Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Booooo, I say. Boooooo!

Boo. So you're probably wondering what I'm booing. I'll tell you what I'm boo-ing. This. You know what? You don't even have to click on the link, I'll explain:
Pictured: the thing I'm booing.
Can you believe it? No, of course you can't because this is some bullshit. Lemme explain what we're looking at. Remember a couple of months ago when an artist called Kristen Visbal was commissioned to create the Fearless Girl statue? It's a little girl defiantly staring down that stupid Wall Street bull thing. It's kind of great, see?
...and so the pillars of heartless American capitalism
collapsed under the withering stare of this little girl.
Which, ok, no it didn't, but still, cool statue, though...
"Investing, right? So much easier than
real work, and it pays a shit-ton more!"
-Wall Street people
But it's not so great if you're Arturo di Modica, the artist who created Charging Bull. His beef (pun intended, it is after all the lowest form of humor) is that Fearless Girl co-opts the intention behind Charging Bull. That intention being 'aggressive financial optimism and prosperity' (yes, that's lazy wiki-research, but I do have a life you know). So it's a monument to how awesome Wall Street is for making rich people even richer. Awesome. But he does kind of have a point. The little girl standing up to Wall Street does change the perception.

"Hey, de Blasio's got your back!"
-Bill The Mayor de Blasio
I'm not saying I care about Charging Bull and if I were mayor of New York I'd also let 'Fearless Girl' stay right where she is. Hey speaking of:

"Men who don't like women taking up space is exactly why we need Fearless Girl."

-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio  
explaining why Fearless Girl 
 is staying right where she is

"You mean nuance? Yeah, we hate that..."
-Americans
So back to the dog taking a piss. Alex Gardega, the artist who put it there for three hours this morning-huh? Yeah, it's already been removed by the artist. This whole thing is an emotional roller coaster, isn't it? Anyway Gardega is surely an misogynist prick whose Sketchy Dog, that's what it's called, is a crass, juvenile attack on feminism, right? Yes. But also no. But also, sort of. God, don't you hate it when things are more complicated than black and white?

Above: as far as Gardega's concerned,
Fearless Girl has as much to say as this guy.
Gardega said he put Sketchy Dog there partly to protest Visbal's piece's co-opting of di Modica's work. Still with me? So he was protesting the protest. Again, sort of. He's also commenting on the adoption of Fearless Girl by progressives as a symbol of feminism. The piece was, it turns out, commissioned as an advertisement for an index fund comprised of gender diverse companies and...look, I'm not a business person. Again, I'm just summing up the wikipedia article. The point is that it's basically a billboard.

A billboard inviting investors to invest in companies run by women, but still...investing and capitalism and Wall Street. You know, the people who sent the economy into a free fall and sparked the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression?
Something tells me that when we're long gone and apes inherit the Earth,
they'll point to these guys as a key factor in our civilization's downfall.
Maybe a statue of Arturo di Modica,
looking sad because Fearless Girl
messed up his Charging Bull piece?
Ok good for you Gardega. Way to stick up for the little guy...by appearing to piss all over a little girl. Like, unless he stood next to it and explained Fearless Girl's origins to passers by and that he's standing up for di Modica's artistic expression, he kinda just looks like an asshole. Like, there must have been a more effective way to get his point across. And besides, whoever put Fearless Girl there and for whatever reason, everyone associates Visbal's work with toppling the patriarchy. Is that a good thing? I dunno. But it is a thing. And not even a unique thing. You know Rosie the Riveter?

Pictured: Rosie the Riveter.
(source: pedantry)
No. None of us do. What we know is a Westinghouse ad from the 1940's that we all think of as Rosie the Riveter. The real Rosie the Riveter was invented by the government to promote women moving into the workforce during the war. There was also a kick-ass Normal Rockwell painting by that name, but exactly no one in the world gives a shit about it now because the Westinghouse ad Rosie is famous. If I have a point here, and I may have lost it some way back, it's that it seems like Gardega's piece might have missed the mark, or marks, I guess. The first mark being a commentary on an artist's right to control the context in which their work is displayed. The second mark being that despite Fearless Girl's impact as a feminist work, some dude would like us to remember that it's an ad and we're all stupid for liking it.

