Thursday, December 18, 2014

Does Sony’s Decision to Cancel The Interview Denote the Death of Freedom of Speech?

I wasn’t going to write anything today. In fact, I wasn’t going to write anything until January.

But I want to say a few things about Sony’s decision to cancel its film The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Sony got seriously hacked and threatened over the movie, which was supposed to air on Christmas day. The hacking part of the equation led to identity theft issues (with actors’ social security numbers and other personal information being taken) and security issues, since Sony was told to expect a 9/11-style attack on theatres should they show it.

With that concern, Sony just decided it wasn’t worth the risk. It’s pulling the theatrical release.

Understandably, this is a big deal, especially in light of rising proof that the wannabe-terrorist state of North Korea is behind it all. People both inside and outside of Hollywood are freaking out at how brutally the right to freedom of speech was just silenced.

Here are just a few Tweets going around, as republished by Yahoo:

Judd Apatow (Tweeted prior to Sony’s decision): “I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?”

Jimmy Kimmel (in response to Apatow): “I agree wholeheartedly. An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent.”

Rob Lowe: “Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow.”

Now, here’s the thing: They’re not wrong. At all. We do have to wonder what else tech-savvy terrorists will demand now. Sony did just advertise that it can be pushed around. The hackers did win, and I’m sure they’re thinking about other ways they can pull similar stunts going forward.

But let’s take a second to think about The Interview itself. It’s a comedy about going into North Korea with a plan to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un. Considering the previews and the actors involved and the very premise, you can be sure that this movie is filled with typical Hollywood trash, scantily-clad women, swear words and general lameness.

In other words, everyone’s freaking out about how our right to freedom of speech has been violated… when we’ve already trampled all over on it ourselves. We’ve made a mockery of the Second Amendment with what we choose to champion and what we let others – like Hollywood, incidentally – silence us on. And we’ve done it quite nicely without North Korea’s help.

So basically, if these hackers really want to put America in its place, my suggestions is to keep letting us go down the same stupid path we’re already on.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hollywood Hack Reveals Racist Email

Last November, Sony Pictures Chair Amy Pascal attended a Hollywood breakfast event featuring President Obama as a keynote speaker.

His speech included lines like: “Believe it or not, entertainment is part of our American diplomacy” and if non-Americans “are watching an old movie – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or Will and Grace and Modern Family – they’ve had a front-row seat to our march towards progress. Even if their own nations haven’t made that progress yet.”

I could (and do) take issue with the president’s speechwriter for labeling three out of four of those Hollywood productions as “movies” instead of TV shows; and one, possibly two, out of the four as “old.” And I could (and do) ridicule the idea that non-Americans watch stuff from decades past when they could be watching the violent, oversexed, mind-numbing trash of today.

But the shortcomings of his staff aren’t what I want to focus on right now.

What I want to focus on is how Hollywood likes to think itself this bastion of liberty, empowering the little people to speak their minds and be free and learn the truth about how Republicans are so bad and businesses are so bad and women can have it all if they just lose enough weight and wear the right clothes and layer on that makeup and put out enough.

Except that it’s not nearly so progressive as it likes to claim. Incidentally, that should be right-in-our-faces obvious considering the ratio of white actors to black actors alone. Oh yeah, and that “women can have it all if they just lose enough weight and wear the right clothes and layer on that makeup and put out enough” mantra constantly shoved in our faces: That sexist swill should clue us in too.

But if that isn’t enough, now we have a much more intimate look into how Hollywood really works thanks to that Sony hack, which seems to be one giant “Merry Christmas” to beleaguered conservatives everywhere who have been decrying the entertainment industry for years.

Because before going to that breakfast and listening to Obama – our first black president, remember now – speak, Amy Pascal emailed a friend asking “What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?”

And then they preceded to joke back and forth about whether he would like race-heavy movies like Django, 12 years a Slave, The Butler, Think Like a Man, or Ride-Along” since he probably “likes Kevin Hart.”

Now, I know that a lot of white people watched all of those movies. Personally, I even really liked Think Like a Man. But there’s really only one reason to ask if a black man has seen those and only those movies, and that’s racism.

Judging by industry standards and messages, that’s probably a much more prevalent attitude than anyone in Hollywood wants to admit.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stupid Law Students Demand Special Compensation on Exams for Michael Brown Trauma

Thanks to Yahoo!, it’s come to my attention that people are stupid.

Like seriously stupid. And ignorant. And entitled. And did I mention stupid?

You see, some law students at Harvard and Georgetown are pressuring their departments to postpone or defer final exams.

“Minority student coalitions at Harvard and Georgetown law schools are pressing administrators to postpone or defer final exams because they claim they have experienced trauma over the recent grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The students are hoping for the same outcome granted to students at Columbia Law, another top-tier institution. Over the weekend, Columbia Law’s interim dean, Robert Scott, announced that exams would be postponed for students who feel traumatized over the two grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of Brown and Garner, both of whom are black.”

