Trouble at the top

By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  March 14, 2007

Scalpel, please
As with anything deliciously snarky, it is always best to em¬ploy a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer.
 
P&J tip our beret and sombrero to New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott, for two recent vivisections of highly touted flicks, the four-celebs-for-the-road in Wild Hogs, and the blood-splattering of 300, a.k.a., “If this is Tuesday, It must be Thermopylae.”
 
Here’s a taste of Scott’s carving up of 300 — but if you can, pick up a Times and check the arts section out for Scott, who can give Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker a run for their money:
 
“[300] offers up a bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal, rendered in images that might have been airbrushed onto a customized van in the late 1970s . . . . Devotees of the pectoral, deltoid and other fine muscle groups will find much to savor as King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads 300 prime Spartan porterhouses into battle.”
 
As Peter Graves of Airplane fame might say, “Do you like gladiator movies, Billy? Ever seen a grown man naked?” See ya in the balcony.

Easy Ed’s idealized south
You’ve got to love “Easy Ed” Achorn, the right-wing deputy editorial-page editor at the BeloJo. He’s got everything figured out. It always boils down to how evil liberals and labor unions are getting in the way of the powerful and wealthy, who — if unleashed — will make everything better for everyone. We suspect this is because Eddy perceives a much stronger trickle-down when the free enterprise system is allowed to do its thing. Unfortunately, the trickle down for most people is generally warm and yellow, not green and enriching.
 
Eddy’s latest weekly broadside was about Toyota’s announcement that it plans to build a $1.3 billion assembly plant just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi. Achorn mentions that Tupelo is most famous as Elvis’s birthplace. He got that part right. But Eddy goes on to say that Toyota chose this Southern site, rather than a place like West Warwick, because of “Rhode Island’s high corporate and personal taxes, anti-business climate, struggling public schools, industrial strength NIMBYism and political corruption.” Mississippi has a revered history of fine public schools and the purest of politics? C’mon Ed, do you think we’re morons?
 
We know that your fellow travelers, US Senator Trent “Helmet Hair” Lott and Mississippi Governor Haley “Bend Over” Barbour blow the same kind of smoke about why Toyota likes Tupelo. The Washington Post had a different take: “Like other foreign automakers that have expanded in the South, Toyota was attracted by the region’s low wages and largely nonunion workforce.”
 
Why not acknowledge this, Eddy? In the beautiful world of your imagination, the miracle of “the invisible hand” magically spreads money to everyone else. What happens when “the market is strong,” but the real-world middle class and poor keep doing worse and worse? 
 
The Post story quoted Harley Shaiken, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, as saying that Toyota’s Mississippi move is part of an accelerating trend in which foreign automakers are trying to build political goodwill to head off protectionism.
 
Once Eddy boy sets down his argument for why Tupelo wins and Olneyville loses, he piles on with his usual tirade. We’re blowing it because we don’t want a giant container port in Quonset or LNG depots near large clusters of people. He sees this as a matter of NIMBYism. Eddy must have great faith that a giant container port will do little damage to Narragansett Bay, and that an accident or terrorist attack won’t create a liquefied gas inferno in abutting neighborhoods. Sorry, Eddy, we don’t share your confidence.

Email the authors
Phillipe and Jorge:  p&j@phx.com

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