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Posts posted by R.CAllen

  1. Mulled it over a bit more, and, well...




    I think it’s honestly more disrespectful to object in any way to any sincere performance of a national anthem by an artist than any individual choice that artist makes. Like, what are you mad about? Does the country still stand? Is the national anthem okay? Was it hurt? Did the singer hurt it by singing it weird or bad or quote unquote wrong?


    Alteration of lyrics (“home ON native land” here in Canada, for example) or putting too much zhuzh into it, well, that might offend you. It might offend everyone else in the stadium or wherever, sure. But you didn’t pick the artist! You are not in control of that dial! You do not decide who steps up to the dais! Neither you nor anyone in the stands! Who does? I guess ... the team mascots have a little pre-game conference and come to a mutual agreement? I assume. I don’t know how it works. There was that sitcom where the late Matthew Perry was the operations manager of a San Diego arena. Pretty solid cast : Allison Janney, Andrea Anders, James Lesure, others. I should track down those unaired episodes. I should find that DVD! What’s my point? My point is Matthew Perry — before his untimely demise — asked whomever it was to sing. And if you object to their singing, well, you’re not the singer! You’re not Matthew Perry! You think you’re better than someone selected to sing in front of a crowd? You think you’re better than Matthew Perry? (Arguably, well, anybody alive is. Then again, I don’t know. I’d take his body of work stone cold dead over some Facebook dumb dumb’s beating heart!)


    All my life the people going on and on about respect this, respect that, I’ve noticed something about them. They can be awfully disrespectful to other people! They disrespected me when they yammered on about respect even when I was clearly uninterested in what they were saying! They disrespected my time! This was mostly when I was small, when I was a kid, when I wasn’t free to just tell these people to their faces, “Shut your hole.” without facing consequences. But, sir, you’re a grown man! Nobody forced you to come to this live sporting event! You showed up or tuned in of your own free will! You knew that it’d kick off with someone singing the national anthem and you knew that by your own lights it might be quote unquote bad. You put a nickel into the machine. You bought the ticket. You dipped the spoon into the soup. Why the surprise at getting what you’ve expected?


    Are you a patriot? Countries are populated by people. People singing and people listening. It’s a free country. That’s what all the anthems are about! They’re all about freedom! The freedom to do what, you may ask? Well, for instance, I’ve taken a look at the English translation of La Marseillaise and, uh oh, after I was done retching I guess I’d say that one’s about freedom to kill people!? Is that what you want? To kill someone for not singing YOUR song correctly? It doesn’t belong to you. Matthew Perry and/or the mascots already decided who it belongs to! You weren’t chosen to sing it. Sir, your country has no need of your service at this time! Just shut up and listen!


    Look. Whomever it was just maybe messed up a song. That’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Compared to making a bad television show or a bad movie or a bad piece of prose or a bad comic book or a bad play, well, it’s practically nothing! Those are all serious business and as far as I’m concerned the people who fall short of my standards in those endeavours — hoo boy, I’ll be complaining about them until the day they stick me in the ground, until I join Matthew Perry in the peace of the grave — they’re the REAL traitors.

  2. I have only two thoughts on the matter. Both equally unhelpful, I imagine, but I’ll share them nonetheless.


    1) This is why the anthem for the United Federation of Planets from the episode of DS9 where they all play baseball has no lyrics. Purely instrumental. Avoids the issue entirely. Oh, wait, same deal with the anthem for the Twelve Colonies of Kobol where they reused the theme from the old series in the BSG reboot. Is ... is Ron Moore some sort of genius? Is the final season of For All Mankind going to have some sort of mash-up between John Stafford Smith’s — remember, the lyrics were Francis Scott Key’s but the tune is an older drinking song! — "To Anacreon in Heaven" and ... what would be the anthem of the future of an alternate Russia’s past? I’m pretty sure the subject was lightly touched upon in the latest Adam Curtis docu-series. But you see my point! (I don’t!)

    2) image.thumb.png.62bbbb882c1cfb830370c8fabae138f5.png

  3. I’ve never subscribed to a YouTube channel. That’s how they get you! I barely subscribe to anything. I gotta know you for years — decades! — before I do that. What can I say? I’m an old fashioned girl. Except I’m not a girl and I’m not fashionable and I’m not — hold the fort! — yeah, I think I might be old. I think I might be officially old. It took twenty five years but it finally happened!


    I mostly just watch things and if I like what I watched I’ll check up on that account later. YouTube itself will sometimes throw things my way. On the main page or the like. That’ll happen.


    I haven’t been watching a lot of YouTube stuff lately because I’ve gotten out of the habit of exercising regularly and that’s when I’d tend to watch YouTube.


