Friday, July 29, 2005

Little Did The Mainstream Critics Know...

...That across the gulf of cyberspace, intellects vast and cool regarded their online experiments with envious eyes...


I know bill Marx is not a Luddite.

So why does he sometimes treat his “blog” entries on WBUR.org as if he has never heard of the internet? Or even worse, as if he expects that his readers have not.

His latest Perspectives column War of the Tripods starts off this way- “Judging by their reviews of director Steven Spielberg's movie version of War of the Worlds, most film critics missed the point of the H.G. Wells 1898 novel.”

Fair enough, but there were enough film critics who did mention it, including some who went rather in depth about it. Mr. Marx should at least give them the credit of mentioning them or quoting them.

For instance, The New York Review of Books has a pretty good comparative essay about WOTW this issue, and Jim Emerson the Editor of Roger Ebert’s website talks of HG Well’s book as well. In fact, cyberspace has included many critiques that agree with just what Mr. Marx is suggesting. And they even go a little further. Emerson writes:

The images of armored machines patrolling residential neighborhoods with surveillance equipment and breaking down doors and walls in search of fugitives look like Frontline footage from Baghdad – or the West Bank. (One has to wonder, though: Are the aliens and their equipment limited to the same small visual spectrum as human eyesight? Some of our soldiers in Iraq are, at least, equipped with infrared and night-vision technology, even if they had to buy the stuff themselves…)

Wells the anti-imperialist might well have appreciated these touches; in his novel, he went out of his way to draw an explicit comparison between the behavior of mankind and that of the Martians:


I am re-reading War of the Worlds right now in the new NYRB version with illustrations by Gorey. There is no question, and there is no escaping, that the overall feeling Wells wants us to experience is that arrogance of our military dominance, with our actions such as the Iraq war, should be held onto very lightly. As I read, I am convinced that Speilberg chose the wrong source material for a parable of a terrorist onslaught.

Please Bill, links, links, links. We enjoy reading your musings, but sometimes we want a little more. Don’t be scared of directing people away from your site. You work for a non-profit, I am sure you are not worried about market share…or…..then again…maybe you are.

Apparently the NPR affiliates here in Boston are having some major ground shifting going on lately.

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