And so it’s Monday. Pardon the long post – keep cool while reading. Oh, and how’s the deep dish pizza, FC?
The Michael Jackson verdict! The analysis of Slate was interesting. Personally, I barely followed the coverage – it was too stupid and excessive for its own good (like I needed to read or hear the analysis of every criminal lawyer out there). I don’t think it’s about a celebrity who gets away with it; it’s about the lack of evidence that met the standards (not to mention what it says about the California counties’ prosecution). But, does that mean I would trust Michael Jackson? Not exactly – he hardly regained his credibility as it is. Methink he ought to just lay low, raise his family in peace, and start using better judgement (assuming he is innocent – and a jury said he was “not guilty” – at the least, he ought to – as his defense seemed to suggest – stop being so darn generous to people who’ll get him into trouble). And note – I don’t practice criminal law, so I’m in no position to say more than my so-called opinion.
ABA E-Journal apparently has decided to consult Judge Richard Posner, famed for his Law and Economics analysis and for being that conservative but really amazingly intellectual federal judge of Chicago. And what do they talk to him about? Style. And, what does Judge Posner have to say? Well… Look:
How would you describe your look?
Brooks Brothers. I’ve dressed this way since college.
Do you prefer certain suit cuts?
I don’t know of any choice. It’s a pretty uniform style.
Being tall and slender, is it hard to find suits that fit?
It’s a little difficult in the Midwest, where people tend to be very stocky. In the East, people are smaller.
What do you look for in ties?
I don’t like them to be too flamboyant. […]
Law and economics—how do you apply that to fashion?
That’s implicit! Anyone who buys clothes, consciously or not, is comparing costs and benefits. There are different types of clothing, different styles of elegance and so on—that’s the benefit side. The cost side, that’s easy—it’s just the price. You don’t have to be an economist. Everyone knows that.
Umm, okay. Great advice, Your Honor. Well, the suit stuff’s okay, anyway.
NY Times’ Edward Rothstein has a great analysis of “Don Quixote” in today’s newspaper, on the occasion of the book’s 400th anniversary. He notes:
Why was “Don Quixote” originally written in Arabic? Or rather, why does Cervantes, who wrote the book in Spanish, claim that it was translated from the Arabic? [….]
But aside from its literary achievements, “Don Quixote” sheds oblique light on an era when Spain’s Islamic culture forcibly came to an end. Just consider Cervantes’s playful account of the book’s origins. One day in the Toledo marketplace, he writes, a young boy was trying to sell old notebooks and worn scraps of paper covered with Arabic script. Cervantes recounts how he acquired a book and then looked around for a Moor to translate it. “It was not very difficult” to find such a Moor, he writes. In fact, he says, he could have even found a translator of Hebrew.
The Arabic manuscript, the Moor tells him, is the “History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Cide Hamete Benengeli, an Arab historian.” Cervantes brings the Moor to the cloister of a church and commissions a translation.
We know this is all a jest, as is the very name of the historian: “Cide” is an honorific, “Hamete” is a version of the Arab name Hamid, and “Benengeli” means eggplant. [….]
But Quixote rejects the notions of caste and of blood purity that characterized 16th-century Spain. Benengeli’s manuscript is partly a ghost story about a lost world. Quixote is born of ideas latent in extinct, condemned texts, whether Arabic or chivalric. He has unswerving principles, but even they are inadequate to a world of disguise, enchantment, illusion and delusion. In her book “The Ornament of the World,” the scholar María Rosa Menocal compares Quixote’s mental universe with the world of the Toledo marketplace, with its conversos [Jews who converted to Catholicism in the era of the Spanish Inquisition], marranos [Muslim who converted to Catholicism for similar reasons] and moriscos [the Jewish converts who secretly remained Jewish in practice]: “Who in this world ever says that he is what he seems to be? And who seems to be what he no doubt really is?”
So Don Quixote’s Spain, instead of displaying triumphant absolutism, is a world of shifting appearances. “Don Quixote” is a resigned acknowledgment of a new kind of terrain that defined modernity: in it, very little is certain and much is lost. The book’s power, though, also comes from Quixote’s stubborn quest: he won’t entirely let us accept that something else isn’t possible.
Wow. It almost makes me want to re-read “Don Quixote” (and I was really close to finish reading the whole thing way back in college, when I had really much too little during the summer after freshman year – taking that whole required reading thing too far – I really wanted to throttle Cervantes and Don Quixote).
Slate’s Sarah Dickerman explores what is a good cookbook for the husband/new father who doesn’t know how to cook. I thought it was good for reviewing the handiness of cookbooks (not that I’m taking up cooking anytime soon; I’ll continue watching the cooking shows on PBS, thank you very much).
I watched the first episode of FOX’s new summer programming, “The Inside” – wherein Special Agent Rebecca Locke, FBI, joins the Los Angeles branch to work under Supervisory Special Agent “Web” Webster’s serial crime investigations unit. Locke is a former child victim of a brutal crime, making her specially attuned to victims and tracking down the nasties (while never quite getting over the nasty who brutalized her – it’s left unsaid exactly what the nasty did to her). She has the whole “I’m A Tough Ingenue” look down right, and then there’s her new partner, a guy who Webster recruited to be his conscience. Locke’s partner’s a cute guy determined to protect her, because only he and Web are aware about her past – which could render her a vulnerable agent.
A good number of the professional tv critics observe that “The Inside” feels like an unoriginal rehash of other shows (“CSI” and its progeny; “Cold Case”; “Without a Trace”; “Medium”; etc.), so they’re not really pleased by it. The writing isn’t that tight. The first episode was yucky (serial killer who skins his victims – ugh). And, really, I’ve seen too much “X-Files” with Agents Mulder and Scully to watch anymore FBI stuff. Watching those FBI people in “The Inside” with their FBI jackets, the skeptic partner vs. the partner who takes her hunches and faith – well, it felt too much like the FBI of “X-Files” all over again (yeah, I was just waiting for X-Files’ Assistant Director Skinner to walk on the screen to bark at the agents).
The good stuff was in Web – played by actor Peter Coyote (who has a great voice – there was that weird time that he was the voice of the Oscars). He’s the personality – one wonders what makes him tick (he’s a borderline jerk, on top of that – are they going down the route of “House”?). Oh, and the cute guy. 😉 Well – at least it’s not a reality show (ok, I confess – I was watching “The Scholar” and “Beauty and the Geek” – forgive me for I have sinned)…
Enjoy the (too-high-temperature) work week.