truly, Todd Seavey, will appear onstage
as part of a big comedy/politics panel featuring the likes of the chairman
of the Free Silver Party and an
actual Marvel Comics editor (not that Marvel can be blamed for Tom Brennan’s
actions). I will strive not merely to be as funny as the other panelists but as funny as
that guy who’s replacing my childhood hero David Letterman. You can RSVP to the so-called
Electoral Dysfunction panel on Facebook -- or just risk showing up at
9:30pm on April 18 at Peoples Improv, 123 East 24th St..
•It’s hard to be funnier than the stuff the politics-media
establishment expects us to take seriously,
though, like that badly-photoshopped profile of White House propagandist Jay
ALL THIS WEEK:
For Passover, here are a few non-funny
items on people who make life difficult for the Jews (besides this weekend's
horrible Kansas shooter, who reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler” during his
THROUGH APRIL 26th:
I cannot strongly enough urge fans of absurdism and alternative rock to see the
two fuse beautifully in the form of the play Ubu
Sings Ubu at Abrons Art Center, where Verse Theater Manhattan has taken
the founding absurdist play, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu
Roi from 1896, and inserted songs by the band Pere Ubu, performed by an
impressive backing band and actors bearing more than a passing resemblance to
the Pixies and X lead singers, adding additional layers of visceral decadence
to the evening.
And it’s anti-state as all get out -- you can sense in the
prescient play (about a deranged and clown-like European conqueror) that death
was in the air for taking monarchy and
war seriously -- though not soon enough to prevent millions of people dying
Whether it’s odd readings on the radar or that trail-cam footage a few days ago of something appearing to hover and shine bright light upon a
couple deer, these sorts of phenomena always seem to happen on the fringes of
consciousness and detection -- probably a sign there’s nothing there, though we
can still learn some interesting things from such cases about perception itself
(perhaps chiefly that our brains are prone to look for other brains as the
explanation behind everything, which may explain beliefs ranging from animism
to God to Bigfoot).
Then again, there are some very detailed UFO reports from credible people like former astronaut
Gordon Cooper, who can
also (really) be heard at the end of this classic Letterman routine telling
Larry “Bud” Melman to keep up the good work. I hope Dave himself has
received plenty of such calls upon news of his own retirement. And if there is anything to the reports made by
people like Cooper, here’s hoping they stop surrendering their footage to
higher-ups from the Air Force, jostling the camera at a key moment, or larding
their stories with New Age mystical insights gleaned from their subsequent
hypnosis sessions. Until then, I suppose we have things to do down here.
Many X-Men links -- such as a major prediction from me over
at Stag Blog -- and unrelated video of things like dozens of black teens
attacking a family’s car.
1. Although the star of the politics-parodying film Who’s Nailin’ Paylin? is reportedly the
most popular porn actress in America now -- suggesting some sort of attraction,
however perverse, to conservative cultural figures -- the hipsters continue to
prefer the likes of the late folk singer Pete Seeger.
•Azazel was the one truly bloodthirsty character in X-Men: First Class (the red, demon-like
teleporter) -- and in the comics he went on to father Nightcrawler via
Mystique. That may still prove to be the case in the movies, but apparently he’s
supposed to have been bumped off at some point between the early 60s and the upcoming
film’s early-70s setting, at least according to the amusing JFK-assassination-themed
official site for the film.
One possible lesson to take from Azazel’s sudden demise:
even if you’re a demon-mutant, be careful about messing with the CIA.
•Despite some people thinking it was an inconsistency, the
mild-seeming Stryker in First Class is simply meant to be the father of the more evil Stryker seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men 2: X-Men United, so that’s not a
contradiction (he even refers in First
Class to his “son William”).
•Xavier’s girlfriend Moira MacTaggert, though, absent
evidence to the contrary, must be a very
well-preserved seventy-something in X-Men
•I’m excited that the reported 1980s setting of the 2016
film X-Men: Apocalypse opens the
possibility of them using Disco Dazzler and that using the Egyptian villain
Apocalypse increases the odds of them depicting a teenage Storm (she was a
thief in Cairo -- though born of an American and a Kenyan, if you can imagine
such a thing) as well as the mutant-filled African island nation of Genosha. Maybe this should be the film where this
franchise finally goes all-out with the colorful, fully comic-book-like
costumes for a change.
