Friday, December 05, 2008

Recent Reading

The last couple of weeks have brought an explosion of new film reading material, both on and off the Net. We all know the merciless law of currency that holds sway in the blogosphere, so before all this great new reading disappears like dust trails in our rear-view, I'll try to grab and affix some of it here.

To begin with: the first heavyweight year-end top 10 list I've seen, by James Quandt in Artforum. It's not online, alas, so I'm reproducing excerpts from it here:

1 & 2. Itinéraire de Jean Bricard (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet) and Le Genou d'Artémide (Jean-Marie Straub).

3. The Headless Woman (Lucretia Martel). "Martel returns to the terrain of oblique unease among the rural bourgeoisie of Argentina in a trance film that leaves its audience as unmoored as its sleepwalking heroine."

4. Liverpool (Lisandro Alonso). "One expects formal precision from Alonso, here completing his trilogy about intractable men journeying solo through hinterland, but the film's emotional amplitude is new and welcome."

5. Tony Manero (Pablo Larrain). "...Alfredo Castro gives the year's male performance as a Travolta-obsessed psycho, fixated on Saturday Night Fever but living out Vengeance is Mine in Pinochet's Chile."

6. 24 City (Jia Zhang-ke). "The extent of Jia's nostalgia for pre-free market China becomes troublingly apparent in his latest bardic contemplation of the country's recent past."

7. United Red Army (Koji Wakamatsu). "In a resurgence of Japanese cinema, Wakamatsu's ferocious three-hour chronicle of Maoist student cadres in the 1960s vies with Hirokazu Kore-eda's lovely home drama, Still Walking. As a firsthand account of leftist infighting and auto-immolation, United Red Army readily joins Oshima's Night and Fog in Japan and Godard's La Chinoise."

8. Wonderful Town (Aditya Assarat) "...Thailand provided the year's best feature-fiction debut, Assarat's melancholy portrait of a young architect from Bangkok supervising reconstruction in a tsunami-afflicted town where occluded anguish quickly turns murderous."

9. Cleopatra (Julio Bressane). "Werner Schroeter's gorgeous but oddly impersonal requiem, Nuit de Chien, aside, Bressane's ultranutty vision of the Egyptian queen was the film maudit of 2008."

10. Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas).

In a very different list, also at Artforum, John Waters ties two films for first place: "(A) Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen) Does anybody not think this is the best American movie of the year (even though it was made in Spain)? Come on, it’s got a great script, the actors look like real movie stars, and Woody Allen films Scarlett Johansson with the same obsession Paul Morrissey had for Joe Dallesandro. Gives heterosexuality a good name! (B) Love Songs (Christophe Honoré) I may be the only person who would pick this as the best foreign-language movie of the year, but what do I care if you don’t like this hipper-than-thou bisexual French musical? When the sexy, smart-ass characters burst into songs about brain tumors, saliva, and human sandwiches, I get all teary inside and realize that this is the only romantic comedy I’ve ever really loved."

* * *

Adrian Martin's new column at Filmkrant takes up an issue that is being hotly debated in film studies: should films be studied as self-sufficient artworks or as objects that possess meaning only when examined within their social and historical context? The former approach is used by textualists or formalists. In Hilary Radner's words: "The formalist tendency is grounded in a desire to describe in as much detail as possible the processes and gestures of the film itself as an object and a medium... it seeks to isolate and to understand the specificity of film as art - to capture the weight and the portence of that art - of that which only cinema can do."

The focus of the latter approach, according to Richard Maltby, is on "the economic, political and institutional histories of distribution and exhibition, and on social histories of cinema's audiences."

Adrian reconciles the two vantage points: "The big question, at the end of the day, is surely: why should we have to choose between these two extremes? Has there ever been an aesthetic critic who truly believed that 'the world' played no part in determining the sense of a film? And has there ever been a historian-philosopher who entirely stopped watching and enjoying films as objects in themselves?"

* * *

The film reading trove of the week is the new issue of Screening The Past. There are two main sections to look at: a huge collection of review essays and a main section of featured articles.

