Thursday, June 5, 2008

The future starts now?

Obama has won. Putting aside my animosity towards Hillary Clinton for a minute, I think all Americans, regardless of who you support, should take a second to realize how historic this moment is. For all the controversies about race that have flared up (sweet lord I hope those rumors of a tape involving Michelle Obama going batshit nuts on white people are false) it is easy to overlook the fact that our country is slowly (rapidly, even?) pushing the issue of race into the background. Young people are overwhelmingly becoming colorblind and the fact that an African-American named Barack Obama could be the next president is an incredibly important moment for America. Is race gone? Nope and you'll no doubt be hearing much more about it in the next 5 months. But its worth taking a moment to smile and recognize that America has changed and is changing. Who knows, in a couple more generations, race may not even be a major factor anymore. Gotta hope :)

I've got no idea where the next part of this blog is going to go. It's going to be a sort of stream of consciousness attempt to figure out why I "connect" with Obama as opposed to every other politician I've ever seen. I'm sure it will end up sounding overly gushy, but I don't really have a clear grasp as to why I care about "just another politician". I'm going to try and work it out, and probably fail miserably, but hey, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want :)

On a personal level, seeing Barack Obama win the nomination was incredibly satisfying for me. I've been following him since 2004, went to see him in person, donated a couple hundred bucks to his campaign and almost obsessively followed all of the ups and downs of the primary campaign. I feel like I've really invested a lot of time, money, and energy into a person I really believe in and to see, against all odds, that payoff is such a great feeling. I used to hear all these stories from members of my family about how amazing John F. Kennedy was. My grandma, as conservative as you can possibly get, would tell me how much she loved and connected with JFK. I'd ask her why and she couldn't really explain it, only that she really believed in him even though he didn't share her views. To this day, she'll tear up when you mention his assassination. For my entire life I couldn't relate to that. Most of my friends can't either. It's just a politician. In 2004 I was totally for John Kerry, but the guy didn't connect with me on any real level. Obama's different. Don't ask me why, I probably couldn't explain it. Obama supporters like to identify themselves as a family. Maybe there is something to that. I sort of feel like I'm supporting a friend or family member. I feel like we're on the cusp of changing America forever.

For all I know, these changes could be horrible. Obama could be the worst president in the history of our country. I have no idea. I'm not really talking about political ideology or inspirational speeches, I'm saying that on a personal level, the only politician out there that I connect with is Barack Obama. Why? I don't know. Maybe its a generational thing. Maybe its the hopeful, forward looking speeches. Maybe its that I agree with him on most of the issues. Maybe I just think the dude's cool. Who knows? All I know is that it feels different. I actually feel like I have a stake in what happens. I think it sort of goes back to that friend/family thing. If somebody tried to attack one of my friends, I'd take that as an attack on me as well. So everytime I hear or read some sort of anti-Obama rhetoric, I take it personally. I think its probably a lot like when conservatives get defensive if somebody says something bad about Ronald Reagan. Especially those who grew up really believing in Reagan the way people like me believe in Barack Obama. Did Reagan do some shitty things? Absolutely. Will Obama do some shitty things? You bet. But just like our friends and family, who also do shitty things from time to time, you still feel that connection to them, a sort of bond that can't be broken. Every once in a while a politician comes around that really moves people in a way that 99.9% of other politicians just can't. For me, Obama is that politician.

Trying to work through this, I think I've come to a much greater understanding of why people will defend certain politicians as hard as they do. It could very well be that said politician is doing something horrible, but that if you've connected with them in a way that creates some sort of internal bond (?), then you're far more apt to defend them to the end. For people who haven't connected and just don't give a shit, not only is it easier to criticize, but also to flat out disregard the supporters.

In any event, I've connected on some level with Obama. Am I sure what the thing is that is different about him than other politicians who have said the same things? No, but I'm sure all those Roosevelt, JFK, and Reagan devotees would have a hard time placing it as well.

In other news, Obama didn't even wait a day to start remaking the Democratic party. He has kept Howard Dean as DNC chairman (a great move) and has disallowed the DNC from taking money from federal lobbyists or PACS (a magnificent move). He's also allowing full transparency at all of his fundraisers by allowing the press to be present (wow. that's definitely a change. I wonder if McCain will let the press into all of his Republican fund raisers?)

