April Fools Day Forum

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FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking of poohr poohr wittle ewon:

    Missouri AG sues Media Matters as Republicans take on critics of Musk’s X

    “Media Matters has pursued an activist agenda in its attempt to destroy X, because they cannot control it,” the lawsuit said, describing X – formerly known as Twitter – as a “free speech platform” that allows “Missourians to express their own viewpoints in the public square”.

    There there ewon, daddy andy’s gonna take care of those mean Media Matters buwwies who keep tewwing the twuth about you.

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  3. Bill Jempty says:

    Happy April Fools Day

    Today marks the 10th publishing anniversary. My first ebook was about a couple in Idaho one of which served in the National Guard.

    I thought April Fools Day came early yesterday. Since I began traditional publishing on Jan 1st I lost easy access to how my books are doing. I can however check what their sales rankings are at any Amazon page.

    One of my books has reached #1 in two different categories at Japan Amazon. The two categories are minor ones and I’ve had 4 other ebooks reach #1 at some point.

    The fun part is the same ebook* was #8 in another category at Japan Amazon. Above me, are two Harry Potter novels and one James Clavell work. Below me in the top 100 are more HP books plus ones written by Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and John Lecarre among others.

    So I’m big in Japan. Well not this big.

    *- A minor work of mine that when I could still follow how it was doing, ranked around 25th businesswise of my 31 ebooks. My records from prior to this year show it as 24th.

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  4. charontwo says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    After the Tennessee bill passed the state senate, Doug Mastriano, a state senator in Pennsylvania, declared that he too would pursue a law which would “ensure the skies over Pennsylvania are protected well into the future”.

    Mastriano, who lost what had been seen as a winnable election for governor in 2022, has discussed chemtrails publicly before. Last year, he posted a photo on Facebook of some airplane contrails, with the caption: “I have legislation to stop this. I have legislation to stop this. I took this at 4:15pm Monday in Chambersburg [PA]. Normal contrails dissolve / evaporate within 30-90 seconds.”

    snip

    That would be a victory for Monty Fritts, a legislator who has championed the bill in the house, in what is gearing up to be a big month for the Republican.

    Fritts introduced a resolution earlier this year calling for Tennesseeans to “join in a 30-day season of prayer and intermittent fasting” in July “to seek God’s hand of mercy healing on Tennessee”.

    That motion passed the house on 5 March, and could be adopted around the same time as the chemtrails legislation.

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  5. charontwo says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Very Trumpy, Musk really is a Trump emulator, complete with Trumpy fanboiz.

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  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    That doesn’t really avoid the question, though — what is the best tactic to eventually undo the injustice?

    People who are comfortable don’t change; they change when something makes them uncomfortable enough that they have to change to eliminate the cause of the discomfort. Now there’s lots of ways to make people uncomfortable: pity, fear of losing an important relationship, violence, etc. But those often require an intimate relationship with a specific person, or a willingness to endure significant retaliation. In terms of low cost strategies that work on large swaths of the population, it’s hard to beat just being really annoying.

    So while opponents are right that DEI is frequently cringe and annoying, the reality is the cringe and annoying is what works. As the saying goes, “the squeaking wheel gets the grease”.

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  7. Kathy says:

    So, as promised, 3 Body Problem gripes*. Contains spoilers.

    Mostly it’s the magic masquerading as science. Three stand out:

    1) The Sun amplifies radio signals. Preposterous. The Sun, like most stars, emits radio waves (it’s just a form or electromagnetic radiation, like visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, etc). It doesn’t amplify stray radio waves.

    If it did, we’d have had the Voyagers and other probes aim their antennae at the Sun, and be capable of faster data transmission.

    2) Entangled particles can’t transmit information across light years. Yes, a proton measured as being spin up in Alpha Centauri would mean its entangled counterpart on Earth would measure spin down. But the people in Alpha Centauri wouldn’t know what the Earth proton is doing. They’d need to travel to Earth and look, and at that point they don’t need superluminal coms.

    It’s a whole more complicated than that, it being quantum mechanics, but you simply can’t do it. We may have that wrong, I admit, because we don’t know how one proton “knows” to spin down if the other spins up.

