Friday’s Forum

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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. Bill says:

    Dear Wife is going to New York this afternoon to spend time with her sister. She will be back Monday afternoon.

    So I’m going to be home alone with the pussycat.

    Do I binge watch Hawaii Five-O or Murder She Wrote?

    Write?

    Play non-stop Strat-O-Matic baseball?

    I’ll be all right one way or another.

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  4. Mikey says:

    This morning Trump retweeted an article saying Twitter shut itself down to slow the spread of negative Biden news.

    His source was…The Babylon Bee, which is a satire site. He apparently is too stupid to identify satire.

    Or maybe he simply lacks the ability to understand any humor that doesn’t derive from cruelty.

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  5. sam says:

    These things are always astonishing. They put me in mind of Leonardo. He would have loved them.

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  6. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    I think it’s both. He’s stupid, and like many stupid people, he has no sense of humor except to find the suffering engendered by cruelty hilarious.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: Yes, they are truly amazing. Watching videos of them I feel a sort of peace come over me. I can only imagine what it must feel like to witness them in person.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rashid is the name of a man in a photo that was seen around the world this week. He has broad shoulders, a crinkly-eyed smile and a gray beard. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran who says he served during the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s and told staff at the Georgetown Ministry Center of Washington D.C., “I was honored and proud to serve.” He carries a cane with a bulldog head engraved on the top, which he calls Maggie.
    ……………………….
    The staff at Georgetown Ministry can’t reveal much more about Rashid or about how a veteran wound up living on the streets. They are a social service agency and must maintain his privacy.

    But we know he was sitting on the steps of a movie theater at dusk along the river in Georgetown last week when he saw a man leaving the theater and asked him for money to buy a sandwich. The stranger gave Rashid some cash, then lingered on the steps to talk.

    Rashid recognized the man: Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States, who had taken his granddaughter to see a film.

    Rashid then told Mr. Biden that he has had problems receiving a housing voucher from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The voucher could help him move off the streets to live in some kind of secure and clean housing. Joe Biden listened to Rashid, then went back inside the movie house to find a paper and pen, and reportedly wrote down the name and number of a someone he knows who might help.

    It was this image of the former vice president, handing a note of help and speaking patiently to a man who lives on the streets, that was snapped by passer-by on a cellphone and posted on social media sites. The photo captures a moment that may seem too rare these days, especially in Washington, D.C.: a small, telling, private and unscripted act of kindness.

    Joe Biden has been praised for his grace and goodness. He didn’t just give a handout to a man in need, but a hand of help, and stayed to talk. He saw Rashid not just as a homeless man, but a human being. And in a way, the photo that went around the world was recognition for Rashid, too: a man who could now use some help from the country he says he was proud to help when he was called to serve.

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  9. Mu Yixiao says:

    Remember a couple weeks ago when I was talking about the state representative that claimed HIPAA and the Fourth Amendment prevented him from asking if someone isn’t wearing a mask because of a medical condition?

    I wrote an op-ed on it.

    I walked past the business last night and noticed the sign now says “out of respect for your privacy”.

    I called a legislator on his BS and he folded. Chalk one up for the Fourth Estate. 😀

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  10. An Interested Party says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No sane person could ever picture Trump (or even most prominent Republicans) doing anything like that for anyone…

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Good on you.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: Not without having brought cameras with them to record the moment… Of them calling the cops to arrest this loser for trying to steal their hard earned dollars and then the deserved beat down the cops give him for “resisting arrest” by arguing with them.

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  13. Kathy says:

    There’s a Cleopatra movie in the works, to be directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot. There’s also a controversy about casting in the works, too. These never get resolved in any way.

    I don’t want to address the ethnicity of Cleopatra question. What I’m hoping for is a telling of the story of Cleopatra that is actually about Cleopatra rather than about Caesar, Anthony, and Octavian.

    Objectively, this is hard in a historical context, because Rome was the supreme power in the region and Egypt subordinate to it. Moreover, the interplay between Pompeii and Caesar which leads to Cleopatra’s involvement in Roman politics, and the subsequent budding civil war between Anthony and Octavian, is the period when the Roman Republic finally fell and was replaced by the Roman Empire. This was the pivotal, crucial event that shaped the development of Europe, the Middle East, and to a lesser extent central Asia, for generations.

    I’ve seen or read four tellings of the story. The one by Mike Duncan is centered on the Roman men, but that was ok because Duncan’s podcast was called The History of Rome. The movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton* tries hard, but keeps veering off. Sebastian Major tried on his podcast, Our Fake History, and succeeded well enough. Kara Cooney did the best job in her book “When Women Ruled the World,” completely relegating the Romans to the background.

    We’ll see.

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  14. Kathy says:

    I left an asterisk hanging, and lost the edit function lottery. So:

    * In one of life’s little ironies, the actor who played Caesar in the Cleopatra movie was Rex Harrison. The term “Rex” in Latin means “King,” and you may know Caesar’s real goal was to be proclaimed king of Rome.

