Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘2009

The 11

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Reverse Shot’s 11 Offenses of 2009. (500) Days of Summer and District 9 both make appearances. Via Dan H.

Even if we buy this conceit (derived from The Outer Limits’ episode “The Architects of Fear”), Blomkamp’s usage of brutal, menacing Nigerian gang bangers as secondary villains—gun-runners who antagonize both the country’s “Prawn” population and bumbling Afrikaner pencil pusher turned alien mutant Wikus van der Mewe (Sharto Copley)—suggests he’s not above the propagation of stereotypes. And it would be easier to take Wikus’s symbolically loaded transformation into the Other (which begins when he’s accidentally sprayed by some bug fluid during a ghetto raid) seriously if it wasn’t ultimately a pretense for his being able to operate the aliens’ biochemical weaponry—a development that allows District 9 to abandon its thin veneer of social commentary (and erratically deployed faux-documentary textures) to become the live-action Halo shoot-em-up its creator wanted to make all along.

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January 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

For Certain Values of ‘Best’

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If Fimoculous’s 30 Best Blogs of 2009 is any guide, 2009 was the year nobody cared about anything important. And yes, I was #31.

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January 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Monday Night

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* A very happy birthday to the two greatest people on earth: my wife and Stan Lee.

* To save Mexico, we must legalize marijuana.

* ‘Disney sees superhero dollars in Marvel unknowns.’

Possibilities include classics such as Ant-Man, the alter-ego of mad scientist Dr. Henry Pym, and Dr. Strange, the mystical go-to guy whenever there’s an extradimensional threat. Both are connected to The Avengers line of characters that Marvel had started developing for the big screen long before Disney made the deal; Iron Man and the Hulk are among the Avengers that Marvel already has tapped.

There are about 5,000 more characters, including obscure ones such as martial arts master Iron Fist from the 1970s and up-and-coming ones such as the Runaways, a street-savvy pack of teenagers that have become a recent Marvel comic-book hit.

Via NeilAlien.

* And, via my dad, the top ten everything of 2009.

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December 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Monday Morning!

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* Unless Obama is a coward we must invade Yemen.

* Will health care reform save you money?

Across every income bracket (click chart to enlarge), it would represent considerable savings and would guarantee that egregious health insurance policies (lifetime cap, pre-existing condition, etc) would be outlawed. Nothing prevents progressives from continuing to try to improve this bill over the next few years, but it would be a mistake for the left to try to kill it.

* Little Housing Crisis on the Prairie.

* Just a few days before they are forgotten forever: The Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2009.

* And next up: time to give away the farm on climate change too.

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December 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

So Many Post-Christmas Links

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Sneaking in a quick linkdump between light posting due to Christmas and light posting due to MLA…

* The Senate bill has, as you undoubtedly already know, passed. Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum, and even Jonathan Chait have this more or less right: winning ugly is still winning. There’ll be time to get started on demanding changes to the bill, but progressives shouldn’t forget the victory lap. Here’s Kevin:

So it doesn’t feel much like a victory yet. But it should. I’m 51 years old and this bill is, without question, the biggest progressive advance in my adult life. You have to go back to the great environmental acts of the early 70s to get close, and to the civil rights/Medicare era to beat it. That’s four decades, the last three of which have constituted an almost unbroken record of conservative ascendency. And now that ascendancy is just days away from being — finally, decisively — broken. Warts and all, we’re on the cusp of passing a bill that provides all of this:
• Insurers have to take all comers. They can’t turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick.
• Community rating. Within a few broad classes, everyone gets charged the same amount for insurance.
• Individual mandate. (Remember how we all argued that this was a progressive feature back when John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were championing it during the primaries?)
• A significant expansion of Medicaid.
• Subsidies for low and middle income workers that keeps premium costs under 10% of income.
• Limits on ER charges to low-income uninsured emergency patients.
• Caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
• A broad range of cost-containment measures.
• A dedicated revenue stream to support all this.

* Likewise, from Al Giordano: “Health Care by the Numbers: What’s In It for You?”

* All the ways the Left has already destroyed America, prior to the health care victory.

* More change we can believe in: The Calm Act would direct the FCC to regulate TV commercial volume to be pegged to the volume of regular programming, so as not to be “excessively noisy or strident.”

* While I’ve been away, everyone has been talking about reforming the filibuster.

* Obama: One-Eighth of a Presidency. 5 Myths about a President’s First Year.

* David Weigel: “Why I Don’t Write about Sarah Palin’s Facebook Posts.”

