I’ve been giving myself a hard goal of writing for two hours every day. Some days I have something that really needs to be written. Other days, I’m just trying to write something.
This is a short story I’ve been massaging for the last couple of days. I’m a playwright. That’s my thing. But I wanted to make myself write something and this was what started coming out.
Even though Rey was the lead in The Force Awakens, inside reports suggest that the prevailing opinion was that kids (specifically boys) wouldn’t be interested. Also, apparently girls don’t play with action figures or some stupid shit like that.
They decided that what they really needed was a whole lot of Kylo Ren stuff.
Now don’t get me wrong – Kylo Ren is a great character. I love his conflicted nature and his violent mood swings. He is one of the most dangerous villains I think the Star Wars universe has ever created.
Yes, including Darth Vader.
But the heart of the film is Rey. If you don’t have confidence that kids are going to identify with her and want toys that represent her, why the fuck are you making merchandise for the film?
I mean, if your expectation of the hero is that low, your expectation of the rest of the film has to be lower, doesn’t it?
What’s embarrassing is this conversation has been going on for years. The public has been saying “we want toys featuring the women in these movies” and every time a new film comes out, the response seems to be “well, we didn’t know!”
When in realty, they just didn’t care.
With Christmas and January 1st falling on Fridays, I’ve been a bit backlogged on this column. That means this week might feature more anger than usual. If you are a regular reader, I’m sorry for the time off.
The sheer amount of privilege these guys exhibit when they talk about how difficult it is for them to fly coach is remarkable. What is frightening, though, is some of the points they make are completely fair. I hate that.
Imagine you are a super popular preacher who has to travel all over the country. Imagine you are flying somewhere new almost every day. If you had to fly commercial air the whole time, it would be a lot less convenient.
I mean, you’d get all the first class upgrades and I’m pretty sure whoever is bringing you in to speak would be paying for your ticket but it would still be less convenient. If you schedule yourself that tightly, it would likely be very difficult to get everywhere you needed to go with commercial airlines. You might have to cut back on your appearances or something. Which would be a damn shame.
Thing is, they are getting luxury jets paid for by convincing poor people to give them money. Lots and lots of money. And they have conversations with god on their planes (not kidding – watch the video) in which god apparently tells them that they should want a better plane.
Which means it is time to fleece the poor people again!
I don’t usually experience nerd excitement over films any more. I remember going to The Phantom Menace thinking I was getting new Star Wars for the first time in forever and realizing that Star Wars doesn’t have to be awesome. It can be bland and nonsensical.
I remember watching The Matrix a few dozen times and thinking whatever the Wachoskis had planned for that universe, there was no way they could mess it up. I remember being dead certain that Peter Jackson could make a trilogy about The Hobbit that was going to be just as awesome as The Lord of the Rings.
So entering the theater to see The Force Awakens, I was not vibrating with excitement. I was guardedly optimistic.
And while The Force Awakens may not have ensured I will be excited about every nerd title that comes to theaters from now on, I can honestly say it made me excited about Star Wars again. For the first time since The Empire Strikes Back, the next film can’t come soon enough.
I realize the internet does not require my take on the film. I’m writing it anyway.
And I’m going to focus on one thing: what I loved about the film. The film has faults. They aren’t huge and they don’t border on the gaffes that filled the prequels or even Return of the Jedi. But they are there. And if you want to focus on them, you go right ahead. You have as much right to dislike the film as I do to like it.
I don’t like it, though. I love it. And here’s why.
In the video (which is complete bullshit and anyone who watches it and sympathizes with the filmmakers can just fuck the hell right off), a couple of guys trick a girl to prove that when she claims she has a boyfriend, she doesn’t actually have a boyfriend. What a bitch, amirite?
No. She’s just not interested. But she’s probably learned that if she says “I’m not interested,” the answer could likely be “why not?”
At that point, she has to lie and come up with some nice way to tell the guy he seems kind of sleazy and makes her feel unsafe or she can tell him the truth. She’ll probably lie because when most of us are confronted with the choice of telling someone they are a sleaze or telling them something slightly nicer, we’ll go the nicer route.
Also, she’s probably learned that if she tells him that he is sleazy and makes her feel unsafe, he could ask her why she thinks that and then call her a “cunt” or a “bitch” or “frigid” and say she deserves to get raped.
