Welcome to the New Weimar Republic

German Neo-Nazis putting the boot to migrants.

It’s not surprising that this happened. Nazis, neo- or otherwise, don’t like immigrants. That’s their thing.

What’s surprising is this:

But police said the asylum seekers started the confrontation – and later hurled bottles at the police trying to save them from a beating.

The migrants picked the fight, according to the police. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but the police said so. Which tells us something about the police – they were prepared to spin fact against the migrants, or they were prepared to tell the truth about them, rather than waffling and saying “oh, both sides were reponsible” (Granted, this is a british journalist’s interpretation of the event).

Remember, these are Nazis we’re talking about. Germany has extended a significant degree of psychological effort to expunge Nazism from their consciousness. Der Polizei, as agents of the state, could be expected to have a bias against the Nazis, to assume that they started the fight. They’re Nazis. Nazis start fights. That was their thing in the Sturmarbeiten, Horst Wessel Weimar days before the Little Moustache took power.

But no, the cops say that 20 migrants picked a fight with 100 Nazis.

That means something. I don’t know what it means, but it means something.

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How ‘Stranger Things’ Got Passed Around Hollywood

In the midst of fisking the usual gang of idiots about raaaaaaacism, Larry Correia lets drop an interesting factoid:

For a long time entertainment tried to lump as many customers as possible into one big box to provide dumb bland mushy product to. To make a living at this stuff you needed to sell to everybody, including the easily offended. Now, you just need to appeal to one group of fans, and what appeals to them might not appeal to everybody, but screw those guys. You can make what you want. Technology has evolved so that you can get your product right in front of your target audience. It isn’t just books either. Stranger Things got rejected by something like 15 networks for being too weird, and now it is a hit on Netflix.

I double-checked to make sure that was true, and according to this article in Rolling Stone, Correia was low-balling it:

After they wrote the initial Stranger Things script, they never thought they’d have a chance at pitching Netflix; they thought it was only a place for established names like Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan and House of Cards producer, director David Fincher. Matt estimates the brothers were rejected 15 to 20 times by various networks, while other execs had balked at the idea that the show featured four kids as lead characters but that it wasn’t TV for children. “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town,” one told them. Matt recalls replying, “Then we lose everything interesting about the show.” Some other people they knew in the industry understood their vision and helped connect them with Netflix. “There was a week where we were like, ‘This isn’t going to work because people don’t get it,‘” Matt says.

That’s the thing about the entertainment/content industry: they have to have product to connect with an audience, but they can’t know ahead of time what will, and there’s a cost factor with every bet. So if they gate-keepers don’t get it, viscerally, instantly, they assume that the disinterested masses won’t bother. Because the entertainment industry isn’t about connecting audiences and content, it’s about connecting audiences and content in such away that maximizing profit and minimizes loss. Thus, people are going to pass on things because they’re not getting it.

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The Great Trans-Female Reproductive Rights Debate

Yep. This happened.

Now, before we get all transphobic, and talking about how someone born biologically male can’t ever have babies, or some such hate-speech, (because biology is a patriarchal construct, okay?) we need to recognize that this is really about consciousness being elevated.

“I would say ultimately all advocacy begins with elevated consciousness and because of movements like Black Lives Matter where you have seen trans women at the fore of that, because of the public accommodations legislation, because of so many things that are happening at a policy level, our consciousness is being elevated,” Pressley said. “I do believe that as our consciousness is elevated we will be better informed, better educated, and we can mobilize around those issues.”


Somebody paid a lot of money to learn how to talk like that. A Lot. Of Money. Someone wrote college admission essays, filled out FAFSAs, and read reams upon reams of cretinous po-mo argle-bargle so that they could, with a straight face, reconstruct this scene from Life of Brian:

These people are making it very hard not to pull the lever for Trump. I don’t like the guy, and can’t imagine he would be better than mediocre, at best, ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania. But I kind of want to make these idiots suffer, and he’s up for that job.

Edit: Fixed. The lack of video embeddage was bothering me.

Car Buying Made Simple

I’ve been reading Scott Adam’s blog throughout the election season, because his take on the phenomenon known as Trump has both a unique take and the volume turned down, at least so far as emotionalism goes. But lately he has worked himself into an insanity regarding buying a Chevy Truck, and reported that he cannot do it without feeling screwed.

So the answer to my question about why other people can buy trucks and I can’t is that I have a degree in economics and I’m trained in persuasion, so scams are more evident to me. There is literally no path to buying a truck that isn’t some form of dealer abuse on customers. I can’t willingly submit to abuse, and my cognitive dissonance isn’t strong enough to overcome it.

So I have no truck.

This is banana-pants to me. Everyone talks about buying a car or a truck as though it was an endeavor comparable to signing a missile treaty. It’s not. It’s purchasing, largely on credit, a complicated and expensive machine you understand poorly in order to have transportation. It’s a long-term commitment, and it’s pricey, so it’s easy to feel out of your depth.

