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The Wachowski Brothers Misled a Movement

Remember, remember the…time the Wachwoski Brothers constructed a magnificently alliterative monologue that was, unfortunately, misleading at its core.

Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me “V”.

Fantastic. That is up there with any Nabakov in terms of alliterative prowess. However, I would direct your attention to the third sentence, which is specifically in reference to the Guy Fawkes mask V famously wears throughout most of the film:

This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished.

Translated into normal human speech, he’s basically stating that his Guy Fawkes face isn’t just for the looks or the fashionable facial hair, but represents the voice of the people which is now missing, presumably due to government oppression.

The issue with this line, not originally featured in the source material, Alan Moore’s comics published from 1982 to 1989, is that it is almost completely false. Guy Fawkes never represented the voice of the people. He was a vehemently anti-Protestant and was part of a plot that would have replaced England’s monarchy with a Catholic theocratic monarchy. A theocratic monarchy, on the understated end, would have almost certainly been as oppressive as the status quo.

That message seems entirely lost to the people who are under the impression that Fawkes represents some sort of anti-establishment/anti-oppression ideal. The guy was part of the establishment — it just happened to be the establishment that did not want to lose more power and influence to their political and religious rivals and sought to oppress a different group of people. Obviously, this is a simplified explanation, but there is a point to keeping it this simple — you would think someone would read the Cliffnotes and think, “Hmm, maybe this guy isn’t the best symbol for what we’re going for here…”

A Brief Post-Sandy Interview with John Stossel

John Stossel is adamant that the free market will sort everything out in post-Sandy disaster zones, such as New Jersey. In a painfully predictable Fox News op-ed, he criticized Governor Chris Christie for enforcing New Jersey’s law that restricts price increases above 10% during times of emergency. According to Stossel, the libertarian patron saint of the Mustachioed Month of  Mouvember, people in Jersey would not be suffering the long lines at the pump if they would simply be willing to suffer price gouging and, uh, not having fuel at all.

The Indelible caught up with John Stossel and asked him to illustrate the government’s duty to citizens in times of emergency.

His response:

h/t @ Wonkette 

Caring Might Not Be Enough

Yesterday, Washington Post published an opinion piece by Richard Cohen, highlighting how President Obama seemed to be a man without passion for the issues he pursued throughout his first term. According to Cohen, the president spent significant political capital on passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but that was never his crusade, and he spent very little time speaking passionately in favor of it. After a comparison with Robert F. Kennedy, Cohen concludes that “Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his political survival.”

The article is worth a read, but I have a fundamental disagreement with Cohen on what Obama could have possibly done in terms of espousing those causes that are bigger than his political survival. By nearly any measure, President Obama ran a centrist, if not right of center, administration and still came up against unparalleled resistance from opposition that outright vowed to make him a one-term president. If Mr. Obama came armed with huge liberal causes, that resistance would not only come from the Republicans in Congress, but many moderate Democrats. The country is just that right of center at present. Considering he was also greeted by a flailing and volatile economy on his first day in office, there was just too much that required immediate attention to ‘care’ too much about the bigger issues. I am not making excuses for the president; I feel strange every time I take it on myself to defend the ACA, which is inadequate compared to actual universal health care, but it was easily the best of two viable options and lays the groundwork for the future.

As I alluded to in my earlier, I do not believe the American public is ready to support (with their votes) something they may even appreciate.  That is not disparagement of the voting public; it is appreciation for the power of interests that convince voters to vote against their own interests. Many people appreciate the lifesaving benefits of the ACA’s individual clauses, but opt to run with the narrative they are inundated with: it is a big government takeover, freedom, etc. Any grand effort on by the president would be up against these interests.

The kind of gambit that Mr. Obama could have taken with any number of issues would have been unlikely to go into effect, and even if they did, would have gone largely unappreciated. However, Mr. Obama’s presidency has quietly led us left from the far right where the Bush Administration left us, if not quite as far enough for liberals, progressives, and people who bought into the 2008 campaign rhetoric with no cynicism for what one man can do in four years. I personally take issue with the administration’s treatment of human rights, but it’s not as if a vote for any other candidate that has a shot would change that situation for the better. Given another four years, I believe that the Obama administration will continue to move America back towards a true, moderate center and make those sweeping causes more palatable to the American public.  If the will of the nation is behind positive changes, it will be far more sustainable than the will of one man.