    Yeah, that’s a tiny irony.

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  15. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Given the director, I’m betting it’ll focus on Cleopatra herself.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    There’s also a controversy about casting in the works, too.

    My sense is that this is fading. The pendulum swings. A recent article in the (NYT? WaPo?) lambasted Julie Andrews for putting on blackface by daubing ashes on her face to sing and dance with the similarly ash covered chimney sweeps. And it generated… hardly a comment. I suspect everyone reading it (and writing it, for that matter) knew it was an exercise in manufactured outrage but sensed it had a “by the numbers” feel and kinda just forgot about it. Once a fad has lost the ability to shock, and thereby generate clicks, it is on its way out. Anyone want to eat a Tide Pod?

    Casting as a racist any member of any race that plays any member of any other race and, god forbid, wears makeup to do it, is absurd. This is what actors do, just as writers write about things they have never personally experienced. Paraphrasing Issac Asimov: his characters fly around the galaxies having adventures that change the course of human history. He himself sits in a Manhattan apartment at a typewriter 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. You really don’t want him to “write what he knows”.

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  17. Northerner says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Trump would mock the guy (he’s obviously in the same loser camp as all the soldiers who died in the war). Not so sure about other conservatives — as a group they give as much to charity as liberals, at least in Canada. The problems with conservatives (at least in Canada) is they don’t mind giving as an individual but are against the government giving sufficient help (by Canadian standards — conservatives here are still almost unanimously for public health care, for welfare and public schools etc … I suppose that makes them socialists by American conservative standards).

    In any case, you’ll often see conservatives helping poor people on the street, or volunteering in half-way houses and food banks, etc. But the gov’t is a much more effective and efficient way of helping poor people than individual handouts, and they’re often against that.

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  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The casting issue is two-fold:

    1) People are saying that Cleopatra should be played by a “woman of color”–because, I’m guessing, she’s in Egypt. Which ignores the fact that she was of Greek (Macedonian) decent.

    2) Gal Gadot is a proud Israeli who sides with Israel in the conflict with Palestine. This is seen as a very bad thing by the far left.

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  19. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Caesar and Cleopatra, the version of the Shaw play with Vivien Leigh and Claude Raines is a rather overlooked favourite of mine.

    (What is the controversy about casting? Using an Israeli actress to portray a Greek queen?)

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  20. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    The objection to Gadot is that she’s white.

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  21. Kylopod says:

    We need to stop pretending that Twitter mobs are evidence of a massive public backlash.

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  22. SenyorDave says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Gal Gadot is a proud Israeli who sides with Israel in the conflict with Palestine. This is seen as a very bad thing by the far left.

    The far left? Israel has a government that no longer even pays lip service to the idea of a peace process. if Netanyahu had his way he would annex the whole West Bank and tell the Palestinians they have 24 hours to get out otherwise they’d be shot down in the streets. I’m Jewish, not far left, and I don’t support the current Israeli government.

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  23. Northerner says:

    @Kylopod:

    What percentage of the population posts on Twitter? Or reads it for political issues (as opposed to seeing what their favorite musician or athlete had for breakfast)?

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  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: You could mix it up–some binging (not a thing that I can do although I’ve watched as many at 3 Power Puff Girls cartoons in a sitting), some baseball, some writing. Don’t forget to play with the cat, though. Cats are not quite as low maintenance as they pretend to be.

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  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: I can’t eliminate senility. I have a friend who’s a couple of years younger than Trump who believes that The Borowitz Report is really a news site.

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  26. Jen says:

    For anyone monitoring the Iowa Senate race, this is something else.

    I suppose not everyone has sat through the noon crop report numbers, but for those of us who have, this could well be a tipping point for Earnst.

    Her response.
    Greenfield’s answer on a similar question about corn.

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  27. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    Well, that could be an aspect of the film, and an interesting one; how the “white”-ish minority of Hellenes in general and the Ptolemaic family in particular both dominated and adapted to Egypt.
    If memory serves, Cleopatra VII was one of the few Ptolemaics who was known to speak Egyptian; many only spoke Koine Greek.

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  28. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    1) People are saying that Cleopatra should be played by a “woman of color”–because, I’m guessing, she’s in Egypt. Which ignores the fact that she was of Greek (Macedonian) decent.

    Would that it were that simple.

    Overall mobility wasn’t as restricted in ancient times as people think. there was plenty of commerce, and many had a chance to travel,a s it were, as part of armies engaged in war.

    Cleopatra was of Macedonian ancestry, yes, but her family had ruled in Egypt for about 250 years. There was much inbreeding in that line, but there may have been admixtures of local genes as well.

    Also, ethnicity is not that clear, especially in regards to Egypt. And the Egyptians didn’t help by painting people yellow and red.

