Photos of J.P. Fielder, spokesman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

American politics made easy.” Washington state Sen. Joseph Zarelli provides a one-sentence explanation of how it all works.

J.P. Fielder, spokesman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

In Rick Perry’s newest ad, he announces that he’s “not ashamed to talk about my faith.” The Texas governor professes his devotion to the God of Abraham, Isaac and … and … oops.

Michele Bachmann is a wimpy appeaser of North Korea — she hasn’t yet suggested any plans to close down America’s non-existent embassy in Pyongyang.

Gingrich: Put Poor Kids to Work Cleaning Schools

Yes, he really suggested that public schools lay off their custodians, replacing them with cheaper labor from poor kids who need the money (since their parents’ just got laid-off from their jobs as school custodians).

Gingrich also said that “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and nobody around them who works. … They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods” there barely even counts as a racial code-word.

J.P. Fielder, spokesman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

So what we have here is an old white man from Georgia saying that black kids are lazy and have no work ethic. This old white man from Georgia also refers to himself as a historian. He needs to brush up on the history of Georgia.

But for the record, Newt Gingrich’s agenda for poor children involves teaching them to say, “I do this and you give me cash.”

Speaking of messages encoded with racist crap: Why does Roger Ailes allow straight-up, old-school racism on his Fox News network?

1. Because Roger Ailes is an unprincipled failure of a human being, and thus if he thinks straight-up, old-school racism will effectively serve the political interests that serve his financial interests, then he’ll use it.

2. Because Roger Ailes is also, himself, a straight-up, old-school racist.

3. The question isn’t why Roger Ailes would do this sort of thing, the question is why so many viewers tolerate it.

This is pretty cool: “Announcing the 2012 Paideia Prize Winner: Mr. Wendell Berry

This is even cooler: “Kepler confirms first planet found in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star

J.P. Fielder, spokesman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ritch Duncan: “How my book became part of the ‘satanic sex stabbing‘”

Ed Brayton: “The Origins of ‘In God We Trust’

Real Simple:How to Wrap a Present

Obamacare saved seniors $600 apiece this year.

I’m a big fan of Batman Year One, and I treasure my original copies of the Daredevil “Born Again” series, but, geez, Frank Miller really has turned into a grumpy, irrelevant old fart, hasn’t he?

America Edges to Brink of Armed Police Drones” (And the urge to re-watch season one of Dark Angel grows stronger.)

Homeowners associations: For people who value the aesthetics of conformity more than freedom.

Mistermix offers a clinic in quality snark: “L.A. Police Support Occupy Movement

And, finally, are those really pictures of “J.P. Fielder, spokesman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce”? “I don’t have an answer.”

 

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  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know what I have concluded recently?  One of the biggest sources of evil in the world is willful insularity.  

    I am saying this because the comment about Roger Ailes and Fox News is one example of it, with their “make people distrust other news sources so we have a captive audience” strategy.  However, you also see it in things like the WBC.  An article I read earlier today from an interview reveals that the members there are generally joyous, rather than hate-filled, and that is born from being insulated against all the hate they spew.  They never have to see it from someone else’s point of view, because that would be “worldly pollution.”  Speaking of which, Fred’s previous post is yet another example of that kind of insularity leading to evil.  

    At the core of it, it is just a way of wrapping oneself in ignorance, or more broadly, convincing other people to wrap themselves in ignorance so you can maintain control over them.  It is not evil in itself, but I think that it inevitably leads to evil, allows it to germinate and grow.  

  • Anonymous

    Man, every time Fred does one of these link-filled posts, my laptop speed drops through the floor (and the number of open tabs goes through the roof). Somehow, the link explaining what’s up with J. P. Fielders wound up at the end of the queue. *gets digging*

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    For some reason, the story of the ‘Satanic Sex Stabbing’ hokem reminds me of Catholic legends about martyred virgins.  You can look up the stories yourself if you like.  Suffice here to say that there’s a noticible pattern of forced public nudity in these tales.  And stabbing.  Lots and lots of repetitive stabbing.    

    And now we have this modern myth that’s even more blatantly misogynistic than those Dark Age tall tales.  A warning against the hellish fury that’s unleashed when you let women do the pricking.  Good work modern media. 

  • Anonymous

    “In Rick Perry’s newest ad, he announces that he’s “not ashamed to talk about my faith.” The Texas governor professes his devotion to the God of Abraham, Isaac and … and … oops.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh that’s still not old.

  • Arynne

    And Alan Moore responds:

    “It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.”

    Oh, SNAP.

    http://www.honestpublishing.com/news/the-honest-alan-moore-interview-part-2-the-occupy-movement-frank-miller-and-politics/ 

  • Anonymous

    BAHAHAHAHA. Alan Moore, you are my favorite.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    “Everybody’s
    been too damn polite about this nonsense:
    The “Occupy”
    movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland
    (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an
    exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of
    louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and
    putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.”

    Good news everyone!  I’ve invented a machine that forces you to read this in my voice!

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, the first time I read this comment, I read it in the voice of Professor Farnsworth.
    It’s not as funny with Rorschach’s voice.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    You’re right.  It totally works better. 

    “Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.
     Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.
    And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
     In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I tend to think that Zapp’s “inspirational speech” was more along the lines you are referring to. 

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Heartland:

    “They will look up and yell ‘Tax the rich!’ and I will look down and whisper ‘Aglets!’ ‘Take a bath, hippie!'”

  • Anonymous

    Their purpose, after all, is sinister….

  • Anonymous

    The trauma unit should get prepped up to deal with that sick burn.

    Anyway, I guess it’s good to know that some Republicans don’t even have enough shame to conceal the fact that they want to bring back the workhouses of Dickensian infamy.

  • Launcifer

    Someone got there first, sorta (This comic is worksafe, though racism-spoofery trigger warnings abound).

    For added anvilicious (and for those who perhaps haven’t seen it), it’s a spoof of this Old Spice advert.

  • Launcifer

    Sorry, Throne it. It should be this comic. Me and my flipping something-something-something-fu.

  • Launcifer

    I should also have mentioned that a couple of the comments seem to arise from people who, if they aren’t quite nestled within the sphincter of humanity, are certainly within farting distance of it. My apologies and… you know what? I figure trying to post a vaguely amusing diversion from my attempts to find a region 2 copy of Sling and Arrows for a friend’s Christmas present has been far more trouble than it was ever worth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9700052 Joseph Parmalee

    A much more measured and intelligent response than the Rick Moody one cited in Fred’s original post. Thanks, Mr. Moody, I’m glad you think the work of people like Alan Moore is “made expressly to engage the attentions of pre- and just post-pubescent boys,” and “so politically dim-witted, so pie-in-the-sky idealistic as to be hard to take seriously.” I’m sure it’s much easier to read one issue of Superman from the 1970’s than actually think about progressive and politically engaged authors/artists like Moore, Warren Ellis, Marjane Satrapi, but it does your article no favors.

    Disgusting.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Warren Ellis is awesome!  I loved Transmetropolitan.  Amusingly, if you follow Ellis’ twitter feed, you will find that Spider Jerusalem’s language is only mildly less self-censored than Ellis’ own, at times.  

  • Anonymous

    Ive heard said that Patrick Stewart is a big Transmet fan and is still nudging for a Transmet movie.

    Come on.  You know you want to hear Captain Picard screaming ‘LISTEN TO THE CHAIR LEG OF TRUTH!’

