Sunday, May 29, 2005

France Rejects EU Constitution

This is an issue muddled by the muddled philosophy of European politics. While pleasure must be drawn from President Chirac's public embarrasment over this issue one must also remember that Chirac represents probably the least insane mainstream political force in France. He has been outdone by socialists, communists, fascists, greens, and other associated nut jobs. Why? They allege that the EU Constitution will bring forth unbridled capitalism and destroy Europe and France. How any constitution which runs past 400 pages can ensure the liberty capitalism requires is beyond me since such ideas should take relatively few pages to explain. From what I know of the EU Constitution, it is built on the quicksand of the mixed economy. While it breaks down barriers to trade between member states, it leaves barriers in place to the outside. I have heard there is a listing of fundamental rights, but without a copy of the document I don't know what these rights are, but I can guess that it includes many things which are not rights at all. There is a realpolitik saying that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," but this is not always true and needs to be evaluated just as vigorously as when you decide who your original enemies are. Just because Chirac is America's nemesis in Western Europe does not make those who have dealt the final blow to his career our friends, far from it. They represent what will be a further radicalization of European politics against liberalism, against reason, against capitalism, against Western Civilization itself.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Book Recommendation

I am recommending Clive Cussler's Sahara today. I saw the movie when it came out with my dad and he seemed rather disappointed though I thought the movie was ok, so I decided to read the book. I know now why he was disappointed, the book is about a million times better than the movie, and the makers of the film edited out all the best parts and plot twists which I will not discuss to avoid spoilers. The book is a great adventure story with admirable characters, but I do offer a word or two of caution. Mr. Cussler has several different story lines running through the book, one dealing with an environmental catastrophe brought on by a corrupt French businessman and a West African despot. This story line is a little convoluted, but is dealt with ably and about as believably as such a line could be. Other than that and the commiserate condemnation of greedy Frenchmen, the book has fairly good messages.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith

Just returned from watching the midnight screening of the last Star Wars movie. Overall I give it a thumbs up, mainly for the lack of awkward acting that has marred some of the first two movies and the amazing special effects. Also the acting by key characters like Darth Sidious (AKA Chancellor Palpatine, the Emperor), Obi Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and even Anakin Skywalker was very good. The problem with the movie, as with all Star Wars movies, is Yoda and the ridiculously lousy (if hilarious) Jedi philosophy (boiled down to its essentials: selfless = good, Jedi, selfish = bad, Sith) and the inability of George Lucas to write philosophy into a script in any consistent, rational, intelligent, or coherent way.

For instance, the most talked about lines leading up to the release occur towards the end of the film when Anakin, after having turned to the dark side and joined the emperor (taking the Sith name Darth Vader) tells Obi Wan, "If you're not with me then you are my enemy." To which Obi Wan replies, "Only a Sith speaks in absolutes." Problems are obvious with this exchange, going far beyond any dopey connections to George W. Bush and the war on terrorism. My main problem with this within the movie is that not more than ten minutes later, while they are trying to kill one another, Obi Wan and Anakin are exchanging words about good and evil. Instead of remaining Mr. Absolute, Anakin tells Obi Wan that from his perspective he is good and the Jedi are evil. To which Obi Wan concludes, in an absolutist fashion, that Anakin is truly "lost." When it comes to politics and philosophy, Lucas is in way over his head because he simply isn't capable or smart enough to write them into the script intelligently, let alone chose the correct politics and philosophy. He would have been better off leaving things in a simple and essential basic form, the good guys being good because they respect the rights of others and don't run around killing people, and the bad guys being their exact opposites. The majority of people going to these movies aren't interested in the balance of the force or trying to insult current political leaders in sci-fi fantasy dialogue that contradicts itself, they are coming to watch what is, in essence, a series of war movies with the triumph of good over evil through force of arms.

That is ironic considering Mr. Lucas has clearly put himself in the pacifist psycho wing of the universe politically. His greatest legacy will be for creating a narrative of war, and a good war at that.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Announcement

I will be attending Clark University for graduate school in U.S. History in August. The school is in Worcester, MA and I will be studying under Dr. Drew McCoy. You can check the school out at www.clarku.edu.
 
Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. I have been taking a break, mainly because I have been substitute teaching everyday since the end of March, saving up money for the fall. Anyway, I will be posting regularly again, and working to finish my book. I have a commissioned article to write on the education system here in Clark County and some changes that the geniuses running it are making for the next school year. I hope to have it printed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but it will certainly be posted here when finished. After that I will run my regular articles and comments until the book is done and copyrighted, at which point I will start posting chapters. It's good to be back.