Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Workin' Saturday

Last weekend was my first experience working Sparky's on a Saturday. Saturdays are the busiest days, I'm given to believe, so it was a big trial by fire. The manager even said she'd wanted to give me another week of evenings to learn the ropes before scheduling me, but someone else's schedule change had made it necessary.

How'd I do? My coworkers, who kept threatening to go early and leave me to handle it alone, were too busy imagining that they had fired the manager and were now in control ever to deliver a final verdict, but they did accuse me of having a "smart mouth" every time I didn't go along with the joke... which is odd, seeing as from what I've seen such is the only real requirement for employment there. They eventually agreed that I was the weirdest person working there, which I of course took as highest compliment.

(To tell the truth, I couldn't make out much of what they were saying due to the ambient noise ever-present at Sparky's. I took most of it as good-natured teasing, though. I've gotten much better at taking that kind of thing since I was growing up and my overreactions to it got me in trouble and made me all but a social pariah... but though my surface reactions are better, though I don't let it show as much, it still stings inside more than it really should. After all these years I'm still just a little too sensitive, I guess... especially when too much is left to my imagination-- I tend to assume the worst.)

The shift also caused me to miss brunch with Mary, Snarkout and Redfox. The former taunted me that she was stealing my friends, and the latter two later showed up at Sparky's to taunt me with how good the food had been.

Not Workin' Saturday

After work I fixed our gremlin-infested apartment network (actually what I did was founder, bang on my keyboard for a bit, unnecessarily reset the router, and finally discover that the DSL modem had been accidentally unplugged), then took a two hour nap.

Snarkout and Redfox came over later and we hung out taunting the cat for a while before watching "The Manchurian Candidate." It was only the second time I'd seen it, the first being a typically wonderful Brattle double feature with "The Parallax View".

I mentioned the above double feature as a good pairing of "a left-wing paranoia assassination movie and a right-wing paranoia assassination movie," and was asked to explain exactly what I meant. In my mind, "Parallax" is about a mysterious corporation brainwashing potential assassins while "Manchurian" is about Communists brainwashing potential assassins, but the pairing of the two in my head lead me to what is possibly a false dichotomy.

To whit: "The Manchurian Candidate" posits the real force behind the plot, Raymond's "American Operator" as...

(WARNING: Major spoiler ahead!)
(Seen the movie yet?)
(If not, go watch it before reading the next bit, seriously!)
* his own mother, the wife (and Lady-MacBeth-style goad) of Senator Iselin (Raymond's step-father). The point here is that Iselin is a transparent McCarthy analogue, making the assassination a plot by extreme right-wing domestic elements to take control of America with the backing of the Communist powers.

A close viewing of the movie, however, reveals that Iselin's chief political rival, the angelic Senator Jordan, is himself a Republican. As Redfox noted, what better wish fulfilment could there be for the right wing than to be able to foist the responsibility for their embarrassing extremists onto their enemies?

How much fun would it be, for example, for a moderate Democrat to discover that Ralph Nader was on the Republican payroll? Or for a radical leftist to find out that the humorless, doctrinaire far-left sectarians who make them all look so silly are actually bankrolled by multinational corporations?

Sadly, however, a quick Googling reveals that most of the rhetoric surrounding "The Manchurian Candidate" is used to attack Republicanswho are seen as traitors for being too moderate rather than too extreme.
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