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    IT DOES NOT LIE!

    … yeah, you can tell why I like it.  I need a Chair Leg of Truth, or maybe a Clue-By-Four.  

  • Anonymous

    ‘“It is very disappointing that we can’t celebrate the Christmas holiday the way that we religiously choose to,” says Buonanno.

    ‘Her home only has a holiday wreath on the door, since the Doylestown
    Station Condominium Association told her the bylaws do not allow colored
    Christmas lights.’ 

    Not to defend homeowners associations, but I am left wondering what religious texts call for colored lights in order to celebrate Christmas?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    What I take away from the story about the ritual bloodletting is that if they had just found a local non-profit kink club to perform this at with designated play-space managers and house safe-words, they could have avoided the ER visit and media attention.  

    Remember to practice safe kink!  

  • runsinbackground

    That part of my reaction to the story was overshadowed by the whole “if you get arrested the police might confiscate your personal library to use as evidence in your trial” thing. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my collection, I’m just a little worried what Fox News might make of the fact that I own a couple of William S. Burroughs novels.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I own a copy of The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions, and Testimony. I always wonder what the police would make of that.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I own a copy of The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions, and Testimony. I always wonder what the police would make of that.

    These days?  Probably some variation on “Spineless filthy HIPPIE!”.

  • Arresi

    Um, my video player isn’t working right and the ad keeps freezing, so could someone tell me what Rick Perry said?

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Basically nothing.

    There’s a transcript on the same page as the video.  I assumed there had to be more to it than that, but there isn’t.

    This is what he said:

    When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith. People want to know what drives you–how you make decisions.

    Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they’re wrong.

    I think we all need God’s help. America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, of strong values. That makes for a strong America.

    I’m Rick Perry. I’m not ashamed to talk about my faith. And I approve of this message.

    I note that he never indicates what that faith is.  If I assumed that he believes in the flying spaghetti monster and had faith in his houseplants, nothing he has said would make me think otherwise.

    Which makes me think that what he’s saying is inaccurate.  It’s not talking about his faith that he’s not ashamed to do, it’s talking about talking about his faith.

    Should be, “I’m Rick Perry. I’m not ashamed to talk about talking about my faith. And I approve of this message.”

    That said, I’m pretty sure he does talk about his faith all the time, just not, apparently, when that’s the actual topic.

  • Ken

    Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness.  (Rick Perry)

    And I have in my hand a list of two hundred Communists…

    Names, Mr. Perry.  Links, if you can manage it.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I have a confession to make.  I like Under Siege.  Though like various Steven Seagal movies the villains are significantly more interesting than the main character (and if you come in after they’ve taken over the ship, thus missing the [four?] murders they commit, arguably more likable.)

    It’s strange to find yourself thinking, “Ohh… *frowny face* Why can’t they win?  *beat* Right.  Because they want to nuke Honolulu and that would be bad.  That’s why they have to lose.  Good reason.”  Very strange indeed.

    Anyway, regardless, I liked the movie.  And other movies put down in the same article as well. (Though not 300.)

  • Randall M

    Under Siege is the only Segal movie that warrants viewing twice.  The sequel isn’t bad, either.

  • Anonymous

    In Rick Perry’s newest ad…

    Michele Bachman is a wimpy appeaser…

    Gingrich: Put Poor Kids to Work…

    Does this mean that you want Obama to face Romney?

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Buddy Roemer.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Does this mean that you want Obama to face Romney?

    Actually that is something I have been considering lately.  
    All the non-Romney Republican candidates have self-destructing under the spotlight, one-by-one.  The more reasonable candidates have survived by doing nothing, which could make Romney get the nomination by default.  The Evangelical block might dislike Romney on account of his being a Mormon, but they like Muslim politicians even less (even if who Romney would be going up against is not actually a Muslim.)  

    E.J. Dionne had an interesting OpEd on this.

  • Anonymous

    If you had to choose between these two, which candidate would you rather have win the Republican nomination:

    Romney, who probably has a better chance of defeating Obama, and who is considered by most political experts to be a moderate and, shall we say, bland?

    Or

    The Gingrinch, who would be an underdog in the general election, but who is considered an excellent debater and is more liked by conservatives and hated by Democrats (and thus would energize the bases of both parties), and who as president would offer more conservative federal policies and judicial nominees?

  • hapax

    Romney, who probably has a better chance of defeating Obama, and
    who is considered by most political experts to be a moderate and, shall
    we say, bland?

    Romney is only considered a “moderate” by the Bizarro standards of current USian politics, in which Ronald Reagan would be considered a “moderate” and Richard Nixon a dangerous pinko radical.

    And for someone who is thought to be “bland”, he reveals a darn vicious, nasty streak in his unscripted moments, and has managed to make career Republicans of practically every stripe (who, remember, are still governed by the “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican” commandment) viscerally hate and despise him in a way they can barely disguise.

  • Lori

    I once again find myself wondering what political world you live in.

    Romney, who probably has a better chance of defeating Obama, and
    who is considered by most political experts to be a moderate and, shall
    we say, bland? 

    Romney is considered by most political experts to be whatever he thinks the person he’s talking to at the moment wants him to be. He’s not moderate, because he’ll cave to the conservatives the minute they look at him funny. He’s not conservative because he’ll cave the minute he gets bad press for being a whack job.

    Of course he’s bland. His public self is not a human being, it’s a screen on which to project whatever he thinks will get him elected. That’s what political experts talk about when they talk about Mitt.

    The Gingrinch, who would be an
    underdog in the general election, but who is considered an excellent
    debater and is more liked by conservatives and hated by Democrats (and
    thus would energize the bases of both parties), and who as president
    would offer more conservative federal policies and judicial nominees?

    He’s not an excellent debater. He’s bombastic and he knows how to work the room when the room is inside the conservative Fox News bubble. He does considerably less well when he goes up against people who have a clue than he does when he does up against the morons he’s been facing in the GOP debates.

    Also, plenty of conservatives hate him. Many of the conservatives who hate him the most are well-known and influential within the GOP. Again, once he gets out of the bubble created by the primaries he’s going to have a very difficult time getting voters to like him. He is not a likable man.

    Ignoring your lack of connection with reality, I’ll answer the question—I’d love for it to be Gingrinch. Things are bad, our country is in trouble and our poltics are seriously fucked. I don’t think they’re screwed enough to put Newtie in the White House.

  • Ken

    Also, plenty of conservatives hate (Gingrich).

    Certainly plenty of them voted to reprimand and fine him back in 1998 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/govt/leadership/stories/012297.htm).  Some of them are still in the House, or have moved on to the Senate; should make for interesting relations between Congress and the Gingrich White House.

  • cjmr

    Your EJ Dionne link is broken.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Your EJ Dionne link is broken.

    Fixed.  It was a bad cut-and-paste.  

  • Matri

    Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

    *reads*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

    What’s scary isn’t these people’s ridiculously tenuous grip on reality. What is really scary is the amount of authority they wield as given by a large segment of the public.

    So again:

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

  • nirrti

    I guess Radio Rwanda…er, I mean..Fox News will start urging the populace to bring out the machetes any day now…

    And Newt Gingrich wouldn’t know the meaning of hard work if it bit him in his racist arse.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Re: Colored Christmas lights.

    Well, I agree that some people can go WAY overboard with the Christmas decorations, and that it’s much harder to be tacky with white lights than with colored lights.

