Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Today in Cake-Holes...

Hey, you know who needs to shut his cake-hole? Uh, yeah, Rand Paul...how did you know I was going to say Rand Paul?
Above: The cake-hole in question.
Go team white people!
Anyway, he went on Laura Ingram's show today to talk about the protests and rioting last night in Baltimore, because there is no one better qualified to discuss the impact that police brutality and the resulting distrust of law enforcement has on minority communities than a couple of super-conservative white people. Paul was asked to comment on the causes of the unrest but explained that it's not the time to chime in on a situation that is still unfolding. He then went on to chime in on that situation that is still unfolding:

Pictured: Just some of the fatherless,
amoral Americans Rand Paul would
like to vote for him next year.
"The thing is that really there's so many things we can talk about, it's something we talk about not in the immediate aftermath but over time: the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of a moral code in our society. And this isn't just a racial thing, it goes across racial boundaries, but we do have problems in our country and you see this and you see that we're close to the tipping point and closer to the tipping point than many think..."

-Rand Paul, winning the 
hearts and minds of voters

Like this, but at night. 
Holy shit, when did the family structure collapse? And fathers? There are no fathers in Baltimore? That's um, I don't think that's entirely true...and he's saying that he could tell all this by looking out the window? Huh? The train window. Oh, didn't I mention? Paul just passed through Baltimore on the train:

"I came through the train on Baltimore last night, I'm glad the train didn't stop."

-Rand Paul, listing his qualifications

Gee, you'd think it'd take more than blowing through a town going 45 miles an hour to fully understand the complex societal underpinnings of what's going on there and around the country right now, but there you have it: no one in Baltimore has a dad, and that's why it's on fire. Thanks Rand!
Hey Rand, you really should try the cake. It's hard for
stupid to come out of your mouth when it's full of cake.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I'm moving on, and so should you.

I shouldn't have to warn you, but this is the internet, we're nerds and there's a new Joker, so we're going to complain. A lot. Just accept it and move on. Here:
Oh...I get it. He's craaaazy.
Comi-Con: You will never find a more
wretched hive of nit-picking and slavish
devotion to source material accuracy.
Terrible, right? Don't get me wrong, it's not Jared Leto's fault and it doesn't mean the movie's going to suck, it's just that director David Ayer has his idea of what the Joker should look like and it doesn't fit with mine, or probably yours, or really anyone who's ever read a Batman comic. Sure, this is supposed an adaptation of a comic, and a director should feel free to interpret it their own way, but you'd think they know by now that fans hate anything that deviates from their expectations. In fact, we're sort of famous for getting upset about these seemingly insignificant details. 

He's also responsible for the World's Laziest
Halloween Costume, 7 years running.
Take the picture above for example. The face tattoos, the teeth, it's just off-putting. Like, that's not the Joker. He doesn't look like a clown, he just looks like someone trying very hard to assure us that he is, in fact, a lunatic. And I know it's nerd blasphemy, but Heath Ledger's Joker had the same problem. The Joker shouldn't need a Glasgow smile or tattoos to show us he's bonkers. Part of what's scary about the Joker is that if you didn't know who he was, you'd just accept him as a harmless street performer until you got a face full of Smilex gas from his boutonnière. 

Wait a minute, could it be that movies are a
business and all other concerns are secondary?
The other side of this is that the people who make these movies have to know that as fans we're going to go see it regardless. It's like we can't stand not knowing for sure whether or not we'll hate it, so against our better judgement we go. Sure, we'll almost certainly find fault and will definitely take to the internet to register our outrage, but they've already got our $11 bucks, so like, mission: accomplished, sequel: coming soon. It's like they know exactly what their doing.

I mean, really, what is David Ayer's job? To make a movie that gets people out to the theaters or to please obsessive fans? Because when you think about it, it's almost impossible to do both. The harder core you get, the fewer in number. It's got to be a difficult line to walk, balancing his own creative vision with fan expectations and mass market appeal. I respect that, I do, but seriously? The tattoos?
Above: Artist Alex Ross doing it right.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Iceman Gayeth!

I'm not saying the writers are on coke,
I'm just saying it would explain a few things.
So get this: Iceman from the X-Men is gay. In fact, he was always gay, just nobody even knew; possibly not even him. Well, his present self that is, not his past-self who is now hanging out in the future with his fellow X-men from the past and the present. Confused? Yes. You are, and that's sort of why Marvel is explodenating their own fictional universe by having it collide with their other fictional universe. Because comics are goddamn bonkers. I'll try (and likely fail) to clarify.

