“Tar” is a bit long-winded but still the best movie I’ve seen this year. Blanchett will win the Oscar. I am absolutely fabulously overjoyed that they filmed and recorded the orchestral scenes with a real orchestra, live; Blanchett’s piano playing is also real, as is the cellist ingenue. Most films about musicians dub the performances and it usually shows, badly. Contains a provocative, timely discussion by the lead character of the relationship of art to the scandalous behaviors of the artists, instancing a LGBQ student who can’t get “into” Bach’s music because he had 13 children.
Free Speech, if you Already Have it
‘I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”’ Elon Musk.
Because people sometimes ask the government to make speech less free? Censor us! We don’t deserve to have a voice in our nation’s affairs! I wish to disagree in silence!
What Musk is really talking about, of course, is the obligation we are beginning to impose on gigantic social media entities to regulate and restrict what kind of speech they allow. We are beginning to realize that shouting “fire” in a crowded virtual theatre through Twitter is potentially just as harmful as it is in a real theatre.
The whole essential principle of free speech is to protect the rights of minorities, not the right of a majority to shut them up.
CNN’s Election Coverage 2022
The Red Dribble
Permission to Vent
Did you know that in the 1960’s, while all of the mainstream media devoted their sports sections to professional baseball, football, basketball, stockcar racing, and hockey, the sport that attracted the most actual fans– in person, in stadiums– was…. ready for it? Demolition derbies.
In politics, the whacky far right is the demolition derby of ideologies. Until recently, relegated to the back pages of history.
In spite of all the think-pieces about polarization in American politics, I really think the issue comes down to something much simpler.
Firstly, there has not been a massive change in attitudes or beliefs over the past 70 or 80 years. A large segment of the U.S. population has always held stupid ideas about culture, education, leadership, the military, and the police. And, of course, race. They love guns, hate affirmative action, can’t bear the thought of giving up their massive V-8 powered pick-up trucks, fear black people even if they don’t see themselves as racist (and some aren’t), and hate the idea of foreigners coming into the country and taking away their jobs while they themselves are unwilling to work hard for long hours to get ahead and there is a labour shortage in most areas of the country. They believe that good manufacturing jobs have been shipped over-seas even though 85% of them were lost to automation. They believe Republicans when they say they intend to reduce the deficit even though, when in office, they never have and never will. They seem to think that cutting taxes on the rich will benefit them, because, fuck it, some day I might win the lottery.
Until recently, people with toxic beliefs about society have intuited that they shouldn’t openly express those views because the consensus among politicians, the media, and other leaders is that those views are, in fact, untrue, toxic, and counter-productive, and ignorant.
They always believe crime is on the increase. Always. Try to explain to them that if crime was always increasing it would eventually reach 100%, so there must be times when it is actually decreasing (in fact, the crime rate is up only in year-over-year statistics. Over a longer period of time, it is down, by a clear margin).
They think that somehow making the bail system rational increases crime: no study has shown this. Not one.
Newt Gingrich came along, and Alex Jones, and Rush Limbaugh, and then Donald Trump, and they all publicly expressed massive approval of these toxic beliefs. The internet broke the consensus among major media outlets to not give play to ill-founded, idiotic conspiracy theories. Now every ignorant, ill-informed jack-ass in the country can search online to find that the cause of the wild-fires in California is Jewish space lasers or sun spots.
Try to explain to these people that international trade agreements, on the whole, benefit them. (Essentially, the lower cost of imported goods frees capital within the local market to pay for more goods, services, and other items which you otherwise could not afford. Free trade is a net benefit to the average American worker and consumer. Tariffs take money out of your pocket and give it to the government which in turn subsidizes corporations to the benefit of wealthy shareholders.)
People haven’t changed. They are just louder and more outspoken and more than happy to enlighten you as to their brilliant insights into the nature of reality and the truth about Biden and the international child porn conspiracy and Hollywood’s Jewish cabal and they way young school-children in small towns all across Iowa are being provided with litter boxes so they can “identify” as a transgender kitten.
Perhaps the most bizarre characteristic of these people is their close identification with Christianity. Do any of them actually read the Bible? Do they really see something in Jesus reflected in Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity? Do they really think God blesses them as they storm the capitol building and threaten to hang Mike Pence?
False Statements and Superfluous Details
It is always fascinating to read about a very old mystery that is finally solved.
