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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sat May 04, 2013 at 02:04:05 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP, Theatre (all tags)
Reading: "The Glorious Revolution". Watching: "The Fearless Vampire Killers", "Bottle Rocket", "Tyrannosaur". Theatre: "Proof". Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The Glorious Revolution by Edward Vallance. History book about the subject.

Background. The Glorious Revolution was the replacement of the Catholic King James II with a Protestant joint monarchy of Mary Stuart and her Dutch husband, William III of Orange; whose power and succession was limited by acts of Parliament. This was bloodless in England, as James fled William's powerful army, but led to warfare and rebellion in Scotland and Ireland.

This has been interpreted in various ways.

1. A truly glorious and very British revolution, where the power of monarchy was restrained by a peaceful evolutionary step, rather than bloody violence like the French and American Revolutions.

2. A successful Dutch invasion and takeover of the UK, aided by internal traitors.

3. A dynastic coup, where the Protestant branch of the House of Stuart outmaneuvered the Catholic branch.

1 is the traditional interpretation, 2 and 3 are somewhat revisionist. Vallance draws a balanced picture. He points out that both sides tried to court popular opinion, which was an important factor. James decided that as his army units and commanders quickly defected, and the unpopular Catholic-friendly placemen he'd put into local office could not muster much support, that he had not much chance of beating William.

On the other hand, elite politics was the prime mover in the events. Also the practical limits put on Royal power weren't that great. After James had fled, William was able to shrewdly use his army as a indirect threat against the English elite. He didn't threaten to use it against them directly,  but quietly made it clear that if he took it back to Holland, there was nothing to stop James returning with a Catholic French army to exact a terrible revenge on the traitors.

Overall, a thoughtful, balanced and interesting book on the subject. Worth a read if you're interested.

What I'm Watching
The Fearless Vampire Killers on disc. Badly dated comedy , directed by and starring Roman Polanski, which ventures into Carry On  territory: same sort of slapstick and leering, only without the puns and arch performances.

Some bits are unintentionally creepy with the passage of time. One subplot concerns Polanski's character being seduced and then chased around by a sexually harassing gay vampire. First it seems odd that being gay is scarier than being a vampire, second if he knew it's horrible to be sexually harassed, why did he so much of it?

Avoid this one.

What I'm Watching
Bottle Rocket. Early Wes Anderson movie starring Luke and Owen Wilson. Some inept young would-be criminals hide out after a robbery.

I liked some of the later Wes Anderson movies like "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", but this seemed a bit slow-moving and inconsequential, with characters who are irritatingly rather than charmingly eccentric

What I'm Watching 2
Tyrannosaur. Highly acclaimed drama about a friendship between an angry widower and a downtrodden charity shop worker. Definitely powerful and well-acted all round. The leads are good. Eddie Marsan has only a small part but might well portray one of the most horrible characters ever seen on screen.

Unremittingly bleak though, so much so that it strains plausibility at times. Bit hard to believe that the dog wasn't destroyed by police after it mauled the child, or that ultra-religious Hannah doesn't have some friends through the church.

Has a couple of disturbing scenes. Has a fairly clever construction. where everything ends up for the worse. The violent guy refrains from violence, which results in a child being mauled by a dog. The abused housewife finally retaliates, and ends up in prison.

Worth a look if you've ever thought the problem  with Mike Leigh and Ken Loach is that they're too cheerful and upbeat.

Review review, review, review.

Theatre
Proof at the Menier Chocolate Factory. American play about the daughter of a brilliant mathematician, who has died after a long period of mental illness.

Veers a little bit into the sentimental at times. but is ruthlessly efficient at plucking the heartstrings. Good central performance from Mariah Gale as the spiky, emotionally damaged daughters. Has a couple of very memorable scenes, such as the final breakdown of the father.

Good play, well worth seeing. Also good to see some respect for the drinking abilities of theoretical physicists.

Me
Going to the hulverwedding today! I'm planning to catch the 4PM bus from the ceremony venue to the reception. Might have a couple of hours to play tourist beforehand. All congrats to Mr and Mrs hulver-god!

Links
Socioeconomics. Is the UK really 5 times more violent than the US?

Politics. The nudge unit. Thatcherite zeal or reenactment? Deficit myth. Fewer US homeless, a Bush legacy

Random. Baroque The Streets: Dulwich Street Art Festival 2013 America's First Popular Men's Magazine, The National Police Gazette.

Pics. Vintage librarian pics.

Video. Lego Breaking Bad.

Sci/Tech. Koshers switch only probably works.

Articles. The Business of Literature: "books aren’t sitting grumpily in economy class on the airplane to the future. They’re in the cockpit." Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live . Edmund Burke.

< Well that was a refreshing change... | May the 4th be with you >
We'd all love to see the plan | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Do UK crime figures include crimes against inmates by lm (4.00 / 2) #1 Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:36:28 PM EST
I've read somewhere, but haven't confirmed in any reliable source, that US crime figures don't include crime inflicted by inmates and guards against other inmates in prison. If this is true and if the UK crime numbers include prison violence, this could be another explanation of why the numbers differ.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Similar stats misuse by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:08:36 PM EST
Several years ago I saw an attempt to show that gun-crime in the UK was far worse than in the US, despite the recent (relative to then) ban on many types of weapon. The StatsFail in that case was in two parts, not realising that an "incident involving firearms" included the cases where it was the police were armed, and that most of the time Armed Response Units are patrolling as 'normal' coppers with the weapons securely locked away in the car but that still counts as "armed officers in attendance".


[ Parent ]
Kosher switch? Seriously? by dmg (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:46:43 PM EST
That's like a "Halal Mortgage".

Why do religious people want to try and trick God and bend a set of rules that they only have to follow because they choose to?

Seriously, can someone explain what kind of fucked-up thought process is involved here?
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dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.

Conveniently by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:03:04 AM EST
... The diary links to a long article on Edmund Burke:

"Burke argues governance requires more than one lifetime to comprehend"

"in religion, in which our “passions” instruct our “reason.” "

ie people respect tradition because it has a pretty good track record and no individual is really that smart. For people of that opinion, the little rituals are all of a fabric with the Big Important Theology.

I do have one quibble with the article though - first major philosophical thinker since Cicero who was also a political player? What about Marcus Aurelius, Pope Gregory I, Thomas Jefferson, Ibn Khaldun, Cao Cao, Wang Anshi?

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Unknown by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:32:02 AM EST
I get the whole Covenant of Moses thing, but I don't get that turning on a light switch is a violation of it.  I have never understood fundamentalism.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I've never really understood most religion. by dmg (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:52:28 PM EST
It just seems so randomly prescriptive.
Like you can have up to four wives but no more. Or you must mutilate your penis etc etc.
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dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I can understand most religion by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:49:33 AM EST
but I can't understand fundamentalism or actually any extremism.  Once you surrender your free will (or illusion to free will if you go that way) then you lose me completely. 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
There's the paradox by dmg (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:58:47 PM EST
Perhaps free will doesnt really exist and those people have no control over what they choose to believe? That's certainly a possibility.
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dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Conservatives and Macroeconomics by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:36:21 AM EST
You won't get an apology because the conservative position on macroeconomics has never been an error.  It's been political from the beginning and you don't apologize for politics.  They've used convenient studies to support their political motives when possible but it's never been necessary.  




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
We'd all love to see the plan | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback