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Oscar bits and bites

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“On the first movie I met this girl [via Make-a-Wish], and I can’t tell this story without crying. […] She had scars all over her body—burns—and she was telling me she was always so ashamed of the way she looked and she was so embarrassed, and now she has the nickname the Girl on Fire, but she loves it and wears it proudly. It gives her confidence. That was the first time in my entire career that I actually felt like there was a point in this. Not to sound rude, but it is stupid. Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.'”
The whole quote by Jennifer Lawrence in Vanity Fair

Paul Clifford looks at three adaptations – The Hobbit, Life of Pi and Les Miserables

David Edelstein, the first critic to herald the coming debate about torture in Zero Dark Thirty does a follow-up for CBS Sunday Morning, “But there’s nooooo question “Zero Dark Thirty” says the CIA was led to the courier who led to bin Laden by illegal torture, and that anyone opposed was a wussy unwilling to go to what Dick Cheney called “the dark side.” Is it true? The administration says no. So does Diane Feinstein, author Peter Bergen, and even some in the CIA. Others say yes, among them screenwriter Mark Boal’s CIA sources, and “Black Hawk Down” author Mark Bowden. But to say, as Bigelow and Boal have, that their position isn’t pro-torture, they’re just reporting the facts, is disingenuous. Even the context is pro-torture.

Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir writes an interesting, important piece about the new Civil War, and how post-war America invited a continuation of this brand of thinking:

You can’t boil one of the most tumultuous periods of American history down to one paragraph, but here goes: Lincoln was assassinated by a domestic terrorist and replaced by Andrew Johnson, who was an incompetent hothead and an unapologetic racist. Within a few years the ambitious project of Reconstruction fell victim to a sustained insurgency led by the Ku Klux Klan and similar white militia groups. By the late 1870s white supremacist “Redeemers” controlled most local and state governments in the South, and by the 1890s Southern blacks had been disenfranchised and thrust into subservience positions by Jim Crow laws that were only slightly preferable to slavery.

So even though it’s a truism of American public discourse that the Civil War never ended, it’s also literally true. We’re still reaping the whirlwind from that long-ago conflict, and now we face a new Civil War, one focused on divisive political issues of the 21st century – most notably the rights and liberties of women and LGBT people – but rooted in toxic rhetoric and ideas inherited from the 19th century.