Tuesday, October 17, 2006

John Allemang’s weakly weekly “Poetic Justice” extrusions have been collected into a book, and as a result, this appears in The Globe and Mail: “Are you such a fan of Poetic Justice that you’d like a crack at administering a little of your own? Start by composing 24 to 36 lines of verse that skewer, or exalt, some deserving public figure. Then post it as a comment on this page to submit it. All suitable entries will be posted on-line, and receive careful scrutiny from John Allemang. He’ll reward the top 10 with inscribed copies of his new book, so be sure to include your mailing address.”

He’s like a judge who’s fond of hanging,
Except his simpering, sniping, slanging,
Petty whining, weak haranguing,
Just adds up to Allemanging.
How’s toothless doggerel best described?
With what blunt crayon are inscribed
These weekly lines of sorry tripe
In which old news that’s overripe
Regurgitated once more is
So Allemang can then have his
Last chance to scribble something “funny” —
Labored, painful, wretched, “punny”
Lines he clearly thinks “satirical”
(To think they are’s a goddamn miracle).
But somebody must like this stuff —
Must love this sophomoric fluff —
Or thinks this doggerel’s the way
To make sure little Johnny A.
Remains confined, stays on the leash,
His weekly sub-par Pope pastiche
Ensuring he does not attempt
Reporting, and thus stays exempt
From writing something even worse
Than Saturday’s appalling verse
And now, for abject masochists
A newly pointless book exists
Collecting every crumby poem
Into a single, sorry tome
They’re prizes in a contest you
Could win. (The second prize is two).
If you thought they were painful once,
Reread them and see when a dunce
Like Allemang, that poetaster,
Makes of news and rhyme disaster,
And proves he’s one slack-brained mouth-breather
Poetic justice thus is neither.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Where's the news coming from?

Knowing you're on the verge of some kind of profound change, but not knowing what that change is going to be or how it will play out can be madenning . . . or at least kind of unsettling.

It’s happening right now with the television news business. I’ve been working in this realm for 20 years. When I started, the wire copy spewed out of clattering mechanical wire machines. They were antiques even then; dot matrix printers were more sophisticated. The copy was fed from wire services — some downtown, some further away — printed one letter at a time on six-ply newsprint with carbon between the layers. A major story was announced when a bulletin moved and bells dinged. There was one computer in the newsroom, used for communicating with the Ottawa bureau.

Twenty years later, there are more computers in the newsrooms, and there is video on demand. But how much longer, realistically, can folks in the news business expect people in the audience to show up at the same time everyday in big enough numbers to constitute an audience that can be sold to an advertiser — or, at least, to a media buyer?

A lot of the stuff I liked about newsrooms when I started working in the business is now widely available: you can get all the wire services on your desktop. You can get the equivalent of the affiliate feeds off any news site. And the very best print outfits are offering other media. Both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have extensive video elements on their sites. Add the existing cable news channels — the same ones that serve as the sources for a lot of the video seen on newscasts — and there seems to be less and less reason for standard-form newscasts to exist.

And yet, CBS is spending God-knows-how-much money to hire Katie Couric (which is particularly funny given the fact that Bob Schieffer is boosting the CBS Evening News into second consistently; maybe the problem isn’t CBS, maybe the problem was Dan Rather as anchor).

It’s a weird time. The future isn’t clear. But the television news business as it’s currently constituted doesn’t look like something that can last. Right now, working in a television newsroom feels kind of like working in a buggy-whip factory in 1900 or so. How much use are even the finest buggy-whips, if those horseless carriages constitute most of the traffic?

The strangest aspect of all this is the increasingly conservative forms that TV news hews to. You might think that if your entire business model and all your approaches are changing and changing the way your porduct is seen whether you like it or not, that maybe you might as well experiement, or find some way to make your product relevant. but that doesn't seem to be happening.

There's the other thing -- compare a current newscast with the Camel News Caravan -- the very first television news program -- and it wouldn't be substantially different. The only attempts to chaneg the form and presentation of television news in its history seem to be NBC News Overnight -- not quite a year-and-a-half. It started July 5, 1982, because that's the night, statistically, when the fewest people are watching television. The only other thing that's come close to NBC News Overnight is ABC's World News Now. Interesting that in both instances, having no money and being viewed as some necessary-but-despised obligatory duty were catalysts for creativity, for making a newscast that informed on more than just the most basic and immediate level, and that treated the audience like sentient adults.