    Also, entanglement isn’t permanent. Entangled particles can get disentangled, often under the slightest of stimuli.

    3) I don’t want to get into Sophons. But if you had such a thing, you could explore literally millions of stars within a century or two, and wouldn’t need an elaborate plan to invade some hapless planet very near by.

    *The Netflix adaptation only.

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  8. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So while opponents are right that DEI is frequently cringe and annoying, the reality is the cringe and annoying is what works. As the saying goes, “the squeaking wheel gets the grease”.

    Except when it gets thrown in the dump.

    To be clear, I am not arguing against peer pressure and making people uncomfortable about their bigotry*. I’m just noting that it’s clearly not always true that more nose-rubbing is more effective, either in the long run or the short, and agreeing with everyone that cringe-worthy DEI efforts can go either way in terms of net benefit.

    *I mean, I’m the one who has posted the lyrics to “It isn’t nice” multiple times in these boards.

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  9. Kathy says:

    I made the apple ice cream yesterday.

    It does taste like apples. So that one’s a success. I’m not sure I’ll do it again. It wasn’t that much work peeling, coring, and shredding the apples, but while cooking them into a kind of applesauce, I realized what the problem is: apples are better served hot.

    I cooked them with some butter, and then I added cinnamon. They smelled scrumptious. As they cooled down, they only smelled nice. So maybe a better idea is to make apple pie, or apple turnovers using puff pastry dough, and served with vanilla ice cream on the side.

    I also found frozen pineapple bits at the store. Fresh pineapple would be cheaper, no question, but peeling and dicing one is a lot of work. Plus I’d wind up with left over fruit. So, a half kilo package of pre-diced yellow fruit is far more convenient.

    I’ll try to puree it for pineapple coconut ice cream next week.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    Do me a favor and don’t ever read any of my sci fi.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Do you have any evidence that ‘cringe and annoying’ works? Because I suspect that a spoonful of sugar and a joke works better.

    Facts may work even better. See: the successful anti-littering campaign of the 60’s and 70’s, or the anti-smoking push, or the success of gay marriage, or mandatory seatbelts, or marijuana legalisation.

    In fact I think cringe and annoying has done little but spur a reaction which is now eating away at whatever gains DEI made. Focusing again on the entertainment sphere, Will and Grace and Ellen had big, positive effects, with humorous, soft-soap persuasion. Marvel’s ‘everyone’s a woman now, and all the guys are gay,’ approach crashed and burned billions of dollars.

    ‘Cringe’ is a GenZ thing, taking the place of Boomers’ and Millennials’ irony addiction. I don’t think it wears well, or travels.

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Carol Burnett taking over the Colbert show. The woman is 90.

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  13. charontwo says:

    @Kathy:

    I find interstellar travel by humans, time travel, and portals to parallel realities (universes) comparable in plausibility to the fire breathed dragons of GoT. That does not mean I can’t like Battlestar Galactica, Cowboy Bebop, Revolutionary Girl Utena or The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, though.

    I do like the assumptions to stay consistent within the story though, not just retconned in ad hoc as the plot needs.

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  14. charontwo says:

    RFK Jr.

    Now that “independent” crazy anti-vaxer RFK, Jr., has selected his equally dangerous and wealthy vice presidential running mate, we understand he’s lined up a few folks for his cabinet:

    His proposed choices, pictured from left, Michael Flynn, Secretary of Defense, RFK, Jr., anti-vaxxer Charlene Bollinger, HHS, and Roger Stone, Attorney General, fools one and all.

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  15. Kathy says:

    Guess whose stock is down 18%

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  16. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    She’s astounding. What a trouper.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    TruthSocial’s.

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  18. charontwo says:

    @CSK:

    Trump has health issues which affect his life expectancy. Considering Truth Social is only an instance of Mastodon, one of many, how much will it be worth once he kicks off?

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  19. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: What’s most amazing to me is the degree to which societies ignore that there have always been people for whom “60 [has been] the new 40” (and consequently, 90 the new 65 or so). Advances in healthcare for seniors expanded the pool, but it didn’t create the phenomenon.