Re-Organization of Content

A quick note on re-organization:

I love music and speculative fiction, but I am fortunate enough to possess a range of other interests. Since there is zero outside pressure or other authors dictating the content of this blog, I have decided to expand this to include many of my other interests, ranging from the web at large, sports, politics, film, television, etc. I enjoy creating content, but have had multiple instances where I’ve felt confined on this page when I should not. So while extending apologies to anybody who began to follow this blog because of the original scope, I do hope I can continue to entertain you with the expanded content.

Best,

IM

crave you

It’s true. I crave you. This is on re-p-p-p-p-peat.

Not Back From Hiatus Because There Was No Hiatus

Well, that was an interesting two months of hiatus. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen.

  • This isn’t breaking news, but Raymond E. Feist has been writing the final series set in his Midkemia world. When I think of fantasy stories I grew up on, Feist easily tops the list, and I feel like I have spent a lot of time in this particular world he created. So in preparation for the end, I decided to do a little re-reading. Instead of going all the way back, I started with the Krondor’s Sons duology, Prince of the Blood and The King’s Buccaneer. It’s always a somewhat bittersweet experience re-reading the work of an author ascending towards the top of his game when his more recent work has been underwhelming. These two books in particular serve as the bridge between the Riftwar Saga and the Serpentwar Saga. The Serpentwar Saga is where I think Feist was at the absolute top of his game in terms of plotting and pacing; his writing itself is usually so-so and easy to follow, but he actually threw some complexity and serious world-building into the the Serpentwar Saga. The book I specifically think of when I say this is the second book in the series, Rise of a Merchant Prince, which is up there as one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time. This stuff is my fried chicken; it’s comfort reading that does not ask me to think too much and sometimes that’s all I want. Needless to say, I am going to enjoy re-reading the rest over the next few months.
  • SpaceX made history today with the first ever commercial space bound rocket launch. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon, a capsule containing supplies bound for the International Space Station, into orbit. The success of this mission is obviously a big deal to many people and organizations, most notably NASA; along with the indefinite cancellation of government shuttle launches, this development has the potential for shifting the landscape on private sector involvement in space activities.
  • And since we dream big around here, let’s flash forward to the future of space travel. Faster-than-light (FTL) travel is “impossible”, but since when has that stopped us? Popular Mechanics did a piece on the plausibility of the 10 most popular FTL systems in science fiction, so check it out.

February

February was busy approaching absurd — I didn’t do much besides work, but here are some quick updates:

– Finished Great Sky River — I mentioned in my last post how this was slow going, but I’m glad to say it picked up towards the end. I began reading the subsequent book in the series, Tides of Light, and powered through a good amount of it on a flight to Tanzania towards the end of the month.

– Finally watched Drive. That Ryan Gosling sure is dreamy when he stares off into nothing. I had listened to the soundtrack pretty extensively before I ever watched the movie, but gained a new appreciation for the tracks because they suited the film so well.

– Watched all of USA Network’s White Collar. Slick, stylish, and an extremely likable cast of protagonists/supporting characters. I’d recommend it for anyone who loves stylish capers. Good luck not getting lost in Matt Bomer’s eyes and missing the whole plot though.

– Watched In Time on a flight. I was a little disappointed, considering the movie was done by the director of Gattaca, one of my all time favorites, but it was fine. Justin Timberlake’s ability to consistently not be the most terrible thing in all the movies he’s appeared in is pretty impressive, all things considered. Amanda Seyfried still hasn’t done any good work since Mean Girls. Olivia Wilde helps redefine MILF in this movie. Oh and Matt Bomer makes an appearance too.

– Watched Moneyball on another flight — strong performance from Brad Pitt, and I’m a huge sucker for inspirational sports movies. The Academy is not, apparently.

– Getting the itch to read some old school Raymond E. Feist fantasy again. Will expand more later.