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Messages - honk

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1
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Britain's Pedo Prince
« on: Today at 02:44:49 AM »
Teddy bears traditionally go on people's beds. Are you just trying to stir up controversy in a thread where everyone already basically agrees with you, Tom?

2
Eh, he's an old white southern Republican. He's racist. It's really only a question of degree.

And it was a Freudian slip if the tongue if anything.

He is probably racist, sure. But to mentally distinguish between black people and "real" Americans isn't really what comes to mind when I think of racism against black people, unless we're talking about some super hardcore "black people are invaders from Africa!" white nationalist shit, which I doubt McConnell subscribes to. Now, if it were Hispanic people we were talking about, and in particular Puerto Ricans, then I might agree that this would be a case of saying the quiet part out loud, because it is very common among bigots to assume that Hispanics are illegal immigrants and that Puerto Ricans aren't real Americans. For example, people gave Kimberly Guilfoyle a lot of shit when she implied that her Puerto Rican mother was an immigrant, because although she herself probably knew better, her words were very likely chosen to fit the conservative belief that Puerto Ricans don't count as Americans.

The Ukraine story Tom referred to is no more true now than it was when years ago when Trump first clumsily tried to smear Biden over it. Hunter Biden was never in any legal jeopardy over an investigation into Burisma, as the period of time that the investigation concerned preceded his employment with the company. Viktor Shokin was fired because he was corrupt and ineffective, and this was the position of pretty much the entire international community at the time, not a personal whim of Biden. Hunter is absolutely a dumb failson who trades on his father's name, but he and his father were not partners in any kind of corruption scheme. That simply is not what happened, and any honest appraisal of the evidence we have will come to the same conclusion.

3
I highly doubt that deep down McConnell really thinks that black Americans don't count as regular Americans. It's just a slip of the tongue, and to focus on that buries the real issue of McConnell only pushing this rollback on voting rights and access because he knows that a smaller voting population usually favors Republicans - because the people most affected by reduced voting rights and access tend to vote Democratic.

4
Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: January 16, 2022, 09:23:30 PM »
A lot of people strongly prefer R-rated action movies simply because they allow for a more vivid and unfiltered depiction of sex, violence, language, and general intensity, and I think that applies doubly when it comes to a movie that falls firmly on the dark and gritty end of the tonal spectrum. Batman himself won't be killing or mutilating people, but the people he fights, and in particular what looks to be a very murderous version of the Riddler, certainly will be. It's entirely possible to make an excellent R-rated Batman movie where we see the real violence that takes place on the mean streets, we hear how the cops and criminals really talk, and so on. The problem, though, is that Batman movies aren't exactly coming off an assembly line. You can have different versions of the character appear in various video games and TV shows and nobody will really care, but rightly or wrongly, live-action films are higher-profile, and they essentially become a statement that their Batman is more or less the definitive version of him for some time to come - at least until the next Batman movie comes out. To put the high-profile, definitive version of Batman in an R-rated movie means nothing less than excluding kids from enjoying this Batman, and to me, that just seems like a really shitty thing to do.

Of course, there are also the people who are just embarrassed by the idea of capeshit being for kids, and whether they admit it or not, can only bring themselves to enjoy it if they're sure that it's explicitly not meant for kids. That's where people like Zack Snyder fall, as indicated by the needless editing of his cut of JL to include so much alien gore. Like C.S. Lewis pointed out, there's nothing so childish as an attitude like that.

5
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Britain's Pedo Prince
« on: January 14, 2022, 04:30:27 AM »
Oh no, he can no longer use the title "His Royal Highness." And he doesn't have the military titles that never meant anything to begin with either. This changes everything. What a devastating punishment. What a fitting comeuppance. Life must not even be worth living for him now.

I wonder if it's possible for them to go all the way and kick him out of the royal family entirely. Then we could call him the Andrew Formerly Known as Prince.

