Just your average screw-ball romantic comedy featuring genocidal madmen and Nazi superweapons…
November 26, 2011
How long is long enough for “too soon” to be long ago enough?
More specifically, when can we start using real-world events for fiction? I recently managed to catch a piece of the film Iron Sky, a dark satire of modern world events, American attitudes, and racism that tells the story of Nazis on the moon who have decided to finally invade Earth after hiding for 60 years.
Yes, Nazis. On the moon. With spaceships. Just try to not make too much sense of it.
The movie has its moments, such as the gorgeous space battle between weaponized space satellites and the Nazi fleet, the Sarah Palinesque American president and her shallow bid for reelection, and one moon Nazis conflict with her own morality after learning the true history of Nazism. Overall, not perfect, but it did get to me wonder.
When did Nazis become acceptable as comedic villains? As dark as the movie could get, the villains were over-the-top and as comical as villains on any old movie serial. Nazis have been fodder for pulp action for decades now, and Mel Brooks led the charge, I believe. He once stated that his goal was to make Hitler so ridiculous that no one would take him seriously as a leader. Maybe it’s worked. Brooks, though, is also a World War 2 veteran and was at the Battle of the Bulge, so as far as rights to mock Hitler, Brooks is covered.
But when can we start making fun of modern-day despots and terrorists? The Film Four Lions tried to do this and was met with positive acclaim. The sting of terrorism, though, it very much fresh for many people. Nazism pretty much died with Hitler, and although modern-day Nazis still exist, they are labeled as nuts and whackos, radicals without a home who have been fought and defeated, yet they still cling to an ideology that sent the world into war.
Terrorism, though, is much more complex. It still exists today, and between drone strikes and invasions, there are many who view it as a legitimate tool to fight oppression and bring vengeance upon the enemy. American imperialism is also very much tangled with exceptionalism and other extreme patriot movements.
The key is that comedy is aimed at the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, not the victims or the crimes themselves. For example, I’m not sure anyone would seriously think a comedy about the holocaust would be either appropriate or funny. Comedy based around terrorists, then, must be about the perpetrators, not their crimes.
Unless you’re racist.
Likewise, it seems we’re not too preoccupied about making movies based on recent events. How long did it take for 9/11 movies to come out? A few years? Television shows set in the modern world obviously had to address these concerns, but how soon is too soon to make a drama about terrorism? 24 was well into production when 9/11 occurred. Now, we have Homeland.
It’ll be interesting to look back on this time from twenty, maybe thirty years from now and see just how our entertainment dealt with a dark period in our history. Will we groan at our dash to capitalize on tragedy or see terrorists reduced to inept, albeit scary, movie monsters?
Just something to think about.
In any case, here’s a group of people who really wish they’d stayed in bed. See you later, and keep sharing posts!
The awesome thing about science fiction is that it can show us a world of possibilities both mundane and extraordinary. The scary thing about science fiction is when a part of it actually comes true, but it’s not a part we really wanted.
Remember in Minority Report when the cops used a machine connected to psychics in order to predict when murders would occur? Seemed all fantastic and futurey, right?
Our government has mined the internet for data for some time. Think Eagle Eye sans Julianne Moore and insane computers. Looking for key words and patterns in social media is not that outrageous, although Big Brother looking over your shoulder and flagging you because you were talking about the news and happened to mention “bomb,” “President,” and “kill” probably got on some peoples’ nerves. However, the Department of Homeland Security is moving on the road to complete thought police by testing out a new piece of technology.
It’s called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), and boy is it neat-o. It does the same thing as mining the internet for data, but hey! This one goes right to the source and looks at things such as video, audio, heart rate, breathing, and even facial expressions. Homeland Security claims its non-intrusive, but it doesn’t get more intrusive that having a piece of government hardware looking at my pores and trying to guess if that twitch is because I’m nervous for hiding something or because I had a bean burrito and I’m holding a fart in.
