Raw Deal

Here’s a story from Pajama Momma on raw milk that would be funny if it weren’t such a blatant example of how the government protects established interests to not only the detriment of would-be competitors but to society as a whole.

We used to get raw milk delivered, but it periodically would be stopped due to, essentially, political reasons. As PJM outlines, those who try to compete are also dealt with through Congressional fiat. Of course, the justification is protecting our health.

In fact, raw milk was a problem (particularly in France) because the cows were so poorly cared for, and in such unhygienic conditions, that bacteria ran rampant, and people got sick. Pasteurization, in that context made sense. However, if you’re willing to pay the extra bucks, and get your milk from well-cared-for bovines, raw milk is vastly more nutritious. And it’s better tasting.

I’m pretty sure that none of this is in serious dispute. Pasteurized milk offers economy at the cost of nutrition. These days, the health risks are about the same.

Now, if you were to browse the Internet looking for information on vaccines, it would fall into three camps: the official story, the anti-vaccine crowd, and the aren’t-the-anti-vaccine-crowd-stupid-crowd. That’s not a quagmire I’m going to step in here, but I will point out this:

The more the authorities abuse their power to protect commercial interests with falsely inflated health issues, the more their credibility will be assailed on other fronts.

Of Oozing Skulls and other referents

On a lark, I looked through to see what people had been coming to this site looking for, and by far and away, you’re here looking for the Oozing Skull review.

Honestly, people, form your own damn opinions. The Cinematic Titanic crew can’t make more if you can’t be bothered to buy the DVD.

Meanwhile, here were the other links:

thumb disk through washing machine
Ouch, sorry, dude.

ending to a foreword
Just a coincidence. My use of “foreword” and year end.

vincent d’onofrio
He was the bomb in Mystic Pizza

orphanarium the movie
Ha! Someone actually looked for an “orphanarium” review. For those who don’t know, the word “orphanarium” was coined by the animated sci-fi comedy series Futurama.

died in a blogging accident
Wouldn’t be the first.

banned words 2008
‘cause you gotta know what NOT to say.

malestrom 2008
Coming in 2008: The Bit Femalestrom. I expect WAY higher hits.

dark apocalyptic films
I think these are going to be a bit-maelstrom meme.

duckling programming -ugly
Imprint with Smalltalk!

Also, someone came here through an image search on long, white, lace bloomers. Heh. Thanks, Trooper York!

Malpractice

Althouse has a post on a malpractice suit that has stirred up some emotion. Real emotion, too, not the sort of faux-outrage that typically accompanies political stuff.

It’s probably just an example of self-selection, but a lot of people in the commentary have suffered losses from medical malpractice. (I can count three losses in my own life so far, two of which have had a profound effect.) I’ve heard that iatrogenic (doctor-caused) causes of death are the #1 killer in this country, and I tend to believe it.

At the same time, I think it’s clear that malpractice suits exacerbate the situation. One of my heroes is a midwife who delivers children naturally, with her only stipulation being that it has to be what’s best for the child (and secondarily, the mom). She says “We don’t do natural childbirth because it’s fun or pleasant, but because it’s what’s best.” And she insists that women go to the hospital when necessary, no matter how much they want to deliver naturally.

Legally, it’s hard to imagine many more precarious situations to be in, because there are legal requirements as to what has to be done. This is sheer insanity, of course, and probably high among the things that will undo us. She’s in particularly precarious situation because she’s not even a doctor, and she can (and has) come under attack from over-zealous establishment types who feel she’s cut into their bottom line.

But despite the many problems I’ve had with doctors, it’s clear there are some great and heroic ones out there, risking their life and livelihoods every day.

One day I might even go to one of them.

Idiocracy and the Future

Religious followers of this blog (i.e., me) know my feelings on post-apocalyptic movies. I realize now I haven’t deconstructed as many as I should have. But here’s one: The Mike Judge comedy Idiocracy.

Judge came to my attention in the late ‘80s/early ’90s as the creator of this little cartoon shown at Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted animation festival. The toon was reminiscent of This Is Spinal Tap, in that it parodied a group, and that group loved it. It was called “Frog Baseball” and featured the first appearance of Beavis and Butthead.

Judge went on to create the remarkably consistent “King of the Hill” and the cult classic Office Space. So I ran out to see Idiocracy when it had it’s two-day run here in the big city.

