Sunday, April 30, 2017

With apologies to bourbon drinkers...

Do you know what's ridiculous? Us. America I mean. 'Well, obviously...' you say, rolling your eyes at me, '...but in what specific way?'
I mean, look at these idiots...
I mean, who wouldn't want
to party with these folks?
And I'm getting there. Settle down. First read this. Or don't, I know you're a busy person, so I'll summarize. A group called the Traditionalist Worker Party held a planned rally in Piketown Kentucky yesterday. From the name you'd probably think they were communists or socialists, but they're actually white supremacists. Why Piketown? Because the region is deep Trump country and they thought they could pick up some supporters once they explained to everyone how awesome white people are.

What about myspace? No one's using it.
Naturally, when they posted their plans on Facebook a counter protest was organized-which, gross, they're on Facebook? Also was that the best move? I'm not trying to give neo-Nazis any pointers here, but let's face it, they're pretty heckle-worthy. You'd think they'd want to avoid counter-protests by maybe not being so obvious about their plans. Isn't there like some racist equivalent of Facebook they could use? Like, is there such a thing as Racebook?

Anyway, the rally was yesterday and the anti-facisits showed up first because, get this: the white supremacists were late to their own rally. And again, I don't want to tell these people how to run their racist, fascist club for white people with persecution complexes, but they're never going to invade Poland if they can't even get their shit together in rural Kentucky.
What, were they waiting for their hair to dry?
Pictured: fish, possibly
racist fish.
But they did eventually show and the day went off more or less as expected. The Nazis in their combat boots and black shirts waved their stupid signs and extolled the virtues of being pigment-deficient and the anti-fascists pointed out how the Traditional Workers Party is a bunch of worthless shitheads, which, like heckling a bunch of racist fish in a barrel, right? I mean, lookit:

"The white man built this country!"

-An unidentified attendee, leaving out
the part about five centuries of slavery

But that's Kentucky for you, right? Bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and racists...

Ah-ha! Gotcha! This is indeed not Kentucky for you, or at least not necessarily the people of Piketown Kentucky. It turns out the racist shithead Traditional Workers Party and a lot of the people that showed up to counter-protest weren't even from the area.
Although the bourbon part is probably true.
"To be clear, I am not a racist, I just
pander to racists. Huge difference."
Yeah, the Traditionalist Worker whatevers just picked Piketown because it's super-white and they assumed that ignorant southerners would hop aboard their hate-train. Instead, locals were just super-pissed that the neo-Nazis showed up. Sure, Pikeville might have voted Trump and sure, for a lot of us it isn't a huge leap from Trump to white supremacists, but when you already feel like the rest of the country pins a ton of unfair stereotypes on you, having a hate group pick your town for their hate-parade has got to be frustrating.

I'm not saying that the people of Piketown are off the hook for the 2016 election, and of course the counter-protestors are goddamn heroes for showing up to shout back at the ignorant skinheads; some of whom were armed. But it must seriously suck that their town gets to spend the next few days in the news as the place where all the racists come to wave their stupid Civil War-losers' flags and just generally be human garbage.
I bet the racists didn't even patronize local businesses like Giovanni's Buffet and
Fun Center. If they did, maybe they wouldn't be so hateful all the time. Skeeball?
All you can eat wings? Holy shit, did Piketown Kentucky almost solve racism?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Let's hear it for corporate responsibility!

Trains: "for when you're not in any
particular rush to get somewhere..."
Hey, remember that time a 69 year-old Doctor was brutally dragged off a plane he paid a lot of money to ride on? And remember the subsequent fuckstorm of negative press, the responsibility-free non-apology from United Airline CEO Oscar Munoz and the general reinforcement of the sense that airlines, like any industry basically run by a few giant corporations, are free to treat people like shit because hey, what else are you going to do, take a train? Like it's the 1890's? Remember all that?

Well it happened. It was shocking, it was outrageous, but now it's all over because the passenger, Dr. David Dao and United have come to an amicable agreement.
Pictured: an amicable agreement.
Look on the bright side, a six-figure
settlement will pay for tons of sex.
They're not saying exactly how amicable it was, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that there're six figures involved and. And that's super, I say. But is it me, or is the whole thing still pretty...icky? And no, I'm not referring to the part about Dr. Dao having been convicted of multiple felony drug counts back in 2004. Yeah, he was writing painkiller prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors. I'm not saying he deserved what happened to him on the plane, but no one comes out of this looking good and I haven't even gotten to the lawyer yet.

