Sunday Reads: Fractured Faction Tales

Sometimes you come across an article that hits home…it reaches out to you, states something obvious or maybe significant in a literal way, that you connect with…you find yourself completely immersed in the writing. Hey, it could be a passage written with such clarity and precision, the idea put forth hits you dramatically and changes your way of thinking. A paradigm shift.

Well, this first link I have for you did not do any of that for me…it probably won’t do any of that for you…it pretty much reiterates the same shit we have been talking about for years on this blog. Dakinikat and Boston Boomer have gone to great lengths to bring up most of the same…if not the exact, points. But I found it interesting to see this op/ed by Michael Goldfarb in The Guardian, highlight many topics of disgust that has been fodder for those who read Sky Dancing. I encourage you to read the whole piece: Is the American republic built to withstand a malevolent president? | Michael Goldfarb | Opinion | The Guardian

The principle of common good underpins the constitution. Donald Trump is gleefully shredding that ideal

he Trump administration, having passed the six-month milestone in office, kicked off the next phase of his presidency with an explosion of crazy, spread over the past seven days. Like sweeps week on The Apprentice, every day saw some headline-grabbing event to garner ratings. It started with leaks against his former bosom buddy, attorney general, Jeff Sessions. President Trump, “sources” said, was planning to fire him. It moved on to a speech to the Boy Scouts of America jamboree, where Trump told the story of a property developer who lost a fortune and was lurking at a New York party with the “hottest people”. Later, there was a tweet announcement banning transgender people from the military.

This explosion of crazy concluded with his new White House chief of communications, Anthony Scaramucci, calling the New Yorker’s political correspondent Ryan Lizza to trash virtually everyone in the White House. He compared himself positively to the president’s dark lord and special adviser, Stephen Bannon: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president.”

Doesn’t Scaramucci, or “the Mooch”, as he was known on Wall Street, have a mother? Won’t she be ashamed to see him talking like that in public? The week ended with a big name fired: White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

And up on Capitol Hill things weren’t a lot less calm. There was the closed-door interrogation of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, on Russian connections to the Trump campaign. Then came the Republican Senate majority’s inability to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, featuring John McCain voting yes, to debate the bill, then no, to kill it stone dead – until The Apprenticegoes into reruns.

All of these events, and a dozen more I don’t have space to mention, create a picture of utter chaos across the American government. Trump has ridden roughshod over not just the customs and norms of presidential behaviour but also basic standards of human decency.

Oh…and let us just pause to remember that the events Golfarb mentions above are things that transpired in the last week! But back to the article…

In doing so, he has forced journalists and the institutions they write for to change their basic standards of acceptable language. We use the words crazy and stupid now in our reports because some of the behaviour and actions of Trump and his team are crazy and stupid. We debate whether to refer to the Trump administration or the Trump regime, with all the pejorative connotations that word carries. The New York Times is still the Grey Lady, but it has to print “sucking his own cock”, because that’s what the president’s top communications official said.

People on the outside wonder where the famous checks and balances are that have made American democracy function for more than 230 years? They are still there and, up to a point, still working. For example, presidential power was checked when Trump’s ban on travellers from seven Muslim nations was halted by the courts. The ban is now mired in a legal process.

However, what the madness, abnormality or whatever you want to call it emanating from the White House does draw attention to is the real problem in American politics – the Republicans are no longer a political party but a political faction, a much more dangerous thing.

Goldfarb continues his discussion with Madison and the dangers of factions….where James Madison,

…defined faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”.

As y’all know, this shit has been coming on for some time within the Republican Party.

…the US has, over the past quarter of a century, become ungovernable at the national level. Sadly, Madison, having identified the threat in the 18th century “that either a minority or a majority” might become a faction, was unable to think of a solution to the problem that might work in the 21st. The minority in the country – the Republican faction – is now the majority in both houses of Congress and in the state governments. It holds the White House, although neither of the last two Republican presidents gained office while winning a majority of the popular vote.

