Monday, October 02, 2006
Football Thoughts on the Sans a Bronco Weekend
Speaking of Puritanical (Because We Weren’t, but, Damnit, I Wanted To)
Unless there is something more to this story, the teacher and the community should be angered that the puritanical tendencies of one parent could blemish what sounds like a distinguished teaching career.
There is a difference between art and pornography; not every representation of a nude body is a case of the latter. There is a reasonable expectation that any decent museum will have its share of nude paintings and sculpture that the majority of us would agree fall into the “art” category; any parent who objects to any nude representations shouldn’t let the school take their kids to an art museum. This isn’t a reflection on the teacher or the art, in fact, it’s a reflection on the minds and beliefs of the parents and a school administration taking this single complaint to an extreme conclusion.
I’ve only seen this story and I’ve only read, essentially, the one side of the story. There may well have been other reasons and other complaints for the administrator’s actions. On the face of it, though, this is just wrong.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Two Blogging Quickies
Firstly, I really don’t get what the fake Malkin photo was supposed to prove even if it had been real. Whatever I’ve thought of Malkin’s posts--often I agree, occasionally I disagree, and every once in a while I think she goes too far in something that she’s written--I’ve never noticed her say that women shouldn’t wear bikinis or have fun. So how was this photo really supposed to reflect her in a bad light? Sorry, I really don’t get it.
What I also don’t get is how her husband gets through the day without having a clock tower moment. The things that have been said about her must absolutely drive him to moments of rage. Either that or he’s a much more mellow guy than I am. Call my wife a whore, make what amount to racist jokes about her and ping pong balls, and then say things about her that are blatantly and rudely sexual (and read all the way to the end of this post if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about) and you would find a very cranky me up in your face.
It’s amazing to me that the enlightened, diversity-celebrating left seems to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to use racist and sexist rhetoric to combat Malkin’s words.
Not that she needs somebody like me speaking for her; she seems to do fine in standing up for herself.
Second, apparently a good percentage of Americans believe that our government is manipulating oil prices to benefit Republicans in the upcoming elections. I wonder if those same people think that Hugo Chavez and Venezuela’s oil industry are doing their best to keep oil prices high because they would prefer to see Republicans fail? Because, seriously, I think one is more likely than the other.
On that same subject, does anyone find it interesting that Chavez pays continuing lip service to wanting to provide America’s poor people with affordable oil but then moves to make sure that the market doesn’t let the price of oil fall too low?
And, sort of on the same subject, does anyone find it completely unsurprising that Chavez wants oil prices high (regardless of what that means for the world’s poor people)? Oil money is what props up his government; he was very likely on his way out before oil prices spiked and bought his government out of voter dissatisfaction. If oil prices drop to pre-9/11 numbers, Chavez is unlikely to be in a position of power for very long.
In fact, the most convincing argument for finding an alternative to oil for our cars is that the less money that goes to oil, the less cover given to guys like Chavez around the world. Oil money isn’t always a blessing; it’s often a way for dictators, tyrants, and the incompetent for maintaining control of otherwise undeveloped economies.
Right now, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the entire Middle East are only influential because of the demand for oil. Consider how diverse the economies are of those countries--or, more specifically, how diverse they aren’t--and then answer one question: without oil money, what kind of place would they have in world politics?
Party at ResurrectionSong?
Which gives me an idea…
Flyboys: A Shortish Review
Flyboys is a cliche wrapped up in formula and shrouded by convention. I can’t say that there was a single surprise or twist that isn’t telegraphed miles before it happens; for that matter, the manipulative emotional scenes hardly manage to connect despite the soaring music and the obvious cues. While the flying scenes are fun, some of the combat scenes do raise the heartbeat a bit, and the acting is, generally, in that decent-to-good category, the movie never really manages to distinguish itself.
This is a shame since I’m not entirely opposed to playing the old standards. Steven Spielberg has made a career out of taking the most formulaic of Hollywood plots, manipulating emotions shamelessly, and giving moviegoers something compelling to watch. Saving Private Ryan was surprising only in the grittiness and brutality of its combat scenes; the plot contained few unanticipated turns, but the movie is still compelling.
So, in a way, I am the target audience for Flyboys. I love movies that celebrate courage and the idea of redemption, I’m thrilled by early aviation history, and I don’t really mind cliches in the service of a good movie. But Flyboys is a little more Pearl Harbor that it is Saving Private Ryan--just not so mind-bogglingly bad as the former.
There are some redeeming values to the film, not least of which is watching biplanes and triplanes circling each other in the sky. Computer generated or not (and most of them were) this is fun stuff. That isn’t to say that it looks real, because this movie doesn’t have that whiff of authenticity that the best war movies convey. It’s just that old Nieuports and Fokkers are cool regardless of the factual errors and anachronisms that more informed viewers will spot. Most of the rest of the good of the movie is either captured in Jean Reno’s light turn as the commanding officer of the unit and Jennifer Decker as the love interest (there had to be one), Lucienne. Decker makes the most of a fairly small role that is defined as much by her convincing acting as by her beauty.
The movie, about an early mostly-American volunteer group (think something similar to Chennault’s AVG before America’s entry into World War II) fighting as aviators in France. This is a topic with potential--it could have been good. Instead, it isn’t bad enough to be Pearl Harbor, but it isn’t good enough to recommend. The producers’ hearts were in the right place, but the script, like the characters, just isn’t developed enough despite the movie’s lengthy running time.
The best I can say is that it might have been a fun movie to rent on a lazy Saturday, cuddling up with your significant other and a big bowl of popcorn.
© 2005 by the authors of ResurrectionSong. All rights reserved.
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