If the blog looks funny today, it's because I am attempting to set it up to be skinnable. So far I haven't had much luck. I am trying to do it with php, but I'm pretty new to that stuff. Also, I have come down with a bout of stomach thing, so I'm going to miss yet another class. I can't seem to shake the disease, man.
Also: I have nixed the idea of enabling comment smiley images, because I remembered I have disabled images in the comments with a script. (That was because some nolifeshitbucket left uglyporn jpegs in my comments one day.) So no smileys for now. I'm sure you can live with that.
Update: guhhh... forget it for now. I can't stand the slow load times on my computer. Waiting for the screen to sloooowly redraw, hearing my elderly hard drive go ek-ek-ek-ek-ek... it just isn't worth it. Also, I am not feeling particularly well. The new machine is coming in sometime next week; I'll get back to extensive site management then.
The Agonist is better than you, and you, and you. He is also "thoughtful, global, and timely." Well, I'm thoughtless, square, and timeless, so we complement each other.
Update: Alex Knapp says it better.
Second Update: Dean Esmay provides this counter essay by Gary Utter.
... and admit a few things to yourself. And the world. I -- I --
I want to live in Frank's world.
Yes! Yessss! I admit it! I want to live in Frank's world! It's true! The truth shall set you free! Bwahaahaahahaahahaaa!!!
(Come on, admit it. You all want to live in his world too!)
It's time to tell someone to "step back and talk to the hand" (warning, cursing and swearing ahead):
OK, look, Karen: 1) if you had a problem with Tex's swearing at you, you should have emailed him. He has email. Look on his site. BUT -- you came to MY blog and shat all over it. Hey, we made fun of you, but that's the risk you take when you publish the 5, 679th list of unoriginal, hackneyed, TIRED ASSERTIONS about the US that I have read since approximately 9:45am 11 September 2001. It's the same fucking shit everybody else in the America Sux crowd has been saying over and over, the same boring tune, and I'm sick of it, and I'm not going to stop saying so.
2) as far as I am concerned, neither I nor any other American owes you JACK SHIT. I don't have to be "polite" to you, not after the shitty things you wrote for an online publication about MY country, totally without any provocation whatsoever except that you are a little busybody who thinks your opinions are more important than anyone else's. Get this straight, chippy: the only reason you are free to "bravely" run about nude and pretend to be concerned about the the Oppressed™ is because people you probably would spit upon have been there to do the dirty work of protecting you from your country's enemies with weapons and warfare, and a lot of those have been Americans. Look it the fuck up.
And 3) please spare me the crocodile tears about the Evil Bush Cadre and his administration's supposed trampling of our civil rights here in the US. You don't give a shit about the civil rights situation in the US or any other country; on the contrary, you are filled with glee at every setback we suffer, and you and your ilk would rather see every cute child in the Third World™ be eaten by army ants than be helped by Americans. Besides, people like you can't wait to lock up everyone who doesn't think in lockstep with you in a gulag where they'll all be forced to look at you naked and read your childish scribblings. Which, let me reiterate, were not posted on a personal blog but on a professional publication, perhaps even for pay, and I am damned sure that it didn't go up without seeing an editor first. The hell you just spontaneously came up with your little list; don't even try to fuck with me on that. As for me, no one pays me to put this site up: I pay for every byte of it. I don't have to allow your diatribes onto my blog; I could delete every single word you have posted here and you would have no right to complain any more than you would if I threw you out of my house if you started pissing in the corner of the living room. I allow you to comment here solely out of my charity, and that charity is entirely arbitrary and can be withdrawn at any time. On the other hand, things posted on a newspaper (or its website) are fair fucking game. If you didn't want to get a negative reaction then maybe you should have thought a bit before you sent your copy in. Welcome to the real world, baby. No editors will hold your hand here.
In honor of all those bloggers who post whatever the hell they want, I bring to you this little image of Frodo and Sam for no reason whatsoever. Because it occurred to me that I haven't blogged about LOTR lately. Apparently there are some people out there who who object to people posting about whatever they want on their very own blogs. Apparently there are some people out there with no lives.
Now who is this really? These bon mots were left in the comments section of that post. Here are the comments complete with traceroute and whois info (update -- I moved the rest of this into the extended entry listing for aesthetic reasons):
Name: Karen Jackson Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.streakerama.comFreak.
IP Address: 188.8.131.52
Nice to see my little angry webdiary post has pissed so many people off - and got you to think a bit about your country, and how others see it.
Yes, I was angry when I wrote "Ten reasons to be anti-American" and I got a little extreme in my comments. I'm just sick of the term being used to deride others who dare to question the way the world is.
I still think they cover the basics of why the rest of the world doesn't trust the American government. Is it so important that I said "dozens"?
And I like squirrels - so??? They're funny. They've got bushy tails. And the grand canyon is cool. Thanks for telling me that means I'm extremely proud of my enormous vulva. I thought I just liked the scenery. Now I'm thinking I should be charging entry fees.
I know a number of American people, and they're all very friendly. My little list at the end was an - admittedly small - attempt to not be so angry. I guess I should have left it out, if that's the best you can come up with.
It's hard not to feel angry when your prime minister is sending Australian troops off to an American war that won't be legal. I thought we'd learned our lesson about other people's wars at Gallipoli in 1914.
Nothing deadly in Australia? Hah! You should meet the brown snake that lives in our garden. And if you run into Steve Irwin on a bad day, ooh, crikey :D
I never said I didn't believe in the right not to vote - just that it's shocking that the US people don't vote in such droves - and then this is the government you get. I'll bet the number of Americans who oppose this war is greater than the number that actually voted in the recent Congressional elections.
Would you prefer it if I just said "I don't believe in the ideas behind the bill of rights?"
We don't have a bill of rights in Australia, so it's one of those nice things we can dream about.
So, by all means, continue to flame. Feel free to streak if you're in the mood, it's very refreshing. And be nice to the squirrels
Name: Karen Jackson
Email Address: email@example.com
IP Address: 184.108.40.206
Now that I've gone to read Tex's lovely comments, I had to come back and thank all of you for not using the terms "arseclown", "assfuck" and so on. My opinion of you as thinking people who can debate a topic reasonably is so much improved by it.
But, should you feel the need to lower yourself to Tex's level, let me respond in kind: fuck you.
See, that cleared EVERYTHING up, didn't it?
Have a nice day.
Update: Tim Blair has further commentary on her espousal of nudism and the political views of the King of Bhutan.
Solonor has come up with a unique way of dealing with a moron's comments. Excellent.
Customs of my hometown: whenever it's a slow news week in Miami, there are always the illegal pit bull fights to investigate. (Other reliable sources of South Florida downtime filler: cockfighting, Those Wacky Santerías, corruption at City Hall.)
(Via the Meatriarchy.)
Not all European leaders are against action against Saddam Hussein. For instance, these leaders:
Messrs. Aznar, Durão Barroso, Berlusconi, Blair, Medgyessy, Miller and Fogh Rasmussen are, respectively, the prime ministers of Spain, Portugal, Italy, the U.K., Hungary, Poland and Denmark. Mr. Havel is the Czech president.Read their letter.
Uh oh, the cat's out of the bag. That's right, puny foreign countries: we've got the anti-gravity device, and we're only sharing with the other kids in the class who suck up to us! Now, don't you ungrateful nations (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Germany, FRANCE: I'm looking at you) wish you'd been a little nicer to us? Who's got the flying carpets now, Ahmed? Neener neener!
(Via the most grateful Tim Blair. We will make him head
eunuch sales manager.)
Further plans for the blog: smilies for comments, formatting buttons for comments (maybe), show/hide inline comments (maybe), show/hide extended blog entries, skins to change the blog look. Real Soon Now.
Update: now you can see the comments on the same page as the entries (click on "display the quatloos" below each entry), do the same with extended entries, and there are simplified formatting links for links, italics, and bolding in the comments box. (Just follow the directions -- this does not work in Mozilla, by the way, and I'm not so sure about any other browser than IE.)
All these scripts except the first one are from Scriptygoddess.
Hey everyone, visit Aaron. He's lonely. Or something.
Tex puts the kibosh on yet another inept anti-American diatribe from one of the Australian media's pet leftists. The author being so fisked is one Karen Jackson, and her topic is "ten reasons to be an anti-American." I'll leave Tex's fisking of her pathetic "reasons" alone, since it is perfect. I'll just say a few things about the tiny list of "reasons to like the US" that she sticks on the end. Here's the list:
1. The Simpsons and Seinfeld.1 and 2: Well, how nice, she likes our sitcoms. I'd like to point out that only an industrial juggernaut like the United States could produce something like The Simpsons (maybe a simple, pre-industrial, basket-weaving culture of the sort that finds favor with many Marxist Lites™ could come up with the concept, but where would they get all the Oooiiilllll necessary to produce the variety of plastic film and other petroleum-based products needed to record and broadcast it?), but I am sure my point would go right over her fluffy little head.
2. Star Wars (except for Jar Jar Binks)
4. The ideals behind their bill of rights.
5. The Grand Canyon
6. The friendliness of everyday Americans
3: Squirrels??? WTF is she talking about? You know what? I don't think I want to know.
4: Yes, and those ideals Ms. Jackson would discard without a second thought if she actually had to apply them to the real world. We have already seen what she thinks of the right to bear arms, and the freedom to abstain from voting.
5: There are so many things I could say about what this indicates psychologically and morally. Let's see if anyone gets what I mean. (Feel free to comment.)
Oh -- and she may find number 6 much diminished if many Americans find and read her drivel.
I still don't get the squirrels.
Update: reader Lawrence Haws sends the scoop on Ms. Jackson:
She's a candidate for the Australian Democrat party. Her screed on why she joined that party:
Like most people, I had become increasingly disillusioned with mainstream politics. Australia was being privatised, deregulated, dumbed-down and corporatised, while the two major parties happily looked on. I despaired that the only benchmarks that seemed to matter were economic figures, while social and environmental concerns were dismissed as trifles. The globalisation steamroller seemed to be crushing ordinary people, especially those from rural areas, while our elected representatives scored bickering political points for the evening news.I find it interesting that someone who invokes the egalitarian ideals she does would use a quote from the hereditary monarch of a small, isolationist country like Bhutan. More blatant "third world, non-Western cultures don't count" attitude from another leftwinger.
There had to be another option, and the Democrats offered it.
I believe in this party because it stands for balance and fairness, honesty and principles. It offers real democracy, and real representation. No other party allows ordinary members to vote on policies or party leadership.
The Democrats want people and the environment put back into economic equations. They want rural people to have the same opportunities as urban Australians. They want fair trade, not free trade. They want government services to be maintained, not sold off. And they want to return integrity to politics.
The King of Bhutan, a small country near India, recently proclaimed that he preferred "gross national happiness" to gross national product. I think this is a philosophy Australia needs to take on board, and I think the Democrats are the best party to provide it.
And here is her hobby, apparently: streaking. (Warning: this site is not for the weak of stomach.)
So, today was National Sick of the War Day. Did anyone stay home?
I run the risk that my trolls will start using both hands again in order to communicate their ire, but I have been alerted that one of them professional journal thingies have taken note of the little Harold Pinter poetry slam that we here in the Blog Multiverse engaged in recently. The author's favorite of all our efforts was Loretta Serrano's Monkees Theme takeoff, and Tim Blair's post gets a shout-out too. With luck, this meme will multiply and spread. I have a dream, a dream that someday no Advanced Placement high school class will have to suffer through analysis of one of Pinter's awful plays...
James Lileks saw the Two Towers. The movie passed his (not really very high -- Nemesis? Eek!) Geek Meter of Approval. The audience did not. I must say that I have been lucky each time (only three! shut up) I saw the movie that I had a pretty decent audience. Even if there were irritating giggles at some of Gollum's speeches, they all shared this characteristic: during the last scene of the movie, which is where Gollum has his final, going-back-to-the-Dark-Side speech, there was Absolute. Dead. Silence. I mean it, you couldn't hear a pin drop. It wasn't because everyone had fallen asleep out of boredom either: as the credits started and the lights came up, instead of springing up from their chairs like chickens released from a crate the way most movie-goers tend to do at the start of credits, the audiences to this movie got up slowly and thoughtfully. Anyway -- if there was any absurd pantomime being done by anyone at the theaters I was at, it was out of my field of vision.
I agree about the disappointment of the "Tolkien-inspired" Led Zeppelin lyrics, but not because they were inspired by Tolkien -- it was because they sucked. Led Zeppelin's lyrics were hardly their strong point. "Squeeze my lemon, baby, 'til the juice runs down my leg..."
What I did today: well, today was Nonfiction Writing class today. I need to set up a separate journal for that class (I'm already two weeks behind on that project); I could just type it in Word, but I feel most comfortable with a web setup for journaling. So that's number one. Number two, after class I went and ordered my new computer. My baby should be here in a week or so. No, I didn't just pick up a junk-filled Emachine at Compusa, that's not good enough for the princess. I had needs: specifically, 512 MB of RAM, a 40 GB hard drive, one of those AMD processors (comparable, so I was told, to a 2.4 GB Intel; we'll see), and a CD-RW (I forget the speed; adequate -- I'm not going to be running a music studio or burning CDs every hour).
|Frodo and Pippin stare in awe at the lard sculptures.|
Today I stopped to eat lunch at a local Korean restaurant. Yes I love Korean food; no, they don't serve Rover baked in a casserole. I hadn't been there in over a year and the waitress recognized me. I guess they don't get many lone Anglo women at their place. Too bad: the food is great, and the ambiance is sufficiently Not Chinese; they have the usual tacky Chinese-restaurant lacquer and tasselled fake lamp decor, but they also have these neat weird masks on the wall (I want one! I heart masks) and they play Korean tv on a widescreen in the back. Not that I was able to understand anything on the Korean news channel they were playing. The Korean subtitles were no help at all. But it was still interesting. Many things were confirmed:
On a final note: in Luxembourg they have something called the Culinary World Cup, aka "the cooks' Olympics." One of the contests is to see who can carve the best statue out of the aforementioned greasy rendered substance. This year's bronze winner was a lard statue of Saruman the White (well, the "Off-White"). Try that with 100% pure safflower oil, organic food weenies.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the invention of a certain inedible sugary thing, I bring you Lord of the Peeps. I also have a confession: I still have my peeps from last Easter in the fridge. My plan is to make them part of some sort of postmodern art thing, which I will sell for thousands of dollars to some rich liberal art collectors with more money than sense. Baby wants a new Miata.
Bill Whittle has written another good one. I'll just present a sample:
We and two or three other nations, old and true friends who have stood by us through flame and terror, now confront a menace the likes of which we have not seen for almost a thousand years. We face an adversary in the full bloom of romance with death and destruction, an enemy willing – eager -- to spray our cities with a virus it has taken armies of scientists and doctors, working diligently through centuries of research and learning, to eradicate from the blood-soak rolls of history. We face fanatics who would bring down the entire world, themselves included, in a radioactive Armageddon, secure in their own twisted souls of the heavenly rewards of sexual gratification and revenge for their many abject failures. We face people such as this, people who are so far beyond the pale of human mercy and so corrupted by black and bitter rage that they must be killed, for nothing else will stop them, nothing – as they tell us at every opportunity.A few weeks ago someone asked on Charles Johnsons' site (link lost I'm afraid -- update: the direct link to the pertinent post, not the link to LGF!) why we care so much about the "Arab street." I replied something along the lines that it was a normal human response to be concerned about a group of people who were so obviously miserable, and to want to fix their situation somehow. See, our responses are normal, theirs are not. Go read the rest of Bill's essay. (PS: the title is a shout-out; he'll know what I mean.)
We have blithely ignored them for many years, turned a deaf ear to their warnings and fatwahs, turned an even more blinded eye to their procession of assassinations, massacres, bombings and attacks. Despite our recent and proven record of aiding and defending innocent Muslims in Kuwait, the Balkans, and elsewhere, we have been singled out as a Satan, a nation of sub-human infidels, and been the target of slander and incitement to murder that would have shamed the most fanatical Jesuit in the Spanish Inquisition.
Bo-ring. Have you tried reading "liberal bloggers" lately? I have come to the conclusion that I can't possibly be a liberal -- even though I hold all sorts of supposedly liberal opinions -- I think gay people should be able to get married and adopt kids (why not? they can't be any worse than some of the "normal" hetero parents out there), I don't worship any god and I don't care if others do, I think everyone deserves equality of opportunity (that is, don't put obstacles deliberately in the way of people based on ridiculous characteristics like skin color), and so on. But apparently today to be a liberal you have to be a paranoid, nasty, name-calling, mud-slinging, knee-jerking, accusatory (as in, accusing people who disagree with you of being a troll or starting a flame war), miserable fuck.
|"Man, that shizzit is nasty." "I'm depressed now."|
PS: here is what one person thinks of the American and European "human shields" that have descended upon his country. He calls them "war tourists." Funny, I don't think that that is the impression the "human shields" intended to give.
