Monday, January 15, 2018

Today in doth protesting too much:


"No, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed."

-Donald Trump, noted
stable genius and non-racist
Well that settles that.
Pictured: Sean Spicer explaining to us
how the inauguration was the single
most-attended event of all time.
Yeah, that's the still President Donald Trump explaining to reporters how not racist he is despite dismissing vast swaths of the planet as 'shithole countries' just last week. Which, really? The least racist person they've ever interviewed? What is he basing that on? Are these reporters new? Like, maybe it's their first day? Or do you suppose he's doing that thing where he makes wild, baseless claims and then insults anyone who calls him out on it? Sorry, that was uncalled for. He has his press secretary do that.

The Senators suffer from a rare, neuro-
logical condition called 'compulsive
sycophantic prevarication or 'bullshit.'
Whatever, the important thing to remember here is that no matter what he says now, of course he said 'shithole countries' in reference to places he'd like immigrants not to come from. It's also important to remember that all of these places are home to primarily to non-white populations. And despite the retroactive memory loss of Senators Cotton and Perdue who were in the meeting and who went from 'don't recall' shortly afterwards to flat denial once they were on TV, nobody's buying it. Of course he called Haiti, El Salvador and the entirety of Africa 'shithole countries.' Of course he did.

Lindsey Graham, who was also in the room, wasn't having it either. He called them out saying: "My memory hasn't evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said." And what he apparently said was a stinging condemnation of the President's comments:

You might remember Lindsey Graham
as one of the many candidates GOP
voters could have chosen to run instead
of Trump, but, you know, didn't...
"America is an idea, not a race...I tried to make it very clear to the president that when you say 'I'm an American'...[i]t doesn't mean that [one] is black or white, rich or poor. It means that you buy into an ideal of self-representation, compassion, tolerance, the ability to practice one's religion without interference and the acceptance of those who are different...It's not where you come from that matters, it's what you're willing to do once you get here."

-Senator Graham, Republican from-
huh? No, really, I checked...

That uncomfortable thing you're feeling? That suspicion that you've crossed into some parallel reality where nothing makes sense? That's the feeling you get when you can't find fault with something Lindsey Graham says. Compassion? Tolerance? Acceptance of those who are different? That doesn't sound very Republican-ny to me. Well, whatever we might think of Lindsey Graham, he's never been anything but critical of Trump and his Trump-ness, which is more than can be said of most of the GOP.
"It appears to be some kind of  rudimentary human
heart-but in a Republican? That can't be right..."
Pictured: Some of the Nazis the
President defended last year.
But look, I'm not saying I know for a fact that Trump is a racist, I'm just agreeing that he sure sounds and acts like one. And I'm basing that on everything he's done and said publicly which I don't think is an unreasonable thing to do. The Muslim ban, his stupid border wall, that time he leapt to the defense of Nazis. Oh, and the Roy Cohen thing we talked about. And I don't know, 'Shithole Countries' seems pretty consistent to me. I mean, what possible precedent in his character would allow us to even entertain the possibility that he was misquoted?

Anyway, all I'm getting at is that something isn't right here. Ok, obviously this entire last year or so has been an unbelievable goat rodeo of a cluster fuck, but more specifically, the President shouldn't have to be explaining to us how racist he isn't. He or she should be someone whose position on the issue of white supremacy isn't something we need to wonder about. Also, and I don't think this is asking too much, it should be con.
Like, unequivocally, consistently con.
And, some condemnation would be nice.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Today in obsessive fandom...

I mean it this time, I have no intention
  of holding back on the nerdery.
Did they just...seriously? Can you believe that? I mean-huh? No, this one's actually not about stupid, ignorant things the President says, it's about Star Trek. Yup, I'm about to go on and on about Star Trek and in fact I'm going to get quite spoilery so if you're watching Discovery and aren't caught up yet, or if this topic is just straight-up too nerdy for you, maybe it's time to bail. Read a book, or spend time with loved ones. If you are caught up and nothing's too dork-tacular for you, buckle up that nerd belt, 'cause it's on. And by it I mean the nerdening.

