Category Archives: General

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Jurassic Park Is About Smart People, Jurassic World Just the Opposite

Comparing how Jurassic Park and Jurassic World treat smart people in the plot:

“The thing that made jurassic Park great was a reverence for intelligence. Everyone in that movie, literally everyone, is smart and capable. The kids, the snivelling Lawyer, Even the fat slob bad guy Dennis Nedry. The movie goes to great pains to show that he’s the best there is at his job.

“For an early 90’s action movie, this was a revelation. The 80’s was full of ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ action heroes that were idolised for their can-do attitude and straight talkin’, ‘ folksy stupidity. Smart people filled exactly two roles: the bad guy (whose smartness was a weakness exploited by the hero) or the bumbling sidekick and bully victim. Smart people were a plot device, existing only to be protected by the strong-yet-stupid hero, or defeated by their overthinking and their evil commie ways. Nerds are to be mocked. Jocks are the heroes. As for smart women, forget about it. Nerd ladies don’t get to be married, let alone heroic.

“Then along comes Jurassic Park. Here was a film where the baddest motherfucker on the screen was a chaos-mathlete ladykiller with a black leather leather jacket and 400 dollar shoes. The idea of a rockstar mathematician blew my mind when I saw it as a kid. You can be cool AND smart? sign me up! It’s not limited to Ian Malcolm. A Teenage hacker girl and a shotgun weilding paleo-botanist to this day are some of my favourite female characters of all time. They’re both Feminist as fuck. Some of the exchanges between them and the men around them are just epic. That’s what makes this film so great. Sure the dinosaurs are awesomebut the film isn’t about them. We’ve seen dinosaurs before. The film is about a bunch of smart people being smart, and being celebrated for that smartness not shit all over for it. Can you imagine anything more inspiring to an insecure smart kid who had been fed a steady diet of movies where the only characters you can relate to are punchbags for the hero? I know I’m not the only one who feels like that.

“Then we get Jurassic World. Fuck. That. Movie.

“All of the progress that the first film had made was suddenly thrown out of the window. The 80’s tropes are right back in there; The hero is a fucking cowboy military man. One female character is literally choosing between work and life, as though being good at your job is unseemly for a lady. And she runs in high heels.

“There are exactly two smart people in this film. Number one is Henry Wu, mad scientist. He’s the bad guy. In case you couldn’t tell, he literally wears a bad guy black rollneck shirt from the moment you first see him on screen. Boo, mad scientist! Science is bad!

“Number two is the nerdy little brother. His entire character arc is essentially ‘man up, stop crying and thinking about things so much, and jump off this cliff.’ thats it. He is there literally to tell children to stop being such a fucking geek.

“This is why I hate this movie. I saw it in the cinema and I happened to be sat right by some young kids seeing the film with their parents. They were giggling and whooping at the spectacle, and it was spectacular, but did they leave the cinema feeling validated for who they are? Did they feel like the film gavr them permission to be a fucking mathematician bad ass or a riot grrl hacker? I doubt it.”

Full discussion in context.

Modern Family - Series 06
Gallery
Sarah Hyland as Haley, Ariel Winter as Alex, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Julie Bowen as Claire, Ty Burrell as Phil, SofÌa Vergara as Gloria, Rico Rodriguez as Manny, Nolan Gould as Luke and Ed O'Neill as Jay.
TM and © 2013 Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved. Patent Pending.

The Party of Family Values

Some proposed new framing:

“So if Republicans are now the party of anger and hatred (and I think they are), what does that leave on the table for Democrats? I know we’ve tried the Unity and Togetherness and Love things, but frankly those are pretty cheesy and to a lot of people sound wimpy.

“I’d propose something else. The Party of Families. I would really like to see Dems start talking incessantly about families. It works so well on so many issues. Immigration? The GOP are trying to break up families. LGBTQ rights? The GOP are trying to invalidate our marriages and break up our families. Reproductive rights? The GOP want to legislate decisions that should be left to families about when and how often they should expand. Healthcare? The GOP wants to bankrupt your family if you get sick. Education? The GOP wants to defund public schools and put the burden back on working families to pay for education.

“I think the GOP have left ‘Family Values’ on the table and I think we need to pick it up. And make it deliberately an inclusive definition of family. Including all the complicated, modern ways that families form and grow. Including families of choice but not blood.

“I’d really like to see the GOP [get] hit on this. They are trying to destabilize our communities and our families and they need to be called on it.”

Discussion in context.

ann-richards

Texans Gonna Texan

A Texans responds to the redneck stereotype:

“Texas produced Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards and Wendy Davis’ filibuster and Molly Ivins and we have a whole lot of Texans who want to breathe life into that tradition! My partner and my family were at that Muslim Solidarity rally–are they not Texan? Because my roomie has left the state only a few times in her goddamn life!

