January 16th, 2005



So... I saw Spanglish last weekend and Melissa wanted to see it, so I saw it again. Then I read the reviews when I got home on Rottentomatoes.com, and boy am I confused.

What I saw on the screen was a truly captivating dance between characters making messy moral decisions mostly right. Tea Leoni is a sort of crazed upper-class harpy, who still manages to be sympathetic even when she's the most morally comprimised of the bunch. The scene of the argument between the Mexican housekeeper with no English and her boss -- mediated by the housekeeper's daughter -- is perhaps the best single scene in a movie I've seen in a long while.

I really enjoyed the movie both times, because of the performances of the characters, and because of the humor and drama and conflict. Reading the reviews, though, I find that half the reviewers really liked it, and half of them really hated it. The ones who hated it say that it's smug, dishonest, and misogynistic. The ones who liked it basically saw the movie I saw.

So I'm interested in what other people thought. Was this an exercise in misogyny, audience manipulation, and liberal self-congratulation, or was there something real and interesting going on?

Living in Orwell's Nightmare

As a liberal, I've come to be disappointed in the New York Times columnists, Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd. They are liberal columnists for the premier liberal newspaper in the US, and their columns are often sloppy on points of fact, and too willing to take cheap shots that are beside the point.

Given the willingness of conservatives to say and do anything to further their agenda, perhaps they feel justified in occasional sloppiness, but I don't think that's OK. When you've got objective facts on your side, and an army of liars as your opposition, any inaccuracy on your part is a void in your armor.

That being said, I think Frank Rich's column in today's Times is perhaps the best and most rigorous in a long time and describes an issue I've been following closely for a couple of weeks, the Bush Administration using taxpayer funds for covert propaganda actions.


There's no doubt that every presidential administration does what it can to present the best possible face, but this stuff is just plain illegal. For being the Values President, Bush's true face seems to be showing behind the mask. No principles, no justification, no shame -- just raw power and greed, grabbing for whatever it can devour.