The Democratic Party is changing for the better already!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

aliens? you're really serious? asassination, really?

The vast majority of people who go and see Indy 4 are probably going to be utterly satisfied by what they see. They'll get lots of explosions, Harrison Ford donning his iconic fedora, and space aliens. Yes, space aliens. I thought Indy 4 was pretty much the epitome of everything that is wrong with "summer blockbusters". Whereas the first 3 Indy films grounded in some sense of reality, from the opening frames of Kingdom you'll be like "wait a minute, how can a couple dozen KGB agents take out an entire top secret military base? Everything in this movie is supernatural. From Cate Blanchett's psychic mumbo jumbo to aliens with skeletons made out of crystal, the entire film feels like George Lucas read Chariots of the Gods and decided to throw Indiana Jones into it.

You may say "well, even Raiders had the supernatural Ark", and you'd be right. But the earlier films only tossed in a spattering of supernatural elements. Raiders was more about Indy fighting Nazi scum and it was only the last scene where we finally got to see the power of the ark. Kingdom is nothing but CGI overkill in set piece after set piece of ridiculously over the top scenarios. I love Indiana Jones, but watching him stand and look upon a giant mushroom cloud that he just lived through by hiding in a lead lined refrigerator was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen (that whole set piece, by the way, was recycled from the original draft of Back to the Future). The film is just so void of any charm or substance. Cate Blanchett plays a stupid villain. Shia LaDouche is put in scene after scene of Lucasinian banal comedy. Oh look, Shia just got hit in the balls by a tree branch! How funny! Oh look, Shia is swinging through the trees with the help of CG monkeys! How cute! Harrison Ford fares no better. Does he do anything in the last third of the movie? Almost every scene involves some sort of nostalgia shout out in place of actual development. And Karen Allen? She shows up to say "Shia's your kid" and have some unfunny comedic bantering and then basically disappears from the film.

"But there is action", you say! Too bad we've seen all of it before. Everything in this film was done and done better by Raiders without being a glorified ILM demo reel. And even then, I can't say that the CG was that good. Every shot in the film has a fake gloss to it, even down to horizon backgrounds. Its like George Lucas decreed that no film should ever have a normal, realistic sunset. Kingdom is two hours of bad acting, dialog, comedy, structure, pacing, plotting, coherency, and set pieces. It's pure spectacle excess that places its illogical storyline and massive plot holes front and center. There's no fun here. It's just an empty, hollow excuse to capitalize on a franchise that should have stayed finished.

Now that that is off my chest, what else am I doing? Way back when I quit Bear Eats Fish one of my major reasonings was that we only ever played the same 10 songs over and over again. I had multiple new songs written but it got to a point where nobody really wanted to spend the time to practice new stuff so we'd just play through our set a couple times and then head our separate ways, always with big plans to work on new material that would never come to fruition. Since we're having a BEF/THC reunion show late next month, I've been trying to remember some of my old stuff and have 2 completely new songs ready to go. I plan on forcing us to practice them :)

So the big news story of the past weekend is Hillary Clinton invoking RFK's assasination during an interview session. The quote exploded all over the internet and it has effectively given many Obama supporters the justification to unload on Hillary in a fashion that wasn't occurring before. There's a lot of bad blood between both groups of supporters. Hillary's forces are straight out pissed that she's lost, something they never would have foreseen since, you know, they've got that whole concept of entitlement. Barack's idealistic supporters are infuriated with the constant barrage of negative comments such as Hillary praising John McCain and saying he's ready to be president while implying Barack isn't, Bill Clinton's South Carolina Jesse Jackson moment, etc. Her assassination reference comes on the heels of her meltdown about the Florida votes being equivalent to civil rights, slavery, and women's suffrage and reports that Bill Clinton is trying to force her onto the ticket. Rightly or wrongly, that last report about Bill Clinton has been seen amongst Obama supporters as nothing less than blackmail, a sort of "Put my wife on the ticket or we'll make sure her voters don't vote for you in November". So you can see how Obama supporters were already in a heightened state of agitation when Hillary decided to drop her assassination remarks into the boiling political landscape.

