Thursday, November 20, 2008

some stuff

1. I guess maybe I should wait until Obama takes office before I really start criticizing him. It just seems like Bush/Cheney is/are so incredibly bad, that with Obama we ought to be seeing immediate, dramatic, and widespread changes in governing behavior. My fear is that he will be the anti-Bush only in matters of government giveaways (which I'm not necessarily against) that are, politically speaking, easy calls to make (because giving away government money just isn't a hard sell with most of the electorate), but will generally not be much different than Bush on other matters that are, politically speaking, much harder calls to make (rollbacks of such things as war, torture, unrestrained spying being, somewhat inexplicably to me personally, a much harder sell for much of the electorate). I guess we'll see, but I am not inclined to hold back here on this blog if we don't quickly see a lot of Change in the latter category.

2. I watched WALL-E. Twice, in the last 2 days. As the critics might say: "Brilliant! A Stunning Achievement!" Other than the big mass market ad campaign (which you really couldn't miss even if -- like me -- you don't watch a lot of teevee commercials) I really didn't hear a lot about it when it came out. But this movie really is great; it's a better Distopia pic than I Am Legend or Omega Man, better social commentary* than Idiocracy (which is high praise coming from me), and to the extent it's a romantic comedy, well, I don't like the genre, but it's the best I've seen. I really wouldn't call it a sci-fi flick, but it's definitely better than all but a distinguished handful of those. Maybe I'm going a bit overboard, but I really think it will be remembered as a landmark of filmmaking.

3. This article reports that the online dating site eHarmony, which was founded by an evangelical Christian, will, beginning next March, "provide a dating service with "male seeking a male" or "female seeking a female" options". Which is perfectly fine, of course, except that the site is not doing so because it wants to court the business of gays and lesbians, or because it is the "just" or socially responsible thing to do, or because the market demands it, but rather because it is required to do so under a settlement agreement with a gay man who charged the site with discrimination in a New Jersey lawsuit. Now, I am a supporter of gay rights. I was disappointed that Prop 8 passed in CA. I believe homosexuals should have the right to marry, and I would never personally discriminate against a person because of who they choose to have sex with. And yet, I do not believe that a privately owned company should be forced to tailor its products to suit the needs of gays or lesbians, or indeed any other group of people. If the people who run this site are religious and believe that "gays ways is sin", and want to run their business accordingly (to their own detriment, I might add), then that is their prerogative. There are plenty of other dating sites available for gays and lesbians to find mates. I would venture to guess that there are many dating sites that are only for gays and lesbians to find mates. Certainly eHarmony is not a government actor and has no governmentally sanctioned monopoly or special license, and for all appearances seems to be a wholly private concern. They should be entitled to act according to their own morals and views, without being subject to liability or state-enforced equality measures. On the other hand, maybe at some point in the litigation eHarmony took a long hard look at their position and decided, according to its own lights, that it would be better for its customers, its potential customers, its profits, and their own souls or karma or whatever, and decided it would be best to open the site to same sex patrons. If so, good for them. And maybe their management can sit down and have a long talk with those fine folks at the LDS.

4. I still can't get my head around the fact that Texas Tech (Texas Tech!) is playing for a spot in the national championship game this weekend. I honestly haven't decided whether to root for them. I probably would (probably), if I wasn't holding out the (likely false) hope that a Tech loss might mean my own team could end up in the BCS Championship. Over the last 2+ weeks not a day has gone by that I haven't silently berated Colt McCoy for leaving so much fucking time on the clock. Why, why? Why snap the ball with 20+ seconds left on the play clock? And again with 17 seconds left on the play clock? And again with 9 seconds left? You're on the freaking 10 yard line and you have a time out in your pocket! Take some freaking time off the clock you brain dead moron! It's not like this is the first ever football game you've been involved in. Your daddy -- as Brent Musburger has told me at least One Million Times -- was a freaking football coach! You've ate, slept, and breathed football your whole life. RUN some FUCKING time OFF the clock! Sorry. I still haven't gotten past it, obviously.
* And just to be clear, when I refer to "social commentary", I think there are two distinct themes: (1) the first concerns the destruction of the earth by irresponsible human behavior. While I believe this is somewhat overblown, certainly humans as a species are currently being irresponsible to a degree from an environmental standpoint. We should do better; not for the sake of the planet, but for the sake of our progeny. But whether or not I agree with the degree of danger represented in the movie, I think that this theme, and the devastatingly skillful way in which it is presented, will have a powerful effect on all the millions of youngsters who have and will see it. In terms of affecting the actual behavior of people into the future, this movie is worth a career's worth of filmic output by Michael Moore or Al Gore. And, (2) The second theme is one I consider stronger value-wise (though probably much weaker impact-wise): the idea that humanity is striving toward material comfort at the expense of virtually all other values (for example: adventure, true (rather than meta) sensory experience, virtue, curiosity, learning, art, erudition, justice, etc). Of course, I'm guilty of this myself, and it is depressing. WALL-E drives this home in a very clever, comprehensive way, taking it pretty much to its logical conclusion: fat, fuzzy-brained, helpless humans who can't even so much as walk on their own two feet. This is, in essence, not only where we're headed, but where we seemingly want to go.


Evan said...

Re part 2: We all liked it as well. I'll bring Aiden to the Christmas party & you two can discuss its effect on his generation.

Gleemonex said...

1) All things in moderation, sir. Heh. Do give him some time ... he's got to sort through this giant pile of steaming turds with his bare hands, you know. I don't mean give him a free pass -- if we don't hold him accountable we're no better off than we were -- but he's only been the P-E for a couple of weeks.

2) On the Netflix queue.

3) I am in total agreeance, as Kid Rock might say.

4) Who in the what, now? When does spring training start?