Friday, October 5, 2007

Weekend Links

Jim Hill gives a picture-heavy review of the recently release book, Walt Disney's Cinderella. The book is a gorgeous piece of film history, filled to bursting with Mary Blair's unique pastel and chalk conceptual artwork. Seriously, even if you're a cynic and/or just hate all things Disney on principle, it's still worth clicking over to check out Blair's one of a kind work. She was a visionary.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, has posted a brand new interview with author Arthur C. Clarke (Prelude to Space (1951), Childhood's End (1953), (1955), EarthlightThe Deep Range (1957), A Fall of Moondust (1961), Glide Path (1963), The Nine Billion Names of God (1967), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Rendezvous With Rama (1973) -- and that's just his long form fiction!).
An excerpt:
SPECTRUM: You, Frederick Durant, and Ernst Stuhlinger were all in Barcelona at an International Astronautical Federation meeting on 4 October 1957. What was your reaction when you got the news about Sputnik?
CLARKE: Although I had been writing and speaking about space travel for years, I still have vivid memories of exactly when I heard the news. I was in Barcelona for the 8th International Astronautical Congress. We had already retired to our hotel rooms after a busy day of presentations by the time the news broke. I was awakened by reporters seeking an authoritative comment on the Soviet achievement. Our theories and speculations had suddenly become reality!
For the whole kit and caboodle, click here. Thanks to for the heads up.

James Ellroy (LA Confidential, White Jazz) writes a nice bit about fellow hard boiled auteur, Dashiell Hammett (Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon) for the GuardianUK. Where many critics nowadays tend to focus on the borderline fascist elements of Hammett and his protagonists, Ellroy chooses to see them as something slightly more complex -- as men whose 'jobs defined them.'
An excerpt:
Hammett views politics as crime most cancerous and genteel. It's crime buttressed by unspoken sanction. It's crime facilitated by a callous legal system. It's crime enforced by vicious cops in hobnailed boots. Hammett treats politics-as-crime in deadpan fashion. He assumes that the reader knows this: politics is The Manoeuvre as public spectacle and reverential shuck. That means America was a land grab. That means all political discourse is disingenuous. That means his workmen heroes refuse to soliloquise or indict - they know the game is rigged and they're feeding off scraps of trickle-down graft.
Hammett saw himself as complicit. The realisation may have fuelled his self-destructive path with alcohol and women. He was a Pinkerton. He signed on to work for an enforcement agency that squashed workers flat. He knew it was wrong. He knew he was wrong. He did the job on an ad hoc basis and couched his Manoeuvrings within The Manoeuvre in a personal moral code. The monstrous force of systemic corruption cast his code and his own job holder's life in extreme miniature and rendered everything about him small - except his guilt.
Okay, so he's a dedicated and hardworking fascist, then.