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Shit that Pissed me Off – 7/28/17

North Carolina Church Reportedly Importing Slaves from Brazil

Post racial society, huh?

This report, which the church very pointedly doesn’t deny in it’s vehement tirade against the news organization that broke the story, suggests some troubling things.

Now I know we could all simply dismiss this entire mess because people aren’t that awful but history tells us that, yes, people can really be that awful.  There is currently a person that awful working in the white house.  And our President regularly listens to what Mr. Bannon has to say.

America is, we are told, the greatest country in the history of countries (sure we are) so we ought to be super upset about this entire problem.  However, with the possible exception of Vatican City, we are the most smugly Christian country in the history of countries and that means any report like this must be viewed with suspicion because Christians just don’t do that sort of thing!

And to be fair, most Christians don’t do that sort of thing.  We should really get upset, though, when some self professed Christians actually do that sort of thing.

Remember how we all got super upset about this story five years after it broke?

The response so far seems tepid.  It isn’t the sort of “what the FUCK” kind of response you like to see when a church is accused of enslaving people.  I mean the health care vote is a big deal and it affects all Americans so I understand why we aren’t quite as concerned about a few Brazilians.

Once we get this health care thing sorted out, though, can we spare a few thoughts for people tricked into slavery?

Oh fuck.  We’re never going to be done sorting out this health care thing, are we?

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 6/23/17

Women Can’t Get Directing Jobs in Hollywood But Men Can

You know what is great about Wonder Woman?  It was directed by a woman.  Not because women should direct female helmed super hero films but because hardly any women direct feature films.  Is it because they don’t want to or because Hollywood is notoriously progressive until it comes to actually giving women jobs?

Before you answer that question, keep in mind that Patty Jenkins directed Monster in 2003.  Charlize Theron won Best Actress for the film.  The next feature film Jenkins directed?

Wonder Woman in 2017

The article above talks about Colin Trevorrow, who was handed the keys to Jurassic World after having made one mildly successful Independent film.  He’s now the announced director for Star Wars Episode IX.  He also directed the new, apparently horrible, film Book of Henry.

The problem here is men with no experience are handed the keys to major films all the time.  Women with experience are not.   Know how many movies Kathryn Bigelow has directed since she won an Oscar for Best Director in 2008?  Two.

Maybe someone tried to hand her a Star Wars movie.  But I’m betting they didn’t.

I mean it’s not like there’s anything in Star Wars for women to like, right?

The issue here isn’t Colin Trevorrow getting work.  It is the fact he is being handed major blockbuster films when more experienced women don’t even get a call.  I mean, Michael Bay makes unintelligible crap but at least his films make (for some inexplicable reason) gigantic piles of money.  When Trevorrow was given Jurassic World, there was no evidence he could do the same.

Except for the fact he was making a Jurassic Park movie so of course it was going to make gigantic piles of money.

If you handed a Captain America movie to a woman director, it would also make piles of money.  So why doesn’t that happen? They only super hero movie handed to a woman so far is the movie about a hero who is a woman.

It can’t be sexism right?  It has to be something else.

No.  It’s totally sexism.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 6/9/17

Wisconsin Politician Says it is a Fact that the Earth is 6000 Years Old

Forgetting for a moment that facts are things that are true, Wisconsin State Representative Jesse Kremer stated that a biology professor could not counter a student’s claim that the earth is 6000 years old because that is a fact.

I know that some embarrassing percentage of Americans actually believe there is evidence to support the notion that the Earth is younger than written history.  In this case, “embarrassing” means “more than none.”

Home schooling taught me everything I need to know about science!

Further, I know those people vote.  And I know some of those people run for office.  I even know some of them get elected.  I just have a real problem with the idea their beliefs are so mainstream as to allow them to suffer no ill consequences from saying them out loud.  This guy isn’t going to have any trouble being re-elected.

There is going to be a huge contingency of people saying he’s brave for speaking truth as power.

Except – and I can’t stress this enough – it isn’t truth.  It’s bullshit.

You can believe the formation of the Earth was a long miracle without dismissing all of the evidence that exists.  There is not a single scientific fact that supports it was a short one.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/26

Playwrights Being Assholes

I’m a playwright.  Some people reading this probably knew that.  Others had no idea because (and this isn’t false modesty), “Jenny Bandage vs. the Unpronounceable A.K.R.O.N.Y.M.” is never going to have the kind of reach enjoyed by “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” or “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

I hope, though, that I have a better understanding of the creative process than the estate of Edward Albee or the still very much alive David Mamet.

The Albee estate put a stop to the casting of a black actor in “Virginia Woolf” for reasons that are, surprisingly, kind of logical.  Mamet threatens to charge theaters $25,000 if they hold a post show discussion within 2 hours of a performance.  And look – it is their work.  It’s possible that they both saw what the film industry has done to the works of Stephen King and they simply want no part of it.

On the other hand, they need to lighten up a little bit.

Where the fuck does Mamet get off telling people they don’t have the right to talk about his work?  Is he going to be there?  Does it matter if someone doesn’t like it or interprets it wrong?  Where is the harm to his work?  By all current reports, Mamet is a right-wing misogynist jackass and people still produce his work.

