And honestly, fuck RBG, too.
When, as an adult, you watch a beloved film from your childhood, you must resist the temptation to cringe and apologize on behalf of your younger self. Such is the case with many movies; personally, no film was as disappointing to me as an adult as Spielberg’s Hook (“Rooooooooooo-fee-ooohh!” “Run Home Jack!”), which went from dearly loved classic to exhausting pablum before the second act break.
This was not the case for Short Circuit 2.
As a child, I cried when the crooks beat viciously beat Johnny 5; as an adult, I wondered how much cocaine fueled the arc of that particular scene (SNORT–“And then he uses that radio thing, which totally looks like Brent’s dick–ha ha, fuck you Brent, shrimp dick!–to call a radio airplane and then he runs the airplane up the guy’s ass!” SNORT). A child can probably be forgiven for thinking this movie was awesome because it has a fucking talking robot in it; only the most boring and annoying kid would be like “I hate robots.” And, according to the Wikipedia page for the film, which contains useful links to some old reviews, some of the critics of the day viewed the film charitably (not the case for Mr. Canby of the New York Times, who claims that Johnny 5 is “singularly charmless”), and thus forgave what was essentially a children’s film for sucking so hard. I mean, this is a movie that relies upon the idea that an advanced robot with artificial intelligence would not be able to keep its memory if turned off, which was something even my piece of shit Apple IIe could do (if only I had the 16KB of my amazing mystery stories from that period to prove it).
Yet I think they may have missed something. Stupidity and plot-holes aside, this film is dark. Sure, it’s dressed in children’s clothing, and the robot says and does comically stupid things, but upon further inspection its rather like the time that Kramer got Mickey to stand in for the kid he was supposed to be babysitting. That is to say, it’s a cynical, gruff-voiced man with several divorces behind him and not much of a future in medical acting.
The entire film is an affirmation of consumer capitalism, which is not evil in itself and only solidifies the movie’s cred–seriously, check out Michael McKean’s Gordon Gekko impression at the end of the movie and then try to argue that they didn’t know what they were doing–but the real problem is that the movie presents as its thesis the idea that the individual must subsume their identity to the flow of capital. Johnny 5 “dies” to protect the assets of a faceless banking corporation (and, in a feudal touch, the aristocratically named Vanderveer Collection of diamonds) that would have insured the assets anyway; moreover, his death is rendered completely pointless by the simple fact that the police already knew Oscar had stolen the diamonds–there was a very low probability of Oscar successfully fencing the diamonds or leaving the country. Thus, Johnny 5’s sacrifice was largely pointless (literally pointless, as it turns out, because he didn’t actually sacrifice anything). Symbolically, however, his “death” is important for two reasons: 1) it serves to demonstrate that the proper approach toward the protection of capital is human sacrifice, and 2) it serves to resurrect Johnny as a fully-functional piece of the capitalist machinery. Why, he’s even proclaimed a human by the U.S. government at a citizenship ceremony! This proclamation (odd in its own regard and reminiscent of the federal government’s other rather problematic attempts at defining what constitutes a human being) retroactively affirms the humanity of his sacrifice and subsequently affirms the idea that such sacrifice is the proper relation one ought to take toward capital.
The film is consistent in its thematic treatment of the individual vis-a-vis capital, as the first time we see Johnny 5 he’s been reduced to a consumer product–a toy for sale to the highest bidder. The highest bidder then enters in the form of Sandy, who works for a toy company and will try to get her company to buy the toy (this also serves as an awkward way to shoehorn in a romance; personally, my adult self thinks the more progressive choice would have been to make the romance between Johnny 5 and Michael McKean’s character, Fred; also, the funnier choice). Alas, Benjamin and Fred run into production troubles when they find their warehouse has doubled as a thieves’ den, and they can’t meet their production goals until Johnny 5 arrives and rapidly constructs an idol of himself, which he quite admires. Johnny 5 is alive and appreciates the replication of his likeness for profit. The accumulation of capital is incompatible with any sense of ethics.
Arguably, the entire film is a weird critique of consumer capitalism; one need only assume the writers’ intention was to demonstrate the flaws with reducing humanity to a vessel for the accumulation and distribution of capital, and the subtext converts itself into a progressive, fly-under-the-radar piece of cultural criticism in the guise of summer entertainment. Yet I do not think a straightforward reading of the film supports this idea, and I find myself wondering how a film so cynical and dark could possibly have been pushed through as a light, summer sequel.
