I realize Robert Redford's politics may not go down well with conservatives. I like his movies, in general. Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorites. So I just enjoy his pictures and don't give much thought to his politics.
A Walk in the Woods is the best movie I've seen in a long time. I'm prejudiced to some extent because part of the movie was filmed less than ten miles from my house, and it's always interesting to see places you know in the pictures. There's one 45 second scene filmed at an Appalachian Trail way station that I drove past twice a day, every work day, for twenty years.
But even if that weren't true, the picture resonates with me because it's about men who are getting older, and don't like it. I thought they did a good job of addressing the frustration and even resentment associated with that. The scenery is spectacular. Lots of movies are filmed in the Smokey Mountains because they are so beautiful, but not many go to the trouble this director did to really give people a look at the place.
It's funny, too. Really funny. There's a lot of bad language in the film, so you can't take your kids and that' a shame, because if they hadn't done that there isn't anything else in the movie that was questionable, and I think it would have made a good family show.
Instead of going to the lake to the big theater, we went to our little theater, and that was a mistake. My county, as I mentioned before, is hyper religious. So a lot of the previews of coming attractions were of movies that were very heavily christian in nature. The people sitting around us would say "praise Jesus" and things like that as the previews played and some scene struck their fancy. I don't know why but that irritates me beyond words. Then a preview for "The Martian" came on, which looked interesting to me, and the audience started making fun of it. The guy behind me rattled his cellophane candy bag all through the movie. Next time I go to the lake.
The new annual is out from Military Surplus. This one was really good. There were some articles on weapons that are not generally given a lot of attention. They put a nice piece in on reloading for the Webley, and a good article on Viet Cong jungle workshop weapons. I have been thinking about buying a Star Model B, and after reading the write up I think I will go ahead and get one.
I finished Kunstler's follow up to The Long Emergency. It's not as easy to read, and seems disjointed in places. There's a reason for that. Kunstler likes to deprecate people who care about money, as if he himself were beyond such mundane concerns. But he took a couple of papers he wrote for presentations he made, and grafted them together to make this book. The entire first half is concerned with the housing bubble and the derivatives scandals of 2008. Like everybody else who ever wrote anything on the subject, Kunstler assumes the reader is a moron with no concept of what happened so he goes into painstaking detail about every little facet. Frankly, it's pretty boring stuff and just a rehash of what you probably already know. He also stipulates throughout his book that anyone reading it is probably ignorant, or stupid, or both. He is willing to serve as their guru, and enlighten them.
Part of his book does nothing but take a swipe at people and entities he doesn't like. There are a couple of pages of comments about mistakes the Democrats made, primarily concerned with allowing minorities and illegal immigrants to get away with anything they want to in order to insure a solid voting block for the party. Then there's virtually a whole chapter of carping about the evil Republicans. I'm not a Republican anymore, myself. But he takes it to extremes. One of the major aspects of James Howard Kunstler's personality is a huge ego, overweening arrogance, and a rabid dislike for anyone who doesn't hail his genius by slavishly agreeing with everything he says. If you want to stay on his good side, you should always cite his work. People who do that , but are still wrong, are just mistaken but not evil.
|James Howard Kunstler|
Kunstler is your typical Ivory Tower academic, living in Up State New York and with a visceral dislike for anything Southern. In every book of his I've read, be it fiction or not, he manages to work in some way to deprecate people who live in the South. They are "hyperindividualists" which is bad because Kunstler sees the post crash future as little hive enclaves surrounded by vast emptiness, where everyone will sing Kumbaya, beat the flower drums, and follow the guidance of some totalitarian power figure. So Southerners, who don't fit that mold, are bad. Southerners are "militaristic" and probably the cause of America's wars because without them, America couldn't fight wars, so it must be their fault. And on, and on. Southerners are religious, and religion is one of the big causes of strife in the United States. So that's their fault as well.
Still, sometimes you have to put aside your dislike of someone's personality or politics to benefit from their grasp of their art. Kunstler fits in this category for me. The Long Emergency was spectacularly correct in it's predictions for the future. This book, written some 6 years later, accurately predicts the devastation of illegal immigration, the folly of letting minorities become pampered groups with influence on the entire country far beyond what their numbers would dictate. Kunstler predicted the massive migrations out of the Middle East and Africa, and the marginalization of the white occupants of Europe and the United States as a result. He wrote these things in Too Much Magic long before they occurred.
Although I didn't find this book as compelling as the first, I'm glad I have a copy and I'm glad I read it. Put aside my dislike for the man, and most of what he says makes perfect sense. If nothing else, it will renew your motivation to keep on getting ready for the Big Crash, which is coming as sure as God made little green apples.