Trump’s overall approval ratings may be historically low but his support in the Republican faction remains remarkably high. And for a reason – Trump has delivered for them. He appointed Neil Gorsuch, a hard-right judge, to the seat on the supreme court the Republican faction wouldn’t allow President Obama to fill. Immigration from Mexico has slowed dramatically. And in a wave of executive orders, he overturned many Obama-era environmental rules and reinstated the Dakota pipeline project. What’s more, Trump daily drives liberals absolutely crazy with his politically incorrect tweets. The base of the Republican faction, roughly 36% of the population, will stay loyal to him.

Ultimately, the supreme constitutional checks on presidential behaviour remain article 1, section 3: impeachment, or the 25th Amendment (which deals with succession). If the Republicans were a political party as they were at the time of Watergate, that would have to be a consideration for Trump and his team. It might moderate the administration’s behaviour if there were a genuine threat of being constitutionally removed from office. But there isn’t. The Republicans are a faction and the president is one of them.

So Trump carries on in office, unchecked and unbalanced. A majority of Americans, and most of the planet, watch and say, this can’t go on. But it can. For a while, at least.

Like I said, please go read the whole article at the link, it goes more into Madison and Jefferson and a few other things.

And while you think about all that, keep this in mind: Suffolk County Cops’ Ex-Chief In Prison For Police Brutality | Crooks and Liars

Yeah, that bunch of cops who cheered and hollered in agreement when tRump advocated police brutality and violence…their ex-chief is in prison for committing those same kinds of crimes.

For a quick review on yesterday’s tRump twit’s Twitter activities: ‘Is this your airing of grievances?‘: The internet mocks Trump’s out-of-the-blue ‘Festivus’ gripes

 

In other political news, Georgia paper says race between black and white candidates ‘could feel like Beyonce vs. Taylor Swift’

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Saturday said the Democratic race for governor in Georgia could be like a battle between pop stars Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

The publication explained that Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams — who is black — could be facing off with state Rep. Stacey Evans — who is white.

“If certain parties have their way, next year’s Democratic race for governor in Georgia could have the feel of a feud between Beyoncé and Taylor Swift,” Atlanta-Journal Constitution wrote.

But the analogy is drawing some rebuke on social media.

“Delete this and try again,” one reader wrote on Twitter.

“Whose idea was this? Maybe let’s not simplify complex women candidates into pop stars? Don’t remember y’all reducing Perdue to a pop star,” said another.

“There is so much wrong with this tweet: it’s condescending/sexist, it reduces serious issues to entertainment, & it fails to inform. Stop,” a third person added.

“A race for governor that could feel like Beyoncé vs. Taylor Swift? What kind of professional journalist floated this trash out there? SMH,” remarked a fourth.

The comparison to Beyoncé, at least, does have some significance. As the Atlanta-Journal Constitution explains, the recently-formed political group “Get in Formation” is hoping to rally black women behind Abrams. The group takes it name from Beyoncé’s hit “Formation.”

If you want to read the original article that started this latest…I can’t even think of something sarcastic or witty to call it, controversy…take a look here: A Democratic race for governor that could feel like Beyonce vs. Taylor Swift | Political Insider blog

If certain parties have their way, next year’s Democratic race for governor in Georgia could have the feel of a feud between Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

Or so I have been informed. I have let my attention to music industry politics slide since Simon & Garfunkel broke up.

What I do know is that state Rep. Stacey Abrams is attempting a profound shift in how Democratic primaries are won in Georgia, which in turn could have broad implications for biracial dynamics within the party.

Abrams, an Atlanta lawmaker and former House minority leader, is one of two major candidates on the Democratic side of the 2018 contest. The other is state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna. Both are lawyers. Both have admirable, by-the-bootstraps biographies.

Abrams is black. Evans is white.

In politics, you often lead with candidates who look like the voters you need – but don’t have. This is one reason why Republicans give prominent roles to African-Americans within their camp.

Likewise, Evans fits the pattern of recent Democratic attempts to return to power by appealing to white, independent voters – even though a strong majority of the party’s voters and activists are black. It is a general election strategy.