Oh, and let me be upfront about this right now. It's going to get super-nerdy from here on out, so if you aren't a grown-up man-child (or woman-child) who follows comics, and you want to bail out now, I'll understand.
Everyone put on their nerd-hats and protective
turtlenecks, we're going to run into some chop.
"That's just barmy, that is. Pure
tosh. Even by our standards..."

-The Doctor[s]
Still with me? Ok, to catch you up, right now there are two Icemans (Icemen?). They're both Bobby Drake, but one is adult Iceman and the other is his teenaged self who, along with the other original X-Men, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast and Angel, were transported from the past to the present. Why, you ask? Because present-day Beast was tired of not screwing with the time-line. How is this not a clusterfuck of paradoxes and brain-melting chrono-horror, you inquire? Got me.

Anyway, I only mention this temporal goat rodeo because while we are talking about a time-displaced Bobby Drake, he's as legitimately Iceman (from the non-alternate universe) as his adult self. This means that despite dating Kitty Pride and constantly making randy comments about women so we all know how gay he's not, he totally was the whole time.
"Hey there ladies. Have I mentioned how much I love the sports? Oh and beer.
I love beer. Hey maybe later we can make out and then have straight sex."

-Iceman, trying a little too hard
Besides, it was more plausible than having
Jean Grey come out as secretly Asian.
Not buying it? That's fair. I mean, the fact that the character was written for the last five decades as not being gay does make this a textbook retcon and one that feels a little like Marvel trying to cram in some diversity where none existed before. But then, so what? Why not cram in a little more diversity? Marvel retcons shit all the time and Bobby Drake being in the closet his entire adult life is far from the most preposterous curveball they've ever thrown at us.

You can be forgiven for not knowing
who Northstar is. I mean, he is Canadian.
Sure, this move might feel a little forced, but you've got to give writer Brian Michael Bendis credit for taking a risk with such a long established character. Ever heard of Anole? Or Karma? What about Northstar? You know, from Alpha Flight? No? How about Colossus? Yeah? You have heard of that one? Great. He's not gay, but his alternate universe counterpart is. LGBT characters tend to be B-listers or alternate reality versions of more popular characters. I think it's probably a combination of Marvel's editors playing it safe and the lingering effects of Fredric Wertham. Wait, who?

I'll pretend you just asked me who that is. He's the psychiatrist who back in the 50's testified before Congress that comic books were corrupting the nation's youth with veiled references to homosexuality. The hearings led to the creation of the Comics Code and to decades of self-censorship. All because one guy thought Batman and Robin were doin' it and that kids would catch the gay from reading comics. This one's for you Fredric...
Pictured: That time back when Congress was treated to a lengthy harangue
on the subject of Batman and Robin's hot man-on-youthful ward action.

Update: Night of the Living Wage!

"Oh just take it. This is L.A,
$9 an hour is basically starvation. "
Well, it looks like the cruel overlords of Actor's Equity are going to force actors in L.A. to get paid for their hard work. Yup, even-wait what am I talking about? The thing with the actors in L.A. who were fighting with their Union over getting paid minimum wage? Some are against it because they're afraid that it might shut down small, artsy theatre companies who'd no longer be able to afford them, while others are sick and tired of being exploited? You seriously don't remember any of this? We talked about it like yesterday.

That guy, third from the left in the back
in Dark Knight Rises? Could've been me.
Anyway, Equity's national leadership has ruled that no, you can't just forgo getting paid minimum wage even if you just love acting so much that you're willing to survive on whatever half-finished bags of nuts you find wedged between the seats after the show's over. And good for them. Look, I'm not an actor in L.A. (they couldn't handle my intensity), so I have like zero stake in this, but the exception to the rules that allowed the actors there to not get paid was probably not the best idea in the long run.

If you're anything like me, you'll imagine
that Woollcott sounds like Snagglepuss.
A long time ago, a theatre critic called Alexander Woollcott once said that acting and prostitution were "[t]he two oldest professions in the world--ruined by amateurs." And I think he sort of had a point that applies to this situation-well, not about prostitutes, but about devaluation. When actors give it away for free (again, not talking about prostitutes) it can reinforce the perception that what they do isn't worthy of compensation which has an effect on actors who want to get paid a reasonable wage for their work.

