Archive for February, 2008

Primaries & Fantasia

February 17, 2008
Virginia’s presidential primary was held last Tuesday. Thankfully Virginia has an open primary; I appreciate that. I anguished for weeks about which ballot to take, Republican or Democrat, then I came to a last minute decision. I voted for Obama.

To Hilary, McCain, Huckabee, and Obama: Let’s get one thing straight… I don’t like any of you. Better candidates were in this race, but have dropped out. To me, you four clowns are only in it by lack of viable alternatives. Bill Richardson would have done better than the four of you, but alas.

To Ron Paul: I’m sorry, but I tried. You’re my prime pick, and you’ve had my vocal support since day one. I agree with nearly 85% of things you say, which is far more than any politician in my lifetime. I wanted to vote for you in the primary, to help you earn more delegates. However, since Virginia’s primary is winner-take-all (the worst kind of direct voting method), my vote for you wouldn’t help you get any delegates, and would only show token numerical support. Barring an act of god, McCain was assured all of Virginia’s delegates. There was no point in voting for you in the primary. I will continue to give you as much word of mouth support as I can, but there was no choice I could influence for you in the Republican primary.

To Obama: The only reason you got my vote is because I *had* to vote strategically. There was only one decision that mattered on Tuesday. McCain was going to get the Republican delegates anyway, so the only real contest was the neck-to-neck race between you and Hilary. So when I went to the primary, I took the only ballot with an outcome I could influence in my favor, Democratic. I voted for you merely to erode support for Hilary. I want the White House occupied by someone whose name isn’t Bush or Clinton. The blood of the minutemen was shed so that America shall have no dynasties. A vote for you is a vote against dynastic America.

To the Republican Party of Virginia: Do you see what I did there? Because your primary is winner-take-all, I voted for a Democrat. You have disenfranchised me. If Huckabee weren’t so uber-Christian, I might have supported him, but alas you’ve chosen the alienating path of religious identity. If American Fascism comes, it will come bearing a cross and a $20 bill. That sounds like many of today’s Republicans. Maybe my mother-in-law was right… maybe the Republican Party deserves to die.

To the Democratic Party: I’m no liberal, either. Listen to Ron Paul, he’s right about the economy. Financial fraud and irresponsibility, reckless government spending and budgetary chaos, rampaging debt growth… it will through economic ruin do more damage to the survival of this nation and its government than violence from foreign terrorism ever could. Behind closed doors around the country, bankers, bondsmen, insurers, and government bureaucrats are inadvertently killing this nation for the sake of profit now. Fear not the suicide bomber… fear the collapse of our economy. Take whatever steps you can to stabilize our dollar, to keep Americans employable, and keep our long-term economic health strong, even if it means saying no to today’s demands for help. If you could do this, you’d have my vote.

To Libertarians: I’m with you guys, for now. Be aware that if one of the major parties collapses, you could replace them. Be cautious, but take advantage of the growing public frustration with the two party status quo. If we go into recession, or worse, take advantage of the fact that your party, of all parties, can say you saw it coming.

To pollsters: When are you going to realize that your method is broken? You only poll people with landline phones. Do you realize how many people only use cell phones? You’re completely missing the young vote! No wonder your polls have been so haywire this season! You can no longer safely ignore the young vote, the stealth electorate. Fix your system!

After eight years of waiting, I finally got to see Fantasia 2000, the sequel to 1940’s Fantasia. The original film was a groundbreaking work combining lush animation with classical music in a series of vignettes. The film was the first released in stereophonic sound, and came with a Playbill-like program. Intended to be a continuously revolving showcase, Fantasia was Walt Disney’s vanity project, something he was going to do no matter how much money he lost on it, with a mission to turn animation into cultural fine art. It took 40 years, but Fantasia finally found its niche.

Fantasia 2000 is a revisitation of the successful formula, and uses six decades of material the Disney animators had collected in case of a Fantasia rework. The film is a true rarity, a Disney sequel worth watching. The two must-see sections are Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Stravinsky’s Firebird. Much more energetic and character-driven than the original, F2K would have been better if it had kept the reverence and seriousness with which the original approached the musical pieces. With a director as passionate and adamant as Stokowsky, and with less concern for character narrative, F2K could have been just as great as its ancestor. But when treated as a descendant rather than a successor, Fantasia 2000 shines on its own merits, a time capsule of turn-of-the-millennium culture.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Harry Bensley

What I’m Reading:

"Dark Tide" by Stephen Puleo

"Galapagos" by Kurt Vonnegut