A video that accompanied the launch of Evans’ campaign, entitled “16 Homes,” told of Evans’ mobile-home upbringing in far north Georgia. It set many Democratic mouths to watering.

“She has a powerful message,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said of Evans early this month, via Twitter.

This is the thinking that Abrams wants to subvert, with a nationalized campaign that unites white Democratic progressives with African-American women. The latter are the most reliable demographic within the Democratic party, nationally and in Georgia.

“I’m not going to shy away from the fact that people of color have to be centered in my campaign, because I know I can talk to people of color and white people at the same time, and they’re not going to recoil from one another,” Abrams said Thursday on Hellbent, a feminist podcast.

“We have to stop recruiting the candidates that look like what we wish we had, and we have to recruit candidates that look like where we are,” she said.

Enter Beyoncé. Or at least a slice of her lyrics.

“Get in Formation” is the effort by three national, black-oriented political organizations that debuted earlier this month – with the goal of rallying black women behind Abrams. The Beyoncé reference was no accident. “Formation” was a hit from last year’s “Lemonade” album.

“It honors the power and solidarity of black women. It definitely resonated with black women, but also with all types of women,” explained Sharline Chiang, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Democracy in Color, one of the three groups behind the project.

Read the rest at the link….if you want to.

I thought this next remembrance, brought to you by Josh Marshall at TPM was a nice bit of escapism. Maybe it is because Marshall and I are the same age…and we both loved Leslie Nielsen? Leslie Nielsen and the Meaning of Life – Talking Points Memo

Leslie Nielsen died 6 1/2 years ago at the age of 84, a respectable degree of longevity after a working life as an actor that stretched over 60 years. I started thinking about him today for no particular reason: I was paddling around the Internet, reading one thing and then another and then happened upon Leslie Nielsen. For what it’s worth, my browsing history shows a series of searches and pages tied to the firing of Reince Priebus followed by stuff about Leslie Nielsen. How I got from one to the other I do not know.

Leslie Nielsen, Forbidden Planet, 1956.

Today I poked a bit deeper into something I’ve thought about here and there many times. Nielsen began his career in 1950 during the so-called ‘Television Golden Age’. According to his Wikipedia page he appeared in 46 live TV episodes in 1950 alone. His first big success was in the 1956 sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet. From 1950 to 1980 he worked more or less in this vein as a successful TV and movie actor. But if his career had ended in 1980 he would be indistinguishable from and largely immemorable as one of hundreds or thousands of mid-grade actors and actresses who populated film and television over many years but who few of us today would remember or have any need to remember.

But in 1980 Nielsen appeared as Dr. Rumack, his first ever comedic role, in Airplane!, a wildly successful spoof of the then popular transportation disaster movie genre. (Nielsen had also appeared in one of the classics of the genre, 1972’s Poseidon Adventure.) The Dr. Rumack character was an early iteration of the deadpan/ridiculous Det. Frank Drebin character Nielsen went on to play in the Police Squad!/Naked Gun franchise, the character he is now known for.

If you’re my age or older you’re old enough to have some memory of the pre-Airplane! Nielsen, which I think is at least marginally necessary to fully get the magic of the characters he played for the next 30 years of his life. It wasn’t just that Nielsen wasn’t a comedy actor. Nielsen specialized in a genre of mid-20th century American male screen roles from which all traces of comedy or irony were systematically removed through some chemical process in pre-production or earlier. He was the straightest of straight men. That’s what made his comedic roles – playing against that type or rather playing the same type in a world suddenly revealed as absurd – just magic.

Oh please, go and read that one in full. It is a nice tribute to Leslie Nielsen. It also makes a nice contrast to my last link for you today. When you think of movies, and the kind of “entertainment” that is put into production today from political movies to adult movies, although people consume the most of their adult entertainment online, visiting adult websites and services from sites like zoomescorts.co.uk…still in the movies it isn’t really too far off from the Idiocracy film within a film,  “Ass” :

 

Narrator: The #1 movie in America was called “Ass.” And that’s all it was for 90 minutes. It won eight Oscars that year, including best screenplay.

