Steven L. Taylor
Monday, April 24, 2023
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Republicans ‘glorify political violence’ by embracing extreme gun culture
Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two people at an anti-racism protest, was guest of honor at Idaho Republican party fundraiser
I’m not even gonna read the article. Imagine for a second, if you can, looking at that vapid face and thinking, “My hero…”
And there you have it. The Catholic Church is against women traveling.
Yah, me thinks the church isn’t exactly a moral authority on much of anything. Which is not news to me ever since Sister Kathleen beat the religion right out of me.
Florida prosecutor investigates shots at couple lost while delivering groceries
Fuck the NRA.
I had no idea that fire breathing dragons were a part of Tom Sawyer’s world.
@OzarkHillbilly: Sometimes the headline really IS all you need to read. ☹️
@OzarkHillbilly: Ritenhouse has been milking the Wingnut Welfare system since his acquittal, and even whined that it was not as lucrative as he had been led to believe. Turned out he is not much of a draw.
@Just nutha: Yep.
@Charley in Cleveland: I know, he’s a born loser who thought he had it made after the acquittal. Guess you’re gonna have to get a real job, Kyle.
Given all the sturm und drang of the House Republicans, I am surprised that there aren’t betting pools on how soon there will be a motion to vacate the Speakership and attempt to toss McCarthy out. Also, which Congresscritter will pull the trigger.
@Scott: I have MTG in our local pool.
I’ve thought it would have happened already, but for the realization on the part of the loony caucus, that the new speaker would likely be a moderate R elected with the support of Dems. They are chained to McCarthy, as much as he is to them.
@OzarkHillbilly: so if you pull up to some address and someone starts shooting at you, can you shoot back in self defense?
His majesty Manuel Andres 0 has caught a third round of COVID.
I’m hoping third time will be the charm, but this effing trump disease tends to disappoint in that respect.
Fox News announced today that it has “agreed to part ways” with Tucker Carlson.
I was cautious about believing this, but the NY Post is a Murdoch property soooo…..
@daryl and his brother darryl:
The WaPo and the Detroit News confirm.
Stephen Novella at Neurologica claims Starship blew up successfully.
If the objective was “to obtain data,” then there was no bar for success. That is, if the rocket had performed perfectly, or had failed to clear the launch pad, you’d get “data”.
BTW, Starship did not blow up. It went off course, started flying erratically, and was then blown up either by its onboard automated systems, or by the SpaceX flight control team on the ground. This is a common, unadvertised feature of most rockets. NASA calls it a “range safety package.”
The idea is to prevent a rocket with tons and tons of volatile fuel and tons of kinetic energy from impacting a place with people and buildings (that’s also the reason US and European rockets launch over the sea). the explosion high up won’t damage anything, and the debris falling on the sea is smaller, and deprived of explosive fuel.
Link to Detroit News, for those who don’t want to give a click to the NY Post.
From the piece:
I can think of 787.5 million reasons, although I can’t say why those wouldn’t apply to other hosts in that cesspool of a “news” network.
An, um, interesting interpretation of the woes of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Without looking into the details of BBB’s bankruptcy, I would suspect its troubles are due more to the factors that other retail chain stores have faced in recent years: their difficulty competing with the increasing use of online commerce. It’s a process that’s been going on for decades (Blockbuster Video was an early example), but I assume the Covid pandemic did it no favors.
Being someone who follows what’s going on in the right-wing world, I’ve been a little surprised how few liberals are aware of the buzzword “Go Woke Go Broke.” The idea is that big corporations are destroying themselves by embracing wokeness. Usually it isn’t election denial the phrase focuses on, but rather the cultural battles over race, gender, and sexuality. Their war against Bud Light for showing a trans person in an ad is the most notable recent example. But the right has been seizing on stuff like this for years. For example, the Buzz Lightyear film last year featured a brief shot of a gay couple in the background. And the movie bombed at the box office. All the right-wing commentators gloated that it showed the public’s rejection of wokeness. The fact that the vast majority of “woke” Disney movies and shows they complain about have been commercially successful is totally ignored.
