- - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Detroit pride I

“But a few members of the Detroit NAACP aren’t encouraged at all by Kid Rock’s work, nor are they happy that he’s going to receive the ‘Great Expectations Award.’ In fact, they’ve turned a blind eye to his relentless push for Detroit’s rebirth and are instead caught up in the fact that Kid Rock displays a Confederate battle flag during his performances. In their minds, the presence of that battle flag can only mean one thing: Kid Rock is a racist.

“Said Adolph Mongo, head of Detroiters for Progress: ‘[Giving him this award] is a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country … [because that flag] is a symbol of hatred and bigotry.’ …

“Clearly, Kid Rock is no racist, and the fact that an embittered leader of Detroiters for Progress implies otherwise doesn’t change that. The sad thing is that this whole episode was avoidable. All Mongo needed to do was be quiet long enough to listen, and he would have noticed that Kid Rock has gone on record saying his affection for the Confederate battle flag is tied to the fact that he associates it with Southern rock.”

AWR Hawkins, writing on “Kid Rock’s Use of Confederate Flag Sparks NAACP Protest,” on March 8 at the Andrew Breitbart site Big Hollywood

Detroit pride II

“I admit, at first glance [‘Robocop’], a hard-R shoot-‘em-up dripping with [director Paul] Verhoeven’s trademark gory excess might be the last 102 minutes of film you’d want people to associate with your municipality … . ‘RoboCop’s wasteland of crumbling cinderblocks, warped chain-link fences, and skinheads with dilated pupils is unlikely to turn up in even the most avant-garde Detroit tourism ad … .

“But … ‘RoboCop’ addresses some of Detroit’s most challenging issues, issues that were pressing in 1987 and remain so today. For starters, Verhoeven’s film is the big-screen’s second-best critique of Reaganomics’ devastating effects on the economy of southeastern Michigan (after Michael Moore’s ‘Roger & Me’).

“As Carrie Rickey writes in an essay for the film’s Criterion Collection DVD, the movie ‘gleefully satirizes The Great Communicator’s pet doctrines of free enterprise and privatization.’ RoboCop is commissioned by [Omni Consumer Products] as part of a larger plan to bulldoze the crime-infested homes of Old Detroit and make way for Delta City, a ‘utopia’ of glass high-rises ‘ideal for corporate growth.’ Never mind the low-income families Delta City will displace, or that a conniving OCP executive is the one providing the criminals with the weapons that have made the area crime-infested — and in need of robo-policing — in the first place.”

Patrick Cassels, writing on “Detroit Needs Robocop” on March 8 at Slate

Contra lists

“There are no must-see films. No one’s experience of life — or even of cinema — is invalidated by not having seen ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘La Regle du Jeu,’ monumental and enriching as they are. Even as a film critic, I wouldn’t expect an intelligent person to listen to me if I handed them a list of 100 films they absolutely must see, anymore than I’d feel it necessary to suspend my usual lifestyle and follow the guidance of the authors of a list of ‘The 100 Video Games You Must Play’ or ‘The 100 Theme Parks You Must Visit.’ …

“Not even the renowned Sight and Sound poll — which, once a decade, surveys prominent directors and critics to create two lists of the world’s top 10 films — is sold to us with the idea that its results constitute a list of must-see movies. The pleasure, and purpose, of it is the indication it gives of the prevailing tastes of the most respected of those who make and assess movies, and the chance it gives us to peruse the specific choices of our favorite, or least favorite, of their number.”

Scott Jordan Harris, writing on “The Top Ten Worst Top Tens of All Time Ever,” on March 7 at the Spectator arts blog Night and Day

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