JVL Elsewhere
July 21st, 2015


Come for the shame-faced defense of Ashton Kutcher . . .

Stay for the story about my kid crapping herself at Chuck E. Cheese.

/daddyblogging

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Twilight of the Gawker
July 21st, 2015


As a general rule, I don’t like to see anyone lose their job. People have rent to pay and kids to feed. And I don’t follow Gawker much at all, because it was clear almost from the start what kind of publication it was and what sort of creature Nick Denton is.

That said, if I had spent a few years collecting string on Gawker I would have really enjoyed doing a piece like this from Ryan Holiday. It is . . . awesome.

Gawker isn’t going to die from its current imbroglio–there will always be a pack young liberal writers in New York willing to do anything for $40,000 a year.

What might kill Gawker is the Florida jury hearing Hulk Hogan’s civil suit against the company. Politics aside, all people of good will can be rooting for them to drop the big leg.

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The Ashley Madison Hack
July 20th, 2015


So Ashley Madison, America’s premier website for married people who want to have an affair, has been hacked, with all of the pictures, personal information, and credit card details of its members now in the hands of hackers. This is going to be the biggest blackmail scheme in the history of history. Or, as a buddy of mine quipped, “Well, all those guys who signed up for Ashley Madison wanted to get fucked.”

One side note, though. Ashely Madison claims to have 37 million members. Does this seem at all plausible to you? Let’s do a quick rundown through the demographics:

(1) There are only 129 million married people in the United States.

(2) Of those, there are only 79 million in the prime affair cohort of 25 to 55 years of age.

(3) That means that Ashley Madison is claiming that almost half of all married people in their prime years are using the site? Are you kidding? (And that leave aside the fact that the bottom income quintile is probably less likely to use Ashley Madison because of money and internet access.)

(4) One more data point: The hackers say that the reason they’ve taken Ashley Madison down is that the site offered to erase all of a member’s user data for a one-time $19 payment, but that the company never actually erased the data. Further, they claim that in 2014, the company made $1.7 million from these non-erasure fees. But that’s just 89,000 people. Which is just 0.2 percent of 37 million. It strikes me that a site like Ashley Madison would have a much higher user churn rate than 0.2 percent, no?

All of which is to say that the 37 million users number seems highly dubious. Like, internet bubble circa 1999, dubious.

2 comments


The Caitlyn Jenner Connundrum
July 16th, 2015


Galley Friend X emails a smart-aleck observation and a serious question:

So here’s maybe my favorite random example of ridiculousness around the whole Jenner thing. A week ago I clicked a click-bait article on “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Airplane!” Check out item #6:

6. David Letterman, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Caitlyn Jenner auditioned for the role of Ted Striker

Some of comedy’s biggest players auditioned for the lead of Ted Striker, which was eventually nabbed by Robert Hays. It’s tough to picture Letterman, Murray, or, before her transition, Caitlyn Jenner taking over the pilot’s seat, but we have that nagging feeling Chase would have totally owned the role. No offense to Hays, of course.

So Caitlyn Jenner auditioned for the Ted Striker role? Let me get this straight: the director of Airplane! originally opened that role to both men and women? That wouldn’t make any sense, since one of the major plot lines was Striker’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Or are they saying that Striker’s character would had been a lesbian?
Which then leads Mr. X to his serious question:
All of which makes me wonder the following: “Caitlyn” Jenner says that she is attracted to women and has never been with a man.
Does that mean that all of Caitlyn’s ex-girlfriends were in a same-sex relationship with Caitlyn? Are they automatically bisexual?
Or does this mean that it’s now possible for one member of a couple to be in a same-sex relationship while the other is in an “opposite-sex” relationship?
Just curious.
We know the real answer, obvs. But I’d be curious to know what the SJW/Identity Politics line is.
1 comment


White Stuff People Hate #3
July 13th, 2015


Do you know what else is racist?

America’s national parks.

Like, super-duper racist.