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  20. CSK says:

    Trump’s April Fool’s Day prank:

    http://www.rawstory.com/trump-fundraising-2667646740/

    I wish he really were bailing.

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  21. Kathy says:

    @charontwo:

    I can like an SF show that mangles science. This one was ok. If there’s a second season and I’ve a Netflix subscription when it streams, and I remember it, I would watch it.

    Oh, there’s also the matter of using nukes to propel a spaceship. It’s totally possible, but the way they did it on the show, I think would wind up destroying the capsule.

    Meantime, I’m streaming The Diplomat. I’m very ambivalent about it, too.

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  22. CSK says:

    @charontwo:

    Let me guess…

    Nothing.

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  23. EddieInCA says:

    Truth Social Stock is crashing today. Down almost 25% today… so far.

    Consider my freude very well schadened.

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Yep. The point of the aphorism is that “if you want to get attention you need to make it known”. But the attention you get depends on how you made your needs known. Not all attention is good attention.

    On another thread I was slamming people who call themselves christians but really just use that as a cover. It is used by people who want to mistreat others and just use their supposed virtue as a shield. Of course, it’s not only phony christians that paint themselves with a thin layer of virtue in order to justify their giving vent to their worst instincts. Pick a virtue, any virtue, and people somewhere are using it to justify bad behavior.

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  25. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In fact I think cringe and annoying has done little but spur a reaction which is now eating away at whatever gains DEI made.

    The idea that bigotry against blacks, gays, trans, women etc is a reaction to some stimulus without which said hate would falter or be disempowered is much overstated.

    The main thing modern American neofascists are reacting to is their own impotence and the increased visibility and power of people they don’t like. DEI could disappear tomorrow and haters would still be using every lever of power they could obtain to enslave women with forced birth, push gays back into the closet, and put blacks back in chains. Like always.

    The cycle of progress and backlash — three steps forward, two steps back — isn’t new, isn’t ever going to stop, and is not dependent on whatever dumb acronym or buzzword hatemongers are trotting out in any given election cycle, as a thin cloak for same ole same ole. Same crap, different toilet. Much like the olds whining about ‘kids these days’ since time immemorial.

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    I realized what the problem is: apples are better served hot.

    That’s half of it. The other half is that apples taste better than apple ice cream — just as peaches taste better than peach ice cream, and strawberries taste better than strawberry ice cream, and…

    The best apple ice cream is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with hot apple compote. The best peach ice cream is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with hot peach compote. Etc. And even those aren’t as good as a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on a hot slice of apple pie or peach cobbler.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Do you have any evidence that ‘cringe and annoying’ works? Because I suspect that a spoonful of sugar and a joke works better.

    I’ll just contrast the DEI training at my last two jobs.

    The most recent was a half day run by a HR drone that had a few charts and a lot of structural racism, white privilege, racism is bad so don’t be bad, and claims that diversity makes teams stronger with nothing backing that up. The fact that the HR drone was a Black woman and the audience was almost entirely white didn’t help.

    I think if you were a white supremacist and you were designing a program to stealthily increase racial resentment, and focus grouping it, you could not do better.

    Everyone hated it, everyone treated it like a pointless thing you have to sit through. Very much a thing HR was doing to us. The only thing of value was when the angry Trumper spoke up, and got himself on HR’s radar (I asked a leading question first, trying to goad him, and it worked).

    ——

    The job before that did two days, filled with:

    – fun anecdotes about all-white-male teams overlooking things due to cultural blind spots (like the HP computers that could do facial recognition only for white people). Awkward humor that shows very direct benefits to diverse teams.

    – For teams that aren’t building public facing things, the benefits are less, but studies show they are there, but even if you don’t believe the studies there’s just basic fairness.

    – multiple presenters, one of who was a white man. Representation matters, and you absorb difficult information better when you feel like you’re represented. This was literally called out and got some chuckles. Awkward humor gets a point across.

    – reiteration that there is no “best candidate” for a role — there are many candidates who can do a job. (Also our measurements of “best” are not great, when measured against performance two years later)

    – exercises that purport to show your implicit bias

    – a very clear, frequently reiterated point that implicit bias does not make you a bad person, you just need to learn to recognize it so it doesn’t make decisions for you.