    But I always thought that looking at the neighbors’ overblown, tacky holiday displays was one of the joys of the season.

  • lofgren

    Frank Miller has always leaned to the right, but he took a hard turn on 9/11/01. Little known fact: the scene in Dark Knight Strikes Back where Catwoman flies a hovercar into a building as an improvised bomb was written and drawn before 9/11. This fact is little known because Dark Knight Strikes Back was utter crap and I wouldn’t be surprised if I am the only person who read it all the way through.

    The funny thing about Miller is that he had a lot of intelligent and thought-provoking things to say about fascism in Dark Knight Returns. He wrote later that his goal was to make people realize that Batman as always a little bit of fascist, trying to beat people until they behave themselves the way that Batman thinks they should, a wealthy white man who wades into the slums with no goals except violence. Sure, his intellect required that he temper himself with some amount of detective work, but the idea was that by the time he is 50 he’s let all that slide and returned to the eight-year-old boy who just wants to punch all his greatest fears until they go away. (One of the most chilling representations of the character that none of the supposed adaptations have managed to capture, although the original Tim Burton version came closest.)

    He was fully aware of these things when he wrote DKR. We know this because he wrote about them in his forward to the graphic novel 10th anniversary release. He wanted his audience to start the book thinking that Batman was the most awesome badass on earth, and finish it having found themselves gradually rooting for something that in any other context they would despise.

    He was fully aware of these things when he wrote Dark Knight Returns. By the time he wrote Dark Knight Strikes Back, he appears to have forgotten them. Miller is a cautionary tale of a man who found himself empathizing too much with his own antiheroes, until he forgot that they weren’t the good guys they thought they were.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    He wanted his audience to start the book thinking that Batman was the most awesome badass on earth, and finish it having found themselves gradually rooting for something that in any other context they would despise.

    So what I am taking away from this is that Frank Miller would think it awesome if I put on a black cape and cowl, crashed through the window of a board room during a meeting of high powered bank executives, grabbed the CEO and absconded with him out the window so I can dangle him upside down from the top of a skyscraper, interrogate him about his intentions, and tell him that if I ever catch him doing this again I will be less gentle next time.  

    Actually, Bruce Wayne would be pretty well suited to do that kind of thing.  After all, if it is the serious wealth disparity of Gotham that is driving people to crime, going from the top down would be the best way to fight it… 

  • Alicia

    Yes, that would be okay. What guys like this really respect is power. Batman is good not because of his motives but because he’s a wealthy, powerful badass. He’s even fought evil businessmen and corrupt cops in his stories too, so it’s not like Miller is against that. Miller only opposes the OWS because they seem weak and small relative to their opponents (the “peasants” as that other guy would call them).

  • lofgren

    I can’t testify to what Miller would think is awesome NOW. I’m only talking about what he was trying to do then, which was start with something that everybody agrees is awesome (Batman), and then deconstruct it to reveal the necessary ugly assumptions to make that thing awesome (punching people in the face is a viable or desirable way of achieving social change). In other words, pretty much the opposite of what you said.

    The scene you reference well captures the problem with his approach, which was a version of Poe’s Law. He wanted people to read that scene and realize that 1. Batman is a disturbed person, 2. Torturing people like that is sick, yet 3. for some reason I still find it awesome, so what does that say about me/superheroes/America? Yet a thousand little Liefields somehow only got 1 and 3, skipping over 2. The result was 10 years of comics showcasing heroes who are disturbed yet do awesome things, but with no awareness of the fact that finding disturbing things awesome is probably not healthy. At first Miller was very derogatory towards them, but by the time the second Sin City graphic novel came out he had obviously decided to throw up his hands and cash in. Then he forgot that he was just cashing in and decided to just believe his own BS.

    (This is also the difference between Saw I and Hostel vs. most other torture porn. Both Saw and Hostel had an implicit indictment of the audience. Saw II et al. and several other imitators were just people getting chopped up without a hint of irony or self awareness.)

  • Anonymous

    That’s a pretty interesting take on DKR; I may have to read it again!

    I’ve always held that somewhere deep inside Batman, Bruce Wayne is still eight years old, and what Brucie wants is to punish criminals, to hurt them. Not justice.

  • http://blog.carlsensei.com Carl

    The how-to-wrap-a-present link was about as useful as those “How to draw Mickey Mouse” books. 

    “First draw a circle.” — OK, will do.
    “Now add some lines.” — Uh, all right.
    “And fill in the details.” — Wait, what? NOOOOO! You skipped over the part where you draw Mickey Mouse.

    How to wrap a present:

    “Get the wrapping paper.” — Sure.
    “Make sure you have the right size.” — Er, how do I know what size is right?
    “And wrap it up.” — NOOOOOO! That’s the exact part that I suck at!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Heh.  I used to try those how-to-draw books when I was a kid, with exactly the results you’re describing.

    I think of myself as a pretty proficient present wrapper, but if I weren’t that link wouldn’t help.  They really need a series of photos showing step-by-step how to fold the edges so they look tidy.  That’s the part I remember taking a lot of practice to learn.

    (Usually I judge the size by rolling the item to be wrapped on the paper: there needs to be enough to go around, plus at least a couple of inches.  For the edges, leave at least as much overhang as the box is thick, plus a  little extra.  It’s always best to err on the side of too much on the edges.)

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    In entirely unrelated news, my governor has made it into the news again.  Every time that that happens I find myself disappointed that only 61% of voters voted against the bastard (it was a three way race, you see.)

    By contrast, whenever I hear about something my representative, Chellie Pingree, said or did, it always seems to be something that makes me proud.

    For those who don’t want to follow the link, apparently taking about the unemployed people in Maine is “bullshit. *pause* Bull … Shit.” So says my governor.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I guess Radio Rwanda…er, I mean..Fox News will start
    urging the populace to bring out the machetes any day now…

    You know, this unsettling comparison reminds me of how in Yugoslavia in the 1980s, Serb media (in particular, though I suspect Croat and Bosnian media also had this issue) purposely slanted coverage in order to help inflame ethnic tensions. The scary thing is, as recently as 1989 and 1990, I don’t think anyone in that country had any clue that such biased portrayals which Otherized people who spoke almost the same language would end up helping drive the wars which followed from 1991 – 1995. This slanted portrayal also inflamed Serb-Albanian tensions in Kosovo in the 1980s and 1990s, as well.

    And this is what I don’t think the Fox people realize: they may just be wanting an audience, guaranteed advertising dollars, guaranteed contacts with the Republican party – in short, access to wealth and power…

    … but in the process they could easily fan the flames of tensions in ways nobody can predict or control.

    I think someone on Slacktivist brought up the comparison to Yugoslavia before, but it’s unsettling to think of the parallels. Serbs and Croats speak essentially the same language – kind of like how Americans in the northern states and southern states speak almost the same language as well – and yet they were provoked to war with one another for four years and managed to destroy part or all of two countries (three if you count the Serbian hyperinflation and the effect on its economy).

    I’d rather not see the same thing happen on this continent in my lifetime.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    When I was 18, I thought Frank Miller was brilliant. His “Sin City” appealed immensely to my young, male self. It was a work filled with hookers and tough guys, manly men who beat people up with their bare hands, brawling like thugs. It had tits and guns, sex and glorious, glorious violence. The story arcs were all about ‘just heroes’ living in an unjust world, and forcing justice through pure will, bare knuckles, and a hell of a lot of guns. The early works were pure black-and-white, and had some striking art choices. Later works started to introduce other colors, and again, as art, I though there was some merit.

