Thursday, June 09, 2022

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.

I have a free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item up now about how the recent California elections show (along with the political power of billions of dollars, but everyone knows that, right) how the ancient ooga-booga equities of conservatism are experiencing a revival thanks to the social media videos and memes calculated to Other the fuck out of the opposition. 

One of my points is, discussion of social media seems stuck on modish tropes like algorithms and brigading when the most relevant points of comparison are much more old-fashioned. I guess it makes some difference how the images are disseminated, but the real power of, e.g., multiple videos of shoplifters in drug stores is simply that they’re visual. All social does is make it possible for propagandists to send them to you and make sure you see them. The model is less Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook and more George Orwell’s telescreens, and the relevant concept of post-literacy goes back to McLuhan.

One reason I don’t write much these days about what the conservative “intellectuals” say is that, on the right, anything even resembling intellectual content is laughably beside the point anymore. It used to be (and sometimes still can be) easy and fun to dissect their idiocies, because their unenviable pig-lipsticking tasks left them naked to creative ridicule. But seriously, what am I going to do with National Review articles like “Putin the Marxist-Leninist”? They spend their time on shit like that because there’s no point in even trying to make conservative policy look like anything but what it is: a naked appeal to America’s worst prejudices, craziest conspiracy theories, and purest animal hatreds. Viral videos are not just a good tactic: they’re perfectly suited to conservative philosophy, indeed they more or less define it.

Friday, June 03, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Heard this playing at a D.C. COVID testing center last week.
One more thing to admire about public health workers!

Bleah, long hard week, me sleepy, But! You the Public have a right to appropriate entertainment so here are two (2) absolutely free items from my big underground hit newsletter (the great Digby calls it “one of my favorite newsletter[s],” and that’s no joke), Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: 1.) A transcript of Tubby’s speech to the NRA, and 2.) Upcoming Johnny Depp projects

Regarding the former, though people focused on the gross bell-ringing stunt, I was actually more interested in Trump’s contention that “inner city schools rarely have these kinds of mass shootings” because of their “stronger security measures” such as metal detectors and police presence, and he wanted that brought to schools in the suburbs. So much rightwing yak is about protecting the white enclaves (where most of their base lives) from the contagion of cities -- yet here the guy is basically admitting that suburban schools in Republican neighborhoods are happy hunting grounds for nuts with machine guns, and they can't do anything about it so they have to adopt big-bad-city precautions. Thus, the burbs are both cultural wastelands and shooting galleries! It’s amazing how much their shamelessness disguises their admissions of failure. 

As for Depp, well, I’m a fan of his performances -- some more than others -- and as a non-Zhdanovite I don’t count his personal failings against his acting. But after this trial I’m not very interested in hearing about him again. (Don’t let that stop you, though! And while you're there, subscribe -- it's cheap!) 


Thursday, June 02, 2022

WHERE THE BOYS ARE.

Here's an unlocked Roy Edroso Breaks It Down number, laying out some possible future projects for Johnny Depp. I did not pay attention to the Depp-Heard trial, and it may be that someone has laid out a coherent explanation for the verdict, though mainly what I have seen from those who approve of it has nothing to do with legal rationale and everything to do with creepy pseudo-butch displays

Against my better judgment I have been guided to Rod Dreher, whose work I haven’t looked at much since he revealed that he was getting divorced and sternly warned everybody not to read anything into it. (Everything conservatives always say about divorce culture destroying America, for example, apparently doesn’t apply to Dreher. It’s Wilhoit’s Marital Law!) He seems to have gotten even weirder since. And sure enough, in a recent post, he “responds” to this “reader” “email”:

…The news of your divorce coming around the same time as the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial has me thinking thoughts that had never occurred to me.

First of all, I can’t believe I’m riveted by a dang celebrity trial. It’s typically not something I spend any kind of time on. But riveted I am. Despite the fact that we are practicing conservative Christians, our own marriage is headed for a hard crash, because I’m confident that my wife is mentally ill. Watching the Depp/Heard trial, I learned about the existence of a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder…

When I read that, everything became SO CLEAR to me about why my marriage is in so much trouble, and why therapy has not worked for us.

(Dreher, resuming his authorial voice, follows up: “This is really something, because I have been getting a surprising number of e-mails from readers saying pretty much the same thing…” Future ex-Mrs.-Dreher, I hope for your sake you have a lot of money in a separate account.) 

The Dreher “reader” experience does seems to comport with a general observation that, whatever this particular celebrity trial was really about, all the creeps have lined up with Depp. But this is no different than what we experience in other areas of real life, whenever we see someone driving with needless aggression on the highway or yelling “Let’s Go Brandon” at a non-political event or trying to cut in line and acting the victim when they're called out: Assholes flock to assholes. Trump merely gave them an Alpha Asshole around which to cluster. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



We can all feel special on a Saturday night.


I’ve been pretty scrimpy with my free issues of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, since its income is all that’s keeping the Missus and I out of the County Home and I want people to pay for it, not lurk about and wait for me to put some out at the curb like they used to do with day-old bagels at H&H

But the Uvulde massacre inspired me to a series of three issues -- one about the immediate and expected declarations that we must do something other than threaten our precious guns, one about an example of our many gun-culture peddlers that feed America’s AR-mania, and one about Don McLean’s withdrawal from the big NRA Uvalde wrap party -- and I say, you know what, as a public service I’ll open them all up. Go soak in my righteous anger! 

Meanwhile the ongoing reaction has been repulsive as usual. The apparently fatally inept response to the shooting by the Uvalde PD has drawn, in addition to genuine and well-warranted righteous indignation, the attention of gun nuts who want to use the cops’ malfeasance as an excuse -- here are a couple of examples that infested my feed. Their message is: It’s not the guns, if we had more civilian Good Guys With Guns (read: even less gun control) the shooter might have killed slightly fewer people (or the good guys with guns might have killed slightly more -- in either case, the guns will be safe, thank God)!

(Though I have to admit it’s funny to see wingnuts throwing their beloved Thin Blue Line under the bus. That’s how much they love their assault weapons!)

After that it’s almost comforting to see the usual rightwingers doing their traditional “Guns don’t kill people, people trying to get rid of guns kill people (or at least my boner)” routine. Erick Erickson

Do Democrats want the issue or do they want a solution?  It almost seems that Democrats screaming about Republicans wanting kids to die is projection because Democrats rush in while bodies are still warm to vilify their opponents, attack them for offering thoughts and prayers, and then offer their own empty platitudes and empty solutions.

The bodies are not yet cold, and here come greedy Democrats trying to stop it from happening again, next week and every week as God intended! Don’t they know nothing can be done except stuff that has been done and doesn’t work? 

