Archive for August, 2010

 

Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

One of the neat things about the iPad is that all the books from Project Gutenberg are available for free of charge. As a result, I’ve read “The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In reading the story, it strikes me that there is a subcontext that is missing from the typical interpretation of the story. The typical interpretation, of course, is that Dr. Jeckyll is creating a potion to separate his good half from his evil half, and his evil half just winds up taking over. My interpretation is that the entire story takes place in gay Victorian England, that every major character in the story is homosexual, and that what Jeckyll was trying to do was to “cure” himself of his homosexuality.

Evidence for this thesis abounds. Neither of the two main characters in the story, Jeckyll nor hos attorney Utterson, are ever seen with their wives or other women. I walked away from the book assuming that Utterson has a crush on Jeckyll, and is dismayed by the fact that Jeckyll has left all his worldly possessions to an Edward Hyde, a ugly runt of a man whom no one likes. Utterson speaks highly of the apparently single Jeckyll, who lives in a large house attended to by servants. And Utterson is determined to find Edward Hyde and learn about the true relationship between he and Jeckyll, much like a scorned lover might.

By the end, Utterson learns the truth, that Jeckyll and Hyde are one in the same, but that being Hyde was such an exhilarating experience that he took over the host, and the upright Jeckyll was to be no more. Homosexual and carnal Hyde was to take over from now on, the potion no longer being necessary.

And in case you think I’m nuts with this interpretation, check out Wikipedia:

The duality in the novella has led to a variety of different interpretations. These include readings which see the work as being a Victorian morality tale of unleashed sexual depravity, or an allegory for the necessarily double life of the Victorian homosexual.

I was surprised to see that there. I thought my interpretation would be somewhat original.

But it did lead me to wonder, if you were to make a movie of the novel set in modern times, how would you go about it? Doctors do not maintain labs in their homes any more, they work in groups in companies or universities. And modern society doesn’t banish homosexuals they way it once did. So what would be the catalyst for the transformation? I almost think it would have to be some sort of weird religious rite attempted by Jeckyll, who lives in a deeply Christian community. A Jeckyll and Hyde set in the deep south where Jeckyll becomes Hyde by means of religious rite could make for a very interesting story.

Like the rest of my movie ideas, this will never get made.

 
 

Markoff

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

So he’s dead. Everybody has been focusing on whether or not the jail guards should have been able to prevent his suicide, whether they should have left him with objects in his room such as a razor and a plastic bag, and whether or nor they should have checked up on him more often so as to have caught him in the act, before he died. I have a different question:

Why hadn’t he seen a trial yet?

He’d been in jail some 16 months. Why is it taking over a year for him to get a trial? And while it appears pretty clear that he was guilty, what if he weren’t? Is it even remotely acceptable that he should be held for over a year without access to a trial?

Am I missing something here? I know that the constitution guarantees a right to a speedy trial, which is rather vague, but surely 16 months is absurd, no?

 
 

Miss “Massachusetts”

Monday, August 16th, 2010

So I went and looked through the photos of the Miss USA contestants, and came upon Miss Massachusetts (via maggies). I was immediately struck by the fact that all the girls are pictured in lingerie, and that Miss Massachusetts has some sort of very strange eye makeup going on. I decided to Google her name, and discovered that she’s a native of California, who won Miss Teen Illinois in 2002. I know that the criteria for being from a particular state are pretty low, but it does seem to me that they ought to be a bit higher. This woman is barely from Massachusetts, to the extent she’s from anywhere. What’s the point of having one girl from each state anyhow if they all just move there briefly to establish residency because they think that state’s beauty pageants are less competitive?

Whatever.

 
 

Human Centipede

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I feel like I should get this as a tattoo:

Human Centipede

If you’re not familiar with the concept, this video may help elucidate:

If you still don’t get it, read about it on wikipedia. And there’s always Roger Ebert’s review.

 
 

Slam Dunk Stimulus

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I’ve been wondering what the effect of a “slam dunk stimulus” would be, on home prices in particular, but on the economy generally. In case you’re unfamiliar:

A wire service put out the story that Wall Street was abuzz that the Administration might lower Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s mortgage refinancing standards or trim mortgage balances for homeowners, thereby putting billions of dollars overnight into the pockets of benefiting consumers, thereby producing a “free stimulus,” estimated by one Morgan Stanley analyst at $46 billion. And this stimulus “spending” would be achieved without a moment spent passing it through the Congressional appropriations process. A “slam dunk stimulus” is how the overheated Morgan Stanley commentator described it.