Similarly, the other day Ben Shapiro predicted that if a new Frozen movie comes out that has Elsa, well, coming out, it will be the end of Disney.
Even understanding the great harm the right is doing with their war on wokeness, I can’t help finding this pretty laughable. The reason Disney and other big corporations are making these (very anodyne) nods in the direction of greater diversity and representation for minority groups isn’t because they’re filled with progressive crusaders, it’s because they know it’s their best way to stay relevant with the masses. When conservatives say “Go Woke Go Broke,” what they’re actually doing is pointing to some of the greatest evidence that they’re losing these cultural battles, then constructing a fairy tale to convince themselves the opposite is happening.
Tucker Carlson Departs Fox News, Effective Immediately
This is pretty shocking, I’d say it brings a smile to my face but I’m sure some network will hire this klansman lite.
Apparently, just this morning Fox “News” was promo-ing Tucker Carlson’s show that was scheduled to air tonight (an interview with Vivek Ramaswamy) so his departure must have been very abrupt indeed.
This x 1,000.
Someone else claimed it had “disassembled itself.”
This makes him the first Entertainer to be fired by MSNBC, CNN, and Fox.
@Kathy: I assumed it was blown intentionally when the stage separation malfunctioned.
@Kylopod: The marketing person who headed up the Bud Light commercial is either taking or has been placed on leave. The conservative right is chalking this up as a “win,” but say they will accept nothing less than her being fired.
@daryl and his brother darryl: “Rapid unscheduled disassembly” was the phrase they used.
IMHO what happened was Elmo decided his launch pad was extra-special and didn’t need any fancy-pants nonsense like “flame diverters” and “water deluge systems” but just like with Twitter he was an idiot, and the launch blew the launch pad to bits, and chunks of concrete smashed into the engines so a lot of them didn’t fire properly or at all, which made the rocket do dopey somersaults until they had to blow the fucker up.
That does sound like the Mars God Emperor of Phobos.
The water deluge, as I recall, has more to do with absorbing sound and pressure waves which are a consequence of rocket engines firing close to the ground. I’m not sure Apollo used it, but the Shuttle definitely did.
Boy…the MAGAverse is losing it’s tiny little mind over the fish stick heir being fired.
Still no statement from him…but Fox’s stock price dropped upon the news breaking.
As much as I despise Tucker the testicle tanner, I find tying it to Dominion and election denialism…weird. Most of the Fox crew went much further than he did down that particular rabbit hole. It’s odd that he of all of them would be the fall guy for the Dominion lawsuit.
@Just Another Ex-Republican:
Here’s my entirely uninformed guess:
Management: Hey, Tuck -man, the Tuckinator, after we got bent over and given the old 787.5 billion dollar prostate exam, we’re going to be adding some controls onto your –
Management: So you’re going to insist on your right to lose us another 787.5 billion?
Management: Bye bye.
Fox can’t face this kind of publicity and financial pressure going forward without showing that they’ve put some controls in place. They’d be murdered in every new suit.
Either that or Tucker has a sixteen year-old girl chained in his basement.
@becca: How white are you?
Past his prime?
@Just Another Ex-Republican:
I suspect there is also something in the Dominion settlement that requires Fox to have some sort of control over what Tucker is/was doing and that he threatened to blow that up.
Also, Fox has to do something that OAN and the other freak shows don’t, and that’s make money. They have to keep the Boomers afraid enough, but not too afraid, so that Fox can continue to print money. If someone is going to go off and do something that hurts the money, they gotta go. I suspect Tucker was about to hurt the money.
Never ever ever hurt the money.
It’s rather rare for rockets to blow up on their own. The one big example of one that did is Challenger. A solid fuel booster breached the external fuel tank, which then leaked fuel which blew up, taking Challenger with it.
But that booster and its twin were largely unaffected. If you see video or even pictures, you can see the boosters go on their way after the fireball. They had to be blown up by the range safety officer.
A rocket that crashed into something will blow up, as the crash tears open fuel tanks. this happened when a Chinese Long March rocket went of course and impacted a village near the launch site.