Pictured: Star Trek eating itself.
Still there? Neat. Ok, so new episodes of Discovery are back. It's not a new season, they just broke season one into two parts. I guess they think it makes fifteen episodes feel like two seasons. They're wrong, but whatever, it was goddamn amazing. Well, mostly amazing. The episode fell into that old Star Trek habit of recycling old plot elements. It's a trap responsible for some of Trek's most that time Benedict Cumberbatch was Kahn somehow.

Next time on My So-Called Death...
'Cause he was on that show? Never mind...
On the other hand the plot element they recycled was the mirror universe and it was bananas. Good bananas, but like, bananas. For the uninitiated, the mirror universe is an alternate reality where the Federation is a fascist space empire and everyone has an evil, often be-goatee'd twin. Sure, it doesn't make a lot of sense when you think about it, but it's fun and lets the writers and cast get weird. Which is especially welcome in this, the grittiest of Stars Trek. What wasn't so great is that Dr. Culper, Wilson Cruz's character, got Game of Throne'd.

I guess we also learned that future
toothbrushes don't require that you spit,
but that's not really a character trait.
You know, Game of Throne'd? Like, suddenly and shockingly murdered to let us all know that this is an edgy, no-nonsense show where no one is safe. Fine, whatever, but did they really need to kill off the gay guy? And let me be upfront, I didn't find Cruz's character all that interesting. We never got to know much about him other than the fact that he's married to Anthony Rapp's character and that he's one of the ship's doctors. He was not only half of the show's only gay couple but also half of the gay characters in all of Star Trek. Well, the Prime Universe* anyway.

Look, I'm a big huge nerd, but Star Trek has, historically been a little quiet when it comes to LGBTQ representation. Outside of a couple of alternate universe versions of a few characters, and that one time Dax made out with another female Trill, Trek's been pretty straight. Except for The Outcast. Can we talk about The Outcast?
Explain? Don't mind if I do. You see, Dax's symbiote rekindled
 its relationship with its ex-host's widow's symbiote's new host
(because Trills), but that wasn't so much gay as it was complicated. 
Pictured: another hot and steamy
moment from Star Trek: TNG.
It's the TNG episode where Riker fall for an androgynous alien and it's the closest thing we ever got to an LGBTQ episode. And normally I'd give them points for presenting Riker as sort of bi, but the episode doesn't age well. Soren, Riker's new sex-pal, is a member of a species with no gender, but who identifies as female which on her planet is like super gay. Because of this, the authorities want to send her off to a pray away the gender identification camp, so it kind of feels like we're invited to root for the straight, heteronormative heroes as they flout the mores of a planet full of same-sex couples.

Adding insult to injury, Star Trek's only
gay planet has the galaxy's worst haircuts.
The message is murky at best. Maybe it's an ahead of its time parable about the challenges trans people face or maybe it's a behind the times episodes about gay conversion therapy. Regardless, it's kind of a mess and ends on a downer. Riker and Worf, apparently forgetting how the fucking transporter works, put together an on-foot and Prime Directive violating commando raid to free Soren. And then they get caught. Like super-easily. And Soren is hauled away to a reeducation camp, spouting off about how awesome it is to get cured. Boo. Just booooooo.

Anyway, all this to say hurray, Discovery has been pretty great so far, but ending one of sci-fi television's few committed healthy gay relationships by putting one partner into a multi-dimensional coma and killing the other off entirely for pure shock-value wasn't the best move given series' track record. But hey, this is Star Trek and scientifically dubious resurrections are easy as rokeg blood pie, so get on it.
Above: that scene in Star Trek Into Darkness where Dr. McCoy starts injecting
Khan's genetically enhanced blood into some dead tribbles he had laying
around only to discover the cure for death. No really, that happened. 

*the what? Don't worry about.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Oprah-tunity knocks!

