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February 25, 2000

I found myself hopping off the John McCain bandwagon even before I read Jon Carroll's column yesterday. What could I have been thinking? On every social issue his position is the opposite of mine. I'm sure if he had by some chance been made governor of Texas, he would have killed just as many people as George W. Bush has, and yet he opposes abortion rights just as strongly. Yesterday he said he was against Proposition 22, because (as his campaign spokesman said) he "opposed initiatives that were divisive." He then immediately turned around and said he had misunderstood the question and would vote for the spurious "limit on marriages" initiative.

McCain also managed to duck the Bay Area as he swept through California yesterday, proving that his heart lies in Orange County with the bigoted paranoid right-wing Reagan gun-loving anti-environmental fundamentalist hate-mongers. And they're welcome to him.

I suspect that neither of the Republican front-runners is conservative enough to suit the old white men who run the party, so in retaliation they're using the power of their money to squeeze them into an ideological corner. McCain's theory that by playing up his war record and staying on the good side of the media he can draw new people into the party plays well in some areas, but it won't get him the nomination. The inevitable ticket of Bush and a Quaylesque figure to be named later will further marginalize the party and take a sound drubbing in November.

I saw the restored version of Hitchcock's Rear Window at the Rialto tonight. Here's a director who knows how to tell a story. I thought the film held up well anyway, but I was truly convinced when the trio of chirpy twelve-year-old girls sitting behind me actually shut up and watched during the intense scenes. This is a movie that chilled my whole body, not just my spine, like nothing Craven or Carpenter has ever made, and without a drop of blood — on screen, anyway.

The courtyard setting with the little scenarios played out in each window is a wonderful metaphor for the voyeuristic nature of cinema itself. As we watch Jimmy Stewart, his character is the audience at the 1954 version of a multiplex, and he interprets the mini-features for us. He draws us into his world as he draws the visitors to his apartment into the mystery, slowly but inexorably. That's why we go to the movies, to be pulled into lives and stories and worlds that aren't our own. Hitchcock was a master at manipulating the minds of the people in the seats.

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