I suspect that the most immediate effect that this would have is to further depress home prices as people rush to get their homes on the market, flooding it with supply. I would think that a person in an underwater mortgage (who hasn’t yet walked away), would jump at the opportunity to get out from under their mortgage. One of the major ill-effects of being stuck with an underwater mortgage is that you can’t move. That means that the labor force becomes illiquid, and people can’t get to where the jobs are. For such people, renting may seem like a better alternative.

But of course, the economy will not be stimulated by home prices dropping. It could be stimulated by consumers spending more money, and no doubt some number of consumers will spend the money they’re handed from the government. I suppose it could be possible to see deflation in the housing market coupled with inflation in the consumer goods market. But it’s hard to tell. Obviously, California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona would be the most effected states by any such a proposal. Part of me wants to see them go through with it just to see what the whacked out economic effects will be. But of course, I’m disgusted by the morality of it all, rewarding those who made poor economic decisions, asking those who made better decisions to pay for it, etc.

In any event, if they do it, I wouldn’t count on it happening this month. Election surprises tend to come in October, after all. I would bet an announcement would come in October to make people feel good, with implementation happening in January or so. Time will tell.

 
 

Liars and Ignoramuses

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

What is one to conclude of our media today? Consider the following:

With regards to all of these stories, the media is either blissfully unaware of the world around them, or they are refusing to properly inform their readers of important information. In other words, they are either not doing their jobs, or they are intentionally withholding context from important news stories. It is important context to understand what kind of organization ACORN is in a year in which they are to participate in helping the Census get done. It is important to ask the attorney general questions about controversial cases and positions he’s taken in the course of his duties. It is important to know whether or not climatologists faked their findings in a year when the President is proposing a radical cap and trade policy based on the theory that carbon emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. And it is important to know whether or not media outlets are conspiring with each other and with certain political campaigns. All of this has a word, of course:

Context

Which of course brings us to Andrew Breitbart. Andrew Breitbart posted a video of a woman explaining to an NAACP audience how she was racist and disliked white people, after which the audience cheered. Deriving the wrong lesson from the video clip, her employer, the USDA, fired her. It later became clear that the story that the woman was telling was not over, that hers was a redemptive tale. She was no longer a racist, but was now a commie. Cries from across the media rang out, that Breitbart has failed to provide proper context, and had clipped the video unfairly.

Jon Stewart had a different take. He declared Andrew Breitbart to be the most honest man in the controversy, because Breitbart was open about his partisan intentions from the get go. From this I would infer that someone who fails to provide context in their reporting and holds themselves out as something less than a raging partisan is either dishonest or woefully unaware of the subject on which he is reporting.

In other words, they are either a liars or ignoramuses.

Which brings us to Joan Vennochi:

While Republicans drape themselves in middle class values, they are sticking it to the middle class. It’s all in the effort to deny Obama and the Democrats any positive political message.

Last week, Senate Republicans rejected a bill to aid small business with expanded loan programs and tax breaks.

There are, of course, two missing pieces of context here. First, the tax provisions to which she refers are a provision of Obamacare which requires the issuance of a 1099 for anything purchased over $600. Insofar as every Republican in the house and senate voted against Obamacare, they already voted against this nonsense. Secondly, in an effort to repeal the mistake which nearly every Democrat in the house and senate voted for, they proposed a bill repealing the provision, but enacting a large tax increase as well. It was for this reason that Republicans voted against the bill; because it was a tax increase.

So which is Joan Vennochi? Is she a liar or an ignoramus? It is fair to mention that she is a commentator who makes no bones about her political leanings. Yet does that mean that she is an overt partisan, one who cannot be counted on to present all the facts, despite working for a supposedly objective news source in the Boston Globe?

I suspect that this is part of a new liberal meme. So I decided to look and see based on a quick news search if I could find any straight news articles parroting this line. It didn’t take long. Newsbusters is already on the case. You can search for yourself to find more, I’m out of time.

The good thing is that at this point the mainstream media have done such a good job portraying themselves as liars and ignoramuses to the American public that I don’t think this will have much effect. After all, nobody intentionally pays attention to liars and ignoramuses, unless it’s to laugh.

UPDATE: Instalanche! Thanks to Glenn and welcome Instapundit readers.