Saturday, October 14, 2017

What I Do Not Understand About the Harvey Weinstein Story


Harvey Weinstein has been unveiled as a sexual predator and his career is ruined. I am a little cynical that this gets at the level of sexual abuse that I think is prevalent in the motion picture industry, but beyond that, there is something odd about this story that I do not understand.

As I understand it, when one is powerful and wealthy in the entertainment industry (music, film, television), it is not hard to get laid, if that is all you want to do. Attractive men and women make themselves available, so the story goes. This is not true love of course, and there is always a price to pay, I have heard, and one needs to be so careful where one plays these days, but if all you want is sex, then sex is available.

In other words, I dont get it. I dont get why Mr. Weinstein needed to be a sexual predator unless it is the specific people (actresses, etc) that he wanted to bang rather than merely beautiful women in general. Maybe all it means is that Mr. Weinstein is a sick fuck, something we knew already.

Thank you for letting me share my confusion.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Message To My Congress Person 10/12/2017

Dear Congressman Hunter,

Well we certainly are in a pickle, arent we, sir? What a time you have chosen to be in politics!

Although I realize you are a devout Republican, I am in your district, I am a voting citizen, and I am hopping mad about our loonytoon so-called President. In fact, I have never been so mad about anything political in my life, and I have been involved in the process before.

So what to do?

Well, its really not clear. But at the least I can write my congress person and politely but firmly request that you impeach that son-of-a-bitch as soon as possible, if not sooner. And since Pence is definitely compromised, he has to go too.

Remember if you dont do it soon, you may end up with Nancy Pelosi as president.

Yours very sincerely,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Predicting the Future of Gun Control after Las Vegas


It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

But some things are easy and this is one of them. The NRA and Congress will use the “bump stock” as a sacrificial scape goat to avoid doing anything real about gun control. They will regulate the bump stock, or possibly even outlaw it, and call it a day.

No real issues will be addressed. No problems will be solved. Cowardice and stupidity will reign. The can will be kicked down the road one more time.

Business as usual.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Minimum Necessary in the Current Situation


The time and emotional issues of getting ready to move by the end of the year, of getting any academic applications in before the end of the year, and other things, has meant that I can not spend as much time on this blog as I would like.

From time to time, however, short notes will be posted, if for no other reason than to remind me to go back and do a better, more reasoned, hopefully more humorous treatment of a topic.

Today's short note is my concise opinion for what has to be done to restore democracy and legitimacy to this country. It is the second issue, legitimacy, that is the most tricky and the most controversial. Every government that has ever existed has at one time or another done something that violates its laws, its ethics and the trust it has with the people. We understand that.

But what the politicians and some people do not understand is that you can not do that indefinitely without severe consequences. And the consequences are that the government loses legitimacy in the eyes of the people.  The people no longer believe you, their representatives, that you are representing them. They no longer trust the government to do the right thing. They believe that their government has been captured by the wealthy, that justice is for the rich, and that the system is corrupt.

The point is, you only have to address these problems if you want a country where people trust their government, pay their taxes, obey the laws and fight the wars.

Briefly, this is the minimum I think that has to happen after 30 years or more of betrayal and kicking the can down the road. Everything below is self explanatory.

1. We need to change the constitution to define when an election is invalid and what to do about it. In this case, we have an election that was thrown by a foreign power and resulted in a person who was not elected and who is the least qualified president in our history. We need a way to declare an election invalid and hold another one.

2. We probably need to eliminate the electoral college. Twice in my life time, for a minimum of three presidential terms of office (two under Bush and one under Trump) a person has been put into the office of the presidency who did not, in the opinion of the people, win that election.

3. We need a way to ensure that officials of an administration obey the letter and the spirit of the law. We currently have a head of the EPA that is doing everything possible to see to it that the environmental laws and protections in this country are either not obeyed or destroyed. We have an Attorney General and a department of Justice which is defunding enforcing the laws that protect people's civil rights.

4. We need to have a change in the constitution to make clear what the issues are involving conflict of interest, and what needs to be done before someone is allowed to take office. Full financial transparency and such issues as tax returns being public need to be made explicit.

5. We need a way that is less traumatic to remove people in the judiciary who have been appointed by an administration that is later shown to have been invalid. Between the invalid election of Trump and McConnell breaking the law, we have the right wing nutty boy, Gorsuch, on the court and bigots and right wing nuts being appointed to other posts in the judiciary. We need a way to remove these people.

6. We need to regulate our social media and hold them responsible for their role in allowing foreign intelligence agencies to disrupt and destroy our ability to hold public discourse. That means officers of a company need to go to jail when they have failed to protect us.

7. We need to make countries such as Russia and to a lesser extent the PRC know that their espionage and disruption of our civic discourse is a cause for war.

8. We need to end gerrymandering for political purposes.

9. We need to have national standards for how an election is held, and how the results can be verified.

This is the minimum that needs to be done, in my opinion. But only if you care about people believing that they live in a fair and just country. If you dont care, then we can continue on this path and our country will be, or already has been, destroyed.