Here’s the sad part, though, for the girl in this video, no answer is OK. If she says he’s kind of sleazy (because he is) and she isn’t interested, she’s a bitch. If she lies to be nice or just to avoid a more unpleasant conversation that she doesn’t want to have because fuck him she’s trying to study and he should have just left her the fuck alone, she’s still a bitch because she lied!
In spite of the fact it has been publicly stated that these hearings are nothing more than an attempt to discredit Hilary Clinton as a presidential candidate, the Senate held more hearings about Benghazi this week. In what should come as no surprise, the committee spent considerable time discussing Clinton’s e-mails even after claiming they wouldn’t.
The saber rattling by the right about Benghazi is embarrassing. It is done. We are done.
The public doesn’t fucking care.
I mean, that isn’t true. The far right cares and can’t get enough. They think somewhere there is a smoking gun. Ignoring, of course, the fact that the one body completely unqualified to find a smoking gun is the United States Congress.
If you would like to beat Hilary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders), oh Republican establishment, can I suggest you do it with better policies and better candidates?
Or are you already aware that won’t work?
I will never understand why pro-life advocates are not strongly pro birth control. I mean, people will have sex. It doesn’t matter how many purity rings you sell or how many abstinence only sex ed classes you teach.
Hell, married people who don’t want to have kids will have sex.
And if some of those women who want to have sex get pregnant, they might want an abortion. Why wouldn’t you be in strong support of something that reduces the odds of an unwanted pregnancy in the first place?
I’m serious – there should be pamphlets about contraception and condoms at every pro-life event. They should be handing that shit out in front of Planned Parenthood. Here’s a good slogan: “use protection so you don’t even need to consider having an abortion!”
But they aren’t handing out condoms. In fact, after statistics have shown abortion rates in Iowa dropped after use of contraception increased, the head of Iowa’s Right to Life said:
I think that contraception, by and large, has a huge failure rate.
For the record, she is totally fucking wrong. Used correctly, the failure rate of most contraception is less than 1%.
So – and I ask this with all respect – what the fuck is this really about?
I’m going to be the first to admit that I fucking hate other drivers. All of them. They are in my way and many of them engage in random lane changing or hang out in my blind spot or tailgate or drive too slow in the fast lane or don’t pull into the intersection to turn left until the light turns fucking yellow.
So I really understand road rage.
I don’t understand a guy who pulls out a gun and shoots another driver. Nor do I understand a dude who swerves to hit a motorcycle.
When I get angry at another driver, I honk my horn at them. If I’m super out of control, I might do it twice.
I feel like it is the proper way to say “you drive like a douchebag” without, you know, shooting them.
I know regular readers will be shocked that I didn’t complain about guns here. So let me be clear, I’m not happy some asshole had a loaded gun in his car and shot a four year old. He doesn’t get brownie points for admitting he murdered a kid because some other asshole cut him off in traffic.
Road rage is certainly made worse by a loaded gun. But it is always bad. The solution, of course, is for everyone else to stop driving.
Anti Geek Bullshit
So maybe you know (or maybe you don’t) that this week contained the date Marty and Doc Brown travelled to in Back to the Future II.
You may also know that a new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped this week.
Geeks were understandably excited about these two events. The former resulted in a whole lot of jokes. Many of which were repetitive and/or not very funny.
The latter resulted in blog posts dissecting every single shot.
And, of course, both resulted in a bunch of people railing against the geeks for being so fucking excited about something they personally didn’t like.
It takes all kinds, I guess but here’s the thing: if someone is excited about Back to the Future because they fucking love those movies, why do you give a shit? If you are pissed that people don’t love your favorite movie, you need to learn something about art.
Love of art is subjective. And yes – the Back to the Future movies are art.
Pop art, sure. But still art.
You don’t have to like it. But you don’t have to unzip your fly and piss on it either.
Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog. I’m going to do things a little differently today.
I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years. I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me. Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.
Well this year, it has.
So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy. I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.
I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.
1. I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years. She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive. She laughs at some of my jokes. She listens when I’m in a bad mood. She corrects me when I’m wrong. There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.
2. I’ve got one fantastic mother. She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist. She is a fun travel companion. Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.
3. My oldest son is great. He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate. He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair. Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.
4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative. The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness. His head must be such an interesting place to live.
5. My Brother is full of passion and energy. He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish. We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.
6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.