    – How to write and organize interview feedback to keep your observations grounded in the answers, behaviors and actions of the candidate. And when you have that vague feeling, that you can’t ground in those, there’s a good chance that’s implicit bias.

    – some completely wild, almost ahistorical reasons why people would have implicit bias that carefully avoid saying “you were raised racist by your racist parents in this racist country.” It’s all TV’s fault for not showing us enough non-stereotypical people of color 20 years ago.

    – phrenology and a few other bullshit race and gender “sciences” that still keep popping up. Again, awkward humor, along with some outright mockery of things pretty beyond normal.

    I don’t think it changed the minds of anyone who actually believes in phrenology, or that men were the hunters and women were the gatherers and that’s why men make better software engineers. In fact, I know it didn’t, because a man who was working there wrote a manifesto claiming that.

    But, for the reachable people, it had an effect.

    How do we know it had an effect? It was a massive company that tracked everything, and it found interview scoring for candidates from a set group of schools showed a more normal distribution, less affected by race and gender. And then hoped the same applied in other cases.

    ETA: good lord I need to learn how to streamline my thoughts.

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  28. Sleeping Dog says:
  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The Shorts will be celebrating tonight.

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  30. SenyorDave says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I still wouldn’t be surprised if it bounces back, the supply of Trump fanboys has not yet been exhausted. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has found a way to dump as much as he can without it being tracked.

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  31. CSK says:

    Hope Hicks–remember her?–is going to testify in Trump’s hush money trial.

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  32. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Maybe so, but I’m playing with a new ice cream maker, not a pie maker (if there’s such a thing). The point was making sugar free ice cream, which I’ve done, in flavors I like, which I’m getting to. Apple just struck me as an ice cream flavor to try.

    @EddieInCA:
    @Sleeping Dog:

    Good news indeed, but remember it’s not over until the fat orange guy sells.

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  33. gVOR10 says:

    @SenyorDave:

    I still wouldn’t be surprised if it (Trump Pravda stock) bounces back

    Yeah. It’s an easy way for Putin’s guys to launder a payment to their boy.

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  34. dazedandconfused says:

    @charontwo:
    Interdimensional is essential for space travel. No getting around the physics of this universe. Anything remotely close to speed of light is not only too long a commute, but a single grain of sand encountered over all those years would pack the punch of half a ton of dynamite.

    We saw the first episode of 3 Body last night and it’s already on thin ice with us. It was the decoding the alien transmission with a cereal box decoder ring…We literally cracked up laughing at what was supposed to be the most “shocking” moment of the script.

    Another sci-fi of aliens coyly messing with our heads so the writers can coyly mess with the audience’s heads? Not getting on that train again. The series has one, maybe two more episodes to correct that impression or we’re going to lose interest, I fear.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DK:

    The idea that bigotry against blacks, gays, trans, women etc is a reaction to some stimulus without which said hate would falter or be disempowered is much overstated.

    It is. Which is why I didn’t say that. It’s not a major cause, it’s just the less effective response. Or in the Marvel case cited, so ineffective it’s like it was deliberate sabotage.

    The cycle of progress and backlash — three steps forward, two steps back — isn’t new, isn’t ever going to stop,

    Yes. I know that from having been alive and paying attention. But again, there’s no excuse for doing the less effective rather than the more effective tactic. The object is to win.

    Kickboxing is not always the best approach. Sometimes a little more judo. Because although the pendulum will always swing, a wise tactician doesn’t give it an extra push, especially when they are unprepared for the swing back.

    Much like the olds whining about ‘kids these days’ since time immemorial.

    You misunderstand. I’m not criticizing the generation, just the tactic. If anything I was having a sneer at my people, the Letterman generation with our arm’s-length, unaffected, dispassionate conceits. For the record I like GenZ a lot. I have two of them, and I’ve helped in my small way to form the intellectual DNA of GenZ. We just had a visitation from a GenZ nephew and two female friends. There’s a lot of tenderness and vulnerability and kindness in them.