No government is perfect, but in our case we have let things go too far.  Business as usual clearly has failed us.  I hope that our politicians and political elite understand this and do something about it, but I doubt they will.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Climate Change Denial and Crimes Against Humanity


At what point does global climate change denialism become a crime against humanity?

Furthermore, does a "crime against humanity" actually have any real legal meaning or is it more precious, politically correct bullshit from organizations such as the United Nations and therefore have no merit whatsoever  (see for example the "Zionism == Racism" or the Temple Mount has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism bullshit)?

At what point is it recognized that the last election was invalid because of the intervention of a foreign intelligence operation? Does failure to acknowledge and address this issue make the so-called democratic process in this country a transparent fraud?

Many Americans, all of whom are wealthy and powerful, I notice, seem to believe that they can accept any corruption, and obvious criminal act, and still expect to have the American people support their corrupt system as if it was democratically elected.  What if that ceases to be the case?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fashion Week 2017 in New York


I was discussing Fashion Week in NYC with Ken Perlin and the recent trends in models to come from Eastern Europe or the Midwest. In both cases it was noted the high percentage of genetic material from Northern Europe which results in very tall, very slender women, at least when they are young.

As I read more about these trends and the issue of moral responsibility as poor, young women from the former Soviet Union literally starve themselves to death, starve themselves to fainting, throw themselves into hooking to make ends meet, resort to surgery to reduce weight, an industry observer, Emma Nussbaum, made the following observation:

A large number of the dominant fashion designers are homosexual men with pederastic interests and they insist that their female models lean toward the looks of boys in their early adolescence, which requires a very thin and lanky appearance, and the tall and masculine girls willing or forced to starve themselves to present such looks are going to disproportionately come from regions comprising of a large number of poor individuals with a Northern European appearance.

So I thought about that for a moment.

 Oh, I said.

You can read the rest of her comments here:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Restoration of Dr. Strangelove and the Triumph of the Free Market


Growing up in America, I have been trained to believe that the “free market” solves all problems. That the invisible hand will inevitably lead to an equilibrium position that will be the optimal use of resources. Like any good cult, we are also taught to disregard any data or example that contradicts the central tenets. Any such example must be shown to be invalid because the free market is always right.

I have an excellent example here where the free market is one more time proven to not only find the optimal solution, it actually finds the only possible solution that could be acceptable to a right thinking American. No disgusting socialism or wooly thinking for us! The free market is always right.

Once upon a time, Stanley Kubrick attempted to put together a new print of his classic Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). The film is a classic of black and white cinematography and Kubrick was tasked to put together the best possible set of prints for a rerelease sometime long after the original release.

But he discovered that what should have been a straightforward task was not because the original negative of the film no longer existed. To explain this, I have to explain something about how distribution prints for film used to be made.

The way this used to work was this: when you have finished editing a film, you cut the various elements of the film together into an original negative. From this original negative, which you hope to touch as little as possible, you then create an interpositive (IP) and from that an internegative (IN). From the IN you strike as many prints as you need for exhibition.

Eventually the IN wears out, and then you strike another IN from the IP. In this way, you never touch the original negative any more than you absolutely have to. But this costs money you see, not much money, but money. So when the IN would wear out, instead of striking another IN from the IP, the studio (?) would save a few bucks by just cutting out the relevant parts of the neg and adding it to the IN and strike more prints. Which means that the original negative no longer existed, and the best that Kubrick could do was to go back to the IP.

In order to save a few thousand dollars, the original and best version of one of the classics of Western cinema was destroyed. As well it should have been. Nothing is more sacred than the profits issued to the shareholders. To even consider otherwise is sacrilage.

The idea that there are still morons out there who actually think that the profit-motive should have anything to do with cultural legacy or any other value driven topic, such as health care, education and justice, is clearly a person who has been driven mad by ideology and has nothing to contribute to the political process.

Looking to Rent a Monk's Cell

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Facebook Thinks We Are Worthless Scum


I mentioned on Facebook (called FB so that we do not activate the incredibly annoying text recognition feature) how FB did not seem to mind changing the user interface whenever the fuck they wanted no matter how stupid the changes were and how much it inconvenienced their users.

And a friend pointed out that this was a completely valid thing for them to do and I was being wrong to complain because we are not paying for the service.

In fact, he said, this is the way it should be in the future because users are scum and we should choke down on that dick..

I think my friend is right, after all, FB only makes about $500 billion on us useless scum.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Knowing When to Retreat


In the battle for public opinion, controlling the message is everything.

The issue of memorializing the Confederacy, an issue which is fraught with problems, was lost the moment the alt-right, the neo-Nazis and the KKK attached themselves to the process.

Whether or not these memorials are and must be to celebrate racism is no longer relevant. They are seen that way by too many people.

The fact is that racism persists in this country, just about everywhere. Its pernicious, its real, it penetrates our country in subtle and overt ways. Until that issue is dealt with, and I doubt it will be anytime soon, then the Confderacy becomes the great symbol of the struggle against racism unfinished.

The cause of commemorating those who fought and died to defend their home against invasion is not tenable at this time. Lets put these monuments and source materials in archive, underground, or in a warehouse somewhere, with museum-quality care. One day we will pull them out and have an exhibit.

But not for a long time.