Ragged Claws

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In which I am disappointed by the Pussycat Dolls' lack of professionalism

If you were doing an English-language remake of "Jai Ho" that kept A.R. Rahman's chorus in place, wouldn't you at some point learn how to pronounce the TWO SYLLABLES that make up the title of the song? Did no one involved with this business venture of a multi-million dollar corporation realize at any point that "Jai" is pronounced "Jye" rather than "Jay," and that having both versions in the same song is slapdash even by the standards of prefab quasi-burlesque pop groups? AARGH. Let us watch the awesome original version, and never speak of this again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BSG series finale thoughts

In the last hour of the Battlestar Galactica series finale, the show's overwhelmingly grey and black palette gave way to the lushest possible greens and blues. The show depicted Pleistocene Africa as the garden of Eden, a point hammered home by the revelation that Hera was "mitochondrial Eve." In this landscape of peaceful bounty, the fighter jocks and maintenance workers and cult members (that's a job, right?) could finally lay down their burdens, renounce technology and return to the land as farmers or hunter-gatherers.

It's a beatific ending for the characters, but it runs completely counter to one of the overriding themes of the series, which is the reconstitution of civil society in the wake of devastating disruption. The struggles to establish a government independent of military chains of command, to reinstate the rule of law, to develop mechanisms by which grievances can be expressed and resolved, all became meaningless the moment Lee Adama decided that he'd really rather be hunting antelope. A conclusion like this doesn't just abandon one of the series' central concerns, but negates the significance of what's come before. And that's leaving aside the massive drawbacks of the decision - a few weeks ago a tube of toothpaste was one of the most valuable items in the entire fleet, but now everyone will put up with rotting teeth, untreated wounds, precarious food supplies and backbreaking physical labor just...because? I didn't buy it in David Copperfield when the urban Micawber family solved its problems by going off to Australia and becoming sheep farmers, and I don't believe that setting off into the prehistoric wilderness without tools, seeds, or knowledge of the local plant and animal life is conducive to long-term survival. Over the course of its run BSG has done a very good job of combining science fiction with mythic fantasy, but the last episode tilted too far in the latter direction, jettisoning all plausibility for as it reached for an allegorical grandeur it couldn't quite achieve.

On the other hand, the acting was great, the special effects, music and cinematography were firing on all cylinders, there were many heartwrenching character moments and the series as a whole has been one of the best works of television's new Golden Age. So, you know, there's always that.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nicolas Cage rejects your puny human concept of "mortality"

At least according to the promo for Knowing, his new movie:

Frightened boy: Are we going to die?
Nicolas Cage (using his Very Intense voice): I will never let that happen.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Berkeley's graffiti artists are getting pretentious

Someone spray painted DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDAM inside the Shattuck tunnel. Apparently there are people who take the term "Gourmet Ghetto" a bit too literally...