Sunday, December 21, 2008
I know everything worth knowing is in Hamlet, so it should be no surprise that in Milan they actually are giving caviar to the general. But, somehow, it is. Mind you, the elites are still getting their sturgeon eggs and Frank Rich points out that American banks are not actually required to say what they are doing with public money so we can assume it's going in bonuses. Amazing. It's time for a few show trials, big ones with humiliating 'perp walks', long sentences and no Johnny Cash to make them feel like undeserving victims. I saw John Varley of Barclays saying the banks should apologise, but not, apparently, Barclays. Oh no. Nassim says 'wrong' is not a big enough word for what the banks were up to. I feel the same way about 'they don't get it'. Still, I suppose it's nice the Big Three are getting their money; now our Little Two will be getting theirs, more deserved since Jaguar and Land Rover have made a decent cars. It was, of course, a disaster that a lame soap star hoofer beat Rachel Stevens, a real dancer who suffers from self-esteem issues judging by her fiance. But at least the show prompted me to do something I've been promising myself for years - find out what Meat Loaf wouldn't do for love. At last I know. It all makes perfect sense, though it is a touch disappointing. It was better not to know and let the imagination run riot. Gonzo was yet another wallow in sixties nostalgia which made me care less and less about Dr Hunter S. Thompson as the movie progressed. He wrote some very funny stuff and he influenced Martin Amis more than anybody seems to mention and, er, that's it. His great political and literary significance is a sentimental boomer fantasy. One moment in the film, however, moved me, quite unexpectedly, to tears. It was footage of the eighth round of The Rumble in the Jungle when Ali took out Foreman with a superb right to the face. Thompson was floating in a nearby pool, having given away his tickets to the fight. He liked not to cover what he was supposed to cover and, previously, it had worked. This time it didn't. That straight right was more authentic than anything Raoul Duke and his Samoan attorney could possibly have imagined. The hack should, just this once, have quelled his ego. Of course, Foreman now sells lean mean grilling machines and Ali is wrecked by Parkinson's. I suppose knowing that future is what made me cry; that and the strange aura of innocence and goodness that always seemed to cling to Ali. He was the caviar when we were the general.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:47 am