The premise of Idiocracy is simple and not original: Since smart people reproduce selectively and dumb people reproduce indiscriminately, the population of the earth will get dumber and dumber as time passes. In this case, an average Joe (played by Owen Wilson) pulls a Rip Van Winkle and wakes up 500 years into the dumbed-down future.

Of course, this is a fairly preposterous premise: Society would collapse into barbarism in short order. This is shown in a jokey fashion, of course, because the truth is far too depressing, and it makes a far better (and funnier) commentary on contemporary society to have modern “dumb” aspects of society exaggerated.

Idiocracy doesn’t have the dense humor and ubiquitous relevance that Office Space has, so I doubt it will reach the heights of cult appreciation the latter does. But it is pretty funny, and occasionally right on the mark (as social satire).

What surprises me a bit is that I’ve yet to read a discussion of the movie that looked at its premise from a historical basis. After all, this whole premise of “we’re being out-bred by the masses” was a staple of early 20th century eugenics.

Modern birth control and the whole shift from “go forth and multiply” to “too many people” came down to an idea of “too many of the wrong kind of people”. People of lesser intelligence, or as a shorthand, people of poorer scores on IQ tests, people of lower social stations and people of the wrong shade, were the wrong kind of people.

Intriguingly enough, most reports I hear indicate that the younger generations have increasingly higher IQs. We manage to offset that through poor education, to some degree, and of course the big factor is that we can afford to act stupider these days–so we do. (Seriously, you have to be pretty alert when the saber tooth tiger is roaring at the mouth of your cave.)

That’s the “push” factor: People get smarter when they have to.

Idiocracy has a curious moral message tucked in among the humor. When you get down to it, the premise of Idiocracy doesn’t allow for a “happy” resoloution: If you accept the initial premise, you can see it’s pretty much an unalterable recipe for doom. But in the end, as with Office Space, the regular Joe, the slacker, finds a sort of peace by taking more responsibility than he was initially comfortable with.

But let’s be honest: We watch it and laugh at the ass jokes and “Ow! My balls!”

Recommendations

Not mine. Others.

Althouse has a post up suggesting she’s going to abandon her tradition of live blogging AI which has sent Trooper York on a rampage. (And, seriously, the guy can rant: My quote of the day is “There are no atheists in funholes.”)

As I noted there, I skimmed past the AI entries because I don’t watch the show. I’ve come close, especially last season, between Althouse’s posts and the constant buzz on Sanjaya. But a lot about the show’s concept is off-putting.

And then I realize, I don’t generally take recommendations. A one-off has a shot, like a book or a movie. But series? I consider watching a TV series to be a commitment, and it’s one I easily neglect. The last regular network series I watched was “Law and Order”. That ended when they moved it from Wednesday night. I now watch exactly zero Big Three shows. On Fox, I catch “The Simpsons” occasionally.

It doesn’t help that I hate commercials, but a big factor is that the nets constantly move shows around. In this millennium I’ve watched the complete “Mind of the Married Man”, “Carnivale”, “Deadwood”, “Dead Like Me”, “!huff”, “John from Cincinnati”, “Rome” and “Dexter”. (Well, “Dexter” isn’t over yet but I imagine I’ll watch the third season, too, even with Doakes gone.)

I steel myself against commercials enough to put up with “Monk” and “psych!” on USA. (I think “Monk” should probably wrap up soon, though. Mystery series have some unique issues that I think tends to limit their longevity.)

What these shows all have in common is that they were (or are) always on at the same time (and it’s a convenient time for me). I’m willing to give any given TV series a try but I’m not really willing to chase it around. I used to love Vincent D’Onofrio’s scene chewing antics on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” but I haven’t recovered from it being moved to USA. I was trying to watch the latest incarnation ofDr. Who” but BBC America screwed that up.

With the exception of “Monk”, which I’m less dedicated as a viewer, all the shows mentioned are also short. I’m good for about 1-2 seasons of shows I really like. I watched the first season of “Seinfeld” and “Friends”. (Sitcoms have a very short shelf life for me.)

(The PVR may change all that, I dunno.)

I don’t think I’m all that rare in terms of lack-of-doggedness in the pursuit of TV. There are so, so many other things to do. (Unlike TV series, I do take book recommendations, just about any and all, so I’ve got a huge stack to get through.)

Kelly’s about the 40th person to recommend “Battlestar Galactica” to me. But will I watch it? Who knows?

The “re-imagining” I, of course, mean. I saw the original series (and the feature movie they made out of the pilot) several times over. But that was a long time ago.