It Felt Like a Trap

I’ve spent the last couple of days of soaking up more films by Adam Curtis, one of the best living documentary filmmakers. Last year I watched The Power of Nightmares; earlier this year I saw The Century of the Self; lately I’ve been working through his two most recent: The Trap (2007) and It Felt Like a Kiss (2009).

It Felt Like a Kiss is an experimental film that is a haunting evocation of the essence of life during the Cold War. Its cast features “Rock Hudson, Saddam Hussein, Lee Harvey Oswald, Doris Day, Enos the chimp, and everyone above Level 7 in the CIA.” The excellent soundtrack was composed by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, etc) and performed by the Kronos Quartet, with loads of additional pop tracks from the period. There’s no real semblance of a plot or, unlike Curtis’ other films, any sort of thesis. It Felt Like a Kiss is quintessential Curtis in terms of look: heavy use of montages (including some dizzying works of editing genius) and heavy use of archival footage, proving that Curtis probably spends 8 hours a day poring through old film reels. Yet this is also a new Curtis — less documentarian, more artist. The result is a trippy hour-long exploration of the ironies, oddities, and ambiguities of 3 or 4 of the most pivotal decades in American history. Were the U.S. a psychotic individual, this film would be its deranged subconscious bubbling up, exposing some of the roots of our modern American madness.

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Recent History

You know I’ve been thinking lately how history is going to treat 9/11-Afghanistan-Osama-Iraq-Saddam and of course Bush and the war. What will my kids be reading in their history books? What will be the legacy – what’s remembered, what’s forgotten? No doubt Saddam’s capture will be a date that gets written down, but how much of all this surrounding controversy will even be mentioned in high school or middle school textbooks? Let’s pretend Dean gets the DNC nomination and then loses the 2004 election…will Howard Dean even be a name my grandkids have ever heard of?

More on Saddam’s Spiderhole

They aren’t the first to suggest it, but DEBKAfile outline the indications Saddam was not in hiding, but a captive.

Watching all the news yesterday it was repeatedly stated that Saddam could not have been controlling the resistance because he as living in this hole. For some of the reasons DEBKAfile outline, I don’t understand why we’re assuming he was living in there. To me, it was a hideout for sleep and for times when he deemed it dangerous to be elsewhere – the actual portion where Saddam was is barely big enough for him – just enough room to lay down and not move. The 6×8 spider-hole was connected to that. You can’t seriously suggest Saddam has been laying flat for months, only moving into the spacious 6×8 living rorom to get food and such? Where was the dude taking a dump? Certainly not on his bed.

(…more on this at PunditFilter)

The Iraqi Non-Deaths

Eject!Eject!Eject! has a sweet post on the ‘cost’ of the war with Iraq…

Here’s a math quiz for you:

During the 30-odd years he was in power, Saddam Hussein murdered at least 300,000 of his own people. These are the ones we are finding in mass graves in Iraq. Another 300,000 – at least – were killed in his war with Iran and his two conflicts with the US. Those are bare-bones, undeniable, non-speculative, minimums.

That darling arithmetic works out to no less than 20,000 people a year killed by that lunatic, or about 1,700 people a month.

So how many innocent people have not died as a result of the Iraq war?

I get about 13,000 so far.

by Bill A. Whittle