Too bad Demetrio wasn't representing Dao
in his criminal case. I'm sure he would have
gotten him exchange for drugs. Zing!
Speaking of, Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, had this to say of United and Munoz:

"Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has. In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others including the City of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."

-Dr. Sex for Drugs' lawyer

"Regret was expressed for unfortunateness
that exists, and compensation was offered." 

-United CEO and master of 
the passive voice, Oscar Munoz
Did he though? And have they? The 'right thing' here refers to some changes to policies that were kind of shitty to begin with. And I don't remember Munoz or United accepting responsibility here, not when this first happened, and not now. The statement on United's website just says that they're pleased that the company and Dr. Dao have 'reached an amicable resolution' to the 'unfortunate indecent that occurred.' That's not exactly the same thing as 'we fucked up big time, we're sorry.' This is just a passive voice acknowledgement that a thing happened and here's some money.

Incredulity is expressed, and baked
goods are not being offered.
So why should United be applauded? For 'acceptance of corporate responsibility?' First of all, isn't it just responsibility? They don't need to say 'corporate.' It was United who, in violation of their own policy not to mention bafflingly heedless of the hundred other passengers with smartphones, had the Chicago PD beat and drag a paying customer off their plane because they overbooked. And they're to be applauded for accepting responsibility which they did in fact, not do? Holy shit, do they want a cookie too? Because no cookie.

At the risk of sounding shrill, and possibly like Andy Rooney, what happened to us, as a civilization I mean? Like, have we become so numb to the diffusion of responsibility that has come to define corporate America that a limp, fake apology and a big cash pay off is not only unsurprising but praise worthy? When did we get so used to the abuses of privilege and the naked hypocrisy of power that something like this fails to elicit any kind of...of...
...oh, right.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today in overwhelming factuality...

Holy shit are we still talking about the border wall? Look, let me apologize in advance for doing another post that begins with 'can you believe the President said this ridiculously stupid thing?' But seriously, can you believe he said this ridiculously stupid thingYes, on Twitter:
It's the bully's pulpit.
It's weird because I've always associated
The Wall with more drugs, not less...
"The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If [next in a subsequent tweet] ...the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!"

-Donald Trump over two 
separate Tweets, because 
148 characters are for losers 

"Why choose?"
-Donald Trump
Anyway, the government, as in of the United States, is due to shutdown next week unless Republican and Democratic lawmakers can agree on a budget. Holy shit, right? Well apparently things were looking up, until the President stepped in and said that he's not signing anything unless it includes funds for that preposterous wall he promised racists he'd build. Because of drugs or whatever...wait, I thought it was about immigrants...I must be misremembering. It's sort of like forgetting if we're at war with Eurasia or East Asia. Happens to everybody.

Which is to say, a bang-your-head-against-
the-wall-until-you-black-out waste of time.
Doesn't matter. The point is Democrats are not now, nor have they ever been up for building the thing, so no. Deadlock, right? No, not according to Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus who went on Meet the Press yesterday where Chuck Todd asked him about Trump's first 100 days in office and how he's not lived up to most of his campaign promises. And-you'd think that asking the chief of staff about the administration's failures would be a little like asking Kirk Cameron to explain things like fossils and the geological record, but hey, it's Chuck's show.

Anyway, Todd brought up the hundred days because on Friday Trump tweeted:
That's media for you...always will kill...
Above: A picture of former Obama
Supreme Court Nominee Merrick
Garland here for no particular reason.
Hey, remember during the debates when Trump said he'd accept the results of the election if he won? Yeah. So really truth is whatever the hell you want it to be at the time. But I'm getting off topic. First Todd asked Priebus why this Presidency has been such a shit show, and the chief explained how it's all because of Democratic obstructionism which is hilarious coming from a Republican, but ok. Then Todd asked about the impending government shutdown and whether or not the President will veto the budget if there's no money for his stupid racist boondoggle wall.

Priebus, like most members of the GOP,
was tragically born without the part of the
brain responsible for feeling shame.
Here's Priebus's response which, to his credit, he said with a straight face:

"...we expect the priorities of the President to be reflective in the in the [continuing resolution] so we expect a massive increase in military spending, we expect money for border security in this bill and it ought to be because the President won overwhelmingly and everybody understands that the border wall was part of that."