Yeah, it will hurt the fringe theatres who can't otherwise afford professional actors, and that sucks, don't get me wrong. But for some reason our culture places an enormous value on professions that consist of sitting in an office and moving money from one place to another. At least actors have to get up. Shouldn't they get paid for it?
"I make six figures, have a retirement plan and have never had to sell my blood
on Craigslist to make ends meet. Oh and yes, I am quite dead inside."
-Business Guy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Today in counterintuitive demands:

Are you sick and tired of stage actors performing obscure plays you've never heard of in tiny, uncomfortable theatres and making a living wage? Well so are they.
Pictured: A typical actor.
"What do we want? Nothing!
When do we want it? We've already got it!"
For the last thirty years, Actors Equity Association (the union for theatre actors and stage managers), had been allowing smaller theatres in L.A. to pay actors less than minimum wage or in some cases nothing at all. But instead of taking to the streets and demanding that the Union do something about it like normal exploited workers, actors have voted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to recommend that Equity not do something about it. Yeah, you heard me. The people that Equity represents are fighting their own Union to not get paid more.

Equity will be deciding what to do today, but almost half their membership would like to go on working for shit pay thank you very much. So like, what gives? Do actors not need food or places to live?
"Why, that's the magic of live theatre! We live in your imaginations and subsist
on your applause. Also, those little sugar packets from Starbucks."
"In lieu of payment, I've prepared a
brief scene from Speed the Plow."
Well, it turns out that many actors feel something called job satisfaction. I'm unfamiliar with the sensation myself, but apparently the love of their profession is enough to keep them going even when the pay is hilarious. Obviously actors still need to make a living, I mean, Whole Foods doesn't accept artistic fulfillment in exchange for groceries, but smaller theatres can provide a place for them to keep working between better paying jobs. They also give artists a place to showcase new or experimental work, and to get exposure that might lead to more work down the road. 

"Like community theatre? 
Since when are we Pennsylvania?"
-The L.A. Theatre Scene
For a lot of these smaller venues with tiny budgets, paying minimum wage might force them to shut down and that's why this move is meeting with resistance. The actors who are fighting this aren't in favor of exploitation, they just don't want to see the fringey stuff go away because they can't afford professional actors. Which raises another point: there are non-equity actors in L.A. In some ways the danger here isn't so much that theaters will have to close but that they'll have to cast non-union or amateur actors.

Which, ok, it might be something of a mixed bag when it comes to skill level, but this is L.A we're talking about. It's not like small budget theatres are going to have to resort to roaming the streets at night with nets and bolos to fill out their casts. That city is famous for being lousy with wannabe actors.
"Well Doctor Zira, I think we may have found our Willie Loman."
-General Thade from casting
Above: Everything wrong with our
civilization wrapped in a three-piece suit.
So yeah, it does seem a little counterintuitive that they're picketing against better pay, and ok, in the process of keeping themselves hireable by smaller theatres they are kind of muscling out amateurs looking to break into the acting, but this is theatre and I suppose it's kind of cool that there are people out there who want to do it even if it means they won't get rich (or paid at all). Could you imagine if investment bankers and stock brokers were out there chanting and waving signs to get paid less?

I know people think acting isn't a real job and in some ways they have a point, but holy shit, can anyone name one instance in which actors caused a global financial collapse?
The closest they ever came was a riot, but it was the
19th century and everybody was really bored back then.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Brian Klawiter: Victim of Equality!

Pictured: not Brian Klawiter, but
I am kind of judging this guy.
Breaking news everybody! A white conservative Christian, who loves guns and is uncomfortable with gay people, is feeling unappreciated:

"Apparently if you are white (or close to it), you have a job, go to church and own a gun...That translates into racists, privileged, bigot conspiracy theorist [sic]."

-Brian Klawiter, fed up with...wait,
does he not know what he sounds like?

If it's sodomy and devil worship
you want, go to Pepboys.
Yup, Brian Klawiter, the owner of Diseltec in Granville, Michigan has had enough and from this day forth has decided to run his auto repair shop straight into the gro-I mean, run it the way he wants to run it: with no queers allowed. No, really:

"I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcome at MY place of business...I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period..."

