Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Four legs good, two legs bad

Tonight I saw Margaret Cho at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center with my mom, Gene, and my mom's friend Lois.

She was in town in connection this gay pride event they're having this weekend.
She was funny, and the guy opening for her (one Bruce Daniels) was pretty good too. Overall, I really enjoyed it, though I can't think of any way to aptly describe what I liked about it, since I couldn't possibly tell any of it as good as her, much less in writing.
The thing that bothered me though was the way both her and Bruce would occasionally make halfassed political statements to gain applause. I don't think it's bad for a comedian to be political, but I think if they do it had better be funny.
Making a joke about how morning after pills should be given to you with your bill at restaurants just to make a point that Bush can't control women is funny. But standing in front of a crowd in town for a gay pride fest and saying, "I support Gay Marriage!" during a lull just feels like pandering.

Today I got paid, which was of course nice, and I bought the Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell audio book, so I have something to keep me entertained (yet not too distracted) while working on my comic. I just barely finished my pages for this week, but I did and here they are. God, I wish anyone was reading it. I don't want to be an attention whore, but it sort of defeats the point of doing something like this if no one cares, and they don't. In a certain mood I'm tempted to just put up a notice saying "Cancelled due to lack of interest", but I guess that's rather premature and childish.
42 people have this journal friended, and 5 have that one, which is way more important to me. I don't get it.

A few nights ago we watched the 1954 cartoon of George Orwell's Animal Farm, because Angelo wanted to see it. I haven't read the book, but I found it kind of captivating and ended up watching it twice in a row, the second time alone and with the commentary track. The movie was (allegedly) actually funded by the CIA, who chose to play up its anti-Communist message and downplay its criticsms of capitalism. This is most evident in a tacked-on ending where the pigs, representing communists, are overthrown by the other animals they've oppressed.

So, having finished that, I was happy to find that Hollywood had the second (and as far as I know, only other) adapatation of the story, done in 1999 with Babe-style effects courtesty of the Jim Henson Company and an all-star cast, with Patrick Stewart as Napoleon (pig-Stalin) and Kelsey Grammer as Snowball (pig-Trotsky). It's well filmed and well-acted, but manages to somehow be simultaneously less melodramatic and more heavy handed than its predecessor, which isn't a good combination.

Spoiler warning, for something written 50 years ago, but if you haven't read it I don't want to ruin it

When the Boxer the horse is sent to the glue factory in the cartoon, the donkey realizes where the van comes from, and chases after it baying in panic. The horse seems to bend the sides of the van as he hangs halfway out, thrashing back and forth in panic. The logo on the back is a skull and crossbones with the face of a horse.
In the live action version, the horse is calmly lead into the truck. Then they close the door and it says in giant letters GLUE FACTOR AND HORSE KILLER. All the animals look vaguely upset, and the van drives away.

But what really bothered me was the ending. The new one is actually MORE PRO-CAPITALIST THAN THE ONE FUNDED BY THE CIA.

The story is told through the eyes of a dog named Jessie (baaaaaaaaaaaaar). She flashes back to the main events of the story happening and then once everything important happens, she just tells us that the farm fell apart, with no real explanation. Then she goes back to the farm and her puppies, who had been brainwashed by Napoleon are, like, nice again somehow.
So far, stupid, but I can understand why they wanted it happy.
But here's the thing--
This Kennedyesque family moves in and takes over and Jessie says, "At long last we are free"

Apparently the lower classes need some "owners" to take care of them or everything just falls apart.
Even if you don't take the story as an allegory (which no one would do), it's still a horribly ending, because it means that all of the main characters' struggling was for nothing. Bleh.

I guess I should have been suspicious that the back of the box says, "Populated with a wide variety of barnyard animals, ANIMAL FARM is sure to leave the whole family squealing with delight."
Ah well.

Tomorrow I'm going back to Santa Cruz just for the night, because my dad and Jamie are going up there to see a concert, and someone should go try to keep Nikki's beastliness in check.


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Location: Oakland, CA, United States