Thursday, May 31, 2007

Life is Depressing

Some days I feel horribly ungrateful. Here I am, in the "most powerful country in the world" with "the most freedoms of anyone" et cetera patriotic propaganda inserted here. On a more personal, and realisitic level, I am getting a great education, I never go hungry, I have a place to live, it is clean, it is relatively safe, and I'm never overly cold or hot. All of my physical needs are met, and more than necessary; I have cable tv and a laptop, and access to the internet. I have a guy who I love, and we are in an accepted, socially encouraged heterosexual, white relationship, and I have plenty of friends. I am fairly intelligent, or at the very least, I get good grades.

But, I am still...unsatisfied. I can't really think of a really good reason to do...anything. I go to school, workout, do my homework, do the dishes, read every once in awhile, keep abreast of the news...but it seems so pointless. I guess I'm going through a nihilist phase, but one that I can't seem to get out of. I want someone to tell me what is the point of life? What is the point to keep doing this: to live, work, play, exist? Why are we here? Why should I keep doing this day after day? Everyone just accepts that we should keep living, but I've never had explained as to why.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Last Friday, I went and saw PotC 3. I went with the hope that this would be the movie to redeem the second, that this would be the movie to restore my original pleasure in the first.

Not only did it fail to redeem the second, it made me like the first one less.

The movie wasn't all bad: I'm glad that they finally gave some space for Elizabeth characters that involved her doing more than fainting and yelling at the guys. Elizabeth kicks nine kinds of ass in this movie, and she is highly relevant to the plot, instead of motivation. Not to mention, the show passes the Mo Movie Measure right away, in a conversation between Tia Dalma and Elizabeth.

But, a cool opening fight scene and a kickass character does not a good movie make. Movies require this thing called a "coherant plot" and "character development" and "resolution".

This movie suffers from what I call "too much ideas, not enough follow through". Since we have all seen the second movie, (or you better, or else this movie will make NO sense to you), we know the movie has to accomplish a few tasks: Jack Sparrow must be rescued, Will and Elizabeth need to be married, Will needs to save his father from Davy Jones, and Cutler Beckett needs to be stopped. This is complicated enough, but then they decide to throw in a few more objectives, like getting the Pirate Brethern together, and setting free the goddess Calypso.

To get all of these objectives together, they decide that they need to introduce 9 new characters. Rule of thumb people: 3 new characters per sequel. Any more and you get characters that are motivation and extras, not characters of themselves. If you name them, they better have some defining characteristics, and it better be more than "pirate lady" or "has a high pitched voice". Also, do NOT introduce a character just to kill them off, like they did with Seo and to a lesser degree, to James Norrington and Governor Swan. A vivid world is created through the character: suspension of disbelief is easier when the characters all have a purpose, and a personality. In a movie, death and birth better be damned relevant, or it just pisses me off.

Now, as much as I like what they did with Elizabeth's character, is how much I hated for what they did to Jack's. Jack has always been a little crazy, a little weird, a little cowardly, and plenty greedy. But, he was never supposed to be a villian. Jack has gotten increasingly unsympathetic, because he doesn't ever seem to have any drive to do good. In the first one, you knew he was in it for himself, but he always seemed to make sure that no one else got screwed over in the process (that didn't deserve it). I also thought that the multiple Jacks was unnecessary. I realize that his internal dialogue would have been harder to do without little Jacks, but I thought it made the visuals weird. We did fine before with Jack acting oddly, I thought it did better when we were like the crew, looking at him wobble around.

Finally, the resolution was ultimately unsatisfying to me. It's a third movie in a trilogy, that means a happy resolution. At best, I this was a nuetral resolution. The good that all happened was negative good: Beckett was destroyed. But Jack didn't have the Pearl, and the couple wasn't happily together, and too many people that didn't deserve to die did. I know that the sequel rule dictates that since this had enough projected gross (that it made) there needed to be a cliffhanger ending so that they can make a sequel, but this pissed me off none-the-less. There should have never been a second, much less a third, PotC movie. The story was complete after the first one, the following ones were just an excuse to make money.

No more Pirate movies for me. There is next to nothing they could do to make this better.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Continued Procrastination

Instead of the studying I should be doing, I let myself get distracted by the wonderful Amptoons and his link farm. I was directed to a great essay about why "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, to put it bluntly, sucks. It reminded me of a time when I was growing up.

