Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saw CIA Movie; Conservative Praises Hippies; 1876 Harper's Cartoons; Unfilmable; Jigsaw Puzzles

Several items of interest:
  • The ♥G♥ and I just got back from seeing The Good Shepherd, about the early days of the CIA. I liked it, even though Roger Ebert didn't. More comments on this film later.
  • Via Glenn Greenwald -- I thought these were some interesting observations by conservative Christian Rod Dreher, who is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Excerpt: The fraud, the mendacity, the utter haplessness of our government's conduct of the Iraq war have been shattering to me. It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Not under a Republican President. I turn 40 next month -- middle aged at last -- a time of discovering limits, finitude. I expected that. But what I did not expect was to see the limits of finitude of American power revealed so painfully. I did not expect Vietnam. As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war. I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority. On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?
  • Here are a bunch of Harper's Weekly cartoons by Thomas Nast and others about the disputed 1876 presidential election. Here are the members of the Electoral Commission.
  • A list (with explanations) of impossible-to-film novels. Excerpt: Remembrance of Things Past -- Also known as ‘In Search of Lost Time’ (which makes it sound like a Jules Verne yarn), Marcel Proust’s contribution to the world of literature is so difficult to film as it’s so damn long. The novel is divided into seven books, each one long enough alone! Although I’ve only managed to read the first two books, the entire volume seems to be autobiographical, about a sickly young man who aspires to be a writer, despite the distraction of 19th Century society. Proust’s novels incorporate the idea of scents, sounds, and certain objects pushing associated memories to the fore. Probably more suited as a TV serial, there have been a few films, mostly adapting one of the books. The best is Time Regained, starring Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich. If anyone can do it: The closing moments of Terence Malick’s New World displayed the kind of editing that can summarise years in seconds with aesthetic brilliance. He’s the man for such a mammoth, ethereal task, though half of it would probably be shots of trees.
  • LBNL, Jigsaw Puzzles: A Brief History.

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