    I read “300” and though there were some very bold visual elements. (mostly in the decision to use a lot of two-page spreads versus more, smaller panels) Yes, it was ridiculously a-historical, but I didn’t think it was ever meant to be all that historically accurate; it felt more like an artistic depiction of a battle than a retelling, like art from a later period, romanticized.

    Then I read “Dark Knight Strikes Back” and was stunned by how awful it was. I started looking back at older work, and realized he had some… favored narrative elements. Batman knelling, restrained, being beaten in an interrogation looked an awful lot like Hartigan tied to a chair, being beaten in an interrogation looked an awful lot like Daredevil tied to a chair, being beaten in an interrogation. Marv chasing a drug dealer down a narrow alleyway looked an awful lot like Wolverine chasing a yakuza down a narrow alleyway. Miho? Electra! Electra? Miho! I started to wonder just how many good stories he actually had to tell, and how many times he’d repackaged the same art, the same conflict, the same narrative.

    The more time I put between those days of early Miller-adoration and now, the less I think of his work as a writer. Looking back, I can see that Sin City really was a super-hero comic book where no one wore tights or capes; it had the same surface-only mythology, the same larger-than-life heroism and villany, the same cliche’s, but without the baggage of explaining why the funny man wears a cape and undies over his leotard. (it was also very pointedly more titilating; say what you will about Power Girl but she’s never been drawn topless in a comic book, while we’ve seen every female character in a Frank Miller book nude at least once)

    Then I watched “Robocop 3” (hey, it was on broadcast, I was bored…) and saw he had a writing credit. Which led me to watch “Robocop 2” (another writing credit of his)… There are a few things I “know” about film. I know that there were only two “Godfather” movies made, that there was only one “Highlander” film, that George Lucas gave us three and only three “Star Wars” films, and that there was only ever one “Matrix” movie. Similarly, I believe there have been no sequels to the “Robocop” movie, because those two similarly-named films featured some terrible writing, agonizing cliche’s, and genuinely lazy and poor storytelling.

    Miller did some good work early in his career, but now he’s embodying the stereotype of the self-important, self-absorbed artist who believes all of his work is “high art”.

  • vsm

    As a teenager, I too admired Sin City and its edgy cynicism, which I interpreted as somehow more real than more idealist comics. The back covers called the books neo-noir, so I figured I liked noir. Some years later, I actually started watching films noir and realized Miller’s work had very little to do with the tradition. Unlike Hartigan or Marv, it wasn’t all that difficult to take down Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum. Lots of films actually made it obvious they were up against people much stronger than them, literally and figuratively, and had to rely on their their cunning more than their brawn. It turned out the noir hero was a lot more human than any of Miller’s characters, which led me to the most important reason Sin City was not noir; The heroes of Miller’s dark world were too pure.

    That isn’t to say they didn’t kill or torture their victims, but it was all justified by the villain’s evilness. Their intentions and their soul are always untainted*. The noir protagonist, however, was corrupted by the world he (and it tended to be he, with all the misogyny it entailed) lived in. He could be a desperate swindler playing every side and having it all blow up on his face, or a decent man drawn to murder for money, love or usually both. Some were criminals with difficult backgrounds, some private investigators who sent their love to the gallows and truly felt guilty for it. I realized noir wasn’t really about the cynicism, but about the sadness of living in such a bleak world where good people were dealt horrible hands and ended up bleeding to death alone. After that, I really couldn’t cheer for the sociopath who put the bullet in them.

    *Dwight, who was manipulated into killing his ex-girlfriend’s supposedly abusive husband, was apparently Miller’s attept to create a more tainted hero. It is telling the only fault he could come up with was too much heroism.

  • FangsFirst

    The noir protagonist, however, was corrupted by the world he (and it
    tended to be he, with all the misogyny it entailed) lived in.

    Yeah, as Arynne suggested, I think that was a strain far more than a universal rule. Cynicism, weakness and being a speck of dust in a relentlessly cruel world, for sure.

    I think Sin City tended to wander away from this over time, but I think Marv and Hartigan, at least, were in the right place. Marv was a big dope, which fit pretty well, albeit slightly skewed (usually physical weakness and a failure to see the bigger picture, or at least affect it). And, um, I think in at least a few places his excesses were unwarranted, even in story.

    Of course, it was the darkness, moral cesspool and cynicism of film noir turned up to 27 on a scale of 1-10 all the same, and ignored the more subtle aspects.

    Frank’s turn to wacko has not affected my interest in the Daredevil work or Sin City. I liked DKR and Year One, but wouldn’t list them high up on any big comics lists for me.

    But then I love Jim Starlin over all other superhero-oriented comics. And his generally made superheroes plot devices, barring Captain Marvel.

  • vsm

    I think that was a strain far more than a universal rule

    Certainly not all noirs followed it, the most notable one being Hawks’ Big Sleep. However, I think that strain proved most durable. If we look at, say, IMDb’s list of best films noir, the top 10 includes one film* where the hero’s heart is pure. That film is The Third Man, where his purity made him a complete fool and only underscored the sadness.

    Marv might be the most questionable hero in the series, but Miller stacks the deck too much in his favor when he makes his opponents so laughably evil. When you’re up against two cannibalistic serial killers protected by the entire power structure of the city, maybe you do need a hero like Marv. He at least gets the job done, unlike his parole officer, whose more civilized style resulted in her getting gunned down on the spot. The story would have been much more interesting if the villains hadn’t been so exaggerated. Inglourious Basterds managed something like this, even with the freaking nazis as villains.

    I will admit there’s something very touching about Hartigan’s devotion to Nancy. It might be the Sin City story I like the most, even if it’s as sadistic as the other books and the plot is full of holes.

    *While Charlton Heston’s Vargas in Touch of Evil is quite virtuous, Orson Welles’s Quinlan as the co-protagonist more than makes up for him. You could also argue for Guy in Strangers on a Train, but I think Farley Granger’s performance makes him anything but. This may be grasping at straws, however.

  • FangsFirst

    where his purity made him a complete fool and only underscored the sadness.

    That, I think, captures the more universal rule that the protagonist should be flawed in some way, and sometimes it’s just being too much of a good soul to realize that their world doesn’t work that way. Or a vice.
    And I guess that’s why I think Marv works so well for it: yeah, he’s incredibly powerful, but he’s such a moron, but mostly he kills an awful lot more people than just Kevin and Roark, most/all goons or dirty cops, but most of them didn’t do anything too heinous in context of Sin City. Plus, Marv has a parole officer, and the general implication is he is extremely violent without need a lot of the time. Actually, I recall something about him needing to keep his anger in check as he took it too far…a lot.

    But, I dunno. All opinion anyway!

  • vsm

    There are indeed implications that Marv may not always have thought things through before punching, but they mostly remain implications. What we hear and see about his past includes defending abused women and saving a kidnapped little girl in one of the one-shots. Considering just how crooked the crooked cops tend to be in Sin City (covering for Junior, acting as a death squad, being Jackie Boy), they are easy to see as valid targets. The crooks he kills, as I recall, were either in on the Roarks’ business or contract killers. Ultimately, it is a bit too easy to see Marv as a hero for me. But, yes, opinions.