    As to the story, I’d concentrate on the earlier, less known parts, especially as to how Cleopatra came to be embroiled in civil war with her brother/husband Ptolemy, and end the movie shortly after Caesar shows up.

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  29. Kylopod says:

    @SenyorDave: I decided to look up what Gal Gadot has actually said on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and all I came up with was this: (1) In 2014 during the Gaza crisis she sent “love and prayers” toward Israeli soldiers (2) In 2019 she criticized Netanyahu for saying Israel was only a state for Jews.

    That’s…pretty much it.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Also, ethnicity is not that clear, especially in regards to Egypt.

    And the notion that Ashkenazi Jews are “white” is a relatively recent concept.

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  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    She was also in the Israeli army for 2 years.

    (Which, of course was mandatory service–not that the kids complaining about her service would understand that.)

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  32. Kylopod says:

    @Northerner:

    What percentage of the population posts on Twitter? Or reads it for political issues (as opposed to seeing what their favorite musician or athlete had for breakfast)?

    I’d surmise the percentage is pretty low–like in the territory of 0.002% or something–but I’d be happy to see actual research on this. In any case, Twitter does have a tendency to amplify the most obnoxious people, and therefore it tends to make fringe, extremist views seem far more common than they are in the general populace. Whenever I hear “But people on Twitter are saying….!”–my response is: Show me some polls. Show me some actual notable people saying it. Outside of those two metrics, I really don’t think it’s worth paying attention to.

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  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Sorry. I wasn’t clear.

    It’s almost certain that Cleopatra was of “mixed blood”. And Egypt has always been a hub of travel and mixing ethnicities.

    From what I’ve seen when SJWs call for a “person of color”, they’re speaking about someone who is clearly black, Arab, Asian, etc.

    Here’s a few examples:

    “Which Hollywood dumb-ass thought it would be a good idea to cast an Israeli actress as Cleopatra (a very bland looking one) instead of a stunning Arab actress like Nadine Njeim?” journalist Sameera Khan tweeted Sunday, adding, “Shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles… smh.”

    Others, who believe Cleopatra to have been Black, accused the film of “another attempt to white wash a historical figure” and Gadot of denying “important roles to women of color.”

    “Ummm… you’re not Egyptian though? Why would you accept a role that may offend others? … It’s very selfish of you and I’d rethink the role,” tweeted one user.

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  34. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: About the only work of art that I know goes into the fight between Cleopatra and Ptolemy is Handel’s opera “Julius Caesar in Egypt”. Get the Glynebourne production–it’s a hoot. Aside from great singing, sets, and costumes, the guy who plays Ptolemy is a perfect villain. You start cringing every time he shows up on stage.

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Gal Gadot is a proud Israeli who sides with Israel in the conflict with Palestine. This is seen as a very bad thing by the far left.

    My impression is this is limited to a tiny number of out-there professional whiners who get outraged about everything (I’m specifically talking about Gal Gadot and not the Palestinian issue in general). My daughter, who is fairly into the whole cancel / thought police thing, has a limited edition Wonder Woman poster on her wall and talks about Gadot being in the next movie as purely a film thing.

    Maybe Egyptians will be pissed that an Israeli is playing Cleo but I’m not sure that registers with the American thought police. Asian in western movies are cast with complete and total disregard to near-Shoah level ethnic histories and the thought police never bat an eye. Even “Crazy Rich Asians” limited non-Chinese characters to little more than non-speaking bodyguards for the Chinese and everyone at the Oscars was all about how wonderful it was because inclusion.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I may be mis-remembering but I think she was also a spokesman for the that fizzi water company that is headquartered in an illegal Israeli settlement. In general, I try not to find out too much about actors politics. Too much information about them and it breaks mimeses every time I see them onscreen. Tom Cruise is un-watchable and he’s actually a fairly competent actor.

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  37. MarkedMan says:

    And don’t forget that a significant number of the most extreme positions on Twitter are primarily motivated by getting those clicks and controversy sells, baby. Am I going to get more attention on this site if I state that I think Nancy Pelosi took a well-considered position with respect to the stimulus bill, or that Joe Biden should withdraw from the race right this moment because a woman has accused him of rape and it hasn’t gone through the court system yet?

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  38. Jen says:

    Hahahaha.

    Judge Reggie Walton (District Court, Washington DC) had a FOIA hearing today, regarding BuzzFeed’s requests for documents. At issue is the President tweeting about declassifying documents. Government lawyers were basically there to say, “LOL, nah, he was just tweeting that doesn’t mean he intended to declassify that stuff” (paraphrasing here, obvs.)

    Judge Walton was having none of that.

    This is funny. And serious. But yeah, someone might yet get his Twitter taken away.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Isn’t this typical of Trump? Other people always have to clean up his messes. Or he blurts out whatever goes through his mind in any given moment, then blithely denies it or contradicts himself five minutes later.

    Remember the day in the 2016 campaign when he changed his position on abortion three times during the period after lunch and before the start of the cocktail hour?

