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Hasta Luego, Hombre

Posted by Ogged
on 06.25.05

Just saw Batman Begins. Katie Holmes has crooked teeth! And I haven't seen any posts on killing vs. not-saving. Are we superficial? Are we awash in philosophers? What's the problem?

The movie is pretty good, though there really isn't any high drama. What I'm wondering about is the future of the wise-crack in action movies. They all have them; they're all packed with them, but this was the first movie I've seen that was packed with them, and pretty clearly didn't care about them. They were edited to take up about half-a-second each, and were completely superflous. "I've got to get me one of those." "Nice ride." "You have to learn to be aware of your surroundings." Every single one of those could have been replaced with "Well blahdy-boo" and would have been just as effective. Have we turned the corner? Will next season's action stars not make any wise-cracks? Will audiences have anything to say afterwards if they don't?


 

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Yup

Posted by Ogged
on 06.25.05

When I say I don't do much political blogging anymore because others are so much better at it, this is the kind of post I mean.


 

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Hte Disappointed

Posted by Ogged
on 06.25.05

People, some of you are young. Some of you are in your teens. So why do I have to find out from Freakgirl, who must be, like, fifty, that "teh" has been superseded by "hte"?


 

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Ahmadinejad

Posted by Ogged
on 06.24.05

Good grief.

The hardline Tehran mayor steamrolled over one of Iran's best known statesman to win the presidency Saturday in a landslide election victory that cements conservative control over nation's political leadership.

...

Ahmadinejad, the 47-year-old mayor of the capital, campaigned as a champion of the poor, a message that resonated with voters in a country where some estimates put unemployment as high as 30 percent. He struck the image of a simple working man against Rafsanjani, a wealthy member of the country's ruling elite.

His effective campaign, and a boycott of the election by a lot of liberals, let Ahmadinejad win. I think I've mentioned before that the regime's support in Iran comes from the merchant class, who has to be in bed with the regime to get anything done, and from the poor, who are empowered by the government to harass the rich for "religious" violations.

Ahmadinejad is a serious hardliner, who, for example, wants to turn public buildings into mosques, and reinstate strict dress codes for women. But Iranians might be past the point of no return on these issues. The regime has been, for at least the past fifteen years, so widely hated that its doom was assured, but always somehow delayed. The ugly, nasty end might just have come closer.

Another possibility is that Ahmadinejad, with his plans to accelerate Iran's nuclear program, and his hostility to the West, will make it easier for America to make a case for pressure or intervention. It's hard to predict how that will play out in Iran.

In any event, these are tense times for Iranians.


 

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Letters? Plaques?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.24.05

We're all scholars of Talmudic studies now.

Yesterday's Senate hearing into superlobbyist Jack Abramoff's alleged defrauding of Indian tribes had something for everyone. There was the yoga instructor who took the Fifth. There was the lifeguard selected to run a think tank from a beach house at Rehoboth. And there was Exhibit 31, an e-mail from Abramoff to a rabbi friend.
"I hate to ask you for your help with something so silly but I've been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc.," Abramoff wrote. "Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none. I was wondering if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?"

There were titters in the audience as Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) read aloud the e-mail, then outright laughter as he continued reading: "Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean."

The rabbi, conservative radio host Daniel Lapin, gave his blessing. "I just need to know what needs to be produced," he wrote. "Letters? Plaques?"

via farbdawg, our favorite heeb


 

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Judo...chop!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.24.05

What's the strategic explanation for the Rove thing? (That is, suppose you buy into the SuperRove theory. Is this a rally-the-base sort of move in the face of bad poll numbers? An attempt to prompt an overreaction? Instapundit thinks it's some kind of elaborate trap but I'm not convinced.)

UPDATE: how 2003 of me to care. In case you're wondering, Amazon recommends that I purchase Essays on Moral Realism, Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, and Unfit for Command. Such are the dangers of reading Hillary blurbs.

PPS: Of course I've read those other books. I just didn't buy them from Amazon. I'm just saying.

PPPS: In case you're wondering, this is my end-of-the-fiscal-year blow-the-research-budget party. The "add to cart" button is my new best friend. I feel like Darth Sidious yelling "Unlimited powerrrrrr!"-- which just goes to show how easily humanists are bought off.

PPPPS: On the other hand, maybe Rove is on to something.

