My first practical observation about the A380 Superjumbo:
It isn”t all that big.
Once you get inside it and have crouched your way claustrophobically through the economy-class cabin toward seat 89F, you soon realize that it’s no bigger than a Boeing 747. The only reason it can carry 555 people (or 853 in an all-economy configuration) is because it’s essentially one 747 stacked on top of another 747. Genius! In my naÃ¯vetÃ©, I had assumed that economy class on such an outwardly gross airplane might equate to, say, World Traveller Plus class on British Airways (i.e., more legroom, more comfortable seats), but the seating arrangement’s exactly the same as it always has been: three nearest the windows and four across the middle. Sadly, the Airbus designers haven”t rectified the problem facing many a misanthropic economy-class passenger”that of having to make close-proximity small talk for fourteen straight hours with the most boring person you”ve met in your life. Nor have they rectified the problem of finding yourself”as I did on my trip from London to Sydney on Singapore Airlines”squashed and arm-restless between a proud and enormous Nigerian grandmother on one side and a vicious trailer-trash mother of two squealing infants on the other. My last-minute plea to the woman at the check-in desk to give me a window seat had clearly fallen on deaf ears.
Once the lights dimmed and I plugged into the flight’s entertainment system and was on about my third double Scotch on the rocks and had that warm feeling in my chest, I started thinking, “Oh, well, maybe it’s not so bad after all.” Then suddenly the wiry and terrifically strong old man in front of me reclined his seat with what seemed to be premeditated and unmerited aggression, and the 10×5-centimeter screen rammed itself against my forehead very painfully and with a dull cracking sound. My flight was immediately ruined. For the next twelve hours. The logical thing would have been to inflict the same punishment on the person behind me, but I didn”t have the heart to do it. I never do. I just sat there in a state of homicidal/suicidal rage with my knees pinned tightly to my chest while the screen flickered, hummed, and gently massaged my aching brow.
Wary of acquiring deep-vein thrombosis, and having promised my mother that I would “walk around a lot,” “not drink any alcohol,” and “drink lots of water,” I finished my fifth Scotch on the rocks, did a remarkably accomplished slow-motion pole vault over my Nigerian neighbor, walked around in the darkness for a bit, drank a quick cup of water, placed another order for a double Scotch on the rocks, and returned sheepishly to my seat.
FOX News has been running a series on the conservative movement and recently released a DVD showing what purports to be the definitive picture of the movement’s progress. I have a close friend who regrets he couldn”t watch every minute of this treasured series and is ordering the DVD to keep the authorized view of American conservatism from the 1950s onward preserved in his cabinet. I missed some of the series” installments, and what I saw consisted largely of news footage from GOP presidential campaigns and interviews with people whom I had met numerous times. But unlike my friend, I can live happily without FOX’s self-interested remembrance of the past.
When I expressed indifference to the televised series, it was explained to me: “You”re just mad because they didn”t interview you.” At the time I was too distracted to provide my real reaction to this and other such slights inflicted on people of the right who are out of favor with what Pat Buchanan called “the kennel-fed conservatives.” What viewers were seeing on FOX has about as much veracity as histories of Bolshevism composed by Stalin’s scribes. It is the winners who are writing the history, and those who do not fit the script are relegated to non-speaking roles.
Several prominent conservative thinkers have been unceremoniously blacked-out of the reconstructed past that the masses are supposed to remember. One might have hoped that as a matter of courtesy I would have been invited on to the series, since (God knows!) I”ve written more on American conservatism than almost anyone else on the planet. One might also have hoped that certain other influential voices on the right would have been mentioned as part of American conservatism’s real history. And one might have hoped that the “scholars” they interviewed were not for the most part the hired hands of Heritage and the rest of the DC-neocon establishment. Can”t the victors show a shred of generosity toward those they have vanquished and continue to marginalize?
Yes, they had Tom Woods talking about libertarian politics. They even had a short interview with the curmudgeonly Ron Paul, whom FOX happily smeared during his presidential run. But those are both safe and inevitable choices, given Paul’s prominence and Woods’s success as a critic of Democratic spending. Paul provided some slight, harmless appearance of balance, while Woods was there as a libertarian who’s been going after the other party (or so the GOP would like us to believe). If I heard references to Sam Francis, Taki, Peter Brimelow, and Murray Rothbard, then I”d know we were getting a comprehensive view of the conservative movement over the last thirty years. As far as I know, that never happened.
