Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Adam Baldwin, 51. I really need to watch Full Metal Jacket again; I've seen bits and pieces here and there over the years, but haven't seen it all the way through since it was brand new. Perhaps not as great as Strangelove and Paths of Glory, but I'm not as certain of that as most are. Of course, for me he's always Jayne -- wonderful character, amazing performance. I'm terribly jealous of the political writers he's been in twitter arguments with.

How about a little good stuff:

1. I'm not a huge fan of "false equivalence" stuff, but I am a fan of James Fallows, so I'll go ahead and send you to his latest on it.

2. Dan Larison, very good on "hard-liners" and how they police what counts as pro-Israel in US politics. It's lose-lose!

3. No one knows what they're doing. Paul Waldman. Hey, there's a closely related Iron Law of Politics about that.

4. State budgets update, and what they should be up to, from Abby Rapoport.

5. Reporting-while-female, by Marin Cogan.

6. And Steve Rubio asks: why do you care about who wins Oscars? Gives me a chance to make a point I hope I haven't made before around here without doing a whole post about it...I have a sort of rule of thumb about this, which I try to follow and mostly succeed: pick one award to care about, and try real hard not to care about any other. The one I care about, as regular readers know, is the baseball HOF. Which has the advantage that, as awards go, it's a pretty good one; sure, there are mistakes, but they aren't Crash-level mistakes (it's even a larger difference than that; the general "ballplayers that HOF voters like" overlaps heavily with "the most deserving HOFers on the merits." It's pretty obvious to everyone that "movies that Oscar likes" has only the slimmest overlap with "the best movies." Still, I don't think that makes the HOF better to follow, particularly). Anyway, I can't say I follow it all the time...there are a handful of performers who I'm annoyed that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame won't honor, and of course there's my Little Richard/Kennedy Center obsession. But mostly, I stick with it, really. I mean, I'm happy when an actor I like wins an Oscar if I'm watching the show, but that's about it. Same with the other awards. Even the baseball ones; obviously I'm happy when Giants win, but I really don't get engaged in it. (Okay, sorry to run on like that).


  1. Jonathan,

    Full Metal Jacket is a masterpiece for everything that happens in boot camp but after that the movie basically collapses and is without merit.

    1. Every boot camp set piece since Full Metal Jacket has been a cheap imitation. However, I think the whole movie's good.

  2. The first half of Full Metal Jacket is good. The last half is ok, nothing special. Baldwin is basically Jayne without the witty dialogue.

    Speaking of Jayne, I've read a few political bloggers take issue with Firefly's similarities to the Confederate South. I'll admit that even though I love the show, it comes off as pretty conservative politically. But I hadn't really thought of it in American Civil War terms before I read them. I don't think there's a lot to this critique, since racism isn't part of the Firefly verse (at least to my knowledge). But I thought it was interesting and wanted to see what other fans thought of it.

    1. I think it's pretty explicit that the show is based in a Lost Cause view of the Civil War-- as it is in legends of that era generally. It actually annoys me quite a bit. Although I'm a fan of the show, I sort of take it for granted that the Alliance was in the right and Mal's simply not in a position to see it...

  3. You seem pretty engaged about the Giants to me...


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