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.


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?


‘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.


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.


“It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy”
June 26th, 2015

But don’t worry. That could never happen and no one who wants gay marriage would ever be interested in it and people who try to link gay marriage and polygamy are homophobic bigots.

Update: Oh, sorry. That was five minutes ago. I hadn’t gotten the memo yet. We must legalize polygamy now and crush the poly-phobic bigots! #LoveWins


Unabomber or Pope Francis?
June 23rd, 2015

Colby Cosh has a little quiz with lines from the pope’s climate change encyclical. It’s great fun. But before that, he points out the following:

On June 18, though, he almost seemed to set a new standard for regular-guy-ness when his official Twitter account let loose with a machine-gun rattle of short quotations from his new papal encyclical about the environment . . .

I say “quotations” out of instinctive respect, but one is tempted to say “quips.” Whoever is in charge of @Pontifex started dishing tweets like some layabout ex-journalist tweaking on Red Bull. And come to think of it, that is probably exactly the sort of person who was handling the task. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” the Holy Father’s social-media personification rapped. “We have to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” . . .

The climate is a “common good,” says the Pope, and there is “a very solid scientific consensus” that it is changing in “disturbing” ways. Hooray for Science Pope! But before you know it he is weighing in on drinking water. “…in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market.” It turns out this is bad, even though almost any economist alive would instantly apply a red pencil and several question marks to that “despite.”

Before long Francis is going off on “Decline in the Quality of Human Life and the Breakdown of Society.” Hilariously, there’s a warning about new digital media, presumably in forms like … er, Twitter? They “[give] rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature,” quoth @Pontifex.


About P. Diddy–Updated
June 23rd, 2015

From my piece over at Acculturated:

So P. Diddy, née Puff Daddy (née Puffy, née Sean Combs) has been arrested. Not for toting gats where the true players are at. Not for selling more powder than Johnson & Johnson. Not even for running all up in the club and sipping Bacardi (or Cîroc) in an egregious manner, when it was not, in fact, his birthday.

No, Mr. Diddy was arrested after an altercation with a UCLA football coach. And while the details of the incident are disputed, the crux of the affair is not: Diddy was upset because he believes that the coach is mistreating his son, who plays for the UCLA football team. In other words, Diddy was arrested for being a hockey mom.

There’s more. Including me calling Puffy the Peter Lorre of rap. As the kids say, sick burn.

Update: From Galley Friend X:

Snoop Dogg put P Diddy’s helicopter-parenting to shame, for almost a decade. It’s like he’s Snoop Dogg, Tiger Momm.
The best part: Snoop’s and Diddy’s sons both play for UCLA!

Dept. of Pots and Kettles
June 23rd, 2015

Here’s an interesting take on the economics of Hollywood from Brent Lang at  . . . Variety?

Box office headlines are often reduced to what film “trumps,” “triumphs over” or “races past” a rival. But analysts and executives argue that some blockbusters can be the proverbial rising tide that lifts all boats. . . .

In general, our fixation on victors and losers, boom and bust markets, and gaudy numbers that ignore a picture’s pricetag is bad for anyone hoping to draw conclusions about the overall health of the entertainment industry.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that while “Inside Out” didn’t beat “Jurassic World,” it’s still a box office winner.

Honestly, wtf is going on over there.


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