Morning Ed Society {2016.08.29.M}

From Jaybird: Yet Another Article That Doesn’t Make The Point It Thinks It’s Making. It’s about someone who quits drinking. She happens to be female.

Matthew Walther attended the Ark Encounter museum in Cincinnati, and has some nitpicks. He previously attended and did a write-up on Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting course.

How chimpanzees work together and deal with freeloaders within their social apparatus.

Clay Travis is gonna Clay Travis, and the jury is still out on what we should think of the LochteMess Nonstarter, but he is not wrong about the divergence between ESPN and its viewers.

Well, this is one way to keep tabs on your players.

Less than clear: How much should we penalize movies for the (alleged) sins of their creators? As has been pointed out, Roman Polanski skilled the country for child rape, and won film awards abroad.

As Chandler said in Friends, “It’s soap! It’s self-cleaning!”

Doobadoobadoobadoobadoobadoobadoobadooba BATMAN!


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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120 thoughts on “Morning Ed Society {2016.08.29.M}

      • Or the fans have always been young and we got old :)

        Another hypothesis (which is not mutually exclusive, so both can be true) is that the audience for wrassling is in the same parts of the country where voter registration still leans Dem, though they actually vote GOP more often than not.(e.g)

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        • It’s been the case for as long as I can recall. I remember when they made JBL be a Republican* and how that was supposed to make him unpopular and had the opposite effect I thought “Don’t they even know their audience?”

          It wasn’t a couple years after that I saw a chart like this which suggested they knew it better than I did, even if Republican Heel was a flop (at first**).

          * – Well, John Layfield *is* a Republican, as I understand it. But you know what I mean.
          ** – It’s kind of ironic that they got him to be hated by basically turning him into a Donald Trump kind of character (manicured New York dude).

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          • True enough, and you and Michael Cain make good points… but I always thought that the WWE audience and the Nascar audience had significant overlap.

            And, more than that, these people would be booing JBL just as loudly as anybody.

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    • @kolohe – Basically, the WWE audience is poorer than normal and is more African American and Hispanic than the general population, thus the general lean. In fact, during the height of Guerrero’s run, Smackdown regularly was among the top 10 shows for Hispanics.

      Also, the fans actually skew older than ever. The average age of a RAW viewer in ’97 was 26 if I remember correctly. Now it’s 45-ish and other promotions such as Lucha Underground skew even older (mid 50s).

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  1. The first link is blank.

    Adam West Batman: Everybody looked like they had a lot of fun on the show. Not only was TV Batman Joker Latino, he had a Latin mustache that they hid under the make up. Black Catwoman latter went on an played Black Viking woman.

    I think your sentencing on Roman Polanski needs work.

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    • Besides the fact that from a (UK) constitutional point of view the referendum is just advisory, because the Queen in Parliament (not the people) is the sovereign; and besides the legal question of whether exiting the EU is a Royal (that is, Prime Ministerial) or Parliament competence, a question currently being currently litigated; there is the fact that neither Theresa May nor anyone else has any idea today of what a post Brexit relationship with the EU and with the current EU trading partners will look like.

      I think that the democratic thing to do would be for the government to put in black and white before triggering Article 50 what the SPECIFIC (did I emphasize the word enough?) objectives and end results of the negotiations (*) with the EU are (a Norway deal, that will include most EU related obligations including free movement? A mere trade agreement like NAFTA or the much mentioned EU-Canada deal? A complete breakout?), what’s the likelihood of success, and what happens if the negotiations fail. Then call a snap election and have the new parliament vote on that black and white SPECIFIC plan and let the new government trigger Article 50.

      To keep saying Brexit means Brexit is meaningless, because no one in the Leave camp has ever described in detail what the post EU Britain will be like(**), so no one knows what the people voted for

      (*) Hopefully, but not certain, after engaging in talks about the talks with the EU.

      (**) Well, it’s clear everybody is against rules on the proper bending of bananas. Good thing those rules do not exist. Should we now declare the only known goal of Brexit accomplished and move on?

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      • To keep saying Brexit means Brexit is meaningless, because no one in the Leave camp has ever described in detail what the post EU Britain will be like(**), so no one knows what the people voted for.

