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November 18th, 2008

late night monty python

When I was quite young, PBS picked up Monty Python from the BBC. Well, for sure our local PBS station in Seattle did. My older sisters thought it was hilarious and I tagged along for long enough to start finding it really hilarious, too. I've watched Flying Circus episodes and Monty Python movies on and off over the ensuing decades but hadn't seen an animated sequence in several years. Then last night, I was watching a relatively ordinary Flying Circus animation when I had a really weird thought.

This is all gender-bender stuff. Like _all_ of it, one way or another. _Really_ queer, not just homosexual male stuff.

How I failed to notice _that_ I'll never know. Has everyone else been seeing this all along and I just missed it? I mean, The Lumberjack Song, that's pretty obvious. But the cartoons?

Hamartia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamartia

I was going to talk about tragic flaws, but if I'm going back to the Greeks let's just go all the way back to the Greeks.

Brunonia Barry in her blog talks about her interest in the Hero's Journey and trying to come up with a female version of the Hero's journey and how this led to _The Lace Reader_. Now, this is pretty creepy, but Very Explanatory (that whole rescue Angela by pulling her *by her hair* *in water* *in a tunnel* to escape an angry mob led by a man, well, can you get any more Jungian-female than _that_). The thing with the Hero tho typically revolves around either a Mistake/Omission or Dude's Strength Turns Out To Be His Weakness.

Turning the hairy eyeball on the Lace Reader, Our Narrator's Dissociative Disorder qualifies well for Hamartia: she survived by Not Being There and/or Not Being Herself. Unfortunately, that eventually turned out to have an extremely high cost. But since Barry wanted a happy ending, there's a team of specialists available at the end to help her out.

All that remains is to figure out whether that Last Message from Eva is: (1) See she was saved by a woman how nice, or (2) Eva is still trying to suck her back down (think the hand reaching from beyond the grave) but probably failing (vision is weakening).

I should note here that I don't like tragedies. Not Greek ones. Not Shakespearean ones. None of them.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-chinariots19-2008nov19,0,4719960.story

I suspect several of my regular readers are already aware of this, but the backstory is that China has a history of forcibly moving people around. They raze villages and move people to cities or other villages. They raze parts of cities and rebuild them in a form unrecognizable to someone who visited them mere decades before.

Kinda sounds like what we used to do. We called it "urban renewal" and it isn't really spoken of in polite company any more, because we did it to poor people and it cost a fair amount of taxpayer money and the poor people weren't happy about it and the crime problem didn't get enough better to justify it, particularly as all of the people who had any choice in the matter fled the city to the suburbs where their mortgages were partially subsidized directly or indirectly by the federal government.

We're much more advanced now. Now, people with choices move back into the city, displacing the people without choices to the less desirable and less maintained ring of suburbia. We call it gentrification, but we still don't talk about it in polite company. I'm not sure when China will reach this point. But it's a safe bet they will.

In the meantime, enjoy the rioting from afar. Which is really the only way to enjoy mass violence.

"An angry crowd of 2,000 rioted in northwest China's Gansu province over a government plan to demolish a downtown area, torching cars and attacking a local Communist Party office, injuring 60 officials, state-run media reported Tuesday.

At one point, rioters met a surging wall of armed police officers with a hail of rocks, bricks, bottles and flowerpots. The crowd later confronted police with iron bars, axes and hoes as they tried to hijack a fire truck and smashed windows and office equipment in two government buildings."

There is good news here. I don't think this one can be blamed on us. (Please don't get into the convoluted argument that it was us buying their cheap plastic goods that financed this expansion. They loaned us the money to buy their cheap plastic goods so this is a pick-a-frame-to-assign-blame debate.)

ETA: This is actually an unfair characterization of what the government is trying to do here. The motive for moving the administrative district is a recent, severe earthquake. We don't actually _do_ that kind of thing here (we _rebuild_ cities in California after earthquake, and cities on the Gulf after hurricanes -- regardless of whether that's a good idea or not), so I picked what I think is a reasonable close analogy.
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/AAA-Projects-Slight-Decline-Thanksgiving/story.aspx

According to AAA: "Approximately 41 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home, a decrease of 600,000 travelers (1.4 percent) from last year's total of 41.6 million. This is the first decline in Thanksgiving holiday travel since 2002 and is the fourth consecutive travel holiday this year with a year-to-year decline in the number of travelers."
The Democrats took only one chairmanship away from Lieberman. They certainly didn't boot him out of the caucus.

Can you even _imagine_ that happening with the Republicans while Jr. was running the show?

The negative perspective is lack of party discipline. The positive perspective is Big Tent. Me, I just want to kick someone. Something. I dunno.