I mean this. Usually, I bury these lede with my headlines, try to put something pithy, a little witty. But I can’t in this case.
There’s a story that’s floated to the top of my newsfeed today, which has been picked up by the mainstream, about how the high school students affected by last Wednesday’s mass shooting were “Crisis Actors,” hired to give pretense to passing gun control laws.
This is beyond infuriating to me as a journalist because I tend to ebb to the belief that a person is as good as the news they receive daily, and some people need the most robust information possible because they’re beyond stupid.
In the past, Facebook at least partially recognizes this, through public shaming, and they implemented features, both human and not, designed to obstruct the flow of faulty information, whether by tin-foil hat wearers or the local Russian bot.
So imagine my shock when this morning when I followed a trail to one of these posts on Facebook that I couldn’t report such content because it was shared as a mixture of both photos and video content.
This is beyond absurd and infuriating that Facebook didn’t consider that the flow of information is probably being shared by such media. After all, they released such paid ads, all of which were graphics, to intelligence committees in Congress recently.
And Facebook isn’t alone in the blame. Last August when Donald Trump hosted a rally in my fair city of Phoenix, a dummy Twitter account, which was Russian in origin, shared an aerial shot supposedly of the Pro-Trump crowd versus the size of the protestors.
Locals knew better because the skyline and layout clearly didn’t match downtown Phoenix, but that didn’t matter because enough people saw this post before the account was flagged as a Russian bot (two months after the rally)!!!
And as it turns out, the President of the United States isn’t immune to resharing such dubious content.
Stop actively trying to make the world a worse place, social media. The world is already divisive enough and you are not helping matters.
An AP notification came over my iPhone on Friday that stated the State of Florida has ordered 5.6 million of its residents to evacuate before Hurrican Irma makes landfall.
5.6 Million People.
The next day, the Governor ordered another 400K people to leave.
In between this and Hurricane Harvey, I’ve pondered a lot recently how you’d decide what objects in your life you’d pack in the event a natural disaster directed itself in the path of your home.
This consideration of encapsulating your life into a single suitcase coincidentally comes at a point in my personal life where I’m planning for contingencies in my own. In the last month I’ve taken it upon myself to literally backup about 60 years worth of family photos currently situated in photo albums.
Part of my nature has always anticipated the worst case scenarios, but it’s difficult to imagine the existential dread when it’s fast approaching. I cannot imagine trading last looks at an abode you’ve called home for years or even decades before it’s hypothetically under water or memories become a pile of rubble when you return.
Before Hurricane Irma made landfall on Saturday, Vox posted a handy graphic of what Catagory 1-5 hurricanes would do to a home and surrounding palm trees. Such designations on what damage Category 1 versus 5 hurricanes would inflict are self-explanatory yet still nebulous. Even a Category 3, with 100 mile winds would leave a house mostly intact although significantly damaged. A Category 5 hurricane is strong enough to rip a palm from its roots. It’s likely akin to losing a loved one.
Somewhere in my mind, I recalled a thought experiment in Freshman year of high school when my theater teacher directed the class to consider what they’d carry with you in such a case. In my youthful ignorance, my answer was that I’d pack for survival rather than continuity.
Twelve years later and a mess of new memories later, it seems like a tone-deaf answer.
Most concepts we think up are nebulous in origin, three loosely connected thoughts and transitions linked by anmeaningful end result, if you’re lucky.
I had such a thought the other day I can still reconstruct that end idea. It wasn’t any idea that was life changing but I prefer to think that I walked away with an more accurate view of myself.
I like to cosplay, or costume play, and Phoenix hosts a comic convention every six months, Fan Fest and Phoenix Comic Con. Cosplay is basically dressing up as your favorite fictional characters. In the past, I’ve tended to eschew toward less obvious character to pantomime. People like those more, in my experience. Prior to last Friday, I had no inkling who I would cosplay in November.
During my break at work, I went to the public library near my work. As my car moved down the road, the following exchange popped in my head as I waited for the light to change, spurred by the awaiting smell of books and fine indoor cooling (libraries have the best cooling systems, they’re the just right of cool):
“You know, I think my favorite place to hang out would be is a library.”