Alright, maybe I'm being a jerk to Gardega. I mean, who knows what his true intentions are? In fact, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his aim wasn't to piss all over feminism. Still though, he built a little yappy dog and placed it so it looks like it's taking a leak on a little girl. So you know...boooo.
"I saw a work that many women regarded as inspirational and
empowering and thought to myself, hey, you know what this needs?"
-Alex Gardega

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today in brûlers épiques...

Hey, you don't suppose that the current President's rough handshakes, foreign leader shoving and frequent adjustment yanks to his jacket like some goon in a mob movie, is all out of insecurity, do you? Like it's just a lot of transparent posturing on the part of a small, in-over-his-head man who knows that on some level, he doesn't belong in this job.
"Hey! Fuggetaboutit, world leader comin' through here..."
-A small man, trying to feel big
It's ok buddy, you can't win'em all...
I ask because this is just about the best thing I've heard all week. Remember on Thursday when Trump shook hands with Emmanuel Macron in Brussels? Who? Oh, he's the new French President who, despite the same kind of Russian election interference that handed us our current predicament, managed to overcome his country's ignorant racist demographic and win the election. Anyway, there was a handshake and the internet was delighted by Macron's firm grip and the way he stared down the guy who got Hillary Clinton's job. It was great and, it turns out, no accident.

Pictured: Macron, crushing the shit
out of President Trump's Tweeters.
Yup, the freshly elected French President was deliberately showing Trump who the alpha chien is and it was glorious. According told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche:

"My handshake with him, it wasn't innocent...One must show that you won't make small concessions, even symbolic ones..."

-President Macron, 
winning, just winning

Earlier in the day, Macron dodged Trump's greeting outside the NATO meeting, veering instead towards Angela Merkel and other leaders. When Trump finally caught up with him, Macron reportedly restrained The Donald's right arm to avoid a handshake having been warned out his awkward need to turn everything into a weird power game.
Above: what the French would call 'une brûler épique.'
(source: a fairly poor grasp of french)
"Per'aps it ess, ow you say,
zee Schadenfreude?"
Like, I don't know the nuances of French government, so I have no opinion of Macron from a political standpoint, but he is quickly becoming one of my favorite world leaders thanks to his firm policy against taking any of Trump's petty bullshit. Speaking of petty bullshit, is it totally petty of me to enjoy the fact that Macron was resorting to subtle social intimidation with our President? Maybe? Probably? Whichever it is, I'm not sure I feel the least bit bad about it. Everything about this man's presidency has been based on pettiness, juvenile aggression and straight up rudeness. I mean, did you see the thing about the President of Luxembourg's husband?

Destiny is the third from the left, wearing
a blue tie and not being Melania Trump.
Lookit this. Apparently the White House posted the group picture of the NATO leaders' spouses, including Gauthier Destenay, husband of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, and the only same-sex spouse at the damn thing. The photo's caption however left Destenay's name off, and mentioned Melania Trump twice. They later fixed it without so much as an 'our bad.' Honest mistake or deliberate snub? I don't know, but have they given us any reason to think it wasn't another dick move in a long line of dick moves?

Everything, I mean everything Donald Trump has done and said since electoral college winning the election has been...you know, gross and bully-ish. And it's not just him, the GOP in general have been getting away with bloody murder (figuratively...so far) lately and comeuppance have been in short supply. Remember that asshole who body slammed a reporter and went on to win Montana's congressional seat instead of you know, going to jail for assault? Because I really want to know why he's not in jail. For assault.
"In my defense, my constituency is a bunch of stupid
hicks and this sort of thing appeals to them."

-Assault suspect Greg Pianoforte, 
gaining 5 more approval points
"Please, take the photos quickly. He has
surprisingly sweaty palms and I think
the spray tan is rubbing off on me."

-President Macron
Anyway, yeah, maybe it's petty of me to enjoy the French President making our President look like a schmuck, but goddamn it is satisfying. Almost as satisfying as this comparison Macron made in his statement to the French press:

"Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see things in terms of power relationships, which doesn't bother me. I don't believe in diplomacy through public criticism but in my bilateral dialogues I don't let anything pass. That is how you get respect."

