Thursday, February 05, 2004

Robert Novak: Can't Seem to Handle Accusations of Misconduct

From the beginning of the Plame affair, I have believed Robert Novak was a slimy scumbag who should rot in jail for outing a CIA agent. Apparently, the feelings of dismay over his conduct have gotten to him, because when somebody called him a traitor, he tried to take a swing at him.

Is Novak coming undone? We can only hope..

"Novels are the most democratic form of literature." -Azar Nafisi

I heard the Iranian scholar and critic Azar Nafisi speak on Monday. She's a professor of English literature who left one job at the University of Tehran because she refused to wear the veil, another job in Iran because of political stresses, and spent her last years in Iran teaching a private class in literature and the nature of freedom to a handful of her best female students. Now she teaches and researches at Johns Hopkins University. I had reread her eloquent memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran, just last week, and was ecstatic when I heard she was coming.

Nafisi believes firmly, and has acted upon her conviction throughout her life, that the study of literature is crucially important for human freedom. Specifically, she believes, nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels -- especially those novels which are most non-political (she named Pride and Prejudice as an example) -- increase their readers' empathy. Their examinations of the complex interiorities of all characters, and their refusal to declare one set of characters "right" and "good" against another set of characters who are "wrong" or "evil", force the novels' audiences to think in terms of multiple perspectives rather than the good-vs-bad dichotomies expressed by many political movements.

I reserve judgment on this fascinating argument. What interests me most is the comparison of the nineteenth-century novels with the thirteenth- century romances I tend to study. In King Horn, for example, there are two sets of villains, Saracen invaders and a traitor among Horn's friends. All of the villains are portrayed one-dimensionally, and the hero, Horn, is perfect in every way. I've been looking at the portrayal of Horn's traitor as a Judas-figure, a coded Jew. I wonder if the lack of the "democracy" Nafisi sees in Pride and Prejudice can help me think about the way King Horn portrays the Other.

Any thoughts?

Oh, yes, and I seem to have earned a Master of Arts degree. How odd.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Random Thought

Not that my other thoughts aren't random but..

I would really like a bumper sticker that reads, "What would Frodo do?"

They Called It a Tantrum

Chris Suellentrop thinks Wes Jr. is a big baby. In truth, Wes Clark's son said nothing that was particularly childish in my opinion. It made perfect sense to me, that he felt the president was getting the benefit of the doubt, and the democratic campaigns were being told from a personal interest story standpoint. Judging by the language he uses, perhaps Slate Journalist Suellentrop was miffed at being called a 'storyteller.'

I wonder who's the real baby here.

Favorite quote: Wes Jr. On Press Coverage of His Father's Campaign: "What did we get on the news for this weekend? A speeding ticket in Oklahoma. You gotta be fucking kidding me."

Its Over!

I am done with the GRE. Over. Finished.

Never shall it harass my dreams again!

That's the Ticket!

I want to see Kerry and Edwards as a combined ticket in November.. either that or Kerry and Clark. I would prefer a K&E, because I see Clark as a good Secretary of State.

What a great Triple Threat that would be!

(I would like to note that I was thinking about this waaaay before the pundits opened their yap this morning..)

Sunday, February 01, 2004

My doom.. not

I love my Mac.. :)

Read Josh Marshall right now. In fact, I want you to add him to the blogroll, webmistress Andrea.


Superbowl

Yawn.. even the commercials aren't very good.

UPDATE: Whoops.. after half-time things got cooking. Go Patriots! PS-- Loved the Subway ad at the very end, and Mom did too.. the 7-Up ad was my brother's favorite of the night.

Note: I am sad to see Pepsi teaming up with Itunes.. I don't drink Pepsi, so I guess I'll miss all the free songs.. why couldn't they have teamed up with Coca-cola, dangit? I might actually drink that. Once in a while. Well, you can make a soda float with it.