• The Department of Labor has a fast triumph in the 3 million bucks settlement of various discrimination claims against FedEx. The NYTimes piece on Thursday (3/22/12) was so bare that you might have been reading about bacteria under a microscope. Of course none of these “victims of discrimination” were identified, but the summary was so bland and colorless that you couldn’t even imagine what supposedly “unlawful” conduct was under review. It just dumped a hodge-podge of sexism, racism, ageism and what-not on the floor, and FedEx fell to its knees. “Three million? Chump change! Now they’ll leave us alone for a few years. Business as usual.”
What is most offensive is that the deal stinks whether you believe that business should be scrutinized and disciplined for “discriminatory” acts in labor management, or, from my perspective, that the entire process is political chicanery of the highest order, and is simply an executive power grab! Either way, the parties get gold stars, but the public is prevented from seeing the truth. Once again, these macro “class actions” are a carefully rehearsed showpiece that sidesteps important questions about the limits of governmental regulation.
• I’m going to miss Luck. Yes, I know the first season is still being shown, but I don’t see how it can survive the deaths of those three horses. But I can’t say that I’m surprised. It was a very ambitious undertaking to use genuine racehorses in “simulated” races on a real track. These animals didn’t know from “simulation”. It was probably more dangerous than real racing because the film was shot in a number of short racing segments that would be edited into a single race. The animals were obviously going to get confused and frustrated, and more prone to injury. Still, I watched because David Milch knows how to pull you into the lives of these odd characters, which makes for gratifying drama. The cast was great; probably career peaks for Dennis Farina and Richard Kind.
• A good two months before The Artist even opened, my friend John said it would win the Oscar. I think it’s a fine, entertaining movie. But why do people call it a love story? The film is about a popular silent film star, a devilishly handsome and vain man who is adored by legions of women, whose career is ruined when the “talkies” take over. His wife leaves him, but he doesn’t seem to mind as long as he has the companionship of his dog. A beautiful newcomer falls in love with him, and they are kept apart, supposedly, while her career flourishes, and his sinks like a rock. At the end, boy gets girl because they become a wildly successful musical team, suggesting Rogers and Astaire.
But while the story connects the dots for a traditional romance, we know something is missing. What’s missing is that this guy has no use for women except as his leading ladies. We never see him show passion for anything but his career and his cute little dog. If the film didn’t end where it did, we’d see that his latest love has no more luck than the others.