“It’s interesting that a lot of my favorite fictional characters are bookish, cerebral types. There’s a lot of me in those guys.”
*Mentally surveys the my favorite fictional characters/people I’ve cosplayed and if they had those characteristics I detailed.*
Eventually, I settle upon Rupert Giles, played by Anthony Head, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was a librarian on the show. I’ve never cosplayed as him before but I mentally survey all the “costume,” any casual clothing I already own, which would complete the ensemble. A Donegal tweed jacket. An dress shirt from Jermyn Street (Giles would probably approve). I don’t have any particular slacks or loafers lined up but this can determined at a later date.
This is what cosplayers call a “closet cosplay,” where everything you need for a costume, give or take hair product or makeup, is already in your closet. When I decided to cosplay as Harold Finch, played by Michael Emerson, from Person of Interest last fall, it came together similarly.
A Buffy purist or two may want to take me to task for not being completely screen-accurate, but my general rule for cosplay is nailing the spirit, not so much an explicit recreation when I go out into the world as these people. Again, people appreciate the creativity and effort more.
So, in this minute and a half of my life I produced these thoughts, which will partially alter my experience at the convention this fall and hey, I know myself a little better after this.
Last Sunday, I finally plopped down in my office chair and soldiered through all the foreign terminology of health care until I came out on the other end with health insurance.
I won’t lie, I knew next to nothing, my belief and perceptions of government’s role in health care aside. Luckily I had my parents on hand to define what a deductible was versus a co-pay. They didn’t skip a beat. They knew everything, they’re old pros.
The health insurance market is based on such weird, contradictory notions of coverage that you have to assume the mindset of insurance providers view covering people.
A lot of what was introduced evaporated in my brain almost immediately, so my poor mother needed to repeat herself a lot. Internally, during this process, I had the thought that they never taught this in high school. They really should have.
I would have preferred becoming familiar with the stalwarts of adulthood at 17, rather than at 25, about a month before I fell off my parents plan.
This is something the government should require to provide for students in school. A crash course in budgeting and filing taxes was squeezed into the last month of classes during my senior year of high school. I retained a decent amount, but then again I’m not other people. I’m sure a class in Adulting 101 would result in less foolish young adults.
I would have valued a course in civics at some point during my primary schooling, even if it was one course. I suspect some of my fellow alumni would have too.
You’d finally shut down those snarky assholes in class who always complained, “Why do I need to learn this stuff?”
Mike Rowe often gets shit for suggesting that a $100K education at a university isn’t for everyone and trade schools get more stigmatization than they deserve. I tend to agree with that assessment.
I believe in the role of government for societal change in instances where empirical evidence demonstrates legislation doesn’t exist or needs modifying for issues. If my elders truly cared for my generation and the world they’re bequeathing, then they would seriously consider such things.
Until then can always pick up their preoccupation of calling us a lazy and disinterested generation. Lord knows they’ve gotten mileage from that cliche.
…is a terrible headline but it approaches the truth more than the following ones filed by columnists over the last few hours:
For those who aren’t cued into the entertainment news (and don’t understand these particularly pointed headlines) Daniel Craig, the current actor to portray James Bond 007, stated in a “Time Out Magazine” interview shortly after wrapping the last Bond film, ‘Spectre‘ that he’d rather “slash [his] wrists” than play Bond again.
…except he didn’t say that.
Here’s the full quote if you want to understand the context of Craig’s bluntness:
TIME OUT: Can you imagine doing another Bond movie? CRAIG:‘Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.’
Craig muddies the water in those last two sentences but he’s clearly not done with the franchise.
No, he’s simply tired after playing the same misogynist for more than four years straight, one of which was dedicated to prepping for the next film, with no breaks for different projects scheduled in between his last two Bond films:
If he was clearly done with a film series he has disdain for, then he would have omitted the words “now” and the follow-up explanatory phrases “not at the moment” from that statement.
Also, if he were done with the franchise, then that would mean he was in breach of his contract, when he signed up for two more Bond films prior to Skyfall‘s release in 2012. Spectre, released in 2015, would be the first of these two films.
And that would mean a messy public suit filed by the Bond producers against him…
But, that doesn’t sell newspapers and doesn’t inspire clickbait headlines that lead to all these company’s sites. If they accurately repackaged that incredibly complex quote into a concise statement, it would sound something like, “Daniel Craig to take sabbatical before returning to Bond role.”
Ever since Craig stated this almost two-years ago and new rumors emerge to his current status as James Bond, every hacky columnist resurrects that damned quote against him and writes a snark-laced post that takes an empirical truth and reframes it around a narrative of an “entitled actor who turns down a stupid amount of money to stand in front of a movie camera for two-hours.”
My disdain for gossip and the rumor mill aside, the average news reader who consuming this is being deprived of the full-story and context to one isolated statement that doesn’t give an overview to what was said.
And they’re the ones to suffer because they’re being taught crappy news reading techniques which has given us so many poorly informed Americans.
This is my least favorite type of journalism because it’s barely counts as such, one where obvious legwork and years of cultivating a reputable house of sources is replaced by a some smuck commentator copy and pasting a single out-of-context quote into a rumor-fueled headline.
I approach House of Cards with an armistice of understanding. I recognize its stench of being too pleased with itself, its tired tropes, its pomp, its empty cynicism are the end result of viewing governing through the prism of the building power for its own sake, rather than contributing to the unfinished pyramid which is our republic.
And it’s no surprise that the real Washington D.C loves the show.
So, I wasn’t really surprised to learn about this season that President Underwood invents a fake terrorist threat to win a presidential election.
What else should you expect from a person who strong-arms a union leader, pushes a reporter in front of a train, or, in the case of the current season, murder a sitting Secretary of State with a flight of stairs?
After all, a series with no nuance should not expect to develop any at this late juncture but House of Cards has crossed the line from being unoffensive, trite trash to being reprehensible trash.
The funny thing about this show is I’ve never stopped watching in a sense. As a very casual viewer, I checked out about halfway through season two and then subsequently caught up through Wikipedia summaries and recaps on social media, always morbidly curious how far the show would go.
And now I know. And somehow this last development struck a nerve.
When I read recently that Russia tried to hack voting places in 39 states last November, in addition to creating fake news and disinformation to undermine our Democratic system, it made me all the more disgusted with a country with its own state-run news agencies and fine with jailing and intimidating political dissonants.
The characters on House of Cards “ratfuck” people all the time but it now serves as a unwilling bedfellow to all the chicanery when our institutions are under attack by unscrupulous authoritarians.
I don’t like thugs and despots on principle and this is what thugs and despots in power do when they do not wish to curry honest political debate which might otherwise kick their ass off the throne.
With all this in mind, it confirms Frank Underwood as the thug he always was. Resourceful and highly-motivated, but a thug all the same.
Screw ’em and his milquetoast show.
House of Cards rode on the coattails of being Netflix’s first original series and innovating a phenomenon of debuting a whole season of television for streaming then consumption. Besides that it carries no pedigree other than looking incredibly expensive to produce.
We all know the show is retelling a very stupid version of Macbeth, so could we fast-forward to the end in the show’s run where its Macduff stand-in takes dear Frank down a peg or two…
You know those moments, stealing a moment to yourself. Going on your phone swiping left or right on strangers based on a few vague pieces of information they’ve provided for disclosure.
Such information is inadequate in determining if this person is right for you. Humans are inherently poor communicators, and it shows up in places like Facebook comments and especially on dating sites.
Dating sites opine that they’re taking the hustle out of dating and networking, but they end up making it more competitive by removing the physical person for a couple words and some subpar headshots.
I’ve used dating applications for about two and a half years and I find myself more prejudicial than when I started. Most people swipe left based on a few criteria. A virulent strain of snobbery and preconceived notions run deep in my family so it compounds how I engage these profiles and people.
So based on no statistical data, and solely judging a couple thousand profiles, here are my sets of hyper-subjective standards that I’ve adopted during my tenure of these sites:
Snapchat’s Animal Filters
First question, why do young women use Snapchat?
Second question, why do they need to post inane photos of them using the application’s various animal filters to their profiles? You’ve seen these stupid filters before.
