“The ‘Great Society’ has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state … If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.”

With Perry and Bachmann in the race poor Sarah Palin is a bit old ha and looking a little desperate.

She  is being out-crazied by people who at least sound like they know what they are talking about. But I found this article I must have missed the first time around which captures her ignorance beautifully:

“Tina Fey’s caricature of Palin as an unprepared high-school student trying to bluff her way through an oral exam by mugging and flirting hit its mark not merely because of the genius of the mimicry, but because of its fundamentally accurate diagnosis of Palin as bullshit artist. Palin’s exuberant incoherence testifies to an unusually wide gulf between confidence and ability. She is proud of what she doesn’t know and contemptuous of those “experts” and “elitists” who are too knowledgeable to be trusted. This curious self-regard echoes through her book, Going Rogue, described by the critic Jonathan Raban as “a four-hundred-page paean to virtuous ignorance.”

Ah the good ol’ days with the devil you know.

 

Why do some people argue that suggesting that the riots are part of a larger social issue that involves poverty and alienation is somehow excusing the violence?

Is it inconceivable that the different people could have been rioting for different reasons?

 

I realised I’ve been remiss in preparing this.

Captain America is good old fashioned fun. As many have commented, it harkens back to the Indiana Jones films and the way we wish those 40s movie serials were. Performances are great – especially Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell and Hugo Weaving but it is Joe Johnston’s slightly clunky direction and tin ear for pacing that stops Captain America being a timeless classic.

Evans deserves particular credit. Numerous reviewers have said the character of Steve Rogers is basically boring  because he doesn’t have any personal demons to overcome. I disagree. In the first act he has to persevere even though everyone tells him he’ll never serve, in the second act,  he has to deal with the frustrations of becoming the supersoldier and yet still not being able to serve. That qualifies as a story arc where I come from. Evans plays him exactly as he should – a good man, who wants to do right. He is not an ideologue and nor is he an adventurer, he is the perfect exemplar of the citizen who wants to do his duty and meet his responsibilities.

As for pathos, well given the way the film ends, he’ll have that aplenty in the sequel and the Avengers. Arguably making Captain America only a chapter on the road to the Avengers and the demands the latter makes for a balanced team of different personalities liberates Steve Rogers from being another a generic joking action hero.

While the film is intentionally anachronistic, the sequel won’t have that luxury. The anachronisms are possible because the film is set in WW2. The same schtick won’t play in the present which means the sequel will have to find a different tone (presumably they will draw inspiration from Brubaker’s espionage inspired Captain America run).

Mostly the anachronisms work well but a few irked me – like Erskine overhearing Steve and Bucky talking about his inability to serve or the ease with which broke into the Hydra facility. I know what they were aiming for and I know they workedd in Indiana Jones but here it didn’t quite hit the mark (but they weren’t deal breakers either).

The romance between Evans and Atwell works well, especially in its understated moments. I think that is true for the whole film and that’s what makes the drawn out conversation between Steve and Peggy at the end all the more disappointing. It was really an example of where less would have been more. Again it didn’t ruin the film, but it lessened a bit of the impact.

Hugo Weaving was great as the Red Skull. He chomped up those scenes like there was no tomorrow. Red Skull’s plan was pretty generic but that anachronism did work although i expect Loki to have better plans for the tesseract than the Red Skull.

Production design was spot on and the soundtrack was serviceable but nothing special.

Two thumbs up for Captain America and bring on the Avengers!

This is a fascinating development.

How else should we look at it other than as an extension of the Arab Spring? Sure there are lots of differences: Israel is a democracy (albeit a weak one) but within the context of a democracy this is the same kind of thing.

As a country that has been focused on conflict with its neighbours and with occupying territories it has no hope of controlling without large-scale oppression of the people who live there, it should come as no surprise that the rest of the country has gone to shit in the meantime.

‘Just as Hobbes saw clearly that the State was against war, so war is against the State and makes it impossible’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1988: 359).

 

Usually I do but i got about three quarters through William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s the Difference Engine and just couldn’t be bothered. It’s a real shame because it had so much promise but i felt that it was all over the place. Maybe I’m a philistine …

I really don’t have a lot of confidence in my own opinions (shocking) because if I don;t like something I feel that there is something wrong with me…

  • I think the books are the most effective denouncement of the pursuit of power I have ever read.
  • I love the way that Martin can effortlessly reverse a character’s position in a matter of a few pages. Of course it is only satisfying and effective because he has put in place such a meticulous structure that seems so effective and yet is plausibly vulnerable to one miscalculation.
  • Cersei is the most evil character in existence. I’m 4/5th of the way through DwD and even though Cersei has only had one chapter and she is in a precarious position, she has managed to further indict herself as a contemptible bitch.
  • I am constantly amazed at how “anti-romantic” the books are.  Every instinct I have about what will happen next is accompanied by a realisation that it  is wrong because it is too romantic (that is, clichéd).
  •  Perhaps the only romantic moment is the hatching of the dragons.
  • Of course the reason that it is so anti-romantic is that Martin draws inspiration from history rather than myth. My question is: how satisfying can the conclusion of the cycle be without a bit of romance? This is where the difference between myth and history becomes acute. History never ends but myths do. I’m very confident that Martin will find a way to do it but as a reader I’m at a loss as to how he will do it (which is a good thing because a surprise is nice ).
  • Without over thinking it I do get a sense why Martin had such trouble getting the timelines to match up when Books four and five were the one book.
  • The books are an example of free indirect discourse right? I really like that style…
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