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Messages - honk

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: Today at 12:51:29 AM »
If the letter shown in this article is accurate, then describing it as "wow look at how cool I am!" or "a message relating to other matters" simply isn't a fair description. It's a direct, straightforward attempt at taking credit for the money being sent to Americans as part of the American Rescue Plan, which Biden did sign into law. It's inappropriate for inclusion in government relief, but is otherwise entirely typical politicking.

Regarding Trump, his name being directly on the checks was essentially designed to cut out the middleman of the government in people's minds. The message is less "the government is sending me money, thanks to Trump," and more "Trump is sending me money." When we receive a check, we generally expect to see the name of the person who's paying us money on it. By putting his name on the checks, Trump was trying to imply - not state outright, because that would be a ridiculous lie he'd quickly be called out on, but imply - that the money was coming from him personally. Even though virtually nobody would actually think to themselves, "Yes, Trump himself is sending me money from his personal bank account," people would still automatically associate Trump's signature with him being very generous with his own money, without explicitly spelling it out to themselves.

I definitely agree that Biden's letter is especially pathetic in light of his administration having made a point of stressing that he wouldn't be doing anything as egotistical as putting his signature on the checks, which I hadn't known about before this discussion. Bragging about their humility could only have been appropriately followed up with the most humble government in bailout in history, which this certainly was not. Really, the Biden Administration should just stop comparing itself to its predecessor altogether. It's such a low bar.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: May 06, 2021, 04:42:23 AM »
Could you elaborate on that? I fail to see the difference - both carry the exact same implication, and were done with the same intention. The main difference, it seems, is that orange man bad. Other than that, we only have the small difference of Trump trying to get his name on the cheques, and Biden trying to publicly announce how much he doesn't want his name on the cheques because he's so much better and purer than Trump.

Biden's letter contains information that is clear, correct, and relevant, but inappropriate to include in that context. Trump's signature, however, doesn't communicate any information, and so feels manipulative, like a psychological trick to try and make people associate their check with Trump without actually making a logical case for why Trump deserves credit for the check. To put it another way, both presidents took advantage of sending out these checks for their own political gain, but Biden was upfront about it while Trump did it in an underhanded way.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: May 05, 2021, 08:22:59 PM »
I think there's an appreciable difference between the president including a self-congratulatory letter with the check and insisting that his own signature be on the check itself. The letter is ethically dubious, but putting Trump's signature directly onto the checks as if he was personally paying for the bailouts was fundamentally dishonest.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: May 03, 2021, 09:30:15 PM »
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a mixed bag for me. I don't really feel like writing a big review for it, because a lot of the show just felt like passable, forgettable filler. My biggest issue was the main antagonist. I get what the show was going for by making the leader of a terrorist group and the face of the resistance to global resettlement so young and physically slight, but her actress simply didn't have the charisma or gravitas to make it work. She never once came across as a leader or a visionary, and turned in a very dull, milquetoast performance. The first episode was also a pretty rough start to the show. It didn't really have a story so much as it had a series of seemingly unconnected events just sort of happening, and the big action scene up in the sky was an awful mess of shitty CGI and frantic cut-cut-cut-what's-even-happening direction. But Sam and Bucky are a fun pair, I'd like to see more of Walker in the future, and I appreciated the social commentary and deconstruction of the Captain America figure.

One more thing - and I am unfortunately going to go into "plot hole" territory for this - Sharon's heel turn isn't a bad idea for a character that's so far been nothing more than a bland obligatory love interest for a character no longer active in the franchise, but her actions over the course of the show don't really make much sense if she was the Power Broker all along, especially in the third episode. Why does she put a bounty on Sam, Bucky, and Zemo for killing her people when she was the one who did it to protect them? Why does she spend the whole episode fighting bounty hunters to protect them when she was the one who placed the bounty in the first place? Why does she give the trio access to her most valuable employee when she could have easily gotten any information they needed from him herself? Why, despite the vast resources supposedly at her command, does she spend the remaining episodes doing precisely nothing until the final confrontation, and finally make her move by personally jumping into the middle of a heated battle to say to Karli, "Aw, c'mon, work for me again?" Was that her master plan all along? Obviously there's no way for me to prove this, but I strongly suspect that her turning out to be the Power Broker was a last-minute decision for the show.

