Tag: sadness

I can’t keep up with this primary cycle.

It’s too much.  We’ve become such a polarized, combative, ignorant, and hateful nation of dickholes.  No one thinks anymore.  Everyone jumps to the conclusion they want to jump to, and stubbornly clings to the narrative they made up in their head (or read on a Facebook meme during breakfast a week ago).  Everyone loves to make cute comparisons to horrible things for effect, then end up believing their own hyperbolic garbage.

All sides are guilty of this.  No one is exempt.  This isn’t a “Trump voter” thing, or a “stupid liberal” thing.  This is an “entire country” thing.  We are all this dumb.

We are now getting the political leaders we deserve.

One is an obstinate, hyper-religious zealot who is probably the most hated politician in the country, at least by other politicians.  He’s getting votes mainly because he’s the most aggressively Christian candidate, and being that will always gain a good chunk of votes in America.

Another is a long-term independent running in the Democratic party, and it shows.  His policies are more socialist and challenge a large concentrated power base in the country (banks, billionaires), but he’s made the mistake of using the actual words “socialist” and “revolution”.  Even though this country is 60 years removed from the last Red Scare and 15 years removed from the end of the Cold War, those two words are still frightening to many.

Yet another is one of the most establishment-approved candidates in political history, despite the fact that she would be the first woman president.  She’s tried to maintain a message that paints her presidency as something new based on the fact that she’s a woman, but in reality her politics line up perfectly with two of the last three presidents, and her overarching economic and foreign policy aligns with the interests that have shaped our country for the last 40-60 years.

Finally, there is a reality television star who can’t stop telling us how rich he is.  He has stated and supported multiple nativist and xenophobic policies, and has replied to almost any question asking about specific policy with some form of “it’s going to be great.”  We spent a week talking about his dick.  He speaks to us like we’re fifth-graders, because we are.  He’s a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

This is it, everyone.  This is the part of the history book where there’s a new heading called “Peak and Descent.”  We have one of the most extravagant standards of living in human history, but it’s spoiled us so much that now we’re electing our political leaders by opening cereal boxes and hoping the prize is a toy.

America is fucking great.  And we’re fucking it up.


A Quick Word On The Farm Bill

$8.7 billion over the next ten years have been cut from food stamps nationwide as part of the newly-signed Farm Bill.

The oil industry continues to receive around $35 billion/year in subsidies. They probably need it; they’ve been recently recording record-low profits. They’ve only been averaging around $60 billion/year profits the last few years. They need to eat too.

The pharmaceutical industry gets north of $250 billion/year, when calculating for subsidies and the fact that Medicare cannot negotiate prices with drug manufacturers, thanks to the 2003 Medicare Part D bill that continues to heavy contribute to our extremely high prescription prices. But they need to eat too.

Top-200 companies combine to receive well north of $1 trillion/year (with a T) in federal support, and that doesn’t count the fact that their lobbying (which they spend a far less than that on) gets them trillions of dollars of business combined. But we need to prioritize the well-being of the good people from Goldman-Sachs, AT&T, Microsoft, Comcast, Lockheed-Martin, big banks that already received a bailout years ago, and other enormously rich companies you’ve heard of. They need to eat, so badly.

So let’s ignore those in need and keep shoveling money to the people who already have all of it. That makes sense.

The Horrible Powerlessness of Waiting

One of my wife’s friends from college went missing on Thursday.  Before I write about it, the essentials:

Facebook Page: “Find Sierra Shields”

News Report from PIX11 News

While I didn’t know her personally, it is important to note that thousands of people have liked and shared the post, and there is a large, organized effort to gather information that’s a coalition of friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, and even random concerned people.  Clearly she has touched many lives in a positive way.

Watching this from the outside, this is a heart-wrenching situation, obviously.  While I don’t have any personal grief, my wife has been in an emotional stasis for the past few days.  There’s no way to know how she should be reacting, since the lack of information prevents any sort of reasonable reaction.  Almost any reasonable conclusion is negative, but not knowing for sure is debilitating.

All I can do is console and reassure, which I’ve done, but I can’t say “it’ll be OK.”  I don’t know.  Chances are it won’t be OK.  False hope isn’t good for anyone.

The only great thing I’ve extracted from this is the comment sections in news outlets.  For the most part, it has been overwhelmingly positive.  It’s a healthy reminder of the fact that there is humanity out there still.

Some Thoughts on Star Things

J.J. Abrams has become a bit of a polarizing figure to me.

He has been associated with some of my favorite movies and television.  Alias was great.  Fringe was pretty good.  The new Star Wars movie was obviously grood (somewhere between great and good).  He’s also supposed to be producing the Half-Life and Portal movies, which I didn’t even know existed until I just looked up his IMDB.

He’s also associated with the new Star Trek movies, which I have extremely mixed feelings about.

I think I’ve developed a bit of resentment over the Trek/Wars thing.

First, a bit of background: I like Star Wars, but I love Star Trek.  I never cared much for the original series, but the original cast’s movies were extremely influential on my childhood, and even more important to me was the Next Generation series.

Seeing the new Star Wars movie, it’s clear that he cares a lot about the source material.  There were many, many details and homages all over that movie.  It’s clear that it was tended to by someone who is a true fan.

The same can’t be said about the new Star Trek movies.  The nicest thing I can say is that they’re above average action movies that happen to involve Star Trek characters.  They’re not Star Trek movies, however.

What makes this difficult is that it’s not easily apparent.  Abrams clearly has a gift for casting; this is evident in almost every project he’s been involved in.  Even in the ST movies, there really isn’t a bad casting choice across the board (and even some excellent ones; Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban are simply fantastic in their respective roles).

However, the new ST films simply aren’t Star Trek, at all.  Trek isn’t about action scenes and fast pacing.  It’s about the conflicts and moral dilemmas that the human race would come across as it explores space and interacts with other alien races.  It’s about a glimpse of a possible future where the human race has ascended to outer space, and has largely cast aside internal struggles in the name of space travel and discovery.  It’s a thinking-mans setting.

Despite that, the new ST movies are just action flicks starring those characters.  And in that, those characters are put into positions they hadn’t been before, which rings false to anyone who enjoyed them before.  I know that technically it’s all “OK” in canon since this is a completely different timeline (and that these characters are much younger), but it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.

I think this is also further complicated by the fact that Hollywood wants blockbusters, and Star Wars’ format fits one without much modification.  However, a slower-paced sci-fi movie isn’t Hollywood’s idea of a big-ticket, high-grossing film, so the chances of that being made are pretty slim.  This leads to the question: is it even possible for a faithful Star Trek movie to be made at all, in the current Hollywood climate?  I’m afraid the answer to that is no.

So while I could easily just say “Fuck Abrams for what he did to Star Trek,” I think it’s important to note that he had a job.  His job was to make a popular Star Trek movie.  He did.  The alternative was probably no Star Trek movie at all.

That’s a hard truth to swallow as a Trek fan.