A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for February 2003

Want money?

From Slate‘s “Today’s Papers”:

“As the WP‘s style section reminds, some greedy music retailers got caught in a price-fixing scheme, and by order of the court are offering a wee bit of cash to anybody who bought a CD between 1995 and 2000. No proof of purchase necessary. Just go to musiccdsettlement.com. The deadline is March 1, and as it stands, claimants—such as TP—will get about 17 bucks each. But the more people that sign up, the lower that’ll go. So, shush.”


Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2003 at 11:44 am

Posted in Assorted

“The Wily American”

From Slate:

The Wily American
A look at the new Graham Greene movie shows how anti-Americanism has changed over the years.
By Katie Roiphe
Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2003, at 9:23 AM PT

The film version of The Quiet American opens with the body of an American in a white linen suit bobbing face down in a river. The American is quiet because he is dead. He is dead because he tried to meddle in the politics of a country he barely understood. When the movie was screened soon after Sept. 11, apparently several test audiences responded negatively to this sequence of events, causing Miramax to delay the release of the film by a year, on the grounds that it was anti-American. To many involved in the movie’s production, the release may have seemed like bad timing. But it was not the first time that The Quiet American faced this particular accusation.

When the book came out in 1955, American critics rallied against it as if some sort of metaphorical violence were being done to their country. In The New Yorker, A.J. Liebling called the book “a nasty little plastic bomb,” claiming that the author “apparently resented passing on the world leadership to the Americans.” Newsweek ran an equally vitriolic review, “This Man’s Caricature of the American Abroad,” denouncing its “dreary stereotyping” and arguing that Greene was still bitter about difficulties he’d had in getting a visa to come to America. Later that year, in the charged political atmosphere of the McCarthy era, the magazine published dark innuendos about the book’s appeal to the Kremlin. And when the original movie version came out, in 1958, the producers altered the plot to make it more flattering to Americans—altered it so completely, in fact, that Greene said, “One could almost believe that the film was made deliberately to attack the book and the author.”

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2003 at 11:40 am

Posted in Assorted

The New Poles of Canada

From The Globe and Mail:

Rise of the metropolis suggests two new solitudes: cities – and everywhere else

Thursday, February 27, 2003 – Page A2

Think of it as the New Two Solitudes.

“Absolutely,” says Paul Reed. “That’s exactly the message we’ve been trying to get out.”

What Reed, a social scientist with Ottawa’s Carleton University, and several other academics and statisticians across the country are seeking to do is no less than turn conventional thinking on its ear.

They believe the time has passed for seeing Canada as a French/English split, as Hugh MacLennan originally put it in his landmark Canadian novel Two Solitudes — or, for that matter, regarding the country as a federal system with a central government in Ottawa and a second layer composed of clearly defined provinces and territories.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2003 at 11:35 am

Posted in Assorted

And now, the trip

I’m going to see Wilfrid Laurier University and Toronto: That’s not open to question.

The precise date of my visit depends upon my final examination schedule, but provisionally I’d like to visit WLU, Kitchener-Waterloo, and friends in greater Toronto in the interval between the end of exams and convocation. Convocation, in the calendar, is scheduled for the 10th of May; my exams could conceivably last up to the 23rd of April. (I’ll have to find out what my professors have planned.)

Some questions to those in the know, and reply via livejournal and my E-mail (available via my profile:

  • How long should I spend visiting the campus?
  • Who can I expect to meet in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and convenient points in between?
  • Is there anything I must see while I’m in the area and relatively free? (I bought the latest Frommer’s guide to Toronto; the Art Gallery of Ontario stands out in Toronto. Niagara Falls?)
  • Does anyone have any hints, or links, regarding accomodations and public transit?

Written by Randy McDonald

February 26, 2003 at 7:43 pm

Posted in Assorted

Signing the Papers

I’ve signed the three papers to attend Wilfrid Laurier University in September 2003: one teaching assistant contract; one graduate scholarship contract; and, one consent form for the program. They don’t have to be submitted until the 7th of March, so I’ll send them Friday.

I’m on my way.

As some good friends of mine would say,


(And now, to do the assorted schoolwork for the next morn. Damn, I feel happy!)