    But what do I watch? What do I still watch? Seth Meyers has this routine bit he does Thursday evenings called ‘Corrections’ where he corrects mistakes on his show. I haven’t had a lot of patience — any, really — for the chuckle club these past eight years or so. But I watch ‘Corrections’. I’ve seen every episode! I’ll watch Team Coco clips so long as it’s clearly just Conan and the co-hosts. The guests ... if it’s a guest I’m interested in I’ll just listen to the whole podcast. I don’t need to see them! I’ll let my ears do the looking.


    I’ll watch some Red Letter Media. Not everything they do and not every piece of what they do, of course, if they’re covering something that I kind of plan on seeing later or whatever. And I’m not in any hurry with it, neither. I just watched this thing they did three years ago or so about their favourite TNG episodes.


    But what did I watch? Hmm. I had a big folder with just about every YouTube video I ever downloaded for maybe the past 27 months. Can’t seem to find it. I might have accidentally deleted it on the last day of 2023. There was a lot of YouTube in it. Oh well!


    Oh, I can just check my browser history. the Always Sunny Podcast. I’d watch that!


    Junkball. Jacob Geller. Jon Bois. TheRealJims. Did I ... did I only watch YouTube channels which began with the letter ‘J’? TheBadMovieBible. Brian David Gilbert.


    I wouldn’t characterize myself as an exhaustive or completist consumer of anyone’s <spit, cough> content. I haven’t seen all their YouTube! I haven’t seen all their Twitch! And I’m not offering an unequivocal recommendation to anyone mentioned. All their works. All their pomps. I’m just saying I’ve seen some of their YouTube.


    I feel like there are at least two dozen other YouTube people whose names aren’t springing immediately to mind who I’d consider good. Of whom I’ve watched more than one (1) of their YouTube. But generally speaking I run hot and cold on the YouTube people. Is it a bold new medium which allows amateur documentarians to present their work to a global audience with an ease and immediacy unimaginable in decades past? Or is it a tar pit, a crab bucket, frogs in a pail of milk, is it a narcissistic hellhole for medium talents who can’t hack it in God’s true medium — the written word? Both? Neither? Who can make these decisions? Who will be the judge of all the Earth? I know the answer to that question! Canonically, it is Doctor Jon Osterman! The world’s most perfect man whose omni-consciousness allows him to perceive his entire life as a single glittering moment in spacetime! Who left his wife for a teenage girl! (Talk about YouTube drama!)

  4. My unchanging prediction of long duration is that both President Donald John Trump and President Joseph Robinette Biden will be joining the President Stephen Grover Cleveland club. I think it’s the stupidest possible outcome so it’s what’s going to happen.


    Only thing more stupider — as I learned during my sojourns to planet Jupiter — would be for one or both of them to die either before November 5th or before January 20th. Not ruling that out!

  5. Haven’t seen the movie.



    Is the movie misogynist? How? It’s several thousand feet of 35mm Ektachrome! It’s a ... it’s a file on the computer! Does it come to life at night and beat its wife? Is it married to the projector?


    Is the director misogynist? Maybe but I think he’s just Greek. I’ve only seen three of his movies. I think watching this new movie he did and thinking he’s a misogynist would be like watching those other three movies and thinking he condones incest and animal-human hybridization and the British monarchy.


    Are the actors misogynists? Mark Ruffalo went to the women’s march. Is he in that movie? Again, I haven’t seen it. Is ... is Emma Stone a misogynist? If so, she’s playing a deep game. Willem Dafoe!? But ... he’s from Appleton, Wisconsin! I’ve got to believe the best of him.


    Is the audience misogynist? Does the movie make the audience misogynist? The movie’s been out there for, like, six months! If it was causing some wave of misogyny I think people would’ve noticed. Then again, think how much LESS misogynistic our world would be if Alasdair Gray had kicked it back in the 1980s. We’ll never know!!!!1!


    I don’t know. I shouldn’t make fun. There are works of art where both the circumstances of production and the actual output — actresses getting told to take their tops off or they’d be fired from a giallo all about how sometimes ladies just deserve stabbing, that sort of thing — are such that it’s fair to describe the works themselves as misogynist. I don’t think those are the kinds of things that get Oscar nominated. Not no more. Society is progressing! Forward or backward? Who can say? I’m kind of like Lee Marvin when it comes to this. There’s not ENOUGH misogyny in the movies! (I should say for the sake of clarity that I’m kidding, I’m goofing, I’m joshing. Everybody deserves to be treated super duper nice all the time always. But my point is that artistic work shouldn’t be hampered by a risk of being seen by a hostile audience as an embodiment of a negative societal force. Artists should feel free to get ooky with it. To sincerely embrace aspects and elements which might make people uncomfortable, y’know? It’s make believe. It’s made up. Claire Denis responding to a journalist at a junket who asked her why she didn’t make films with strong female leads with a curt, “I’m not a social worker.” That sort of thing. That sort of deal.)

