Monday, July 9, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Jimmy Smits, 57. Warning: you probably want to skip what comes next. I don't really know if this has all been said before, but wouldn't expanding Bail Organa into a real character have really improved things a lot (presumably at the expense of about 90% of Episode I, which just gets worse every time I think about it). There's so much that could have been done through him...of course, there's the need that I have seen many remark on for a non-Jedi action guy -- indeed, he and Padme could have had some adventure together (could have have been romantically interested in Padme? Tragically, with him realizing the age gap makes it impossible? Or could he have some other serious tie to her, making the adoption more meaningful)? I know he's lurking around for a while, but that he sort of suddenly shows up during the crisis as the only guy that Yoda can trust seems pretty weak, doesn't it? But it didn't have to be; imagine, for example, if we see that he gets away with it because the Emperor is blind to the possibility that ordinary people could matter, not just Jedi.

Sorry about that; I'll make it up with some good stuff:

1. Jared Bernstein's King for a Day plan for the economy. My reaction: it's really not very radical, all told.

2. Ryan for Veep? Ed Kilgore thinks about it.

3. Good WaPo story about exactly what campaigns are good for.

4. While David Leonhardt does a good overview of prediction markets.

5. "The method is to convert hairline distinctions, usually illusory, into Manichean contrasts." Andrew Sprung, on the Romney method.

6. And you should be reading E.J. Graff on marriage.


  1. Clearly Padme is not bothered by a crazy age gap...

  2. If you really want to talk about improving Episode I with Jimmy Smits, wouldn't it have helped to introduce Jar Jar to Miguel Prado?

    1. My general sense is that Episode I should have been a 5-15 minute prelude to taking up the real story. The thing about "machete order" is just how little of Ep I is even remotely relevant to the rest of the series. Jar Jar is just a distraction from the extent to which 90% of the movie is a false start.

    2. Dr. B,

      Not quite sure what you mean by "machete order", but the 2-4-5-3-6 plan makes a bunch of sense, and leaves out a lot of the hooey. The knock against Lucas for putting licensing and toys over substance is as old as the Ewoks. I dislike it, I don't like how he's adulterated the SW Universe, but you'd have to have been ignorant (willfully so or not) to not see it coming.

    3. Oh, sorry: machete order is 4-5-2-3-6.

    4. Oooh, I like this machete order thing.

      I figure I have about 5 years before it's time for my little one (age 1 now) to watch them, so I hope I remember this!

    5. My machete order: using a machete to destroy copies of Episodes 1-3, then using the machete on anyone who claims that Han shot second. I still say Miguel Prado was the Jimmy Smits character for the job.

  3. I like the idea of expanding Bail Organa's role. I think that would have helped, slightly. The problem is that significantly improving the prequels begins and ends with constructing a competent script. All else is window-dressing.

    (And yes, I know the original movies weren't Hamlet, either. But they were FUN. They were cool-- at least, if you were a kid or willing to suspend disbelief. There was just so little about the prequels that was cool, because so few of its words sounded even vaguely like things people might say.)

  4. Jared Bernstein's principal reduction plan for underwater mortgages is fairly radical, and has the potential to damage severely the mortgage-backed securities market, in which I am professionally involved and upon which our mortgage finance system rests. Investor willingness to continue to invest in agency MBS cannot withstand unlimited federal govt interference in mortgage contracts. Already, the government refinancing programs have imposed large losses on MBS investors, and if govt-mandated principal reductions are going to occur whenever there is a bear market in residential real estate, the risk-reward for MBS investors changes rather drastically. That would result in significantly wider yield spreads between agency MBS and Treasuries, raising costs for homebuyers.

  5. You see, you needn't apologize for your opening pitch for expanding Smit's role - obviously your readers are eating it up!


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