 

 

Last link: How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game – The New York Times

Hollywood is aggressively adapting material that doesn’t have a narrative or even any characters. But not all intellectual property is created equal.

In 2013, a movie producer named Tripp Vinson was thumbing through Variety when he stumbled upon a confounding item: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, a pair of writers and directors, were working on something called ‘‘The Lego Movie.’’ Vinson was baffled. ‘‘I had no idea where they were going to go with Legos,’’ he says. ‘‘There’s no character; no narrative; no theme. Nothing.’’

A sharply handsome man in his mid-40s, Vinson has worked in Hollywood for 14 years, racking up 19 producing credits. He’s a journeyman producer who specializes in popcorn flicks; over all, his films have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 30 (out of 100). Vinson may not win Oscars, but he knows how to get his projects into theaters. He has survived and advanced in Hollywood by quickly adapting to trends — what’s selling and what’s falling out of fashion. His filmography reads like a map of Hollywood’s shifting sands.

Vinson has produced a movie starring Pierce Brosnan as an aging master thief (‘‘After the Sunset,’’ 2004); a movie about Coast Guard swimmers with Kevin Costner (‘‘The Guardian,’’ 2006); and a psychological thriller with Jim Carrey (‘‘The Number 23,’’ 2007). He has made two movies about exorcisms, one with Laura Linney (‘‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose,’’ 2005), the other with Anthony Hopkins (‘‘The Rite,’’ 2011); a thriller about a psychic who helps the F.B.I. hunt down a serial killer, also with Hopkins (‘‘Solace,’’ 2015); and a romantic comedy with Anna Faris and Chris Evans, the guy who plays Captain America (‘‘What’s Your Number,’’ 2011). He has even made a dance-­competition movie (‘‘Battle of the Year,’’ 2013).

Since Vinson got into the business, something has changed in Hollywood. More and more movies are developed from intellectual property: already existing stories or universes or characters that have a built-in fan base. Vinson thinks it started in 2007, when the Writers Guild went on strike. ‘‘Before the strike, the studios were each making 20-­something movies a year,’’ he says. ‘‘Back then, you could get a thriller made. After the strike, they cut back dramatically on the number of films they made. It became all about I.P.’’ — intellectual property. With fewer bets to place, the studios became more cautious. ‘‘The way to cut through the noise is hitching yourself onto something customers have some exposure to already,’’ he says. ‘‘Something familiar. You’re not starting from scratch. If you’re going to work in the studio system, you better have a really big I.P. behind you.’’

Ugh….oh boy.

Vinson didn’t see how Legos could be the basis of a feature-­length film. He watched in disbelief as the movie raked in $69 million its opening weekend, grossed almost $470 million worldwide and was almost universally lauded by critics. ‘‘It was magical and fresh and really profitable,’’ he recalls. The movie was clever, telling the story of a Lego construction worker caught in a battle between good and evil, which is eventually revealed to be all in the imagination of a boy playing with his controlling father’s Lego set.

Vinson started looking for undervalued I.P. to guide his next movie. He wanted something an audience would already be familiar with, something that was culturally ubiquitous but could be made new again. He started his search in the public domain. He had succeeded with his Jules Verne and Brothers Grimm adaptations, and besides, old material like that had the advantage of being free. Nothing caught his eye.

Next he started looking around for a big-name console video game to acquire. Perhaps something in the mold of ‘‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’’ or the ‘‘Resident Evil’’ series, which has made well over a billion dollars at the box office. ‘‘The video-­game companies can be really hard,’’ Vinson says. ‘‘Ubisoft and Activision have their own in-house film-­development arms so people decide to spend their money on games and hardware as the vs248h monitor for gaming. A lot of the others are hard to get rights from. They feel like Hollywood can’t figure out how to make a good video-­game title. Why give it to them to have them screw it up? That can hurt game sales.’’ Not only were the companies difficult to bargain with, only a few titles even made sense for an adaptation. Vinson’s analysis revealed that megaproperties like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto sold tens of millions of units per installment, but after those top titles, sales dropped to levels that would make an adaptation risky.

