Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Under the sea. They're there too.

Ramblings Post #406
Long is the night, the sounds of traffic and the city outside my window, the last of the summer air hanging about my house. Quiet reigns, and in the stillness the weight of years presses down upon the soul and mind drifts back along the halls of memory, looking for something. It finds words. It's always the words there, waiting to dance, scurrying about, waiting to sing, waiting for me.   

There is so much to unpack here.

Just as my feed became dotted with collages of images of young black girls - and some older black girls - excited to the point of tears of seeing The Little Mermaid's Ariel as portrayed by Halle Bailey, as if on cue, triggered by the idea of some iota, some of a sliver of joy for someone other than themselves - those people arrived. You know who I'm talking about. And in my feed I found where someone had pointed out this comment. And honestly, it begs the question.  

Why would changing this character "fix" the whole movie?

I once theorized in long ago entry that one day something like this would come pass for the film industry. Where the tech would be so good you wouldn't really need actors, just the specs of the people you wanted in the film, and we'd be able to create films whole cloth for a few thousand dollars that looked like they cost a many millions to make. Of course that cheap price tag would be bootleg, as famous actors (or just beautiful people) would definitely charge big bucks to license their images just like now. And I imagined studios remaking films from the libraries with actors who previously could never have worked together, like a prime Marlon Brando co-starring with a young Humphrey Bogart and Brad Pitt in something together. I follow a guy on Instagram who makes posters and everything. It's pretty cool.

But in my naivete, I missed this concept as a possibility.

In retrospect I should have been able to put to the pieces together. There are already a few firms that specialize in sanitizing films for religious audiences, Ala edited for TV only in those cases edited for sin. And the ongoing shenanigans over the very existence of non-white folks in fantasy settings, where people are okay with dragons, magic that works and demons but draw the line at black people. I mean, that's just too unrealistic. And I know that new generation deep fakes which are going to be a real headache for politics in the future. So the idea that somewhere a guy wouldn't work overtime to remove what he might see as "undesirable elements" from his favorite piece of cinema shouldn't have been a stretch at all.   

Why would changing this character "fix" the whole movie?

It's the use of the word "fix" that gets me. As though the idea of a non-white version of an entirely fictional character being the center of the story somehow breaks that story. (Point of order - Disney's live action remakes of cartoon classics have been of dubious quality of late, so I hope they realize they're on thin ice here and take extra care.) It is a STORY, purely fiction and as such it can always be revised. The previous Disney version isn't even the original story. Let's be honest, when studios want to they don't even care if it was a true story,  they switch facts all the time to fit the tale that sells tickets..um, I mean, that they want to tell. So why the outrage? 

These are the stars of 2016's Gods Of Egypt. They gonna "fix" this too? 

Well, the other word he used, the term "woke." It's become the new slur that fills in for the N-word to certain crowd, much like "Brandon" fills in for another not polite term they can use in public. That's the tell here. And the quick realization of what they'd done, that they were no longer just talking to friends but possibly to the whole world - they offered up some sort of half-assed attempt an apology. I mean, not even the courage of conviction at the end. And I say the end because Twitter swiftly suspended this account not long after it hit critical exposure. Yes, the use of the word woke tells me why he was mad.

And I for one hope he stays mad.

Barkeep, let me get some whiskey and Sprite. Two cubes of ice. Long day.  

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Long live the Queen....

To be honest, the phrase "The King of England" sounds like something that should only exist in movies or video games. It's been so long now that the very sounds feel strange in the mouth. But now, in 2022.... here we are. She lived a good life.

As much as I can understand a lot of the feelings of...um, less than grief..being offered today by individuals who had...issues... with even the idea of a real life monarchy still existing in the twenty first century, I'm not one to pick apart the life of someone who has passed on. At the very minimum, they no longer have a chance to atone for those misdeeds in this life, and that alone is very sad. Now is not the time for a rehashing of a long life which by definition is polarizing, she wasn't a starlet or some singer but the head of a nation and empire, so let history be the long judge that determines her place. When you get down to it, she was still a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother. And so a family grieves as an era ends within themselves.  

She served. Queen Elizabeth II. 1926 - 2023

Saturday, September 3, 2022

She did the damn thing

Ramblings Post #405
We idolize whom we idolize. It's personal most of the time. Most people like to think of Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time (so far). In my opinion it's a toss up between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Some others might say Bill Russell, or maybe Bron Bron. The metric we use in our head for really constitutes greatness varies. It's part of what makes sport a thing, facilitates argument and discussion, and in some cases causes men to do the only real research they'll ever do after they've gotten their diploma. 

