Monday, November 20, 2017

Bewildered

International news outlets are reporting that there's been a military coup against Robert Mugabe, and that he is going to be impeached. I hope everything works out ok, though I'm not sure what the military will do with their power. Also, there's some kind of power struggle going on in Saudi Arabia that I don't understand. The world is becoming very perplexing these days, and it doesn't help that US media keeps ignoring global news to focus on the shitshow in America.

Anyway, now there's a Franken accuser who actually mentions physical touching. Will the stupid defensive deniers back off now about their "he didn't really touch her! It was just a joke, not harassment!" arguments? Satisfied now, or just going to attack her politics? Fuck you!

Meanwhile Jeffrey Tambor says he won't return to Transparent and made a stupid statement about the "politicized atmosphere" there. Dude, it's not politics. You're not making yourself look innocent and you're just encouraging other people to talk about a so-called witch hunt. I don't really care about Tambor's show, because I never watch things on Amazon, and I was always side-eyeing the show for casting Tambor instead of a trans actress. (I also still side-eye Arrested Development for its season 4 storyline about George turning feminine, which apparently inspired Amazon to cast Tambor as a trans woman. The George Bluth storyline is fucked-up and confused about what constitutes gender beyond a hormonal accident.)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Victim Blaming

A pipeline in South Dakota leaked 210 gallons of oil, and the Trump admin lifted the ban on importing elephant trophies from big game hunting.

Meanwhile, Al Franken was accused of harassment and groping on a USO tour. I never felt particularly close to him, though others obviously admired him as a senator, and I can understand being heartbroken about it like I still am over George Takei. I can even understand the impulse to not want him to resign, to keep crucial Democrat votes in the Senate. What I cannot understand, though, were the disappointing number of liberals on Daily Kos and other forums arguing technicalities over whether Franken actually touched her in the photo, or was just jokingly miming a grope. That doesn't fucking matter! What matters is that she was asleep, so she was not "in" on his tasteless joke. She could not consent or voice any opinion on whether she thought the crude humor was funny, no big deal, etc. It's creepy and gross, and I'm glad Franken acknowledges that now, though he still insists that the rehearsal kiss was different when he remembered it. At least he apologized and will cooperate with an ethics investigation.

What's worse is the number of Democrats insisting that it's all lies, a right-wing conspiracy, why didn't she come forward sooner, why did she continue on the USO tour with him, like her commitment to the troops didn't matter? Some even talking about how "feminists" are conducting a "witch hunt". Fuck you! I thought we all learned with the Weinstein scandal that it doesn't matter if the man's politics are left-leaning; we have to call out scumbags on our side too, especially when the other side won't. Sexual harassment/assault is always wrong even if the victim isn't somebody we like. Saying "it's just a joke! It wasn't that bad!" gives cover to all the fratboy abusers who tell victims "I was only kidding. Get a sense of humor" to excuse their offensive behavior. Fuck you people in denial.

If I can withstand George Takei breaking my heart, then why can't you stop defending Franken? Why can't you listen to Sarah Silverman's thoughts about her friend Louis C.K., asking "Can you love someone who did bad things?" Grow up and deal with it. Acknowledge that someone you like and respect might not be who you think they are. Do your best to get them to change, to protect other people, but don't deny the ugly truth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Congrats, Australia

Hooray for Australia voting in favor of same-sex marriage! Hopefully their Parliament quickly makes it legal.

Meanwhile I heard a "Christmas music" station playing a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". WTF? That's not a Christmas song! In fact it's rather sexually charged, alluding to David and Bathsheba. It's like someone mistaking Hozier's "Take Me To Church" for a religious song, just because of the lines about worshipping like a dog and the "Amen" refrain. Fucking listen to the lyrics.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

Speaking of where to draw the line... for years Johnny Depp seemed cool and lovably eccentric to me. I had a naive crush on him. But Depp's schtick wore thin over the years and then Amber Heard divorced him and revealed how abusive he was. So now that I'm actively disliking him, what films should I be avoiding solely because of him? It's easy to skip the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as that stupid franchise is way past its prime. And yet Hollywood insists on shoving Depp into other franchises, like making him a surprise villain in that Harry Potter spinoff, and Branagh casting him in Orient Express.

