Saturday, October 13, 2007

Philip Roth Does Not Know Dairying

Wife and I watched "The Human Stain" last night. An unsuccessful movie with great actors based on a good-selling novel by Philip Roth, who was passed over for the Nobel this year. It's not doing too badly on Netflix, probably because of all its assets in themes (racism, political correctness, cowardice, spousal abuse, cross generation sex, "crossing" color lines) and actors: Hopkins, Kidman, Sinise.

But, assuming the movie was faithful to Roth's book, which I haven't read, it's unrealistic. Kidman works on a dairy farm, but also in a store and as a janitor on the local college (from which Hopkins was fired). That's unrealistic right there--if you're doing two milkings a day you don't have the energy for two other jobs. And then Hopkins and she make love at all times of day and night. Roth's forgetting the first law of dairying:

"The cows have got to be milked"

Whatever else you do, they've got to be milked, and milked at the same times every day. You might indulge in a quickie. But you can't have a long night of sex then a leisurely breakfast--Kidman has got to pull on her clothes and get back to the barn for the 4 or 5 am milking.

(But how was the movie--I see why it failed commercially but it's worthwhile on Netflix.)

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