Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Elliot Smith: A Year Has Passed

It's been just over a year since one of the best songwriters I've ever encountered died. On October 21, 2003 Elliot Smith died of two stab wounds to the chest. I've never heard whether the death was finally ruled a suicide or a murder. Elliot was one of those tragic characters we see every so often in the world, and I suppose that's why he captivates me (and many others) so much. He had so much talent, but he was so fragile. His earliest songs were simple, often just Elliot and his guitar, but they had such emotional depth it is impossible for me to listen to them and be unmoved.

I am saddened not only by Elliot's death, but by the fact that I didn't become a real fan of his until after his passing. Just recently I was in Borders with my wife, bragging on Elliot's music when I noticed a book with him on the cover. I showed it to my wife and began reading the dust jacket. I was more than dismayed to see that Elliot had died the previous year. WHY do so many of the most brilliant people die so young? Is it the price they pay?

I am well aware of the tendency of people to romanticize the fallen, and I know that I'm doing that in Elliot's case. But it somehow seems appropriate because his situation was so tragic. Just when he was coming out of his drug-addled lifestyle, just as what was to be his last project was taking shape, he is cut down. I think the aforementioned CD, From a Basement On the Hill, will win even more fans. I listened to the preview on MTV.com and I think the CD is one the most creative, touching pieces of music I've heard in a long time.

Elliot, I'm sorry I never got the chance to fully appreciate you while you were with us. You are missed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Jacques Derrida Dies

I orignally had a post here joking about Derrida's passing, but after reading this post by John Depoe I had a change of heart. The state of one's soul is no laughing matter.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Pro-Lifers for Kerry!?!?

I was talking to my wife last night when she dropped a bombshell on me: three people whose judgment I (at least partially) trusted are voting for John Kerry. These three people are conservative folks, and I think they are pro-life as well.

I don't get angry easily, but I when my wife told me the news I was furious. How could a pro-lifer vote for John Kerry? He has acknowldeged that he will do nothing to stem the tide of abortion in America. To him opposition is a religious matter that should not have an effect on public policy. To me (and to most pro-lifers) it is murder. Abortion is the single most important moral issue in America today. How can these people give their vote to someone who is not on their side regarding abortion?

I haven't spoken with them, but there are a few answers I predict they might give. Remember, these arguments assume the people in question are pro-lifers.

1) They like Kerry's economic policy better. To put it bluntly, this makes me sick. Since when did it become acceptable to place our bank accounts over the lives of the innocent? I would vote for a pro-life communist (if there ever was such an animal) before I would vote for a pro-abortion capitalist.

2) Bush is equally guilty of killing innocents when soldiers die in Iraq. This is dead wrong. Whenever someone signs up for the military it must be with the understanding that we could go to war at any time, whether said war is just or unjust. This doesn't justify soldiers dying in an unjust war, but those who enlist must know coming in that the possibility exists. In abortion the child has no choice in or knowldege of its own fate, therefore abortion is the worse of the two and must take precedence.

3) Bush is equally guilty of killing innocents when children die as casualties of his war. This is a modified version of the previous argument. I begin by pointing out that many terrorists have used children as shields in their campaigns, such as the Chechen rebels. Beyond that, it is a sad fact that children do die as casualties of war. However, there is a difference between children accidentally dying in missile strikes and the intentional killing of a child by an abortionist. Neither are good; the latter is far worse.

4) Kerry is better on other moral issues. First, I'd be curious as to what moral issue Kerry is better on, but I'll let that slide. Second, I'd ask if any of these moral issues have to do with the murder of innocent human beings. If not (perhaps they deal instead with the quality of life), then they must take a back seat.

I'm sure there are other answers these people will give me, or perhaps they will just try to avoid the topic. It doesn't matter, because they'll probably get an ear full from me if the topic comes up anyway. Pardon me, I have to go scream at the top of my lungs.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Why Should I Watch the Debates?

I suppose it's the duty of every conscientious blogger to comment on last night's Presidential debate. In light of that, here's my commentary: I didn't watch it. Nor will I watch the other debates. I know folks who are always watching debates and speeches on television as though the President (or John Kerry or whomever) is going to say something new. Why should we expect that? If you give the news a passing glance or here a candidate speak once you'll already know their 'talking points.' Why put yourself through it again?

The only thing, I think, that changes voters' opinions about candidates is how they personally come across. If Kerry comes across as arrogant or smarmy he loses points. If Bush comes across as stupid he loses points. I don't remember who said it, but it's a good quote: "In politics today the make-up man is more important than the speech writer." I already know who I'm voting for and why. No sound bite or make-up man is going to change my mind.