The Big Sick

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I was aware of Kumail Nanjiani from HBO's Silicon Valley, he also was quite funny when he hosted Saturday Night Live last October. So I put his movie in the Netflix queue (which turned out to be stupid, because I could have streamed in on Amazon Prime, but spilt milk).

It's the based-on-fact story of Nanjiani's rocky relationship with Emily. They meet while he's doing standup in a Chicago comedy club, (conveniently filled with comedy club stereotypes). They hit it off, but… Kumail is constrained by his Pakistani family loyalties, and they demand (a) he remain a good Muslim, and (b) marry a nice Pakistani girl in a classic arranged marriage.

Kumail can't bring himself to tell his family about Emily, nor can he man up to Emily about what his family expects. But she finds out anyway, he fumbles the ball, and they break up as a result.

But the movie isn't called The Big Sick for nothing. Emily comes down with a nasty infection, which sends her to the hospital and a medically-induced coma. Which brings Kumail back into the picture, and a meeting with Emily's parents (played stunningly well by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano).

This sounds like an unlikely plot for a romantic comedy, but it worked for me.

Spoiler: it all works out. In real life, Kumail and Emily have been married for 10 years.

URLs du Jour



Weather update: Brr. Accuweather said the "RealFeel" temperature yesterday was -13. And I can testify that when the wind blows snowblower ejecta back into your face, it seems much lower than that.

Proverbs 17:26 is a candidate for the "Funniest Proverb" award:

26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,
    surely to flog honest officials is not right.

Yeah, but… speaking as a utilitarian, the flogging might put a scare into the dishonest officials and get them to straighten up and fly right. It's a small price to pay. The cost/benefit ratio points to an overall win.

■ I don't usually link to Instapundit—instead, I link to the stuff he links to—but I'll make an exception today. Mandatory diversity course not effective, prof discovers.

An East Carolina University prof actually bothered to survey student attitudes before and after taking her mandatory "Race, Gender, and Special Populations in the Criminal Justice System" course. And found they were pretty much the same. No big deal, except for wasting everyone's time and money.

Instapundit's comment is on-target:

But you can’t judge something ineffective until you know what it’s purpose is, and the real purpose of these mandatory courses is to provide employment for a permanent cadre of lefty activists on campus.


■ I haven't seen Dave Chappelle's new Netflix comedy special yet, but Titus Techera, writing at NRO, encourages me to do so: Dave Chappelle and the Art of Telling Ugly Truths. It's long and insightful all the way through. Here's a bit.

So listen to Chappelle, because he gives you ugly truths with every laugh, and that is true morality — the things you admit are true against your own vanity or self-righteousness. He tells you, yes, that Martin Luther King Jr. had affairs with women and was immoral — but he was also a moral and political hero, and better than the people, liberal and conservative, who wanted to bring him down by spying on his sexual misconduct. Maybe it’s not an accident that he was also the last political champion of natural rights. Yes, liberals want progress, but they also have to learn to stop fainting like fainting goats. It’s bad for them and bad for America and bad for comedy, because you can’t laugh if you’re busy throwing fits.

Fainting goats. Heh.

■ I read an excellent book last year that, among other things, made the case for cutting down on "intellectual property" protections. Here's a BBC article that the authors could have used for additional evidence: White noise video on YouTube hit by five copyright claims.

A musician who made a 10-hour long video of continuous white noise - indistinct electronic hissing - has said five copyright infringement claims have been made against him.

I plan on copyrighting "plain white background" later today; next week, I'll start suing websites with a plain white background. Starting, of course, with the ones with the deepest pockets.

■ Mr. Lileks notes: Raw water fad might make cholera great again. But it's mostly about the "Instant Pot" craze. Among the advantages:

3. It's a pressure cooker. This, frankly, makes me nervous, mainly because I don't know what I'm talking about. I imagine that people who do know their way around a kitchen have conversations like this:

"I've never had manta ray this delicious. How was it cooked? With pressure?" Why, yes! Yes, it was. "I thought so. Can I ask how many pounds per square inch?" Well, I sautéed it with balsamic-infused goat nostrils, then 40 psi for three days. "So that's your secret!"

All of which just makes me wonder: If you cook something at high pressure and everyone eats it too quickly, do they get the bends?

But stick around for the "raw water" stuff too.

■ The Objective Standard is a magazine/website dedicated to Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Which means (a) they're basically OK in my book, and (b) I'm not OK in theirs. But the Google LFOD alert rang for this article from Jon Hersey: Live Free or Die: The Story of General John Stark. An excerpt:

While trapping when he was twenty-four, Stark was captured by Indians. They demanded that he lead them to his party. Stark calmly paraded them two miles in the opposite direction. Believing that Stark simply had gotten lost, his party, which included his brother, signaled their location by firing into the air. Thus, they inadvertently drew in the roving band. Stark batted away several of the Indian’s guns as they chased his friends. This bold act enabled his brother to flee, but Stark remained a prisoner.

Try as they might, Stark’s captors could not break his rebellious spirit. They forced him to run between two lines of men who were poised with sticks and clubs, ready to inflict blows. Stark turned the tables, wresting a club from one of the men and rushing the line, knocking down several Indians while hardly receiving a blow himself. They again tried to humble him by having him hoe corn, a job typically left to the tribe’s women. Stark chopped down the corn, leaving the weeds instead, and then heaved the hoe into the river. If the Indians didn’t regret seizing Stark then, they would have cause to later.

I'm not sure how much of Stark's story gets told even in New Hampshire history classrooms. My guess is: not enough.

■ The LFOD alert was also triggered by this … gulp … HuffPo article about New Hampshire's most famous left-wing old bat: Pssst. Pass it on.....”Granny D”, A Friend Who At 90 Walked Across the U.S. to Remind Us How to Fight and Why..... Her 2004 Senate campaign featured a hopeless run against Judd Gregg:

As a candidate, Doris was out to prove that ordinary citizens who are not millionaires can in fact run without taking money from global financiers and corporations. At rallies, she said, “There’s a cancer, and it’s killing our democracy. A poor man has to sell his soul to get elected. I cry for this country.”

On her bus, she had “Live Free or die!”, the New Hampshire state motto, with two swooping blue cartoon birds, each wearing a copy of her best friend’s hat. Financed entirely by small donations, she. at age 94 with zero time to prepare, got 34% of the vote. Was that a loss or did her message simply spread farther?

Granny did not believe in free speech for people she disagreed with. Who were invariably "global financiers and corporations."