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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Thoughts: The presidential caucus/primary season is but a couple months away, but it still seems too early to start worrying about things. These things do tend to come up and bite ya, if you aren't careful though. I add to the discussion here, arguing that a new rule change might not only lead to a brokered convention, but might help Kerry (someone else responds, continuing a theme of his, and arguing otherwise).

I also suggest that libertarians (and others) might support a Democratic win because the Republican opposition would better serve as a check. This makes sense, since those friendly with the Democrats are accused of unfairly criticizing this administration selectively. This might be true, but other than the Republicans being in power now, it is only natural to be more harsh to those you trust/disagree with less. This is the value of a "loyal opposition." This is hard for some to accept, as shown by the replies which basically write off the whole Republican Party for what I believe are the wrongs of one wing of it. This tendency to demonize the opposition, shown especially on political message boards, troubles me, and I'm no evenhanded soul myself in that department.

Football: Beware of games in which you are heavily favored, especially if you are going against desperate teams. The Giants played horrible against 1-7 Atlanta, who beat them last year without Michael Vick, and beat them this year as well (now they are 2-7). This game unfortunately did not knock them out of contention, so fans have to bear with them some more, waiting for them to again show their talent, so they can again mess up for one last time. The Jets beat Oakland, but it took a 21-10/24-24 turnaround in the Fourth Quarter to do so, and this time the kicker did his job. An overtime win is always nice, but the history (and early whipping in this very game) between these teams made it even more sweet. The Jets might be 3-6, but fans still have a reason to watch the games -- pride and games like this.

Movies: I am not really a big fan of poetry, since I tend to enjoy poetry in prose more, nor do I know very much about Sylvia Plath. One thing I did learn when I read about the film Sylvia was that those who study her are often divided into two groups: those who are more sympathetic to her, and those who are more sympathetic to her husband. This involves those trying to determine why she committed suicide at a young age, which I found a bit strange, since given her history (she tried to commit suicide before she met him), it appears that Plath had some predilection to it either way. Blaming either, unless somehow their general flaws or decisions were so different from typical of the era to warrant notice (I have my doubts), seems silly. Of course, I know nearly nothing of the background, so who am I to say?

Not knowing much about the background is actually useful in a way when you watch a based on reality film such as this. I do think that films have some responsibility not to twist the truth too much, especially since many do formulate their views on reality from them (unconsciously or not), and knowing the background story does affect how one accepts a film. To take an extreme case, no matter how superior as an art form JFK might be, conspiracy theory twisting of fact such as that bothers me.

Anyway, the thing that stood out about Sylvia was the Oscar nomination worthy performance of Gwyneth Paltrow, who had a bit of an uphill battle given the film seemed underwritten and without a full picture of the characters (mainly Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes). This made the film somewhat flawed, but Paltrow's performance as well as an excellent sense of mood and place surely made it worth watching.

As some reviews note, the screenplay leaves open a lot of questions, even in the limited area of the film (mainly the couple's relationship and Plath's slow loss of control, which the film implies were somewhat closely entwined, especially at the very end), so it is an imperfect work. Also, I too think's Palthrow's real life mother shines in the one scene she is in, playing Plath's mother. Jared Harris as a literary critic and Michael Gambon as her neighbor are also very good in small roles. Finally, is that her in the nude scenes? I wonder. [Plath's sexuality is apparently key to her personality; it is said to be strong and more daring than others of her generation in the c. 1960 era of her adulthood.]