I was willing to tolerate Depp in this role because I know Ratchett is the victim who dies, so I was hoping we'd be done with him very quickly. Branagh unfortunately lets him linger quite a while, and the rest of the movie doesn't make up for it. The film is mediocre, and Branagh inserted some past love Katherine for Poirot. If you're going to shoehorn in a backstory for him, at least make it Vera Rossakoff, who's in the actual Christie books! The movie is not as bad an abomination as the David Suchet version, but it's like Branagh didn't learn the lesson from that awful version, that he in fact might admire that version. Blech.

SPOILERS BELOW

Can't have nice things

The accusation against George Takei is so damn distressing. Takei denies it, and yet there's apparently some audio of him on Howard Stern's show talking about grabbing somebody. (aside--Howard Stern's sense of humor as yucky as ever.) The accuser's account is so damn detailed, and he wants nothing but an apology, and he was outraged by Takei's response about Kevin Spacey. Many people are still defending and trusting Takei, but I think of Louis C.K.'s confession, admitting that his fans admired him so much that they would attack any accusers. I think of the years that no one believed Cosby's victims because they thought he was a wonderful father figure. I don't want to be blindly in denial just because I don't want the accusation to be true, just because I look to Takei as a hero, an icon, an activist. Just because I like his politics, and loved his Broadway show about Japanese internment.

I have to remember that a man can be good and right about some things, but completely terrible about others. That it's dangerous to invest your heart and ideals in a man you don't really know, but only admire from afar. I remember when I was a kid I loved Thomas Jefferson so much, knowing that he owned slaves, and there were rumors about him and Sally Hemings. I made excuses for him, looking to his statements about the evils of slavery, about him trying to put it in the Declaration of Independence, about him being a kind master. Because for some reason I could accept some contradictions about him being a man of his time, but I didn't want to think he was SUCH a complicit hypocrite that he would actually father Sally's children. But after the DNA evidence in the 1990s, I gave up such illusions, and so did most Jefferson scholars. I don't want to live in stubborn denial, just because I don't want an allegation to be true. Just because I find it heartbreaking and disappointing.

I don't know how to feel about Takei now. Ironically, I wanted his character to recur on Fresh Off The Boat, and apparently he is in the upcoming Thanksgiving episode. Be careful what you wish for? I have to always remember the painful lesson, that humans can be myopic bastards, thinking themselves heroes instead of villains, even when they do villainous things. Even people we love, look to as leaders and role models, can be secretly garbage. Heck, even when people are known to be rapists, like Roman Polanski, they will still have admirers praising them and working with them. Talking about separating the man from his art. Everyone has to make that choice for themselves, where they draw the line of what to boycott. I still have to make mine about Takei.

Friday, November 10, 2017

TV developments

I'm glad that Fresh Off the Boat is actually committed to the storyline of Nicole being gay. I thought it might just be a one off episode never mentioned again. She continues her friendship with Eddie, and now she has come out to her parents. (Well her stepmom and her dad. Don't know about her mom.) I delayed seeing this week's episode because this plot wasn't mentioned; the promos made it seem like the Jessica would be an obnoxious, competitive softball monster in this episode, and I thought it would be cringeworthy and ugly, rather than funny. But no, the softball game wasn't that much of the episode, and Jessica finally realized that lesbians exist, and that her favorite bar was a lesbian bar. Good character growth for her and Marvin.

Black-ish had a fairly good episode too about rites of passage for the kids. Bow's mom even came to visit. I liked the episode of Finding Your Roots this week, also, though I got mixed up about some of the genealogy. I wish they would do only two people an episode. Three stories is hard to keep track of.

Supergirl finally addressed the fallout from that lead-bomb from last season. Lead is toxic to humans, not just Daxamite aliens, and there is NO amount of lead exposure that is safe for humans. They're handwaving it away that the Daxamites absorbed most of it, but I still don't see how that would work. Lena really seemed troubled and hopeless when she thought she was guilty. At one point I thought she was going to confess that she knows that Kara is Supergirl, but I guess I was wrong. I wish Lena had confessed what she knew to Kara about the chemicals, instead of doing the stupid thing confronting Edge alone. Sad that Alex and Maggie broke up, though they had a sweet loving last night together. I still don't like how the reveal of Reign is so damn slow. Is it going to take all season?