        Wrong, the voters voted not to be in the EU so the left and right boundaries are set. The Brexit vote was only on the question of in or out, not what will it look like after they leave, so it wasn’t really incumbent on the Leavers to articulate what the future would be.

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      • If a player hits his wife/gf or says the N word, what rule did he break to warrant a fine or a suspension? None really, right? Yet the NFL chooses to be a nanny in some areas but not others.

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        • If he hits is wife, he’s broken a law, which is not nothing. Rocker situations are an interesting question. And the difficulty parsing what actions we’re going to accept and not accept leads me to generally believe the NFL ought to take a hands-off approach until or unless laws are broken.

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        • It falls under the personal conduct policy. There’s a whole section in the CBA about it. And racial slurs on the field is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, similar to if you do a throat slashing motion after a play. AFAIK, there is no rule about off the field use of racial slurs. For example, there was no official punishment for Riley Cooper, aside from the scorn of his teammates.

          Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime.
          Discipline may be imposed in any of the following circumstances:
          • Criminal offenses including, but not limited to, those involving: the use or threat of violence; domestic violence and other forms of partner abuse; theft and other property crimes; sex offenses; obstruction or resisting arrest; disorderly conduct; fraud; racketeering; and money laundering;

          https://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/personal-conduct-policy.pdf

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          • I guess disrespect of our country doesn’t bring the NFL into enough disrepute for them to care. If enough folks objected I’m sure they would change their tune.

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            • Not standing for the national anthem is disrespecting the country? :eyeroll: If anything, the hissy fits and forced conformity people have over things like the national anthem are more disrespectful of America’s principles than anything Kaepernick or Gabby Douglas did.

              So companies should fine people for engaging in unpopular speech? Keep in mind the penalty for racial slurs on the field is, like the throat slash or taunting, to prevent fighting and additional unsportsmanlike conduct in game.

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              • Shades of when flag lapel pins were a hot campaign topic. Say what you will about Trump: at least we don’t have to go through that bullshit this time around.

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                • I want to see your respect.
                  I want to see it after midnight on the dark streets of Pittsburgh, with some black guy pointing a gun from their porch into your face, and telling you to move along.

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                • This is the same thing we see in religious circles, where people fixate on the trimming and trappings of piety, like covering ones head or not, yet are willfully blind to the more serious impiety and wickedness that goes on.

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                • Isn’t quietly not participating the respectful way to protest? He wasn’t going out of his way to call attention to himself by shouting, holding up a sign out running around making a ruckus. I did not realize respect meant forced participation. All this time I thought sitting there quietly while my wife’s family said grace was me being respectful, turns out I’m pooping all over their religion.

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                • If it were released to the public that “notme” was actually person X and your employer decided that your political opinions didn’t afford enough “respect” to the office of the President of the United States, would discipline at work be appropriate?

                  What’s the dividing line between legitimate political opinion that offends people who disagree and inappropriate disrespect that requires censure?

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                  • I don’t take my politics to work and I expect others to do so as well, however respecting the flag and standing for the anthem is something I expect everyone to do regardless of their politics. To me, it’s part of the mark of our civil society.

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                    • Actually, I agree with this.

                      The player’s protest is kind of a dick move, even if I agree with his politics.

                      But “professional athletes acting like dicks” is a pretty target-rich environment.

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                    • I think the first part of that makes for a very reasonable assessment. I’m not bothered by the content of the political statement at all. It’s not particularly outrageous and his opinion isn’t particularly radical. But I can definitely see objections to it being done on the company dime using company airtime to spread it.

                      But it seems that’s best handled with a policy-neutral rule about political/social statements on the field while you’re in uniform using cameras funded by NFL owners and partners.

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          • The WWE has a similar thing going on. They’ll terminate a contract if you get arrested. Just “sorry, you broke the policy” and whammo. They did it to Emma, they did it to Jerry “The King” Lawler, and they don’t care if it turns out that you didn’t do anything. (For example, Jerry Lawler got beat up by his girlfriend when he didn’t give her the keys to her vehicle when she was drunk. The cops showed up, arrested everybody for a “domestic disturbance”, and the WWE let Jerry go. When everything got resolved, they re-hired him… but they still let him go within hours of hearing of his arrest.)