By artist Yung Yemi

Well, to say she had a good run..is an understatement. Of Biblical proportion.

Unlike the arguments for greatest football team, best golfer, best home run hitter, there is no question who the greatest women's tennis player in the world was. Serena.

I hope her future is as bright as past. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

I look up at night...

Ramblings Post #404
They were right. We don't really know what we've got until it's gone. It's hard to miss something still there, or in some cases even understand it at that moment, but once something is no longer within our boundaries - something as simple as spot to look up at night and be awed - the loss becomes evident in ways we can hardly imagine. 

As a kid I spent time on grandparents farm, a place down three different bumpy dirt roads beautifully decorated by nature with a canopies of trees that made the trip feel magical to me. It was a quiet place, where they'd lived for fifty years, pumped water from a well and one of the barns was where my father was born. At night there was one light pole that was perpetually dim, I don't know why.

There the night sky was a tapestry. It was magical. Thousands upon thousands of stars.

At my parents house in a small southern town, with light poles here and there by request, looking up at the night sky I could see at best two or three stars.

I now live in the city. 

I want to see the sky of my childhood again.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

There is always time for Art...

Ramblings Post #403
Art is subjective. Those things that bring light to my soul, that sets off the seismic tremors in my brain and spark the avalanche of ideas for me, might just be blah to you. And vice versa. I think we all need to learn to appreciate that difference and what it means. Because to me it means that I grow and my tastes change, I won't have to wait for the world to catch up to provide inspiration. It might already exist, it's just that last time I saw it my mind wasn't ready. But then again to you...

Josep Tapiró i Baró was a Spanish painter; best known for his Orientalist watercolor portraits of the peoples of Morocco done in the late 1800's. I find his work fascinating in that his talent for capturing the essence of a subject practically leaps out of the image. And second, that a number of his subjects have to same skin tone as I. And I think his art is important, for it comes from a time when generally only rich European aristocrats were the subject of such works (or at least what has survived). 

His grasp of detail is fantastic. Some of his work looks like photographs, or something that might have been photo-shopped last week. After the death of close friend in 1874, Baró moved to Tangiers, at the time bustling city of people from around the Mediterranean. There he set up a studio and painted images of the people he saw, capturing a different kind of person than the normal portrait artist of the time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Florida man upset when Irony serves warrant

This is a political post. 

I will admit that I, like pretty much everyone else, did not see that coming. And while I've tried to defend Merrick Garland over the past year, to be honest the man hasn't given me much to work with. And then suddenly he feints and lands a solid haymaker, and the crowd goes silent for a second. Whoa.

Republicans want to scream about the weaponization of the Department of Justice, as though six months ago when they were sure they'd win back the Senate they weren't making sly remarks about using the tools of government in going after their own enemies along with those who'd betrayed Cheato. And they've completely forgotten or just pretended not to know about how the previous administration weaponized the IRS for those exact same purposes. Oh the irony of this situation, compounded by the fact that in 2018 the administration changed the penalty for unauthorized removal of classified documents from one to five years and turned it into a felony. (Public Law 115-118, Jan 19, 2018, Title II, Sec. 292)

And as much as Fox news and the Conservatives want the White House to own up to being behind this, the reality is Cheato has a copy of the warrant, even though he was in New York when it was executed. And that copy explains exactly what they were looking for, what statutes that the court thinks were violated, and what judge came to the conclusion that there was preponderance of evidence to proceed. And instead of releasing for the clarity that his supporters believe is being hidden, he has not.

Because, if you've been paying attention for the past few years the party that used to be the loyal opposition has transformed into something else much more dangerous. More cult than political party at this point, what an outsider can see as part con and part grift are blithely ignored by conservatives, who are probably more than a little scared that the world around them is changing at nearly every level and who are desperate to return to the "good ol' days," which weren't so good for any of the rest of us. And because the Democrats apparently weren't paying attention (or miscalculated) we came very close to end of our democracy just last year. Now caught out, the what used to be the party is grasping for whatever it can to stay afloat.

The real issue here is that half the country has been tricked into believing that "criminal" isn't a person who breaks the law, but a class of people. It's the good versus evil paradigm. The idea is a that a "good person" can do no wrong, even if what they did clear. The mass shooters weren't criminals, they have mental issues, they're good kids. The conservatives have associated good with a group (mostly themselves), not a set of actions, and the law is supposed to protect good people. It's why they felt they could attempt to overthrow the government and if they failed just could go home and nothing would happen to them. It's the fantasy where the hero breaks the law, but it's okay, because they had a good reason.

Merrick, my bad. You got a little something something. But you're not done, not quite yet.