Proponents of the new technology cite the well-worn scenario of a bomber entering a stadium, or a terrorist getting through airport security. Would you want little Billy and Susie to die because we didn’t catch this guy? Of course not, but if the government had the ability to monitor our physiological signs and try to guess if we would commit a crime, would you really want that technology applied to you? And don’t say that it’ll be only for terrorists, because as soon as the government can monitor someone, EVERYONE is up for grabs.
Here’s a fun game. If you’re on a phone and you hear a light click, that’s Homeland Security tapping the line. I’m not making that up. I’ve got friends in the department that can validate that. They even get THEIR calls tapped once in a while.
Look, I get it. It’s a scary world. There are people out there who have no qualms about killing themselves or women and children and puppies. I’m not blind to that, but if FAST works, it will give the government a tool to try and guess who will commit a crime.
And what will they do then?
Let’s say we do use this to catch a guy with a Semtex vest trying to sneak into a ballpark. Law enforcement gets him, saves the day, and the game resumes. Wonderful. Now let’s say little Johnny has a bad day because he burned his mouth on his Starbucks double mocha venti latte alfredo sauce coffee, and he’s in a bad mood. He walks into work not the least bit ready to deal with anyone’s crap, and the system flags him for harboring violent thoughts.
What then? Hold him until we find out what he was GOING to do? There are any number of ethical concerns with punishing someone who has done nothing. By simply predicting the future, we change it. If you told me that I was going to give a really bad presentation because I didn’t get enough sleep or I would be crabby because I would then lock my keys in my car, I would take steps to prevent those things from happening.
When you predict, you alter the series of events leading up to the prophesized moment. How can you possibly punish someone for future deeds? Granted, if I was driving around with a trunk-load of pipe bombs, the cops might have something to charge me with, but you cannot prosecute people who have done nothing. It’s a violation of privacy and an insane idea.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wait for the nice men in black SUVs to get here. I hear Guantanamo is lovely this time of year. In the meantime, please enjoy this video of the first trailer for The Avengers. Get excited!
Can you spot the asshole in this picture? I'll give you a hint. It's Glenn Beck.
July 27, 2011
Oh dear gods, it’s like Beck isn’t even trying to seem human anymore.
The bombings in Norway shone a light on the very real and very extreme problem of Right-Wing paranoia and conspiracy theories regarding the Muslim community and multiculturalism in general. These unfounded fears have now been given a very prominent spokesperson in the shape of Anders Behring Breivik.
Oh, many on the right are trying to isolate themselves from someone who took their talking points of an imminent Muslim-Western war and took the next logical step if someone really does believe our way of life is being threatened.
Beck, though, takes the cake by saying something so utterly stupid, so incredible insensitive, that I am now fully convinced Beck has not a brain but a rather deflated rubber ducky in heavy gravy.
He isn’t addressing the fact that what he said was insulting. He’s defending the fact that he said “Hitler.” See, Beck seems to think that the right to say something frees you from all consequences of said actions.
I believe Beck should be forced to personally apologize to the victims of the Norway attacks, the 9/11 families he smeared years ago, and he should issue a full refund to everyone who bought his so-called books. To not do so would make him an unrepentant con-artist and to continue to spread his lies is an act on the same level as domestic terrorism. His rhetoric has emboldened extremists and he is therefore an enemy of the state and the people of the United States.
If he does not turn himself in and renounce everything he’s said, he is an enemy of the Constitution and is inciting violence against his fellow countrymen. If the government will not act, the people must act
Okay, so by his logic, I am perfectly within my rights to insinuate people should take him out at long range with something supersonic. Why? To stifle my free speech is to become a Nazi.
Beat that, Becky Boy.
He and others like him are quick to distance themselves from Breivik and his actions, claiming he isn’t really Right-wing, and isn’t REALLY Christian…
Except Breivik is both, and he’s not the first Right-Winger to resort to violence to make a point. They were quick to dismiss Gabrielle Gifford’s shooter as Right-Wing. They ignored the Tides Foundation shooter, the Holocaust Museum shooter, and every other incident since then.
Can you imagine if the act HAD been perpetrated by a Muslim? They would have run and screamed to begin profiling, but if it’s a white guy and who loves him some Jesus and conservatism, hands off!