Here's an excerpt from Adrian's review of a new book on Brian De Palma:

Eyal Peretz’s frequently stimulating, occasionally baffling exploration of ‘De Palma’s cinematic education of the senses’ (the book’s subtitle) looks not at the entire oeuvre – not even a standard approximation of the entire oeuvre (for many major works do not rate a mention) – but mainly three key films, Carrie (USA 1976), The Fury (USA 1978) and Blow Out (USA 1981), with a Coda devoted to Femme Fatale (France 2002). In those films, it looks at very few, usually short passages (from Carrie, for example, hardly the first two minutes). De Palma is consistently conjured, in a manner that surpasses even the most excessive auteurism, as a kind of Godhead – a visionary, indeed – in that the book eschews any information about the films’ production circumstances, and fails to meaningfully discuss any of his contributors from either cast or crew. Apart from a brief note on paranoid cinema and an obligatory (but original) consideration of the Hitchcock legacy, Peretz does not compare De Palma’s films with other films of their time, or with films by other directors. In terms of its dialogue with the traditions of film criticism – in particular, the many hundreds of articles, in many languages, devoted to De Palma – the book is a startling tabula rasa: in 55 pages – 55 pages! – of densely detailed notes, there is not a single reference to any previous writing on the director. [...]

However [...] I found myself (almost despite myself) very engaged with this book; this successful diversion of a reader’s preconception is the mark of a good and interesting critical/theoretical work. (Why read something that merely confirms what I already think I know about De Palma, in the language that has already confirmed it?) [...]

To Peretz, nothing that happens in a De Palma film – no gesture, line of dialogue, bit of behaviour, camera angle or scene transition – is natural, obvious or common-sensical; on the contrary, all is ‘strange’, bizarre, in urgent need of interpretation. The word strange appears multiple times on many pages; indeed, this book could have been subtitled (with a nod to Raymond Durgnat) The strange case of Brian De Palma. Becoming Visionary launches itself from where the best De Palma criticism wisely begins: from the sense that everything in these films is grandly unreal, illogical, unbelievable, risible, grotesque, a live-action cartoon. So much for the stuffy old business of character psychologies (and believable performances), dramatic/comic themes and coherent, and fictive-world meanings!

* * *

More reading:

-- Campaspe, the Self-Styled Siren, is interviewed at Film in Focus.

-- At Sight & Sound, critics pick their favorite DVDs of 2008.

-- Dave Kehr in the NYT on the just-released Douglas Fairbanks DVDs.

-- David Bordwell on films of the 1980s.

-- New at Jonathan Rosenbaum's place: pieces on Chris Marker's Sans Soleil and Elizabeth Subrin's Shulie.

-- Jon Jost has a new post that begins: "Thomas Friedman, columnist for the Gray Lady of New York, who pontificates twice weekly in the Times “opinion pages,” is, by any accounting, almost always wrong."

-- Matt Zoller Seitz on Budd Boetticher at Moving Image Source.

-- Dan Sallitt on Jean-Daniel Pollet at Auteurs' Notebook; and on Jean-Gabriel Albicocco's 1961 debut feature La Fille aux yeux d'or ("The Girl with the Golden Eyes"), at Thanks for the Use of the Hall, which now has a new URL.

-- Catherine Grant collects "Online Film Audio-Commentaries and Video Essays Of Note."

-- A flurry of new posts (including on Bazin) at Harry Tuttle's place, Screenville.

-- The latest Serge Daney essay to be translated and added to Steve Erickson's site: "For a cine-demography".

-- Chris Cagle on TCM cinephilia.

-- Ian Thomson on Pasolini in the Times Literary Supplement.

-- There's a new issue of Criticine.

-- In City Journal, by Kay S. Hymowitz: "Love in the Time of Darwinism: A report from the chaotic postfeminist dating scene, where only the strong survive."

pic: "Telekinesis: Thought to be the ability to move or to cause changes in objects by force of the mind." From Brian De Palma's Carrie.


Blogger Brian said...

Why do I get the sense that Quandt's top ten may be more prescriptive than descriptive? It's as if showing at more than a few festivals on this continent disqualifies a film from the list. Now, perhaps that's a descriptive stance: an expression that the best films are too challenging to be accepted widely.