They give their users animal ears, dog noses and, in the absence of all rational thought, big computer-generated eyes. If you encountered these visions while you slept, you’d classify them as nightmares or a bad trip, but in the real world, they’re cute, I guess..
Actor Thomas Middleditch posts these insipid filters distorting his face on Instagram account all the time. But he’s a comedian, so he’s allowed to post this content with the agreement with his audience, “You know, this stuff is stupid right? Also, you really shouldn’t presume this shit is cute by itself and a come on to the opposite sex…”
You wouldn’t post one of those FaceApp transformations to a dating profile, so why is permitted to do the same for these filter photos?
Whenever I see a woman post such photos, I presume that I’ve given it more thought than they did…
Ladies, no one wants to see this photo. Ducks have big beaks, why would you want to look like them?
This is another one of those red flags I see all the time because it gives me every reason to believe that this person isn’t gonna pull the same weight intellectually with me. Either way, this is an unattractive look no matter how you shake it…
Bad Camera Angles & Conceptualized Shots
People often like me on these applications didn’t regard the photos before they uploaded them. I like funny photos. Wholesome photos. Witty photos. Stunning professional close ups.
But I can’t set aside photos with bad camera angles, low-lit, unflattering posed shots, with their tongues hanging out.
Again, there’s the presumption that if you can’t pick a decent photo of yourself, especially one that’s shot in low-light, then what does that say about you?
We’re not all George Clooney but we should market ourselves to the world with the confidence and the presentation of that man…
One or two small tattoos are indicative of a slaved-over, agonized decisions: what’s the best tattoo to reflect on the situations you’ve experienced for the spiritual journey across India or whatever, where’s the best place to place it/hide it.
These are decisions made about a piece of artwork that’ll be on your epidermis for the rest of your life, give a take a few painful tattoo removal sessions.
This is how the process would unfold, if I were to decide to get a tattoo (which will never happen). I can’t imagine it being much different for woman but I don’t know anything.
More often than not I see women who are covered in these damn things, which often looks like a artist who sketched all over a drunk, passed out person at a party because there wasn’t any spare paper lying around. This, I’m almost certain, is the premise of Blindspot.
Not too long ago, getting a tattoo used to signify you’re weren’t willing to be boxed in by the illogical expectations of society. You were a rebel.
Now, every chic, upscale clothing supplier uses models who are all tatted up, so the mainstream has appropriated that image into oblivion. And they’ve appropriated the appropriators.
Whenever I see too many tattoos clustered on one body part of another human, it says, at least to me, that that person has bad impulse control issues.
Guns, Flags And “Prizes”
This is low on the list because, like every young red-blooded American male, I sometimes possess a overwhelming desire to drive out to the shooting range, rent a cool looking pistol and shoot the shit out of paper targets.
(Or if you’re in the middle of the desert, like me, drive 30 minutes to nowhere and shoot the empty beer bottles people have left behind.)
Sometimes behind the privacy of a quiet room I strike a James Bond gun barrel pose in the mirror, because why not?
But, really where I take issue is when I see pictures of women posing with semi-automatic weapons is the presumption that they thought this shot was integral to their personality enough to post to a dating site.
[UPDATE: 12/19/17] Same goes for women who hang the flag in their living room, which I see occasionally in photos. I love my country and the concept of checks and balances acting as counterweight to each other, just as they do. But, as the last few months has shown, I appreciate when shows of patriotism aren’t lumped into something compulsory, without consideration of the contrary. Patriotism is like love, you should feel it before you express it. Otherwise, it crosses the blurry line into nationalism.
Double for the rarer occasion when a female hunter posts a shot with the still-warm carcass of an animal they’ve killed.
I have the same reaction to that as I do whenever I see profiles of some girl snapping a shot of her taking a hit off a weed pipe, put that shit down.
These are nice photos of the landscape from your last vacation and bedroom but I want to see what you look like.
If you’re being coy about joining a dating site, then you really shouldn’t be on a dating site…
Reposted Memes In Lieu Of Real User Photos
You’re almost or am an adult, you should really have a photo of yourself. Again, you’re on a dating site.
I really don’t want to see whatever stale meme you’ve shared on Instagram. I can always the sense the trite and ridiculous memes, by the distorted pixelation that forms around the text of images when an image has been saved or screencapped a few dozen times.
