The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

I enjoyed The Rational Optimist. Pessimism is more attention-getting than optimism, but sometimes we need calm, happy stuff.

No charity ever raised money for its cause by saying things are getting better. No journalist ever got the front page by telling his editor that he wanted to write a story about how disaster was now less likely. Good news is no news. (295)

Ridley is a welcome candle in the dark. Hear more about what he has to say below.

Continue reading The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

The Last Samurai (2003)

I am a fan of Tom Cruise, but I thought The Last Samurai was boring and overly sentimentalized.

The patronizing characterization of the Japanese as savages transformed into blind idealization of the Japanese as being actually quite lovely and graceful and heroic, which is just as patronizing.

Technology is depicted as inherently, thoroughly bad because it can magnify the consequences of unjust wars.

The emperor of Japan was portrayed as spineless, right up until the end, where suddenly he cared about the protagonist and his Samurai rebel leader friend.

I like fight scenes that are clever and funny, but all these were either loud, chaotic, and bloody, or slo-mo and serious. Nothing in the movie was funny. I was bored by the entire thing and had to go and get something to do while watching it. Not a winner.

Roger Ebert disagrees with me.