Popculch Gulch.

It’s an all-pop culture blog today, because that’s what we have at the moment. The news out of China yesterday was about the so-called ethnic Uighurs, which the guy on NPR kept pronouncing “wiggers,” and wandering into the report halfway through, for about two seconds I wondered what Eminem had to do with China. It’s like the stupidity of Michael Jackson’s funeral was flying through the air on invisible wings.

So, then:

You know who also played at the Motown 25th anniversary concert, the one where — we have been reminded approximately eleventy jillion times in the last, GAWD, TWELVE DAYS — Michael Jackson unveiled the moonwalk to the world? Anyone?

Adam Ant.

You could look it up. I just did, and ran across both the YouTube video (which I recommend for its excruciating badness) and this amusing recap from a blogger, c. 2006. He notices things — commercials for the Commodore 64 personal computer, and Anacin. (This was before we learned aspirin is pure poison for everyone other than middle-aged people expecting a heart attack.) And it wasn’t just Adam Ant. Two other acts of the future played. Get ready: DeBarge and High Energy.

I think it’s useful to be reminded of this stuff from time to time. Berry Gordy had his streak, for sure. He caught a big wave, surfed it perfectly, and rode it all the way to a nice beach in Los Angeles, and has spent the rest of his life telling people about it but not once even coming close to duplicating it. His best artists got out from under his grinding bootheel as quickly as they could, Stevie Wonder and M.J. among them. His new discoveries sort of define “forgettable.” While I remember DeBarge, a Jackson family with 78 percent less talent, it’s mainly for a story a hotel manager in Fort Wayne told me after they passed through town on tour, about how they ordered room service consisting of a $500 bottle of cognac and a six-pack of Coke, and yes, they mixed them.

High Energy is lost to the ages, or at least my creeping Alzheimer’s. As for Adam Ant, well, Berry was all about maximizing the audience, and that crazy English kid had that “Goody Two Shoes” song on the charts, and, what? You don’t remember “Goody Two Shoes,” either? Well, maybe Journey was busy or something. The early ’80s was a bit fallow, pop-wise.

Why am I talking about Adam Ant? Oh, right: Because Jon Mayer played at M.J.’s funeral concert — you know, the noted soul artist. In 25 more years, I think we’ll be saying, yes, he was the Adam Ant of his day, and dated Jennifer Aniston.

If you have but one Jackson-memorial story to read today, make it the WashPost’s:

Carey, wearing a long gown with a plunging mesh neckline — demure, for her — performed her version of the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There,” and looked meaningfully toward Jackson’s casket.

The musician Usher also looked toward Jackson’s casket during his song, then walked toward it and placed his hands on it.

Jennifer Hudson did not interact with the casket but sang a from-the-gut version of “Will You Be There,” accompanied by a troop of backup dancers. Somber, funereal backup dancers, yes, but backup dancers nonetheless. No one tried to moonwalk. It would have seemed disrespectful.

…His transformation of his own face took more than 20 years, as did his journey from beloved, giggling child-star to bizarre, fragile child-man.

The public’s transformation of Michael Jackson, from mutant to messiah, took less than two weeks. “Michael . . . made us love each other,” Sharpton called out. “It was Michael that made us . . . feed the hungry.”

God, it’s almost like you were there.

Elsewhere on the beat, the New York Times has been running some odd culture stuff lately. A few weeks ago, they brought us the shocking news that many people who start blogs lose interest in them after a while. Today, get ready to be blown out of your chair:

Dirty movies just don’t have stories anymore.

Wha-? Huh?

The pornographic movie industry has long had only a casual interest in plot and dialogue. But moviemakers are focusing even less on narrative arcs these days. Instead, they are filming more short scenes that can be easily uploaded to Web sites and sold in several-minute chunks.

I had no idea they had even a casual interest, but then, I think the last dirty movie I saw in long form was by the Dark Brothers c. mid-’80s, and while I don’t think I lasted even seven minutes, I did see what we amateur screenwriters like to call the first act. No plot or script was in evidence then, either.

This seems to be the peg:

Plot-centrism was in full bloom in 2005 with the release of “Pirates,” about a ragtag group of sailors who go after a band of evil pirates.