•Then the question becomes when the subsequent third
Wolverine movie (scheduled for 2017) takes place -- and whether it will retain
any mention of the prior two Wolverine solo films if the whole timeline’s been
rebooted, as I predict on Stag Blog. After Wolverine 3, they say, comes X-Force, which could thus easily be set
anytime from the 90s to the near future. We shall see.
As if the Go Burger restaurant near me weren't freakin' delicious enough, the embarrassing, super-unhip truth is that I know of no other venue, radio station, TV channel, website, or Pandora option that does a better job than the haunting, mocking, amazing alternative rock music selection in that place of conjuring up things both new and old that I love and have never heard before.
I've actually asked staff there more than once to tell me where on earth the music they play comes from -- what wondrous other world or hip female bartender -- and yet they can only tell me vaguely that it's piped in by a mysterious home office elsewhere in the country over which they have no control. I am strongly tempted to try e-mailing corporate HQ.
So today I ate a hamburger and, sure enough, heard this for the first time (“Talk to Me” by the 22-20s -- and its lyrics are just traditional enough that finding this took no small amount of Googling, I must say), but there's at least one song this good I discover every time I go in there -- and this happens nowhere else.
1. Opponents of gay
marriage sometimes argue that legalizing it logically leads to legalizing polygamy -- which wouldn’t
bother me, since, basically, (A) as a libertarian I think people should be able
to make whatever contracts they like and (B) as a quasi-traditionalist I’m
aware polygamy’s about as old and time-honored as monogamous marriage anyway --
arguably on firmer traditional ground than gay marriage, even.
So, I’m often
disappointed when people in favor of gay marriage hasten to add that
they would never condone legalizing polygamy.Why not?This just makes them
sound capricious and emboldens their social conservative foes.
Thus, I was pleased
with what happened when (intelligent and patient) foe of gay marriage Ryan
Anderson appeared twice on Kennedy et al’s show The Independents.I’ve met and like both of them, so I don’t
really want to see either of them destroy the other.And indeed, what ended up happening was that
Ryan ended his first appearance by pointedly noting that Kennedy (as I’d
noticed before) was guilty of the gay yes, polygamy never inconsistency,
and she sounded a little defensive about it.Lo and behold, they had Ryan back on a later show, and Kennedy revealed
that she’d changed her mind -- and now embraced legalizing both gay
marriage and polygamy.
I’m going to call
that a victory all around.
the character of old-timey newspaper magnate T. Herman Zweibel has been resurrected
as an avatar of The Onion’s feelings of anti-capitalist
guilt over now running sponsored “comedy” (h/t Tushar Saxena), for which
the fictional Zweibel does the profit-loving disclaimer.I can’t really blame them, but they’re sort
of going the “if it’s ironic, we’re not really sell-outs” route.
(This is a slightly
less-weird mixed message than the Snickers ad that features construction
workers offering messages of female empowerment clearly meant to please real
female viewers, followed by the message that people just aren’t themselves if
they haven’t had their Snickers.)
3. As if that
report of hospitals heated by burning fetuses wasn’t disturbing enough, it
appears that even in the twenty-first century, you shall eat your gods’
flesh -- and so the ritual cannibalism
literally begins, in the form of a new service offering sausages
made from samples of celebrities’ flesh.At least meat’s not just for speciesists anymore.
4. One of the most
prominent anti-sexual-violence organizations is calling for
an end to the recent feminist hysteria over “rape culture” (h/t Vulgar
Libertarians).I have been reminded by
that whole misguided feminist meme -- according to which we are all guilty of enabling rape every time
we accept gendered culture -- of the “I blame society” death scene in Repo Man.As a thug dies, he makes that claim as an
excuse for his actions, to which our protagonist says, that’s ridiculous
because you’ve led a pleasant and pampered life just like the rest of us.
If we want to
understand a recurring crime, we should focus on what differentiates the
guilty from the rest of us, not throw a warm, aimless blanket of universal
guilt over everyone (but then, leftists -- and particularly feminists -- are
often too cowardly to hold individuals accountable and thus prefer to drag us
all down in egalitarian fashion).
