Archive for March, 2010

Nicholas Sparks knows! This interview with him is awesome.

Sparks says: “I’m going to interrupt you there. There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.”


“I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by AeschylusSophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies. A thriller is supposed to thrill. A horror novel is supposed to scare you. A mystery is supposed to keep you turning the pages, guessing ‘whodunit?’

“A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms.”


Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: “There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.”

UPDATE:  Roger Ebert is wonderful:

To be sure, I resent the sacrilege Nicholas Sparks commits by mentioning himself in the same sentence as Cormac McCarthy. I would not even allow him to say “Hello, bookstore? This is Nicholas Sparks. Could you send over the new Cormac McCarthy novel?” He should show respect by ordering anonymously. But it seems unfair to penalize Miley Cyrus fans, Miley herself, and the next Peter O’Toole for the transgressions of a lesser artist.


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I was looking at bras yesterday, and I noticed something for the first time.  Nearly all of the A cups were push up bras with lots of padding, even when the larger cup sizes in the same style were not.  So you have the exact same bra with a completely different fit for A cups than for any larger size.  Then I started looking for A cups that were not push up bras, and after a quick perusal, I couldn’t find any.  I guess it’s inconceivable that a woman with an A cup might be content without several extra inches of padding.

This is probably not news to anyone who shops for A cups.  I haven’t browsed the lingerie racks at a department store in ages because a few years ago I started going to small stores where I am waited on hand and foot.  It’s the best.  Also, I learned that the best lingerie brands, hands down, are British or French.  So you if you know your size, you can get away with doing all your bra shopping online.

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And it’s not pretty.

We all know this game is now over. The current Pope is now found directly responsible for two clear incidents of covering up or ignoring child abuse and rape. As head of the organization that took responsibility for investigating these cases for so long, his complicity in this vast and twisted criminal conspiracy is not in dispute. If he were the head of a secular organization, he would have already resigned and be cooperating with the police.

But he is the Vicar of Christ on earth.

The New York Times has excellent coverage of the unfolding scandal here, here, and here.  So far, it looks as though there are several lawsuits in the works.  I wonder if it will be at all possible to Polanski this shit up; can Benedict (or, more likely, some subordinate who takes the fall for him) be charged with aiding and abetting criminal activity?  Could Germany extradite him?  Could he please be sentenced to live out the rest of his days working in a condom factory?

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I finally watched Antichrist a few days ago.  I don’t know a whole lot about Lars von Trier, and the only other film of his I’ve seen is Dancer in the Dark, which I loved.  I do have Dogville on my Netflix queue, though.

I’d heard rumors about Antichrist being brutal and misogynist, but I didn’t read any reviews beforehand, and now I’m glad I didn’t.  For the most part, I liked it.  The first half of the movie is a really excellent, moving depiction of the effects grief and suffering can have on a relationship.  I empathized both with Willem Dafoe’s character’s desire to help his wife, and with her resistance to his efforts.  Nevertheless, it was strange the way he wanted to act as her therapist.  Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character (does she have a name?  If so, I didn’t catch it)  is bothered by this, too.  His interest in fixing her and his disregard for her psychiatrist’s advice seemed paternalistic and controlling, and I think von Trier intended it to be that way.

I also wondered whether he felt any anguish about the child’s death.  She seemed to be experiencing enough guilt and sorrow for both of them, while he seemed very detached from the incident.  Is that because she automatically bears more responsibility as a mother?  Is it more horrible for a mother to know that her child died while she was having sex because women experience more guilt about sex in a patriarchy?  Or is she actually more guilty?  In the prologue, it looks like neither of them see the kid climbing onto the table and falling out of the window, but in another flashback toward the end of the movie, it looks as though she opens her eyes and sees him on the table.  I wasn’t sure whether to take that as fact or as her subjective re-interpretation of what occurred. (more…)

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It took me a while to realize that the pro-life argument against health care reform is based on the concept of fungibility.  They argue that since every dollar can be substituted for any other dollar, providing government subsidies for health insurance plans that offer abortion coverage is de facto funding of abortion itself.  They oppose funding  Planned Parenthood and health clinics in developing countries for the same reason.

The argument breaks down pretty quickly, of course.  The Catholic Church receives a lot of federal money for its charitable endeavors, but most people don’t think of that funding as child molester money, although maybe they should for the sake of consistency.

I’m still not sure what these people want.  Would they be satisfied if federal money could only go to insurance providers that didn’t cover abortion, even on separate plans?  The trouble is, abortion can’t be easily separated from other health services for women.  Like Amanda points out, doctors who perform abortions aren’t the “abortion doctors” of pro-life caricature–they’re obstetricians and gynecologists who also do pelvic exams, STI testing, and cancer screening.  They even provide prenatal care and deliver babies!  And what about contraceptive coverage?  Something tells me that the people on this thread find the pill just as objectionable as abortion.  They’re so irate about the HCR bill that some of them are threatening to stop paying taxes:

I cannot morally buy into this health care plan, and will not pay taxes where even one cent will go to fund an abortion. Morally, I simply cannot bring myself to do so.

And others are floating the idea of emigrating to pro-life countries:

I have been researching pro-life countries, and so far Costa Rico sounds nice.

I have to say, I have no problem with these people refusing to pay taxes and moving to Costa Rica.  That level of utter craziness will only lead to the marginalization of their extreme views.

Right now, however, their views aren’t considered extreme.  Government funding for abortion is still treated as an impossibility, even by supposedly pro-choice politicians.  And few people are willing to call pro-lifers out on the fact that they want to prevent women from accessing a whole range of health care.  Honestly laying out the consequences of the pro-life position is really important, because it’s the only way moderate people will realize that, baby-killing rhetoric aside, the pro-life movement’s primary motivation is disgust with female sexuality.

It’s not really about abortion.  It’s about having the temerity to have a uterus.

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Yesterday, I made a donation to The National Network of Abortion Funds in Bart Stupak’s name.  I’ve been following the Health Care fiasco somewhat closely, and out of all the fuckery on display this past year, he’s the worst.  He’s a whiny jerk who pretends to be progressive even though he cares more about fetal life than he does about actual, breathing humans.  And he is  really, really stupid.  So, to quell my irritation, I donated money to help women pay for the abortions he doesn’t want them to have.   For good measure, I also signed the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Making the donation was so satisfying that now I’m thinking of other possible dedications.  Maybe I’ll give money to the Human Rights Campaign in the name of the LDS, or give to Planned Parenthood in honor of  the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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