It might be voting for the GOP, but that's just me.
September 19, 2011
I’m officially designating Michelle Bachmann Target Alpha and Perry Target Bravo. Perry has said and done some truly horrific things, but it’s the nature of Bachmann’s insane rants that wins her this week’s coveted Head Up Your Own Ass for the Warmth Award. And who doesn’t want to win the coveted HUYOAW Award?
No, really. According to Bachmann, some woman approached her after an event and said her daughter had been given the vaccine and became mentally retarded as a result. Did Bachmann present numbers? Do research? Consult her staff?
Actually, that last one’s kind of funny. According to her former chief of staff, Bachmann doesn’t actually consult with her staff before she says something. She writes her own speeches, something I can tell you requires a full job position. Even better, while she does read a lot, she seemingly glosses over a lot of information. Basically, Bachmann hears something and fits it with her preconceptions and whatever works.
I don’t doubt that some vaccines have adverse effects. However, the CDC reported that out of 35 million HPC vaccines handed out to women all over the country, there were 18,727 adverse effects. Ninety-two percent of these effects were not-threatening. That means that only about 1,500 patients had severe effects. And out of those patients with serious side-effects, it’s the same percentage of people in non-vaccinated groups that would have suffered the same effects so…
There is nothing to link the vaccine to any of these symptoms.
Are vaccinations dangerous? No more so than being afraid of seatbelts because you’re afraid you might break your collarbone if you crash. Parents have every right to dictate how they raise their children, but they become irresponsible when they deny said children potentially life-saving treatments on the off-chance a currently unknown disease or symptom crops up. Vaccines have helped wipe out diseases or push them to the brink of extinction.
A does not follow B all the time. If you give a baby a vaccination and said baby develops autism, it’s not necessarily the vaccine’s fault. Said kid could have already had the disease. Or had Sarah Palin for a mother, in which case the kid has a whole other set of problems.
Bachmann has said a lot of really stupid things, but this is the first time, I think, she could genuinely cost lives. She’s an idiot, and I bet good money it didn’t take a shot to do that to her.
And speaking of things that are fun and bring us joy, every time a new harry Potter movie or book comes out, without fail, we get the psychos. Pat Robertson is already out in full force, but this gentleman takes the cake. Yeah, he’s a comedian, but the scary thing is that I’ve heard people who talk like him.
The Amazing Spider-Man is coming out next year, and we’ve already been treated to a blurry teaser filmed in a movie studio. That doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the old cartoon and guess at the kinds of things we can expect from a darker take on our favorite web-slinger.
It’s going to be an interesting two weeks. Mary and I are moving in August. I have to get things for the high school summer camp. I started The Weekly Muse, and I’m getting ready to get a podcast up and running once I figure out the software. In the meantime, expect articles on time and general weirdness on the Facebook page and the Twitter feed.
And now, on to the randomness!
Who are the most violent people in the world? The answer might surprise you.
Herman Cain, a man who has whined about race more times than anyone in recent memory, now claims it should be legal to ban mosques from being built. His rationale? Islam combines government and religion and is therefore illegal. By that reasoning, his party’s insistence on combining the Bible of law would make THEM illegal.
The Thing stands as one of the great horror films of the 80’s a truly disturbing movie where anyone could be the enemy. The paranoia made it awesome. That being said, and given my caution when it comes to sequels or remakes of classic works, I’m actually a little optimistic about the prequel, strangely also titled The Thing. Here’s the first trailer, and let’s hope it doesn’t suck.
The new photos from the reboot of Spidermanhave me thinking that they might actually know what they’re doing. Spidey looks, well, like he does in the comic. The costume changes are odd, but at least they have web shooters!
And finally… some of you already saw this, but here’s the official, cleaned-up version of the first teaser for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Please, dear gods of the four winds, do not let this get threequel rot. I will hunt people down with a fork.
Sarah Palin got a documentary called The Undefeated? Didn’t she lose the vice-presidency and quit her gubernatorial job mid-way through?