Using one failure to suggest we should abandon efforts to provide officers at all schools seems foolish.  That could get sixty votes in the Senate.  Providing a well-trained public servant in schools would more likely than not serve as a deterrent.  It might not stop all cases but could stop many.  Why let perfect be the enemy of the good?

… well-armed retired veterans at schools would be better than waiting for the police to show up.

There’s old Gumpy, our 74-year-old school guard -- whoops, shooter took him out first. Guess Gumpy’s not as quick on the draw as he used to be! 

What about fortifying school doors…

Jesus fucking Christ. The hard fact is, the only people who are still listening to these assholes are listening because they want to hear that something, anything is the reason for this never-ending mayhem except their beloved machine guns. I say just get rid of the damn things, and if some pedantic jerkoff says, ”LOL libtards it’s not a ‘machine gun’ it’s actually called a [Gunfetish Nomenclature],” we make a note to specify that shit too when we ban the rest and make the penalties for that one twice as steep.



Friday, May 20, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



A lot of the music I've been enjoying most lately
is stuff I hear at the taco shop.

•   Another long, hard week -- but sumer is icumen in, ‘round these parts anyway, so even as our nation collapses into shit, let us be grateful for that. And if that ain’t enough, here’s an extra helping of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down for them as has yet to spring for a subscription (it’s $7 a month, ya skinflints). Along with the Monday report from the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in Washington, I have unlocked the transcript of the Supreme Court majority’s recent fête at The Rectory, where in-crowd integralists gather, hosted by Wild Bill Bennett and Miz Noonan. Laugh that ye may not weep! 

 •   Hey, conservative social policy is having an effect on the school system! About a schoolteacher in Florida:

Over the years, a half-dozen children came out to her as gay or transgender. Most told her informally, blurting it out by her desk. With every student, her first question was, “Do your parents know?” If the answer was “no,” and if [Nicolette] Solomon ascertained the student’s household was likely to be accepting, she encouraged the student to come out to their parents. In these conversations, if students asked, Solomon admitted she was a lesbian, happily married to another woman.

Solomon herself came out fully in college; in high school, she told only a handful of people closest to her. Sometimes she thought about how much it would have helped to discuss her sexuality with an openly LGBTQ teacher in grade school: “I definitely would have gone to that person, because I would have known they’d be accepting.”

But as Solomon’s students made her feel needed, some of her colleagues were doing the opposite.

Early in the job, one teacher — who figured out Solomon was gay after watching Hayley help Solomon cart supplies into her classroom — told her in the middle of a casual conversation, “I like you as a person, but I don’t support gay marriage.” Stunned, all Solomon could think to say was, “Okay.”

You will not be shocked to learn Solomon has since been menaced out of her job, and gay kids at Key Biscayne K-8 Center are gonna have an even rougher time of it than before. Also, we’ve got a Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives supporting a ban on contraception,  a Virginia legislator suing Barnes & Noble because it sells gay-friendly books to teenagers, etc.

But this occupant of one of America’s loftiest pundit-perches has a solution to draconian rightwing policies: Federalism is “in” so just make sure you’re living in a cool blue state.

If you don’t, and can’t afford to move to one (blue places are more expensive than the gulches and hollers of Red America, and then there’s the added cost in soap and toothpaste), guess you’re fucked. But don’t worry: When these red state laws are nationalized, as Republicans have been promising to do, you will receive the comfort that company affords to misery. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

WE'RE ALL TRYING TO FIND THE GUY WHO DID THIS.

The days are busy, and as full of bad faith and mendacity as they are I can’t keep up. (Though I make an effort at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Subscribe, cheap!) But sometimes a piece of pixelcrap emerges that I just can’t let it pass.

At the Washington Examiner Byron York writes about George W. Bush’s unfortunate moment during a recent speech at SMU, in which he meant to say "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine” but had to correct himself after saying "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” York’s conclusion seems mildly sympathetic to the old war criminal:

But most of all, Bush's words at SMU conveyed the sense of a man who made a career-defining mistake that still troubles him, two decades later. It troubles the country, too.

Boo fucking hoo. But the real howler for me is York’s portrayal of how support of the invasion and war went: 

The war in Iraq has roiled American politics for nearly 20 years. In the early years, opposition to the war became a litmus test among Democratic politicians. Two of the party's presidential nominees, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, voted to authorize the war as senators, while a third, Barack Obama, avoided the test because he was not in the Senate when the authorization vote was taken.

In the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, candidate Donald Trump agitated the GOP when he openly described the war as a disaster. Trump did it in part to rattle his competitor in the primaries, Bush's brother Jeb. But Trump did, in fact, strike a nerve among Republicans who supported the war when it began but came to believe it was a mistake. Now, no one would be surprised if Trump at some point makes use of the new Bush blunder as new ammunition in Trump's battle against what used to be called the Republican establishment.

If you had missed the past 20 years of American history, you might get from this the (clearly intended) impression that the war was pushed through by GWB and the Democrats, and opposed by Republicans, especially the ones who would later become the MAGA movement. *

But that just ain’t so. Check Pew Research in 2011, when Obama announced that, as he had promised in the 2008 campaign, the U.S. was withdrawing from Iraq (which turned out not to be entirely true, unfortunately):

Since the start of the war, there has been a wide partisan gap on the question of using force in Iraq. In March 2003, with major combat operations ongoing, the gap was substantial: 93% of Republicans supported the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 59% of Democrats. This gap persisted through the first year of the [war]. Across all surveys conducted in 2003, 90% of Republicans backed the decision to use force, compared with 66% of independents and 50% of Democrats.

Over the ensuing years, support for the war has plummeted among independents and Democrats plummeted, while Republicans have remained largely supportive. In surveys conducted in 2008 — the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency — just 17% of Democrats said it was the right decision to take military action in Iraq, compared with 73% of Republicans.  Since President Obama took office, support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has increased among Democrats.

However, Americans are ready to move on — 56% believe that the U.S. has mostly accomplished its goals in Iraq, and three-quarters of the public support Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011. (emphasis added)

Also a lot of us marched and otherwise made our anti-war feelings known, as Republicans pointed and laughed at the dirty liberal hippies. 

If you’re of a suspicious turn of mind -- and with York why wouldn’t you be -- you might think he’s trying to erase the cold fact of a massively liberal anti-Iraq-war opposition to make it easier to peddle Trump and his minions as Right From The Start. If that seems like a stretch, think what other fantasies MAGA, QAnon, and all the big Republican constituencies have accepted in similar defiance of evidence and common sense. 