I get home tonight and download my email (after first deleting the spam from the server with Mailwasher). I read all my mail with that program first. So I already knew what was going to appear in my inbox -- this little missive:
Hi, my name is Tom Schell and i am a Libertarian. We believe that our military should be nutural from world affairs and we should have free trade with all. We believe that if our military continues to bomb and rule the world that it will only lead to more anger, death and terror around the world. Winning world war 1 and 2 and the cold war and a varity of other wars has not dont a thing to bring peace to the world. The more we bomb little kids and citys around the world the more those people will feel the same way you felt on September 11th. The idea of liberty is based on peace, justice and economic prosparty for all with out useing force.Spelling left as is, believe me. Is this what the Libertarian Party has descended to, farming their email campaign out to illiterates? If this was some sort of recruitment spam, it didn't work.
Take a good look at the guy in the photograph in this post -- the one clutching his notebook to his chest and trying to get the pile of human lard in the passenger seat to listen to him. Take a real good look, because he's probably dead now, along with his family. Thanks to the United Nations officials who did nothing as the Iraqi guards dragged the man away. It is obvious from the expression on the man's face that he had something very important to tell the UN officials, but they decided to "not get involved." I hope Saddam is paying them a lot.
When are we closing down that organization and putting that building in New York to some good use?
Update: Dipnut as more on this. Apparently CNN and other news agencies are whitewashing the story. Great.
And one more: an expanded commentary, with an extra picture of the man being dragged off, from Trojan Horseshoes. That is what oppression looks like, people.
To Porto Alegre in Brazil, to be specific. Yes, it's the "World Social Forum" which is the latest gathering of the clowns and jugglers of the left that has converged upon the hapless South American city. David at Samizdata has the scoop. Part of their concerns, along with making sure that every single cause gets its own parade, is something called the "landless peoples' movement." Say, I've got no land; I rent an apartment. Can I be part of this cool movement? You know, if these jokers had pooled together all the money that it cost putting this "World Social Forum" together, they could have bought the landless people some land.
I've been skimming the blogs and other commentary re last weekend's anti-war fizzlefest. We already know that much of it was coordinated by the Papa Joe fan club that is A.N.S.W.E.R. So of course the proceedings were hijacked from the beginning by people who went into mourning the day the Berlin Wall was torn down. But criticism of this is met with the usual defense of communists and their sycophants: they might be wrongheaded, but they're passionate about social justice!
Well BFD. Excuse me if I seem underimpressed by that argument. "Passionate" people are a dime a dozen, and the most cursory skimming of any history book will reveal that passion has never been in short supply in the entire course of human interaction. You can be "passionate" about anything. As I recall, I was once really passionate about staying up late on a school night to watch tv. What has always been a meager, easily depleted, and rare commodity is cold, boring old reason, the application of which has led to more advances in "social justice" than any shrieker carrying a sign or throwing a rock through a window. Emotions are easy; solutions are hard.
Oh look, Dave Barry has a blog now. Guess what inspired him?
OK, thanks to Ken Layne I now have a real blog, sort of.Now that's power. Tremble, Big Media.
I will now spend days and days trying to figure out how this works, as opposed to doing anything productive.
Oh dear, the intrepid researchers at the Landover Baptist Church have uncovered the truth about The Two Towers. Another facet to the Film Industry Cabal's plot to destroy the moral underpinnings of Western Society has been uncovered! Curses! Foiled again! On to Plan B: Return of the King, aka, Frodo Lights Gollum's Fire. Included in the article: a snippet of the film that apparently was deemed too avant-garde for the theatrical release; hopefully it will appear in the extended dvd. November, kiddies!
(Yes, I am aware that the "Landover Baptist Church" is a parody site.)
Balloon Juice has moved to a new site. It is no longer languishing in the dungeons of Blogspot, and is now a member of the MT Army. Huzzah!
Welcome Angua's First Blog to the world. Looks promising: give her props. We needed a werewolf-policewoman around this place.
This is hilarious: one of contrarian gadfly Hesiod's readers suggested that Tuesday, January 28th be "'National' Call in Sick of the War Day." I guess neither He's Odd nor his
sycophants readers have ever seen that old SNL sketch where everyone stays home and the Russians invade. (And Oliver Willis has just gone even deeper into unreasoning emotionalism in his opposition to war. Now the idea of war on Saddam Hussein's way-past-its-shelf-life, kiddy-and-athlete-torturing, environment-destroying regime is nothing but "pandering to our most aggresive (sic) and base instinct" and Stephen Den Beste's latest essay on the matter is no more than a "love letter" to same. He even has a Big Brother graphic to illustrate his tired, overused point. Jebus.)
By the way -- Blogspot's archives seemed to be bungholed again, which is why I have not been leaving any permalinks today to individual posts on Blogger-run sites I reference. Hooray for Movable Type. (On a side note, this looks interesting. All you people intimidated by MT might want to check it out. Via Stacy Tabb.)
(Via Damian Penny.)
The No-War-For-Any-Reason crowd might want to take a look at these articles so they can see just who and what they are suggesting we abandon to their fate in Iraq: IOC investigating alleged torture of Iraqi athletes (via Captain Yips), and the children in the "children's prison" (via my own Googling). And here's something for the Enviroweenies: what about Saddam's efforts to turn the marshes of Iraq (possibly where human beings first learned about agriculture, and once considered to be the inspiration for the Garden of Eden) into something more closely resembling the Plain of Gorgoroth? All he needs is his own little homemade Mt. Doom, and
Sauron Saddam has got it made.
But war is so icky. You're right. Call it off.
Under the bed, that is, where some letter writers to the The Sydney Morning Herald apparently spend their lives cowering. Tim Blair made fun of one of the letters, but if you ask me he didn't pick the gem of the crop. That, in my humble opinion, was the next-to-the-last letter, which I will now "fisk." It's been a while since I gave somebody a good fisking. Let's take on one "HM" from Somewhere in Oz:
Not only should Australia not be part of any war with Iraq, no one should be involved in the ultra-conservative US led drive to control the world.Too late, muahahahaha!
Sure, Saddam is nasty. So what? There are dozens of distasteful dictator types out there (I'm sure GWB qualifies). Does that mean we have to attack all of them? Anyone who thought so would soon be carted off the the asylum.Dear Iraqi people: I'm sorry, we don't care about the nastiness of your government. You are quite free to suffer the depredations of the Boys from Tikrit without our interference, though we hope you like this nice sympathy card we sent.
Ask yourself, apart from buying Australian crops, what has Iraq ever done to Australia? Hmm?So the purchase of Australian crops is a bad thing? Is that what HM is saying? Hmmm?
The only reason that the coalition is keen on starting this war is fear. The Americans are scared sh*tless that an Islamic country like (choose one) might actually get some real power (ie nuclear power) and change the staus quo.I'm so glad to see that the idea of a loose cannon, frothing-at-the-mouth, raving loony Islamic nation getting hold of nuclear weapons doesn't worry everyone around the world. I mean, I wouldn't want people to have their sleep disturbed by silly things like that.
For many years, the US and UK other hangers on, like Australia, have enjoyed manipulating the rest of the world into 'trade' that is heavily balanced in 'our' favour. Imagine how the US, et al, would respond if some piss poor third world country decided that enough was enough. That's right 'Dad', they'd kick their butt all over the playground.Hey, piss-poor Third Worlders, HM cares about you! He's going to protect you, right there from the keyboard. Darn that silly old "trade" stuff anyway! People shouldn't trade things, they should stay at home and use stuff they grew or built in their own back yard! Like that keyboard and computer that HM is using, which is built out of 100% Certified Organic Hemp.
Anyone who thinks that war is a good idea should stop to think of the human cost. Not only will many civilains die, Australian soldiers could, very possibly, come home dead.Wow. Man, that is so deep and profound -- I had never thought of the "human cost" of war before! The scales have fallen from my eyes -- civilians can get killed! And what's more, soldiers can come home dead! Why, Bush told us that they would just get candy and fresh cheese! What a liar! Boo!
Now, can anyone tell me why that is acceptable? John Howard cannot. Neither can Bush or Blair. War is not acceptable in any form.Why isn't war acceptable? Because it isn't! I am HM, and I have spoken!
Forget a UN sanctioned war. If the UN inspectors find no reason to justify a breach of the resolutions, the US will make some up and the UN will capitulate. YOU need to stand up and make your voice heard. No War.How does HM know this? Don't ask any questions of your betters; HM just knows! He (or she, or... it) knows all! So make your voice heard! Say what HM wants you to say, or he/she/it will send another cliché-ridden, sweeping-generalities-filled letter to the editor! Hurry, Aussies -- do it for the Children™.
Update: Dave does the fisk.
Can someone tell me what the hell that was that just flew past? First, it seems that Bush put some guy who is maybe one inch to the left of the Godhatesfags.com dude as the head of the AIDs Advisory Commission, whatever that is. There was all sorts of uproar from all over the place. Then faster than you could say "Mario Andretti in a souped-up Lamborghini" the we-should-cure-the-homosexuals (how, with a magical spell?) guy says "Nope, not me, I'm not going to do it." Bush is now I guess free to appoint some guy he really wanted as the head of this group, or maybe abandon the whole project as a revenue-suck that hasn't contributed so much as a microscope lens to the cause of curing AIDS, or maybe just look like a bumbling idiot on domestic policy which is par for the course for Republican administrations. The problem with the Republicans is they are so good at handling the foreign riffraff, and so hamfisted at dealing with their own country's problems. Here's another example of this tendency, one which has shortened their shelf life considerably. Great priorities, guys.
The mentally challenged are out in force tonight, so guess what kiddies, it's time for a brand new Banned List! Tonight's special comes from the British Isles, and the offerings are as limp and stale as English railway cuisiine. Here they are -- the IPs with their "noms de stupidité" next to them:
220.127.116.11 -- Yoda, Gerty Nonads, Rolf Harris, Arnie, Reg Teh Veg, Britney
18.104.22.168 -- King Dong
22.214.171.124 -- Sir Sand Goblin, gonads, joingle, James, YARBLES, urm, oil, Basil Brush
126.96.36.199 -- sack
188.8.131.52 -- Bob, cheesemonger,
184.108.40.206 -- happy
220.127.116.11 -- President Bush, sherz
18.104.22.168 -- (too chicken, or braindead, to leave a name)
I'm sure these are just for starters. What, has a curfew been enacted in England or something? Anyway, it looks as if these gents and/or gentesses took umbrage to this little post of mine. Who would have known a dried-up old monkey like Harold Pinter to have so many fans? Personally I think these are all just rent-boys he hired, but then I've been accused of being cynical.
We could use a little global warming right now -- there is ice forming on New York City's waterways. Meanwhile, down here Central Florida the temperature is supposed to drop to 24 degrees Fahrenheit tonight. Time to break out those old "Aagh! The Ice Age is Coming!" stories from the seventies vault...
(Via Asymmetrical Information.)
It looks as if the Iraqi people haven't gotten the message that they are supposed to be against the Evil, Imperialistic US invading their country and dropping bombs on their cottages and cute little hobbit-children and getting Saddam's moustache mussed; on the contrary, they, or at least a portion of them, are ready to risk their lives to see an end to Saddam's regime. This article in the Times of London has the story of signs of rebellion breaking out. Read it, or go to Tim Blair's site and read the excerpts if the article is registration-only.
Click to see the full graphic:
Someone forgot to unscrew a federal justice's skull and remove his brains, and tragedy occurred: the fat kids who were suing McDonalds for their own act of being unable to stop shoving Big Macs down their own gullets were told by Judge Robert W. Sweet in no uncertain terms that their porcine condition is their own damn fault. I would like to impart my own message of uplift to the heart-broken would-be millionaires: "Ha ha, Fatty McFatperson and your little sister Tubby! You don't get to make money off of your own inability to control yourself! Now go on a freakin' diet and exercise regimen like everyone else has to do. Oh -- and kick your parents in the nads for letting you do this to yourself."
First of all, all you guys who have emailed me and posted your poems in the comments here rock. Here are some more efforts from others across the bloggyverse:
Bigwig helps Mr. Pinter by providing an edited and "corrected" version of the poem.
Tim Blair provides some efforts here.
These were sent to Glenn Reynolds.
I'll put up more links as I find them, and later, when I get time, Maybe I'll gather them all and put them on a separate page, including the ones in my comments.
Blogs: saving the world of literature from one dumb writer at a time.
Draw a picture with this cool web thing.
(Via Silflay Hraka.)
Just one more: the PC crowd has airbrushed the cigarette out of Paul's hand for posters of the cover of the Abbey Road album. You know, I am surprised no one has started up a campaign against the anti-tobacco people for dissing the culture of the Native American. After all, they are the ones who discovered the stuff.
(Via greeblie blog.)
And here on this side of the pond, we have Stormin' Norman Mailer to deal with. In an attempt to get people to read his boring, swollen tomes, the murderer-coddling typist offers forth his opinions on George Bush, Saddam Hussein, and everything. In the course of his brilliant (urp) dissection of the Coming American Empire, he drops this gem:
"...You have to go back to melodramas in the 1850's where a villain with a great big mustache leaped onto the stage to defile the maiden before you get someone as good as Saddam Hussein as an enemy. Ho Chi Minh had that wonderful saintly look that made life much easier for a good protest movement."Damn. In my next life I want to be a cute little Oriental man with a wispy goatee, so everyone will fawn all over me and send me money and Hollywood actresses when I decide to kill all my enemies and cause the death of countless others.
Norman Mailer, the macho man of the desk-chair set. He's always tried to come off as a rough, tough, he-man male writer of the Hemingway set. Here's his quote on women writers: ""The sniffs I get from the ink of women are always fey, old hat, Quaintsy Goysy, tiny, too dykily psychotic." I always thought that quote too femme for words. I'll bet his high school yearbook called him the grad most likely to surrender to the French.
(Via Juan Gato.)
Ooh, goody, goody -- it's time for another bad poetry contest! And guess what: it's another British man of letters who is the culprit! None other than Harold "America Ignores My Plays So They Suck" Pinter. What has happened to the island which produced Shakespeare, Donne, Kipling, and Tennyson? Well, let's see:
Here they go again,"The pong of the dead? WTF?
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.
The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune.
The riders have whips which cut.
Your head rolls onto the sand
Your head is a pool in the dirt
Your head is a stain in the dust
Your eyes have gone out and your nose
Sniffs only the pong of the dead
And all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.
© Harold Pinter, January 2003
Okay, boys and girls, it's my turn to call for a Bad Poetry Contest. Send your submissions to me, put 'em in the comments, or post 'em on your own blog and send me the URL! Now to work: "The Kong of the dead...", "The Pac-man of the dead...", "The Super Mario Brothers of the dead..."
For all you numismatists out there, New Zealand has released a set of stamps commemorating the Lord of the Rings movies. Drool. (Hey, I used to collect stamps. I think I still have them somewhere. Shut up.)
Update: I meant "philatelists," of course. Well hey, I used to collect coins too. Don't know what happened to my non-valuable coin collection. Oh well.
Now I shall go off and forget more words for things.
More of that horrible hegemonic oppressive paternalistic fascist Western science: doctors performing experimental surgery not only managed to reattach this kid's head to his body, but the kid is back on his feet and playing basket ball.
How awful. Destroy the US and institute sharia law immediately.
(Via Dave Tepper.)
Is it Elijah "Froggie" Wood (Frodo) or Orlando "Potato Nose" Bloom (Legolas)? Come on, you know you want to know.
Quite frankly, I think Sam's the diamond in the rough here. He might be fat, but he's loyal (girls appreciate that) and he can cook (girls appreciate that too.)
After repeated viewing of Fellowship of the Ring, with its many closeups of sausages and mushrooms and things sizzling in Sam's pans, I was compelled to go the the grocery store and acquire: potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes. So much for my "good" cholesterol...
What on earth is this woman's problem? Well, one thing might be the fact that she thinks the apparent dearth of nice waiters in her native country (New Zealand) is a "tragedy." Um -- it's not a tragedy unless someone dies. That's in the rule book.
There's an attempt to pull in linkage by invoking the Lord of the Rings juggernaut (one of her puzzling complaints is that there are going to be more visitors to that land because of the movie, which she decries even though she seems perversely proud of the fact that she has "taken this fair land for granted my whole life.") Well, speaking for myself, I have wanted to visit New Zealand ever since I was a child and my great-aunt and grandparents went on a trip there. I was taken in further by a variety of National Geographic articles and such. Darn those hordes of tourists anyway, they might encourage NZ to spiff up its (she says) lousy service industry and then writers like her will have one less thing to complain about.
Anyway, I live in a major tourist area, so if she wants points on how to cope with the expected onslaught of foreigners to her pristine shores she can always write me.
As all around them entwined and cheered, forming an orgy of peaceful feelings, Smash and Blaze came together in a frenzy of lust, passion and a desire to rid the world of capitalist pigs.Read the rest. You know you want to.
"Let's do it for anarchy," Blaze whispered breathlessly.
"Let's do it for the children of Iraq," Smash mumbled in Blaze's ear.
[/WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK, HOME, OR THE LIBRARY]
Check out these photos of the protests this weekend. Notice the "hundreds of thousands" -- uh, that is, thousands -- well, hundreds, anyway, of protestors. Notice also the carefully nuanced and subtle nonverbal statements (i.e., vandalism). And then read this letter from "veterans of movements against the war," which contains this exhortation:
...if everytime they bombed a community of hospital elsewhere: our schools were closed--by students and workers, our businesses were shutdown, the city and rual streets made into autonomous zones--of play and struggle, the malls, banks, and oil HQs that benefit from the war were trashed, and recruitment centers torched, and the police made to use tactics of war on our own citizens--They may rethink their imperialist war. (All sic.)They link to this website.