That movie, with a budget of more than $1 million, had special effects (pirates materializing from the mist), and, yes, lots of sex. Two years later, the movie’s studio, Digital Playground, spent $8 million on a sequel — a remarkable sum in an industry where the average movie costs $25,000, according to the director of the two movies, Ali Joone.

I missed the era of “plot-centrism?” Pirates materializing from the mist? I need to get out more.

Finally, a last bit of bloggage, in which Billy Dee Williams comes up in discussion at a Detroit City Council meeting. That august body takes on a serious issue — malt-liquor ads that imply it’s the fastest way to something, perhaps date rape — in their own special way:

Councilwoman Martha Reeves said her beef is the way the cartoon ads portray Williams: “He’s ugly.”

I need to go in search of my brain. If you see it, mail it home.

Posted at 10:29 am in Current events, Detroit life, Popculch |
 

52 responses to “Popculch Gulch.”

  1. Randy said on July 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Goody Two Shoes, I remember that song. It was on my K-Tel Records “Hits of ’82” album, I think. Lyric: “If you don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do ya do?” Uh, I dunno.

  2. nancy said on July 8, 2009 at 10:47 am

    OMG, I’ve aligned myself with Bill O’Reilly! Watch for lightning from clear blue skies, or perhaps the apocalypse.

  3. LAMary said on July 8, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I liked Jennifer Hudson’s performance. Maybe it was not funeral appropriate what with the dancing and all, but she’s a good singer. Usher, on the other hand, is an ass.

  4. jeff borden said on July 8, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Didn’t Adam Ant perform in a kind of a faux pirate/military tunic and a lot of eye makeup? Wonder what he’s up to these days? Maybe some smart producer should round up the one-hit wonders of the early `80s for “I’m A Celebrity. . .Get Me Outta Here.” Put ol’ Adam in there with the guy from Flock of Seagulls, the lead singer from Men Without Hats, Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys. The possibilities are endless.

    I put myself in a no-Michael Jackson zone yesterday and feel rested, relaxed and refreshed today, skipping over the cheap “collectible” insert in the Sun-Times with nary a glance. As a cynic, I’m more interested in the distribution of his assets, if he has any left. There’s a mighty interesting mix of characters who will be grabbing for those goodies.

  5. alice said on July 8, 2009 at 11:24 am

    “so unplug the jukebox
    and do us all a favor
    that music’s lost its taste
    so try another flavor –

    antmusic”

    I’d do the head bop thing but I’m afraid I’ll throw my neck out.

  6. Sue said on July 8, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Actually, John Mayer is a noted blues artist. Or he would be if he could shake his girly-pop image. He’s also done some work with hip-hop artists, so he might have a deeper pedigree than people realize. I don’t know about Jennifer Aniston.

  7. coozledad said on July 8, 2009 at 11:26 am

    For awhile I thought it might be possible to make a sex movie that had some kind of plot, but there are pacing issues that no director can work around. If there had been the standard sequence of fellatio, cunnilingus, missionary, anal, then money shot in North by Northwest, for example, the whole cropduster chase sequence would have been overshadowed by a critical discussion of Cary Grant’s love handles and lack of enthusiasm.
    I rented a movie once that was described as a “zany French sex comedy” and had pretty high expectations. All I can tell you is, avoid Eric Roemer.

  8. LAMary said on July 8, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Before he dated Jennifer Anniston, he dated Jessica Simpson. He must like women who experienced somewhat humiliating breakups.

    To further explain the ass hattedness of Usher, he started his song wearing sunglasses to hide his badly faked crying. He took them off at the end of the song in a sort of “ta-da, look I’m crying” gesture. An ass. He’s the love child of Ben Vereen, who is another performer who has always got on my nerves. It’s genetic, I guess.

  9. nancy said on July 8, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Once again, Coozledad wins the thread in the first hour.

    The sunglasses — everyone’s sunglasses — bothered me, too. It’s a goddamn funeral, show some respect. But then, it really wasn’t, was it? It was a funeral concert, another hybrid for the Jackson factory.

  10. 4dbirds said on July 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

    John Mayer must have some issues. The man is a revolving door of relationships. I still like his music.