* Oh, and in case you were wondering, York was a big Iraq War fan once upon a time -- see his June 2003 column, “The Truth About Bush’s ‘Lies’”: 

…if the administration's case was a lie, then everybody, including much of the political opposition, was in on it. Just as importantly, if it turns out that prewar estimates of Iraq's capabilities were incorrect, the Bush administration can say — truthfully — that it erred on the side of protecting American national security. 

And he seemed to think the war was a great success, as described in his December 2006 column, “In war-torn Iraq, unlike here, there’s optimism”:

Presumably without access to The New York Times, The Washington Post and television news, millions of Iraqis say their lives are better than they were last year, better than they were before the United States invasion, and will likely be better a year from now than today.

Among the measures of victory cited by York: “In 2003 (in another poll), 32 percent [of Iraqis] had a satellite dish. Now it’s 86 percent.”

Friday, May 13, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Yes, apparently it's supposed to be played this fast.

•   I originally had only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie to offer you this week -- this one about bullshit liberals (and others) who think you’re getting too worked up about the end of abortion rights. But today I was in a generous mood and thought, screw it, these guys have been working hard all week and, after they’ve trudged home on Friday covered in coal dust and sweat, they would enjoy the refreshment of my new post about some other junk on the Internet. Generous as I am, please remember subscriptions are what make my world go around, and buy one for a friend while you’re at it -- they’ll be non-plussed to receive such high-quality prose five times a week in their inbox, and all honor with redound to you. 

•   I have mixed emotions about the disastrous recent polling on the Supreme Court:

A Morning Consult-Politico poll taken Tuesday found that “relatively few voters believe the ruling should be reversed entirely (28%). Half of voters said Roe should not be overturned, up from 45% who said the same in December.” Furthermore, “voters are more than twice as likely to say abortion should be legal nationally than that it should be illegal. … Relatively few voters believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (35%).”

Worse, from the justices’ perspective, a mere 14 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the court. Support for expanding the court is up, with 44 percent strongly or somewhat favoring the addition of justices. That’s nothing compared with the 67 percent who strongly or somewhat support term limits. In addition, 74 percent support imposing a mandatory code of ethics; 63 percent favor an age limit; and 59 percent would like the court to have an equal number of Democrats, independents and Republicans (having dispensed with the fraud that the partisans in robes aren’t political). 

Part of me of course finds this hilarious. SCOTUS has been a nest of partisan ratfuckery for years, and it’s about time its stench finally reached the nostrils of the American people. Clarence Thomas, husband of the insurrectionist Ginni, blustering about the respect owed the Court is so rich that if I didn’t know better I’d swear it was some kind of inside joke to show the rabble just how out of touch he and his fellow wingnut operatives are.  As it is conservative commentators, who have been so insistent about defending justices from the merest show of displeasure at their actions, have not to my knowledge acknowledged the contempt their actions have brought upon the Court, and that the proles now want their Black Robed Masters term-limited. Gotta admit, that’s funny!

On the other hand, though, this could be seen as a troubling new development in a decades-long trend. Conservatives have been methodically spreading contempt on government since before Reagan, rightly figuring that the more citizens mistrusted their own government, the easier it would be to elect Republican con artists who could loot the Treasury of behalf of their contractor donors via privatization. Better still for their malign purposes, it also deprived those voters of the expectation that government could render them any meaningful assistance, making it far easier to cheat them on services and safeguards, leading to the landscape of collapsed bridges, delayed and denied justice, and general resentment with which we are now cursed.

The raspberries their Respect for the Court yap is getting now from normal people shows they probably didn’t anticipate that their Drown It In The Bathtub ethos would also affect government institutions that they themselves need healthy and respected in order to further their grift. 

And it won’t stop there: Think about the curses conservatives been casting at the “woke” military, ostensibly because they have normal diversity programs but really because they failed to support the Trump program -- including the attempted coup. This is undoubtedly a big part of the reason why the military’s poll numbers are down among Americans. It’s not nearly as bad as SCOTUS’ collapse, but after a few more years of wingnut hit squads screaming that soldiers are too friendly to the people they hate (i.e. women and minorities) and too unfriendly to their Russian buddies, who knows what might happen. 

A grim thought: Neither the Court nor the military is directly answerable to voters.

Friday, May 06, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Four Go-Betweens songs. Never a bad idea.

Only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down free installment this week, the one I mentioned in the previous post about the Dobbs draft decision. Sorry, I need more subscribers and can’t be giving it away all the time. Tell ya what though -- use this link before May 10 and you get 10% off your annual subscription. It’s already absurdly cheap so if you don’t sign up now it’s practically negligence!  

A lot of other brilliant stuff has been written about the recent unpleasantness at the Supreme Court, but as you know my specialty is the crap, and that is in abundance. (I got into it a little in today’s newsletter -- subscribers know.) Basically, the Jesus-cult conservatives who don’t have to worry about alienating any heathens in their audience are ululating ecstatically; the others are just lying their asses off. Some are acting as if the leak of the decision is The Real Outrage, to misdirect attention from the massive injury to human rights the ruling represents (and the possibility that it was a conservative who did it), and to preserve their eternal victim status.  (No matter who else gets hurt and how badly, remember, it's always the conservative who is injured, offended, and cancelcultured.)

And, as previously mentioned, some are pretending that it won’t lead to other reversals the decision’s logic pretty much demands -- the end of rights to gay marriage, contraception, interracial marriage, etc. -- which is absurd enough on its face but when it’s being dished out by such as David French -- author of “Meet the New Public Face of Abortion-on-Demand: Satanists” -- it’s just ridiculous. (French even says Obergefell won’t be overturned “because Alito said so.” Oh, well then!)

But for me the absolute worst is the sort of soft-soap dished out by Peggy Noonan -- not just because, being Peggy Noonan, she is definitionally the worst, but because her passive-aggressive shtick requires she pretend that, whatever we may feel about the decision, it’s for our own good and that her slavering theocon friends will rush to succor us with Christian love:

Advice now, especially for Republican men, if Roe indeed is struck down: Do not be your ignorant selves. Do not, as large dumb misogynists, start waxing on about how if a woman gets an illegal abortion she can be jailed. Don’t fail to embrace compromise because you can make money on keeping the abortion issue alive. I want to say “Just shut your mouths,” but my assignment is more rigorous. It is to have a heart. Use the moment to come forward as human beings who care about women and want to give families the help they need. Align with national legislation that helps single mothers to survive. Support women, including with child-care credits that come in cash and don’t immediately go to child care, to help mothers stay at home with babies. Shelters, classes in parenting skills and life skills. All these exist in various forms: make them better, broader, bigger.

This is an opportunity to change your party’s reputation.

