Friday, July 13, 2007

Death of Marat

On one of my favorite blogs, alicublog, the topic often comes up of how some people evaluate art only in terms of its political content. That is, they see all art as propaganda (either for their views or againts). The proprietor, Roy, believes, in which I'm in full agreement, that art should be evaluated in terms of its artistic merit. Art can be appreciated regardless of its propaganda value, if there even is any, and whether or not you agree with the view it's trying to push. For example, I think the Jim Fitzpatrick portrait of Che Guevara is both good art and good propaganda, although I find Guevara's politics and methods repellent.

On this day in 1793, "friend of the people" Jean-Paul Marat was murdered while soaking in his bathtub. It was captured in what I believe is one of the greatest combinations of art and propaganda: Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat. Again, Marat is no one I would have any sympathy for. He was associated with the Jacobins and the Reign of Terror and compiled death lists of enemies (and supposed enemies) of the revolution. Still, Death is a stunning piece of work. Nothing else David did compares, except perhaps Napoleon Crossing the Alps.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Harry Potter Predictions

Here are two predictions for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

J.K. Rowling has said that major characters will die in the final book. I also read somewhere, I thought it was the Wikipedia page for Deathly Hallows, but I couldn't find it there today, someone unexpected will do something dramatic. So here's the prediction: Neville Longbottom will die. He's not exactly a major character, but he's had a prominent place in all six books so far. I also don't think Rowling will kill off one of the big three (but she did kill off Dumbledore, so that could be wrong). Neville's parents were powerful aurors and he has shown occasional flashes of brilliance and he has shown bravery. After all, the sorting hat did put him in Gryffindor. He's also initmately connected to Voldemort through the prophecy, although clearly it refers to Harry, since only Harry was able to retrieve it from the Department of Mysteries. To extend my prediction, Neville will be involved in the death of Voldemort, but he won't survive.

My second prediction is that Snape will turn out to be a good guy. I think Dumbledore's judgement is good, and he was right to trust in Snape.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Foul Mouthed Bloggers

I tried this blog rating tool (via Slacktivist) and all I got was this:

I think I have to work on my invective level if I really want to make it in the blogging world.

No More Vacations

Great. I go on vacation and Scooter Libby gets his sentence commuted. I guess I'll have to stay at work until January 2009.