My 63-year-old husband behaved terribly on Christmas Eve. He got a bit drunk and stared”really stared“at my 30-year-old son’s cute little 24-year-old girlfriend all night! I can put up with the drinking, but the ogling has put me in a foul mood”not so much because of my husband, but that poor little thing. What must she think? Do you think she will leave my son?
“Desperate Mamma in Mobile
Dear Desperate Mamma in Mobile,
It’s OK to feel a littlesorry for your husband. He probably has not seen a cute little girl up close and in the flesh”needless to say sitting down for a meal with him”in about 20 years. We all know that men can”t help but look, and they will never stop looking, so this is not the main problem.
It is never good if your father seems interested in your girlfriend. Even if you know he is only a harmless drunken leering old man, it can be very creepy when you”re the 24-year-old femme on the receiving end of his glances. You could try lecturing him about the permanent emotional trauma such behavior can inflict on pretty young girls, but that could backfire and make it more enticing. He may step up his game and start shooting her some sober flirty glances instead of slow drunken stares, and that’s much worse.
Try to water down his drinks. Spend some time in the kitchen experimenting. I don”t know whether it’s myth or miracle, but I”ve heard that one or two tablespoons of olive oil before drinking alcohol will prevent one from becoming a bad drunk. It is worth a try. If these ideas don”t work and the staring continues, make sure he is not allowed to meet your son’s current girlfriend (or any future one) until she has been safely locked in as your son’s wife. Unless it is a supervised daytime activity, invent every possible excuse to keep your husband away from this girl.
Christmas Day was a disaster to say the least. Mid-lunch and many drinks into the day, my father started verbally attacking and degrading my brother. His wife, also quite a few drinks into it, freaked out. She started screaming that it was unacceptable behavior and made her kids and my brother leave right then and there, leaving all the unopened gifts behind. She ruined our Christmas. I am really angry but not sure if I should call her on it.
“Angry Sister in London
OK. Let’s start the new year with a politically incorrect column by telling it like it is, for a change. During the last week of November, in Portland Oregon, the F.B.I. arrested a Somali born U.S. resident as he was about to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in a public square full of mothers and children. Although the authorities were aware of it and had provided the would-be multiple murderer with phony bombs of mass destruction, my question is why was this Somali sub-human in the United States in the first place, and why had he obtained American residence? For once, the F.B. I. acted intelligently. As defense lawyers in cases involving sting operations often accuse the F.B.I. of entrapment, the undercover agents had offered the sub-human – his surname is Mohamud, what else? – several nonfatal ways to serve his blood lust, like prayer, for example, but he insisted he wanted to kill Americans, and what better place to find the old fashioned Anglo-Saxon type than in Portland, Oregon.
Worse, his family and friends are all over here, and during the next few years we will hear from them what a normal young man Mohamud is, and how well he did in high school. It’s all seditious rubbish, but the liberal media will make sure that by the time the government gets a conviction – if it does – Mohamud will be looked at as someone young led astray by the internet. Led astray by the teachings paid for by Saudi Arabia would be closer to the mark, but the Saudis have oil, hence they are sacrosanct. In fact, we have to kiss their ass even if their money is responsible for Muslim terrorism around the world.
Militant Muslim web sites are now blamed for radicalizing Muslims in America, so my question is why are they allowed to exist? Surely if the government can intercept signals the world over, militant sites should be outlawed on the penalty of life in prison. In September 2009, a 19-year-old Jordanian was arrested after placing a fake bomb at a 60-story Dallas skyscraper. The same month another Muslim was charged with placing a bomb at the federal building in Springfield, Ill. And, in October, a naturalized American Muslim was charged with plotting to bomb the Washington subway. Not to mention the Pakistani, also a naturalized American, who tried to bomb Times Square with a car bomb that failed to detonate.
