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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

This should have been a no-brainer.

So Tennessee State Rep. John Ray Clemmons had what seemed like a pretty simple idea. He thought "hey, let's just get it on the record that the state of Tennessee doesn't approve of neo-Nazis."


So he introduced a resolution that, after a few "whereas"-es, stated simply:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we strongly denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violent  terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
No Brainer
And it also said:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge law enforcement to recognize these white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations and to pursue the criminal elements of these domestic terrorist organizations in the same manner and with the same fervor used to protect the United States from other manifestations of terrorism

So this seems like the sort of thing that would be an automatic pro-forma kind of easy passing bill, because who doesn't want to condemn Nazis? And it's not like it's going to cost anything.

Well, you'd think so, but. . .

It took all of 36 seconds to be shot down by the House State Government Subcommittee last week. The single Democrat on the committee, state Rep. Darren Jernigan, made a motion to discuss Clemmons’s resolution. After none of the four Republicans on the committee would second the motion, the chair, Bill Sanderson, gaveled the resolution to oblivion and the committee moved on to other business. No second, no further consideration, no vote


Well, surely they must have had a good reason, right? There must be a logical rationale for NOT voting to condemn fucking NAZIS, right?

. . .  state Rep. Bob Ramsey explained to local teevee station WZTV that the language of the resolution itself was simply too vague:
Ramsey says he and his fellow legislators “condemn white supremacy and other hate groups.” The issue, is “we have no real definition for a white nationalist or neo-Nazi group.”
“We have no expertise on it,” Ramsey says. “How could we determine these groups are terrorists? We don’t know the federal guidelines on terrorism.”

What? How was that going to be an issue?
Werte they worried that some racist pricks were going to come to their offices and ask "does this resolution apply to my group? 'Cuz, see, we're like totally racist and all, but we're not actually Nazis. We hate Germans too. So, are we under your condemnation or not?" And then they were just going to be in suuuuuch an awkward situation, just stammering and stuttering like Jerry lewis "condemnaaaation! Of the racist type people with the hating and the marching and the - oh but not you, sir. No, you're a nice fella heh heh. . . please to not hurt meeee. . . with the hitting and the shouting and the kicking in my tuuuchus!"

Jerry Lewis GIF - JerryLewis GIFs

Look, I get it. You're a Republican in 2018, you can't afford to alienate the neo-Nazi constituency. Shit, just look at Illinois' 3rd district. But just own it. Just come out and say, we need the Nazi vote. Don't be pathetic and pretend that condemning white supremacists is just too confusing. It's ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let's not forget what a piece of shit Ralph Peters is

Please please please, let's not make Ralph Peters into some kind of hero for quitting FOX.

A Fox News contributor quit the network, calling it a 'propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration'

First of all. FOX has ALWAYS been a propoganda machine for the far right. They have always promoted a destructive and ethically ruinous agenda. This is not something that suddenly happened on Jan 20, 2017. The entire Time that Ralph Peters was there, FOX was spewing hatred and lies and racism and all the other -isms.

Here's an excerpt from Peters' open letter to his FOX colleagues. You can feel the smarmy, self-righteous hypocrisy just oozing from every keystroke:

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts--who have never served our country in any capacity--dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller--all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of "deep-state" machinations-- I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

As if FOX hadn't been dismissing facts and empirical reality since the day it launched. One obvious example: climate change. FOX has been the leading source of the dangerously dishonest lies about the scientific fact of global warming.
And it's almost ironic that Peters is so upset about FOX hosts launching " profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts. . .  and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller," when he had no such compunction about dishonest attacks on President Barack Obama - a "model public servant" if ever there was one.

Peters: ‘Obama Expected His Charm Would Work on Islamic Terrorists’ Watch Megyn Kelly's full interview with Peters: SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM???? WHAT HAS CHANGED TO MAKE THE USA IMPOTENT???? ONE WORD: OBAMA.

Also, he's just an all-around terrible person:

Ralph Peters about 4GW

Make no mistake: The anti-war voices long for us to lose any war they cannot prevent Picture Quote #1

A Hamas terrorist, a UN aid worker and a journalist walked into a Gaza hookah bar. And no one could tell who was who. - Ralph Peters

And in his conclusion to his stupid open letter, he actually says this:

Also, I deeply respect the hard-news reporters at Fox, who continue to do their best as talented professionals in a poisoned environment. These are some of the best men and women in the business..



Black Panther - sucess is a bad thing now?