I probably shouldn't single Quandt out; perhaps the purpose of all critics' top 10s is really more prescriptive (go rent/see/program these films!) than descriptive (because how can one honestly compare artworks against each other this way). I guess I'm just a little frustrated that only a single film on this particular list played here in the Bay Area.

December 05, 2008 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you missed the point of Quandt's list, which apparently has achieved what all such lists aspire to, if none has shown in San Francisco: to demonstrate superior taste and knowledge and access to cultural products you can only dream of. I don't know when top ten lists started - I find them, at best, singualrly inane and pointless - but at least when the Cahiers people in the 50s did theirs they were working from a common script. So it was significant if someone had left Hitchcock or Mizoguchi off their list. The reader knew they had seen it and didn't like it. The Quandt-style list is just schoolyard 'I've been to Paris and you haven't' boasting.

December 05, 2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said...

I disagree with Anonymous on this. I think there is a certain active element to film writing and list-making; writing about a film generates interest in readers, and I think part of the motivation behind lists like Quandt's (if we, as Anonymous does, take it for granted that it is not actually a list of Quandt's favorite films, which it very well may be) is to generate interest in works, to create demand or awareness of films that should be distributed but aren't. Of the films on the list that I've seen, I can vouch that all are damn good and deserve to be seen by more people, especially 24 CITY and the Straubs.

Every list is a polemic, and Quandt's happens to say "What I feel are the best films are not getting distributed and I'm going to voice my dissatisfaction with the sorts of work that ends up making its way to my country."


December 05, 2008 7:28 PM  
Anonymous eli said...

Heh, Quandt and I have similar lists! I wish that I was able to see The Headless Woman and United Red Army!

I think Anonymous' comments only display a typical tendency to dismiss anything slightly esoteric or not totally accessible. I think Quandt's list is great; there is so much passion for discovery.

Girish, have you seen the announcement for the next cinematheque season? It could be one of the best seasons I've seen:

I wish I could make it to every film. I think I'm most excited for Lav Diaz's Melancholia, never thought that I would have a chance so soon at seeing one of his epics.

December 05, 2008 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Anon, you are being very harsh and, what's worse, 'ad hominem' in your attack on James Q. I agree wholeheartedly with Ignatiy: I can get sick of the incessant list-making myself (especially at this end of every year), but the point of JQ's list is clear: he's trying to raise some interest in these undeservedly 'obscured' films. Nothing wrong with that.

December 05, 2008 7:50 PM  
Blogger girish said...

I like Quandt's list because it gives me new ideas and points me to films I haven't seen (or, in some cases, haven't even heard of). I also trust James' taste--I've been following his writings and recommendations for years. I simply know from experience that the 7 films on his list that I haven't seen will be worth checking out (if I can ever catch up with them!). I have learned new things from his list.

On the other hand, the kinds of lists that I find not-very-interesting are the ones repeat and echo the same familiar films over and over again. What I like, to use Brian's term, are "prescriptive" lists that are 'subjective', personal, idiosyncratic, open-minded...even a touch crazy! They can be very valuable--because (as Ignatius said) they perform a polemical function, pointing the way to fresh, new, unfamiliar cinema experiences. IMO, this should be the purpose of year-end lists.

December 05, 2008 7:54 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Oops, Eli and Adrian, I didn't see your comments when I posted mine! Eli, I can't wait to check out the new season--thanks for the link.

December 05, 2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger Sachin said...

Hey Girish,

Actually the thai film Wonderful Town was my fav. film from CIFF this year. I knew nothing about it when I went to see it but found it to be a real treat. The look and feel of the film reminded me of Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's films but still unique and refreshing. As for the others on James list, not sure when I will be able to catch up with them, if ever. But I do like seeing lists which are different and attempt to incorporate a diverse range of films.

It is true that a lot of film festival titles that make up some year end lists are hard to come by if one does not live in the select 2-3 North American cities where these films might open. But even a lot of the Hollywood films that make most American critics year end list are hardly widely distributed before a year is over as they are usually only shown in the odd American theater in late December to qualify for a year end list but won't make it to the rest of North America until mid-late January of the following year. I remember films such as Children of Men, Pan's Labyrinth or even There Will be Blood didn't make it most Canadian cities until mid January or so but by then a lot of critics had praised the movie and kept talking about it. With lists that include more film festival or foreign titles, most of those titles take longer to get distribution, sometimes 1-2 years, or never in some cases. But still good to know what other people are enjoying out there so one can keep an eye out for some films that will slip through the cracks.