Which brings me to my original question: Why are Somalis – among the most militant – in particular and Muslims in general allowed to immigrate over here? During the 1990’s a very pretty, well- educated 24-year-old English girl whose finances I had guaranteed was refused a multiple visa for no apparent reason. She had no record and came from a privileged background. When I asked who interviewed her she told me a black female and a Hispanic male. They were almost hostile while turning her visa application down. You don’t have to read between the lines, dear readers. She was white and a Christian, and white Christians are no longer welcome in the United States. It’s as simple as that.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, on hearing that a football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings had been canceled due to snow:
There is a magic to football. And part of that magic is you play no matter what that weather is”no matter what the conditions are….Yeah, I think it’s part of the wussification of America. We’ve lost a lot of our pioneer spirit.
A few days before this I had been conversing about immigration with a fellow hack at a Christmas party. I was laying down a hard line: moratorium on legal immigration “til unemployment falls below five percent, illegals rounded up and deported.
She shook her head. “Talk to the employers”the farmers, meat-packers, hotel chains, cleaning agencies, construction firms. They’ll tell you they can’t get Americans. We just won’t do those jobs. They hire in a citizen, he works a week then drops out with a drug problem, a family problem, an attitude problem. There really are jobs Americans won’t do.”
I riposted with my usual bargain-basement economics: Americans won’t do those jobs at the wages offered. Gotta raise the wages. No such thing as a shortage, only a clearing price. There’s a wage level at which I would gut hogs. There’s a wage level at which Warren Buffett would gut hogs, etc.
She shook her head again. “That’s not it. We have a good life and we’re used to it. Even the underclass. A good, easy life. Free schooling, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, SSI, lawyers trawling for complaints, cheap electronics, put a hundred down and buy a car….There is no way any America-raised American will work as hard as some desperate peasant from Guatemala, where his kids go barefoot and the law’s just a racket. They’re hungry. We’re not hungry. Non-hungry people just don’t work hard at any pay scale.”
I pointed out”and she conceded”that externalities must be considered. Mainly there are the second and subsequent generations. American-raised, they are well-fed like us. They are also poorly socialized, assimilation being deemed unfashionably inconsistent with “celebrating diversity” and unnecessary among huge colonies of their co-ethnics and with the mother country a bus ride away. They also belong disproportionately to racial minorities with low average intelligence. We bought ourselves one generation of hungry workaholics at the expense of a hundred generations of underclass good-for-nothings.
Of course nobody”least of all politicians”thinks anything out generations ahead. The Mexican gardener, the Salvadoran roofer, and the Guatemalan nanny tell us their stories of being packed into airless trucks for the trip north, abused by the coyotes, ending up four to a squalid room and getting fleeced by local work-gang jefes. We sympathize, think of pogroms and famine ships, and gaze admiringly at their deferential diligence.
The hungry immigrant is present, visible, and, yes, admirable. But the externalities, by their nature, are neither present nor visible. We have to summon them up by an effort of thought, and nothing vexes human beings more than efforts of thought.
When I was first settled in this country with a proper job, I worked in a business office with a score of other people. Four or five of us were immigrants: myself from England, a black West Indian, a Filipino, a white South African, and an Indian. When none of the natives was in earshot we would grumble that we were doing all the real work while the Americans were slacking off. This was the mid-1970s.
The Coen Brothers” devotion to odd vernaculars has contributed to their haphazard box-office track record. Audiences immediately cottoned to Fargo‘s “You betcha” Minnesota accents and almost as quickly to George Clooney’s grandiloquent Southern pettifoggery in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Yet fans required a couple of years to warm up to Jeff Bridges’s acid-casualty argot in The Big Lebowski. And to this day, nobody (except me) can stand Jennifer Jason Leigh’s screwball-comedy newshound lingo in The Hudsucker Proxy.
True Grit will likely wind up as the frauteurs” biggest box-office hit yet, perhaps even their first to earn $100 million domestically. True Grit‘s verbose Victorian Wild West dialogue is at times daunting to decipher, yet it’s somewhat familiar from the Oscar-winning John Wayne comic Western and the surprisingly influential 1968 Charles Portis novel. Over 40 years ago, Portis created prototypical Coen Brothers characters”hyper-articulate, eccentric, and violent”avant la lettre, allowing the Coens now to make a straightforward adaptation of his novel.