It’s easier for a rocket to blow up on its own in mid flight, as Challenger did, than it is for an airplane. the last instance I can recall was the TWA 747 over two decades ago.
@Kathy: It’s not very surprising that you wait for the settlement to stick and then fire the people who got you sued, but you needed to remain friendly to you in case they got put on the witness stand. It remains to be seen if others follow, but, per MR, the rest may have accepted “remedial training.”
@Just Another Ex-Republican: I read the other day that Bartiromo and Perinne were at risk. I have no idea how accurate those reports are, but I won’t be surprised if in addition to Fucker’s a couple other heads roll as well
Yes, I know it’s million, not billion.
The heads of some commoners must be plated and presented to the board. Oldest management trick in the book: Blame it on the underlings. Tucker’s comments about hating Trump made him particularly vulnerable, especially as it becomes more and more apparent DeSantis doesn’t have the “right stuff”. FOX must prepare to support Trump.
The problem with Musk’s rocket was clear in the launch video. Second stage failed to separate. When the first stage ran out of juice it was game over. Best guess as to why no water stream barrier is they wanted a clear look at ignition and were willing to sacrifice the pad to get it. Concrete is relatively cheap.
I await results of an investigation, if any are disclosed.
In this video, around 46 minutes in, you can see the first stage go off trajectory shortly after, with lots of fuel remaining. that is, a minute or two before any reasonable stage separation.
Maybe they kept the flight going and tried to get the upper stage to separate (there are reasons for this*), and ordered the thing blown off only after it couldn’t do so. But the failure came before scheduled stage separation.
*Not least because in a similar incident with people onboard, you’d want the upper stage to fly independently to a successful mission abort with everyone still alive.
@Michael Reynolds: “Either that or Tucker has a sixteen year-old girl chained in his basement.”
I don’t see why that would be a problem. Unless he was letting her read “Heather Has Two Mommies.”
Is it wrong to hope that Fox finds a Black or Latino lunatic to replace Tucker?
I don’t want anything good to happen to Candace Owens, but it would be nice for the proponent of the Great Replacement Theory to be replaced with a Black person.
@Jen: The marketing person who headed up the Bud Light commercial is either taking or has been placed on leave.
I’m guessing she leaves the company with a very nice package. I don’t see why she would want to stay, and AB just wants the whole thing to go away.
What happens when Kid Rock decides that some other type of influencer bothers him?
Wanna bet Tucker assumed he wasn’t one of the commoners and assumed his presumed lordship would weather the storm? The man thinks very highly of himself and probably pushed back on any changes from above with “I’m your money maker, I do what I want”. He doesn’t understand he won’t have the same pull and audience if he leaves; he might be bringing crowds to FOX but without FOX’s ubiquitous presence on every public / common room TV he’ll be lucky to nab half his previous viewers. Tucker by himself cannot stand as he has, FOX will recover once they find the next new MAGA item.
It’s been pointed out that Tucker has now completed a rare trifecta of getting a show cancelled by all three major cable news networks (Crossfire on CNN, Tucker on MSNBC, and Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox).
Is such unsubstantiated BS. “Woke” makes money because that’s how basic capitalism works. You want as many customers as possible. Unless your brand relies on exclusivity to be bankable, you need to reach new markets to make $$$. The data is clear and businesses follow the money. In fact, if a company can weather the initial dip conservative tantrums bring, their profits rebound quite nicely. Because in the end, conservatives are still gonna drink Bud and go back to Disney once they’re no longer riled up. They’ll forget or give in once their friends aren’t ragging on them for caving. It’s why DeSantis is trying so hard to keep his little vendetta in the public eye; once they forget Disney=Evil, they’ll be right back to booking a vacation to Orlando to please the kids.
Ted Lasso comes in with a solid Anchorman joke:
Gotta appreciate fun headlines.
Can’t tell if that was a turn or camera movement. Nevertheless there’s many seconds after where it appears to be going straight and true….right up until it was obvious the first stage boosters were petering out. The announcers were clearly expecting first stage shutdown and separation at that time. Didn’t get it.