December 05, 2008 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would it be possible to post the other lists, in particular amy taubin's?

December 06, 2008 11:08 AM  
Blogger nitesh said...

I think it’s important to talk about films one normally would not see in most mainstream publications. I know I could never get a chance to see the films on Quandt list, yet it helps me be on the lookout to know about them, as Sachin put. Though was glad to see United Red Army and Wonderful Town in the list. Two good films that I saw at the Osian film festival this year in India. Beside, Koji Wakamatasu and Aditya Assarat were there in person to talk about the film. Later, when I meet Wakamatasu at the festival, he had come with cinematographer (Tusji Tomohiko)… we talked a lot and they did too, but when they spoke…we stared, and when we spoke, they stared. We didn’t know Japanese and they could barely speak English. But it was interesting nonetheless, especially when I could make some sense when he was talking about his pinku films.

December 06, 2008 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with knowing about films "you can only dream of". In fact, the films you fantasize about while knowing that you won't have an opportunity to see them for quite a while are at least as important to one's (or at least my) cinephilic identity at any given point as the ones you are planning to see or even the ones you count as favorites.
They're a map of the territories you know have to be explored, and they hint at other territories to be explored that you don't even know about yet...
In fact, Nathan's theorem of cinephilia number one: at any given point, a cinephile's identity is to be found at the intersection of his love and knowledge of contemporary film, his love and knowledge of film history, and his uncharted dreams about both. Does this make any sense to anyone other than me? Because if it doesn't, I need to reconsider my basic strategy (and stop fantasizing about Olaf Möller and Christoph Huber's Senses of Cinema lists so much. Can't wait for their best of 2008!)...

December 06, 2008 11:38 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

Brian, I wouldn't worry too much, since most of the films in Quandt's list premiered at Cannes or Toronto, and San Francisco hasn't had a major festival since then that would include them.

I like lists like his because they knock a ball-peen hammer against the quickly ossifying conventional wisdom, e.g. that Jia's latest was a let-down. I passed the chance to see a handful of these films, some of them on more than one occasion, as luck would have it, (including Jia's) because of the advance word (and limited time, of course). But I'm glad to see Summer Hours show up, one of my faves from Toronto but a film that's been dismissed by a surprising number of people who generally like Assayas.

December 06, 2008 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

I understand Brian's frustration about not having had the opportunity to see some films on the lists of people (perhaps as it invokes a mild feeling of exclusion). But I also would like to believe that Quandt really likes these films (acknowledging his work as a programmer you can see the effort made to screen them), and agree with Girish that it's healthy to see a variety of lists that point to works we may have not heard of otherwise.

Anonymous' point about the Cahiers group is an interesting one and certainly makes their lists intriguing to study as indicative of French film culture at the time (which includes what showed in France, assuming the lists don't include what the critics saw in Festivals).

I'm grateful for opportunities to partake in end-of-the-year lists that are widely read, however difficult and strange a practice of making these lists -- I recently participated in a Sight & Sound's end of the year poll, which had a fairly early deadline of November 10. I only wish there were more (astute) critics from a variety of countries invited to participate. Their lists may be looked at as limited (by the possibility of less exposure to important international fair) or liberating (through greater exposure to films from their country or region).

On a separate note: Girish, thank you for linking the new issue of Criticine!

December 07, 2008 2:46 AM  
Blogger Filipe Furtado said...

I don't undertand why the discussion turn into this. Except from Straub and Bressane films, pretty much everything on Quandt's list is likely to show up in any large festival (I manage to miss Wonderful Town at Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo). Next to what I expect to see by Olaf Moeller in the next Film Comment this is actually pretty mainstream list. And one can already download Le Genou d'Artemide in places like Karagarga (and I imagine the same will be true about Cleopatra as soon as it come out on DVD here).

