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Thursday, March 08, 2007


I just saw "Sleeper" for the second time. I saw it when it was released in 1973 or so. I found it very funny then. Much less so this time. Maybe that was because I saw it dubbed in Italian.

"Sleeper" is not easy to translate. For example, how do you translate the statement that World War III started when Albert Shanker got his hands on the atomic bomb ? Answer for "Albert Shanker" write Pope Paul VII'th. Indeed the last step in Nuclear proliferation will come when the Vatican gets the bomb and Pope Paul VII'th doesn't have standing to sue for slander even in Italy.

Ahhh Albert Shanker. I would remember him, except that I missed the seminar he gave at Harvard and was called on it by Richard Freeman. Head of the AFT, author of the long running regular paid commercial "Where We Stand" appearing in The New Republic (which was usually by far the best article in the magazine and also not completely worthless). Went to jail for taking New York teachers out on strike and, well, appeared as a punch line in "Sleeper."

Then he became a leader of union inovation (not to mention very popular with people who hated the NEA). The really weird thing (refered by Richard Freeman in around 1988) is that Shanker said that ,in the model school somewhere in Florida managed by the AFT, they outsourced (which then meant to small firms in the USA not to Bangalore) because the cost advantage was so huge.

1988 was soo long ago. Now I read stories about how contracting out is a total disaster in The Army Times. I feel like Rip Van Winkle or ... Woody Allen in Sleeper.

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