And having typed out the above paragraph, I decided to look it up, and I'd say this (link is spoilery) is near-enough confirmation my theory is right.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: May 03, 2021, 04:33:36 AM »
Tom's sheer defensiveness about this subject when nobody asked him to defend Gaetz, defend his own support of Trump, or even weigh in on the issue at all speaks volumes. "I don't care! I don't care so hard! Look at how much I don't care! My body can't even begin to express the waves of apathy radiating off me right now!" This news is relevant to Trump because of how closely Gaetz has tied his political identity to him. He has virtually never had any real views or stances of his own, at least not since both he and Trump were elected to federal office in 2016. His political role was to praise and defend Trump at every opportunity while bashing anyone who didn't show the same level of devotion as him. It's impossible to talk about Gaetz without talking about the owner of the asshole his head is firmly lodged in. If it's embarrassing for Trump supporters that one of the key members of the Trump personality cult is going down in such an explosive scandal - good. They should be embarrassed.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: April 23, 2021, 11:46:21 PM »
Batman: Arkham VR

An hour-long tech demo you could just watch on YouTube for pretty much the same experience. It's kind of cool to do standard investigative Batman stuff with your own hands, and there's an impressive level of detail and interactable objects in each level, but most of the game is spent fumbling with your gadgets and listening to dialogue. The story sucks, too. It's a relentlessly grimdark, miserable prelude to Arkham Knight that doesn't cover any new ground and just feels like brooding for brooding's sake.

Or perhaps even invoking the "twinkie" defense.


The "Twinkie defense" is a myth:

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: March 21, 2021, 12:58:06 AM »
I did it. I watched the Snyder cut. Precisely nobody here will be surprised to learn that it's definitely far superior to the shitty theatrical version. The new characters get better introductions, especially Cyborg, who has a solid arc balancing his self-discovery and his relationship with his father, Affleck is no longer bloated and exhausted (not to mention he isn't spouting awful quips), and god help me, even the Flash isn't nearly as insufferable as he was in the Whedon version. Ezra Miller's chirpy singsong cadence still grates, and I didn't find any of his jokes funny, but I no longer felt the urge to smack him every time he opened his mouth, steps. Visually, the movie is far more impressive, with better cinematography, more appropriate lighting, and more polished effects.

Does this make the Snyder cut a good movie? In a word, no. Snyder simply can't get over his apparent fixation on his films being first and foremost a gallery of heroic tableaus and epic, awe-inspiring shots. It feels as though most of his scenes, and certainly every action scene, are designed with this thought in mind - not about telling the story in the best way, not about letting us get to know the characters, but having as many opportunities as possible for someone to pause the movie, look at the screen, and say, "Wow, this looks awesome!" And to be clear, sometimes it really does look great. But films are more than a series of dramatic poses. When something like that is clearly the director's biggest priority, it shows, and the rest of the movie suffers as a result.

And then there's the constant slow-motion. After wisely toning that element of his movies down in MoS and BvS, Snyder has brought it back with a vengeance, and now there's so much of it that it becomes tiresome, and loses  whatever unique factor it might have had to begin with. I shouldn't have to explain this, but if you take a cool element and completely overexpose it, use it way too much, it's just not going to seem cool anymore. And why does he keep using it for the Flash's scenes? He doesn't just make the world around him slow, he makes the Flash himself slow too! He literally makes the character known entirely for his speed slow for dramatic effect! Why, Zack, why? Speaking of the Flash, he still has the same exaggerated limb movements in close-ups while running. It looks really, really silly, and I don't know what the point of it was.

One more thing I want to criticize is how deliberately the movie aims for an R rating, or to be more specific, how a PG-13 movie has been edited to earn it an R rating for no apparent reason. Parademons spew digital blood when killed, the camera lingers on their mangled bodies afterward as if to emphasize that yes, they're definitely dead, and even scenes from earlier versions of the movie have been edited to be more violent. That last one I can prove. Four years ago in this thread I posted this gif from a trailer:

Bear in mind that this was before Whedon became involved with the movie. Anyway, Wonder Woman doesn't simply knock the Parademons off in the Snyder cut, she slashes them open bloodily. Why? What's the benefit of taking a PG-13 movie (as opposed to a property with adult themes or content baked into its DNA) and slathering some superficially R-rated stuff like a few shoehorned "fucks" and a ton of digital blood over it? My guess is simply that Snyder is the kind of edgelord who believes that mainstream capeshit, starring mainstream capeshitters like Batman and Superman, should be aimed primarily at edgy adults instead of kids and families, despite the fact that these movies are always marketed towards and make a lot of money from kids and families. It's very petty, childish gatekeeping, and it's genuinely sad how many people seem to agree with Snyder on this and enthusiastically cheer him on. This ridiculous IGN review, for example, not only says, "Hearing Batman say f*** is rad," but uses it as a pull quote.

