How did the film canon get so stodgy?

Sight Unchanged: “In an era when best-of lists and expert polls have degenerated into promotional devices, one poll still has a grip on the imaginations of film aficionados the world round. Every 10 years, Sight & Sound, a venerable British film magazine, asks hundreds of prominent critics and directors to list their 10 favorite films of all time. The first Sight & Sound poll was held in 1952, in the midst of the postwar burgeoning of film consciousness; the survey quickly became an institution, eagerly awaited and endlessly handicapped. The 2002 edition

of the Top 10 poll is now online at the Sight & Sound Web site, with 253 individual lists to pore over.

What makes this poll more compelling than others is that it purports to be a snapshot of the evolving film canon. The 10-year interval between surveys is just enough time for taste to change in the world of film criticism, which has undergone several great upheavals in the 50 years since the poll’s inception… [more

] Slate

Being There

Review of Sam Jones’ 2002 I Am Trying to Break Your Heart : “Intending to shoot a documentary about the making of critical fave Wilco’s newest album, Sam Jones found himself handed — gift-wrapped with a bow on top — a classic three-act narrative, replete with surprise turns, stunning rejections, and an emblematic clash with Corporate Rock.” PopMatters

Marijuana-derived compound targets pain, inflammation

“We believe that [the compound] will replace aspirin and similar drugs in most applications primarily because of a lack of toxic side effects…”

‘Researchers are developing a marijuana-derived synthetic compound to relieve pain and inflammation without the mood-altering side effects associated with other marijuana based drugs.

…The compound, called ajulemic acid, has produced encouraging results in animal studies of pain and inflammation. It is undergoing tests in a group of people with chronic pain and could be available by prescription within two to three years, the researchers say.’ EurekAlert!

I thought of adding a flip comment to the effect that removing the ‘mood-altering side effects’ would take all the fun out of it. On reflection, though, that’s a serious objection; the ‘therapeutic dissociation’ caused by marijuana use is surely an important component of its use in clinically challenging distress such as chronic pain or severe nausea. I would be surprised if, barring that effect, any new drug would be a significant enough advance over existing antiinflammatory medications.


Urge “Drug Czar” Walters to End Relationship with Beer Promoter: ‘The Office of the “Drug Czar” is partnering with Anheuser – Busch beer sponsored NASCAR racer Jimmy Spencer on “anti-drug” messages to America’s youth. This sends a confusing message to kids while legitimizing alcohol as a sponsor of sporting events. Tell John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to end this partnership that sends the wrong message “Don’t Do Drugs, But Beer is OK!” ‘ Action Network

Apocalypse Then:

Scientists Find Signs Big Meteor Hit Earth 3.5 Billion Years Ago:

‘The heat would have killed all single-cell microbes, the only life on Earth at the time, on land and in the upper ocean, which would have boiled into steam. The impact appears to have sent giant tsunamis coursing around the world’s oceans, scouring the early continents.

“The only thing that would have survived would have been bacteria in the deep ocean,” said Dr. Gary R. Byerly, a professor of geology at Louisiana State and the lead author of the article.’ NY Times