Friday, October 28, 2011

quasigrecian thoughts

1. nineweaving, stalwart Stratfordian, is collecting killer reviews of the silly movie Anonymous (should have been Pseudonymous, shouldn't it?), which inadvertently(?) shows up the "someone else wrote Shakespeare" notion for the birther-like nonsense that it is.  My comment on the whole issue:  Sure, it's hard to believe that a glover's son wrote those plays. They're so magnificent that it's hard to believe that anybody wrote them. The only proof we have that they were written at all is ... there they are, so somebody did. (C.S. Lewis pointed out that if Hamlet  vanished and all we had were the criticism of it, it'd be impossible to figure out from the varying and contradictory criticisms what the play could possibly be like.) Whoever wrote Shakespeare broke all the normal rules of human capacity, so any speculations about what he had to have known or done are useless.

2. Vaguely on the same subject, I once wrote a post on evaluating conspiracy theories.  So I was delighted to discover that there's a British tv show called That Mitchell and Webb Look that neatly expresses these points in satirical comedy sketch form.  The one on the Princess Di assassination theory is especially good; I liked the one on the Moon landing hoax theory as well, though it's not as crisp: for one thing, the cost analysis bit is inaccurate.  There's more.

3. Not a book review: The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont (Simon & Schuster, 2011) is a retro-pulp thriller novel set among the SF writers who worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during WW2: Heinlein, Asimov, de Camp, with a special appearance by (sigh) Elron.  A fanciful story set firmly in a basis of reality sounds like great fun, but it isn't.  Set firmly in a basis of reality, I mean.  I got as far as the chapter introducing Asimov (p. 24-34), which is full of factual clankers, completely unnecessary to set up the plot - I mean, why say Asimov was 21 when he was 22? - and ends with him meeting de Camp for the first time when the latter walks into the Navy Yard chem lab.  No.  These could all have been avoided if Malmont had read more carefully the first two or three books on his acknowledgments list on p. 417.  I'm not finishing this.

4. Let us specify that Joe the Plumber is an idiot.  Nevertheless, I'm baffled by the continuing belief that he's somehow not legitimately entitled to call himself "Joe" because Joseph is only his middle name, not his first name.  The news stories of his announcement that he's running for Congress call him Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher.  Why not just Joe Wurzelbacher?  I am not expecting the newspapers to start any time soon referring to James "Rick" Perry, even though he has exactly the same moniker situation - known by a nickname based on his middle name (Richard).  Dan Quayle, same thing.

5. My only comment, that hasn't already frequently been made by others, on the distrewssing events in Oakland is to note that I'm old enough to remember Chicago in 1968.  I wonder if any of the Oakland police are.

6. Resolved, not to be put off or distressed by people who chide me for tones of comment which they conspicuously overlook when committed to a greater degree by certain other people.  Especially when they use it as a randomly-grabbed excuse to avoid answering a point in an ongoing discussion.  I've seen such raw incivility before; it seems a good way to identify the Second Foundation spies in the room.

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