Watched Transformers and found it all too snickerworthy. I just don’t know how one can keep a straight face at the slo-mo shots, the flybys and the military hardware droolfest – especially after that brilliant sendup of Bay done in Hot Fuzz. I won’t say I had high hopes but I was really looking forward to it. Oh well. Also saw Ratatouille, which should be a big hit at CM since it is all about becoming snotty and high-brow. Next up is Bourne Ultimatum. And while we are on the subject, here is fair warning that I have been watching HBO’s The Wire non-stop for the last 3 months and I am obsessed.
- Milos Forman has made a movie about the Goya and the long tail of the Spanish Inquisition. It seems like everything in the past is now a thinly veiled comment on the present. As Borges declared “… past is no more than present memory . . .”
- As expected, the aftermath of Lal Masjid is apparent in the northwest of Pakistan. There have been very few noteworthy pieces in the news but I do recommend Nicholas Schmidle’s Farewell, My Jihadi Friend. Related, and a little late in my reading queue is the action-packed reporting by Jon Lee Anderson in the NYer, The Taliban’s Opium War. While some of these threads are put into historical practice by Barnett Rubin’s The Pessoptimist in Instanbul: Will Bin Laden Win? It is that proverbial must-read.
- Now, my first impulse after reading Hassan Fattah’s Radicalism Among Muslim Professionals Worries Many is to mock it without mercy. Just read that opening paragraph. Is he for real? The best and the brightest in the Muslim world? the pinnacle of their societies? Oh and “scientific rationalism” was supposed to have saved them? Is it the very same scientific rationalism that created every single weapon of terror known to man? Oh muslims use science badly? Really? Are you sure? I mean, can we go and look at some other bad uses of science? Nukes? Eugenics? Any of that? Or how about those rationally rabid anti-evolutionist scientists? They all good? There is actually a good story buried deep in there – but Fattah is way too unscientific and too irrational to find it. Oops. I mocked! Bad sepoy.
- William Deresiewicz’s Love on Campus proves that those who can’t do, write about it. I kiiiid.[ht: Nakhaee]
- Robert Irwin’s book has been sitting half read by my bed [its insane] but I recommend his look at the real and fake paintings of the Orient or should that have been worded as: Paintings of Real and Fake Orient?
- If Deborah Soloman married Robert Novak, would she become the princess of darkness? Oh wait, she is already a queen!
- Century of the Self is some good social history documentary about Freud, Bernays and mass-consumption. I have only watched the first part on Google Video [second, third and fourth]. I love it when the internets can be used for educational purposes.
- And finally, on happier notes, I enjoyed this look at the soul of English cricket. My dream was always to play county cricket. I had the chops. I coulda been good. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.