Month: November 2004

A Draft Dream

Last night, I dreamt that I was drafted by the Army to fight in Iraq. As part of a new law passed by Congress, students were no longer able to avoid the draft while they were in college. Unsettling as it was, I reported for basic training and received a rifle, a uniform, backpack, and the rest of the standard military gear.

I wasn’t sure what to do as I was getting ready to ship out, but as I was standing in my kitchen of the house I lived in when I was in grade school (for reasons I can’t fanthom), I decided that I would not be going to Iraq. Why? Well, of course there is the fact that I don’t want to die. But the real deciding factor was that I felt I shouldn’t serve a government that was willing to send men to die in a crusade for oil. So, I gathered up all my military gear and some other camping supplies, hiked out past my backyard into the woods and set up camp a few miles from my house. In my dream, this made perfect sense: I wouldn’t be caught trying to cross the border into Canada and imprisoned.

I’m still not sure what I would do if I was drafted in real life—it would depend on the pretense of the war, I supposeā€”but I’m fairly certain that I would not be camping out in the backyard.

Not Speaking English Is Hard

The other day the woman who cleans my apartment mentioned to me how hard it was to not speak English fluently. In the past, I assumed—wrongly, in fact—that Spanish was her first language, judging by her accent. However, she mentioned to me that she was originally from Bosnia and that she spoke Russian and German as well. It seemed unfair to me that a woman who is fluent in three languages works as a maid, while many people who only speak one language have more prestigious careers.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles on DVD

Annie and I saw The Incredibles on Saturday. It really was as good as I expected and my expectations were sky-high for Pixar’s latest wonder.

One point that has been mentioned in other reviews is the sense that The Incredibles feels more like an action movie than an animated one; it’s true. With the brilliant animation, great plot, believable (yes!) characters, and superb voice-acting, it was easy to forget that the entire movie takes place in a digital world. The CG from beginning to end were nearly flawless; there was one point where I noticed a slight lag, but it was gone in a second.

Given all of this, I thought the movie was better than many of the “action” movies that are produced each year. The Incredibles was funny, smart, and exciting; in sum, a great film.

Election 2004 and the Aftermath

I wish I had written something on Wednesday, when all of my emotions were raw and vitrolic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really write anything besides angry rants and whiny raves as a result of the deep emotions I felt. However, several other people summed up this election better than I could in its immediate aftermath.

William Saletan at Slate wrote:

[Simplicity] is what so many people like about Bush’s approach to terrorism. They forgive his marginal and not-so-marginal screw-ups, because they can see that fundamentally, he “gets it.” They forgive his mismanagement of Iraq, because they see that his heart and will are in the right place. And while they may be unhappy about their economic circumstances, they don’t hold that against him. What you and I see as unreflectiveness, they see as transparency. They trust him.

Greg Knauss at Waxy wrote:

This determined emotionalism—which is another way of saying anti-rationalism—is what drives us today. You can find it distasteful, you can find it depressing, but it’s most important impact is that we have turned over the direction of the country—our future—to the part of our psyche that doesn’t want to think.

It’s not about smarts. The lunatics aren’t stupid—just the opposite. It’s about the willingness to abandon the deductive process in favor of epiphany. It’s about the abandonment of the brain in favor of the gut.

Jason Kottke wrote:

It’s not necessarily that America as a whole validated the actions of George Bush over the past four years… it’s that the Republican Party got more of their people to the polls than the Democrats did. Looking out across America, what’s one of the largest groups of people with a single strongly-held set of beliefs? The evangelical Christians. They comprise a large portion of the US population and believe in God more strongly than most other groups believe in anything. The Bush camp used a coordinated campaign to speak directly to those people and put their strong belief in God in direct opposition to what the other side stood for: liberals want to kill innocent babies, allow gays to marry, and let non-Christians run the country/world. To an evangelical Christian, the fear that those things will happen is almost overwhelmingly unbearable.

Jesse at Hyperion Court wrote:

We need to remember that the contest was close. While Bush will act like he has an overwhelming mandate, he received no such thing. The country is divided in half, and the divide runs deep. We can’t win by outvoting or outspending or outsliming the forces arrayed against us. We have to bridge that divide. We have to make people understand why we think the way we do. If you want to take your country back, you’re going to have to change it first. That battle will never end, but it can be won. It starts now.

I think these four posts sum up the election result in great ways. I’ve sampled some great bits, but read the full posts for even more good stuff. I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but all of them are worth the read. Eventually, I was able to get my thoughts together in writing.