Also, the writing seems to have been a part of the difference. And a lot of writing on television newscasts doesn't achieve that. Either it's the most basic, utilitarian wire-copy fare with its own particular quirks, cliches and bad stylistic tics ("local residents," "robbery gone wrong," "parent's worst nightmare," and, of course, "up in arms") or it's stenorian bloviation -- voice-of-God stuff . . . or at least some sort of mild hectoring from a second-string prophet -- you know the kind of thing).

Linda Ellerbee is doing great work as a documentary-maker for Nickelodeon, but would it be possible to pay her to teach people how to write for TV news? As she said about Overnight, though, she and her confederates wrote what they said. How many TV anchors do you think do that, even a little?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tomkat whelps, world yelps

The Suri With The Fringe On Top
(to the tune of “Surrey with the Fringe On Top” from “Oklahoma”)
(apologies to Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II)

L. Ron Hubbard’s flock’s in flurry
Tomkat just had a girl -- named her Suri,
She has hair which makes her a Suri with a fringe on top
Watch that fringe and see how it flutters
Hear the paparazzi whose shutters.
Click and clack and flash so the People readers’ eyes will pop

Though Holmes was Catholic, she isn’t that now--
Knock her folks down with a feather.
She’s joined the Scientology crowd
Some say she’s snapped off her tether.

All those people screamin’ and pointin’
Waiting for the wondrous annointin’
Hopin’ it’s not too disappointin’
When they see the tot
That tiny little Suri with the weird-ass pop

All the world’ll fly in a flurry
When they show off their little Suri,
When they debut their little Suri with the fringe on top.

Watch those photo agencies shoot her
(Even though I think Tom is neuter
We’ll assume that he was the shooter
And that he’s her pop)

Though Katie is brainwashed and probably numb
And had to give birth keeping quiet
The spawn of those two enthralls the world
And makes photographers riot

Are you sick yet of all this attention
Endless gossip columnar mention
Nothing even looks like declension
Or that this might stop
The frantic, freaky fever for the tiny little Suri with the fringe on top

Now I think my vision is blurry
And I know I’m starting to worry
’Bout that poor little kid name of Suri with the weird-ass pop
It’ll just be worse when she’s older
Someone should have quietly told her,
“Just keep looking over your shoulder for a flash-bulb’s pop.”
The papparazzi will never give up
They’ll dog your each waking second
Your dad is a nut-case who’s probably gay
Your mom’s in for more than she reckoned

You’re too young to know folks are thinking
That your situation is stinking
Now you’re here we hope all this weirdness might slow to a stop
Poor blurry little Suri with a weird-ass pop

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; none whatsoever is worse.

The Band, A Musical History (EMI)

David Peschek

Friday September 23, 2005

The Guardian
If ever there was an argument for the occasional pernicious evil of the CD reissue, this five-disc-plus-DVD box is it. A Musical History is certainly comprehensive: it runs from the Band's early backing-band days -- first for Ronnie Hawkins, then the newly electric Dylan -- through seven albums that document their evolution into trad-rock behemoths. And, for completists otherwise at a loose end, it includes 37 unreleased tracks. Critical consensus has it that this is seminal and hugely important music. But it's clear -- especially over five CDs -- that it is music whose ersatz nature, conservatism and ill-disguised fakery attains a crushing critical mass of boredom. Creating a plodding, hybrid Americana from borrowed blues and country, the Band have squatted over a certain kind of North American music ever since their heyday. But painfully evident in their cod-soulful straining for gravitas is the lack of the vitality of their influences, smothered as it is by the deadening weight of heritage. And does anyone need to hear The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down ever again?

Um, yes -- especially with what's been happening in that part of the world over the last couple of weeks.

You read something like this and wonder how it happened. Was there an editor somewhere on The Guardian’s staff who figured The Band were overdue for being taken down a peg or two? Maybe that would have been a better move before they broke up in 1976 . . . or before two members died.

Or is this David Peschek’s take? If so, it unwittingly exposes stunning ignorance. As for that crack about “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” it would seem that Peschek is unaware Robertson wrote the song, seemingly assuming – incorrectly – that it’s “trad. arr. by” instead of an original composition. He also seems unaware that The Band created the genre the British call “Americana.”

