Archive for the ‘Threat Quality’ Category

I have been watching this Marco Polo show on Netflix, since there’s a lot of it and it’s new, at least, and I’ve watched everything else interesting on Netflix already. I’ve got some thoughts on it, but if you don’t want to read the long version, the short version is: this show is a pile of fucking garbage. Just lazy, clumsy, stupid, disrespectful. Junk all around. (I know that in the New Year I resolved to be kinder, but in a way I think calling this thing what it is IS a kindness. I’m being kind to you, dear readers, by not hiding this contemptible bullshit behind a euphemism, so that you aren’t misled by niceties.)

Anyway, here are some thoughts, in no particular order.


Proving, once again, that I — BRAAK! — and my superior atomic intellect am capable of predicting the future, I would like to point out that Idris Elba is already James Bond, and his first movie was rad as hell:

James Bond:  World’s Edge

World’s Edge (2015) is the twenty-fifth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Idris Elba as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond.  The film is the first to allude to the fan-theory that James Bond is a cover identity.  The theory would be stated explicitly in the twenty-sixth entry.

The film centres on Bond investigating an arms dealer who is collaborating with a terrorist organization in Pakistan.  The film was controversial both for its casting choices (including the replacement of Daniel Craig as James Bond with Idris Elba, and the replacement of Ben Wishaw as Q with Don Cheadle), and for its choice of subject material, which was found to be heavily critical of American foreign policy.

The film was produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. World’s Edge was well-received by most critics and was also a financial success, grossing $500.1 million in the US, and $1,520.1 million in non-US markets.


I need a break from thinking about politics and our corrupt social order for a little while, and so I’m going to spend a little while writing about Batman, in a way that is inspired by current events.  In particular, recently I was trying to imagine how some editor at DC might be like, “Oh, we’ve got to tie the Batman comics into what’s going on in Ferguson and around the country right now,” in some misguided attempted to be relevant to modern politics.  I think this is a terrible idea, for reasons relating to my interpretations of Batman, and I may get to those reasons at some point, but first I am going to lay out some of my theories about how to look at a fictional character LIKE Batman.


On Eric Garner

Posted: December 3, 2014 in Threat Quality

Look, no one is saying that all cops are murderers, no one here, no one serious is making an argument that every cop is a bad guy, is reckless, is stupid, is either one bad decision or one malicious thought away from murdering a black guy that looked at him the wrong way.

But if there is even ONE cop like that, one dangerous, reckless, stupid, or malicious police officer, and the cops don’t cut him fucking loose, then they are complicit. They are aiding and a-fucking-betting. They are ACCOMPLICES to the murder.

That is really what is at stake here. We know who committed the murder, we ALL SAW IT. We SAW what fucking happened we KNOW that it was just one man who choked Eric Garner to death. No one is calling the rest of the police force, the prosecutor, the Grand Jury, the mayor, the city, no one is calling them murderers because we KNOW who the murderer is, WE ALL FUCKING SAW IT.

We’re calling them accomplices. Because they’re fucking complicit.


Posted: November 24, 2014 in Threat Quality

I’m alive, and fine, and nothing went wrong.  I am going to be recuperating at home for a couple weeks and I’m going to try to stay off the internet for a little while I get some work done (it would be the height of boneheadedness not to take advantage of this opportunity, I know; on the other hand, the oxycodone is messing up my typing a little bit).  Some notes:

1.  I decided partway through the process of determining if I was eligible to donate a kidney that, even if it turned out my dad didn’t need one, or for some reason couldn’t take mine, I’d want to donate anyway. This is because the number of available living donors in the US plateaued some years ago, and even though need has increased, the number of available kidneys has not.

Some shitlords, like John Stossl, think the problem is that in the US you can’t be recompensed for an organ — no one is allowed to pay you for it, which is why people don’t do it.  John Stossl thinks that you should be able to buy anything if you’re rich, and that the laws in America, if they ever prevent a rich person from getting what they want, should be changed.  The privilege of being rich is that you aren’t responsible to other people and can get whatever you want, whenever you want.

It’s KIND OF true that this is a problem, but the problem is much more closely related to the way we treat health insurance and medical and family leave in the US.  In my case, my dad’s health insurance covered the entire operation, but what if he’d had shitty health insurance?  What if he’d had no health insurance at all?  We’d have been fucked; this was a million dollar operation.  For every person like my dad, who’s got a very good, upper-middle-class job, there are hundreds of thousands of people that are just fucked.  Even if they manage to get an operation like this done (and no, you can’t get it done in the emergency room, not if you want any chance of getting an organ from a living donor and not if you want to avoid risking death or a lifetime on dialysis), they’d end up in medical debt for the rest of their lives.

Similarly, I’m very lucky because the job I have lets me borrow against anticipated sick leave, gives me an extra week of emergency medical leave, and is generally very generous about how I apply leave to the mandatory FMLA leave that they’re required by law to give me.  (FMLA leave is non-paid leave; whoever thought that requiring employers to give you unpaid leave for an emergency absence of thirty days would somehow be sufficient at times of medical emergency is a fucking idiot.  I’m sorry, but what in the actual fuck is wrong with you, you moron?  People don’t work at jobs because we love working at jobs, we work at jobs because we need money.  It’s the money that’s the fucking important part you numbskull.)  Anyway, I’m going to come out of this okay, because I have a good job, and the reason I have a good job is because I have a union. Hands down, period.  If you think unions are bullshit, well, I suggest trying to donate a kidney to your sick father and seeing how far your employer’s loyalty to you (edit: lol) takes you.