(Via the Portable Matthew.)
Oh yeah. I found and watched the MTV Council of Elrond spoof that is the second dvd "easter egg" on the Fellowship of the Rings extended dvd. I am now permanently traumatized by the sight of Jack Black's bare behind.
I guess it's true that the various English-speaking nations of the world are divided by a common language; or else this Australian reporter now assigned to the US has had her leg successfully pulled. Or else she has, like so many expatriate Americans are accused of doing, ensconced herself in a cocoon of fellow Aussies so as to keep the natives at a safe distance. I can't really figure out any other possible explanations for this:
Shov told me the trees have real meaning for Americans. They find our practice of heading out and buying a box of balls and tinsel and decorations quite offensive. Here, most of the tree ornaments have been gifts, or items of significance at one time or another. That way, your tree has a history, and as you put it up every year, you remember different people and loved ones by what you hang on the tree.Um... whatever. Then again, this woman has had trouble "recognizing the coins here" even though they have the denominations printed right on them, in English not Sanskrit. Maybe she should try out the American custom of having her eyes checked.
Via Angie Schultz Also -- side note: to the post above where she complains about the California-bashing supposedly engaged in by Glenn Reynolds -- I don't see that he is doing a lot of California bashing as opposed to Bay Area bashing (the San Francisco Bay Area), and to be fair most of it is from people whose emails he posted. Then one letter-writer took offense at a post where all he did was reprint pictures of some of the peace-loons' ridiculous signs and quote a correspondent who went to the peace rally in San Francisco. He is obviously not impressed with the peace protestors, but who is (who isn't involved with them, anyway). Then in this post, again, he does say it is too easy to engage in regional bashing, and reprints some of the emails from people in California telling him about the whole rest of the state that is not apparently given over to leftist idiocy. All I can say is I have some friends who moved to San Francisco, it being a lifelong dream of theirs. Well, as of this year they are back in Florida, which they had condemned as hell on earth. Let's just say San Francisco proved to not exactly be the place of their dreams. But that is only one city, and California is a big state.
As for myself, I have been to Los Angeles, and I was more favorably impressed than not. The city atmosphere and horrid traffic did not bother me: I lived in Miami, notorious for its urban annoyances and the insane driving. The weather in July was dry and cool -- I mean it was what we considered winter weather in South Florida: in the seventies during the day and in the fifties at night. That immediately raised it several points in my estimation. There were lots of good restaurants, such as the Thai restaurant that was open until 4am. There were plenty of parklands around -- we went up to that observatory whose name I forget (it's famous). Having mountain ranges inside greater city limits was a thrill to a woman from the flat swamplands. There was Canter's, open twenty-four hours. There was a Cuban restaurant, which although staffed by Mexicans served real Cuban coffee. And so on. (The beach was a joke -- that pathetic little brown strip of sand -- but I don't care much about the beach so that was no big deal.)
I've heard horror stories about the public-pooping, in-your-face bums and crack whores of San Francisco, as well as the Politically Correct insane asylum that is the Berkely area, but perhaps this is an exaggeration. In any case, California-bashing is as old as the state of California. People have been making fun of the place ever since it was known as the place to go hunt for gold and get killed over a no good worthless claim (excuse me, I just had a flashback to the Marshall Tucker Band, it won't happen again). It's kind of late in the day to complain about it now; if Cali hasn't buckled under the weight of all the jokes by now, then it never will. Until, of course, the Big One hits and it falls into the ocean.
Make them into a best-selling graphic novel series. (Or turn them into stories anyway; maybe that's why I rarely have nightmares.)
[Note: that link is the closest to a permalink Gaiman's blog has for now -- I had an idea to see what the archives looked like; it's the entry for January 20th.]
I like Maryland. My dad grew up there. I thought Baltimore was an interesting town, and I especially liked Annapolis. I even thought of moving up there someday, so I could be near but not actually have to live in either Washington D.C. or Philadelphia, two cities I also love to visit (but would not want to live in for various reasons). Oh well, another plan bites the dust.
(Via Kim Du Toit.)
Say, has anyone developed the Naked Peace Protestor TrueType font yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
Update: Steve H. has come through with a bitmap font. Now someone who can afford a fontmaker program get cracking!
Bill Whittle is back with a long essay on celebrities who seem to think that the fact they earn lots of money for pretending to be other people makes them Our Betters.
I'll use this as an opportunity to remark on the notion of the idea of the artist as a superior form of human, brought up in this cancelled thread. I do think that the presence of superior talent in one form or another of the artistic pursuits awes those people who don't have such hypertrophied skills. Every human being has an instinctive response to what we call "art" -- there is no civilization that does not produce it, that does not somehow design its buildings and utensils to be pleasing to the eye as well as useful, that does not paint pictures or designs on flat surfaces, that does not form wood or mineral substances into shapes that are not useful in themselves, and that does not produce some sort of musical noise. It's part of being human. So it is natural when someone who is very good at doing one or another of these things -- making designs or music or pretending to be someone else (acting) -- that those of us who have no particularly strong talents in these areas should think that the artistic person must be an all-around superior type of being. But that is not the case at all. What an artist has is a superior talent in one field, and it is often at the price of any other field of endeavor that human beings think is important, such as social relations. That is why so many artists have such crappy personal lives, why so many of them show themselves to be utter idiots when they open their mouths to opine on any other topic but their particular field of expertise, why they don't seem to have a lick of sense when it comes to the smallest everyday tasks. This is of course a simplistic breakdown of the situation, and there are many artists who have fine marriages and manage to make their car payments on time and don't attempt to talk knowledgeably about things they don't understand (such as geopolitical politics) and aren't total creeps to their fans, but they are in the minority, or at least that is what I have come to conclude after years of associating with artists, musicians, and writers.
Update: Here is an example of an actress who has not sacrified her dignity and common sense to the fostering of her "talent." Could this be the start of a trend? One can only hope. (Via Junkyard Blog.)
Tacitus really shook the monkey cage with this post. I'm afraid that some of the leftist commentators who have been engaging in the feces-flinging here will not be moved from their positions no matter how much logic and rational argument is brought to bear. That is because they are not logical and rational about their philosophy: they are religious.
It was and is easy to condemn a racist, exclusivist movement like Nazism. That philosophy, after all, played upon the German peoples' worst instincts, not their best. Their downfall was not merely due to the fact that "oft evil will shall evil mar,"* but to what I think is instinctive knowledge that despite our petty differences we are one. We are very good at overriding our best instincts, of course; but it is so much easier to use our best instincts against us as the communists and their offshoots do than to attempt to make our worst tendencies into virtues the way the Nazis did. Easier, and harder to combat.
The communists and so forth talk a great game about "brotherhood" and "equality." It is very difficult to go against this cant, even when one knows that it is being used falsely in the service of evil. The exclusion methods used by the Nazis were almost childishly simple -- you had to be German to be in the club! It is harder to keep track of what keeps you in the communist, or even leftist club. The definition of what it means to be a "vanguard of the proletariat" as opposed to a "capitalist lackey" is subject to the whims of whatever is fashionable in inner leftist circles. It could be anything: you wore a new jacket to the meeting -- So, comrade, are you hoarding, or did you get that on the black market?; that book on your shelf that was standard accepted literature is suddenly as good as a ticket to the gulag, because the writer fell out of favor; you pissed someone at the last meeting off, and they decided to pull strings...
But this is all being done in the name of The People™. Unfortunately, the good of The People™ is continually being undermined by those pesky actual persons. Few people can stand to be accused of undermining The People™ -- most people want to be known as the Most Altruistic Person on earth. The most horrid accusation to a lot of people is "You're so selfish!" (An accusation I always take as a compliment, but then I am a misanthrope and gush about the "Brotherhood of Man" moves me not at all. The fact that we are all human together is an occasion for irony, not gushy lumps of togetherness-spiel -- but I digress).
Anyway, that is why in the long run communists are more evil than Nazis. It was easy to get rid of openly evil Nazis, but it's going to be nearly impossible to get rid of every purse-lipped, smug-arsed lover of humanity with a copy of Das Kapital and a Free Mumia!/Paul Wellstone For President t-shirt.
*I thought of that quote when I thought of this post but I was going to wait until tomorrow to put this up; but when I opened the book it opened to the page that had that very quote, so I took it as an omen.
If he thinks the first film had amazing special effects, wait until he gets a load of Gollum.
This article is called Why Britain needs more guns. It is on the BBC website. There's nothing like the realization that one's own government no longer seems interested in protecting the actual citizens of the country it is supposed to be governing to clear the cobwebs from one's mind.
(Via lots of people.)
From a fate worse than death: being saved from oppression, torture, and starvation by the US. Because after all, everyone knows that the United States is really Mordor, and any compromise with the Land of Shadows leads to darkness, evil, and slavery! Juan Gato has the breakdown. Remember: the anti-US left wants to save The Children™ -- kind of the way other people collect and "save" butterflies.
Meanwhile, in my old home town, quite a different protest was taking place, with a bigger crowd (apparently) than the antiwar nonsense in D.C. I believe the crowd estimate numbers: one, it is a lot warmer in Miami than in Washington; and two, they don't like communists down there, to say the least, and huge, traffic-tying-up protests/celebrations form at the drop of a beret down there (for example, a few years back the Miami Herald reported that Castro had some sort of ailment and his life was in danger; the resulting traffic jam from happy Cubans flocking to the streets in their cars to beep their horns -- a popular local method of celebration -- made me get home from work two hours late).
In other news, while smug, whiny, Communist-led protestors were tromping around the Mall and waving their silly signs, fires in Canberra, Australia destroyed over 400 homes, have killed four people so far, and destroyed much of that city's power and sewage grid. I am only thankful that this past year was one of the wettest we've had for quite some time in Florida. I can still remember the fires of 1998, which caused about a zillion dollars damage. (That was before I moved to this area; I lived in Miami back then, and the smoke came all the way down there until the whole place smelled like Los Angeles on a bad smog day.) Tex, who lives in the area, has updates -- including this amazing picture of darkness at noon with fires burning all too near. It looks like Mount Doom. Tim Blair also has reports.
Hey, peace protesters! Someone wants to thank you for all you've done for him. Congrats! You must be so proud!
Angie Schultz does a little Googling to uncover the agenda behind a polling group that claims to be unbaised, unlike all those corporate lapdog US hegemonical government stooge polls.
Side note: one of the things she found is a link to "the 25 most censored stories of 2001-2002." I read the article. Apparently now "censored" has come to mean "put on page two, because everyone wanted to read about that boring old World Trade Center fuss instead."
Update: Link to the "25 most censored" fixed.
I am suddenly filled with a desire to buy all of Keith Richards' solo work, as well as the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue.
(Via Tim Blair. )
Ah, Jebus. Hey, man, you can comment on my blog anytime. Forget your "friend."
Culture War! Guest poster Michael L. at 2Blowhards, in a post about the non-artist public's perceptions of the Artist as an ideal conforming to a certain stereotype, made the mistake of using the "D-word" (democracy). This set off the alarm in the underground lair of A.C. Douglas, where humanity's last few remaining works of Art are guarded in a hermetically-sealed, oxygen-free chamber, safe from the polluting eyes of the dreaded Common Man. (Yup -- that Mona Lisa in the Louvre is a cheap reproduction, purchased at Wal-Mart -- the French smuggled the real painting to ACD via submarine and secret railway; now it is safe from the barbarian hordes and their plastic laser swords and collector's cards.) Our intrepid Curator of the Museum of Man lost no time in beaming over to the comments section where he put his mad ninja skilz to work, leaving no hairs unsplit and no sentence unparsed to the very vowels and consonants. Michael attempted to gain points by confessing to "annoyance" at the Common Man's "drug-like" attachment to the Idea of the Artist as a Certain Stereotype, but ACD is having none of it -- he knows a quisling to the Cause when he sees it and he takes no prisoners. Still, the battle rages on. Will the Blowhards succeed in their attempts to let the Common Man eat at the sit-down lunch counter with the Artists? Will ACD ever stop acting like an outtake from Zoolander? Who knows! Stay tuned.
Update: Main Michael at 2Blowhards has put the smack down (see the last comment). Now that's some kung-fu.
Here's a rather silly article comparing the female characters in the Lord of the Rings novel to the movie versions'. It was originally in the Orlando Sentinel, which we here like to call the "Slantinel," and is the usual piece of puffery. Some laffs:
It’s a man’s world, this Middle-earth of J. R. R. Tolkien. "Tolkien created an entire world of medieval warriors and feudalistic practices in which women are not only lacking in positions of power but missing altogether," writes Raj Shoan in The Tolkien Archives. "Other than a few notable females, this is a story by a man about men for men." The wizards don’t date. The Urk Hai and other evil goblin soldiers are not of woman born, but built by wizards. And when the decision is made to march off to destroy the "one ring," it is carried out by a fellowship — emphasis on fellow.You know, I don't wonder that boys and men like to form "He-Man Woman-Hater" clubs where they can get away from yeasty femalisms like this.
With Arwen and Eowyn, an elf and a human who compete for the affections of Aragorn, Tolkien didn’t even put much effort into distinguishing their names.Funny, I don't have any trouble telling the names apart. Sure, they both have five letters in them and begin with vowels and end with "n." I can only hope this guy hasn't had any girlfriends with similar names. "You called me Ann!" "I did not -- I said Nan!" "You did too!"
I can only imagine the trouble Peter Jackson will have if he ever does try to film The Hobbit. That story has no female characters at all.
Sgt. Mom's daughter, a Marine, is on her way to Kuwait.
I'm just collecting good stuff from all over. Bigwig has some words of wisdom for some pipsqueak leader of some "militant Islamic" (oh, hahahahaha) group -- Ham Ass, or something -- who has made the usual hyperbolic we're-gonna-kill-all-Americans-and-then-run-over-them-with-cars-and-then-pinch-and-bite-them-and-call-them-names-and-then-we'll-get-mad threats that have been the characteristic "militant Islamic" (oh, hahahahaha) mode of communication ever since rocks were hard. Anyway, read Bigwig's reaction.
What Steve says. Sure, it's unfair. So is being blown to smithereens by someone who doesn't like reality.
Oh yeah -- for those who object:
Hey, people with the Fellowship of the Ring extended dvd, this website has instructions on how to find the neat "easter eggs" hidden in the discs. There is the Two Towers trailer (which I notice shows scenes that were not in the theatrical release, so I assume they will appear in the extended release of that film), and an MTV spoof of some sort (I haven't watched it yet).
(Via Silflay Hraka, who also has implemented some sort of trackbacking program to work with Blogspot sites. How'd they do that?)
Looks like I'm going to have to bring my plants in tonight.
Christopher Hitchens tries to din some sense into the heads of some Seattle peacenuggets:
There are at least three well-established reasons to favor what is euphemistically termed "regime change" in Iraq. The first is the flouting by Saddam Hussein of every known law on genocide and human rights, which is why the Senate--at the urging of Bill Clinton--passed the Iraq Liberation Act unanimously before George W. Bush had even been nominated. The second is the persistent effort by Saddam's dictatorship to acquire the weapons of genocide: an effort which can and should be thwarted and which was condemned by the United Nations before George W. Bush was even governor of Texas. The third is the continuous involvement by the Iraqi secret police in the international underworld of terror and destabilization. I could write a separate essay on the evidence for this; at the moment I'll just say that it's extremely rash for anybody to discount the evidence that we already possess. (And I shall add that any "peace movement" that even pretends to care for human rights will be very shaken by what will be uncovered when the Saddam Hussein regime falls. Prisons, mass graves, weapon sites... just you wait.)Something tells me he's not going to have much success. Once Saddam falls and the aforementioned atrocities are exposed to the world, the response of the "Peace Movement" will be to bat their eyelashes and change the subject. I wait for the day when the administration (or some administration) finally turns its attentions on Saudi Arabia. I expect that the peacedinks will be out in force with their "No Blood For Oil!" and "War Kills Children and Other Living Things" signs for the poor, beleaguered Saudis as well.
Jonah Goldberg is not always the sharpest knife in the drawer (remember the Mark-Twain-favored-censorship brouhaha?), but he was on in this old column of his (from last October): Same Old Tiresome Arguments of War. In the intervening months nothing much has changed: we are still hearing the same old dreary mantras from the same butt-headed people. So this column is a reference for some rebuttals that might at least get the loons out of your face long enough for you to find your car keys. Some highlights:
Re the scary "Arab street":
Maybe Victor Davis Hanson knows the answer, but for the life of me I can't remember the last time the United States was so willing to let an unarmed mob of illiterate malcontents half a world away dictate American foreign policy.Re the notion that we can't do a thing until the Israelis and the Palestinians hug:
But others, Saddam Hussein for example, subscribe to this view only because if a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a necessary precondition for any invasion of Iraq, Saddam can make sure that Iraq is never invaded.Re the idea that we need "UN approval," as if the UN were, well, God, or someone objective and uninvolved in the grubby doings of this mortal coil:
People who think we must go through the U.N. seem to believe that the U.N. is an objectively neutral or moral institution. In their eyes, getting approval from the U.N. is like getting approval from a judge or a priest. Or, they think the U.N. is where the nations of the world put aside their petty self-interest and do whatever is in the best interests of humanity.Re the number one on the Stupid Argument Hit Parade, "No Blood For Oil":
There's only one problem with this. None of the nations in the U.N. — especially the permanent members of the Security Council — are acting on such pure motives. France isn't opposed to invading Iraq out of an abiding love of peace. It's opposed to an American invasion largely because France has been trading with Iraq for years, despite the sanctions. France has billions of dollars in oil contracts it doesn't want to lose.