Wow, did you see the Golden Globes last night? I know, right? Wait, that's a lie, I don't know, because I sort of hate award shows, but apparently it was amazing. Not the film and television industry patting itself on the back for three hours or whatever, but because of the emphasis on toppling the patriarchy. Well, as much patriarchy toppling as can be expected from an awards show.
Pictured: The soon to be toppled Patriarchy. 
"We're going to hold on the music,
Oprah just brought up Rosa Parks..."
Oh, and maybe Oprah Winfrey just started her campaign for President. No, really. Winfrey gave an incread-yeah, that sounded weird. Oprah, gave an incredible-it sounds weird to call her Winfrey, right? Anyway, Oprah, who had won the Cecil B. DeMille award for outstanding achievement in the field of entertainment, used her acceptance speech to tell a moving personal story about race, justice and the struggle for equality instead of, you know, 'thanks for the statue thing,' and today the internet was awash in Oprah 2020 speculation.

She managed in an eight minute award acceptance speech to say more about what's wrong with America and what needs to change than Donald Trump has said in a full year of mean-spirited tweets. Granted, most of his tweets are baseless accusations, self aggrandizement and thin-skinned whining, but still...
Oprah, somehow managing to sound Presidential without bragging
about how stable she is, or ranting about crooked Hillary. 
Above: Hogan Gidley, looking
pretty much like what you'd expect.
Of course, institutionally incapable of not helping the opposition, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley was asked what the administration thought of Oprah running:

"We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else..."

-Hogan Gidley, being fairly cocky
for a guy working for a President

She even made the cover of
O magazine. Can you believe it?
Yeah, but should you? Welcome the challenge I mean. People love Oprah. Love her. And Trump? Well, sure, some people love him, but then some people also love chewing tobacco so...here we are. But is any of this real? I mean it's one speech, right? Yes. But it was one speech that wasn't a baffling rage smoothy full of divisiveness, vitriol and bragging about ratings for The Apprentice, which is pretty goddamn refreshing. And Oprah herself is supposedly giving it some serious thought, but that's according to unnamed sources who I suppose could be anyone from Gail and Stedman to some intern at CNN. Who can say? But still, it's exciting isn't it? And it's not like 'President Oprah' is any weirder a concept than anything else we've experienced in the last couple years.

And yes, I know, it's kind of hypocritical for us to get excited about the possibility that a billionaire with a business empire, a TV show and no political experience running might run for President. But she's a billionaire with a business empire, TV show and no political experience who knows how to be a person, so advantage: Oprah.
Besides, it's not like anyone else in the DNC is raising their hands
yet. I mean, c'mon, Trump's the least popular president since James
Buchanan, and he let the Civil War happen. You can do this!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's like Oprah's Book Club, but rage-fueled...

I mean seriously, Jeff Bezos doesn't
need any more goddamn money. 
Fun fact about me, I work in a bookstore and-huh? Yes, those are still a thing. Shut up. Also, shop at bookstores. Anyway, I work at a bookstore and Micheal Wolff's Fire and Fury was supposed to be just another book about this preposterous administration, but then the President lost his ever-loving mind about it on Twitter and then tried to get a cease and desist order to prevent the publisher from distributing it. So I don't know shit about being a President, but I'm pretty sure the smart thing to do would have been to ignore it.

But, like I said, he chose to take the high road:
Yeah, the high road. It's up high and therefore easier to punch down from.
Try and get the book suppressed?
Yeah, that sounds like something
an innocent person would do.
So while I don't think much of Donald Trump's ability to hold high office (or run a business, or be a person), I do have to admit that the man can really sell books. As long as they're scathing tell-all's about how his staff and advisors all think he's a raving, thin-skinned man-baby. Despite of, or really because of the Presiden't rabid-foam insistence that the book is full of lies and should be banned, the book was released yesterday, four days early. Trump called Wolff a liar, Wolff gave interviews basically saying 'This fuckin' guy, am I right?' and now Fire and Fury is sold out forever. Win.