The good news about discovering these pet peeves about other women on these dating sites is that if you’re willing to look inward, at least to me, you have a better perception of not only myself, but also what traits you’ll seek in the companionship of others, not to mention a partner.
Note: This post wasn’t meant to reflect the destruction of any particular historic building in Phoenix, but more to comment on the predictable ebb and flow with how these scenarios always play out. Unfortunately, the hypothetical sometimes catches up to the reality.
Several days ago the news broke that “Glasir Capital Partners” would demo a 120-year old local building. Nothing ever changes in Phoenix, so the narrative is almost beat for beat what occurred in real life. This city is so predictable.
Allow land to be bought up by a developer, a building follows. The structure doesn’t break the mold, design-wise, but it’s clearly from an era when artistic expression was valued. So, this structure is at least 50 years old.
Building goes through decades of different store fronts and owners, but remains a beloved fixture to the local population & public.
Building gradually falls into disrepair, through either mismanagement, neglect or incompetence. It’s listed for sale and a out of town developer with an unlimited budget (and no personal stakes in the design) sees an opportunity to build. They buy the property, but most importantly the land it sits on…
Here comes the fun part where they reap the benefits, through decades of crappy, weak preservation laws in place, it’s easier for a developer/property owner to bulldoze a building than to preserve it.
It’s up to the building owner, who may have bought the building only for the lot potential, to submit the building for historic status with the city.
There’s still hardly any longterm tax incentive, with the federal funding being the mess that it is. Local bond money to preserve is paltry to nonexistent.
Adaptive reuse is a new concept to Phoenix. The state sponsored program has only been in effect since 2008. So, you can imagine how many local buildings are no longer with us using that date.
(The Newton is a triumphant success story, however, and is arguably better than the original Beefeaters concept)
Until recently, there was no waiting period between filling a demolition permit and carrying it out. Now it’s a 30 day waiting period. Seems so obvious, I know.
If a historic building is in particularly bad shape, it’s practically rubber-stamped for the wrecking ball, as is the case with the Clinton Campbell house.
Knocking down cool historic buildings has always been in vogue. Blame Manifest Destiny.
It used to be the thing to demolish significantly historic structures to build parking garages or some beige nightmare in the place of something actually unique(Al Beadle’s Mountain Bell building).
Not anymore! Keep in mind all they want is the land to build whatever eyesore they want to make money on.
As of now, cookie-cutter apartments are what’s popular. And locally they are the leading cause why local historic structures continue to disappear.
They could care less about the historic structure they own, the memories they contain, the stories of the people who’ve patronized it, owned it, the larger narrative of the time it was built, etc.
Bulldoze the building, name it some inappropriate, new age-y, luxurious name. There’s no semblance of what was there before in the design.
Cutthroat but honest.
If they want to fool a handful of people, they promise to save three walls and a key design trait of the original structure.
In their minds, this is what historic preservation entails even though it’s not.
Maybe give it the name of the business of what stood there before. See, they’re not heartless developers! They’re sentimental!
Commission whatever local artist is willing to play ball to create an art installation that’ll go in front of this building to further the impression that the project is not just about selling crappy apartments, which it still totally is.
If you want to be stingy and wring an extra few million in revenue, demand that the city take on a GPLET Tax, which basically means the City operates the building for an extended period of time (but they’re also exempt from paying property taxes)!
Now the area is more denser, more surly (remember, this is Arizona, after all) version of Los Angeles with even less of historic record of the architecture.
There’s a lot of housing but not as many places to live…
Most people may not know your name but they know your legacy. And imagine what they think of you…
Game of Thrones just dropped one of the first teasers for the new season. When it returns in about a month I, for one, am dreading its return.
For about three months of the year a fraction of social media are damned to repeatedly bear witness to the fans on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr gush about the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Its author, George R.R Martin, seems like a very nice, intelligent man but he’s unleashed an evil on the world.
I’ve never seen such a fervor for a series whenever a new episode airs. The shows air on Sunday and then by the end of the week, I’ve seen every headline that’s spoiled any every major plot point from the show.
And this happens for thirteen weeks.
And it’s as annoying as hell.
I don’t know why Jon Snow is special or the purpose he serves, but I know was an inert, dead popsicle at the end of one season and he was revived a couple of episodes later.
I know there was a character named Hodor who died literally holding the door.
Cute-as-a-button Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark (whose father Ned Stark was decapitated) was blind for awhile but assassins trained her but now her sight’s restored and she kicks a lot of ass.
Last season essentially ended with this big battle called the ‘Battle of the Bastards,’ which Jon Snow actively participated in (or led). There’s a lot of extras and stuntmen on horses and a bunch of CGI people got either stabbed, decapitated. It was probably a lot of fun to shoot.
And Sansa Stark finally got revenge on that asshole Ramsay Bolton, when she sicked a bunch of dogs on him. Oh and Cercei was crowned on the Throne, I guess…
I shouldn’t know this much for a show I only watched the pilot for about four years ago.
One of the principles joys I take from long-form television is the prospect of where the stories will unfold and how they will affect characters that we know, and hopefully love.
I watch shows for the characters and the actors portraying these people, as pretentious as that sounds. Television series are a constantly evolving machine, with the pilot both serving as Mission Statement of the stories its creators what to tell, as well as an indicator to the audience what’s to follow.
Game of Thrones’ fans repeatedly betray the spirit of that principle by never shutting up about the show. And it’s subsequently muted any desire to eventually catch up with this show and essentially any show like it.
For a couple of years, I’ve repeated invited people with the query for them to pitch ‘Game of Thrones’ to me, why I should watch, and every one who I talked to never gave me more than a succinct, “Just watch it, dude! You won’t regret it!”
With the show’s enormous big budget, it’s turned me off these kind of big, event shows, despite if they have artistic merit of not. I haven’t watched The Crown, The Walking Dead and House of Cards based of these hipster principles and standards. They are noisy and not in the good, technical way.
I’m not ruling out the possibility that I pick up watching Game of Thrones in five years, when everyone’s moved on to other zeitgeists, but with the prospect that HBO wants to keep the gravy train running with spinoffs for the foreseeable future, it might be even longer than that.
There are better more smaller struggling shows that can use my attention and devotion.
I don’t pretend to understand or believe to speak for all Americans. Yet, I have it on good authority, just don’t ask on whose, that no one asked for a reboot of Roseanne.
With all due respect to Roseanne Barr, no one’s given a shit about her show since it went off the air in 1996 or whatever.
See? Her show means so little to my mental facilities that I can’t be bothered to look up a date when it left the airwaves
Following in the tradition of the reboots of Ironside, Coach, Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels, MacGyver, Uncle Buck, and goddamned American Idol comes yet another show that validates the theory that television executives have no idea what the viewing public wants for programming.
I’m not against reboots. My rule of thumb when justifying reboots to existing properties is simple:
Did the original show tell relevant stories and are they still so?
Are the creative team interested in why these personalities clicked or how the original concept and stories still applicable to society?
Will there be smart, thoughtful writing for the characters and audience?
Do a good chunk of people still think about the source show and revisit it?
If so, is it because of the first three reasons…
Are the special features on the DVD box sets anymore hefty than “Subtitles and Interactive Menus”…
Of those counts, the Roseanne reboot only checks one of those boxes. Based on my limited knowledge of Roseanne, the series was about the lower to middle class. You might know them as poor people.
There’ll always be members and families within society who are barely or not even getting by, whether that’s by their own choice or because some stupid politician believes a living wage or social safety nets only benefit parasitic moochers.
You can tell a lot of stories about poor people because some things on this planet (at least for the time being) will always be around.
Roseanne will air on ABC. The reboot is on shaky creative ground since ABC airs already a show about poor people: The Middle.
(A funny thing about the ABC’s half-hour comedy lineup is that it’s almost entirely made up of different cultural and ethnic families…)
So why does this reboot exist again? Oh right, because new things are scary and not conducive to generating revenue! Of course!
Embedded below is the trailer of the rebooted Ironside from several years ago. I howled at it in 2013 and I still at howl it now. There’s so many hilariously miscalculated images and concepts that it’s staggering to think of the amount of people who could have stopped it yet never did.