The worst possible
route to responsible individual behavior, then, is blaming society.Yet, tragically, that’s what anti-rape
activists recently chose to start doing -- and just as they had been on the
verge of getting almost everything they wanted, in the form of a nearly 90%
reduction in occurrences of rape over the past three decades.
At least the
organization that Christina Ricci and others represent seems to be taking the
5. Cathy Reisenwitz has become the default example of a
(still rare) libertarian who plays these blame-everybody campus-leftist-style
culture analysis games.Naturally, these
sorts of culture critics (or Social Justice Warriors, as some have taken to
calling them) are oddly selective about which cultural pressures they take to
task and which ones they accept (in accordance with their own predilections, of
So Reisenwitz deplores “privilege” and “rape culture” -- but
is deeply offended if anyone thinks that Duke pornstar (and fellow libertarian)
Belle Knox’s participation in rough, violence-themed porn might have something
to do with the emotional problems that made her a “cutter.”Of course, I’m also told that cutting became such a common ritual
among “emo” youth in recent years that it’s hard to tell the unstable from the
fashionable lately.None of this will
ever lead the Reisenwitzes of the world to campaign against porn, emo, or crazy
chicks, of course.The problem will
always somehow be old straight white guys.
unnoticed by most of the mainstream, is being destroyed from within by leftists
lately, and the real question is whether its impressive simultaneous rightward
growth can outpace is leftward dissolution.Perhaps every tiny movement is doomed to emulate the clashes and
stupidity of larger, more dominant ones.
6. A terrible
AlterNet article (h/t Lucy Steigerwald) listed
I liked both 300 movies, cartoony though they admittedly are
-- and some would say more than a bit fetishy, a sort of agoge-a-go-go*, if you will.
But they are not as fetishy as the work of Belle Knox, the porn star/Duke freshman
who has recently been in the news -- and been on Kennedy et al’s libertarian talkshow The Independents on Fox Business Network (which teased that segment
with the Bowie song “Queen Bitch”).Knox not only reaffirmed in that interview
that she’s a libertarian Republican but noted that Rand Paul also went to Duke (to complete medical school).
Between this and Paul’s warm reception at Berkeley, we may
be able to keep the left confused for a couple more years and thus ensure victory in 2016.(Think of Kennedy as our version of the bold
Persian-allied admiral Artemisia, or
at least take note of the fact that Kennedy’s forehead somewhat resembles Eva Green’s.Big foreheads are where the brains are stored,
Today has been declared a day to celebrate open borders,
unrestricted immigration, and free trade.Ultimately, I’m in favor of not merely opening borders but eliminating
the very concept -- as well as the governments that currently enforce that
In the meantime, faced with various admittedly tricky
situations such as, say, Russians flooding into Ukraine or for that matter
Chinese into Tibet, I recognize that sometimes the best compromise between
opening borders and respecting them as-is is redrawing them.
1. Regardless of where one stands on Ukraine, it was
generally a step forward for freedom when the USSR transformed into fifteen or
so republics – and some leftists like Katrina vanden Heuvel never fully accepted
the change (or admitted its underlying economic reasons).
2. Of course, if secession was good in the early 90s, even more of it may be for the best
now.It’s not that I want Crimea
dominated by Russia, but Ukraine’s further devolution into separate states may be
preferable to civil (or even world) war, right?I recently argued the general merits of secession (not slavery!) in
defending some of the Lincoln-skeptics like my ex-boss Judge Napolitano, and I
would hardly turn around and urge bloodshed in Europe a few days later.
And awful as the Russian government is, there is some truth
to its sense that it is harried by the U.S. and its allies on all sides (and we
don’t want to drive it into a more-communistic alliance with China or even
North Korea if it can instead grow increasingly tied to the West).
Even the Syria situation has been something of a proxy war
between a Russian-allied government and embarrassingly jihadist American
allies, who are not so unlike the other crazies we’ve shoved at Russia over the
past three decades, periodically being shocked when they turn on us as well.