But then, should we expect anything other than tone-deaf inaccuracies from somebody who’s a DJ for something called “Horse Meat Disco”? (Eew.)

Country music: simple, heartwarming stories of honest working folks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Country singer Mindy McCready was hospitalized after overdosing on antidepressants early Friday following a quarrel with the father of her unborn child. She was in fair condition Friday afternoon, officials said.

According to a police report, McCready and William McKnight were arguing on the phone about whether his parents would help pay for the pregnancy. He cursed at McCready and she became angry and took about 30 antidepressant pills, the report says.

After McKnight called her back and she didn’t answer, he called police and an ambulance.

McCready’s lawyer did not return a phone message to his office.

McCready, 29, has had a series of legal and personal problems in recent months, including a drunken driving arrest in Nashville, a suicide attempt and an arrest in Arizona on charges stemming from her involvement with a con man she said she was trying to help police catch.

McKnight was also charged earlier this year with trying to kill her. McCready said he punched her in the face and tried to choke her.

Last year, McCready was charged with obtaining the painkiller OxyContin fraudulently at a pharmacy. She pleaded guilty and was placed on three years’ probation.McCready had a No. 1 hit in 1996 with “Guys Do It All the Time.”

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Still not depressed enough to appreciate Coldplay.

Coldplay’s allure continues to elude me. I even sat through about 40 minutes or so of a concert that MuchMusic shot sometime during the winter and recently broadcast to see if I was missing anything. You know, had I dismissed them too early or something? (Also, I was ironing and there was nothing else on, which meant I had no alternatives.) Prolonged exposure to Coldplay only deepens the mystery of Coldplay’s continuing success and their embrace by apparently just about everybody on the planet except for me, you, John Pareles of the New York Times and Hua Hsu of Slate, both of whom wrote cogent analyses of what Coldplay seems to be doing . . . or what it isn’t doing, which, in both of their estimations, is anything worth getting excited about.

I have my own notions about what Coldplay might actually be (as distinct from the grandiose claims made on its behalf by its millions-strong legions of mopey fans who are still young and adolescent enough to equate moping with depth, seriousness and intelligence . . . or sensitivity, or something). Is Coldplay a second-rate Tears For Fears tribute band, the neutered Oasis, a melody-free Supertramp for people who don’t like hooks or riffs, a slow-motion U2 that cribbed all its lyrics from 70s Christian youth-group inspirational posters or some bizarre combination of all of the above? One of the things Coldplay does not seem to be is capable of coming up with an entire song, one with a beginning, middle and end . . . or verse/chorus/verse/bridge/chorus/repeat-to-fade. There are plenty of two-chord kind of throbs, but they never get to that third or even fourth chord you might reasonably expect from a pop song.

I guess every generation gets the navel-gazing power-ballad producing entity it deserves. Coldplay are this decade’s Maureen McGovern? Maureen McCormick? (unless that was Celine Dion -- they both sang mawkish tune-free ballads in movies about big doomed boats), or perhaps they’re this decade’s Bonnie Tyler. Air Supply? Climax? Journey, but without the upbeat rock numbers . . . ?

I watched that MuchMusic concert and was astounded by the dreary sameness of the proceedings. Every number was a plodding two-chord ballad that started slow and dull and quiet, continued slow and dull and increased gradually in volume, then subsided into plaintive bleating on Martin’s part. It speaks of true devotion on the part of Coldplay’s fans that they can distinguish between the different numbers. Maybe they use the same device I found myself using, which was to identify the songs by their apparent musical antecedents: “Oh, this is the Oasis rip-off . . . this is the sort of fake-U2 one . . .” etc. But it all seemed like way too much work for too little reward.

And as the Jimmy-Jib crane swooped over the audience to show the throng of ecstatic Coldplay fans, I just keep thinking of an exchange from the “Homerpalooza” episode of “The Simpsons,” where Lisa, listening to Smashing Pumpkins, says to Bart, “Their music may be bleak, but they certainly seem to be connecting with the crowd.” Bart says, “Lisa, making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.” And that’s probably what’s preventing me from appreciating Coldplay. I’m not in the demo. It seems to help to be 17 and to have written at least a few really bad poems, the kind where you try very hard to express the inner turmoil of your soul and instead turn out unintentionally hilarious, solipsistic tripe riddled with cliches and belaboring the obvious.