6
Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: January 13, 2022, 07:39:20 PM »
https://variety.com/2022/film/news/batman-pg-13-rating-robert-pattinson-1235152275/

A lot of people on social media are complaining about this, but this is actually good. Batman is a character aimed primarily at children, he always has been, and a movie about him should at least be aimed at families and teenagers. Adult fanboys need to learn to share the franchises of their youth with today's youth. It's too late for Star Wars, but hopefully capeshit can at least in part be saved. Never forget these wise words:


7
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: January 13, 2022, 05:27:06 AM »
Is it normal to survey citizens about whether or not they believe the election their nation just held was legitimate? In the United States or any other country? I'm not really sure how to look something like that up, but my guess is that in most countries, it's not really a subject that comes up in mainstream political discussions. I don't remember it being a thing for the last few presidential elections - at least not since 2000, and in that case it involved a genuine procedural controversy. People generally have faith in the integrity of the voting process, even if they hate the results. It's only become an issue for this last election because Trump made it an issue. Public trust is a fragile thing, and it only takes a few careless remarks from an influential leader like Trump to shatter it. I think something similar could very easily happen in other Western democracies - someone loses an election and doesn't like it, cries foul, and then all of a sudden a process once generally accepted as trustworthy is now incredibly controversial. That doesn't sound like a uniquely American problem to me.

8
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: January 13, 2022, 12:42:47 AM »
Most Republicans still believe that the election was stolen, and Republican politicians are pointing to 2020 as justification to pass new laws restricting voter rights as well as laws to essentially let them declare their preferred candidate the winner if they like. It's easy to laugh at a clown like Lindell, but he's not representative of the true danger of repeating and spreading the lie that Trump won the election.

9
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Irish reunification
« on: January 12, 2022, 01:05:36 AM »
Just in case Thork hasn't run away from this thread, I'd also like to point out that Ireland isn't unique in the idea of a cultural and national identity not being limited to one particular ethnic group or political identity. I doubt you'd say that Hadrian's Wall shouldn't be considered a British landmark because it was built by the Romans, nor the White Tower because it was built by the Normans. Or just look at the body of legend surrounding King Arthur - it's hard to think of anything more quintessentially British than that, and yet it's undoubtedly Celtic in origin.

10
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: January 10, 2022, 09:49:40 PM »
If an anti-authoritarian dissident who's clearly no fan of Trump taking a moment during an interview to decline bashing Trump in favor of making a broader point about what he feels is the rise of authoritarianism in America is what Trump fans are interpreting as a major embarrassment for the media and a victory for the MAGA movement, then I'm embarrassed for them. It's just sad.

11
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: January 10, 2022, 02:27:32 AM »
Imagine going on a rant about the Twitter poster to try to cover up PBS's fail.

This is only a "fail" if you accept Cernovich's "haha the liberal media tried to get this activist to bash Trump and he totally refused to play along, get wrecked liberals!" framing of what happened as being accurate. Taken as its own thing, the video clip is a perfectly normal exchange between a journalist and an anti-authoritarian activist, who would naturally take the time to stress that wannabe strongmen like Trump don't emerge from a vacuum and that America does indeed currently have a large-scale problem with authoritarianism. Very few liberals or leftists would disagree with either of those notions. Now, I don't know if Ai Weiwei, the man being interviewed, continued to go down that reasonable route during this segment, or if he started earnestly insisting that it's actually liberals and leftists who are the problem in America and not Trump. Without knowing, all we have to go by is how Cernovich framed this exchange, and so it's perfectly relevant to point out that he's a liar, a charlatan, and a smear merchant.

12
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: January 10, 2022, 12:37:39 AM »
Imagine treating an alt-right troll with a long history of dishonest and fraudulent behavior like Cernovich as a serious source of news and analysis. I'd almost wish for poetic justice that his life would be ruined by someone falsely accusing him of being a pedophile, but the fact is that his knuckle-dragging fans almost certainly wouldn't care, just like they don't care about the allegations and charges of sexual misconduct aimed at prominent MAGA celebrities. All's fair to them so long as they can keep triggering the libs, or doing what they imagine is triggering the libs. It's no wonder that after previous stints hopping from MRAs to "pickup artists" to Gamergaters, Cernovich now seems to have more or less settled on catering to a MAGA audience. They're the most gullible marks of all.

