Tea Parties are for girls

A thought experiment occurred to me after I heard news of another round of “tea parties.”

I thought, “hmm, these folks are so dead-set on not paying taxes, I say, let’s exempt them from taxes.”

How, you might ask, could we exempt these right-wing foot soldiers from their duty to pay for the services they enjoy? Simple: stop including them in these services.

But how could we exclude them effectively? I mean, no one would voluntarily give up the privilege of driving on the roads, public education —well, maybe some of these Bible-thumpers would be OK with that one — enjoying the protection of the armed services, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., etc.

So, then I thought, why not just gives these whiney, wannabe tax-cheats their own country, you know, the part of America that consistently votes Republican.

But what would this look like? I mean the last time part of the country seceded from the other part, didn’t that turn into a national disaster, and didn’t the conservative, backwards part of the country get thumped bad and forced to reintegrate? Who would comprise the Conservative States of America?

Well, we can lose these tea partiers right off. I mean, tea parties are for little girls, not gainfully employed adults with a sense of responsibility.

But who else do we lose? Creationists. Still, I’m thinking good riddance.

I can see test scores improving already. There will also be much less people with Confederate Flags, people telling me that “God hates fags,” and almost no pro-lifers.

Things are really looking up for the Blu-Nited States of the East and West Coast of America (and parts of the Midwest)

But, the real pain is going to be that we will lose large portions of our armed services, and a lot of rich people. This could be a blow to the B. S. E. W. C. of A. (and parts of the Midwest).

But maybe we’ll get by. I mean, there will be less federal and state government employees, who come to tax-funded jobs Monday through Friday, and then attend tax protests.

We’ll have achieved what conservatives wanted all along, and shrunken a bloated, ineffectual bureaucracy. Hmm, still looking up. Maybe we’d even be able to cut taxes, too.

So what will the Blu-Nited States look like? Well, we’ll have universal health care, most of the Hollywood elite, the “main stream news media,” artists, the gay, lesbian and transgendered members of the military, I would imagine pot would be legal, everything would be unionized, and women’s bodies would be their own business.

We’d also get D.C., so there would be no need to relocate the nation’s capital. Hmm, not too bad.

But who gets Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and the other defense contractors? Well, they tend to go with the highest bidder, and since the Blu-Nited States would still have the nation’s richest states, I think we’d be OK there, too.

But what would life be like in the no-tax, no science, states’ rights CSA? The way I see it, kind of like the bastard child of Franco’s Spain and the Confederate States of America.

While roads, and other public works projects are completely unfunded, and all services are privatized, but staffed by a relatively incompetent pool of workers, the quality of life for the average person will comparable to a third world country.

The military will be a national one, paid for by levies upon the public. I say levies because they won’t call it taxes, even though it essentially will be.

The rich will live in great manses, guarded by private security forces to keep the roving bands of the poor, uneducated and drunk from entering. They will still fly Leer jets and secretly do business with liberal rich people in the Blu-Nited States, while chanting demagoguery lifted from the Dark Ages to the masses. There will be no roads after about two years from the strain of the SUVs driving on un-funded highways, but this will be fine because “we’ll make our own roads.”

If you get sick and can’t afford insurance, well, in the words of the now-immortal cyborg Dick Cheney, “fuck you.”

Broken bridges covered with ivy will stand as monuments to an ancient civilization of wonder at every road crossing the Mighty Mississippi.

The clergy and business interests will still collect money from the masses in the form of tithing, and a largely feudal state will emerge, the conservatives’ wet dream since Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre (look it up.)

Jobs will largely consist of the option to work at McDonalds, or the option to work at Wal-Mart.

And while the liberal-socialist paradise of the Blu-Nited States, with its relative affluence, top-class entertainment, sexual liberation and free-wheeling attitudes towards drugs will produce a contented culture, the repressive authoritarian culture of the Conservative States of America will require an outside enemy.

Without anyone to hate, the uneducated, superstitious and aggressive populace will turn against each other.

