Commenting on an article about a 5-year-old girl who bit her mother after watching Where The Wild Things Are, Sci Fi Wire reader Mandy asked, “Some five-year-old isn't clever enough to tell the difference between fiction and reality, so now parents are going to think this is bad for kids?” Answer: Of course the film is bad for kids, at least the ones not old enough to distinguish between reality and fiction. More significantly, everything about the film — from director/co-writer Spike Jonze’s cinematic vision to the film’s marketing by Warner Brothers — demonstrates the persistence of an adult perspective. And from this comes a rather odd conundrum: The film adaptation of a children’s book is all about a child’s experience but is not, in itself, suitable for children.
I can hardly think of anything more overblown and uninteresting than President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. With the peanut gallery overcome with hysteria and the floor littered with broken hearts torn from chests – where’s Campaign Obama, people ask? Where are the accomplishments? — it seems like there’s nothing else of any importance going on in the world.
The latest version of Ronald Reagan’s famous statement that “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem,” comes from Charles Grassley, the Republican Senator from Iowa. In arguing against a public healthcare insurance option that would allegedly bankrupt the county, Sen. Grassley said “Government is not a competitor. Government is a predator.” He neglected to add “with big fangs, sharp claws, and a really mean disposition.”
I wrote about this faux-anarchist anti-publicanism a few months ago, but this time I have to raise the question of motivation and integrity.
Although I’m sorely tempted to offer up yet another “plague on both your houses” column this week, I thought we could all take a break from hurling contempt at irrational Republican and spineless Democrats. Instead, I want to talk about music – specifically, local musicians that I think are very much worth a good long listen.
While driving to and fro the other day, I noticed a bus completely encapsulated in advertising. It doesn’t matter who the ad was for – they’ve got plenty of attention as it is. What matters is that the ad was so tightly and completely wrapped that it was impossible to tell which transit system the bus belonged to. Only a bit of orange on the front gave any indication. And I wondered: Where has the romance of the public transit system gone?
Amidst all the healthcare brouhaha, you may have missed the story of an airplane hijacked in Mexico just as it was leaving Cancun. Thankfully, the 100 passengers were safe and the hijackers were arrested. What makes the story newsworthy is the lead hijacker’s motive. Apparently, preacher Jose Mar Flores received a divine revelation to hijack the plane as a way of warning President Felipe Calderon of an impending earthquake. Mr. Flores apparently told police that Sept. 9, 2009, (9-9-9), is the Satanic number 666 turned upside down. This could all be dismissed as the result of a sad case of deluded thinking and tenth-rate numerology, but it actually illustrates a rather hefty question: Why, and how, do we put trust in religious experiences?
After years of litigation and appeals, the US Box of Business (US BoB) v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) finally reaches the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice: It’s my understanding, Mr. Moneybags, that the US Box of Business believes NASA should hold public hearings on the science underlying the law of gravity. Is this correct? Do I understand your position?
People have nothing to say – but that won’t stop them from saying it at ear-bleeding, migraine-inducing volume. That pretty much sums up this tragic joke we call the healthcare debate. The punchline: There is no plan. There are various blobs masquerading at plans in various stages of nebulosity in the House and a few Senate committees. There are pages and pages of possible-maybe-kinda-sorta legislation that won’t survive intact once we reach that singular mythical event, the final vote. But there’s no plan-plan, and that gives people an excuse to set aside that supremely annoying thing, reality, when discussing healthcare in America. After all, why let facts get in the way of wishful opinion?
The science-fiction film District 9 earns its R-rating. Bursting heads, exploding bodies, beatings. None of it gratuitous or sensational. Nevertheless, there it is on the screen; graphic, bloody violence. As my wife and I watched the film, we were surprised to hear a child in the row behind. A child! Who brings a child to an R-rated film? But that isn’t what really shocked us.
With the Gates incident and first-ever “Beer Summit” stoking the national obsession, it’s time to confuse the national racial dialogue with a bit of armchair philosophizing. The impetus comes by way of Ron Reagan, my favourite of Air America’s current lineup, who recently asked listeners about what shape the national dialogue on race should take. It’s a great question. What do we expect a national dialogue on race to accomplish? My question is: Is it even possible to have a national dialogue?