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    • What was your opinion of Tim Tebow hijacking post-touchdown celebrations to make a divisive political statement? Showing a lack of respect for the US Constitution, which, unlike the flag, is not just a symbol.

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  2. Chimps: “But given enough time, it appears they can work together to stifle competition, police freeloaders and cooperatively accomplish a task. Doesn’t that sound familiar?” All except the policing freeloaders part. Hell, we seem to be encouraging it.

    Football: Another reason not to be on Social Media and why I have my account fully locked down. “Cute girls” are directed to my fake profile.

    Movies: There’s a difference between alleged and guilty. Polanski plead guilty.

    Bar soap: I don’t seem to fit the demographic, as I’m not over 60. But those damn Ivory bars are shrinking, the cheap bastards. And now I can thank millennials and women for hashing my ride re bar soap, cause they want liquid. Whiny gits.

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  3. Teams spying on their players: Back in the day, some baseball clubs hired Pinkertons to tail their players and report back on the players’ drinking.

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  4. Roman Polanski committed an act of evil, but he did direct the greatest american movie, Chinatown. Much like Hemmingway or Picasso, his art rose above his personality.

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    • Someone over at LGM used that very movie to make the point that movies are highly collaborative efforts, requiring hundreds, or even thousands of people.

      Should Robert Townes, Jack Nicholson, and Faye Dunaway to see their brilliant work dismissed because of the actions of the producer?

      There may be a few occasions where the art is so integral to a single author, and so tightly connected to his evil that its impossible to disentangle them, but for the most part I prefer to keep them separate.

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      • You can make that argument, but I am of the opinion that it falls down due to the need for one person to harness the energies (acting, writing, etc.) of the others to make the whole. We don’t look askew when Hemmingway doesn’t do the printing and binding or cover art, or that Picasso doesn’t frame his pieces or manufacture the canvas that it is painted. Nor do we look askew at an artist who uses found objects to create a piece, calling them out for not crediting the manufacturers of each portion as collaborators.

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  5. The ESPN piece: I am always bemused by the Received Wisdom that MSNBC is the liberal cable news network. It has both liberal and conservative hosts. The fact that this makes it the liberal network, as contrasted with the “fair and balanced” one, has fascinating implications.

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  6. I’ve never had a problem finding bars of soap for sale. The CBS article seems to be a trendy Millennial bash for the sake of it.

    Re: ESPN. Why is ESPN beholden to how their viewers see things? Why does the author assume that ESPN fans are conservative manly men who like conservative manly men things? Does he think liberals dislike sports? Isn’t part of a media organizations (especially for the news) to educate and opine or is it to comfort the priors and assumptions of their audience. Suppose a liberal news organization took a conservative tone on an issue. Would you say they are going contra to their audience and that was bad or would you say it was good that liberals were getting the conservative truth?

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    • Oh, ESPN has every right to lecture it’s readers as much as it wants. Indeed, if Richard is right then ESPN in particular may be a bad example in sports media anyway.

      In other contexts, though, I hear a fair bit about Houle some of the tilt that exist do so because of the audience. Along the lines of “of course the New York Times editorial page leans left, consider their audience!”

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  7. Willa Paskin at Slate had a good article on the Nate Parker story:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/08/22/nate_parker_controversy_has_a_troubling_contradiction.html

    “The criminal justice system is in crisis. The reaction to the Parker case is one manifestation of that crisis. The criminal justice system is so broken that, with regard to sexual assault cases, we have no faith in its ability to deliver a verdict of guilt and no confidence in a verdict of not guilty. The system is seen to be so skewed towards the aggressor in sexual assault cases that it cannot render a fair and just ruling. In the absence of such a definitive decision, accusations become the lifetime verdict. Nate Parker was acquitted of rape charges 17 years ago. These facts have permitted him to become a successful actor and director with a much-anticipated film shortly to arrive in theaters, but they will never free him from the suspicion that he is an unpunished rapist, despite being designed to do exactly that.

