URLs du Jour


  • As an antidote to yesterday's depressing pessimism about Republican GOP candidates, Jim Geraghty says some nice things about John, Mitt, Newt, and Rudy. ("No, wait: the glass is actually half full!")

  • Another must-read today is Tyler Cowan in the New York Times on the topic of inequality. Knowledgable, even-handed and non-demagogic. I'll quote the last two paragraphs:
    The broader philosophical question is why we should worry about inequality — of any kind — much at all. Life is not a race against fellow human beings, and we should discourage people from treating it as such. Many of the rich have made the mistake of viewing their lives as a game of relative status. So why should economists promote this same zero-sum worldview? Yes, there are corporate scandals, but it remains the case that most American wealth today is produced rather than taken from other people.

    What matters most is how well people are doing in absolute terms. We should continue to improve opportunities for lower-income people, but inequality as a major and chronic American problem has been overstated.

    "Inequality" is one of the last rhetorical clubs that one can use to pummel free-market capitalism; it's not too surprising that a lot of politicians and their economist enablers want to grab it.

  • Not appearing on Cute Overload anytime in the forseeable future: the prehistoric frilled shark.

Last Modified 2007-01-28 8:05 AM EDT

Lady in the Water

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

I see that this movie has won "Razzie" nominations for Worst Director (M. Night Shyamalan); Worst Supporting Actor (M. Night Shyamalan); Worst Screenplay (it's by M. Night Shyamalan); and Worst Picture. Its Tomatometer score is 24%. Ouch!

But I will defy the critical consensus; it's not that bad! In fact, I stayed awake for the entire thing, an increasingly rare occurrence. It has Paul Giamatti, who's always good. It's filled with colorful characters, and their interactions are interesting and often amusing.

Its premise, however, is completely fantastic, and the plot gets detached from reality sometime in the first quarter hour. It moves into a dreamlike mode, where the characters all (unquestioningly!) buy into the fantasy world, and diligently try to discover its oddball rules and what roles they're playing in it.

I can understand that some people might hate that kind of thing; it's not exactly my favorite cup of tea either. But on its own terms, it worked for me. Maybe for you too, if you can withstand the unspoken but obvious scorn of the video store rental clerk.

Last Modified 2012-10-21 6:40 AM EDT