Chatter #68: September 13, 2002

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

HOLY FONG! Another installment of Chatter already?!?

Yeah. I can't stand listening to the radio these days, because every time I hear "news" people telling their audience that everyone supports Bush's glorious war I want to vomit. So I write stuff in my head. The US seems to be bound and determined to head over a precipice with its eyes tightly shut. And the truth is, I'm sure that the majority of the public would oppose this war, if only they were able to think about it. But a rah-rah media which is complicit in this corporate/right wing adventure is beating the drum incessantly, the Democrats have given in once again, and war seems inevitable.

What can I do?

Write A Letter

I wrote and sent the following to my two Senators and Representative this morning:

Dear Senator/Representative _______,

I am writing to urge you not to support or authorize US military action against Iraq at this time. No real evidence been offered to the public by the Administration of an immediate or even near-to-medium-term threat to US security. Lacking this evidence, an attack upon Iraq would be nothing more than military and political adventuring.

The risks faced both by American soldiers and civilians in such a case, as well as the suffering of non-Americans and the long-term hatred engendered in the Muslim and Arab world towards the United States, should not be taken lightly. The most careful thought and thorough evidence are absolutely necessary before undertaking military action.

I must also point out that President Bush has no authority under law to demand regime change in a sovereign country, no matter how distasteful that regime might be. As a signatory to the UN Charter, the United States is obliged to obey international law.

I will continue to follow your voting record with interest.

Peter Maranci


I, Cassandra

Some predictions:

The UN will accept a resolution requiring Saddam to accept inspections or face military action. The Bush junta will find a way to poison-pill the inspections, either forcing Iraq to refuse them or claiming that they are being blocked from areas even if they are not. Of course, they sacrifice America's moral high ground in doing so, because requiring Saddam to allow inspections actually makes sense. But to the Bush people the idea of inspections is nothing but an annoyance to get past in order to have a great, big, Republican-political-fortune-boosting, Bush-reelecting-in-2004, civil-liberty-destroying WAR!

I fear that the situation is horribly like the fall of the Roman Republic and its replacement by the Empire. But the insanely destructive ecological policies of the Bush crime cabal make me wonder if our species will survive this Empire. Certainly civil liberties and freedom will not, except as an ironic buzzword in the early days, before some later leader grows impatient and dispenses with the trappings of democracy.

I hope I'm wrong about all this, of course. But it seems all too likely.

That Damn Lathe seems to have rejected my review of the DVD version of the new Lathe of Heaven. I wasn't told, of course, and I'll never find out why. This isn't the first time they've rejected one of my reviews, which is why I've taken to saving everything I write for any web site. I rewrote a version with some of the hot-button words removed and resubmitted it, but here's my original review in all its glory.

Subject: Death to Hollywood!

In 1980 PBS broadcast an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin's novel "The Lathe of Heaven", made with the close cooperation of Le Guin herself. The movie was an instant cult classic, and its subsequent 20-year disappearance from the airwaves only heightened its legend.

In 2002 A&E broadcast a new version called "Lathe of Heaven". The director boasted that he hadn't read the book nor watched the movie. And Ms. Le Guin was not consulted at any time in the process of making the movie.

The result? A brainless, gutless, pointless waste of time. So much of the plot from the book and PBS movie were discarded that no real plot remains. The aliens? Gone. The twisting effect of manipulated dreaming? Gone. The conflict between passive and active world-views, between Tao and technology? Gone. The tragedy of good intentions gone hopelessly awry? Gone. Well-written dialog, good acting, a coherent plot? Gone, gone, and—you guessed it—gone.

The novel and original PBS film were brilliant reflections on the nature of reality and existence, with plot twists that packed an emotional as well as an intellectual wallop and with involving, three-dimensional characters with lives that you could care about. The A&E version replaces all that with a bit of hot tongue action between Lisa Bonet and Lucas Haas.

And it's not even GOOD hot tongue action.

If you're looking for hot tongue action, go buy or rent some honest-to-goodness porn. It'll have more integrity than this A&E abortion. And if you're looking for one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, AND one of the best adaptations of a novel to film that was ever made, watch the PBS version of "The Lathe of Heaven". It's available on DVD once again, thank goodness. And will be watched with delight long after this filmed atrocity has been wiped from human memory.


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So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2002 by Peter Maranci. Revised: October 17, 2002. version 1.1