Friday, June 7, 2013

Privacy--"Got Two Good Eyes and Still Can't See"

From Charlie Pierce yesterday:

The other thing I hoped would not happen -- but was very confident would happen -- was that the architects of the regime that made this business as usual would step forward now and claim that their own dingo had eaten their babies.

C'mon down, Jim Sensenbrenner.

"As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI's interpretation of this legislation," he said in a statement. "While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. He added: "The Bureau's broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American."

See also: "Fk, Oh For The Love Of," That horse left the barn in 2002. Jim Sensenbrenner's the one who took the hinges off the barn door.

Stonewall Jackson knew about this phenomenon:

[photo from Luray Caverns, Virginia]

His boys might even have hid out in the Caverns while some dumbass Yankee patrol from Maine or Minnesota rattled past. It's the slow drip drip drip that makes the difference after a while. Last night I watched Mizoguchi's "Sansho the Bailiff." It's layers are many, including the incredible black and white photography throughout. But the viewer shouldn't forget what's being depicted in the foreground--the brutal exploitation of working people by a wealthy aristocracy with an army of goons. In the story (which is based on a Japanese folk tale), it takes an enlightened new governmental authority to put a stop to slavery and exploitation. The new "governor" carries with him a simple moral principle given to him as a child by his father: "even if you are hard on yourself, show mercy to others."

The trouble with Stonewall is the same trouble with Bishop Pike. Sensenbrenner could be a double for the Legislature of the Confederacy General Lee found when begging to them for more money, in the winter of '63-'64. They were a rabble, eating peanuts and tossing the shells on the floor, and they cared not a whit for Lee's money problems. By the following spring Grant was at their door. (And by the way, after the good Governor frees the slaves, they burn massa's house to the ground in a drunken revelry. I expected to hear strains of the "Year of Jubelo.")

You can visit the Luray Caverns while driving through Virginia. There are lots of signs. You can also see where Jackson lay mortally wounded and dying, after Chancellorsville, at a little railroad crossing called Guinea Station just a couple of miles off I-95 south of Fredericksburg. He was accidentally shot by his own troops.

Update. I was very affected by having viewed "Sansho" the other night, and thought about different details I remembered from it as the workday passed yesterday, a slow slow day full of rain squalls with little of my actual job to attend to. This morning I looked up Mizoguchi and found the following paragraph on "Sansho":

Sansho Dayu, in any case, transcends all reservations. It is the triumphant summation of Mizoguchi’s style and themes, as well as the most compassionate response imaginable to those atrocities which had been committed in then very recent years, in Japan and all over the world. It is the most humanist of films, but it asserts that humanism is powerless without politics, just as politics is purposeless without humanism. The last sequence is the most perfect ending in cinema, so broad in implication, so exquisite in form. The reunion of mother and son – the revelation of human love – is at once the most important thing in the world, and an event insignificant against the panorama of human suffering. The double perspective – never to see things in isolation, always in context – is assured by Mizoguchi’s style, and defines his art. Sansho Dayu is, in Gilbert Adair’s words, “one of those films for whose sake the cinema exists” (9). If any art has justified this medium, so often crude, thoughtless and mundane, it is the art of Kenji Mizoguchi.*

I seem to have recommended "Hamlet" to you, or "Oedipus," or "Crime and Punishment." Whatever. Hell of a movie.

*Alexander Jacoby,

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