3. Russia may be bad, but encourage neo-fascists or
jihadists as an alternative and you might even be increasing the odds of more
incidents like the disappearance of that Malaysia airliner (though we don’t yet
know for sure whether the politically-active pilot was in on its
Then, like Blondie in this swell clip, we’ll all be
Triangle Blues” (h/t Shizu Homma via Daniel Radosh -- and I think the tune
owes a bit to Brian Eno).
And I hope it’s obvious that I mean no disrespect to the
passengers in saying that, though I was booted from an extremely small, snooty,
uptight libertarian Facebook page yesterday merely for jokingly defending
people who I think had in turn made a
joke of their own about the Malaysian plane vanishing.That level of hyper-sensitivity is not
helpful anywhere, not even quiet, polite, conservative places like New
4. Speaking of tolerating the intolerable: Wayne Knight, who
played Newman on Seinfeld, was rumored to be dead but is not, but by contrast,
there are now reports that the controversial Fred Phelps is dying -- and has
been excommunicated from his own anti-gay church.
Soon perhaps he will learn that across the border in the undiscovered
country that is death, only Thanos rules.
5. And speaking of Marvel Comics villains: the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse will be set in the
80s, says director Bryan Singer, and will depict the modern return of the evil,
godlike, ancient-Egyptian mutant named Apocalypse.
TODD PREDICTION: One character amidst the “later than First
Class, earlier than Rogue” mixed cast will be: Storm as a child thief in Africa.Sounds cool already.
TODD HOPE: Disco Dazzler.The time is right.
In the meantime, Halle Berry, who is gorgeous but doesn't
quite, uh, electrify as Storm, has
reportedly been almost entirely cut from this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (as has Anna Paquin as Rogue).
6. Future Marvel movies may toy not only with the boundaries
between geographic locales and imaginary human subspecies but between different
levels of reality, since it sounds like a Doctor Strange movie is inevitable,
and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is keen to make it as trippy, he says,
as a cross between 2001, Miyazaki
anime, and The Matrix.Sounds good to me.
7. While we’re pondering how neighbors and even separate
species can best co-exist, we should ask: should there be cats and dogs living
together?Sometimes it works and
sometimes it leads to a
montage of cats slapping dogs.
9. Since immigration enriches our culture, I would also like
to award the first ever Devitt Award for Cultural Tone-Deafness to my friend
Saul Devitt, who in spite of our occasional picayune disagreements has added a useful
second opinion time and again not only in online conversations I’ve
participated in but at a Debate at Lolita Bar years ago, in which he ably
fended off arguments in favor of 9/11 conspiracy theories (one of my favorite
of his very common-sensical, skeptical points: if this were all some plot to
invade Iraq, why not put some Iraqis among the hijackers?).
Like a Canadian musician or a lesbian stand-up comedian, this
import from Australia provides the orthogonal perspective needed to keep
people’s minds limber.
10. If California redraws its own borders, I’m pleased one
state would reportedly actually be called “Silicon Valley.”Take
that, Google-bashing Frisco-hippies!!
Of course, I said way back in the 90s that returning Texas
and California to Mexico might solve a lot of problems.That line about how “We didn’t cross the
border, the border crossed us” is actually true, so hardcore traditionalists
should be the last ones complaining about Mexican influence in the Southwest.
The serious end goal, though, should always be a world with no
borders at all -- and no governments to draw them.
2. In less Catholic news, Neil deGrasse Tyson has been
criticized for oversimplifying the tale of Giordano Bruno on this week’s
premiere of the new Cosmos, making a
kooky mystic persecuted by the Church sound like a historically-significant
scientist.This saddens me a bit, since
the original 1980 series with Carl Sagan was a pivotal step in my mental
evolution away from watching In Search Of
as a child to reading Skeptical Inquirer
as a teen, which has made all the difference.
3. Claims about the cosmos are not affirmed or falsified by
their incidental psychological or aesthetic effects on us, but you might
wonder: are religion and self-hatred a natural pair?Well, there is a site called “Catholicism
4. Jon Stewart has become something of an
anti-heretic enforcer himself and can sink almost as low as simply calling libertarians
poopyheads -- and still leftists cheer The
Daily Show, as
Kevin Williamson laments.