Until today, I was naively thinking that the success of the Black Panther movie was a positive. A movie about a black hero, written and directed by black men with an almost entirely black cast doing boffo box office sounds like it would be a good thing. Fortunately, the clear thinkers at Forbes came along to set me straight.


Box Office: 'Black Panther' Has Become Hollywood's Worst Nightmare


Oh, this should be good.

. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s Black Panther is already the first movie since Avatar in 2009/2010 to top the weekend box office for five frames in a row. Heck, it’s only the 11th movie in 30 years to do so.

Imagine the pitch meeting at Forbes.
"Okay, staff, everyone's talking about this Black Panther movie. We need a fresh take on it. We need 5,000 words on why Black Panther is bad. Who's got an idea?"

"Um, gee, boss, I uh, saw Black panther last weekend and I thought it was pretty good."
"yeah, me too."
"I liked it."

"Arrrgh. . . this is FORBES people! It doesn't matter how good the movie is! It's a black movie! We're publishing an article about how it's bad. One of you creative types can come up with the reason why. Mendelson - whaddya got?!"

But here’s the terrifying part (for the competition, and potentially the industry as a whole): The MCU flick is doing this at the expense of other would-be event movies.

"Hmm. I like it. The black movie is doing so well that other, oh let's say "whiter" movies, are finding it hard to compete!"

You know, I remember when other big movies came out. Like Star Wars, or Jaws, or Titanic. And there were all these serious thinkers worried that the success of these blockbusters was going to be bad for the movie industry as a whole and wait, that didn't happen.

You know, Star Wars was a huge success and all the movie studios piggybacked on to it, churning out spaceship and laser guns films to cash in on the phenomenon.
Friday the 13th was a big success and every studio in Hollywood quickly put out a teens-getting-murdered- in-the-woods flick or two. Pixar's success led to Dreamworks, Sony and Warner churning out mostly forgettable animated fare. The success of the Hunger Games led to an explosion of distopic young-adult literature making its way onto theater screens - Maze Runner, the Divergent series, The Giver, etc.  The pattern has held for a long time. Some studio tries a new idea. If it succeeds, everyone else rips it off. Everyone makes a bunch of money and is fat and happy. the end. .

But this time. This time, for some reason, the successful film is a threat to the entire business model of Hollywood.

. . . one of the reasons Titanic sailed away with the first one-third of 1998 was the relative lack of “big” movies in the opening months of the year. But what we’ve seen thus far with Black Panther… this is different. This is an entire pre-summer slate of would-be event movies getting steamrolled by one very big tentpole.

Or. . . and I'm just spitballing here, maybe Black Panther is just a better movie than the films it is "steamrolling?"
I mean, I'm looking at the list of movies BP beat this week and I'm seeing Tomb Raider? A remake of a movie based on a video game that no one in the action-movie target market is old enough to remember?

A Wrinkle in Time? Which has not exactly been getting stellar reviews and I assume is probably not good because it has the Disney imprimatur and isn't Pixar.

Love, Simon which not only looks mediocre but seems really really dated. A coming-out story just isn't going to have the same impact as it would have even a decade ago.

Game Night? A good movie, very funny, but not one you'd expect to be a blockbuster. The humor is very dark, there's blood and violence and at least one person getting killed in a gruesome but humorous way. And it's rated R.

A  utterly unnecessary remake of Death Wish starring a geriatric Bruce Willis. Is this a movie that would be drawing crowds if not for the success of Black Panther?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a sequel to a movie most of the audience is too young to remember that has been in theatres since December.

Maybe there's a reason why these movies are getting "steamrolled" by the one film that seems designed to be a legitimate blockbuster. Maybe Black Panther is the only thing preventing 2018 from being seen as a dismal year for Hollywood. Maybe you shouldn't blame the success of one thing for the failure of another. Movies are not a zero-sum game.

 We had a record-setting March last year when Logan (an $88 million debut weekend), Skull Island ($61m), Beauty and the Beast ($174m), Power Rangers ($40m) and The Boss Baby ($49m) mostly thrived alongside each other. The biggies of March 2018 (Red Sparrow, Wrinkle in Time, Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and Ready Player One) are getting hurt by the mid-February smash that won’t die. Pacific Rim opened with a “disappointing” $38m debut in 2013, but the sequel is “hoping” for a $25m launch.

So, last year, a bunch of mediocre movies managed to get relatively equal slices of the entertainment dollar pie. Whoop de freaking do
 The "biggies of March" are  an R-rated spy flick with a 47% Rotten Tomatoes score, a fantasy film based on a children's book with a 40% RT score, the aforementioned video game movie remake, a painfully stupid-looking sequel to a rip-off of the equally insipid Transformers, and a movie that HASN'T EVEN OPENED YET. Why should any of these movies be doing well?