So Vinson started looking at mobile games. A cursory investigation revealed that the very best selling mobile games didn’t move tens of millions or even a hundred million units — they could reach into the billions. He happened upon Fruit Ninja, a wildly popular series of games that, since its debut in 2010, has been downloaded well over a billion times. A million people play Fruit Ninja per day. He contacted Half­brick, the company that developed the game.

As usual…it is all about the money…and sales.

 Vinson found the mobile-­game developers at Half­brick to be more approachable than their console counterparts. They’re usually smaller, younger companies. They see Hollywood as a good opportunity to sell more games. And, most important, they aren’t protective of already existing characters and plotlines — generally because they don’t have any to speak of.

Vinson worked out a ‘‘shopping agreement’’ with Half­brick, a contract that gave him exclusive film rights to Fruit Ninja for a limited period so that he could recruit writers and then take a proposal to the studios. If the project sold, Half­brick would then negotiate a deal to sell the film rights to the studio, a deal that, based on the ubiquity of the game, could run up into the high six figures. Vinson then realized that he was faced with a formidable predicament. There are no protagonists or antagonists in Fruit Ninja. There’s no mythology. No moral. The game play involves staring at a wall as pineapples, watermelons, kiwis, apples and oranges fly up into view. The only thing you do is swipe at the fruit with your finger, cutting them in half. Sometimes there are bombs, and you’re not supposed to swipe at those. ‘‘There’s a fun game to play, but that’s it,’’ Vinson says. ‘‘The challenge was: What the [expletive] am I going to do with Fruit Ninja?’’

Have some fruit on the screen farting? Hey, it will win an Oscar for best screenplay!

This trend toward I.P.-­based movies has been profound. In 1996, of the top 20 grossing films, nine were live-­action movies based on wholly original screenplays. In 2016, just one of the top 20 grossing movies, ‘‘La La Land,’’ fit that bill. Just about everything else was part of the Marvel universe or the DC Comics universe or the ‘‘Harry Potter’’ universe or the ‘‘Star Wars’’ universe or the ‘‘Star Trek’’ universe or the fifth Jason Bourne film or the third ‘‘Kung Fu Panda’’ or a super-­high-­tech remake of ‘‘Jungle Book.’’ Just outside the top 20, there was a remake of ‘‘Ghostbusters’’ and yet another version of ‘‘Tarzan.’’

This year there is more of the same — the third installment of ‘‘XXX,’’ the Smurfs, ‘‘Pirates of the Caribbean’’ (a franchise based on a theme-park ride), a King Kong movie, Thor, the sequel to ‘‘Blade Runner,’’ a remake of ‘‘Beauty and the Beast,’’ ‘‘CHIPS,’’ ‘‘Power Rangers,’’ another ‘‘Star Wars’’ movie, a ‘‘Guardians of the Galaxy’’ sequel, two Stephen King adaptations (‘‘The Dark Tower’’ and ‘‘It’’), ‘‘Wonder Woman,’’ ‘‘The Mummy,’’ ‘‘The War for the Planet of the Apes,’’ a retelling of Agatha Christie’s ‘‘Murder on the Orient Express.’’ Every stripe of intellectual property is represented: from comic books to best sellers; from the public domain to unnervingly recent source material like ‘‘Baywatch.’’

This environment has fostered, in some producers, a sense of desperation. When I asked Vinson if the changes his business has undergone over the past decade have inspired him to panic, he told me: ‘‘Absolutely. It’s forced me to look at everything as though it could be I.P.’’ Increasingly, that means non­narrative I.P.: stuff with big followings but no stories, or even characters, already cooked in.

