A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, October 24, 2003 :::
A Great Blog...A Great History Book...When Old Guys Party With the Kids...IFC Whacks One Out of the Taste Ballpark...Rummy and His Memo...

It is a fine, brisk morning in the nation's most beautiful city, and A Mind That Suits has only a lunch appointment before his second job commences this evening. So, while work loometh, it loometh not at the moment.

Which does not mean that he is going to dilate on anything in particular this morning. Some random thoughts.

You know, you can find the most interesting mind stretching stuff over at One Good Turn . Host Eddie is a philosophy professor, now going through the excruciating process of securing tenure (though A Mind That Suits has been rude enough not to ask where, exactly, except that the school is in Macon, GA.) He writes interestingly on very interesting things. A Mind That Suits himself, educated in ancient civilization by the superb Classics Department at a certain red-tile-roofed university out West, always gets an intellectual thrill when people want to discuss the Sophists, or the Peloponnesian War.

Which brings up one great book, Donald Kagan's Peloponnesian War , a very readable and comprehensive accounting of a historical event (431-405 B.C., I think) of which Prof. Kagan is perhaps the preeminent historian ever, even over Thucydides. One really cannot write a history of the war without Thucydides's assistance, but he died just after the war ended and had only gotten to 411 BC. Prof. Kagan has also written a magisterial five volumn history of the same war, which is one of those books that A Mind That Suits really does want to sit down and read some time. The new book is a totally fresh, one volume version for the layman, and it is one really enjoyable book. A Mind That Suits is in the middle of reading Joseph Frank's own superb magisterial 5-volume work on Dostoevsky, with pauses to read the works covered in each volume. As that project is slated to take two or three years, Prof. Kagan's one volume book will have to suffice for the nonce.

One Good Turn makes gentle fun of my misadventures with the younger set the other night, although the piece in question (scroll down) was entitled, 'Things You Should Not Allow to Happen," just to be fair to myself. (-: A Mind That Suits actually got more sleep that night than usual, just off center from the rest of adult humanity, and he is proud to note that the strapping young man--who embodies what the Greeks would call the arete' of youth--was sitting quietly the next night with his advisor, one of this town's most prominent academic economists, watching the series and discussing research. Said youth admitted that he had himself had trouble getting up following The Night In Question, although, in all honesty, he was just getting started when A Mind That Suits had decided that "you're as young as you feel" applies only to particular moments, and not an entire evening.

In the "How Far Can Our Culture Sink?" category, the Independent Film Channel is proudly announcing that it will show the regrettable Y Tu Mama Tambien "unedited, uncut, and uncensored." (The title translates to "And Your Mama, Too," so that should tell you,though the significance of the line is even more degraded than you think.) If our "elite" classes think about anything other than sex, please let the rest of us know. While Y Tu Mama, about a sexually obsessive road trip involving two teenage boys and a slightly older woman, is affectingly and effectively told, there is not one moment that is not about sex and only sex. The ostensible philosophical stance is a rejection of oppressive society, as represented by a wedding reception at a private bull fighting rink and one throw away sentence about rock music. The"uncensored" part is a ploy by IFC to boost ratings, as you will get to see the two boys (played by obvious 20-something adults) actually masturbating. Yup. It's shot from well above them, but there is no doubt you are seeing what you are seeing. And the older woman, squatting on the floor, reaches graphically up into one guy's briefs
at another point. And you see all of all of them a lot, especially the guys.

The disappointing thing is that all of our elite reviewers praised the film to the skies without any qualification. It was obvious you were getting a lot of sex, but all sex, all the time? How boring and uniform liberated culture is.

The reviewers' uniform joy has to be classified under "this movie is about what I would like to think my own adolescence was like, but I actually studied a lot and was boring."

The initial reports about the famous memo from our regrettable Secretary of Defense played as if "Rummy" was actually capable of self-doubt, which did not seem credible. Moreover, the quotes indicated that what he was actually saying was "ON TO TOTAL VICTORY!!!!" A day's reflection has told everyone that that is exactly what he meant. It seems certain the memo was deliberately leaked to rally the conservative faithful. As we have no resources with which to do what he is calling for, and as those are human lives and not footballs that Mr. Rumsfeld is playing with, you can count this conservative out. This heartening report from the New York Times indicates that, among the elcted representatives of said conservative faithful, Mr. Rumsfeld is beginning to wear out his welcome, big time. A Mind That Suits has begun to think of him simply as That Horrible Man, so he does not find this report in anyway disturbing.

That said, on further reflection, the Kay report seems to make a very strong case for war--as Saddam had everything in the ready to start up his WMD programs the minute the UN turned its back, which was inevitable and even, 18 months ago, imminent. It would just be nice not to wake up to a headline about something else that DoD was warned about but refused to take into account.

And on that note, go over to One Good Turn and have your mind stretched.

All the best...

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:39 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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