Despite the liberal message of tolerance, the Billy Jack series has always struck me as metaphor for American foreign policy: "I'm trying .. I'm really trying to not hurt you, but you're forcing my hand." It's a power fantasy that we're always on the side of the little guy, or that we're really the little guy, just blessed with super powers to fight back (like Peter Parker taking on Flash back in high school). My dad raised me on these films, and I love them for their lunacy. Tom "Billy Jack" Laughlin died last Thursday, but our national fantasy lives on.
Here's Slayer back in 1989 playing one of my favorite compositions from Jeff Hanneman and
Tom Araya, "South of Heaven." Hanneman died yesterday because of a spider bite.
On writing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Roger Ebert died yesterday. I can't say that the thumbs up or down reviewing that made his name a household quantity had a particularly good influence on criticism, but his longer essays and interviews are quite good (cf., Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert). Anyway, I grew up with him, starting with his and Siskel's PBS show, and have continued to follow him online, so pop culture won't feel quite the same without his presence.