Public domain image courtesy of www.moviewallpapers.net.
One dark and story night in Switzerland in 1816, the story goes, a bunch of high strung artsy types decided to write a ghost story. If you were making odds at the time, the smart money would have been on the poetic host, Lord Byron, or his best known guest, the romantic poet Percy Shelley.
Score one for girl power instead. The hands down winner in the eyes of the ages was the work of Percy's young wife Mary, who gave us Frankenstein, which has become the source of many movies, cartoons, comic books, songs, toys, spoofs, etc.
According to Mary, the inspiration came from a waking dream:
I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some power engine shows signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful it must be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.
Maybe one reason why the story of Frankenstein's monster has such (anonymously "donated") legs is that it was a prescient metaphor for modern life, when our own creations and actions sometimes get away from us and do a lot of unintended damage.
At the very least, it ought to help fill up a week's worth of blogging...
SPEAKING OF UNLEASHED MONSTERS, if you haven't already seen Newsweek's "After Bush" item, here is a little sampling:
Today, by almost all objective measures, the United States sits on top of the world. But the atmosphere in Washington could not be more different from 1982. We have become a nation consumed by fear, worried about terrorists and rogue nations, Muslims and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade, immigrants and international organizations. The strongest nation in the history of the world, we see ourselves besieged and overwhelmed. While the Bush administration has contributed mightily to this state of affairs, at this point it has reversed itself on many of its most egregious policies—from global warming to North Korea to Iraq.
In any event, it is time to stop bashing George W. Bush. We must begin to think about life after Bush—a cheering prospect for his foes, a dismaying one for his fans (however few there may be at the moment). In 19 months he will be a private citizen, giving speeches to insurance executives. America, however, will have to move on and restore its place in the world. To do this we must first tackle the consequences of our foreign policy of fear. Having spooked ourselves into believing that we have no option but to act fast, alone, unilaterally and pre-emptively, we have managed in six years to destroy decades of international good will, alienate allies, embolden enemies and yet solve few of the major international problems we face.
HIGH ROAD OR LOW ROAD? There's been a lot of talk among WV's anti-labor right wing about "unleashing capitalism." I think they are at least 100 years late. Also, I'm not aware of too many people here who advocate for state ownership of the means of production or the collectivization of agriculture (although the possibility of having the goats around here confiscated sounds pretty good at times). The real question is, how can we promote high quality economic development for West Virginia in a way that benefits its people?
The economic royalists want a war on labor, starting with pushing for so-called "right to work" laws, which are more like right to work for less, as I argue here. That would be the low road.
There is a better way, one which might actually work:
West Virginia’s future economy is dependent primarily on one thing — investment in people, said Tom Witt, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University.
“We need to keep an eye on this ball,” he told the Charleston Rotary Club on Friday. “This is going to affect our long-term economic development.”
Investing in people means more education, on-the-job training and health care, so people can become productive in the labor market, Witt said. People must also be encouraged to take part in the economy by actively seeking jobs and/or education, he said.
That would be the high road.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED