Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Abolitionize Colorado!

April 15, 2007

From TIME this week:

“Eagle Pass, Texas, adopts a zero-tolerance policy called Operation Streamline, in which border agents stop sending migrants home and send them to jail instead.  Colorado proposes paying prison inmates 60 cents a day to pick the peppers once harvested by undocumented workers.”

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Overheard

March 20, 2007

On the set of House today, I heard one end of a phone conversation that just plain didn’t make any sense.

“….”
“You mean the ragin’ Cajun, James Carville.”
“….”
“Oh, you must mean Tucker Carlson?”
“….”
“I know who you’re thinking of: Gene Shalit.”
“….”
“Maybe Joel Siegel from Good Morning America?”

I tried my best to fill in the other end of the conversation.

-“Hey dude, help me out, I’m thinking of a guy on TV. You know, he’s on TV, sorta unusual looking. Talks about politics.”
-“You mean the ragin’ Cajun, James Carville.”
-“No, no, not him. Not so ugly. And not bald. And with a bowtie.”
-“Oh, you must mean Tucker Carlson?”
-“No, older than that. And with a fro. And maybe instead of being a political commentator like I said before, he reviews movies.”
-“I know who you’re thinking of: Gene Shalit.”
-“No. Forget the bowtie. I guess I made that up too. Sorta like Geraldo, but not Geraldo.”
-“Maybe Joel Siegel from Good Morning America?”
-“No, no, not him. You’re not very good at this are you?”

World Trade Center

August 15, 2006

A bunch of videogame articles over the past few years have compared the medium’s struggle to find artistic acceptance with the similar struggle the film industry went through. Apparently those articles jumped to conclusions by using past tense.

The new Andrea Berloff/Oliver Stone picture World Trade Center has seemingly half the country crying “too soon!” I can understand their objection. Watching the first United 93 trailer last year made me uncomfortable, and I too wondered about the motivations of the filmmakers. Then I saw the movie. It was a gruelling experience, but one well worth having, and one I chose to have. The film was tastefully done, informative and accurate. It brought back emotions in me that I’d repressed, emotions (namely rage) that I as a person and we as a nation should not be allowed to forget about. Writer/director Paul Greengrass did us all a favor making that film.

If you feel it’s too soon for this type of art, don’t see the movie, but don’t expect to be coddled either. As a society, we’ve healed enough to begin reflecting. If you as a person have not, understand your feelings are not universal.

Mostly what I want to know is this: where was the country’s rage when Jonathan Safran Foer wrote Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close over a year ago? Where was the rage when poets across the nation used 9/11 as fodder for their slam sessions? Why are Oliver Stone’s pictures of synthetic wreckage five years later inciting so much more anger and anxiety than the networks endlessly airing footage of the towers falling?

The answer to this, judging from the editorials and online rants and letters-to-the-editor I’ve read, is that Hollywood is out for profit. Let me clarify a few points for those who write such things…

Hollywood is a location. One with high rent and more than its fair share of transvestite prostitutes. It is not a person or an organization and it cannot have an agenda.

We live in a capitalist society. This means that art (which is kind of a false concept anyway, but that’s a post unto itself) has become product. Jon Foer writes books, and he gets paid for it. Paul Greengrass makes movies, and he gets paid for that. The two main differences are that more people are interested in Greengrass’s medium of choice, and that Foer has fewer clever marketing types working to get his art sold. Maybe that’s only one difference.

Also, consider this: before he made United 93, Paul Greengrass directed The Bourne Supremacy, cementing him as a successful action filmmaker. Financially, making a controversial, unconventional $15 million film was a terrible career move.

Tell you what. If Take Two Interactive starts work on a WTC videogame, I’ll get upset along with the rest of you. Until then, stop picking on the cinema. It’s the only art form we have left that anyone seems to notice.

Lieberman has *always* sucked

August 7, 2006

…which is why I find it strange that the backlash against him has just recently made headway. Or at least, the backlash against the backlash has recently made headway. And headlines.

I’m not from Connecticut and I’m not a registered Democrat, so my views on the matter are largely irrelevant, but let me try to spell it out for those who keep trying to simplify things: it’s not just the war. It’s that, like the President, he wants to increase funding in almost every level of government while somehow decreasing tax rates. It’s that, like the President, his support of the first amendment is shaky at best. It’s that he positions himself as an independent, innovative reformer, but doesn’t seem to have any original thoughts on the really difficult problems. It’s that he comes across like someone’s well-meaning dad at a PTA meeting who doesn’t appear to know what’s really going on.

I don’t know if this Ned Lamont fellow will be any better, but I won’t be sad to see Lieberman go.

Gay marriage

August 6, 2006

Dear Washington Supreme Court,

I’m sure you are all wonderful justices, otherwise you wouldn’t have made to a state bench. But I would like you to explain to me your seemingly arbitrary conclusion that “limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples … furthers the well-being of children.” I also wonder how you decided that “further[ing] procreation” is a universally good thing when the global population is still rising, and when there are so many adorable starving babies out there still to be adopted. Now you probably have science on your side when you say that procreation is necessary to the “survival of the human race.” Sort of. But do you believe there are a significant number of people out there who are willing to marry and start procreating based on your decision?

“Well… on one hand, I love vagina. On the other hand, I really, really like wearing wedding dresses and filing joint tax returns.”

But mostly what I wonder is this: WHEN IN THE HELL DID THE SURVIVAL OF THE HUMAN RACE BECOME PART THE JURISDICTION OF THE WASHINGTON STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEM?

End letter.

I’m willing to accept that maybe the current wording of certain laws doesn’t allow for gay marriage. It doesn’t seem right to me, but I don’t know enough about law to hold an informed opinion. I’m even willing to accept that for some old people, homosexuality is a new and scary thing, like the Internet, and that we’ll have to wait for a few more of them to die before we can push through any serious legislation.

But I don’t understand and don’t accept people like Joseph Fuiten. I don’t understand how someone could spend so much time and energy opposing gay marriage, sending out letters and buttons and making speeches. I don’t get it. At best, he’s sticking his nose in an issue that doesn’t affect him in any way. At worst, he’s actively trying to prevent a group of people from finding happiness. They have a word for that type of personality in the comics world: supervillain. But instead of superpowers and a sense of humor, all Fuiten has is an outdated blog and a stick up his closet case ass where a cock should be.

And I don’t understand how people like him can complain about judicial activism and then applaud this silly ruling.