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Sunday, January 08, 2012



"typical social services mischief"really? If the abuse of this one girl depicted in the novel and its film incarnations is "typical", we should be marching on Pierre and burning down offices. "typical" insults reality by casual over-generalization; "mischief" insults the film and characters by crass understatement.

That said, your observation on the uniting theme of these works (and oh so many others) identifies and important vein of American thinking. Add Die Hard to that list ("Theo, I give you the F-B-I"). Does that vein somewhat explain Ron Paul's devout following?

Ken Blanchard

Cory: 1) social service dysfunction is very common across a vast range of developed nations. I can understand why you would rather not acknowledge that, but the idea that the public might rise up about it is absurd. How many people are upset about the situation on the Reservations? 2) Stieg Larsson wasn't an American and he certainly wasn't Ron Paul.

larry kurtz

South Dakota endures the very darkness you seem to be rejecting, Ken. The brutalization of the tribes has been institutionalized and financed through the Governor's Club ensuring white rule into perpetuity due in large part by your work obscuring the horrifying truth.

Under God, the white people rule.

larry kurtz

btw: the last scene in the new movie sucked. Lisbeth is smarter than that.

larry kurtz

I caught at least two inconsistencies in the film:

1) Lisbeth wheeling up on a motorcycle takes off a helmet and reveals a not-flattened mohawk

2) During the scene in the game butchering room, Lisbeth was able to silence her very loud motorcycle to sneak up on the butcher.

larry kurtz

Republicans have broken the Black Hills.


The BHNF, Custer NF, and the Nebraska NF should be moved to the BIA and the trust money should finance the formation of a non-contiguous 51st State.

While the Forest Service has been blamed for the collapse of the pine monoculture, GFP has ordered the slaughter of its apex predators essential to forest health.


red state failure on parade.


You can download the full new movie of sherlock holmes in dvdrip here :

David Newquist

The vast majority of fiction, film, and television in popular culture are based upon the outlier who violates the rules and values of some bureaucracy to accomplish whatever it is the protagonist does. That is true of westerns ("The bean-counters are coming!"), detective stories (the high jingo is coming), and medical shows like "Mash" and "House." Actually, this generic theme began with the American Renaissance (Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter," Twain, Thoreau, and extends to Sinclair Lewis, Heller, Vonnegut, etc., etc. The "anti-hero" is a peculiarly American creation, although it has its antecedents in picaresque works, such as those by Chaucer and Cervantes, and is well developed from the British perspective in detective and spy fiction. Bureaucracies, whether corporate or governmental, lose their functional purpose and devolve into interior struggles for power and status. The person who wants to accomplish what the bureaucracy is established to do must perform outside of the bureaucratic norms of behavior.

One of the significant aspects of Stieg Larsson's trilogy is that it is the most prominent work in a recent spate of Scandinavian works, after a half century, that brings up the issue of how people in those countries embraced, collaborated with, and endorsed the Nazis. . We have many works about how brave and clever people in Scandinavia helped rescue Jews (Raoul Wallenberg) or were active in the resistance (many Norwegian films explore this), but there has been little acknowledgment of how the citizenry submitted to and supported the Nazis. In the past ten years there have been many films that have refuted the notion that the German people were largely unaware of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in their country.

There are few works that portray bureaucracies that actually perform well the tasks they are established to do. As someone who has had occasion to help write reports and assessments, I have an inclination to mention FEMA, but then, oh, Katrina, you washed away that illusion. And one cannot escape the fact that if a bureaucracy is dong more good than harm;, a group will find a way to define that good as harm because it conflicts with their political devotions. And we have to get back to finding that lone wolf who has abandoned the dog pack.

Donald Pay

Most large modern institutions (government, church denominations, political parties, corporations) have bureaucracies. The problems and inefficiencies of bureaucratic structures have been studied for years.

One way to prevent bureaucracies from getting out of control is regulation, both internal and external. Whistleblower laws, sunshine laws, disclosure laws, public comment requirements, oversight laws are key to controlling bureaucracy, in my view, but conservatives hate these sort of laws.

It's always interested me that conservatives recognize the danger and inefficiencies of bureaucracies, but don't support the best means to control them, which is from the bottom up. My feeling is it isn't bureaucracy that conservatives fear, it's bureaucracies that they don't have complete domination over and use of.

When you look at how conservatives govern, they always increase the power of the top level bureaucrats, while cutting out as much as possible the public's means to control and influence the bureaucracy--a top down authoritarian approach to governing. They view the average worker as being in the way as they use the bureaucracy to impose their will. On the other hand, liberals tend to increase the bottom up approach to control of the bureaucracy, allowing the public to have a say.

Mark Anderson

Haven't seen this one, liked the Swedish original. I have a Swedish student so it's been nice to be able to talk about how dangerous Sweden is, while he defends it. All in good fun. I'm actually of Norwegian heritage so I still have faith in Norway. t

Ken Blanchard

Thanks to all for the interesting comments.

Larry: Your observation about the tribes confirms my point. Your accusation is without foundation, however. What do you mean by my "work obscuring the horrifying truth"? As for your film commentary, I didn't notice that Lisbeth's Mohawk was not flattened by her helmet. Good eye. I disagree about the last scene, however. Her character is fascinating precisely because it combines an awesome power with great vulnerability. You seem to want to make her simpler.

Ken Blanchard

David: thanks for the very informative and thoughtful comment. I certainly agree that the "outlier who violates the rules" is a staple of American story telling. On the other hand, we have the WWII movies, where the government seems to work just fine. Also, there are the James Bond movies, where airplanes dump soldiers just at the moment that Bond has found their target. Likewise, many cop movies and TV shows present the forces of law and order as competent and mostly just. A good example is Blue Bloods, currently showing on CBS.

I still think that there is an usual loss of confidence in modern institutions at this time, and that this is showing up in our story telling. It would be wise not to ignore that.

larry kurtz

Since I began following this blog you have only blamed the victims of genocide and have offered only apologetics for the state where that is still mostly ongoing. You have been enabled and are adept at keeping your audience dancing around topics or events over which you have little control.

The tribes and the state are adversaries and my hope that you might attempt to build a bridge has been dashed, Ken, at the realization that you are not sagacious so much as compensated by a state lashed in place head thrust in the chemical toilet as serfs to red state collapse.

Henry Plantagenet

Your conclusions are absurd. The villains in the Stieg Larsson books aren't leftists or socialists. They are right-wing militarists, crooked industrialists and financiers, Bush-like government thugs who commit crimes in the name of national security, Nazis, motorbike skinheads, and people who loathe women and women's rights.

In America we would call them....Republicans.

Nice try. Trying to spin the work of Larsson, a lifelong leftist, as an indictment of liberalism is rather sad.

Ken Blanchard

Henry: I said nothing about an indictment of liberalism. I spoke of a loss of confidence in institutions. Yes, Larsson's villains include a lot of Nazis and a lot of barbaric misogynists whose affiliation unclear. All of them are protected by the state. I think there is a much more pervasive critique of Swedish society than the simple minded approach to which you are apparently limited.

Ken Blanchard

Larry: I think you are being very unfair. I am no expert on Native Americans or the reservations and I plead guilty to paying less attention to the problems than I ought. I have posted on the topic, however, and at the last exchange you and I seemed to agree more than disagree. >

The problem I have is that I can't see how calling people earth haters does anyone any good. I honestly don't know to improve the situation on the reservations and neither do you.

larry kurtz

As you know, Ken: I do have plans to reconcile manifest destiny with the tribes and Mexico.

There is an author discussing my plans right now on New Hampshire Public Radio:



Ken Blanchard

Larry: I rest my case.

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