Entries in Category Media

Ruminations on Leviathan, Prompted by the Film Potiche

As an excuse to try out FAU's new Living Room Theaters I spent some time Sunday seeing a French film named Potiche, which was surprisingly and tediously political at the same time. The surprise was my own fault: I didn't research it too closely before buying my ticket. Blame for the tedium falls elsewhere! Whereas most of the audience, I expect, saw Potiche as a charming and funny celebration of female empowerment, I saw mostly a nightmare in which everything was politics, everything from business decisions to paternal pride to tender moments between husband and wife tainted with the tawdry operations of socialist democracy.

My Favorite Author ...

is Neal Stephenson. Without a doubt! I've read all of his books save one (haven't gotten around to Zodiac yet). I devoured all three weighty volumes of his Baroque Cycle, and bought Anathem the very day it came out, which I almost never bother with for any other kind of new release—artistic, technological, or otherwise. I didn't read the Harry Potter books until years after they were published, and I own no Apple computer products at all!

So there is some empirical evidence that Neal Stephenson is my favorite author. But lately I've been dwelling on why that might be, and I think I have part of an answer. Reading his books I am constantly running into ideas and observations, clearly and artfully developed, that I've thought of before, only vaguely. I've spoken with a friend of mine, also a Neal Stephenson fan, about this, and he confirms it is so for him also. It's a thrill to see someone with real talent flesh out the sketchier, dimly-lit parts of your own mind.

This is an intellectual pleasure, of course, but there is a more primitive reason as well. It hits that "someone gets it" part of the brain, provides the sense that you are not alone, that there are other people like yourself.

This is a feeling that all humans crave, but that unusual humans experience only rarely.

The Best Damn Movie of the Year

Go see Serenity, in theaters now. Just go, don't ask me why. You'll either hate it fiercely or love it forever, and my duty to those that will love it outweighs my duty to those that will hate it (stupid statist purple-bellies, anyway!)