December 07, 2008 2:54 PM  
Anonymous arsaib said...

Mr. Möller included CLEOPATRA in the "Best of 2007" list he submitted to Senses of Cinema. I'm now glad to see it being listed by Mr. Quandt as well (thanks for posting it, Girish!). And I believe the film is now available on DVD from Flashstar Home Video (reportedly with English subtitles).

December 08, 2008 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, my point about the Cahiers, for example, was that their lists were polemical, and that to be polemical everyone must know what your argument is. Today, with the fragmentation of film culture, using the same 'Top 10' formula as 50 years ago has a much different cultural meaning. If I leave Straub off my list, readers don't know if this is because I didn't like the film, haven't seen the film and thus reserve judgment, or have never heard of the film. Considering this range of possibilities - ignorance to loathing and everything in between - what is the possible use of such a list? If it is simply to tip readers off about films they might like to seek out, surely there are more effective ways.

I would argue that the function of these lists has changed fundamentally from being a polemical one to being one of individual critics demonstrating their skills of discernment, and all critics have a vested professional interest in such demonstrations. And I would dispute that this is a 'mainstream' list, as one person commented (or that my comments are 'ad hominem', in the words of another): the other list Girish posted is mainstream, not this one. One would have to travel to three or four international festivals to see all these films on a big screen. How many people in the world, do you imagine, has seen all these films to date? Fewer than a hundred? I suspect. Certainly fewer than a thousand. What could possibly be the point, therefore, of such a list? If James Q. and others who have the luxury of attending several foreign festivals a year would like to draw up a list of films they think we should watch out for because they havem't shown widely, or a list of films that have been unjustly neglected or, more precisely, for which no distribution is in place and no DVD available, fine. That would simply be providing the community a useful service: here are some films I was lucky enough to see that you may not have: I urge you to keep an eye open for them. But by calling it a ten-best list, it becomes perverse, if for no other reason that no dialogue about it is possible when you haven't seen three or four or six or seven of the films on the list.

(Please don't get me wrong, I think the truly mainstream top-ten list is much worse: there is nothing worse than seeing some hack write up the predictable Hollywood and Eurotrash films each year as the 'ten best'.)

December 08, 2008 10:41 AM  
Blogger Filipe Furtado said...

Anonymous, one doesn't need to go to several film festivals to see most films on Quandt's list, one good festival that has 200+ titles and a decent programmer is certainly to carry most of them. Here in São Paulo 7 out of 10 titles had being shown and another (The Headless Woman) will open commercially in 2009 (I'm hoping to see both Straub films in Buenos Aires next year, so I guess I do need to travel a little to finish the whole list).

December 08, 2008 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

But 'Anonymous', before we get any further into your incisive and provoactive remarks, who are you exactly ??

December 08, 2008 3:09 PM  
Blogger David said...

Out of curiosity: does anyone think these might actually be Quandt's top ten pics? (not unlikely he followed the logical rule that only films that he saw for the first time in 2008 count--so that the list becomes what it's intended to be, a reflection if its time). And that the ones to rail against are the distributors, not critics?

Summer Hours will be getting at least an American theatrical run, so it doesn't need his support as a film to look out for in festivals...

Wonderful Town also had a NY release, at least.

December 08, 2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous eli said...

Yes, I cannot understand how anonymous just dismisses it outright, and I do not see any reason to doubt Quandt's honesty. If these are in fact what he believes to be the ten best films of the year, then how is that perverse? Or are people not allowed to have individual opinions? I can vouch for the qualities of Le Genou D'artemide, Liverpool, and 24 City, which are certainly deserving of being on a best of the year list.

I think it's as simple as saying that these are what he believes to be the best films of the year, but of course, a great list like this provides much more functions than just that.

December 08, 2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger Craig said...


I tend to want to think that this list is a honest representation of Quandt's opinions regarding the best films he viewed this year. I'm cool with that.

I am more interested in exploring Anonymous larger points then I am in debating Quandt's honesty. When he asks "what are the possible uses of such a list?" I am intriqued. This is mostly because I actually do look at top ten lists each year. So I must find them useful in some way. Is it only from the prescriptive stance (go rent/see/program), as Brian first asked us, that these lists have value? Or are there other uses?

