Saturday, November 15, 2003

Christopher Hitchens didn't like the movie version of Master & Commander because it didn't capture the depth of Maturin's political convictions, or the nuances of the great friendship between Maturin and Aubrey. To which I can only say, It's a movie, Hitchens, be glad they got anything right. (The Return of the King movie will leave out the Scouring of the Shire -- a critical part of the LOTR trilogy -- but I'm ready to love it anyway.)

Also, the friendship between Jack and Stephen develops over several books in the series -- expecting a single movie to get it all in one bite seems unsporting.

I've heard people say they read the books with a nautical dictionary at their side, the better to understand every arcane term used by O'Brian. But one of O'Brian's great in-jokes is that he gives the reader permission to skip all that stuff -- his best character, Maturin, never learns any of it.

Maturin is a great literary creation, and his friendship with Jack is, too. O'Brian dealt with ideas (maybe subsequent movies will explore them) as well as characters and adventure. If he could have written women who weren't cut-rate Jane Austen heroines or Scarlett O'Hara clones, maybe he would be remembered as a great novelist, instead of being confined to a genre ghetto.

10:41:53 AM    comment []

Gen. Wesley K. Clark said on Tuesday that he doesn't want me to vote for him.

Or, as the New York Times puts it:

"Gen. Wesley K. Clark said on Tuesday that he supported a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it illegal to desecrate the American flag by burning or other means."'

I wouldn't base my vote on that single issue, but it's an indication that his view of liberty is not quite libertarian enough for me.

9:58:06 AM    comment []

Nicholas Kristof: "If Afghanistan is a White House model for Iraq, heaven help us."

What if we had spent the time and resources dedicated to Iraq on winning the peace in Afghanistan -- you know, the headquarters of the people who attacked us? Instead, we seem to be letting it revert to the conditions that nurtured terrorism in the first place. The opium issue has militiary consequences: research shows that drug money is a vital fuel for paramilitaries, insurgents, terrorists, et al.

But we did go into Iraq. And now we are finding out that they were expecting us. NYT: "American intelligence agencies have found increasing evidence that the broad outlines of the guerrilla campaign being waged against American forces in Iraq were laid down before the war by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, government officials said Friday."

Maybe the issue isn't the direction of the war on terrorism, but the competence of the people directing it.

9:46:49 AM    comment []