Churches will compete over who can be the most ridiculous in their rejection of fact and hatred for those who are different. Rednecks, without any gays, blacks, or really any brown people besides Ramesh Ponnuru, will turn against each other in a nation-wide orgy of bar fights.

Anarchy will erupt, even in the completely, monistically homogenous society, because, let’s face it, conservatives need something to hate in order to get out of bed in the morning. And who would be better than the queer-loving, Godless socialists next door.

A cry will rise from a jail cell somewhere in Alabama, a book detailing the struggle of the white working man to succeed despite a government that doesn’t tax him or question his supremacy will be written, tea parties thrown, brown shirts donned, and war will be declared against the Blu-Nited States, because the CSA needs “breathing room.”

And the overly-militarized CSA, despite its lack of innovation, will still have numerical superiority in the longest, bloodiest land war in history.

Rednecks with M-4s will mow down pot-addled college students, given a divine sanction by the Southern Baptist Convention. George Clooney’s head will adorn the pike of a small, toothless child wearing a shirt proclaiming “Lucky Devil.”

Eventually, Premier-for-Life Obama will have to nuke middle-America, dooming the remainder of us to a nuclear winter in socialist paradise.

So, go ahead and have your tea parties, bitch about the taxes you have to pay without reflecting on the services they provide for, and threaten secession. I mean, we Democrats may want a socialist paradise, but we’d still get the nukes in the divorce.


HOW DID I MISS THIS!??!

http://newsarama.com/comics/070924-QuesadaAnnounce.html


My response to Heritage Media Partners

So I was checking my student e-mail today, and I came across a gem:

Can conservative + grassroots + Christian = edgy and insightful political commentary?

Tune in and find out!

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Conservatism strikes again!

Every Thursday at our
NEW TIME of 6:00 pm PT hosts Babe Huggett and Warner Todd Huston discuss and examine current political events, put them in historical context and follow trends to their logical conclusions through a conservative, Christian viewpoint. Scheduled guests will enjoy their own featured isegment. Phone in comments from listeners always welcome!

On tonight’s show:

Hosts Babe Huggett & Warner Todd Huston dig deep & analyze the news with their usual insightful and historical approach all the while being as politically irreverent as possible! We’re going glam tonight at our NEW TIME with the uber talented and downright gorgeous Hollywood actress and film producer,
Sharise Parviz, whose quirky characters, political satire and true conservatism has video buffs crying for more!

My response:

Subject: Please remove me from your e-mail list.

Body: I very rarely check my student e-mail address, because I have graduated college.
When I do, I don’t want to read about dying movements trying to reinvent themselves with “gorgeous actresses.” You guys really need some new ideas if you want to save conservatism.
You could try moving away from the medievalists, quasi-fascists and racists on the fringe and instead focusing on issues that matter to most Americans. For instance, actually getting spending under control. This is even more important to pay attention to when we have a hawkish, Republican president in office, but it still resonates – perhaps surprisingly – with some Democrats.
If you guys can return to being the party of Eisenhower, who rejected the military-industrial complex as dangerous to the American people, then you will be on the right track.

But that’s just this former student journalist’s opinion.
Bottom line is, please remove me from your subscription list.

Sincerely,
C. Ervin Brown
Former Editor,
The Shepherd University Picket.


Utopia vs. Dystopia: Post-Obama optimism destroys Christian Bale’s career

In the most recent entry in the much-beloved “Terminator” franchise, Christian Bale as John Connor echoes a line made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Austrian-born muscleman-turned-“actor” —despite my love of Schwarzie, I use this term as loosely as possible — playing a cyborg sent back to retroactively abort Connor before he can grow up to lead the human resistance to victory against the machines menacingly intoned three words, which made him a household name.

“I’ll be back.”

Despite his relative lack of range, Ah-nuld certainly had the muscle, deep voice, and the Germanic, chiseled features to sell the line and make it scary.

Bale, as Connor, still using his gravelly “Dark Knight” voice, does not sell the line, even for a cheap giggle.

One of the few bones thrown to casual fans, this line was ineffective at eliciting the laughs it was intended to draw out of a bored audience.

