Friday, January 30, 2009

Kill'em All

"We can kill everybody!"

So says one of the heroes in the charming movie Boondock Saints, which I so wanted to blame on George W., because WTF is not his fault?  And this movie ought to be his fault.  It should, it should.


I had to watch it, b/c one of my students is doing an IS with me (Independent Study, for y'all not in the trade) on Villains in Popular Culture -- I won't go into tons of details, but among the works she's looking at are this movie, along with an utterly appalling TV series, of which I had been happily ignorant until she brought it to my attention, called Dexter, and that other appalling series, 24.

Sorry.  I had to go take a Xanax after writing that paragraph.  Do you have any idea what's been happening to our culture over the past ten years?  Do have any notion what the fucking Right has done to us?  Go watch 24 and Dexter and Boondock Saints.  I double-dog dare you.

Grr.  Where was I?

Boondock Saints.

These twin brothers have this vision from God --

Well, let's not start there.

Let's start with the opening, where these charming good-looking twin brothers who work in a meat-packing plant, fun-loving, hard-drinking boys, get assigned to train this evil woman -- you can tell she's evil because (a) she's a woman and (b) when our good brother is attempting to explain something to her and ever so harmlessly uses the phrase "rule of thumb" she goes off on a feminist rant about how rule of thumb referred to men being allowed to beat their wives with sticks no bigger than their thumbs and then (c) when our good, handsome brother makes a joke about how that stick obviously wouldn't be big enough, it oughta have been called rule o'wrist, hee hee, she gets all miffed (feminists have no sense of humor) and kicks him, you know, there (feminists don't fight fair).

Also, did I mention she was fat and ugly?  Feminists are fat and ugly.

Jump-cut to a bar, where good and handsome and charming brothers are enjoying a well-earned beer after having been fired for slugging the bitch feminist, even though she started the fight, and the wink they give the good woman (the only good woman in the entire movie, may I add), who has just fetched them a beer.  Yay for good women!

So sad, they've lost their job.  They not worried though!  Who cares about jobs!  Not like they've got some bitch at home to nag them, after all.  No fools these guys!

Don't you worry, either!  Soon, through some weird plot twist that doesn't make a deal of sense, they tangle with the Russian mafia, accidently kill a couple of evil Russian immigrants (bad ones!  Evil Russian mobster immigrants!  But all immigrants in this movie are evil, wicked criminal types, so don't get confused) and hey presto give themselves up to William Dafoe, who is a gay homophobic police, who can solve crimes just by wandering around the crime scene looking mystic.

And he likes vigilantes.  Why?  You got me.  Because even though he can solve crimes by wandering around the crime scene etc he hates police? (He does hate police, though we're never told why. He hates everyone, though.)  Because the judges won't convict the criminals when he brings them to court?  Because liberals and the ACLU have rendered justice in America useless?  I'm guessing this here last, but the movie never says.

Then the Irish handsome brothers, who, it turns out, speak a gazillion different languages (Why?  Mama wanted them to.  Why?  You got me.) have a vision from God, who speaks from a leaky roof.  (What?  Don't ask me.)  The vision says they should kill people.  God wants them to kill people.

Don't worry.  Just bad people.

How will they know these are bad people?

They'll know.

Well, okay, then.

So they kill bad people.  They become heroes.  Because everyone Likes Killing Bad People in America.

Then their Daddy finds them.  Turns out he Kills Bad People too!  It's a family trade!

Movie ends with them breaking into a courtroom, where an Evil Italian Immigrant is about to be released, despite all the Mountains of Evidence against him, and shooting him down in front of everyone.

Heroes!  American Heroes!

Here's the speech they make just before they shoot the Evil Italian: 

"We do not ask for your poor or your hungry.  We do not ask for your tired and is your evil that will be sought by us.  With every breath we will hunt them down.  Each day we will spill their blood til it rains down from the sky.  Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal; these are principles which every man of every faith can embrace...those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.  We urge you lesser forms of filth not to push the bounds and cross over into our domain."

