Monday, January 08, 2007
Even Better the Second Time Around
If you still haven't seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I highly recommend it. Again. I stand by my original review, but will add that this is one that is well worth watching again for things missed the first time.
If you could simply erase a painful memory, should you? This film treats the subject very well and on many levels. (My wife first saw it at a neuroscience retreat, which speaks well for it as science fiction.) For most situations, the answer is NO WAY, and the film does a surprisingly good job of showing why. To elaborate further would be to spoil the movie. I will say that besides exploring this very interesting question, the movie shows a man fighting valiantly for the woman he loves.
A friend of mine who had seen it recently emailed me to recommend it this Saturday. Being sick with some kind of low-grade cold and missing my wife, who is again in Chicago, I recalled something about the mood of the film that seemed right for me. So I looked fruitlessly for it at Blockbuster, whose selection seems to have severe limits for anything released beyond the past few months. (We usually use Netflix.) Feeling better Sunday, I drove over to Hollywood Video and found it easily. Good thing. Houston's best place to find an unusual movie on the spur of the moment, Cactus Video, recently closed its doors.
So I watched the movie yesterday and got a little choked up at scene 77, which reminded me of one of our early dates....
77 EXT. CHARLES RIVER - NIGHT 77And then my wife called. Luckily for me, she likes the way I react to scenes like this!
Joel and Clementine lie together holding hands on the frozen
river. They look up at the stars.
[I could] die right now, Clem. I'm just...
happy. I've never felt that before. I'm
just exactly where I want to be.
Clementine looks over at him. Her eyes are filled with love
and tears. Then they get vague, clouded-over. The scene is
being erased. Joel is panicked.
The improvement of the movie with a second viewing reminds me, by contrast, of another film I watched again awhile back, The Others, which I regard as a very clever ghost story. (It is not quite in a league with Sixth Sense, but it is still worth seeing once.) The suspense of this movie is so dependent on an unusual plot twist that the movie almost completely changes with the second viewing. Yes. It is still interesting to see the various clues you might have missed or misread the first time around, but I found the movie humorous rather than suspenseful when I did this.
Chavez Closes Major Media Outlet
Hugo Chavez is in the process of effectively closing what I believe is Venezuela's oldest television network.
[Chavez] told a gathering of army officers last week that the broadcast licence of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) would not be renewed when it expires in March. He accused the channel of backing a coup against him in 2002.This comes as little surprise to me. Chavez had already imposed limits to television journalism through a "Social Responsibility Law". (HT: Noumenal Self)
"The closing of a mass communications outlet is a rare step in the history of our hemisphere and has no precedent in the recent decades of democracy," said the [Organization of American States] secretary general, Jose Miguel Insulza.
Rick Warren's Driving Purpose: Aiding Tyranny
Once again, I have encountered a story about Rick Warren going to bat for a dictator. The first time, he was praising Syria after a visit to its president. This time, he features in a puff piece in the Religion section of the Saturday Houston Chronicle:
PEACE is an acronym that stands for "plant churches, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick and educate the next generation."You know. One of the problems with corrupt people in general and liars in particular is that the one thing you can not do with them is directly ask them whether they are going to be honest about something and expect to hear the truth. They'll just tell you what you want to hear and in the process, they might even learn from you what your concerns are and whether you have any convenient blind spots to exploit.
The partnership between Warren and [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame is uncommon because one of the goals of Warren's PEACE plan is to "combat egocentric leadership." In general, Warren says, this means steering clear of Africa's often corrupt leaders.
"I've actually sat down with presidents in Africa ... and my first question is, 'Are you going to rip me off?' " says Warren, of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. "And I say: 'I have the ability to bring in resources and investments. We're certainly not going to come in here if you're just going ... put it in a Swiss bank account.' "
This lesson would also apply in part to the words coming from Rick Warren's mouth as he anticipates our concerns about what the hell he is doing in Africa and the Middle East. Nice try Rick, but there's a lot more to corrupt rule than personal aggrandizement. The fact is, you are helping dictators.
A Tale of Two Wars
There is an interesting post comparing World War II to the current war over at Galileo Blogs.
Toeing the Green Line at the New York Times
George Reisman looks at a story in the New York Times with a critical eye.
[T]he Green party line presenting poverty as technologically advanced, as the wave of the future, and as morally virtuous. We can supposedly all look forward to the day when we will be as advanced as the Japanese and energy will cost us twice as much as it now does. When we too will be unable to afford central heating and will have to live in houses half their present size. When we will have to gather our entire family into the one heated room in the house. When we will have to follow one another into the same bathwater, and then use that bathwater to wash our clothes, which we will have to dry outdoors, as our great-grandparents did. When we will have to wear long underwear and sweaters to keep warm indoors. What a glorious, green future!The Green sales pitch is not unique in attempting to make a lower living standard sound virtuous, but it is in packaging it for sale to technology buffs.
On the latter score, Reisman takes a look at subsidies by the Japanese government that permit people to buy expensive power gadgetry for less than current market prices. This is exactly what many in our own government -- left and right -- are trying to get America to start doing much more of at the federal level. We are already doing a little of this in the form of the subsidies that support the addition of ethanol to "improve" our gasoline.
When We Abandon Principles ...
... we leave ourselves open to political abuse of the crow epistemology.
House rules pushed through by the Democrats this week retained the six-year limit on chairmen imposed by Republicans, but the leadership reassured lawmakers they would revisit the restrictions when there was less attention focused on the dawn of the Democratic era. [bold dropped]Not that we would need term limits if our government were as limited as it should be.... (HT: Instapundit)
The problem is partly circumvented by the "many eyes" made available via the Internet to watch the Democrats -- provided they don't blind these eyes by restricting our ability to use the Internet or mute our voices by restricting freedom of speech.
And provided that some of us do think in terms of principles. The Democrats can't do anything about this last, so they will work on the first two "problems".
I have finally added a link to Ian Hamet's blog, which he has recently renamed from Banana Oil! to Benevolent Misanthropy. I've followed his blog off and on for quite awhile and am glad to see that he's back.
I have also added a reciprocal link to Victoria Bekiempis' blog, de Plume Daily. She seems to be on a hiatus related to a move overseas, but based on this Capitalism Magazine article, I look forward to her return.
Two Good Ones by Myrhaf
Myrhaf blasts Barney Frank's ridiculous claim to be a "capitalist" and takes a good look at the role of morality in politics. Both posts are long, but worth your time.