Less effective was the inclusion of a naked, silent, digitally-masked Ah-nuld stand-in, representing the first T-800 Model 101 Terminator, 11 years before it should have appeared according to the first movie.

If, as in the last post, we can blame the failure of Superman Returns on a pessimistic America — which I concur with the esteemed Mr. Michaels is a weak argument — can we blame the seeming lameness of Terminator: Salvation on an optimistic America?

Surely we have had enough of dire predictions of economic doom, the death-knell of traditional values [gay marriage would never have happened on G. Dub’s watch! Hmmph!], and the growing threat of rogue state’s burgeoning nuclear weapons programs [I’m looking straight at you, Kim Jong-Il] to last us another 20 years.

The good news factor, such as the real possibility that the economy may be rebounding, real health care reform [maybe], and the death knell of traditional values [yay, gay marriage! I was kidding before] and the election of the nation’s first black president have many people turning their eyes toward a positive future instead of a grim one.

Why, then, should our science fiction be any less positive?

I am as much a fan of a good scary story as anyone. And I also love dystopian futures as much as anyone.
I am a huge fan of the first two “Terminator” movies, “Aliens” is one of my all-time favorite science fiction movies, and I even love “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

Why, then, could I not bring myself to become invested in “Salvation”?

I have been wrestling with this since I saw it yesterday, and have managed to come up with a few things, and none of them is the lack of James Cameron’s involvement.

First, Bale’s Connor is a major dick-head. Constantly yelling, he manages to make everything he says seem less important.

Second, the more interesting character, Marcus Wright, is a simple rehash of every other “robot with feelings” I have ever seen on screen. The added element of casting this overused sci-fi plot device as an ex-con’s second chance at a good life does nothing to breath life into the cliché.

“Hugh” from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “I, Borg” was a much more convincing cyborg who refused its machine nature to make the most human choice of all: self-sacrifice. That episode still works, even despite TNG’s budgetary constraints and the time elapsed since its initial airing. “Salvation” doesn’t work the first time you watch it, despite a huge budget, and impressive sets, props, CGI models and costuming, and big name actors.

Plus, Anton Yelchin as Cheko—uh, I mean Kyle Reese is another tough sell. He affects the gravelly voice, athleticism and stoic manner one might expect from a child-soldier and nuclear war survivor, but his teeth are much too white to believe he subsists on a diet of “two-day-old coyote.” His lovely pearlies practically burn a hole in the viewers retina when set against the gritty backdrops of this film.

Perhaps, then, the thing “Salvation” lacks most is hope. By the end of this film, the status quo of the future war isn’t markedly changed. While Skynet loses one robot factory, Connor specifically states that its “global network” is still going strong, despite the fact that we are told that the attack was meant to be against “Skynet central.”

In short, the “salvation” one would expect to be central to the movie as heavily implied by the title is absent.

Whereas, despite the fact that the other elements of the “Terminator” franchise — with the exception of “T3,” which is best forgotten — deal with a post-apocalyptic future, this future is never treated as inevitable. There is always the hope that it can be averted, and that if a machine can learn the value of human life, so might we all.

While, in the end, “Salvation” fails because it is not a very good movie, the fact that it is a story of fatalistic hopelessness certainly doesn’t help it in a post-Obama world.

If this weekend’s take, seen here: http://www.newsarama.com/film/090522-terminator-box-office.html, is any indicator, hopeful movies have a longer lifespan in the current market.


He’s (back from the) dead, Jim!

One of my first memories of sexual curiosity happened to me when I was less than 5 years old.

I was watching television at my parent’s house in (Wil) Wheaton, Md., and on this afternoon on local T.V. Channel WTTG, an episode of “Star Trek” was playing, which I often watched as a kid.

In the closing credits, there was a picture of a green-skinned, dancing woman, which I was instantly fascinated with. (At the time, I did not have the command of fictional exobiology and alien cultures that I do now, and did not realize that this was an Orion slave girl). All I knew was that I had a thing for green chicks; though I of course had no idea what I would do with one should I come upon her.

Why do I share this embarrassingly nerdy and private preference for spring-green skin?