But at least they had my ex-boss Judge Andrew Napolitano on
to explain his simultaneous condemnation
of slavery, war, and Lincoln, as if that combo should be confusing (at the
linked site, find the videos from March 11 -- including the faux-gameshow segment
pitting the Judge against a hot black female Abe Lincoln and three college
professors, which is about what it takes to challenge the Judge).
6. At the annual CPAC gathering, where a plurality of
surveyed participants want to legalize pot, Rand Paul emerged as the
straw poll favorite and the leader of the rising, more libertarian generation
He began his
speech there by praising the Abolitionists, as well he should, and goes on
to use the South’s lynch mobs of a century ago as an example of what happens
when civil liberties are abandoned -- and him doing so should not surprise or
confuse people wary of the Southern faction of libertarians any more than Judge
Napolitano writing a whole book about government’s oppression of blacks
Paul emphasized the importance of liberty for people of all
ethnicities and genders -- yet even conservatives such as Roger Simon apparently
can’t resist the urge to find some hypersensitive, p.c.-style reason to
complain, with Simon tweeting his displeasure at Paul quoting anti-Israel Roger
Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, as if Paul did so out of anti-Semitism.
(Dude, did I not mention the convention was pro-pot?Were you not alive in the 1970s?)
8. I admit I adore the gigantic, singing clown Puddles
who is rather Weimar.He has returned to the Lorde well after doing
a very popular cover of her song “Royals,” and frankly he’s so good at doing
covers it stops being funny at some point -- but is still totally worth
9. While we’re talking about people’s cultural sensitivities
getting all inflamed, it’s worth noting a knot of four leftists
Facebook-unfriended me a few days ago over my shocking claim that artists
borrowing imagery and symbolism from other cultures -- say, a singer wearing a Native American
headdress -- is not necessarily evil or hateful or damaging.
I suppose you can imagine
people being so sensitive that they freak out over such hybridization, but
usually the people doing the freaking in these cases would be the first to weep
if we also discarded other hybrids they happen to like, such as, say, blues-inflected
rock n’ roll, cartoonified Greek warriors like the ones in 300, anime, fusion cuisine, all of Western civilization, etc., etc.
The selectivity of their (recently mounting) outrage is even
worse than that, though, since you know darn well these high-strung people also
tend to be the ones who are first to turn around and defend “transgressive” art
when it suits them, from eclectic burlesque imagery to bourgeois–shocking shellacked
piles of dung in art museums.They
pretend to be deeply, deeply concerned but will in fact turn on a dime when
it’s tactically convenient in order to attack their targets.Nasty.Don’t let them guilt-trip you, people.
They have the unmitigated totalitarian presumption to think
everyone should speak, act, and create precisely according to their formulas --
and to think they actually do speak (in the only way allowed) for the oppressed
populations they claim to represent.
As it was at Brown University in the p.c. 90s, so it is all
across the nation today: If people are taught that the more upset they get, the more political and moral clout they wield,
surprise surprise, they will get increasingly upset -- and it will never
end.Indeed, anyone who made it through
four years at Brown without learning that disturbing lesson is an imbecile --
as is anyone who now sees without worry the rising tide of trigger-warned,
coddled, “privilege”-checking, race-animosity-encouraging little cultists who
pretend to speak for the holy cause of social justice.Check
(And of course the sensitive folk loved Heidegger at Brown.Carl Schmitt, too.And Paul de Man...)
11. While back at the Ivy League -- Yale this time -- here’s
the frightening insanity to which a feminist pro-fat culture and a
slavishly BMI-measuring pseudo-health establishment lead.
12. But, hey, we libertarians aren’t perfect either, and I see
the Friday night episode of FBN’s Kennedy-et al-hosted
will be a whole hour asking left and right critics “What’s the Matter with
It’s bound to be more thoughtful than the seventy-plus
anti-libertarianism articles AlterNet and Salon have run in just the past two
years, including one this week suggesting libertarians’
heads would explode if they were confronted by, say, the argument that we
need to build street lights in order to facilitate the buying of pizza (WHO
WILL ILLUMINATE THE PIZZA??).
What really galls is that Lynn Parramore, who wrote it, was
a Dionysium debater once.I realize all these articles tend to be written as
if by people who have never gotten near an actual libertarian brain and never
intend to, but, y’know they could send an e-mail or two before shooting their
mouths off.Or just retire and get the
hell out of the way.
I trust Quvenzhané Wallis will be just fine as Annie in this December's film, but all around her, the story, like other elements of American society, has degenerated.
The original comic strip was staunchly (and quite rightly) anti-FDR and pro-free-market/individualism. The famous musical grotesquely inverted the creator's vision by having the characters sing a big musical number lauding the New Deal at the end ("New Deal for Christmas," no less). And in this year's film, Daddy Warbucks is replaced by a lovable rich politician named Stacks.
I'm not so sure there will be a tomorrow at this rate.
2. CANADA: ...and
next we’ll likely post one on 300: Rise
of an Empire, with asides about (centuries-later) Islam.Luckily, we will not be discussing the touchy
topic of Islam in Canada like
my acquaintance Ezra Levant, who Gerard notes is in trouble again.
3. THE INTERNETS:
Gerard and I have other trouble-making
acquaintances, though, including a partly New York-based cabal of mischievous young
anarcho-capitalists, spawned by what we like to call a Facebook “Trollboard”
but now out in public as the blog Vulgar
6. AIR FORCE ONE:
This year marks not only the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act but
likely the fiftieth anniversary, per journalist Ronald Kessler, of LBJ bragging
to two governors: “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200
years.”Again, who here is the truly
8. THE MARKETING
DEPARTMENT PRETENDING TO BE GHETTO: Far worse, if you ask me, than a rapper
having a gangsta persona for the duration of a song or two, is a current Converse
sneakers video ad that non-ironically asks, over moody black-and-white filmed
images, that we imagine how wonderful it would be to turn the world upside down
and shake all its lunch money loose, since “they aren’t going to just give it
to you.”It even ends by asking the world,
“How much have you got?”
I guess Converse has decided to appeal directly to the
pro-violence, pro-theft crowd.Grotesque
-- and as cynical as it gets.
3. Despite the comics-inspired cartoonishness of 300: Rise of an Empire, which I’ll see
this week, I for one think it’s cool that a movie based on the real Battle of
Thermopylae gets followed up with a sequel based on the real (simultaneous)
Battle of Salamis -- and who can resist real-life she-admiral Artemisia as a
4. But then, my theatre- and comics-influenced tastes make
me so indifferent to realism, I could probably enjoy a whole movie full of
effects that look like the clay animation moonshot in this 1991 video by Dinosaur
Jr. – and I would contend that the song, “Wagon,” is also a reminder that
hipness was already greatly advanced back in my college days, no matter what
the kids tell you.
5. One of my hip fellow Brown Film Society members from back
in those days, Laura Braunstein, is now making her first foray into New
Hampshire politics and barring the unexpected will be on her local library
board.Since she’s not part of the Free
State Project, the odds of her abolishing and/or defecating in the libraries
6. With luck, she and our fellow Film Society/Film Bulletin
veteran Scott Nybakken and I will see a fittingly geeky and cinephilic documentary
this month, Jodorowsky’s Dune, out on
the 21st (at least in a couple NYC theatres).Prior to David Lynch, Jodorowsky very nearly got a mid-70s production of
Dune off the ground that would have been even more surreal than Lynch’s (though
Lynch’s still bore the stamp of some of Jodorowsky’s elements, such as a
Salvador Dali influence).Per Wikipedia:
In the role of Emperor
Shaddam Corrino IV, Jodorowsky planned to cast the surrealist artist Salvador
Dalí, who requested a fee of $100,000 per hour. He also planned to cast Orson
Welles as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen; Welles only agreed when Jodorowsky offered
to get his favourite gourmet chef to prepare his meals for him throughout the
filming…The music would be composed by Pink Floyd [and others.Pre-production designers included H.R. Giger
and Mobius.] Frank Herbert travelled to Europe in 1976 to find that $2 million
of the $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and that
Jodorowsky's script would result in a 14-hour movie ("It was the size of a
phonebook", Herbert later recalled). Jodorowsky took creative liberties
with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an
amicable relationship. The production for the film collapsed, and the rights
for filming were sold once more, this time to Dino de Laurentiis, who employed
the American filmmaker David Lynch to direct, creating the filmDunein 1984.
7. And Jodorowsky instead made almost stereotypically
“foreign”-looking films like the upcoming one for which this
is the trailer.
8. A week after the aforementioned documentary, outer-space
surrealism hits a bit closer to home with the online release on the 27th of Mirage Men, an acclaimed documentary
alleging that the government has deliberately encouraged people to believe in
UFOs and space aliens, to distract us from real military projects (such as
black triangular spy-blimps, perhaps?). There’ll
also be an expanded DVD release in June.
10. And if you think that's bad, take heart from the fact De
Blasio’s sociopathic attack on kids and charter schools (on behalf of teachers
unions) is attracting national, not just local, attention, as this
one-minute clip of an angry Greta Van Susteren suggests.There isn’t a level of Hell low enough for
the ignorant NYC voters who put that vile buffoon in office.But film will keep me entertained while we decline.
Yes, that’s a photo of Rand Paul with a “straightedge” punk
symbol on his hand (for punk fans who don’t do drugs or otherwise abuse
themselves or others).My prophecy of
“Conservatism for Punks” is coming true after all (have I mentioned that my
friend Tibbie X is in the band Reagan Youth now and that unlike some current
and former Lower East Side acquaintances of mine, much as I love them all, she likes gentrification?). OK, actually it’s the symbol for the Feb. 27 day of awareness for the anti-slavery “End It” movement opposing residual pockets of slavery in the world, but, hey, it’s all part of a broader struggle for freedom.
No politician’s perfect, of course -- because they’re
politicians, the lowest human form (no
gods, no masters!) -- but it’s fair to say I like Paul more than juvenile,
sneering, condescending, vicious-sorority-girl-sounding columnist Jennifer
Rubin does.In her recent anti-Paul
column, rooted in her utter shock at
the idea that anyone would want to avoid a new Crimean War with Russia, she
quotes an anonymous Hill staffer saying (equally condescendingly) that the last
time the U.S. tried complete isolationism it didn’t work out so well for
us.When the hell was that?The
1880s??(And didn’t that period
actually work very well?)
But let’s get back to pop culture, where there are big
developments this week as the Oscars approach.Here are ten of them:
1. The biggest, plainly, is the launch (despite some kinks
still being worked out) of the libertarian pop culture site LibertyIslandMag,
for which I’m recruiting cartoonists and writing gems like this short story
about time-traveling punks, “No
2. Trivia note: the one big scene cut from the story in the
editing process involved Jodie Foster giving an Oscars acceptance speech, but regardless, time travel stories are
3. The back-and-forth lately about whether Woody Allen has committed crimes has been
both painful and interesting, but even those inclined to distrust him can’t
dismiss his productivity.He’s directed
a film per year since the year I was born -- well, he skipped ’76, but he made
up for it with the epochal Annie Hall
the next year and later had a couple two-film years.He should do something special when his 50th
film arrives soon -- if he’s not distracted by rumored
marital woes with Soon-Yi.
(Another odd tension within libertarianism over foreign
policy matters right now is that while libertarians seem pretty clearly to side
with anti-government protesters in Venezuela, a few -- with whom Jennifer Rubin
would be very, very angry indeed -- have become not just anti-interventionist
regarding Ukraine but defenders of the ousted, Russia-allied Yanukovich regime,
in part because they hate the NGOs and Soros-backed organizations allied with
the pro-EU faction in Ukraine even more
than they hate the Russian government and, presumably, ex-KGB heads of
state.Adding to the confusion, I’ve
noticed a few leftists mistakenly getting the impression that Putin’s new U.S.
fans are neoconservatives -- like
Jennifer Rubin! -- rather than some paleoconservatives and
paleolibertarians.Well, perhaps a world
war will clarify things, whether it starts in Crimea or Syria.)