A final few thoughts. The movie is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio (meaning shitty black bars on both sides of the screen) for pretentious reasons. Martian Manhunter is in this, despite adding nothing and the "reveal" of whom he's been disguised as all this time not jibing at all with that character's past behavior. Also, his introduction completely undermines what had up to that moment been a nice scene between Martha and Lois discussing their shared grief (Why? Why couldn't those two have genuinely had that nice, heartfelt moment together? Why did he have to be disguised as one of them?) for Clark. Snyder actually had the balls to stick another stupid "Knightmare" scene at the end of the movie, and while it's not at all a good scene, either in terms of the current film or the future of the franchise, I can't help but kind of admire his dedication to such a stupid bit. Jared Leto's Joker is in that scene, and while he's still kind of annoying, especially his dumb wheezing laugh, there's no doubt he's far better than he was in SS. Oh, and it's four hours long.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: March 19, 2021, 08:33:37 PM »
Are we seriously having a discussion on whether or not Biden is putting out weird green-screen productions instead of just speaking with journalists like normal?

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: March 16, 2021, 03:21:10 AM »
I am astonished to report that Zack Snyder's Justice League is doing pretty well on RT so far. (The Metacritic score is a bit more negative, but then it almost always is.) I wasn't expecting anything unironically good from Snyder, especially not after a few leaked clips revealed some of this movie's appalling edgelord dialogue and laughable CGI, and I'm still not, frankly. I have no doubt it's better than the anodyne theatrical cut, as many of the reviews point out, but does that actually make it a good movie? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: March 12, 2021, 10:03:40 PM »
They wanted you to believe, as Wanda did, that this was somehow really her brother. What better way than by casting Peters? Yes it's a tease, but it's an artful, clever tease.

But nobody thought that this was really Wanda's brother, because he was clearly the X-Men Pietro and not the MCU Pietro. I don't think even Wanda actually believed he was her brother. By that point in the show, she had begun to accept the artificial nature of her world and her role in creating it. I'm not sure what sense it even makes in-universe that Agatha had to go with a "recast" of Pietro, anyway. She could use magic to control this guy and give him super speed, but couldn't make him look like the actual Pietro? Even though we see her change her appearance, showing that she's perfectly capable of that kind of magic?

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: March 07, 2021, 05:11:00 AM »
Oh, and Monica's "They'll never know what you sacrificed" line left a very bad taste in my mouth. As if Wanda was a hero who just saved the day and everyone should be grateful to, rather than the person who was responsible for the whole horrible situation to begin with. You don't praise someone for "sacrificing" something that they never should have had to begin with. Monica taking on the role of Wanda's constant apologist throughout the show made no sense - she didn't know Wanda, and had no more reason to assume good faith on her part than anyone else did - and neither did the show's portrayal of her as inherently heroic and morally correct for doing so. It's so weird. The show knew that what Wanda did was monstrous and portrayed it as such, but at the same time, it demonized the character that put the most effort into stopping her and lionized the character that mindlessly defended her.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: March 06, 2021, 04:31:42 AM »
And now WandaVision is all over. It was good for the most part. I do still think that much of the technobabble and expository dialogue was unnecessary, especially in the fourth episode, and in general that the show was at its weakest when it was most conventional and "MCU-like," so to speak. I wanted more quiet, poignant scenes between Wanda and Vision, less quipping and expository technobabble. More Kathryn Hahn, less Kat Dennings. More "Ship of Theseus" philosophical musings, less extravagant CGI battles.

I also really disliked the show's presumption that Hayward was a villain for wanting to kill Wanda - not just a jerk, but an actual villain who needed to be physically defeated and sent to jail - and that the other side characters were totally right to defend Wanda and stop him from killing her. It's such blatant protagonist-centered morality. We in the audience like Wanda and don't want her to be killed, but that doesn't mean anything in-universe, where the only thing the characters know is that Wanda is holding a town full of people prisoner via a powerful and dangerous magic spell. Why was it so morally wrong to try and kill Wanda? Why did the show portray that as such an inherently villainous act? In fact, why was Hayward even arrested at the end, anyway? Did he ever actually break the law or do something that wasn't simply his job?

Pietro being played by Evan Peters was a bullshit fake-out on the show's part, and I'm not using spoiler tags for that because of how inconsequential the role proved to be. They knew what they were implying by casting him as Pietro, and if they weren't willing to follow through with it, they shouldn't have cast him.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: February 21, 2021, 04:50:29 AM »
Trump is gone.

This thread is about Biden.

America chose Biden and all I see is apologists for Biden.

America chose Biden because the alternative was Trump. That the alternative was far worse is not irrelevant to the question of how we can justify Biden's election. Biden has said and done plenty of dumb and immature things, but there's no comparison between him and Trump there. There's no comparison between any well-known politician and Trump there. Also, I love how you took a picture of Biden playing Mario Kart with his grandkid and somehow got "Biden plays Mario Kart all day!" out of it.

