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Messages - honk

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Midterms 2022
« on: November 15, 2022, 06:09:39 PM »

Chuckle. Even some at Fox News are turning away from Trump now. Obviously the real cult members never will. Sad, to quote the "great" man himself.

The knives are out for Trump on many right wing media outlets.

While I would love for the GOP to descend into a messy civil war between its pro- and anti-Trump factions, it's important to remember that we've been here before, numerous times:

As trite as it sounds to say, Republican voters are the ones who'll decide if and when Trump's political career is over, not the Republican establishment. It's also worth bearing in mind that Ron DeSantis, Trump's only real competition, has a major disadvantage - he has the charisma of a tire iron. That hasn't been a problem for him in keeping control of Florida, but he may struggle on the national stage.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: November 11, 2022, 06:17:23 PM »
Objectively the finest performance of Batman the world has ever seen. He was vengeance, he was the night, he was Batman.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: November 02, 2022, 08:41:59 PM »
Oh no, Biden, a man known for his frequent verbal slip-ups, had a verbal slip-up. This changes everything.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 31, 2022, 04:21:33 AM »
I think it's a shame that people came out of Fellowship hating Boromir. He's a fairly shallow character in the book, but the film does an excellent job of elevating him into a far more nuanced, sympathetic, and ultimately heroic figure. Nevertheless, the scene of him turning on Frodo and trying to forcefully take the Ring from him is a harsh one and leaves a strong impact, so I can understand why people would dislike him, even if I don't agree with them. Anyway, it's fine for Isildur to have flaws. My problem is simply that the show goes too far and leaves us with nothing to root for. He's too capricious, too entitled, too selfish.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 30, 2022, 05:16:52 AM »
To treat Isildur's refusal to destroy the Ring as a basis or justification for making him a selfish and entitled young man would be utterly unworthy of Tolkien and his themes. A point that's hammered home again and again in the text is that the Ring will corrupt anyone who touches it or is even near it for too long. Isildur didn't even have the benefit of being forewarned about the Ring's dark influence, as he was in a sense the "case study" for how it worked. As for Boromir, well, he didn't simply refuse to destroy the Ring, he tried to forcefully seize it from Frodo, in stark contrast to other characters that were shown to be able to resist the urge to try and claim it themselves.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 29, 2022, 11:09:08 PM »
I don't think he is. I can't prove it or anything, but the framing is always centering him, so to speak. Virtually every scene he's in is told from his perspective. He is their focus, he is their main character. That's generally not how movies and TV shows frame deliberately unlikable characters. Isildur's subplot seems to be about his struggle and growth into a hero, which is fatally undercut by how unsympathetic he ends up being.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: October 29, 2022, 08:47:43 PM »
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

I played a few hours of this and couldn't take any more. I'm sorry to have to sadaam all over a game that has earned nothing short of universal acclaim, but I just wasn't having any fun with it. It's too scripted. The combat sections are scripted. The exploration sections are scripted. The stealth sections are scripted. The climbing sections, which seem to make up the bulk of the game, are scripted. I played this until I reached what looked like something of a boss fight, and even that turned out to be scripted. The game has virtually every step you need to take to complete it precisely calculated, and if you deviate from the set path, the game won't progress until you go back and return to the script. The story seems intriguing, the dialogue is crisp and witty, and the game certainly looks great, but I simply can't enjoy a game that only grudgingly allows me to participate in it.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 29, 2022, 05:50:58 PM »
I agree it’s not the tightest of writing but it’s a little confusing how you can think the subplots don’t come together. Three of them literally converge in the last episode, each providing a crucial piece to the other.

I'm exaggerating a bit, sure, but I feel like there's a difference between the characters of the various subplots meeting each other and the subplots themselves, as in the stories (or at least their overarching themes), actually tying into each other in a harmonious way. Galadriel's motivation throughout the season is to find and defeat Sauron. That's why she travels to the Southlands - but from her perspective, the trip is basically a red herring, as neither Sauron nor his allies turn out to be there. Instead, Galadriel just kind of gets roped into the separate subplot of Arondir and Bronwyn's struggle against Adar and the orcs. Later, when Galadriel brings Halbrand to the elves, she's simply doing so to save his life, and from there she, once again, just kind of gets roped into the separate subplot involving the mithril. The resolution of her own ultimate motivation of finding Sauron, in the meantime, falls into her lap accidentally. This is very frustrating writing. I feel like it's somehow violating some unwritten rules of setup and payoff to have Galadriel repeatedly just happen to be in the right place at the right time so she can resolve everyone else's subplots.

