Since I’ve spent all week writing about videogames and comic books, I figured I’d class the joint up a little bit and offer some fashion tips. Inspired by this rather, well, dull list of places to buy suits in Washington by the scamps at DCist*, allow me to suggest a few options that you may not have heard of. Note: This list is almost entirely aspirational. As a humble journalist my clothing budget is tight and new items are acquired on a need-to-buy basis.
Odds are audiences will notice that Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance doesn’t quite feel like any other film they’ve seen. But they may not be sure why, at first. Constantly in motion, yet contained almost entirely within and around a smallish Broadway theater and a nearby bar, Birdman will feel to them fluid, alive, and ethereal—different from most big screen fare.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, the most amusing aspect of the whole #GamerGate phenomenon (background here and here and here) has been the angry progressive media types confusedly looking around trying to figure out how we got to a point where they would be targeted for boycotts and the like for casual comments they have made. As Varad Mehta noted,
@SonnyBunch It’s as though politicizing everything will come back and bite you in the ass. My mind’s blown, man.
— Varad Mehta (@varadmehta) October 22, 2014
Crazy, right? They don’t quite understand the world they’ve created. They think it’s the worst thing in the whole world for Internet Tough Guys to make death and rape threats* and also that it’s cool to joke about Bristol Palin actually being physically assaulted by a man. Because stoopid Rethuglicans, you know? Most amusingly, they don’t even seem to understand the contradiction. So they get really butthurt when someone else whips up an Internet rage mob against them. “Don’t you understand?” they seem to be crying. “We’re the good guys here! We only take on bad people! Those Other people. That aren’t good. Like us!”
A few months back, Andrew Ferguson* wrote a rather scathing takedown of a HBO documentary on the notoriously dreadful cartoonist Herbert Block. Block’s biggest weakness, Andy wrote, was that, well, he couldn’t really draw. To make up for this talent deficit, Block would simply label all of his cartoons with the points he was trying to make. Here’s Andy:
Marvel Studios recently announced that Captain America 3 will revolve around the “Civil War” storyline from the comics that ran between 2006 and 2007. The storyline, crafted by Mark Millar—a self-professed liberal who has described Sarah Palin as “terrifying”—was a thinly veiled allegory for the war on terror and a critique of the Patriot Act. The short version of the storyline goes something like this:
A group of untrained and out-of-control superheroes takes on a team of super villains and their battle results in the deaths of some eight or nine hundred people. As a result of this tragedy, the Marvel Universe’s version of the CIA/DHS*, SHIELD, pushes for the power to control and train superheroes. They get their way and a law is passed requiring those with superhuman powers to reveal their secret identities and register with, and work for, the government. Those who don’t work with the government are imprisoned indefinitely and without trial in the Negative Zone**. Tony Stark (Iron Man) supports the law; Captain America opposes it. After a bunch of fighting, Captain America, realizing he has lost the support of the American people, surrenders. While standing trial for violating the
Patriot ActSuperhero Registration Act, Captain America is killed by a sniper, a martyr in the war on terrorCivil War.
Remember, this story was conceived and published in the darkest days of the Bush presidency. It’s not hard to see the parallels to the arguments against Gitmo and government overreach in the name of keeping people safe. Here’s how the New York Times described the series:
Matthew McConaughey, American Icon, believes that the Redskins should not change their name or logo. Writing at Uproxx Sports, Andy Isaac argued, “McConaughey will likely get killed for this, as his opinion is far from mainstream.” This is, quite simply, wrong. In September, the Washington Post reported on a poll showing that 71 percent of respondents believe the name should not be changed. Earlier this week, the Post reported on another poll that showd 83 percent of respondents believed the Redskins “should not” change their name. In other words, Matthew McConaughey is firmly in the mainstream.
So, as I said, Isaac was wrong. He quickly realized his mistake and corrected his post; I’m not interested in rubbing his nose in it. It is worth briefly highlighting, though, because he was wrong in an interesting way. I am not surprised that Isaac believed that McConaughey is out of step with the mainstream. That’s because within Isaac’s area of interest—the universe of sports writers and writing—McConaughey undoubtedly is out of the mainstream. He is out of step with the nation’s major columnists and websites. He wouldn’t fit in with the Deadspin bros. At some point in the last 18 months or so, a critical mass of sports journalists have decided that it’s totes terrible to use a name that’s been used for decades without a peep. And the rest of the sports journalists have been made to realize that they need to keep their mouths shut if they disagree.
As Bryan Curtis noted at Grantland, this is the golden age of the liberal sports writer:
Andrew Stiles and I, your loyal Editor’s Bloggers, have contributed chapters to the forthcoming book The Seven Deadly Virtues. Amazon suggests you should be able to purchase it now (in both hardcover and Kindle formats!) so get on that. Imagine an irreverent version of Bill Bennett’s The Book of Virtues: serious topics handled with a bit of fun.
You shouldn’t buy it because Stiles and I contributed; we’re a couple of pikers.
Since last we checked in on #GamerGate, there have been a couple of rather silly arguments leveled against the grassroots hashtagtivist campaign.
Let’s deal with the dumber of these first. This argument goes something like: “#GamerGate has been totally discredited because some small number of people have threatened violence against some other small number of people while using the hashtag in their attacks.” This has led luminaries such as Joss Whedon to explicitly compare GamerGaters to the Ku Klux Klan:
Over at Mother Jones, Ben Dreyfuss unveiled a completely incorrect ranking of Christopher Nolan films. More egregious than the actual ranking, however, was this bit of heresy:
Of those seven films,* one is great, four are good but forgettable, and two are bad bad bad.
“wow wrong,” as the kids might say. Nolan has never made a bad film (let alone a bad-times-three film). On a four-star scale, only Following would drop below three (and that one just barely; it’s a glorified student film, so it’s technically rough) and several would be fours.
Anyway, here’s the correct ranking of Christopher Nolan’s films.