Trump got nothing done, his every path blocked.

Trump never even tried to get anything done, outside of one or two dumb vanity projects like the unnecessary border wall. Trump had no real interest in or knowledge of governing or policy to begin with. His presidency was simply an ego trip and experiment in branding for himself, and it's embarrassing to think that millions of Americans voted for it.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: February 20, 2021, 04:03:50 PM »
02/04: I didn't know they were making a Netflix show out of that. The cast looks great. In other news:

I'm a real man and I watch mature, manly capeshit which is in no way for kids. Oh, and it's coming out in March.


He said it! The Joker actually said "We live in a society!" I unironically love that. What a great meme to pay tribute to.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: February 05, 2021, 10:25:45 PM »
It was weird to assert that they were telling you everything is going on when you are midway through the series.  We don't know how much is true and how much isn't.  From what I have read of source material, there could be significant red herring's they set up.

That's not important. Whether the information we currently have will ultimately turn out to be true or false, it's still information that the show wants us to have. This information was being communicated to us in a very interesting, unique, almost Lynchian way, and then the show decided to put a halt to that and instead give us the exact same information in the very familiar, tired format of government agents and scientists quipping and spouting technobabble at each other. That's really, really disappointing.

They managed to show (not tell) what it was like when the events of Endgame took place.

Yeah, I hated that too. The five-year time skip was such a stupid idea, and just like I predicted when that movie came out, now all future MCU projects have to find a way to either write around it or include it in their overall stories.

It wasn't a lame quip.  First off, there will be large portions of the audience who will not have Days of Future Past and so will need to be filled in some way.  Instead of devoting extra time to "showing" it, they made the choice to expedite the matter.  It's a fair choice and one you have to make when you are juggling significant amounts of material like they are.  It wasn't even a quip, it was a pretty concise expression of what happened in the context of the world Wanda created.

If you haven't seen DoFP, you will get nothing out of that cameo. The entire impact is predicated on you recognizing who this person is and realizing why it's a big deal to see him here. The quip wasn't to help anyone understand what was going on, it was a fourth-wall joke highlighting the fact that Pietro has literally been recast IRL. It wouldn't make any sense to seriously call Pietro's appearance a "recast," because he was never in the "cast" of Wanda's show to begin with.

The dramatic impact was ruined?  What impact do you think it was "supposed" to have?  It wasn't a moment you enjoyed, sure, but again, there are huge amounts of audience who need the narrative to do more than just be mysterious because it actually takes a fuck load of background knowledge to keep up.  I can vouch for this every time I watch an MCU property with my wife, who has seen a lot, but not everything, forgets things because she isn't a huge nerd like me and needs to be reminded of expository information.

You know perfectly well what impact it was supposed to have. It's Pietro returning from the dead as well as being played by the actor who played a different version of the character in a competing franchise. I still don't believe that cameo was meant for the benefit of anyone other than those who did recognize him, but if they did want to give a quick line explaining what was happening, they could have said something along the lines of "I think that's supposed to be...Pietro?" or "It's Pietro, but he's...different." Something like that, not a dumb quip about him being "recast."

I feel like your issue with how they handle exposition misses how well Wanda is being portrayed, how well they are taking Vision through his growing understanding or allowing for there still to be more going on than they have told you.

Yeah, everything with Wanda and Vision is great. It makes it all the more frustrating when they're forced to share the spotlight with the constant exposition and awful attempts at comedy from Dennings and Randall Park. The difference in quality between everything set in Westview and everything outside of it is night and day.

It's also objectively better than WW84 in every facet, js.

I agree.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: February 05, 2021, 08:01:47 PM »
Weird question that you already know the answer to. The fourth episode was a clumsy, unnecessary, and unfunny exposition dump, and nothing that happens later in the show will retroactively change that fact. The fifth episode was overall an improvement, but it seems to be establishing a pattern of having these unfunny characters now providing a running commentary on what's going on in Westview and what Wanda is up to. They've thrown the principle of "show, don't tell" out the window. The best (worst) example of this so far is the cameo at the end of the fifth episode. This is a jaw-dropping moment, and both we and the characters need a few moments to let it sink in...but no, Kat Dennings immediately has to open her big mouth and give us a lame quip. And just like that, the dramatic impact is ruined.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: February 05, 2021, 06:54:31 PM »
The show took a dramatic nosedive in quality in the fourth episode once they felt the need to start overexplaining everything. They were doing a great job of slowly teasing that something was very wrong and Wanda was somehow at the bottom of it all, but nope, they just had to have a bunch of unfunny quippy quipping mcquipper government agents show up and explicitly spell out in excruciating detail everything that was going on.

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