Rocket science trumps all!
@OzarkHillbilly: I didn’t think I needed to indicate sarcasm. My bad.
I suspect Tucker is smart enough to know the public revelation that he actually hates Trump placed his head on the block. The only question was whether or not the axe would fall.
I hear Russia Today is hiring.
I haven’t been able to see it with the sound on, but watch the telemetry box at the bottom. There’s an indicator of the rocket’s inclination, and it flips left hard around that time.
The Guardian reports Tucker was fired on orders from Prince Rupert, on account of a discrimination lawsuit by a former producer.
This was not part of the Dominion lawsuit, but a consequence of it.
@SenyorDave:Maybe Tuck will hang out in Budapest with Rod Dreher? It’s a pity though… the AmCon writers squeaked with joy everytime Fox had one of them on…
I just accidentally posted this in the “unrepresentative democracy” forum.
Also the firing was occasioned by the fact that Carlson promoted the idea that government agents were involved in fomenting Jan. 6.
And Carlson said mean things about Fox managers.
Yes and no. It depends. Most of the noise over ‘go woke, go broke’ revolves around legacy intellectual property: Tolkien, Star Wars, Marvel and Star Trek. I’ve complained many times that Disney in particular fucked up DEI by insisting on making as much noise as they could about diversity while simultaneously hiring writers who clearly could not write, or perhaps it was writers who were not allowed to write well. I don’t know.
But those legacy IPs have been hit hard and ‘woke’ is part of that because the existing fan base tends to be male and of a certain age and while they may be misogynist and varying degrees of racist, they aren’t quite dumb enough not to notice they were being fed crap. Woke is a problem that did not have to be a problem. Done with more skill and less virtue-signaling self-promotion the backlash could have been managed.
However, interestingly Disney appears not to be backing down. Which is good. And it makes sense because they need to find a way to get Marvel and SW to a new generation of fans. It’d make even more sense if they remembered that story precedes moral, not the other way around.
Amazon, OTOH, looks to be doubling down on ‘dudes with guns,’ after their epic fail with Rings of Power.
Looks like the problem was part of the launch pad base failed, and took out a bunch of the motor nozzles in the process.
I’ve read some tweets indicating that Elmo was told that blast diverter trenches etc were required to avoid this, and he overruled the engineers on account of being a genius.
I like how if you scroll down you get to see Nikki Haley cheer on the Lemmon canning by being a bigot.
@Jen: The right are demanding the marketing person’s head in protest of a campaign aimed at woke or trans. But as I understnd the story there was no campaign, just some minion as a matter of routine sent a few personalized cans and maybe a couple bucks to a modestly popular social media influencer. The right have now added Bud Light to their long, long list of barely perceptible boycotts. (IIRC they’ve been boycotting Disney for decades. How do they remember everybody they’re pissed at? Is there like a website somewhere?) Meanwhile Bud Light market share has been slipping for years and they’ve had trouble attracting younger consumers. Management is probably chortling over getting all this free publicity.
I see this as basically a tamer version of stochastic terrorism. It seems largely random what they’ll go after next, but in their search for outrage they’ll find something.
@KM: For ages, Bud Lite has sponsored pride events and is in nearly every gay bar — gays might have good taste in clothes, but not beer.
Bud has been very successful in keeping the right wing from realizing it, so they could simultaneously be “good, conservative, blue collar values” and the blue on the pride flag.
They’ve never been “woke” they’ve been playing both sides and avoiding a backlash by being just barely below the mainstream radar with the advertising to gays.
Two years ago, this would have been unnoticed. The right is getting more vigilant.
This is all crap. There is no way that increasing the diversity of any of these stories was not going to cause a massive backlash particularly from White Men. When the whole world is set up to cater to you, anything that doesn’t automatically becomes crap. The proof is in all the idiots who bitch about Star Trek and X-Men being “woke” when those stories were explicitly woke from the start.
