The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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No Pynchon!

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Simon Jenkins has a good point exactly how the Da Vinci Code betrays the trust we place in facts, but then ruins it by going on the most insane rampaging ode to facts since Thomas Gradgrind's opener in Hard Times. Facts are indeed hard fought for. But Dan Brown's crime is not laziness. Dan Brown consumed an enormous amount of energy collecting erroneous facts and making them into a book. His problem is that he assumes long hours spent researching and long books must lead to the truth. Once he has learned something, I think he has a hard time admitting that it is not true, like one of those people who in arguments say that since they have read a book and the book says X then X is definitively the last word on the matter.

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My ex-boss apparently once argued at a dinner party with his wife that Martin Luther King didn't have a sufficiently international profile to be Time's Man of the Century. She said "But you have to realize what he did for African Americans." He replied "Honey, I was in India at the time, and let me tell you, in India, he did squat." But, of course, what's good for America is good for the world, and if the world doesn't know that the world will just have to learn.

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A superb interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Der Spiegel. Like any anti-semite he sounds more unhinged whenever trying to sound less so. Eg.

SPIEGEL: It was inevitable that the Iranian president's denial of the systematic murder of the Jews by the Germans would trigger outrage.
Ahmadinejad: I don't exactly understand the connection.
SPIEGEL: First you make your remarks about the Holocaust. Then comes the news that you may travel to Germany -- this causes an uproar. So you were surprised after all?
Ahmadinejad: No, not at all, because the network of Zionism is very active around the world, in Europe too. So I wasn't surprised. We were addressing the German people. We have nothing to do with Zionists.

Monday, May 29, 2006

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To Hav and Hav not: Jan Morris's new book, from her own description of it, sounds both weird and brilliant and weird and awful.

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Both kinds of unified Germany have a problem with football.

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Today's entry from Pepys contains the following nugget:
And so to the Duke’s House; and there saw “Hamlett” done, giving us fresh reason never to think enough of Betterton. Who should we see come upon the stage but Gosnell, my wife’s maid? but neither spoke, danced, nor sung; which I was sorry for. But she becomes the stage very well.


It is hard to imagine going to Hamlet and
expecting to see someone on stage to dance and sing.

Friday, May 05, 2006

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A quick antidote to whatever envy you might direct at child prodigies.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

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From the way he uses them, it would be interesting to know what Tom Cruise thinks impinge and insouciance mean.

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The Harlem Studio occupies both the ghetto of critical taste and the actual ghetto of Harlem.

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There are many things that are annoying about an environmental issue of Vanity Fair. But The Times's blogger's main worry is that "[i]t sells you exactly the kind of lifestyle that the green lobby is telling us is unsustainable," pointing the damning finger at an ad for a $10,000 watch. Environmentalism is giving secular lefties a sense of sin. The main problem with everything is that it hurts the environment. See here for a clever argument that Gluttony, Covetousness, Pride, and Sloth hurt the environment. That leaves Wrath, Lust, and Envy as the only environmentally viable sins and I imagine there are plenty of ways to argue that they are not carbon neutral either. Envy's vision of the future, in Doctor Faustus, reads like a UN report:

I am Envy, begotten of a chimney-sweeper and an oyster-wife. I cannot read, and therefore wish all books burned. I am lean with seeing others eat. O, that there would come a famine over all the world, that all might die, and I live alone! then thou shouldst see how fat I'd be.