Nobody desires to live in actual fear. But we love the feeling of fear if absent a genuine threat to our safety. That’s why we enjoy horror movies and scary video games and ghost stories. The rush of fear without any real danger. It’s universal.
But as our lives get safer, this short circuits into constructing narratives of panic. Lurking terrorists, the Satanic panic, sex trafficking, the threat of shark attacks. All overblown, but all ways to work ourselves up.
I get asked quite often what the libertarian position on abortion is. So here’s the answer: (A) If abortion is the wrongful killing of another person, it is murder, and thus impermissible according to libertarian notions of justice. (B) If abortion is not the wrongful killing of another person, it is not murder and so is permissible according to libertarian notions of justice. (C) Libertarian political philosophy can tell us basically nothing about whether (A) or (B) is true.
When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, they rebooted the novel line. The publication of A New Dawn in September 2014, not only saw the abandonment of the earlier “Expanded Universe,” but also a much tighter integration between the novels and new movies. This had the effect of making me interested in the novels to a degree I hadn’t before.
That said, these remain shared universe fiction, which has never had a reputation for literary merit. For the most part, that reputatio
Michael Slager, a South Carolina police officer, shot Walter Scott several times in the back as Scott, unarmed, fled. We know this because the whole thing’s on video. Now Slager’s temporarily avoided conviction when the jury deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.
Given what looks, from all the evidence, like a pretty clear-cut case of murder, people on social media expressed bafflement at how anyone couldn’t see Slager’s beyond-a-reasonable-doubt guilt. But if early report
Immigrants didn’t take your jobs. Technology and an industrializing world took your jobs. The simple fact is, the skills you have aren’t worth as much to people as they used to be.
Deporting peaceful immigrants, destroying their families and livelihoods, won’t bring back Americans being able earn comfortably middle class jobs via manual labor. But supporting deportations and severely limited immigration does make you callous and cruel and undercuts whatever claim to sympathy you might
Comparing what DC’s doing with their cinematic universe to what Marvel’s up to isn’t just about critics’ reviews or quality of scripts. Marvel has the leg up, at least right now, on both accounts. But there’s a more interesting divide, one that shows a fundamentally different approach to how a comic should make the transition to screen.
Let’s start with DC. Their style, so vivid in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, goes back to Zack Snyder’s first comic book adaptation, 300, and h
Here’s two common “sides” in the argument about the current cultural and political showdown and divide between elites and the working class: Elites are unjustifiably condescending toward and dismissive of the working classes and don’t recognize how much their preferred policies may have made things more difficult for them, and this has legitimately angered the working classes. Segments of the working classes possess cultural pathologies that have hurt and continue to hurt them, pathologie
There was an argument a time back that said the best way to kill the religious right’s political influence was to let it nominate a presidential candidate and then get creamed in the general election. That’d show that there’s no there there, and then the country could safely ignore their feet stomping. (Instead cosmopolitanism triumphed in the culture war, which was overall good, but has also lead to quite a bit of carrying-it-too-far-ness.)
Could the same thing happen with the segmen
Fans hold novels set in their favorite universes to a different standard than they would original works. At least, I assume they do, because if they don’t, people’s standards for quality fiction are even lower than I thought.
What I mean is, what passes for an “I’ll totally read this” book when it’s got “_Star Wars”_ on the front and Star Wars characters and locations inside can get away with shoddier plotting, weaker dialog, and less polished prose. For me, at any rate.
I was reading news about the casting of the new Han Solo movie and it struck me. As of December last year, we’ve fully entered an era of Star Wars abundance. An original Star Wars movies every year. Star Wars on television. Books and comics advancing the canon.
That’s good. Wonderful. We’re not just staring down the firehose new Star Wars, but what we’re getting is good. Lucas is out of the picture and the franchise is in the hands of people who grew up with it, love it, and–here’s wh
They’re terrible movies. Let’s get that out of the way. But watching The Force Awakens again, and then again the divine Original Trilogy, I got this weird and unsettling flash of appreciation for something Lucas had done in those stillbirths of CGI and suffering actors and dialog usually confined to airport novels written by ex-advertising executives. He built a universe and showed it to us. This is a place people live.
Of course, he’d already done a bit of that with
There’s a lot of talk about how elites aren’t fair to Trump voters. That what we see as an attraction to his racism, xenophobia, and, well, stupidity, is in fact a much more reasonable anger at elites who have promised prosperity while working class Americans have seen their prospects decline. Or anger at a culture war that has moved too quickly, its victors too dismissive of its losers. Or anger that it’s not politically correct to say negative things about blacks, or women, or gays, but tha
Immigrants did not take well-paying American jobs.
Rather, the amount employers can afford to pay someone to do that job (i.e., the amount of return that job produces for the employer) fell—for a variety of reasons, many the result of technological growth. It fell to the point where native-born Americans were demanding more than the employers could justify. The only people willing to work at the lower wages that would still allow the employer stay in the black are immigrants.
Whenever the government gets involved in something they understand, techies turn quite libertarian. “We need to stop the FBI from creating dangerous precedent by forcing Apple to unlock an iPhone.” Or, “Regulators will just screw up Uber and Airbnb, because they don’t understand what they’re doing and, anyway, they’re just going to regulate in favor of the dinosaur firms.”
But the moment we talk about something outside the domain knowledge of techies, they settle back into progressi
I can’t get into Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It’s sat in my Netflix queue for literally years, and I’ve only made it six episodes into season three, and most of that has come half an episode here, half an episode there. I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than two episodes at a time. The show completely fails to engage me.
I’ve been thinking about why that might be, given my enthusiasm for pretty much all things Star Wars. And it comes down to stakes. This is a show about a single, ga