Thursday, December 12, 2002

courtesy of liz, in reference to my first substitute teaching position this friday.
Jaime's class Mock political/media Spelling Test for 12/12/02:

"Ok kids, take out your crayola's and a sheet of paper, it's time for a
spelling test!"

"Number your papers 1 thru 10."

(shuffling, scuffling, talking)

"Ok kids, settle down.."
"class. Class. CLASS! QUIET!! billy. Billy. BILLY! STOP PINCHING KAILIE!!
let go of her. I said LET GO of her!"

"Ok, now, let's get started. Your first word is:
"Colin Quinn"
then
"Tough Crowd"
then
"Gaza Strip"
"Remember to capitalize proper names!"
then
" the Daily Show"
then
"with Jon Stewart"
then
"(insert arabic word here)"
then
"Strom Thurmond"
then
"Happy Birthday Mister President"
then
"Sociopolitical"
then
"Oo ee Oo ah ah Bing Bang Walla walla bing bang OO ee OO ah ah bing bang
walla walla bing bang"
("Settle down class, that was a bonus question")

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

i have five essays i need to be writing for graduate schools. but i am too spattered, too all-over-the-board. the good news is i think i got one of the five done last night; the bad news is that since then i have been reading the latest issue of the economist and alan dershowitz's book _supreme injustice: how the high court hijacked election 2000_ and sleeping. i have started writing here because my mind is currently in a state of overload which requires at least half an hour of digestion time. and i'm only on page 48 of dershowitz.

where do you start? i flipped through the book, my eyes landing on a passage further along which says something like "a good lawyer can argue either side of a case." here is the problem i have been having lately, feeling like i am perhaps going crazy because i see too many sides of all issues, that i could argue from any perspective and convince myself and others that this is right. (too bad in interpersonal relationships there is not a history of jurisprudence to pore through, unless you count literature.) but this isn't why i had to stop reading. i had to stop reading because of the damn absurdity of the entire last election.

i hate to bring up student government here, but as some of you know, and some of you may not, i served last year in the student senate at george mason university and in the spring i found myself absolutely embroiled in an electoral controversy. at one point, the student supreme court, lovingly referred to as the kangaroo court, issued a decision that was flawed not only by its logic and legislative interpretation but by the very fact that the court had chosen to hear this particular case. parallels to election 2000 abounded. interestingly, in the student government controversy, the court decision had little to no impact because of the relative respectability and position of the court. the electoral issues were eventually "worked out" behind closed doors by a few players, making the court's rulings erroneous. in election 2000, of course, as we all know, the relative respectability and position of the supreme court of the united states effectively ended all discussion with the handing down of its verdicts.

now as dershowitz suggests in his introduction, he is going to discuss implications of these rulings. however, already i am sitting here considering whether the supreme court even deserves the priviledge of effectively ending all discussion. dershowitz makes the case that regardless of one's political orientation, one should be disturbed by these rulings of the court because they effectively make us question the moral and judicial authority of the highest court in our land, the end-all be all, the robed people we the people trust to make sound, law-based decisions. and again, i am not yet at page 50, and my faith in this institution is going the way of the eighties fashion style of layering different colored socks. sure, maybe it will come back again, but is it likely?

i'm not educated enough yet to issue some sort of serious opinion on whether the united states supreme court deserves the priviledge of the nation's trust. i don't know enough about its history; i only know about its reputation. but i find myself awash in fear that at root, all courts are, in essence, kangaroo courts. this of course raises a larger issue: is an institution really only as worthwhile as its membership? brain don't fail me now.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

and at 7:59 pm eastern time i was sitting, highly anticipatory as our fearless leader would say, eyes peeled and ready to experience hbo's "live from baghdad." i need to see it again; but it's worth a watch. most anything is worth a watch though, so i'll tell you here what you really should make an effort to see: the first five minutes. scene of middle easterners in a movie theater, watching the kevin bacon film "tremors." (i was horrified already. where can this be going except to the obvious---) and the theater shakes and there is mass chaos, screaming. people in the streets, tanks. the story begins here: the iraqi invasion of kuwait.

the movie is dashing, fast: action sequences. dialogue is spattered and tense. helena bonham carter steals the show from everyone, bringing a deliberateness to her character that is in stark contrast to the entirety of the film. keaton, i personally feel, is a weak link here, especially since the absolutely disturbing shape of his eyebrows distracts you further, in a movie that seems to have as its goal distracting you. the quick pace of it i am sure is meant to emphasize the relative speed with which the characters must adapt to the demands of the environment and their jobs. (or at least i hope it was done for some reason.) but i feel like in a way it deflates the story itself, by failing to pause. is this just the nature of twenty-four news networks and it came out in the movie?

there were spattered philosophical debates about the nature of journalism itself in the film. "we're just the eyes." "we don't make the story. we aren't active participants." meanwhile, it is clear that journalists are anything but "just eyes" or some brand of participant observers....saddam and bush both watching cnn to see what is happening...using it...manipulation...ministry of information...disturbing.