The problem is that Palin has put the political press in a submissive position, one in which the only information it prints about her comes from prepared statements or from Q&As with friendly interviewers. This isn’t something most politicians get away with, or would be allowed to get away with. But Palin has leveraged her celebrity — her ability to get ratings, the ardor of her fans and the bitterness of her critics — to win a truly unique relationship with the press. She is allowed to shape the public debate without actually engaging in it.

More on Palin from NYRoB.

* Apparent attempted terrorist attack thwarted over Detroit.

* This week’s This American Life should be of interest to academics and abstainers alike: it describes a typical weekend in State College, Pennsylvania, at America’s #1 Party School.

* Science fiction masters of the decade.

* A Basel court acquitted on Monday afternoon a geologist accused of causing earthquakes there during prospecting for geothermal energy.

* Disturbing escalation in the Mexican drug trade: More than a dozen hit men carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles burst into a house in eastern Mexico around midnight Monday, gunning down several relatives of 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo, the 30-year-old who was hailed as a national hero last week after being killed in a battle that left drug lord Arturo Beltrán Leyva dead. This violates the usual rules of engagement between police and criminals (which I know all about from television) and suggests bad things could be in store for Mexico.

* Whole Foods activism gets a scalp? John Mackey stepping down as CEO.

* Eight classic archaeological hoaxes.

* Most commonly shoplifted books. Via MeFi.

* ‘Parent Mad 6-Year-Old Didn’t Like Peanuts Special.’

* A few days late, Sweden’s unusual Christmas tradition.

Kalle Anka, for short, has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Sweden’s main public-television channel, TV1, on Christmas Eve (when Swedes traditionally celebrate the holiday) since 1959. The show consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book.The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a host (who plays the role of Walt Disney from the originalWalt Disney Presents series) and the annual addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie, which TV1’s parent network, SVT, is contractually obligated by Disney to air.
Kalle Anka is typically one of the three most popular television events of the year, with between 40 and 50 percent of the country tuning in to watch. In 2008, the show had its lowest ratings in more than 15 years but was still taken in by 36 percent of the viewing public, some 3,213,000 people. Lines of dialogue from the cartoons have entered common Swedish parlance. Stockholm’s Nordic Museum has a display in honor of the show in an exhibit titled “Traditions.” Each time the network has attempted to cancel or alter the show, public backlash has been swift and fierce…

* And behold: the future. Via MeFi.

Really, Wednesday Already?

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* The 15 Worst Comics of the 2000s. The Mark Trail entry, while unexpected, is pretty amazing all by itself.

* Avatar and the American Man-Child: ‘Don’t you want to be an Indian little boy?'” My piece, as well as SEK’s, gets mentioned.

Where the movie goes wrong, then, is in making the sociopathic immaturity of a spoiled Western brat into the ideal form for the child-human that it wants anti-modernity to be. After all, while even your Rousseauvians understand the noble savage as a contradiction of modernity, as a cleansing bath washing away its discontents, the Na’vi only confirm Sully’s most childish presumptions of privilege: their world turns out to be nothing but toys to play with, nothing but one long summer camp fantasy of being the fastest, bestest, most awesomest ninja-Indian ever, and then a big giant womb to hide in when it all gets to be a bit much. There are no consequences there, nothing you can do to make mommy stop loving you (though Lord how he tries!). Like toys and parents to a three-year old, it is unthinkable that they say no or exist without you, and all they can ever ask is that you play with them.

* Polls prove the American public hates and loves the Afghan War as it hates and loves itself.

* Peace, tolerance, due process, oh my: Conservatives discover Star Trek is a Utopia.

* Tarantino is reportedly writing a prequel to Inglourious Basterds. I feel almost entirely certainly this is a terrible idea, and may in the end prove that those of us who liked the movie were fooling ourselves about its depth all along.

* Select Criterion Collection films are now streaming on Netflix.

* Andrew Breitbart goes deep inside the anti-American conspiracy that is the White House Christmas tree. Not a hoax!

* FiveThirtyEight.com’s Most Valuable Democrats of 2009.

* And, via Chutry, a nice encapsulation of what blogging is for.

Here’s my single favorite thing about blogging: being able to educate oneself in public. Going through this process—trying to move forward, stumbling, groping, occasionally finding—in full view of the world does not always stroke one’s ego. Each week you find yourself writing not about what you know but about what you perhaps hope to learn from the process of watching, reading, and struggling to think through and articulate.

Best Blogs 2009

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Once again I fall out at #26 on Time‘s best 25 blogs of the year.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 17, 2009 at 12:04 am