First let me say that I don't honestly think that Hillary Clinton is waiting around for Barack to be assassinated. Hearing her comments, it is extremely easy for people to come to that conclusion though. For better or worse, the political climate is crazy right now. You can't expect any candidate to go through a 15 month process, with the media focusing on every single thing, and not say something stupid. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for a politician running for president to constantly be on guard about every thing you say. It almost seems like they have to constantly be self-censoring themselves just to make sure nothing comes out wrong and infuriates some group of people. But all these candidates are human and stuff is just going to come out wrong sometimes. I can give Hillary the benefit of the doubt on this.

But should she get off easy? You'll remember that when Barack said his now infamous "bitter" comments, Hillary took that opportunity to try and destroy him, turning herself into a Republican and pulling a page from their playbook. A lot of Obama supporters want him to give her the same non-courtesy, seeing it as a way in which to literally destroy her political career and permanently taint the "Clinton Legacy" within the Democratic party. A lot of people want this as revenge for everything she has done in this primary and probably more subconsciously as a way to permanently separate the Clinton's from the democratic party of the future, led by Obama. Piling on and keeping the story alive would definitely please the sadistic part of me. Karma is a bitch, after all, and I won't deny that with all the emotional highs and lows of this campaign, a part of me would like nothing better than to see Hillary knocked off her holier than thou soap box.

But of course, we don't need to pile on. Obama did the perfect thing by saying that it was an unfortunate statement, that he takes her at her word that she didn't mean it, and that the world should move on. He doesn't need to make this an issue because Hillary has screwed herself over on this one. Every Obama supporter in this country, myself included, lives with the frightening possibility that he may be assassinated. For a rival candidate to even mention an assassination, even in a historical context, is just stupid plain and simple. Hillary could have pointed to any number of Democratic primaries that lasted into June. Why did she bring up RFK's death as one of them? The reason there is such cynicism towards these latest statements is because she is the definition of "say anything, do anything" politics. Everybody remembers Tuzla and every Obama supporter thinks she's nothing but a habitual liar, so of course when she comes out with a pseudo-apology, people are going to look at it skeptically whether that was how she meant it or not.

A word of advice to Hillary Clinton: when you're in a historical race with an african-american candidate, don't ever use the word "assassination" in any context. You're just asking for trouble, especially in our hypo-politically correct world. Personally, I think the fallout from her comment is going to be felt far into the future. In the short term I think it will make a lot of those Hillary supporter holdouts shift to Obama. I think it effectively ends any leverage Bill Clinton was using to try and force her into the VP slot. The long term consequences may heal over time but that rift with the african-american community was probably damaged beyond repair. A future run for Senate or Governor of New York will now depend on whether or not the NY african-american community will forgive and forget. At least she's got a few years to work on penance.

But Hillary has a bigger problem. She absolutely cannot be perceived by the media and public as the person who took down Obama's presidential aspirations. This is an election year that the democrats should have no problem winning. If Hillary is seen as keeping her loyal voters from Obama in some way out of spite, there will be hell to pay in the future. The party is in transition right now. Half loyal to the old guard, half to the new. Whether Hillary likes it or not, Obama's people will be running the party in the coming decade and the last thing she wants is a party establishment that would like nothing better to muzzle her at every opportunity. And believe me, the grassroots liberal wing of the party won't forget and will probably salivate over the chance to take down her political career when the opportunity arises. They probably still will even if Obama wins the presidency.

So fair or not, what Hillary's "assassination" remark will do is force her into doing whatever she can to get Obama elected. People like to talk about the idea that Obama's sheen isn't as great as it was when he got into the race, but in relation to the Clinton's reputation, it's downright sparkling. The Clinton's have badly damaged their credibility and perception with millions of democrats across the country. They have effectively caused a rift and brought about the divisiveness that Obama and his supporters have been trying to end on a broader level. If Hillary goes out blazing, history will not treat her or her husband kindly. She has to help Obama succeed, else face the long prospect of being a leper in her own party. But this is also conditional on Obama giving her the olive branch. Telling, and convincing, his supporters to take in the person they've considered the enemy for the last 5 months.

