One of the questions the film The Theory of Everything did NOT address was how has Stephen Hawking lived to 70 with ALS?
When I heard the buzz about the movie The Theory of Everything, I expected that the movie-making would be less conventional. But it’s just a standard romantic biopic of boy meets girl/boy and girl fall in love/boy discovers he has ALS and has two years to live/boy and girl get married anyway/they live happily ever after (for a while).
The “boy” is astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne from the movie Les Misérables), who will eventually become one of the most famous scientists in the world, and author of the bestseller A Brief History of Time. The “girl” is fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), an unlikely pair.
Jane: So, I take it you’ve never been to church? Stephen: Once upon a time. Jane: Tempted to convert? Stephen: I have a slight problem with the celestial dictatorship premise.
Great physical transformations have taken place so often in film that I think this one by Redmayne may be underrated. Yet I think the greater evolution takes place with Jones, who, over a thirty-year period, convinces the viewer of the joys and tribulations of living and dealing with someone so physically limited, yet so intellectually stimulating.
Perhaps the story, based on Jane’s memoir Travelling to Infinity, feels a tad formulaic, though occasionally quite funny. But the acting, including Charlie Cox, Maxine Peake, and Simon McBurney, who I was unfamiliar with, and David Thewlis and Emily Watson, who I’ve watched for years, is solid.
This Sergio Aragonés masterpiece is included as a fold-out poster within Inside Mad. His priceless gift to all Mad fans shows over six decades of Mad contributors and ephemera within a mish-mash of Mad office walls. The only thing missing in this beautiful mess is a key. Doug Gilford will be attempting to label everything you see with brief (pop-up) descriptions and links to pertinent pages…
What’s the difference between the ice bucket challenge and going on a walk to alleviate hunger (which I’ve done)?
There’s this guy in North Carolina named Chris Rosati with ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, who handed out donuts to folks at schools, children’s hospitals, and cancer wards. He wanted to inspire kids to come up with BIGG ideas of generosity. And he has succeeded in spreading an epidemic of kindness. As Steve Hartmann of CBS news put it: “A lot of people take on a cause when diagnosed with a terminal illness, but it’s usually to cure their own disease. Rosati, on the other hand, isn’t as interested in fighting ALS as he is in healing all of us.”
This has colored my reaction to that ice bucket challenge for ALS. On one hand, it’s silly; on the other, it obviously works. From Forbes: “Have you ever “been to a big-ticket charity gala? Seen the big shots competing for auction items? Visited a local hospital or museum and noticed the wing named for well-known local philanthropist I.M. Arichguy? Watched the main stage at the Clinton Global Initiative? Heard of corporate philanthropy? And so on.
“Narcissism is part of public philanthropy, though it may be too harsh a word. Enlightened self-interest is better – because it’s not just showing off.”
I think the cries of slacktivism from those who consider the ice bucket challenge no more than a waste of good water – there’s a drought in California! – rather miss the point.
I mean, what’s the difference between the ice bucket challenge and going on a walk to alleviate hunger (which I’ve done), or running to fight for breast cancer, or bicycling to take on some other cause? The ice bucket challenge is faster!
Some of the videos are even clever, such as THIS ONE. I AM sympathetic to the observations by local news anchor John Gray that some of the videos could have been better; his mother died from ALS. But even he ultimately applauds the effort.
This is true: the amount of money contributed to charities to fight diseases is not necessarily proportional to how many people have the disease, or how much they suffer. It is a matter of visibility; right now, ALS has got it.
I knew a guy named Robin for a number of years who developed ALS and has since died. He was a gutsy guy, using the latest technology to communicate, involving looking at letters attached to some voice-recognition software. But it’s a bastard of a disease, and if it can be eliminated, I’m all for it. *** Ironically, the co-founder of “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” drown at age 27.
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