Fortunately, the President took to Twitter to set the record straight. Not about anything in the book, not directly, instead to make sure we all know how brilliant and even-keeled he'd like us to think he is. You know, in sharp contrast to everything he's ever said or done:
Wait, it gets better...
...see?
"Yep, went down in flames...with three
million more votes than you got...dick."
So first of all, I would have thought that his two greatest assets would have been his inherited wealth and the real estate company he ran with his father in the 1970's. You know, the one that systematically discriminated against Black renters? They got sued by the government, but his layer, Roy Cohn-yes, that Roy Cohn, countersued and they settled. But not after comparing the government to Nazis. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Hillary Clinton. Because this has something to do with her. Somehow?

Nope, nothing Orwellian and
batshit insane going on here. 
Wait, that's not right, we were talking about the President's insane Twitter rant (Twant?) about how stable he is. Nothing unstable about that. Speaking of stable, did you see that the President had Sarah Sanders kick off the press briefing on Thursday with a pre-recorded video of him talking about how awesome that tax bill he shoved down our throats is? Yeah, he was in the next room, but this way he doesn't have to take questions or look into the incredulous faces of the assembled reporters. 

But whatever, back to Fire and Fury. So far, the reviews I've read have been tossing around phrases like substance-light and gossipy and all seem to agree that while the accusations of chaos and instability are not not damning, it doesn't really say anything we don't all ready know. In many ways the genius move here is that the President's tantrum is going to take an unremarkable book and make it a best seller.
Look, Michael, I don't like him any more than you do, but
 he kind of made your career. Maybe send him a gift basket?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Vigilance in the face of widespread unicorns!

Above: The woman America voted for
delivering her concession speech.
Because democracy...I guess...
Well I hope you happy everybody, the President has dissolved the voter fraud commission. Huh? "What voter fraud commission?" Yeah, I'm not surprised this one slipped under the radar. Trump put the commission together back in May and gave them a directive investigate the 2016 election. "But wait,' you say, 'didn't he win that election?' Yes, technically. But if you recall he just won the electoral college, most of us voted for Hillary Clinton. Man, where would the GOP be without the electoral college?

You could ask them, but the answer is
mostly red-faced anger and something
about Hillary Clinton's emails.
Anyway, the now defunct voter fraud commission, was set up to look into the millions of illegal votes the President insists must have been cast in a vast Democratic conspiracy which, while ultimately unsuccessful did manage to rob the President of the popular vote. After all, why would the majority of voters choose a qualified, even-tempered former Senator and Secretary of State who unarguably trounced him in three debates over a ragingly misogynistic ex-gameshow host who ran on a platform of racism and locking up his opponent?

Pictured: the President, pouting,
behind the Resolute desk.
Ok, so why shut down commission? In a statement he made last night, Trump said:

"Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry..."

-The President, probably 
while pouting behind the 
Resolute desk-hey look!

"Anyone here vote for crooked Hillary?
No? Thought not. I rest my case."
-President Trump, speaking at
a rally he held for himself
He's referring to the commission's demand that states turn over voter information including names, birth dates, partial social security numbers and voting history. A demand that states balked at because saying 'widespread voter fraud' is a little like saying 'widespread unicorns.' The 'substantial evidence' the President is referring to is apparently his firmly held belief that he's awesome and that everyone loves him. Which I suppose I can forgive him given the amount to time he spends with sycophants on his golf course or holding rallies for himself.

In addition to being a preposterous waste of tax payer money with the sole intent of assuaging the President's bruised ego, there was also concern that the commission's secondary goal was to justify new and interesting ways to restrict voting. Don't believe me? Lookit this:
Whaaaaaat? A tweet from the President?
Oh right, because of the Nazi thing...
Yup, that's Trump saying that the commission was thwarted by Democrats who wanted to hide all the voter fraud he made up, and then calling for voter I.D. laws which statistically discourage minority voters. The President, if you recall, kind of made it part of his platform to stroke white male conservatives who are feeling under-appreciated and get them to vote against their rational interests and for someone who will make America white again. Sorry, did I say white? Why did I think that was the slogan?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The frosting tastes like comeuppance!

