Archive | July, 2010

Farewell to Peter Christian’s Tavern

When I lived in Hanover NH (back in 1977-1981), one of my favourite hangouts was Peter Christian’s Tavern, home of terrific sandwiches and some of the best mustard sauce and horseradish sauce I’ve ever tasted. (My favourite sandwich was either “Peter’s Mother’s Favorite” or “Peter’s Father’s Favorite,” I can never remember which.) Sadly, Julian May’s prediction that the Tavern would still be around in the 21st century was mistaken; but I took comfort in the thought that a branch still existed in New London and I always figured I’d visit it one day. Now that too is closing – truly the end of an era. I see I’m not the only mourner.

Brynward Bound

Bryn Mawr

On Friday I’m off to Bryn Mawr to teach in an Institute for Humane Studies seminar on Advanced Studies in the Tradition of Liberty. This’ll be my first IHS event since the past century, I believe. My topics will be “Justice and Utility,” “Intellectual Property: Pro and Con,” and “Libertarians and the Left.” The other lecturers will be Randy Barnett, Steve Davies, John Hasnas, Amy Phillips, George Selgin, and Kit Wellman; here’s a schedule. This looks like a lot of fun.

I was at an IHS event at Bryn Mawr in 1994; if I recall correctly, the main street has a Borders at one end and a Barnes & Noble at the other, so I know where I’ll be during free time. (And on the free afternoon I imagine a bunch of us will take the train into Philadelphia.)

As soon as I get back, Mises University begins!

Addendum: At the request of IHS I’ve taken down the schedule.

He Said, He Said

Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H., Chris E., Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. [= Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as the Mighty Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow.] We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.
Kevin Feige, President of Production, Marvel Studios

Hulk versus Hulk

This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast. Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings. We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige’s mean spirited, accusatory comments. Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.
Brian Swardstrom, William Morris Agency

Hunt the Wild Justice

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis’s article “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” is simultaneously an excellent argument against the rehabilitative or therapeutic approach to punishment, and a lousy argument in favour of the retributive approach to punishment. Lewis makes a compelling and eloquent proto-Szaszian case for the thesis that punishment not based on responsibility is wrong; but, never examining his implicit premise that punishment must be justified somehow or other, he then slides without much reflection into the conclusion that punishment based on responsibility must be right. So when I read this article I’m cheering half the time and tearing my hair out the other half.

Of course that’s often my reaction when reading Lewis – as when reading Nietzsche, another writer who to my mind tends to mix together equal parts of the magnificently right and the horribly wrong (though his points of rightness and wrongness seldom coincide with Lewis’s). Anyway, Lewis, like Nietzsche, is generally worth reading even when he’s wrong.

While we’re at it, here’s another fine Lewis piece, “The Inner Ring,” that has a good deal less wrong in it.

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