Morning Ed: Society {2016.08.03.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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92 Responses

  1. Avatar j r says:

    From the sexless millennials article:

    When it comes to millennials and sex, there are two narratives going on at the moment, and they clash pretty severely.

    Notice that word narrative. How could we possible reconcile such a clash? Maybe by recognizing that there is more than one millennial.

    What does the variance look like and is there any correlation between where people are falling in the distribution and their education/SES?

    I would not be surprised to find out that there is one group of millennials having less and less sex because they inhabit a world of increasing opportunity costs and delayed independence and family formation and another group of working class millennials whose sex habits have not changed much at all. That’s speculation, though.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

      It often seems to me that when we are talking about Generation Whatever, we aren’t necessarily talking about all people born in a certain time frame, but a subset of people born in or around that time frame that fit a certain type that tends to be easily identifiable and well-known to the power-holding “adults” of the time.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I did not like the comments on the Sexless Millennials link. More than a few commentators attributed the lack of sex among millennials to pornography and inability to talk to women among millennial men. Most millennial men can talk to women fine. They might do less romantic or sexual approaching because these have been turned into a high stake encounter compared to the past. When you place the burden on approaching on men but also tell them about the dangers of unwanted romantic/sexual advances and how they are not entitled to anything including a gentle denial than your going to get many people that are not even going to bother for many different reasons.

    Everything has a trade off. The tradeoff for taking things like avoiding unwanted sexual/romantic advances and consent much more seriously, thankfully, than past generations is that men, who generally still bear the courtship burden, are not going to approach. They are going to assume that most women are just platonically rather than romantically interested in them at best and that the risks of approach outweigh the benefit.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Tl:dr: Don’t blame millenials, blame society.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

        Baby Boomers had the advantage that during the original Sexual Revolution, medicine got most known STDs under control, the pill just came on the market, and that people were so happy about the restraints being off that other important things got way sided. Its why people in the 1970s were somewhat blasé about rock stars with just teenage girls rather than jailing the lot of them. Millennials grew up in a different environment and this one doesn’t encourage wild sexual abandon except among a certain sort of personality and person, very extroverted and physically attractive and did not absorb a lot of lessons taught about romance/sex.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          If you aren’t having sex — or if you are — that is solely your responsibility. Yes, it takes two (or more!) to tango, but if you can’t find anyone who wants to have sex with you — or date you or go hiking with you or Netflix-and-chill with you or read Proust with you — your best start is looking in the mirror.

          Is it possible there are broader forces at play? Certainly. But that is rarely the best place to start.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

            I don’t buy this at all. There are lots of people who are doing nearly everything they can and are hitting a brick wall for a variety of reasons because nobody seems to want to go half-way because of the demand for instant chemistry that does not exist.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

              If you’re doing everything you can and not finding success, maybe you need to find a different set of things you can do.

              As for the notion that men have to make the first move, try the Bumblr app… ONLY women can make first contact.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                and some of them might be real.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                “If you’re doing everything you can and not finding success, maybe you need to find a different set of things you can do.”

                The problem is yoooouuuuuu…

                The problem is yoooouuuuuu…

                “so what do I do?

                The problem is yoooouuuuuu, yoooouuuuuu, yoooouuuuuu…Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Yes, but do you have any idea how hard it is to pick up girls while wearing a polyester leisure suit?Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Suits has a Democratic following and not all Democrats are liberal. Based on the list, it seems that the non-fantastic shows favored by the liberals seem to favor family/class dramas, artists, politics, or some form of white collar professionals doing their job. Suits is about white collar professionals doing their jobs and many Democratic voters are lawyers doing this type of work. The non-fantastic shows favored by Republicans seem to favor the police and military catching bad guys and imposing law and order.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:

    U.S. Secretly Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

    Obama administration insists there was no quid pro quo, but critics charge payment amounted to ransom

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

      Yet some people deny that Obama is Reaganesque.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme says:

      U.S. Secretly Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

      What’s worse, the Obama Administration is so incompetent they Josh Earnest told a press conference all about about the secret payments in January!Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy says:

        If it had really been a public press conference where they said the release came on the heels of a payoff this wouldn’t be a story. The Obama admin called it a diplomatic breakthrough, instead. I wonder why the payoff wasn’t made public?Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme says:

          The payment was made public at the press conference:

          Q Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Josh. On Sunday, we learned that the United States made a payment to the government of Iran of $1.7 billion. Was this tied to the deal that led to the freedom of the Americans that were being held in Iran?

