"Anything that people have done for thousands of years, you can do. It doesn't mean you can do it well, but you can do it. You can do pottery, you can draw, you can speak, read. Farming is the same way." —Joe Judd, "How Joe Bought the Farm," January 17
I Knew Joe Back When
Comment on "How Joe Bought the Farm" by Laura Putre, January 17
This was such an awesome surprise—Joe was my patient when I was completing my med-surg clinicals for nursing school. He was a great patient—funny, friendly, and so kind to me as I went about all my student nurse tasks. He was also gracious enough to let me go to the OR with him one day so that I could watch the procedure to shrink the malformations in his leg.
I never did make it down to Myopic to see him, but I'm thrilled he's doing so well and has followed his dream to have a farm. Thanks, Joe, for being so kind to me and providing such inspiration!
Jonathan Rosenbaum's Plans for the Future
Comment on "Something to Talk About" by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Movies, January 3
Ever since reading Essential Cinema at the young age of 21, I have been a highly devoted fan of yours, Mr. Rosenbaum. (Your book hit me in ways that Sarris's The American Cinema has hit those in older generations.) Your writings have motivated me to examine not merely the style and technique of cinema but also its conscience (particularly how these aspects sometimes intersect). I will genuinely miss your film reviews at the Reader and wish you the best in whatever you do in the future.
Many thanks for all the kind comments. I should stress for those who might be unclear about this that I'm retiring only from the Chicago Reader as a regular staff member, not at all from criticism or from writing more generally. So, by choice, the emphasis will shift somewhat from new films to older ones, but not always. Some recent or future freelance assignments I've been or will be working on include articles on Carl Dreyer's Day of Wrath and Ordet (two longtime favorites) for Australian DVDs, Casa de Lava for an international collection on Pedro Costa, a short piece on Jia Zhangke for a Block Films brochure, an expansion of my Reader piece on Rossellini's India for another collection (about non-Indian films made in India), an article about Adam Curtis for Film Quarterly, and my usual column on DVDs for Cinema Scope. If the various permissions allow this, many of these pieces will wind up on my Web site, which is supposed to be launched around March, or at the very least there will be links or information about where to find them when they appear elsewhere.
Quigley Needs to Rethink His Audience
Comment on "A Good Day for the Rainmakers" by Ben Joravsky, The Works, January 17
Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley shares an office with Alderman Tom Tunney, and Quigley's disdain for TIFs is legendary. You have to know Quigley and Tunney talk about TIFs. Why is it that Tunney keeps voting for every TIF that goes before City Council?
Quigley is making the rounds with all these different neighborhood groups talking about the problems of TIFs, but the way I see it, it's the city aldermen who are the ones who should be hearing his preaching. Why isn't he preaching to them?
Comments on "Breakfast of Hooligans" by Ted Cox, The Sports Section, January 17
Better than watching big, fat, ex-frat boys butt heads and fall on top of each other for 4-5 hours in what Americans call football, eh? (And I'm American, so don't get all wound up about that.) But no wonder U.S. fans don't get the beautiful game—and may never at this rate—it ain't beautiful in the U.S. "Soccer" suffers from the U.S. having the potential talent to play at national levels, but not caring or being hungry enough to rival European, South American, or African teams. There's also the sadly stereotype-supporting propensity of the U.S. national team to do rude and myopic things like sending a third-string team to major South American competitions—so they lose on two fronts: the U.S. team loses and U.S. fans get annoyed/lose interest, and the rest of the world is offended by the insensitivity and arrogance of the U.S.—again. The MLS doesn't have a relegation system so, like the good suburbanites most of the players are, they all just go home at the end of the season with no "winners" and no "losers," and, due to the "draft," some of them just change sides. All in the name of "building the league." Pah! Grow up!! Act as if building teams means something and isn't just a hedge fund with entertainment! Also most MLS players (unless they are from what I term a hungrier place, like Blanco or Angel) don't grow up with the game constituting the best part of their day since from before they can remember and, sometimes, as if bettering their lives depended on it. I saw the same hunger and delight growing up around kids in Detroit who saw sports as their last, best chance out. Croxteth and Cote d'Ivoire are worlds away from the burbs and college campuses of the U.S. and, for better or worse, it shows in the quality of most U.S. players (with the exception of 'keepers—but that's a rant for another day).
I've lived in the U.S. for 20 years now. For about the first ten years, a typical article about soccer would read something like "How is this really a sport? . . . Low scoring . . . You can tie, which means it's a Communist game," blah blah, insert a bunch of stale stereotypes. The last ten years or so it's been more like "Wow, this really is a sport . . . People actually enjoy it without smashing up windows and burning cars immediately after kickoff . . . Maybe we should give it a try," blah blah, insert stale stereotypes. In ten years it'll be just another sport here, with lame mascots, way too much advertising, and fat families stuffing their fat faces with fatty foods instead of actually watching the game.
Knob-boy, please try not to generalize football (soccer) fans as hooligans in the future. After reading this article, I would wager that many of those "hooligans" are most likely better educated and adept at articulating thought than you, Mr. Wordsmith. If you decide to write on a sport about which you are not familiar . . . please do a bit of research beforehand. A couple pointers: Learn basic terminology. Also, one does not need to tie one on to enjoy the sport. You may also want to note that it is the most-watched sporting activity in the world (and rapidly growing in the U.S.). And, finally, the Globe offers a pretty decent breakfast!!
Oh, and the USA beat Sweden tonight 2-0 in a friendly. Do ya know what friendly is?
Seriously, people. What's wrong with you? Someone actually bothers to go experience the game firsthand (or at least on TV surrounded by fans) and all you want to do is call him an idiot? Kind of makes you wonder why someone else would even bother.
Read the piece: "Hey, this sounds fun."
Read the comments: "Hey, this sounds like, if we go we'll be surrounded by an entirely different type of douche bag than we normally encounter in bars."