The Corner

You Dirty Rat

Not everybody liked 2006 Best Picture winner The Departed, and in conversations about the film I’ve found that whether you liked it depended on what kind of movie you thought it was. People who went in expecting a typical Scorsese drama tended to be disappointed, especially if they were unwilling to modify their expectations as it became clear that that’s not the kind of film it was. By contrast, people who were willing to be pleasantly surprised by the movie tended to like it. National Review movie critic Ross Douthat (another reason to subscribe) got it exactly right:

The Departed is less modern-day Shakespeare, in this sense, than updated Christopher Marlowe, or maybe John Webster: It’s a ripe and bloody melodrama, not a tragedy, and it has all the strengths and weaknesses of the Jacobean stage.

In that spirit, I loved Scorsese’s decision to send a rat scurrying across the last frame of the film. It was a perfectly ironic wink-and-a-nod letting the audience in on the joke.

This is all by way of saying, ha ha:

Rodent scurries by as Obama lauds Wall Street vote

WASHINGTON – In his battle with the titans of Wall Street, President Barack Obama almost got upstaged by a rat.

But he didn’t even seem to notice. Assuming that’s what it was, scurrying in front of his podium Thursday in a sun-drenched Rose Garden.

Obama had just begun an afternoon statement to reporters lauding the end of a Senate filibuster on his financial overhaul plan when some kind of rodent — opinions differ on which — dashed out of the bushes to his right, just outside the Oval Office.

As photographers snapped away, the critter trundled straight past the gray podium with the presidential seal and made a bee-line for another set of bushes to Obama’s left.

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