SUPERDUPER CRUISE UPDATE: dude, he's totally melting:

When Lauer mentioned Cruise's earlier criticism of Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants, Cruise told the ''Today'' show co-host he didn't know what he was talking about.
''You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do,'' Cruise said.
The interview became more heated when Lauer, who said he knew people who had been helped by the attention-deficit disorder drug Ritalin, asked Cruise about the effects of the drug.
''Matt, Matt, you don't even -- you're glib,'' Cruise responded. ''You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, OK. That's what I've done.''

I can't wait until he's the new Michael Jackson.

ALSO: holy cow. Check out this video, via W-lfs-n in comments. It's sweet.

I have not the words. Would someone else take us home?

TOM CRUISE: I'm passionate about learning. I'm passionate about life, Matt.

Thanks, Tom.


 

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Final Reading Group Excuse

Posted by Ogged
on 06.24.05

Sorry about the reading group delay, folks. Work has actually required some work lately, but it's just about ready. Looking over my list, I see that I don't have (or don't know if I have publically acceptable) email addresses for Michael, the Idealist, and Toadmonster. If you three could email me, or leave your email in the comments, that would be helpful. I assume everyone has the book by now, yes?


 

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The Future

Posted by Ogged
on 06.23.05

A big game for Ginobili, a Spurs victory. So say I.

I was just contemplating my evening watching this, the deciding game of the NBA Finals, and started to worry about what would happen if someone called me. What would I say? "Dude," I would say, "I'm watching the game, what the hell are you doing? If you're not having sex, you should be watching the game. The Finals only come once a year...."

It wasn't a happy train of thought.

Hey: Speaking of sex, does Fontana's Q&A mean he's getting some?


 

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Gaping, I Tell You

Posted by Ogged
on 06.23.05

The last time I linked to gapingvoid, you were all all "That's not funny," but geez, his cartoons crack me up.


 

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Q&A with Fontana Labs

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.22.05

Q: will you ever look as hot as Christian Bale?

A: No. Never. It is causally if not conceptually impossible.

Q: Likewise with being as pectolicious?

A: Yes.


 

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Portland Yacht Club

Posted by Ogged
on 06.22.05

Yes, the Portland Yacht Club of Maine.

I'm doing Sherry a favor.

Have I said "regatta" yet?


 

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More Klein

Posted by Ogged
on 06.22.05

You've probably seen this picture on Drudge, accompanied by some blaring headline about Bill "humiliating" Hillary with his myriad post-presidency affairs. It's from Ed Klein's book on Hillary.

Drudge at least has the decency to link to this follow-up that shows the picture in context, and lets you hear from the photographer, who is not at all happy with Klein.


 

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The mask slips

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.22.05

I try to be welcoming of diverse viewpoints. But Orrin Hatch makes it so difficult:

One sponsor of the measure, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said in an interview: "It's time to stand up for our symbol. I consider defecating on the flag, urinating on the flag, burning the flag with contempt - just to mention three - to be offensive conduct, not speech."

As if those were exclusive categories.

Being lectured on political dissent by a guy who's into baptizing the dead and wearing secret underwear really offends me. For some reason, of all the sanctimonious [redacteds] in Washington, his sanctimonious [redactery] really gets my goat, partly because I can't, in polite company, make fun of the crazy, whacked-out [redacted] Hatch claims to believe simply because it happens to be his religion.

I reveal this mainly to ricidule myself and to allow you to do likewise.


 

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Why so pale and wan, non-Volokh?

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.22.05

In this post, Brian Leiter says:

So who is Juan Non-Volokh? I intend to find out and to post that information here in due course. I welcome your help...and I promise to keep my sources secret!

I respectfully note my disagreement with Brian Leiter. Juan non-Volokh is untenured; he may also have other reasons for keeping his identity secret. I think it's his call to make. (Ceteris paribus, etc.)

There are many things I won't say here because I'm not as anonymous as I'd like to be, and I think that the blogworld is, all-in, a better and more interesting place when people are free to speak their minds without extrablogic reprisal. I hope Leiter reconsiders.

UPDATE: He has. Though I can see the appeal of Leiter's original motivations (accountability, etc.), I think he's doing the right thing by respecting pseudonymity.


 

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I'm sure he's great at economics

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.22.05

It would be more fun to disagree, but I'm afraid Will Wilkinson's negative evaluation of Richard Layard's Happiness is correct. This is not a good book. The results from economics and psychology are interesting (if reported elsewhere), but Layard really botches just about every philosophical discussion he attempts. On the other hand, there's some novelty in the sentiment You know who got it pretty much right? Jeremy Bentham. So props for that.