    Are they less tough than we Boomers? Of course they are, that’s the goal of civilization. Were Boomers as tough as the Greatest Generation? God, no, and we have that earlier generation to thank for our relative ease. I don’t look at my kids and think, “I wish you were as tough as I was.” I know what the toughness was about, I know how it evolved, I’d die happy if I knew that my kids never had to toughen them up.

    Dismissing any criticism of tactics because it comes from a different generation rather obliterates the entire notion of education. The ability to codify experience and through language pass it down through generations, is a big reason why we no longer live in caves. A good thing because phones are shit in caves.

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think if you were a white supremacist and you were designing a program to stealthily increase racial resentment, and focus grouping it, you could not do better.

    This echoes my now years-long bitch that you can do DEI in entertainment (movies, TV, books) without screaming, Look! Look! We’re doing it! And without mangling things so badly you hurt your own cause.

    Katherine and I are some of the early inventors of YA lit (yes, we are that old) and we decided on our own DEI from the start. We always had integrated casts, we featured disabled characters, we featured gay characters, and my wife in a wink wink way, and I more openly, wrote trans characters. We also wrote about racism and sexism and homophobia and scapegoating immigrants and poverty. And here’s the thing: it isn’t hard. It really isn’t. We wrote characters as well as we knew how, we were unmistakably liberal in our attitudes without preaching, we had a sense of humor, and we never looked away from the bad shit in life.

    For which we are owed no praise because we were doing the easy thing. Gone starts with 332 kids. Were they all going to be White? I’m not recruiting for Hitler youth, here. Life includes variety, it takes effort to remove it from your work.

    ETA: good lord I need to learn how to streamline my thoughts.

    Clearly I’m the wrong guy to ask for advice.

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  37. charontwo says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    No getting around the physics of this universe. Anything remotely close to speed of light is not only too long a commute, but a single grain of sand encountered over all those years would pack the punch of half a ton of dynamite.

    Which was part of my point. Also a necessary energy requirement issue.

    Interdimensional is essential for space travel.

    I’m not all that current on modern research, but has anything yet, even a subatomic particle, been moved that way? Unless it’s been demonstrated, warp drive and “jumps” and “hyperspace” etc. are in the same category as fire breathing immense airborne dragons with riders AFAIC (sorry Daenerys). I’m still planning to watch next season of “House of the Dragon” though.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @charontwo:

    There’s a kind of theoretical basis for a warp drive (hey, it turns thirty next month).

    But when you hit stuff like “negative mass,” it begins to feel more like an artifact of theory than an actual theoretical possibility.

    Remember phlogiston was speculated to have negative mass? Too bad it doesn’t exist.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Speaking of which, has Lardass come up with the very reduced bond he needs to post so his assets won’t be seized?

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  40. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Marvel’s ‘everyone’s a woman now, and all the guys are gay,’ approach crashed and burned billions of dollars.

    Has anyone managed to keep an interconnected media juggernaut like the MCU going after actors started aging out? It’s been going for 15 years.

    The only other examples I can think of are:

    – soap operas, which have a lot more content and a lot less rewatching, so it ages with the viewers

    – Doctor Who, which is loosey-goosey with continuity, and regenerates the main character every few years. (The Chibnall years were not good, but mostly writing, not Jodie Whitaker)

    – Arguably Star Wars, pre-Disney or up to early Disney, which had vast gaps between movies. A movie every two or three years, rather than three to five movies a year.

    – Star Trek, new cast every N years on a new show, with diminishing returns. (Intentionally diverse cast from day one)

    (Let’s just toss in Stargate even though it is hardly a juggernaut)

    I think you’re assigning a cause-and-effect to increased “forced” diversity when the simpler explanation is that things run their course and Disney has been desperately trying to pull more golden eggs out of that goose.

    And now they are throwing darts randomly, pulling up different properties, trying to find what will spark interest Because it is lagging. She-Hulk didn’t find an audience, but was a very faithful adaptation of a classic comic run, rather than “forced” diversity. Similarly, Ms. Marvel is one of the most popular characters created in the past 20 years.

