The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Sunday, August 08, 2010
DEPT. OF BELATED CORRECTIONS (AUGUST 2010 EDITION): My 2001 book Rebels on the Air includes
this sentence about the California radio station KFAT:
It played a lot of novelty songs -- everything from Utah Phillips' "Moose Turd Pie" to Toots and the Maytalls' reggae rendition of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to an ancient and obscene-sounding western swing tune called "Here, Pussy, Pussy."
"Moose Turd Pie" is a spoken-word comedy routine, so I should have written "novelty records," not "novelty songs." I think what happened here was that I added Utah Phillips to the list while revising the chapter but neglected to fix the first part of the sentence.

Also, my November 2009 article "Rogue's Gallery" describes Sarah Palin as a supporter of the TARP bank bailout. In fact, while she endorsed the bailout during the 2008 campaign, she reversed herself in an interview with Barbara Walters about a week before my article appeared, describing the law (and, implicitly, her support for it) as a mistake. I don't think this undermines the point I was making -- indeed, I think it reinforces the article's larger theme -- but I would have phrased the passage differently if I'd been aware of her comment.

Finally: This isn't a correction, but it's been nagging at me. From an article I wrote in late 2003:
In the late '90s and early '00s, a wave of films played with the notion that what we experience as reality is a false and perhaps malevolent illusion....You can credit part of this glut to imitation. But too many of the projects were created simultaneously and independently for that to explain everything. For whatever reasons, audiences at the turn of the century were receptive to paranoid thrillers about inauthentic realities. Call it the demiurge cycle, after the Gnostic notion that our world is governed by a mad ersatz God.

With [The Matrix: Revolutions], the cycle stops -- not because hardly anyone seems to like it but because, unlike its two predecessors, it barely bothers to engage the idea that set the Matrix trilogy in motion. No longer trapped in a false world devised by an evil intelligence, our heroes are now trapped in an anthology of war movie clichés; no longer skeptical and alienated, they repeatedly proclaim the tritest sort of faith. When critics comment on the demiurge genre, they usually cite the novelist Philip K. Dick as its patron saint. Well, there is no trace of Dick in The Matrix: Revolutions, unless he secretly ghostwrote an episode of Battlestar Galactica.
When I wrote that, see, the words Battlestar Galactica signified "cheesy, childish sci-fi series of the '70s." After the article appeared, though, the show was rebooted as a much more adult program that dealt directly with one of Dick's favorite themes, the difference between the mechanical and the human. That's not to say the Battlestar revival was executed in a particularly Dickian way -- the episode and a half that I've seen definitely weren't -- just that my attempt at a clever putdown no longer makes sense.


posted by Jesse 1:28 PM
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