Musings @musicandmeaning.com

I'm dreaming still of who we were.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for the 'News commentary' category


Saturday, 29 March 2003

A very welcome return

For the past week and a half — ever since President Bush gave the first order to attack Iraq — NPR stations and some television networks have been pre-empting their usual programming in favor of news. For nearly a full week, KCRW shelved many of its normally scheduled shows during the day to provide special coverage of the war. Today, the station returns to normal programming, with hourly news updates and reports of any breaking news.

Last weekend I found myself actually needing to hear some Weekend Becomes Eclectic music, but when I switched to 89.9 I realized that regular programming was still on hiatus. Understandably so, of course. I appreciated the decision, but a part of me still needed to hear the music, to get some reassurance and energy. It reminded me of when the last Bush-ordered war on Iraq began over ten years ago. During that time, my main hobby was in old-time radio, and I listened without fail to the Jack Benny Program every Saturday night on KNX. Well, the war happened and I found myself especially wanting to hear Jack Benny, but it and all the OTR had been nixed for news. IIRC, KNX didn’t reinstate its daily "Drama Hour" until weeks later.

Not being able to listen to WBE last weekend also got me thinking about how I felt when I listened to WBE on the first weekend post-Sept. 11, 2001. Selfish and unsympathetic as it may sound, I definitely missed hearing the show last Saturday and Sunday. But if you read that entry from 2001, maybe you’ll understand why.

I welcome back all of the shows, but am especially grateful for the return of WBE and its uncannily healing powers. I’m looking forward to hearing Anne Litt‘s playlists for today and tomorrow.

Quote for the time being:

But give me love over,
love over,
love over this…
and give me love over,
love over,
love over this…

– from Coldplay’s "Politik," A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)


Monday, 20 January 2003

The more things stay the same…

Earlier tonight (technically last night) I had the TV turned on during the 3-hour-tape-delayed Golden Globe Awards (given by the Hollywood Foreign Press, which has a membership of 90 people…90 people who can give a seemingly huge-biz-deal, internationally televised awards party…isn’t that amazing? I’ve always thought so). I was working on something on the computer; the TV is situated behind me, so I ended up just listening in every so often.

When Nicole Kidman accepted her Best Actress in a Drama award for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she made a comment about how the past year had so many good performances and roles for women. And she pleaded with writers to continue writing rich and complex roles for women, because (may not be verbatim) “we’re very interesting.”

It was a nice speech, and it got much well-deserved applause…but I couldn’t and still can’t help thinking that a decade ago, when I was so very into the film industry and kept up with all of the news I could, actresses were trying to get the same message across. In no way do I intend to critique the originality of Kidman’s speech — not at all. I’m saying: What does it mean when, after ten years, female actors still have to plead for diverse and interesting characters to play?

Of course, I realize that it’s not as if things have remained static from 1993 to 2003. I acknowledge that improvements have been made. Even if Michael Cunningham had written The Hours back ten or fifteen years ago, I don’t know if the film would have been made…perhaps. But if it had, it likely wouldn’t have included such a remarkable “A” list cast, nor would it have been backed by a huge studio like Paramount, and without that cast and financial backing, it never would have had a chance in heck at winning an award like the Golden Globe. So a major dramatic movie about three women (who are not in their twenties, nor action heroes, nor evil spies, nor singing and dancing seductresses) like this one…it’s a positive sign, definitely (and I haven’t even seen the film yet). Even with the dollar-driven drivel that gets green-lighted these days, there’s still hope. Not just for actresses but for women as directors and writers and in the many other talents.

But I hope to witness the day when women will not have to ask men to write especially for them (and more women will be welcomed in the biz as writers), and when women will not have to search far and wide for (to borrow Kidman’s phrase) “complicated, rich characters to play.” Let’s try and see if we can make it happen. Because, let’s face it, I don’t want to have to make this case again ten years from now…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Posted at 3:03 am | Filed under Favorite posts, Film, News commentary |  

Tuesday, 11 September 2001

Shock

What can I say? It’s still sinking in.

I was listening to National Public Radio as usual this morning when
the news broke about the first plane crash. I was still listening
when the news came about what turned out to be the second deliberate
attack. I finally turned on the TV, and minutes later heard a
reporter at the Pentagon saying that he’d just felt an explosion
in the building. Then later, there were reports of the downed
plane in Pennsylvania.

On screen, I saw the first World Trade Center tower fall, and was
just shocked at how fast it caved, while the news anchors were
talking about something else — they apparently didn’t even realize
what had happened and had to look at the collapse at a playback.
Then, the second tower went down.

"Horrific" is one word to describe what happened today, but there really
isn’t any accurate way to describe in a single word how I felt,
and still feel. For most of the morning, I had a difficult time
just keeping my wits about me and communicating coherently. Physically
for a while, I felt extremely cold — I found myself shivering
sometimes and consciously had to try to stay warm. I can’t remember
anything ever affecting me that way. I’m still mentally shocked
— and I’m certain it’s not something that will go away anytime
soon, for me or many many other people. This
is a dark, dark day that will forever seep into how I live and
how I see the world.

All four hijacked planes were originally bound for California, three
for Los Angeles. I sincerely wish for the best and offer prayers
for all families and friends of the victims of the attacks —
not just locally around LA, but San Francisco, DC, NY, Boston,
and all over the nation and the world. I’m still checking to see
if my friends and their friends around those areas are okay. I
hope you are.

I probably sound rather melodramatic right now, but I’m completely
serious about everything I’m saying, about my word choices and
my intent in trying to convey the magnitude of this day, for me
anyway. I’ve experienced tragedy but not on this kind of insane
scale. I’m sure there are few, if any, people my age group who
have. Today I’ve felt thoroughly confused and yet there are moments
of clarity, like now, when I know that this day will always bring
up devastating emotions. I’m usually pretty reserved when I write,
especially when I’m writing for people to read, but this is just
me typing away right now. I’ll probably have more to say later,
but I just needed to get this all out, here, for now. I haven’t
felt like talking much at all today.

– near Los Angeles

To donate blood, send money or sign
up as a volunteer –

   Please visit redcross.org
or your local Red Cross office. There are telephone numbers posted
as well as a way to donate money online. If the redcross.org site
is busy/unavailable, you can donate
money to the Red Cross via Amazon.com
.

To find out about loved ones (airlines,
Pentagon, NYC emergency information) –

   Yahoo has provided a list
of contact numbers and sites
.

For the latest news about the terrorist
attacks in the U.S. —

Posted at 9:22 pm | Filed under Musings & everything else, News commentary |