I forgot to mention this last night, but we went to the Circle Cinema yesterday evening to watch Howl. It was amazing. It deals with the obscenity trial over the Allen Ginsberg poem of the same title.
I’ve loved Ginsberg’s work since I was in high school, and the film definitely does it justice. James Franco plays Ginsberg, and the movie includes many scenes of him reading the poem in a spot-on imitation of Ginsberg’s weird cadence, sometimes in black-and-white before an audience of hipsters, and sometimes narrating a visually stunning animated interpretation of the poem. The poetry reading scenes are interspersed with footage of Franco-as-Ginsberg being interviewed about his life and work and scenes from the trial, which feels particularly topical and timely in light of the ongoing Prop 8 trial. I find it interesting that 55 years later, the government is still wasting time and money trying to justify immature decisions based on homophobia, while the intelligentsia are still eviscerating the arguments in favor of such decisions and making their proponents look ill-prepared at best and silly at worst.
If the art director doesn’t win an Academy Award, I’m going to stop paying attention to the Oscars altogether.
Sometimes I secretly wish I could open my own private school for the children of subversive iconoclasts. Kids would be required to read at least 100 banned books in order to graduate, and we’d have an entire course devoted to the study of Quentin Tarantino movies. We’d also have a linguistics class that would include a study of profanities, their etymology, and the sociocultural reasons one word becomes a socially acceptable euphemism, while its synonym is declared “dirty” or “vulgar.”
I’m pretty sure our test scores would be off the charts, and disaffected teenagers would be lining up like soccer moms at a Black Friday sale to try to get a spot on the waiting list….