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409 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

"People are as happy as they make up their minds to be." -Dawson Leery via Abraham Lincoln, allegedly.

From Charles: "I went on a quest to figure out the provenance of 'kiss kiss bang bang,' and it was a lot more difficult than I was expecting! Most of the easily discoverable links now are about the 2005 film, but thanks to a Roger Ebert review (RIP), I learned that the phrase refers to the late film critic Pauline Kael, who was VERY influential, and whose second book (the one Mr. Brooks gives to Dawson) is titled Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Those four words, she wrote (according to Ebert), 'are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of the movies. The appeal is what attracts us and ultimately makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.' Hopefully Dawson can finish the book before his essay is due."

From Traci: "We had an audio hiccup during a discussion about Mr. Brooks and Dawson's relationship, which resulted in me having to chop the 10-minute conversation out of this week's episode. But the basic gist was that we were debating whether or not Dawson asking Mr. Brooks for help with his college essay was out of line. Charles believed it was and that Dawson overstepped. He said Mr. Brooks was reaching out and being nice to Dawson (offering him a soda when he came into the house, etc.) and that Dawson was being pushy asking personal questions about his past. My perspective, though, is that Mr. Brooks didn't start being nice to Dawson until he showed up at the Leery Christmas party. I think he offered Dawson a soda begrudgingly, the way he offered him supper that one time he was painting his house. Mr. Brooks is lonely and that's why he keeps Dawson around, even if he finds him annoying. But while Dawson sees traces of Mr. Brooks in his own life, Mr. Brooks didn't quite see traces of Dawson in his yet – even though that's the thing that draws them together. The two are remarkably similar (and not just because their pasts are literally similar)."

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  1. 1) The bogus quote that I hate the most. "Be the change you want to see." It is often falsely attributed to M Gandhi -- who, if you have ever read anything he ever wrote -- obviously isn't anything he would ever had said. Gandhi was all about mass action, active but non-violent resistance to oppression, directly confronting the enemy -- he was never about individual self-congratulations -- in fact the quote represents exactly the "personal" politics that Gandhi rejected with his whole life.
    2) Kael's 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' was the first book of film criticism I ever read. In the intro Kael attributes the phrase to an Italian poster advertising a spy (Bond?) flick.


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