The semi-reclusive Portis celebrates his 77th birthday today. Though he’s obscure to the public, other writers appreciate his droll style.
Tom Wolfe, who sat next to Portis in the old New York Herald Tribune city room, recounted in his memoir on New Journalism’s roots that he and every other post-WWII American reporter considered nonfiction a day job, “just one more of your devious ways of postponing the decision to put it all on the line…and go into the shack…and write your novel. Your Novel!” To journalists of a certain age, Charles Portis remains a legend for having the grit to live out their Great American Novelist dream. Wolfe marveled: “Portis quit cold one day…and moved into a fishing shack in Arkansas….Then he wrote True Grit, which was a best-seller. The reviews were terrific….A fishing shack! In Arkansas! It was too goddamned perfect to be true, and yet there it was.”
Portis’s 14-year-old heroine Mattie Ross (played by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) is an unsmiling Calvinist spinster-to-be who plots Old Testament retribution upon the outlaw who slew her father. Her diction never resorts to contractions. Ethan Coen explains: “We made a movie about Jews [2009’s mordant A Serious Man], so we decided to make a movie about a Protestant….Mattie is even more of a schoolmarm in the book”such an old Protestant at the age of 14, which is why the book is so funny.”
On the other hand, the drunken gunman she hires to lead her into Indian Territory, US Deputy Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), mumbles authentic frontier gibberish.
“That speaks about who is going to be leading tomorrow.”
So said Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Every three years, the Paris-based OECD holds its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests of the reading, math and science skills of 15-year-olds in developing and developed countries. Gurria was talking of the results of the 2009 tests.
Sixty-five nations competed. The Chinese swept the board.
The schools of Shanghai-China finished first in math, reading and science. Hong Kong-China was third in math and science. Singapore, a city-state dominated by overseas Chinese, was second in math, fourth in science.
Only Korea, Japan and Finland were in the hunt.
And the U.S.A.? America ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math, producing the familiar quack-quack.
“This is an absolute wake-up call for America,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “We have to face the brutal truth. We have to get much more serious about investment in education.”
But the “brutal truth” is that we invest more per pupil than any other country save Luxembourg, and we are broke. And a closer look at the PISA scores reveals some unacknowledged truths.
True, East Asians—Chinese, Koreans, Japanese—are turning in the top scores in all three categories, followed by the Europeans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders.
But, looking down the New York Times list of the top 30 nations, one finds not a single Latin American nation, not a single African nation, not a single Muslim nation, not a single South or Southeast Asian nation (save Singapore), not a single nation of the old Soviet Union except Latvia and Estonia.
“If the brains and the will to learn are absent, no amount of spending on schools, teacher salaries, educational consultants or new texts will matter.”
And in Europe as in Asia, the northern countries (Finland, Norway, Belgium, Iceland, Austria, Germany) outscore the southern (Greece, Italy, Portugal). Slovenia and Croatia, formerly of the Habsburg Empire, outperformed Albania and Serbia, which spent centuries under Turkish rule.
Among the OECD members, the most developed 34 nations on earth, Mexico, principal feeder nation for U.S. schools, came in dead last in reading.
Steve Sailer on VDARE.com got the full list of 65 nations, broke down U.S. reading scores by race, then measured Americans with the countries and continents whence their families originated. What he found was surprising.
Asian-Americans outperform all Asian students except for Shanghai-Chinese. White Americans outperform students from all 37 predominantly white nations except Finns, and U.S. Hispanics outperformed the students of all eight Latin American countries that participated in the tests.
Countless self-described “Dreamers” were rudely awakened on December 18th when the US Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to proceed with the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a bill which in various forms has been trying to squeeze itself through Congress for nearly a decade.
In what could be dubbed “soft amnesty,” the DREAM Act would enable illegal aliens between 12 and 30 to apply for US citizenship so long as they”ve been in the States for at least five years and had been brought here by others when they were 15 or younger. They must be of “good moral character” and have a GED or a high-school diploma. They must agree to either serve in the US military or attend college for at least two years. Upon completing either of those conditions, they could become US citizens six years after initially applying. Six years after that, they could begin sponsoring immediate family members for citizenship, who, in turn, could conceivably begin sponsoring all of La Raza.