I had an interesting conversation regarding meat on Twitter. I’ll probably write more about it later, but suffice to say I’m a proud meat-eater and have no qualms about killing an animal for my food. With that in mind, there’s a reason a lot of vegetarians and vegans get a bad rep. It’s self-involved jerks like this that make the rest of you look bad.
It’s no secret that she had premarital sex, got pregnant, then was about to marry the father of her child even though they later had a falling out. It’s no secret that she’s a hypocrite for claiming that abstinence is the only kind of birth control that’s useful even though she never practiced it, never received proper sex education, and studies have shown that abstiance education actually increases the chance of getting pregnant or catching an STD. All of this is well known, if not accepted, by the Right.
But now Bristol has gone and said something that doesn’t just condratict reality. She’s said something that actually damages language and could create a problem for any woman that is sexually assaulted.
Words have meaning for a reason. The verbal knot she created by trying to defend her statements is not only indicative of her poor grasp of language, but it sets a dangerous precedent. If she and others like her can claim that their virginity was “stolen” but it wasn’t rape, if such a viewpoint of contradictions is ever accepted as valid, then others can make a similar claim.
“See, I didn’t rape her. I stole her virginity. And she doesn’t remember.”
“I didn’t kill my husband. I introduced an unappetizing ingredient in the form of ricin into his food because I knew he wouldn’t like it. It’s okay. He didn’t know what happened.”
“No, I didn’t drive drunk and hit someone. I was enjoying a night out when someone carelessly didn’t notice I was driving erratically and got in my, leading to their death. I didn’t take their life. They lost it.”
Like her mother, Bristol seems to think she can just make up her own definitions for words and it’ll just be accepted. Guess what? Yes, English is a language that changes all the time, but just because you don’t understand it and don’t get things like vocabulary, does not mean you get to go and invent new terms.
So let me be blunt. There’s a term for stealing someone’s virginity. “Stealing” means to take without permission. When this applies to virginity or when it implies someone performs a sexual act on you without your consent, that’s called rape. If Bristol doesn’t want to report it, that’s her problem, but it adds to the problem of women not coming forth with assaults like this so something can be done…
But going on the national stage and claiming that having someone “steal” her virginity is not rape is irresponsible and ignorant. If you want to get technical, Bristol took English and forced it to produce an unnatural meaning. They made it do something it didn’t want to do. They, shall we say, made it perform an unnatural act?
Well, let’s get something fun now to wash the stupid away. Here’s Ben Franklin battling Billy Mayes.
If you know me, you know I love me a good bad movie. Cheap horror, cheap effects, and bad acting, and a plot so nonsensical it makes an Escher painting look like a freaking math equation…
And yet I hate Michael Bay movies.
The new trailer for the Transformers sequel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon left me asking a lot of questions. Can we create a formula to figure out how much money a Bay movie can make and still suck? Does Michael Bay realize we can see light in dusty conditions because dust floats in the atmosphere and the moon, well, doesn’t have one?
With the exception of The Rock, his movies are… well, let’s say you stuck your head in a dishwasher filled with C4 and soft-core porn and didn’t die from the explosion. The ensuing chaos of shrapnel, fire, and breasts would be a rough approximation of the chaos that is a Michael Bay-directed movie.
They actually suck the fun out of giant explosions.
Now, in a plot twist M. Night Shyamalan himself could not have written, Bay actually came out and admitted that Transformers 2 actually sucked.
The thing is… Bay says it’s the fault of the script. Really, Mike? The script? That was the ONLY problem? I’ll give Bay credit for admitting the movie sucked, but I don’t think it was all the script’s fault…
Bay has an uncanny ability to make explosions, fire, and destroyed infrastructure uncool. Every single one of his movies has to have some shot or sequence wherein the heroes are caught in an Apocalypse Now-style carpet bombing.
In Bad Boys 2, an entire mansion exploded from about ten pounds of explosive as though someone had set off a thermobaric charge in the living room. Transformers 2 had an entire five hours of explosions. I was sick of fire by the end. I literally wished humanity had never learned to harness its power.