Time will tell whether he'll embrace the Clinton's when this is all over, or tell them to screw off and take his chances.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time flies

I don't know why I've forgotten about this blog, but I've got some time to kill before the next Splattercast.

just got word from my pal Bill that our film professor was floored by our video project dealing with african-americans in horror and wants to set up a public screening of the film for faculty members and impressionable Lincoln citizens. We'd also be doing a Q&A panel session afterwards discussing the representation of blacks in horror films. Essentially what this means is that the film professors that I greatly respect would be watching my film and then asking me questions. That's kind of funny to me. Anyway, all of us have voted "Yea" and it looks like this public screening is going to move forward.

The thing that sucks about it is that, though I am happy with the finished product, it could have been so much better. It's 20 minutes long, but I could easily made it feature length. Coming at it from a filmmakers perspective, I'm not totally happy with the structure. Our time limit was 20 minutes max, and so I had to make a lot of concessions in order to trim the film down such as deleting an entire sub-discussion on black female representation in horror. I wanted to originally do interviews, pull in some scholarly discussion, and focus more heavily on the trends, themes, and ways in which black representation has been handled in the horror genre. In other words, I wanted a lot more detail and focus rather than the broad "Here's a taste of what's going on" generalizations we ultimately had to go with. For our class, it worked just fine since we didn't view any horror films during the semester and it was all new to our classmates. But for an audience of professors and intellectuals, I think there may be a lot more depth needed to really make the film work. Still, we'll see what happens in the months going forward. If I find time, maybe I can add to the film.

In other news, I'm voting for Barack Obama in the primaries tomorrow. What a shocker, I know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Man, its been a while...

Yeah yeah, I haven't posted here in a long time. I'm insanely busy right now and am taking a quick break and just wanted to post some thoughts about the debate tonight on ABC.

I missed the entire thing because I was at a talk about God showing beauty in monstrosities (it was damn interesting, by the way). However, I'm watching clips and post-debate reaction and it seems the consensus is that it was the "pile on Obama" debate. The first 50 minutes didn't deal with any policy issues, but rather Obama and the Weather Underground, Obama and his lack of a flag lapel pin, Obama and Jeremiah Wright, and more Obama "bitterness".

It was pretty much fast ball after fast ball trying to knock Obama off his game. Hillary pounced on every response. The liberal blogs are flaming and ready to burn ABC headquarters to the ground. My response? Calm down. The fact that Obama had all these questions thrown at him is pretty strong evidence that he's on the path to the nomination. The Republicans are going to bring all of this up and the best way for Obama to get it out of the news is to address it all early. Let him get roughed up a bit. It's better to be pummeled now than to be pummeled in an "October surprise", y'know? The rumors have been out there for weeks that Obama has tons of superdelegates locked up and ready to endorse him. They won't do it until after North Carolina. The only way he loses the nomination is if he starts losing the states he's supposed to win, such as North Carolina, Oregon, and South Dakota. Relax Obama supporters, he's fine. He's the frontrunner, you've got to expect this treatement. Besides, there's been 20 debates already. Everybody knows where Hillary and Barack stand on the issues. We've gotta get the controversies out of the way.

There's also another reason for Obama supporters not to worry. When pressed on whether or not she believes Barack can win in November, she said "Yes, Yes, Yes!". Kinda hard to make the argument to superdelegates that Barack can't win when you just told a national audience that he can. Also, for as much "baggage" as Barack has, it doesn't even scratch the surface of what Hillary has. I mean, if you're Hillary Clinton, how do you explain to a superdelegate that you can win an election when only 39% of people think you are honest and trustworthy? How can she explain her "Screw em" comment to southern working class voters? The only candidate that potentially can't win the presidency is Hillary and everybody knows it. Half the country hates her. She's gone so negative on Obama that it's become apparent that she will lose the "Obama vote". Could her "Girl Power" rallying cry carry the day? I thought so, but now I'm not so sure.

