Archive for November, 2008

Oh, Chuck Norris, Don’t Talk
November 19, 2008

I saw this this morning, a quote from Chuck Norris on the passage of Prop 8:

“The truth is that the great majority of Prop. 8 advocates are not bigots or hatemongers. They are American citizens who are following 5,000 years of human history and the belief of every major people and religion: Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. Their pro-Prop. 8 votes weren’t intended to deprive any group of its rights; they were safeguarding their honest convictions regarding the boundaries of marriage.

On Nov. 4, the pro-gay community obviously was flabbergasted that a state that generally leans left actually voted right when it came to holy matrimony. But that’s exactly what happened; the majority of Californians — red, yellow, black and white — voted to define the margins of marriage as being between one man and one woman. California is the 30th state in our union to amend its constitution in doing so, joining Florida and Arizona in this election. Like it or not, it’s the law now. The people have spoken.”

I’m struck by the unbelievable hypocrisy of this. Not the unbelievably hypocrisy of the mere position of demanding that marriage be ONLY between a man and a woman, but the staggering hypocrisy of those final two sentences: “Like it or not, it’s the law now. The people have spoken.”

Sure, Chuck. I’m sure you feel that way about all laws, right? Like, say, my right to choose?

If the right wing and hatemongers really want us to believe that they support the law because it is law, then they have to stop spouting this nonsense about taking away our right to choose. If they want to topple that law, then they have to articulate that one can and one should actively oppose the laws they don’t support, and shut up about our protest of Prop 8, which will hopefully be put up to ANOTHER vote, or simply declared unconstitutional, since it is so incredibly discriminatory. Either way, they can’t have it both ways, and I am so, so very tired of listening to them try to.

Can we please, please, put the right wing on mute for a couple months? Please?

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Movie Madness
November 18, 2008

mad-hatter

K: Goddamnit, the chick who’s writing Burton’s Alice in Wonderland wrote Homeward Bound and The Lion King and the Teen Wolf television show and My Little Pony and Friends. The Lion King, I suppose, is better than your typical Disney movie (at least since ’94), but all Burton really needs to do to get awesome again is hire a good fucking writer.

S: I feel like the movies have really, really minimized what they think the role of the writer in a good movie is. As if you can get by on having a recognizable cast, a noteable art director, and a whimisical director who will make the movie visually appealing despite it empty characters, and gutted story. I can’t tell if it’s ignorance of arrogance. Whichever it is, I really wish they’d stop it.

K: It’s both. That’s exactly what it is. And when so much money becomes involved of course it’s the writing that suffers first. The ten thousand suits who threw in their money want the broadest appeal possible and the biggest return on their investment.

The second thing Burton needs to do to get awesome again is make a small movie.

S: K’s Plan for Rehabilitating the Career of Tim Burton. I like it. It’s like the New Deal, for one very small slice of Hollywood.

I just don’t understand where the disconnect between quality and quantity happened. Because the good writers are reduced to working on very small “independent” (I put quotes around that because buying independent film houses has become such a Hollywood executive pastime that I really no longer know whether I’m truly watching an Indie film or not anymore) films in order to get enough creative control to properly tell a story, the executives tell themselves over and over again that said writers don’t have “broad appeal,” despite the fact that the market (through the whims of the execs) is determining where the talent goes, not the other way around. So when the opportunity to put a Good Writer on a Big Movie comes around, the execs think it won’t have any mainstream appeal and instead focus on casting and money and names and art direction as if it’s enough to make up for the lack of plot.

As the consumers of movies, I feel like there should be a way to demand to have quality put back into films — I mean, as recently as 15 or so years ago you had big summer blockbusters that, while not the most contemplative pieces ever committed to celluloid, were well written, well-crafted, well acted, and awesome. I don’t understand why we can’t just go back to that. I don’t understand how to convince the Hollywood bigwigs that we are really, really, really tired of having to watch great stories be gutted by bad writers.