13
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Terrible Political Memes
« on: January 08, 2022, 05:43:19 PM »

14
Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: January 07, 2022, 09:36:51 PM »
Cowboy Bebop (2021)

You've heard this is bad. It is. But there are specific reasons why this ended up so bad worth exploring, and I'm worried they're being drowned out in the general wave of fanboy truisms that typically follow poorly-received adaptations, especially ones involving anime. It's far too simplistic to just shrug and say that it's bad because it's a live-action adaptation of an anime and those are always destined to be bad, and it's just plain wrong to say that it's bad because it made changes to the anime and it should have been a 1-1 remake. If anything, this show tends to be stronger when it isn't directly adapting an episode of the anime or trying to recreate one of its more iconic scenes or moments, because then at least there isn't an equivalent point in the anime you can point to as having done exactly what the show did, but far better. The point is that this show wasn't dead in the water to begin with. Netflix gave the people behind it a decent budget to work with, and more importantly, also the creative freedom to make it as offbeat and eccentric as the anime was. They had the tools to make this show into something special.

The main reason why what we ended up with sucks is the writing, both in concept and execution. And by the writing, I particularly mean the dialogue, because there's so much of it, and it's all so, so bad. It's the worst kind of Joss Whedon/Marvel-inspired dialogue, where everyone is sarcastic, everyone is detached, everyone is witty (or at least what this show imagines is witty), everyone is a little self-aware in a metatextual way, and everyone constantly quips. Going down this route would be a really lame, generic decision for an adaptation of Cowboy Bebop even if the comedy worked, but it doesn't. It's terrible. Another issue is that in stark contrast to the anime, which was very restrained when it came to strong language and sexuality, this show is full of contrived swearing and lowbrow yukking about subjects like bukkake and shaving one's pubes. It's so childish, like it was written by a bunch of teenagers loudly swearing in jubilation when their parents aren't around. The worst example of this is encapsulated in Faye. She was never going to be an easy character to adapt, but I cringed when I discovered that she ended up as a tired stereotype of a plucky girlboss here, and almost all of her lines are either awful quips or hilarious swearing.

On a related note, the show is extremely bloody and gory, far more so than the anime ever was. It's a splatterfest, and a splatterfest that the show apparently thinks is hilarious and plays for comedy. This is one of the more baffling decisions the creators made, I have to admit. I just don't see the logic. For a show like The Boys, by way of a counter-example, with a similar level of nasty violence and a similarly mean-spirited presentation of it, the grotesqueness of it all is meant to parody the usual sanitized, bloodless violence of most capeshit and show just how horrible and messy the effects would really be if capeshitters used their powers on people. In Cowboy Bebop, nothing about the violence seems to be intended as satire, deconstruction, commentary, or anything like that. It's just there, and it's just played for laughs, with jaunty music playing over slow motion footage of people being killed in horrible ways and the main characters quipping in their wake. I'm not offended or disturbed by any of it, but I don't think it's appropriate for this show. It feels like very unnecessary edge for edge's sake.

What's kind of interesting about that last point is while the violence is far more gruesome and horrific than it was in the anime, the universe in general is presented in a far more egalitarian, hospitable, and overall pleasant light. The showrunner has claimed in multiple interviews (here's one) that he never saw the world of Cowboy Bebop as a dystopia, and while that's led to him predictably being roasted as an out-of-touch elitist whose wealth and privilege have blinded him to the anime's portrayal of the future as absolutely horrible and dystopian in the extreme (I'm reminded of this meme), I actually don't buy it. The show is too deliberate in its sanding down of the obvious political and social commentary present in the anime. Grungy neighborhoods are replaced with cheery suburban homes. Virtually all of the extras and side characters we meet appear to be either affluent or comfortably middle-class, in stark contrast to how often the anime would focus on the lives of the poor and desperate. And perhaps most importantly of all, for every institution that the anime portrayed as being systematically corrupt, like the police or the medical industry, the show goes out of its way to stress that it was only one or two corrupt individuals behind their problems, and the institutions themselves were perfectly fine. So, yeah, I think the showrunner and writers willfully excluded the political and social commentary present in the anime for this show, probably to fit better with the "fun" MCU-like tone they were aiming for, and the showrunner tried to get in front of any criticism by pretending he didn't think the anime was dystopian at all.

There's a lot more I could criticize this show for, but I'll end this by talking about its two biggest additions to the story of Cowboy Bebop - the expanded roles of Vicious and Julia. In the anime, Vicious was a one-dimensional villain, while Julia was little more than a plot device. It was a perfectly sensible decision to beef up their parts, but the show handles them both about as badly as they possibly could. Vicious is one of the lamest, most pathetic villains I've seen in a movie or TV show in a very long time. He's weak, he's whiny, he's inept, he's constantly being shown up and humiliated, and the show makes a point to stress that the only reason he has any power at all to begin with is that he's the spoiled failson of one of the Syndicate's leaders. None of this added focus makes him a more sympathetic or rounded character, nor does it make his struggle more compelling. Like I said, he's simply a pathetic villain.

