After two days of trying I was able to get through to this work of pure genius:

In sooth, then, faithful friend, this was a rug of value? Thou wouldst call it not a rug among ordinary rugs, but a rug of purpose? A star in a firmament, in step with the fashion alike to the Whitsun morris-dance? A worthy rug, a rug of consequence, sir?

It was of consequence, I should think; verily, it tied the room together, gather’d its qualities as the sweet lovers’ spring grass doth the morning dew or the rough scythe the first of autumn harvests. It sat between the four sides of the room, making substance of a square, respecting each wall in equal harmony, in geometer’s cap; a great reckoning in a little room. Verily, it transform’d the room from the space between four walls presented, to the harbour of a man’s monarchy.

Truly we doth live in the Age of the Mashup, although really this is just one (genius) step removed from 10 Things I Hate About Her and the like. (Holy crap, who did the casting for that? I always forget Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it as well as Heath Ledger, and both before they were considered anything. That's arguably the James Dean and the Monty Cliff of their generation right there.)

That reminds me... I've got a script to finish. The zeitgeist seems just about ready for it.

The Mirror Avatar'd

Larison notices the disconnect between the neocon reaction to Avatar (short version: It's un-American!) and their approach to foreign policy (short version: Go team!)

Brooks is right when he says the story teaches that, “Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration.” What he fails to do is connect this to the urges of our own liberal imperialists and humanitarian interventionists, who are constantly warning against leaving other nations to their own devices and who are frequently complaining about our boundless benevolence that is repaid with contempt or indifference. He might consult his colleague Thomas Friedman on this point, since Friedman seems to think that most Muslims worldwide are “holding our coats” while we do all the heavy lifting on their behalf and that Afghanistan can be likened to a “special needs baby” that we as a country have just adopted. Muslims do tend to be reduced to supporting actors in Friedman’s own journey of self-importance. This is not just Friedman’s problem. It is the condescension and disdain for other nations shared by developmentalists, neo-imperialists, humanitarian interventionists and garden-variety hawks. It is the idea that other nations cannot possibly solve their own internal problems and probably shouldn’t be allowed to try.

I've tried to look for some way in which the story Cameron tells isn't just a rehash of colonial tropes, but a critique of them, but sadly I can't. There's much in Avatar that says "Conquering is bad!", but very little that says "Humans are not the Na'vi's betters." Maybe if the final battle had gone far worse for Jake and his merry band while at the same time the older Na'vi, being more 'plugged in', had been insistent that Eywa would provide. Maybe. But that would have created its own set of narrative problems.

As it is though, Jake is not only a better warrior than any of the Na'vi, he also apparently is a better Na'vi than any of the Na'vi, since he's the only one Eywa listens to. But hey, what can you expect from blue-skinned cat people? They're such children. Amirite?

He Gets My Vote

Bono states his case to be declared the Biggest Prat on the Planet. I think it's the occasional head-fakes towards some mild form of self-deprecation that really set him apart from other famous prats like Sean Penn.

Of all the stupid things in this column though, from the regurgitation of blatant lies with regard to media piracy to his reference to Neda as a living testimony to non-violent revolution, the stone stupidest has to be the idea that a Jeff Koons-designed car would be sexy. (Or purchased by more than a handful of people, for that matter.) Unless maybe Bono is hinting that he has a balloon animal fetish...

(h/t DougJ at BJ)


I've gotten too cocky at karaoke. Tonight, I a) sang While You See a Chance for the second time without having bothered to actually listen to it, and for the second time botched the bridge; b) tried More Today Than Yesterday blind, blew the opening and then realized with horror just how high the singing in the chorus goes, and c) finally tried I Remember You, again blew the bridge because I hadn't bothered to listen to it, and bailed on most of the high notes by going falsetto. It's been a long time since I had that many train wrecks in one evening.

Clearly I need to scale it back a bit, and maybe stick to things I know I can sing for a while rather than trying random, seemingly impossible crap all the damn time.

Mind you, Shake Your Tail Feathers turned out really well, and I went into that one mostly blind... hmmm. Maybe I just need a bit more selectivity.


So it's the biggest night in the history of TNA wrestling. They've hired Hulk Hogan, and are broadcasting live and head-to-head against Raw, just like WCW used to do in the good not-so-old days. So what do they air as the first match on a night when they probably have more new eyes watching them than ever before?

They jerk the curtain with an eight-man X-division cage match, fill it with luchas and other crazy little whippit wrestlers... and then have it in a cage built with thick red bars so that you can't even see what's going inside.

Oh, and then they undercut whatever heat the X-division guys might have generated for themselves (if anybody could see what they were doing, of course, which they couldn't) by bringing out Jeff Hardy during the match.

Clearly, TNA's idea of revolutionizing the industry is to repeat all of WCW's mistakes, without repeating any of their good ideas.

Oh, and what happens when I flip over to the start of the Fiesta Bowl in disgust? There's John Cena at midfield for the coin toss, and though to remind all the channel-flippers like me "Hey, Raw starts in an hour".

TNA's already dead, and they don't even know it. They've got some great talent (older guys like Kurt Angle and Mick Foley, who's still great on a mic even if he probably shouldn't wrestle, plus younger stars like AJ Styles and Samoa Joe) but they can't get out of their way enough to let them shine, and everything else about the company just screams bush league. It's sad.

Vince didn't even need to swallow his pride and bring back Bret Hart for one last hurrah.