Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We could steal time / just for one day / We can be Heroes, for ever and ever / What d'you say?

At the hotel down the road from they are about to celebrate the wedding between Fanny and WeWe (as per the photographic evidence). Which one is the boy and which one is the girl is anyone’s guess but I think they’re probably well matched.

It bought to mind the movie we watched last night, a fairly highly touted biopic of the absolutely iconic Bettie Page. I enjoyed it, thought it a little fluffy, but it was pretty watch-able and it had an ending that made some sort of sense. However a quick Google indicated to me that, if the film was not exactly dishonest in its portrayal, it was at best economical with the truth. There was a fair bit of importance missed out during the era the script portrayed, and the ending gave no indication of the pain she had to endure in later years (I love the photo half way down that linked page…even at 80 years of age Bettie has something those two could never hope to aspire to). Quite the opposite was implied…the truth was, not unusually for these things, manipulated for dramatic effect. No big deal, you come to expect such things, which is why I tend to do a wiki or the like after watching a “biopic”.

And you have to wonder that if Bettie had a dollar for every girl out there with a hairstyle inspired by her, or ten cents for every photo of her used anywhere since….one of the true iconic images of the fifties, and, until recent times her life has been a struggle, a total mess actually. The books, the pens, the postcards, the t-shirts……I can’t even begin to imagine what she’s been, to turn a phrase, screwed for.

But it then brought me to the movie we watched the night before, yet another critically hailed dramatisation of recent history, the heroic, and, I’m told, inspiring (or something to that effect if the comments from Arab hating Yanks on it’s IMDB page are anything to go by), United 93.

This, in case anyone missed it, is the cinematic representation of the aircraft that went down over Pennsylvania on the way to The Capitol on September 11, 2001. We all know the gist of the story but this movie dramatises the gist and is, despite everything, a work of fiction based on educated guesswork. Not a lot more, and at times somewhat less. Take for example the German passenger who, without any evidence to support it, or even a hint of such, is portrayed by the filmmakers as a dastardly foreign coward. And will forever, herein be publicly known as such, and his family will have to deal with that. I was absolutely appalled at that, and yet it still got the reviews.

And then there are the cellphone calls. I know some of the calls on the 9/11 planes came from those grossly overpriced phones you get on many aircraft, but some allegedly also came from cellular telephones. Now I don’t think I’m a conspiracy nut. I think that somebody probably flew the planes into the WTC and I think they were probably Al Qaeda operatives…and I think man landed on the moon.

But no-one has successfully explained how, at 30,000 odd feet, cellphone calls were made out of these planes. There is a very good evaluation of this here which intrigued me for an hour last night as I read it and followed the links. And having had this discussion with a friend who is a cellular engineer of some repute, plus having searched the web at some length, it’s a question that has never satisfactorily been answered by anyone anywhere. I wish someone would help me here because everything I’ve been told or read suggests that in 2001 it was more or less impossible. And yet it’s central to the human side of these tragedies as now burnt into the American psyche, and to this movie.

Oh and, one more question. How in gods name did the computers and office paperwork on the edge of the chasm in the Pentagon survive unscathed, a multi thousand degree firestorm and inferno. Just wondering…..

Not that I believe in conspiracy theories, y’know.

So anyway, here’s to Fanny and WeWe.

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