The Politically Incorrect Show - 05/06/2001
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Tuesday June 5, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down!]
Acting on Oscar Wilde's admonition that the best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it, I didn't do all the things I should have done over the long weekend, but instead curled up into a ball & blobbed out in front of the tv. The only respite from this indulgence was to join my dying friend, Pete Sinclair, for champagne to celebrate his award in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Yes, I know, I don't approve of state-bestowed honours, but it would have been churlish & mean-spirited to make an issue of that in the circumstances. Anyway, two highlights of the viewing fest were the movie adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, updated to the 19th century with lashings of Italian opera, & Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman, which I hadn't seen on the big screen. It was instructive to compare the two, as examples of popular drama separated by some four hundred years.
No, I'm not launching into an academic thesis here, just a couple of simple observations. Both had compelling plots & themes, which almost coincided at times. Shakespeare's dialogue, of course, was immeasurably superior, but one expects that. What struck me most was the difference in the way the dialogue was delivered - Shakespeare with all the eloquence & understanding commensurate with such a clever script; in Eyes Wide Shut the actors, particularly Kidman, deliberately struggled for their words (which were pretty elementary), strangled them, mangled them, & punctuated them with moans & groans in a way that amounted almost to a parody of modern-day incoherence. Not that I didn't enjoy Eyes Wide Shut, but the agony of waiting for the actors to get their lines out was at times excruciating. The movie could have been over in half the time had they just spoken normally. Or perhaps, to repeat my earlier point, that's exactly what they, or director Kubrick, thought they were doing! I'm told that the drama on which Eyes Wide Shut was based portrayed its main characters as angst-ridden. That might explain the slowness of the movie, but doesn't make it any less irritating.
In short, I enjoyed the Shakespeare more, even while begging to differ with him at times:
"Lovers & madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover & the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes & gives to airy nothing
A local habitation & a name."
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