If this doesn’t prove to the world that American conservatism and Right-Wing media are a bunch of hypocrites and self-serving lunatics who don’t care about the lost lives their careless rhetoric has cost, then I’m going to have to go every registered Republican household and beat the occupants within with a baseball bat inscribed with this article until candy comes out of them.
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.
My sister called me to her apartment. My fiancé and I don’t have cable, and she said Obama was about to announce that Bin Laden was dead. Mary and I rushed to her place and waited until Obama confirmed, without a doubt, that the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks was in fact dead, killed by a precision operation in Pakistan.
Right then and there, I felt two things. First, I was glad that the mass-murdering son of a bitch responsible for pushing us into a pseudo-police state complete with socially acceptable racism and fear that Big Brother is watching us finally got the bullet to the head he deserved.
Secondly… I caught myself for thinking that I was glad Bin Laden got a bullet in the head.
Look, I remember the horror when the Twin Towers were hit. They wouldn’t let us have the news on for the first part of class that day and all I’d seen was the second plane hit live. When they finally turned the news back on, all we saw was a cloud of dust.
“Where are the towers? Where are the towers?”
I must have repeated it for a full minute before my brain finally accepted that they were gone.
I shut myself in my room when I saw that we’d invaded Iraq as one of my “friends” cheered for more bloodshed. I watched video on CNN that reminded me too much of the first Gulf War.
I worked in DC during the ninth anniversary of the attacks and could hear “Amazing Grace” playing from every office in the Cannon Office Building as everyone paused for the memorial at the Pentagon. It was the only sound you could hear through the tall halls of the Cannon House Office Building right by the Rotunda.
And despite having pushed us into a world where air travel is a humiliating experience complete with full body scans, a world where Muslims are still persecuted for the actions of a few radicals, a world where a sizable percentage of my countrymen yearn for war and blood and we seem to be regressing, I don’t think I wanted Bin Laden dead. I wanted him on trial. When the victims are dead, those of us that stay behind must speak for them. I wanted him to spend the rest of his life in a cell plastered with the pictures of the men and women he helped kill and the servicemen and women who were killed or maimed because our leadership started two wars to try and capture him.
But not dead.
Still, I can’t say I didn’t cheer when I heard the news.
Even though this may make things worse, for a moment at least, I feel a sense of relief. Yes, the revenge killings will probably come, but I feel a sense of closure, however bitter it may be. It’s like Bin Laden had this Xanatos Gambit where getting killed would show us to be revenge-drive lunatics like his own bombers and, if he lived, we would appear weak. Someone like him very likely had no intention of being taken alive. Whatever happened, we lost in the end.
Not that I don’t think he deserved what he got, though.
Frankly, a Navy SEAL team shooting him is merciful. I wanted to drop him into the middle of Times Square, shine a spotlight on him and say, “Have at it, folks,” while I handed out hammers and skinning knives to the people of New York City.
You might be thinking that an $88,000 watch is ridiculous, and you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that the reviews for this amazingly over-prized watch aren’t hilarious in on themselves. Did you know it’s made of Popes?
Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest president of all time (cue lame pun).
The Right is already spinning Bin Laden’s death as everything from a tragedy to proof of corruption. Wow. A hundre4d bucks says that if Bush had given the order, they wouldn’t be complaining.
They go together like chocolate and peanut butter.
February 21, 2011
Remember that Jesus taught us to shun the non-believers and turn a blind eye to their plight.
Or something like that. It seems a church in Alexandria, Virginia has opened its doors to local Muslims who need a place to gather and pray. This act of charity, two religions working together, is apparently too much for Fox News, and Mike Huckabee was quite vocal in his disgust to this arrangement between Christians and Muslims.
Got all that? How dare these Christians lend their church, a building dedicated to God, to the “antithesis” of Christianity? Islam is, after all, a religion that calls unbelievers “infidels” and stands for everything Christianity does not believe in.
Of course, anyone who has even a cursory understand of both faiths knows that they are much more similar than many conservatives, on both sides, would like to admit.