The narrative, clearly, approves of these two, of their actions; you can see that Duffy, who makes the film, tries to give himself some wiggle room, with the bit at the end where he goes about asking "audience" members what they think, and the bit at the start with its snotty reference to Kitty Genovese; but, as with 24 and Dexter, the narrative is careful to make the people being slaughtered and tortured so evil that, obviously, the audience is meant to approve of the actions of the killers/torturers in these texts.

To say this is disturbing is to understate matters.

We'll leave the utter misogyny of the text for some later date -- though it's interesting, I'll just add, how contempt for rule of law and misogyny so often do go together.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Really, Really Tough

I've been taking a holiday from political blogging, since, you know, we won (yay us!) and it's been eight years, after all, and I'm just worn out.  I thought I'd take a month or two and blog about other things.

But, but, but:

Obama's stimulus package and these Republicans.

The more we hear about this package, the better it sounds -- it's something that could work, it doesn't just feed the rich, it helps those who need help -- look at this: it works to fund education, and that, as anyone with an eye on history can tell you, pays not just now but later.

The contraception hubbub would have been a good deal, as well, since it would have also paid both now and later-- helped poor folks with money issues now, since while rich and middle class people can usually pay for their own contraception, poor people -- those here in Pork Smith, for instance, often, in fact, have trouble finding the cash -- and the whole country with money issues later--

(Fewer poor sick people later to deal with on the public dime -- what's the problem with that plan, can someone tell me?  And this is not even abortion: this is contraception!  Good shit!  Now the Right is against contraception too?)--

But no, the Right would rather make political noise than get the country working.  Fine.

You remember the debates?  You remember McCain with his witty line about how it would be hard for Obama to reach across the aisle from that far to the left?

Who's not reaching across the aisle now?  And why?

Rush is right: they want Obama to fail so badly they don't care if they take the country with him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just Asking

How sick do you have to be to think this is nifty?

Also, what kind of religion is it these folks are glomming onto?  My word.  That's some sick and twisted shit, right there.

I'll take column D, myself.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We're So Happy Here

Why are we so happy here at the delagar household?

(1) an icestorm is coming! So school might be cancelled tomorrow! Yay!

(2) The new Chinese restaurant that opened up next to the Harp's a block from our house?  It's actually good!  As in, I kid you not, east coast good!  Dumplings to die for! Real spring rolls!  Open on Sundays!  Oh yay, oh yay!  Please don't close, Chef Lee!  You can have all our money!

(3) A new House tonight!

(4) Obama is still president!

Friday, January 23, 2009

On the Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

See? This is our President!

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Did!

Inaguration music for you, via Amanda at Pandagon --my kid is singing this song at her school, but of course they are leaving the Lefty verses out. Hah!

It's just sinking in to me that we did it, that it's over: that we took the country back.

It's been so bad so long.

Here's Our President:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

Yes, we can.


Happy Inauguration Day!

It's Our President at Last!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dr. What?

No one in my 1203 class watches Dr. Who (I know this b/c I polled them) b/c they are NOT COOL, that is why, or even, apparently, knows what Dr. Who is, sadly; the kid and I are big fans, though we argue about which is the best doctor.  (I like the 9th; she prefers the 10th; mr delagar, as you might guess, doesn't care as long as Rose Tyler is in the episodes.)

Anyway, we were in a robust argument about whether the colonial or the post-colonial Doctor was better (and had to explain to the kid what post-colonial meant) and mr delagar, who prefers the colonial Doctor got snotty and wondered why I wasn't looking for a post-patriarchal Doctor, and I pointed out to him that's exactly why he doesn't like Donna Noble episodes, duh, b/c she's smart and not Ms. Sex Class, and yes, of course I have noticed that the Doctor had never morphed into a women, why do you suppose that is, I asked the kid, and she got a terrified look on her face and claimed, swiftly, that it was b/c he was a guy, of course, guys CAN'T turn into women, and I lifted my eyebrows in the way I do and she fled the room.

"He's an alien," I shouted after her.  "Please!  AS IF!"

"Shut up!" she yelled back.  "Shut up shut up shut up!"

She hated it when I make her head explode.

