And isn’t it high time Wonder Woman was a man?

June 27, 2015

Another day, another attempt to tamper with established characters to make them more PC:

Peter Parker is Caucasian and heterosexual. That isn’t a description: it’s a contractual obligation, one glittering clause in the solid-gold expanse of a licensing agreement between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. . . . Certain facets of the man’s character are inflexible. He must not be black. And he must not be gay.

[Why It’s Time for a Black or Gay Spider Man]

The author does raise the obvious retort: if you want a black or gay superhero, why not just create a new one from scratch? But he never really answers it. There is a perfectly clear answer, though: the Left creates affirmative-action, token characters like this as vehicles for dropping a Message on audiences’ heads like a cartoon anvil. Heavy-handed ideology does not make for good art, and audiences know it. Since they know they can’t succeed on their own merits, the Left needs to hijack someone else’s already profitable property and repurpose it.

Imagine the howls of outrage if Fat Albert or Charlie Chan were remade as Caucasians.

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Good question, actually

June 19, 2015

“I do not understand why everything in this script must inevitably explode.” —Teal’c, Stargate SG-1, “200”


Awkward

June 18, 2015

Brian Williams, the NBC anchor and professional fabulist who was suspended after claiming falsely to have come under fire in a helicopter while covering the Iraq War in 2003, has been moved to MSNBC.

In his new role, Mr. Williams will anchor breaking news stories and special reports for MSNBC and primarily appear in the daytime. MSNBC’s evening schedule is mostly political talk shows.

[Full Story]

Put another way: NBC isn’t credible enough with him, and MSNBC isn’t credible enough without him.


And now . . . this – Apr. 24/15

April 24, 2015

Here’s an instant classic from the chronicles of the Society of the Perpetually Outraged, whose feelings are so tender that even a tongue-in-cheek slutshaming of a fictional superhero suffices to send the social-justice warriors running for their keyboards.

When asked about fans’ unmet hopes that Black Widow would get together with their characters, Captain America and Hawkeye respectively, instead of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), [Jeremy] Renner said, “She’s a slut.” [Chris] Evans laughed and agreed: “I was going to say something along that line . . . A complete whore.” Renner also joked that “she has a prosthetic leg anyway.”

[Full Story]

Reports are coming in that the Black Widow has been so humiliated by the incident, that she developed an eating disorder. Moll Flanders and Holly Golightly are said to be staging an intervention.

Seriously, when people get upset about someone calling a fictional character a slut (it’s probably true, anyway, by design), then the Big One can’t come soon enough.


Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

February 27, 2015

When news broke a few days ago that actor Leonard Nimoy had been hospitalized, I feared the worst, and it has happened: he has passed away at the age of 83, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which he attributed to his former smoking habit.

Like many people of a particular generation, I knew that Nimoy had had a long and varied career in the performing arts. However, I knew his work exclusively from one character: Star Trek’s Spock, the role that defined his career for almost 50 years. (Nimoy wrote two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock [1975], in which he attempted to distance his own personality from the character’s, and then I Am Spock [1995], in which he clarified that he was proud to have played Spock, and never meant to reject the role.) Nimoy also played guest roles on numerous television programs of the 1960s, inlcuding Bonanza, The Rebel, Get Smart, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone (as did his and others including a —amongst others—in Westerns, on The Twilight Zone (as did his Star Trek co-star William Shatner, arguably more famously), and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (in an episode where he and Shatner both appeared as enemies on either side of the Cold War, with Nimoy as the villain). After Star Trek, he had a recurring role on Mission: Impossible. Come to think of it, I may have seen the episode of the Outer Limits revival on which he was the guest, but apart from the various incarnations of Star Trek, that’s it.

Three of Trek’s seven stars have now passed on; Shatner, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig remain.

In addition to television and film acting, Nimoy also pursued other arts: directing, poetry, photography, and music—the last infamously including a novelty song titled “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”

Leonard Nimoy’s final tweet before his death was this:

Or, in the final words of Spock, in Star Trek II: “Remember.”


It was 20 years ago today

June 17, 2014

In my life, I have (so far) had two “you-gotta-see-this” moments. By this I mean, friends or roommates, who knew that I was interested in current events, deliberately came to my room to tell me to get to a TV, because “You gotta see this.”

The first of these was on April 19, 1993, when a housemate told me to turn on CNN so I could see the conflagration of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco and the demise of their leader David Koresh, bringing an end to a 51-day seige of the compound by federal authorities.

The second was a little over a year later, and 20 years ago today. when the “you gotta see this” turned out to be then-murder suspect O. J. Simpson, holding a gun to his head and driving a white Bronco down a Los Angeles freeway at low speed, pursued by a dozen police cruisers. It was an absurdist moment. If “Yackety Sax” had been playing, it would have made more sense.

This article from Vanity Fair argues that the O. J. Simpson chase was, per their title, the death of popular culture, but also the birth of reality TV. First, it offered a voyeuristic look into the lives of a notable celebrity. Author Lili Anolik writes, “It gave us the dirty little thrill of putting our eye to the keyhole, looking in on a world that we’d normally never have access to.” Second, like most reality TV programs, it featured third-rate Hollywood. Just as you’ll never see a Hollywood A-lister starring in a series on TLC, Simpson’s acting career never rose to any lofty heights. The most notable witness of Simpson’s murder trial, slacker Kato Kaelin, became, like many reality TV stars, famous for being famous. And, of course, if not for the trial, the most talked-about news story of 1995, “Kardashian” would never have become a household name.

The article makes interesting reading. If nothing else, it reminds me that it was around the time of the Simpson kerfluffle that I became soured on cable news because its focus began to shift away from legitimate news toward celebrity gossip. O. J. Simpson was at least accused and acquitted of doing something newsworthy. When newscasts spend an inordinate amount of time reporting on the outcome of reality TV competitions such as American Idol, Paris Hilton’s arrests, or the hottest new YouTube videos, the line between reality and reality TV has become irreversably blurred.


Richard Matheson (1926-2013)

June 25, 2013

I can’t believe that it’s been seven years since I first discovered the fiction of Richard Matheson, via the short story collection Duel (which I reviewed at the time). As I said back then:

Matheson seems to be almost unheard of these days, but in addition to “Duel,” many of his novels have been adapted for film: A Stir of Echoes, What Dreams May Come, and The Shrinking Man, to name three. After reading Duel, I’m convinced to try out some of his longer fiction. But if you’re looking for a good collection of tight short stories by an author you probably haven’t read before, you can’t go wrong with this book.

Richard Matheson passed away on Sunday at the age of 97.

His influence is arguably out of proportion to his name recognition, but if you’ve watched a lot of science-fiction or horror television or movies, you’ve probably seen something he wrote, which includes:

  • the screenplay for Duel, Stephen Spielberg’s first feature-length film (and the short story on which it was based);
  • the classic Twilight Zone episodes “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Little Girl Lost,” as well as the episode “Steel” based on his short story of the same name (as was the 2011 movie Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman); and
  • the novel I am Legend, which has been adapted three times for the movies, as The Last Man on Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price, The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston, and I am Legend (2007), starring Will Smith;

Science fiction and horror literature has lost another of its greatest authors. The Golden Age continues to slowly diminish.