Saucers of Mud

March 31, 2008

Long Spoons

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 8:26 am

Quixote at Shakesville makes an excellent point that I hadn’t thought of before — really it should be the candidate who isn’t black addressing racism, and the candidate who isn’t a woman addressing sexism. That would be much more effective than the other way around. At least they should both do both.

But I’m going to pick on his/her opening anecdote:

Barbara Kingsolver in Pigs in Heaven tells a Mayan story about hell and heaven that summarizes what bothers me about the talk of racism and sexism running through this political season.

A group of people sits around a large bowl of soup, but they can’t eat it. The only spoons they can use are magical ones with immensely long handles that can’t be touched anywhere except at the very end. The people try every possible contortion to empty the soup into their mouths, but the handles are just too long. All they accomplish is to spill soup everywhere and slowly starve to death, tantalized by the aroma.

There is also another group of people with the same bowl and the same spoons. But these people are well fed and happy. They’re not even trying to feed themselves. They use the long-handled spoons to feed each other.

OK, I like Kingsolver, but no way is this a Mayan story. Everyone and their uncle uses it. (Here’s one for a rabbi, one from an ancient Zen scroll, one from a mosque though they don’t claim it as of Islamic origin, one involving a “holy man” and ending with Jesus, the exact same story without the concluding line about Jesus, and lots of Christian ones.)

I always thought this was from C. S. Lewis. (More specifically, one of my friends in high school told me the story and said it was from C. S. Lewis, as I remember.) But a bit of googling for “C S Lewis” + spoons yields nothing. It does seem pretty Christian or possibly Muslim to me, though, what with the emphasis on heaven and hell; on the other hand, the essential message seems pretty modern so maybe it came from some other tradition.

Anyway: Where does this story come from?

March 23, 2008

The Crown of Dalemark: A Question

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 10:20 am

Several people warned me not to read The Crown of Dalemark, the last book in Diana Wynne Jones’s Dalemark Quartet [spoilers]. And here DWJ mentions that many of her fans were unhappy with the ending. And my question, in case anyone has an opinion, is Why? It may not have had the sociopolitical insight of the earlier books, but I couldn’t tell what was supposed to be wrong with it. It certainly can’t compare to crapstones* like The Last Battle and The Amber Spyglass.

*Crapstone = a word I invented, which is the point of this post. It means “the last volume of a multi-volume work, which sucks.” Extra points for retrospectively ruining the earlier volumes.

[UPDATE: And apparently also a village in Devon, which I trust is pronounced “Crun.”]

March 21, 2008

Credit Where Due

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 9:26 am

This is indeed a decent statement from Huckabee. And it channels the opening of Public Enemy’s “Prophets of Rage” (after the first guy stops talking). Maybe he is rock’n’roll after all.

UPDATE: Credit also due to Charles Murray. Truly, we are in the End Times.

March 16, 2008

Free Film Studies Dissertation Topic and Title

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 7:34 pm

If I Could Turn Back Time: The Chick Flick and Alternate Realities

(a comparative study of The Lake House, Premonition, and Sliding Doors)

March 9, 2008

Watch Your Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 7:56 am

Google News results for “Florida flophouse” are this and this.

March 1, 2008

World’s Greatest Origin Myth

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 10:50 pm

I present for you the greatest origin myth in the history of the world. It’s from Signe Howell, Chewong Myths and Legends, p. 7, copyright 1982 by the MBRAS (Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society). I’m blogging it to share it more widely with the world, and also so that next time I want to read it I don’t have to get it from Interlibrary Loan. (The Chewong are the ‘jungle people’ of the tale.)



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