Some Notes on Growth

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s always hard to talk about “economic growth,” because people in general and Americans in particular tend to talk about things in this very Boolean sort of a way.  i.e.:  Economic growth is good, TRUE OR FALSE?  And if you say “true,” then you’ve got to support everything that “grows the economy” at all times, and anything that interferes with growth in any way is self-evidently bad.  And if you say “false” then you must want there to be no economic growth ever and actually you want the world to descending into a crippling, grinding poverty for eternity until there is no money and everyone is eating old shoes for dinner.

There is, of course, no answer besides “true” and “false”, so when we start with that presumption, the terms of the argument are fixed from the beginning.  While we can argue that some other things might be good as well, we’re stuck having conceded that economic growth is always good everywhere forever.

Well, look.

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Riot Girl Comics 5

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Riot Girl Comics 4

Posted: August 29, 2014 in Uncategorized
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CHELSEA CHERRY

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Riot Girl Comics 3

Posted: August 29, 2014 in Uncategorized
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THE REASONABLE MEN

The Reasonable Men are an army of unstoppable robots of the law, that the Chamber of Commerce calls in when it starts to look like they’re losing control of the regular crowd-control police.

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For the most part, they look like robot Bertie Woosters — tweed suits and straw boater hats — with retractable nightsticks for hands.

The lead unit of the Reasonable Men, of course, looks like Jeeves

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He has an umbrella shield and a laser hand (as you can see).

The tension in stories with the Reasonable Men is that they look completely ridiculous, but are actually brutal, aggressive, and hyper-competent. They are, exactly as their name doesn’t imply, also completely UNreasonable, immediately escalating all conflicts to blunt-force-trauma subdual mode at the first hint of resistance. (i.e., 158: Failure to Comply with Law Enforcement Demands; the Reasonable Men announce all of the crimes that you are guilty of [usually: Failure to Comply, Resisting Arrest, Aggressive Action] over and over as they beat the hell out of you.)

Guardians of the Galaxy did really well, so that means there will be a sequel (Guardians of the Galaxy 2: 2 Guardians, 2 Galaxy), and I think that is a great opportunity to correct what I perceive to be a glaring flaw in the first movie:  Gamora’s criminal under-utilization as the most badass character of all.

Now, everyone loves a good, clean karate-fight.  Your Captain America versus Batroc the Leaper, &c.  But also one of the things that makes fights great and interesting is when there are obstacles or limitations that the fighter has to overcome (think basically every Jackie Chan fight scene ever).  These are good ways to make the fight unique and creative, and also often to raise the stakes of a fight scene part way through, so that we don’t get tired of seeing people try to kick each other or what have you.

Guardians of the Galaxy did do one of these, the Gamora / Star-Lord Supine Karate Fight, and don’t get me wrong, I love a good fight where both characters are lying down.  In my opinion, almost ANY fight could be improved by having the fighters lie on the ground and try to hit each other!

Still, you’ve done that once.  Here are some other ideas.

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Fine!  It was fine.  A fine movie.  It had some exciting space adventures, people flew around in ships and shot each other with lasers.  There was some kind of power-exploding MacGuffin, that was great.  The character stuff was for the most part exceptional.  Groot was there, he was awesome, Rocket Raccoon was awesome.  My favorite was actually Drax the Destroyer!

(“We just established that blowing up the ship I’m on isn’t saving me.” “When did we establish that?” “Like three seconds ago!” “I wasn’t listening to that part, I was thinking about something else.”)

Hahahah.  Excellent use of Dave Bautista, finally we’re seeing him live up to the potential he revealed as Bronze Body Man in The Man with the Iron Fists.

A good time was had by all.  I am going to write a few things here, because it is in my nature to be a Debbie Downer, and a natural enemy of all that is good and fun, so if you HATE FUN, by all means, keep reading.

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I am taking a break from expounding my LIFE PHILOSOPHY to talk about some other things, as a kind of intellectual palate-cleanser.  Today’s subject on which I will now go on at length, pulled randomly from the heaps of garbage that I read every day, is this article by Colin McEnroe over at Salon.

For whatever reason, I find I’m always more exercised by running into junk like this at sites I read regularly, as opposed to sites like the New Yorker, where I only once in a while check-in.  It seems to me that not only is the thing itself wrong, but that it’s also a kind of betrayal that they published it in the first place — not necessarily because I don’t agree with it (though, I’ll be honest here — as we all should strive for honesty in every one of our doings — that’s probably a big part of it), but because it seems like the kind of thing an editor should have looked at and said, “Nope, too dumb.  Send it back.”

(Well, I know, it’s Salon, obviously that wasn’t going to happen, come on.)

Anyway, the piece is for the most part some fussy hand-wringing about Kids Today, and I think that all articles about Kids Today should be answered not necessarily due to their merits, but just for the sake of having the counter-argument exist, in the hopes that this generation will, at long last, be the generation that beats back the idea of Kids Today, if not forever, at least for now, a momentary peace in a world constantly under threat.

It’s mostly fussiness, but it takes at its heart Ira Glass’s apparent disinterest in Shakespeare: “I think I’m realizing: Shakespeare sucks?”  And then seeks to take him to task on the grounds that Shakespeare self-evidently does NOT suck, and Ira Glass is somehow representative of a generation of increasingly-stupid children who don’t seem to realize that.

Well.

Before I get into it, let me just be clear: I like Shakespeare, as a reader, as an actor, and as a speaker of English. I’m also GOOD at Shakespeare; ask anyone, I’ve got a knack for this kind of stuff. If I was willing to live a little more in poverty, I could probably work consistently just doing Shakespeare. Shakespeare often speaks to me in a way that I find deeply intuitive and affecting. I have, in other words, a vested interest in seeing Shakespeare maintain his position as the most important playwright in the English language, and in seeing all of us remain idolators to his genius.

But.

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