This was all the rage when I was in college during the first Gulf War and it hasn't gotten any better with age. The basic argument goes like this: Bush and Cheney are oil guys. They want to get their grubby hands on Iraq's oil. Ergo, this is a war for oil. I guess it could be stated with more sophistication, but why go to all the trouble of putting a dress on a pig?Re the ignorance about the rich that is implicit in these arguments:
Every day, I hear from people who honestly think Bush & co. want to invade Iraq to make a few more bucks. These people are either stoopid or they are trapped in a Twilight Zone where Thomas Nast cartoons seem real.Read the rest, and memorize. I'm sure they will come in handy in the next few months.
Now it's Andrew Ian Dodge. What the hell is going on?
I said, LILEKS ON LE CARRÉ. What are you waiting for? Go! Go!
England's dreaming. No, actually, England's fucked. And France is even worse. Dipnut has much to say. Here's what I say: I'm staying. Right. Here. In Violent, Fascist, Amerikkka, where it is still kind of possible in parts of it to defend yourself from a burglar without having to worry about the judge feeling sorry for the criminal scum and releasing said creep out into the public while throwing your sorry ass in prison for being mean to the downtrodden, where it is quite the rarity for a cop to say to your face that they don't want to report the crime you have just called them for because "it's too much paperwork" and will "retard our careers."
Europe. Home of high culture. Hah.
Well, I had to post a comment to this; a snarky one, of course, because I am the OS (Original Snarkosaurus).
PS: how could I forget? For more on the raging Komments Kontroversy*, go here. For more Is It Snobbery or Is It Autonomy?, go here and then here. (Say, when is the invasion going to start? Hurry, Dubya, the bloggers are starting to eat their young.)
*I could call it the Krazy Komments Kontroversy and make it an Aaagghh! Racism! threefer.
Iain Murray was fired for blogging. That's what his bosses told him anyway. The kicker? His previous boss had no trouble with his blogging.
It's come to this: faced with their increasing irrelevance and a populace that ignores their heartfelt cries of doom, the idiots of the world have started condemning the availability of low-priced food. Down with abundant food! cries one Magnus Linklater. You really have to read his opening paragraph -- it's a beaut; the rest is mere gilding the lily:
Death to the superstore. Death to its Disney-style architecture, its endless corridors, its cavernous trolleys, its rock-bottom prices, its choice, convenience, and soulless car parks. Above all, death to its sheer, unstoppable success. I do not care whether Morrison, Wal-Mart or Sainsbury’s wins the battle for the Safeway chain, because all of them share one aim, the need to grow bigger and faster and persuade us all to eat more, in order to survive. Instead, all we do is get fatter and sicker. The time has come to curb our appetite for cheap food, not to encourage it.The following paragraph, wherein he reveals his abject terror at the variety of choices facing him every day at the supermarket, would be hysterically funny if it weren't so pathetic:
Consider this: the big supermarket chains offer us on any one day an average of 30,000 different “lines” to choose from, 30,000 items with which to load our boots and sustain the rapidly expanding girths of our families. Each year, to tempt us to further excess, they have to find some 16,000 new lines, replacing and discarding the old, packaging and presenting the new. Out go yesterday’s kumquats, sweet potato and oven-ready chicken korma, in come vine tomatoes, Mexican persimmon, and three kinds of salsa verde.The horror! The horror! Something tells me this is Mr. Linklater's roundabout way of getting out of having to do the grocery shopping. But seriously, just what sort of mind is it that says something like "The cut-throat competitiveness of the big food chains means that although we spend less of our income on food than we ever did, we eat far more of it" and means it as a bad thing? We are spending less on food! Oh no! We are eating more! Oh n--- Half a mo'. You're not serious, are you mate?
Oh yes, he is. Here we see the panic of self-proclaimed do-gooders who see the objects of their do-gooding drying up. What sight is guaranteed to open the wallets of all but the hardest-hearted human being? The sight of a starving child. What will happen when these starving children are no longer available, because they've all got access to cheap, abundant food? The wallets will close, and do-gooders will have one less source of income as well as one less thing to hold out against the cruel capitalist running dogs. But I think that mostly it's all about the bling-bling.
Well, it's been at least a day or so since I blogged anything to do with Tolkien, so it's time. Herewith, my thoughts on female characters and such in the films so far:
In retrospect, it looks as if the inclusion/build up of existing female characters in the movie, supposedly to assuage the sensibilities of modern females who are used to seeing women on film doing stuff Just As Good As Men If Not Better (or at least hanging around with the guys like pretend equals), was a mistake. I don't think I have read one review or comment from a female saying things like: "I'm so glad we see more of Arwen!" At best the general consensus seems to be: "Arwen, eh." In fact, there are some women who could cheerfully dispense with her character altogether. Eowyn, now, is getting a lot more favorable notice -- but gee, it just so happens she is an active character in the actual book, while Arwen is in the background and doesn't even have a speaking part unless you count a message she sends to Aragorn through her brother. Go figure! Women are more concerned with faithfulness to the work of art being translated into film than in being good little feminists.
What's my take? Well, I see what Jackson and the screenwriter (scriptwriter? Whatever.) Philippa Boyens did -- for the first part of the film they gave Arwen the part (mostly) of Glorfindel -- which is no problem because we never see Glorfindel in the story again after the race to the Ford. And they pulled some stuff out of the "Arwen and Aragorn" story that is in the Appendices -- oh blah blah blah. Let me be frank. Liv Tyler is quite pretty and at least has dark hair, and her acting isn't bad -- it's not a complex part. And the flashback scene in The Two Towers with Aragorn and Arwen on the [I WISH] balcony of my house looking out across my back yard [/I WISH] is also very pretty, kind of like a Maxfield Parrish painting -- but it slows the film nearly to a crawl, and is an unnecessary diversion from the main action in a whole long sequence that they made up out of almost whole cloth. (Except for the Warg attack, which actually occurred in the first book before the attempt to climb Caradhras, and was perpetrated on the Fellowship, and no one got killed -- and [PEEVE] why does Háma have to get offed by a Warg, why doesn't he get to die before the gates of the Hornburg in battle, so the king can mourn him? Whatever. [/PEEVE]) I could cheerfully have dispensed with the love scenes so as to have either more battle scenes, or better yet, more scenes with Faramir that might have disclosed to us more of an idea of just what it is Jackson and co. thought they were doing with his character. I think that that notion, the whole we-must-build-up-the-distaff-side idea, is a sad side effect of living in these modern times, where even someone who dared take on something as unfilmable as Lord of the Rings still can't quite bring himself to tell the PC crowd to stuff it. Even so, this film is being tediously referred to as "a boy's film," even by the principals (I have the interviews on the dvd), so I can only imagine the outcry that would have rattled the cages of the filmworld if they had stuck closer to the story. Well, when I get the dvd I can always skip the mushy Arwen scenes. That's what that little fast forward button is for.
Side note: since I seem to be stuck on Anne Wilson's blog tonight, I'll talk about this post where she says that the ancient Germanic tribes the Rohirrim are possibly based on (they aren't really, actually -- not to the letter, but read on) were not really like the actual ancient Germanic tribes as recorded by Tacitus, of whose account she gives an example. For one thing, instead of being scared and weeping during battles, actual ancient Germanic tribal women were encouraging and cheered their men on, and so forth. Well, no doubt it would have been more true to history to show the women of Rohan shoving their boys out into battle, but that would never play in Peoria. (Or would it? Who knows.) I think the weepy women scenes were a) part of the buildup of doomy emotion Jackson seemed to be going for, and b) a rather tedious emphasis on The Horrors of War on the Helpless. And of course, keep in mind that the enemy besieging them was not, for the most part, human, so the fear factor has to be greater. For myself, I would rather have seen Tolkien's idea of what the Rohirrim were like: "...a stern people, loyal to their lord, and little weeping or murmuring was heard, even in the camp in the Hold where the exiles from Edoras were housed, women and children and old men. Doom hung over them, but they faced it silently." But maybe that wouldn't play in Peoria either. But we'll never know.
Dear Vivienne Westwood,
I'm sorry to have to be the one to inform you of this, but I can keep silent no longer. Sure, you were "all that" when punk broke, you and your carefully-ripped t-shirts and designer-perv rubber wear, but that was over twenty years ago. It is clear that your mad designer skilz jumped the shark just about the same time "Goody Two-Shoes" dropped off the Top Ten list. NO ONE is going to buy boobs for men to wear, especially boobs that look as if someone cut the ends off a pair of those cone-shaped paper cups and stuck them underneath the sweater at the last minute. The most garish, fakola stage trannies are laughing at your so-called "falsies" as I write. Even they wouldn't wear something that amateurish. And not even the femmest homosexual on the planet will buy and wear something called a "blouson." Y-chromosomes are y-chromosomes, and every single one in his body will rise up in protest to prevent such a fashion catastrophe. So give it up, luv. It's time to retire.
(Via Anne Wilson.)
(Via Rachel Lucas.)
Steven Den Beste gets grouchy.
But that's not the point. Magullo wants Hamdi to be treated as a full citizen because Magullo is trying to claim that the act of aiming a rifle at an American soldier, who is serving his nation in a declared war, and of pulling the trigger and killing that soldier, is protected speech under the First Amendment (in the generalized form of "protected expression").Sweet. Go, Steve!
After all, it's not as if the soldier he kills matters to anyone, is it? He's a soldier; it's not like he's anyone's son or brother or cousin or father or anything. Soldiers are grown in a farm under Cheyenne Mountain out of piles of horse manure just like any fungus; it's perfectly OK to kill them – at least, it is if they've got US flags sewed on their shoulders. Killing anyone else in the world is wrong, but killing Americans? Well, that's just fine and dandy.
Therefore, Magullo is claiming that Hamdi should be released so he can get back to his exercise of his First Amendment rights, and kill more US soldiers or maybe some US civilians while he's at it. Can't have too much freedom of expression, after all.
Besides which, the good guys in this war are having a hard time coming up with people to fight on their side and they need all the people they can get. Hamdi needs to be released so he can go back to fighting on behalf of the good guys, so that they can defeat the evil Americans.
I somehow thought that it was obvious that actively attempting to kill US soldiers wasn't "protected expression" under the First Amendment. I somehow thought it obvious that any kind of violence wasn't "protected expression". I thought it was obvious that this was top bracket sophistry. Silly me; I forgot that killing American soldiers is actually performance art!
Another big-deal author pontificates on the Suppression of Dissent in Fascist Amerikkka™. John Le Carré has never been one of my favorite authors, even during my spy-novel-and mystery-reading phase (I preferred Helen MacInnes or Mary Stewart). I found his novels to be too full of that moaning, oh-the-weigh-of-the-world angst that guarantees a writer a seat on the Forever Beloved Among Critics train. There was even a television series featuring his Smiley character starring Alec Guinness that I, a Star Wars nut (Obi Wan!), found unwatchable. I already had plenty of real-life access to endless scenes of glum people in darkened rooms smoking incessantly and talking past each other.
Anyway, I'm not going to "fisk" the whole article, because it's all the same nonsense: dissent is being suppressed, Bush is a tyrant as bad if not worse than Saddam Hussein, it's all about the Ooiillll™, and so on. Tiresome, really. Don't these people have any original ideas?
What sort of self-styled advocate for, among other things,
Blunting the world's inequities that allow some children to starve and others to grow up in comfortcalls herself Medea? Does this woman not know that Medea's most famous act was the slaughter of her own children? And her second most famous act was the previous slaughter of her own father, an act she performed to help her boyfriend commit a robbery? What's next, a male "peace" activist calling himself "Herod"?
Apropos to my post below is this article in the Daily Telegraph on how the so-called peace movement for Iraq is actually excluding those Iraqis that are presumably its focus of concern. For instance:
The anti-war movement is a private party. It has proved to be a remarkably fastidious friend of suffering peoples of the Middle East, and its doors are always open to non-Iraqi Muslims - but it's not at home to Muslims from Iraq.They aren't fond of the idea of a democratic government in Iraq either:
As far as I can work out from the coalition's membership list, only two Iraqi organisations - one calling itself the Iraqi Network for Human Rights and a second called the Federation of Kurdish Community Organisations - have signed its manifesto. No Iraqi exile I have interviewed has heard of either.
The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi dissidents are an embarrassment to the Left. After enduring misery few of us can imagine, they have discovered that, without foreign intervention, their country won't be freed from a tyrant who matches Stalin in his success in liquidating domestic opponents. Only America can intervene. Therefore an American invasion offers the possibility of salvation.
There's a damnable logic to this that no amount of wriggling can escape. If you say to the Iraqi opposition that America is very selective in its condemnation of dictatorships, they shrug and ask why Iraqis should care. If you say that Iraq shouldn't be liberated from Saddam until Palestinians are liberated from Israeli occupation, they ask if the converse also applies. (It never does, incidentally.) They confront the anti-war movement with the disconcerting thought that there are worse things in the world than George W Bush and American imperialism, and Saddam Hussein and his prison state are among them.
When I put this programme to my democratic and secular comrades, they turn nasty. I hear that the peoples of Iraq will slaughter each other if Saddam goes; that any US-sponsored replacement will be worse. They may be right, although the second prediction will be hard to meet. What is repulsive is the sneaking feeling that they want the war to be long and a post-Saddam Iraq to be a bloody disaster. They would rather see millions suffer than be forced to reconsider their prejudices.Who cares, it's only foreigners and Americans, eh?
(Via Damian Penny.)
Good lord, now Sheryl Crow has to open her yap on the issue of war in Iraq -- and, I assume, anywhere else for any reason whatsoever. Here's what this great political brain has to say:
"I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies."Well, Miss Crow, I think that you are a pinhead with no more brains than your namesake -- probably less. Just how are we supposed to simply "not have enemies"? What the hell kind of thing is that to say? You might as well say, "The best way to stay out of the hospital is to not get sick." And save us from hippy chicks and their imperfect understanding of Eastern Mysticism™. Methinks she has no more understanding of the term "karma" than a taxi driver in Baghdad -- rather less so. Here, for instance, are Krishna's words to Arjuna on war, from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata:
Krishna: Arjun, I can tell you with absolute conviction, you don’t have a choice between war and peace.Rather more complex than easy notions that wearing a "war is not the answer" shirt is the way to get to heaven, or whatever it is Crow thinks should be her fate, isn't it? What sort of karmic retribution does she imagine awaits those who ignore the pains of oppressed people in favor of saving their own reputation?
Arjuna: Well , Krishna, what is my choice?
Krishna: Between war and another war.
Arjuna: This other war, where will it take place, on the battlefield or in my heart?
Krishna: I don’t see a real difference.
Arjuna: Krishna, I need you to drive my chariot onto the battlefield. I want to see those who wish to fight with me.
Sanjay: Krishna drove Arjuna onto the battlefield. There before him were all his kin. His friends, his family, his teachers. Everyone, who brought him to this moment stood before him on the battlefield.
Arjuna: Oh Krishna, my legs grow weak, my mouth is dry, my body trembles. Uncles, nieces, nephews, my teachers, they are all here. How can I bring death to my own family?
Sanjay: Among the warriors there in full battle dress stood all of the ghosts of Arjuna’s past. Overwhelmed by sorrow and throwing down his bow and his arrows, he sat down in his chariot in the middle of the battlefield.
Krishna: This despair and weakness in a time of crisis are unworthy of you , Arjun. How have you fallen into such a state?
Arjuna: My resolution is gone. My will is paralysed. Krishna, I will not fight.
Krishna: What is this mad and shameful weakness?
Arjuna: Tell me what to do. Teach me.
Sanjay: This is what Arjun said to Sri Krishna and then with the words:
Arjuna: Krishna, I cannot fight.
Sanjay: He fell silent. Standing between the two armies, Sri Krishna smiled. He said:
Krishna: Arjun, you speak sincerely, but your words, your sorrow, they have no cause.
The wise are not deluded by what seems to be. Reality lies in the eternal.
For a warrior nothing is higher than a battle against evil.
A warrior confronted by such a war should be pleased, Arjun.
For it comes as an open gate to freedom.
But if you do not fight this battle you will violate your honour.
Sanjay: These are the words that Sri Krishna spoke to Arjun on that morning when the great warrior stood on the battlefield, unarmed and silent.
(Via Scott Chaffin.)
Mark Morford, whose writing sucks the chrome off the tailpipe of a city bus, has a sweet paying gig at a major newspaper. Man, even I couldn't write anything as bad as
Screw it all, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his black eyes gleaming like the devil's own golf balls.Do golfballs gleam? The Devil plays golf? The hell? Just pocket that paycheck, Moanford. Oh, and it's nice that you are so certain that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the US, he's just a minor thug, so let's just leave the Iraqi people under his boot -- at least they won't be dirtied up by nasssty Americans tromping all over their country! Mark Morford: hypocrite, thug-worshipper, creep.
