Julian, Man Up!

February 22, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, POLITICS |

As Tim Minchin has impressed with his witty ditty, exhorting Cardinal Pell to fly back from the Vatican to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, perhaps he could now set this one to music?  It concerns another prominent figure who refuses to break from cover..

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Vietnam / Iraq

South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The children from left to right are: Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim's cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. Behind them are soldiers of the Vietnam Army 25th Division. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

While recently reviewing The Deer Hunter, we strayed In Country, a tangled thicket where the eternal skirmish over Vietnam carries on. Now it is held-up as a mirror to military madness, and as a parable for the incursion / invasion of Iraq.  But whereas the strategic argument for Gulf War II remains opaque to this day despite inquiry after inquiry, I suggest that the escalation in Vietnam, as at 1965, is different to the events of 2003 by a substantial degree, rendering most modern comparisons between the two erroneous. The late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s formed the middle age of the Cold War (a…

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The Deer Hunter

February 6, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, HISTORY, POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Michael Cimino) (1978) How war tears a small, close-knit community to shreds.  Beer-drinking buddies from a steel town in Pennsylvanian hinterland, totally committed to going off to fight in Vietnam, all black-and-white in a world of grey, find themselves traumatised, humiliated, chewed-up and spat out, coming home completely changed and with a darker world-view.  Cimino’s best (one might say, only decent) film is a remarkable, potent effort, one tending to galvanise heated reactions in the viewer.         There have been objections to its length.  Certainly, the initial wedding ceremony and celebrations are long but whilst The Varnished Culture generally much…

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Good Night, and Good Luck.

January 22, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'How do we gas this up?" "We could get Dianne Reeves to sing a few tunes..."

(Dir. George Clooney) (2005) Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908 – 1957) knew he was on a winner, in the early 1950s.  There was a cold war on. There were active attempts to infiltrate American government and security services by Soviet agents and fifth columnists.  The only thing is, the junior Senator from Wisconsin couldn’t prove any of it, but he carried on as if he could, and would. A real problem was therefore lost in the fog of McCarthy’s bombast, bluster, dreamed-up lists of traitors, Senatorial kangaroo courts, and perversion of natural justice and the Constitution.  Eventually, he was ‘censured’ (or…

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Winter is Coming

January 21, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'Winter is Coming and I don't care...' (photo c/- Russian Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped) (by Garry Kasparov) When the Soviet Union finally bit the dust, and the new Russia elected itself a vodka-swilling party animal (Boris Yeltsin) as President, who could have foreseen that a mere few years later, an obscure KGB Lieutenant, a colourless unknown, would assume power, and rise to the status of absolute dictator after the style of that chap Hitler? Well this fellow, Garry Kasparov, did.  He has suffered for it, certainly, but in the face of ignorance, cowardice and corruption, he is a valuable Cassandra to remind us what President…

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