K: To be fair, there are interesting people making big movies now. Take Favreau and Iron Man, Nolan and The Dark Knight, Del Toro and Hell Boy, Marc Forster and Bond, but these are all slightly older guys who started out making smaller movies in the 90s. Same with the other big names who make more personal films like P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, Linklater, Fincher, etc. All these guys either write their movies themselves or demand a good script, but they’ve been adopted by the studios. There hasn’t been a boom of talent like the one that gave us these guys in ten years, so we’re not seeing any young dynamos making smaller pictures that blow us away. We need some fresh talent, young blood.

And here’s the quality control strategy: skip High School Musical and go see Slumdog Millionaire.

S: Well, I’ve never seen a High School Musical movie, though I still think it might be a truly hilarious drunk/stoned adventure one cold, cold winter evening.

Slumdog Millionarie looks awesome. Really awesome.

And you’re right. You are. But it feels like Hollywood is no longer interested in fostering talent whatsoever. It’s frustrating because it keeps the entire industry stuck in a kind of forced inertia. The guys who have worked and earned their right to hire great writers, or who have become great writers, do what they can do, but if you’re not nurturing the next generations of standout talents, how can you ever hope for the industry as a whole to survive and thrive? Which is, I guess, why we see television taking such a marked turn in a positive direction; writers who are frustrated with their inability to get anyone in the movie industry to listen to them and their ideas are turning to the small screen instead, where the plethora of channels and time slots (because, really, let’s be honest with ourselves, there is a LOT of crap TV that gets put on air for an episode or two every season) give them far more opportunity to experiment with their ideas and more time and leniency, if they can get past the initial chopping block, to develop intricate plots and characters. The question, as I see it, is whether the movie industry can ever get back to a place where it’s willing to give these guys (and girls) a chance again.

Enough Hate
November 16, 2008

I saw this originally posted by Rich over at FourFour. It is something everyone should see. It is something everyone should listen to. We should never even consider taking away the rights of anyone to love and marry whomever they want. At a time of great celebration and great change, a time of opportunity and hope, to have such a dark, ugly shadow cast across our progress is sickening.

Overturn Prop 8 today.

One More Thing About The Election
November 6, 2008

John McCain gave an excellent, moving, and heartfelt concession speech. It warmed my heart and my soul, through and through, to see that the thoughtful, respectful and intelligent Senator who I had much respect for at the beginning of this whole shebang was still under that GOP-shellacked-shell somewhere. Well done, McCain. And please, don’t ever let the GOP turn you into such a crazy, angry, ridiculous old man again. You are better than that.

A Letter To The Rest of The World
November 6, 2008

Obama 2008

Dear World,

Hold on. Let’s take a moment to look at that picture. Oh man, is that a pretty picture.

World, I totally understand how you’re feeling right now. That is a damn pretty picture, and these are extraordinary days. You’ve all be holding your breath almost as long as we have, watching this election with an intensity that we have certainly never, ever devoted to any of your elections. This is major, for you as our allies and our enemies, as the countries we continue to have some sort of magical hold over since we are America and you are, simply, the World.

That sounds really cocky , but it’s true. Why else would you care so much? Despite the fact that it is no longer the 20th century, and we are no longer fighting the Cold War (althoug Cold War II looks like it might be coming up around the corner… but hey, that’s what we’ve got Obama for right? Ahhhh, President Obama!), we are still apparently the world’s greatest Super Power and the mistakes of the last 8 years (the mistakes? the unmitigated disaster!) have affected you, our friends and neighbors to the North, South, East and West, almost as much as they’ve affected us here at home.

Some of you have been truly wonderful to us, as we’ve travelled abroad during the Bush presidency. You’ve seen us as individuals, humans, Americans who are not defined by the great fuck up in our government. You see that we did not all support that misguided dictator, that we were fighting as hard as we could to take our country back. You soothed us with words and with reassurances that you do not hate us all universaly. You reaffirmed the notion that Americans, no matter what their government does, can and will be liked internationally. And that came as a great relief to us who watched with so much dismay as our country seemed to crumble around us.

You were our cheerleaders during this election, putting (sometimes ridiculous) pressure on us to elect the right man. And we did it. And we are thankful, truly thankful, that you had our back for the last eight years and this election. But. But.

You did not vote in this election, we did. You did not transform with this election, we did. And you need to back off just a little bit and let us celebrate this great victory and great change amongst ourselves.

