One hopes that the rain in the NYC area means May flowers, or at least a nice upcoming weekend.
Movie recommendation: I saw “Ella Enchanted” on Sunday. It’s a nice, harmless PG film (PG due to some snarky moments), about Ella of Frell, a daughter of an impoverished aristocrat. Ella’s fairy godmother gave her the dumbest possible “gift” – the “gift” of “obedience.” Some obvious plot holes (i.e., doesn’t it occur to Ella that obedience can still be defined within reasonable grounds? Or is that me-the-lawyer talking?). But, a cute movie, as Ella allies herself with the elves, ogres, and giants to overcome her excessive obedience problem; rebel against the evil Sir Edgar, who segregated the enchanted kingdom in the name of the regency on behalf of his nephew, Prince Char (short for Charmant, which appears to be French for “Charming”); inspire Prince Char to become a good king; and, of course, fall in love with Prince Char, who’s smitten with the decidedly disobedient Ella.
(sidenote: elf was campaigning to the prince to let said elf go to law school, because it was discriminatory to prohibit elves from the practice of law and restrict them only to the entertainment business; nice idea).
Apparently, it’s not true to the original kids’ book (then again, how many movies are truly true to their original books?), but I never read the book so it’s not like I knew that. Kids in the audience (and there were many) enjoyed it for the funny moments; adults liked it because it was something to take the kids to see and star Anne Hathaway was a nice watch because you could watch and know she has star wattage. My friend and I particularly enjoyed Hugh Dancy (who has played Daniel Deronda in Masterpiece Theatre’s “Daniel Deronda”) as Prince Char (a.k.a., the obligatory cute English guy); i.e., the filmmakers knew full well that we the adult female audience love some charming male eye candy who also looks like he has a mind and soul; sigh…
A fun movie all in all. So, feel free to take your kids, your nieces and nephews, and even your significant other (presuming you don’t get jealous about her drooling over said cute English guy).
Some serious stuff:
– David Brooks in the NY Times poses a question – how do we cope in a world of uncertainty? Says Brooks:
“Facing such great uncertainties, [former Secretary of State George] Shultz continued, the president has to take extra care to prepare the electorate: ‘The public must understand before the fact that some will seek to cast any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by us in the worst light and will attempt to make our military and our policy makers — rather than the terrorists — appear to be the culprits. The public must understand before the fact that occasions will come when their government must act before each and every fact is known.’
“The Shultz speech [back in 1984] opened a rift within the Reagan administration. Shultz’s argument was that uncertainty forces us to be aggressive. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, on the other hand, argued that uncertainty should make us cautious. As one Weinberger aide told The Times, ‘The Pentagon is more aware of the downside of military operations and therefore is cautious about undertaking operations where the results are as unpredictable as in pre-emptive strikes against terrorists.’
“Shultz and Weinberger were clear and mature. Both understood there is no perfect answer to terror and both understood the downsides of their respective positions.”
Brooks posits that we’re surrounded by political leaders who want to be like Shultz but are “Weinbergerian” over the Iraq issue; politicians these days are not consistent, Brooks says. Brooks says that we’re not being educated by our leaders about what it means to live in uncertain times, and he closes: “When you read the Shultz speech, you get the impression the country is aging backward. Twenty years ago we had a leader who treated us like adults, mature enough to cope with harsh uncertainties. Now we’re talked to as if we’re children, which, if you look at the hypocrisy-laden terror debate, is about what we deserve.”
Hmm. I wonder if it’s not just hypocrisy but also because the leadership is no more certain than the rest of us. Which is scarier – hypocrisy or plain old ignorance (and, to go with ignorance, indecision about what to really do)?
– I’ve also been following these stories about Justice Scalia, his public speech, and his marshal, who confiscated tapes/recordings belonging to the press who were recording for purposes of reporting on his public speech. Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick asked and answered the question that occurred to me: who the heck are these marshals who are doing that and on what (legal) grounds did they think they were acting? I’m amazed that Scalia apologized – but then said that he had no power over the marshals. So, if he has no power over the US marshals, then what on earth made them decide to do what they did? And, he apparently planned to continue to prohibit the broadcast press to record him but let the press media record him for accuracy purposes (because he did not like incorrect attributions or misquotes) – but how can one have it both ways? I’m just not sure of what to make of it.
Fascinating story in NY Times on NY’s own Justice Ira Gammerman.
And, on the Asian-American front: a NY1 story on modern bhangra, traditional Indian music with a twist – some hip-hop and reggae. NY1 even profiles an Asian Indian female DJ who spins her modern bhangra at the local club scene. Sounds like a fun story.