Just a few things.

A mild illness overtook my holiday-sapped body yesterday, a mid-level queasiness that stopped short of vomiting but kept me pinned to the couch for most of the day. Bad news: I had no good books to read. Good news: “Lolita,” the Kubrick version, was on TV. I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve seen it all the way through, and my opinion has now come full-circle: It’s a movie with some wonderful moments that, ultimately, fails. All movie versions of “Lolita” will fail, because even a movie using a barely legal actress in the title role will never be able to portray the simplest, most basic thread of the narrative — the seduction and corruption of a 12-year-old girl by a sleazy European. It’s a nasty business, and movies shrink from nasty, or at least that type of nasty. The other layers of the book are, I figure, just way beyond the screen. There’s a reason people say, “The book was better.”

Also: Kill “Sex and the City” now. Now, I say, and spare us any future reference by Sarah Jessica Parker to “my new favorite website, Google dot com.” Does anyone on the writing staff actually use Google? And if so, have they ever heard any human being refer to it as “Google dot com?” Didn’t think so. (Someone’s probably trying to get in on the IPO.) Plus, the girls are all looking like what they are, at least on HBO — middle-age babes who’ve been sleeping around too long. Poor Kim Cattrall. Stop her now.

Looking for something good to read? You could do worse than Richard Cohen on Grover Norquist’s comparison of the estate tax to the Holocaust. (Yes, really.)

Me, I’m off to class

Posted at 9:39 am in Uncategorized |

13 responses to “Just a few things.”

  1. 4dbirds said on January 6, 2004 at 10:31 am

    Can’t get into “City” since Berger post it noted out. Also, Grove Norquist is insane.

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  2. alex said on January 6, 2004 at 12:40 pm

    I loved the old original b&w Lolita from the ’50s�and thought it portrayed the seduction and corruption beautifully. It was artfully done and didn’t have to hit you over the head.

    First time I ever saw it, I caught it in the middle on late night TV while flipping channels. Here was a daddy and a little girl riding in a ’57 Ford, and I might have thought it was some Ward & June junk and passed it by, but something about the picture just didn’t add up and it had me hooked trying to figure it out. Now that’s great acting and cinematography for you.

    I never bothered to see the new Lolita, figuring it was just going to be another Hollywood soft core nudity extravaganza with a plot line woven through.

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  3. amy said on January 6, 2004 at 12:44 pm

    What classes? Have you told us your spring schedule?

    And the “Google dot com” struck me the same way. And the whole show. It was awful. And you know what they’re going to do to Samantha, don’t you?

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  4. 4dbirds said on January 6, 2004 at 3:06 pm

    ‘And you know what they’re going to do to Samantha, don’t you?

    No matter how enlightened “Sex” pretends to be, they still punish the one who is sexually liberated. Sort of like the teenagers who have sex in the horror films always die.

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  5. Melissa said on January 6, 2004 at 4:10 pm

    Film can never express the greatest thing about the novel, which is Nabokov’s use of the English language. I am continually amazed by his labyrinthine sentence structure, his Byzantine paragraphs building to his perfect point, and his dead-on portrait of the bland, rotting underside of suburbia and the uncharted terrain of the human heart. It’s a comic-horror Valentine that no one will ever capture on film.

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  6. Maureen McDaid said on January 6, 2004 at 6:15 pm

    There is a name for an economic system that does not permit one to keep the fruit of one’s labors – it’s called slavery.

    As a resident of California, my combined tax burden (federal, state, property, and sales) approaches 55%. That means that until about mid-July, I get up every day, get my kids off to school, and then settle in for a mind-numbing day of work – All for the benefit of the government. I do not get to keep a penny of what I have earned for the first half of the year.

    And IF I actually manage to save some of the money I do get to keep and choose to pass this money along to my children in the form of an inheritance, then THEY can pay estate taxes on that after-tax money. Sounds fair.

