Archive for November, 2012
This week, discussions I was a part of collided. Over in political land, it was a discussion about the Website Jezebel. In case you were unaware, after Obama was re-elected, Twitter and Facebook lit up with dis-satisfied voters who thought the best response to the news was racism and hate. Some of these people were teenagers doing that thing teens do so well…say stupid things. Jezebel was understandably put off by these comments. Their response was to compile a list of these folks…their names, their schools, their extra-curricular activities, what sports they play, etc. The idea is, apparently, to really hit these kids by ruining their chances at college and so on.
In comic world, the other day, someone found a website post Director James Gunn did two years back (possibly closer to three). It was a list of the 35 comic book characters folks want to have sex with. So, it was a mature list. I was actually familiar with the list…and the less controversial list (one with none of the commentary that bothered people) has comments by me. I used to be pretty active at Gunn’s site. He was very interactive, and in spite of random moments that made me cringe, seemed pretty open minded. The list I commented on, Gunn and I had an exchange about our shock that the only Watchman character to make the list? Comedian. Seriously. The rapist. The list was compiled by a vote, and on one version of the list, Gunn made commentary that was a bit…uncomfortable. Rachel Edidin addresses it nicely.
Some have stated it was satire of Misogyny. Maybe. But it failed because it did not lampoon the outdated attitudes…it seemed more to lampoon it’s subjects. But the point is, people wanted to do something about it. And this is where stuff collided. People seemed to want to destroy Gunn.
I am not crazy at all over the idea that the right answer when someone offends us is to try and get them fired. People have the right to express the most heinous of ideas. I have every right to decide whether I want to give them my money. I have every right to express how wrong I think they are. I have every right to take to twitter and express that. Or Facebook. It is important to have that outlet of protest. But when we take it the step ahead and force destruction to rain on their heads, we start to lose our righteous ground. Especially, I am concerned because these are tactics that were used on the left for decades. Threat to out gay people, petitions to get people with unpopular opinions fired, etc. Look at the pro-life movement. There were some within the movement that publicized the names and addresses of doctors who performed abortions. As some doctors were shot and killed, they were crossed off the lists in blood.
Do we want to have a legacy like that? Where we start keeping a list of people who “think correctly” and those who fail to meet our standards are not allowed to move on in life? Do we really think it is different when we do it to them? It’s somehow different to try and get someone fired because they are homophobic than to get someone fired because they are gay? Should something you said years ago be held in higher regard than where you are now? The person I was long ago held very different opinions on issues than the person writing this post. There was a time in my life that I saw homosexuality as evil. I was vehemently pro-life. Do the views I evolved to mean less than the ones I held when I was decades younger? I cannot comfortably agree that punishing kids as Jezebel seeks to do is wise or good. It is not the right step forward. Especially hurting their ability to get into schools. Yes, lets try and keep them teens from going to the place that often results in a personal re-evaluation of one’s beliefs.
Gunn, btw, apologized. And hey, he avoids the “sorry you were offended”…he takes credit for the failure on his own. Considering that other recent offenders took the “Stop being offended route? (including defenders of Gunn) it was kind of refreshing.
So, I had a huge draft about the bad choice of trying to tie the Man of Steel and the Future Justice League movie to the Nolan Batman films via casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman. It was a bit long and explained in detail why I find this a bad choice. Then I lost the entire draft. Yay auto save for not coming to the rescue.
To boil it down:
1. There is no room in the Nolan Batworld for super powers.
2. If these super powered people existed, why did they let Gotham sit under Bane’s tyranny for three months with no sign of Batman?
3. The dynamic of Bruce/Clark/Diana matters, and removing one from the mix impacts how the league works.
4. A fresh start would work better for a Movie DCU franchise. Which is clearly what WB wants here.
I think JGL is a great and talented actor. I do not think using the Nolan Batworld to kick off the Movie DCU is wise.
So, I could not figure out why I was suddenly seeing people expressing sympathy for Jon Cryer. Then I saw this video.