-Reince Priebus, not super-clear on
 the definition of 'overwhelmingly'

Overwhelmingly. Over-goddamn-whelmingly. Ok, I know I keep coming back to this, and I know we're all sick of remembering the election but shouldn't an overwhelming election win, like a real mandate from the people, include, and again, I'm not like a civics scholar here, but shouldn't it include more people voting for you than for the other candidate? 
"You'd think so we are..."
-The person we overwhelmingly voted for

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bardolatry now!

Hey everybody, today is Shakespeare's (probable) birthday! Yes, the day we celebrate the birth of the immortal bard, who, it turns out, wasn't literally immortal, just literarily immortal. Huh...if there was a joke there, I'm pretty sure I blew it.
Above: Shakespeare's portrait, again, probably.
Above: Harold Bloom verbally
fellating Shakespeare for 768 pages.
As you probably know, William Shakespeare was a sixteenth century English actor and playwright whose 36-ish plays, 158 sonnets and frequent appearance in local court documents (dude loved to sue) are among the greatest contributions to literature by any person in the history of the world. He also single-handedly invented the English language and the human. That's according to noted literary critic and master of understatement Harold Bloom in his book Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. Because hey, why not?

George Bernard Shaw coined the term bardolatry to describe the practice of praising to the point of worship Shakespeare and his works. It's not entirely unjustified, after all Shakespeare's writing has an almost unparalleled ability to illuminate the soul and explore the human condition. Also he made like a ton of dirty jokes. All over the place. But the point is that people love this stuff and can get super worked up about it even 400 years later.
"Do you think I mean country matters? Get it? Did you...
did you see what I did there? Country matters? Because sex?"
-Hamlet, Act III scene II
To put this into nerd terms, she's the
Ninth Doctor of Artistic Directors.
Speaking of...have you been following this Emma Rice thing? She's the current, soon to be former Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe, a replica of the Shakespeare's original theatre. Last summer they hired Rice, a hip, edgy director to come in and shake things up. And she did. Just not in the way the theatre's board had hoped. Rice and the Globe had...differences. It wasn't working out and last October, after just a few months on the job, she resigned effective eventually. 

Eventually as in April of 2018, so she has a whole year to go which promises to be fun for everyone who works there. So what's up? Was Rice just too damned out there and rebellious for those stuffy be-neckruffed board members to handle? Or was she just stubborn and unwilling to work within the boundaries established by the board. As a person who lives on the other side of the world and knows none of the people involved, I feel pretty qualified to assess the situation and I'm going to say it's probably both. 
What? People who like sports have all kinds of opinions about
how coaches and players should do their jobs, why can't I?
Pictured: Emma Rice, shortly after
trying some xtreme new energy drink
or possibly a new Dorito flavor. 
Rice published an open letter to her as-yet-unnammed successor laying out her beef with the theatre and the board:

"I chose to leave because the Board...did not understand what I saw, what I felt and what I created with my actors, creative teams and the audience...Nothing is worth giving away my artistic freedom for, it has been too hard fought for."

-Emma Rice, 
not loving the job

Also, she did crazy shit like this.
Yikes. The Globe's board made decisions without her, didn't trust her leadership and laid rules and restrictions on her that weren't discussed when she took the job. Who can blame her for wanting out? Oh, right, the board. On the other side, Dominic Dromgoole, Rice's predecessor also wrote an open letter which suggests that she pissed off audiences by using modern theatrical equipment like a sound system and lighting instruments instead of more period appropriate things like musicians and the sun.

At first might sound a little too specific and petty, but in the board's defense, these are things The Globe typically doesn't do because it flies in the face of the replica '16th century theatre' vibe the they're going for. There's more to it, but that seems to be the big sticking point. And you know, while people love authenticity, any Renaissance Festival devotee will tell you, sometimes too much can get in the way of everyone actually enjoying themselves. So I think I'm with Rice on this one.
Sorry to burst your bubble Ren fans, but at no point between the years
 1300 and 1500 did anyone pay nine dollars for a goddamn turkey leg.
The Globe: all the fun of Elizabethan drama
with a somewhat reduced risk of plague.
So you've got an artistic director who wants to innovate and take risks and you've got a board who wants to stick to the original vision of The Globe. These are kind of opposite goals and it sounds like everyone will be happier once this is all over. Rice can be somewhere where she can have the free rein she needs and the Globe can have an Artistic Director who wants to replicate what it was really like to see a play in Shakespeare's theatre but with fire code compliance and fewer patrons taking a leak in the corner during the boring parts. 