First of all, from an editorial standpoint, that write-up is pathetic. Though admittedly not as much as the subject matter itself.

Now, I haven’t followed the Eric Garner story, largely because I don’t care to. Not after the mainstream media has done such a bang-up job misrepresenting other criminal cases that were never about race. So I’ll refrain from commenting on him one way or the other.

But with Michael Brown, he was a low-life thug who attacked a police officer and got himself shot. I genuinely don’t see how those details are traumatizing to anyone who didn’t know him directly.

It’s seriously stupid to claim otherwise. Stupid and utterly unbecoming to anyone, much less a bunch of supposed intellectuals.

So shame on the stupid students who are misrepresenting the facts, and shame on the stupid administrations that have and will cave on the issue to save face over society.

I'm happy to say I can't imagine going through life with that little dignity.

Friday, December 5, 2014

We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!

America is now number two in the world in economic size. China is number one.

MarketWatch reports: “The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in ‘real’ terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion – compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

“As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

“To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

“This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.”

Make no mistake. This is a big deal, people.

It’s a big deal because the U.S. has been the biggest economic fish in the pond since President Ulysses S. Grant held office. And it’s a big deal because, while most economists expected China to eventually top the charts, it wasn’t supposed to be singing this tune until 2050.

We here in the U.S. could very well be good sports and praise China for its growth. But if we do, we expect China to own up and thank President Barack Obama for the significant part he played in the new pecking order.

After all, U.S. growth rate has been abysmal under this administration. Forget the dolled-up press releases the government doles out on the subject. It hasn’t been honest with the American people about anything else these past six years. Why should it tell the truth on this matter?

Consider this instead.

·         On January 1, 2014, USA Today reported that many Americans felt like the Great Recession never ended. The Wall Street Journal confirmed two weeks later that half of this nation’s counties really hadn’t recovered yet.
·         In May, The Washington Post ran an article titled, “U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created.”
·         The following month, CNS News added, “The percentage of American civilians 16 or older who do not have a job and are not actively seeking one remained at a 36-year high in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Lovely, right?
·         In August, Breitbart noted how “U.S. jobs pay an average 23% less today than they did before the 2007 recession, according to a new report released on Monday by the United States Conference of Mayors.”

Need I go on?

This nation isn’t recovering. It’s slumping in defeat. So yes, good job to China for successfully claiming the title of World’s Largest Economy.

Just keep in mind that it couldn’t have done it without America, and President Obama especially.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

“It’s Just Not Important” if Lena Dunham Falsely Accused a Campus Republican of Rape

When it first came out that Lena Dunham had accused a then-prominent Oberlin College campus Republican of raping her during her time there, I was admittedly skeptical.

I mean, here’s a woman who makes a point of being in our faces about how wonderful liberals are and how horrible conservatives are. She leaves no question about her political affiliations, so it seemed a little convenient for her to have one more horrible thing to say about Republicans.

I don’t like Lena Dunham. I think she’s downright pathetic. But that doesn’t mean she – or anyone else – deserves to be raped. So I kept my mouth shut on the subject since, let’s face it:

·         Women do get raped.
·         Bill Clinton-style liberals aren’t the only ones who’ve ever raped women.
·         Rape is a serious accusation that shouldn’t be treated dismissively.

Then again, rape is a serious accusation that shouldn’t be made lightly either.

Liberals, of course, didn’t want to fact-check their embarrassingly illogical poster girl. (Admittedly, Republicans don’t always want to vet their own sources either. It drives me up the wall either way.) This left conservative powerhouse Breitbart to handle that job.

The resulting article that the site’s John Nolte wrote is way too long to share in such a short blog. If you want to read the whole thing, click here. If not, here’s an interesting part toward the end:

“In her memoir Dunham informs readers that her rapist ‘hosted a radio show called Real Talk with Jimbo.’  Even if Barry is a pseudonym and all the other details are, for whatever reason, incorrect, the name of a radio show is the kind of hard fact that should lead to whoever really is.

“According to our search, there are nearly 25 radio stations available in the Oberlin area. Only three of those are talk/news stations. We were able to confirm with the program directors at two of these stations that their particular station never broadcasted a show titled Real Talk with Jimbo. The third, WOBC, is the campus radio station and the most likely broadcaster.”

So Nolte got in contact with WOBC, where student staffer Sophia Hess was all obliging until she found out who he was: a Republican. Then she changed her tune, denying him access to anything that might prove or discredit Dunham’s account.

Hess’ reasoning was: “What you’re looking for could create a conflict of interest on campus regarding sexual assault” and “People here are less interested in justice for this kind of crime and more interested in helping the victim. I’m not psyched to help you do this” and “Asking whether or not a victim is telling the truth is irrelevant. It’s just not important if they are telling the truth.”

And that right there, my friends, is Lena Dunham’s style of liberalism.

Cant imagine why I was skeptical to begin with.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Global Warming/Climate Change Set to Destroy Humankind… Ho Hum

Seriously. Who cares? Why is this a big deal?