 

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Bunk

Posted by Ogged
on 06.22.05

Pretty much everything you need to know about Ed Klein's smear book on Hillary Clinton. via atrios

Ed Klein, author of the book in question, The Truth About Hillary, alleges that New York's late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan "despised" Mrs. Clinton, that he once hid in a cloakroom to terminate a conversation with her. Nonsense. I think I know Senator Moynihan better than Mr. Klein, because he was my father. Mr. Klein also claims firsthand knowledge of a meeting between my parents and Mrs. Clinton that took place in their apartment in Washington. It was during this meeting that Mrs. Clinton, then the nation's First Lady, discussed the idea of running for the seat my father was about to vacate.
Mr. Klein puts quotes around statements that were never uttered. I can confirm this because the only other persons present during this meeting were myself and our Tibetan cook, who speaks about 10 words of English. Mr. Klein has now gone on the record to say that he spent "several hours interviewing Mrs. Moynihan." Puzzling indeed, in that Mrs. Moynihan—my mother—hasn't seen Mr. Klein in over 20 years. I'd like to see the transcripts or hear the tapes of his on-the-record talks with Mrs. Moynihan. And it would have been difficult for him to interview Senator Moynihan, because he's dead.

Thank goodness these charges are untrue, and we won't hear about them anymore.


 

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Scrutiny

Posted by Ogged
on 06.22.05

I suppose that, in the grand scheme, the deportation of one muslim girl isn't such a big deal, but if I had my Atrios hat on, I'd slug this "It's illegal to be a devout muslim."


 

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An Unoriginal Complaint

Posted by Ogged
on 06.22.05

When I took this job--years ago--as a not-a-morning-person I was apprehensive about the fact that I would have to wake up around 6am to be here on time. "You'll get used to it," everyone said. That has turned out to be simply untrue. Even now, I'm groggy until around 11am, and despite dragging all day, start to perk up around 9pm. Between 9pm and midnight, just when I should be going to bed, I'm most fully alert, engaged, and focused. During the periods in my life when I haven't had to be anywhere early in the morning, my body happily migrated to a sleep at 3am, wake at 11am schedule. So even though I have the cushiest job in the world, I fantasize about quitting just so I can get some sleep, and get my brain back.


 

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The Juiciest Apple

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

My friend and his wife are about to be relocated by their employer to New York. Between the three of us, we know jack-padiddly about places to live there. They're in their early thirties, like to go out, though rarely have the time; they make good money, but aren't wealthy; they don't work just in one place, so planning for a commute isn't really possible. Finally, they're trying to get her knocked up, so soon they'll have to deal with pregnancy and then a kid. Where do such people live in the New York area? How does a young couple without family nearby raise a kid there?


 

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Uncle

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

If I don't link to Cliopatria, Ralph Luker won't be my friend anymore.


 

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Oy

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

Great guns, this is depressing. Alex Tabarrok is not, as far as I know, a creationist. He's a smart guy, an economist at George Mason, and writes at the excellent Marginal Revolution. But this is one of the things he writes.

Suppose that God came down from the heavens tomorrow in all his glory, throwing thunderbolts, raising the dead, turning water into wine, whatever it takes to convince everyone of his existence. If this were to occur I have no doubt that even Richard Dawkins, precisely because he is a rational scientist, would say 'hmmm, perhaps I wasn't quite right about all this evolution stuff.' My point in the post is that many religious people don't need the demonstration - they already believe and in so doing they logically question evolution just as Dawkins would if he came to believe as they do.

Weird. One of his commenters has just the right answer.

No. No. No. No.
Look Alex, you don't get it. The existence of "God" in and of itself doesn't mean that the earth is flat or that 2+2=5. How could it? This whole argument makes you look embarrassingly ignorant. The whole exercise is bewildering and logically blinkered which is why so many confused onlookers think you are arguing in favor of Creationism (or are grotesquely apologizing for it). Just quit while your behind. You are inadvertently taking a position in the culture war that you don't support.
Dawkins, I am most certain, would not reject evolution just because a big scary God exists, anymore than he would reject the freezing point of water. Your math just doesn't add up.

