“We’re too old
We’re not old at all.”
—“Bear,” The Antlers
In the opening scene of Skippy Dies, in which the climactic and eponymous action of Paul Murray’s novel occurs on the floor of Ed’s Doughnut House, Daniel “Skippy” Juster attempts to scribble, with jelly as his ink, his final message to the world. “Tell Lori” is all he manages, but the intention seems clear. “Tell Lori you love her? Is that it?” his friend Ruprecht asks desperately, and Skippy exhales, smiles, and passes away.
Set in Seabrook, a fictional all-boys’ Irish secondary school, Murray’s second novel is best described as an attempt to fill in the blanks—those left by Skippy’s final message (was his final smile an affirmation of Ruprecht’s clichéd hypothesis or simply an acceptance of his death?), by his death, by lives that don’t correlate to the expected narrative arcs we seek, and by this quizzical and evolving universe around us. How exactly do we explain ourselves? Indeed, Murray quickly makes an analogy between the Big Bang and puberty: “[E]verything that is, everything that has ever been…all crammed into one dimensionless point where no rules or laws apply, waiting to fly out and become the future,” in the words of Ruprecht.
5. “God,” Louie
One of the reasons the superlative in the title of this post is “memorable” and not “best” is to make room for episodes like “God.” It wasn’t the funniest episode of the first season of Louie—and it wasn’t even necessarily my favorite—but it was certainly the most distinct and memorable episode of a show that was consistently original. I remember watching the scene in which the creepy, nameless doctor tells a young Louie to stab Jesus Christ in the wrist and thinking, “It’s very unusual that this is on television.” The dark humor, the nuanced take on religion, and the controversial point of view are all things rarely seen on TV, and yet they were precisely the kinds of things that made Louie such an innovative and enjoyable show. Continue reading
Hindsight 20/10– Over the next few days, we will be reflecting on the past year in a series of posts. Josh begins with the Retiree of the Year:
Since 2005, Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist, O’Connor, Souter, and most recently, Stevens departed from their coveted positions on the bench. As a law student, I read a lot of legal opinions by justices of the Supreme Court and federal circuit courts. The judge’s name is generally listed before the text of the opinion and naturally, some judges excite me more than others. I know I’m going to get a well-written opinion with Justice Scalia, an intellectually stimulating economic analysis of some aspect of the law under the guise of an opinion with Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, and a witty, brilliant analysis with Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.* Only a handful of other justices’ names alone get me excited for an opinion: Of the Court’s four most recent retirees, Justice Stevens is the only one who fits into this class.
*He also showed his wit on The Dating Game (second contestant).
No, I’ve just got one question: What the hell, man? Why him and not me? Why was it all cool for me to proceed uninterrupted into this nightmare of chains, but oh, we can’t bear to let poor old Ebenezer rot in the same way? What has he done to earn redemption that I didn’t do, except live longer and torment more people? Seriously, it was Scrooge & Marley. His name went first! He was the alpha miser! Why does no one else see the hypocrisy in this??? Where were you Ghost of Christmas Past when my salvation hung in the balance? Ghost of Christmas Present, you couldn’t slip by the old Marley homestead eight years ago and say, “Hey Jacob, might want to not carry out that eviction on that orphanage tomorrow. Keep doing stuff like that, and you’ll end up damned eternally, if you know what I mean.” And Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, you could have shown me an image of this blooming farce and I would’ve altered my worldview real quick. All it would have taken was a bloody hour for each of you! One hour! But no, what was the money a little tight that year, so you cut back—“no saving anyone this year”? Were you down in Whitechapel saving some whore you sanctimonious chokers? No, I’m not done. Am I wrong in wanting a blasted explanation? Am I that off base in wondering why I have to help that miserable magsman when none of you saw fit to throw a little counsel my way?
Go to hell!