    Maybe I should check out Miller’s Daredevil again. I remember liking it when I was a more active comics reader. I also like some of his Batman stuff, even if you can already see the seeds of his future unpleasantness.

  • FangsFirst

    His Daredevil stuff is the only stuff that didn’t, to me, scream out “I AM BADASS AND/OR SAYING SOMETHING.” It was just a really good story. At least, as I recall.

  • Tonio

    Am I the only one here who is a little stunned that Fred is a fan of Batman: Year One?

    Given the many-hands-in-the-pot nature of filmmaking, I wouldn’t judge the second and third Robocops as representative of Miller’s work. I read years ago that some of Miller’s attempts to, uh, humanize the character didn’t make it past rewrite.

    I know Miller from his work on Batman and from Give Me Liberty. Does his other work also peddle the idea of civilization threatened by nihilistic hordes? He probably sees the OWS movement as another version of his Mutant Gang from The Dark Knight Returns.

  • FangsFirst

    In fairness:

    Then I watched “Robocop 3” (hey, it was on broadcast, I was bored…) and saw he had a writing credit.

    —>
    Robocop 2:

    However, Miller’s script was labeled “unfilmable” by producers and studio executives. His script was heavily changed through rewrites, and drastically re-written into what became RoboCop 2. Even when his tenure as screenwriter was officially over, Miller showed up on set everyday, eager to learn all about the filmmaking process from start-to-finish. He was even given a cameo as “Frank the chemist.” His original screenplay for RoboCop 2 took on an almost “urban legend” status, and was later turned into a nine-part comic book series called Frank Miller’s RoboCop. Critical reaction to the comic adaptation of the Miller script were mixed to negative. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the comic a “D” score, criticizing the “tired story” and lack of “interesting action.”[4] A recap written for the pop culture humor website I-Mockery said, “Having spent quite a lot of time with these comics over the past several days researching and writing this article, I can honestly say that it makes me want to watch the movie version of RoboCop 2 again just so I can get the bad taste out of my mouth. Or prove to myself that the movie couldn’t be worse than this.”[5]

    Robocop 3:

    The film was directed by Fred Dekker, a director primarily known for cult horror films (Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad). Popular graphic novelist Frank Miller returned to write the screenplay for the film. Still optimistic that he could make an impression in Hollywood, Miller accepted the job of writing RoboCop 3, hoping that some of his excised ideas would make it into the second sequel. Major themes of the plot were taken from Miller’s original (rejected) draft of RoboCop 2. Disillusioned after finding that his work was even more drastically altered than before, Miller left Hollywood until the 2005 adaptation of his work Sin City. “[Working on RoboCop 2 and 3] I learned the same lesson,” Miller said in 2005.[2] “Don’t be the writer. The director’s got the power. The screenplay is a fire hydrant, and there’s a row of dogs around the block waiting for it.”

    It’s pretty common knowledge in more recent discussions of Frank (I get the impression it’s more revisiting for you, and if I’m wrong I mean no offense) that he had little to do with how those movies came out.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Under Siege is the only Segal movie that warrants viewing twice.

    Do not say that!  You will offend the Segal Cabal!

  • Robert Rodger

    Ok, I can’t believe I’m standing up for Newt freakin’ Gingrich, but I really didn’t hear his coments as racially charged as a lot of people are saying they are. I’ve was a manager for a store and we hired more than a few middle-class college kids who hadn’t worked before. And you know what? They didn’t know how to work. They didn’t understand that I was counting on them being in on time, that I had expectations. And they learned. I didn’t know how to work on my first job either. I had to show up and learn. I don’t recall hearing Gingrich say, “fire the custodians and give the jobs to cheaper labor.” I heard him say hire kids as well to instill those values (and maybe even build a sense of ownership in the schools). And you know what I didn’t hear him say? That only the rich can create jobs. I heard him say let’s put money into the pockets of people who need it.

    I’ve gone pretty far to the left the past 10 years, but this is far from the worse or most reprehinsible idea I’ve heard from Spearker Newt.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that Gingrich runs into trouble when he starts suggesting that money change hands.  If I recall correctly, children can be paid below minimum wage, though can take fewer hours than adults.  When he implies that the schools could save money by firing its janitorial staff and replacing them with kids, it does kind of stink.  

    That said, teaching kids certain values of work and responsibility is something important and worth instructing them in.  I would be behind and effort to, say, organize student classes to spend a certain amount of time each day cleaning up their home rooms, Japanese school style, or certain sections of the corridors.  Even if the kids grumble and do not develop a work ethic from it, it does at least leave them with a cleaner school and they will be less likely to make a mess knowing that they are going to have to be the one to clean it up. Plus it takes some of the strain off the janitorial staff, so they can focus on the bigger stuff, leaving the school cleaner and the janitors less stressed.  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I have operated on the truism that if a Republican opens his or her mouth and blabbers on about “the values and ethics of hard work”, and then couples that to vaguely worded comments about poor people, it is an absolute certainty that said Republican is tapping into stereotypes about the poor – that the poor are poor because they are lazy and shiftless (and not white, but nobody dares say that openly in the media but I tell you, the number of times I got [ROT13] “shpxvat ynml cbepu zbaxrlf” spewed out on IRC during discussions of this type — believe me, enough people think it and know the code words).

    In short, Gingrich is not being honest. He’s just talking a good game because it thrills his white audience to imagine punishing those poor lazy (and not-white) good for nothings who would otherwise be sucking up all that welfare.

    Been seeing it in action now for 15 years. Nothing new under the sun, I’m afraid.

    SSDD.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    …we hired more than a few middle-class college kids…

    Ummm, Newt wasn’t talking about middle-class collge kids. Newt was talking about children between the ages of nine and fourteen living in “the poorest neighborhoods”. Go read the Politico link.

    Middle-class 18-24 year olds != 9-14 year olds living in poverty. I’m not sure how your experience hiring young adults “who hadn’t worked before” is applicable to the question of child labor.

    I don’t recall hearing Gingrich say, “fire the custodians and give the jobs to cheaper labor.”

    Your reading comprehnsion skills are a bit lacking then. Here’s the quote from Mr. Gingritch: (source)
    Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local (9-14 year old) students to take care of the school.
    So to reply to your remarks, yes, he actually did say “fire the custodians”, and he advocated giving those jobs to non-unionized, minimum-wage-exempt, under-age labor.

    Oh, and this may not be the “worst or more reprehensible idea” Mr. Gingritch has offered in the last decade, but it is still reprehensible, and a bad idea to boot.

  • Robert Rodger

    Ok, I didn’t hear that first part, (although your opening does come off as a bit insulting). But my point about hiring college kids is that they hasn’t learned those basic work skills yet because this was their first job. It has nothing to do with child labor, but rather the fact that one does have to learn basic work skills.

  • Daughter

    But if your concern is that kids learn job skills before their college years, existing child labor laws already allow for that. 

    Current child labor laws allow children of any age to assist their families in a family farm or family-run business; allow children to babysit, deliver newspapers, or do simple yard work at 12; and allow kids to get a work permit at 14 with certain restrictions on the types of jobs they can do (e.g., no heavy lifting, use of dangerous equipment or chemicals) and the number of hours per day and per week they can work (which varies, depending on whether it’s during the school year or summer–I think it’s 10 hours/wk during the school year and 20 hours during the summer).  These restrictions are lifted somewhat at age 16 (for example, 16 yo’s can work 20 hrs/wk school year and 40 hours/wk summer), and then lifted completely at 18.  These laws give youth gradually increasing opportunities to work while protecting them from injury or exploitation, while also ensuring that work doesn’t interfere with their education.