Slow Motion = Drama
It doesn’t. I could film someone eating cake and play it in slow motion with loud, chorus-filled music, but it wouldn’t be drama. It would be a guy eating cake. I don’t want a guy eating cake. I want drama. I want tension. Even the “tense” scenes in Transformers 2, like the so-called hostage situation at the end, had people screaming, the camera moving around like it was manned by an epileptic mid-seizure, and we had no time to process the threat. There was no intimidating moment, just more screaming, more fire, and more movement.
The camera is a tool. CGI is a tool. Lighting is a tool.
We, the audience, want to see the movie, not be RIGHT in the middle of things ALL THE TIME. Sure, it might add drama to be right in the thick of things once in a while, but not when the camera’s spinning and shaking like a detoxing crack addict.
These robots are some of the most advanced and time-consuming special effects ever made, over 140 terabytes of memory for this movie’s digital effects. I believe that’s the same amount of memory used on a single Windows install disc.
Could Bay do ILM a favor and give us, the audience, time to process these images instead of zooming in so we can see the chipped paint? We want to see these mechanical monstrosities in their full glory, but we don’t need to be close enough to smell the oil.
They Want Plot? I’ll GIVE them PLOT!
Even after all this, after the stupid action sequences that left me deaf in my seat, it’s still possible to, perhaps, save this movie. Aside from a lot going on at the same time, the story has so many subplots and characters that it makes the Lord of the Rings trilogy look like Waiting for Godot.
More is not better. Just because Bay gave us three McGuffins does not mean the movie is three times better than the last one. Just because he added ten extra Decepticons at the very end, and brought back an old one from the first movie just to kill it off in thirty seconds, does not mean he’s created plot.
These are just things happening. Things are not plot. A plot is made up of a series of interconnected events and characters.
And yet, if you took a butcher’s knife to the final cut and sliced off maybe an hour or so, you’d have a better film. Not a great film, perhaps not even a good film. But a film. This may be the first time that a Director’s Cut would need to trim the movie down in order to actually make something watchable.
Michael Bay can blame the script all he wants. But he directed and produced the last monstrosity to rape my childhood, and I’ll be damned if he weasels out of the blame.
So, Michael Bay, thanks for admitting you made a crappy movie.
And screw you for trying to shift all the blame on someone else.
I grew up with Transformers. They are a part of my childhood that I cherish along with Bugs Bunny and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Things were simple. Big giant robots fight, good guys win, Earth is saved. Did I mention they were giant frikin’ robots?! When you’re five and someone tells you, “Hey, you see that truck over there? Well, it can turn into a giant armored robot that can tear tanks apart with his bare hands,” that is the coolest thing in the WORLD. You’ve taken a piece of my childhood and given it the same treatment as a Top 40 rap video.
It’s loud, flashy, and there are girls, but in the end I’m just wondering what I saw and why I didn’t stop watching.
An upcoming movie based around Sarah Palin will feature Julianne Moore as the ex-governor. Frankly, I’m excited to see how an Oscar-nominated actress can dumb herself down to make Palin realistic on-screen.
I am a big fan of Deadliest Warrior, and it looks like next season will feature the first fictional opponents: Zombies versus Vampires. I’m very curious to see how this goes down. It’d be like Mythbusters doing an episode where they check which is more powerful: a phaser or a blaster.
And finally, since we’re speaking of Michael Bay, let’s see just how the man would shoot something as simple as getting them mail. It’s from the same guy who did Michael Bay Eats Cereal. Enjoy, and I’ll see you here on Monday!
Words and bullets... you can't ban one or the other. But you have to know how to use them.
January 12, 2010
Do our words matter? Every time I’m going to publish an article, I wonder who’ll read it, whether they’ll skim through and just go for the links at the end, check out the pictures, or if they just like to see if I misspelled something. Sometimes I like to think you read these pieces and take in every word with the relish of a meal after a fast.
Writers have egos.
I’m also painfully conscious that my words could be dangerous if taken in the wrong light. I use inflammatory language and titles. Are you kidding me?
