I mentioned “Dukes of Hazzard” in my Thurs. post; Yahoo has this AP article about the so-called Dukesfest, which celebrated 25 years of the Dukes of Hazzard. Apparently, the cast showed up, except for the actors who played Boss Hogg and Uncle Jesse (both passed away over the years); plus Tom Wopat and John Schneider (the ex- Bo and ex-Luke – the actual “Dukes of Hazzard” – who were reportedly not at this festival “because they were performing elsewhere,” according to the article).
Personally, I think that a true reunion or celebration of the show isn’t quite a celebration without the two stars themselves, and people should at least understand their feelings of not wanting to be more typecasted than they already are as the Dukes. (I read somewhere that Wopat and Schneider have resolved their feelings and actually are proud of their work as the Dukes, especially now that they’re in their middle age and appreciate that those days as the Dukes gave them an income and some fame – but it took years for them to get there – not to mention years of other good acting work; we ought to give them credit for that).
I say, celebrate your favorite shows, but not to extremes (that’s sort of how I feel about the Trekkies/Trekkers, and while I’m fannish about that the Star Trek franchise, I’d like to think that I’m even moderate about my fannishness (no, not a real word, probably, but it’ll do)).
Crazy news in NYC: “Escaped Tiger Ties Up Traffic In Queens.”
NY Times’ website has posted the first of a series of articles on the widening gap between the rural poor and urban rich of China. This first article is incredibly sad: the Times’ Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley report the story of an 18 year old, a grandson of poor Chinese farmers, who apparently committed suicide when he couldn’t afford $80 to pay for a college entrance exam – he is killed when stepping in front of an oncoming railroad train. Kahn and Yardley poignantly note:
If his gruesome death was shocking, the life of this peasant boy… is repeated a millionfold across the Chinese countryside. Peasants…were once the core constituency of the Communist Party. Now, they are being left behind in the money-centered, cutthroat society that has replaced socialist China.
China has the world’s fastest-growing economy but is one of its most unequal societies. The benefits of growth have been bestowed mainly on urban residents and government and party officials. [….]
For the Communist leaders whose main claim to legitimacy is creating prosperity, the skewed distribution of wealth has already begun to alienate the country’s 750 million peasants, historically a bellwether of stability.
The countryside simmers with unrest… The poor demand social, economic and political benefits that the Communist Party has been reluctant to deliver.
To its credit, the Chinese government invigorated the economy and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty over the past quarter century. Few would argue that Chinese lived better when officials still adhered to a rigid idea of socialist equality.
But in recent years, officials have devoted the nation’s wealth to building urban manufacturing and financial centers, often ignoring peasants. Farmers cannot own the land they work and are often left with nothing when the government seizes their fields for factories or malls. Many cannot afford basic services, like high school.
Not a new thought on my part, but: what irony – the Communists who profess on paper about equality of classes cannot maintain true equality of opportunity in trying to change the way they used to do things. Life is always complicated.
Travel section of the NY Times has this nice article on the doings of visiting NYC these days – in preparation for those visiting Republican conventioneers, I guess (do the Republican conventioneers read the NY Times? Well, I guess the article’s actually for anyone reading the section). (and, yeah, “conventioneer” likely isn’t a real word, but whatever). Times’ writer Randy Kennedy makes a nice point that NYC isn’t exactly conducive for conventions (i.e., the fact that Jacob Javits convention center is in the middle of nowhere on the West Side – at least some blocks away from hotels and subways – they really ought to have extended the crosstown subway over there or else build a decent hotel over there).
(yet another sidenote: Javits’ location makes it a suitable place for the NYS bar exam, I guess. Ah, I still recall how, not very long ago, I left it thinking that I really don’t want to be there to take another bar exam. Relief for not being there since… – must be the trauma).
Kennedy also notes the Staten Island Yankees and their stadium facing the Lower Manhattan skyline are great stuff. Sure, but being the hometown person, I prefer the Cyclones in Coney Island – although, Kennedy makes the excellent point that the Cyclones are usually sold out, so you take your minor league games where you can find them (I had no idea that the SI Yankees weren’t nearly as often sold out as the Cyclones. What does that say about them? [oh, apologies to any Staten Islanders out there – I mean no offense. No, really.]).
At least the ferry ride to SI is free and is a nice ride on a nice day. But, I do recommend going to a Cyclones game – at least, if you know someone who stood on a line at Keyspan Park all morning to get them.
So it goes. Now, don’t be surprised if you find me back later on Sunday; it’s like I can’t stop blogging (yeah, I really ought to get back to those other things that I do)…