    Now I am unlikely to ever have enough money saved to trigger the payment of estate taxes to my children (cf tax burden above), but I still think that it is reasonable to object to what can be the double taxation of earnings.

    Also, it is so trivial to paint taxes as a Rich/Poor divide. It is not my “unbridled selfishness” that fuels my virulent anti-tax sentiments. It is my belief in personal liberty, and the right to use my body, my time, and my talents in a way I choose, and to keep the results of such labors and efforts. Low taxes and small government increases individual freedom, and those who hold that the increase in personal liberty is a critical social good have a principled objection to the current tax structure in the United States. They should not, as a matter of common decency, be demonized as selfish, immoral money-grubbers.

    Also, Richard Cohen’s article was incoherent. I think that Norquist quite clearly explained that he was not saying that the estate tax is the equivalent of mass murder. What he was equating was the impulse that says something is okay as long as it only affects a small minority of people. Cohen’s big finish – “Norquist has gone even further, likening the morality of mass murder to the imposition of a tax on the rich” – is a specious and improper conclusion of Norquist’s argument as based on the interview text.

    But I do agree that, as Fran Libowitz once said, genocides are like snowflakes. Each one is unique. The frequent comparisons of almost anything one finds objectionable to the Holocaust is profoundly offensive, and I for one would be thrilled if all such comparisons were retired.

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  7. Beth said on January 6, 2004 at 7:47 pm


    Okay, I’ll bite. What are they going to do to Samantha?

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  8. Nance said on January 6, 2004 at 8:34 pm

    Maureen, I really don’t want to get into a tax debate here, but I have to say two things:

    First, I don’t believe that 55 percent figure. It just sounds preposterously high, and based on the sorts of figures people grasp for when they’re trying to make an argument entirely in their own favor — like the ones that claim women are better off staying home, because working women supposedly pay $150 a week for dry-cleaning and manicures. Don’t hold me to these figures, but I’d estimate our little co-properity sphere went no higher than 25-30 percent on our gross for everything, and I can’t believe it’s that much higher in California.

    Second, try thinking of “the government,” that entity you say you’re working for more than half the year, this way: It’s the firefighters protecting your house. It’s the roads you drive on. It’s the schools that educate your children. It’s the library that offers you a world of literature at the corner. No one’s saying there’s no waste in government, but it seems entirely counterproductive to demonize every public office, when we all benefit from them to some extent.

    Grover Norquist’s argument is insane.

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  9. amy said on January 6, 2004 at 10:32 pm

    If you’re sure you want to know….

    Spoiler space

    Give her breast cancer.

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  10. James Burns said on January 7, 2004 at 8:03 am

    Re: Samantha

    My guess? She’ll enter sexual addiction therapy, and thus have some connection to her AA boyfriend.

    Criswell predicts!

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  11. 4dbirds said on January 7, 2004 at 9:52 am

    55% in total taxes? I don’t buy it either. If you don’t like government services and the taxes they require, I invite you to move to Somolia (I’ve been there so I have some knowledge), where one is free to scratch out a living free of those oppressive burdens.

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  12. Ashley said on January 7, 2004 at 11:57 am

    This talk about sex in the city reminded me of an old nn.com page where I said I guess it will be nothing but endless reruns of watching the dried out slag meat skanks on “Sex and the city” with their totally unpredictable plotlines and scintillating dialogue. Imagine, the media actually portrays them as sexy, and you guys buy it. Enjoy. I honestly don’t think any of these women are attractive. Guess what gang: the head writers are gay men. The characters are basically gay men. The women are inconsequential.

    On another note, go ahead and bitch and moan and whine about taxes (55%…yeah right. Get a decent accountant, then), and then vote Republican because you think they will cut your taxes. Then pay an extra $350 a month in health care costs, assuming you still have a job.

    The time for the revolution is now.

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  13. ts said on January 8, 2004 at 11:11 am

    Of course, the fact that we cannot know our total tax burden is by design. Withholding taxes, gas taxes, sin taxes, are all very nice ways to extract $$ painlessly.

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