9 years ago: Falling Down

May 13, 2004, on this blog: Falling Down

Simple brute force is useless for most of the problems we confront in life. What follows is a top-of-the-head list of potentially frustrating situations or tasks in which the attempt to employ brute force is guaranteed to fail:

* driving in rush hour traffic

* card tricks

* hitting a curveball

* throwing a curveball

* origami

* turning just the one page in a book or magazine instead of the two or three pages that seem to be stuck together

* ditto for coffee filters

* putting

* threading a needle

* nation-building and promoting democracy.

"You could say they are DemonizedI'll see myself out."

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  • arcseconds


  • arcseconds

    dammit, someone bet me to it 9 years ago.

  • AnonaMiss

    Off topic but the old posts rarely generate a lot of new discussion soooo

    I think I’ve gotten past the point where I’m likely to make a huge faux pas and have to run away and lurk more and completely divorce myself from whatever username I made an ass of myself on. So I’m thinking of starting to post as a registered user.

    Would anyone who finds me hateful/ignorant/bigoted/a person you wouldn’t want to be associated with/whatever please let me know so I know not to associate myself with me until I get better?

  • Otrame

    You will be fine as long as you treat your fellow humans as people fundamentally the same as you. Ignorance and bigotry willing to learn is not rejected here. Differences of opinion are fine. After all, while the majority of commenters here are religious, there are a lot of atheists who read and comment here and nobody tries to reject us.

    OTOH, if you admire the Left Behind series you may get laughed at quite a bit.

  • Your handle seems familiar, so I’ve clearly read a lot of your comments, and I don’t have an aversive reaction to it, so I probably haven’t found them inappropriate.

    For whatever that’s worth.

  • Take it from one who knows: You’re doomed. I stuck a Sam on the end of my Anon name and they’ve never let me get away since.

  • Mark Z.

    BRAWNDO™ will make you use your FISTS for EVERYDAY TASKS!




  • Hexep

    If you’re that conflicted about it, probably best not to do it. When in doubt, abstain.

  • LoneWolf343

    I just watched this movie yesterday for the first time. It was indeed a little weak, but it had fine performances.

  • Strangely, as I get older I find myself less patient with bullshit. I used to be very optimistic that I could turn people away from cruelty with enough skill at dialogue and persuasion, all diplomatic like, appealing to their sense of reason. Blame watching Star Trek: The Next Generation religiously as a kid. But time has eroded that optimism, and I see people like sexists, racists, and homophobes dig in their heels rather than be talked around to abandoning those views. I feel like I have gotten cynical, and see brute force as preferable to drawn out verbal conflict that never resolves and leaves people suffering all the while.

    So these days, when hearing some misogynist spout off online, my first impulse is not to offer some gentle corrections, but to find the fellow and pummel him into a more empathetic state. Like a rolled up magazine applied to a dog after it craps on the carpet.

    It leaves me worried.

  • Panda Rosa

    Sign me up! Nothing clears the air so much as a good physical round of fisticuffs! Are the spinach and crazy music included too?

  • “Falling Down” has not aged well.

    Years ago, over at the Unapologetic Mexican’s blog, there was a very good scene-by-scene analysis which is now sadly gone from the internet. I’ll quote what I could find:

    What I mean by this is that under and along with the first narrative I speak of, there are the messages that women are superficial, weak, ineffective creatures; that Blacks are criminals, pawns, and a threat to America’s fiber; that Asians are either smart and by the side of the White Male, or Otherly conniving overcharging storeowners (also weak and easily dominated); that Latinos are thugs and women-haters, also a threat to America’s fiber and cultural makeup; the usual nasty hype about Gays; that a privileged attitude is normal, that misogyny is normal, and some others. At times this is purposely achieved. And I offer the benefit of the doubt to these writers that at other times they are just writing women, for example, as they think of them and see them.

    Mister Lee has a sense, maybe about this character. Either way, he watches suspiciously (and from a sidelong glance) as the poor, overworked, sweaty White Man huddles into the cooler and caresses a Coca-Cola against his tired forehead. We see Mr. Lee watching, and we know by the shots and Michael Douglas’ reaction that he feels intruded on by the man’s glare.

    Theme reinforced. Foreign elements intruding on the White Male’s ability to live a comfortable,deserved life and enjoy those things he has worked so hard for.