          MR. EARNEST: Jon, this is actually the result of a long-running claims process that had been at The Hague. In 1979, there was obviously an Iranian revolution that abruptly severed relations between our two countries. And prior to that revolution, the U.S. government had entered into an agreement with the then-Iranian government to transfer about $400 million in military equipment to the Iranian government. Once the revolution took place, obviously that equipment was not transferred, but we also didn’t return Iran’s money either. So that money essentially was held in what could, I think — essentially in an escrow account. And for more than 30 years now, the Iranians have been using this claims process at The Hague to try to recover that $400 million.

          I’m really glad the Wall Street Journal blew the lid off of this one.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

        What’s even more devious, people like me are left wondering what is wrong with sending cash to Iran.

        As opposed to carpet bombing Iraq with pallet loads of shrink wrapped hundred dollar bills to purchase the friendship of local warlords, or sending billions of dollars to half a dozen vicious tyrannical governments all over the world.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Superheros: This strikes me as true: “Yet it’s no surprise. Recasting the Ghostbusters is easy. Coming up with new characters and concepts is hard. And actually finding, cultivating, and hiring diverse writers and directors who might be more willing and able to create those characters is real work. Plus, women and minorities have learned from the mistakes of all those work-for-hire white males who created but didn’t own Superman, Captain America, and the rest. They want to own what they create, ”

    Online Anonymity: “That suggests we may need to rethink our efforts to encourage or enforce civility online.” We MUST ensure civility on the internet. This is the type of attitude that I find so offensive. Who appointed anyone related to this article to that position?

    Repubs/Movies: “This was not particularly credible to anyone with a set of eyes and a half-functioning brain.” It wasn’t a credible statement on it’s face, much less to anyone who metabolizes oxygen.

    Millennials and sex: Screw them…I’m more concerned about me getting sex than them 🙂Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

      “actually finding, cultivating, and hiring diverse writers and directors who might be more willing and able to create those characters is real work”
      … which is why this has traditionally been farmed out to Analog and other magazines. Because they’ve got the motivation to invest in people, and each story isn’t all that big of an investment.

      We really shouldn’t expect movies (or book publishers) to “invest” in writers and directors. The economics incline against it.

      Instead, we should work harder to push cheaper, less costly entertaiment. (shorts and television)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Damon says:

      Superheroes: I think the article conflates the comic book industry and the film industry, which operate under different sets of motivations. The comic book industry has been doing stories like “What if Louis Lane was Superman” for generations. Jane Foster becoming Thor and the Falcon becoming Captain America are part of long tradition of finding new angles to tell new stories under the framework of “illusion of change.” They will be undone.

      Character-swapping of corporate characters doesn’t create ownership interest either, so I’m pretty confused about what seems like grafting a grievance about Depression era contracts onto motivations of today’s creators. Certainly, creators would like to enjoy the success of the Walking Dead, and I’m sure they would like to win the lottery as well. By and large people creating super hero comics grew up as fans of super hero comics, and have stories to tell about the iconic characters they grew up with.

      Hollywood creators OTOH appear to be embarrassed by the source material, and are often want to make changes to be more serious or relevant. (Marvel’s recent success is largely due to bypassing this by opening its own studio) For example, while Pixar was able to make a great Fantastic Four movie in the Incredibles, Fox has repeatedly failed and sought to rejuvenate the franchise by race-swapping a family member in stereotypical fashion, satisfying pretty much nobody and shrouding publicity in the word “gimmick.”Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Millennials suffer from the equivalent of the TPP in the sexual marketplace.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of superheros.

    The overwhelming majority of critics are calling Suicide Squad an absolute disaster of a movie and one that was assembled in the editing room. Here is my predicitions

    1. Fans will call the movie critics haters and still go see Suicide Squad because something in fandom makes people psychologically unable to think movie critics have a point.