    In criminal cases that are not about sexual assault, we are also skeptical of the criminal justice system’s rulings. Except in those instances, it is the verdict of guilt about which we have doubts. How could we not? Nearly every day, there are reports of police officers using excessive force and military grade weapons on the civilian population they are meant to protect, harassing and locking up black people as a matter of course, when not murdering them. The courts are overcrowded and backlogged, just like prisons, where corrupt and inhumane practices chew up low-level offenders, disproportionally black, and turn them into lifetime recidivists. The for-profit prison-industrial complex grows, making prisoners a lucrative industry and contributing to America having more prisoners than any country in the world.”

    The whole art v. artist debate is one that is personal, subjective, and unsolveable. Lots of artists are really weird people or do really shitty things (just like normal people). Some people are always going to demand that artists live up to a really high moral standard. Others are going to handwave away all shortcomings in the names of a piece of art that moves them.

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  8. The ESPN article was a little too broad in its ambitions than is in fact warranted by the situation. Of course the optics on misbehaving athletes differs with the race of the athlete. And in this case, Lochte spent years – including a reality show – cultivating an image as an oblivious dudebro whose likeability appears to come entirely from being so oblivious to his own gauche-ness. It always appeared to me that ESPN gets dragged into these controversies kicking and screaming. Sports is often a respite from a nasty and bitter political culture. It does exist in this world, so it can’t be impermeable.

    That being said, in the end the author touches on something real. First, a few Twitter eggs, pro trolls or letters to the editor complaining about an athlete of color (Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Gabby Douglas, Serena Williams) that would normally be ignored as just that much background chatter. Then, the usual suspects hit back much, much harder and these people are said to be representing a bigger constituency than they really do just so the usual suspects can appear righteous in smacking it down.

    As part of my job, I deal with people from all over the country, including Trump supporters and even the occasional wacky chemtrails conspiracy theorists. An urban liberal like me isn’t going to make a great impression talking about politics, so I talk sports. A lot. Nobody has ever complained about excessive touchdown celebrations. Or female tennis players being too muscular. Commenting on attractive tennis players, yes, but nobody who cares seems to have a problem with Williams going out there and beating everybody. Bat-flipping? A non-issue. If anything, people – even (gasp!) conservative whites – enjoy the showmanship.

    This ties in with Hillary’s attacks on the alt-right. The regular right (ctrl-right?) has always linked mainstream Democrats to ’60s radicals, communists and the nastier identity politics types like Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. It’s par for the course and rarely successful because Republicans live among Republicans and don’t see Trump-supporting Klansmen in their real lives. Compared to National Review, next to nobody reads VDare and Stormfront. Democrats pushing this narrative generally don’t live among Republicans and have been fed a steady diet of the most outrageous rhetoric the right can muster.

    In these sports mini-controversies, I challenge any of these righteous anti-racists to find a person in their real lives who has a real problem with Douglas, Newton, Sherman or whomever else.

    It expends zero political capital to attack a fringe view. Making people think it’s more common than it is creates a useful siege mentality. But it’s pointless. And tiring.

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    • Someone came up with the term “nutpicking” to describe patrolling Twitter to find the most offensive comments to give them a platform to disarm the movement. It’s really kind of obnoxious. with 41 followers doesn’t warrant that attention. That said…

      Nobody has ever complained about excessive touchdown celebrations.

      I hear this one *a lot* in meatworld.

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    • Normally I would agree with you re: the alt-right. But doesn’t Bannon’s hiring and the prominence of alt-right on Breitbart make it relevant? It’s less about how Trump may have gotten a loan from a Grand Dragon in the 70s type guilt by association. If Obama hired Louis Farrakhan as his campaign manager, the politics of the NOI becomes relevant to the discussion. This is true even though their beliefs are not widely held on the left and very much on the fringe.

      I’ve also heard a lot of Cam Newton complaints, which I don’t get. And I say this as someone that initially did not like Newton (due to the college recruiting related shenanigans), but find him a pleasure to watch now, despite his frustrating moments,

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  9. I’m gonna hang on to the link to that first article (about the wine and the Enjoli and the first-world problems) to re-read whenever I feel like my life is a mess. Because obviously my life isn’t that much of a mess: I work at a job I don’t need a stiff drink to “wash off” after the day, I don’t have to worry that much about how my make up looks (just wearing lip gloss means I’m more made-up than 75% of the women here), and I never have to walk home past drunks making gross propositions.