‘‘The Angry Birds Movie,’’ which was based on a mobile game, was released in 2016 and took in over $349 million worldwide. The game itself consisted of flinging birds at pigs, but it at least provided its writer, Jon Vitti, with protagonists (the birds) and antagonists (the pigs). There was also Adam Sandler’s 2015 movie ‘‘Pixels,’’ a disaster story that united characters from classic 1980s arcade games. Allspark, a subsidiary of Hasbro, has scored two big successes with a pair of movies based on the Ouija board. The first installment, ‘‘Ouija,’’ cost an estimated $5 million to make but managed to earn more than $103 million in the worldwide box office; the sequel, ‘‘Ouija: Origin of Evil,’’ made $81 million on a reported $9 million budget.

Fucking Hell! You know what? I will stick with TCM and other classic movies via DVD.

This summer’s most prominent example of non­narrative I.P. is ‘‘The Emoji Movie,’’ a film that dramatizes the imaginary lives of emojis. The film’s director and co-­writer, Tony Leondis, told me that ‘‘The Emoji Movie’’ actually began with a quest for some other form of I.P. About two years ago, he was thinking about what his next project should be, and he asked himself: ‘‘What are the newest and hottest toys out there in the marketplace?’’ He looked down at his phone and realized they were right there in front of him: emojis. Everyone uses them.

Unlike board games, emojis don’t have rules to play with. Or mythology. They don’t even exist in the real world. So Leondis created a universe for them: The emojis live inside your phone and are on call 24/7, waiting to be sent to your screen when needed. Each has to make the same expression every time they’re summoned. He created a character, Gene, a ‘‘Meh’’ emoji who is born multi­expressional, violating the rules of the emoji universe. ‘‘The idea that each emoji has one expression only was the key to figuring out the whole story,’’ Leondis told me. ‘‘Then we asked ourselves about the world: What do the apps look like to emojis? What happens when you delete an app? And what would happen if emojis were wreaking havoc inside other apps than their own?’’ Leondis told me that production moved along at a breakneck pace — it was two years from pitch to release. A lot of studios, he told me, think ‘‘The Emoji Movie’’ has the potential to be the beginning of a multifilm franchise.

 

And if you think I am kidding about the Ass movie and this Fruit Ninja thing, take a look at who is writing the script for Vinson:

The pair came up with a reality competition show called ‘‘Green Card.’’ The concept was simple: An ultra-­nerdy American guy is set up with beautiful contestants flown in from all over the globe, who compete for his affection. The winner receives a green card. (The State Department wouldn’t allow it.) There were other near misses for the duo in the reality field — a competition called ‘‘Jocks vs. Nerds’’ that a producer told them MTV liked so much it had considered putting the show on TV five days a week. (The show never aired.) They developed a hybrid scripted-­reality series called ‘‘Anchorwoman’’ (tag line: ‘‘Would you trust a bikini model to deliver the news?’’) that Fox canceled after its first night.

[…]

When they were approached by Vinson, the first thing they did was download Fruit Ninja. Lavin called Damiani after playing for a while. They agreed: There was nothing there. Just fruit. Their work on projects like ‘‘Flat Stanley,’’ though, had shown them that having less to work with provided a greater degree of creative freedom. Lavin and Damiani spent hours discussing the essence of Fruit Ninja. ‘‘For me, it is the messiness, the immediate release of destroying fruit,’’ Damiani told me. For Lavin, the soul of the game is the feeling of ‘‘frenzy.’’ ‘‘There’s like a 60-­second version of it where you can see how fast you can kill fruit,’’ he says, which ‘‘puts your brain in this weird, bizarre focused place.’’ As he sees it: ‘‘This would be the movie to go see stoned. I can imagine going in and seeing it in 3-D — just imagine a 20-foot-high pineapple monster. That shot of yellow and orange. I’d go see this movie a dozen times.’’

Okay, if you think this is some kind of joke…this is a fucking article published in The New York Times.

While they were developing the movie, Damiani and Lavin were also attending career days at elementary schools in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. Sometimes they went to four classes a day. These gave them the opportunity to do some informal market research. Every time they brought up the script they were working on, they found the same reaction. The kids would ‘‘put their hand in the air, raise a finger and start swiping like crazy.’’ Lavin told me, ‘‘Whatever movie we wrote, it had to be an extension of that energy, that desire to tear up everything in your path and take charge.’’