Because apparently, a young Captain James Tiberius Kirk has my same fetish for viridian-hued, athletic women, at least in the new film, Star Trek. At last, I feel validated.

But this was only the first of many in-jokes for fans hidden so well in a shiny, pop-culture friendly package. And, at least this reviewer felt that the movie worked. About 99 percent of me was completely satisfied with the return of Star Trek to its more muscular, high-octane space opera roots, as opposed to the sometimes needless faux-intellectuality of TNG or unrealistically dark direction of DS9 and Enterprise. And, with apologies to the Kaiser, Voyager simply sucked.

It’s good to see a work of fiction treat the future with optimism, for a change. Unlike the recent spate of science fiction works which go in a much darker direction for the sake of “gritty realism,” Star Trek presents a world where human ingenuity and determination can solve any problem.

And it did not come a moment too soon. When even animated movies targeted at children, such as 9, which was advertised before the film, and seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity’s surviving legacy is represented by sapient rag-dolls, we could use a dose of optimism.

That’s not saying that I am not looking forward to Terminator: Salvation, but part of me is just exhausted with nihilistic, sadistically violent and pessimistic fiction. Bond films, Batman and even Observe and Report have all been recently guilty of perpetuating this trend.

I am, after all, a Star Wars guy at heart: I like space fairy tales with happy endings.

Which is not to say that Star Trek is without its darker moments, or flaws. I found that at times, the convenient location of Federation outposts and the patience of the villains were less believable plot devices that time-line altering black holes, but these were really my only problems with the film, and if I am willing to accept transporter beams —which would not be possible without a computer that is smarter than God — I can suspend my disbelief in favor of enjoyment.

And as far as dark moments, one of the most controversial divergences from established cannon is also one of the most tragic moments in the movie. I almost had tears in my eyes twice while watching this film, at two times when heroes lose something irreplaceable. Let’s just say that in Star Trek, if six billion people are killed by a super weapon, it carries much more emotional weight than the Death Star destroying Alderaan.

But that’s enough of my take. Star Trek isn’t a great movie, but it’s damn fun, and I think I will be seeing it at least two more times this weekend. Make up your own damn mind if the Space:90210-vibe is too much for you. But to those who can’t let go of “established continuity” enough to enjoy a good space adventure, let me invite you to watch the original series and count the number of times writers violate continuity. Even in the second pilot, Jim Kirk’s middle initial is “R.”, not “T.”

Trust me, you’ll be able to forgive the little nits, unless it’s your goal to be nit-picky.


My literal first reading of Watchmen

Ok, so I wanted to write something quick and dirty about Watchmen, the book, before I go out and watch Watchmen, the movie.
I first read this comic as a 21-year-old, after being re-introduced to superhero comics in college. As a kid I read mostly Marvel stuff, so I was anxious to read some of the famous stories that DC had published in the mid-80s, which I knew changed the world of comics but did not read as a 13-year-old.
I was immediately blown away by the quality of the dialogue, characters and artwork.
There were no Chris Claremont-esque exclamations of “By the White Wolf!” or other nonsense, and Dave Gibbon’s art is a darn sight better than John Byrne’s or Jim Lee’s, in my view.
But, I was also intrigued by the idea of a superhero murder mystery. As the plot unfolded, I was engaged by the multiple layers of story, thrilled by the idea of a superheroic political assassination, amused by the references to pop-culture and U.S. history, and appalled at the level of misogyny and violence against women.
But I still loved the book. I read it very quickly, in the manner I was accustomed to reading comics when I was a child. I did not pick up on the politics of the book, although my friend John Cooper maintained that it was an inherently fascist work, and that may have colored my reading somewhat.
I just thought it was a good, realistic (read: depressing) story about superheroes.
If Zack Snyder can capture the dystopian, Republican-dominated, noire-esque feel of the book, without making Rorschach sound like a Frank Miller character, then I’ll be satisfied. Not thrilled, but satisfied.


I can now stop buying comics

At least until GM and Frank Quietly take over Batman. May looks bleak.