I go over a lot of possibilities for each post. Some are great. Some suck. I take more time for the content, too. As much as I want to just rant and rave Lewis Black-style, I know I have to back up everything I say with facts, with analogies, with some real-world examples and applications. I think I do a pretty good job. Yes, I let my emotions get away from me sometimes, but it’s usually a calculated demolition. It’s always as close to directed chaos as I can make it.
Bill Maher made a very good point when he said that, yes, Bush was called Hitler when he was in office, much like Obama is called that now. Yeah. I remember. I did the same thing. I helped plaster bulletin boards with anti-GOP propaganda. And it was real propaganda. Pictures of Bush riding a bomb. Death tolls in Afghanistan. Equating blood and oil.
It was some pretty gruesome stuff. Sometimes I want to say and post things like that here. I want to call out the Far Right for the murdering, greedy bastards they are. I want to call Beck a rapist for taking gullible people and sweet-talking them into giving him their money. I want to call for war against rabid conservatism.
But it wouldn’t be right.
Who am I? I’m no one right now. I have readers, I have fans, but it would be a small blip. If I had a few million people following me, I could do some serious damage. And that’s the part our leaders have forgotten.
I can use the kind of language I’m using for two reasons. First of all, I know what I’m saying and what it means. I press buttons, but I know what buttons I’m pressing. As Doctor Joe Heithaus of DePauw University once told me, “The key to great writing is to learn the rules, then bend the rules, then break the rules.”
I break the rules of tact because I understand and want the kind of reaction such language creates. Others don’t do that.
Secondly, with such little exposure and power, I’m not someone who wields a lot of influence. I can say these things and they are taken as my opinion, inflammatory as they may be, because I wield no power. At worst, people think I rant.
However, put the same violent, passionate words in the mouths of high-level pundits and politicians, and imagery calling out for blood, calls of taking aim or reloading are not just a metaphor. They are a rallying call.
Metaphor, imagery, and various literary devices have their place in public discourse, but knowing how to use them is the first step in avoiding saying the wrong thing. This isn’t an accusation or an attempt to put blame on anyone for Saturday’s tragedy. But it did prompt me to think about this again.
Language is a tool. So is a hammer. But you can also kill with both.
And finally, if you still need a little closure from the Arizona massacre, here’s Olbermann with a surprisingly sobering message on the media’s reaction to the killings and the environment we’ve created by using violent language without realizing that violent language calls out for violence.
It’s been a year already? You know, I remember that it was almost around this time that I first started bouncing around the idea of Randomology. The first article was published in mid-January, but since I started drafting and researching around this time, I’m calling January 31st the official anniversary for this website.
The first website design, for those who were here in those first few weeks, was a rough template assembled with what I can only call finger paint. Yes, it worked, but it looked just as artificial as it felt. As I learned to download and use WordPress, embed links, and use Deviantart images, I became more comfortable with this whole blogging thing.
Overall, though, I think it’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned many things, and I’ve set goals for the coming year that should make it an interesting, and stressful, 12 months.
Censorship is alive and well. It’s the same knee-jerk reaction, and while people still invoke the innocence of the children, their arguments are just as invalid. Art is a tool, a form of expression. Silencing it won’t work, and all art, even the trashy soap operas, deserve some measure of respect. Now, whether they’re good or bad art is another question, but they should be heard nonetheless.
I learned that I hated Beck, but by actually listening to him and picking apart his arguments on everything from art to language, I came to the quick realization that people are not just stupid… they’re downright psychotic for listening to a man who contradicts himself and twists religion to his own needs. He is a cult leader, and while his ramblings have been getting more and more incoherent (going so far as to label a fight on obesity as a socialist conspiracy).
My prediction? He’ll self-destruct or say something so utterly offensive that he’ll get canned or someone will take him at his word and do something violent.
Of course, Fox, the most popular news network (and oh how I cringe to call them that) will whitewash the issue. Just like they and others like to “clean up” history and the news to make it look better for conservatives.
My own state spent several months putting history through the washing cycle (along with the Klan robes) and making it look as though progressives, you know, the ones that actually advanced the causes of freedom and equality, were the ones to blame for all of society’s ills.