“Why the fuck do assholes like that get to stand out as being Southern? Why the fuck do you people think of Bull Connor when you think ‘Alabama’, and not MLK? Why is ‘rural white racist’ the stereotype you smug bastards reach for, when you think of half of America, and not the people pushing back?

“I live here too, asshole. When I march my ass down to the capitol as soon as I finish this experiment, that will be a Texan Texaning. Christ on a motherfucking crutch! We’re here too! Why the fuck won’t out-of-staters ever acknowledge that the resistance is part of the fabric and the history and identity of these states, not just the overlords?”

Full discussion in context.

Image from the documentary Ann Richards’ Texas.

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Batman vs Green Arrow

A Reddit compares the origin stories of Batman and Green Arrow:

“Batman, when his parents were killed, began his life-long quest for Justice and/or Vengeance, depending on iteration. He studied, fought, and beat his way back to the world he vowed to reform. Fundamentally, Bruce Wayne was broken and shattered, and pieced himself back from the fragments.

“Green Arrow, on the other hand, has a very different story. He was an actual playboy, what Bruce pretends to be, for most of his life. When he was stranded on Starfish Island (comics) or Lian Yu (TV show), his former life fell apart. Everyone thought he was dead, and he had no way off the island. In both, he was forced to survive, got his skills, etc. out of necessity. When he later encounters a group doing something he knows is wrong, he realizes he has the skills- And therefore the obligation- to do something about it.

“Bruce threw away his life and reforged himself into a weapon for Justice. His stories are about revenge, justice for past crimes, and balancing the line between Hero and violent Vigilante.

“Oliver had his life thrown away, and was reforged into a tool of heroism. His stories are about second chances, vindication, and defending the wall between the darker sides of the world and its innocent civilians.”

Discussion in context.

child-eating-monster

Child-Eating Monster on NPR

From a discussion on Metafilter:

Audie: You’re listening to NPR. I’m Audie Cornish. The monster that promises to eat us and our children continues to creep ever closer. Today I’ll be speaking with one of its lesser feeding-pods.

Audie: Toothy pod, many have expressed concern about some comments made earlier regarding your overall vision for America.

Pod: I will eat you and your children. I will taste their sufferings and viscera. My only purpose is to destroy you and everything you love.

Audie: So you believe these fears to be unfounded hysterics?

Pod: I am unburdened by mercy or sapience. Within me your spirit will scream eternal.

Audie: Great to have you on, pod. Thanks so much for joining us today. Up next, we’ll be hearing from the monster’s pyloric sphincter about criticisms that its digestive enzymes might sting. Please send us money.

Image is of Gryla, a child-eating Christmas monster from Icelandic folklore.

betsy-devos

Why DeVos is a Disaster

“Not that this is unexpected, but as a teacher, I feel I must tell you all:

“The Federal role in education has not really ever been about curriculum or how local and state funding mechanisms are structured. It’s always been more about protecting the rights and needs of those who are not part of the center of the bell curve when it comes to their ability to access the education we are all guaranteed. The Federal role in education is mostly felt through the enforcement and funding behind things like IDEA (for children with disabilities), Title IX (for equal access), Title I (for students in poverty), and a handful of other programs.

“Betsy Devos is completely ignorant of these programs and has no interest in enforcing them. If your child is poor, female, or struggling with a disability (learning or otherwise), you can expect the Federal DOE to be most notable in its absence of support.

“What Betsy DeVos is most interested in are the elements of education which are actually the purview of the states and local municipalities — curriculum, instruction, and funding mechanisms. What we can expect to see is a massive federal over-reach into states’ abilities to legislate their own curriculum (including the adoption and implementation of common core), determine their own mechanisms for determining which institutions deserve funding (including efforts to legitimize religious education as a state sponsored activity), and teacher evaluations and responsibilities.

“If you are for quality education, she is your worst nightmare.

“If you are a fan of states’ rights, she is your worst nightmare.

“If you are a fan of competence, she is your worst nightmare.

“The only plus side: She’s a complete incompetent and she is running an agency that hates her, so her power will be mitigated by both her own stupidity and the fact that her agency will be working actively against her.”

Discussion in context.

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Globalization Isn’t the Problem.

“Curious that the burden falls on the American working class to lift poor Chinese out of poverty by giving up their jobs while the American 1% gets richer from globalization. That is class warfare in its essence.

The American working class voted in the people who oversaw the wholesale gutting of the labor union while presiding over stagnant wages. The deal was that manufacturing would head out and we’d all transition to service economies. This has been possible and the transition has been successful in multiple western economies.

Globalization isn’t the problem. It’s the businesses owners capitalizing on market instability to slash wages. There was no way to stop globalization. There was a way to make sure people can live a comfortable and dignified life throughout the transition. The Republican governments did NOTHING to ameliorate the situation. Now we blame something that was inevitable instead of the crooks that looted the country over the past four decades.” Metafilter

Image is George Cruikshank’s “The British Bee Hive” painting depicting the society in the way Adam Smith saw it.