It’s too bad you found no redeeming qualities in the storytelling. I can’t help but connect that to high expectations and shitty fan boy culture creating biases.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not keen on the growing prominence of fanboy culture and "criticism" in today's society. The scope of their criticisms more often than not tend to be narrow and superficial, as they mainly complain about things like "plot holes" and lore accuracy, even as they lavish excessive praise on cool action scenes and badass characters they can see themselves being as a power fantasy. They've also grown increasingly reactionary in recent years, and are more and more lashing out at increased racial diversity and female characters that don't know their place (the idiot that junker linked to is an excellent example of this). Even before this show came out, I was deeply dismayed by the overwhelmingly toxic and unbelievably mask-off racist response it was receiving online, and I was determined to give it a fair chance and criticize it for substantive flaws rather than fanboy nitpicks. Like I said, I was hoping for this show to be good, and I wasn't prepared to hate it on the basis of something stupid like them daring to cast a few non-white people.

None of the “modern cliches” he described are particularly modern. These character archetypes have existed for literally thousands of years. If they didn’t hit home, it’s probably ultimately the actors fault with the writers maybe making their life harder than it needed to be. I thought Galadriel was one of the better characters in the show though.

You're right that the archetypes aren't exactly new, but what felt modern about their implementation here was just how unsubtle they were. For example, Celebrimbor in the source material is primarily characterized by his altruism rather than his ambition, and it's this desire to help others that Sauron takes advantage of for his own ends. In this show, however, right from the start he's saying ominous lines about how true creation requires sacrifice. It's so obvious, it's so blatant what they're going for, and it's clear that the main inspiration for this characterization isn't the Celebrimbor from the lore, but the more clichéd image of a mad scientist from pop culture. Isildur is the character that suffers the most, though. The show positions him as a hero, but he comes across as a selfish fuckup to me, and I have my doubts about how intentional that was.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: October 26, 2022, 04:28:40 AM »
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022)

All the lavish production design in the world can't disguise how inept at its core this show is. One of the most common criticisms of the show I've seen in online discussions is its lack of fidelity to the source material, and that's certainly fair, but even setting that aside, this show is simply incompetently written and structured. The showrunners - two complete novices without a single IMDb credit between them, but thankfully they're pals with J.J. Abrams, so the good ol' boys network threw them this gig - don't take the time to create interesting or relatable characters. They don't tell a meaningful story either in each episode or over the course of the season, instead just starting and finishing seemingly at random. Their approach to this show, as far as I can tell, seems to essentially be that because this is LotR, people should already be invested in this, and therefore this show doesn't have to do anything another TV show would to keep their investment.

There are a lot of things I could point to, both big and small, as being unconducive to good storytelling, but here's the one detail that annoyed me the most. This show follows four separate subplots, and when I say separate, I mean that they are all so segregated from one another that they might as well come from different shows. There is nothing that connects them either storywise or thematically. Three of the subplots do eventually intersect in terms of their characters meeting, but that has nothing to do with their stories coming together. The characters simply stumble upon each other seemingly coincidentally. I've never seen a show do something like this - have several subplots that simply don't coalesce into an overall story, or at least indicate how these subplots are all connected. What is this show about? How are these stories connected? It's not enough to just say that it's LotR and that's the connection. It's not how storytelling works.

Are there any redeeming qualities to this mess of a show? Yeah, sure. Everything looks fantastic for the most part, with large, detailed sets, nice-looking costumes, excellent makeup work, and so on. Elrond and Durin have an engaging odd-couple dynamic. The show's portrayal of a Harfoot society is charming, and the actors playing the Harfoots are arguably the most committed of the entire cast - although it would have been nice to have actually cast Irish actors to fit with the coding of the Harfoots as Irish. I also like the character of Adar, a mysterious antagonist who seems to challenge Tolkien's essentialist portrayal of orcs as always chaotic evil and argues that they are people who deserve to live as much as any other race. That's about all I've got. Pretty much everything else is slow, boring, clunky, and surprisingly reliant on modern clichés (just imagine Galadriel as the hardened cop who knows that the killer is still out there, Celebrimbor as the mad scientist who won't let anything stop his work, Isildur as the scrappy young rookie eager to prove himself, and so on) that feel jarringly out of place for Tolkien. It's a real shame. Unlike many LotR fans, I wasn't hoping for this show to fail, and I think we could have gotten something special in the hands of qualified showrunners with an actual vision for the show.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Terrible Political Memes
« on: October 08, 2022, 07:28:44 PM »

Kevin Sorbo could totally win an Oscar.
If he were ever cast in a role as a washed up, meathead, out of work actor, loser who destroyed his career and alienated everyone around him with stupid bullshit, he could bring the role to life in a way that would captivate everyone with its reality.