    The film does this a lot. Once the viewer is inflamed by having tiny privileges denied, he/she is to cheer on this “common man’s” rejection of such obstacles to a well-enjoyed American life. We are to at least minimally approve his refusal to “take it anymore,” as he beats up people, insults them, rocket-launches them, shoots and stabs them. It’s true that the movie bills him as “falling down,” and acting “psychotically,” but the way his dialogue is written, and the scenes shot, you are to be feeling vindicated for someone finally standing up to all these annoyances that enlightened people don’t make a big deal of.

  • Jessica_R

    ot/ And Minnesota makes 12. Just waiting for the Gov’s signature.

  • EllieMurasaki


    What percent of the US population with access to marriage equality does that make?

  • Fusina

    I’ve reached that point myself. And for me, it isn’t online, it is family.

  • Awesome sauce!

  • Lori

    Once marriage equality passes in Illinois it’ll be about 22%.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh, is Illinois close too? Shiny. Thanks.

  • Agreed with all of this.

    That said, I’m not quite so willing to dismiss as irrelevant the fact that this “common man” is most likely on his way to initiate a murder-suicide of his ex-wife and child. There are unreliable narrator issues here.

  • Lori

    Not done, but expected to be really soon. Everyone seems to expect it to pass there before the end of the month, and in terms of percentage of population with marriage equality it will make a big difference.

  • I saw a variety of places claiming Michele Bachmann would consider leaving the state should it pass, but most of those have been parody sites or very third-party sites, so I have not felt justified in passing that on yet.

    I did see something about her recently issuing a rallying call for “spiritual warfare” on the issue, along with any others she does not like.

  • Lori

    If Michele Bachmann were to leave Minnesota over this issue she’d lose her job. You can’t be a non-resident of the state you represent.

    The only way she’ll move because of this is if she’s going to lose her job anyway because of ethics violations* and she needs to use being “persecuted” same sex marriage as cover/an excuse.

    *I’m not sure where that investigation stands right now, but if things go true to form it’s unlikely to cost her her job, even if it should.

  • arcseconds

    I’m prepared to go further than Dave and say that I definitely recognise your handle and I reckon I like what you post :]

  • I’m hoping I don’t reach that point. The few brushes with my family’s ugly side had me spending most of my vacation silent and pretending to be deaf. I think we’d literally come to blows if I stopped putting up with the BS. :

  • Fanraeth

    I’ve never been one for the pummeling with fists, but the world should be very glad Death Notes aren’t real and I don’t have one.

  • aim2misbehave

    Technically, yes, but… somehow, Hilary Rodham Clinton got herself elected as one of New York’s senators in 2000 despite finishing up an 8-year run of living in Washington DC at the time and then Arkansas for the 8 years before it. I mean, she seemed to do just a fine job as senator, but I still was always a bit baffled about what kind of loophole she wiggled through for that one.

  • Fusina

    Well, I am currently estranged from two of my sibs, and have minimal contact with my Mom, that does lessen the aggro. With on sib, it was because of the ugliness, and him telling me I should just let the ugliness (and factual inaccuracies, this was regarding a Glenn Beck speech) go so that there wouldn’t be any aggro. But the lies were so easy to disprove, and I think it may have been that he was getting uneasy with his position and didn’t want to change.

  • Lori

    She established residency by buying a house in the state and using it as her primary residence. She was a legal resident of NY when she represented the state, and AFAIK still is. As a practical matter most candidates aren’t going to be able to get elected immediately after establishing residence, but I don’t think there’s a legal requirement for long residence before running for office.

    If Bachmann moved out of Minnesota it would be a really different thing. .

  • Panda Rosa

    I just like the scene where he’s fussing with the bazooka at a construction site, irritated at the machinery in the way; and one kid just assumes he’s making a movie.

  • aim2misbehave

    OK, I see how that technically works. I’m personally in a kind of residency limbo right now, about three years after I moved out here to begin with :-(

  • If I had a Death Note, I would abuse it in a rather spectacular fashion:

    “Mark Driscoll will die this coming Sunday while giving a sermon about a ‘woman’s place’. Just after reaching an emotional climax in his sermon, his head will spontaneously explode.”

  • “Spiritual Warfare”? So she’ll pray really, really, extra hard?