I have become exceedingly weary, in the last eight years but the last two in particular, of hearing people (and, for some reason, this is particularly prevalent among Canadians) tell me why I should do what I already know I should do: vote for Obama. I am tired of hearing the mantras about everything we’ve done wrong (qualified, always, with “Well, I know you’re not doing it, personally, but Bush…”), and all the ways in which we’ve fucked up. There is an element of glee in the voices of those who so cynically assessed my country, a great country, a country without which the world as we know it today would look very, very different. Intellectually, I can understand this: to see a country rise so quickly to such unprecedented power, to experience them wandering the world and claiming things and triumphs as their own without much regard as to the efforts of the countries they were supporting; I would get annoyed by that, too. It’s hard not to gloat a little bit when they make a huge misstep; when they stumbled badly, and almost fall. There is an element of personal vindication when you see the Super Power is not perfect, or even infallable.

But it was unneccessary. You forget that we all had to live through someone STEALING an election, from under our noses, before our eyes. You forget that we had to live through the PAIN of 9/11, a pain from which many of us are still recovering, a pain that came immediately after the devestation of watching one party steal the government for themselves, perverting the great ideals of democracy in one fell swoop. And then we were left, helpless, unable to get the maniac out of office, unable to take back the legistlative branch, unable to bring back the BALANCE that is so central to a working democracy. The country, the citizens, AMERICANS, felt like they were drowning in their own homeland. It has been a very, very difficult eight years.

We knew all that. We were acutely aware of it. Your assessment of our failure wasn’t needed, although we listened because we’ve done much the same thing to other countries. We took it in. We were polite about it. But beneath the surface there was one angry, challenging question: “Oh yeah? Well, what have you done for the world lately, eh?”

As a country we have taken, in the last century, a remarkable amount of responsibility for other countries onto our shoulders. We have intervened, as best we could, to protect our allies from the oppression and danger of the Soviet Union, to give aid to countries in need, to provide protection and help to people in danger. Have we done so perfectly? No. Have we ousted good leaders and replaced them with terrible dictators? Yes. Have we funded militia movements and later abandoned them, setting ourselves up for attacks and anti-American movements? Yes. Have we misplaced our trust in leaders who were bad, and been stuck supporting them for years? Yes. Have we turned against our own allies (or tentative allies) without good reason? Yes. But, have we at least tried to be an active and aggressive force for good in the world? YES. We have put ourselves out there, which is a helluva lot more than a lot of you guys can say.

We are happy, now, at the dawn of a new American era. We are happy you are happy, World, because we want to be friends with you, we want to get along, we want to live harmoniously and go back to being that force for good that we once were and always knew we could be again. We want to be on your side. But this is an eletion we won for ourselves. We weren’t thinking about you when we voted for Obama. Sure, we need to improve our standing in the world, but that was not our first priority. The real tragedy of the Bush Administration was how thoroughly it broke our American Spirit, our American Dream. How deeply divided and pained the country has been from the inside out; how much faith we have lost in ourselves. On Tuesday, as we waited in long lines to cast a single, hugely important, vote, we renewed our vows with our country: We took back our land, our people, and our spirit from those who would have broken it to gain their own power and wealth, and we pledged to each other, as Americans, that we would be brothers and sisters, citizens united with the common goal of making America back into the promised land it was for so long.

Thank you, thank you, World, for your kind words. But this is a victory we will celebrate by ourselves, with ourselves. So please stop telling us you are “proud” of our choice, like we are children who needed your guidance to pick the apple over the poison. We made up our own minds, like big girls and boys, and we are sure as hell proud to be Americans again.

S and K Get Gushy Over Obama
November 5, 2008

large_thefour

Oh my, what a pretty picture.

S: President Obama.

Just say it.

President Obama.

K: squeeeeee!

Yes.
November 5, 2008

Obama 2008

We Can.

Election Day!
November 4, 2008

S and K say “VOTE FOR OBAMA!” I doubt you’re surprised, if you’ve looked at this blog over any period of time.

The only way to bear this day is to laugh through it. Or be totally appalled:

S: 128700564682753362

K: By the way, is that Sarah Palin signing the sign?

S: Yes.

K: What the fuck?

S: Yes.