Hollywood and Digital Frankenstein

Since the release of TRON: Legacy, the 2010 sequel to the 1982 pioneer in computer-generated filmmaking, there has been an ominous specter lurking on the horizon. That film featured a digital version of 1982-era Jeff Bridges, and it was unconvincing in a way that audiences found off-putting. Even with the relatively unsuccessful effort to digitally recreate a realistic human, many people saw the handwriting on the wall. As technology advanced, someday it would be possible to convincingly recreate a realistic human character with CGI.

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HBO’s Confederate Problem

In my post about Green Book, I outlined how I thought mainstream Hollywood, as represented by the Academy Award voters, is often content to congratulate itself for its liberalism on racial issues rather than move the discussion forward. Another sign that Hollywood still has much to learn is that the two very talented but very white guys behind Game of Thrones are developing a new project for HBO called Confederate, an alternate-history series in which the Confederacy survives the Civil War and lasts into the Civil Rights era with slavery still intact. Personally, I hope that Benioff and Weiss have so much fun making their Star Wars film trilogy that they forget to circle back to this project.

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A Non-Conforming Take on the First Amendment

I frequently hear, when someone feels they are being unfairly silenced, wholly specious claims that their First Amendment rights have been violated. A celebrated example was when, Phil Robertson, one of the guys from the reality show Duck Dynasty, made appalling remarks about LGBTQ+ people and atheists and the A&E network (very briefly) removed the show from their schedule. People who largely share Robertson’s homophobic views cried foul, claiming that A&E had violated his First Amendment rights. Many people pointed out that this was bullshit, but some for what I think are the wrong reasons.

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Russia Derangement Syndrome

The #MAGA crowd has a nickname for what they see as the irrational hatred liberals have for their Lord and Savior, Donald J. Trump. They call it “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” In their eyes, the left is inexplicably apoplectic because their Great Leader is somehow making America great again by giving away trillions to billionaires, bankrupting the treasury, and by not making Mexico pay for a wall.

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Bill Maher vs. Stan Lee

When Marvel Comics creative force and nerd-culture icon Stan Lee passed away in November of 2018, Bill Maher marked the occasion with a snarky dismissal of Lee’s cultural relevance, suggesting that the popularity of comic book movies and the election of Donald Trump to the presidency are both signs of the dumbing down of American culture. Needless to say, comic book nerds lost their shit.

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With Friends Like These…

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, one of two Muslim women elected to Congress in the Blue Wave of 2018, is feeling the heat, recently succumbing to pressure to apologize for tweets that the political establishment deemed anti-Semitic.

Rep. Omar committed the unpardonable sin of suggesting that the United States government’s often indulgent attitude to the State of Israel might be influenced by political contributions by the lobbying group AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

In reality, there was nothing counter-factual or anti-Semitic about her remarks and she should never have needed to apologize.

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Racism is a Position, Not a Party

One commonly-played, and uncommonly dishonest, card that right-wing media likes to play is to perpetuate the lie that the present Democratic Party is ideologically unchanged from the Democratic Party of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th Centuries, and thereby the Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is solely responsible for the nation’s sins of slavery and racial segregation, while Republicans are the party of the Great Emancipator, Abe Lincoln, and therefore deserve credit for everything good that has ever happened to black Americans. Sean Hannity detached his lips from Donald Trump’s ass long enough to repeat this garbage in a recent broadcast, but it appears to be a boilerplate script that resurfaces regularly on Fox News and other conservative outlets.

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Nostalgic Prequelitis

Resist the Dark Side

The Star Wars prequels are objectively, irredeemably terrible, a blight not just on the beloved franchise but on narrative storytelling itself. This is not an opinion, but a fact that I hope you will comprehend by the time I am finished here. Sadly, there is a misguided evolution in the thinking of some otherwise rational adults, a tendency to view the prequels in a more forgiving light in the post-Disney era of Star Wars.

You must resist. Do not be tempted by the Dark Side.

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