And then I remember: cocaine is a hell of a drug.
I mean seriously shitty. Like, Jason Statham should time travel and prevent his agent from agreeing to allow him to do this film. And I’ve only seen 10 minutes so far.
However, I have come to a realization: Jason Statham is the Steven Seagal of the ’00s (aughts). He’s a white dude who knows kicking and punching skills (for no reason), he’s in terrible films that make no sense, and dumb storylines follow him around. It’s like Steven Seagal did a magic ritual and resurrected himself into Jason Statham’s body, even though he was still doing shitty DTV films, and they’d have to split time between their crappy film careers. In fact, this is probably the reason they weren’t in either of the “Expendables” movies together! They are the same person! My headline undersold this.
STEVEN SEAGAL AND JASON STATHAM ARE THE SAME PERSON!
This is Zod, and she is undoubtedly one of the most incisive film critics I’ve ever met. Thus, in an effort to share her genius with all of you, I’ve decided to publish recaps of our discussions about film and television. I figured that since Man of Steel is currently on HBO, and she’s named Zod, it would be apropos to start with her thoughts on last summer’s most controversial (well, controversial in a way that’s totally unimportant) film.
Undoubtedly, Man of Steel inspired quite a bit of nerd fury last summer when it hit the theaters. Why do you suppose this film created such a negative reaction?
I absolutely agree–the ending can definitely be seen as a complete betrayal of Superman’s core ethos, but it’s a revision that arguably suits modern tastes. I mean, we’re dealing with a post-9/11 Superman that’s not a love letter to the Donner films, so perhaps it’s to be expected that moral ambiguity might reign.
I suppose that’s a valid point. In an age of morally ambiguous villains, and in a world where you don’t necessarily know who’s really bad, and who’s really good, maybe you want a hero like Superman to represent the questions we’re struggling with. Which I suppose brings us to the central villain, General Zod.
I’m not quite certain what to make of General Zod either. Really, he’s presented as a victim of circumstance, which I think ultimately makes his death at the hands of Kal-El much worse, but I also think there’s a sense in which his goals of recreating Krypton on Earth make no fucking sense whatsoever. Do you think this sort of mischaracterization speaks to the overall flaws in the plot?
I could not agree more; I also think the plot holes defeat the film’s integrity. I mean, first of all, once Zod realizes Earth is liveable, and would give him super-powers, why the hell wouldn’t he just start making new Kryptonians? Which raises an entirely new point, and one that’s worth addressing I think–and you and I have discussed this at length–Kryptonians are the fucking worst. Now, I know you have some sympathy for them, but I just can’t help but wonder how an advanced civilization such as theirs turned to shit so fast. Terraforming and space colonization leads to population control? I mean, if you’re building new worlds, why the hell would you need population control? And why would genetically engineering everyone for a job make sense? And how the hell would you even do that? Surely in the 100,000 years of their civilization someone did a study that showed a person’s environment has some influence on their psychological makeup. But now I’m ranting.
(Meows for a treat)
I know, I know–I’m being unfair. The movie is not about Krypton. But seeing as how that’s a central component to the mythos, I think it’s worth considering. Also, perhaps a bit off topic–why the fuck would anyone think it’s a good idea to create an artificial black hole on Earth to send about 4 Kryptonians to their doom? I mean, that just seems excessive. And don’t get me started as to why the Kryptonian High Council would send Zod to the Phantom Zone instead of letting him die on Krypton. I mean, what the fuck was that about?! I’m ranting again.
(Leaves the room)
I guess you’re right. Sometimes it’s not worth getting upset about these things. I mean, the film has definite positives: Superman does things Superman would do (like fly and punch aliens), and Henry Cavill looks pretty badass as Kal-El. Overall, the film is well-acted, and the score is superb. So, I guess I’ll just leave it at 50/50: it’s worth watching, but not really worth thinking about. Thanks, Zod!
And on this point Sarah Connor nailed it. Because SkyNet was really her fault.
Now, I know this sounds pretty crazy, but let’s consider the facts, starting with The Terminator:
1) SkyNet exists and sends back a Terminator to kill Sarah Connor, the mother the successful human resistance fighter John Connor.
2) The resistance sends back Kyle Reese to protect her; he fathers John Connor.
So, the causal chain here might be interpreted that SkyNet is responsible for John Connor, because had SkyNet not threatened Sarah in the past, Kyle Reese would have been unnecessary; no Terminator, no Kyle; no Kyle, no John. That’s all well and good, and we might be inclined to just accept the traditional (and paradoxical) “SkyNet ensured its own existence by existing” argument.