A friend of mine, just a few years younger than I am (we have the same cultural reference points) defended Coldplay by comparing their effect with that of Supertramp on him when he was 14. I asked which Supertramp -- the “Crime of the Century” Supertramp, the quiveringly sensitive melodists with the instrumental ability that 14-year-old boys would likely mistake for “chops,” or the later, million-selling Supertramp of “Breakfast In America”? He didn’t answer, and I don’t know how anybody could conflate Coldplay’s dreary dirge-making to the rococo pretension of Supertramp’s fake jazz symphonics. But there’s probably a very specific and individual connection there that I’ll never understand.

Finally, it’s reminiscent of something Ben Folds said in an interview when he released Rockin’ The Suburbs. He said Billy Corgan had grown up in a pretty nice Chicago suburb, and, given how things work in North America, really didn’t have all that much to be as depressed and/or angry about as his songs would suggest. Then, said Folds, there’s Stevie Wonder: born and raised poor in Detroit, lost his sight when he was still a child, and cut some of the most unrestrainedly joyful music ever made. As the reefer line on page one of Slate said of Chris Martin: “You’re married to Gwyneth Paltrow; why so glum?”

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

How can we miss George Michael if he won’t go away?

Michael film signals ‘retirement’

Singer George Michael has said that a new film about his life is the start of a retirement from public view. The pop star said it would be a much more “behind the scenes affair”, and called his own genre of music “dead.”

“I thought I should explain myself before I disappear,” said Michael, who was at the Berlin film festival to launch the documentary.

The film, A Different Story, chronicles Michael’s life and career from the 1980s and his personal struggles.

The 41-year-old told reporters that he wanted to “move his career into a different form,” but added that he does not know what it is going to be yet.

“I’m still going to be making music,” he said, but added that he was “not going to be around”.

He hinted at discontent with the current state of music industry, and said: “I don’t really think that there is anyone in the modern pop business who I feel I want to spar with.”

Michael said that the film would put his two decades of fame into context.

“It’s almost as much for me as for my fans, in terms of trying to make sense of the last 22 years and bring it to a close in a proper way,” he said.

The documentary chronicles the highs and lows of his life in the public gaze, from his meteoric rise as one half of pop duo Wham! to his arrest for lewd conduct in a Los Angeles toilet in 1998.

George Michael’s “retirement”? What does that mean? He hasn't released a record in years. Sure, there was his idiotic "Wag The Dog." That was supposed to be George's protest over the US's Iraqi invasion. It made people who had bitterly opposed the invasion re-examine their thinking, at least partly because of its embarrassing production values, which made "South Park" look like some Pixar-type CGI hyperrealism. Its understanding of international relations and its points about the U.S. invasion were on about the same level.

So is he retiring from being a has-been? In which case, wouldn’t that be a comeback? And if it is, why didn’t he precede his appearance on stage at the Berlin press conference with a recording of LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” which begins with the admonishment, “Don’t call it a comeback”?

George Michael’s appeal has not been merely elusive, it’s been utterly baffling. What is there to like? There is plenty that objectionable, yes. Annoying? Oh, by all means. But what was his appeal? When Michael and hapless vestigial appendage Andrew Ridgley first appeared, as Wham, they seemed like one more variation on the template of (choose one) The New Kids On The Block, The Osmonds, The Bay City Rollers, New Edition, or, if you prefer, a precursor to (choose one) Bros, N Sync, The Backstreet Boys, or any one of an infinite number of pretty much identical prefab pop-tart ephemerae. But George Michael didn’t have much appreciable talent even by the low standards of that sorry arena.

Wham disappears, and a few years later here comes George Michael looking like some unholy collision between a Miami-Vice-three-day-wino-scuzz grooming regimen, acid-washed mall-rat and tidied-up leather queen: the daughter Rainer Werner Fassbinder never had. His record company flogs the hell out of him, and George decides he’s an artist. The only thing worse than a pop-tart past its best-before date is a pop-tart with pretensions to be something other than a concoction of high-grade sucrose and empty calories. George extended his career for a few more years by recording pallid facsimiles of hi-gloss R&B Muzak that made Kenny G and Michael Bolton seem like the keepers of the Funkadelic flame. And it raises some questions about his contention that “his style of music is ‘dead.’” What style would that be? Crummy ersatz soul? Pallid rhythm and blues that has neither rhythm nor any discernable trace elements of the blues? Mawkish, sentimental tuneless ballads that even connoisseurs of the most extreme camp would find overdone and labored? While it’s impossible to know what George Michael thinks his style of music might be, and why he thinks it’s dead, it’s nice to know it’s gone; there are many things I’d be happy never to hear again, and George Michael’s “style of music” is definitely one of them.

