Saturday, October 17, 2009

At long last, some Barackbone

This is very encouraging. Shades of FDR's "I welcome their hatred." Let's hope it extends to pushing for a strong public option.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Prize to End all Peace

Go read Anglachel.

Absolutely, we want him to succeed -- even those of us who deeply resent what he did to gain power, and the foolishness of those who abandoned mature judgment for a teenage crush. But claiming victory before the game has even begun doesn't help. It doesn't help him grow up, nor does it improve the prospects for his success in any of the actual threats to peace that the world faces.

This award was an embarrassment for all concerned. The best that can be said of it is that Obama exited the room with pitch-perfect grace. My initial wish was that he would decline the prize... but perhaps that would also have been a trap. Perhaps it, too, would have seemed steeped in narcissistic self-importance.

Putting aside the impact of this tin-ear faux pas on our President and our politics, what does this do to the brand of the Nobel Peace Prize? This shouldn't be a Best Picture or Best Actor Oscar -- any more than it should be a Best Non-W or Best Non-Amedinejad award. If it is analogous to anything movie-related, it's the Irving Thalberg Award. It should reflect a lifetime of doing "the hard work of peace." And one doesn't give the Irving Thalberg to Justin Timberlake, no matter how cute he is or how much you like his moves.

I mean, when it comes to it, why stop at Peace? Barack Obama hasn't done anything in Physics, Mathematics or Medicine, as far as I know. (He actually has written a couple of books, so that probably disqualifies him for the Literature prize.) For that matter, why stop at Obama? I know plenty of people who have done nothing for world peace -- and most of them don't get to live in such a nice house.

Maybe they were looking ahead, thinking about Afganistan. Maybe they decided, "We'd better do this now. No way we'll be able to give it to him after a year of that mess."

So... another entry in The Guinness Book of What Were They Thinking? Now, there's a room in which one would like to have been a fly on the wall. Sort of like the story planning session for Ishtar.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tongue Tripping

From Ben Brantley's review of the Jude Law Hamlet, in tomorrow's Times:
"The much-quoted instructions that Hamlet delivers to a troupe of visiting players apparently do not apply to princes in mourning. This one mouths his words like a town crier and saws the air with his hands.

"He does follow his own advice in suiting “the action to the word, the word to the action.” If Hamlet talks about his mind, you can bet that Mr. Law will point to his forehead; when he mentions the heavens, his arm shoots straight up; and when the guy says his gorge rises, rest assured that he clutches at his stomach. If every actor were like Mr. Law, signed performances for the hard of hearing would be unnecessary."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are there any lines...?

... or is it all just sand? Sure glad we elected the Democrat.