DREAM Act supporters tend to rely on schmaltzy tugs at your heartstrings. They say that only bigoted Nazi assholes would choose to punish “the kids,” especially ones who came here through no fault of their own. They say that the estimated one or two million aliens who could qualify under this bill represent the “best and brightest,” the “most talented and driven,” America’s “future professionals” who will “make this a better place” and compete against scientists in China and India, and that one of them may even become a doctor and save your life one day. Dreamers assert that Republicans blocked the bill right before Christmas just to be mean and that Jesus would have voted for it.
In the past few days while researching this article, I have seen more images of anxious Hispanics wearing graduation caps and gowns than I”ve seen collectively in my life. I”ve also seen more snapshots of Mexicans waving American flags than I”d ever thought possible. For the first time in memory, I”ve watched videos wherein Mexican immigrants say they primarily identify as Americans and that the only difference between them and other Americans is a silly little piece of paper. “They are American in every sense except their technical legal status,” DREAM Act sponsor Dick Durbin tried to assure us.
Amid stories of all the ultimately fruitless hunger strikes and sit-ins and prayer vigils, I read again and again and again (and again) of how illegal aliens live “in the shadows.” A Huffington Post contributor urged Dreamers to keep Dreaming, predicting that “Just as blacks and women and gays are now equal in the U.S., so too will undocumented immigrants be able to come out of the shadows.” Dick Durbin bemoaned the fact that untold thousands of kids “live in the shadows and dream of greatness.” Barack Obama said the DREAM Act’s failure was “maybe my biggest disappointment” as president and expressed empathy for youngsters forced to live “under this shadow of fear.”
We were repeatedly reminded that it’s immoral and irrational to blame children for the sins of their parents.
That”d be fine if American gringos weren”t still being collectively blamed for and extorted over the sins of about three percent of their great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.
These days, anyone who so much as questions unchecked illegal immigration from Mexico is immediately scolded with the following pair of admonitions:
1) We are, and always will be, a nation of immigrants, so shut up.
2) The white man stole this land from the Native Americans, anyway, so shut up.
Yes, we”ve always been a nation of immigrants”but that includes the Paleo-Siberians who crossed the Bering Strait anywhere between twelve and fifty thousand years ago as well as the European-derived Solutreans who may or may not have crossed the frozen Atlantic into North America fifteen to twenty thousand years ago. One of the oldest skulls ever found in the Americas had Caucasian features and was discovered, of all places, near what is now Mexico City.
That’s the thing about the Americas”if you go back far enough, there are no true “natives,” only waves of immigrants who often wound up extinguishing one another.
But there’s no equating the recent unchecked tsunami from Mexico with previous immigration waves. We”re talking apples and avocados here.
A crucial difference is that prior immigrants to the USA seemed to genuinely want to become “Americans.” In contrast, studies of fourth-generation Mexican-Americans in San Antonio and Los Angeles revealed that a majority of them still identified mainly as Mexican. A 2002 Pew Hispanic Center survey revealed that among naturalized American citizens of Mexican descent, only 18 percent saw themselves as primarily Americans, while 80 percent still viewed themselves as Mexican or Latino. A study by Duke University found that of all American immigrant groups, only Salvadorans assimilated slower than Mexicans. The book Generations of Exclusion revealed that rather than assimilating, third- and fourth-generation adult Mexicans lived in more segregated neighborhoods than they did as youths.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made ever more wretched by this lack of sun.
Caught in a blighted, anarchic winter’s grip, Britain is beset by swine flu, influenza B, H2N3, and a host of other diseases. Heathrow Airport, condemned by Cardinal Kasper as a Third World country, is in frozen disarray. Football’s not coming home again, the coalition is at loggerheads over tuition fees, the students are protesting, and horror upon horror, worst of all, on December 10th the Duchess of Cornwall was twitted with a stick on her way to the theater. Hardly cricket, but better leave cricket out of it while England’s batsmen tumble like skittles in Australia.