Throughout his entire inexplicable career, one of the few consistent things about George Michael has been his constantly announcing his imminent retirement. The only other diva who’s been quitting this long is Cher, whose farewell tour is entering its third or fourth year. Michael’s arrest in that Los Angeles men’s room is his career high-point. He should have gone out on, uh, top, as it were . . . or maybe I mean “quit while he was ahead.” But how could he quit with that kind of publicity just sitting there, going to waste?

Now, however, George has come out of total obscurity to announce his retirement, like some kind of twenty-first-century Norma Desmond. Say your career is over, George? Um, well, we all pretty much figured that out around the turn of the century. But thanks for acknowledging it publicly . . . and now that we’ve got that straightened out, goodbye.

But you know he doesn’t mean it. You know it’s not really a retirement at all. In a decade or so (depending on cash depletion, possible criminal sentences, plea bargains, and other factors) George Michael and Michael Jackson will have a spectacularly creepy act ready for cruise ships, Las Vegas and certain select European venues.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Taxi Driver II.

January 21, 2005 -- ROBERT De Niro has confirmed he’s in talks with Martin Scorsese about a possible sequel to their classic Taxi Driver. The acting legend, who starred as crazed cabbie Travis Bickle in the gritty 1976 masterpiece, says he and Scorsese have been mulling over script ideas. De Niro, 61, recently told journalists: “I was talking with Martin Scorsese about doing what I guess you’d call a sequel to Taxi Driver, where he is older.” The reunion would come just in time for De Niro, whose reputation is eroding with critically panned films like Meet the Fockers.
New York Post

Taxi Driver II
Act I
After the shooting spree, bloodbath and rescue of Iris Steensma, Travis Bickle is celebrated as a hero. Reaction is ambivalent, too — much as it was in the case of Bernhard Goetz a decade later: People shouldn’t take the law into their own hands. Law enforcement and government officials pay lip service to that notion. But people are grateful to Bickle as well, and most of them would like to do something similar, given the right circumstances and the opportunity.

Charles Palantine’s presidential campaign picks up on the mood, hiring Bickle as a combination limo driver/policy advisor and public-opinion gauge. He’s treated deferentially by the campaign. He’s still also a nut, and nobody wants to annoy him or have any of that fury turned on them. Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) continues to be fascinated by Bickle — even more so, now that his mix of charisma and psychosis seems to be drawing political interest. Travis still makes Albert Brooks’s Tom nervous.

That’s all revealed in the opening credits. We pick up the story in 2000. Travis Bickle’s combination of Vietnam experience and determination have made him an excellent political strategist and operative. He’s switched parties, splitting with Palantine — a Democrat — over law-and-order issues; Travis Bickle is a Republican. Peter Boyle reprises his strategist role from the 1972 picture The Candidate Robert Redford, melded together with the character “Wizard” from the original Taxi Driver, only in this instance, he’s Bickle’s strategist/fixer. Bickle has served a couple of terms as mayor of New York, cleaning up Times Square — because as a regular patron of the ’70s grind houses, who’d know better about what kind of filth and depravity it was a breeding-ground for? — and turning it into the family-friendly theme park it’s become.

Now, he’s preparing to seek the Republican presidential nomination, with the backing of such notables at Guardian Angels founder and talk radio host Curtis Sliwa. (In this version, the Angels are still self-appointed maintainers of public order and safety, only they’ve modeled themselves after Bickle; instead of the T-shirts and red berets, they all sport Mohawks.) Some potentially damaging information surfaces, un known provenance: allegations that there may have been more to Travis’s relationship with Iris than a noble desire to rescue a girl in trouble.

Travis Bickle thinks he knows where it’s coming from. Wizard begs him to leave this kind of thing — running down and stamping out smears or rumors — to the professionals. But this time, it’s personal. Travis is certain it’s Tom, stemming from his jealousy about Betsy and his feeling that Travis Bickle is truly dangerous and has to be stopped. It’s a conflict between strategy and information, on Tom’s side, and action as typified by Travis. Bickle is determined to confront Tom and make him retract the allegations he’s sure Tom’s responsible for. As his quest accelerates, so does the frequency of discomfiting questions about Iris from various reporters and associates. The one person who could instantly stop all this, of course, can’t be found. Iris has disappeared, changed her name and built a new life for herself. She’s determined to leave her sordid past of prostitution and drug addiction as far behind as possible.