Did they even stop to consider how
their gayness makes jerks feel? 
Oh yes long, drawn out court case fans, the apparently endless saga of Melissa and Aaron Klein is finally over. You might remember them as the Oregon bakers who, under direct orders from Jesus himself (source: the Bible...somewhere in the back), refused to bake a wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer. The Bowman-Cryers, a lesbian couple who demanded that the Kleins risk eternal damnation just to satisfy their selfish wish to be treated as fellow humans living in the world took their outrageous demand to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and guess what happened?

Did you guess massive fines? Because massive fine there were indeed. $135,000 worth in fact. The Kleins quickly shut down their bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and embarked on a new project: Lengthy Appeals Process by Melissa's Lawyer.
The Kleins probably would have avoided a lot of trouble if they'd called the place
'Sweet Cakes by Mellissa for customers whose sex lives we approve of.'
*I may have made that last part up,
but wouldn't that have been awesome?
They argued that the OBLI violated their freedom of speech-by which I guess they mean their freedom to discriminate against anyone for any reason they wish, because Jesus. But a three judge panel wasn't having it and now, more than four years after the moment the Kleins probably should have done some serious self-evaluation, read that Bible they're so fond of thumping, apologized to the Bowman-Cryers and then just made them a goddamn wedding cake, the Kleins are out of do-overs, the fine's been paid and they've been ordered to bake a cake in the shape of a sad trombone and to write 'wah-wah' on it.*

Oh, and just in case you kind of feel bad for the Kleins, I don't, but you might be a better person than I am, anyway, you should keep in mind that after the Bowman-Cryers complained, the Kleins posted the women's names and address on Facebook so that homophobes could harass them. Anyway, I hope you'll join me in enjoying a nice thick slice of schadenfreude with comeuppance icing.
"Dox not, lest ye be doxed"
-Jesus, probably, I mean
I'm no theologian

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Not with a bang, but with a weiner...

Zoos, circuses, Marcel on Friends, let's
face it, we've kind of had it coming.
So obviously, someday, somehow, civilization is going to come to an end. Not like a Roman Empire kind of thing where everything falls apart and we all just slog through 800 years of feudalism and leech-based medical care, but like an extinction of the human race on earth. It's inevitable. Nothing lasts forever, not even us. But out of all the possible doomsday scenarios: climate change, pandemics, ape-rising, do you know how I really don't want to see the world end? Go on, guess...I'll give you a hint: it involves the President.

If you said 'global nuclear conflict resulting from an insecure gameshow host provoking an ICBM-armed autocratic man-baby over whose dick is bigger,' congratulations:
Depleted and food starved? Sick burn!
If the military has any sense, they'll have
swapped the real nuclear football out for
an old alarm clock or something.
Yes, that's an actual tweet sent out by the actual President. Well, at least the guy who technically won the electoral college. Anyway, I have some problems with this tweet. For one, I don't think Kim Jong Un was being literal when he recently and war-mongeringly (a word, I assure you) referred to the nuclear button on his desk. It's probably in a bunker or something. Second, Donald Trump doesn't have a nuclear button either. It's a suitcase handcuffed to a Marine and while a button or buttons are probably involved, I doubt that the size of the button is in any way relevant. 

Now I'm sure White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would call us all filthy, filthy perverts for even thinking this, but this is clearly about penises. Granted, thanks to America's eye-wateringly massive military budget, our nuclear arsenal outstrips North Korea's by like a million to one, but can you look at that tweet and the man who wrote it and honestly argue that he's not bragging about his own dick. No? Thought not.
"How dare you impugn our President by suggesting that this tweet was some kind of
juvenile joke. It was a simple, reckless provocation. Nothing more. You people disgust me."

-Sarah Huckabee Sanders,
spin-wizard
Guys? I'm looking at you...
I know that technically being a dangerous chest thumping buffoon isn't in itself an impeachable offense, and neither is using a dick joke to dare a hostile country's leader to launch his missiles. Although it probably should be. I can accept that, but isn't there someone, anyone that can step in and talk him down? Maybe someone from his staff or from the party who insanely let him run on their ticket? Or at the very least take away his goddamn twitter account before he brings us any closer to the total extinction of the human race?