If you have ever actually met a Republican, you know this is laughable. At this very moment, the “Republican men” (and women) of Louisiana are “coming forward as human beings who care about women” by making abortion an act of murder for which women can be prosecuted. There is no concomitant rush anywhere to provide “child-care credits” or “life skills” to the unhappily pregnant. Republicans will do what they always do -- immiserate the powerless -- and their shills will deny it as long as they can, and then turn on a dime and say that’s just what they deserve.  

Thursday, May 05, 2022

THEY GOT THEIRS -- DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOURS.

Today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie was inspired by some bullshit, of a sort you may have also been seeing, where some very serious commentators explain that the overturn of Roe v Wade and the end of a presumed Constitutional right to self-determination/control of one’s own body is nbd actually and you libtards are just being dramatic. 

This line of BS is most evident among rightwingers who, no shock, are frightened by the strong negative reaction to the draft ruling and worry that it will affect the midterms. Ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson, for example, has been swearing up and down, in such fragments of his newsletter that I can read without giving him the encouragement of payment, that no one cares about this silly old abortion thing (“abortion does nothing to help an economy that is stalling and on the verge of a recession”) -- but he keeps repeating it, more like a mantra than analysis; his recent titles have been “Abortion Meltdown,” “Hysteria Rules the Day,” and (I’m not making this up) “Roe v Wade Ending Really Won't Change Anything. That's Reality, Not Downplaying Dobbs.”  

Erickson is as close to someone just posting the talking points (under the thinnest palimpsest of the shittiest prose) as you can get, so clearly the idea is that the result conservatives have spent decades screaming and salivating for is a matter of no real importance to them (though they usually manage to sneak in somewhere that they are of course happy for the “pre-borns”) and that opposing the upending of this heretofore Constitutionally-protected right is some sort of pique or mania.

This talking point went meta today with the Washington Times headline, “Not there yet: Pro-lifers subdued despite promise of biggest victory in movement’s history.” Reporter Valerie Richardson features anecdotes that suggest the anti-abortion movement is subdued because they have not finished God's work -- for example, in some states and for the moment women will not be forced to bear their rapists’ children. But the obvious intended effect is to back up the Republicans’ “the real outrage is the leak” misdirection -- to make it look as if what is actually happening is not happening.  

But my real inspirators, referenced in the graphic, are Orin Kerr and Megan McArdle, whose glibertarian hand-waving is as annoying as it is expected. The only difference is it usually takes a while for their bullshit to be proven bullshit; in this case, the very horrors they tell us not to worry about -- abortion criminalized in blue states via a national ban, re-criminalization of gay marriage and other rights -- are already being advanced by prominent conservatives who, despite the propaganda to the contrary, are not subdued but emboldened to further immiserate the people they despise. (Which is most of us, BTW.) 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

NO RIGHT BUT THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

You have heard the news, and may have read Alito’s draft decision, which is every bit the nightmare everyone says it is. (As to the widespread charge that Democrats rather than Republicans somehow leaked the draft, which was immediately offered by rightwingers as The Real Outrage, one would have to be an idiot to believe it, and idiots will.)

Among many other things, Alito makes much of ancient prohibitions on abortion according to “Anglo-American common law tradition,” as one might use that same tradition to defend the burning of witches and torture confessions -- not to mention laws against sodomy, contraception, interracial marriage, et alia. He is also keen on whether a presumed right is “deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” -- which happen to be the same rationales used by Justice White when he upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick

And of course this is the plan:  A return to the before-time where certain members of society had all the rights, on the basis of laws from the eras of slavery and feudalism. (Look up “court,” “sodomy,” and “time immemorial” and see what you get.) 

So there is no reason at all to take seriously Alito’s ridiculous assertion that any other personal liberties that were codified by other Supreme Court decisions will not be affected by this one because “they do not support the right to obtain an abortion.” If they can get this one, they can and will get the others, perhaps while assuring us that the ones they haven’t gotten to yet are still protected -- at least at first. 

It's something to have been alive both for the dawn of Roe and its demise, but it’s important to remember that history is bigger than our individual lifetimes. While Alito and his fellow ghouls reach back to the Middle Ages for their illiberal precedents, we know that there have been times more recent when liberties were affirmed and expanded, and their blessings enjoyed by people still living. History does not suggest this is a one-and-done affair and that we have to slink back to the caves. But we may have to fight to keep ourselves from being pushed into them. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

AN UNSAVORY MUSK.

Opinions are like assholes -- everyone has one about Elon Musk! So do I, at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, and I have unlocked it for your delectation. Unlike most of the commentariat, I have a unified theory of Musk which informs the analysis: He wants to be president, and this is his way of transitioning from “unaccountably self-regarding famewhore who blows up rocket ships” to someone we’re all supposed to take seriously. 

Like a lot of other people I was amused by David Rothkopf’s related tweet on the oligarchical pile-up in prestige media, but it also made me think about the different approaches among those oligarchs. Bloomberg, Carlos Slim, and to a great extent Bezos run their media empires in the traditional way -- quietly, without inserting themselves too much into the process. (Bezos, for example, can count on brown-nosers at the Washington Post to fluff him without being ordered to.) Gates, even more old-school, pretty much eschews content and putters with philanthropy like a Morgan or a Rockefeller. 

Zuckerberg is kind of a transitional figure -- he used celebrity and tech cachet to promote his sub-journalistic enterprise, and was wildly successful, but this also increased his need to be at the forefront and he is now condemned to endlessly travel a weary gauntlet of Congressional hearings and virtual-reality shitshows to keep it flying. Musk has inherited the model but you'll never see him performing it like a duty -- alone among these worthies, he inherited rather than hustled his wealth, and sees no reason to actually work at anything. So he just bigfoots like a cartoon villain or Adam Sandler character across the landscape, confident that everything will work out because, being insulated by unimaginable wealth, he has never suffered anything resembling an adverse result, nor hoped to achieve anything more difficult than the self-promotion that daily increases his army of sycophants. There’s a lesson in the fact that Musk is positioned to become the most powerful of them all. 

UPDATE. Along with my brilliant writing this news has spurred some utter shite, including a world-beater from the epochally awful Erick Erickson, whose "The Media's Twitter Problem" begins thus:

Elon Musk is an American success story. Originally from Africa, Musk moved to America and is now the richest man in the world. 

I'm surprised he didn't write, "Originally from Africa, Musk moved to America and, through the magic of free enterprise and his own hard work, inherited an emerald mine."

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

BEEN AWAY, WHAT'D I MISS?