-President Macron, regarding
his tough anti-goon stance

Yup, that's Emmanuel Macron publicly criticizing Donald Trump by lumping him in with Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin while at the same time decrying public criticism. Hypocritical? Maybe. But I don't care because I also think he's calling out Trump for his use of social media as a way to talk shit about people who disagree with him. Which is like everyone at this point. My chapeau is off to you, Monsieur President.
"Pfft, shows what he knows, it you don't trash your political enemies
on Twitter, how are they supposed to know what losers they are?"

-The guy with the job once held by
the author of the Gettysburg Address.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today in Republi'splaining...

Is it me or is this looking less and less like an elaborate prank? Reality I mean. Like, it's getting harder and harder to cling to the possibility that Hillary Clinton is just going to stroll into frame during a press conference, high five Donald Trump and explain that of course she's the President and the last seven months has just been a funny, funny joke and now it's time to get back to business.
"Gotcha!"
-President Clinton...
yup, any minute now...
Poor people simply lack the part
of the brain responsible for wealth.

I ask because this can't be real, right? Like, Trump and the Russia thing and the unceasing game of one-upsmanship about who can be the most insulting and/or idiotic member of the administration everyone seems to be playing. 'Cause this has to be a joke, right. What has to be a joke? Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. It happens when I confronted with Omega level jerkery. Here, check this shit out:

"I think poverty to a large extent is a state of mind."

-HUD Secretary Carson, apparently not kidding

Look, I'm not the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, nor am I a neurosurgeon, but that doesn't sound right. Like, I'm sure a positive attitude is important and all, but don't low wages, crushing debt, ever increasing medical expenses and an economic system stacked against all but the super-rich figure into this in some way?
"Nope. You're poor because you're not thinking rich enough."
-Dr. Carson, who again, is a neurosurgeon
"All I need is my wits and a few million
in start up capital and I'll be back on top!"

-Some rich guy
Carson was giving an interview on Sirius XM when he-huh? Oh, I think it's like a podcast for people who can't figure out how podcasts work. Anyway, he went on to Republi'splain how resilient the wealthy can be:

"You take somebody that has the right mind-set, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there..."

-Carson on how awesome rich people are

Step1 :locate the boot straps.
Step 2: lift yourself up by them until
you're hovering gently in the air
Yes, the story of America's wealthy is a truly inspiring tale of how some people are just hard wired to be rich and that no set back can keep them down for long. The rich are basically goddamn heroes. He followed up his theory with the poor people corollary:

"...You take somebody with the wrong mind-set, you can give them everything in the world-they'll work their way right back down to the bottom."

-HUD Secretary Carson who
somehow sleeps at night... 

Don't bother man, he's just going
spend that sandwich on lottery tickets.
So Secretary Carson is not only explaining why some people have nothing while others have everything, he's doing it in a way that removes all guilt and responsibility on the part of those in a position to do something about wealth inequality. In fact, his preposterous comments even justify rolling back reforms and cutting of programs designed to address the inequality. I mean, if poverty is a character flaw, why bother trying to address the system, right? Wow, everything's so much clearer now. Bring on the tax cuts!

You know, I think I've been misjudging Secretary Carson. After all, what he's talking about is the American dream. He's saying that this is a land of opportunity that rewards those with the intelligence and drive to succeed in life and certainly not one where a person could rise to the top through inherited wealth, bullying tactics and shady, if not criminal business practices which-wait, you don't suppose Carson is being ironic here do you? I mean, he knows we know who gave him his job, right?
Above: Incontrovertible proof that Dr. Ben Carson is full of shit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If you can think of a better way to breed mice...

These scientists know they could
just buy mice at a pet store, right?
The world is a pretty bleak place right now. There's violence, divisiveness in politics and for reasons beyond knowing, someone is making a sequel to Top Gun. But our fate, as a species, might not be sealed. Look at this. Not going to click? Fine, I'll sum up: Japanese scientists were able to preserve mouse sperm, frozen, aboard the International Space Station for 288 days, return it to Earth and then use it to produce healthy mice finally solving one of science's oldest mysteries. Namely, what if someone did that thing I just described.