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  40. Mikey says:

    @CSK: And of course there are his recent numerous flip-flops on a COVID relief/stimulus.

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  41. Mikey says:

    @JasonLeopold
    HISTORIC day. Govt attorneys can’t just say Trump’s tweets are meaningless and we should not take his orders seriously as they have been doing for 3+ years.

    Now, govt attorneys must find out directly from the president what his intent was and file it with the court.

    This assumes Trump actually knows what his intent was, which is a pretty big ask in its own right.

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Northerner:

    In any case, you’ll often see conservatives helping poor people on the street, or volunteering in half-way houses and food banks, etc. But the gov’t is a much more effective and efficient way of helping poor people than individual handouts, and they’re often against that.

    This.

    I have sometimes used the following analogy, to describe this blind spot in conservative thinking:

    The study of how humans think and behave in isolation is called “psychology”, and you can learn a lot about people that way. But there are emergent properties of how humans interact that you can’t get from psychology — in modern usage, that’s the province of what we call “(micro)economics”*. And you can learn a whole lot more by adding economics on top of psychology, and make better predictions, and thus better policy.

    But even microeconomics, which is really about 1-on-1 transactions (even when thinking about markets) doesn’t get you everything. There are further emergent behaviors when people interact in large groups. That’s where sociology comes in — it’s the study of the emergent behaviors of large groups of people, building (ideally) on the underlying psychology and economics. Understanding sociology lets you make even better predictions (and thus better policy).

    Republicans stop at economics — their individualist tendencies balk at treating emergent social processes as legitimate things, and their moralist approach to policy refuses to consider outcomes at the societal level as more important than morality at the individual/interaction level. Treating government as a policy tool to accomplish societal goals, rather than as a means to reduce societal processes to individual interactions, provokes a visceral aversion in them.

    In the physical sciences, this would be equivalent to believing firmly in physics and chemistry, but dismissing biology (and ecology, and…) (Hmmm… a pattern emerges.)

    *Microeconomics was originally about buying and selling, but has been generalized to all kinds of interactions involving exchange of value and contracts. There are a zillion papers every year on “marriage markets”, which are not about The Bachelorette. Macroeconomics ought to be about the large-group version of this, but has gone down a political ferret hole over time.

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  43. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Republicans stop at economics

    (No edit button.) This was a Freudian slip — I should have said conservatives stop at economics… It occurs to me that this also informs why conservative economists can’t do macroeconomics without turning it into apologetics for conservative policies.

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  44. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    There was apparently a minor uproar when Elizabeth Taylor, a convert to Judaism, played Cleopatra, and the film was banned in Egypt.

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  45. Bill says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The casting issue is two-fold:

    1) People are saying that Cleopatra should be played by a “woman of color”–because, I’m guessing, she’s in Egypt. Which ignores the fact that she was of Greek (Macedonian) decent..

    Hollywood ignoring the race of a person is hardly unknown in recent days. Take for instance 2012’s Oscar winner for Best Film Argo. In it Clea Duvall played Cora Amburn-Lijek. Now compare Clea Duvall and Cora Amburn-Lijek Why did the film’s producers cast a white woman to play a woman of East Asian descent?

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  46. Bill says:

    @CSK:

    There was apparently a minor uproar when Elizabeth Taylor, a convert to Judaism, played Cleopatra, and the film was banned in Egypt.

    I don’t know if it was controversial but Barbara Streisand told the tale that she to explain the casting to some family member. The movie I’m talking about is 1968’s Funny Girl where Egyptian Omar Shariff played a jew.

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  47. Kylopod says:

    @Bill: Funny Girl was actually banned in Egypt. This was around the time of the Six Day War, and they didn’t like that the romance was between a Jewish and an Egyptian actor–never mind what their characters were supposed to be.

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  48. Kylopod says:

    I should mention that the casting of white actors to play people of color is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, even if the objections are brought to ridiculous extremes by some people.

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  49. SenyorDave says:

    @Kylopod: I was not addressing what Gal Gadot may have said, I was addressing this comment:
    Gal Gadot is a proud Israeli who sides with Israel in the conflict with Palestine. This is seen as a very bad thing by the far left.
    There are plenty of people who are not far left who have major issues with Israel’s policies, including some who post here regularly (and I would say that not many posters at OTB are far left).

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  50. Kylopod says:

    @SenyorDave:

    There are plenty of people who are not far left who have major issues with Israel’s policies

    Please show me who in this thread disputed that.

    “Siding with Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians” can mean many different things. It doesn’t automatically make one an apologist for all of the Israeli government’s actions.

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  51. Bill says:

    Another interesting casting decision of late IMHO was Rosalind Chao playing Mulan’s mother in the recent Disney film. I like Chao, been seated across the aisle from her on a airplane once, etc etc but she looks perfect for the role of Mulan’s Grandmother not her mother. Chao, best known for playing Corporal Klinger’s wife on Mash and After MASH and Keiko O’brien on Star TREK TNG and Deep Space Nine, is 63 years old. Yes and I did watch Mulan 2020.