But let’s not be so hasty. Remember the outcome of Sarah’s first confrontation with a Terminator? Kyle died to protect her, and she survived, ultimately killing the Terminator by crushing it. When she did this, and did not pick up the pieces, she guaranteed the existence of SkyNet. Had Sarah bothered to grab the detritus from the Terminator she crushed, Cyberdyne would never have received the microprocessor and skeletal hand from the T-800.
Undoubtedly, some of you might be questioning my sanity (for a variety of reasons). But I urge you to consider this: after Sarah defeated the first Terminator, we have the only possible moment in the trajectory toward August 29, 1997 (side note: hahahahaha!) where divergence was possible. Had Sarah made the correct choice here, SkyNet’s future would have been impossible. Imagine the following timelines, where a is the timeline envisioned by the films, and b is my hypothesized timeline where Sarah takes a minute to pick up some shit off the floor:
a) Sarah kills the Terminator and runs away —-> cops hand over weird shit to Cyberdyne, events of Terminator 2 —-> 8/29/1997
b) Sarah kills the Terminator and cleans up the mess —-> no evidence for Cyberdyne to use —-> boring future we live in now
Sarah Connor was responsible for the Apocalypse, and thus correct when she claimed that there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Way to go, Sarah.
Seriously, there is nothing to read on the Interwebz. Once you’ve exhausted your porn and stock quotes, what the hell is there? Femblogs? God no. Gossip blogs? Shoot me. The fucking New York Times? Maybe before they went paywall. Remind me to kick them in the virtual testes for that. I’d like to think that once upon a time I provided something else to read, but perhaps I’m just being optimistic.* In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m being optimistic. So I think I should consider adding some new shit. Because here’s the thing–I am pretty sure I’m smarter and wittier and definitely more clever than any bullshit clickbait blog you’re going to find begging for your hard-earned wrist motion. So I’ll try to bring some of my insightful, superior-intelligence driven (KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHNNNNN!) observations back to this domain that I pay for. Look for it, friends.
*I’m definitely being optimistic on that one–I just linked to their shit because I figured the five of you still reading hadn’t read it yet.
David Brooks has really done it this time. In today’s column, he’s proposed that Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar take a few moments in tomorrow’s debate to address the plebeians and reassure them that his performance to date was nothing but the trifling mummery of a rude mechanical; the stuff of which dreams are made that is or is not and dares not cross the bourne to the undiscovered country lest it discover Ophelia in the shower or something. Polonius Mittensus is neither a borrower nor a lender, though despite this he seems to have lost both loans and friends.
And that’s where David Brooks comes in. Cue moronery in five…four…three…two…one…
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to use the opening minutes of this debate a little differently. I’d like to say that I wish everybody could have known my father, George Romney. He was a great public servant and I’ve always tried to live up to his example. The problem is that you get caught up in the competitiveness of a campaign and all the consultants want to make you something you’re not.”
In other words, Mitt’s dad was a nice guy. That totally qualifies him to be president. Obama’s dad was a dick; he ran off on the kid, after all. So if a guy with a total dickbag for a father can become president, what about a guy with a dad who was like the second coming of Christ? Cheese and crackers, folks, he was even a lath-and-plaster man! That’s pretty much carpentry for non-hippies!
“I’ve allowed that to happen to me. I’m a nonideological guy running in an ideological age, and I’ve been pretending to be more of an ideologue than I really am. I’m a sophisticated guy running in a populist moment. I’ve ended up dumbing myself down.”
In other words Mitt’s a spineless sociopath with no moral center and an odd sense of entitlement to the presidency. Thus, he allowed Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers to put on some Barry White, draw a hot bath, and make sweet love to his non-ideological personal opinions until he gushed free-market tea party rhetoric that makes no sense to anyone save for the most sophistic of douchebags.
“The next president is going to face some wicked problems. The first is the “fiscal cliff.” The next president is going to have to forge a grand compromise on the budget. President Obama has tried and failed to do this over the past four years. There’s no reason to think he’d do any better over the next four.”
Shout-out to Timmy, Tommy-Twosies, and Seanny Duff—Southie for fackin’ life, dahg! Leht’s drink some beeyahs and wahtch the Town agahn! Go Pats!