Also, though Obama is going through the motions right now, being "vetted" as the pundits like to call it, John McCain is going to get his day. I predict the democratic nomination is going to end in 4 weeks. After North Carolina, you're going to see the party leaders end it. The reason is two-fold: first, no democrat wants to see Hillary fight this out until the convention. The reason being that it will be nothing but negative press until August. If that happens, John McCain continues his free pass, but as soon as the democratic race is over, everything will get quiet and the press will go in their predictable cycle and start paying attention to him and his policies. I guarantee you, you'll be hearing about the "Keating 5" this summer and everything else McCain has said and done the 10,000 years he's been in office. And his health records. And the rumors about his post-tramatic stress disorder from being tortured in Vietnam, etc. etc. McCain's not going to coast.

And during that time, Obama will be building his coalition, raising 500 million dollars, and preparing for the fall election. Then the media will hype his convention speech, he'll deliver it, it'll kick ass, and we'll get into the real race.

That's my prediction. Calm down Obama fans. You're invested in your guy and when the "Big Bad Liberal Media" piles on, the natural reaction is to lash out and be protective of your candidate. But everything's alright. Every0ne knows he wasn't going to win Pennsylvania. He's still going to lose it, but he's still got a grip on the nomination.

Unless he loses North Carolina...then he'll have a problem :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

MaT's Rule #1: Duke Sucks


What a great night. Not only does Barack crush Hillary in Wyoming, but UNC beat those pussies over at Duke.

As a Carolina fan,I hate Duke. HATE. The hatred goes deeper than even the Miami Hurricane football team. And that's saying something, because I'm a Florida State Seminole fan.

So suck it down, Duke! Suck. It. Down.

UNC's gonna win the tournament this year. Just you watch.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Obama is about to have the worst week ever.

This is when we find out how tough a presidential candidate is: when the shit hits the fan. Do they come out swinging, or crumble meekly in a corner?

Barack Obama is about to have the worst political week of his life. He's going to lose Texas and Ohio tomorrow which will lead to not only Hillary proclaiming she's the reincarnation of the "Comeback Kid", but also scrutiny as to why Obama can't "close the deal" (putting aside the fact that he was down 20 points in both states as of 2 weeks ago). Not only will he have to deal with a gloating Hillary campaign, but the press is going to show no mercy in other areas. The Rezko trial started today and this conspiracy about NAFTA and the Canadian government pretty much assures that the entire week is a lost cause.

Barack hasn't really had to deal with anything too severe so far. Let's see how he deals with Hillary moving forward.

Meanwhile, somewhere John McCain is laughing hysterically as he taps some lobbyist ass.

P.S. I'm in a political blackout right now. I plan on turning on the television about 8pm tomorrow night to see what's happened. It's not gonna be good...

Sunday, February 24, 2008


No Country basically swept the big awards: Director, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, and Picture. The only "major" award it lost is Cinematography, and it almost feels like the voters gave it to There Will Be Blood out of pity. I was happy to see Sweeney Todd win an Oscar. Not because I thought it deserved it, but it's just so rare to see Hollywood honor a horror film on such a big stage. I was disappointed 3:10 to Yuma lost some of the technical awards to Bourne Ultimatum (huh?). How the hell did Transformers lose Visual Effects? Chalk that one up to the anti-Michael Bay sentiment that's all over Hollywood. Classy move for Jon Stewart to let the "Once" girl come back out after the commercial break and give her acceptance speech after her partner hogged the light and they cued her off the stage. That was ridiculous. Anybody else notice that Brad Renfro wasn't in the "In Memoriam" segment? They extended it from 2007 into 2008 to accommodate Heath Ledger. Tacky. Diablo Cody is such a flash in the pan. I'll eat my words if I'm wrong, which I'm not, but this chick is a one-Oscar wonder. She's like Cuba Gooding Jr. of strippers. Happy today, writing Snow Dogs 2, tomorrow.

I'm finishing up everything for the Splatcademy Awards. I think this will be fun. As far as I know, we'll be the only podcasters that have ever attempted something like this (I could be wrong on that. Honestly, I just don't listen to podcasts very often. I find them annoying) and maybe this will get us some more listeners.