Happy inevitably confusing and disorienting period between Christmas and New Years!
1.. Is this a racially problematic TV ad, or an encouraging one that signals progress?
For me, the commercial raises the question: Have we reached a point when depicting an entire black family acting as moronic as white people are routinely depicted on TV is permissible and white people are allowed to laugh at it?
It made me uncomfortable. Am I alone?
2. Charley Parkhurst. The New York Times project to catch up on all the significant and remarkable women who never received the recognition of an obituary in its pages has been fascinating, and there has been no more interesting entry than this month’s remembrance of Charley Parkhurst, 1812-1879. Parkhurst was a famous driver of six-horse stagecoaches during California’s Gold Rush, a challenging job requiring strength, skill, and unusual honesty. Parkhurst was described as “short and stocky,” a hard-living whiskey drinker, cigar smoker and tobacco chewer, who wore a patch over the empty eye-socket where a horse had kicked out the eyeball. Charley was also universally regarded as male until a doctor discovered, post mortem, that she wasn’t. At a time when a women’s options were severely limited, Parkhurst decided at a young age to live as a man, and was mighty good at it. She even registered to vote in 1868, and some give her the distinction as the first woman to vote in a Presidential election, though there is scant proof of it.
Looking at and thinking about a women “identifying a male” in a different cultural context is fascinating. Was Charley a woman, a male, trans, gay, a fraud, a hero (a heroine?), or just an opportunist and a gutsy realist who did what she wanted to do the only way it was possible for her to do it?
And does it matter? Should it matter?
We are told that Charley also was a lumberjack for a time. I wonder what she would have thought of the Monty Python song?
“…I can barely read the news these days (and I absolutely cannot watch it on TV). The negativity toward Trump is so relentless, cluttering up everything. It’s crying wolf times a thousand. If anything is worth taking seriously, I’m afraid I won’t be able to notice.”
I have come to the conclusion that this feeling, which I share in all respects, is a strong indication that the speaker or writer has managed to avoid a form of mass hysteria and ethical short-circuiting. A commenter on the post writes in part,
They do it because it works. Facts, actual dates, times, and other information are only important if they reinforce the narrative. Look at any news aggregate site, like Google News. Remarkable that all the headlines, about Trump, all use the same key words. When 30 or 40 or more papers all do that, it isn’t news anymore, it’s propaganda. Pravda and Peoples Daily never managed such a complete take over of the ‘truth’ like the MSM has done..It is really shameful behavior, and makes it difficult to tell what is actually happening.
Bonus: Here is a viral video introduced by the cretinous statement, “Mueller should arrest Trump. Retweet if you agree. Then listen to the song we did titled: “We wish you a Mueller Christmas,” sang by patriots in The Resistance.” Wrote cyber-nerd prognosticator Nate Silver in response, “This is why Trump won (re-election).”
Of course, if I try to share my commentary on Facebook, it will be blocked. Social media must do its part too.
I’ll be writing more about this later on today.
4. “Mary Poppins Returns” violates the first rule of remakes. At the end of “Scream 4,” which was a shameless rip-off of the original despite a funny film-within-a-film-within-a-film opening sequence, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the heroine/victim of all four movies, says, as she shoots the killer in the forehead (exactly as she killed the FIRST “Ghostface” stabber in “Scream”),
You forgot the first rule of remakes, Jill. Don’t fuck with the original!
Incredibly, “Mary Poppins Returns, which opened last week,” does just that, undermining the original classic to justify a lazy knock-off. (Oh all right: SPOILER ALERT!, if you are foolish enough to want to see this fiasco.) Remember how, in “Mary Poppins,” the greedy, materialistic bankers try to persuade little Michael Banks that his tuppence should not be spent on frivolous, childhood things, but invested in their bank?
Michael’s refusal to let these grasping capitalists take his money precipitates his father’s firing. Then the neglectful father has an epiphanal experience, realizing that whimsy, fun and childlike innocence are crucial as well. Michael spends his tuppence on “paper and strings,” and his father helps him make, and fly, a kite. Even the soulless bankers see the light! They re-hire and promote Mr. Banks, and start flying kites too!
Now get this: in the long-awaited sequel, now-grown Michael’s problems are solved because the bank really did get his tuppance to invest all those years ago (contrary to our understanding at the time): it was invested, and made him just enough money to save the day!
See? Screw kite-flying: let’s build those portfolios, kids!
I am quite confident that Walt would have never allowed this.