Earlier, Abba-based experiments
proved less than effective.
So like, how come? For science of course. And because the future of humanity might one day hinge upon mouse sperm. It turns out that once you leave the Earth's atmosphere, human cells, most crucially those involved in reproduction, are bombarded with one hundred times more radiation than on the surface. And since such damage is more likely to result in birth defects rather than say, stretchy limbs or the power of invisibility, scientists are researching ways around the problem. Hence the frozen mouse spunk.

"Oh yeah!"
-Professor Randy Savage,
from the University of Pain
According to Teruhiko Wakayama from the University of Yamanashi, one of the scientist involved in the project, the successful outcome of this experiment might someday lead to advances making it possible for humans to not only reproduce in space, but also to raise livestock up there:

"If humans live in space for a long time then we will want to eat beefsteak."

-Professor Wakayama, who I 
guess hasn't heard of beef jerky

"Moon Vault, this is Commander Jenkins,
I'm here to pick up...The Right Stuff. 

Get it? Like the movie? But with sperm?"
But the possibilities don't end with space babies and orbital meat, the ability to store genetic samples off-planet might also lead to something like the Doomsday Vault in Norway where seeds (and now water) are kept just in case we fuck up the environment even worse than we already have. According to Wakayama, sperm could even be preserved indefinitely under the surface of the Moon and then, in the event of some kind of catastrophe on Earth, the survivors could simply go there and retrieve samples to repopulate the species.

"Ok, no need to panic, I'll just fashion a
crude rocket from the burnt out wreckage..."
You know, assuming the survivors of whatever disaster just knocked civilization back to the stone age have access to a spaceship capable of reaching to Moon...ok, it's not a perfect plan, but still, science! Anyway, Professor Wakayama has moved on to trying to clone mice from mice shit:

"We are now trying to make clones from mouse feces, but so far, no success."

-Teruhiko Wakayama, not
one to rest on his laurels

Wow...the practical applications are unimaginable. As in, one can't possibly imagine what he's going to do with this technology. You know, I'm not super-clear on the line between science and mad-science, but I'm wondering if Professor Wakayama and his mouse shit clones from the moon isn't maybe approaching it...
"They said I was mad, Mad! I'll show them, I'll show them all!"
-Professor Wakayama from his
secret underground laboratory

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Good luck un-imagining this...

Pictured: Anderson Cooper setting the
bar for journalists. And to be clear, I'm
not being sarcastic. Like at all. 
Oh and just so we're clear, exactly no one, no one is allowed to be upset at Anderson Cooper for suggesting to political commentator and former Ronald Reagan groupie Jeffrey Lord that:

"If he [President Trump] took a dump on his desk, you would defend him."

-Anderson Cooper, presumably while
mentally writing his apology Tweet

Yes, that's Anderson Cooper inviting everyone to imagine President Trump shitting on the desk of the Oval Office; an image with no small amount of figurative truth to it.
Above: The desk in question, just in case you needed help with the visual.
He literally wrote the
book on defending Trump.
 -what? You hadn't heard? Yeah, I missed this on Friday too, but apparently he said it and has since then been apologizing, Twitter apologizing and I think getting whipped by 80 monks before the tomb of Thomas Beckett as penance (CNN has weird contracts) because this is America and we'll be goddamned if someone on CNN is right while at the same time being funny and that's the first of the several reasons that no one is allowed to get all righteous about Cooper's comment. Because he's right. You might remember Lord as the guy who once went on CNN and said: "Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of healthcare..." -a statement that manages to be total gibberish while simultaneously offending everyone in the world. It also makes it clear that Lord would probably defend just about anything Trump does. Yes, even the poop thing.

Pictured: Lord, in front of a photo of Reagan,
defending Trump recklessly divulging intel to
 the Russians. Not pictured: a sense of irony.
In fact, just before Cooper-in what I suspect was a moment half amused, half maybe having a stroke from the frustration-made his comment, Jeffrey Lord was saying:

"I don't care, I mean, I don't care what he says to the Russian Prime-to the Russians. I, I mean, he's the President of the United States..."