It’s dangerous when the consecutive wave of biggies threatens post-debut legs of the previous weekend’s big flick. It’s impossible when one big tentpole becomes such an all-audiences favorite and crushes every other studios’ would-be event movie. We can’t know how well the last months worth of tentpoles would have performed if Black Panther had played like a “normal” ($95 million Fri-Sun/$235m total domestic) MCU flick. But it was so huge that it wounded a whole slate of studio-appointed biggies, all of which were important the respective studio’s bottom line.

Maybe the lesson here should be MAKE BETTER MOVIES.Or at least make movies that people want to see. Have an original idea. Or just do a better job with your comic book superhero movies. I don't know. Just don't blame Black Panther for outdoing your movie. and maybe don't  act like a huge blockbuster is suddenly a bad thing when it's done by black people.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Right-wing idiots shouldn't review movies

A Wrinkle in Time Sells the Cult of Oprah

Armond White — Armond White, a film critic, writes about movies for National Review and is the author of New Position: The Prince Chronicles, at Amazon.


Hollywood preps for 2020, pushing social justice, self-worship, and girls-are-smarter-than-boys bromides.
Um. . . okay? I don't know why you say justice like it's a bad thing. And self-worship is kind of what right-wing heroine Ayn Rand was pushing. And girls probably are smarter than boys as a general rule. (I, obviously, am one exception to this rule, being a former boy myself who is almost as smart as I think I am.)
But anyway, let's talk movies!

What are you?” a stupefied child asks the apparition standing overhead in A Wrinkle in Time. And Oprah Winfrey answers back, “I am a part of the universe!” Oprah’s fame has cost her the transparency to be a believable actress (which she so movingly was in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved)

Seriously? Beloved was 1998. Do you think Oprah has only achieved superstardom in the last 20 years? You think that in 1998, Oprah wasn't too famous to be a believable actress but now she is?

 yet she achieves godhead in A Wrinkle in Time, a Disney film devoted to pagan self- worship.

Yeah. . . pagans don't worship themselves. It takes about 5 seconds to type "what do pagans worship?' into Google and you'll find a variety of answers, but the one answer you will not see is "themselves."
Or, you could ask a pagan. There are a lot of them and some of them have really terrific blogs. They would probably be willing to explain a bit about their belief system to you if you ask nicely. Or, I guess a third option would be to just assume that they follow a religion based on narcissism. I guess you could do that if you want to be a dick about it.

It is the second phase of Disney’s black-enslavement program this year (following Black Panther)

kanye west what the fuck animated GIF

What. . . what does that even mean? What. . . what does Black Panther. . . and how is A Wrinkle. . . . I mean. . .what the hell, man? Enslavement? I don't even understand what you're even trying to. . . What the hell, man?

I don't even know how to refute that. How would one respond to such a statement? Are you saying these movies are about the experience of black slavery? Or that they are somehow designed to enslave black people? Or some third thing? How do you not offer a single word of clarification here?  Like seriously, this is how the paragraph ends:

It is the second phase of Disney’s black-enslavement program this year (following Black Panther), and black female Ava DuVernay joins Oprah as director of this big-screen secular parable.
And then it's right on to this:
Although A Wrinkle in Time comes from a children’s novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the movie itself talks down to adult audiences as children.

Um, it's a PG-rated Disney movie based on a children's book. I don't think the target audience is adults.

This updated Oz, where Meg learns self-esteem, resembles other oases of children’s literature, but it’s primarily a setting for Oprah’s New Age religiosity, now folded into #Resistance feminism.

You know Oprah didn't write this movie, right? She's not the director. She's not the producer. She's just an actress reciting dialogue someone else wrote for her character. This is not a platform for some sort of Oprah message.

Not simply a family film meant to appeal to children, A Wrinkle in Time has as its real purpose world domination.


World domination? How the fuck is a movie supposed to even try to achieve world domination?

A Wrinkle in Time has as its real purpose world domination. Its homilies amount to a manifesto, the same airy-fairy, social-worker generalities about insecurity — and resentment — that built Oprah’s media divinity.

Okay, pretty sure you don't know what a manifesto is.
The Unabomber had a manifesto.
Karl Marx had a manifesto.
Unless you think Chicken Soup for the Soul is a manifesto, it's pretty safe to say that manifestos, as a rule, do not contain "social-worker generalities about insecurity."