I don't understand why this newspaper continues to publish a columnist of such low-caliber intellect as this person. His opinions cannot be described as even slightly informed; they are just kneejerk responses to his automatic dislike of George W. Bush, the Republican party, and America in general. Actually, I do know -- all the outraged letters the editor must get at least let the paper's owners know that someone still reads them.
(Note: this is a link to the main page of Morbidfraud's column; I don't know how to find permalinks to the dated column at the SF Chronicle's site, nor do I care to spend my day figuring it out. It's the column for January 10, 2003. Via Juan Gato)
Gary Farber writes an excellent, important post concerning the dead, military hardware, and proper regard for both. The controversy, such as it is, is over a beam from the World Trade Center that will be "melted down and used to configure the leading edge of the ship's bow of the USS New York" (here's an article about it). The reaction of some lefty-bloggers has apparently been to shriek "sacrilege!" (Links to their posts in Gary's post.) The attitude towards the new warship is one of fear and disgust -- you'd think the U.S. military was Sauron and the USS New York was a new Ring. Gary is sick of this attitude:
I can't help also be struck by the seeming presumption that, somehow, military hardware is singularly, inherently, evil, rather than mere inanimate object, able like any other to be used for good or ill, for the saving of lives or the unnecessary wasting of lives, unable to decide on its own, or take on any moral value of its own, but only a tool to be used at the choice of humans whose future actions we cannot predict and know not of.There's more; read it all.
This seems to me to be a dire presumption, and that there are leftists who make such a presumption is a critical part of what presently ails some of the Left.
(Note: I went to leave a "thank you" note in Gary's comments but the comment that was already in their was yet another example of the wrong-headed, nasty-spirited, just-plain-hysterical crap that has driven me far away from the leftist end of the political spectrum. I let the commenter have it to the best of my limited abilities, but I am running out of things to say to these people -- who are often quite sane and reasonable on other subjects -- when they get this way. I can't let it just remain as "oh, they've got a bug up their ass," anymore, but I am losing the ability to respond coherently to some of the things they apparently believe are rational positions to take on an issue. It makes me feel like I'm the one losing my mind.)
Okay, I've been laughing myself sick over at Frank's blog, so you have to go there too.
Okay, the members of the government and their supporters in Iran just earned the title of Largest Collection of Dumbasses on the Planet, surpassing even Kim Jong Il, a.k.a. "Lord of the Dingbats." I'm sure a new loon or collection of loons will snatch the prize from them soon enough.
(Via Tim Blair.)
I see someone's been bitten. Myself, I am feeling like starting a Return of the King trailer countdown -- if I only had a date to count down to.
Apparently the only reason I have for questioning what I saw as a rather presumptious statement is
Just went over to your own blog and noticed that you've been posting a bunch about how things aren't going right in your life. You're pissed off, bent out of shape, spoiling for a fight. Sorry that it hasn't been roses for you, but if you're looking for a flame war to vent some frustration then you can just take it somewhere else.(From the comments to this post.)
I do so love being subjected to cheap psychoanalysis. Notice I did not engage in any personal attacks on Mr. Rummel; I merely dared to question what looked to me to be a sweeping statement. He answered my question, and could have stopped there, but he didn't -- he had to go on and make unwarranted assumptions about my personal life based on a cursory reading of a few of my blog entries. Mr. Rummel, the only one who seems to have a problem with boundaries and starting fights is you.
(Via John Cole.)
Update: and Tim Blair helps us to understand how the anti-SUV ad campaign helped contribute to the terrorists' funds.
That's the main subject of this article in Frontpage. It makes some interesting claims, such as:
While Jackson’s action-packed films have obvious appeal, the novel’s popularity is harder to understand. Tolkien’s book moves at a deliberate pace and features a hero (Frodo Baggins) who eventually loses the sympathy of most readers.He does? Not this reader. But then, I'm not a shallow, "I need a hero!" happy-ending type of person. Take that, all you Frodo detractors!
Here's a paragraph (excised) that I liked:
Tolkien’s world creation outdoes others because of his deep understanding of the roots of Western culture: his comprehension of myth, epic, and language touches everything in the novels from the magical but familiar Elvish language to his descriptions of Earth-shaking battles. Without his academic training and position, Tolkien probably could not have written a novel nearly as good. (Nearly every medievalist I know under 40 considers LOTR a major influence.)Note that last sentence. Ha HA, fantasy-destroys-interest-in-scholarly-pursuits people. (I will never tire of making digs at that article.)
Here's a surprising claim:
Tolkien’s own politics, in any case, were mostly left-of-center.By what definition? Not one I ever read... AFAIK, Tolkien was pretty conservative. Maybe he voted Labour or something? Whatever. I haven't researched his politics (because I really. Don't. Care.) but this sounds like a dig at the supposed "anti-industrialism" in the novel from a member of TAE, not the result of actual knowledge of what side of the spectrum the late professor voted on.
Via TheOneRing.net, news of The Hobbit being published in Luxembourgish. That, kiddies, is the language they speak in Luxembourg. I think I was there for one whole day during my one and only trip to Europe. It was a Saint's Day, and everything was closed.
Here's a sample of the language. Can you guess what they are saying?
Dräi Réng fir d'Elwekinneken, déi éiweg liewen,
Siwwe fir d'Zwakenhären an hiren Hale vu Steen,
Néng fir Mënschen, d'Leit déi misse stierwen,
A fir den Här um däischtren Throun, just Een.
Am Land vu Mordor, do wou d'Schieder schwiewen.
Ee Rank regéiert se all, Ee Rank dee fënnt se,
Ee Rank dee bréngt se all an an der Däischtert bënnt se,
Am Land vu Mordor, do wou d'Schieder schwiewen.
Alan K. Henderson presents The Lord of the Rings as bloggers might have written it. He got one thing wrong, though: that recipe would have only fed one hobbit, and probably would only have been considered a light snack.
The Baltic states are on my list of places to go to if I ever go world travelling again.
Here are more other-author parody versions of LOTR.
Update: there's more here (scroll down). Love the Samuel R. Delany one. (Note: this seems to be a copy of the Straightdope site, so linking to that one will probably bring up the same results; this link just loads faster.)
In which Gandalf gains a new perspective on his heretofore unexamined mission:
It was a pleasure to burn.
It was a special pleasure to see Hobbits eaten, to see them blackened and changed. With the wooden staff in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous pitch upon the Shire, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his pointed hat on his wizened head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he mumbled a Word of Command and the Great Smials jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a haunch of mutton on a spit in the furnace, while the flapping, ridiculous Hobbits died on the porch and lawn of the great Hobbit-hole. While the Hobbits went up in greasy, sparkling whirls that blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.
Gandalf grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame. Fools of Tooks! he thought with an inward chuckle, as the smell of burnt foot-hair filled his nostrils, as welcome as the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie cooling on the sill.
He knew that when he returned to Lothlórien, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man, burnt-corked, in the Mirror of Galadriel. Later, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles, in the dark. It never went away, that smile, it never ever went away, as long as he remembered.
Eowyn felt her heart flutter when she saw him. His raven hair flew in the breeze off the plain, and his piercing eyes caught her gaze as if by magic. He bore a kingly attitude; surely he was a prince. Her mind turned to forbidden things, things which would be forbidden to the King's niece, but surely allowed for a free shieldmaiden. She knew that she was made to love this ranger.and, last but not least:
-Mark of the King, Danielle Steele
If it was written by Robert Jordan it would be 10 books long.(Via Silflay Hraka.)
Typical, I wanted to say. Even at the Guardian, they're getting off on the pornography of war. Instead, I said calmly: "OK, so I don't know the technical terms for your inter-ballistic thingy, OK? We all have our areas of expertise." (Bolds mine -- A.H.)Shout. OUT.
Now, I am a genre fiction champion, but I am not unaware that most of it is crap. In fact, considering how important such things as plot and setting are to genre fiction, I am of the opinion that it is much more difficult to write a decent romance or science fiction or fantasy novel than it is to write a plain literary work. (That is one reason I prefer genre fiction: it is harder to do right, so that when it is done right, I feel like I have found buried treasure.)
A case in point: Coyote by J-school grad Allen Steele. This work of science fiction has won two Hugos. I think I know why, and it has nothing to do with the plot, which is a standard rehash of all those seventies-era scifi Liberals-in-Space novels. (For a much better practitioner of this sort of subgenre read anything by Ursula K. LeGuin. A sub-subgenre of this is the womyn-in-space sagas that appeared after Reagan had been president for a while, where men were the Great Evil that nurturing, bonding females had to fight and/or flee from to other planets; and there is even a sub-sub-subgenre I call "brown-womyn-in-space-and-their-nurturing-brown-male-supporters," where it's the White Male Oppressor that everyone is fighting/fleeing.)
Plot being the most important thing in genre fiction, take a gander at the plot of Coyote:
Coyote is a tale that begins in 2070. The only thing far-fetched about this story is that the government's space shuttles are named after conservative politicians from the 20th century, including Jesse Helms and George Wallace.The spirit of Joseph McCarthy?!? Is the fear of this long-dead senatorial buffoon still that strong in journalism schools? Can't we have some sort of ceremonial exorcism so I finally won't have to see the term "McCarthyism" applied to everything from communist-mocking to a multiplex cinema's refusal to show the latest unrated (i.e., full of skanky Eurosex) imported film in its big-screen theater? Make. It. Stop.
But maybe that isn't so far-fetched. In Steele's near future, political conservatives, buoyed by decades of war against terrorists, have taken firm control of the government, amended the Constitution in the name of national security, put dissenters in prison and bankrupted society to build a genuine interstellar starship. It seems that the president has a dream of being the first to colonize a distant planet and begin a better, more pure world in the spirit of Joseph McCarthy.
However, liberal intellectual dissidents hatch a conspiracy, steal the starship Alabama from its port in Earth orbit and start their own space colony in the spirit of the Mayflower.
Someone (not me) emailed Neil Gaiman and asked him about adding permalinks to his blog. He says there are plans to add them soon. So it wasn't just me...
Elijah Wood, indie hobbit.
Columnist grouses because other people don't share his same tastes. Hijinks ensue! Okay, not really. But is this the best thing Jonathan V. Last could think of to write? Does anyone really care about the Oscars anymore? Sure, I think it would be fine and dandy if Peter Jackson and the cast and crew of The Lord of the Rings got a collection of those ugly little gold statues to use as table centerpieces, paper weights, door stops... But if they don't it isn't going to diminish my liking of the movie one iota. And if a lack of sufficient Oscar points keeps certain people to whom that is a criteria for watching a movie away from LOTR, that can only be to the good.
Some differences in the way women in Europe, or Britain anyway, perceive things and the way that American women (at least those I have associated with, spoken to, corresponded with, and so on) do are on display in this little article, which is supposed to be an explanation of why Lord of the Rings appeals to the ladies. I must admit this is a question that did not even come to my mind. All my women friends loved the movie; but I don't think it occurred to them that they were doing anything strange or unfeminine, or "horning in on the boys' action." They've all read the books too. But apparently in Britain the books are a boys thing. I just find that weird.
The article is the strangest mix of sense and silliness. Ms. Ellen goes from burbling something as foolish as
Because actually, guys, women have heard of the books, even though we probably didn’t bother reading them, having had much more time for Max Factor than Tolkien when we were teenagersa line that made me immediately think: "Speak for yourself, micro-brain"; or the pseudo-deep pseudo-analysis of:
Movies such as The Lord of the Rings are a good way to spy on men, see within the most primitive areas of their psyches — all those yearnings for transcendence, nobility and majesty that still tickle away deep within the male soul.Here's the intrepid girl journalist being "feisty" here -- cute, non-threatening, charmingly scamp. Gag.
But then she reveals the fist inside the velvet glove, re the sort of films usually considered fit for females:
Jackson is actually lucky we’re still in the market. Considering the level of swill aimed at them, it’s a wonder that women bother to go to the cinema at all. While the guys get Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects, all the women get is patronised. Sometimes you get a semi-decent chick flick, a Bridget Jones’s Diary or a Kissing Jessica Stein, but mainly it’s “Kissy-kissy, boo-hoo, hurrah, he loves me, the end”.Pretty good for a girl.
The horror continues! When will this atrocity END??? Whatever happened to the old reliable baby-killing foreign-women-molesting brown-people-crushing Amerikkkiller soldier?
This is hilarious; it's as if somebody's maiden aunt just noticed the shocking new fashion of girls letting their ankles show in public.
USA Today wants to know: What do you think about 'The Two Towers'?. The comparison they are using is the Star Wars films. (I see blood in the water. Can you say: "chum-fest"?) They'll publish the answers. Come on, all you geeks. What are you waiting for? (I'm waiting to wake up.)
Update: My answers to the questions are up:
1. Do the The Lord of the Rings movies show signs of having enough of a cultural impact and popularity to become the Star Wars for this generation?
"This generation" is a meaningless term, because both movies have a certain amount of cross-generational appeal. However, that is where the comparison ends. For example: The Lord of the Rings films have nothing in them aimed at very young children the way the Star Wars films do (even the first one had cute, barrel-shaped Cee-threepio, its burbles and squeals sounding very like a baby in a cradle). This does not mean that children aren't "sophisticated" enough to like The Lord of the Rings films, it means only that there is no blatant attempt to appeal to their "baser" toy-collecting nature. (I do not count the spinoff merchandising of both sets of films -- the dolls and accessories and video games and so forth -- in this assessment of the actual amount of child-appeal in the actual films. In Lord of the Rings the only creatures that come close to being even halfway child's-toy-like are the Ents, but they are far outclassed in the cuteness department by the Ewoks.)
2. Is Peter Jackson, the director and effects wizard behind the Rings movies, the new George Lucas?
I certainly hope not. Lucas, after a promising start, has become a hopeless windbag with delusions of grandeur, and no sense of story or characterization.
3. Are you one of the original Star Wars fans who have been disappointed by the recent episodes The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones in the series?
Oh god, yes. I haven't even bothered to go see Clones. I saw The Phantom Menace on video. I wasn't impressed.
Has The Lord of the Rings replaced Star Wars as your film series of choice? If so, why?
Well, quite a few movies had already replaced Star Wars as my movie of choice. One reason was the increasing sophistication of movie-making technology, which makes the early Star Wars films look lame. Dazzling special effects are no longer sufficient to hide a weak storyline from the audience. The storyline in Lord of the Rings exposes the Star Wars "mythos" as a randomly pasted-up pastiche of old fifties sci-fi, Saturday matinee serials, rescue-the-princess fairy tales, and badly-digested kung-fu-movie pseudo-mysticism.
4. If you are age 25 and under, do you find that the Rings movies mean more to you than the Star Wars films. And why?
I don't qualify for this question.
5. Which film are you looking forward to the most Star Wars: Episode III (due in 2005) or The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, due this Christmas?
Return of the King, hands down. I doubt I'll even bother to go see this nth episode of Star Wars: The Movie That Wouldn't Leave, in the theater.
I went ahead and emailed them to the USAToday folks. This should get me universally hated...
It has come to the attention of some of us that many of you are worried about the negative publicity your religion has received of late. Well, I have a very simple plan that will almost immediately gain you the goodwill of non-Muslims everywhere:
That is all.
Remember that derogatory letter to a serviceman from some professor guy, and the big stink that ensued, after which the professor guy had to make an apology? Well, apparently back in the day Glenn Reynolds had posted on this, and the professor guy found the post and responded. I will just select one thing out of the many things he said:
I don’t believe the Vietnam antiwar movement, which may have shortened the war and saved the deaths of many precious Americans, who were not able to escape the draft [...]What about the many Vietnamese who were left to their fate, not being able to escape their country? Weren't they precious too?
The U.K.'s poet laureate is a producer of bad doggerel. No, really. Tell me what you think of this, ignoring for the moment it's "inflamatory" subject matter
CAUSA BELLI by Andrew MotionAnd I thought my poetry sucked. Tim Blair is collecting parodies of the work. Send them his way.
They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.
They pose and preen and spout erudite words
But little do they know we see right through these turds.
Fine talk is cheap, but no help in the breach,
Nobody cares a fig what these loons preach.
Actually, I think Queenan's usually pretty funny -- at least he occasionally makes fun of his own cultural snobbery. Then again, I haven't read his books for a few years (they sit there in my bookcase, neglected, remnants of a time when I too played the Kultursnob game). But I do agree with Angie Schultz about the anti-Red Lobster diatribe in Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon. I remember thinking at the time, "Shorts and t-shirts? He and his son wore shorts and t-shirts to a sit-down restaurant where they make you wait for a table and give you real silverware? What slobs." I mean, I live in Florida, where the restaurants actually have signs saying "Shirt and shoes required." There went the last bits of my reverse snobbery concerning people from up north and their superior dressing habits; I had previously been under the impression that you could be kept out of Denny's up north if your suit was off-the-rack.
Now, I may be of the opinion that Saddam Hussein's clock is way overdue for cleaning, but that doesn't mean I have anything against the rest of the inhabitants of Iraq. What, for instance, have those put-upon civilians ever done to deserve this?