  6. Gary Graham died. The human cop in Alien Nation (‘89-’90, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘96, ‘97). Ambassador Soval on Enterprise (‘01-’05) + that one episode of Star Trek: Voyager (‘95-’01) where they found the Caretaker’s mate. 73!

  7. I’m all caught up.



    Butchie from John From Cincinnati (‘07-’07) as the town magistrate in the Arthur Miller episode. Lou Diamond Phillips in the next one!


    There’s a scene in the most recent episode (that’s the Lou Diamond Phillips one) where the lady — the lady who’s in her own little Rachel McAdams movie, she’s in The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009), she’s in Midnight in Paris (2011), she’s in About Time (2013), she’s in Doctor Strange (2016), my point is she’s the lady who pines for the new Dr. Sam Becket while he Leaps through time in and around her own linear progression — tells the new Dr. Sam Becket that God clearly wants them to bang. She throws herself at him! She tells him that it’s so obvious God wants them to have sex. He lets her down gently and instead of being devastated by this she’s all, like, “That just makes me love you more.” What!? I am once again sliding the beads on the abacus a few notches forward to her ending up as some kind of Evil Leaper.


    They eventually do seal the deal, though. Although it’s kind of left ambiguous. If it happened, well, it happened during the commercial break. Network television! There’s a moment where the new Dr. Sam Becket earnestly believes that he’s failed to save the person he’s supposed to save. The one that Ziggy predicted with whatever percent accuracy that he had to save in order to make the next Leap. So for the first time he’s faced with the prospect of having to spend the rest of his life trapped where he is. And she’s talking him through it. What he could do. Where he could go. After the act break they’re together still but the new Dr. Sam Becket is suddenly shirtless!? I don’t think it’s reading too much into things to wonder. Are they going to give the new Dr. Sam Becket a child!? An elderly Egyptian child — the episode takes place in 1960s Egypt so the kid would be in his sixties by now. Wait, just because the kid was conceived in Egypt wouldn’t make the kid Egyptian. The kid would just be, like, the child of the CIA agent the new Dr. Sam Becket leapt into and this weird lady he keeps bumping into over and over. (They eventually find out, surprise surprise, that whomever it was they thought was dead is still alive and still needs saving.)

  8. I don’t much care for when other art is inexpertly larded into the substance of the art I’m experiencing. I’m thinking of ... the thing where a book will have two opening epigraphs, one from a highbrow source and one from something lowbrow. Or when a movie will try to class up the joint by quoting from some poetry e.g. Skyfall (2012), Oblivion (2013), Interstellar (2014). Or when characters will drop a reference in dialogue which just don’t feel right, just don’t feel like the sort of thing that character would say, even when the character has JUST said it!!!!1!




    One thing I do like is when you get a little piece of another movie inside of your movie. Now that’s just good value for money! Examples, examples, let’s see. The Limey (1999) repurposing that old Ken Loach film. That little piece of Star Wars (1977) inside 500 Days of Summer (2009). The Great Escape (1963) reworked within Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019).

  9. Norman Jewison died. I thought he was already dead! Kind of an understandable mistake. 97! Norman Jewison : wasn’t dead, wasn’t Jewish, 100% Canadian. I don’t know. I really like Agnes of God (1985). I’ve seen it ... three times? I think I’ve seen it three times. I’ve seen it twice definitely. I saw it for the first time in university, rented it once, I think I’ve seen it at least one other time. I should watch it again. Great movie!

  10. The reason the other thread was chockablock with people chiming in from jump with all the things they dislike about art and this thread is mostly silent is actually a pretty simple one. It’s easier to notice what we think is bad than what’s good. Even I — the world’s most important person, need I remind you, the man whose opinions REALLY MATTER! — find it to be a struggle.


    Here are my best guesses:



    * I really like art that takes language seriously. I think this accounts for my love of sci-fi, of fantasy, of period pieces, of genre generally, of the written word and of stuff that has the stink of the written word all over itself. And I think it explains my disdain for most non-competitive reality television. Those people are just making it up as they go along and, what’s worse, they’re all talking in normal people talk while they do it!!1! I mean, no thanks! And this love of words probably also has something to do with my limited appreciation for music. That’s not really a writer’s medium! People don’t like Star Trek because of all the treknobabble but I think the treknobabble is part and parcel of what makes Star Trek good. That stilted quality to even the non-technical dialogue! I love it! Even a contemporary drama without overt genre overtones like, say, The Arrangement (‘17-’18). It had Michael Vartan talking in cult talk! The people on it would sometimes speak entirely like themselves. That’s a quality I seek out. Its presence makes art feel good to me and its absence can make art feel like nothing to me. Sometimes I’ll watch a critically acclaimed indie movie or whatever, something shot with non-actors and with improvised dialogue, and I’ll come out of it completely unmoved. I’ll be full on Slavko Vorkapić with it. “What film?”.


