The Republican Party: A De-Construction, & Some Thoughts on “Sweeney Todd”

From The Economist, Jan. 12, 2008:

Twice as many Democrats turned out to caucus in Iowa as Republicans. The Democrats are fired up with Bush-hatred and ready to take the White House. The Republicans are despondent and defensive. “I’d rather vote for a dead dog than a Democrat,” one New Hampshirite told this columnist. “But the way things are going it might have to be the dead dog.”

The party has flailed around for a champion without success. Rudy Giuliani led the national polls for months only to implode. Fred Thompson sped to the front for a while only to fall asleep at the wheel. The party is divided into warring factions. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have as much in common as their respective alma maters — Harvard Business School and Ouachita Baptist University. The party is also in danger of going off the deep end. Mr. Huckabee denies that man is descended from the apes. Everyone except Mr. McCain seems to think that it’s a good plan to send 12m illegal immigrants back home.

* * * *

Jay Leno, quoted in The New York Times of Sunday, 20 January 2008:

    While he was in Saudi Arabia this week, President Bush met with the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. You know, President Bush is not good in these social situations. Like, he kept asking the prince about his sister, Paula Abdullah.

(Self just couldn’t resist this one, dear blog readers, which — cross her heart — she happened to read while watching “American Idol.” How’s that for synchronicity?)

* * * *

And, finally, self would really really like to know: What was the meaning of that very dark, gloomy interchange between the sweet Joanna and her savior Anthony in “Sweeney Todd?” We can dream now, Anthony says (or something to that effect). And Joanna says, “I never have dreams, only nightmares.” (or something to that effect). Then, she clambers into a large chest which not too long previously held the body of a murdered barber/competitor of Sweeney Todd played to amusing perfection by Sacha Baron Cohen (chest must have stunk something awful), then she climbs out just in time to be tossed into barber chair by Sweeney, and just when Sweeney is on the point of cutting her throat (STOOOP, self almost yelled out loud) he hears a blood-curdling scream from his accomplice the meat-pie madam (wickedly played by Helena Bonham-Carter), and rushes out of the room and down the stairs and then — THE END!

Well, actually, there is one more mad dance between Sweeney and meat-pie madam, but it is all over very quickly, and one never learns the fate of poor Joanna, who was last glimpsed cowering in the barber chair, dressed in boy’s clothing.

What in God’s name was that scene supposed to mean???

Self scratching her head and trying to remember whether this, too, was the way the scene ended in the Broadway production, which she saw waaaaay back in 1980. She thinks that, in the Broadway version, the little boy who plays meat-pie madam’s devoted helper re-appears with hair completely white and standing on end from having been locked in meat-pie locker with all those corpses. Or perhaps she is merely imagining this, and has mixed it up with a ghost haunting the UP chem labs?

Anyhoo, self found the actor who played the little boy in the movie very affecting. He wasn’t cute, which was just great. And he had the longest, whitest hands, self noticed them right away, right in his very first scene. And Johnny looked great: oh, those cheekbones! It isn’t fair, simply isn’t fair, why someone like Johnny Depp only gets better and better-looking with age, while this morning, self was looking at pictures of herself from six, eight years ago, and it is sadly apparent that — CUT!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.


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