Andrew Hultkrans

  • Laptop Cops

    IN FEBRUARY 1996, hot on the heels of ill-conceived Hollywood artifacts The Net and Hackers, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick delivers a rambling, paranoid speech on the specter of computer hackers and “info warfare” to a closed session of the National Security in the Information Age conference at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Menacing her audience with an extended rap sheet of malicious hacking incidents (as well as bizarre digressions on alienation and loneliness in the Computer Age), Gorelick calls for “the equivalent of the Manhattan Project” to combat the mounting

  • Naughty Bytes

    IN FEBRUARY 1995, Senator James Exon (D-Nebraska)—whose name shares the ominous “xon” suffix with such other authors of unmitigated disasters as Richard Nixon and the Exxon Valdez—introduced the Communications Decency Act (CDA) as a stealthy remora on the back of a regulation-munching shark, the Telecommunications Reform Bill. The CDA was then defanged and refanged in a series of cheap backroom operations that would affront the dignity of the shoddiest Tijuana dentist. Nevertheless, a version of the law, censoring incisors intact, was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed


    A PAINTER WHO ENROLLED in the Whitney Program before migrating to Columbia Film School, Kathryn Bigelow is something of an anomaly in Planet Hollywood. Combining an affinity for the frenetic rhythms of the thriller with a taste for subversive genre-bending that recalls her “high art” beginnings, Bigelow is a consummate technician whose balletic action sequences remind us how cinematically pure the language of violence can be. Her latest film, Strange Days, is a tech-noir set in a Los Angeles on the brink of the millennium, where conflicting visions of rapture and revolution divide the collective

  • Mark Leyner's Hyper Text

    I inhabit vast pavilions whose emptiness
    is set ablaze by the vermillion sunset.
    My menagerie of shaved animals is not open to the public.
    But you may go to the special room
    where every object is coated with Vaseline
    and you may put something up your ass.
    I will be down in half an hour.
    Presently I am drugged and supine in my lichen-covered bathtub,
    dazedly eating lichee-nut fondue
    from a chafing dish of gurgling white chocolate at tub-side,
    as a succession of anatomical freaks mount a klieg-lit proscenium
    and perform for my entertainment.
    A scorched breeze conveys the acridity of spent rocket


    IN HER COMBINATION of obsessive paranoia and tenacious social science, Julia Scher evokes a female Harry Caul (antihero of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film The Conversation) with a weathered copy of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish under her arm. A typical, quietly disturbing installation, Predictive Engineering, 1993, involves video cameras, both hidden and visible, that feed monitors hovering over the gallery space; hapless viewers are multiply scrutinized—by the cameras, other gallery-goers, themselves, and, by implication, some sinister omniscient database. This endless mirroring is

  • Andrew Hultkrans


    When HUGH GRANT’s mug shots were thrust into the cold light of CNN, we were treated to a “before” photo rarely seen of a movie star. Here was an actor bereft of lighting, styling, and wardrobe, playing against character, without a script. Nevertheless, as promotional stills for the coming attraction, the mug shots were Oscar caliber. Never has an actor so effectively conveyed the inner emotional landscape of a spanked dog.

    PR remains an inexact science with its share of cataclysmic disasters. One of these occurred when Fox, the studio of Nine Months, booked Grant on the Tonight Show

  • Ed Wood

    People! All going somewhere. All with their own thoughts, their own ideas, all with their own . . . personalities. One is wrong, because he does right. And one is right . . . because he does wrong. Pull the string! Dance to that . . . which one is created for!
    —Bela Lugosi, in Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda?, 1953

    AT THE BEGINNING of his strangely autobiographical first film, Glen or Glenda?, Ed Wood introduces an inexplicable framing device that, absurd as it is, may be the film’s most telling moment: he offers an aging Bela Lugosi as God, sitting above humanity, watching with disgust, and babbling



    We’ll Always Have Paris
    Lourdes, 8 July 1940: a refugee sensing fate closing in around him, Walter Benjamin writes Hannah Arendt and ruefully quotes an aphorism that will shortly be an epitaph: “His laziness supported him in glory for many years in the obscurity of an errant and hidden life.” “This ain’t Paris,” mutters Babylon Dance Band singer Chip Nold on the group’s belated debut (Matador), “It’s not the 19th century.” This incandescent one-shot reunion recorded over a decade after their break-up offers “errant and hidden life” as pure revel (and reverie). Desperation is Nold’s

  • The Très Boring Hours

    I’m a loner/I’m a sorry entertainer
    —Daniel Johnston, “Sorry Entertainer,” 1983

    Yet there was a voice within me that said: Someday you will be considered the most intense and, in a certain sense, the most significant young prose writer in America. And I listened. . . . My advice to the young people of today? I’m tempted to say: Surround yourself with flunkies and yes-men and have naked slaves, perfumed with musk, fan you with plastic fronds as you write. Because that’s what’s worked for me.
    —Mark Leyner, Et Tu, Babe, 1992

    Are you bored yet?
    —Sean Landers, [sic], 1993

    The following are transcripts

  • Beavis and Butt-head

    BEAVIS: How come, like, some stuff sucks, but then, like, some stuff is pretty cool?

    BUTT-HEAD: Uhhh, well, if nothing sucked, and everything was cool all the time, then, like, how would you know it was cool?

    BEAVIS: I would know. You just said, everything would be cool.

    BUTT-HEAD: No, buttmunch. I mean like, let’s say someone came up and just hit you upside the head? Well, that would be cool.

    BEAVIS: No it wouldn’t. That would suck.

    BUTT-HEAD: Yeah. . . . [hits Beavis repeatedly]

    BEAVIS: Owww! Cut it out butthole!

    BUTT-HEAD: That was cool!

    BEAVIS: No it wasn’t. That sucked!

    BUTT-HEAD: Yeah, but like,