“He’s failed, first, because he’s just not a very good negotiator. You don’t have to believe me. Read Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics.” Obama spent the last campaign promising to be postpartisan and then in his first weeks in office, in the fullness of his victory, he shut down all cooperation with Republicans and killed any hope of bipartisan cooperation.”
David Brooks believes that one should always reference a book, no matter how stupid the reference might look—why should anyone care that Mitt read Bob Woodward’s book? Also, Obama sucks at negotiating because, well, let’s face it: he’s black and he was negotiating with a bunch of dudes who resemble the dried up shit one sometimes sees on hiking trails. You know the kind—it’s been there for a long time and is shriveled, old, and white. It’s exactly like the Republican congressional delegation.
“Furthermore, he’s too insular. As Woodward reports, he’s constantly leaving people in the dark — his negotiating partners and people in his own party. They’re perpetually being blindsided and confused by his amorphous positions. There’s no trust. If I were in business, there’s no way I would do a deal with this guy.”
I see that someone’s still a bit grumpy about not being invited to any cool White House parties! Also, the idea that Mitt “wouldn’t have done business with [that] guy” is fucking hilarious, as is the quip about Obama being “amorphous,” given that Romneybot has proven on several occasions to be but a mirror of whatever’s convenient, which necessarily makes him an untrustworthy douche. And to get a sense of Mitt’s business ethic, just talk to all the companies that Bain fucked about how awesome it was to do business with an aloof, insular, amorphous, glad-handing ball of crab-infested pubic hair.
“The second wicked problem the next president will face is sluggish growth. I assume you know that everything President Obama and I have been saying on this subject has been total garbage. Presidents and governors don’t “create jobs.” We don’t have the ability to “grow the economy.” There’s no magic lever.”
At this point I’m confused as to whether Brooks is alluding to New England slang or musical theater. Was sluggish growth something that Elphaba sang about? I guess it could have been, seeing as how those damn midgets in Oz were all a bunch of socialists!
“Instead, an administration makes a thousand small decisions, each of which subtly adds to or detracts from a positive growth environment. The Obama administration, which is either hostile to or aloof from business, has made a thousand tax, regulatory and spending decisions that are biased away from growth and biased toward other priorities. American competitiveness has fallen in each of the past four years, according to the World Economic Forum. Medical device makers, for example, are being chased overseas. The economy in 2012 is worse than the economy in 2011. That’s inexcusable.”
While it’s true that the United States now ranks 5th in the WEF’s competitiveness report, it should be noted that the report is fabricated mainly from surveys given to “business leaders” in the surveyed economy. For instance, while the report draws upon hard data to reach conclusions regarding certain macroeconomic factors, additional subjective variables such as “property rights” and “cooperation in labor-employer relations” are included in the rankings. These subjective categories account for roughly two-thirds of the data used to compile the rankings, while publicly available hard data account for one-third. Thus, two-thirds of the study relies on the subjectivity of human opinion. So let’s not–how would Huey Freeman say it?–“dick ride” the WEF’s competitiveness report.
Let’s also consider that Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden all rank higher than the United States, and all provide universal health care to their citizens (with a range of methodologies). So if you take this report at all seriously, SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE DAMAGING THE ECONOMY.
“The third big problem is Medicare and rising health care costs, which are bankrupting this country. Let me tell you the brutal truth. Nobody knows how to reduce health care inflation. There are two basic approaches, and we probably have to try both simultaneously.”
This is laughable. See the WEF’s report on the top 5 countries, and examine their spending on health care services:
United States: 17.2%
Then, look at how they do it. Only a fucking idiot would say “nobody knows how to reduce health care inflation.” Although I imagine that Romneybot’s plan of starving roughly 47% of U.S. citizens to death has the benefit of substantially reducing the health care burden.
“I’m willing to pursue any experiment, from any political direction, that lowers costs and saves Medicare. Democrats are campaigning as the party that will fight to the death to preserve the Medicare status quo. If they win, the lesson will be: Never Touch Medicare. No Democrat or Republican will dare reform the system, and we will go bankrupt.”
This paragraph is an interesting rhetorical diversion that carries the same semiotic weight as a bag of dicks; that is to say, very little weight indeed. Allow me to rephrase: “Democrats want to do anything to save Medicare, but I’m willing to do anything to save Medicare. We can’t let them do anything to save Medicare, but I will definitely do anything to save it.”