The author of this piece in the New York Times, Glenn Nelson, talked to four black people who live near Mt. Ranier and it turns out that three of them have never hiked Mt. Ranier because of racism. Specifically, because the staff of the National Park Service isn’t diverse enough and I am not even kidding about any of this.

I can’t wait to see what those right-wing yahoos running the NPS have to say for themselves.

3 comments


Comic Con Thoughts
July 13th, 2015


So . . . Tim Kring is going the full X-Men. Interesting?

Not clear if that’s more or less interesting that the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer. (Crap quality for now.)

I’ve never been into Deadpool, but the trailer (also crap quality) is pretty amusing: “You look like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographic map of Utah.” (Plus, they’ve worked in Negasonic Teenage Warhead. So cross-over style-points.)

But look, that’s not what you want to talk about. We’re here for this:

Honestly, I don’t really know what to say. Except that it looks like a disaster.

I like a couple of the ideas present: Namely that Man of Steel was just one part of a Rashomon, and Batman v Superman shows us what else was happening on the most important day in the history of earth. That’s a nice way of making it clear that the last third of Man of Steel wasn’t disposable movie-of-the-week mayhem, but a defining event in DC’s universe building. That’s neat.

I also like the idea that in this new universe, Batman has been doing his thing off in Gotham for a good long while before the events of Man of Steel. This then suggests that despite what the audience thought, they were actually being brought in in media res with the first movie in the new DCU. Kind of interesting.

And I like the little bit we see of Wonder Woman (though I hope that never use the phrase “Wonder Woman”; she should just be “Princess Diana”) because she doesn’t speak. So maybe they’re going to emphasize her royal status and have her be the kind of aloof, semi-disdainful warrior-protector she should be.

Everything else? Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to line up with everyone else and give Warner Bros. my money. And I suspect that, in reaction to the early Batfleck conniption fit, fans and critics will talk themselves into believing that Affleck is “surprisingly good!” as Bruce Wayne. But he looks awfully weak and cartoony here.

But the real danger sign is Lex Luthor who looks, once again, like he’s being played for camp. It’s one thing to cast a Luthor who’s half of Batman’s age. It’s another thing to kit him up with Tears-for-Fears hair. And it’s another thing entirely to have him play as a fey mustache twirler.

Maybe I’ll love Jesse Eisenberg’s performance and he’s being ill-served by this trailer. But yikes.

And in fairness to Zack Snyder and Eisenberg, nobody has ever gotten Luthor right onscreen. I don’t understand why this is the case, because it’s not that complicated: You succeed with Luthor by making him a character who (1) Thinks the entire story is actually about him; and (2) Sees himself as the hero of the story. (If you want to see a master class on this, look at Jeffrey Wright’s villain, Peoples Hernandez in the otherwise moribund Shaft remake. Have a look–and note the cameo by a future Bruce Wayne.)

Trainwreck? Too soon, obviously.

Exit Question: What’s the last comic book movie that people were willing to contemporaneously revile?

4 comments


‘Gay Marriage’ Post-Mortem
July 1st, 2015


Long-ish piece over here lamenting the disintegration of the judicial branch, the tyranny of the minority, and the general collapse of the republican (note the small “r”) order.

But one addendum: In talking about Elena Kagan’s response to questions about “same-sex marriage” during her SG confirmation, I point out that Kagan declared:

“There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

And I then go on to say:

So either Kagan evolved in lock-step with her patron, President Obama, or she was flat lying during her confirmation-which suggests that all assumptions of transparency and good-faith regarding congressional confirmations are now inoperable. So we cannot trust the people who are nominated to high office to acknowledge their views truthfully before the citizenry. And we cannot trust them to adhere to actual law and jurisprudence once ensconced in their unelected office.

Adam White emails to say that there’s a third option I’m not considering:

There’s also Option #3: She wasn’t lying, she didn’t evolve, she was just being hyper-literal. As of 2009, there was no constitutional right to gay marriage. That right wasn’t created until June 26, 2015.

3 comments


France Fights Uber
July 1st, 2015


With every passing day, France looks like a better, freer, more rational alternative to the United States.

I cannot believe I just typed that sentence.

3 comments