As for Star Wars, I don’t know what to tell you. No one hates Star Wars quite like Star Wars fans. It’s absurd. Also, bad, inconsistent writing in Star Wars is a feature, not a bug*. Lucas half assed it from the beginning and it’s still prone to half assery. I know you don’t like it cause your a crank, but Filoni, Favreau, and Dallas Howard really seem to have a vision of where to go with these stories and I for one love it. Those three seem to have take Lucas’ half ass and made a whole ass out of it. JJ Abrams should be shot into space taped to Elon’s next rocket for what he did to Star Wars/Trek.
I just started re-reading “Heir to the Empire”, I haven’t read that since I was a kid. Holy crap it’s bad. Pensive Luke Skywalker drinking hot chocolate? Arguably one of the most important Star Wars books and holy crap its hot garbage. How did we survive the 90’s.
The irony is that we all know it’s a matter of when, not if, that Trump says something about Haley that’s way more sexist than what got Lemon in trouble, and then Haley just shrugs it off.
Disney’s DEI ranges from two women kissing in the background of a Buzz Lightyear movie, to the critically and commercially acclaimed Black Panther movie, to a menstruating red panda movie, to a couple of lesbian terrorists/freedom-fighters in Andor, to the allegorical sea monster movie Luca, to the beloved show The Owl House which is basically an all queer Harry Potter.
Which approach to DEI do you mean?
They range from tokenism, to heavy handed, to just telling stories from a Black, woman or gay perspective.
Disney is big. I think you’re cherry picking the things that annoy you, and not noticing the things that don’t.
Also, as a side note, I have disposable income, not Reynoldsian levels of cash, but I get by. I’m sitting in my home office looking at 4 Star Wars Black Series toys (2 Jyn Erso, one Leia, 1 Cassian Andor), two Funco Pops (Again Andor and Leia). I also have a lego Optimus Prime and two Halo Spartan Collection Kat-B320*’s (one on display, one to play with.) I also have a very expensive lightsaber, a Holocron and a She-Ra doll (Netflix She-Ra).
I think Disney, Netflix, Paramount and whoever owns the Transformers IP will be doing just fine as I buy their crap. I have more money than a lot of on-line basement dwelling bloviators and I’m happy to spend it to buy the toys I want/ed.**
* https://www.halopedia.org/Catherine-B320 I SOBBBED during her death scene.
** I wanted this so bad as a kid: https://www.actionfigure411.com/gijoe/a-real-american-hero/3-75-vehicles/u-s-s-flagg-aircraft-carrier-2362.php
Would we have had the modern Star Trek revival without JJ Abrams making those terrible, but successful movies? Star Trek needed something at that point, after Enterprise petered out.
Without those movies demonstrating that there is still money to be made, I don’t think the shows would have gotten that big of a push.
Have they? I remember the SBC ordering boycotts back in the 1990s (then discovering that more than half of their own members were ignoring them), but I can’t recall this being something broadly supported on the right. They all complained about Ellen coming out, but beyond that, I don’t think most of them were calling for aggressive action against Disney. I could be misremembering.
One thing about pre-Discovery era Star Trek that occurred to me is that it always addressed issues through allegory using alien races as a stand in for different groups — it ends up othering groups as often as not.
A “this other is not as bad or scary as you think” version of othering. The race with no gender, etc.
There were a few exceptions (DS9 directly dealt with the effects of racism in a time travel episode), but most of the diversity was through a white male lens, even with the main characters.
What would have changed if Geordi were white? Nothing.
Janeway is a white man’s idea of a strong woman. Chakotay is hysterical (the consultant they hired was a complete fraud making things up).
I want to say that the general portrayal of Sisko was a bit more authentic as time went on. Avery Brooks put a lot into his acting and delivery that could have been flat in the scripts.
I have an unfortunate and unhealthy obsession with the robots is disguise, but the fact that each piece of plastic needs to have a purpose or be hidden in both modes is just super cool. I don’t understand how people can’t be utterly enchanted by those toys.
why not both? And more? Josh Marshall points out that the emails released during the lawsuit demonstrate him trash talking management. Also, that one of the grounds cited by the talent wrangler who is currently suing them is that one Tucker Carlson created a toxic and misogynistic environment. Oh, and that management figure Tucker was trashing? He was the one who survived the purge caused by the last round of sexual harassment lawsuits against Fox.