    * when a pretty lady takes her clothes off and she has big beautiful honkers

  11. Howard Waldrop died. ‘The Ugly Chickens’, yeah, but so many more. ‘Save a Place in the Lifeboat for Me’, ‘Ike at the Mike’, ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandesmenschen’, ‘Horror, We Got’. 77!

  12. Terry Bisson died. ‘They’re Made Out of Meat’, of course, but the thing that sticks in my memory are the (pointless?) cash grabs. The work for hire stuff. The Johnny Mnemonic novelization. The Galaxy Quest novelization. Why did they ... well, I read them. I read the copies my library ordered. I don’t think I read the young Boba Fett books he did. The ones which came out after AotC. But they were on my radar then and now. They came to mind to me upon learning he’d passed beyond the veil. Oh well. 81!

  13. Tom Wilkinson died. Great actor! Really great in The Governess (1998), as the money in Shakespeare In Love (1998), in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Michael Clayton (2007), Ben Franklin in John Adams (‘08), James Baker in Recount (2008) — I have a soft spot for those modern day politics movies Jay Roach and Danny Strong tricked Dr Pepper® into paying for —, in Valkyrie (2008) — “I will hear you say it, Colonel.” —, 44 Inch Chest (2009), in The Green Hornet (2011) and The Lone Ranger (2013), as Joe Kenedy in The Kennedys (‘11), in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), Belle (2013), in the closest-to-outermost framing sequences of The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) oh wait I am actually unsure where his scenes are fitted into that but I obviously remember the bit with the pellet gun, LBJ in Selma (2014), as the older member of the trio in Unfinished Business (2015), wait, is that the most recent thing I remember him from, I saw Snowden (2016) but I don’t remember him in that. Hmm.

    75! He just made everything better. One of the great balances between “Oh, it’s him!” and the total belief that he was now whomever he was onscreen.

  14. There’s lots of things in art I dislike. I’m just not sure they necessarily count as tropes. Shoddy craftsmanship, failed attempts at profundity, the apparently unthinking regurgitation of idées reçues, unfunny humour, unsexy titillation, unthrilling action, the elevation of structure above style and substance, when I have a longstanding grudge against whomever made the art because reasons, I could go on.


    But, I have a confession to make. I don’t know what a trope is. What’s a trope? What isn’t a trope? When it comes to art — when it comes to a lot of things! — I like it when things are good and don’t like it when things are bad. If the thing is good I don’t care what the thing is. I don’t care if I’ve seen it before. I don’t care if I’ll see it again. I’m not going to complain that I’m getting too much of a good thing.


    It can be the hoariest cliché but if it’s well executed I’m going to clap, I’m going to hoot, I’m going to holler. Oh, an anvil fell on your head and three bumps have grown atop your scalp and you go cross-eyed and stumble about in a daze as little baby blue birds fly in elegant pirouettes around you as they chirp and tweet? Hell yeah! Oh, you’ve disabled the bomb when it was just moments away from exploding? Hell yeah! Oh, you’ve just this very day turned eighteen and you’ve ordered pizza from the pizza parlour but have no cash on hand to tip the delivery driver? Hell yeah!


    I come to this stuff with an open heart. My eyes aren’t closed. My ears are clear. Show me what you can do with what there is! They say that it’s a poor carpenter what blames his tools but as far as I’m concerned I’m a customer and what kind of, uh, tool would exchange the pleasure of sitting at a well wrought table for the meagre joys of pointing at various tools in a toolbox and excitedly declaiming “That’s a bad tool. I have seen this tool before.” Not me! There are only so many tools!


    Look. I don’t want to go all the way with this and decry the malign influence of Television Tropes Dot Organization on the world or whatever. It’s a nice wiki. I’ve had fun looking at its pages. Sure! I just don’t think there’s much of anything fun for me — the world’s most important person, as we all well know, the man whose opinions REALLY MATTER! — in cataloguing all the ways art can be familiar.


    Please don’t mistake this stance as some kind of dumb dumb ‘never yuck a yum’ ‘let people enjoy things’ ‘Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother (‘05-’14) took some of his sitcom money and paid an Olsen Triplet to mouth his dumb words’ sort of deal. I am all about yucking other people’s yums! If I could stop other people from enjoying things — I can’t! — you know I would. I dislike Josh Radnor!!!1!! What’s my point? My point is I’m describing the way I feel about things. If other people feel differently, sure, go ahead and talk about the tropes you can’t stand. Do you need my permission? If so, you have it. If not, fly free!

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