Wednesday, October 11, 2006

See Under Plans, Best Laid, Mice and Men, of

I'm dealing with computer problems that have been temporarily assuaged and which will hopefully soon be fixed, but as a result, bang goes Random Flickr Blogging and some other posts I'd hoped to work up this week; meanwhile, though, here's some fun and/or timely reading to enjoy.

David Haglund has a nice piece on the underappreciated dark side of Jimmy Stewart:

It's no surprise, then, that when Stewart played George Bailey in Capra's masterpiece It's a Wonderful Life, the film was (and still is) misunderstood as a hymn to "the common man." Bailey is "not a common, ordinary yokel," the movie's villain declares. "He's an intelligent, smart, ambitious young man" who spends most of the film trying to escape his Podunk hometown. He wants to see the world, "Italy and Baghdad and Samarkand," and to "build things. Big things." His defining characteristic, in fact, is a revulsion at the ordinary, a (repeatedly suppressed) striving toward greatness. The failure to realize these ambitions drives him nearly to suicide.

Then he, like so many Stewart characters, has a vision, this time of a genial angel named Clarence. Clarence makes Bailey an outcast—as, in a sense, he'd always wanted to be—by showing him a world in which he'd never been born. This vision drives Bailey further into madness. "You're crazy," he tells Clarence. "And you're driving me crazy, too. I'm seeing things here." After he sees his mother, and she cruelly turns him away, not recognizing him, he runs up to Capra's camera with a look that not one of his contemporary male stars could have achieved. It's a more sinister version of Jefferson Smith's look when he first sees the Capitol dome, one of utter possession and derangement.

Speaking of derangement, the News Dissector recently linked to these "100 Best Novels" lists at Random House's The Modern Library. On the "board's list," the top ten features names like Joyce, Nabokov, Faulkner, and Huxley. On the competing "reader's list," the top ten features four books by Ayn Rand and three by L. Ron Hubbard. *sigh*

Michael Schwartz shares seven facts about Iraq that are worth knowing.

Paul Craig Roberts says that "President Bush and his neocon nazis have simultaneously lost two wars and America’s economic future." Lucky us; we hit the trifecta.

The secretary of the World League of Despots—aka Terry Jones—officially welcomes George W. Bush to despothood. (Ya gotta love how the Guardian describes Terry Jones: "Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python." Back when Pythonesque made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, I remember thinking: Forget money; forget power; forget fame; forget celebrity; you know you've had an impact on the world when you become an adjective. I guess it works for nouns, too.)

Finally (this one's for jules): Eat curry, get smarter!



How velly, velly cool...thanks, John!

Hey, check out Billmon citing Python's "there is no cannibalism in the Royal Navy" skit re: Hastert.
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