Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our Heroine Is Kind Of A Coward

Ok, so, I'm reading a science fiction novel. Real, honest-to-goodness science fiction. (I KNOW, it's weird to me too, it's not normally my thing.) It called The Golden Age, about an interplanetary Utopian society. The author is John C. Wright, who converted from secular atheism to Catholicism, and for whom I have recently developed a soft spot.

I'm totally enjoying it, and I'll write more about it later, but I did want to comment on the state of the story thus far. The book asks the reader to consider this question: pleasure or truth? That's a great question, right? It's a version of the only question worth asking. Is it better to be well-regarded; popular; loved; successful; rich; immortal, even, with unlimited access to every lawful pleasure; than to have the Truth without them?

Since I already know a little about Mr. Wright's philosophy, I'm confident of what he thinks is the answer. But what is particularly interesting to me, is reading how this dilemma plays out in the Utopian world Wright has created. I mean, if his hero chooses Truth, he essentially loses Paradise. And, unlike the author, the hero has no religion, no, "Not this life, but the life hereafter" philosophy. If he does what I think he will do, I wonder: would I be so brave in the same circumstances? See headline of post, if you have any doubts.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our Heroine Loves Jokes About Evolution

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

I really want that on a shirt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Heroine Was Clearly An Insufferable Child

Ok, y'all. So, when the original Star Wars came out I was also three, like the wee lass in the video above. And my Dad took me and my two boy cousins to see it, and I was deeply, deeply awed by it.

And I remember, even now, asking my Dad why Darth Vader was fighting against Luke and his friends, and my Dad, not quite sure how to explain "universal domination preceding institution of a totalitarian dictatorship" to a toddler, opted for a simpler approach. He told me that the two were fighting over who got to be the good guy. Now, this was something he knew I'd understand, since I was always arguing with other kids over who got to be the good guy during games. But this time, seeing the same argument in the context of a grown-up movie, I had the sudden understanding that bad guys thought they ought to win too.

The idea that bad guys thought they ought to win, or had a right to win, was totally new to me. I had always assumed that bad guys knew they were bad. Also, I assumed they knew that because they were bad they were going to lose, and thus, that they didn't really want to be bad but kinda had to be bad - temporarily - just to move the story along. Which is why, before that movie, bad guys never scared me.

But the idea that bad guys had an agenda apart from, "Well, if I don't act mean to Princess Leia, what's Luke Skywalker going to do for the next two hours?" And, that they actually wanted and expected victory, despite the fact that they had to *be* mean and *do* mean things to get it, was heretofore INCONCEIVABLE to me. It meant they would probably *stay* mean even when the story was over, and that was really scary, because it meant it was their choice.

Anyhow, I write all that, not to be unbelievably pompous, which no doubt I was, but really just because that video reminded me that the Star Wars movie prompted me to have my first ever "deep thought" (also my last ever) and that it was, in a dim way, the knowledge of evil.

But also, just like her, I really liked the shiny robot who worried.