    2. Many fans will hate the Suicide Squad movie for the same reasons as the critics.

    3. Suicide Squad will make big bucks during the opening weekend.

    4. Hollywood will make more movies like Suicide Squad even though fans hate them because all Hollywood cares about is money. If a movie makes money, Hollywood will make more of the same until it doesn’t work.

    5. People will still complain that listening to critics is wrong and snobby.Report

    • With regard to #5, it will depend on the critic. Nobody is harder on bad superhero movies than superhero fans. But the person that says “It’s stupid because of the costumes and make-believe” then yeah, that’s going to elicit a different response than “It failed to live up to its source material because blah blah blah.”Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        As far as I can tell few critics are saying that. Critics are saying that the movie is a hot mess, lacks the courage of its conviction (the super-baddie antihero protagnoists are not that bad), sexually objectifies Harley Quinn too much, and was assembled in the editing room to try and create cohesion.

        All of these should give fans pause but they won’t.Report

        • And so far, most of the people I’ve heard have indicated the expectation that the movie is not going to be very good.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The minute I heard they were re-editing it in light of the train crash of BvS, I knew it was going to be a mess.

          I’m guessing they frantically tried to un-grimdark it as much as possible with the footage they had.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            I’m sure it’s worse than that.

            If anything, I’m sure that they’re giving us the boring backstories. Who is this Lex Luthor character? And we get another two monologues. Who is Wonder Woman? Another monologue.

            Stuff that would have helped the audience figure out what in the flying crap was going on but required a minute worth of talking was what got cut out.

            Now, for the home viewer, you get to see two minutes of Perry White and Clark Kent discussing the importance of keeping anonymous sources anonymous.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:


            The grimdark in DC is one of the more perplexing fandom fights for me. I know people in both camps. One camp loves and adamantly fights for the grimdark. The other seems to want DC movies to be like the silly and campy DC comics of the 1950s and 60s with stunts like BatBaby and all the super-animals.

            During the Superman v. Batman time, someone I know was adamantly putting up silly Silver Age DC comics and also insisting that the ultimate Batman v. Superman movie should be rated G.

            Surely there is an inbetween. I gotta admit that the campiness of the 1960s DC is silly and perplexing to me.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              You’re probably one that hated Pete and Pete and Peewee’s Playhouse, though, ain’t cha?

              Fanciful and whimsical can be a fun combination, and they don’t have to be quite as grounded as Amelie to pull off a rockin’ good time.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              You can’t have a dark Superman because most people in the non-comic book reading public want morally upstanding Kansas farm boy Clark Kent who is deeply in love with Lois Lane level Superman.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Oh, yes you can. But if he’s going to be dark, he’s still going to have to be morally upstanding. It’s jus tnot superman otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You can have Superman in a grimdark world. But the point of Superman is he doesn’t compromise his morals, even when it’s hard. Even when everything is on the line. Because it’s when everything is dark, when clinging to your moral stance, your beliefs, is the hardest that you show how much you mean them.

                The POINT of Superman is that he doesn’t compromise his beliefs.

                You put him in a grimdark world, where everyone else is just trying to survive and has long since abandoned hope, faith, love whatever in favor of “doing whatever I have to to survive” and Superman becomes a beacon, an icon.

                And yeah, he can have doubts. Worries. Agonize over it. But there’s a way it’s supposed to end, because he’s Superman, and that’s with him playing the shining figure on a hill, the symbol of hope.

                I mean you can make a great movie about Superman struggling with his morals, his very beliefs, in a world that’s dark and hopeless. But instead of making that, they make movies with crappy filters and a lot of punching and forget the “In the end, he’s a symbol of hope and goodness”.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Morat20 says:

                You can even have a movie where superman is the villain, where his anger consumes him like Hercules — or half a dozen other variants. But he is still a moral man. A compass. If you lose that, you lose the character entirely.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                (Standing Ovation)

                You want to see how you do Superman in a GrimDark Universe?

                Here. This is how.

                There are a hundred superhero stories that you could tell that could have any given superhero swapped out. You just need a guy who can fly and hit hard, right? There you go. Use Shazam. Use Green Lantern. Swap it around universes. Use Iron Man. Use Thor. It doesn’t matter for these stories.