Early on, Lavin and Damiani struggled to find a narrative entry point. They started with the premise that there was a magic book and an evil fruit overlord. Vinson rejected that idea. Their next concept involved scientific experiments on fruit gone wrong. Vinson didn’t like that either. Eventually, a working narrative emerged: Every couple of hundred years, a comet flies by Earth, leaving in its wake a parasite that descends on a farm and infects the fruit. The infected fruit then search for a human host. The only thing keeping humanity from certain doom is a secret society of ninjas who kill the fruit and rescue the hosts by administering the ‘‘anti-­fruit.’’ The produce-­slaying saviors are recruited from the population based on their skill with the Fruit Ninja game. With civilization in imminent danger, a cadre of unlikely heroes materializes — a little boy, a college-­age girl, two average guys. The action starts after each of the story’s heroes returns home after a horrible day and plays Fruit Ninja to relieve some stress. Damiani told me this aligns with the Fruit Ninja brand: ‘‘Anybody can play. Anybody can be a master.’’

Ah…a movie for anybody…from a game for anybody, that comes from Hollywood…a place in a city where dreams are made of…La La Land…which is part of a bigger nation run by a lunatic. Fuck us all to hell! Why can’t some Fruit Ninjas just go and take care of that monster orange bastard hanging out in the White House? They can do away with the rest of his sad sacks of melon balls and apple twats. Now that…that is a movie I would gladly pay to see.

This is an open thread.ga

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15 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Fractured Faction Tales”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey, still working on the format…but at least I got the post up before noon!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Okay, I think it is formatted. I am going to go back to bed, and hide.

      • Enheduanna says:

        JJ thank you and hope you have a very pleasant Sunday afternoon. I have to go back and finish some of this post – but I love that you found the TPM article on Nielsen. I am constantly thinking of his Frank Drebin “Nothing to See Here” scene:

        Cracks me up every time. Perfect metaphor for every tRump press briefing ever.

  2. Enheduanna says:

    This is also really funny IMO:

  3. cheekos says:

    You mean Lt. Cdr. Donald J. Queeg? I just finished reading The Caine Mutiny, and the assumed personality disorders–between Queeg and The Obese One–are astounding. Never makes mistakes, blaming others for his own incompetence, changing the facts at will. I believe that it is called: Psychoneurosis.!

  4. Fannie says:

    Thanks JJ, didn’t know about the Ex Chief doing time, thank god for that.

  5. quixote says:

    “And up on Capitol Hill things weren’t a lot less calm.”

    Grammar police, reporting for duty (just because I get a lot of schadenfreude out of policing a high-falutin opinion writer who can’t be bothered to cite everyone who’s said all this since before the goddamn election. Most of them, of course, were women. Starting with Hillary herself.)

    I’m guessing he means, “And up on Capitol Hill things weren’t a lot calmer.”

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I didn’t catch it. My grammar is horrible….and I tend to write like I’m talking so lots of times my sentences run on…and end with the wrong kind of word. You know, what those words are? lol

      • quixote says:

        No reason why you should. It’s his mistake. I checked the original. We all know what he means, so not worth even noticing, except, as I say, he’s repeating what wiser people have said and not giving credit. Grrr.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something odd:
    Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/a-step-closer-to-skynet-ai-invents-a-language-humans-can-t-read/article/498142#ixzz4oMedXcZa

    artificial intelligence system being developed at Facebook has created its own language. It developed a system of code words to make communication more efficient. Researchers shut the system down when they realized the AI was no longer using English.

    • quixote says:

      Hmmmm. I guess so long as we have hands and the AI hasn’t figured out how to stop us using them, we can always pull the plug. But still. Max creepy.

      Funny that in the Elon Musk – Zuckerberg dust-up about the dangers of AI, Musk is a) right and b) it’s Zuckerberg’s own AI that proves it.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Actor/Director Sam Shepard has died. He was only 73.