A problem definitely, THE problem for failure of separation is yet to be determined. It was a test never intended to reach orbit and was probably not loaded to max gross weight…so it may be they had all the thrust they needed with the burners they had lit.
The one time I re-read that trilogy, I recall skipping over 90% of the Han, Luke, and Leia scenes, in favor of the Thrawn, Carrde and Jade scenes (the latter had many with Luke).
Thrawn as depicted in those books, whom I call Thrawn 1.0, is one of the best villains of all time, blind spots and all.
BTW, did you notice Capt. Pellaeon in the penultimate episode of The Mandalorian?
@Gustopher: “Would we have had the modern Star Trek revival without JJ Abrams making those terrible, but successful movies?”
Yes. Don’t know if it would have been the same, but Paramount is constantly looking for ways to refresh the Trek franchise. JJ Abrams’ films were just one more in a series of reboots, not the genesis of them.
Don’t laugh. Russia Today has already reached out to Carlson via their English language Twitter.
It is so odd to me that people get this worked up about entertainment, meaning specifically the boycott club who don’t like the fact that there are women with actual speaking parts in Star Wars* or someone nonbinary on Star Trek. Or cartoons.
Or a rainbow on a beer can.
It’s all so strange when there are actual problems in the world.
* A few years ago I re-watched the original Star Wars trilogy and could not get past the fact that there were almost no women at all (Princess Leia and Luke’s Aunt were the only two) who had speaking roles in the first film. Luke was whiny (anyone who says Grumpy Luke in TLJ is out of character is wrong) and the dialogue in the third film with the Ewoks was pretty abysmal.
And Disney totally crapped the bed by not having Finn and Poe fall in love and start making out. Gay for Pay representation sucks, but man did those two have chemistry. It shows what a coward and fraud Abrams is by going out of his way to show that they were into girls….
This is a good point. I’m much more of a Wars girl, than a Trek girl. I think the IP would have come around eventually, but your probably more right.
I’ve always been kind of annoyed with how the Founders were portrayed. Having two identities regarded as “duplicitous” has made we wary of things like that. “oooooh these people are inherently bad because they can shapeshift.” That kinda stuff bothers me.
I did! That’s one of the reasons I decided to re-read it. I was aghast. But I agree with you, Thrawn is so cool and the blind spots and weaknesses just make him cooler.
@Jen: What’s really stupid is you can’t even FIND the Bud Light with the rainbow on the beer cans, I’ve been looking all over, tried to special order, etc. We’re branding calves in a few weeks and I REALLY wanted to laugh at the cowboys when they opened the beer cooler and it’s a bunch of rainbow cans.
I bet they’d still drink it. And I bet they’ll still drink the plain cans, too. Beer’s beer, on branding day. 😛 😛
Please, please let it happen. Oh Lord hear my voice.
The problem with missing thrusters is attitude as well as thrust. The Soviet’s attempt at a heavy lifter for a lunar mission, the N-1, also had over thirty engines. The inability to keep them all fire in concert cost them four rockets and eventually the program.
Now, the first stage managed almost two minutes well enough with missing engines, but not knowing how they’re supposed to work, I can’t say what the problem was. Possibly it will turn out to be several problems.
The first sci-fi book I remember reading was The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. One of the stories is about a Martian shape-shifter, that essentially appears as a lost loved one. The Martian dies when they get caught out in public and keep shifting into different people. It struck me as an incredibly sad story. Trying to be all things to all people will destroy you.
I read quite a bit. About a book a day when not working and in pre-retirement mode I am not working much now. Mostly read sci-fi fantasy with some history and other stuff when it interests me. I totally agree with Michael that the story needs to come before the moralizing. There are way too many books that prioritize moralizing over a good story. It overwhelms the characters and plot lines. There are a lot of libertarians who like to write in this sphere so there was always books being ruined by the writer wanting to make it clear that govt in general, not any specific govt, causes all of our problems. That still exists but now I have to read the moralizing about all of the issues the left is worried about.
