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Sure, okay, I know: Nicolas Cage has been so bad, for so long, in so many spectacularly terrible movies, that not only is the man a joke, the joke has begun to fall in upon itself.

But people forget: every now and then he takes a break from his blockbuster hucksterisms to deliver an amazing performance in something singular and lasting. Think Raising Arizona. Or Wild at Heart. Or Leaving Las Vegas. Or Adaptation. Sometimes it’s for laughs; sometimes it’s purposefully stilted; sometimes he’s actually breaking your heart. Weirdly, the most limited hack in Hollywood also demonstrates impressive range.  He’s performed one admirable turn each for some of the great arthouse directors of our time — Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Spike Jonze, Martin Scorcese — yet there’s something inscrutable to how these rare performances come about amid all the interminable Bruckheimer hokum.

So I really have no idea what to make of the fact that Cage is starring in an upcoming Bad Lieutenant film, directed by Werner Herzog, who insists that this is not a remake. (If I were Abel Ferrara I’d be livid, but I’m not Abel Ferrara.)

Uh… sick? Whatever. Nobody directs actors to completely lose their shit quite the way Herzog does, and nobody takes it all someplace new for a one-off performance like Cage. Whether it’s a bad cop we wind up seeing or just a bad actor, I look forward to watching someone degrade himself past the point of recognizability.

UPDATE: The trailer got taken down from YouTube. So I found another one! (Which, maybe, will last a whole 24 hours.)

NEW UPDATE 11/23: I haven’t seen the film yet. But Roger Ebert has — and his review is excellent.

What do you think of when someone says “Twitter”?

To me it evokes an elusive utility: a tool devised to connect us over distances, one that encourages quick and pithy pronouncements, one that has played a functional role in scattered public events within the past couple years — yet one that, for the larger part, produces nothing better than a steady barrage of inanity.

People you are dimly aware of stream minutial accounts of their trips to grocery stores in cities you’ve never cared to visit; far-flung erstwhile colleagues discuss their pets’ eating disorders; the dimmer lights of Congress petulantly flaunt their ignorance

I think of the luminaries at the top of this blogging game who still scratch their heads and pronounce that “no good can come of this.”

Now: what do you think of when someone says “New Yorker“?

Kind of the opposite, right? The élan vital of the elite virtu? A high-end, supremely literate, exhaustively verbose weekly burst of thoughtful observations on culture, global politics, and the humanities, to be perused at one’s leisure? Except that most people have neither the disposable income nor the time — the leisure — to enjoy it?

Sasha Frere-Jones deconstructs M.I.A. before she even exists; Seymour Hersh tunnels into our byzantine relationship with Pakistan’s I.S.I.; D.T. Max catalogues the tragic final months in the life of the mind of David Foster Wallace

I think of Charlie Kaufman’s sideways compliment to Susan Orlean in Adaptation: “Great, sprawling, New Yorker shit.”

Enter Dan Baum, whose exit from the New Yorker‘s writing staff became the subject of an essay that he dispatched through his Twitter account in hundreds of discrete “character chunks” over the course of three days within the past week.

It’s actually a fascinating story: we learn of how one attains a gig at journalism’s Shangri-La, how stories are pitched or assigned there, and how such gigs are lost to the ordinary grind of office politics.

Kottke points to the tweet archive. Simon Owens of Bloggasm scores an interview.

Now: should I tweet about having just blogged about Twitter?