  11. jeff borden said on July 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Coozledad,

    Wasn’t one of the subplots in the wonderful “Boogie Nights” the efforts of the Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly characters to create a sexed-up James Bond kind of movie? They really wanted it to be a good movie, but with a lot of hardcore in it? I recall the fake names they used for their spy/sex flick were Brock Landers and Chest Rockwell.

  12. Connie said on July 8, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I have managed to avoid MJ mostly and have seen nothing of the memorial events.

    OTOH my kid has been making me watch America’s Got Talent with her and I am hooked. Last night (TIVO’d) was filled with really bad talent. The last guy comes on, good looking black guy in a great suit. I said he’s either going to be really really bad, or he’s got one of those “Old Man River” voices.

    He then proceeded to perform a beautiful rendition of “Old Man River”. We didn’t hear much of it, we were laughing too hard.

  13. beb said on July 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Porno with plot started with Deep Throat and ended, perhaps, with Flesh Gordon, a high budget porno that lost most of its naughty bits through some snafu, had to be released as an “R” rated movie and …. was a pretty funny parody of Flash Gordon.

    Plot, like foreplay, is not a big item among porns base audience,

    The other pronouncation of Uighurs as We-grrrs seems off to me. Perhaps if their spelled their name as Ouighurs people would tend to the we-ghurs pronouncation.

    The malt liquor’s “Works Every Time” ads, like Las Vegas’s “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas” have strong struck as concepts you shouldn’t have associated with your product. If LV wants to increase their convention business perhaps they should advertise themselves as some kind of 24/7 brothel. Likewise the “Works Every Time” line seems somewhat sinister. Then again, is the problem the sinister implication of the ad or the saturation plaster of that ad about town that offends people.

    Rachel Maddow delivered her segment on that latest Sarah Palin craziness while wearing a pair of waders. I thought that was a nice touch of satire.

  14. Rana said on July 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    The sunglasses — everyone’s sunglasses — bothered me, too. It’s a goddamn funeral, show some respect.

    Actually, they may have been. According to Miss Manners, anyway, sunglasses are the modern equivalent of the black veils worn by mourners to obscure their grief. Most of the pictures of funerals I’ve seen in the last decade include mourners wearing sunglasses.

    Fab, sparkly sunglasses, no, but ordinary sunglasses are fine.

  15. LAMary said on July 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    How about being styled by Versace for the funeral?

    “Michael Jackson’s entire family — including the kids — reportedly wore Versace to his memorial service yesterday. The singer was a longtime admirer of Gianni Versace’s work, and LaToya Jackson contacted Donatella Versace to arrange for the custom outfits.”(InStyle Magazine)

  16. coozledad said on July 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    jeff borden: The last time my wife and I went to a feature length film was that Beethoven thing “Immortal Beloved”. We left about midway through because I kept cracking up and ruining the other theatergoer’s experience. The sex scenes and empire dresses couldn’t even salvage that shoegazer for me. Prior to that, it was “Like Water For Chocolate”, which my wife christened “Like Shit For Brains”.
    We just stopped going to movies, because I got tired of people throwing stuff at my head.

  17. Peter said on July 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Coozledad: Several years ago Matt Groening had a Life in Hell cartoon about becoming a movie critic, and one panel was: “Try to Solve Cinema’s Biggest Mystery: Comedies are funny, Sex is funny, the French are funny, being zany is funny, why are zany French sex comedies NEVER funny?”

  18. Julie Robinson said on July 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    beb, our daughter came through Las Vegas on her way home and the brothel thing is not far off. She said it smelled like gargage, smoking is allowed everywhere, and full frontal pix for “ladies” carpeted every street. Plus, she didn’t understand the casino–she took $20 to a blackjack table and they laughed at her, said don’t bother with less than $100. Then she put money in the slots and didn’t catch a thrill there either. Mom & Dad think it’s quite alright that she didn’t get the place.