-Jeffry Lord explaining that Trump is
blameless in all things forever

"Welcome to the White House Minister,
can I get you anything? A drink? Detailed
schematics of our nuclear deterrent system?"
-Trump, for all we know
Ok, but shouldn't he care what the President is saying to the Russians? I mean, Trump isn't exactly going out of his way to convince us that he didn't secretly work with Russian intelligence to win the election, so yeah, I do kind of care what he's saying in secret Oval Office meetings that the American press isn't allowed into but Russian press is and where he's maybe bragging about firing the director of the FBI while he's investigating the aforementioned claims of Russian collusion. In fact, I care a lot. I suspect we all do. All of us except Jeffrey Lord that is.

Of course, in theory the President is
usually the one most of us voted for
so...well, here we are, right?
So again if Lord is willing to overlook all that, is dropping the First Number Two on the Resolute Desk really out of left field? Maybe not, but surely Anderson Cooper shouldn't have said what he said, right? I mean, it was an accident, a slip of the filter and admittedly unprofessional. After all, we're supposed to respect the office of the President, if not the occupant, right? Yes, in theory. But I'm not sure Trump or anyone leaping to his defense has the best case here.

"Um, no, as a matter of fact you cannot."
-All lawyers everywhere
Like, remember this horrible thing he said:

"You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful-I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just Kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything...Grab'em by the pussy. You can do anything."

-The guy who would go on to
technically win the 2016 election

Yes, I'm trotting that one out again. Sure, it's from 2005, but feel free to substitute pretty much anything he's said aloud or Tweeted before, during or after the campaign or at any point during his Presidency so far. It's all unrepentantly awful. The point is I think we're well past feigning moral outrage about how people talk about President Trump.
Trump, Billy Bush and Arianne Zucker, the women they, moments earlier,
were discussing assaulting. Sexually. So Cooper was out of line, how?

So when's Skynet going to take the hint?

Oh my god, please stop. Stop making Terminator movies. Huh? What? Yes, of course I know that you are not personally responsible for continued entries in the The Terminator series, but I just needed to say it out loud. Because apparently this happened at Cannes the other day:
"Hello everybody, guess what? I'll be back...again!"
"Goddamnit Arnold, I thought we agreed..."
Skynet sends a cyborg to 1984 to murder
Sarah Connor? No problem. Skynet sends a
septuagenarian Austrian ex-governor? Um...
And I'm hoping you'll join me in preemptively judging Terminator: 6: Genisys 2: Judgement Salvation or whatever the hell they end up calling it, before it has a chance to suck. In case I wasn't clear, there is going to be another Terminator movie, complete with Arnold Schwarzenegger. And look, he'll always be the Terminator to me but he's pushing seventy. Seventy! I know the in-movie lore establishes that Terminators can age but goddamn, they're starting to stretch credulity here. Credulity in their movie about killer cyborgs who travel back in time to murder a waitress.

Anyone else think Titanic should
have been about the band instead
of horny, kind of unlikeable teens?
Ok, but he did just do Terminator: Genisys and that was only a couple years ago, and it was terrible. Like, aggressively bad so what makes anyone think doing another one is a good idea? I'm glad I pretended you asked. The answer is that James Cameron will be directing the new one. You know, the guy that made the two decent Terminator movies and Aliens? Awesome, right? And then you remember that he also did Titanic and Avatar, which are objectively terrible. Huh? No, I'm sorry, but they really are.

