Down and Out, Then Paranoid With George Orwell

“I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts...” he wrote. 

Not ability to face unpleasant facts. Not habit of facing unpleasant facts. Power of facing unpleasant facts. This is interesting choice of words, very unusual in this context, and it seems that the theme of power and who has it, who doesn’t have it, and what happens when it is unevenly distributed, stayed with Orwell his entire life.

Read More

Teetering on the High-Wire of Suspense in Homeland

When you set out to watch the Showtime series Homeland, whose cast of characters includes CIA operatives, high-level politicians, double agents, assassins and terrorists, you know the show is likely to be suspenseful. And, if it’s any good, it’s going to be suspenseful a lot of the time. Because suspense is a required texture for a good spy story. A spy story without suspense is like sex without romance — all mechanics and no foreplay. 

Read More

Al Pacino vs. Journalist Babes on the Silver Screen

I have always been baffled by the way journalists are portrayed in movies. There are a few persistent tropes that seem to rear their ugly heads more than others, but the most annoying for me has to be the pushy reporter babe with infallible gut instincts who is hell-bent on uncovering the Pulitzer Prize winning story and will get it at all costs, damn it!

Read More