I’m here to help. I’m not an expert on cars (or trucks), but I’ve bought them several times, and I have what I think is the solution to Scott’s problem and a general, low-stress way to buy vehicles.

  1. No matter what you do, you’re going to spend a lot of money. Stop worrying about “getting screwed”. Only people who buy lemons get screwed. You’re buying an expensive thing. Guess what? It costs a lot of money. Figure out how much you’re comfortable with spending, and don’t spend more than that.
  2. Features are unimportant. A car or truck is transportation. That’s what it does. If it does that for a number of years without requiring major mechanical overhaul, then it has performed its function. There are many different features because there are many different people who all want different things, and there are limited means of manufacture. It is highly unlikely to walk onto a lot and find the car you’ve been imagining in your head. If you need a specific car, with specific features, then you need to custom-order it. And you will pay for that. See #1.
  3. Never walk on the lot unless you know what you want to buy. Anyone who expects a car salesman to put your needs ahead of his is a fool. His job is not to fulfill your needs. His job is to make money while making you feel comfortable while he does it. He’s going to try to sell you what his dealership has a lot of. He’s going to try to maximize the price you pay, and minimize the value of your trade-in. That’s what he’s going to do. He’s not your friend. He’s a man trying to make money off of you. That doesn’t make him a bad person, but it does make him an unreliable source of information. Believe nothing he says. Instead, forearm yourself with Consumer Reports and other sources of info that expect no more from you than the cover price of a magazine. Then, decide what you want. Decide which features are important to you. Decided how much you want to spend.

And understand that you will probably get something that’s 70%-80% of your ideal. That’s how the world works. Be okay with that, and you won’t feel screwed. And you’ll actually be able to buy a car.

Ghostbusters Ghostbusters Ghostbusters blah blah blah blah blah

A little while ago, I tweeted this:

Apparently no one else has considered this. Because apparently this film sits across the cultural divide like the fulcrum on a teeter-totter, and everyone’s pushing it one way or another.

A comedy film is good if its funny. If it makes you laugh, you account it good. If it doesn’t, you do the opposite. Laughter – and film appreciation in general — cannot be forced. I speak as someone who worked really hard to like The Phantom Menace back in the day. In the end, I couldn’t.

So the Ghostbusters remake will either be a funny film in which some comedic actresses amuse us, or it will be one of those movies that you keep waiting to be funny and never is (I’m looking at you, The Devil Wears Prada).

This has nothing to do with gender. Women are funny. I know this because women have made me laugh. An all-female Ghostbusters reboot? Whatever, why not?

I watched a lot of Ghostbusters as a kid. It was one of the first movies that my folks videotaped on the VCR off of HBO (That’s how it was done in the old days). I know it basically by heart. It’s eminently quotable. But I’m not emotionally attached to it. Yes, its lame that Hollywood won’t stop rebooting old properties. I hadn’t made any plans to see this one in the theater. But that doesn’t mean I was devoted to it failing. I just didn’t care. I’ll catch it on Netflix, probably.

I saw the trailer, and I laughed – not big laughs, but amusement – a few times. Which doesn’t mean anything. But one thing did bother me about it, and that was how Leslie Jones seemed to be doing a caricature of Things Black Characters Say.

You see what I’m talking about? “It’s a Cadillac!” “Aw, Hell NO!” and screaming at the top of her lungs. And maybe I’m only noticing it because in the original film, Winston didn’t seem like the Black Stereotype. Ghostbusters has as its heroes a snarky hustler, a nerd who doesn’t like talking to people, and a nerd who won’t shut up. Winston provided a necessary leavening of this dorkitude, but his role on the film is to be the Regular Joe, not the Black Guy. He has moments where yes, the blackness is more obvious (telling the Mayor “I have seen shit that’ll turn you white” one of my favorite lines, and the Mayor’s reaction is great), but overall, his deadpan responses highlight the audience’s own bemusement at the proceedings, allowing us to recognize and take part in the absurdity of analogizing paranormal activity as a big Twinkie. He wasn’t all Corn Bread and Street Wisdom, is my point. And maybe Jones does that too, just in a different way. Like I said, I’m not committed to this. But according to this guy who saw it, I’m not alone in that impression.

The reviews are coming in, and I’m only seeing bad ones so far. Which may mean this film fails as comedy. If it does, so be it. If it makes money, so be it. But watching people flail over it like it Means Something is exhausting. Oh, what an exciting concept! Female heroes and a male director regurgitating a 30-year-old movie! THE REVOLUTION HAS COME BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

Or, as this commenter on the PJMedia takedown put it:

A culture that reboots “Ghostbusters” is a decadent culture. A culture that erupts in controversy over a reboot of “Ghostbusters” is a dead culture.

Nailed it.

Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation

Or OP, as they call it.

 

My first impression is that it sounds very Celtic, which is odd, as the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and their Norman overlords were none of them Celts. I must be wrong about that, then.

My second is that the lines flow with a musicality that they do not with modern pronunciation, and they aren’t any harder to follow than Shakespeare’s thoughts are anyway. Fascinating stuff.

Thanks to Twentytwowords.