It is…enlightening. It also means I must start a crusade to keep Two and a Half Men on the air indefinitely. I am now curious the lengths Jake might go to get out of the show…maybe Chuck Lorre can kill him off to and replace him with a younger kid.
It’s Growing Pains all over again.
(Also a bit amusing is his assurances that he really likes black people. Really, he does.)
No doubt, the fan favorite of of the X-Men films was the comics fan favorite Wolverine. Hugh Jackman held his own with some top talent in those first two films… a solo Wolverine film was kind of a no-brainer. And putting it in the hands of the director of the stunning Tsotsi, Gavin Hood seemed like a terrific idea. Then casting started to leak… Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (what a good choice), Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth-wait…what? In the first X-Men Movie, Sabertooth was played by wrestler Tyler Mane. Now, the change in actors is no big deal, It happens. But the first movie played off the characters as unfamiliar with each other. Wolverine’s memory loss is his easy defense…Sabertooth’s? Don’t know.
The film begins in the 1800′s with a sickly young boy. Sitting with him is a slightly older boy who is whittling with his fingernails. The sick boy’s father steps in to tend to his on when there is a sudden commotion downstairs. The father leaves, and there is some yelling followed by a shotgun blast. The boys rush downstairs…the sick boy sees his dead father and the shooter, who tries to tell the boy something, but the young man (who we learn is named James) is enrage…he realizes there is something happening with his hands…he becomes horrified as claws of bone protrude from his hands…the rage returns and he lunges at his father’s shooter-killing him. In the shooter’s dying breath, he says he is James’ true father. The young boys run.
This leads into a really nice montage of the young men growing to adult hood as soldiers in a series of wars, world war one, two and so on…finally settling on Vietnam …Jame’s brother Victor goes ballistic and kills civilians, as James tries to stop him…they end up being court marshaled. They are recruited by Stryker (Danny Huston) who is putting together a special ops team comprised of mutants. After a mission snafu, James, now called Wolverine walks.
Wolverine hides out in the wilds of Canada where he meets a beautiful young woman named Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). They fall in love and live in a cabin. After she is killed (as super-hero girlfriends are prone to do) by Sabertooth, Wolverine seeks revenge. After Sabertooth trounces him, Wolverine is approached by Stryker with an offer to make him stronger. Agreeing Wolverine is subjected to a painful experiment, giving him the famed adamantium skeleton. Then they try and double cross Wolverine.
He escapes and meets up with surviving members of Stryker’s crew, discovering that Stryker has a secret plan to build the ultimate mutant soldier that he can control. Wolverine finds out that Stryker is kidnapping young mutants and using his brother to do the deed. Wolverine runs off to the secret base with the help of Gambit (who doesn’t do much beyond fly Wolverine there and wish him luck.
A final confrontation results in Wolverine and Sabertooth fight Deadpool to the kind of death, Wolverine losing his memory via a magic Adamantium bullet and Kayla’s death-but not before sending Stryker for a long walk, and a digital Professor X who needs no chair.
The truth is, this film is what you call a major mess. By setting it in a vague “the 70′s” you start forcing the films into a specific timeline. The first three X-Men films all took place in the near future. The film features a high school age Psyclops. Making him in his mid to late 40s. Actor James Marsten was about 27 at the release of the first X-Men. And there are the confusing aspects of why nobody seems to remember this moment of history. It is hard to believe that Professor X new where to pick up all those kids and yet is oblivious to Wolverine.
The real positives of the films are the strong casting choices (Lost’s Kevin Durant is great as the Blob…Danny Huston, Liev Schreiber and Ryan Reynolds are strokes of genius). Jackman shows why he owns the character on screen again. The performances are mostly good…but they are in a story that seems overly convoluted and needlessly confusing-even by comic book standards. It has a nice beginning, but it falls apart quickly. It has some very goofy action set pieces and some legit humor going for it.
A sort of repost from almost a decade ago.
I watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles early this morning, per my Thanksgiving tradition. I still love this movie, one of John Hughes’ finest moments. The reason it really resonates for me is the two central characters. Candy plays Dell Griffiths so well…you really see this well meaning guy who just wants to be included in the lives of others. He is desperate for a real connection. In my life, there are times where I have felt exactly like Dell Griffiths. Wanting to be cared about and loved, but being overly chatty and pushy. Dell begins coming off as an obnoxious chatterbox oblivious to the reactions of those around him. truthfully, you can understand while Neil Page (Steve Martin) begins a mounting frustration with Griffiths. and yet, When Martin goes off on him early in the movie, you see the pain in Candy’s eyes, as if he is hearing every bad thing about himself that he is all too familiar with…and it’s being dumped on his lap. He desperately wants a friend, and yet he sees how he screws it up. And this guy he is trying to become friends with has expounded with painful precision every lousy failure he has.
Other times, I totally identify with Steve Martin’s Neil Page. Uptight, wanting to make things work without interference from the outside world. When he pridefully tears down Dell in the previously mentioned hotel scene, Martin shows great shame after Dell responds. Neil realizes what he’s said was cruel. He’s impatient when life doesn’t go as he planned. Neil does not want to involve anyone in his life not connected to his family. Dell is a pain in the ass speed bump in getting to those thing. I GET his explosion in the hotel. He has hit his limits, and simply does not pause to think about what he is saying and the impact it might have. In a way, I suspect Neil thinks he is doing a favor for Dell. He is telling him what a lousy person Griffiths is for Dell’s own benefit. It isn’t true of course.
The film is really about Neil seeing beyond himself and his life, Griffiths is painfully aware of his flaws, and without Dell, Neil might never have seen his own human failings. It’s a heroes’ journey where the monsters are cars, trains, planes and the elements instead of vengeful gods, kings, serpents and minotaurs.
I want to be Neil Page at the end of the movie…a guy able to connect the dots and exhibit compassion and an open hand…someone who can see the deep seated heartbreak in a stranger and bring them to their Thanksgiving Feast table. Instead, all to often I am the Neil Page of the beginning of the movie. I want to be thoughtful and generous…instead, I am selfish and consumed by worries much of the time. God have mercy on my soul.
It is true. Liberals tend to see Diversity as a good thing. It is, for the most part, positive. But I see if happen a lot that conservatives try and hit liberals with a false ‘gotcha!’ With this. Much like the conservative meme about how liberals, who praise tolerance, are the real intolerant ones.
The idea is that liberals say that we loooove diversity and respect all beliefs the same. But that is a sham! A LIE! They do not treat all beliefs equally. Recently, Marco Rubio was asked if he believed in science. It is a weird question in the sense that it seems out of place in the interview, and Rubio’s stumbling answer made it all that much worse. It was suggested by a conservative friend that this shows the liberal ideal of Diversity is Good to be a lie. That a liberal reporter would treat the subject as a gotcha question shows that the devotions to diversity are untrue.
The problem is, liberals do not actually believe all beliefs are equals needing equal respect. The liberal view of diversity being a good thing is not a claim that you can not offer a critical comment or think one idea is better than the other. It simply is that having a diverse set of options is good, ones that can be weighed, considered…debated. Thinking it is good to allow people to be heard is not the same as “Treat all ideas as equal”.
Or, why does John McCain seem so bitter? Like Mitt Romney, McCain conceded gracefully. But quickly, McCain started behaving like a bitter politico. He was combative and unwilling to work with the man who won the presidency over him. He declared that there was NO MORE working with the President (yet conservatives deny that the Republicans were the party of no).
No he joins in the chorus of bashing Susan Rice for Benghazi. It should be noted, there are valid questions and concerns. But the Republicans, in their haste for an earth shattering scandal over reached. So, nobody told McCain that they would be dialing back the rhetoric. Part of the problem is…the right thought they hit pay dirt when Petreus said he realized that the Benghazi attack was a planned terrorist act early on. But then they had to accept the rest of the intelligence testimony.
See, the administration was simply passing on the information the intelligence community allowed them to know. The “this was a planned attack” part was classified and not revealed to the administration when Rice went on TV. And if “That is what the intelligence told us at the time” was good enough for defending Bush over invading a country based on bad intel regarding phantom WMDs, it ought to be a justified defense for this administration.
