Saturday, October 20, 2007

So Bored wishes a happy birthday... the late, great Bela Lugosi. A delightful actor who made (mostly) lovable movies, Lugosi also inspired many neat things: Count Floyd from SCTV (+ for 80s Detroit kids, the rip-off Count Scary) , Bauhaus' song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" , The Count from Sesame Street, Martin Landau's ass-kicking performance in Tim Burton's Ed Wood ("no one geeves two sheets for Bela!"), and, as one reader pointed out, Count Chocula. I would add Blacula, but William Marshall is doing more of a Christopher Lee British thing in that role.

I asked my class of c. 20-yr-olds the other day if they'd seen the original Dracula. None of them had! Then again, last semester, none of my kids knew who Billy Dee Williams was...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Race and Biology (or, here we go again)

I generally attribute more of our behavior as humans to evolutionary biology than many of my equally-left friends are comfortable doing. But this is bananas.

The Independent reports today that old school scientific racism is not dead. American James Watson, 79 and a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, has been (perhaps intentionally) generating controversy with remarks like "[I'm] inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". Though we wish all peoples were equally intelligent, Watson says, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true". Yes, I said he won the Nobel prize.

This is not a first for the guy -- he's also questioned women's biological capacity for intelligence and alluded to aborting gay babies.