What's depressing is that even a guy like Tabarrok has such a misconceived view of the debate that he takes evolution to be a theory about the existence of god. The theory of evolution is an explanation for certain facts in the world. Period. It doesn't require us to believe or disbelieve in god.


 

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Thing In Your Ass

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

The cool kids say its silly, but I enjoyed the Times' article about straight guys dandying up and gay guys slobbing down, such that there's now an ambiguous gaydar-defying category of gay-vague.

But hark.

The new convergence of gay-vague style is not to be confused with metrosexuality, which steered straight men to a handful of feminine perks like pedicures, scented candles and prettily striped dress shirts. Gay vagueness affects both straight and gay men. It involves more than grooming and clothes. It notably includes an attitude of indifference to having one's sexual orientation misread; hence the breakdown of many people's formerly reliable gaydar.

More funny stuff there, but the real money is in charts. The Times has its own chart, but The Minor Fall, The Major Lift has the definitive grid.


 

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Door prize

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.21.05

I hope Spc. Sean Baker at least got a commemorative T-shirt.


 

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We'll Make It Shiny!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

So much for the LA Times's "wikitorial" experiment. You know, it's easy to bash them (and ok, it was a dumb idea), but what would be a good way for newspapers to adjust to what's happened? Getting rid of op-eds altogether is one option, but surely there are others.


 

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A degenerate case of open thread

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.21.05

(a) In complaining about The Economist, I came across sounding like I was complaining about Iraq, and I regret that. My intention was simply to say that "more troops!" does not rise to the level of serious (i.e., should-be-paid-for) commentary.

(b) does anyone have anything to say about Dick Durbin? Making jokes about his name counts.

(c) I'm pretty happy that no one did a father's day post.


 

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The Gang

Posted by Ogged
on 06.21.05

It's been a while since I've mentioned the non-blogrolled blogs of the regular commenters. There's ac's Fortuna, which I've been reading quite a bit lately, Ben W-lfs-n's Waste, Matt Weiner's Opiniatrety (currently featuring dish on W-lfs-n), Kriston's Grammar.police (and you should be reading his girlfriend's blog, SueAndNotU), and, in case Kotsko is still considered a regular, The Weblog. Blogs I haven't mentioned before: Chopper's Paranoid Android (a group blog), Washerdreyer's Provisionally Titled, Austro's creatively titled Austroblogger, and Joe Drymala's theater blog.

Did I miss anyone? Sorry if I did, leave a comment to remind me.

Ah yes: eb's No Great Matter.

And: baa's bandarlog (baa is in blue; ignore the other two guys).


 

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Reading Group Almost

Posted by Ogged
on 06.20.05

I haven't forgotten about the reading group. I think I'll have the first post up there on Wednesday. Now, if some genius can tell me why the printer-friendly pages at the new site aren't working properly in Firefox, I'll be in your debt (they show up fine, but only print the first page).


 

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Clarification, Or, A Proposal

Posted by Ogged
on 06.20.05

I think some people have the impression that my taste in women is similar to, say, Mena Suvari's. Let it be known, therefore, that I have no idea whether iriver's mp3 players are any good, but I do want to marry their model.


 

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This is beginning to get creepy

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.20.05

You know, I always played Sub-Zero too.

sub-ogged.jpg


 

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Did I pay too much for this content?

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.20.05

This is a good post by Kevin Drum on Iraq. This gives you some evidence that this week's Economist really does include a column advising "America should stay, but stay to win." I read this at the gym yesterday, and, if I remember it right, it says nothing substantive about what "staying to win" might be or how to accomplish it. Really? Stay to win? I was thinking maybe we should stay to draw out the quagmire or to further our loss of international prestige. Most importantly, the column says nothing about the real problem, namely, that a satisfying outcome can be achieved only with resources (troop levels, in particular) that we simply don't have. Without that nonexisting supplement, we're only postponing disaster, at best.

I really need to rethink my subscription priorities.


 

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More proof of the badness of the world

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.20.05

That complete tool Nicholas Cage is playing Johnny Blaze in the Ghost Rider movie.


 

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Follow-Up

Posted by Ogged
on 06.20.05

Brad has replied to Fontana.


 

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The Relationship

Posted by Ogged
on 06.20.05

Dan Drezner and Matt Yglesias are wondering why the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes relationship is so strange and fascinating. Dan speculates,

My hunch is that it's some syncretic combination of a bunch of factors, including the age gap, the Scientology, and the fact that, according to the Associated Press, "The former star of television's 'Dawson's Creek' grew up with a poster of Cruise on her bedroom wall and has said she grew up wanting to marry him." But I'm not sure.

