From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:
I bet you didn’t know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a social justice propaganda film. I didn’t either. I thought it was a nostalgia movie with a recycled plot, but one thing it doesn’t do is hammer you with didacticism. But this guy watched it, and all he saw was a woman and a black man in lead roles, and it made him furious.
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From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:
I just got back from the new Star Wars movie, and it was…
…disappointing. The plot made no sense. The character relationships were just there, plopped into place like a collection of action figures. The story was a total rehash of the first movie — Disney and JJ Abrams really played it safe, and made sure to just give audiences the familiar. There were plenty of nods to nostalgia, and the audience clapped and cheered where expected.
It was tired and sterile. It’ll sell toys, but it’s not going to inspire dreams like the original.
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Straight Outta Compton, the movie documenting the rise and fall of gangster rap group N.W.A, came out this weekend to much success. Round about numbers suggest that the movie made somewhere between 40-50 million dollars (or even more than that). I went to see the movie myself. Being that I grew up in the height of N.W.A’s popularity, a lot of the story line was pretty familiar territory. Many people went to see the movie for the sake of nostalgia and entertainment.
Yet, there are going to be detractors to movies that has central characters of a more infamous nature.
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From Max's Dad:
Just a quick aside and movie recommendation.
Back in 1971 I remember a Life Magazine (yeah I'm old) featuring an article about a little experiment done during the summer at Stanford where a bunch of students, trying to pick up some grass money, volunteered to become either prison inmates or guards for two weeks. What happened was classic psychology. And expected.
The guards became power hungry assholes and the inmates became unhinged and timid. Gee,really?
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So Manifesto Joe has finally returned.
It's good to see the best blogger on line again. (Sorry, Burr).
I went to the new "Mad Max: Fury Road" movie expecting a masterpiece. It got a 98% "fresh" rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics, and was shot by the same director who popularized the franchise, the same Australian director (George Miller) who directed "The Road Warrior (1981)," which was indeed a masterpiece.
I have never been more disappointed by a film in my entire life, and I've seen one hell of a lot of movies.
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Not once in any Star Wars movie does someone pick up a book or newspaper, magazine, literary journal, or chapbook handmade by an aspiring Jawa poet. If something is read by someone in Star Wars, it’s almost certainly off of a screen (and even then, maybe being translated by a droid), and it’s definitely not for entertainment purposes. As early as the 1990s-era expanded Star Wars books and comic books, we’re introduced to ancient Jedi “texts” called holocrons, which are basically talking holographic video recordings. Just how long has the Star Wars universe been reliant on fancy technology to transfer information as opposed to the written word? Is it possible that a good number of people in Star Wars are completely illiterate?
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Groucho Marx, as a political leader in Duck Soup, yields to a plea for peace. The neighboring country, he is told, wants peace as much as he does. He is thankful. He will extend the hand of peace. He knows it won't be rejected. But suppose it is? How outrageous that will be! His anger at the prospect grows with each second.
I've always been entranced by the escalation of paranoia into indignation. I'm not talking about a clinical condition. Sometimes they really are out to get you. Remember Watergate?
Speculation based on no actual evidence transforms into outrage. It seems a contradiction to me. If a suspicion seems certain, something to be reasonably anticipated, part of the expected course of events, how can it be outrageous? If it is unreasonable, how would it be reasonably anticipated?
I suppose they'll do this. Why, how dare they!!!
When I encounter most anything written by CNN contributor Erick Erickson, I wonder if I will stumble into some new instance. Last year, just after Gabby Gifford was nearly assassinated and several of those around her were killed, a few folks falsely assumed the cheerleaders of violence, advocates of "second amendment remedies", might through their rhetoric have been partially responsible. I recall my own reaction, like most, as somewhat more confined.
Erickson's Groucho-like anger at President Obama was classic. Eric just knew, because it is so like those liberals, that they were advising Obama to put the tragedy to cynical use, and that the lamestream media would be predictably complicit.
We also know Barack Obama’s advisors are urging him to seize the moment and join the left in blaming the right for this violence. Not only is that disgusting, but should he, the media wringing their hands about the tone better call him out on it — but I won’t hold my breath.
Uh huh. He expresses peremptory outrage over the reasonably expected unreasonable actions. "Not only is that disgusting..."
So it was a pleasant surprise to find an actual insight last week. Okay. It wasn't exactly Erickson's insight. It was a spinoff from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Still, the application to a political figure was recognized. The insight is valid. Okay, it wasn't Erickson's insight, he discovered it in a TNR article by Chris Orr.
Still, we have to be impressed that a conservative reads The New Republic and occasionally recognizes, and is even open to, the wisdom that sometimes appears. Recognition of wisdom is a form of wisdom.
A Tarantino character riffs about Superman. Orr's summary is quoted by Erickson along with Orr's insight:
Superman was born Superman. It’s Clark Kent that is the invented alias, the pose, the “costume.” And in the way Superman plays Kent–weak, self-doubting, cowardly–we see his critique of the human race.
It occurred to me that the same is true of Romney’s desperate, if never terribly persuasive, impersonation of a conservative Republican. That persona–angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic–is exactly what Romney (who is himself cultured, content, and cosmopolitan) imagines the average GOP voter to be.
That's good. I think my insight, the fact that Romney's most important constituency has an strange and unexpected distaste for him, may dovetail with Erickson's Orr-inspired epiphany.
The questions Erickson misses seem obvious. One is whether Romney's impersonation will work. And to the extent that it does, whether that means conservatives see themselves as he does. And to the extent that they see themselves that way, whether they, in fact are accurately self-defined. Which is to say they are "angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic."
Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.
- - "Buck" Turgidson, fictional US General, 1964
In Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Informing the President that a crazed US officer has initiated nuclear war
- Going through to Whenever -
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