But I'm getting away from my point and it's a point that I really hate that I'm making: sequels suck. And I say I hate saying it because it's the kind of thing people say right before they explain how they only see independent films like Francis Ha, and that they listen to vinyl and reverse-engineer ancient beer recipes.
"It's exactly like the beer the ancient Sumerians
used to drink, except I had to substitute carmine for the
  blood of Assyrian prisoners. Check out my GoFundMe."
I think it was pretty obvious that I was
kidding. It goes two real examples, then
the joke example. I mean, army ants...
Ok, fine, not all recent sequels suck. The new Star Wars movies were good, Mad Max: Fury Road was great and of course there was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But for every Fury Road there's a Prometheus or a Terminator: Genisys which I'm sorry to say I rented one night. Why? I think I must secretly hate myself. I'd already sat through Terminator 3, and Terminator: Salvation and I guess I figured they were due for a win, but holy shit, I mean, holy shit. It just tried so hard to remind us of earlier, better movies in the series and unfortunately it succeeded.

"Not quite, it'll be the Old West and there'll
be a train chase at the end. Close though.
Oh! And I get to say 'hasta la vista, partner.'"

-Schwarzenegger
Oh well, there's nothing to stop Terminator Part 6 and I know it's not even written yet, but I don't think I'm being unfair when I predict that it will be awful. In fact, let me predict the plot: Skynet sends another Terminator-possibly some variant of the liquid metal one from T2, back even earlier in time to kill, oh let's say Prudence Goodwyfe-Connor, Sarah's great-great-great pilgrim grandmother. The human resistance sends another reprogrammed Schwarzenegger-Terminator to stop him/her/it. There's some shooting, a horse and buggy chase and then the Schwarzenator sacrifices himself to save the future. Again. Am I warm?

Also mentioned in the article was Schwarzenegger's new Conan movie which has been in development for years, so who knows if we'll ever see it? But I'm totally on board for this one because the set up is that he would play an elderly, world-weary version of the character and who wouldn't want to watch Conan battle monsters and barbarians before having to sit down for a minute and then shout at to kids to get off his damn lawn?
"Now, gather around young warriors, and I shall tell you of the long ago days of yore.
An age of heroes, when everything cost less and young people were more respectful
towards their elders. Also, your generation is lazy, and how come you swear so much?"

-Prologue of Conan the Curmudgeon,
coming summer 2019 in 3D and IMAX

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wait, we've had way bigger witch hunts...

Seriously? The greatest witch hunt in U.S. history? That's what Donald Trump is calling the entirely reasonable questions about and investigation into that suspicious-at-best, straight-up stolen at worst election that put him, the least qualified reality TV show host imaginable, into the most powerful office in the world. The most recent-huh? Which reality TV show host would be more qualified? Take your pick.
 
But do you really even have to ask?
That is both a hackneyed and insensitive
joke, and I should be ashamed of myself.
So obviously I have some problems with this most recent of petulant statements-wait, did I say statement? I meant tweet, because of course he tweeted his displeasure, first referring vaguely to 'illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration' before comparing his plight to that of witches. Now I don't think he means this literally because while he is many things, I don't think anyone is accusing Trump of being an actual witch. For one thing, witches are usually depicted as green where as orange is the traditional color of candy factory workers.

But in the figurative sense, that's still a pretty dramatic charge. I mean, the most famous witch hunt in U.S. history would be that time Senator Joseph McCarthy exploited America's irrational fear of communism and gay people to attack his political opponents. He was, to use the parlance of the day, a real shit bird.
"As a matter of fact, no, I have no decency. In many ways, I'm ahead of my time."
-Noted shit bird Senator Joseph McCarthy

Pictured: The President. 
Again, figuratively.
Trump on the other hand is not the victim of an unfounded fear. There's an understanding among the intelligence community and the public that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and since Trump won that election (you know, technically), it's not a long walk to the suspicion that he was in on it. But that's what it is, a suspicion. And one that really needs to be looked into. To put this in witch terms, it's like Hillary Clinton is missing, there's a frog sitting on a pile of pantsuit and Trump is standing over her, broom in hand, cackling in a tall, pointy black hat.

So like, what are we supposed to think? The point is we don't know if Trump had anything to do with the Russian interference, that's why there's a special prosecutor. And look, I don't want to tell him how to run his ludicrous farce of a Presidency, but for real, if he wants anyone to take seriously his protests of innocence, maybe he should lay off Twitter?
"No one's ever had it worse than me. This is
worse than what they did to Jesus. UNFAIR!"
-The President, not helping his case.