In 1984, a twelve-year-old girl, Jonelle Matthews, disappeared from her home in Greely, Colorado. Police say they have been “haunted” by the case since then. Last week, the mystery was “solved”. A man named Steve Pankey was convicted of her kidnapping and murder.
Wow! DNA evidence, right? Fingerprints? A witness? A confession?
Well, we now know better than to trust confessions.
The evidence, as far as can be determined from the news article in the New York Times and Wiki, consists mostly of Pankey making “odd” comments about the case, showing an “unusual” interest in it, and … well, read about it. It’s get weirder and weirder. Apparently, Pankey, who is divorced, and whose wife seems to have provided police with some of the evidence of Pankey’s “odd” interest in the case, admits to being a celibate homosexual, even while he served as an assistant pastor at his church.
His wife, apparently, does not remember that his alibi– that he was with her the night of the kidnapping– was a lie. She was there with him, just a few nights before they left for a trip to California. The car was already partly packed. Would she not remember if he had been out that evening, if she remembers that he listened to radio accounts with suspiciously strong curiosity, or that he asked her to read newspaper accounts of the story aloud to him after they arrived home?
Jonelle’s body was found in 2019 by a construction crew working on a pipeline. There is no DNA evidence, no finger-prints, no photos, no witnesses. There is, in short, nothing but a rather bizarre interpretation of some odd but not really strange verbal expressions by the suspect.
This is not the first time some odd person has made curious statements about an unsolved murder. We should know better by now: it’s a psychological condition, a personality quirk, a bizarre compulsion. If a person behaves “oddly”, by all means, check it out. But if there is no supporting evidence, you probably have something similar to this case.
Ask yourself this: would the police have ever excluded a possible suspect because he didn’t provide “superfluous details” when discussing the case with them?
But to bring a case like that to court, based sole on the “superfluous” detail or “excessive” interest is worse than inadequate. It borders on criminal abuse. Close enough! Hang him! Great police work! Medals for everybody.
And Jonelle’s family is glad to have “closure”. If I were in Jonelle’s family, I would tell the police, “are you fucking kidding me?” Get back to work.
This is all absurd. It’s idiotic. And, as if we don’t already know from election-deniers, it is further evidence that a lot of people are, frankly, stupid: a jury voted unanimously that, by golly, if the police think he’s guilty, he must be guilty. They convicted him.
Pankey insists he is innocent. He says he is being persecuted because of his homosexuality. He might be right.
I love the “superfluous details”. The police felt that the “superfluous details” implicated him. Because there is some kind of magical police science that tells you that men who provide “superfluous details” likely committed a crime. Just as, when I was little, my mother believed that giggling if someone stared at you and asked if you were lying meant that you were lying.
I know people who put on a grave, serious expression when talking about police who were killed or injured on duty, as if there is something solemn or sacred about them. It is very hard, especially recently, especially after the numerous incidents in which police behaved very, very badly (even to the point of homicide) and not one of the officers who saw or heard of the incident reported it, to not believe that most police don’t deserve our respect.
Interesting side-note: Jonelle was born to a 13-year-old girl, and then adopted.
“A chokecherry tree was planted in front of Franklin Middle School in memory of Jonelle. The tree died after a few years and a plaque inscribed with Jonelle’s name disappeared.” (Wiki) So much for that solemn commitment to commemorate and honor her memory. I guess it was a superfluous detail.
Ringo is the GOAT
This Youtube Video informs us about the “genius” of Ringo.
Seriously? Look, I don’t mind Ringo. He’s a decent drummer. He stays in time, can hold a rhythm, and looks good doing it. Furthermore, he seems to be a really decent guy. He is unpretentious. Humble. He is a photographer.
But “great”? Ringo is not and never was a “great” drummer. In fact, there have been occasions on which Paul banged out a few bars in Ringo’s absence, and no hue and cry was raised. Was it even noticed? Some acolytes of the Sacred Heart of the Ringo is Great Divinity School like to try to make a virtue of his deficiencies by praising his simple, straight-forward, unadorned style. The truth is that Ringo was never capable of anything much more complex than that.
Ringo just happened to be the drummer for a band that became very, very famous, and nobody will believe that a band that famous could not have had an elite drummer, and since almost no listener has the slightest clue as to what a really, really good drummer sounds like (try Hal Blaine, or Kenneth A. Buttrey on Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding”, or The Band’s Levon Helm, or Neal Pert of Rush) they just assume he is one of them.
Want to hear the worst drummers of all time? Check out most of Neil Young’s backing bands, but especially Crazy Horse.