                This here is a story that could only be told using Superman.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                (Oh, and here’s the essay I wrote about it waaaay back in 2012. Happy sigh.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

                But he’s a mean drunk.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’ve enjoyed the blogger who does “Superdickery”. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      My friend is a reviewer for Vanity Fair and be said it was so bad it ruined his day. And he’s genuinely pretty fair, evaluating movies within their genre and against what they were trying to accomplish.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’ll prolly go watch SS cuz I wanna see Harley Quinn be preposterously HAWT and kill people.

      I expect the movie will suck ass. But I have simple tastes.

      That said, I probably won’t watch it twice, whereas I’ve seen the new Mad Max maybe six times since it came out, including three times in theaters. It is that fucking good. Likewise, I rewatch Kill Bill at least once every six months. So anyway.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Sonny Bunch continues in his quest to be the PG13 version of Milo Y and the alt-right.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    DC doesn’t understand that Marvel is so very successful because Marvel has a very, very, very, very long time horizon.

    When Marvel comes out with The Infinity Gauntlet, it will have released somewhere around 20 movies setting it up first. And if one of those movies needed a little more backstory? They proved more than willing to write *ANOTHER* movie (“hey, will we need to explain who Ant-Man is?” “Probably… let’s make another movie.”) and so they’re completely happy to make yet another movie and dominate another three or four weekends at the box office as they waltz down to what will inevitably be a two billion dollar movie.

    DC wants to do everything RIGHT FREAKING NOW and so instead of a movie where Deadshot was the bad guy (who gets defeated), and another where Joker/Harley were the bad guys (who get defeated), and Killer Croc was the bad guy (who gets defeated), and (repeat a few times) culminating in HOLY CRAP I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THEY’RE DOING SUICIDE SQUAD… they just up and do Suicide Squad.

    Who are these characters? Who is Amanda Waller? Is she like some female version of Nick Fury?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      I agree with this. They needed a longer build-up. They could have done it faster than Marvel, for instance by utilizing team-ups instead of origin stories. But they Justice League didn’t to be a little ways down the line, and they should have been introduced in ones and twos.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

      DC also doesn’t understand that you can’t do really dark on a PG-13 level. For their movies, Marvel did not go all out dark and retreated back to an appropriate level of seriousness and sexiness. If you want to be as dark and sexy as DC you need to go for the R rating.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        If they were smart, they could have done PG-13 versions of the superhero movies with those bad guys to set up the PG-13 Justice League and made Suicide Squad the R rated movie.


        Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          Superhero movies should not go for Watchmen level darkness unless your trying to avoid kids. The Nolan Batman movies got away with dark because the DC Animated Universe and the Tim Burton Batman movies prepared the mass market for Dark Batman. There was nothing to get people ready for dark Superman. Marvel keeps the level of darkness and sexiness at mainstream rather than comic book fan level awareness.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Agree emphatically. I have had the nagging thought ever since this latest crop of DC flops came out that DC was trying to race marvel to an infinity gauntlet style showdown. Dudes… it’s not a fishing race. Dudes! Before you try and turn it into a race consider that marvel has a fishing decade head start on you!

      Full disclosure: I’m a marvel fan boy.Report

    • Avatar Brent F in reply to Jaybird says:

      There seems to be a number of Marvel lessons that DC missed out on

      – Tone is important. The material can survive being treated reasonably seriously and thoughtfully, but at its heart there has to be some fun here or there is no point.

      – Casting is really important. The nature of genre flms is that you need very good actors to elevate material. Also they need the charisma that you want to hang out with the characters again and again.

      – You need very talented creatives who are willing to work in a team setting to helm these projects. Guys like James Gunn, Josh Whedon, etc. probably should get a lot more credit for the sheer artistic difficulty of putting together an intelligent 4 quardrants pleasing blockbuster that people care about 4 months after they were released.