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  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    @SenyorDave:

    There are plenty of people who are not far left who have major issues with Israel’s policies,

    And that does not negate the fact that what I referred to as the “far left” does also.

    I used that term because it seemed more polite than “social justice warriors” or “cancel culture”.

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  53. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Could be admixtures; but if I had to bet I’d guess not many.
    Aside from the whole incestuous marriages bit, the other official marriages IIRC were, one Greco-Persian, one Cyrenaic Greek, and a couple of Seleucid Greeks.

    Possibilities of queens fed up with the whole incest thing exist; but even then, most of the likely males in the court environment would have been Greeks.
    The Hellenistics weren’t necessarily racist in our terms; but they were massive snobs.

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  54. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Bill:

    Another interesting casting decision of late IMHO was Rosalind Chao playing Mulan’s mother in the recent Disney film. I like Chao, been seated across the aisle from her on a airplane once, etc etc but she looks perfect for the role of Mulan’s Grandmother not her mother.

    That would be decried as “agism”: any woman over 40 suddenly becomes “grandma”, while men in their 60s are “dad”.

    To be fair, I see a lot of situations where the casting with regards to age is questionable.

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  55. JohnSF says:

    Also, given Cleopatra’s family tree looks more like a bowl of spaghetti than a bush, she was probably extremely fortunate to have the normal number of appendages and an IQ above room temperature, never mind a reputation for beauty and intelligence.

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  56. Teve says:

    @greenhousemd

    3 different well visits today.
    All 3 refused #FluVaccine because of a new theory that COVID vaccine is being packaged and given as flu vaccine without consent.
    I was unable to persuade them that this was simply not true.
    What fresh new pediatrician hell is this? #VaccinesWork

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  57. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I don’t know if there is a detailed genealogy of Cleopatra VII or the Ptolemies. I know Arsinoe was Cleopatra’s half sister, so it wasn’t all inbreeding (probably).

    The Hellenistics weren’t necessarily racist in our terms; but they were massive snobs.

    I’ve found that among most ancient peoples in the Mediterranean basin, the term that applies is chauvinist rather than racist.

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  58. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    All 3 refused #FluVaccine because of a new theory that COVID vaccine is being packaged and given as flu vaccine without consent.

    I f***ng wish!

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  59. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Republicans stop at economics — their individualist tendencies balk at treating emergent social processes as legitimate things, and their moralist approach to policy refuses to consider outcomes at the societal level as more important than morality at the individual/interaction level.

    Margaret Thatcher:

    And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families

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  60. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF:

    Also, given Cleopatra’s family tree looks more like a bowl of spaghetti than a bush, she was probably extremely fortunate to have the normal number of appendages and an IQ above room temperature, never mind a reputation for beauty and intelligence.

    It has been disputed that she was actually beautiful, but you can be sure they’ll never cast a plain-looking actress in the role (by today’s Hollywood standards), regardless of race.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Saw one a Cambridge Ancient History volume (?) years ago, IIRC.
    Just tried some googling. Yup, spaghetti, LOL.

    Mind you good old Mithridates of Pontus put in an appearance in a couple near the top.
    IIRC the Hellenistic aristoi were quite happy knocking boots with the upper class Persians, Lydians etc; but annoyed the Romans by rather looking doen their noses at them.

    And that that aspect of things was one of the reasons why the whole Cleopatra/Caesar/Antony thing caused a stir in Rome.

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  62. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    To be fair, I see a lot of situations where the casting with regards to age is questionable.

    There was a bit of a turning point in 1998 when Six Days Seven Nights came out, and Harrison Ford was 56 and Anne Heche was 29. Come. On.

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  63. JohnSF says:

    @Kylopod:
    Well, if the busts attributed as the Cleopatra are her (quite an if, seeing as she was number 7 of the queens of that name, and likely a lot of other Cleopatras around as well among the Egyptian Greeks) and that ancient busts were quite often very true to life, I’d say striking rather than pretty, with a certain beauty granted a rather large nose.
    Not unattractive in life, at a guess.

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  64. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    You can see her depicted in coins issued under her authority when she reigned over Egypt.

    Too much has been made of her appearance. Partly this goes back to Octavian’s propaganda against Anthony when their triumvirate broke down, depicting Cleopatra s an evil, oriental temptress who had seduced both Caesar and Anthony, and led them astray from the pious path of mos maiorum.

    And then there’s both art and Hollywood, both are addicted to beauty. Given that, Octavian could have depicted Cleopatra as being uglier than Trump, and in the movies she’d still look like Liz Taylor.

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  65. Bill says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    To be fair, I see a lot of situations where the casting with regards to age is questionable.

