01 July 2013

I Missed My Blawg's Birthday

In the dubious excitement of probate administration and sekrit projects, I missed my blawg's tenth birthday yesterday. Oh, well. Just a couple of quick notes, than back into the sekrit project, since as of Wednesday it won't be sekrit...

The Court's decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 surprised me only very slightly: That Justice Kennedy was willing to moralize at all about DOMA, instead of ruling upon purely technical grounds. The difference between the gay-marriage opinions and the voting-rights opinion is better explained by the fundamental doctrinal flaw I alluded to last week than it is by ideology: The Court's utter failure in the last half-century to establish any kind of standards for what constitutes sufficient factfinding to allow deference to a legislative body's judgment. That failure is what gives both cover and bite to the ideological differences. Put another way, we have a structural and doctrinal hole contributing to polarization — rather like "three-fifths of all other persons" did. Until the Court establishes standards for its legislative counterparts to meet (or not), legislative factfinding is going to remain an utter farce. Standards won't fix past legislative mis-, mal-, and nonfeasance with the facts, but at least standards will force the legislatures to do better than Texas.

As a break from probate administration, I attempted to go see some filmed Shakespeare this weekend, having found a theater playing this first-run film substantially closer than the 40-mile drive otherwise presented. I wish I hadn't tried — not because of the film, which seemed fine for as long as I could stand sitting there (trying six different seats), but because of the theater. The infamous "mold smell" at the Stonestown UA didn't bother me that much (it was pretty much masked by the stale-popcorn odors). The utterly crappy physical facility did, ranging from a screen at the wrong angle to the audience to six different broken seats (broken in different ways, one might add) that probably wouldn't have been much better brand-new. Then, I could only try six different seats in the 452-seat "auditorium" because there were less than a dozen other attendees, which I suppose should have been a hint. I've been in better cinemas in seaside resorts in Thatcherite England... with much better company, too, as two of those less than a dozen other attendees persisted in talking (loudly) through the previews and the first five minutes of the film. I will say that Reed Diamond (especially), Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, and Alexis Denisof did do something I found immensely satisfying during those first 75 minutes or so: They spoke their lines, with rhythm and facial expression; they did not declaim them, enunciating to the back row and awaiting swooning appreciation from the fair members of the opposite (ok, this being San Francisco, maybe same, too) sex. But the facilities spoiled it for me. This is why serious film fails at the box office, H'wood: It gets shoved into theaters that predispose people to grouchiness; and now I'm locked out of another film I was interested in seeing, for which that theater is also my only possible way to avoid that same damned 40-mile drive.