I learned that people fear words. They fear language. Why? Words have no power by themselves. Intent and use have power. Maybe ancient myths would have us believe that knowing a thing’s name gives us power, but that’s not the case. Knowing about sex doesn’t make you a slut. Knowing curse words will not keep you from thinking bad thoughts and wanting to curse someone.
Likewise, certain words have gained power they never imagined. “Socialist” and “liberal” have joined “progressive” in becoming labels for a group that seeks to overthrow our country… or at least that’s what the Right keeps shouting. Language has changed to fit the world.
I’ve learned that I have much to learn when it comes to writing. I’m pretty good, I think. I’ve got a decent imagination, and I’ve written novel-length manuscripts before, but Charcoal Streets is perhaps the most aggressive endeavor I’ve ever undertaken. Besides the time and scheduling conflicts I built up since mid-summer, as well as a very unfortunate business partnership with a self-proclaimed filmmaker, I’ve not given my baby the work it deserves.
The research I’ve done in the last year has given me more insight into people than at any other point in my life except perhaps my senior year at college. I’ve seen the best and worst. I’ve seen artists struggle and create wonderful works of art. I’ve seen freedom grow. I’ve seen racism rear its ugly head.
But these are all just small revelations and growth spurts.
Christine O’Donnell may be the true spawn of Sarah Palin.
Seriously. This is a woman who’s made some very creative statements in the past several years, and now has become the Fox darling for a senate seat. It’s frightening that so many right-wingers are singing her praises and ignoring her, well, interesting opinions.
Did I mention she believes scientists are creating mice with human brains? Check out the link above.
One comment that’s brought her a lot of criticism, however, is her claim that, in high school, she dabbled in the occult and even had a date on a satanic altar. Check out this clip:
Okay, I’m not a pagan. I’m not a Wiccan. I’ve never participated in any religious ceremony that required me to be skyclad, and even I know what’s wrong with this picture.
Conservative Christians have a picture of witchcraft that differs greatly from the truth. In fact, what O’Donnell is describing above is so far from what a real witch would do that it’s laughable. It’s like claiming you’re really Mexican by saying you love Taco Bell.
It’s hard to really explain witchcraft since there isn’t anything like a unified set of beliefs or rules. Modern witchcraft is called many things by its practitioners. Some call it Wicca, others paganism, neo-paganism, or any number of things. Some take offense to certain names. Others claim theirs is the real faith.
Whatever. This isn’t a thesis on the subject. It’s an explanation of why O’Donnell has not and will never know witchcraft when she sees it. Let’s just get that out of the way. This is the five-minute primer.
Witchcraft ≠ Satanism
I already went into detail on everything that people usually get wrong when they talk about Satanism, but let’s recap. Overall, Satanists believe that the Devil, Satan, is a figure to emulate because he fought against the greatest power in the universe, God, and showed the power of individual thought. Most Satanists favor the kind of life where your own personal choices matter more than what some religion, any religion, says. That’s Satanism.
A Plot Hole the Size of a Buick
Here’s the point, though: nearly every Wiccan, witch, or pagan, whatever you want to call it, will agree on one part of this story. No witch would ever, EVER, have a picnic on his or her altar. That’d be like a Catholic making a sandwich with the Eucharist. Or a comic book fan using Action Comics #1 for scratch paper.
Yes, I know who first appeared in that issue. Do you?
Even if what she really should have said was “Satanist” instead of “witchcraft,” no Satanist, no person of any actual faith, would use an altar for a picnic.
Unless, of course, said person was as thick as O’Donnell here.
One thing is clear: O’Donnell has never been a witch, at least a witch by any stretch of the modern definition. What she describes sounds like the kind of hyped-up things some kids do when they want to piss their parents off. They find some website and think they’re invoking the Great Adversary when all they’re really doing is lessening the local cat population.
She can call it whatever she wants. It wasn’t witchcraft.
And if you’re a pagan, or a witch, or… whatever you want to be called, you should be livid at this smear. Any chance anyone out there can just turn her into a toad for real? No?
Okay. Well, look at that… Randomology.org has a new target.
Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars? And she strips and does what appears to be a satire of conservatism? Go on…
Ever wonder why college girls kiss other girls at parties? Someone actually went out and funded a scientific study to find out. The results are actually very interesting from a purely scientific point of view.
Why can’t people making a quarter of a million dollars afford tax rates like those we had under Clinton, as this one-man brain trust tells it, the rich have a particular lifestyle and they can’t afford to live anyway else. All I kept thinking while reading this was, “Oh, so you’re a snob and can’t be bothered to make sacrifices because you’re living at the very limit of your means? Got it.”
And finally, here’s a few more gems from O’Donnell. And yes, she really does believe scientists are creating mice/ human hybrids.
In the latest war on freedom and the right to live your life as you see fit, our enemies have a new weapon at their disposal.
Vocabulary and labeling technology.
This insidious, nay, diabolic tool has taken a single word and turned it into a derogatory term so vile I almost shudder at having to write it. It is a word so offensive it would make a Klansman recoil. It would easily get me slapped with an FCC fine if I said it on television.
Yes, it seems that the word “homosexual” is now derogatory. This is news to me. A few days ago, Ana of The Young Turks published a very pro-gay couple article. It received some flak from the gay community, or at least some of Ana’s readers, since it referred to gay men and women as “homosexuals.” This prompted a segment on The Young Turks.
Basically, since conservatives use the term “homosexual” in a bad light, it’s apparently gotten a negative connotation. I guess it does sound cold, scientific, and some people got really mad at Ana for it. In particular, one response on the article was from a gay man who said he was offended The Young Turks would dismiss his concerns as craziness.
Well, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to call that reader, and anyone else who thinks “homosexual” is a negative term, an idiot. If you’re offended by a scientific term describing a sexual orientation, you should be equally offended by bisexual and heterosexual. “Homosexual” is a purely descriptive term that is often said with either revulsion or hate by many far-right wingers and fundamentalists.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad word.
Remember when words like “liberal” and “progressive” got a similar treatment. Right now, Beck has turned the word “progressive,” which means “favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things the way they are, esp. in political matters” into a term for bad people. If you’re progressive, you’re against everything that regular, red-blooded Americans love! Oh noes!
Nothing in that definition about socialism, communism, or killing grandma by taking away her feeding tube, and yet now people are afraid of being branded “progressive.” Some people, like me, take the term to heart and believe its definition is the only thing that matters, not that some yahoo thinks it’s bad. I don’t care what they think. I know what it means to me. That’s enough.
Likewise, even if the term “homosexual” is getting a bad connotation, that only means you’re offended by it if you’re offended by homosexuality in general.
Yes, I’m serious. Think of it this way. Why are so many people offended by the mosque near Ground Zero. Not ON Ground Zero. NEAR Ground Zero. It’s because they’re offended by Muslims. I’ve said it before. The same thing applies here. If you think a purely scientific description for a sexual orientation is offensive, it’s because you think the state of being it describes is offensive to you.
And what does that mean? You don’t like gays.
There are a lot of terms that are honestly offensive. I could list them, but I’m actually going to refrain because I haven’t the time or the energy. You know the terms for gays. So do I. Every group has its racial slurs, but the technical or neutral definitions of these groups are not insults and are not offensive.
The fact is that almost any term can turn into a negative if it’s used as such. However, we’re at a critical moment. The word “homosexual” as a slur hasn’t been established yet. It’s possible to salvage this by keeping it as a purely descriptive term. I don’t intend to use it any other way.
And really, do we need ANOTHER slur for minorities?
Well, now that we have all that out of the way, let’s see some fun stuff.
If you’re ever caught with child pornography, don’t tell the cops your cat did it. It clearly didn’t work for this guy. Or, as my girlfriend joked, “Maybe the cat wanted to find ‘kitty’ porn and misspelled it.'”
If you’re on the internet, you’ve probably heard of Christina Hendricks’, uhm, ample bosoms. Yes, they have a loyal fan following, but an equally large group of people willing to look through hundreds of photos to see if these breasts are hand-crafted by God or silicone. The debate goes on…