I say we organize a protest to halt the importation of destructive amateur American folk singers to Iraq. Do it for the Children™. (And yes, I realize that the lady lost a relative in the September 11th attacks. That doesn't mean she gets carte blanche to be an idiot.)
(Via Little Tiny Lies.)
So I can piss off this hypocritical bitch.
Biggest, most fuel-inefficient one I can find. Or else I'll get me an 8-mile-to-the-gallon 1973 Ford. Stupid limousine liberal.
(Via A Small Victory.)
And they call Lord of the Rings "simplistic": check out the latest installment in the exaggerated claims department, this time that Tolkien was a "pure Luddite." I am not going to argue here that the late professor would have been a huge fan of digital technology, though from what he had to say about previous attempts to make an animated film of his book* I think I can safely say that he probably would have been pleased with at least some of the effects in Jackson's films. But he was hardly a "pure" Luddite. If "nostalgia" for a bucolic past makes one a "pure" Luddite, then a lot of people can be accused of holding that belief.
More ignorance abounds: Orcs were not "born fully-grown from a monster-making assembly line of Saruman's design" -- they already existed in Tolkien's world before Saruman. Then the writer complains because the battles in the fantasy novel aren't exactly like real-life historical battles! Tolkien wasn't trying to re-create the battle of Crécy! Why not argue that a battery of JDAMs would have made a paste of Helm's Deep! Argh! Talk about missing the point.
In any case, the battle scene in the book is not quite like the film's -- for one thing, no Huorns show up in the film to take care of the remaining Orcs. The explosion in the book is not quite as spectacular as in the film (there was no "suicide Orc" scene, the entire wall did not crumble, etc.), and so forth. Also some frankly unrealistic scenes in the film -- Gandalf and co. charging a wall of pikes with horsemen -- is not in the book. I could go on, but you get the idea.
There is a faint whiff of "Lo, what have we wrought with our Evil Technology" underlying the premise of this article despite the author's disapproving tone on Tolkien's supposed Luddism. Also, Mr. Surowiecki seems to have forgotten a few things. Tolkien died in 1973, thirty years ago, when the world was quite frankly a lot dirtier than it is now, and an argument could then be made that society was going to pollution hell due to demon tech (if we weren't all going to starvation hell due to overpopulation). But today, at least in the "industrialized" West, the air and water is cleaner, technology is a lot "lighter" than it used to be, and a big worry is not overpopulation, but low birth rates and infertility. In 1973 computers were still perceived as big scary beasts that could take over the world. Today does anyone, outside of Hollywood where they still make movies based on this premise, seriously believe that the iMac on their desk is going to turn them into a zombie slave and then take over the world? You can't use Tolkien's, or anybody's, views of the technology of sixty, fifty, thirty years ago to criticise (or not) the current technological trends. In any case he didn't write his book in order to criticise the industrial age. It is a misuse of the book for us to use it to do so. You might as well accuse Grimm's Fairy Tales or The Odyssey of being an anti-industry tract.
*Source, as always, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Always go to the Original Sources, my professors are always telling me, so I do.
For me that is. For a variety of reasons this day was one of the more hellish in my life that I have experienced. (See, I can't even write.) I think the stress is causing me to come down with something, or maybe I just need rest. Anyway, I'm signing off early tonight and curling up with a book or a movie or something until I fall asleep. Laters!
I would like to state for the record that this is NOT a laughing matter or a fit subject for mockery at all:
A Canadian man killed when his truck rolled on an Iraqi highway had gone to the country to act as a human shield in the event of war against Saddam Hussein, the peace group that sent him there said yesterday.I repeat: one should not laugh loudly and long at this most unfortunate occurrence.
(I might as well follow Michele to hell. Heaven won't have me anyway; at least there's a chance I can take over Hell.)
Look what Dave made for me!
Feel free to snag it and use it to link to me. (Remember: right-click and "save as," then upload it to your own server space; do not link to it from my server.)
Bloggers are discombobulating the journalists who interview them by doing things like posting the entire transcripts of the interviews on their own blogs, according to this article. The article doesn't say this trend is a bad thing, but it must be unnerving to see that your carefully culled and pruned and edited article has a big sprawling, messy echo available somewhere. It must seem to traditional journalists kind of like an actor getting his hands on the entire uncut reel of the movie he was in and giving it to all his friends. (Via Instapundit.)
(Brought to you via the End of the Internet.)
What a nasty-minded little creep this Tim Dunlop is.
Yeah, yeah, I know -- not original. Anyway. William Gibson now has a blog. It's brand new, and I have the feeling it's not going to have permalinks. It's got that "top" target link at the bottom of the one and only entry instead, like Neil Gaiman's blog uses. What is it with writers' blogs without permalinks? All I can figure is they must use the same web designer or program to set them up. Anyway, it looks good otherwise. Personally, Gibson's work has never interested me much. The only thing I ever read through of his was a short story featuring Case and Molly that appeared in Omni magazine back in the late Seventies or early Eighties. His cyber-noir style just sort of leaves me cold after a while. I remember reading an interview with him where he hilariously confessed to being pissed off, when he finally got around to buying a personal computer, that instead of some neat crystalline thing data was stored on these prosaic flat plastic diskettes.
Via James Hudnall comes this link to some (small) scans from a calendar for the last installment of LOTR. Take a gander: so far so good, I say. (I dunno how long these will be up. I don't know if Onering.net leaves everything up in its "spy" section or if the link rots after a while; that is, if they will have to take this stuff down like the site they got it from did.)
Update: on the front page of the Onering.net site are links to higher resolution pictures; get 'em while they're hot: Aragorn (almost groomed!), Arwen (dreamy), Gandalf (badass!) Gollum (looks rather like an earlier conception of Gollum to me), Sam & Frodo (this one's for you, Sean!). Apparently these are "promotional" items that are for industry people only. Or that would have been the case if not for the internet. Now all your "exclusive freebies" are belong to us.
Alert! Mr. Kim du Toit is threatening to shut down his Reader Mail section if no one visits! And that would be a bad thing. For instance, you'd miss stuff like his perfect rejoinder to silly letters like this. So what are you waiting for?
Guess what the new trend will be: blogging from political conventions. Cool. No, really. I'll bet the big-deal reporters will hate it too.
Guys, if you are not sure how to use a tag, the instructions I have in the comments are not going to help you; they are there only to let you know which ones I will permit. Here is a good resource for basic HTML formatting. Go there if you aren't sure how to use a formatting tag before trying to use them in the comments. I use very simple tags, nothing up-to-date or fancy. Bold, italics, underline, strikeout, blockquote, and "a href" for linking to a URL are the tags I allow. Do not use "strong" or "em" instead of "b" for bold, and use "blockquote" instead of "q." Important: make a link like this: <a href="some.url">link word</a>. (Do not copy and paste this.)
Okay, just one more: the ugly naked peace ladies are going to hold a joint (heh heh) peace march in Washington D.C. and San Fransisco. You know, for peace, and against
hurting Saddam's feelings blowing up cute, big-eyed Iraqi children, all of whom have been programmed into the target systems of our JDAMs, you know. One thing: the time of year they plan to do this naked -- as in, unclothed -- peace march. January 18th.
January, in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
Um, gals? I mean, wymmin? It's cold in Florida in January. Just how cold do you think it will be fifteen hundred miles further north? Not to mention I happen to know it gets way cold in San Francisco at this time of year too. Oh well, have fun freezing your asses off for Saddam, you frozen-brained maroons. Maybe he'll pick you up on satellite and
get off on the sight have a belly laugh at the stupid Americans. He might be jacking off laughing so hard he won't hear the first missile until it crashes into his secret hideout. Maybe you'll do some goddamn good after all.
(Via A Small Victory.)
Time to curl up with my wack Fellowship of the Ring dvds. It's all about warmongery, doncha know.
I have finally gotten around to implementing the limited html controls in the comments, so now you can use italics, bold, underline, and so forth. However, I do not allow images to be posted in comments, so the "img src" tag is turned off. Note: if you ignore my instructions and use the "img src" tag anyway, you'll be fooled by the fact that your image will show up if you preview your post, but you'll just have blank space when you do post. Just so's you know. (I am not sure if adding the tag to the Comments Preview template will prevent this. Anyone else who uses Brad Choate's HTML Sanitizer script feel free to drop me a line.)
First I'd like to start out by noting how subtle is Steven Den Beste's way of referring to some some moron's nasty-ass, stupid statement as "so-and-so comments." He never does, for instance, what I just did. Steven Den Beste is much more smoove than I have the talent to be.
Second, I'd like to make an announcement to individual Palestinians everywhere: you guys need to stop the Stupidfada, and stop it now, because if you don't, at the end of the day you are all going to end up dead. That is because the combined forces of the United States, Israel, and what other allies we may still have who aren't still trying to play the appease-'em-all game are going to kill you. And you know what? Your so-called Arab "brothers" (who despise you and throw you out of their countries whenever they can) won't care. Oh, they'll blither and moan and cry crocodile tears, but at the end of the day the only sound coming out of Riyadh or Cairo or Baghdad will be a sigh of relief. Again: your so-called Arab "brothers" don't care about you. You know who does care about you? Us, we in the "West," idiots that we are. Big softies that we are. Big sentimental slobs who still try to see the silver lining in every cloud of hate, who still harbor some hope that you have the same desire to live peaceful, productive lives that we do. But you know what? Sympathy only goes so far. There is not an endless supply of the stuff in the human soul. It can be beaten out of people. It can be drained like blood from a wound. It can vanish. And when it does, stick your head between your knees and kiss your ass good-bye.
Oh, we'll feel real bad about wiping you all out. We've raised the expression of Guilt to an art form. We'll make movies about the horror of our deeds, and erect museums to your sorry dead selves. We'll flagellate ourselves and the broadcast laments of "how could we let it go so far" will go out to Andromeda. But you'll still be dead. So stop it.
Here's the proof. (Via more than one person.)
Isn't it interesting how the majority of Solonor's Bad Song Nominees, a.k.a., "Songs that make you want to PUKE," (which are all my least favorite songs in the whole world too!) come from a certain decade? (cough the Seventies cough) The Seventies were HELL. They SUCKED. Don't you forget it. PREVENT THE SEVENTIES FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN.
I never watched the entire memorial concert for New York that they had after September 11th (the one where the famous booing of Hilary Clinton was cut out on the dvd release) so I was unaware that Adam Sandler had participated. You know, after reading the lyrics of his performance, suddenly his shtick doesn't seem so annoying.
Dave at Dave Does the blog reviews the Fellowship of the Ring DVD set. His reactions pretty much agree with mine. I'll have more on this later. (Contains spoilers, if you care about such things.)
Dammit dammit dammit.
There. I'm going to get some lunch.
Never mind that thumping noise, that's just me banging my head against the wall. Now I'm in a bad mood. I need a drink.
Oh god, what a day, what a freaking stupid day. I went to the wrong class. And sat through the whole thing. Got to know the teacher, discussed stuff -- now I have to adjust to another teacher. Not to mention I missed the class I was supposed to take. Crap, crap, crap. Neither teacher (the one whose class I took by mistake nor the one whose class I missed) were in their offices, so I went to the library to email them using my university email address. That's where I am now. Somehow I ended up inside someone else's email, probably because the dufus student didn't log off. I take the precaution of not only logging off the web-based email program the university has, but I log off the entire computer. Dork freshmen.
Did I forget to scream? AAARRRGGGHHH.
Jonah Goldberg needs to learn to use the "blockquote" tag -- or simple quote marks. Otherwise he is spot on in his observations on the idiocies of commentators who have been running around shrieking "racist!" about the portrayal of Orcs, which are -- here, take my hand, I know this is going to be difficult -- IMAGINARY CREATURES. Christ on a stick people are stupid sometimes... Oh -- and I missed what looks to be a deliciously stupid review of The Two Towers by NYT reviewer Karen "Agh! War Scary!" Durbin. (To get it off their website now would cost me US$2.95. It's called "'Lord of the Rings': Serious Issues." Forget it.) Oh poor me, I feel so deprived.
All that being said, Goldberg should have taken a little more time over this column. It's a little confusing the way he goes into a side bit about the awful Starship Troopers movie (when will filmmakers quit doing "hommage" to Leni Riefenstahl's sure hand with a bunch of saluting Nazi soldiers? When devils are selling snowcones in hell is my guess), and then he sort of ponderously segues into a discursion on metaphor, where he misses the fact that Tolkien intended Sauron not to be evil incarnate from the beginning, but a fallen creature just like -- well, like everyone. But that isn't explicit in the main three books nor in the movie, so I'll let it slide. His column is at the least a welcome addition to the voices of reason regarding what, after all, is only a movie.
Update: here is the link to the Karen Durbin article, kindly provided by Angie Schultz. I don't know why I could only find the for-pay link using the NYT's search engine. Then again, maybe I do... Anyway, the article was barely a review. Durbin starts with a recap of Viggo Mortenson's diatribe on Charlie Rose, then a couple of paragraphs on Tolkien's attitude towards Nazis and Hitler (he was not a fan), and then acknowledges that the movie was a "grand adventure tale," then goes off into a brief froth of anxiety about it being "war propaganda" and some babble about "dehumanizing the other guy." See what I mean? Do they not teach about metaphor in journalism school anymore?
We wants it, we wants it, we wants it! The heck with those girly elf-jewels.
I think that "illustrator" is one of the most beautiful words in the English language. It obviously comes from Latin -- I didn't even have to look that up on Dictionary.com to figure that out. It looks positively Elvish. Anyway, one of my favorite illustrators of children's books is Trina Schart Hyman. I have an edition of Snow White that was illustrated by her, and I found A Walk Out of the World and Marrow of the World, two excellent original YA fantasies written in the seventies by Ruth Nichols, that Hyman also illustrated. I have always wished I could draw like her. Anyway, I have been thinking of fantasy a lot lately (no! really?) and of artwork inspired by such, and remembered this one artist. Other artists I like are Brian Froud, Alan Lee, the Brothers Hildebrandt, Aubrey Beardsley, and Gustave Doré. I also love the Japanese ukiyo-e print-makers, and Chinese and Japanese painting in general. I tend to prefer: realistic painting with a touch of the otherworldly. Blame my parents: my father had a thing for Oriental art too, and Chinese paintings and Japanese vases were all over the house.
Jesus, reading Atrios is like taking a mud bath. But not the healthy kind; the nasty, squidgy, cold, gets-in-your-personal spaces kind.
Dammit, I've drunk the last of the sangria. Of course I have no more alcohol in the house, do you know I can't afford to be an alcoholic... Anyway, school begins tomorrow, yay. And I am also up for jury duty in a month, something I found out when I picked up my mail yesterday. At least I have the comfort of knowing that I am not going to be dealing with the madhouse that is the Miami-Dade Circuit Court; I live in tiny, half-suburbia, half-wildlife-refuge Seminole county now. (Must pat self on back for not moving to the Orlando area and thus Orange County, which is almost as bad as Miami-Dade.) Perhaps I will get a juicy case I won't be able to blog about. More likely, I'll call in and they'll tell me they don't need me.
They only elucidate what is and is not a crime. Money quote in this Mark Steyn article:
[...]if the gangs refuse to obey the existing laws, we'll just pass more laws for them not to obey.The attitude of gun control advocates in Britain seems to echo that of the gun control advocates on this side of the pond: an almost -- oh hell, a frankly superstitious regard for The Law that thinks that adding more laws -- more words, spells, and incantations -- will somehow magically reduce or eliminate the urges of the criminally-inclined to do crime. One word: WRONG. Just wait.
(Via everybody. Come on, it's Mark Steyn.)
Okay. This website swears that these little figurines are part of a Catalonian tradition concerning a certain bodily function. All I can say is, I have met people who hailed from that part of Spain and I don't remember this subject coming up. Catalàn is a fascinating language, by the way. Yeah, concentrate on the language...
(Via Jerry Kindall.)
Here's another British science-fiction (and fantasy) author who states his contempt for Tolkien, or at least Lord of the Rings, though he says "Tolkien," even after he states earlier on this page how Tolkien was kind and encouraging to him. I offer no comment to that, though appreciation for kindness certainly should not result in slavish admiration of the generous one's published works, still if it were me I would at the very least refrain from using words like "contempt" and so forth... but I am a little toady, not a soul of adamantine uncompromising dedication to my own ideal.
I have read some of Moorcock's stories, mostly a few of the Elric series. I found them not to my taste after a while; they all seemed to have the same plot: Elric's a crazy psycho, his sword makes him kill someone he likes, interspersed with lavish descriptions yadda yadda. I wondered if they were written to counteract all that hippy-dippy happy-elf fairy stuff as well as that triumphalist sword 'n' sorcery heroic stuff that was popular in the sixties and seventies. This reminds me of a book I read not so long ago: Bimbos of the Death Sun, by Sharyn McCrumb. It's an amusing little satirical mystery based on scifi fandom and writers who cynically exploit same.