I do want to say that I think quite a bit of dialogue is possible about a particular critics list even if one hasn't seen ANY of the films on that particular list. The dialogue can be "Why hasn't one seen these films? What does this say about distribution practices?" Of course, these lists tell us much more about the critic then they do about the films and I think this is as true of the old Cashiers lists as of any new list.

December 08, 2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 08, 2008 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adrian, please don't let my lack of an identity get in the way of responding to my remarks. I'd be honoured to have you put your mind to them, whatever your conclusion.

December 10, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to pop up here much. I'm in the thick of final exams week, and the next week or so will be spent grading to meet the deadline. Back soon!

December 10, 2008 11:05 PM  
Anonymous arsaib said...

In case anyone's interested, Assayas' SUMMER HOURS was recently released on DVD in the U.K. by Artifical Eye.

December 11, 2008 11:29 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

thanks for the link Girish.

This Anonymous refuses to look at the empty part of the glass half full! Instead of blaming festivals in Toronto and distribution in Paris (I only saw 5 on the list in Paris, I could have seen 2 more), it would be wiser to contemplate the problem of a system that denies American cinephiles what other countries can watch on the big screen... It's a matter of participatory citizenship like sending a complaint to your congressman. Let Quandt care for underexposed gems and demand from your local distributors to take more risks, to bring you as much choice as your neighbours to the north!

In the good news, a great article by Scott Foundas to denounce an aspect of this market censorship (via The House Next Door).

December 12, 2008 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Chad said...

I believe the tension between these methodologies proves highly productive. I have some thoughts on each:

An internal approach—focusing on the diegesis itself and the formal aspects of the medium—often proves a great remedy for many of the problems that plague film studies. Just look at the titles of most journal and conference papers—the films themselves play a secondary role to a particular theory or viewpoint. By doing this, one approaches film only thematically and uses a film or group of films to support some methodological predisposition. Yet this proves highly stifling; it inhibits the ability for a film to ever surprise you (and for you to discover its richness), since you watch films with the goal of fitting them into some personal paradigm. I find the need to consistently return to the film texts themselves in order to truly understand their machinations, to break down a scene shot by shot, and, many times, just to wonder in amazement. Yet this mistake of which I speak—I’ve done it many times; I’ve watched a film, done an immense amount of research, watched a few scenes again, then wrote my paper—only to return to the film later on and realize my methodology blinded me to so much of what the film had to offer. And although it probably depends on what social circles or academic department you are in, is this not the complaint you often hear: people just don’t know the films themselves? I strongly believe there are far too many “historian-philosopher[s] who entirely [stop] watching and enjoying films as objects in themselves.” I know too many of them.

But an external approach—semiotic, historical, social—does prove extremely necessary. For example, my most recent essay is on Vincente Minnelli and the American in Paris ballet. Though the ballet can certainly stand on its own, at some point I had to move beyond just the film itself. For example, James Naremore speaks of Minnelli’s “shop window” aesthetic. And, of course, there is a whole history of mass consumerism and the creation of department stores in mid-19th century Paris that one must know to truly grasp what “shop-window aesthetic” means. And that’s only one of many directions in which my research spun out. Yet at some point, I simply had to return to the film and the scene about which I wrote, because the train of research would have moved me further and further away from it (and would have threatened to become a substitute for engaging with the film itself). Yet my new knowledge only improved the quality of my work and my understanding of Minnelli and An American in Paris.

For me, alternating between an internal and external approach produces a healthy anxiety that strengthens my knowledge of both the cinema and the cultural world at large.

December 12, 2008 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why the link to City Journal, a paper that's always radical right wing and often openly racist / sexist?

December 14, 2008 10:33 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Anon, I'd never laid eyes on City Journal before, but there was much in this piece that was outrageous!

December 14, 2008 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

then everything's fine, I enjoy reading Your blog very much and I was a bit troubled to see the link and thought that it means at least some kind of approval.
btw I'm no pc-watchdog normally, but the City Journal is really hard to stomach for me (please excuse language errors, I'm not a native speaker - or a nativ)

December 14, 2008 10:52 AM  

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