Archived Ramblings



Okay, enough is enough. Things in Florida should be decided by the time this goes up, but the way things have been going there's no guarantee. I've mostly avoided mentioning anything about politics (with the exception of that JibJab link), but I've got to say something. Those of you who are sick of politics, or are Democrats, should probably skip down to my episode commentary.

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I voted for Harry Browne. I don't really like the idea of Bush or Gore in office. This entire election seems to me, in Jane's words, to be a chronicle of the anarchic death spiral of Western civilization (although I wouldn't say anarchic, as that's far too optimistic a word). Neither side has been acting notably ethically this year, but the Democrats have really gone over the edge. From bribing homeless guys with cigarettes to Gore holding -- on national TV, no less -- a campaign rally inside a polling place to this latest silly "sunlight test" on hand-counted votes to the incredible bias among Democratic appointees... how can anyone vote for these people?
That was a rhetorical question, by the by. I've kept enough tabs on Paperpusher's message board to know that most of the people there are leftist, and I doubt I'm going to get any positive responses on this message. Besides, I already know why.
We're currently engaged in a class war in the US. Not the way Al Gore says, the rich vs. the poor, but the way Calhoun predicted: the taxpayers vs. the tax receivers. Gore's support comes from those relying on government money to keep going: government employees, social security recipients, and so forth. Most of the people making enough money to actually be taxed are for Bush. Also, look at the county (not state) breakdown for who went which way... We've had a situation resembling this before, and it led to the bloodiest war in US history (regardless of what the public schools are teaching these days, this is almost the same issue in question then).
Gore and his supporters are, once again, saying the Constitution should be ignored when it's inconvenient for them. For all those who believe the Democrats are the staunch protectors of your rights, just examine Clinton's (and Gore's) record on things like the War on Drugs. This behavior is hardly new for them. The best description of it I've seen was the comment that Gore might end up being the first Leader of the Free World from a banana republic.
The really sad part is that this country is ignorant enough to let them get away with it. MTV's polls indicated that a large percentage of youth couldn't even name both main party candidates for President not long before the election, which seems hardly possible for anyone not living under a rock in the Arctic. We can't be both ignorant and free.
Which reminds me... don't write saying Gore won the popular vote, so he should be President. Look at the history of this country. Large portions of the Constitution, most of which are still extant, are designed precisely to keep us from becoming a pure democracy. The Founders were as concerned with preventing the Tyranny of the Majority as they were with any other sort.

The only good thing out of all this is that whoever the next President is (at time of this writing, I don't know, and I'm sure not going to feel like rewriting this later) the next four years are going to be gridlocked. This is a good thing, since government won't be able to grow as much as otherwise. I'd definitely prefer a shrinkage there, but it's not happening this year (one thing you won't hear in the press -- it's been a bit overshadowed -- is that the Libertarian Party got more US senate and house votes than any other third party in history), so I'll take the next best thing.

Something I do find disturbing is what I've seen of the political climate within the Daria fan community. Although there are some other libertarians around, the majority seem to be pretty solid (by which I mean party-line) liberals. I just can't reconcile this with people who identify with a hard-core cynic. Please consider Daria's opinion of things done just because they're popular.

End Politics

Finally, over to "Mart of Darkness." Unfortunately, I currently have not found out who the author is. My copy is missing the end credits, and my quick check online hasn't revealed anything yet. It fits firmly in the fourth season mold, however, trying to do too much with too little. None of the Fashion Club scenes served to do anything more than highlight Stacy's insecurity, not something that was particularly necessary. Same goes for the Kevin and Brittany fighting.
The barbecue concept was okay, and Kevin's parents are pretty much as you'd imagine (although they seem on the low end of Lawndale's monetary scale). Ms. Li is a tax cheat and willing to do anything to keep her football team going, no surprise. Most of this was little more than "Kevin's a great kid, isn't he" and could have been scaled back.
Mr. DeMartino was a bit over done here. Unless those cheese logs include controlled substances on the ingredient list there really wasn't any reason for him to fixate on them to that extent. If he's just after extending his food budget there were other sample stations around. Mrs. Johensen is starting to get overused as well. She's a one-note character, and there was a particularly disturbing scene with her this episode I'll get to later.
Last, but not least, is Andrea, in her biggest role to date. She was handled well, although there was no reason for Jane and Daria to go chasing after her while standing next to another store employee (the sample lady). Her comments at the end are interesting, and it seems Daria and Jane have quite the reputation at school. From what little we've seen of her, Andrea could be one of the few people Daria and Jane could get along with.

Okay, Tom and Jane have yet another fight, continuing their streak. It takes Daria talking to her for Jane to finally realize how silly she was acting. The start of this show was rather contrived, simply highlighting this, as most of the gummy bears were still there (although Tom seems to eat them by the handful) and were probably enough for Jane's project. In other words, there really wasn't any reason for Jane, Daria, Tom, Trent or Jesse to be in the store (or for a big fight between Jane and Tom). We don't really see much about Tom, just that he wants to apologize for something that wasn't really his fault, and that he was getting really impatient with Trent (and no wonder).

That really only leaves Daria and Jane. Most of their interaction was great and in character. That by itself can't lift this episode out of the okay area, but it gets a slight boost from the nice Andrea scene. Unfortunately, it also gets a big minus.
Longtime (heh) readers of my page will know that I really enjoyed "Cafe Disaffecto" and that it was the first episode I saw. I can repeat much of that episode from memory, and there's a major -- and negative -- contrast between that episode and a specific scene of this one. Namely, the one where Jane helps Mrs. Johensen get a box of chocolate while Daria stands mutely by. This was bad. If it was just an isolated incident it could be explained (incorrectly, but nevertheless explained) away as some sort of passive vs. active harm, but this isn't the only time it's happened. Between her (thankfully) brief breakdown in "Through a Lens Darkly" and the apology-for-being-right in "Partner's Complaint" this doesn't bode well for the rest of the show.

This last matter has replaced male-bashing as my pet-peeve of the show. With Tom around, the male-bashing isn't a major complaint. In a show heavily based on stereotypes we only need one exception to make a statement. Daria making exceptions to her principles is not the direction the show should take.


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