I’ve been off the grid this week, seeing to some family business in London. I’m not in a position to get around much but can still enjoy some of the usual London advantages of density, argot, real beer, and other marvels. Also I can semi-forget about the garbage that is America and to semi-remember the garbage that is Britain. They’re as fucked as we are, maybe even more so, seeing as their Trumpian buffoon & oligarch’s cats-paw is still in office despite having shit the bed in, of all things, a social distancing scandal. This I had assumed was only promoted because such clown-shows distract from Boris Johnson’s real crimes, both those traditionally conservative and those uniquely his own, but now it appears the rightwing British press (which is even shittier than ours, if such a thing can be imagined) is letting it drag him down because they figure they can do even worse with someone else after watery neolib Keith Starmer inevitably steps on his own dick. 

Nonetheless I get glimpses at the homeland madness. I see one of our vat-bred Trump judges reversed the mask mandate on domestic flights (not applicable to foreign airline flights coming back home, thank God). Most Americans don’t agree with it, but our asshole press is going with the Everything Back to Normal fantasies, flogging tales of the jolly singing flight attendant and owning the libs. The U.S. 14-day new case rate is up 47% and once again Cassandra is smacking her forehead.

Oh, and yeah, I heard about Dreher. Talk about get off the cross, we need the wood! But whatever schadenfreude might be spurred by his impending mortal sin of divorce (I know, he’s not in that religion anymore -- say, maybe this is why!), it has to be blunted by the fact that, despite this back-of-wrist-to-forehead performance, he probably isn’t really suffering much -- after the nine years he’s allegedly been struggling with this, it’s probably a relief. It’s a cinch Dreher will learn no kind of charity or humility from the experience and if anything will push his customary bigotry and fascism with renewed zeal, confident that God has removed his erstwhile helpmeet to free his hand to more viciously smite liberals, gays, blacks, trans people, et alia.  The problem with these guys being monsters is, anything that might make you or I question our life choices merely makes theirs worse. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Feel so alive when no one is around

Here’s one (1) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down free shot for non-subscribers* about the next step in the culture war. (If you missed my mention of it a few days ago, it's news to you!) I’m just impressed with myself that, the way things are going, I was able to get it out before events caught up with me.

*And, heads-up to subscribers: I’m off duty next Monday-through-Friday, so your subscription is “paused,” meaning your subscription ends a week later than scheduled and you’ll get as many weeks as you paid for at the same dirt-cheap prices. (How do I do it? Low overhead!) 

Speaking of my prescience, Elon Musk’s show of buying Twitter only confirms my long-held belief that he will sooner than later emerge as a Republican presidential candidate. (I know he’s foreign-born, but since when does the GOP give a shit about the Constitution?) The purpose of the display is to demonstrate that, as a billionaire and a dick, Musk is the one the few people with both the power and the inclination to stand up to what conservatives have convinced themselves is the cause of America’s problems, “Big Tech” (i.e., the only kind of rich people whose asses Republicans won’t kiss). I don’t care if he succeeds and I doubt he does either; he’s got rich people’s ADD, and can only focus on things that are immediately gratifying to himself, which means Twitter’s poison pill trick is a suitable tactic -- if they can hold out long enough he’ll get irritable and go buy something else big to fill the Void. But either way he will have shown that, unlike the Republican politicians who gripe about Big Tech but never produce the promised anti-BT legislation, Musk is Willing To Do Something About It. That and his built-in appeal to a growing sub-generation of rightwing tech choads should have him buying votes in bulk soon. Read my essay and see if I’m not right! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

ZHDANOV'S BIG COMEBACK.

Have a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie -- this one direct testimony from a culture warrior who used to believe in all that "ars gratia artis" bullshit but, since the jihad against Disney got going, came to realize that art is the enemy of culture. 

If you need a news hook, well, ha, look around you -- maybe at David Mamet, who long ago did the Left-left-me bit (at the Village Voice, as it happens!) and has now gone full Trumpkin, not only picking up the groomer shtick ("Teachers are inclined, particularly men because men are predators, to pedophilia") but also eliminationist lingo like "we need to cut off the diseased parts [of society]" etc.

Well, some of my favorite writers were assholes and Celine was a goddamn Nazi -- though it's easier to take from old Louis-Ferdinand because he's dead. 


A BUNCH OF PUSSIES.

Maybe the Cletus Safari budget has been cut -- the New York Times decided to have the Trump diner come to them
There was no talk of a stolen election, no conspiracy theories about voter fraud or rants about President Biden’s legitimacy. Yet listening to our 90-minute focus group with eight conservative men, you couldn’t help but worry for our democracy a bit.
I bet they workshopped the hell out of that last line -- "We can't just say these guys are nuts! Call the plausible deniability desk and have them send up some nuance." 

But after years of sucking up to Trumpkins who'll never stop fantasizing their prolonged painful death, the Times has still not figured it out, and gives its MAGA focus group the floor, upon which they barf up plenty of har-har-harballs. Much of it is about how rightwingers can't say what's on their mind anymore:
Joe: There’s a lot of things you really can’t talk about. I was mentioning to someone in my office about the president appointing a Supreme Court nominee. It was an African American woman. And I was saying, “That’s the most racist thing you could do. What if somebody else was good? What if they were Asian? What if they were anything?” And then when you speak to somebody about it, well, what are you? Racist? No, I’m not racist.
Well, apparently you can say what's on your mind, as "Joe" did,  but he doesn't tell us what the people he was talking to did when he said the stuff that he just said he couldn't say. ("When you speak to somebody about it, well, what are you? Racist?" is the sort of vague device you use when you're imagining what other people might say, not reporting it.) Did they Twittermob or cancelculture him? Or was Joe just talking to himself in his cubicle, again, as co-workers quietly decided to take a coffee break outside? Oddly his interrogator doesn't ask.  

Here's one with more detail from "Danny":
About a year and a half ago, I was the president of one of the homeowners’ associations in our community. An Asian woman got into an argument with us. When I say “us,” I mean the whole board. That night, she went and wrote a review on my business page saying that I’m a racist. My parents are Lebanese. I was beaten up every day when I was a kid because I’m Arabic. But I’m born in America. I’m not racist. I love cultures. I love languages. She wrote a nasty review, and Google won’t take it down, even though she wasn’t a client of mine. She’d never bought a house from me. She never did business with me, but she said that I’m a racist. That’s what’s happening today. And that never happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago. And you know what’s worse? You can’t stop it.
So, he got in a fight with some lady and she gave him a bad fake review, which sucks, but it happens a lot -- reviews on social media are often malicious and weaponized. But this woman called him racist first, and that's the key detail for "Danny." You can get a further sense of his priorities in a later comment, when the boys are asked about masculinity:
I’m not trying to get into a negative men-versus-women thing, but I’m seeing masculinity under attack. And I’m seeing men wearing tight skinny jeans, with no socks and velvet shoes. And it’s cool to wear pink. I don’t mind wearing pink. It’s a cool color. And I’m not saying colors belong with a certain gender. It’s so funny — this is what we were talking about earlier: Every time you speak, you don’t feel comfortable enough to say what’s on your mind, where you have to almost give a disclaimer. I have no problem with pink. But when we go out to a club or a dinner or dancing, you see some of the younger generation wearing very feminine clothes, blatantly feminine clothes — so much so that we are almost trying to portray masculinity as negative.
"Danny" doesn't describe the conversation that led to this insight, more's the pity. 