  19. crinoidgirl said on July 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    The best first page of any book, evah:

    http://www.bspcn.com/2009/07/02/best-first-page-of-any-book-ever/

    With Amazon reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/Moon-People-Dale-M-Courtney/product-reviews/1436372135/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

  20. LAMary said on July 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I cut way back on trips to the movies after I sat behind a woman who spent the whole two hours texting with the cell phone screen set to BRIGHT. She also had long permed hair with some sort of goop in it to make it look wet or greasy, and she kept flipping her hair over the back of her chair, onto my legs. Since then, I’ve mostly waited for things to show up on cable.

  21. jeff borden said on July 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I’m still a sucker for the big screen experience. We saw “Public Enemies” last week and it looked gorgeous on that big, wide screen with great audio in support.

    Hitting the bargain times isn’t that tough on the wallet and usually they are not so crowded. A lot of theaters in Chitown charge half-price before 6 p.m.

    There are idiots everywhere, including movie theaters, but I can’t quit the big screen, man.

  22. brian stouder said on July 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Well, the myth that never completely dies, so to speak, is that (fill in the blank) Elvis/JFK/Jim Morrison isn’t really dead.

    So assuming that MJ will join this list of un-dead people, the Zombie movie I want to see is the black comedy (!) about how MJ fooled EVERYONE!

    Think about it; with all the plastic surgery on the poor schlub who just died, the REAL Michael Jackson could sit down at the table next to you in the restaurant, and you wouldn’t know it was him (although you might think it was Jermaine or Tito); and if the scam ever gets discovered, he can claim to be the untalented 6th Jackson – Francis.

  23. Deborah said on July 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Coozledad, I’m with you on Eric Roehmer. I watched a bunch of his movies years ago because I knew he was a famous director. I kept thinking there had to be one I liked, but I found them all boring. The one that sticks in my mind was called The Green Ray (in French, the English title was Summer I think). The reason I remember it was not the movie itself but because of the optical phenomenon of the green ray, a rarely visible green flash or ray that occurs as the sun rises or sets over water. I have often tried to spot this phenomenon after learning about it from the movie, but of course I have never seen it.

  24. paddyo' said on July 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    crinoidgirl — great link! I was amazed at the I-don’t-get-it-this-is-crap! comments on the original best-page-ever website. Apparently, some people really ARE that literal. Obviously, they don’t get sarcasm, either.

  25. Rana said on July 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    crinoidgirl – hilarious! The reviews are the best part, aren’t they?

    paddyo’ – there does seem to be a fair-sized part of the internet-browsing population that is simply incapable of detecting humor that goes beyond “Joke: Insert Obvious Punchline Here.” I offer, for your perusal, the comments thread for this highly amusing post making fun of the over-reliance on “rules” in photography. Note the warning at the top, in red. Apparently even that was too much for some of the commenters’ comprehension skills.

  26. velvet goldmine said on July 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Deborah, for whatever I love Eric Rohmer movies, including The Green Ray. The reason you haven’t seen the actual green ray, probably, is because it’s only visible in certain parts of the world. It’s one of those real phenomena which have possibly apocryphal stories attached to it about sailors becoming obsessed after seeing one glimpse, and thereafter sailing to the ends of the earth in search of it again.

    Nance, you only lasted seven minutes into the porn movie? Not something I’d brag about, wink wink nudge nudge.

  27. Scout said on July 8, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I too managed to avoid the Jacksonpaloozafest that sounds to have been more of a tribute to bad taste than MJ. If I encountered it on the net I scrolled on, if I heard mention on the radio I switched stations, and I didn’t turn the TV on until my nightly Frasier re-run ritual at 9pm. Reading nn.c has been the extent of what I know of it, and you can’t beat the commenters here for distilling it all into just the good bits.

    I can’t quit the big screen either, but I never pay full price. There are theaters here that have a pre-noon weekend matinees for $5 and they have stadium seating, so no big hairdos obstructing my view. Stadium seating was invented for shorties like me. I smuggle in my own bottled water and snacks, to make it even more economical. Thriftiness is the new black, you know.

  28. paddyo' said on July 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Rana —

    Alarma!#?*&!
    I love-a!

    Must be that edgy Latvian humor, huh?!
    Thanks for another good lesson in never underestimating the innate ability of alarmingly large numbers of people to not “get it.”