6. In other gender news (h/t Chris Stamper, not to be
confused with Doug Stamper), behold the hipster-goth-freakazoid who is NYC’s most
desired straight woman according to the weirdoes using dating site OKCupid. I am not nearly weird enough for this town and
must try harder.
7. To compensate for sounding like a square gender-wise
there, here’s a link to a
clip that includes a couple of my favoriteEllen Degeneres jokes, which were right there in the first half of
her first network appearance, twenty-eight years ago on The Tonight Show (you can skip the second half of the clip, though
her chat with Johnny Carson -- not to be confused with her imaginary chat with
God moments earlier -- does contain one marvelously succinct feminist moment).
8. Speaking of foreign policy threats, this week saw the
final issue of the Star Trek: Khan
comic book miniseries, revealing that in the J.J. Abrams timeline, as intended
by the writers from the original 1960s Star
Trek series, Khan (apparently)
conquered a third of the Earth back in the 1990s, nuking a couple major cities
in the process.I like them depicting
Khan this way again.The Abrams universe
doesn’t exactly match the traditional Star Trek timeline -- why should it match
the real world’s?
9. Actor Roger Hill, who played another charismatic
conqueror, namely multi-gang-leader Cyrus
from the movie The Warriors, passed
away this month (h/t Janet Harvey).Maybe we should all honor Cyrus’s passing by seeing another
Peloponnesian War-inspired film, 300:
Rise of an Empire, next week.Widowed queen turned Xerxes-allied warrior Artemisia really fought --
very well -- in the battle of Salamis, you know, so the film isn’t solely based on comic books.
I also think they should have Miley Cyrus do a cameo as a
member of Cyrus’s family (“Now dance your unique dance for me, Cyrus, and sing
of the glory of the Persian Empire!”), but you can’t have everything.
10. And if we survive the next couple months, there’s Godzilla,
Spider-Man, X-Men, and Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Western all awaiting us for a wonderful May -- including the final issue
of the comics miniseries The Star Wars
and the start of shooting on Episode VII, which will be released next
But when I’m not enjoying those things, assume I’m gradually
tinkering with this site’s permanent elements to make them look a bit more
presentable (or possibly doing things over at LibertyIsland) -- though I will
at least pop back in here for one more (especially surreal) movie note in a
1. I saw law professor (and newly-minted Washington Post
blogger) Eugene Volokh do a fine job criticizing gun control at an NYU
Federalist Society debate yesterday (a reminder that I promise to replace the debates I’ve long hosted with other fun events
to be announced in the near future).
5. I’ll be at the Wall
Street Journal offices tomorrow, as it happens, visiting along with a
three-times-a-year gathering of my fellow Robert Novak Fellows, an assortment
of conservative and libertarian writers.
We gathered in the old Journal offices once, and my favorite
part of that meeting may have been learning that an old stock-ticker-tape
machine still sat in one corner of the editorial boardroom, a rather steampunk
reminder that Dow Jones was technically an electronic communications company
over a century ago, before it owned a
6. Columnist Tim Carney (who was good on the Feb. 17 episode
of The Independents) is one of the
Novak Fellows, whereas his brother John Carney just joined the Journal, and two
weeks later brother Brian Carney left
the Journal, for those struggling, as we all have at times, to keep track of
9. In other de Blasio news, Julia Kamin notes his NYPD has
issued 215 summons for jaywalking -- yes, jaywalking, which no New Yorker
considers a crime -- in just over a month in early 2014, part of de Blasio’s
crusade to reduce traffic deaths while ticketing cars less.
I guess we won’t have to worry about being run over by the
carriage horses de Blasio’s banning either (and it sounds suspiciously like his
motivation there had less to do with horse wellbeing than with a de Blasio donor
wanting the horses’ building after the unemployed horses vacate it).
10. You almost can’t blame people for thinking politics is
wholesome and high finance corrupting, though, when you read things like this
account of decadent, secret Wall Street parties (h/t Ivan Cohen). And then there’s the strange wave of apparent
suicides among JP Morgan employees (not that one can’t find all that creepy and
be alarmed by public-sector goings-on, such as Democrats stealing
voter-registration information for campaign purposes in Texas...or the Obama
administration planning increased use of government minders in newsrooms...or...or...).