I still have my dog-eared copy of Andrew Sarris's The American Cinema, and I used it efficiently to sift through Lightly Likeable and Strained Seriousness, but let's be careful to bury the dean of the auteur theory. This is the reviewer that began checking out of the American scene with his unapologetic pan of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, the same year his key text arrived. Coincidence? While the experimental cinema of the 60s was being merged with serials and John Ford and Kurosawa within the blockbusters of the 70s, Sarris was far more hypnotized by accented sit-coms like Erich Rohmer, 'realist' portrayals like Agnes Varda and self-conscious fare like Jaques Rivette. It's likely Sarris's full-view of American Cinema ended in 1968 (huh, just as the studio system was ending). He essentially abdicated full knowledge of the forces driving the studios, becoming more selective in the American scene. Sarris, though crucial to revising the perception of Lang, Welles, Stroheim, Dmytryk, Sirk, Losey, Tashlin, McCarey, Sturges, Roach, Keaton, and particularly Ford etc. may have spent the longest period of his career in coda-mode, where he seemed to have found his tastes inspired more by Europeans.
is the Cooper Skull, a hunted bison from 10,500 B.P. whose skull was then painted with a red zig-zag and placed at the capturing point of the hunt. This predates bow and arrow. Atlatl points used here in the hunting of both Clovis and Folsom periods originate in quarries 100 miles in every direction from the site. Read Leland Bement on his unusual find, click on the interactive skull.
Top: With the Curios, Bottom: In the Studio (1909)
From the Wm Cody Collection
"The Watergate that we wrote about in The Washington Post from 1972 to 1974 is not Watergate as we know it today. It was only a glimpse into something far worse. By the time he was forced to resign, Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise."
-from Nixon Was Much Worse Than We Thought, Washington Post June 10
For texts, obviously both All The President's Men and Final Days are critical bestsellers by Woodstein that explore the scandal from differing narratives. APM is a detective/procedural yarn, FD is reportage. FD best resembles the storytelling that Woodward continued in Wired, The Bretheren, Veil. Strangely the definitive Watergate book is neither of these. Barry Sussman, who was the city editor of The Washington Post, wrote it and called it aptly, The Great Cover-Up. Sussman's book examines each revelation as an element of a puzzle, or of a chess game in which moves are secret with only pawns and a king visible.
"Before anyone else at the Post, Sussman saw Watergate as a larger story, saw that the individual events were part of a larger pattern, the result of hidden decisions from somewhere in the top of government which sent smaller men to run dirty errands... - David Halberstam Powers That Be
For the operatic side of things Nixon, Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers, a book filled with rumor, innuendo and corruption that makes Harding's sold presidency look soft. Here's one example, the story of Chris Silberman...
Silberman was a rogue commodities trader (American Metals Ltd) who appeared in a Life Magazine photo on a remote Bahamian dock with Nixon in 1969. He claims former Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt met with him after the 1969 Nixon meeting and openly wondered what kind of money could be made if the gold window was closed. The gold window is the only opening for the commodity in the U.S. for foreign markets and had never been closed before. Its closure, a matter of public record, allowed Silberman to take a sizeable sum of money from Laxalt and bet widely on gold futures. After making over $10 million, Silberman claims he drove it into the U.S. across a pre-arranged Canadian border crossing and handed the truck over to unknown drivers. Nixon closed the gold window against the advice of Paul Volcker without offering any substantial reason. One of many fascinating, loosely corroborated tales in the book. A must-read for any Watergate aficionados.
Certainly the first known interplanetary tale was The True History by Lucian of Samosata written about 175 A.D. Lucian's hero went to the moon, where he found intelligent, nonhuman beings.
What might be called science fiction began in 1634 with Somnium by Johannes Kepler. Kepler was a great pioneer astronomer, who first established the mathematical principles to explain the orbits of the planets. But he was also an astrologer and mystic. As the title indicates, the story takes place in a dream, where a spirit carries Kepler to the moon and the planets.
Lester Del Rey The World of Science Fiction 1978
Past the intro: a spirited mash-up of Lensman and Star Wars. Some great physics.
Birch, which may have supplied the first portable written surface for Indo-European languages, has also been sometimes identified as the Rg Veda's 'tree of life.' Indo-European's first recorded myth, the Rg Veda, is a rich source mined for valuable references to the origins of written language. Both Russian and Hindi histories used birch until relatively recently (14th century).
This is an interesting tumblr begun 2011 to showcase Lucas's mirroring/doubling (thanks John Fell Ryan for spotting). While they begin with a series of Hidden Fortress, Seven Samurai and Searchers's parallels, the tumblr shifts later to internal dialogue doubling, isomorphs and object-oriented scale-mirrors.
Here are two pieces from our archives about what this all might mean.