Liking this movie depends on one’s tolerance for drivel (or one’s reverence for Oprah), because DuVernay cannot visualize the ineffable or the commonplace.

How could one visualize the ineffable? Isn't that kinda what ineffable means? Like indescribable? Is there a director out there that could visualize that which can not even be described?

The awkward performances by Witherspoon and Kaling suffer from DuVernay’s inability to integrate different acting styles. These actresses come off as less amusing than that trio of witches in the Bette Midler–Sarah Jessica Parker–Kathy Najimy Halloween movie Hocus Pocus.

Um, I haven't seen A Wrinkle in Time, but I 'm pretty sure these actresses aren't trying to be "amusing." It's like complaining that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis weren't nearly as much fun in Black Swan as Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy were in Bridesmaids.

If this video-game-style hagiography doesn’t expose Oprah’s calculating arrogance, nothing will.

Okay, we'll add hagiography to the list of words you think you know but don't.
You know this isn't an Oprah Winfrey biopic, right? You know she's playing a fictional character, right? You know your obsession with Oprah is unseemly at best, right?

The story is rooted in unsubtle feminism that makes Meg more resourceful than boys she knows. 

 Whaaaaat? The main character is more resourceful than the supporting characters? In a movie? Oh, that arrogant Oprah Winfrey!

  There’s a real element of misandry here, with Pine’s affectless dad, Michael Peña playing a demonic male, and Zach Galifianakis as the effeminate Happy Medium wearing a man bun.

 Or, to put it more succinctly: Waaaahhh!!! There's a movie in which the heroes arent't the men! Waaaahhh!!! The smartest character was a girl! Waaaahhh!!!

 “Be a warrior. Can you?” Oprah asks Meg. Mrs. Which’s self-improvement lessons are dissociated from old-fashioned, Judeo-Christian humanism.

 Judeo-Christian humanism?
Humanism is pretty much the polar opposite of Judeo-Christianity.
Were you not paying attention during the culture-war 80's and 90's when Christian conservatives were constantly denouncing "secular humanists?"
 So, I guess we'll just add "humanism" to the list of words you do not understand.

 This is just bastardized Buddhism (venerating the “unseen energy that moves through us all”)

 Wait, I thought it was paganism?

Given DuVernay’s rudimentary filmcraft, FX teams take over the fantasy sequences (Meg’s fearful flashbacks seem depersonalized). Yet, through media hype, DuVernay has achieved undeserved esteem, parallel to Oprah’s. Cinema visionaries Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Tati, Karel Zeman, John Boorman, Wes Anderson, and Zack Snyder created stirring images, but DuVernay’s image-making is perfunctory.

Well that's a hell of a high bar to clear. If you aren't in the same class as Fritz Lang, Jean Cocteau, or Leni riefenstahl, we're supposed to think you just suck? That's like slagging a baseball player for not being on a par with Mays, Ruth, Aaron, Musial, and Williams. You can still be a damn good hitter and not be in the pantheon with those legends. It's not a valid criticism.

DuVernay makes A Wrinkle in Time a mawkish, inspirational fable about empowerment. It lacks the poignancy one hears in Dolly Parton’s shrewd, ebullient new “children’s” album I Believe in You. Instead, little Meg is a social-justice warrior in a parable about the personal acquisition of influence: That’s what Oprah symbolizes. 

For God's sake, what is it with you and Oprah?  Javert wasn't this obsessed with Jean Valjean!

And what's wrong with acquiring influence? You write for National Review. Surely your intent is to influence readers. But if this movie tries to do the same thing (and I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it does try to or not) suddenly it's a problem? You say shit like this?

The Disney corporation’s ongoing political correctness has warped into something unreliable — a feminist Hillary Clinton resistance that has become part of the way liberal Hollywood corrodes escapist dazzlement. It intends to influence minds.
 So what if it does?  Artists are allowed to try and influence people who view their art. Do you object to artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck D. or Toby Keith having an influence? Or is it just Oprah you have a problem with?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Found the right video

Okay, I somehow embedded the wrong video in my last post which kinda made me look like an idiot. I assure you, I am NOT an idiot. Well, not entirely. I mean I am the guy who loudly predicted that no one would want to see a movie about the Titanic, but overall, I'm usually fairly bright. At least of average intelligence.
Okay, it took me like a dozen viewings of Monty Python & the Holy Grail to figure out that when the French guy called them "Ki-nig-its," he was just mispronouncing the word "knights."  So, maybe not quite average, but still.

So anyway, here is the correct video. Hopefully this will make the previous post make more sense.