Anyway, I have a problem with this statement of Moorcock's:
Growing up during the Blitz, you became used to seeing whole buildings and streets suddenly disappear. After the Blitz, new buildings and streets appeared. The world I knew was malleable, populated, violent and urgent. After the war, everything seemed dull and certainly the obsessions of most politicians and writers didn't bear much relevance to my experience.Well, they hardly disappeared; they were blown up, and the rubble of them was everywhere, I am sure, for quite some time, not to mention the half-burned ruins, and the empty cellar holes. And new buildings didn't "appear," they were built, over a period of months and years. I remember reading English novels -- nothing notable, just whatever was in the YA section at the library -- set in the fifties and sixties which talked about the bombed out Blitz neighborhoods. And aren't there still patches of London that are still not built back up? I don't know, I've only been there once, and we didn't tour the entire city.
I don't know what my problem with Moorcock is, beyond the usual fact of "he got LOTR wrong," which I will let pass since I've already said what I've had to say about that attitude in other posts. I'll just leave it at: he's coming from a different place, and I do not agree with it -- in fact, I see gaps in the logic, assumptions being made (again), which I can't quite put into words. Something about someone whose response to bombed out buildings is to become bored... no doubt I am miscontruing what he said. But I saw the Towers fall on tv. (By the way, I wonder if Jackson is going to show that great scene of Barad Dûr crumbling and collapsing? It would be against all the laws of movies and spectacle not to do so -- and it's only one tower; Isengard doesn't crumble, it become a centerpiece to a pool and a garden once again under the care of the Ents. That's what the new World Trade Center needs on its design board: some Ents.) Anyway, I saw them fall, and my first thought was not: the World is Malleable, Populated, Violent, and Urgent! But then I didn't grow up in prewar (though really, post World War I, and that was supposed to be as traumatic if not more so than the following War?) England. No, I lived here, in America, that not a day before September 11th 2001 was contemplating pulling back, becoming more isolationist. disengaging even further from the world's pettier squabbles. Remember the outcry against Bush, the isolationist president?
Then September 11th happened and all that was revealed to be the flimsiest of fantasies. I remember the silent days that followed, the giant pall of depression that seemed to settle on the entire nation from coast to coast, despite some belligerent talk here and there. I don't know where I am going with this, except to say that a thirty-eight year-old woman had a different response to buildings "disappearing." I certainly didn't sit around thinking "Oh, goody, war! Peace is so dull." Give me dullness.
Anyway, I am reading another in Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. I read somewhere that mystery stories are emblematic (or something) of the search for truth. Well, duh.
Update: Amritas actually read more of the Moorcock internview than I was able to do, thus exposing himself to an ungrateful Eurobastard (sorry, European people who aren't bastards) who has been living in America but obviously never learned at his momma's knee that you don't stab your host in the back, much less spit in his or her face or piss in their milk. Ho hum, another uncivilized creep pontificates on how much Amerikkka and the Whiteman sux. Not to mention Moorcock brings up that ancient bugbear of social mavens, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Geez, 'my people' haven't been boogiemen since the Eighties, when the Yuppies took over as Most Hated Group. Amritas also laments the fact that Andrea Dworkin and I share a first name. You and me both, buddy. What I do is run her names together into one word: "Andreadworkin." It makes it better somehow.
In light of today's atrocity, I wonder how many days (if it even takes days) will pass before I come across someone's blog post or a comment on someone's blog about how sure, it's awful what Palestinian terrorists are doing, but remember, Israel engages in terrorism too. I just can't wait until I get to have the rest of my day ruined by reading something like that.
Arnold Ahlert would like to know why "they're 'his' people" is considered a fine answer to the observation that Saddam Hussein has murdered 180,000 Iraqis. So would I.
Professor Michael Drout has a very good post on the state of academics, how the public perceives them, and especially the humanities. It's a good thing to keep in mind that despite appearances, not all the lunatics are running the asylum yet. Unfortunately the media likes "controversy," noise, radical "out there" spoutings (or statements that can be twisted that way); most scholarship is quiet, tedious, obscure, and not conducive to instant gratification. True, many academics are communist loons who combine ivory tower unworldliness with the arrogant self-regard of the truly stupid. But not all of them are that way. Some of them even have blogs...
Canada is a lovely land somewhat to the north of me that has produced many lovely people. Unfortunately it has also produced a nasty piece of baggage called "Heather Mallick." Her surname is one letter off from being the exact description of her only literary talent. Fortunately, it seems that not all Canadians are thrilled to have such a pundit in their midst: here are some of their responses to one of her older anti-American shriekfests. (And no, September 11th and its aftermath did not soften her up one bit.) Thanks, Canadians! I may visit your provinces one day after all.
Now they've gone too far: using Elvis to promote their movie! Shame!
Damian Penny responds to an article in his local newspaper from a woman who -- wait for it -- thinks the world needs:
either a new global ABM and arms reduction treaty or a new arms race to restore a balance of power.Will wonders never cease. Yes, there are people who yearn for the good old days of the Cold War, when we were all went to bed nightly with visions of nuclear winter dancing in our heads. I know why they feel that way, though: because the Soviets were paragons of cold reason compared to the freaks, loons, and religious nutters running the various Middle Eastern countries. (Yes, that's right: I called them freaks, loons, and religious nutters. As far as I am concerned that is what that collection of Dear Leaders and fake sovereigns they have over there are. And let's not even get into the matter of Kim Ill Dong, or whatever his name is, that real-life Oriental Blofeld. Though actually, I prefer Blofeld: at least he had hardbodied sexy minions.)
John Derbyshire might be the most perfect example of the idea that "Man can soar higher than angels; he can sink lower than beasts" (Zarathushtra) that I have yet encountered. Often he will emit some diatribe or what he obviously thinks is a mere observation, and the general reaction of people who read it is "Ew!" There is some evidence that he is, to put it mildly, a homophobe, and he seems to have a kind of Tourette's syndrome about it. But then there is his obvious love for Chinese culture and literature. In this current column of his, he talks about the opening lines to classic Chinese novels and other works. It seems that not all of them start out obeying the rules of publishing, i.e.: "Hook your reader at the very first line." For example, the opening line to one of them is: "This is the first chapter."
It makes me wonder about the novels we call "classics" now, and whether or not they would be publishable, never mind given endless literary hosannas, today. There is the famous example of Tolstoy's War and Peace: "Eh bien, mon prince!" "Rule" broken: never start your novel with a line of dialogue, especially one in a language not your own. (But of course, the characters speaking are Russian upper crusties in the nineteenth century, who all spoke French and used it in conversation as often as Russian; this establishes the character of the speaker right away. Incidentally, a lot of translations translate that line into English too, which grates on my nerves; I searched until I found a Penguin edition which left the line as is.) Also, Tolstoy's tome is famously huge, and I wonder if his publishers had a heart attack when they received the manuscript. It's longer than Lord of the Rings -- but then, Tolkien wasn't a member of the Russian nobility or any nobility. I also like this quote from my edition in "Notes on the 1978 Edition": "In his absolute moral awareness and total moral engagement with the fate of his characters Tolstoy often neglected literary style."
Yvonne has a rat story. So do I. I left it in her comments but I thought I'd share this with you all since you are probably about up to HERE with Frodo and the gang. Anyway, here is The Tale of Rat Bastard:
I lived in a small, cruddy, down-and-out pseudo-apartment (that was probably illegal) in Miami. One day I saw The Rat. I swear, I've seen smaller possums. (Yeah, I've got possum stories too.) See, these giant rats breed along the canals in Miami, and they can chew through metal pipe and concrete block, no lie. So my landlord provides me with... the trap and the peanut butter-smeared piece of chicken. I wait. One night as I am attempting to sleep (trying to ignore the fact that I now have a roommate who is A Rat) I hear the familiar rustle-crackle-thud of Mr. Giant Rat Who Must Wear Combat Boots Because He is So Loud. Then I hear a *snap!* and a high-pitched squeal. Well, I wasn't going to sleep with a mouldering rat corpse in my bathroom. I got up and reluctantly went to the bathroom. I turned on the light -- NO RAT. But the trap was sprung, and there was a little pool of rat blood on the floor next to it. I looked around wildly. THEN I SAW IT.
It was near the door, not three inches from my foot, glaring at me with the most concentrated look of malevolence I have ever seen. Naturally, I jumped backwards faster than I have ever done before or since. The rat ran out of the bathroom and headed for the semi-enclosed kitchen. It was staggering but still too quick for me. The little bastard ran under the fridge. And there it stayed.
After a night of no sleep I had to go to work the next day. I told my landlord what had happened and he promised to Do Something about it. I kind of half-hoped it had escaped (somehow) and decided to leave the abode of humans for good. In a way it did -- when I got back home, I opened the door to be greeted by the odoriferous stench of rotting rat. Obviously it had expired during the night under my fridge. I called the landlord over (he lived in the main part of the house), and we tipped over the fridge. To see a bare floor. Finally it occured to me to look at the bottom part of the fridge. Sure enough, the rat bastard had climbed into the grill and wedged itself in firmly before going to that garbage can in the sky. No doubt its last thoughts were: "This'll fix the bitch!"
It sure did. My landlord and I had to scrape Rat Bastard's remains off my fridge bottom with a knife, and I had to done plastic gloves and clean the whole thing with undiluted chlorox. In the meantime we bathed in the wonderful stench of ex-rat.
I hate rats.
Well, my cable has been going on and off a lot. Fun. Anyway, while I'm still on, as a service to Blogburst participants (not to mention me) I'm putting up these links to all the Tolkien-related posts from my old blog. These are the ones with substance anyway. Enjoy:
December 18, 2002: What do they eat when they can't get hobbit? -- a critique of a David Brin article on the films and fantasy in general that I thought showed surprising cluelessness towards the genre for a science fiction author.
December 21, 2002: Revenge of the Nerdy-Eyed -- the famousest one of all! (Addendum to this: I said "Deconstruction" when I meant any number of other soul-desiccating academic theories -- the writer I'm attacking doesn't seem too interested in the marginal, the other, or the different, despite his litany of titles of the myth-collections of the entire earth; that was just the one that came to mind, probably because I am still recovering from having to read Derrida last semester.)
December 22, 2002: Banned in Massachusetts, burned out in Middle-Earth, a short smack upside two movie reviewers' heads.
December 28, 2002: Diversions -- this one's not very serious.
You can get mallomars in Virginia. I was under the impression that they no longer even made mallomars, being that they seem to have vanished from all the grocery shelves down here in Floridor.
The Tolkien Blogburst has begun.
Create your own petition. Something to do on a rainy day, especially after a few beers...
Reader Chip Haynes passed along this link to an article on the various "Tolkien's Eleventy-First Birthday" celebrations that are being planned in the Hollywood area: Happy eleventy-first birthday, Mr. Tolkien. The article makes me nostalgic for other reasons totally unrelated to Middle Earth business: on my one and only trip to Los Angeles in 1998 I went to the Cat and Fiddle, and the Hollywood Athletic Club is the place where I saw Bauhaus play its very first show ever after reuniting for its tour of that year. I recall being more impressed with the city of Los Angeles than appalled, but after all I lived in Miami, an equally, if not more so, appalling town.
More babbling after I have finished my coffee.
Strangest Lord of the Rings nitpick ever: Jim Henley wonders why the sea isn't featured more in the tale. (Original question here; or you can start at the previous link and scroll downwards.) All I can say is: the sea and boats do not figure much in this particular set of Middle Earth goings-on because the sea and boats don't figure much in this particular set of Middle Earth goings-on. The story has nothing to do with the fact that England IRL is an island and was often (though not always) a seafaring power. I do think that there is a slight misreading of Tolkien's "intentions of creating a mythology for England" going on here. For one thing, Tolkien was not really trying to do this: trying to pass off his fictional characters and countryside as actual native mythology, rather he was using the tools and trappings of myth to create an imaginative story such as those he liked to read, and he filled it with all sorts of English things and motifs, as well as frank anachronisms from his own life such as "pipe-weed" (tobacco, a plant unknown in the real Middle Ages of the actual England), because he was English and he liked those things. Of course, that's a simplistic reading of Tolkien's motives and intentions, but I do think that people are taking the "he was creating a mythology!" and are running with it off into some strange places.
That being said, the lack of sea and boat travel (except for the takeover and subsequent sail upriver to beseiged Minas Tirith of the the black ship of the Corsairs that Aragorn undertakes in the Return of the King, and of course the boat ride down the Anduin), in the story is because most of the story takes place very far inland in Tolkien's world, in places nowhere near the ocean or any large bodies of water. In any case, as someone has already pointed out to him, the sea is a constant background theme in the story, with the Elves leaving Middle Earth and sailing to Valinor, the background of the Atlantis-like Numenor for the tales, and so on. Someone also wrote with an idea that since Tolkien was a "modern" Brit he had a "modern" concept of distance and travel, and thus was used to being able to get around without bothering with boats, but that won't wash either. Tolkien was very firm about the medievalish setting of the story: people in the Middle Ages rarely traveled far from their native towns and villages, and so it is the case with the average inhabitant of Tolkien's imaginary world. Furthermore, most of the countryside outside of the landlocked Shire is at the time of the story mostly desolate and unpopulated except for a few isolated communities, and there are only a couple of roads. Thus travelling anywhere outside one's community a dangerous undertaking that only someone who was rather cracked would do voluntarily (like Bilbo), or at absolute necessity (like Frodo carrying the ring out of the Shire). Also, unlike the real England, the story takes place on a continent. And lastly, the characters are heading towards Mordor, which is not only landlocked but has no contact with the shore, and no rivers flowing into it, and it is a desert.
More "other-author rewrites" of Lord of the Rings -- much, much more. Sample:
Frodo jacked in.Heh heh. And this, to remind me of the torments of an AP English course on the Absurdist playwrights I took in high school:
He felt huge, invincible, unstoppable. Some small part of him knew that was the hits of pipe-weed talking, skewing his sense of self, making his nerves scream like they were being raked over rusted chrome. Knew, and didn't care.
Over his shoulder he could feel Sam hovering, a hollow nonentity. It was eerie knowing he was back there, like having an itch in a limb long amputated. All around him the middle-matrix arced off into an impossible blue infinity, gridlines benchmarking the empty nonspace.
"There it is," came Sam's voice. "That's the ice. Good luck breakin' in there, man, that was made by a military AI. Name of ephelduath. You ain't seen nuthin' like it. They say it's two-way ice. Not only will it fry your brainpan tryin' to get in, nuthin' inside can work its way out. Leastaways, not without sarumancer's say-so."
Sam: Come on, let's leave this place.(Guess the authors. Go ahead: I'll wait.)
Merry: We can't.
Sam: Why not?
Merry: We're waiting for Frodo.
Sam: Ah! (Pause) You're sure it was here?
Sam: That we were to wait.
Merry: He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Are there any others?
Sam: No, they were all torn down by Saruman. What is it?
Merry: I don't know. An Ent.
Sam: I don't see any leaves.
Merry: It must be dead.
Sure, Viggo Mortenson has made some silly statements and worn the "No Blood For Oil" t-shirt and so on. But he was also in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Everything in perspective. (Gee, I hope I haven't ruined anyone's enjoyment of his role in LOTR.)
I should probably study the technique of folks like Dallas Observer film reviewer Gregory Weinkauf, in case I get offered a snazzy paying job writing sarcasm-filled stuff like this review of The Two Towers. Oh, it was an inoffensive enough review -- he didn't seem as proudly ignorant of the plot as some other reviewers were. But all the smart quips get tiresome after a few paragraphs.
Side note: is it me, or are online journalists letting their fuck flag fly in their writing (and shit shirt, and bitch blanket, and so on)? I can be pretty potty-mouthed, but I'm not writing for a professional publication. I seem to remember not so long ago when you would not ever encounter a four-letter word in a newspaper, and I know this is a website, but the Dallas Observer is also a dead-tree paper if I am not mistaken. Of course, I can remember the misty days back when there were no online publications. I have never really thought about this until now. I'm not a prude about swearing, but I regret the fact that curse words now seem to have no more significance than any other words. That can't be good for society.
(Via Dagger in Hand, whose Blogspot December archives are so screwed up they go to some girl's porn-blog. Just scroll down for this and other links to Tolkien essays.)
Update: CMNewman says the archive links no longer go to any porn. Good, because that was weird.
Bleat is back. (Apparently we aren't supposed to link to Lileks anymore because everyone does. I read that somewhere, I forget where. The person who wrote that didn't think that if everyone stopped linking to Lileks because everyone linked to Lileks, then everyone wouldn't be linking to Lileks, would they?)
The Shakespeare Authorship Page is dedicated to the "Proposition that Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare." A Snopes.com for the Elizabethan set.
(Via Heretical Ideas.)
Wholly unimportant personal detritus follows. Feel free to skip this post.
I had some good news in my university account today -- they have approved my (groveling, humiliating) appeal and will let me receive the money I had already borrowed so I can pay for my next semester of classes, which starts next Monday. I am glad, because I am so friggin' bored. Classes will at least be a diversion.