For a while I strongly suspected this was all a put-up job. But then I realized, this is the beauty of the cancelculture grift -- you keep telling people they're being cancelled and prevented from expressing themselves with absolutely zero evidence, and when they start feeding it back to stupid Times reporters, they feel no need to offer supporting anecdotes that make any sense, because they don't have any. It's just something they've been trained to say, and to attach to their sorrowful realization that no one in the big wide world gives a shit about them. Join the club, boys -- I'd say man up, too, but that's clearly beyond them.

Just one more, from "Joe," when they're talking about how women run everything:
What comes to mind is Governor Cuomo of New York — who I hate. I couldn’t stand him. I was so happy when he was gone. But maybe he was really trying to have a relationship with one of these women. I just feel like people just rush to judgment on things. But that goes back to the cancel culture idea, where they just look to go after people. There’s a mob, and then once they go after you, that’s it. You work in the workplace, you have to watch what you do. You want to pat someone on the back? Oh, whoa, that might be — you better be careful.

 "Joe" hates Cuomo, but has to give him credit -- at least the former Governor sexually harassed subordinates, and that's what a man does. 

Friday, April 08, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



When I'm asked what my favorite cover is, 
I usually say 
The Residents' "Viva Las Vegas." But this will also do.

•   Unlocked for your pleasure at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: “First Projects from Ben Shapiro’s Family Entertainment Company Revealed.” Yes, the pint-sized pundit actually claims he’s got $100 million lined up to challenge Disney, from which he expects to receive waves of apostates because Disney is “woke.” Since it’s obvious what kind of unwoke entertainment Shapiro fans would approve, I felt free to provide some likely synopses.

I’d love to give you folks some more freebies, but my crazy new plan is to suggest you pay to read what is, after all, a paid publication meant to insulate me and the missus from crushing poverty. It’s got everything: Five-day-a-week delivery, a lively mix of politics, humor, and arts journalism, a comically low price point ($7 a month, or 35 cents an issue), and above all me, God’s Lonely Man. It’s almost profligate not to subscribe! Get in there, my friends

•   I have to say that Sarah Palin’s return to American politics is rather like the later iterations of the Dennis Miller Show -- there’s a feeling of superfluity about it. The polity she helped destroy 14 years ago is such chaos now, I can’t imagine her wingnut Kabuki can break through the uproar. But it appears some of the conservative brain trust think she’s worth investing in:

Sarah Palin gets national endorsements, as Nick Begich keeps racking up local Alaskan endorsements

Since announcing that she’d like to be named Alaska’s next member of Congress, Sarah Palin has won the endorsements of political luminaries, such as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump.

Her closest competitor at this point, businessman Nick Begich, announced more endorsements from influential Alaskans: Rhonda Boyles, the co-chair of the 2020 Alaskans for Don Young campaign, [and former Governor Hickel staffer] Barbara Haney of Fairbanks.

Don’t it figure? People who would actually be represented by this person, who quit the governorship to focus on her career as a public nuisance, are not as keen about electing Palin to represent them as are other non-Alaskan political clownshows who have no interest in Alaska’s representation but could always use a hand dumbing down democracy. 

When in 2011 she seemed to withdraw entirely from politics I thought about the disappointment of her followers:

She was as close to a new Reagan as the Tea Party people had -- simultaneously  sunny and impenetrable, a great grinning billboard behind which they could safely wreak their bitter vengeance on the hippies, ethnics, and paupers on whom they blamed the modern world. How long will it take for them to move on, and where to? And -- here's a strange thought, coming from someone who expected to see her crowned [the 2012 GOP nominee] -- whether they did or not, are there enough of them that anyone will notice? Or was the whole idea that battalions of backwards-looking, flintlock-shouldering patriots marched with her just a scam as well? That would seem the cruelest thing for them to find: that they were doomed all along, and had only seemed close enough to victory to yearn for it because hucksters found profit in telling the world that they were.

As we now know, her true successor was Trump, whose career suggests that all the scam needed (along with some outside assistance) was an avatar with as little interest in actual public service as she had, but with a slightly more butch aspect that would convince the rubes he would in fact bring pain to everyone they hated.  Maybe if, when she was questioned as turkeys were slaughtered behind her in 2008, she’d thought to run back and smear her face with their blood and tell the interviewer that was what she planned to do with her enemies, history would have gone differently.  

Anyway: We'll always have Going Rogue

Friday, April 01, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


 Sure, insistent bass and jangly guitars, why not, still cool 

Here’s a freebie from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about the new thing on the right wing, which is GROOMERS -- that is, yelling it at people who oppose anti-gay laws like the Don’t Say Gay mess in Florida, or at Disney for having cartoons with gay characters. 

If you’re a normal person you understand this to be an accusation that the person or company is trying to get children to have sex with adults. This is a very serious charge indeed, and one that normal people would be unlikely to believe without substantial proof -- that is, something considerably more than registration in the Democratic Party and a belief that gay people are normal and what’s actually perverse is acting like their very existence is a threat to children. In fact, normal people would probably find making such charges absent proof to be a repulsive act, and wonder what the hell is wrong with the accuser. 

If, however, you are a QAnon type, as about a quarter of Republicans are, you believe all Democrats are part of the Spirit Cooking Pizzagate Sex Perv Conspiracy, and these accusations will excite you to vote and march and perhaps commit violent crimes

This is why you’ve seen conservatives spreading the accusation in weird stories like the Fox News testimonial of one Kristan Hawkins -- a concerned mom and, coincidentally, president of Students for Life of America -- that the cartoon Turning Red, with its symbolic allusion to a girl’s first period and its tween crushes (it's rated PG, for parental guidance), “grooms children for abortions and sexual promiscuity… Disney leadership is actively pushing children out of Neverland and directly into an adult’s sexualized world, where they can be groomed for others enjoyment.”

As you might imagine, Rod Dreher is totally out of control on this -- here are some of his allusions to grooming from just the past week:

Mickey Mouse is a groomer...