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  41. DK says:

    @Gustopher: Diversity should be forced. Integration and representation have known and quantifiable benefits. Left to our own devices, most human-run institutions would miss out on those benefits given our habit of running towards closed loop homogeneity.

    Disney/Hollywood’s problem isn’t alleged forced diversity vis a vis race and gender. Barbie, Black Panther, Get Out, The Little Mermaid etc all made a ton of money. Because people enjoyed them as art and entertainment.

    The problem is lack of diversity vis a vis creative mindset and unique ideas — like running back to stale sequels, reboots, and endlessly recycled characters and universes over and over. It’s playing it safe with forced homogeneity artistic industries should worry about.

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  42. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Good question. I don’t know. I will tell you that it’s a colossally stupid move on his part to keep insulting the judge and the judge’s daughter in the hush money case. This is a criminal trial. If Trump’s found guilty, the judge he’s persistently attacked has the power to sentence him to the max.

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  43. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    I thought the super secret decoder spy ring was clever, in an absurdist kind of way. Having the universe turn off and on was ridiculous.

    I’ve a lot of problems with the story and the way it develops. I liked the game with the VR helmets, though that involved terrible characterization and storytelling. Pretty much I watched it to the end of the season because 1) it was easy to watch (no long boring sequences, nice visuals, likable actors), and 2) it was something to watch in the evening while eating dinner. If it turns out Netflix cancels it and never produces the 2nd season, I’ll read book spoilers in Wikipedia.

    @CSK:

    Well, if you look up colossally stupid in the dictionary, you’ll find Lardass’ picture.

    As to the bond, I think it would be in the news. On the other hand, our beloathed is as apt to either 1) wait til the last minute and try to reduce it further, or 2) be unable to come up with a bond because no one wants to risk that much.

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  44. CSK says:

    Well, Trump has lost one billion dollars today on his TruthSocial stock.

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  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think you’re assigning a cause-and-effect to increased “forced” diversity when the simpler explanation is that things run their course and Disney has been desperately trying to pull more golden eggs out of that goose.

    It’s not about what I believe, it’s about what Bob Iger and the broader executive class has concluded and is doing.

    But yes, Marvel was on its way to being played out. Ditto Star Wars and Indiana Jones and these other zombie franchises, like Jurassic Park, with DC dead in the water, and praying James Gunn can save them. But all that said, after Endgame they went hard into female characters phoning in Mary Sue characterizations. They stopped creating. I’m not suggesting a single bullet theory, it’s yes to both: worn out IP and hamfisted DEI.

    Similarly, Ms. Marvel is one of the most popular characters created in the past 20 years.

    The comics made it work, Hollywood did not. Different audiences and different stakes. Comic books don’t make a billion dollars.

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  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DK:

    The problem is lack of diversity vis a vis creative mindset and unique ideas — like running back to stale sequels, reboots, and endlessly recycled characters and universes over and over. It’s playing it safe with forced homogeneity artistic industries should worry about.

    When they take the time to do the work well, there’s much less pushback. It’s why I’ve been criticizing them and wishing they would do the work. It’s like they check the box DEI then pay hacks, all of course at the behest of studios trying to survive in wildly different circumstances. It’s all in quite a mess. Streaming only seems to work for Netflix. The cable bundle, which was a huge cash cow, is dying. And Hollywood is competing for talent against Apple and Amazon, either of which could swallow every studio at once and not even burp.

    In addition, the anti-AI provisions in the hard-fought contracts are just sandbags trying to hold back a river. A personal example, we have a very tight pitch for Gone with excellent art. . . and it is unusable now because Sora can put out a cinema-quality still in infinite detail and convincing realism. One minute we were fine in our Model T, and the next minute a Lambo blew past. True creatives across all areas will survive, maybe even profit, but god help everyone else.

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  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    Where’s the OTB Foreign Policy team? Israel just blew up the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in an Iranian embassy, in Damascus. (Unconfirmed.)

    The Middle East, where it can always get worse.

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  48. dazedandconfused says:

    @charontwo:

    Yup, no more ridiculous than Tony Stark’s suit in Infinity Wars was. Or “Infinity stones” were. The bad guys had an agenda so the plot could progress at a decent pace that one. I’ll need to see that start to happen pretty quick in 3 Body though.