    Yup. I have it pretty good. I even make the same amount as a man with my level of experience, thanks to a “salary card” set by TPTB.

    (I’m not being sarcastic here. I realize upon reading that article that I really do have it pretty darn good.)

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    • I wondered about that office she works in, where employees have bottles of liquor on their desks. Really? Even back in Mad Men days they were more discreet than that. Recall also Lou Grant’s bottle kept in the lower desk drawer.

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      • I figured it was exaggeration for amusement, but I don’t know.

        I don’t drink – medication interactions – so I don’t know what’s “normal” and what’s “not” in re: alcohol consumption but I think if you have booze on your desk at work, there *might* be a problem.

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      • At one of the workplaces I worked at – only one – the office consisted of three people and about a hundred computers. We also had a refrigerator, in which we kept lots of soda and a little beer. My boss also had a bottle of single malt. About 3pm Friday, we’d go hang out near the fridge and have a sip of something. We were not millenials, not even the young guy (GenX, he was). The Friday afternoon TGIF is a thing in Silicon Valley. It’s good to get your employees out of their holes and talking to each other. But I don’t know if that’s an issue at workplaces with lots of writers, as opposed to engineers.

        Sooo, I dunno what to think.

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        • I work on a college campus (a campus that is technically “dry”) and I suspect much in the way of drinking alcohol mmmmmmight lead to some of the behaviors we’ve had to sit through “avoidance training” for.

          (I also work in the South. Maybe not *quite* Bible Belt but certainly Bible Belt-adjacent)

          then again….set out a pizza or a pot of chili and we will happily gather and talk. Most biologists are pretty food-motivated.

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    • I’m amused that nobody has yet made a connection to the whole “consumption of sugary carbonated beverages is falling to unprecedented low levels” yet.

      (as in, kids have graduated from soda to alcohol.)

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      • Booze still has carbohydrates so the dietary crusaders probably have it in for that, too.

        (We have ads running here basically shaming parents for letting their kids drink anything other than water. The ads are paid for by the “tobacco settlement” money. I am wondering how long before Big Sugar gets sued for some of that sweet, sweet cash)

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  10. Feds: Postal Worker Stashed Nearly 50,000 Pieces Of Undelivered Mail In Her California Apartment

    4 thoughts came to mind, 1) how much room would this mail occupy in her house, 2) why is the max penalty for this only 3 years when a late bill/letter /court doc could really hurt someone, 3) why only one count for all the pieces and not one count for each piece of mail and 4) how will the union spin this to fight her dismissal?

    http://thesmokinggun.com/buster/los-angeles/undelivered-mail-bust-028934

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    • 5) Why keep a bunch of unopened mail?

      I mean, I get dumping truckloads of mail and taking the day off. I get stealing mail and emptying it of valuable contents. But why hoard it and keep it around in your house?

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      • Rationalization. You dump the mail or otherwise dispose of it you are flat out not doing your job and you know it. You stash the mail in your apartment then you tell yourself “I’ll just do an extra hard stint and deliver all this stuff and no one’ll mind” and then it’s easier to live with.

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          • Exactly! I do it with laundry. Then at some point the husband starts making snide comments about the Mnt. Everest of dirty laundry in our laundry room and I have to spend an entire weekend with the washing machine spinning.

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  11. Kaepernick is still making a significant tactical, possibly even strategic error. The other NFL (and NBA) players that have engaged in obervable activity to draw attention to a poltical issue* have done so as a team and/or a unit, but never solo if I’m not mistaken.

    QBs already have a reputation as prima donnas, if their personal reputation isn’t already ‘leader’, and going and doing your own thing no matter what its inherent righteousness doesn’t serve the cause or the team.

    *a long way of saying ‘protest’, which is either too much or insufficient to describe what some have done.

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  12. I admit to wondering at the whole Wiener thing.

