Sunday, December 14, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The next time some civic-minded twit sanctimoniously tut-tuts about your lack of civic participation telling you that "It's sacred because people died fighting so you could...", ask them if Naziism, Communism, slavery and other not so nice causes are equally sacred because people died fighting for them also.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
I recently read an interview with long-time comedian Chris Rock on Reason.com in which he lamented that he and the late George Carlin weren't welcome on college campuses because today's collegians are just too darn sensitive. Apart from the obvious objection I have where people criticize the victim mentality by claiming that, no, they are the real victims, I was put in mind of something said by Monty Python legend Terry Gilliam. I heard this watching a special showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a truly awesome example of quirky and transgressive film-making)on Comedy Central in the late '90s where they included a commentary by Gilliam (and I think Terry Jones). Near the end of the movie Gilliam discussed the reception of Monty Python and the Meaning of Life by UCLA film students and how the students "just weren't into being offended anymore". Never mind that The Meaning of Life is two hours of epic failure - half-assedly written and performed by the remaining cast members taking for granted that the brand would sell no matter what. No, it was the oversensitive, sheltered kiddiewinks who just weren't down with the street anymore. What you have to keep in mind with this is that Gilliam was there when transgressive, edgy comedy became mainstream. Starting with the resurgence of George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Moving on to Sam Kinison and "Dice" Clay selling records and selling out stadiums. Despite (or possibly because of) the efforts of stiff-necked moralists everywhere (who won a few battles but definitely lost the war), by the end of the 80's, edge was everywhere. Continuing on into the 90's, we had gory video games, porn stars on the verge of becoming mainstream celebrities, Time magazine regularly featured reports on the growing phenomenon of internet porn, MTV was an endless parade of toilets and transvestites and by the time Gilliam made his remarks, a little show called South Park was making waves (and lots of money). And yet, according to Mr. Python, it was Milquetoast since '81. It's entirely impossible to him that The Meaning of Life sucked donkey balls and that his entire output since then had only niche cult appeal. Which brings me back to Chris and George. I highly doubt that Chris Rock, a performer whose best days occurred in a different century and whose best recent credit was little more than a walk-on in Silver Linings Playbook (probably because DeNiro felt bad for him) is a hot property for those who book campus venues - and if he were really explosively popular odds are that campuses couldn't afford to pay his going rate. But virtually no one who is 18-24 really wants to see their grandfather's favorite comic. I didn't see myself at 18 wanting to beat a path to a Henny Youngman show. As for George, I'm a huge fan of his work up until the 2000's. His last couple of HBO shows before his passing were him morosely whining about how people insincerely saying "Have a nice day" was causing the collapse of civilization. A suicidally depressed old fart doesn't move tickets for anyone without nostalgia for said sad old fart's better days. So, Chris Rock is not being persecuted and shunned for being un-PC (in that case, please explain the continuing success of South Park and the Family Guy franchise) he just sucks.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
So, the new Star Wars movie trailer is finally out. I'm sure it'll be better than the prequels but that's like saying that something might be better than getting thrown into a stump grinder. Still, with the original cast involved, I can't help shake the feeling that they're going to be bumped off for a new set of protagonists. I'm at peace with that. These are action movies. As the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull showed, watching someone old enough to be a grandfather trying to do action just doesn't work. Here is how I see the old guard passing: Leia: Almost right out of the opening crawl. From what I've read, Carrie Fisher really doesn't have that much screen time so it's logical to assume that in order to start the new story off something drastic happens which involves the death of TOC (The Original Cast). Maybe the re-emergent empire offs the Coruscant senate and Leia goes with it. Lando Calrissian: As the "black guy" quota was met already, Billy Dee does not make an appearance. His off-screen death will be mentioned briefly in a DVD Bonus Deleted Scene. Wedge Antilles: See Above C3PO and R2D2: They'll be killed in an anti-climactic manner to make way for the new CGI droids. Putting a merciful end to almost 40 years of gay robot jokes (seriously people, that got old by '83). Han Solo and Chewbacca: Like Captain Kirk, there's no good way to bump off Han and Chewie. It'll likely be near the end of the required Climactic Battle, in an "almost made it" kind of way. It is kind of necessary to complete the "selfish rogue to selfless hero" arc but it would be out of character to have Han knowingly snuff it. At least we know that with Abrams it won't be Han an Chewie getting crushed by a bridge. Luke: Gets killed off pretty early but only to be the new trilogy's Force Ghost.