With Julia, there's at least a decent idea at the core of what they're trying to do. She's an active character with agency, and not a passive ingenue or damsel in distress waiting around to be rescued. But this is hampered by both Elena Satine's weak performance (she's the one member of the main cast who really drops the ball) and the crude writing that has no grasp of subtlety. Here's the best example of this, which sets the tone for this character nicely: Vicious at one point tells her that he plans to assemble the people loyal to him and openly go to war against the leaders of the Syndicate. Julia protests that this will put them in great danger, and when Vicious rhetorically asks what she would suggest doing instead, there's a big dramatic pause, and then Julia says he should arrange a coup and assassinate the leaders instead of openly fighting them in a gangland war. And the show treats this obvious idea like it's fucking brilliant. Julia carries herself differently now, Vicious looks at her with new respect, and we in the audience are presumably meant to be impressed by the fact that this seemingly innocent woman is more than just a pretty face, she's a tactical genius! That's the kind of writing we're dealing with here. I also didn't like what they did with her at the end of the show. I respect the writers' desire to take risks and deviate from the anime's overall story, but something about the way they handled this specific detail feels wrongheaded to me.

So that's Netflix's Cowboy Bebop. There are occasional moments of promise sprinkled throughout the show, but on the whole, I wouldn't recommend anyone watch this unless they're consumed by morbid curiosity to see how it all ended up, like I was.

16
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Irish reunification
« on: January 07, 2022, 03:29:22 AM »
Precisely. It is equally a big stretch to claim that Northern Ireland belongs to the Irish, being as there were no Irish until their independence in 1922 ... we were all British. For them to claim independence in the South and suddenly also have the right to land in the North is an absurd claim. The people in the North (also British) decided to remain British via referendum and they live on the land they've always lived and their forefathers of thousands of years have lived. People in the South have no claim over the land of the North. Its not theirs. Never was theirs. Never belonged to their ancestors ... it belonged to the forefathers of those who now CURRENTLY live in Northern Ireland who choose to call themselves British.

What kind of an argument is this? Irish history did not begin in the year 1922! When people talk about Ireland, they refer to a cultural and national identity that goes beyond the political entity officially known as the Republic of Ireland, and absolutely includes Northern Ireland. If the people of Northern Ireland want to remain a part of the United Kingdom, they have every right to, but come on, you can't just exclude vast chunks of history from "counting" due to who controlled the country politically at the time. Ireland was Ireland when it was controlled by the Celts, and Ireland was Ireland when it was controlled by the British.

17
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Irish reunification
« on: January 06, 2022, 03:07:56 AM »
It's a pretty big stretch to say that "the Irish" refers to the prehistoric inhabitants of Ireland that we know very little about and not the Celts, who forged a distinctive national identity and culture and maintained it for thousands of years. It's true that the Celts weren't the first inhabitants of Ireland, but very few ethnic groups were the first inhabitants of the nations they now identify with. For example, Anglo-Saxons are usually seen as being quintessentially English, but they have far less historical claim to Britain than the Celts do to Ireland.

18
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: December 29, 2021, 06:08:46 AM »
Nobody is saying that he meant the opposite of what he said, just that what he said was taken out of context to seem more defeatist than it was. Which is true.

19
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: December 29, 2021, 04:39:42 AM »
Yes, it's a shame when mainstream outlets allow misleading right-wing narratives and talking points to be taken for granted. The media are so obsessed with the ideal of centrism that they simply can't bring themselves to accept that one side of the political aisle is operating entirely in bad faith and that their lies should not be seen as valid alternatives to the truth.

20
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: December 28, 2021, 07:04:13 PM »
The quote is being presented somewhat out of context:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/12/27/remarks-by-president-biden-at-covid-19-response-teams-regular-call-with-the-national-governors-association/

It wasn't great phrasing on his part, not least because of the right-wing media gleefully seizing upon it for use as a sound bite, but he's not literally just saying that he has nothing and it's the states' problem now. He was encouraging governors to do everything they could to control the pandemic in their respective states and promised to back them up with the resources of the federal government. This was far from a message of surrender or apathy.

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