Sunday, April 16, 2006

Movies You Never Heard Of - Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night - isn't that a play by Shakespeare? Well, yes - and in 1996 director Trevor Nunn made a movie out of it which is great fun to watch, and even more fun to shake your head over. This is one of Shakespeare's "twin" comedies: it starts with a great shipwreck in which twin brother and sister Sebastian and Viola are separately cast ashore in "Illyria", and each thinks the other is dead. I won't go into the plot any deeper; you can always look it up in Cliff Notes if you haven't got time to read the play.

I owe them an apology about the shipwreck, though. When we were watching, I though, Oh, God, they've seen Titanic: but they hadn't. This movie came out the year before Titanic. Maybe James Cameron had seen this one...

The most delightful thing about it is how astoundingly alike Sebastian and Viola are. Because this is also a "breeches" comedy, Viola decides to survive after the shipwreck by gluing on a mustache and dressing as a young man, whom she calls Cesario. Late in the show, of course, Viola/Cesario and Sebastian meet again, dressed exactly alike, almost the same height, both wearing the little blond mustache, and while you can tell them apart if you've been watching, you really have to look twice. I wonder whom they found first, Sebastian or Viola?

didn't, of course, have to worry about these issues, because his "actresses" were young men; but I did wonder how Cesario managed, for three whole months, never to get caught where she had to explain why she couldn't pee into the bushes like all the guys. Especially since she becomes Duke Orsino's good buddy and drinking companion, spending most of her time listening to Orsino whine about why he's dying of love because Olivia won't have him, and how men's love is more important than women's because women aren't capable of passion.

Orsino is a Victorian (originally Elizabethan) male chauvinist ess-oh-bee; however, Viola falls for him, and is therefore pining for him while he pines for Olivia. Isn't chemistry great? It gets better when Olivia falls for Cesario/Viola. The poleaxed look on Olivia's face, late in the movie when she sees Sebastian and Cesario together, having
just married Sebastian thinking he was Cesario, is worth any price of admission - it's just wonderful. She can't tell them apart either. Helena Bonham Carter is a really fine Olivia.

It never seems to occur to anybody that Cesario's tight black
uniform pants are on a behind that isn't, well, shaped like a normal guy's - it's the one part of the female anatomy that you really can't hide when dressing like a man, especially a late Victorian military man. (Null has set it around 1885-1890.) She does have a very small tush, but still.

And in three months she has to have had three periods - how do you hide that when you're faking being a man? This is why you have to suspend your disbelief at the theater, I guess. I suppose if none of the servants ever notices that she peels her mustache off at night and sticks it on the mirror, they'll slide right past anything else. Actress Imogen Stubbs makes a wonderful Cesario, though - half the time you look at her and catch yourself thinking, what a handsome young man.

Shakespeare would have liked this, I think; it's the way he would have done it himself if he'd had the resources.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm tired of George W. Bush

How much are we going to put up with from this man?

He lied to us about the reasons for invading Iraq; in fact, he lied several times, making up new fake reasons as the old fakes were exposed. Because of those lies, tens of thousands of people have died; Iraq is a shambles, slouching toward a Shiite theocracy, a training ground for every anti-American fanatic in existence.

He claims to be above the law due to a "war on terror" that he invented, after the Sept. 11 attacks, to bolster his power.
Sure, there are terrorists out there, who would like to harm us. What he's doing isn't making them any less likely to attack us; quite the opposite.

He has authorized warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens (4th amendment, unreasonable searches and seizures), declared that he can hold suspects indefinitely without trial (6th amendment, speedy and public trial, confrontation of witnesses), and claims the right to "try" them before military tribunals (7th amendment, trial by jury). He ignores pretty much all the international treaties previous administrations signed in the twentieth century, including the Geneva Convention, just because.

And now we find that he feels his godly power as Commander in Chief allows him to declassify sensitive information on the spot, when he needs it to make the opponents of his policy look bad, and without letting anybody else know. I wondered when Mr. Libby would finger someone in the White House; well, he has. There's been some backing and filling, but the initial response was unbelievable: yes, the president was the source of the leak and he has a right to be... This is the man who was so self-righteous about leaks when the question was who told the NY Times about his wiretapping campaign.

Enough. Write your Congressman. Write your senators. Demand impeachment. I have. By God, if Bill Clinton can be impeached for lying about a blow job, surely a man who takes us to war on a lie is impeachable.

The argument against impeachment is that it would leave Dick Cheney in charge. That is daunting. The answer, then: impeach them both. Both are complicit in this mess. Get them both out, and put a caretaker in for the next few years. It's what we got after Nixon resigned; and you know, Gerald Ford looks pretty good right now.

On one level, I don't even care if it does leave Dead-Eye Dick in charge. I want that man to know that the American people believe he is a criminal and should not be in office. It is outrageous when you cannot believe a word the President of the United States says.