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Journal of No. 118


January 9th, 2012

media consumption @ 02:32 pm


I think talk_politics announced a book read for The Federalist Papers. Hot off of reading some Tom Paine, it seemed like the thing to do, but it was rather a tough slog, and I got to skimming. What it clearly needs is an abridged, just the good parts, edition. Like Paine's Common Sense and The Crisis, the Papers are very embedded in their time and the burning concerns of the day. Of course, the burning concern was the ratification of the Constitution, which turned out to be a pretty good idea, but often its hard to care much about Hamilton bloviating about whether the legislative or the executive branch should have the power to issue letters of marque and reprisal, or why two is the proper number of senators per state and not three or one or a dozen.
But there are some interesting things here and there. I'm struck by the fear of a standing army that obtained at the time (see also the Third Amendment). "an important qualification even of the legislative discretion, in that clause which forbids the appropriation of money for the support of an army for any longer period than two years a precaution which, upon a nearer view of it, will appear to be a great and real security against the keeping up of troops without evident necessity." Nowadays, there isn't a question of whether there should be an appropriation for an army, but how big it's gonna be.
Also interesting how much of it is really rather dodgy political rhetoric. The truth is that the Constitution is a big compromise, and this is often admitted in the Papers, but betimes the Federalists go all out trying to present the Constitution as the unique best hope for America.
Anyway, here is the most Lovecraftian sentence in the Federalist Papers:
However proper such reasonings might be to show that a thing OUGHT NOT TO EXIST, they are wholly to be rejected when they are made use of to prove that it does not exist contrary to the evidence of the fact itself.

And here, my favorite smack-talk about the rhetoric of one's idiotic foes:
it may open a boundless field for rhetoric and declamation; it may inflame the passions of the unthinking, and may confirm the prejudices of the misthinking


Much briefer and more entertaining was I Want It Now, which someone pointed out was free for Kindle. It's a breezy memoir of Julie Dawn Cole (aka Veruca Salt) concerning her life, primarily featuring her memories on the set of Willy Wonka. Lots of neat pictures, though the Kindle may not be the best way to enjoy them. If you love the movie, it's a neat peek behind the scenes. If you don't love the movie, we can no longer be friends.

I've basically finished Arkham City, the followup to Arkham Asylum, which I enjoyed. Very similar, so if you like the one, you'll probably like the other. Not a lot of major improvements. Probably the best is the larger, more open geography of the city. Once you get all your toys, it's enjoyable to soar through the city, using the batclaw to do little slingshot boosts off the buildings. Still a few sidemissions to complete and Riddler trophies to collect. Not too many boss battles, which is good, and most of them are fairly well designed. The Rā's al Ghūl one was by far the most fun. Solomon Grundy, the most annoying.

Streamed a couple episodes of Downton Abbey. Good so far. Dr. Pookie and I couldn't quite place the actor who plays Carson, the butler. Then a peek at IMDB and the mystery solved. He was Mathieu in The Advocate/Hour of the Pig. Well, he's done a lot of things, but that's the role/film that made an impression on us.
 
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Journal of No. 118