But McCain is more interested in being defiant than reasoned. Senator John McCain has become a caricature of himself. It is quite sad to see.
No lie…I kind of wanted people to pass this around…I am not as clever as Ty Templeton (dammit)…but I gave it me best shot.
I would like to point out that Harris pretty much invited the controversy as he asked people to retweet his comments.
So, here is my rant from last week (With some edits):
I said it yesterday…but after reading various follow ups I feel it needs to be said. The “Real Nerd Girls” thing…I see guys trying to say it is true. They point out that Tony Harris says there are exceptions…so he is not slamming all cosplayers as being “fake nerds”. But here is the thing…an exception is a small minority. So, he is slamming the majority of cosplayers as fake nerd girls.
The complaints about hanging on to guys they would not give the time of day to (so uh…what exactly is the motive here?)…shaming the women for not being as attractive as we assume they think they are…it is bitter and ridiculous.
And really? Who CARES if they are comic book fans? Who CARES if they like to wear a skimpy outfit? They like to dress up as cartoon characters, but are not into comics…so? What kind of self righteous shithead thinks it is their job to decide who is a legit geek? I could care less why someone cosplays. If that is something they enjoy doing? More power to them! Guys, gals,short, tall, thin, overweight,average looking,conventionally beautiful…if these folks get joy from it? Why is it anybody’s job to take that joy away? To shame them?
It was not worth Tony Harris and Dirk Manning bringing up…it is not defensible. I’ve interacted with both guys online over the years and found them amiable and nice enough guys…but that does not make this recent commentary from them not a moment of douchebaggery or misogyny. What was said was most certainly a misogynist rant. We have all said things that might not reflect us overall…but the measure of a person is whether they can understand why what they said is problematic and step forward, rather than dig in and defend themselves for their douchey commentary. And not only did Harris and Manning dig in, their supporters did as well. Way to class it up, folks.
Seriously, why is it such a threat to let women in the nerd/geek family? Why do they have t jump through hoops to prove they deserve to be allowed? Why is there need among some guys in the geek community, professional and otherwise, to jump up to judge women on their looks and whether they are allowed to dress as certain characters?
And in regards to the girls who might not really care about comics or cartoons and maybe just are looking for an opportunity to dress “sexy” while hanging off of nerds? WHO THE F**K CARES?! It is not hurting anyone.
Yeah, I am looking at you Target, Walmart, Sears, Kmart and Toys ‘R’ Us. Walmart, K-Mart and Sears open at 8PM on Thanksgiving night. Target and Toys ‘R’ Us will open at 9PM.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should point out that I am a part time employee of Target. I am not speaking for Target-which should be kind of obvious)
Seriously…eventually we will have Black Thanksgiving. For all the conservatives who whine about the war on Christmas, little has been said about the decline of Thanksgiving. You hardly get greeted with a “Happy Thanksgiving”…stores do not decorate or promote it anymore. I went into a Target on Halloween and they had their Christmas decor prominantly greeting you as you walked through the door.
This not so gradual push into the actual holiday is pretty ridiculous and not really fair to employees. Demanding that some of your employees cut their celebrations short (and face it, it will not end at 8-9 PM openings) so people can get their door busters a little earlier than last year is simply pretty appalling. These are all companies who try and promote themselves as employee friendly, yet they treat their employees and their families as if they have no lives. Families cannot celebrate holidays when they have to worry about working shortly after the celebration ends-or even worse, before it does. All so some people don’t have to wait until 5AM to get their $200 widescreen HD TV.
If you wait until midnight or 5AM, Retail, you will still get their money. The buyers will wait, they really will!
Listen, the customer chooses to leave their family behind for their cheap products…the employee is not given a choice (at least, if they want to keep their jobs)*. Put your money where your mouth is corporate superstores…respect your employees. Give them a chance to enjoy a day of rest and celebration with their families, I realize this year it is simply to late… but next year, prove 2012 to be an aberration.
*Target states they ran it by their employees, but I saw no such request.