  29. Sue said on July 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Crinoidgirl – thanks for the reminder, I needed to check if the Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Contest results were in for 2009, and they are! (Not as good this year though.)
    http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/2009.htm

  30. joodyb said on July 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    i’m rather proud of the fact that the WXP story you cited was our 1A jacko story today.

  31. Dexter said on July 8, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Here’s some “oh REALLY?” news: Confirmed: Air McNair , Sahel Kazemi, murder suicide.

    It would have been a real eye-catching story if it had been revealed as anything else.
    She shot him while he was sleeping, a nice twist.
    So how does this fit into the topic of race and loathing?

  32. moe99 said on July 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I realize that all you journalists out there probably have feelings about outsiders criticizing your profession but I thought that these were some worthy comments:

    http://www.wsba.org/media/publications/barnews/jul-09media-ese.htm

  33. nancy said on July 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    He has a few good points, Moe, but mainly that piece reads as one long quibble over nothing much. “Before turning the gun on himself” is bad usage for a murder-suicide because it doesn’t say what happens next? “He turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger” is better? Please.

    Lawyerly hair-splitting.

  34. brian stouder said on July 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Speaking of big-screen pop culch gulch, we’re about to embark on some retro-culch; we’re off to the drive-in movies!

    http://www.cinemaassociates.com/NowShowing/nowshowing.htm

    It’s been who-kows-howmany-years since I’ve done a drive-in, and none of our young folks have been to one; full report pending

  35. MichaelG said on July 8, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I landed at Burbank at about 7:30 on Tues. To get to Hollywood I made an end around through Glendale down San Fernando Rd. and over Los Feliz Blvd. I was due at the Hollywood DMV at 10:00. There were no traffic problems at all and I got there about 8:45. The Spectacle was on the TV in the break room. Thankfully we were able to turn it off for the meeting. Later had an excellent lunch just a few blocks away at Canter’s. Only sour note there was that Canter’s had the Spectacle on the tube. Thanks, Mary. Canters was as advertised. No traffic problems leaving Hollywood either.

    I agree fully with Nance’s observation on the little girl’s TV appearance. The whole revisionist St. Michael thing is disgusting. He didn’t discover the cure for cancer, he didn’t relieve world hunger, he didn’t bring about world peace. He was nothing more nor less than an entertainer. The sight of those two money grubbing, self serving frauds, MLK’s son and Al Sharpton turns my stomach. Strong words but I am beyond sick and tired of this whole thing. When and where are they going to bury the poor bastard?

  36. Julie Robinson said on July 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Brian, we used to go to that drive-in a couple of times a summer when the kids were young. They even used to have a one price per vehicle night so friends could go along. We’d fill the cooler with snacks and drinks, go early to get a good spot and let the kids loose on the playground. Some nights they even had a triple feature. But I wonder how DST has affected business, since they need to start an hour later.

  37. Dexter said on July 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    brianstouder: we lived just a couple miles from that drive-in and went all the time. Dad would drive by, and if the movies were nothing they liked, we’d drive through Avilla, hang a right on old 3 and go to the Hi-Vue right by Lisbon, just south of Kendallville.
    One night when I was fifteen a bunch of us went to see “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” at the Auburn-Garrett. It was a funny movie and I watched the whole thing, but I noticed a lot of comings and goings in a car in the row just ahead and a little to the left of the car I was in, and I kept wondering who would pay good cash to see a movie and then just traipse around the theater grounds while a great film was playing.
    ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~
    Train, one girl, 14 years old,22 young guys, one at a time, and I found out about it the next day while lazing around in front of the drug store. And I didn’t even have a clue things like that went on, even as it unfolded right in front of me, sort of.

  38. Joe Kobiela said on July 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I was born and raised in Garrett, we used to sneak in thru the woods and try and watch the r-rated movies. I saw American Graffiti there. Backed up a pickup truck, set up lawn chairs, popped open the coolers and drank Carling’s Black Label beer. I think I was 16.
    Pilot Joe

  39. Dexter said on July 9, 2009 at 1:25 am

    http://www.drive-ins.com/theater/intaubu

  40. Dexter said on July 9, 2009 at 1:29 am

    What the fuck are these ghouls doing..vying for Jackson’s corpse?

