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Friday, November 14, 2008

Two poseurs, two letters to the editor

Dull domesticity envelops me. Pull the last potatoes. Reset fresh bait in the mousetraps. Clean leaves out of eavestroughs. Drive taxi for another 12 hours. And so on.

Before one knows it, two weeks are gone (three???!!) and this bloggistic attempt to reshape the cultural firmament has a gaping hiatus. Not that anyone is actually reading it. Or cares (and I sort of like it that way; until it has more meat on its bones it may as well languish unnoticed).

Still the human comedy proceeds apace, and scarcely a day passes that three or 17 topics don't pop up, begging for a satirist's cudgel. How about all the "historic" oohing and aahing over Barack Obama's election as U. S. president? The h-word was thrown about with such abandon that supplies of it must be severely depleted. Let's hope nothing else "historic" happens in the short-term, lest we have no gush-words left to whoop.

Politics is mostly the art of the not-possible in any case, so I try not to get caught up in all the surging hopes and futilities. Anyone who places their faith in politicians is gambling in a den of iniquity more dubious than the stock-market. Me for the wide-open spaces.

Nonetheless, I did take a quick gander at an Obama Facebook site (whatever...) and the official McCain site, which seemed to have made the mistake of allowing free speech, for it contained (and for all I know still contains) a "Sarah RACIST Palin" thread. Being a connoisseur of all things racism-related (stay tuned for my ancient History-of-Biology essay "Was T. H. Huxley a Scientific Racist?" among A COLLECTION OF MOLDY OLDIES TO BE POSTED HERE) I absolutely had to groove to the indignation and sputtering contained in the posts, and even contributed a personal smidgen telling everybody to calm down a little, and consider that racism might actually be to McCain/Palin's ADVANTAGE in a racist society. Or something like that. It managed to silence the thread for a week or more.

Then a few days before the U.S. election Christopher Hitchens wrote a long piece in the National Post savaging Palin for her downright voidness of intelligence. Well! What could a chivalrous gallant like myself to but write another soothing, calming pensee to the editors thereof:

A small quibble with Christopher Hitchens's otherwise sterling trashing of uber-bimbo Sarah Palin:
Hitchens rightly thumps her for under-rating and "Frenchifying" genetic research into drosophila (fruit flies), but he might also have noted that this 1930s Nobel-winning research was matched and even scooped by American Barbara McClintock, who labored under the handicap of employing corn (zea mays), an organism that produces only one generation a year (versus ten days for a generation in fruit flies).
McClintock's achievements in genetics (she eventually won a Nobel for them, after years of neglect and incomprehension, even among her peers) is a monument to the sort of feisty independence and individualism that Palin merely talks about, not to mention the sort of towering intelligence that Palin can't even remotely imagine.
Oh yes: McClintock had only disdain for fashions in feminine dress.

Mirabile dictu! -- the letter appeared Oct. 31 (slightly mangled due some missteps between myself and the letter editor). And of course the Hitchens/Andersen Critique was the "October surprise" that stopped the McCain juggernaut in its tracks and gave Obama his squeaker victory.

Hey, all in a day's work!

Then a few days ago I notice the showbiz machinery clanking and gearing up for the release of the latest James Bond flick Quantum of Solace. Oh jeez, another action-packed moron-treat for us critics to grab with our tongs! And not just the idiotic film itself and reviews of it, but all the gazillion spinoffs, as if jiggle and fantasy-hardware were more consequential than Taliban guerrillas and the ethics of HPV vaccine.

Count the column-inches devoted to each and weep.

(As I write this and chuck out old newspapers, I find "It's the Steve McQueen of jackets" in the Nov. 8 Globe and Mail and "Bespoke tailors of the world unite!" in the Nov 14 National Post, both gurgling about the film's sartorial splendors, yadda yadda. Or how about todays Post, reprinting a cutesy "Anything you can do, Bond can do better" spoof from Dose.ca, full of stuff like "Your average Brit Uses his accent to pick up women. James Bond Uses his British accent to pick up women... if his sophisticated charm, impressive knowledge of fine wines..."

And further codswallop.

One of the first Bond-items to annoy me was a review of a museum exhibition of things Ian Fleming, printed in the Edmonton Journal. Off I went again with a letter to the editor:

A Journal featurette (Nov. 10) cites a young Ian Fleming wooing his beloved: "...the azure of your eyes, the red red lips, the golden mystery of your hair!"
Oy! To think that our precocious, budding James Bond novelist could write such melodramatic crap at such a young age!
I'm just praying to my non-university-endorsed Divinity that Mike Myers will assemble yet another lampoon, Austin Powers: Modicum of Bolus, before the current spate of Fleming-cloning destroys Western Civilization with cheap imitations of the master's upscale sensationalism!

Let us hope our sarcasm wises up all the editors complicit in promoting the Bondomania.

Oh, don't be so cynical! YES WE CAN!

... and the letter DID get printed today...

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