Great Hexpectations?

He was a hero to some, a villain to others … and wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers. He had no friends, this Jonah Hex, but he did have two companions: one was Flopsy Bunny … the other, Twinkle the Elf.

No wait, that’s not right.

one was death itself … the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke.

-- but you're such an ornery cuss, I'd be happy to make an exceptionThat’s better.

Anyway, word is (see here, here, and here) that Jonah Hex is coming to the big screen.

Hex was one of my favourite comic book characters when I was a kid; I used to have a leather belt on which I’d had the name “Jonah Hex” hammered. (Okay, I was in Idaho at the time.) Hex was a cynical Clint Eastwood style antihero gunslinger with a battered Confederate uniform, a massively scarred face (just how massively scarred depended on who was drawing him), and a twisted sense of honour; his stories ran in All-Star Western / Weird Western Tales from 1972 to 1977, then in his own Jonah Hex title from 1977 to 1985. (I call this Phase I.)

Jonah Hex visits the future Then came the controversial genre-bending years (though admittedly Phase I hadn’t been completely devoid of such aspects); first, a science-fiction element was introduced in the series Hex (1985-87), with the central character being transported to a post-apocalyptic 21st century (Phase II). Unfortunately Hex was cancelled before revealing how he got back to the 19th century. (Wouldn’t mind seeing a limited series tying up the loose ends from Hex, as well as the plot threads from Jonah Hex #92 that led in to it.) Then in the 90s three limited series (Two Gun Mojo, Riders of the Worm and Such, and Shadows West) had Hex back in the old west facing various supernatural horrors – zombies, subterranean worm people, and the like (Phase III).

Jonah Hex is happy to see you Finally, a couple of years ago Jonah Hex came back in his own series, mostly straight western again without any more science-fiction or fantasy elements – though one recent issue did push the Edison-Tesla rivalry in a science-fiction direction. (Phase IV – though the movie of that name would fit better in Phase II or III – is in essence a return to Phase I.)

From the interviews I linked to above, it’s sounds like the upcoming Jonah Hex movie combines the Quentin Turnbull arc from Phase I with the zombie arc from Phase III. The Quentin Turnbull arc (which draws crucially on Hex’s Civil War backstory – see the first Showcase volume for details) is great and is the obvious place to start with a Jonah Hex film; I’m not as big a fan of the zombie arc, and in particular I don’t see how the zombie arc is going to fit easily together with the realistic, historically-grounded Quentin Turnbull arc. So I’m not sure how enthusiastic I should be about this movie.

Unequal Distribution

From space only the USA matters So when is the (region 1) Galactica Season 3 dvd coming out? No one seems to know. It was announced that it would be August, then September; now the rumors say December.

The British (region 2) version is already out – lucky Brits! But their version reportedly doesn’t include the webisodes (which are supposed, knock on wood, to appear on the U.S. dvd) – unlucky Brits! Especially unlucky since they never got to see the webisodes online either; bizarrely, the webisodes were made available only for U.S. internet users. What the hell is the Sci-Fi Channel doing anyway, and why??

A Sense of Proportion

I’m skeptical about these “remastered” versions of the original Star Trek, but if they’re going to do it they should at least do it right. AICN raves about this shot:

Galileo Seven

But when I look at it I see a shuttlecraft that’s way too big in proportion to the Enterprise – or conversely the Enterprise is too small. After all, the shuttle can only carry a handful of people, whereas there are supposed to be over four hundred crew on the Enterprise, living in fairly roomy conditions.

Is It Warm Yet?

Just saw a beer commercial – Coors, I think – that said their product “starts out cold and ends up refreshing.”

So their beer is never cold and refreshing at the same time? I wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea to admit that.

Easy Rider

I’m not entirely sure what I think about this issue, but I lean toward Walter’s position – not because I agree that “libertarianism abhors a property vacuum,” but because Walter’s position seems like a natural extension of what I already believe about easements. I’ve long argued that one property owner cannot legitimately buy up all the land around another’s property and thereby either keep the latter prisoner (if she was on the property at the time) or bar the latter from her own home (if she was away) – since one cannot legitimately use one’s own property to interfere with the liberty and property of others. (And why should we count this kind of action as “interference”? Well, that’s where thick libertarianism and unity of virtue come in. And yes, I recognise the irony of invoking those sorts of considerations on Walter’s side in a debate!) And I’ve recently extended that argument to a defense of open borders, on the grounds that even if the government were the legitimate owner of the nation’s borders, it would not have the right to prevent immigrants from moving freely on to property where they are welcome.

Well, then, let A be a circular plot of land owned and resided within by you; let B be a doughnut-shaped plot of land owned by me and completely surrounding plot A; and let C be the rest of the planet, ex hypothesi unowned. I have no right to imprison you within A by denying you an easement across B allowing you to travel between A and C.

Now let the boundaries of A and B gradually expand until they surpass the circumference of the planet and begin to decrease on the other side:

globe seen from vertical perspective above pole

The result is that, from the perspective of the other side of the globe, unowned territory C is now a small circular area surrounded by doughnut B, while A comprises most of the earth’s surface. But does this shifting of boundaries obviate the obligation of B’s owner to allow access from A to C? I can’t see why it should. Surely mere relative size is not a decisive consideration; and what counts as imprisoning has little to do with which boundary is “inside” or “outside” the other. Recall the marvelous image that opens Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed:

Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.

Looked at from one side, the wall enclosed a barren sixty-acre field called the Port of Anarres. … The wall shut in not only the landing field but also the ships that came down out of space, and the men that came on the ships, and the worlds they came from, and the rest of the universe. It enclosed the universe, leaving Anarres outside, free.

Looked at from the other side, the wall enclosed Anarres: the whole planet was inside it, a great prison camp, cut off from other worlds and other men, in quarantine.

So anyway, those are my initial reactions.

Six Years After

Today is the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the fifth anniversary of both the Molinari Institute and this blog. Re 9/11, I have little to say that I haven’t said previously. Re the Molinari Institute, to those still patiently waiting for the appearance of the Industrial Radical, apologies for the delay (owing to illness and various kinds of hecticity) – it is coming! Re this blog, it’s been an amazing success – thank you! I now get the kind of stats in a month I used to get in a year.

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