    Many cities have summer jobs programs that give young people employment opportunities.  These programs are often funded by federal block grants, which unfortunately have been getting cut.  The way they generally work is that the cities are given funds to pay kids’ wages (usually minimum wage) as well as for a few staff to administer the program.  The cities then contract with nonprofits and government agencies to provide the jobs.  Usually those providing jobs to kids have to meet certain criteria, such as making sure there are learning opportunities built into the job.  And of course, suburban kids often spend summers working as camp counselors.

    I have worked for several nonprofits that offer summer employment to kids, and believe me, there is usually a waiting list of kids who want positions.  If Newt is really concerned about this issue, he’d do more to fund such programs, rather than eliminating child labor laws and firing kids’ parents.

  • Rikalous

    Heck, there are even opportunities for kids to learn job skills at school, at least in some places. In middle school, I worked in the cafeteria in exchange for lunch.

  • Alicia

    Okay, as long as you understand that Newt Gingrich’s argument has nothing to do with you’re talking about.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    But my point about hiring college kids is that they hasn’t learned those basic work skills yet because this was their first job.

    I’m perfectly happy to come across as insulting from time to time. Like when someone says “I hate to defend [ person X ] but [ says things that are the exact opposite of what person X said ]”. “I hate to defend Ghandi, but I think he was right when he said ‘kill them all and let God sort them out’.” 

    My point is that Newt Gingrich was talking about 9-14-year-olds in the poorest neighborhoods, while you were talking about middle-class college students who had never held a job before. Just how many of those 9-14 year olds in the poorest neighborhoods will become middle-class college students that never held a job before college?

    You’re right that every person, as part of becoming an adult, needs to learn basic work skills. But the population you’re experienced with (college-age children of middle-class households who have never had to hold down a full-time job) is very clearly not the population that Newt Gingrich was seeking to address with his “junior janitor” program.

  • Anonymous

    I heard him say hire kids as well to instill those values (and maybe even build a sense of ownership in the schools).

    So hire all the kids, like Japan does. Don’t hire just the poor kids.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Speaking of messages encoded with racist crap: Why does Roger Ailes allow straight-up, old-school racism on his Fox News network?
    1. Because Roger Ailes is an unprincipled failure of a human being, and thus if he thinks straight-up, old-school racism will effectively serve the political interests that serve his financial interests, then he’ll use it.
    2. Because Roger Ailes is also, himself, a straight-up, old-school racist.
    3. The question isn’t why Roger Ailes would do this sort of thing, the question is why so many viewers tolerate it.

    On behalf of Mr. Ailes, I would like to object to option #1. I believe Mr. Ailes has at least one strong principle: he believes in earning the maximum possible profit in a competitive marketplace. In fact, I suspect he’s not so much “unprincipled” as “guided exclusively by a single principle”.

    Take Glenn Beck. (please!) He was allowed on TV to rant and rave about whatever he wanted, no matter how crass or unreal, as long as he got strong ratings and attracted high-paying advertisers! Beck’s show wasn’t pulled because of content, it was pulled because of ratings.

    If having nakedly-racist figures like Pat Buchanan on your network helps your ratings and attracts advertisers (or, conversely, doesn’t repel advertisers) than Mr. Ailes will do it.

    The problem, the failure as a human being, is the inability to develop any other principles that could possibly conflict with, or even over-ride the pursuit of profit, money, and power.

  • Ken

    “America Edges to Brink of Armed Police Drones”

    Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply.

    (Surely I can’t be the only one who sees possible problems with this?)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The problem with ED209 was that it was ill-suited for police application.  Supposedly, OCP was planning to sell it to the police at-cost as a pilot program, then make the real money selling it to the military through defense contracts.  

    Of course, in the real world the opposite order holds true… 

  • Matri

    (Surely I can’t be the only one who sees possible problems with this?)

    I vote we force those guys to keep a few first-gen units in their houses.

  • Anonymous

    @Ken:twitter : 

    (Surely I can’t be the only one who sees possible problems with [armed police drones]?)

    Oh, I see plenty of problems with this.

  • Anonymous

    I think poor school kids should get paid–to go to school and work hard at it.  Too many of them are so worried about their families financial state, or suffering because of it, that they can’t focus on learning.  What good is English or history when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from?  This is particularly true for older kids who can go get part-time jobs.  When it comes to helping their families make ends meet so they can have a roof over their heads or a loved one in need can have necessary medical care etc. vs. doing homework, the choice to focus on a job makes sense.  Let’s give those kids that aren’t multi-tasking geniuses a chance to do both simultaneously.  Start a program where the enrolled kids get paid at least minimum wage for eight hours of class.  Give them job-like standards of behavior and achievement.  Let them feel like they can contribute to their famlies while also giving them the foundation to break out of the cycle of poverty.

    Alternatively, we could just, you know, help those famlies directly so kids can be kids.

    But replacing adult, union protected custodians with little kids to save money (especially considering custodians work with fairly strong cleaning chemicals and have to deal with biohazard materials on occasion)?  That’s just f—– up.  Child labor laws are a good thing.  Who really wants to go back to the bad old days of the Industrial Revolution when a (poor) child’s life or health was essentially worthless?

  • Arynne

    “The noir protagonist, however, was corrupted by the world he (and it tended to be he, with all the misogyny it entailed) lived in.”

    Which I always thought was weird, considering that Raymond Chandler insisted the most important thing about hard-boiled detective stories was that the hero should *not* be corrupt.

  • vsm

    I guess Dashiell Hammett’s influence was more significant in that regard. Even then, Chandler co-wrote the script to Double Indemnity, with one of the most corrupt heroes in Hollywood history.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to commit Nerd Heresy here and say I didn’t really like The Dark Knight Returns.
    I think because I read it after reading Watchmen and watching Bruce Timm’s Batman cartoons and reading numerous “Batman is a Grim and Gritty Badass” stories. The Deconstructed Hero was old hat to me.

    Also, I didn’t really like the art style.

  • hapax

    I’m going to commit Nerd Heresy here and say I didn’t really like The Dark Knight Returns.

    Oh, I’m so glad somebody else said this.

    I mean, I read and collected his stuff pretty faithfully, from his first run on Daredevil and Martha Washington through the second Electra miniseries.  But I never *liked* it;  I found it fascinating and disturbing and powerful and creepy and I kept feeling like I *ought* to admire it, if I just kept trying.

    It was with Dark Knight Strikes Back that I was finally able to say, “Y’know, this stuff is just Effed Up.”

    I kept picking it up. I tried Sin City, I tried All Star Batman & Robin, but I couldn’t make myself pay for them.  I still go and re-read 300 and Year One, trying to figure out the weird seductive nastiness of it.

    But I always feel like I need to go and scrub down thoroughly afterwards.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I enjoyed Dark Knight Returns, but in between DKR and DKSB I read “Marshal Law”, specifically ‘The Kingdom of the Blind’ which rather viciously lances Batman The Private Eye revealing all the ugly class-ism and hypocrisy and creeping authoritarianism of the character.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    IMO, Martha Washington was kind of brilliant, and DKR…an above-average Batman yarn, but hardly the best of that genre. Denny O’Neil eats Frank Miller’s lunch. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to commit Nerd Heresy here and say I didn’t really like The Dark Knight Returns.

