Marketing people are not very smart

Whoops…haven’t blogged in two days. Right then. Tally ho.


The Canadiens game last night: fugly. The Hurricanes played a mediocre game, but the Canadiens played like old women at 3 AM. Every loose puck, every fight along the boards, every dump-in, every scrum…Carolina seemed to win it. If the Canadiens play like this again tomorrow night, it’s all over. Whatever happens, I don’t see either of these teams moving on against Ottawa, New Jersey or Buffalo (assuming the Sabres win).


The blogosphere (ugh…hate that term…hence, my Bomb The Blogosphere t-shirt is on the way) is afire with talk about Stephen Colbert’s bit at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. It was, indeed, very funny. It took balls to stay in character and subtly trash the administration with the President sitting a few feet away, and to heap ridicule on the press corp with them staring him in the eye.


Good news on the condo front: we now have a closing date. April 9th is what we’ve been told, which means we should be able to move in some time before that (since we’re about halfway up the building). I guess. I don’t really know; I’m a homebuying rookie. Still, it’s great to have a date, even if it’s 11 months away.


I’ve watched a pile of movies in the past few days, some from the PVR (which we’re now calling the TiFaux) and some at the Hot Docs festival.

  • Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was just what it sounded like. Some were throwaways, some were very interesting. My favourite was the interview that he wrote for himself, where he questions the very nature of music and performances. It made my head spin, but Gould was known for turning things on their ear. I’d like to find out more about the man, and this was a decent place to start.
  • Speaking of throwaway, City Hall (imdb | rotten tomatoes) had all kinds of potential with all kinds of great actors, but it never really went anywhere. It’s a decent afternoon timekiller if you should flip by it on an afternoon, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to rent it.
  • Our second Hot Docs movie was An Unreasonable Man (hot docs), about Ralph Nader. For an audience that knows vaguely of Nader as a customer crusader and mainly as the man who’s been painted as responsible for George Bush winning the presidency, it was enlightening to see a more in-depth history of such an interesting figure. Nader took on the automotive industry — specifically GM — and won, forcing them to improve car safety, made seat belts and air bags mandatory, and effected dozens of other changes to protect consumers. The hoopla surrounding the 2000 election was discussed at length, with opinion on both sides, and showed how hard the powers that be worked to keep him out of the race when it mattered. My favourite quote was from Nader himself: “Personally, I think Al Gore lost me the election.” Five stars out of five, sez I.
  • The next documentary was OilCrash (hot docs), a fairly scary picture of a) how incredibly valuable oil is to the very operation of our society, b) how perfect and efficient a solution oil is to our energy needs, and c) how terrifyingly fast we’re running out of it. I felt they did an amazing job of staying neutral: there was no (to steal Don Rumsfeld’s favourite line) “henny-penny, the sky is falling”, oil is evil, the president is a petroleum-thirsty savage, etc. They simply showed how incredibly reliant we are on oil, how none of the primary alternatives are viable replacements, and how we’re deluding ourselves into thinking there’s more left than there is. I only rated it three out of five, though, since the presentation wasn’t in the same class as the content.

An interesting note about Hot Docs: they’re sponsored in part by Cadillac, and so before each documentary there’s an ad for the Cadillac Escilade…by all accounts, one of the most egregious offenders in terms of gas guzzling and consumer excess. You can imagine, then, the audience reaction when such an ad plays before DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT RALPH NADER AND OIL CRISES!! I mean, for the love of god, what fucking idiot in marketing at Cadillac/GM thought that up?


Finally, as promised, I have more to say about United 93. As I said on Saturday, I found it very moving and powerful. It’s been quite a while since I need a few minutes at the end of a movie to compose myself, and I think Nellie and I had walked halfway home before either of us uttered a word. The tension starts in the first few seconds, and by the halfway point of the movie I could feel myself trembling a bit. I thought it was the cold (the Varsity is often freezing) but by the end — right around the time the passengers figure out what’s going on and start calling their families — I was practically shaking the chair. I realized it was my nerves. That was something I’ve never experienced before.

I’d find it hard to recommend the film to anyone, just because it felt like such an ordeal and I wouldn’t want to necessarily put them through that, and yet I still feel like everyone should see it. I thought it was a brilliantly crafted and exceptionally told interpretation of what happened, a perfect escalation of the speed, tension and confusion of the day as it developed, and as unbiased as it could be (the terrorists, though zealots, are just scared human beings, which makes them more and less terrifying at once; there’s even a brief scene where both they and the passengers pray, to different gods, but no one more fervently than the other) while still portraying the unfathomable bravery the passengers showed.

I remember thinking the same thing I thought that day four and a half years ago when I heard the first reports about the plane that had crashed in Pennsylvania, just for a split second before my brain refocused on all the carnage unfolding on CNN: what courage. What fucking courage. To charge the terrorists, to storm the cockpit, to attempt to re-take the plane, knowing full well that they could die in an instant. Were they trying to save other lives in New York or Washington? Were they just trying to save themselves? Did they just want one more chance to see their families? Were they angry? Scared? Altruistic? Selfish? Probably all of those things, and more. And they did what not many people would have done: they fought back. They did everything they possibly could, and whether they knew it or not, they might have saved hundreds of lives.



[tags]Canadiens, Hurricanes, NHL, Stephen Colbert, condo, Hot Docs, United 93[/tags]

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