There are the major differences, of course. Islam proclaims Muhammad as God’s prophet and Christians believe Jesus was the Messiah and God’s son on Earth. Obviously, that’s going to be a big difference. Both religions have wackos hell-bent on genocide and death. Both sides have moderates who are people who wish to practice their faith in peace.
A lot of the complaints on the message boards stem from one major gripe: Would a mosque open its doors to Jews or Christians? Would Saudi Arabia open its doors to a Christian church and allow worship at Mecca?
Uhm, no. Saudi Arabia would very likely not allow Christian worship at Mecca… but that’s the point, isn’t it? Let’s say you’re a Christian. I’d like for you to point to the section in the Bible that instructs you to only show compassion and charity to someone who has done something for you. If you think that perhaps the commands to help those who need help are outdated or do not apply in this case, let me ask you something else.
Have we let Muslims built mosques in our country without accusing them of trying to spread terrorism? The Park51 project comes to mind, as do other instances where we’ve denied Muslims the chance to build their places of worship in peace. So I ask you again…
Have we let Muslims build their houses of worship in America?
The answer, I’m sure is obvious, is yes we have, but the Islamaphobia that’s spread over the country can have very negative effects. If a church wishes to open its doors and allow Muslims to pray, is that not the individual church’s choice? Is that not a way to show support for our brothers and sisters? If the members of the church are fine with their building being loaned in this manner, is that not the congregation’s call?
Huckabee went on and on about how a building constructed to worship in one faith cannot be used by people of other faiths. That’s funny because I’m pretty sure there are non-denominational churches. Chapels in hospitals and other places welcome people of all faiths, too.
“But Entropy Echo,” I can hear you say, “that’s not the same! Those are places for Christians, not for people of other religions!”
How many Catholics do you think would welcome Protestants to worship in a Catholic church? How many Mormons would welcome Methodists into their sanctuaries? Even within Christianity, there are schisms, so it’s easy to see why letting Muslims use a Christian church for their worship services sounds so outlandish.
But I repeat, what is the harm? Are the Christian members of the congregation any less Christian? A church is a private building, and if those who own and maintain it, along with the congregation wish to lend it for another use, what’s the harm? Huckabee made a slippery slope comparison that people might start lending churches for things like pornography viewings (he made it clear he wasn’t trying to compare Islam to porn, although I’m curious as to why he thinks both are so equally outlandish).
He says that if a congregation needs a place to worship, they can rent a room at a hotel or something similar. That implies that it is the people who use the space, not the space itself, that is important. He even says so himself, then backtracks when he claims that the building is already dedicated so it cannot house any other kind of worship.
It’s a building, people. Though not in the apocrypha, the Gospel of Saint Thomas contains some interesting sayings attributed to Jesus, and some of the more humanistic takes on religion I’ve ever seen from Christianity.
Verse 14: [W]hat goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”
Verse 77: Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.
Split a piece of wood; I am there.
Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”
If the building is just that, a building, and the important thing is the character of the people who go there, then it does nothing to allow Muslims to pray in a Christian church. Instead, it builds community and fellowship between two religions. It opens up the possibility for an exchange of ideas and helps heal the rifts being created by bigotry.
But I guess that’s too much to ask for when it comes to religious tolerance. After all, Jesus only helped those who already did things for him, right?
And finally, it seems even superheroes need a little help finding that special someone. Check out this video for Super Harmony, the only dating service that caters to today’s modern superhero. Take care, and I’ll see you all Wednesday
All over the country, people are protesting the building of new mosques. The main fear is that these mosques will be used as training grounds for terrorism, because, as we all know, that’s what mosques do. Kind of how Catholic churches train pedophiles. Or how colleges make progressive terrorists.
The point isn’t even about the mosque’s location. It’s about racism. Plain and simple. If you know someone is against this construction, ask them this question.
“Who is responsible for the 9/11 attacks?”
It wasn’t the Muslim community, and yet I had a very long debate with someone who agreed with me and insisted it didn’t make a difference. He said that while it was a small group of radicals, they’d tainted the rest and we needed to act accordingly.