    Yay! I’m not the only one!

    I found it…alright, but by the time I’d read it I was over my depression and largely past my love of super-dark, gritty, stories. I love the DCAU Batman, I love Hush, I really love the Arkham games. I don’t care for DKR, or even The Long Halloween. I find them too dark, too hopeless, and Batman being too…mean and heartless. I mean, in both of those he has his moments when an actual human shines through, but they’re very few and far between.

    I like Batman as a hero. Dark, yes, but ultimately kind to the weak, and champion of those that the world has abandoned. Superman is an icon, and he fights great, powerful, foes that threaten everything good. Batman gets the other end of the spectrum: His villains rarely threaten more than a few hundred people, and the people they threaten aren’t the best of humanity, but Batman doesn’t care.

    But mainstream Batman comics still haven’t gotten over their love of DKR, so Batman generally stays a borderline-sociopath in the game just to beat up people. Or so’s been my experience with the few I’ve flipped through.

  • Anonymous

    You touched on another thing I didn’t like in DKR.
    The reason I like the DC Universe is that it’s a gigantic, colorful place full of heroes and monsters and aliens and gods and robots.
    But in DKR, the universe has been shrunk down to this one dismal, degraded planet where Ronald Reagan uses Superman as a weapon to club the rest of the world into submission.

  • Tonio

    I suspect that a small but significant portion of Gingrich’s intended audience may not necessarily hear the dog whistle in “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods,” but the phrase still works on that segment as an appeal to more general resentment. I’m talking about the aging authoritarians who parrot cliches like “what’s with these kids today” and think young people just need a good swift kick in the ass. They probably don’t realize that their elders probably said the same thing, and that even before civilization there were probably old people grousing that kids had it too easy after the discovery of fire. In my experience, there’s a huge overlap between that type of resentment and the race-based one.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Is it really necessary to lump Sloth from The Goonies in with the other two? Despite his horriffic deformity, he was a kind and gentle person, and not at all deserving of being lumped in with deranged killers, mythological monsters and and the Chamber of Commerce.

    (Also, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I realized that his best-known catchphrase was, like ‘I reject your reality and substitute my own’ and ‘I have come to kick ass and chew bubblegum’, actually quoting something older)

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Is it really necessary to lump Sloth from The Goonies in with the other two?

    I thought he was a good guy, but I have only the vaguest memories of that movie.

    ‘I have come to kick ass and chew bubblegum’
    Something older than They Live?

    Anyway, these things are like who Captain Kirk was totally the first person to say, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.”  (Peter who?)

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Funny story: “They Live” was actually a documentary. Just like the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. 

  • Anonymous

    Is it really necessary to lump Sloth from The Goonies in with the other two?

    Thank you, I was just coming here to say that.  He saved all the Goonies!  He wears a Superman t-shirt!  SLOTH LOVE CHUNK.

    (But “horrific deformity”?  Really?  I mean, yes, he looks like a live model for a Picasso, but it’s not HORRIFIC.  He’s differently featured, that’s all.)

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi

    This old white man from Georgia also refers to himself as a historian.

    A historian whose doctoral thesis describes the Belgian approach to the Congolese colonies as “relatively mild exploitation.”

    No shit.

  • Anonymous

    I should note that I’m not against “dark” comics, I love Watchmen and 52, and even enjoyed Blackest Night. It’s just something about the way Batman tends to be portrayed rubs me completely wrong.

    I suppose I can’t really say that he isn’t a vicious, sadistic man driven solely by revenge, since he’s been written that way often enough, I just find I love the character when he’s not portrayed that way, and really wish he’d be arrested when he is.

  • Anonymous

    Christmas lights are religious now? I don’t recall Jesus ever complaining about having to find spare bulbs… /scratches head

  • Launcifer

    Chris the Cynic: Anyway, these things are like who Captain Kirk was totally the first person to say, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.”  (Peter who?)

    In a funny sort of way I find the mis-appropriation of that particularly depressing. Not for the Star Trek reference, you understand, but because that’s one of only two Star Trek films I’ve seen in the cinema. More importantly, however, the context (an attempt to bring in the crew and vessel to be decommissioned) rather points towards at least a sense of the original context….

    Look, I know it’s not you saying that, but it makes my 4.40am self cry that anyone could be so stupid that they’ve missed the Peter Pan references littered throughout The Undisocvered Country. It’s like the first time I heard Hurdy Gurdy Man. Damn film totally coloured any subsequent interpretation of the song.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Look, I know it’s not you saying that, but it makes my 4.40am self cry that anyone could be so stupid that they’ve missed the Peter Pan references littered throughout The Undisocvered Country.

    I don’t think a lack of familiar with Peter Pan makes one stupid.  People not familiar with a work won’t get references to that work, intelligence need not be a factor.

    If your 4.40am self is going to be crying about something, it should probably be about people’s lack of familiarity with Peter Pan rather than their being too stupid to get the references.

  • Tonio

    While I picked up on references such as “Second star to the right,” are you saying that the film’s themes are lifted from Peter Pan as well?

  • Launcifer

    You are indeed correct. I’m now muttering at my 4.40am self for even typing such a crass and insulting phrase.

    @Tonio: Some of them are, yes. At least, I think there are elements that flow through it. Admittedly, that could well be me taking that one line and tracking it backwards through the film when it isn’t actually there. The feelings of the crew towards getting old, being decommisioned and the like remind me strangley of Wendy. Then again, I also think there’s elements of that in Star Trek II, so it might just be me seeing what I want to see.

  • Anonymous

    Launcifer:  If you feel like you’re seeing Kirk feeling old in Star Trek II, you’re not imagining things.  Age, getting older, and losing friends are some themes that were intentionally written into the movie by the writer, by his own admission.

    The elements are there in Undiscovered Country, too, but they aren’t underlined by the death of one of the major characters.  I think Undiscovered Country is definitely influenced by the knowledge that it’s the last outing for them all as a group.

  • Kadrin

    Couldn’t make it through the Guardian piece. Too much highbrow sniffing. “At least we can ignore comic books, as they are for simpletons – but people who actually matter sometimes watch movies! Sometimes.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I never really got into the Batman franchise. I kind of thought it had worn out its welcome by around the time Schwarzenegger did the “Mr. Freeze” role, and I fucking hate Jim Carrey’s stupid fucking laughing face anyway, so him as the Riddler just cemented my antipathy to watching movies past Batman Returns.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and nobody around them who works. … They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

    As someone who grew up a really poor child in a really poor neighbourhood…go fuck yourself, Newt Gingrich.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who grew up a really poor child in a really poor neighbourhood…go fuck yourself, Newt Gingrich.

    As someone who was also a poor kid growing up I would like to second this. 

    (and since disqus wont let me long in with my yahoo account I went ahead and made a disqus one and lost my forum name =/ So Bomer=Kiba from older threads.)

  • Lori

     (and since disqus wont let me long in with my yahoo account I went ahead and made a disqus one and lost my forum name =/ So Bomer=Kiba from older threads.)  

    Disqus will let you have a scree name different from your log in. If you want you can just go into your profile and switch your screen name to Kiba. 

