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The Girl With the Dragin Tattoo and No penis is magical enough to magically fix her issues with men.

This pretty well encapsulates my problems with Stieg Larsson's trilogy. Gluey Tart: Valhalla, I Am Coming -- The Hooded Utilitarian
I began to feel uncomfortable in the role of voyeur, though. Mara’s character, Lisbeth Salander, couldn’t be more vulnerable. Steig Larsson took pains to fuck with her in every way he could come up with, and the actress sold it and then some. She was bad ass – so bad ass, in fact, that she made Daniel Craig pretty much superfluous. Which is saying something. (He has it all – acting, looks, ill-humored comments in interviews.) The extravagantly unpleasant abuse Larsson heaps on Lisbeth is unnecessary, at least in this version, because Rooney Mara nailed it. Her portrayal is so good she could have just showed up and solved the mystery, and we’d still get it. But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see the rape scenes, and that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? I’m also accustomed to women suddenly taking a sharp left turn without signaling to inexplicably fall in love with some asshole, largely in service of the ego of the writer/director/male movie-going public, but when Lisbeth Salander does it, that’s just wrong. I was actually offended. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see a beautiful woman in her early twenties going for a man who’s over 40, rumpled, and kind of ordinary (except for his keen intellect, indefatigable sense of justice, and blinding yet low-key charm), even one who isn’t played by Daniel Craig. My issue is that this woman set her father on fire, people. We just saw her get brutally raped. No penis is magical enough to magically fix her issues with men. I do not buy it to a degree that destroys all the disbelief I’d managed to suspend. It is more unlikely than the serial killer. It is more unlikely than everything. It is wrong and stupid. I have two related problems. The movie makes it clear to us that Lisbeth sleeps with women because she’s damaged. To which I say, fuck you, movie. Bisexuals are fucking sick to death of being tormented and confused. Please accept that some people like both men and women and move on, all right? How often do I have to explain this to you? Also, the woman Lisbeth picks up is much better than the stupid journalist, anyway. When he shows up at Lisbeth’s apartment and seems vaguely threatening, the girl asks Lisbeth if she wants her to stay. That is sweet. On the other hand, we have the 40 year-old man macking on a woman almost as young as his daughter, and he knows she’s fucked up, on top of it. And the movie doesn’t seem to think this is horrible and creepy. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to find it romantic. Fuck you again, movie.

January 05, 2012

New Hampshire Republicans pass bill letting parents dictate a school's curriculum

The bill is billed as letting parents pull their kids out of lessons they disagree with. Presumably this would be science classes teaching the facts of evolution or health classes that teach kids that they have genitalia. But it could also just be if a parent thought a particular teacher's take on history wasn't jingoistic enough, or if a parent objected to students reading a certain book, like say Cathcher in the Rye. The real trouble comes when a clause in the bill kicks in and forces the school to provide a separate but equal lesson for the kids whose parents object to the lesson. What teacher or school has the resources to do this? It's clearly meant to scare teachers into offering the blandest, least challenging material possible. Or to just kill public schools even more. Take your pick. The governor is expected to veto this. GOP Lawmakers Pass Bill Making Public School Curriculum Optional [UPDATED] | ThinkProgress
As the country shifts its attention from the Iowa caucus to the upcoming primary in New Hampshire, the state’s Republican legislators are busy passing some of the most radically conservative laws in the country. Today the GOP-controlled Senate passed HB 542, which allows parents to pull their children out of any school lesson that the parent objects to, forcing the school to design an alternative lesson. Their House colleagues approved the measure earlier last year. The measure is so extreme that even the conservative Union-Leader editorial board denounced it in July: House Bill 542 would have amended state law to “Require school districts to adopt a policy allowing an exception to specific course material based on a parent’s or legal guardian’s determination that the material is objectionable.” Though that sounds appealing at first blush, it is so broad that it would make public education essentially an a la carte menu. It is true that public schools are too inflexible and don’t allow enough choice. They would benefit greatly from the competition that comes from charter schools and vouchers. But this bill put the burden on each public school to create a curriculum catered to each family’s individual tastes. Schools would have to provide alternatives to any instruction a family opposed, and a family could oppose anything for any reason. That is neither workable, nor sensible.

December 31, 2011

A new year means new artistic works enter the public domain

Including James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and Sherwood Anderson. So get ready to see cheap versions of their classics flood remainders tables across America. And watch Gutenberg for free text versions tomorrow. To celebrate the role of the public domain in our societies | Public Domain Day - 1 January 2012