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Stateside with Rosalea: Reviews, Sort Of

Stateside with Rosalea

Reviews, Sort Of

Movie: Van Helsing

Behold the new Rocky Horror Picture Show! I went to the early showing of this "monstrosity of a movie" as some funny-boneless critics are calling it, and wanted to immediately return to the next showing dressed in costume and spouting the simplistic dialogue. (There are no songs for the tune-challenged to mangle.)

It is a classic. From the very beginning when Van Helsing is fighting Dr. Jekyll cum Hulkimodo, it's obvious that this movie is not meant to be taken any more seriously than the stage show The Mystery of Irma Vep. I predict that secondhand shops will soon be scoured for Driza Bone coats and Akubra hats for wearing to midnight Van Helsing showings, not to mention muslin and cheesecloth for lady vampire and Frankenstein's monster outfits.

The audience I saw it with laughed and clapped all the way through. Five stars for a rollicking good time as evil battles evil!

Video: Iron Jawed Angels

This is an HBO movie that premiered on that channel in February this year, but which I didn't see until recently. It's about the final push by some determined young women - in the face of opposition from the legendary older women in the suffrage movement - to get the vote for all age-eligible citizens of the United States.

Impatient with the long-drawn-out strategy of getting votes for women state by state, the next generation decides to go all out for a constitutional amendment and enforce the change from the top down. They get arrested and imprisoned and go on a hunger strike. In short, they don't just sit around pontificating on talk shows.

The media: News, lack thereof

Whether it's the rock and wool story of the runaway sheep or the prison photo scandals, you have to wonder if the editorial rooms of the world's news factories threw common sense out with their fact checkers when trying to meet their bean-counters' budgets.

Surprise! It's not news to people in other countries, including those in the Middle East, that the US has completely lost its moral compass. Many, many people in the rest of the world have got relations who live here and are as appalled by the violent - often sexually violent - crap that passes for entertainment in prime time television here as I am.

There are many worthwhile stories that could come from this incident, but showing more pictures is not one of them. What's the background of the girl in the picture; was she the victim of sexual abuse herself growing up? How much of this goes on in the United States itself - the drugging, assault, and invasion of privacy by photographing the victim in humiliating circumstances and distributing it?

And why are those photos being released by the military at all, particularly now? Is it to distract the media from the rising death toll? Or is it to get a dialogue going about how unsuited volunteer reservists are to be sent to Iraq, thereby making it easier to pass the House and Senate bills that authorize a draft, which are currently with the respective armed services committees?

Here is the summary of HR 163:

Universal National Service Act of 2003 - Declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense. Requires induction into national service by the President. Sets forth provisions governing: (1) induction deferments, postponements, and exemptions, including exemption of a conscientious objector from military service that includes combatant training; and (2) discharge following national service. Amends the Military Selective Service Act to authorize the military registration of females.

The Military Selective Service Act is the one that requires 18-26 year-old males to register in case there is a draft. Perhaps not unrelated to this is the full-page ad that the Australian passport office had in Qantas' in-flight magazine last month pointing out that people who get dual citizenship may find themselves required to perform military service for that other nation.

So which war do you want to fight, kiddos? The one fulfilling the bankrupt fantasies of a generation whose use-by date is long gone, or the one for electoral and social justice in your own back yard?


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