Brian then goes on tell us how racists (his weird pluralization, not mine) he's not and how we're all racists for assuming he is...racists, I mean. We're the racists...for calling him racist. Er, racists. Which we didn't...I'm not saying he's not, I just-never mind.
Above: Brian Klawiter's breathless, red-faced rage at being called racists.
But can we at least call him homophobes? I mean, it kind of says so right there...
Like what if this guy comes in and
asks for an oil change...for his horse?
Then there's some stuff about the Bible, Unions and ducks and then he threatens to reassemble our cars using all bolts and no nuts, if we don't agree with him about the gays. So obviously he's not a lunatic or anything. Oh, and speaking of lunacy, while he won't allow gay people to come in and gay up his repair shop with their Subarus and Priuses, (Prii?) he does offer a discount for people who come in armed. Armed, and presumably not gay. But also not cops because, I shit you not, their guns were bought with his tax money. 

Yeah, like this asshole.
Like, I don't want to tell the Jesus and gun-loving crowd how to do their PR, but crazytown rants on Facebook probably aren't going to win you anything but threats. Speaking of, Klawiter claims this has already happened. He even called the Sheriff in when protestors showed up at his house, which is weird, because I sort of picture him as a 'shotgun on the porch kind of guy.' Anyway, I'm not bring this up because I secretly want someone to go and burn down his shop. In fact, please don't threaten to burn down his shop, that only ends in GoFundMe campaigns and huge cash rewards. Instead we should take the high road on this one, and try to help.

Seriously, go read his rant (then shower). Brian is paranoid as shit that the world has turned against him. In a way, I suppose he feels like he's a victim. A victim of having to live in a world with other humans, but still, a victim. His rant is kind of a call for help. So let's help. Instead of death threats and attempted arson, we should start a GoFundMe and get this guy some psychological help. Or maybe a rapture shelter. We could get him a rapture shelter...
Something tells me he'd be a lot happier sitting alone in
one of these, polishing his guns and waiting for Armageddon. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

This is why nobody likes Maggie Gallagher...

"I'm sorry hun, but if Maggie Gallagher
won't celebrate our love, what's the
point of getting gay-married at all?"
Check out this piece from The National Review and then go shower.

"The problem for me in celebrating your gay wedding, as much as I love you, is that I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt not only to commit yourself to a relationship that keeps you from God's plan but, worse, I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt to hold the man you love to a vow that he will avoid God's plan. To vow oneself to sin is one thing, to try to hold someone you love to it-that's not something I can celebrate."

-Maggie Gallagher, under the mistaken
impression that gay people would invite
her to their wedding in the first place

You know, she could've just checked
the 'will not attend' box...
Back? Great. That was Maggie Gallagher, former head of the National Organization for Marriage envisioning a scenario in which an imaginary gay couple invited her to their wedding, and then sat down with her while she launched into a lengthy, one-sided lecture about gay people, the law and the Bible. Holy shit if there's one thing the world totally needs more of, it's people voicing their religious objections to same-sex marriage.

So like why is a bitter busy-body with a phantom husband and a grossly optimistic estimation of the likelihood that anyone would want her to come to their wedding having op-ed conversations with pretend gay people? Because asking conservatives to chime in on gay wedding attendance is for some reason in right now.
Oooh...maybe she could hire herself out as wedding entertainment.
Like, instead of a DJ, gay couples could get Gallagher to sit in the
corner and quote the Bible at them? Hey Maggie, call me!
Taupe? They went with taupe? You know,
I might have to go with Rubio on this-
oh, he meant he disagrees with lesbians...
Last week someone asked Marco Rubio if he would attend a same-sex wedding. Hypothetically asked, that is. No actual gay couple is going to want to hang out with Rubio either.

"I'm not going to hurt them simply because I disagree with a choice they've made of because I disagree with a decision they've made or whatever it may be..."

-Marco Rubio, compassionate,
yet incredibly judgey conservative

So he said he would go, but then it kind of sounds like part way through he suddenly remembered that homophobes make up like 80% of the GOP's key demo, so he then went on to qualify his answer with some bullshit about how being gay is a choice.
"I'll eat their bacon wrapped shrimp and enjoy the open bar, but I'll be thinking about how they're going to hell.
For being gay I mean. The Bible isn't keen on shellfish and pork either, but I'm not made of stone..."