  • Kiba

    Sweet. Thank you! ^_^

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    As a member of the human race possessed of a functioning mind and soul: fuck Newt Gingrich, his supporters, and the traitor centrist media whores who continue to tolerate his public existence. Ol’ Newt is the surest reflection of true Republican values one could hope to find short of Sarah Palin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    In Rick Perry’s newest ad, he announces that he’s “not ashamed to talk about my faith.”

    I don’t know that there’s anyone who’s concerned that there is any Republican candidate who is insufficiently shameless…

    Year One is probably my favorite Batman story (the recent animated adaptation is excellent, BTW), and, despite its many flaws, I do enjoy DKR a great deal.  The Dark Knight Strikes Again, otoh, is a steaming pile, and I only own it because it was included as part of The Absolute Dark Knight.  I look upon its inclusion in that volume as an unfortunate side effect of the Absolute format.

    I’ve been sadly shaking my head at everything that Miller has done or said since…well, probably as long as Alan Moore has been considering him irrelevant.

    I do have an unapologetic love for Sin City, though that’s probably more in spite of Miller than because of it.  With some of his more recent work, I’ve found that my enjoyment of it is almost entirely ironic.  ASBAR is unquestionably terrible, but I have to admit to being amused at the whole “goddamn Batman” thing.  (If I ever meet Kevin Conroy, I totally want to record him saying that line in his Batman voice.)

    Still, that ironic amusement wasn’t enough to generate any interest in Holy Terror.

    I just recently got around to reading Born Again, and I have to say that its excellence made me shake my head even more sadly at the thought of what Miller has turned into.  In any case, at this point, there’s very little he can do or say that surprises me.

  • Matri

    I kinda like Bats’ portrayal in the DCAU Batman The Animated Series.

    He had threats and intimidations and only backed it up with violence when they failed. He’d never lay a hand on you if you complied, try to run and he’ll only trip you up, he’ll only attack you if you attack him or threaten an innocent.

    Yes, he was kinder and gentler back then. Then he met Superman, joined the Justice League and became more punch-happy than in the past.

    Of course, he also had a lot less angst in the past too.

    @Jon Maki: And Mark Hamill. That laugh. Say whatever you want about Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, but that laugh to me is what makes the joker The Joker.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Trickle down finally pronounced DOA by the OECD. About bloody time, only 30 years too late.

  • Anonymous

    As far as Newt Gingrich goes, fourteen, fifteen years ago he was actively pushing hatespeech and eliminationism as an electoral strategy through his GOPAC memo, “Language:  A Key Mechanism of Control,” saying always talk positively about Republicans and negatively about Democrats, always downplay the shortcomings of Republicans and up-play those of Democrats, keep all the credit for Republicans, never give any to the Democrats.

    It trained a generation of conservatives with this Pavlovian response of “coward, traitor, liar, cheat” when prompted with the word “liberal” or “Democrat.”

    He can treat his wives abominably, he can expect that his public and his private behavior do not have to be consistent, and then he can step into the Jordan, as it were, and emerge onto Meet the Press with David Gregory where Gregory will never say to him, “Hey, remember that time you shut down the government and got nothing out of it?  Hey, remember that time you spent eighteen months having hearings over Bill Clinton’s Christmas card list?”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    As far as Newt Gingrich goes, fourteen, fifteen years ago he was actively pushing hatespeech and eliminationism as an electoral strategy through his GOPAC memo, “Language:  A Key Mechanism of Control,” saying always talk positively about Republicans and negatively about Democrats, always downplay the shortcomings of Republicans and up-play those of Democrats, keep all the credit for Republicans, never give any to the Democrats.

    Which Fox News took as their guiding policy when delivering content.  :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    There as as many different heroes (and anti-heroes) in noir as there are authors.  Chandler’s Marlowe may have been cynical but he wasn’t corrupted as The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye illustrate.  On the other end, you had Cain, who rarely has heroes — the protagonists of “Double Indemnity” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice” are pretty bad apples.

    ========================================

    If The Christmas Lights lady wants her lights, she can run for the HOA board and work to change the rules.  Not many people want to be on the board, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

    Trust me, those rules are there for a reason — think of them as equivalent to zoning laws.

  • Anonymous

    If The Christmas Lights lady wants her lights, she can run for the HOA board and work to change the rules.  Not many people want to be on the board, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

    Trust me, those rules are there for a reason — think of them as equivalent to zoning laws.
    Ahahahaha no. My mom’s been trying for years to get the HOA here to let her string up a clothesline in the summer, thus sparing Mom the cost of running our twenty-year-old dryer. Trouble is, until ninety percent of the homes in this still-growing development are sold (and we’re nowhere near that figure), thus giving votes to the new owners, the developer will have more than fifty percent of the votes, and the developer doesn’t want to see clotheslines.

  • Lori

     

    Trust me, those rules are there for a reason — think of them as equivalent to zoning laws.  

     
    Yeah, they’re like zoning laws, except for the fact that they’re totally not. Zoning laws are about health & safety and property values. HOA Christmas lights rules are, as Fred noted, about valuing the aesthetics of conformity. If people can’t deal with 4 weeks of ugly Christmas lights then they really need to toughen up. Have I seen some eyeball searing displays of tacky in my day? You bet. Do I think that my desire not to look at things that are not to my taste should dictate what someone else puts up on their house? Within very broad parameters, no. 

    If the house is lit up like they’re trying to signal the international space station and it’s shining in my windows and they don’t turn the lights off at a reasonable hour so I can get some quality shut eye, I take issue. Aside from that, ugly is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes you just have to deal for a few weeks. I know it’s a hardship, but think of it as doing your pioneer predecessors proud. If they can deal with freezing cold, crop failure and predators, you can deal with colored lights on the neighbor’s house. 

    And don’t say that if a person doesn’t want to deal with HOA rules she should buy a house without an HOA, because those are becoming so rare that it’s not a viable option for most people. The same people who cry like an upset 2 year old over the government forcing them to do things At The Point Of A Gun, ZOMG! are willing to tolerate anything as long as it’s in a contract. They’ve driven the HOAing of America to the point where most people’s neighbors are able to use covenants to control their lives in ways the government (i.e. a larger group of their neighbors) would never dream of, let alone be able to actually do. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    How on earth are HOAs even permitted to exist? It sounds like they’re enforced through the fine print in contracts of real estate transfers and usurp municipal zoning and noise bylaw authority.

  • JohnK

    That’s a great question, and your explanation in the 1st half of the second sentence is accurate!

    Think of a Homeowners’ Association as a sort of communal landlord. It has the same authority as the landlord of an apartment or the developer of a housing complex. Of course it varies based on state laws (some states have a lot of HOA regulations while other states don’t).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Very late to the matter, but of all the many interpretations of Batman, the one that I automatically go to when I think “Batman” is the Kevin Conroy Batman from the Bruce Timm-produced DC Animated Universe. Through Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited, we saw a man whose primary motivation was not revenge, or imposing authority.

    His primary motivation is compassion. To not have anyone else go through what he did. This is why he creates a family from orphans. This is why the alternate-universe Justice Lord Batman went along with the others, while preventing them from killing his enemies as they seemingly did to others, and was convinced by Prime!Batman that the Justice Lords were wrong.

    As Superman said in Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come “when you strip everything else away from the Batman, what you’re left with is someone who doesn’t want to see anybody die.”

    There is a single scene that sums up Batman for me, from the Justice League Unlimited episode “Epilogue”.


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