That isn't really what happened, though. Sorbo's career was in decline long before he decided to reinvent himself as a reactionary weirdo. There's been a similar trend with other has-beens with persecution complexes, like Roseanne Barr or Scott Baio - the embracing of shitty politics typically comes after they had otherwise faded into irrelevance. I guess Gina Carano is an exception, though.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: September 26, 2022, 01:59:35 AM »
You know he's not going to just ignore your posts. And it's not just you in this case, anyway. I too am fascinated by Trump's enormous ass. He's definitely lost weight since leaving office, but his butt seems to be as robust as ever. Remarkable.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: September 24, 2022, 03:19:21 AM »
It's really sad how you guys would rather twist lines out of context and deliberately misinterpret them rather than argue in good faith and criticize Biden for his actual faults and weaknesses.

An obviously staged video of a child repeating what she's been told to say isn't evidence of anything. What a dumb argument.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: The Queen
« on: September 20, 2022, 05:43:47 AM »
Tom is right. Biden should have just demanded a front row seat. It's important for the president to be able to show off how important they are at all times.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: September 20, 2022, 12:14:43 AM »

Even more of Ezra Miller's general insanity. It'll be interesting to see if WBD will really be able to stick to their guns on going fully forward with the Flash movie as if nothing is wrong. I can't imagine there won't be even more chaos and controversy surrounding Miller to come in the next several months before the movie's release.

Diversity is a good thing.

Maybe for investing and farming. But most diversity you see in the world is merely superficial. People will always segregate themselves by cultural background and social status.

Okay? I don't think that has anything to do with casting a black actress as the lead in a high-profile movie.


I feel like this author is very unnecessarily trying to both-sides a very one-sided situation and create a moral dilemma where none exists. Diversity is a good thing. A high-profile lead role going to a black actress is a good thing. I have absolutely no problem saying this while also acknowledging that this movie will almost certainly end up being mediocre and forgettable. The racists aren't going to "win" if the movie fails, no more than they "lose" when movies that aren't particularly diverse fail. A lot of movies suck, and if movies continue to grow more diverse, then a lot of diverse movies will suck. That's fine!



Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: September 11, 2022, 12:52:02 AM »
Thor: Love and Thunder (Taika Waititi, 2022)

I've got to stop watching these movies. The one part of this film that really works is the villain, played by Christian Bale with the perfect blend of menace and silliness. Everything else is terrible, and especially the writing. I have a hard time believing that the man behind What We Do in the Shadows was responsible for this script. The movie bombards the audience with jokes, and none of them are funny. Not a single one is anything other than annoying. There's a pair of CGI goats that obnoxiously scream all the time. Isn't that funny, Taika asks? No, answers anyone over the age of five, it's just annoying. Taika gives his own character, Korg, a very irritating high-pitched voice, and the sole joke with him seems to be that a rock monster has a voice like that. Isn't that funny? No, it's just annoying. Thor himself is a bumbling idiot throughout most of the movie and rambles like a stoner whenever he talks to another character, in what I can only assume are Chris Hemsworth's attempts at improv. Isn't that funny? No, it's just annoying. Every joke in this movie is fucking annoying. Oh, and the CGi is also terrible, but I expect that from Marvel by now.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: September 07, 2022, 04:34:16 AM »
As I said in the Trump thread, Republicans and high-profile, mainstream conservatives insult and slander Democrats, Democratic voters, working-class people, and people who simply live in Democratic areas all the time. It's not just Trump; it's a ton of Republicans that do it, and they do it regularly. Here's Ted Cruz just the other day:

Even though there was some deserved backlash to this comment, you probably didn't hear about this on the news. It's partially because the mainstream media is numb to the general level of crudeness from Republicans by now, and it's partially because they've enabled the major double standard that Democrats are the ones who have a problem with insulting and disrespecting their fellow Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of insults, abuse, and lies come from the other side of the aisle. It's why we still hear about how upset Republicans were by Hillary's "deplorables" comment and how it was such a huge gaffe that it cost her the election and why can't Democrats learn from it and blah blah blah, while Republicans and Fox News continuing to talk about how Democrats are pedophiles and are currently burning down major cities goes unchallenged. The same thing applies in this case. There is nothing that Biden said in his speech that wasn't considerably more measured, nuanced, and factual than the torrent of abuse Republicans regularly pour on Democrats and the residents of Democrat-run areas. Yes, Trumpism is a threat to American democracy. Trump and his followers want to put themselves in power and pass laws to ensure they'll never lose power. They look towards Hungary under Viktor Orbán as a model for what America should be. That is a disastrous, fundamentally anti-democratic, and yes, fascist agenda to pursue, and it deserves to be called out for what it is. If that offends you, then you deserve to be offended.

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