Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy National Coming Out Day...


I can certainly appreciate this "holiday" to a certain extent-- so if someone invites you to a party on October 11th, be prepared for a bomb to be dropped...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Google ads...


Sometimes it's the little things that amuse us most-- but in this case, ''little things'' doesn't really apply...
My recent posting on the (dreaded) upcoming 'Sherlock Holmes' movie has caused Google Ads to list 'Jon (or John) Holmes' at the top of this page. Makes me giggle...

Happy Moldy Cheese Day...

Still safer than Chinese milk...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Deadlines...


Today was the deadline for voter registration in VA-- I stayed home. We're screwed regardless, so just lube up and brace yourselves...

It must be my anti-PC day...


Advocates Protest 'Blindness'
by Jonathan Crow
Hollywood has trouble with portraying disabilities. Even when they try to do the right thing, they still manage to tick people off. That was the case for this summer's blockbuster comedy Tropic Thunder and it's happening again with this week's release Blindness. In "Tropic Thunder," Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) tells fellow actor Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) to "never go full retard." The scene is hilarious, satirizing Hollywood stars' tendency to play disabled in pursuit of Oscar gold. Think Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" and Sean Penn in "I Am Sam." The film's satire, however wasn't appreciated by disability advocates who slammed the use of the R-word as "offensive and demeaning...it fuels social stigma against vulnerable people."
Fast forward a couple months and a similar controversy is playing out with Miramax's latest release. "Blindness," based on a book by Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago and directed by Academy Award nominee Fernando Meirelles, depicts a city in the thrall of a virus that suddenly robs its citizens of their sight. Soon society collapses and stricken descend into a brutal Hobbesian new order. When the book came out, it was praised for its use of blindness as a metaphor. But as the movie is about to be released, it has been lambasted by Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.
"The National Federation of the Blind condemns and deplores this film, which will do substantial harm to the blind of America and the world. Blind people in this film are portrayed as incompetent, filthy, vicious, and depraved. They are unable to do even the simplest things like dressing, bathing, and finding the bathroom. The truth is that blind people regularly do all of the same things that sighted people do."Read the full statement >>
Miramax responded, "We are saddened to learn that the National Federation of the Blind plans to protest the film 'Blindness,'" and that director Meirelles "worked diligently to preserve the intent and resonance of the acclaimed book."
So, is the NFB justified in its criticism of the movie or are they missing the point?
Normally I pay little attention to stories like this because I think they are just silly, but what caught my attention this time was the actual reason for offense stated-- that the blind are portrayed as more or less savages. Granted, there are few things a sighted person can do that a blind person can't learn to do, but the key word there is "learn". In this film everyone (but the horrid Julianne Moore) is suddenly stricken blind, so there is no period of adjustment, no one to lend a hand. There lies the difference... disabled people and their advocates don't ever want us thinking they are less capable than the rest of us, but everyone needs time to learn and adapt to their situation and needs help from others to do so.
Also, if you read the full statement linked above, there is an objection to Julianne Moore being presented as superior to the blind because she still has sight-- aside from the old saying, "In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king," of course she has a unique advantage in a world suddenly thrust into darkness, and she has the only flashlight... silly people...
This reminds me-- the next episode of 'Mythbusters' (one of my all-time favorite shows) has a segment where they test whether or not a blind person can drive a car with a "backseat driver" guiding them (as shown in that highly overrated movie 'Scent of a Woman'). That could be cool but I am sure it will offend all the blind people who watch the show... oh, wait.............................

Is 'Tundra' acceptable?

I'm betting this one wasn't amongst the samples my local newspaper looked at (as referenced in my previous post). Maybe I should send it to them...

Is it politically correct to be PC?