Matt has a different perspective.

In contemporary America, certain shows play a special role in the lives of certain age cohorts. They debut when you're in high school. They're about high school. The characters are about your age. The actors are a bit older. You grow up with them, you go off to college with them, and you learn from them that you're not alone in the world of weirdness that is adolescence. If you're a bit older than I, that show is probably Beverly Hills: 90210. If you're a bit younger, it's no doubt The OC. But if you're my age it's . . . Dawson's Creek.
And Katie Holmes wasn't just on the show, she was Joey Potter, the girl next door. Our girl next door. And the girl next door simply can't grow up to marry a creepy older movie star and join a weird cult.

These both sound good. For me, it's definitely the Scientology, but as it relates to Cruise, not Holmes. Tom Cruise is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and his image has always been well and carefully managed. He recently changed publicists, and that's the most likely explanation for his strange behavior: if you're a big enough star, there's never a time when you aren't performing, and if you're performing, you're at the mercy of the people around you. But I can't help but imagine that in a bunker deep beneath Scientology World Headquarters, someone finally said "The time is propitious, commence Operation Risky Business, deploy the Cruise missile." The only surprise when Cruise proposed to Holmes at the Eiffel Tower was that the thing didn't blast off into space. I think we're all supposed to be charmed and want to start our own Scientologistic couplings.

Right: Ben reminds me of another piece of evidence for a plot from planet weird.

Katie Holmes may have fallen for it, but Radar Magazine hears that Tom Cruise's seduction technique scared Scarlett Johansson.

...

"[Cruise] took me into this room, which was stifling hot, and was showing me all kinds of info about joining the church," Johansson told our source. "The whole time he didn't even offer me a cookie!"
After striking out with Johansson, Cruise reportedly turned his attentions to 24-year-old Jessica Alba, 22-year-old Kate Bosworth, and 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan, before settling on the 26-year-old Holmes reports Radar Magazine.

...

"Mark my words: They'll have a baby," said our source. "Maybe he or she will be conceived in a petri dish, but they'll procreate"

 

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This Stuff Ain't Free?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.20.05

The Poor Man used up all his bandwidth, and now has to get a much more expensive hosting plan. He is awesome, y'know, so throw a few bucks his way.


 

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Just Sad

Posted by Ogged
on 06.19.05

My mom teaches little ones, about five or six years-old. Today she heard that one of her former students, now 17, killed himself. So strange to think of a five year-old going on to suicide. My mom said that he'd come back to visit her a couple of years ago. He ran to hug her, and they chatted. When his dad came in the room, the first thing the kid said was, "Dad, she recognized me!"


 

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I Don't Have To Be Likable, As Long As I Love Me

Posted by Ogged
on 06.19.05

I accidentally threw the pair of socks I wore all day travelling on top of clean socks. Now I can't tell which are the ones I wore. People whose feet stink seem like aliens to me.


 

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Star Wars, again

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.19.05

I was reading Farber's blog, hoping he'd have some thoughts on Batman, when I clicked on his link to this slightly-revised copy of the Sith script. Nice.

IAN MCDIARMID

You seem worried about Natalie

dying. Also, you're confused about

being a Jedi.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

(furrowing his brow)

They don't want me to fuck Natalie

Portman. That's insanity. Did you

see her in Closer? Holy fuck.

IAN MCDIARMID

Did you know that those who embrace

the Dark Side have a lot of powers

that Jedi do not? For example, they

can influence that midichlorian

bullshit to create life.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

Create life? Wait, are you implying

that my supposed virgin birth was--

IAN MCDIARMID

And they can stop others from

dying.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

Stop others? Like, if someone force

chokes them and they start to die

because of it hours later?

IAN MCDIARMID

Yup.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

That's distracting enough that I'll

not bother following up on the other

thing you said.

Later:

EWAN MCGREGOR

It's over, Hayden. I've got the high

ground, just like Darth Maul did in

Episode 1 right before I killed him

successfully. Ignoring that, if you

jump over to me, I will cut your

shit off.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

You underestimate my power to

decide not to jump to the low ground

in front of you where I will be able

to safely continue duelling, but to

instead try to jump all the way over

you and get my shit cut off!


 

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