But if there's a bright side to all this, it's that four hundred years after Shakespeare's death, creative people are still getting into pissing contests over how to produce his plays. Oh, and if you want Emma Rice's job, it's posted on The Globe's website right up their with a opening for a tour guide and an internship. No, for real.
Here's a picture of Harold Bloom, the literary critic whom I earlier
invited you to picture performing a sex act on William Shakespeare.
Remember? I just thought you'd appreciate a visual. You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How dare he!

How dare who, you may ask? Why the preposterously named Palmer Luckey of course. He's the 24-year old Oculous Rift founder who's also a right-wing shit merchant. You might recall that he gave $10,000 to a pro-Trump group called Nimble America for a billboard trashing Hillary Clinton. A billboard reading 'TOO BIG TO JAIL,' all in caps. Yes, because the 2016 election will be remembered as a real forum for ideas...
Too big to...wait, are they...are they calling her fat?
"In the history of all time and all
conceivable parallel dimensions."
Ok, so it came out today that he also gave Donald Trump another hundred thousand dollars, that's hundred with an 'h' and thousand with a 't,' for his inauguration. You remember, the single most attended inauguration ever in the history of all time? Yeah, we'll get to that. The thing is Luckey didn't wan't anyone to know it was him, so he used a couple of shell corporations which is a thing ultra rich people can do because laws are for the poor.

A game that came out when wunderdouche
here was what? Three? That would be like me
 getting all nostalgic for goddamn Frogger.
But the galling part, the affront to everything I hold dear is that he named them after Chrono Trigger. I'll skip over the part where I suggest that you don't know what I'm talking about because you have a life, and just explain. Chrono Trigger was probably one of the best SNES JRPG's of the 16-bit era, second only to Final Fantasy III which-huh? Ok, I'll dial it back-it's a video game, a really, really good video game from the 90's. Anyway, he named his fake-ass companies 'Wings of Time' after the character's time machine/airship and 'Fiendlord's Keep' after the one of the bad guy's castle.

I get that video games, as a thing, are for everybody. Did you know that there're 36 Cabela's games about hunting? Thirty-six. I'm not saying that video games about shooting dear are aimed at conservatives but-well, ok, that's exactly what I'm saying, but the important thing is that gaming knows no politics. Although if it did, they wouldn't be Luckey's politics.
As seen on Game Stop's clearance rack! 
In this analogy, the midterm
elections are the final boss fight. 
I'm basing that mostly on the fact that I think that the Republican party is going through a particularly gross period in its history. The party of Lincoln is now the party of misogyny, racism and hilarious billboards about locking Hillary Clinton up for, I don't know, whatever their beef with her was. The point is that they're not the plucky, Akira Toriyama anime underdogs trying prevent a cataclysm, in fact, they're kind of the opposite. I mean, the President seems to be doing his damnedest right now to start a nuclear war with North Korea, so if anything, they're more like Lavos, the alien parasite that wants to destroy the world.

I suppose we can take solace in the fact that despite pulling in more than $106 million from Luckey and other ultra-rich donors, the inauguration was an hilarious fiasco that we'll be making fun of for years to come..assuming we all, you know, survive.
Pictured: The National Mall on Inauguration-oh, sorry, that's
the Women's March again. I keep thinking it's the Inauguration, which
is totally weird because way the hell fewer people showed up for that. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Autocracy now!

So Turkey, the country not the bird, recently held a referendum to decide whether they should continue to be a parliamentary democracy or abolish the office of Prime Minister and hand most of the power over to President and disappointing hologram Recep Tyyip Erdogan. Conservative, rural voters went in for the one-man rule option while urbanites voted overwhelmingly to not begin a rapid spiral into tyranny.
"If you can't trust a dangerous autocrat, who can you trust?"
-President (probably for life) Erdogan
Above: Erdogan assists a young Turkish
boy casting his 'yes' vote, shortly before
returning his parents to him safe and sound.
So Erdogan's side announced they'd won without bothering to wait for the results and now the opposition is calling into question the fishiness of the whole thing, the last minute rule changes and the pervasive whiff of naked power grab by a human-rights abusing strongman. After declaring victory Erdogan said of his opponents:

"There are those belittling the result. They shouldn't try, it will be in vain."

