- Arthur C. Clarke, the great science-fiction author, died this morning. His short story "The Sentinel" was made into one of the great sci-fi movies of all time, 2001. Yes, I know there are those who always downgrade 2001, but for me it remains a landmark in how to use the imagry of film. It was incomprehensible yet brilliant, which may owe more to Stanley Kubrick than to Clarke. Nonetheless, I have a great fondness toward that movie, and perforce a respect for its progenitor, whose passing deserves notice.
- Speaking of death and movies, the director Anthony Minghella died yesterday. I didn't have strong enough opinions on Minghella to do a full-blown obit on him, but he first come to my attention for his work on the great British police drama Inspector Morse in the 80s and 90s. His most famous movie, of course, was the Oscar-winning The English Patient, which I've never been able to rouse myself to watch. A couple of years ago, to great fanfare and mixed reviews, he directed a production of the opera Madama Butterfly, which caused quite the sensation when it debued at the Met last season. From what I understand, it was far from the definitive reading of the opera; still, he appreciated the visual possibilities of opera, and I suppose we should be grateful anytime you can generate a positive buzz in the opera world. I understand there was the possibility he was going to work on another production, and it's a shame we won't get to see where he might have gone in this medium. RIP.
- Over at NRO, Kevin Williamson offers what I think is one of the finest definitions of conservatism: a consciousness of things lost. There's more to it than that, but I think that is an integral part of the philosophy - or, at least, of mine.
- Also at NRO, John Derbyshire sums up my feelings - and, I suspect, the feelings of a growing number of people: "I'm starting to really dislike Obama." I do not, however, share the opinions of several conservative pundits, who think that Obama's chances are toast. I'm much more of a believer in the school articulated by David Hannum.