      Warner Brothers got a bunch of these things right when they had Nolan lead the Batman trilogy, but the people in charge of the Man of Steel universe haven’t been nearly as capable.Report

  10. Avatar pillsy says:

    In case you weren’t feeling crappy enough about the country, here’s a long piece about the grand jury process in the Tamir Rice case.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The Washington Post on why Millennials are not having sex. The answer seems that it gets in the way of career and/or video games. Who has time for boyfriends or girlfriends when the 2 a.m desk at a start-up calls:

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Also, I’m not sure beer goggles work the same way Tindering on your couch as it works at the bar at closing time.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This goes along with what jr said earlier about this could be a class issue. Young people who are trying to establish a career are delaying sex and romance because of work. In their free time, they avoid sex/romance because it takes a lot of time to pursue and because of it’s potential emotional toll. When you don’t have a career to build, you can pursue it more.Report

  12. Avatar dhex says:

    backstories are a huge thing for a few reasons I will now detail.

    – historically these stories were exquisite corpses with lots of hands involved. there’s only so far you can go with “i punch bad guys” until you need to broaden the explanation. just why does he punch bad guys? how did his bad guy punches get so punchy? etc.

    – it keeps the party going. it allows for – and demands – significant padding. there’s a reason why popular book series have 14 installments. the audience wants their mental soma backrub and the author wants piles of stuff. game of thrones could have been a single book with a beginning, middle, and end. instead my wife watches a bunch of episodes of mayor carcetti not understanding what his accent is while i try to sleep through all the gross sex sounds foley art. *

    – to provide future avenues. every backstory has some guy who was just sitting around drinking a coffee when blammo accidental hero-caused space radiation blew up his dog and now, 20 years later, he wants REVENGE! as far as I’m concerned that’s 20 years of not cleaning up dog poop so the hero did this guy a solid (poor choice of words on my part), but this sadsack probably went out and bought like seven more of them. and chained them to a sleigh. and now rides around robbing banks as the sleighmaster.

    – per the previous bullet point, making up backstories is fun as hell. i blame the fans, not the creators. the creators are just chasing the dragon. the fans keep supplying the money.

    – to provide a barrier for our nearly universal discomfort with uncertainty. this is dealt with by building huge universes in which narratives can survive, thrive, and dance about. a story that just trails off and leaves the audience never really knowing what the deal is, like a scandinavian film about a guy who can’t get a tin of sardines open. does he get to eat them? does he just mutter and stare out the window? who can say? life is a lot more like some dude named jorg who can’t open his sardine can (which is a metaphor for his failed marriage) than some satisfying conclusion.

    – related to the above, to avoid dealing with death too much. death is an impetus for characters. it’s part of the backstory. and sometimes the occasional pitstop before an inevitable reboot with a future resurrection. no one ever really gets all wacky from a million little slings and arrows of regular, every-day fortune, but space radiation blowing up your dog is pretty dramatic. “got bored with my life, left my kids and drank a lot for a bit, and now i’m just trying to white knuckle through life and rebuild those relationships with limited success thus far man” would be a less interesting superhero.

    – it also helps to exhaust parents. personally i find trying to keep up with some of this stuff nearly impossible but i am not smart enough to follow who did what to whom and all that. secret chiropractor lair batman! it allows for fun and endless novelty and probably some semi-informed beliefs about inflammation. but at least legos get remixed. remember when dj spooky would go on and on about remix culture and whatnot? man the late 90s were crazy.

    – the key point of my backstory is a recurring dream in which george martin holds a press conference with the only bound copy of the final book and burns it live on tv. the only thing he says is “you are all free now” and later opens a coffee shop and bakery called game of scones. their tagline is “winter is delicious”. it is later firebombed, because as mentioned previously, people are bad at dealing with the unknown. hopefully no one is hurt.

    * funny story. i walked into the bedroom one night and on the tablet dogs are like, barking like all sorts of crazy barks and people are crying and i say to my wife “what now, are they gonna feed a baby to those crazy hungry dogs?” guess what? they totally did that.Report

  13. Avatar James K says:

    What impresses me about the Millennials having sex article is how smoothly we’ve segued from hand-wringing articles about how young people are having too much sex to hand-wringing articles about how young people are having too little sex.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K says:

      Think of the birth control industry and how their profit margins aren’t being met because of a decrease in casual sex. That’s not even getting into collateral industries like bars, alcohol, and taxi services for the ride back to your place. There is good money on the line.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to James K says:

      I think possibly — just possibly — I don’t need to care about how much sex the snake people have. Let them have sex if they want to. Let them not have sex if they do not want to. Let them figure out sex as they see fit.