Written by Randy McDonald

February 26, 2003 at 7:33 pm

Posted in Assorted

Jackson: A Postmodern Icon

Article 122 03/02/26 Editors: Arthur and Marilouise Kroker
Posterchild for the Future: Living with Michael Jackson
~Are Flagan~

Throughout February 2003, the tabloids dug even deeper into their font suitcases to extra extra bold the recurring headline “Wacko Jacko.” After a global screening of the doubly famous and infamous documentary Living with Michael Jackson, which was put together by the Brit Martin Bashir, the unanimous media verdict could not possibly be snappier than the larger-than-life Jacko being cut down to size with the rhyming echo of Wacko. Upright commentators and moral agents of all denominations joined the wailing chorus to secure the King of Pop’s self-inflicted fall from grace, while devoted fans and sympathetic supporters lashed out at the prejudices and lies allegedly edited in and out by the royal dramatist Bashir, who once had a sniveling tete-a-tete with Princess Diana. Some voices even went as far as classifying the 90-minute kitsch fest, done with the full and knowing collaboration of Jackson, an elaborate suicide note from an unaware victim. Perhaps it was only appropriate, then, that legions of experts, in the form of psychologists and voice analysts, were unleashed upon the footage to extract an opinion on the truth. Quite predictably the mental trade labeled him a casebook case for arrested development, and an Australian outfit, using a method akin to a lie detector, revealed the recorded speech patterns to show stress levels indicative of deception in his voice; the meaning of pivotal words was “scientifically” turned around to nail high-pitched frequencies already subject to suspicion. [1] While cable and network programming was humming with that unmistakable freak show buzz, pressure was put on the proper authorities in Santa Barbara County, where Jackson lives, to take penal action against him for televised breaches of propriety. Doubting the criminality of his admissions, however, officials declined the public demand to make a case out of an example, due to a lack of evidence. Meanwhile in Britain, the frothing frenzy made it into the House of Commons, where Labor MP Helen Clark and Tory David Amess made a strong bipartisan stand on what they saw as unsuitable for broadcasting. Airing such views and practices as those of Mr. Jackson was, in their allotted stance of the most honorable proclamation, a dangerous endorsement that certainly merited condemnation from the highest body of public policy. [2] The King of Pop was by now a moral pauper, his rule a disgraced ruin of dubious glory. That Wacko Jacko decided to strike back and turn the postmodern tables with his own documentary on Bashir, flogged to the networks by a gay porn pundit to maintain the tabloid-friendly tenor of terror, will not concern us here. Nor will we dwell on the astounding figures that initially glued 15 million Brits (more than half the entire TV audience) and 27 million Americans to the screens for the first airing, saw millions of dollars change hands in return for rights, and subsequently demanded
more than 20 hours of primetime over a period of two weeks following February 6. [3] This postscript must rather address what exactly prompted this outrage and suspension of belief that preoccupied the global attention and exponentially multiplied search strings in Google almost instantly. Something fundamentally disturbing and collectively stirring was no doubt filtered through the airwaves to reverberate in the public domain.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 26, 2003 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Assorted

Two Notes

  • Mom and Dad came back from family counselling last night. I’m letting them think before I talk to them this weekend, but it seems that it went well.
  • I’m accepting the Wilfrid Laurier offer. I’m Canadian/comparative literature, but knowledge of the genre and gender that WLU concentrates on is cool and a nice secondary specialization.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 26, 2003 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Assorted


I’ve had two counselling sessions today: the first at Student Services at UPEI, with my personal counsellor; the second at Richmond Centre downtown, with my family counsellor. (My parents will be meeting with the latter; I just talked about some issues I’d thought needed to be discussed.)

I’ve no particular expectations that anything will be changed with my parents; I’ll just live my life regardless what they think, and if they choose to remain ignorant, eh. Their lives.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2003 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Assorted

Parents and Family Counselling

The parents have an appointment to see a family counsellor–the same one I’ve been going to myself–for 5:30 tomorrow evening. Fun, fun.

I have to admit that I think our current relationship is dead. I just want to see if anything can be salvaged from it, and a new polite distant one built. Moving away, I’m told, will erode still more of the ties, which is good. I don’t get anything from Dad, and I get the feeling from Mom that whatever she does she wants me to be incessantly and stupidly grateful for the good things she’s done in the past.

They had their chance last year. Time to see whether they deserve a new one.

(That sounds awfully harsh, but I don’t care. If they hate having the idea of having an independent-minded faggot son, to hell with them.)

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2003 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Assorted

Site of the day

Sol Station

Ever curious about what near-Solar interstellar space was like? Sol Station has all of the stars within 20 to 30 light years, and excellent Javascript animations too.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2003 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Assorted