The first act ends with Travis confronting Tom, and Tom definitively proving he doesn’t have anything to do with the allegations. That raises two big questions. If Tom’s not behind it, who is? And where is Iris Steensma?

Act II
We find out who is behind the allegations. Sport, the pimp played by Harvey Keitel, is, of course, shot and killed during Travis Bickle’s climactic shooting spree in Taxi Driver. Scorsese and Keitel worked together before, on the picture that was the feature film debut for both of them. Harvey Keitel played J.R., the conflicted Catholic protagonist in Who’s That Knocking At My Door? written and directed by Scorsese in 1967. Now, it turns out, he and Sport were twins. J.R. worked to reconcile his Madonna/whore complex by rehabilitating prostitutes and drug addicts. One of them was Iris “Easy” Steensma. At first, of course, he doesn’t realize there’s any connection. But in flashback, we see him getting to know Iris’s story, realizing the connection with his twin brother, Sport — something he keeps from Iris. She bonds with him, but his feelings about women of Iris’s ilk prevent him from acting on his affectionate feelings.

(The weak spot here, obviously, is Iris. Wouldn't she recognize Sport? You could make J.R. really clean-cut, which would help differentiate him from Sport. Iris might even say J.R. reminds her of someone, without having her realize who . . . or maybe she does, but thinks she's mistaken or confused.)

J.R.'s conflicted feelings fester, and he comes to hate both his dead twin brother and Travis Bickle for killing him. When Bickle’s candidacy gathers momentum, J.R. is moved to try derailing him by leaking the details about Iris, even though they’re not true. J.R. is keen to make her more of a victim, more powerless, and by characterizing Bickle as the last in a long line of tormentors and abusers, he can reduce his feelings of revulsion toward her. The way J.R. sees it, Travis Bickle’s shootout traumatized Iris worse than anything she’d endured before that moment, that she felt she was to blame for all the bloodshed, and even if her exploiters were evil, she feels she killed them instead of escaping from them.

J.R.’s desire to rescue her curdles, turning his conception of himself from a rescuer to an avenger. Simply imperiling Bickle’s candidacy isn’t enough. J.R. becomes determined to assassinate Bickle, and we move through the second act with a series of scenes of J.R.’s preparation to kill Bickle that parallel Bickle’s preparations to shoot Palantine in Taxi Driver. At one chilling moment, we see Harvey Keitel staring into a mirror menacingly, and repeating, “I’m talking to you.”

This is intercut with Travis Bickle’s search for Iris Steensma. Poring over old phone books, files and Internet resources, he eventually tracks her down. She’s living in Vermont under a completely different name, alone, and refuses to come back to the city or to help Travis out of his jam; it would be too difficult to admit to her past and return to what she’d thought she’d escaped. Travis argues that he saved her when she needed it, and now he needs her help. It seems hopeless, and Iris seems determined not to leave her refuge — the emotional cost would be too great. But she does give him J.R.’s name as a person who might be able to help him. Travis leaves determined to fix this, and that may mean dealing with J.R. himself. The potential for violence has been ratcheted tighter.

Travis returns to the city as J.R.’s fury grows colder, more lethal and more determined. Travis gets ready to confront J.R.; J.R. is preparing to assassinate Travis. J.R. appears at a campaign rally, staying just long enough to be seen by Travis as a means of demonstrating he can get to him when he wants to.

After the rally, Travis tracks J.R. down. We see him preparing for this confrontation. Because he knows J.R. is armed, Travis has a gun as well. He comes up on J.R. in a deserted street. He tells him it’s over. That he can’t achieve whatever he’s after. Nervous about what J.R. might do, Travis has a handgun. J.R., noting this, makes the point that Travis has not changed, that he’s still violent and crazy. This makes Travis angry. He raises the gun, yelling for J.R. to shut up, when there’s a shout. A woman’s voice. It’s Iris. J.R., furious at what he thinks is a betrayal, shoots, but only wounds her. Travis, having wanted to protect Iris and himself, shoots J.R.

In the denouement, Iris clears Travis, who is lauded as a hero. Again.