    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/07/sheriff-bodies-dug-up-dumped-at-cemetery.html

  41. Linda said on July 9, 2009 at 2:42 am

    So much in your entry today, but what caught my eye was Berry Gordy. Right after MJ died, NPR did a kiss-ass interview with Gordy, in which he described MJ as “like a son,” entirely leaving out (by mutual oversight) the part where Jackson left to have more money and control over his artistic output, as so many others have. It was the kind of thing you would hear on ET.

    Brian, we have a drive-in in suburban Toledo, but I have not been there in about 5 years. I remember seeing some slam-packed action movies there, on giant screens in midsummer heat, and it occurs to me that these are the proper settings for seeing such movies. Hope you have a great time.

  42. brian stouder said on July 9, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Well, the Auburn-Garrett drive-in movie was indeed the PERFECT setting for “Transformers”; the night was pleasantly cool, and the drive-in had a pretty good Wednesday crowd – I’d guess 20 or 25 cars. Grant and I sat on some chairs we brought, outside of the van, and before long Chloe, our youngest young’n, joined us under the sky (Shelby opted to stay in the van, which meant fewer mosquitos, I think) We brought along some goodies (and it was $1 hot dog night, which might explain the turnout) and the young folks were suitably impressed with the whole thing. (Whenever something particularly spectacular happened, such as the collapse of the Eiffel Tower or the destruction of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, Chloe would lean over to me and sincerely observe that “That can’t be good”)

    The young folks wanted to see Transformers – and I guess I’m out of touch. For most of the movie, my mind was wandering; mostly, I was trying to decide whether it was objectionable or not, that the movie was so very heavily animation (as opposed to old-fashioned actors on film and stuntmen blowing things up and taking falls), but eventually gave up the effort, and let the (over long!) flick play itself out.

    But I will say that one thing actually angered me a little, and after sleeping on it, I’m still put off. The movie has the usual whizz-bang-ain’t-that-cool view of the US military and all its hardware – and early on we come to understand that the heroic military is being undermined by the uncomprehending pin-head civilian government….and they mention “President Obama” by name!!

    If they had referred to ‘President Merkin Muffley’ or some other invented name, then fine; pass the popcorn. But that shot offended me and kept me on gaurd for the remainder of the movie. The pointy-headed, suit-and-tie civilian geek, who was thwarting what the military good guys wanted to do (and who was the character who invoked President Obama’s name, saying he was acting on authority directly from the president) finally gets shoved out of the back of a plane. (on refelection, the guy looked a little like Robert Gibbs, which come to think of it, ALSO irritates me!)

    So – granted, I’m old and out of touch – but that movie mostly alternated between incomprehensible, or else mildy irritating.

    But the venue was marvelous!

  43. nancy said on July 9, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Brian, what did you think of Mudflap and Skids?

  44. brian stouder said on July 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Ezra says it all.

    The whole movie has that sort of an overlay…and Ezra captures the irony; the movie is fluff – people love it – it’s all in fun – yadda yadda yadda.

    But the issue is real; if millions of (white) kiddos see the movie, it’s legitimate to wonder about the effect such racism has on them – sort of a public health issue, only mental rather than dietary……

    but as soon as you hear yourself say that, you can also hear Anne Coulter (et al) quacking about humorless scolds and totalitarian “politcal correctness” and so on and so forth. Truly, it is almost impossible not to “OVERthink” Transformers, if you allow yourself to think about that movie at all – and yet, the thing is flickering in front of many millions of young folks, and casting its spell.

    Not for nothing, I would add, the (clearly white) yellow Camaro robot smashes the heads of the two ‘black’ guys together, to knock some sense into them, thus completing the racist/paternalistic (or love/hate) circle….but we digress

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 9, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Friends, colleagues, and debating partners — off for two weeks of camp (church & Scout), and the next 48 hours is packing all the curriculum and supplies and more than two pairs of socks pour moi, i hope i hope.

    Anyhow, radio silence from this quadrant does not mean a Borg invasion; y’all be good to each other, and i hope to catch up when i get back to electronica-land, but with regular 78 comment threads, i may take a while.

