Fever Pitch

[Amazon Link] [3.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

I finally managed to see this movie. I figured the combination of the Farelly Brothers (directors), Nick Hornby (who wrote the novel on which this was based), Lowell Ganz (screenwriter), my beloved Boston Red Sox, and a host of decent actors would come up with, well, a better movie than this.

Not that it's awful. Some funny lines are uttered. But I have my doubts whether Jimmy Fallon has the chops to make it as a movie leading man. Drewie Barrymore is also kind of flat. (I thought he was excellent in a small role in Almost Famous.) As a romantic comedy goes, it's utterly predictable. The Fenway scenes (however) are fantastic. However, if you want to see a movie based on a Nick Hornby book, go for High Fidelity.

But it's got JoBeth Williams; I don't think I've seen her in a movie for about twenty years!

Also note that the link above is to the special "Red Sox" edition of the DVD; consensus is that other than the nicer box, the DVD's extras aren't worth the additional price.


Last Modified 2012-10-25 3:55 PM EDT

URLs du Jour -- 12/11/2005

I made it back to New Hampshire, yippee! I needed to spend seven hours sitting in United Airlines Concourse C at O'Hare yesterday waiting for my Manchester flight, apparently due to the aftereffects of the past few days' weather. But whenever I started to feel sorry for myself, I heard much worse stories from my fellow refugees.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find it easy to clear the snow off my car and drive out of the airport parking lot. I'd heard nothing but prophecies of doom from Mrs. Salad and my co-workers.

Anyway, back to our regularly-scheduled programming:

  • Like me, and probably you, Bryan Caplan gets nagged about flossing by dental professionals on his periodic visits. Unlike me (and probably you), Bryan is an economist and asked them hard questions about trade-offs, and did some research, ably documented here. Impressive, but it only makes me feel marginally less guilty about not flossing. (Heh.)
  • Ann Althouse had a post a few weeks back (kind of) about "overstated metaphors." I added a comment to the effect that I really liked 'em, and was mainly jealous that I could never come up with good ones myself. Well, if you're like me: click here. Titled "Worst analogies ever written in a high school essay," it's roughly the same idea. (I think they're mostly similes, not analogies; I'm pedantic enough to point this out, but not enough to get upset about it.) I laughed out loud at a number of them. Sample: "The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can."

    I wish I could do that. (Via Michelle, ma belle.)

  • The best thing I've seen about Richard Pryor is by Roger L. Simon at the much-maligned Pajamas Media. Roger worked (uncredited) on the screenplay of Bustin' Loose back in the late 70's and has personal reminiscences that are worth reading. (Via Instapundit.)

Last Modified 2005-12-11 9:11 PM EST

Bungled Quote of the Day

Andrew Sullivan deems this his "Quote of the Day":

"Politics turns into virtue what religions often see as a vice—the fact that we do not all think alike, that we have conflicting interests, that we see the world through different eyes. Politics knows what religion sometimes forgets, that the imposition of truth by force and the suppression of dissent by power is the end of freedom and a denial of human dignity. When religion enters the political arena, we should repeat daily Bunyan's famous words: 'Then I saw that there was a way to Hell, even from the gates of Heaven.'" - Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, reminding us of something vital that today's Republican leadership has forgotten.
This typifies why I increasingly find Andrew's blog unuseful for obtaining insight on important matters; he views nearly everything through spectacles colored by the gay-marriage issue, and propounds everything through that narrowed vision.

Had Andrew actually thought about this for over a fraction of a second, he would no doubt realize how absolutely idiotic a statement Rabbi Sacks has made here. He'd realize that politics is (indeed) all about imposing truth by force. That is, in fact, the only thing it's good for; we want, for example, slavery to be prohibited, by force when and if necessary. The best outcome for which we can hope is that the sphere of the political world be severely limited to the classical liberal vision.

The institution that does the best job of satisfying varying values, interests, and modes of thought is neither politics nor religion, but the free market, of course. Rabbi Sacks and Andrew do not see fit to mention that. Politics, by its nature, is a one-brand, one-size-fits-all, top-down monopoly. Political winners don't just decide for their customers; they decide for everyone under their domain; this is irrespective of their (hopefully democratic) methods or (hopefully benign, if not noble) motives.

Andrew is peeved at Republicans because at least some, maybe most, of their opposition to his pet issue comes from folks operating under (presumably) religious motives. And he sees Rabbi Sacks' essay as another hammer he can use to pound that particular nail. Fine. But you can make your argument about that without erroneous generalization.

Illiberal incursions into modern American politics are bad, not because they're religiously-motivated, but simply because they're illiberal. The primary mass-murdering regimes in recent history have (of course) been illiberal, but also pretty much irreligious. While Islamic religious fundamentalism is clearly dangerous, that's not a lesson Republicans particularly need to learn, and it's clearly not the lesson Rabbi Sacks is trying to teach.

The problems with a simplistic focus on banning religious insights from the political sphere are the ones you might expect. You throw out good ideas and alienate possible allies, simply because of their beliefs and motives; you throw the door open to bad ideas simply because they've passed your secular litmus test. Why?

That said, parts of Rabbi Sacks' article contain good (if pedestrian) arguments for classical liberal democracy. His off-kilter focus and inability to make relevant distinctions, however, are fatal flaws. There are at least a few thousand better explications of the brief for liberal democracy; go read them instead.


Last Modified 2005-12-11 3:21 PM EST