January 3rd, 2008

jason

ave atque vale: George MacDonald Fraser

George MacDonald Fraser has died. Author of the Flashman books, one of the all-time greatest historical novel series: the premise was that Harry Flashman, the bully of TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS, became a great hero of the British empire by scheming, lying, swiving, and shtupping his way to the top, despite being a cheat, a liar, and an utter coward. The series was absolutely wonderful, though for me the first book, with Flashy's adventures in the Afghan War, still stands high. (A close second: ROYAL FLASH, Fraser's brilliant spoof of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, in which Flashy not only stands in for royalty in a wedding, but on the wedding night as well. That was actually made into a film with Malcolm McDowell, as I recall.)

Fraser also wrote other wonderful things: he wrote the screenplays for the delightful Richard-Lester directed Musketeer films, with Michael York as D'Artagnan -- hey, *I* loved 'em -- and for my favorite Roger Moore 007 picture, OCTOPUSSY. But my vote for his least-appreciated work: THE PYRATES. A gloriously hysterical swashbuckling comedy written by a guy who has clearly loved and enjoyed far too many adventure novels, pirate movies, and rollicking films of all kinds, to the point that you can pretty much see the actors he's mentally cast in the roles (including, awesomely, Pam Grier); I will bet money it's on Terry Pratchett's bookshelf, because it's in that similar vein of utter insanity.

Fraser was 82, and a class act. God bless him; I'll always remember him fondly.
lobo sam

the Republican primary as BUFFY villains

via FARK, I bring you the Republican presidential candidates, as Buffy villains. (Sample: Fred Thompson = The Judge. "His backers got all excited and made a big effort to assemble him. When they finally put him together, he turned out to be a lethargic mess and didn't accomplish very much.")

There is, of course, serious debate in the original poster's comments and on the Fark forums over these picks. My favorite Fark comment is "Ron Paul = The Gentlemen: tall, gaunt, ready to take a scalpel to government, and surrounded by galloping lunatics in straightjackets." But I think it's wrong. Ron Paul is Spike. He's interesting at first, becomes more sketchy as you get to know him, and he's got tons of extremely vocal fans who JUST WON'T SHUT UP.

Folks are also working on the Democratic picks; so far the only one that works for me is Kucinich being Clem: big ears, strangely adorable, and you wouldn't want him in charge of anything in a million years.

(Someone actually suggested that Hillary was Darla. BLASPHEMY I KILL YOU.)