music's Apparel area all awry

Good lord. I was looking for reviews of Japanese noise artist Merzbow‘s Oersted on when their much-vaunted Apparel and Accessories page — plugged in different banners and tabs and music product details themselves — spat out this particular gem:

Customers who shopped for this item also wear:

* Clean Underwear from Amazon’s Eddie Bauer Store
* Ladybug Rain Boots from Amazon’s Nordstrom Store
* Suede Headwraps from Amazon’s International Male Store
* Cheetah Print Slippers from Amazon’s Old Navy Store

Merzbow listeners wear ladybug rain boots???


the greatest film of the last 25 years

Wow — my favorite film of all time, the magnificent, drug-addled, seriously flawed masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now, was just selected by Sight and Sound Magazine as the greatest film of the last quarter century.

Coppola expounds on the usual themes (and cinematic truisms about the Vietnam War that we all take for granted now) — that in war lies madness, that this was the first rock-and-roll war, etc. — but delivers the message with such uncontained, sprawling, self-indulgent ambition that keeps one totally riveted. (Who can forget the hallucinatory opening with The Doors’ “The End” and the fiery wall of napalm and the frightening swish of the helicopter blades and a broken-down, liquored-up Martin Sheen? Or the frightening thrill during the helicopter/Valkyries ride?) The fact that the film itself was made as an act of sheer colonial hubris adds another fascinating layer to the movie.

The film is, of course, seriously flawed in that it is not really about the Vietnam War — there are, after all, hardly any Vietnamese in it, as if already erased, Hegel-like, from the face of the earth, never to be discussed again — but Coppola at least makes the daring (for a mainstream director) and necessary connection between the war in Southeast Asia and colonialism. (But perhaps he is right, as it really was “the American War” in Vietnam.)

(Unfortunately, the parallels between “Apocalypse Now” and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness end there, as the lamentable director’s cut showed; the tedious dinner scene with the French stragglers showed that Coppola didn’t get it either.)

Of course, what has always interested me as well is that the film was made in my home province of Laguna, and the fake Angkor Wat-like constructions in Kurtz’s compound are still standing in one of the resorts. (I’ve always wanted to write a paper about the Philippines as a stand-in for various banana republics, or for Vietnam…)


belated halloween story

Forwarded from an old classmate — I’m sure this is copyrighted somewhere, but here goes:

This story happened about a month ago in a little town in Mexico, and even if it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it’s real.

This guy was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the middle of a storm. The night was rolling and no car went by; the storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him.

Suddenly he sees a car coming towards him and stop.

The guy, without thinking about it, gets in the car and closes the door — just to realize there’s nobody behind the wheel. The car starts slowly, the guy looks at the road and sees a curve coming his way. Scared, he starts to pray, begging for his life. He hasn’t come out of his shock when, just before he hits the curve, a hand appears through the window and moves the wheel.

The guy, paralyzed in terror, watches how the hand appears every time they are before a curve. The guy, gathering strength, gets out of the car and runs to the nearest town.

Wet and in shock, he goes to a cantina and asks for two shots of tequila, and starts telling everybody about the horrible experience he went through. A silence enveloped everybody when they realize the guy is crying and wasn’t drunk.

About half an hour later two guys walked in the same cantina and one said to the other, “Look, Pepe, that’s the idiot that got in the car when we were pushing it.”

Pinoy Uncategorized

The Price of Philippine Books

Ari’s entry on Resil Mojares’s wonderful-sounding new book — which he selects as pu-pu platter‘s first Book of the Month (if you were an online store, you’d be giving us all a discount!) — raises the question of why it is that a Philippine university press book costs so much money. It’s a puzzle indeed — obviously the paperbacks wouldn’t cost $25 in Manila, or otherwise UP professors won’t even be able to afford them (certainly not on UP salary). For instance, my good friend Jojo Abinales‘s book Making Mindanao costs 285 pesos at National Book Stores all over the Philippines, but is marked up to a whopping $24 by the University of Hawaii Press, not including shipping and handling! (My book, Displaying Filipinos, costs about P200 pesos in Manila, but routinely sells for about $20 — if you can find it — in the United States.)

I can only assume that the markup comes from shipping and handling, plus various taxes and whatnot? Still, I am all for more money going to Philippine presses, though this looks like a slightly sneaky way of doing it.


that's a lot of sensor tags!

# Gucci dress (white): $1,595
# Marc Jacobs thermal top: $760
# Yves Saint Laurent blouse: $750
# Natori handbag: $540
# Dolce & Gabbana handbag: $525
# Eric Javitz hat: $350
# Eric Javitz hat: $225
# Rhinestone hair band (black): $140
# Rhinestone ponytail holder (black): $120
# Rhinestone hairclip (black): $110
# Rhinestone hair bow (black): $110
# Cashmere blend socks (beige): $80
# Beaded purse, two (black): $55 each
# Saks socks, two pair (cream): $38 each
# Donna Karan socks, one pair (brown): $20
# Calvin Klein socks, two pair (gray): $16.50 each
# Calvin Klein socks, one pair (purple): $16.50

You probably already know whose shopping bag these items were found in.