Archive for Film/Television

Lolita is Back…

Marilynn and I have been battling for years over the derivation and significance of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov’s infamous 1955 novel. To refresh your memory, the first-person narrator is a middle-aged literature professor obsessed with a 12-year-old girl whom he nicknames Lolita and with whom he becomes sexually involved after marrying her mother. The premise is creepy, but the book is an acknowledged masterpiece of world literature often cited as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Our disagreement centers on her belief that the book could only have been written by someone who experienced or fantasized about what is described in its pages, while I think it’s a work of pure literary imagination. The Annotated Lolita unpacks my side of the story. The Nabokov text in The Annotated Lolita is 309 pages, but the book is itself is 455 pages, including Editor Alfred Appel Jr.’s 67-page introduction, 6 pages of bibliography, 6 pages of Nabokov notes, and 138 pages of annotations. Serious scholarship. read more

A Modern Adaptation…

A glooming peace this morning with it brings, The sun for sorrow will not show its head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things, Some shall be pardoned and some punished. For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

A Different Ending…

You can’t make it up. Or…maybe you can. A TV celebrity with a reputation for infidelity plays at being POTUS, the President of the United States? What could go wrong with casting like this? Could it possibly have a happy ending? Suspend your disbelief for a New York minute.

After a successful state dinner with the French president and his wife, but with his teenage child living in the White House, he pursues a woman, not his wife. They have sex. Headlines in all the papers. He refuses to comment. The press camps out at her apartment hoping to get a statement. read more

Some Pilots’ Pilots…

John Glenn died on December 8, 2016 – four years ago today – at age 95. Chuck Yeager died yesterday at age 97. I didn’t know either of them, but they were models for the kind of pilot and person I aspired to be. Extraordinary men who led remarkable lives and became legends in their own lifetimes.

It’s difficult to write anything original about them. Their biographies are exemplary and posted everywhere, but what strikes me today is the contrast between these citizen heroes and the cowards currently serving in Congress and the White House. These two giants were courageous, quiet, hard-working Americans who answered the call to service, delivered in multiple wars and later in peacetime. John Glenn served 24 years as a US Senator from Ohio following his career as a Marine Corps fighter pilot and astronaut. read more

Doing God’s Work…

Yesterday was the 110th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth. Reading a short biographical essay about her I was reminded of her remarkable life and life’s work – a life we should be celebrating. Born with a club foot into a poor Albanian family, she joined the Sisters of Loreto order in Ireland at age 18 taking vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, promising to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.” While teaching at a school outside of Calcutta she learned nursing and began ministering to the poor, sick, and hungry on the gritty streets of Calcutta. read more