    Since I have been watching the original Five-0, I will mention some of their casting. Note Five-O used lots of local talent and non-actors in roles for their episodes. Moe Keale, who was actually part of the show’s main cast for season 12, was an electrician in real life when Jack Lord asked him to read for a season 4 role.

    The final episode of season 8 was ‘Sentence to Steal’ and it involved a school for delinquent boys but the actors playing the boys with almost no exception all looked to be 20 or much older.

    In the season 3 episode, Trouble in mind, a young teen played a heroin addict boy of 10 or 11. The role was small but it was creepy and the actor very good in the part.

    ReplyReply
  66. Bill says:

    @Teve:

    There was a bit of a turning point in 1998 when Six Days Seven Nights came out, and Harrison Ford was 56 and Anne Heche was 29. Come. On.

    Come on to you too.

    Since we are talking early star wars cast members, I remember the film critic John Simon writing about the first SW that he expected to find out if there was ever a sequel that Darth Vader was Luke’s father and Princess Leia his mother.

    As with so many actresses, I don’t think Simon thought too much of Carrie Fisher’s appearance.

    ReplyReply
  67. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Bill:

    I’m thinking more about movies/shows where the actor playing the son is the same age (±) or older than the actress playing his mother.

    I can see having 20-somethings play teens. That’s just a matter of practicality. The rules for having minors on the set can be a real pain in the ass.

    And I have no issue with casting non-actors (as long as they can act). I mean: R Lee Emery. You can’t argue with that. (well… you could try. But he’d have you on the ground crying in under 3 seconds flat.)

    ReplyReply
  68. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Teve:

    There was a bit of a turning point in 1998 when Six Days Seven Nights came out, and Harrison Ford was 56 and Anne Heche was 29. Come. On.

    As a single man in his early 50s… I have no problem with that. Nope. None at all*. 😀

    * except a little bit of envy

    ReplyReply
  69. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’m thinking more about movies/shows where the actor playing the son is the same age (±) or older than the actress playing his mother.

    A famous example was the original Manchurian Candidate, where Angela Lansbury was just two years older than Laurence Harvey, who played her son.

    ReplyReply
  70. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Republicans stop at economics — their individualist tendencies balk at treating emergent social processes as legitimate things, and their moralist approach to policy refuses to consider outcomes at the societal level as more important than morality at the individual/interaction level. Treating government as a policy tool to accomplish societal goals, rather than as a means to reduce societal processes to individual interactions, provokes a visceral aversion in them.

    That’s a really interesting way to look at it. It makes a lot of sense to me.

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Sounds OK to me too, 😉

    ReplyReply
  72. JohnSF says:

    Now here is some good news!

    Oxford scientists develop extremely rapid diagnostic test for Covid-19

    That is what we need.
    If the UK govt. has any sense they will set up a partnership between NHS and these academics and throw a mountain of money at it (and cut the damn “privatised sourcing” vultures out of the deal except as strictly “produce or no fee” suppliers)

    Ooh, looks like similar things coming along in the US also, from the University of California.

    Good news is good!

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  73. JohnSF says:

    @Teve:

    …there is no such thing as society.

    And that right there is why Margaret Thatcher was a Tory Liberal, not a conservative.

    ReplyReply
  74. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    *applause*

    (But with my frequent quibbly caveat: this blind spot applies far more to US/UK “conservative liberals” than to European/Asian “modernising conservatives” )

    ReplyReply
  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Cleopatra as being uglier than Trump, and in the movies she’d still look like Liz Taylor.

    Oh rather The Hollywood version of ugly: a strikingly beautiful actress wearing glasses and a baggy wool sweater.

    ReplyReply
  76. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: In all fairness, I just rewatched “Miss Congeniality” and Sandra Bullock actually sold the “Plain Jane” half of the movie really well. It wasn’t just the makeup, haircut, eyebrows and clothes, but the way she walked and talked, sat and ate, and especially the way she laughed.

    There was one scene with Michael Caine in a restaurant where she had a running chain of facial reactions across her face that would have given Anthony Hopkins a run for his money, all while shoveling food into her mouth and chewing like a horse. Broad comedy, sure, but amazing craft.

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  77. MarkedMan says:
  78. inhumans99 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Miss Congeniality, now that is great comedy. I saw it in theaters and have seen it several times since. It is a fave of mine. Incredible cast.

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  79. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families

    Thank you! I was unaware of that quotation, but I could not ask for a more perfect embodiment of what I was talking about. Poe’s Law, indeed.

    ReplyReply
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  80. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF:

    And that right there is why Margaret Thatcher was a Tory Liberal, not a conservative.

    Could you unpack that for me? I’m not up on my flavors of UK politician, and this sounds to me like a quintessentially (small-c) conservative position.

    (In the interests of semi-brevity, I did not get into the conservative notion of “family” and what it does — and does not — include…)

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  81. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Or rather The Hollywood version of ugly: a strikingly beautiful actress wearing glasses and a baggy wool sweater.