Think about it…

If global warming/climate change/whatever you wanna call it is a hoax, then there’s nothing to worry about in that department. And if it isn’t a hoax and human beings are destroying the planet, I still can’t see any cause for alarm.

So we all die. Ho hum.

According to the global warming, Earth-first, save the planet philosophy, humans are a menace anyway. We’re a blight. A destructive force that consumes everything and gives nothing back.

So shouldn’t this planet’s champions therefore cheer our demise?

I mean, when we’re gone, this big, beautiful, peaceful planet can thrive and grow in eternal bliss with all of its:

·         Fun-loving animals (Sharks give hugs with their teeth, didn’tcha know?)
·         Gentle weather conditions (Katrina never would have happened if it weren’t for us.)
·         Other harmless happenings (The Romans must have been working those coal-fired power plants WAY too hard back in 79 AD for Mount Vesuvius to lose its cool that way.)


Makes sense to me at least. And even if it doesn’t, I can’t bring myself to care about something so thoroughly unprovable as global warming.

Especially since it snowed on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Poor Baltimore Teenagers Are Less Equipped to Deal With Reality Than Poor Nigerians

“Poor Kids in Baltimore Have It Worse Than Those in Nigeria.”

That’s the headline of a vocative article written about a study led by Dr. Kristen Mmari, an assistant professor of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins. Studying impoverished teenagers (aged 15 - 19) in Baltimore, Maryland, United States; Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Ibadan, Nigeria; and New Delhi, India; Mmari found that they described very similar settings, including litter, rats and other health risks.

Even more interesting, however, is this… Teenagers in Baltimore and Johannesburg made worse life choices and had more negative attitudes about their lives than the poorer cities studied.

Vocativ writes, “In Baltimore, which is located in the world’s richest nation per capita and just 40 miles from the White House, adolescents exhibited considerably high rates of mental health issues, substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, sexual violence and teen pregnancy. In comparison, adolescents in New Delhi exhibited far fewer of those behaviors and outcomes, despite residing in a much less prosperous nation.

“The reason for this, Mmari discovered, is rooted in the way teenagers interpret their surroundings. ‘How kids perceive their environments is really important,’ she says. ‘That’s what’s driving many of these behaviors.’ For example, a young man in New Delhi and a young man in Baltimore may both live in neighborhoods with poor living conditions and little opportunity, but because the teenager in New Delhi is able to see his environment in a more positive light, he is less likely to experience adverse health problems. ‘He paints a different picture.’

The article/study goes on to blame society for this difference in attitude, with an “it takes a village to raise a child” spin. But that liberal propaganda might not be entirely incorrect this time.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not excusing the little brats in question who take bad circumstances and actively make them worse by living in the it’s-all-about-me moment, completely disregarding that there’s anything or anyone else involved, and then blaming society for all their woes.

Yet that doesn’t mean society is off the hook here. It’s ridiculous how many songs and movies and celebrated lifestyles promise success for such selfish, stupid mantras. And then, on top of that, we uphold an educational system that teaches kids to expect coddling. In too many supposedly academic settings, feelings are given equal or higher weight to natural intelligence and applied determination.

The result? Apparently a bunch of sexually, mentally and emotionally underdeveloped teenagers who turn into that same sorry state of adults…

Oh yeah, and apparently kids who “have it worse than those in Nigeria.” Which is pretty pathetic.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t” Doesn’t Make Sense

There’s a popular song on the radio these days called “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran. As usual with popular songs on the radio these days, it’s got a great beat and little else.

Rather like a country hit, “Don’t” tells a sad little story of a guy who gets mistreated by a girl. This guy – let’s just call him “Ed Sheeran” – meets a girl, enjoys her… ummm… company for a few nights and then goes off on his own thinking nothing of it.

Lo and behold, they meet up again months later though and start something that he thinks is a relationship:

For a couple of weeks, I only want to see her
We drink away the days with a takeaway pizza
Before a text message was the only way to reach her
Now she’s staying at my place and loves the way I treat her

Then she goes off with some other guy to enjoy his… ummm… company, breaking Ed’s heart and causing him to opine:

She was crying on my shoulder
I already told you
Trust and respect is what we do this for…
And I wasn’t looking for a promise or commitment
But it was never just fun and I thought you were different

This all begs the question of whether Ed actually knows what the word “commitment” means. ‘Cause I’m pretty darn sure that, in the context of a romantic relationship, it means “not enjoying other people’s… ummm… company.” It’s utterly illogical for Ed to claim that he “wasn’t looking for a promise or commitment” and then get all upset when some girl “f*cks with [his] love,” as he puts it.

I don’t feel like deconstructing or analyzing “Don’t” any further than to call the message silly and stupid and nonsensical. But really, it’s silly and stupid and nonsensical, making me wonder if we should stop using language altogether.

Grunts and hand gestures would make more sense at this point.