December 27, 2014

Two Christmas--ish items

Christmas Day is past, but we're still in the twelve day range, so I thought these two Christmas related stories might be worth sharing.

The first involves my favorite target, Ayn Rand. No doubt tens of thousands of Americans watched the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" this holiday season. It turns out that Rand and her orcs buddies warned the FBI that the film was commie propaganda. I mean, obviously compassion and community are subversive ideas that have no place in Rand land. Sadly, they don't seem to have much of a place in today's America either.

Finally, I have been following the story of a person in an Ohio suburb who stirred up a bit of controversy with a zombie nativity scene. He was ordered to take it down, supposedly for reasons of zoning rather than content, but at last word defied the order.

There you have it.

December 24, 2014

Annual Christmas Hamlet quote

That's right, it's that time of year again, which means it's time to quote the sentry Marcellus as he stands on the battlements of the castle of Elsinore in Act 1 Scene 1 of Hamlet.

The tone of the scene is pretty ominous. Marcellus and Bernardo have invited the student Horatio to join them in their lonely night vigil where for some nights past a ghost has appeared resembling the late King Hamlet, father of the prince who is the main character of the story.

Horatio represents a prototype of modernity, an intellectual familiar with the tradition but skeptical of it. Yet even he must concede the power of the unknown after witnessing the phantom, which he takes as a portent of bad things to come.

Marcellus then points out that there are also sometimes portents of good, particularly at this season of the year:

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
At this point, all I can do is say with Horatio, "So have I heard and do in part believe it."

Would that it were so this holiday season and beyond.

December 22, 2014

Just for fun

Over at the New Yorker website, there is a funny piece that imagines how Ayn Rand might review popular children's movies. It's worth a look. Here's a sample review of Lady and the Tramp:

A ridiculous movie. What could a restaurant owner possibly have to gain by giving away a perfectly good meal to dogs, when he could sell it at a reasonable price to human beings? A dog cannot pay for spaghetti, and payment is the only honest way to express appreciation for value. —One star.