Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A Lesson in Humanity from Star Wars

Why popular culture heroes are so important, summed up in one anecdote.

"Hearts may inspire other hearts with their fire."

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Wit Called Wanda

All the scapegoats Republicans cite are dodges. The right wingers don't care how many children are shot to death in this country. Literally. 

They only care about their REAL babies, the guns.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ethics Begins in Empathy

Ethics begins with empathy, with the felt knowledge that others can be hurt in the same way you can. Dictators and mass murderers and torturers and Republicans aren’t ignorant of being wrong, they simply don’t care. They are power-hungry sociopaths.

The Devil is in the Dumbasses

Many are convinced that their problems are caused by other people’s sexual orientation and the teaching of scientific fact in classrooms. They pay serious attention when talk-radio hosts propose that everybody in schools be armed with guns, and when televangelists inform them that mental illness and hurricanes are caused by “the devil.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

'Succession' Dramatizes a Death Knell

I do like the fact that the concluding chapters of HBO's Succession are honing in on how a sufficiently corrupt “news” channel can, almost casually, destroy a democracy. 

Too bad this dramatic warning didn't air a quarter-century ago when we had a better chance of survival.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

CNN Parades Primal Resentment

Robert Freeman on the CNN Town Hall: "When you marry Trump’s force-of-nature demonic character with the money-seeking imperative of commercial media and stew it all in the primal resentment held by vast swaths of the public who believe that the country has shafted them, you get exactly, formulaically, what we saw last week: an almost satanic (certainly, sadistic) celebration of our worst side, our basest nature, our latent id, the devils of our lesser being. It couldn’t be anything but.

"The essence of Trump’s message and of Trumpism itself is this: “Tear it down. It’s shafted you, it’s rigged, and it cannot be redeemed.” This is exactly what Trump means when he says with deadly seriousness, “I am your retribution.” That is, “I am your retribution against a society that has shafted you.” The fact of Trump’s resilience is the proof of the depth — and the breadth —of this sentiment. It is fanatically shared by tens of millions of people. We ignore it at our peril.

"But “tear it down” is not a viable governing policy principle, which is why Republican policy proposals are nothing so much as nothing. There’s no “there” there. There are no actionable actions that can be acted on. It’s just vituperation, rage, conspiracy, histrionics and bile."

We Like What He Knew

Vincent Price examines his art collection in 1944

“Periods of discovery about yourself are seldom fun. It’s tough to realize how little you know just when you think you ought to know a lot, and that period immediately after graduation from college, when you suddenly realize for the first time than ‘commencement’ means beginning, and actually you are just beginning to learn — to live — it comes as a terrible blow to your ego. You become aware that all you really learned at college was HOW to learn and that continued learning is the true key to all existence. That is its real importance.”

 — Vincent Price, I Like What I Know

Friday, May 12, 2023

CNN Bellyflops into a Moral Sewer

On Wednesday night, ratings whore CNN actually PROMOTED a man who tried to violently overthrow American democracy. 

Their lack of even a pretense of journalistic ethics disgusts me. Nd I’m not alone. Journalists inside and outside CNN called the event a “disaster” and “CNN’s lowest moment.” Meanwhile, on Twitter, the hashtags and phrases BoycottCNN, DoneWithCNN and ByeCNN were trending.

With its latest “Trump Town Hall,” CNN did nothing but provide millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity to a nakedly fascist politician, the Republican rapist president. 

And that was the channel's intention all along. 

CNN is so desperately eager to dive into the Fox News sewer.

I’ve been expecting this kind of thing under CNN CEO Chris Licht. CNN’s new “non-ideological” policy is this: fire any reporters who might confront Republicans with verified facts, and sponsor lavish mob events to promote Republicans.

Donald Trump spewed a firehose of factual lies while CNN’s hand-picked audience of Trump sycophants laughed and cheered. CNN selected a hapless moderator as its “journalistic” fig leaf, knowing she’d be sacrificed to the pro-Trump mob they’d so carefully selected.

As a friend said: “My ‘Do Not Watch Ever Again’ List just grew. CNN is in good company on that list with 60 Minutes for interviewing Marjorie Taylor Greene. I refuse to be manipulated into viewership on ‘provocative’ alone. That never works. Don't they know that by now?”

And as SirCharlie said, “Why give Hitler a second shot at a Nuremberg rally? What could go wrong? Does a zebra change its stripes? Shame on CNN. Shame.”

“Putting him onstage, having him answer questions like a normal candidate who didn’t get people killed in the process of trying to end the democracy he’s attempting to once again run, normalizes what Trump did,” DC police officer Michael Fanone wrote. “It sends a message that attempting a coup is just part of the process; that accepting election results is a choice; and that there are no consequences, in the media or in politics or anywhere else, for rejecting them.”

As Umair Haque observed, “The Dems are seriously underplaying the danger of an entire media ecosystem basically being swung to the furthest right. That’s a gigantic warning sign of democratic implosion.”

When even Fox News attacks CNN for its lack of journalistic ethics, irony is officially dead, buried and rotted.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

'Guardians 3:' Ya Gotta Have Heart

Bart, Paul and I just saw and enjoyed the Oz-like extravaganza Guardians of the Galaxy 3, which was full of both action and comedic fun. It’s the best Marvel movie in a good while.

This superhero movie is, without belaboring the point, even “about” something — class and cruelty, and the thing that opposes them.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Song of Spring

New leaves sway and play, 

greenly restful to the eye,

yellowish with youth.