(Some) Jokes Aside

November 20, 2007

Though we don’t run as much political coverage around here as we used to, this in no way means that we’ve stopped watching the politicosphere. If anything, the absence of political discourse on the Salad is a reflection of the seriousness with which we view the current political moment. For this is an era of untold, expanded presidential power. Or is that vice-presidential power? This summer, The Washington Post printed a brilliant four-part series about the vice-President’s role in expanding the reach of the presidency, or the “unitary executive theory” (one theory that has no place in Dash’s roulette wheel). But if the power’s of the presidency have expanded, there is still one arena in which the president’s power is not all-told, in which his reach is thankfully limited: the turkey pardon.

Yes, America’s favorite turkeys, May and Flower, will be flown to Orlando, Florida–and first class at that!–; yes, there they will go to Disney World and serve as marshals of the Thanksgiving day parade; yes, these things are all true. But none of this changes the fact that the president’s pardon does not hold to your turkey. No matter this president’s imperial ambitions, Americans will not be forced into eating salad for their Thanksgiving dinners.

But this show pardon does engender a few thoughts:

1) What crimes did these turkeys commit? 134587.jpgWere they tried, or were they held as illegal combatants? Were they ever accused, or is this whole thing some sort of allegory for The Trial with May standing in for Josef K?

2) Is there a better example of the breakdown between the private and the public than that of our national turkey? The presidential pardon dates to Truman, however it is based on the myth that lil’ Tad Lincoln demanded his father show mercy on the family bird in 1863. Actually, the myth link shows that the Truman origin story is also legend, that the first recorded, documentable instance of a turkey being pardoned (with the word pardon used) only took place under President George H.W. Bush in 1989! It can be said that this presidential pardon is little more than a family tradition (Lincoln, Kennedy, Truman? Certainly Bush[s]) presented as national to the American public. Thankfully, recent events have made the turkey pardon more democratic: since 2003, Americans can vote on the birds’ names.


Two big old Hollywood motion pictures are due to come out in the next several weeks, and I am here to tell ahead of time you that you are most definitely going to want to miss both of them. The two movies are I Am Legend and Awake.

I Am Legend stars Will Smith. He plays the last man on Earth. The Earth was overrun by a vampires, or a virus, or a vampire virus. New York is a post-apocalyptic mess and he has a dog. Here is a trailer and here is the website.

Awake is packed with more talent than Ann-Margret’s bra. It stars Hadyen Christensen and Jessica Alba. He plays a man who remains conscious after being “sedated” for an open heart surgical procedure. Terrence Howard is his friend and his open heart surgeon, and he is going to kill Hayden during the surgery so that he can take his money. Jessica Alba appears throughout the movie and looks cute. Pretty. Cutepretty. The producers of this film decided to use the song from the final episode of Six Feet Under for their trailer. Here is that trailer and here is the website.

A question that revolves (infinitely) around the premise for I Am Legend:

If Will Smith is the last man on Earth…why would I want to watch this movie? Is it a satire? Because if it isn’t, I already know how the movie must end, even if it doesn’t end this way. Will Smith needs to be ripped to a million shreds by vampires in the first minute of the movie. And then the credits should roll. While I would love for this to happen more than you could possible know (I would pay the full price of a ticket to see this movie if it were over in one minute) I am not sure that it will. Will Smith is either not the last man on Earth, or he’s not the last man on Earth because he’s going to miraculously cure everyone of their vampire sickness. Or he is the last man on Earth, and the rest of us don’t care, because the human race is dead because there is no one left for Will Smith to bury his bone in and therefore all is lost. All of these potential cases make your movie a lie.

A question that revolves (infinitely) around Awake:

If Hayden Christensen is awake during his surgery, but is technically asleep, and if the plot of this motion picture attraction takes place predominantly while he is asleep but awake (as the trailer suggests), how can his character contribute to that plot in any way? Does he have telepathic abilities? Is he Matt Parkman? Or is Jessica Alba trading in her Sue Storm for a little Jean Grey? I know for a fact that she can’t be Jean Grey because Famke Janssen is Jean Grey. I suspect that your movie is also a lie.

Also, the Flash websites for both of these movies suck. I could probably figure out how to navigate through them, but I am tired from working all day and I shouldn’t have to turn my mouse into a poking stick or a frenzied magic wand just to get some information.