      Sex is weird, messy, complicated, emotionally explosive, etc. — it also feels really good. Intimacy is a wonderful thing. But there is not one correct way to approach human sexuality. Nor is there such a thing as a pain-free life.

      Young folks today are facing a social context that I don’t understand. But I don’t worry. They’re as smart as we were, so they’ll figure it out, just as we did.

      We oldsters should provide wisdom, but genuine wisdom resists too much judgment and too much fretting. Genuine wisdom is to know how little we know, and to trust the wisdom of others.Report

  14. Avatar Autolukos says:

    Trump getting Kael-yReport

  15. Avatar notme says:

    Justice Department Officials Raised Objections on U.S. Cash Payment to Iran

    I can’t imagine why they would object to ransom.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Once again your Reagan did something bad so that excuses obama argument. Liberals keep telling us that lean from past mistakes and will do the right, legal etc thing but it isn’t true.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme says:

      The whole story boils down to, “We paid them money we owed them as a settlement, but some people think the timing looks bad. Everybody knew this six months ago, but it’s supposed to be a scandal now because… we paid cash!”

      I told them at the Liberal Elites Plotting to Eradicate Righteousness meeting we should just send an Amazon gift card, but they didn’t listen to me. Nobody ever listens to me!

      And now we have this tedious nothingburger of a “scandal” to deal with. Like, it’s not even the kind of nothingburger that’s a bun with no meat–it’s a low carb nothingburger with a piece of iceberg lettuce wrapped around it.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    As it turns out, #ImWithHerb is a hashtag that already exists and it has the pictures you’d expect.Report

  17. Avatar veronica d says:

    On the backstory article, I think the author confuses backstory-in-general with clumsy “manpain” style backstory. In any case, I agree that superhero style backstories have a pattern of being pretty bad. Likewise, they are overdone. Like, I don’t need to see Bruce Wayne’s family get murdered again, nor do I need to see basically that same story for every other violent “hero.”

    On the other hand, it can be done well. I consider Kill Bill a work of genius. So I dunno. Clearly, for me, it is partly the gender-reversal — since I certainly have a thing about gender — but maybe it is not only that. I can’t say for sure.

    But take, as an example, the original Die Hard. John McClane certainly has a backstory, one many people can relate to, but also one that fits well into cinema cliche: the rough cop with a broken home life, just trying to fix the mess. It’s simple, easy to understand, but relatable. In any case, it totally works. The movie is rightly regarded as an action masterpiece.

    Likewise, Furiosa from the new Mad Max has a rather well done backstory, which is delivered with subtlety, slowly over the course of the movie. In other words, it isn’t dumped on us, in some dumbed-down “you need to know this first” way.

    In fact, Furiosa’s part in the movie starts when she simply turns left. We see everyone else response to that, and we know it means something. We want to know what it means. So we keep watching.

    That’s good writing.

    There is some culture-gender stuff here. Often we want a hyper-violent hero, typically male, who resists domestication. At the same time, we don’t want a hero who is hostile to the domestic. So how to achieve that?

    Simply this: show that the domestic was denied to him, taken from him, particularly in a traumatic way. This is the low-hanging fruit of hack writing. It’s been done, and done, and done, and done, and done — and it can be deconstructed and re-imagined, etc. But still.


    On the diversity article, I cannot tell if the author dislikes “reboots” in general or just reboots that also diversify the characters. If it is the former, then the article is pointless. If it is the latter, then why?

    There is this pattern, where those hostile to diversity don’t want to admit that out loud, so they couch their hostility in criticism of the methods of diversification. Usually these efforts are transparent, as is the case here, I think.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to veronica d says:

      I read some article about Fury Road where they pointed out the context of the first big battle in the sandstorm and observed that Furiosa was upset about having to betray her crew. When I got the Dvd I slowed down the scenes and looked close and I swear to God(ess?) if Charlize Theron wasn’t crying in those scenes then I’m seeing things. That’s some huge subtle film making there but in theory she would presumably have been working with the war boys on her rig for quite some time so of course she might feel badly for basically tossing them off into a sandstorm.
      Fury Road is one hell of a film.Report