Most people are uncomfortable with gender ideology now, but a generation or two raised on woke Disney, and all of woke Disney’s allies in the Cathedral, will likely have been tamed, co-opted, and groomed...

Most Americans do not want their little kids groomed by woke classroom ideologues to embrace a queer identity...

Americans are broadly tolerant of trans people, but they correctly draw the line at grooming children. I hope that the suits at the Walt Disney Company, the leading corporate groomer of children, are soiling their pants over these poll numbers...

If we as a country and as a society cannot protect our children from having their minds colonized by these groomers, what use are we?...

UPDATE: Groomers. They are all groomers...

Etc. Perhaps the most rancid thing about this is the way the slur-throwers insist they’re not really saying what they’re clearly saying and hoping their loony followers will believe -- Dreher, again, in his story (I’m not even kidding) “Democrats: Party of Groomers”:

About the term “groomers”: it’s usually used to describe pedophiles who are preparing innocent kids for sexual exploitation. I think it is coming to have a somewhat broader meaning: an adult who wants to separate children from a normative sexual and gender identity, to inspire confusion in them, and to turn them against their parents and all the normative traditions and institutions in society. It may not specifically be to groom them for sexual activity, but it is certainly to groom them to take on a sexual/gender identity at odds with the norm. And it’s working…

The passive locution “it is coming to have a somewhat broader meaning” suggests Dreher believes he has Humpty Dumpty power over the general understanding of common English words, which given his ineptitude as a wordsmith is rich. But you don’t have to be particularly skilled to throw shit, though it does help if you can keep people from noticing that your hands are covered with it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

ROY’S OSCAR PREDICTIONS, FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

Regulars will know that I have a childhood love of the dumb old Academy Awards and have been running my own annual predix for years, usually not very successfully but sometimes beating the spread in the Best Picture and Best Actor and other categories. Even if you don’t want the betting advice, you can just share my appreciation of the excellent nominees and the fun of the guessing game.

This year I’ve seen all the nominated films, and you can see my reviews at these links --Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, CODA, King Richard, Belfast, The Power of the Dog, and Dune

I’ve also seen all the nominated performances and nearly all of the other major nominees -- which in my experience is actually not helpful for predicting, because I can be swayed by quality and pure enthusiasm into error. But I did my best, and included second-guesses. Onward! 

L Best Picture: The Power of the Dog. I don’t see any way around it. I keep hearing intelligent people -- including the New York TimesKyle Buchanan -- say that CODA will win Best Picture. But, quite apart from it being the absolute worst film of the batch, CODA doesn’t have the traditional profile of the five previous No Best Director Nominee Best Pictures (Green Book, Argo, Driving Miss Daisy, Grand Hotel and Wings). Some of those films are sentimental in some way, as is CODA, but they also have at least one established star or, at the very least, a grizzled old-timer lead or two. (Sorry, Marlee Matlin!) With its teen lead and funny-horny parents, CODA would be a run-of-the-mill YA picture but for the deaf angle, and I don’t think that’s enough, especially since the Academy has elected art films the past two years in row -- could they backslide into feel-good goo-goo-ga-ga for such an unworthy product? Not out of the question, but to me at best CODA’s more like Breaking Away -- a scrappy also-ran. 

The other real serious contender (though I wouldn't completely count out the sentimental-but-actually-good Belfast) is Dune, an impressive chunk of movie- and money-making. But this is the same Academy that hasn’t put up any Star Wars films for any serious awards since 1978. Since the days of five nominees, at least one Best Picture slot has usually been dedicated to a big, sleek Cadillac of a movie that shows lots of flash -- but these only win when you can take them to heart, and Dune is just too freakish for that. (You could say the same for The Shape of Water, a Cadillac/art film hybrid, but that was also a love story.) Plus, The Power of the Dog is just really, really good. [If not: Dune.]

W Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard. I really liked his performance; that it was delivered under the hagiographic pressure of Richard Williams’ still-living and powerful daughters makes the achievement even more remarkable. This is a rich field but Will Smith is a beloved figure in Hollywood and these guys really want to give it to him. [If not: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog.]

L Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter. This is a tough one. Penelope Cruz is fantastic in Parallel Mothers but even with her moments of maternal horror it’s simply too subtle a performance for the Academy. Nicole Kidman did a creditable Lucille Ball, right down to Ball’s control freakishness -- which deprives her of the big emotional scene(s) that might have advanced her nomination. Spencer is a weird movie and Kristin Stewart’s Diana meets its challenge perfectly, but I think the eccentricity of the project cuts against her. 

That leaves Colman and Jessica Chastain, who in The Eyes of Tammy Faye really kills it; her and the other actors’ playing style is broad but rich in emotional truth, and she makes a woman who’s mainly remembered as a figure of fun into a sympathetic and even, ultimately, heroic figure. (Who didn’t feel that last parallel clip of Chastain and the real Tammy Faye deep in their gut?) The only question is whether the Academy will reward that kind of bravura loser story; it didn’t with Margot Robbie and I, Tonya

Colman’s performance, like Cruz’s, is subtle, but the character is not just experiencing shocks but also having an extended breakdown that’s brilliantly delineated by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s script and direction (and Jessie Buckley’s eerie flashback performance). And Colman approaches it with the guts of a cat burglar -- I was at several points shocked by how ugly and blinkered she allowed her character to be, yet I always saw where she was coming from (if only in retrospect) and was rooting for her all the way. Also the Academy has shown with Hilary Swank and Frances McDormand (and Luise Rainer and Katharine Hepburn) that it doesn’t mind giving Best Actress to the same woman within the same decade. [If not: Chastain.]

W Best Director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog. [If not: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast.]
W Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur, CODA. [If not: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast.]
W Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story. [If not: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog.]

These are the kind of sucker bets I usually miss, but not this year! I’m sticking with the conventional wisdom. (Here’s my demurrer, though: If some older voters felt themselves giving short shrift to CODA and the gooey sentiment it represents, maybe Branagh has an outside shot.)

W Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser, Dune. All five movies are beautifully shot but Dune, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Nightmare Alley are the least imaginable without their distinctive look. I would tip it toward Bruno Delbonnel, but the Academy may feel black and white is cheating. And Dune is the Cadillac of the bunch. [If not: Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth.

W Best Screenplay (Adapted): Siân Heder, CODA. It’s ludicrous, but if the news of a CODA groundswell is at all true, this will get past The Power of the Dog. (A spasm of insight would shift it to Gyllenhaal’s structurally brilliant script.) [If not: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter.]