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  49. Gustopher says:

    @DK:

    Diversity should be forced. Integration and representation have known and quantifiable benefits. Left to our own devices, most human-run institutions would miss out on those benefits given our habit of running towards closed loop homogeneity.

    Given where the comics are compared to the MCU in terms of diversity, there’s absolutely no need to force anything. It’s just a matter of producing things that are 10-20 years out of date rather than 40. She-Hulk: Single Green Female Lawyer was published in 2004.

    40 years might be generous. Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is a relative newcomer from 2013, but Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel comes from 1968. Monica Rambeau, the Black female Captain Marvel? 1982. The diversity might have been forced 40-60 years ago, but at this point, it’s just normal.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But all that said, after Endgame they went hard into female characters phoning in Mary Sue characterizations. They stopped creating.

    No one ever points to Doctor Strange as the beginning of the decline of the MCU. A few people complain about Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, but they ignore the simple fact that the only time you shouldn’t give a part to Tilda Swinton is when Judi Dench wants the part. Steven Strange is a complete Mary Sue — an ill-defined set of abilities that encompasses anything the plot might need.

    And nothing in the MCU was really creating. It’s largely been adaptations.

    The comics made it work, Hollywood did not. Different audiences and different stakes. Comic books don’t make a billion dollars.

    Were they trying to make a billion with She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, or were they trying to bring a new audience into the MCU, failing to recognize just how toxic the Incel fanboys were?

    If anything, I think they should have done more diversity from the beginning to keep the Incels from gathering.

    Israel just blew up the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in an Iranian embassy, in Damascus. (Unconfirmed.)

    Sure, whatever, that’s another franchise that has really run its course and is just treading water.

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  50. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Ultimately, superhero fiction begins to feel oppressively futile in the long run. No matter how heroic our protagonists, how much effort they exert, how much they sacrifice, how much they press the VFX and CGI teams to do ever more astonishing visuals, next week or next movie they’ll be back to face another bad guy or group of bad guys threatening to wreak havoc on a massive scale, which will require much heroism, effort, sacrifice, and more VFX.

    Yes, they’re fun, inspirational even (some of them), there’s action, there’s humor, there’s VFX (have I mentioned this before?), and now and then there’s even a clever story or plot twist. But there’s only so much a mainstream, non-fan audience can take.

    I won’t say what the fans who’ve read all the billions of comic book issues want, because I’ve no idea.

    One can claim life and history are as futile. You keep working, conflict and strife never seem to end in world affairs, etc. But that’s just the point: fiction is not real life; it’s supposed to be, at least in part, an escape from everyday concerns.

    Avengers Endgame was a perfectly good climax. Not an ending, because there’s no end to the superhero loop, but time to take a break and come back some time later.

    Alas, money.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: @charontwo:

    Objects cannot accelerate to the speed of light within normal spacetime; instead, the Alcubierre drive shifts space around an object so that the object would arrive at its destination more quickly than light would in normal space without breaking any physical laws.[3]

    And this isn’t magic because it’s explained in science language? All television/movie science fiction seems to hinge on being able to circumvent the immutable laws of physics as we currently understand them. For my money, I don’t see any reason for criticizing something as being “magical realism” if you’re going to call things that we know can’t happen as the universe is currently constituted “scientific.” It’s all the same suspension of disbelief to me.

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  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I’ve read MR differently than you do the few times that I’ve read this particular type of screed. I see it as “That’s not what I would have done; therefore, IT’S WRONG. But I’ve become fatigued with his All-knowing Odin act, so I pay less attention to it now. I admire your willingness to still interact with him. So many people here are better humans than I am. I really wish I was able to emulate some of you more. You and Jay in particular.

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  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: What’s most amazing to me is the degree to which societies ignore that there have always been people for whom “60 [has been] the new 40” (and consequently, 90 the new 65 or so).

    What is amazing to me is the degree to which societies ignore that there have always been people for whom “60 [is still ] the old 87” because a Carol Burnett continues to amaze us. Advances in healthcare for seniors expanded the pool, but for every Carol Burnett there are hundreds of OzarkHillbillies barely hanging on because they can’t possibly afford the options a Carol Burnett has available to her.