Wow. I’d never heard anyone outline their racism so eloquently.
That’s what this is all about. People are forgetting that while the hijackers were Muslim, they were not representative of the more than one billion Muslims on the planet. Going back to the Catholic analogy, yes, Catholic priests did molest children, but they were not representative of all Catholicism. Unless, of course, you believe we should ban Catholics from building churches near schools, parks, and residential areas.
The worst part of all this is that it’s part of a pattern. America goes through this every few decades. Lincoln was accused of being Catholic at a time when many in America were Protestant. Franklin D. Roosevelt was accused of being a Jew. Now, Obama is accused of being a Muslim.
Every few decades, we find a new group to blame. And every few decades, we see the error in our ways and that group finds itself fully integrated into American society. Try finding anyone mainstream who makes Jews or Catholics the targets of society’s problems.
That’s not to say Muslims aren’t already integrated into American society. After all, Muslims died on 9/11, too. They hold prayer services at the Pentagon, an ACTUAL site of one of the 9/11 attacks. I understand racism. I understand where it comes from.
If you’re reading this and you don’t think Muslims have the right to build a mosque that close to Ground Zero or anywhere else in this country, I have a few things to ask you.
Should we ban white people from being anywhere segregation was practiced? The harm they did to generations of blacks is monumental. Treating an entire race as second-class citizens, lynching, and otherwise shunning others to the lowest levels of society impacted millions.
Are Japanese or Japanese-descended Americans allowed in Hawaii? You probably don’t want them anywhere near Peal Harbor even though a sizable percentage of the Hawaiian population is Japanese or descended from them. And by the way, there is a Shinto temple not far from Pearl Harbor.
Can blacks vote? Even though the voter intimidation story was blown out of proportion, there really is a New Black Panther party. Seeing as how a few thugs tried to intimidate voters, can blacks still vote?
Given that some of our soldiers in the Middle East engaged in war crimes by killing civilians, should we never again allow military personnel to work with civilians? Maybe we can make large groups of former soldiers and marines to work construction since we can’t trust them with non-combatants.
People screaming that Muslims are showing callousness by building this mosque think they’re being insulted because the protestors believe ALL Muslims are to blame. If I were racist and hated blacks and demanded that blacks move away from my home, would I be well within my rights to say I was the grieved party because they would not bow to my ignorance and racism?
Like I said, we’ve gone through this before. Before we get to the links, though, I want to show you something.
Every generation seems to find something to fear. Communists. The Civil Rights Movement. Immigrants. Gays. Whatever. This video is from 1947 and it shows just the kind of fracturing that Fox, Beck, Bachmann, Palin, Limbaugh, and all these other wastes of skin are creating. I’m probably breaking Godwin’s Law, but I’d like to create Martin del Campo’s Law, an updated version.
Once you compare someone to a terrorist, you fail. Terrorists: they’re like Nazis for the 21st century.
Watch for the moment where one man in the crowd is all for “reclaiming America,” one second… only to realize HE’S suddenly become the enemy.
And now time for links! Because we could ALL use a good laugh.
One more quick New York City mosque story. Glenn Beck has been one of the more vocal voices demonizing this project, and yet, four years ago, he applauded and endorsed the imam in charge! Need we say more about this money-whore?
If this study showing that Darwin was wrong about evolution proves correct, I guarantee that creationists will jump on it and declare evolution dead. However, this new study claims that Darwin was simply wrong about what causes evolution. It claims that the need for more space, not necessarily competition, caused adaptation.
Who doesn’t love the gay community? Not me. It’s sad we still need to fight for gay rights and equality, but at least we get to enjoy some VERY funny protest signs.
Remember a few years ago when everyone got real excited about wine being good for you? Guess what? Now rave drugs are also good for you! When the study comes out that proves tequila increases your life span, I’m celebrating until I forget what I was celebrating.
And finally, just when you thought you had to work hard to make it in this world… it’s now reported in various outlets that the Situation, one of the d-bags from Jersey Shore, will make $5 million this year. That’s right. Let that sink in, and I’ll see you on Friday.