Monthly Archives: August 2007

My Letter to Dick Durbin

I’m never this intemperate when addressing public officials, but I’ve had it.

Senator Durbin,

I’ve supported you for as long as I’ve lived in Illinois. I even supported you, reluctantly, after you blubbered on the Senate floor when Republican operatives played rough with your accurate criticism of U.S torture. But in reading your response to Bush’s $50 billion Iraq supplemental request, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer support the path you’re taking.

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The King Shares the Throne

Jack Kirby is enjoying one hell of a resurgence. New hardcover editions bearing his name seem to be issued weekly, ranging from his foundational work at Marvel (the Fantastic Four Omnibus series—I’m waiting for the first installment to be reprinted) to his more cosmically outrageous solo work, such as the Fourth World, Silver Star and Devil Dinosaur. A recent Marvel superheroes stamp collection produced by the Post Office is almost an homage to his talents, as many of the featured characters were invented or defined by Kirby’s pen. Even the New York Times has gotten into the act, offering an editorial by Brent Staples that acts as a posthumous pat on the back.

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The Essence of Quiet Desperation

In praising The Office, I wrote about how well it does capturing the feeling of being trapped, stuck in a job that you hate but unable to see any real potential for change. Killer of Sheep, a film by director Charles Burnett, reminds us what it’s like to be really stuck. His camera takes us on a wide-ranging tour of 1970s Watts, presenting bluntly the poverty and isolation that plagues the area’s residents.

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