    My favorite example of this is the (rather bad) 1986 movie Legal Eagles, in which Debra Winger played the plain businesslike attorney and Darryl Hannah the seductive bombshell. Winger was consistently more attractive, at least to me — whiny pouting doesn’t do it for me.

    Another extreme example is The Truth About Cats and Dogs, a Cyrano riff that depended on the premise that Janeane Garofalo was plain and unattractive. Contrasting her with Uma Thurman didn’t work at all for me.

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  82. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: I find her to be very funny and talented. She’s one of my favorite actresses and seems like she’s a decent person in real life too. I need to watch that movie again soon.

    ReplyReply
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  83. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    In all fairness, I just rewatched “Miss Congeniality” and Sandra Bullock actually sold the “Plain Jane” half of the movie really well.

    I think Charlize Theron in Monster is the best I’ve seen at this.

    (Aside: I really wish the quote/bold/italic/link buttons would show up when I’m posting… typing the codes by hand really sucks.)

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  84. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I think Charlize Theron in Monster is the best I’ve seen at this.

    That’s one of the most intense and compelling things I’ve ever seen.

    ReplyReply
  85. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: My all time prize for a beautiful woman playing plain woman goes to Cameron Diaz in “Being John Malkovich”. About twenty minutes into it I whispered to my wife “I thought Cameron Diaz was in the movie?” and she pointed at the mousy woman up on the screen and said, “That’s her”.

    ReplyReply
  86. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT: @Teve:
    Charlize Theron was superb–and I agree, an astonishing transformation of a beautiful woman into a…monster.

    ReplyReply
  87. Joe says:

    @Kylopod:

    casting of white actors to play people of color is a serious issue that needs to be addressed

    Mickey Rooney.
    I’ll just leave it a that.

    ReplyReply
  88. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: Another good one was Mariah Carey playing a social worker in Precious. If you didn’t know it was her, you wouldn’t recognize her.

    ReplyReply
  89. Mu Yixiao says:

    Hey Bill:

    A headline for you.

    ReplyReply
  90. Teve says:
  91. Kylopod says:

    @Joe:

    @Kylopod:

    casting of white actors to play people of color is a serious issue that needs to be addressed

    Mickey Rooney.
    I’ll just leave it a that.

    That actually is not what I had in mind. We’re (mostly) past the days of white actors doing racist impressions of nonwhite people, but there are still plenty of examples of white actors being cast in roles either of real people who aren’t white, or of characters who weren’t white in the works from which the films were adapted.

    ReplyReply
  92. Teve says:

    @CSK: she was a monster, but at the same time, you saw how she became like that.

    ReplyReply
  93. Teve says:

    @ddale8

    Some of Trump’s rally crowd in Ocala, Florida is chanting “lock him up” about Joe Biden.

    It’s a good thing white, no college degree is a declining demographic, because these shitty people could destroy this country.

    ReplyReply
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  94. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’ve vague memories of Sir Alec Guinness playing a retired Japanese officer in some old movie.

    ReplyReply
  95. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    I know.

    ReplyReply
  96. Teve says:

    ‘Member how Trump was going to use his big ratings to embarrass Biden ?

    @cnnbrk

    Biden’s ABC town hall had about 1 million more TV viewers than Trump’s on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. It’s a result virtually no one in the business expected.

    ReplyReply
  97. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    @CSK: she was a monster, but at the same time, you saw how she became like that.

    I subsequently read about the real woman, and it does seem that the film (while a very good film) romanticized her to some degree, trying to make her at least partially sympathetic. It’s true she was horribly abused as a kid. But the movie suggests that her first victim raped her and was going to kill her, making what she did an act of self-defense–and then she began killing her clients based on a belief they were all sexual predators. It also suggests she had standards–it shows her sparing the life of one client she had planned on killing, and tearfully apologizing to a bystander she believes she’s forced to kill as a witness. Much of this is distorted–according to what I’ve read, that rape never happened, and she even admitted it. Whatever made her that way, she was basically just a violent psychopath who happened to be a woman.

    Perhaps the most brutally realistic movie about a serial killer is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It’s hard to watch, but it’s one of the few films of its kind that doesn’t remotely romanticize the subject matter.

    One of the problems with movies featuring monstrous protagonists is that there’s a temptation on the part of the writers to give them at least some hints of redeeming qualities (for instance, the old trope about gangsters who don’t kill women or children), because if you have a protagonist who’s just plain 100% evil, it can quickly become unwatchable. And movies about serial killers almost always compromise a little for the sake of entertainment.

    ReplyReply
  98. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Sandra Bullock has great comedy chops. If you haven’t seen The Heat, do so. Melissa McCarthy is, well, Melissa McCarthy as nobody else could be, but they play off each other so well, just comedy brilliance. (YMMV)

    ReplyReply
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  99. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Well, isn’t that special?

    Don’t fading stars with stale acts going downhill resort to reviving old catchphrases?

