November 21, 2007

Where To Start?

Oh, so many things zipping around in my wee brain this week...where to start?

Let's start at the bottom - does anyone else find those naked gopher/beaver/whateverthehelltheyare ads for Rogers incredibly creepy? If you're going to give animals human characteristics, like leering, give them pants.

Fabulous series in the NYT about the Three Gorges Dam in China. I wrote about this a year ago, when the dam was opened (it's fascinatingly devastating; there's no other way to describe the human and environmental costs, together with an undertaking of such breathtaking scope), and this article looks in a year later. We can think all we like that our relationship with China is just about how much paint there is in our Thomas the Tank Engine toys, but it's much more complicated than that. This world is changing at lightspeed, and we need to grasp the importance of that impact from places such as China and India, among others.

I'm sure you've heard of Christopher Hitchens - he's made it his business as a writer for years to make sure that you have. He has a monthly seat at Vanity Fair, and his recent book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, has made him a fave on the talking circuit. He's famously dissed Mother Theresa, and a long list that includes just about everyone else. He's a crabby, shleppy, mouthy, ranty Englishman, and I read him regularly.

At Vanity Fair's behest, he's been undergoing a makeover. While beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, he has always described himself as somewhat trollish, and he has found few (none, by my last count) that disagree with him. Read this month's entry from VF - the man I've just described getting made over from top to bottom, literally. Hours of dental work, and more pain with a waxer. Yep. At that end. It's a scream. Literally.

Nice piece from the Independent on Barbara Amiel...I don't care what anyone says, she's way more fascinating than ol' Conrad. She may look like a china tea cup, but regardless of comments about her fragility, I ain't buying it. The woman has a spine of steel. Every bio tries to get a new handhold on her glacial being, and I haven't decided if she's really that complicated, or just what she seems to be - incredibly smart, incredibly materialistic, and incredibly insecure. It's worth a read, if only to see the revisions she's making to her personal history.

I'm re-reading The Stand (Stephen King) because I'm too lazy to go to the library and find some other stuff. With another H5N1 flu outbreak in England, it's oddly discomforting to realize how prescient King used to be before he started writing all the recent crap of his.

One of the best commentators on the American political scene is Glenn Greenwald, at Salon. His post here, dealing with the mess of political bias in our media, is excellent. It applies here, too. As we experience a centralization of our media, we truly can't believe everything we read. It's the equivalent of going to the movies and spending half the time wondering if what you just saw was real, or a computer-generated image. Except we don't spend near enough time even pondering what we read. We're too busy looking at the spaceships and monsters.

If you can stand one more thing, let it be this from Garrison Keillor today. Sometimes of late he's starting to sound like the butter is slipping from the noodle (stole that from a Scotsman), but today he is spot on. Delving into why some of the rich among us are so undeserving, and explaining why it's all a sham. I love the sense he finds in explaining our brain capacity ("In comes a song, out goes math"), and, as always, a gentle nudge to remember what counts.

Told you it's been a nutty week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitchens "before" British teeth are nasty. I was watching a show on TV and they were talking about Dental Plans in Britain. I didn't know they had dental plans there.

Thank the good Lord they didn't do before/after shots of his "other" procedure. eeeeeewwwww! Now that would be a Christmas gift idea never to be forgotten!!!

November 21, 2007 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think Chris Hitchens is a sad case, you'll love the guy who wrote "How to Lose friends and Alienate People." Forget his name, he's balding, British and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Gear and other mags of which I've outgrown. Gee he's right on the money, I've already forgotten his name and belittled his work! Seriously, he's a good writer. What the hell is is name?

November 21, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I'd forgotten about Toby Young! Thank you!

If you go to Amazon, you can read the whole book on line...if you're so inclined. I may just be so inclined, rather than making dinner for the Sod Squad around here...

November 21, 2007 5:13 PM  

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