Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

I Just Don’t See It *Edited*

There’s a whole lotta hoo-ha over this cartoon from the New York Post.


The allegations are that the cartoon is racist; that the monkey is representative of Obama and that it calls into play issues of police violence against black men and a history in this country of referring to blacks as monkeys.

I get all that – I really do – but I DON’T see this as a pointed attack on Obama.  Sure, I don’t think it’s a great leap to see the comic as having racist undertones, but taken with some modicum of thought, the comic comes off as decidedly unremarkable, not particularly funny or ironic, and certainly not worthy of all the attention being paid to it.

If you get enough monkeys in a room full of typewriters, the theory goes, one of ’em’s going to come up with Shakespeare (or, you know, a stimulus package).  Bush was blatantly compared to monkeys all the time.  I’ve heard Congress referred to as a bunch of baboons more than once.  I seriously doubt the artist intended the comic to be racist (though, of course, not knowing the artist, I can’t say with any authority WHAT s/he was thinking) but, as a consumer of this comic, I can say for sure that “racist” wasn’t the first place I went with it.


*Edited to include:  Okay, I’ve been doing some reading.  While I still don’t think that the cartoon deserves the vehemence it’s receiving, this helped me to understand a bit better what the discussion is really about….


Filed under backyard wildlife, ideas and opinions, politics, Questions, social issues, strange but true

So Sayth the BBC

Really?  Who makes these lists up, anyway?  I mean, I understand that “100 Greatest” lists are entirely subjective to begin with, but I’ve got some pretty significant issues with some of the offerings on this list – and, more significantly, with some of the things left out of it.  Whatever.  Here’s the BBC’s list of “Big Reads.” Those I’ve dragged my eyes over are marked with an X

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien  X
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (I have these books, via the girls, but I’ve not read them yet myself)
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams  X
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling   X
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee   X
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne   X
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell  X
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis   X
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë   X
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë   X
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame   X
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens   X
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott   X
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (I’ve seen the film…)
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling   X
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling   X
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling   X
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien  X
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving   X
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck   X
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll  X
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl   X
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson   X
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens   X
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett   X
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck   X
53. The Stand, Stephen King   X
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell   X
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden   X
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding   X
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy   X
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac  X
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo   X
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel (I own this, but I’ve not read it yet)
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie   X

32 books read.  On the one hand, that’s not too bad – some of these books I’ve never even heard of.  On the other hand, I’m an English teacher, and one would expect a bit more from me.  I’ve stopped beating myself up about what I haven’t read, though; neither my life nor my profession suffers for it, so it’s all good.

Right now, I’m re-reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  I’m almost through the second offering – Dragonfly in Amber – and I expect that I’ll be taking Voyager with me to Florida.  sigh I do so love these books – they’re my answer to “if you were banished to a deserted island, what books would you bring” question – and I’ve heard that there’ll be a seventh installment to the story coming out later this year.  Of course, I’ll snatch it up from the library as soon as it becomes available, but I’ll have to wait for the trade paperback to come out before I buy the thing, just to keep my collection of the series consistent.

What are YOU reading?


Filed under books, Little Bits of Nothingness, love notes, reading

The BBC’S 100

I boosted this from Kizz, who posted her tally of the books she’s read from the BBC’s list yesterday.

Put an X by all the books you’ve read.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien  X
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte  X
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling  X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee  X
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte  X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell  X
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens  X
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (some)  X
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien  X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger  X
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (I’ve seen the film…)
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams  X
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck   X
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  X
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis  X
34 Emma – Jane Austin
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis  X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini  X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden  X
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne  X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown  X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving  X
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding  X
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel   X
52 Dune – Frank Herbert  X
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon   X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck  X
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold   X
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac  X
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie  X
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville  X
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker  X
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson   X
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens   X
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker   X
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White   X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom  X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad   X
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare   X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl  X
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I count 40.  Not too shabby…


Filed under books, Friends, Little Bits of Nothingness, meme, reading