If you think it’s unfair that I work a job that isn’t harder than your job, but I get better pay and better benefits than you because I have a union and you don’t, don’t try and fuck up my job, asshole, just form your own union.  This isn’t rocket surgery, it’s kidney surgery, and my dad’s actual life depended on it.  I will seriously kick your head into the dirt before I acknowledge this petulance about everyone should have to have an equally shitty job so that life is fair.  Life isn’t fair; you secure fairness for yourself.  Form a union, get some fairness.

2.  I know that oxycodone is one of the most abused drugs in the US, and I actually don’t get it’s appeal.  If you’re not in chronic pain, all it does is make you sleepy and have weird dreams.  (For example, I had a dream that Vern, of Outlaw Vern, was telling me about the existence of a transvestite LL Cool J impersonator who was also a famous anarchist, and in the dream I already knew about that.)  Are most Americans in chronic pain?  If not, what is the point of this?  Just buy some fucking Nyquil if you want weird dreams.

3.  I want to talk briefly about the nurse in my post-op surgical unit.  First of all, I want to say that everyone in this unit looked very young, like in their late twenties, which was a little weird, since now I’m in my mid thirties and “late-twenties” looks young, not contemporary.  Second of all, she was very pretty in the way that people on TV shows are pretty, where even when you want just a regular-looking person for a two-minute walk on part they look like they could be a model.  Not necessarily a supermodel, or something, but at least a JC Penny’s model.  She also wore fitted scrubs, and I assume that this was because she likes the way she looks in them, which is why I am not embarrassed to say that her fitted scrubs were very flattering.

THIRD of all, and I’m sure this is in large part because her job as a nurse in a post-surgical unit is probably pretty boring, since mostly she talks to a lot of people who are cranky, in pain, and high on morphine, she seemed super-fascinated by many ordinary occurrences.

Like, she sees my wife knitting and is amazed.  “What is THAT?”  “Oh, I’m…I’m just knitting…”  “Oh my god that’s amazing!  That’s different from crocheting?”  “Yeah, for crocheting you need a hook.”  “WOW.”

She sees my copy of The Baffler.  “What is THIS?  Is this a book?”  “Well, it’s a…it’s a quarterly magazine…”  “REALLY!  What’s it about?”  “You know, uh, culture writing, stuff like that.”  “That’s SO COOL.”

I’m not trying to disparage her; for whatever the reason that she did this, it certainly did make me feel better to have someone be happy and excited and interested in things in the post-surgical unit, please don’t mistake me for a critic on this score.  Please also don’t mistake me for overlooking her compentency as a nurse, which I assume was very high (I don’t actually know what nurses are supposed to do, so technically I can’t really say, but she definitely did things like remove my catheter and inject me with heperin efficiently and with aplomb).

What I am saying is that it did make me feel like I’d briefly become a secondary character on a CW TV show about a space alien who comes to earth and then becomes a nurse so that she can learn about what it’s like to be human.

4.  Isn’t that a good idea for a TV show, though?  Especially if the space alien had lots of access to technology and alien powers to heal people, but she wasn’t allowed to use them, so she had to sometimes watch people suffer and die and just try to be empathetic to them.

5.  ANOTHER good idea for a TV show would be like a half-hour comedy in which the two main characters spent two or three episodes as side characters in other TV shows.  Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, only weekly, and with television.

On the Evening of My Surgery

Posted: November 19, 2014 in Threat Quality

I’m fine!  Everything’s fine.  I am not sick, I am not dying.  This is a voluntary, elective procedure that the doctors do all the time, as routine as the extraction of one of my many organs could possibly be.  I’m told this one is particularly redundant, and once my wounds heal I won’t even notice that it’s missing.

I am going to be offline for a few days, and probably (hopefully) for longer than that.  I want to take my recovery period to scale back on my internet usage, to get some of my other work done.  So, I don’t want anyone to worry about that. I’ve got two books two finish at least, not counting a third book that everyone is waiting for and I’m slowly starting to feel like they’ll never get.

I’m a huge disappointment to myself, is what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, even though I know that everything is fine, and the dangers associate with this procedure are very, very low, I’ve got some feeling of…

not doom, exactly, not anxiety, not dread.

Finality, I suppose you could say.  I imagine that some line is crossed, some great change will happen, and things will never be the same.  (I don’t really believe this, intellectually; I don’t believe in grand conversions or great changes, I believe that life is a slow accretion of experience, however abrupt it looks.)

It’s kind uplifting.  If I don’t die now, and if I ever do die sometime in the future, I hope I can face it like this — not with eagerness, not with delay, but with readiness.

(I am not going to die, I am being silly and dramatic.  I just got to talk my way through it, because if television and movies have taught me anything, it’s that the worst things happen to the people who hope for the best.)

Lately it seems like there’s a lot of shit happening in the world, like we’ve got so much work to do, like we’re never going to get it all done.  We probably won’t get it all done.  But there’s still good.  I know there is, because when you look for good, you find it.  You always find it.

Okay, whatever.  Whatever else happens, I just wanted to let you guys know that I have found many of you to be relatively tolerable.

Look to the good, guys.

See you around.


Cara Blouin

I want to say that maybe Rapture, Blister, Burn is the feminist play we deserve, but I’ve been trying not to blame myself for the bad things that happen to me. It’s one of the many struggles that I go through as a living human female, an experience that, by the way, I regularly complain about not seeing portrayed on stage. I like to blame *that* on the glut of white male playwrights who dominate the art. “I am sick,” I whine, “of seeing female characters who are just cardboard cutouts who don’t have real feelings or motivations written by jerk dudes who don’t know what it is like to be a lady.”

So it’s hard to know how to feel about the paper dolls that Gina Gionfriddo has cut out to use as mouthpieces for her barely thought out ideas in Rapture, Blister, Burn. I think it’s worse. It’s one thing to be alienated by someone who can’t understand your experience. It’s a curious betrayal to be alienated by someone who presumably should be able to.