My new Nation column is “How the Media Gave Carly Fiorina a Free Pass to Lie About Planned Parenthood,” though in the magazine it’s called “Ailes Wins Again.”
This seems like the right place to mention that this is the last “Altercation” post that will appear on the magazine’s website. I will continue to do my column here as long as they let me, but the Alter-reviews will migrate to the Huffington Post, where they will be archived here. I will do my best to mention them also at @eric_alterman and on Facebook. As for political/media blogging, there may be some there as well, but more likely it will end up somewhere else or nowhere else—it depends.
Following on the pope’s visit and the opening of the UN General Assembly session, New Yorkers settled down to another traffic jam, this one culturally based. The 53rd New York Film Festival joined the 16th New Yorker Festival in bringing to the city more talented people, together with the admirers of their labor, than any time in recent memory, at least since last year’s festivals. (Obviously I am not including the Mets’ performance since the All-Star break. That deserves its own, wondrous category.)
Anyway, the NYFF opened with Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, a story about Philippe Petit’s successful 1974 trip between the Twin Towers. The film is in striking IMAX 3D, and the reviews all say that the second half is terrific. I couldn’t say because I didn’t stay for the second half. I thought the 3D part was really well done, but the script struck me as one cliché after another. I would have stuck around, but I wanted to see The Lobster a few hours later, and I rarely enjoy more than one movie in a day. What I like about this being the opening film, though, is that it’s a metaphor for the festival itself, whose organizers walk a “tightrope” (get it?) between auteurist artsy films and nakedly commercial ones. They open and close with the latter and stick the others in between, but those are the ones that real people should make the greatest effort to see because one won’t get another chance.
Speaking of The Lobster, well, this is a pretty great film about a dystopian future, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Rachel Weisz. I’m guessing it’s one of the funniest movies ever made about a dystopian future. The pitch is that single people are rounded up and sent to a seaside compound, given a finite number of days to find a match, and turned into animals if they can’t find a partner. It’s really about the nature of revolutions, though. Also love. It won the Jury Prize at Cannes, so I guess most people who want to will get to see it.