-Marco Rubio, cherry-picking Leviticus 
"No really, look out!"
-Ted Cruz, shortly before running
in the opposite direction
Next, the question was put to Rick 'Hates Your Gayby' Santorum and Ted Cruz. They answered 'no, but some of my friends are gay' and 'mumble, mumble...hey look out behind you!' respectively. The goal here among GOP presidential hopefuls seems to be to appear opposed to same-sex marriage, but not rabid-foam, crazy anti-gay opposed. Which is kind of weird, given that the GOP is the party of people who think that gay marriage causes hurricanes.

"I'm super-Christian and while I don't hate gay people, I do wish they'd stop being so gay." 

-Every Republican who would 
like to run for President next year
Above: a gay Republican.
I'm not saying that everyone who votes Republican is a homophobe, or that there's no such thing as a gay Republican, it's just that as a party they actively court the vote of people who believe that America is only one or two more gay weddings away from being consumed in the fires of divine wrath. These guys saying that as President, they might not come to your godless ceremony, but they also probably won't have you rounded up and shipped off to Canada either, is not going to win them any progressive votes, so why not just go full Gallagher on this issue?

Look, I've been to tons of straight weddings where I'm pretty sure I thought the couple getting married was making a huge mistake, but I never pretended that I spoke for God. The point I think everyone is missing here, is that if someone asks you to attend their wedding, they're not asking for your approval, they're asking you show up, dance and maybe buy them something from Pottery Barn. Is that so hard?
Just go check out the registry and pick the gift that says I disapprove of you 
and everything you stand for. Spoiler alert: it's probably a $40 butter dish.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So you're saying I can't sue Skynet?

Right now, representatives from countries around the world are gathering in Geneva Switzerland (the home of two different apocalypses!) to discuss an international ban on LAWS, but before you strap on your Guy Fawkes masks and start occupying things, you should probably know that in this case we're talking about Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and not like, the law.
"It's fine, we're also against those. We're against a lot of things."
-These guys
If we called them Kill-Bots,
would there even be a debate?
Essentially these systems are robots that can kill people. Yeah, killer robots. The UN is holding a meeting to weigh the pros and cons of killer robots, and this where I kind of lose what lingering shred of hope I had for the human race. Like, what's wrong with us as a species that we need an entire week long conference to decide if kill-bots should be a thing? Holy shit, right? Suddenly extinction at the hand of our metal superiors seems pretty well deserved...but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let's clarify what they mean by autonomous weapons systems.

Death machines and New York Times
best sellers. It's a confusing time to be alive.
You're probably thinking, hey, aren't the skies are already filled with armed death-machines? And yes, you would be correct. Humans have been killing each other with remote-controlled planes and helicopters for years now. The distinction between that and a Lethal Autonomous whatever, is whether or not the decision to shoot is made by a person sitting at a console somewhere, thousands of miles away or by an artificial intelligence that can act independently of a human operator.

Except maybe stairs.
Since robots sophisticated enough to make those kinds of kill/do not kill decisions don't actually exist right now, the conference is sort of a pre-emptive measure. After all, these things are probably coming up soon and the law is eventually going to have to catch up with the technology. At the moment there's no legal accountability for robots or the governments and organizations who might use them. In a sense, there is nothing stopping a robot from killing you and everyone you know.

The UN conference's organizers are hoping to establish some sort of multilateral legal frame work regarding robots, but it promises to be an uphill battle as some governments including those of the US, Britain and France aren't onboard with the idea, which is bullshit, bollocks and merde in that order. I mean, what's their beef and/or boeuf?
"What can we say? We love kill-bots..."
-The Leaders of the Free World
"I don't know, maybe he could write
people's names on the wall in bullets?"
Scientists, Human Rights Watch, the Harvard School of Law and pretty much anyone not looking forward to being slaughtered in the inevitable robot uprising, all favor an outright ban. Officials from some nations however, say that they're reluctant to agree to such a ban since it would prohibit technology that hasn't been developed yet. But given that there's really isn't any conceivable peaceful application for robots with machine gun hands, I'm going to say it's because they don't want someone else to come up with it first.

You know, don't think it's robots we should be worried about, I think it's the people who want to use them to fight wars and since we can't ban war, we should at least do the next best thing. Actually, couldn't we just ban war? That would make a lot more sense. C'mon UN, this is literally the reason you exist. Get on that.
Hyper-alloy endoskeletons, plasma rifles and immunity
from prosecution. We don't stand a chance.