    But shamelessly, he said, if anyone is deeply bored and wants to help break up the next week for both of us, there’s still snail mail: Templed Hills/Badger Camp, 5734 Durbin Road, Box 575, Bellville, Ohio 44813, Fax 419-886-4149. Just write “Chief Badger” on it! Adios, amigos . . .

  46. Connie said on July 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Have fun Jeff. I myself am off to Chicago for five days for ALA. My poor feet.

  47. brian stouder said on July 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Good luck, Jeff – and don’t let the bedbugs bite!

    btw, here is a pic from the Drive-in excursion

    http://www.scrapsoflife-pam.blogspot.com/

  48. Joe Kobiela said on July 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Brian,
    Glad you liked the drive-in. One question about the movie. Would it have been ok for them to use George Bush for the pres or would you have been insulted just the same as you were for Obama??
    Pilot Joe

  49. brian stouder said on July 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Joe, it would still have struck me as a clinker, just the same. It would make me wonder what the moviemaker wanted me to think.

    Indeed, speaking of ‘the moviemaker’, you know how on movies like Gone With the Wind or The Ten Commandments, during the opening credits you see some proud proclamation like “Produced by David O Selznick” or “Directed by Cecil B. DeMille” (or whatever)?

    On the opening credits of Transformers, what struck me was “Presented by Hasbro”

  50. Linda said on July 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Brian:
    Yeah, that’s the way the politically incorrect fun crowd would like it phrased–if you object to racist b.s., you “have no sense of humor.” I’m with Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) on this one–when someone says, “can you take a joke,” it really means, “do I have your permission to insult you?” Racists and other bigots want the onus for tolerance to be on their target.

  51. caliban said on July 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Look, no joke you idiots. If we care about the united states. We care for sure that everybody will be helped if they’re hurt or sick. ARepublicans think not caring is some sort of Political point to make. They’ve made this clear. What is wrong with these assholes? They have made it quite clear they couldn’t care less about policy and policy holders, they care about what the insurance companies that pay their way tell them to say. That’s a fact jack. The insurance companies will deny claims. And they’ll deny claims, Then, they’ll sort of start acting reasonable. The whole ideas is to keep denying claims until it seems like people just aren’t buying that bullshit but it gets to be oppressive. Then they drag their their feet until only the most offended keep at it.

    These bastards keep devouring premiums and they watch people die and nobody makes them pay. Am I just making that up? Or do I know for a fact Insurance Companies have been pulling this sort of shit for years? Do the right thing you scumbags.

  52. caliban said on July 22, 2009 at 1:48 am

    This guy Brian Stouder really knows what he’s talking about. Y’all do well to listen to how balanced and sensible he is and how much he believes in people getting along.

    I guess you’ve all seen Schindler’s List. There are Republican members of Congress that thought it was pornographic. Well, yeah it was, but of course, they take money to extend the settlements and don’t understand how that’s pornographic. And I suppose they can watch Schindler’s List and not comprehend the absolute Apparteidheit in the separation wall and the economic and racist strangulation it doesn’t just represent but enforces.

    I don’t know how a reasonable person discusses the settlements. They’re illegal. Ta-da. They’re isn’t anything remotely that legitimizes them. The Israeli state exists because the UN and spme big powers say it exists. All of those powers say the settlements are a bunch of wack job Israelis like bisarre bastards in Wyoming.

    These people claim some sort of religious justification. Avigdor notwithstanding, bullshit. The other claim is obvios as good Meantime, Israel teamed up with the most despicable of the Deklerks tp steal fissionable material from, oh my goodness, the good old USA, but we don’t care because they’re our friends.

    And Israel may not admit it, but they have an unstable government with a bunch of deliverable nukes. I can’t imagine why Iran might feel nervous. So who is it making the middle east unstable? Back in the nineties, there were Mossad agents sitting onAmerican nuclear sites. Iran signed on to the NPT. Why didn’t Israel?

    Israel is a muclear state. They stole the fissionable material by spying on the US. They bought the technology from AQ DDhan with US money. Israel exists in what it calls a state of war. No shit assholes. Israel created Hamas in its idiotic opposition to Fatah. And abput three years ago, Israel blew up Lebanon entirely and got away with it. And people can’t figure out why Muslims think the US and Israel are out to get them.

    I know, if I point this out, I must be anti-semitic,