In a world dominated by left-wing socially conscious tree huggers (guilty).

Theater people love trees. That’s why they build so many sets out of lumber and then throw them away.

As for the estate of Albee – even if there is a really good reason for their objection, the work should be open to interpretation.  It should be open to exploration.  The play will not suffer irreparable harm if a black actor is cast in a role that was written for a white one.

I’m pretty sure Shakespeare wrote for white guys* but Denzel Washington did pretty OK in “Much Ado About Nothing,” didn’t he?  If Shakespeare was going to object in anything about that film, it would probably be Keeanu Reeves, amiright?

As a playwright of considerably less renown, it angers me to read about playwrights (even dead ones) controlling the interpretation of their work.  Theater is a collaborative art in which artists hand off their work to other artists and sit back to watch what happens.

Mamet won’t even allow the pronouns in “Glengary Glen Ross” to be changed so a director could cast a woman in any of the roles.

Lighten up, asshole.  Your work is not at risk if a couple of women are cast in a male role or if the audience would like to talk about your play.

*Othello being a notable exception although I’m betting that character was originally played by a white guy.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/19

Note – I was out-of-town last week so I have two weeks of stupid shit piled up.  I probably won’t get to all of it so I apologize if your favorite annoying thing didn’t make the cut.

A Creationist Scientist is Suing the Grand Canyon

Andrew Snelling is a Geologist who is also a creationist.  This in itself makes no sense because in order to be both, you need to basically ignore all the evidence that would make you a credible geologist.  But he’s got a PhD so we have to accept that he knows stuff about Geology even if he doesn’t actually believe any of it.

So he wanted to do some research, including collecting samples, in the Grand Canyon.  Such things are allowed but you have to apply to do so and his application was rejected.

So he’s suing for religious discrimination.  You know, because Christians have it so hard in our country.

Heh.  Geologist.  So hard.  Get it?

Anyway, his claim was rejected because it was presumed he would use the samples to “disprove” existing science about the Grand Canyon and since the Grand Canyon is, you know, a protected landmark, they don’t want people taking rock samples to do bad science.  Sounds like his application didn’t really say what he was going to use the samples for, either.

Which is probably because he knew he couldn’t say “I’m going to use the samples to prove the Grand Canyon is no more than 6000 years old even though recorded human history goes back further than that and I’m a fucking idiot.”

So he basically asked to take samples without really telling anyone why and they said “no – you can’t just take samples because you have a degree in Geology.  You have to have a reason.”

And he’s responding “you hate me because I’m a Christian!  I’m going to sue.”

We don’t hate him because he’s a Christian.  We hate him because he uses his Christianity as an excuse to be a bad scientist.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 2/3

I’m sorry I took the last two weeks off.  Life intrudes sometimes.

We all know that we are entering week three of the Trump Presidency.  I am trying to figure out how to write my blog so it isn’t just a weekly rant on all the horrible things Trump says and does.  But I’m two weeks behind and he has been busy.  

There is a lot of other stuff going on that pisses me off.  It’s just that Trump is so fucking noisy.


Donald Trump Didn’t Threaten to Invade Mexico

Look, we all know that I don’t like our current President very much.  I think I have very good reasons for believing he will go down as the worst person ever to run our country.

But I’m feeling like I need to stick with stuff he’s actually done.  And therein lies the problem.

Earlier this week, Trump had a phone call with the Mexican president.  Shortly after the call, news organizations reported that Trump had threatened to send American troops across the border to deal with some “bad hombres.”

“Bad Hombres” is the name of my Los Lobos cover band.

A few hours later, it was reported that such a threat never happened.

Days later, however, a bunch of my liberal friends are still talking about Trump invading Mexico.

In a world where Trump is openly hostile to any news organization that doesn’t kiss his ass, the press actually has a responsibility to make sure what they report is accurate.  Trump is doing all sorts of shady shit.  Hell, this week he said this during remarks about Black History Month

Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.

If you read the transcript of the speech, it was almost entirely about him.  This isn’t made up.  It’s something he actually said.

And what was he talking about?  The way the press keeps reporting shit that didn’t happen. In this case, of course, it was a mistake the reporter in question corrected almost immediately.

The press has to do better.  In the rush to break stories these days, they don’t take the time to verify what they are reporting.  And that allows Trump and his minions to do all sorts of horrible stuff because they can point to the small number of erroneous reports as a reason why nobody should believe anything the press says.

And to all my liberal friends out there: please let’s all make sure we know what the fuck we are talking about.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 1/13

Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on.  Least of all the Senators who voted for it.

Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being.  It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause.  A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.

Vaccination Safety Committee To be Headed by Anti-Vaxxer

At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy.  We’ll see if it really happens.

Look, I know vaccinations are controversial.  And I try to be sympathetic.

Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause.  And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:

I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families

And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids.  My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit.  Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over.  Most of us have hurdles they need to get over.  To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.

Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.

Anti-vaxxers may make me just a little bit crazy.

Anti-vaxxers may make me just a little bit crazy.

It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change.  That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.

You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data.  Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left.  Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.

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