    There are so very many gross and silly dynamics in there.
    For one, it looks like the person who leaked the most recent photos was a Trumpista. So it was a sting, I guess?
    That said, Wiener’s inability to not send pictures of himself indicates that he’s most likely got a problem. Like, he needs some kind of professional help because this is, like, self-destructive.

    And with regards to all of the places posting pictures of his junk, didn’t we just have this argument over whether it’s okay to post pictures of people’s junk and Gawker lost it?

    I feel like I’ve been taking crazy pills.

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          • That is a perceptive piece Kazzy. He had a face and a talent you can’t teach or learn.

            Silver Streak doesn’t seem that widely talked about now but was hugely popular back in the day and was a great movie. Haven’t seen it in years but i think it will still hold up.

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            • Stir Crazy was even more successful. The movie was made on a 10 million dollar budget and raked in 100 million at the box office

              I think a lot of the Pryor-Wilder comedies are probably seen as horrifically dated and a lot of the gags would fly. Silver Streak started with a conversation about “erotic” books that seems quaint by today’s standards. At the same time, I don’t think the joke with Wilder in blackface would fly today.

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              • During the 1970s and 1980s, comedy was at this sort of weird point where the most racist jokes of the pre-Civil Rights Era were no longer appropriate but you get some rather questionable humor by modern politically correct standards in. Academic ideas about privilege or punching up and punching down did not seep into public conscious yet so you could have the rather race-based humor in Pryor-Wilder movies.

                Social conservatives were also just beginning to flex their muscles and gain political strength. The “you want me to have an abortion” conversation could happen at the beginning of Airplane because abortion rights were at their strongest. Since a women’s right to choose was not under threat, you can have a comedic routine about it in a movie.

                A lot of the humor of the time can be explained by Progressives and Social Conservatives not being in a position to make their displeasure widely known even though Reagan was about to be elected.

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              • Haven’t seen it in a long time but i think it would still work. It’s not what people think about when they picture wilder or pryor. Both were more sedate and less off the wall then their more famous movies/stand up acts. I’d assume if people told wilder his blackface gag was the wrong kind of bad he would just turn to Pryor and let him tell the critics to F off. As i remember the gag was mostly on wilder, making him look like a dufus. It was mocking the very button down mild white guy Wilder was playing.

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            • My favorite example – one of the most famous one-liners from Blazing Saddles – “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

              Was an ad-libbed riffing off the scripted line. Cleavon Little’s corpsing afterward was real. But it was so brilliant they had to leave it in.

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  13. “It’s soap! It’s self-cleaning!”

    The soap scum that builds in the soap tray is most definitely NOT self-cleaning. Those darn Millennials got this one right.

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  14. Sorkin: I bet if the author had actually taken the class seriously in any way, he’d have been able to write an article that wasn’t shit.

    Or maybe he still wouldn’t have been able to write–but then at least we’d have learned something about the usefulness of the course.

    ESPN: Are ESPN viewers conservative? Yeah, probably. Can the ESPN brand get away with only pandering to the conservative viewer? Hell no. ESPN can’t afford to be just the sports channel for the stereotypical sports viewer–it has to be the sports channel for every sports viewer. Otherwise it has zero justification for its spot as the crown jewel of the basic cable package. And if it doesn’t get its $2 a pop for every cable subscription, it becomes a money-sink really really fast. Not really sure how that fits with Lochte, but I’d caution anyone who supposes that fans of individual performance sports like swimming are the same as fans of professional team sports and then uses the politics of the latter to approximate the politics of the former.

    (Side note: Every Pro-wrestling fan I know is a liberal queer millenial who lives in the bay area, though that may be down to small sample size.)

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    • Everyone wondered why the Sci-Fi Channel went so hard into pro wrestling.

      Hugely-muscled men in costumes beating each other up? Characters flipping from heroes to villains, allies to enemies, on a moment’s notice in service of some vaguely-understood dynastic storyline that’s half ad-libbed and half market-driven? The sneaking suspicion that the whole thing is the result of cynical exploitation and the rankest carnival showmanship?

      Pro wrestling is the live-action role-play for the output of a comic-book publisher from an alternate universe. Hardly surprising that comics fans would be into it!

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