Archive | May 30, 2010

War and Remembrance

There are two ways to think about Memorial Day.

Vietnam memorial wall

We could think about it as a day to celebrate the state and its wars. Most Americans do seem to regard it as a pro-war holiday; the other day I actually heard someone on tv saying, in reference to the three-day holiday, “Thank a veteran for the fact that you have the freedom to take a day off.” (Right, because if Vietnam had conquered the u.s. like it was all set to, they wouldn’t have given us any public holidays.)

But a day to commemorate those who fell in war is, properly speaking, an anti-war holiday, to honour the victims who have been drafted or otherwise conned into becoming cannon fodder for the squabbles among the ruling classes of the earth.

The true Memorial Day slogan should be: “Never Again.”

Droning On

Oops! British Petroleum sends its flunkies to the Gulf of Mexico to carry out a dangerous and ill-conceived project without adequate safeguards, and a disaster results that claims eleven lives. British Petroleum gets a stern lecture from our President Incarnate.

predator drone

Oops! Our President Incarnate sends his flunkies to Afghanistan to carry out a dangerous and ill-conceived project without adequate safeguards, and a disaster results that claims twenty-three lives. I look forward to the President’s stern lecture to himself.

An economics prize for Krugman, a peace prize for Obama – they really give Nobels away like candy these days. (Yes, I know those two prizes technically come from different organisations.)

Cracks in Time

The Eleventh Hour

For anyone who’s been watching Doctor Who on BBC America – there are, I believe, minor cuts that are made in the American broadcasts (do we still use the word “broadcasts” for cable? or is it “transmissions”?) by comparison with the British ones; but for this season’s opener, “The Eleventh Hour,” there were major cuts, because in Britain the episode ran twenty minutes longer than a regular episode but the American broadcast/transmission squeezed it into the same time frame as all the others. So if you’ve only seen “The Eleventh Hour” on BBC America, you’ve missed at least twenty minutes of material, and you owe it to yourself to track the episode down online (the Dailymotion version, for example, is complete).

Some of the cut scenes are not only quite good in themselves, but also seem to be setting up important aspects of the season arc; a number of important moments in later episodes (in particular “Flesh and Stone”) make a lot more sense if one has seen the cut scenes.

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