    Seriously, I love Carol Burnett and I applaud her continued vitality, BUT…. most of us are on the outside looking in.

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  54. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s not magic because Dr. Alcubierre found valid solutions within the confines of relativity, or so I gather. You’ll note he hasn’t claimed to have discovered a means for FTL travel, nor are hordes of tech and aerospace firms raising capital for making Alcubierre drives.

    It probably leads nowhere, just as have other oddball valid solutions within the confines of a theory.

    But (you knew this was coming, yes?), an oddball solution to general relativity pointed to the possibility of black holes before any were observed.

    For now, the Alcubierre Drive has featured in a few science fiction stories. This is probably the extent of its real world applications.

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  55. charontwo says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    All television/movie science fiction seems to hinge on being able to circumvent the immutable laws of physics as we currently understand them.

    All? And books, SF magazines? As long as you stay within the Solar System, perhaps even stay on Earth you can do scientifically plausible SF.

    Some of Margaret Atwood’s stuff, “Oryx and Crake” for example, are beyond current technology but do not inherently violate natural law as currently understood.

    Back in my much younger days, subscribing to magazines like Galaxy and Astounding (later Analog), they would carry a fair bit of actually plausible stories.

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  56. Kathy says:

    @charontwo:

    Much of Clarke’s novels are almost entirely realistic scientifically. Many do involve things that are plausible but unknown or untried (ie space elevators, human cloning, sub-luminal interstellar travel, hibernation, murderous AI), and of course he glosses over a lot of technical details.

    He does resort to magic now and then. The monolith in 2001, the drive in Rendezvous with Rama and its sequels (not terrible, as sequels chock-full of nasty characters and amoral aliens go).

    He has more fantasy science in his short fiction.

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  57. CSK says:

    Trump has posted the $175 million bond.

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Me, too. I’m having the same crappy being 70 my grandfather who was a coal miner had. Then again, in July I’ll have been asthmatic for 72 years, so I should probably be glad that I still alive at all. I’ve been playing on the house’s money for abour 40 years, give or take, based on prognoses from my childhood. “Better living through chemistry” isn’t just an old DuPont chemicals ad slogan in my case.

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Breathe easy, everyone:

    Former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants have secured a $175 million bond in their New York civil fraud case, according to a court filing.

    Trump secured the bond through Knight Specialty Insurance Company.

    Take whatever comfort you can in the stock price slide today.

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  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    Ms. Marvel

    My bad, I was thinking of Captain Marvel, the film. Ms Marvel was a worthy attempt, as much of it as I saw. But it skewed young, YA, and I avoid YA. She-Hulk was unwatchable.

    I think someone should have done some research to see whether women were as into the superhero-saves-the-world thing as men. You can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it buy tickets. Women are 50% of the potential audience, they could easily have made female-led superheroes a hit. They didn’t. That’s not on the trolls.

    Steven Strange is a complete Mary Sue — an ill-defined set of abilities that encompasses anything the plot might need.

    I agree. I never liked the character. I think Marvel came to imagine that anyone in spandex was a good character. Spiderman is a great character, Strange is not. Batman (DC) is probably the best comic book character of all, Superman not so much. Fingers crossed for the Fantastic 4.

    Magic is really tricky to work with. Even hand-waving pseudo-science (my thing) is easier because rules are more easily formulated and obeyed. And let’s not even get into multiverses which are plot-cancer.

    The degree to which badly-done DEI helped to lay Disney (and others) low can be debated. But Iger was forced to surrender to DeSantis, and it’s looking like the Peltz proxy fight is no longer a sure win for Iger. It occurs to me that the lack of creativity (your point but one I agree with) and the mishandling of DEI (my point) are two sides of the same coin. Better creatives would have pulled it off. Better execs would have recognized that they were eating the seed corn. And the Mouse knows all this now, hence the back-to-quality messaging.

    I criticize them, but it’s from affection. They’ve been more than fair to us.

    In any case, it seems Disney’s future is more about sports than any other one thing, and that is opaque to me.

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