Presidential elections, Russia, 2012

Today Russia is voting for a new president.  There is a lot of discussion and effort to make these elections fair and square.  A lot of people are observing and controlling.  I myself won’t be participating though.  I don’t believe that I have any vote in the matter anyway.  Instead, let me quote a rather appropriate section of Douglas Adams’ book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship…]
“I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

“What?”

“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”

Ford shrugged again.

“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Olga and I went to the cinema today to see a long awaited “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“.

Directed by: Garth Jennings
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Cast: Bill Bailey, Anna Chancellor, Warwick Davis, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Su Elliot, Martin Freeman, Stephen Fry, Richard Griffiths, Dominique Jackson, Simon Jones, Thomas Lennon, Mark Longhurst, Kelly Macdonald, John Malkovich
IMDB raintg: 6.8
My rating: 8.0 ********

I really liked the film. It was much better than I expected. Actually, it was kind of difficult to expect anything, because the book seemed to me very unscreenable, so to speak. The book is one of those that I consider very hard to base a movie on. So, I was rather suspecious. But the film turned out to be great.

I don’t know though how difficult it was to find any sense for those who didn’t read the book.

First of all the Vogons. They were absolutely fantastic. They were even more disgusting than described in the book. Both Olga and I exclaimed a loud “Ewww, yuck!” when we saw the first one. That’s a compliment, by the way.

Secondly, I thought that the solution to the “second head” of Zaphod was great. It’d be kind of tough following a two headed guy with all the articulation and random stuff that he was supposed to do, but not having a second head would be unbooky. The way they went about it was creative, original and entertaining.

Thirdly, the whole planet building factory was unbelievable. It rocked. It was my favourite scene by far.

Fourthly, Marvin was something. Using the voice of Alan Rickman was the absolute genious thought.

Overall – the film was great. It is one of those film that keeps the audience glued to the screen. Mostly because the said audience has no slightest idea of what’s going to happen next. Even those few who read the original book. Not many movies do it these days. Eh, Hollywood…

Strongly recommended.