The PC Nazis are at it again-- this time in my local newspaper...
Today's issue of the Kingsport Times News had a piece saying,
"We intend that our daily comics page should offer quality family entertainment, and while some strips on occasion push the envelope, we won't tolerate one which grossly offends, as was the case with the Sept. 25 'Get Fuzzy' strip when a character made a reference to a vulgarity.
Consequently, we have cancelled 'Get Fuzzy' and starting today, replaced it with 'Tundra', an outdoors and nature-themed comic that has been rapidly growing in popularity. In less than two years of self-syndication, 'Tundra' has been added by more than 200 newspapers, making it one of the fastest-growing strips on the market today.
We find in the samples we've seen that 'Tundra' is consistently funny, a comic that adults and kids can enjoy. We hope you agree."
I have never been a big fan of 'Get Fuzzy', but I have read it daily since our paper started carrying it (I read every comic Mon-Sun in our paper except 'Prince Valiant', a comic that started in 1937, and is still on the same freakin' boring, incomprehensible story)-- it replaced 'B.C.' after Hart died. I don't hate to see it go, and 'Tundra' does seem to be a much funnier strip, but I don't like the reason it is going... Yeah, it did have a reference intended to make you think of an abbreviation of "fuck you", but come on... "ACLFU" still fits the confines of "American Civil Liberties Feline Union" (even if the "F" was in bold-- that was the mistake, and I admit I was a bit shocked when I saw it), and how many kids would even know what "ACLU" stands for, much less "FU"? For that matter, how many kids even read comics anymore?
Lighten up, people... if your kid understands "FU" then he/she has already been exposed to it and can't be unexposed-- I'm sure they will grow up effing fine.

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had heard about this back in the summer but dismissed it as rumor (like when "they" said Jim Carrey was playing Steve Austin in the '6 Million Dollar Man' movie)... apparently it's for real though-- Robert Downey, Jr is set to play 'Sherlock Holmes' in a film by Guy Ritchie.
Now, take a moment to let that set in...........................................
Ok...
I am a big fan of Downey, and I have rather enjoyed the couple of films directed by Guy Ritchie that I have seen ('Snatch' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels') but... huh? What part of that equation adds up to 'Sherlock Holmes'?
I grew up on Holmes, having read all the Doyle stories (and many by other authors including Stephen King) and rather enjoying most of the film versions (especially the Basil Rathbone series). I also have enjoyed the old time radio programs I have heard over the years with several different actors playing the sleuth. I even like the movie 'Young Sherlock Holmes' despite it's lack of continuity with established canon and the fact that it turns into an 'Indiana Jones' story partway through. To me there has never been a better version than the television series starring Jeremy Brett. Hell, I even thought the Matt Frewer films were decent if poorly cast.
But Robert Downey, Jr? I just can't see it working no matter how fine an actor he is-- there is more than just talent involved in assuming certain roles. One need look no further than Peter Cushing to see that-- a wonderful actor, but a very weak Holmes. He lacked that certain........... something. And his look was all wrong.
Downey doesn't have the presence, the class, the look or the britishness needed to pull it off.
And Guy Ritchie? His work is so raw and dirty-- I don't see how he could do justice to the Holmes legacy at all... Again, he lacks the class necessary to do so. I read that he at first thought Downey was too old to play Holmes-- has Guy ever read any Sherlock stuff? Probably not, but since when has that kept a director from doing a project? Holmes was fairly young when he started his recorded adventures, but you'd hardly want someone wet behind the ears playing the part...
Another thing that worries me is from an article that appeared in 'Variety'-- Michael Fleming wrote, "Downey emerged as an action star with 'Iron Man' and 'Sherlock Holmes' also will take advantage of his physical skills as the character displays brawn as well as brains,". Now, if that is just the author's musing, that is fine, but considering the director, I doubt that... Will we be seeing an action oriented Holmes? Granted it has been made clear on more than one occasion that Holmes is a boxer, and 'The Speckled Band' demonstrated that he is quite strong, having straightened out a fireplace poker that was bent to intimidate him, but he is hardly a man of action. He would much prefer to not become physically involved in a fight, and even though he is known to carry a pistol (more often than not Watson has it though), he rarely is willing to pull the trigger.
Also, apparently the movie is to be based off of a comic book version of 'Sherlock Holmes' as opposed to the Doyle stories. Hardly seems to be a fitting, but at least they aren't doing 'Hound of the Baskervilles' for the 3,000th time...
I have left out one final part of this mess that bothers me... Dr Watson-- he is to be played by Jude Law. Too young, too fit, too.......... I don't know, but he sure as hell is no Watson. I think he would be a better pick for Holmes if I had to choose between him and Downey actually.
I thought my biggest film dread was the upcoming live-action 'G.I.Joe' film-- I may have changed my mind on that one... And don't even get me started on the future comedic version starring Will Ferrell as Watson and that 'Borat' dude as Holmes. Yeesh...