Reason and Radical
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
X-Men 3Saw this on Monday. I am underwhelmed. As a huge fan of X2, I didn't expect much from this one after Bryan Singer's departure to direct my most-anticipated film of the summer, "Superman."
The director, Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour") is Michael Bay in training and it shows. X3 is poorly directed -- only the battle sequences are exciting. There is no emotional connection with the characters or storyline -- without giving too much away, a major character that I love dies and I felt nothing. The only time I reacted emotionally was laughing at a knees in the balls joke. Oy.
Its not terrible, but its not great. Lame script, weak directing and uninspiring acting (except from Ian McKellen). Some of the new characters -- The Beast and Kitty Pryde -- were good. Hugh Jackman seemed to be sleepwalking through half of this. And Halle Berry -- man, does she suck! I am not a fan of hers -- her Oscar is one of the most undeserved in history. She gives what is supposed to be the biggest emotional speech of the film and it was incomprehensible, not to mention boring.
I'm sure I'll buy the DVD but this movie did nothing for me.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Southern Singers and Campaign Finance ReformI can't believe that with all the crap in the news and after not writing on this blog for 3 weeks, I'm going to write about American Idol. But I did notice that all the winners have been from the south:
- Kelly -- Texas
- Ruben -- Alabama (and runner-up Clay from North Carolina)
- Fantasia -- North Carolina
- Carrie -- Oklahoma
- Taylor -- Alabama
Interesting. I watched a fair amount of the first two seasons because my daughter was a fan then (I didn't care for it but I watched to relate to her interests). But, unlike most of America, she grew up and now at 15 she hates American Idol. Every time I see a news report on the show, though, I'm amazed at how cheesy it is and how lame most of the singers are. Seeing news clips this morning from last night's finale of the Idol finalists up against professional singers (Mary J. Blige, Meatloaf, etc) you can really see and hear just how lame-o the Idol contestants are.
All of these type of shows (and most especially that dumb-ass deal show with Howie Mandel) seem to me to be the last vestige of the so-called American Dream. The reality is that 98% of us will not move out of our socio-economic class and in fact, due to the looting of America by the super wealthy, your status will like diminish. The foolish notion that "if you work hard enough, you can achieve the American Dream" (which I've always taken to mean you will do better socio-economically than your parents) is just that -- foolish. So these shows are popular because, like the lottery, they offer the only real hope of achieving the American Dream.
The American Dream concept has only applied to the 2 generations after WWII anyway and with the actions of Congress over the last 30 years with tax laws favoring the super rich, its all been destroyed. I blame Democrats as much as Republicans for this. The reason, I think, is that pretty much only very wealthy people can afford to run campaigns for major offices and thus they protect themselves when they get there by passing laws that favor wealthier people.
Campaign finance reform now!
How did I get from American Idol to campaign finance reform?!
Monday, May 01, 2006
ColbertApparently -- and I will have to catch the replay on CSPAN -- Colbert was freakin' hilarious at the White House press correspondents dinner Saturday. But since he skewered the media pretty thoroughly, they seem to be ignoring him. Atrios has the Best of Colbert.
This is good, too, from Salon:
Then he turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."
It was Colbert's crowning moment. His imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. He reversed and flattened the meaning of the words he spoke. It's a tactic that the cultural critic Greil Marcus once called the "critical negation that would make it self-evident to everyone that the world is not as it seems." Colbert's jokes attacked not just Bush's policies, but the whole drama and language of American politics, the phony demonstration of strength, unity and vision. "The greatest thing about this man is he's steady," Colbert continued, in a nod to George W. Bush. "You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."
It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld, or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more "truthiness" than truth.
Three Years Ago...The steely eyed missle man Bush declared "Mission Accomplished." Click here and scroll down to see how much damage has been caused since. The executive summary:
2400 dead Americans
15,000 to 20,000 insurgents
Bush's approval rating: 38%