L Best Screenplay (Original): Adam McKay and David Sirota, Don’t Look Up. I was sure the backlash this film got from liberal know-betters would redound in the film industry, but this actually won the Writers Guild of America Award, among others. I guess it’s because Adam McKay does writing that really feels written -- almost as much as Aaron Sorkin, but he’s not up this year. [If not: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast.] 

L Best Film Editing: Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum, tick, tick… BOOM! As the year’s big-movie nominee, Dune should tend to prevail in craft awards unless wildly outclassed, and I frankly admire that Joe Walker and Denis Villeneuve made sense of a convoluted story and kept the battle scenes intelligible. But the underdog rumblings for tick, tick… BOOM!, unlike the rumblings for CODA, make sense to me: It’s such a brilliant assemblage of a messy story (with a first-time director), and it catches the rhythm of both the music and the lead’s hyperactivity. [If not: Walker, Dune.]

W Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer, Dune. As important as the unified visual style of Dune is, I can’t imagine it without the score -- it’s mixed way loud whenever no one is talking and with its blend of noises and actual music it really carries the far-outness of the thing -- it's practically an athletic composing performance.  [If not: Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog]

L Best Art Direction: Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau, Nightmare Alley. Dune has a great unified vision but so do all the contenders, and -- well, the nearly-expressionistic Nightmare Alley sets are just too good. Also, in this category, the past trumps the future. [If not: Adam Stockhausen and Rena DeAngelo, West Side Story.]

W Best Make-Up: The Eyes of Tammy Faye. [If not: House of Gucci.]

W Best Song: "No Time to Die," No Time to Die, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. [If not: “Sometimes You Do,” Four Good Days, Diane Warren.]

W Best Sound: Dune. [If not: West Side Story.]

W Best Visual Effects: Dune. [If not: Oh who are we kidding.]

W Best Costume Design: Cruella. [If not: Cyrano.]

These I am really, really just guessing at:

L Best Animated Feature: Flee.
W Best Documentary Feature: Summer of Soul*.
W Best International Film: Drive My Car.
L Best Live Action Short: On My Mind.
W Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball.
W Best Animated Short: The Windshield Wiper.

Place your bets [not with me, I’m unlicensed] and see you tonight! (Oh BTW, cutting eight categories from the telecast including Editing, Score, and Production Design is straight-up bullshit.)

*UPDATE: One hour since posting, I have already copped out on the Documentary Feature category -- I figure if they give Flee Best Animated Feature they'll feel they've done their bit, while Summer of Soul is a blast of joy that people really want in their lives. OK, I'll stop fiddling with it! 

UPDATE 2, 7:20 pm: Just letting you true vipers know they've started giving out the pre-ceremony Oscars and I'm doing great: Got Best Sound, Best Doc Short, and Best Animated Short right!  They gave Best Live Action Short to Riz Ahmed's anti-racist anti-fascist The Long Goodbye, which I thought was too pushy-prop but apparently they liked it. (I did like the rap, though.) So I'm three for four so far, hooray! 

UPDATE 3, 7:45 pm: But now I'm fading! Dune took Best Editing and Best Production Design. But it also won Best Score and The Eyes of Tammy Faye won the makeup award. It's not too late for me to pull it out.

UPDATE 4. Three hosts is [said with a rich lady gangsta lilt] attrition by addition [dance move]. 

UPDATE 5. That's just a matter of timing. Look, by herself Schumer is a stitch, especially making fun of Leonardo DiCaprio and young girls. The Steve Martin gag still works! 

UPDATE 6. After Ariana DeBose's speech I feel like a little theater kid sitting on the floor in front of the TV sniffling. Brava! 

UPDATE 7. I'm doing great but am mainly commenting on Twitter -- to the extent possible, because I want to relax and enjoy these. But you know me -- I'm a kibbitzer. 

UPDATE 8. Someone should have told Will Smith that Frank Sinatra never smacked people around when the cameras were rolling.  

UPDATE 9. Well. I still think CODA is a drag, but one of the venerable Oscar traditions is bitching about how Oscar doesn't know what it's talking about, and my 73% score is not so bad. So, really, we're all winners! From Hollywood for Ugly People, Good Night! 

Friday, March 25, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

Mike Watt on bass so you already know, right?

•   I’ve done it, I cry with a hearty mad-scientist laugh -- I’ve seen all the 2022 Best Picture Oscar nominees! This makes me feel swell and, along with the other category nominees I’ve seen, it makes me feel qualified to make predictions, as I do every year, usually without great success (though sometimes with!). If you return here Sunday afternoon I will have those predictions for you, for entertainment purposes only. 

Meantime I have unlocked all the reviews of the 10 nominated films I did at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- here are links: Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, CODA, King Richard, Belfast, The Power of the Dog, and Dune

•   This is a good week for REBID releases -- the SCOTUS hearings one and the convoy update are also open. Don’t expect much of this for a while, though -- I need more paid subscriptions and here I am giving it away like a good-hearted farm girl in the big city. 

If things don’t pick up I may have to become a cancelculture crybaby -- that’s how you make the really big money on Substack! Speaking of which, I notice that racket has gone international big-time:

This really sums up something about our current shit discourse -- not only that cancelculture is such bullshit that anyone, no matter how obviously evil, depraved, and criminal, can pick it up and go boo hoo hoo look how unfair my enemies are! In fact, Putin has the two key characteristics of a cancelculture crybaby: He’s an aggressor against a weaker enemy whom he seeks to portray as the Real Bully, and Rod Dreher loves him

•   I will add that, like everyone else in America, I know no one will do anything about Clarence Thomas’ wife being a total QAnon lunatic who colluded with insurrectionists to overturn the 2020 election and Thomas refusing to recuse himself in a case that would reveal that. And that’s why these bastards keep doing it, and won’t stop until they’ve fucked this country up beyond redemption. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

COURT AND STARK.

I have released today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, which manages to convey all the thrills and much of the bullshit of the Ketanji Jackson Brown hearings in just a few minutes. 

As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, Republicans have brought culture war gibberish to SCOTUS confirmation hearings before, but the level of it in these hearings is off the charts, and I know why: Because if conservatives revealed in these hearings what they really want out of the Court, normal Americans would recoil in horror. (In fact, outside the chambers, Republican Senator Mike Braun denounced Loving v Virginia and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn denounced Griswold v Connecticut; it was as if they compelled to expose themselves -- or to test the waters.)

Thus they wave children’s books and quiz the judge on female anatomy to distract from their malicious judicial agenda. Their rubes, instead of complaining that their Senators didn’t stop this black lady from furthering darkening the Court, will feel satisfied that they made a big stink against Wokemob Cancelculture, and (they hope) ordinary people will only notice that the usual dull yammering noise about the usual stupid topics is going on, and ignore their more sinister purpose.