Friday, March 26, 2004
"The whole map of Europe has been changed...The modes of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs, the grouping of parties, all have encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world. But as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world."
If Jesus died for these dummies then he wasted his time.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Now I have not had much contact with Playboy since my subscription ran out in 1984. I refused to renew my subscription; I was protesting Roberta Vasquez’s not being named Playmate of the Year (she was robbed; Ms. Vasquez, who if I remember right was Miss November that year, blew the doors off the competition, but Hefner gave the crown to someone else, the cad). In any case, it appears that Playboy’s Nude Playmates is one of several Playboy special publications designed for the reading impaired, in that it provides a maximum of photographs of attractive nude young women and a minimum of the articles that three generations of American men have bought the magazine for.
But this is neither here nor there. I think my cognitive dissonance was a result of the title of the publication. Isn’t this title a statement of the obvious? Aren’t all Playboy Playmates, almost by definition, nudes, nudity being one, if not the most important one, of the major requirements of the job? After all, who would buy Playboy’s Dressed Playmates? Would someone buy Playboy’s Dressed Playmates for the articles or would they have to admit they were spending their money on soft-core pictures of clothed women? The world wonders...well, maybe not.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Indeed, one can imagine hordes of literature professors expounding on how William Faulkner's Sanctuary, where in a impotent bootlegger named Popeye rapes a woman with a corncob is a grimly prophetical allegory of America's insatiable need for ethanol and what Amerikkkan agribusinesses will do to secure fresh corn producing land. One may even safely envision the women's movement denouncing the nation's dependence on such an obvious phallic symbol with their customary vigor and demanding that ethanol producers stop using corn to make their product and instead use such nonphallocentric plants as wheat or loganberries. I fully expect that corn chowder, corndogs, and cream of corn soup will be dropped from faculty menus all over the academy in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of campus feminists. However, amongst all the questions that have been asked about ethanol the two that are the most important to my mind have been ignored. First, why does my car get such lousy mileage using ethanolized gasoline, and second, given that 10% of my gas is now alcohol, does this mean my car is driving under the influence?
Monday, March 15, 2004
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
I bring this up because Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film, The Barbarian Invasions, actually won the Oscar in this category. I must confess that this title causes some small degree of cognitive dissonance, since I do not understand why a government so squeamish about referring to crazy people as loonies would categorize an entire group of people as barbarians. It is not at all the multicultural thing to do and one cannot imagine a good Canadian doing this sort of thing without apologizing profusely to everyone involved beforehand. One imagines Canadian Vikings, Vandals, and Visigoths as being very nice people on the whole, the sort of people who would go to an old lady’s house, knock on the door, and politely ask the owner, “I’m sorry to disturb you, ma’am, but do you mind if me and my mates loot, rape, and pillage here for a little bit, eh? We’ll clean up once we’re done, and I promise we won’t make too much noise.”
Saturday, March 06, 2004
"So what if there is water up there?" said George Washington University sociologist Amitai Etzioni, who served as a domestic affairs adviser in the Carter White House.
"What difference does it make to anyone's life?" he said. "Will it grow any more food? Cure a disease? This doesn't even broaden our horizons."
What was the point of going to America? What was the point of Pythias traveling to Britain? What was the point of going to the moon? It doesn't surprise me that someone from the Carter White House poses such a question; a more parochial unimaginative group of people could not be found if you spent years on the quest. So why go to Mars? Because it is a great idea and we are a great people, and great people dare great things.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Monday, March 01, 2004
The memoriam montage was handled nicely, I thought. I wondered who was going to get top billing; usually the biggest star is the last one on the reel, but this past year Hollywood heavyweights were dropping like punchy fighters taking a dive. So the question of who was going to get the end of the montage was a bit dicey. Hope, Hepburn, or Peck? They solved the problem pretty neatly, I thought; Hope and Hepburn got their own montages, and Gregory Peck's montage led into the main memoriam. So who got pride of place, the last man standing, as it were? Donald O'Connor, God bless him. And dont think for a minute I missed the significance of putting Elia Kazan and Leni Riefenstahl back to back, although the real significance was this: Kazan was right and Riefenstahl was wrong. The memorial managed to skip a few people; it always does; but I suppose that this year that was understandable.
My biggest peeves about the nominations? Simple. Over the years a good number of actors have been nominated and won for biographical pictures. Gary Cooper for Sergeant York, Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker, George C. Scott for Patton, and, most recently, Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich and Russell Crowe for A Beautiful Mind come immediately to mind. So the tradition is there; no one can deny it, which makes the denial of a nomination to the lead actor in Seabiscuit doubly troubling. Charlize Theron was honored for changing herself over totally in order to play Aileen Wuornos, yet the lead actor in Seabiscuit, who did not even get his name above the title on marquees across the length and breadth of this country, has not been honored by anyone anywhere for his performance as the horse who brought hope and not Crosby to millions of people during the depths of the Great Depression. I do not wish to raise a controversy here, but as the National Enquirer pointed out recently, the lead actor in Seabiscuit is not a thoroughbred at all, but rather one of the Budweiser Clydesdales; he had to go on the Atkins diet to get himself down to racing weight; and more than one film critic has detected a certain subtle racism in the stereotyping of Clydesdales as good for hard backbreaking labor and cracking a keg of brew and little else. The Academy should put a stop this sort of thing now.