- July 3rd, 2011
Friday was Canada Day - my nation's birthday - so I'm slightly exhausted today after two days of parties, etc. I spent Friday strawberry picking in the morning (it's a tradition because it's when the strawberries are really, really good to be picked), went on an exhausting hike in the afternoon (all uphill), then an evening BBQ with friends and a hike down to the fairgrounds where there was a Bee Gee tribute group playing (they were awesome) until the fireworks display. The fireworks were amazing. A really, really good show. It was a fun day all around.
Saturday, I was up early to go to the Farmers' Market. It's the best place for fresh vegetables and meat, and then some neighbours of ours held a small neighbourhood garden party in the afternoon, so we went to that. More BBQ food, and of course, liquor (beer, wine & coolers). The food was unbelievable. All kinds of salads and cold things prior to the BBQ, and a home-made strawberry shortcake afterward, with tea & coffee. All home-prepared, and what a job she did too. Later, around supper time, we headed to the beach & frolicked there for 4 hours before coming home around 9 p.m., and just beating a wonderful summer thunderstorm. Wonderful because it was very, very humid here yesterday, so I was glad for the storm.
Today, I have some laundry and a bit of cleaning to do, but otherwise all I'm doing today is relaxing before Monday hits. Speaking of which, a happy 4th of July to all my American friends!
Will & Kate
Oh, yeah, Prince William is here with his new bride, so the Canadian news is just going ga-ga over the fact that they made Canada their first official visit abroad, and came for Canada Day too. They were in Ottawa on Friday, which is a great place to celebrate Canada Day. Most Canadians don't seem to remember that we even have a monarchy until one of them shows up. They are purely decorative.
I finally got around to reading this book, and I enjoyed it. It was not at all what I expected. It's pretty easy reading, although the story is a tragic one. I've been meaning to read it for a while now. In fact, I bought it last year, but simply hadn't gotten around to reading it. That happens with me a lot. I buy a book and then take forever to read it because I'm reading other things. When it was announced that Hugh Laurie was actually going to star in a movie based on the book, I prioritized it. Hugh is perfect for the part of Mr. Watts. Perfect.
I'm interested to see how they produce this movie since there is a lot of exposition in it. The main character is actually a girl/woman named Matilda, and it is her story, although Mr. Watts becomes an inspiration to her life, as does the book Great Expectations and its main character, Pip. I'm glad they are filming in Bougainville, of Papua New Guinea, since I now want to see the scenery that is described in Mister Pip.
When it was announced that Hugh was going to star in Mister Pip, I hadn't read the book yet. It was sitting on my book shelf waiting to be read. Somewhat naively I thought that people who criticized the announcement of the movie, and by-and-large the book itself, had also read Mister Pip. The criticism from what most would consider legitimate sources, such as EW was "we don't really need another white man saves black kids" story. The book and movie was written off as simply another white teacher saving a bunch of black kids in a few places on the web.
It is only after reading the book that it dawned on me that the people who made these criticisms had NOT read Mister Pip. There is no way you can read Mister Pip and draw the conclusion that they did. This is not a Hollywood story with a Hollywood ending. The story is set amidst a war, and Mr. Watt's intervention in his students' lives has unexpected and tragic circumstances. He is also not a teacher in a conventional sense. His education is more about personal inspiration and imagination than academics. Since he is not a professional teacher, he only teaches them from one thing: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. It also isn't his story. It's Matilda's. Everything is told from her perspective.
What surprises me though is the absolute gall of these web-based publications who criticized the book or the movie in complete ignorance. They didn't read the book, and yet still felt worthy of criticizing it as experts. Many of these sites have massive audiences too, so they are dictating this ridiculous stupidity to a large audience.
The attitude I find in criticism today is also pathetic. Negative reviews are often written with a sneer as if the critic could do better, but what really amazes me are people who are actually able to criticize without having read the book, saw the movie, or listened to an album. The artist themselves or an idea rather than what the artist has created and produced has become the main subject of criticism.
We don't like somebody, so naturally everything they do sucks whether we saw, listened or read what they produced. When did having to like someone become an arbiter of their talent? Many of the most gifted people the world has ever produced are completely unlikeable.
We don't like an idea - for whatever reason - so anything produced from that idea is terrible, dated, and unimaginative, without any recourse to interpretation, imagination and creativity.
None of this surprises me, really; however I was hoping for better from publications that actually provide criticism as a function of their usefulness.