1 When Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand, that’s not news. When Mark Hamill bites the hand that feeds him…In recent interview, Mark Hamill, the one-trick pony, one-role actor who had been playing cameo parts on SyFy cable channel movies because he wasn’t enough of a draw to put in “Sharknado 6,” criticized how director Rian Johnson had him play Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” “He’s not my Luke Skywalker,” said Hamill in a recent interview, who originated the part four decades ago, when he had a career.
This is astounding ingratitude, and shows a lack of professionalism that suggests it wasn’t only limited range that strangled Hamill’s non-“Star Wars” prospects. The movie is still in theaters. The fact that he is in the latest trilogy at all is a gift. If he wants to knock the film in about ten years or so when he’s doing Fishin’ Magician informercials on cable and his comments get him 12 and a half minutes of fame on TMZ, that’s fine, but right now, he has an ethical obligation to the studio and his fellow artists to do everything he can to make the “Star Wars” geeks want to see the film.
You know Luke—can I call you Luke?—most of those other actors aren’t as lucky as you were, and don’t have a cushy guaranteed lifetime income from a single surprise hit that easily could have ended up on the second half of drive-in double features.
May the Force slap some sense into you.
2. Update: Governor Kasich is an idiot. But I bet you knew that. Yup, John Kasich signed into law that Ohio bill that made it illegal to abort a fetus diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This law is going to be struck down as unconstitutional, and it makes no sense. Signing it into law displays a bad combination of incompetence and cowardice.
BOY, that was a horrible crew of Republicans who all were thinking about Donald Trump, “Well, at least I know I can beat THIS guy!” I know many people like me, including some moderate Democrats, who were rooting for Kasich because he seemed preferable to having another Bush, the theocracy craving Mike Huckabee, the corrupt Chris Christie, weird Rand Paul, diabolical Ted Cruz, not-ready-for-prime- time Marco Rubio, dumb-as-a-box-of-whoopie-cushions Ben Carson, scary Carly Fiorina, or, as the alternative, the venal, inept and frighteningly ambitious Hillary Clinton. No, he’s a conservative hack with an honest face. This proves it.
3. I really, really hate this kind of thing…The latest caboose on the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck is the Miss America scandal. The CEO of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, has been suspended and is almost certainly toast after a Huffington Post story revealed, in its words, “internal correspondence reveals name-calling, slut-shaming and fat-shaming in emails between the Miss America CEO, board members and a pageant writer.” What the story contains are descriptions of private e-mails in which Haskell’s “crimes” was essentially that he didn’t respond to sexist jokes and snarky comments by others by writing, “How dare you speak like that about women? You are an unmannerly cur, and I intend to expose you for the misogynist blackguard that you are!” Someone would make an ugly joke, and he’d reply, “Good one!” or “Hahahahahaha!” Most of the e-mails that have caused the uproar came from a pageant writer with a penchant for nasty humor. Haskell forwarded the offensive e-mails of others, or wasn’t sufficiently indignant.
Haskell gets a $500,000 a year salary to perpetuate a beauty contest that was an anachronism 30 years ago, and doesn’t naturally evoke sympathy. However, the moral of his fate is that naughty banter between two people is a) not immune from discovery and publication by malign individuals with an agenda, and b) there is no such thing as a private conversation. We now have to choose every word. laugh, reaction and tone of voice in one-on-one interactions with consideration of how it will strike strangers who read about what we said in the Huffington Post. Is that really how we want to live, with career and reputation assassins ready to pounce?
“For this story, HuffPost reviewed nearly three years of internal emails provided by two sources,” we are told. Those two sources are despicable. What is being prosecuted here is thought-crime. No conduct was revealed in these e-mails. Just thoughts, jokes, and people expressing their frustrations, aggressions, and sometimes dubious senses of humor. The Golden Rule should stop any decent and ethical human being from using such e-mails to provoke a public relations crisis. It is not the conversations that cause harm, but the publication and exposure of them.
We’ve seen this before. In 2014, Sony chief Amy Pascal lost her job when North Korea hacked her company’s e-mails and revealed a racially provocative exchange with a producer. Most ominous of all, NBA owner Donald Sterling lost his team, his reputation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, when comments he made to his mistress in his bed room were secretly taped by the woman and made public. The comments of both Sterling and Pascal were far, far worse that anything Haskell said or allowed to pass, which makes it easier to see the looming danger to our liberties here, if we never have privacy to express politically incorrect thoughts. In my first Sterling post, I wrote (and quoted the passage in my post about the Sony hacks, a few months later):
Vile biases are our personal burdens; if we can’t banish or eliminate them, we are ethically obligated to make certain that they stay in our skulls, safe and harmless, because even the revelation that they exist causes harm to others. In law, keeping a dangerous animal on your property creates strict liability: if it gets loose, no matter how, you are liable for the harm it causes to others. Racist thoughts are like that too.
I think I still believe that, but I’m beginning to waver. We are creating a world where people will be forced to be afraid to think, write or speak anything that is politically incorrect, unpopular, non-conforming, controversial or in questionable taste.
Worse, there are increasing numbers of people who think this would be a positive development.
4. Have they no decency? The obsession, the disgraceful display of disrespect, and the pettiness of the Trump Hate Mob continues to astound. It is all part of the strategy to undermine the President’s ability to govern by making certain that his face, statements, and anything remotely commented to him provokes a reflex negative response in the public as it does in them. All the better to overthrow his government with, of course. And that is the objective.
The latest example has been the proliferation of criticism of Disney’s revamped Hall of the Presidents attraction.Here’s a typical one, from Elle. None of these articles are really interested in the verisimilitude of Disney’s audio-animatronic exhibit, which opened almost 50 years ago. The idea is to have another way to insult Trump, his hair, his weight, his policies, using his robot.
I love the Hall of the Presidents. After I handed in my honors thesis about the Great Man Theory and the American Presidency, I got in a car with three friends and drove to Walt Disney World to see the guys I had been researching, thinking about and writing about for a year. It was a thrill. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that Abe Lincoln didn’t really look like Abe Lincoln, since Abe Lincoln, I hear, wasn’t a robot. It’s not as if Disney is trying to fool anyone. In 2009, Disney added Obama to the Hall. His robot didn’t look any more like the real President than Robo-Trump looks like Trump:
Never mind: there was no wave of attacks on the attraction and Obama, nor should have there have been, because such attacks would have been petty and desperate….you know, like the attacks on the current version. Trump is special, you see. He doesn’t deserve even the most basic respect or fairness. That has been the theme of 2017 in both political discourse and the news media.
My complaint about both Hall updates is that they placed the current POTUS in a grouping that includes Grant, Andrew Johnson, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, or five of the six Presidents usually on the bottom of most Presidential rankings.