July 5, 2008

Review Corner

I have to play catch up from before the move, so I will do what Larry Kudlow calls a "lightning round:"

Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg. I wanted to read this and I read some good reviews. But in the end this book was better than I thought it would be. Goldberg checks his trademark humor at the door, and writes a very serious and important book. He tries bravely to keep it from being a polemic and he is mostly successful. Yet his topic makes it hard to escape. If you haven't read it or much about it, Goldberg aims to:

  • Define fascism, not just as an insult or dysphemism for "something I don't like." He looks at Mussolini's Italy and, of course, Nazi Germany though he is thorough in separating Hitlerism and Fascism

  • Look at America's closest brushes with fascism or fascist tactics, through the Progressive Era, Margaret Sanger, New Deal, 1960's radicals and the life work of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  • Lastly, tie fascism to the beliefs and tactics of the left. Amusingly, they love to throw the word at their enemies, but from greater State control of industry to organic food -- the shoe seems to fit a little better on the left if ya catch my drift.

I, like other reviewers, sell it a little short by synopsizing. It's a better, more serious, and more informative book than you are expecting. Four stars and change.

Economic Facts and Fallacies, by Thomas Sowell. Holy cow, Sowell is prolific, and I'm gonna agree with everything he says anyway, why give up $17.16?

Well, it's only 15.44 on Kindle® (both of these books were read on Kindle) and Sowell is a deity. You will certainly think of something in a different way (one for me was to consider the different median ages for different ethnic groups. When you consider African-American income statistics against the US population at large, consider that the median black age is five years younger (30) than all (35), with age having a huge factor on income). Even when you say you've heard the story before, Sowell is so lucid and his arguments are so tight, you will be far better prepared to yell at your in-laws at the next family function. Completely non-technical, very accessible, very well done. 3.75 (it would be higher if there were more new material).

Tin Man (DVD). I guess this aired as a miniseries on Sci-Fi Channel. I wanted to rent it from Redbox (it came out on DVD last March), missed it, and ended up accidentally buying it from Redbox (long story, but they sell older DVD's for $7, I had a credit and took a flyer). Merciful Zeus, this is a great film! This is another look at Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz. This one is more modern, a little darker, and a lot more Baum-ier than Judy Garland's with those great Harold Arlen songs.

Don't get your panties in a bunch if you love the original. This is not a remake. It's another look and that is all I'll say. And it is full of little devotions and homages to the 1939 film (the address of the farmhouse is "39"). It is told in three "editions." each of which is film length, so I realize you're making a substantive time commitment. But this is a gem. It is well shot, well acted, a ripping plot-line -- and the breadcrumbs of those little homages keep you alert every minute.

I'm thinking five stars. I can't think of anything not to like -- It's Buffy meets Dorothy!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at July 5, 2008 7:02 PM

I genuinely enjoyed Tin Man myself. Watched it last December on vacation at the in-laws, where they have HDTV and I was captivated. I will add that it's also thoroughly sexy, in a 'Ginger and Mary Ann' sort of way.

Six hours seemed like three.

Posted by: johngalt at July 7, 2008 3:41 PM

Glad to get a little reinforcement; this really blew me away (you have got to try Buffy again, starting at a newer season or starting with Angel).

I cannot disagree with your comment. Ms. Deschanel is completely captivating (I had never seen her before) and, in true Buffy fashion, even the villain is attractive.

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2008 5:14 PM | What do you think? [2]