I am in one of my moods. I decided to eat at the Chinese restaurant next to my job, where the food is dependable if not spectacular (and more important, it is cheap). They were playing Chinese pop music for a change instead of that awful New Age Muzak station they usually play, which was not the greatest relief (I find Chinese pop music to be a bland as any other country's pop music), but at least I didn't have to listen to the awful "self-help" therapy show the Muzak station plays at that hour. Then I went off to the bookstore to find a calendar. I was not pleased with any of the Lord of the Rings ones still available; for one thing, only desk calendars were still to be had, and I wanted one for the wall; for another thing, the ones with photos from the films did not have the best shots (IMHO) and the art ones were Ted Nasmith's, whose artwork I don't much care for. (His trees and Ents are good, but his people rather less attractive to me. I prefer the Brothers Hildebrandt's or Alan Lee's renderings of Tolkien scenes.) So I scrapped the idea of buying an LOTR calendar and looked at the others, but all Borders had left were insipid folk art ("American Quilt," and the like), cars, Harry Potter, and cheescake. I wandered around looking at books for a while but I wasn't very interested, and they were starting to do the annoying we're-about-to-close announcements. I looked at a copy of Neil Gaiman's The Kindly Ones from his Sandman series, but though I like the story I didn't care for the artwork in that particular volume. (The most beautifully illustrated volume in that series is The Wake, which I already own.) I picked around the cd bins, and got to hear a couple being told by the loud clerk that Nick Drake could be found "in opera."
When I am in one of my moods and I can't get some trifling thing that I have been looking for, I am not happy, so after I left Borders I stopped at the Books-A-Million store that is in my neighborhood. They had a much larger selection of half-price 2003 calendars, and I finally settled on one with black-and-white Aubrey Beardsley illustrations. Happiness. I brought it home and tacked it on my wall. Now I can ignore the date like I usually do.
Right now I am listening to the Lisa Gerrard-Peter Bourke cd Duality. Buying all her latest output is in my plans, but that waits, of course for the "spare money," which I never seem to have.
I really need to do something about the pathetically neglected and out-of-date "Library" portion of my site. One thing I will probably do is dispense with the frames, which are so 1997. It is the only site I have ever successfully set up with frames that is still around, which is one reason I haven't redesigned it. In any case, I have left the characters in my two major stories hanging, and I suppose I should get around to rescuing them from the fix they are in.
Okay, time for the daily geekness. I've been reading (re-reading, actually) The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's a useful book for those who are mystified by the idea of a respected scholar writing a fantasy novel. Since these are all his own words, they can't be said to be "interpreted" through the partisan viewpoint of an admirer. This isn't a review, I just wanted to quote some passages. For starters, Tolkien was semi-involved in an ultimately abortive effort to put the thing on film. Here are are samples of his hilarious critique of the film "treatment" he received -- basically, he "fisked" the thing; I am only sorry that for whatever reason the editors decided not to include the letter in its entirety:
Z.... has intruded a 'fairy castle' and a great many Eagles, not to mention incantatons, blue lights, and some irrelevant magic[...]And so on... So as you can see, Peter Jackson is by no means the first person to try and film Lord of the Rings. Of course, there is the animated effort by Ralph Bakshi of part of the series, which I have only seen snippets of (I understand it was an uneven affair, and personally I wasn't impressed with what I saw; a friend of mine gave me the soundtrack on vinyl, but I haven't listened to it yet). I can't really say from all this whether Tolkien would be pleased at all with Jackson's interpretation (I think he would hate the treatment given to Faramir, for instance, and considering his complaints about the contraction of time in this letter, he probably would not care for the same in the current film); but I think I can safely say that whatever departures were taken from the text in the film's screenplay, at least they aren't ludicrous.
Gandalf, please, should not 'splutter'.
The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness. The alighting of a Great Eagle of the Misty Mountains in the Shire is absurd...
The landlord does not ask Frodo to 'register'! Why should he? There are no police and no government[...] If details are to be added to an already crowded picture, they should at least fit the world described.
Rivendell was not a 'shimmering forest'[...] It could not be seen from Weathertop: it was 200 miles away and hidden in a ravine.
Why does Z put beaks and feathers on Orcs!? (Orcs is not a form of Auks.)
Now it is obvious that Tolkien took his work seriously, but he was also under no illusion as to its "importance," which is something I think people don't realize in this day and age of self-aggrandizing literary mavens who think entirely too well of themselves. From a letter to a fan, one Rhona Beare (he seemed to treat his fans, and their nitpicky lists of detailed questions, with much more respect than many bestselling authors would seem capable of; but then he was a college professor in a very nitpicky field):
I have only just returned from a year's leave, one object of which was to enable me to complete some of the 'learned' works neglected during my preoccupation with unprofessional trifles (such as Lord of the Rings)...His reasons for preoccupying himself with such a "trifle":
I write things that might be classified as fairy-stories not because I wish to address children... but because I wish to write this kind of story and no other.He also repeats throughout several of his letters that he does not like allegory, at all -- Aragorn is not Churchill, the Orcs are not the Germans, etc., etc., etc. I keep seeing this idea pop up here and there in commentary on the films (and thus the story) that we can directly apply the goings on in it to our time, and that is no more true now than it was then. The Orcs are not the hapless citizens of the various Middle Eastern countries that seem to be terrorist factories now, and the Ents' battle with Saruman is not an advocation of the Kyoto Accords. The most we can say is that the story is concerned with the universal issues of honor, perseverance, and loyalty; and the greater issue is not even power and who should have it versus who should not, but "Death and Deathlessness."
Later, I will finally get around to reviewing the film so far, and also write on what it means for an American to so admire a story that is chock full of non-American issues such as inherited rule.
[Note: I have rearranged this slightly.)
More evidence that it is adults who can't tell the difference between pretense and reality, fiction and non-fiction: an "anti-war activist" who is also (unsurprisingly) a vegetarian (but what about the helpless vegetables, who can't run away? does no one weep for them?) has made a "documentary" condemning the "murder" of "over nine billion people" -- in the plotlines of movies. No, really. Here's my favorite quote:
He justifies his figure of nine-billion Hollywood dead from just two movies. In Star Wars,a blue and white planet is vaporized and although it is called Alderaan, Livingston argues that out of 109 planets known to astronomy only one contains humans and the people in the film refer to it as "home." Given Earth's population, "that is six-billion dead right there," he says.The Globe and Mail article is huffing and puffing over the efforts of studios to prevent this fellow, one Peter Livingston, from using clips of their films in his so-called "documentary," but leaving that aside, has no one taken him by the hand and told him: "Peter -- Peter dear, we have to tell you this: the people up there on the big screen? They're just pretending to die. No, really. They get up after the cameras are off and go home. Yes -- it's called acting." I can't wait until he visits a library and realizes the shelves are just pulsating with a thousand years or more of death and destruction.
Damian Penny points out that there is another culture here on earth that really does "glorify death and murder" -- real death and murder, as opposed to fictional death of imaginary people. But it's our culture that is evil. Right.
Those who are still under the impression that well-to-do, upper-middle-class people have nothing to lose in this war would do well to read this. But they won't.
(Via Dean Esmay.)
Watch out for 2010? Well, we'll see...
Because I am a liberal.
(Via Aaron's Rantblog.)
Update: I just wanted to add that I don't agree slavishly with every single thing that is said in the article (for one thing, it is not at all clear that our intentions re Iraq et al can be descrived as "imperialistic"). But I concur with this portion:
There are almost no European-style conservatives in the United States, people who want to defend a status quo based on hierarchy, tradition and a pessimistic view of human nature. Those we label "conservatives" in this country are called "liberals" in Europe, because they are in favor of free markets, individual initiative and a democratic polity based on individual, not collective, rights.It goes on to say that the anti-globalist, anti-progress, anti-everything contingent are actually the conservative ones, though ostensibly of the left. I want to add further that I think we should really try to bury those old designations of "left," "right," and "center" for once and for all; they are meaningless. Better labels might be to call peoples' political positions "dynamic," "static," or a combination of the two. I am sure someone else somewhere has already come up with this concept, because it seems familiar to me.
Also, I have changed the category to the one I have set aside for whatever non-war political posts I come up with. There, Spoons!
(Via Cut on the Bias.)
And I thought I was OCD where Lord of the Rings was concerned; check out Pejman's detailed examination of plot and other inconsistencies in Star Wars. I am somewhat more sanguine when it comes to plot holes in movies -- heck, for the bar scene alone I am almost willing to forgive George Lucas a whole bunch of other film sins. (Such as explosions in the void of space that make sound, grr grr.)
Update: he follows up here.
[...]a piece of Primeval Idiotarianism, a chunk of Pure Stupidity left behind from the world was young.Do visit "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Growing Up in the War Machine" to get the full flavor of the conspiratoid nonsense, the self-pity, and worst of all, the sub-par circa-1996 web "design" of the place, which is complete with huge headers, zillions of animated gifs and ads, nonsensical bulleted lists, ugly background images, scrolling "marquee" text (the "blink" tag of Internet Explorer) and badly-placed giant jpegs. Then read Vegard's post.
Update: According to Combustible Boy, this website was favorably cited by the Iraqi Ministry of Information's official Iraq Daily publication. That ought to tell you something.
It's getting so hard to avoid the stone-throwing, torch-bearing mobs that gather whenever I leave my house without my American burqa. What's a girl to do?
Via a commenter to a small victory.
David Letterman rocks, but you already knew that.
Guess who bloggers have to thank for their newfound 'fame and fortune': none other than the tentacled being himself, Trent Lott. Or at least, this is the case according to the Boston Globe. Mmmm... smell the cluelessness! They also commit the usual cardinal sin of not linking to the bloggers they name. Is the Globe in Google's pay?
(Via Scott Chaffin, one of the named non-linked.)
Samuel Pepys has a blog. All kidding aside, this will probably be a useful site, if only for the fact that it will provide (eventually) the entire Diary. Side note: on the sidebar is a comment about Mr. Pepys' bouts of kidney stones. I had one myself a few years back, but I didn't even get to have an operation, but rather it was removed by the snazzy, high-tech method of pumping me full of painkillers and liquid until I peed it out. That was a good thing, of course, though I didn't think so at the time. Pepys continued to have more trouble:
At the post-mortem examination a nest of seven stones, weighing four and a half ounces, was found in the left kidney, which was entirely ulcerated.Excuse me, I'm going to drink some more water now.
(Via Neil Gaiman, who still has no permalinks. Hey, writer boy: get some permalinks. )
I Was a Teenage Language Geek: the official website for the LOTR films has several international counterparts. One is for Finland, and there we find out that "Lord of the Rings" in Finnish is "Taru sormusten herrasta" Now Finnish has always been a fascinating language to me, being that it is so different from Indo-European languages. (It is a member of the Finno-Ugric family of languages.) I figure that "herrasta" must mean "lord," or maybe "lord of" -- Finnish has fifteen different cases, as opposed to the mere four in German or six in Russian, and the case a word belongs to is shown by the suffix appended to the word, which suffix often causes a change in spelling and pronounciation of the rest of the word, etc., etc. -- because "herra" is how you say "Mister," which probably once had the designation "Master" or "My Lord." My interest in Finnish and other odd languages predated my discovery that respectable grownups like Tolkien could have similar interests. Growing up in Miami, I got to hear a lot of Spanish, and they had already instituted mandatory lessons in that language in the public grammar schools down there. The consequence was, for me, to become bored with Spanish specifically (I have never learned to speak it very well), but I became interested in other languages, especially ones that were different from Spanish and English. When I enrolled in junior high (they call it "middle school" everywhere now) I started taking German. The next year I added French to my list of foreign language classes, and then Italian when it was offered in my high school. I took a couple of semesters in community college of Spanish, finally. I don't really know that my intentions regarding the use of all these languages were realistic; I had some vague idea of becoming an interpreter and leading a glamorous life of international travel and intrigue. (That was before I had ever really been anywhere.) Unfortunately, I have let my knowledge of the vocabulary of all these languages slide, but phrases still come back to me from time to time, and I don't find subtitled movies to be the headache-inducing inconvenience that other people seem to.
My neighbor in the apartment next door has chosen to play his stereo very loud. Right now the album he has on is The Who's Tommy, which I also happen to own. I wonder what would happen if I dug the LP out of the closet and started playing the very same track. Would he think there was something wrong with his stereo?
Oh well, at least he's not into Britney Spears, or (c)rap.
Guardian banshee-at-large George Monbiot is of the opinion that Western Civilization reached its height in 1974. All those things you own, all that food you have, this computer you are reading this on -- an unimaginable household article in the early Seventies -- they don't really exist, apparently. They were right: polyester really was evil. (Via Steven Chapman.)
All Tolkien, All the Time: Not really; but via Colby Cosh comes this fascinating little tidbit on that professor's work on the Oxford English Dictionary. A sample of Tolkien's handwriting is included; apparently he always wrote in Elvish.
Addendum: as concerns manual typewriters; I've got an old Olivetti "portable" (meaning it's small, and has no "1" key -- you have to substitute the small "L"). I bought it for US$75.00 at a local old office stuff place; it's got little round black keys, and the rest has the sort of immovable solidity that one rarely sees nowadays, when everything that wasn't wood or cloth was made in a forge. Pounding on it is indeed a satisfying experience, and good exercise too, or at least better on your carpal tunnels than computer keyboards.
Could someone please tell me why my freakin' computer keeps freezing up??? Besides the fact that it is obsolete and has barely enough RAM to load Win98, that is. Grrr.
Nikita Demosthenes reviews the movie The Two Towers by comparing it to the book. I would comment but I've been drinking this sparkly wine that tastes like raspberry soda and I'm listening to the Cult's Love album (vinyl!) so I can't really come up with anything coherent right now except to say this is an interesting and in-depth look at the film vs. the book. I disagree though, about the actors picked to play the Elvish characters (Galadriel, Elrond, and so forth). It is quite frankly impossible for actual human actors to be made to look like the physically perfect specimens of Unfallen Man that Tolkien conceived of his Elves as being, so Peter Jackson did the next best thing and picked actors that had a commanding presence, and used costuming tricks (pulling back the hair, nicer clothes, and so on) to differentiate them from the slightly rougher-looking humans. (Notice, for instance, that the major human characters are either bearded or short in the case of the hobbits, and rather unkempt or at least grizzled, and so forth). Cate Blanchett seems especially perfect to me -- and she has one requirement down pat: her voice, like Galadriel's is "deeper than a woman's wont."
Anyway, read it for tips on differences from film to book. (Brought to you by Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this time by Solonor.)
Shukan Taishu (9/16) notes that loads of punters are getting their kicks out of flicks where chicks do kicks -- right between the legs of naked men.We always bring you the latest important news here at Spleenville.
Surprisingly, the main market for tamakeri (ball kicking) videos is apparently not among young women stressed out at living in a male-dominated society, but mostly young guys who get off on the idea of being punted in the privates.
Welcome, Meiner Damen und Herren, to the new Spleenville Journal! It's time to present: The New Blog Faq. I don't think I ever got around to writing a faq for my previous blog. But anyway. Here it is:
Q: Why on earth did you change your blog?
A: Because I wanted to. All the pages were full. (Beat.) A new year, a new blog. That sort of thing.
Q: That is so inconvenient for me.
A: Allow me to extend my sympathies -- oops, sorry, fresh out of sympathies! Oh all right -- here: open your blogroll editing function, or go into your html template and change where it says "blog" in the URL to "journal." Without the quotation marks. Everything else stays the same. See how easy? No, I can't help you if you don't remember your password. Wait -- better yet, do you have a child in the household? Get them to do it.
Q: Why is the name of your blog "Too Much to Dream"? Are you going all soft and girly?
A: Bog forbid. I just happened to have that song in my head for the past three days. Therefore: the name of my new blog. You must all suffer for my psychological aberrancies.
Q: Where is all the warmongering? Will there still be spleen-venting and ranting? Will choppin' dude ever be seen again?
A: I am as bloodthirsty and spleen-filled as ever. I will probably not be posting much about politics (as if I ever did), but that is what other blogs are for. As for choppin' dude, he is on a secret mission. He may make an appearance from time to time, as his assignments allow. Try to be patient. We are at war, you know.
Q: That's what the Orcs say.
A: You are banned.
Q: Can you (make the background color/font color brighter/darker, make the text larger/sans-serif/a different font, make it look perfect in my weird arcane browser that only people in downtown Tallinn use)?
Q: ::Wail:: My eyes!
A: Oh, okay -- I plan to make a "printer friendly" version available very soon. In the meantime, turn off stylesheets and so forth in your browser.
Q: Why won't you post about (insert subject)?
A: My blog, my interests. Don't like it? Consult
my ass Google.
Q: What's with all the Tolkien crap? Are you some kind of geek?
A: A sphincter says what?
Brought to you by Written While Drunk®.
Addendum the first to the FAQ: Guys, try to keep in mind -- at the end of the day, the entire freakin' Internet is all a giant waste of time. We should all be Out There making money or babies or something. So if I seem to get all worked up about some silly thing or other, just remember that I could be using my powers for evil. Keep me blogging. Do it for the Children™.
Addendum the second: anyone who sends me particularly amusing (as in, stupid, retarded attempt to flame or intimidate) email will have their email, with address links, posted and mocked. So far I haven't had one of these in a good long time; most blogroaches -- you know who you are -- seem content to infest the comments. But I thought I would add this little warning just in case. Oh -- and re comments: I will be closing comments to posts after a certain length of time arbitrarily chosen by me.
Bar-B-Q Sauce, made by a Man. It's what's for dinner! (Nothing else, though -- dumb subbitch forgot to buy meat or buns!)
Via Bill Quick, who is going to have to find me now! Bwahahahahaha!!