Archive for August, 2010

You’re both wrong
August 31, 2010

James Cameron, director of Avatar:

I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that (Piranha 3D) is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip.

Random guy, producer of Piranha 3D:

Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process – which is certainly a team sport – that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.

Jim, you’re wrong because while yes, Piranha 3D reminds one of a time when franchises like Friday the 13th and Jaws used the 3D gimmick to try to get people to see their latest terrible installments, there’s still nothing inherently wrong with a silly, self-aware genre pic using 3D to enhance the thrill ride. This does not hurt the advancement of the 3D movement.

Random guy, you’re wrong because Piranha 3D is damaging to the 3D movement because its 3D is terrible. Terrible. Not neutral, not unnecessary, but flat-out eye-rapingly bad. It was a post-conversion hatchet job that looked like a pop-up book dipped in a river of shit. It’s exactly the type of cheap cash-in (along with other crap like Clash of the Titans and Alice in Wonderland) that will help erase any goodwill engendered in audiences by Avatar‘s sumptuous use of the third dimension.

Jim, shut up and get back to making movies.

Random guy, shut up and get back to making mov-

Actually, just shut up, because your list of production credits is awful.

Random Excellent Item of the Day
August 28, 2010

Tim Burton is so useless.

Mosquesense
August 23, 2010

Some choice words from Ron Paul (someone I don’t often find myself agreeing with) on this “Ground Zero mosque” nonsense:

Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.

While I find these new megachurch-style houses of worship in general to be vainglorious wastes of time, space and funds, I find the protests against this particular one even moreso. The fact that nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Muslim, indeed, the fact that nineteen 9/11 hijackers committed their crimes in the name of Islam, has no legit standing whatsoever as an indictment against a religion (and more importantly, a demographic) that counts amongst its ranks some 1.5 billion members. While you can question the motives of those behind the project, who had to know from the start that they were courting a PR disaster, it’s just silly to take offense at what is just one more monument to a hobbled humanity’s continuing reliance on the crutch of faith being added to the multitude.

It was not a concerted effort on the part of a religion that brought down the Twin Towers, but a go-it-alone radical interpretation of the supposed word of god by nineteen of a religion’s adherents. These are two staggeringly different things, and it makes all the difference in the world in how we perceive the events of 9/11. If Islam is to blame for 9/11 then Christianity is to blame for every abortion clinic bombing ever carried out, and the infamous 12th and Delaware “pro-life center” across the street from a clinic is just as “insensitive” as the mosque prompting all the outrage today.

As a related aside, and callous though it may sound, I’ve really had enough of the “9/11 families.” They lost their loved ones in a spectacularly tragic historical event – this makes them no more qualified to speak on issues of politics or social/domestic/foreign policy and law than someone who has lost a loved one in an automobile accident or to a fatal disease. Sorry, it just doesn’t, and the moral authority, airtime and clout bestowed on them by a chickenshit media is undeserved and should be stopped.

The Big “meh”
August 17, 2010

Showtime had been three for three as far as I was concerned with their “strong and offbeat female protagonist” shows (Weeds, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara), so it was with a solid amount of anticipation that I looked forward to their next one The Big C.

Headlined by Laura Linney, C features a strong/offbeat female protagonist who, upon discovering she has a fatal form of cancer, says “fuck it” and resolves to turn her boring life on its head.

There’s potential in the concept – none of it’s realized. Aside from Linney, who’s brilliant as always, the pilot that aired Monday night was a fairly worthless exercise in smugness and the eye-rolling banality that is quirk for the sake of quirk.

Showtime, Mondays at 10:30, but until it shows a lot more than it did in its premiere, don’t even bother. Getting someone on board who can write halfway decent comedy would be a great place to start.

Random Excellent Item of the Day
August 9, 2010

Slaughter the sacred cow
August 8, 2010

A noteworthy article here discussing the absurdity of the National Science Foundation which, in a survey designed to test the public’s level of scientific awareness, decided to leave out the embarrassingly low percentage of Americans who accept our evolutionary roots due to concerns about offending their religious sensibilities.

Fuck their religious sensibilities. Because this

When presented with the statement “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” just 45 percent of respondents indicated “true.” Compare this figure with the affirmative percentages in Japan (78), Europe (70), China (69) and South Korea (64).

is a problem.

One of the most tiresome canards espoused not only by the devout but also oftentimes the casual religious believer is the idea that denouncing their totally untenable creationist positions (aka calling them exactly what they are) is just another example of “intolerance” and “militant atheism.” This, combined with the intellectually dishonest “teach the controversy!” maxim is their attempt to cast themselves as reasonable objectors, seekers of truth wanting only for us to “hear all sides”, victimized by the close-minded tyranny of the scientific establishment.

I would hope that for anyone reading this blog the problem here would be screamingly obvious: their “side” is utterly wrong. There is no “controversy” about evolutionary biology any more than there is “controversy” about the earth being round or revolving around the sun. Homo sapiens evolved from a lower order of primate – we share a common ancestry with the chimps, gorillas and orangutans that make up the rest of the Great Ape family. This is an incontestable fact.

It doesn’t matter what your religion says. It doesn’t matter whether you find it offensive or disheartening, the idea that humans as a species could come about perfectly naturally, without the need of a guiding, supernatural force. It doesn’t matter what you personally believe – something is either true or it is not true. Evolution is true – species change, break-off and form new species over time. Our current explanation for this, an evolved (lolz) form of Darwin’s original explanation of natural selection, is as rock-solid a theory as there exists in the field of biology.

There exists an unfortunate bit of conventional wisdom, born out of a well-intentioned deference to etiquette and general niceties, that when a great many people hold a specific belief it is incumbent upon those who do not to nonetheless respect it. Especially when it involves religion.

Bull. Shit.

55% of this country chooses to ignore mountains of anthropological and genetic evidence in favor of unfounded, unprovable creationist crap.

55% of this country is being stupid and ridiculous.