    ReplyReply
  100. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I think Charlize Theron in Monster is the best I’ve seen at this.

    Oh gawd, that is a great movie and she is thoroughly disturbing in that part. So much so I have never watched it again and we have it in the library. I don’t know what she does with that part that makes it so, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away until it was over and have no desire to go near it again ever since. She is just terrifying.

    ReplyReply
  101. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: That’s just it. The transformation from a sympathetic character into… That. Genius, just genius.

    ReplyReply
  102. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: yeah

    A) it was a hell of a movie.
    B) I never ever want to see it again

    ReplyReply
  103. JohnSF says:
  104. JohnSF says:

    Eek! Why has my entire comment become a link?
    And why the £’@& does the edit function come and go with a whimsicality that is nonetheless unamusing?

    ReplyReply
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  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Why has my entire comment become a link?

    Well, truth be told, it’s 3 links, and the answer is, because you are just so special! 😉

    ReplyReply
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  106. flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve:
    @Kathy:
    Oh, heck no… but I know it’s so.
    Wish these idjits would just leave their kids with responsible adults and get off the island.

    I can’t tell you how many people told me during chemo, and post chemo, that if I hadn’t fallen into the trap of Big Pharma, I’d have been cured by bean sprouts/lungworm/THC/LSD/good thoughts/etc. etc. etc. …

    This month celebrates my 9 year anniversary since diagnosis Stage IV cancer, and earlier this year we celebrated 5 years post-treatment.

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  107. Teve says:

    @flat earth luddite: wow! Lucky You! Stage 4 is not usually recoverable.

    ReplyReply
  108. Teve says:

    Michael Cohen just said on MSNBC that Rudy Giuliani is “drunk all the time” LOL

    ReplyReply
  109. JohnSF says:

    @Teve: I knew there was something I liked about him!

    ReplyReply
  110. keef says:
  111. JohnSF says:

    But there’s something like a lot more about this guy.
    W. Peters, Deputy PM of New Zealand to covid denier:

    “Sorry sunshine, wrong place.”

    ReplyReply
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  112. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I can’t tell you how many people told me during chemo, and post chemo, that if I hadn’t fallen into the trap of Big Pharma, I’d have been cured by bean sprouts/lungworm/THC/LSD/good thoughts/etc. etc. etc. …

    If we could fine such people a dime for giving unsolicited, and wrong, medical advice, we’d either have no budget deficits at all, or we’d be rid of their meddling. Win-Win.

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  113. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  114. JohnSF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Well, let us pause for me to blush properly at such a compliment.
    🙂

    ReplyReply
  115. Jax says:

    @keef: Good lord, faceless internet commenter, do you EVER search outside your bubble?

    Nobody with half a brain is falling for the Hunter Biden bullshit. He isn’t running for President. Nobody cares, given how much nepotism and corruption the Trump kids are CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN. When you start caring about how corrupt the Trump kids are, maybe somebody around here will care about Hunter Biden, but I doubt it.

    ReplyReply
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  116. JohnSF says:

    @keef:
    Hey there! By an amazing coincidence I have just the quote for you:

    “Sorry sunshine, wrong place.”

    ReplyReply
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  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Flu shots make an interesting thing for me as I didn’t develop the habit of taking flu shots while I was young because I was allergic to the vaccine (or so they tell me). The only time that I’ve ever taken flu shots was while I was in Korea, where the doctor would tell me “you need to get a flu shot, go to the vaccination department before you leave” during my monthly INR test visit. Even at that, I only got two vaccinations in 8 years.

    ReplyReply
  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: Rudy or Cohen?

    ReplyReply
  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @keef: Townhall.com. Bwa ha ha ha ha. You have an amazing sense of humor! ROFLMAO!

    ReplyReply
  120. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Rudy:

    “drunk all the time”

    A character actor LOL.
    It’s not a lot; but it is something. 🙂

    How you get a rude and a reckless?
    Don’t you be so crude and feckless
    You been drinking brew for breakfast
    Rudie can’t fail (no, no)

    ………

    Now we get a rude and a reckless
    To be seen lookin’ cool an’ speckless
    And drinking brew for breakfast
    Rudie can’t fail (no, no, no)

    As for Cohen, I think he has a lot more to tell that he hasn’t.
    Or perhaps, cannot, yet.
    Depending possibly on prosecutorial conditions.
    Time will tell.

    ReplyReply
  121. Teve says:
  122. Teve says:

    71,687 new coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday.

    ReplyReply
  123. Jax says:

    @Teve: We probably won’t get stats right away on how many are from Trump Super-Spreader events and opening the schools up, but I can guarantee you I’m not surprised.

    ReplyReply
  124. Flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve: colon/liver/lymphatic. Never mind orangeade donors, I’m apparently the 1%. All of you, get your colonoscopies! Except Cracker…he’s already done his.

    ReplyReply

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