“At last, I’ve tried to be on the level with you. This president was audacious in 2008, but, as you can see from his negligible agenda, he’s now exhausted. I’m not an inspiring conviction politician, but I’ll try anything to help us succeed. You make the choice.”
Unless that plan involves raising taxes to raise revenue, or standing up to small-minded bigots within the Republican party, or anything that involves helping the poor. Because fuck those guys.
Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar (a.k.a. Romneybot) has always had difficulties connecting with the common man. There’s his unfortunate “Nascar” gaffe, his claim that his wife drives more than one Cadillac, his apathy toward the poor, or perhaps best of all, his assertion that $374,000 is not a lot of cash. Oh, there’s also the whole dressage thing.
But thankfully for Mittensus, his recent “Tour de Poor” has helped his stilted, awkward, and assholish speaking style:
The Mr. Romney who emerged over this recent tour still came across as goofily old-fashioned, but he was also more polished on the stump, able to improvise and riff and better handle the surprises that naturally accompany a rambling motorcade through the heartland.
Yes, all you need to do is practice being around poor people and you’ll eventually learn how to charm them. His performance during this tour, however, is a damn sight better than his performance during the primaries, where “he delighted his traveling press corps by guessing voters’ ages and ethnicities (often incorrectly) and [proved] himself a gaffe-prone jokester.”
“You there, the fellow in brown–oh, wait, that’s your skin! Ha ha ha ha ha! Is your wife a Hottentot?”*
Alas, with his newly acquired skill of mimicking the conversations of the sweaty unwashed, he’ll surely gain ground among idiots who, despite common sense, will vote for a man that gives not a single zany fuck about them.
According to Mitt Romney’s website, this is what you can expect from a Romney presidency:
*This exchange may not have taken place.
**You can’t prove it didn’t happen!
Bad news, everyone–it turns out that employment will make you fat. In what must surely be the most causally determinative and well-respected study of all time, researchers found that your job is responsible for that button-strain you now feel. According to the Boston Business Journal, “Around 44 percent of workers say they’ve put on pounds at their current job, with 26 percent saying they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, per the report.”
Naturally, some jobs are worse for you than others:
The jobs where people are most likely to gain weight include: travel agent; attorney; social worker; teacher; doctor and public relations professional. The job descriptions weren’t ranked, but were grouped by their potential for causing weight gain.
Seemingly, it’s the combination of sedentary work conditions and a high-stress environment that provide the conditions for eating Italian subs every day for lunch. Notably, the study does not comment on the deliciousness of Italian subs or your weak will; hopefully, further research is forthcoming.
In other news, I now want an Italian sub.
Um, what the hell is wrong with you? You’re seriously going to go to law school? Seriously?! Even after reading this? Or this? What about this, or perhaps this? Jesus, you can’t be reasoned with. At the very least, consider the following:
1. You will pay an exorbitant amount of tuition.
Tuition has been rising by about 5%-10% per year for the last four years, and is up 71% from a decade ago. But this won’t deter you, because you’re an idiot, and you believe you’ll land one of those coveted BigLaw positions. Except for the simple fact that you won’t.
2. You will not get a job as a lawyer.
That’s right, genius–there are 45,000 graduates competing for 28,000 legal jobs. And you know what counts as a job? Doc review that pays $10 bucks an hour. Or better yet, a full-time associate position that pays less than minimum wage! Not to mention that schools count jobs at Starbucks in their employment statistics, and that this is the reason they’re being sued by former students.
3. If you do get a job as a lawyer, you will not be paid well.
Were you under the impression that lawyers made decent money? How is it possible that you even graduated? Oh, that’s right–you went to Cooley. Even if you do get a legal job, the salaries are shrinking; top salaries are down 10%, and fewer students are getting BigLaw positions–only 18% of graduates are employed by the largest firms. And they probably didn’t go to the shitty school that you’re about to attend. Best of all, your lousy salary will likely make it impossible for you to pay off your student loan debt, which now averages at about $91,000 dollars.
4. Your law school might not be accredited by the ABA.
So, after getting 500 emails a day from California Online School of Lawtalking and Legal Styling, you finally made the plunge. On the bright side, your tuition might be a little lower than Stanford’s (as if you were going to Stanford!). But on the less bright side (the shady side, if you will), your school is not accredited by the ABA, and so you can’t sit for the bar exams anywhere but California. And since California’s bar is notoriously difficult, you probably won’t pass it (because you went to a shitty online school), thus making it really hard to pay back the money you owe. Not that you would have gotten a job anyway.
DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!