Sunday, December 24, 2006

Review of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Like the Odyssey & Don Quixote, Uncle Tom's Cabin wasn't what I expected, or rather the amount of time given to the title character is less than i expected. Roughly half of the novel covers Augustine St. Clare, the well meaning & kindly New Orleans slave owner who is too self-indulgent to actually get around to freeing Tom from slavery despite his intentions & stated promises. For long sections, Tom is either not present, or makes very token appearances, and since Augustine is a kindly owner, the horrors of slavery are basically missing for large sections of the novel. Even though evil Simon Legree is the most famous white character in the novel, he appears roughly three-quarters of the way through the novel, which is when the horrific aspects of slavery (beyond separation of families) finally appear.

Given Stowe's history, I should not have been surprised at how preachy the novel was, but the long discourses on Christianity & heaven still stood out as excessively preachy. Obviously Stowe was trying to galvanize all Christians to follow her lead & fight slavery.

I can easily understand why blacks would be offended by the novel: Tom tells his wife that he won't hear a bad word spoken against his master right after he finds out that he'll be sold and later Tom tells Legree that he'll be a faithful and loyal servant since Legree has purchased him.

Viewed from a literary lens, Uncle Tom's Cabin is a far inferior (slave) novel to Kindred, but given the historical impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin, it will still be in print a hundred years from now, while I hope, but am uncertain, that the same is true of Butler's fine novel.

Addenda 1: Looks like the famous quote ""So you're the little lady who wrote the book that started this great war." is apocryphal, which lowers Stowe in my opinion for having fabricated the quote.

Addenda 2: Funny (in the odd sense of the word) ending from our perspective - George & Eliza (escaped slaves) move to Liberia, the shining hope for blacks, to fight against slavery with the backing of a nation. What would they & Stowe think if they knew Liberia's future under Samuel K. Doe and Charles Taylor? Would they merely be sad or be appalled at what has happened to Liberia over the past 26 years?

23 down - 25 to go

Given how little has happened & how little will happen for the remainder of Bush's term, it's hard to get motivated to provide updates. Still curious how much the Dems challenge Bush once in power - will they really push to overturn the Military Commissions Act of 2006? Would love to believe it. Will they push for lobbying reform? So far happy that Murtha was not elected Majority Leader & Hastings was not made head of the Intelligence committee, so some hope for them. Now if they would only push for legalization of Medical Marijuana.

Iraq - will continue to fester, but Bush is clearly a "stay-the-course" kinda guy, so expect many more death tolls such as this month's 80 to date. Does put a bit of lie to the conservative's talking point that the death toll in October was high because the insurgents were trying to influence the election. This month the toll will be nearly as high as it was in October. Obviously there are no good options at this point, but the best bad option - referendum on our withdrawal, followed by our withdrawal - will not happen under Bush.

Trade & Deficit - nothing of note this past month. Doha is still dead & our deficit for this year isn't bad by historical standards, but our implicit debt is quite high.

Well i'm getting very close to win my first long term one on Harry Potter - wagered that his parents are not alive (odd wager on OCWD's part, but the stakes are dinner for 4 at winner's restaurant of choice, so why complain.

OBL no closer to being caught.

Israel vs. Iran - despite the bluster & sanctions, I can't see Israel attacking Iran in the next 7 years.

Kurdistan becoming a country in the next 4+ years. Could see it happening eventually, but too many higher priorities for Iraq, or ex-Iraq.

Hillary? Would have to make her the odds on favorite, so that is my weakest wager, especially since Warner dropped out.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Friday Night Wine Blogging - posted two days late

Vegetarian sloppy joes with rosemary garnish plus a side of spaghetti squash.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mind boggling results from New Orleans

So having $90,000 of cold cash in your freezer is acceptable, but being liberal on stem cells, gay marriage and abortion is unforgivable? What's even more mind boggling than the overall results is the break down in votes. New Orleanians voted for Carter by a slight margin (don't understand why parts of uptown & lakeview are excluded so that might have helped her), but Jefferson parish - largely white - voted 2½:1 against Carter.

Louisiana deserves the politicians it gets.

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