-Erdogan giving his 'Resistance is Futile' address

Hey, uh, no offense, I mean
I do enjoy not starving to death.
Sound menacing and a little familiar? Like say, something a whiney, petulant real-estate developer who may, or may not be able to read would say when he was feeling sensitive about how the majority of us didn't vote for him and weren't like, super-jazzed that he got to be the president anyway because of some 18th century voting scheme designed to help sparsely populated agricultural states feel appreciated? 

Because he did kind of bring this up again when protesters marched on Saturday demanding he show us his tax returns like every President has done since the 70's. Even Nixon released his tax returns, and he once tried to cancel the election so he could be President forever. 
Yes, somebody should totally look into a lot of things...
See? Moustache. Any parallels are
specious at best. Specious! 
Ok, so obviously Donald Trump is not Recep Tyyip Erdogan. That would be a ridiculous over-simplification that glosses over the nuances of cultural differences and global political circumstances and besides, Erdogan has a mustache. But there are some unsettling parallels between the two. They're both into military strength, they've both been criticized for trying to deceive and intimidate the media, and they both apparently get like, super angry if you dare question the legitimacy of their shady doings. 

Which, shouldn't that be a red flag? Like, I'm not like a mentalist or anything-wait, is that a real job? What I mean is that I'm not an expert at reading into people's actions and body language, but it seems like constantly attacking the people you politically defeated and then flying off the handle when anyone questions election results or say, asks you to release your tax returns kind of makes you look guilty. You know, of crimes?
I don't want to tell someone how to throw off suspicion, but people without terrible
secrets typically don't steeple their fingers and shift their gaze back and forth so much. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unbusinessy is a word, right?

I'm not like a business person or anything, but if I ran a video game company and had like a super-popular product that everyone wanted to buy, I think I'd keep making it. Like, until everyone was totally sick of it and then for several years after. So Nintendo's decision to discontinue the NES Classic Edition seems a little, you know, un-business-y.
Pictured: Someone who is a business person and who does run
a video game company. So Like what's up, Tatsumi Kimishima?
You disgust me. Just eat the cookie,
I mean, it's not going to kill you.
If you're rolling your eyes at whatever the hell I'm on about now, that's ok, you probably lead a rich, active life with friends and outdoors activities. Congratulations, you deserve a cookie. Which you probably won't eat. Because you're healthy. Anyway, allow me to explain what I'm talking about. A few months ago, Nintendo released this tiny version of the original 8-bit NES console that played thirty games, came with a replica of the original controller and cost like $70, which as nostalgia goes, is fairly reasonable.

People love it. Especially grown-up 30-somethings like me who, for whatever reason, can't let their childhoods go. It probably has something to do with unfulfilled expectations of adulthood or possibly some kind of vitamin D deficiency. I don't know. I'm not a psychologist. The point is that the thing was super-popular and they sold like 1.5 million of them.
Mostly to scalpers who turn around and re-sell them for three times the price.
"Uh, what was the last one, jerks?
Yeah, that's us. We hate fun."

-The guys that run Nintendo
And look, like I mentioned before, I'm not a video game industry expert (or a psychologist, or an airline CEO, remember that thing about unfulfilled expectations?), but this thing was basically a Raspberry Pi in a tiny plastic shell full of thirty games that Nintendo mostly owns already, so it's not like this thing could have cost them all that much to produce, right? So why the sudden discontinuation? Market trends? Just to be jerks? Do they hate money? I don't know, but I have a theory based on my vast experience sitting around thinking about these kind of things.

I think this has to do with the Switch. And before you roll your eyes again, relax, I'll explain. You know, you really should try and get out less. So Switch is the new, new Nintendo console and they haven't yet announced their plans for Virtual Console. That's an online service that lets you pay them again for games you probably already own but might want to play again on the new machine. Yup, my guess is that they don't wan't people buying NES Classics when they could be spending five or ten dollars a pop on downloaded games.
"Because we-a never leave a-the money on the a-table!"
-Luigi at a recent 
shareholder's meeting