My mother, who I adore, takes advice from the worst people ever. Cross-country car trips (and there were many) were the worst torture that any living soul devised, because at that strip of interstate, way out in the boonies, after your batteries had long since died, one could still get Dr. Laura on the radio. Dr. Laura, who my mother admired and raptly listened to, would make the already intermibly boring drive an exercise in agony. This lady is a great example of a sucking- up stoge for the patriarchy; a self-righteous radio adviser, who would berate her clients for "shacking up" (her term for people who were living together but not married, which was delightfully beligerent and classist) and chastize teenage girls for acting/dressing/being whores.

This waste of human life once recommended to all of her listeners who were having some difficulty relating to their spouse to buy the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by the great charlatan, John Gray. My mother, easily persuaded and suffering under a "tense" relationship, went out and bought the audio book.

If I thought that being trapped in a car listening to Dr. Laura was bad, this had nothing on helping with spring cleaning listening to John Gray condescendingly explain to women that men just "need sex". Dr. Laura, at least, had commercials to stop the insanity, I instead had to live for "turn tape over to side B" and pray that the cassette was eaten by the player. I must have been 9 at this time, and had never heard of feminism, and I still knew this guy was full of crap. From his very first paragraph, when he talks about the Men-Martians seeing the Women-Venusians and then building and flying over to sweep them off their feet, my very first thought was "why would girls be waiting for some smelly boys to come get them?"

Reading the book now, after I figured out what feminism was all about, this book is just chock-full of stupid generalizations, sexist stereotypes, and pseudo-psychiatry. Men need to go to their "cave"? Women need to "talk about their feelings"? Puh-lease? Who believes this bullshit? Women should just give guys "quickies" because men "need sex"? This is stupidity that a child could point out. Now that I have education I can say that the use of men being active, and women being the passive decorative object is a harmful duality to set up (which, ironically enough means "why would girls wait around for smelly boys to come get them?").

Yet, my mom thought it was smart, and judging from the sales, she wasn't the only one.

Cock Rock

I had the weekend from hell this weekend. One giant fuck-up after another. But, since some of it relates to aviation, and I don't want to get my PIC in trouble with the FAA, I'll skip to what's still pissing me off.

I went and saw Electric Six this Friday. I didn't think it was going to be that big of deal: the only songs I had heard were just funny songs like "Dance Commander" and "Gay Bar".

But, I got my first suggestion that they weren't just a campy band when they got to the "gender specific" part of the show. For the "fellas" they said "We are only here because of you, we wouldn't sell any records, we wouldn't sell any tickets, we would be nothing" and then proceeded to sing "Delight Me" a song, as near as I can tell, about blow jobs. Then, they went "For the girls: thanks for coming" and sang "Infected Girls".

My second, much larger clue, was when they got to a break. Since it still doesn't make any sense to me, so I'm going to quote as well as I can remember:

" Now we, we have developed a conscious (no, that is not a typo) here at Electric Six. We are now a politcal band. In the back, we have a giant 40-cubic-yard microwave. And we're going to shove 20-30 women in this microwave, and we're going to send them 20 years into the future, and we're going to send them to Crawford. Where Bush will be clearing brush. Only he'll be in an iron lung. And you're going to ride him, and you're going to ride him in his iron lung. Then some of you will be impregnanted with the next Bush. And then you'll all be liquified and feed intraveneously to the living. And the guys will sign a petition".

Aside from being kinda "Huh?" I think it's pretty obviously sexist. That was when I decided that Electric Six would never get another penny from me.

This would have been bad enough, but the guys that I went to this with thought this joke was hilarious. One of them for the rest of the weekend kept saying "let's get into the microwave" which still makes my skin crawl. Now, it's depressing enough that a band that I used to enjoy listening to is composed of assholes, but to hear my friends just go along with it, even worse saying I'm "overreacting". My friends can be right idiots, yes, but I would assume they'd realize why jokes about my death would be slightly out of place. But the fact that they don't, and what's worse, they don't seem to care about hurting me, bothers me. It bothers me that this kind of casual sexism is perfectly peachy in their eyes.