Anyway: later we found all sorts of cool Dr. Who merchandise on the web, so she decided to speak to me again.  She wants a Bad Wolf: No Biscuit teeshirt.  I want a What Would the Doctor Do coffee mug.  When we have some money, if we ever do, we're gone to buy them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's snowing here!  I doubt we'll get much, but it's hella cold, and big old flakes falling right now, so I'm hoping (ooo, nine inches and classes cancelled tomorrow, please please please, c'mon, y'all, chant it with me!).

And yesterday we had a fire in the building, which cancelled classes for THAT day, so I've had at least one unscheduled writing day this week: wouldn't two be so cool?

Update: No big snow.  Waaah!  Just a dusting, and arctic cold.  Oh, well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Vox Said

Back when I used to teach Victorian Literature, I would always start with A Christmas Carol, both because it's just a fantastic story -- everyone loves it, it's a cracking good read -- and because it's such a great introduction to the Victorian World, what with Scrooge's attitude toward the poor, and the filthy streets, and the smog, and the wealth and poverty side by side.

"Richest country in the world at this point," I said.  "They owned half the world.  And children are starving to death in their streets.  What the shit is up with that?"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Kid

She says: You know, I am entirely happy with the way I am. (She pauses for thought.)

She adds: Except I really would like to have a tail.

Book Review

I spent a deal of this weekend, my last before classes actually take up again, reading Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, which I had only vaguely heard of before I found it on the Pork Smith's public library's new book shelf (we only get about six new books a month, so it's very exciting when one shows up). I had read Sittenfeld's Prep, way back when, and not liked it all that much (whiny rich kid books bore me, and that's basically what that is, even if she pretends she's not actually a rich kid).

But I read six or ten pages of this, standing in the library, and it kept me reading, so I took it home. I was about halfway through it, I swear, before I realized, my shit, this is supposed to be Laura Bush.

It's an engaging book, though not especially because of the political aspects -- the apologia of Laura Bush/W. isn't that convincing or that interesting. (Sittenfeld describes her "Laura" as a closet liberal who is just keeping quiet to stand by her man.)

What's interesting about the text is the apologia of the Rich. In a way, this reminds me of Fitzgerald's motives, although in other ways not so much. Fitzgerald, I think, loved the wealthy -- no, well, I think he held them in a kind of existential esteem: they were, for him, what kings or Lords had been to an early sort of humanity. (I dated a guy who held the monarchy in this kind of awe: he believed that blood conferred not just status, but a different order of being. People who came of "upper-class" blood were a different and better kind of human than other sorts of humans.)

I don't think Sittenfeld thinks about the hyper-rich like that. She does think of them as a different sort of being, though, and she's intensely curious about why they can think/live the way they do, in a kind of WTF way that comes across much more clearly in this book than it did in Prep.

Rich people are bizarre, her character Alice says, at one point in the books. (Nor is it just that they have more money, pace Ernest H.) No, that insulation of immense wealth changes everything for that top, what is it, .01 percent at the top. This book does an excellent job of looking at how and why -- and how and why George W. could fuck up the job so badly, too, incidentally: but that's not why I'd recommend it. I'd recommend it so you can see, as Sittenfeld as seen, why those tools at the top, can believe the incredible things they can believe, despite the world we all live in.

It's also interesting from a feminist POV, though Alice is far from a feminist. But that's an entirely different review.

Deep Thoughts

The kid, this morning: How come all the bands I like broke up fifteen years before I was born?

Friday, January 09, 2009

At Breakfast

mr. delagar: Cool! All the epidsodes of Police Woman are available on DVD!

The kid: Cool! the nine-tale fox has (off into some Naruto-related plot-line I cannot follow).

Me: Cool! I can tie my own shoes again!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh noes!

Back to school tomorrow, or anyway back to work: our pre-school conference is scheduled to start at 9.00.  I have been writing so well, I can't bear the thought.  Why can't the universe just pay me to stay home and write?  Why, why, why?

Also: I had PT this morning.  OW!

Monday, January 05, 2009


I hate PT.

"How much longer do you have to go?" mr. delagar asks me.

"Never," I say.  "I am quitting tomorrow."

This alarms him unduly.  You would think he was used to my rampant exaggeration by now.

PT is short for physical torture, you know.