All posts by BrianM

Educated: (a Review)


(Spoiler alert.) How easy it is to embrace certainty in our institutions, beliefs, and systems which, in their purpose or consequence, perpetuate the exploitation of society’s vulnerable.

Tara Westover describes her escape from a reclusive Idaho homestead to the heights of academia. Her escape from the no education scrap heap to academic success at Cambridge and Harvard seems…implausible. Her memoir made me wonder if the author Westover sacrificed truth to make a better story. You can read some of her footnotes and admissions of faulty memory cynically — they make her appear to be a more credible narrator.

Her academic champions were all wise and knowing older men whose almost uncanny discovery of her intellect and potential contrasted starkly with her own father’s simple-minded view of women as either faithful servants of their husbands or whores.

As a critical reader I must question her credibility. When I question her credibility am I being unfair, parochial, misogynistic?

There was in the end something I found very difficult to reconcile. If she is so broken — and her struggle and internal conflict strongly suggest she is still broken — how could she have written the story of her journey with such wisdom, penetrating insight and self-knowledge?

If she has such wisdom, insight and self-knowledge why would she publish this book? It was about her education in its many-layered meanings but it was a huge f*** you to her parents and brother “Shawn.” Once Random House agreed to publish it she must have comprehended at some level the book would be perceived as a very public vindictive act aimed at her parents and brother.

X-Files in High Definition Widescreen

I’m still mad at Chris Carter and Lance Henriksen for letting “Millennium” get cancelled. And at Megan Gallagher for quitting and taking the humanity out of Millennium. And ourusboros.  But whenever the snake’s eating its own tail we come full circle back to where it really began, The X Files.

I haven’t seen X-Files Re-opened, the one off reboot for millennials because I’m trying to watch the entire original series — at least until season seven — with my youngest son. And he’s digging it.

The first season I own on DVD is season three and, today, when we reached season three, I proudly popped it in. “O my God,” my son exclaimed. “That looks awful.” And indeed it did.

I tried it in my other DVD player. Same result. It looked like some millennial  fired from Trump’s show videotaped original broadcasts on a 19″ television and transferred the videotapes to DVD. I mean, pretty good graphics for circa 1994 if you’re standing outside in the rain watching a stranger’s television through his living room window.

We went back to Netflix where I expected to confirm the worse – the transfer on Netflix streaming wasn’t much better and, in order to get it on widescreen, Netflix panned and scanned.

But not today. Apparently Chris Carter decided in season one to film all of the episodes (except the pilot?) in widescreen although the series was originally broadcast in 4:3. In December 2015 when the entire series was re-released on Blu-ray each show (except the pilot?) was transferred sublimely and lovingly to high definition and an extra 30% or so of footage was added to each frame. OMG there is a Santa Claus in 2016 and it’s Chris Carter.

I’m still mad about Millennium but I’m very happy about my high definition widescreen X-Files. I can think of a worst way to watch X-Files but I can’t think of a more undignified way than a full frame 4:3 low definition transfer.