Student demonstrators, aided by Rent-a-Mob and supporters of Save the Fox, rampaged like disgraceful hooligans last week in Central London, damaging property and menacing police. One student even wound up swinging from the Cenotaph. He was later identified as Charlie Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, who in 1979 helped to produce The Wall, one of the greatest albums of all time. The song “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2″ opens with the words, “We don”t need no education,” a dogma which our Charlie evidently strives to uphold”rather successfully as it happens! He also didn”t “need no thought control,” as the lad was said to be on acid at the time. He also claimed not to know what the Cenotaph represented; impressive stuff for a second-year history student and clear proof that teachers really must have left that kid alone. It was encouraging to note that our current prime minister, in the tradition of prime ministers before him, declared that the demonstrators would face the full force of the law”a “You wanna watch it or I”ll go and fetch my dad” kind of threat. It doesn”t amount to much.
This holiday season, the incredible shrinking force has its work cut out arresting merry motorists, stemming squabbling in the gay-dwarfist community, issuing cautions to Christmas-rights activists, and prosecuting women who throw cats into rubbish bins. Still, “the full force of the law” sounds a comfortingly grandiloquent note to an eau de nil nation with the middle-class values of a wind turbine. For that is what Britain has become: a malformed low-road meritocracy. A crumbling relic of a bygone age. A nation of whiners in search of obscurity, competing with gusto to be the first to reach the pool’s bottom. When we finish last in the Eurovision Song Contest, we blame the Eastern Bloc and the voting system, whereas in truth we deliver dreadful songs from the dreadful Lloyd Webber and seriously consider people such as Katie Price, better known simply as “Jordan,” to represent us. Oh dear, oh dear, there is truly something rotten in this sceptered isle when our children’s role models are Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell, Russell Brand, and the awful Coleen Rooney. What a fountain of honor!
The same applies to the World Cup. Surely it would be more sensible to try and win the bloody thing than to keep moaning about the bent Sepp Blatter. I”m perfectly certain it doesn”t bother him.
Enough of such pessimistic talk! Christmas is here, and to this column’s followers I bear good tidings of great joy!
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but if you”re at a loss for last-minute gifts, take a cue from Katy Perry and Russell Brand and celebrate a present-less Christmas. Perry said they”re foregoing the presents this year in favor of a holiday “experience” instead. Their lavish Indian nuptials a few months ago was apparently the only gift they needed. And Perry’s extravagant on- and off-stage outfits are also coming in handy”she’s donating some clothes to charity for the holiday season.
With the end-of-year frenzy inevitably comes some awkward face time with exes. Simon Cowell and fiancÃ©e Mezghan Hussainy are relaxing in the Caribbean, but the cantankerous judge’s ex-girlfriend and other friends are also sailing on Cowell’s boat. His ex Sinitta tweeted a vague “If this was Dynasty, I seem to have found myself cast as Alexis! Against type but a great role.” And this is why a Twitter moratorium should be enacted during the holidays. Whatever happened to bottling up jealousies and rage instead of leaking them out passive-aggressively, one tweet at a time?
The Spider-Man musical is living up to its expectations as the most dangerous, scandal-ridden Broadway production in history. A stunt Spidey fell onto the stage earlier this week after a cable snapped and he was whisked away to the hospital. That night’s show ended abruptly. Now, Great White Way vets are casting a web of negativity on the Julie Taymor-directed debacle. Tony winner Alice Ripley asked “Does someone have to die?” and said “This is completely unacceptable and embarrassing to working actors everywhere.” Non-working actors, though? Probably wouldn”t mind a little dangerous swinging from the ceiling”providing it comes with hazard pay.
If a Jersey Shore DJ plays music in a crowded room, will anyone stick around to listen? DJ Pauly D is the guinea pig is this equation. Beating The Situation and Snooki to the punch, in September he shot an MTV pilot chronicling his life. It’s expected to air sometime next year after the latest Jersey Shore installment kicks off January 6.
Michelle Williams is slowly talking about her ex Heath Ledger’s sudden and tragic death. The 30-year-old said “I”ve found meaning around the circumstance, but the actual event itself still doesn”t…I can”t find meaning for it.” It’s been nearly three years since Ledger’s death, and she’s since been raising their five-year-old daughter Matilda and making quiet but astounding turns in indie films, with the most recent, Blue Valentine, garnering Oscar buzz.