone? And why did Beethoven decide one day that he did not want to hear his own sounds anymore? Even the issue of whether Schubert had homosexual tendencies troubled my generation. "The Effect of Drive Renunciation on Artistic Archievement" was the seminar everybody wanted to attend. ... A parallel nightmare was the elaborate lecture on "Marxism and Music," another course everybody felt obliged to attend. The climax of those years came when a fusion of the two was offered: "The Influence of Psychoanalysis and Marxism on Musical Development: The Instinctual Life of Sounds as the Expression of the Bad Conscience of Industrial Late Capitalism, as seen in Stravinsky and Schonberg." All obsessive-compulsives, that was clear. How had all these beautiful theories withered aways?

If one were to offer such courses today, thirty years later, one would probably be declared insane. I don't know a single musician who has read more than a line of Freud or Marx. Back then, one had to; there was no excuse not to.





-- 橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了 --


董陽孜吟詠三國 書法建築聳立 (聯合報, 2004/10/02) - 「滾滾長江東逝水,浪花淘盡英雄……」著名的「三國演義」開篇詞,經書法家董陽孜和建築師陳瑞憲重新詮釋,以5430公分長的橢圓巨幕,讓書法與空間展開對談,猶如置身江邊的觀眾,在此遙念英雄。

Life without Miramax?

Following on my previous post, here's an essay from the New York Times Magazine (3/10/04) by A.O. Scott - Life without Miramax? - discussing what will happen to indie film if Miramax dies.

According to Scott, what Miramax "did was not primarily to cultivate the public's taste for exotic or adventurous films, but rather to revive the tradition of prestige filmmaking that the studios had allowed to languish in their pursuit of franchisable blockbusters, overseas receipts and cross-media synergy."

But now, every major studio has its own specialty divisions. "And there is a critical mass of small, brave, genuinely independent outfits - Palm Pictures, ThinkFilm, IFC and Wellspring, to name a few - dedicated to expanding, and challenging, the film audience. They generally lack neither taste nor marketing savvy."

Scott's conclusion is therefore "indie cinema, or whatever you want to call it, will continue to live and die, but there won't be a real New Yorker [Harvey Weinstein], or at least a Hollywood fantasy version of one, around to claim credit or invite blame."




Down and Dirty Pictures

Just finished reading (though not finished) Down and Dirty Pictures - Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind. It is about the emergence of independent films in the US since the late 1980s. It has a strong focus on the roles played by Miramax, the Sundance Film Festival and independent filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino. If you think all US films are of the Hollywood studio-made big-budget type, reading this book should enrich your knowledge about this all-conquering industry.

As to why I failed to finish this book? Because it "is loaded with vibrant anecdotes and outrageous stories, all of it blended into a fast-moving narrative" (from the blub on the book jacket), and this style - I might call it the Hollywood trash style - puts me off.