I’m a sucker for science fiction and horror stories about men (and women) who get too big for their britches and tinker with things they don’t fully understand. They aspire to be gods, but in their overreaching get burned. Whether it’s the scientist who hopes to improve human eyesight in X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes, the doctor seeking to create life in Frankenstein, or the physicist and his telepods in The Fly, there are lots of entertaining movies that showcase this familiar theme. The latest one is Splice, which opens June 4, 2010 at theaters across the country. It seems thoughtful, and the cast is top notch.
"Your ignorance makes me ill and angry."
In the same vein is The Sixth Finger, a great episode from the original Outer Limits television series. It’s about a genetics expert’s attempt to accelerate human evolution on an eager volunteer (played with gritty earnestness by David McCallum). It’s free for the watching on hulu.com by clicking here. The original Outer Limits had some wonderful writing, with many episodes (including this one) written by Joseph DeStephano, who is best known as the screenwriter for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
I voted for President Obama with nervous optimism. He spoke passionately about uniting the country beyond the lines of party and I believed him. His governing, however, hasn’t lived up to the rhetoric. He’s turned out to be not just divisive, but fairly aggressively so. Plus, on major issues — like health care — he turned over reform to congressional leaders who are as partisan as they come. Nancy Pelosi would be unelectable in 99% of congressional districts. Harry Reid is probably not electable anywhere.
But, despite my irritation bordering on anger at Obama’s approach, my growing feeling is that his biggest problem is a fundamental lack of competence. I tie this most directly to his lack of prior experience and the lack of any serious testing of his mettle in any prior positions. His handling of the Gulf oil crisis exemplifies this. His first reaction wasn’t to lead, but to point fingers. Now, this may be all BP’s fault in the end, but if you’ve been through crises — real ones — you know that that blame isn’t leadership, and results are often more important than process.
Rather than lead, President Obama disappeared. And when he finally took on responsibility for the mess, there was an overarching feeling that it was far messier because he hadn’t stepped in sooner. (That may be untrue, but that’s what happens when you fail to exercise competent leadership. Just ask George W. Bush about Katrina. It didn’t matter that Louisiana had misspent billions that ought to have been spent on the levees, or that all levels of politicians and government employees acted like the Keystone Cops. Bush was absent as the flood waters rose, just as Obama took a page from the Alexander Haig playbook only after he was hip deep in proverbial crude.)
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Welcome to Die Jung, formerly known as A Nietzsche Just Can’t Scratch, wherein I post various observations, ideas, and other oddments, and solicit contributions from those I know and those who happen upon this site as a result of bad luck. Like everything else in life, much is started and little finished. Hopefully, by writing this introduction, I haven’t put Descartes before the horse. Either way, thanks for the Maimonides. (Sorry about the puns — Kant help it.)