Friday, December 17, 2004

Harry Potter and the Half Blood (Machiavellian?) Prince, China Mieville and dangerous earrings, Mozilla Firefox, A Clockwork Orange/1984 essay

Listening to the Beatles's Think for Yourself.

Well, I've decided that this is the time for me to catch up on the various topics I keep on mentioning in brief. I'll begin by discoursing on--you guessed it!--Harry Potter. If any HP fans are reading this, you might like to know that JK Rowling updated her website a few days ago. Also, there are rumors abound regarding, silly as it might sound, the release of the release date for book six, HP and the Half Blood Prince. Word on the street (er, word on the bandwidth) is that booksellers have been told to expect a date announced around January. HP fans (like myself) hope that they'll let us know on December 25th as a Christmas present.

What's that I hear? You're wondering who I think is the Half Blood Prince of the title? Well, if you insist...I think that the Prince is metaphorical (after all, we've never before heard of any royalty in the HP universe), a Machiavellian prince who ruthless uses manipulation and deceit because after all, the ends justify the means. For more about Machiavelli's treatise The Prince (Il Principe), look here. Anyway, I mostly wanted to put down my two cents in case by some twist of fate I AM right--because then I'll have hard proof that I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST.

Listening to the Cars's Moving in Stereo.

Ah, so looking back on my old posts (where I regularly say, "later I'll post about such-and-such," though I tend to forget about such-and-such) I see I wanted to give a little China Mieville anecdote. For those of you who have no idea who I'm talking about, China Mieville is a British author of weird fiction (basically scifi-cum-fantasy) with a very tough-guy look and degrees in economics and social anthropology (I think). As a little bit of trivia, he was also named the sexiest guy in politics when he ran for Parliament a few years ago on the Socialist platform. He lost, though.

Anyway, I was reading an interview with Mieville on The Guardian and he was talking about the dangers of having an earring (I never knew I was such a dare-devil):

"I always had a paranoia about someone pulling my earrings out and tearing my ears, so I always wore them with clasps that undo when pulled. Then about three years ago, this man ripped my earrings out during a political argument. Half of me was thinking, 'What the hell are you doing?,' the other half, 'Result!'"

So that's that. And let's see, what else did I want to mention...I see mention of Firefox and my essay on 1984 and A Clockwork Orange. Then I'll leave you be.

Firefox I mention because I just switched to it about a week ago; I was using Safari before then, and it worked magnificently, but my gmail account wouldn't open with Safari as the browser. (Incidentally, did you see the cool Firefox 1.0 ad in the NY Times a couple days ago? I'm not sure, but I think all the names on the left page are people who donated money so that Firefox could buy the ad, since it's a free browser. Aww...) Anyway, it's been working brilliantly (I love the tab feature and its pop-up blocker) and it makes me happy that it's open source. Basically, smart people are spreading what they've developed, just sharing it, completely free. It's a nice, warm-and-fuzzy feeling that reminds me how nice bloggers (not to blow my own whistle or anything, heh) and internetters are in general. With every day, Mozilla Firefox is being adopted by more and more people. So go check it out.

The Pixies's Here Comes My Man.

And as for my essay... I decided to write my essay about how in both 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, the authorities fight crime by repressing the characters' free will, but in the process they destroy the protagonists' humanity. And I linked the three kinds of free will--free will of choice, of knowledge, and of passion--to examples in both books. Whew--complex, right? Well, on top of that, I wrote the essay in Nadsat, the teenage slang that Alex (of Clockwork) speaks in for much of the book. I thought about inserting some Newspeak (from 1984) as well, but I thought that one alternate language would be enough. So anyway, I'll put my Nadsat essay and then its translation up as a separate post, in case you're interested. Heh-heh.

Bob Dylan's The Man in Me.

Have a great weekend and a great holiday!


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