Some moralizing is probably good. There are still good guys and bad guys so in good books I dont know how you avoid some of that (I am not a writer) but as a reader I dont want to be bashed about the head over it. I now stop reading a good 10%-15% of books because it gets so bad then never go back to those authors.
I think someone should inform this trump of a virus the pandemic is over.
It doesn’t sound so bad. But this thing has already hit us with Delta, which was worse than all other variants combined. And the variant boosters fizzled. There’s little uptake, and many countries aren’t even importing them, much less handing them out.
Thing is there’s no guarantee subsequent variants will remain mild (relatively speaking). We’ve seen this with other diseases. Polio has been around a long, long time, but until the XX century it wasn’t really a big deal. Until it was. There’s reason to think much the same has happened with other pathogens. The flu has been around forever, and at times it turned very deadly.
We should keep in mind that until the 1930s we didn’t even know what viruses were. Subsequent developments, like the discovery of binding receptors, the development of antiviral drugs, the study of viral genomes, is much more recent.
the bottom line is we don’t really know enough about viruses to say how dangerous the trump virus is, how dangerous it can become, or even how to keep it under control.
Zahn’s subsequent Thrawn books, before the new Thrawn trilogy set in the Mickey Mouse SW universe, rather spoiled the effect of a fascinating person without any redeeming moral qualities. Thrawn 2.0, as portrayed in Outbound Flight, is a sympathetic character who has to make hard choices.
the latter ins’t bad, but it’s not Thrawn.
@Charley in Cleveland:
Did Ritenhouse ever actually start college? He has made at least three claims about attending or preparing to attend that turned out to be – ahem – not true.
Fifty years ago I rented a room in a house owned by a married couple, Joe and his wife Sunny. They warned me before I moved in that they were liable to have weekend parties and it might get rowdy. One Sunday morning at about noon I got up, walked into the living room and saw Joe with a large glass jar. He picked up a beer bottle checked it for cigarette butts and poured what little beer was left in the bottle into the large glass jar. Only then did I notice that the jar was about half full. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m collecting all the left over beer from the bottles and cans from last night in this jar. I’m going to cover it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. Then when we are flat broke and don’t have any beer money on a hot summer day we’ll have beer to drink.”
I think I went back to bed.
It wasn’t long before we were all broke on a hot summer day when Joe got that large glass jar out of the refrigerator gave it a stir and poured it out into some glasses and it was bottoms up!
This is one reason I worked in nightclubs & restaurants when I was in my 20s. Free booze! It even extended to days off, most bartenders had a network of bartender buddies at other joints, and we extended each other low/no cost drinking privileges.
I left that scene shortly before my 30th birthday, which is probably why I have a functioning liver all these years later.
I alluded to their boycotts being ineffective.
I asked rhetorically if there was a website listing them. I checked. Best I found quick was Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom (sic). I didn’t count the whole list, but there are 24 As from Adele to Axe. Walt Disney and Budweiser are listed. Not sure of the date, may be July 2019, looks like before Vladimir Puddin’ and the current Bud Light flap. Can you effectively boycott anybody if you boycott everybody?
Well, given the newfangled development of division of labor and all its consequences, an individual who boycotted everyone would wind up effectively boycotting their own life and well-being.
Well, at any rate, due to the fallout of debris affecting communities far outside the area SpaceX predicted as possible, today the FAA plucked SpaceX’s tail feathers.
Elon must obtain adult supervision before he lunches(sic) anymore rockets.
I mean, that’s all well and good for something that has nothing to say, but at that point, why bother?
What makes good science fiction work is that it takes scenarios that we would have trouble thinking about in a contemporary setting, because we’ve already made our mind up, and then presents it in a new way, at enough of a distance that we can explore it without the pre judgement.
Like anything, it can be done well or badly, but when done well it doesn’t feel heavy-handed.
But did the boycotts even exist beyond the SBC back in the ’90s? That isn’t a rhetorical question, I’m still trying to figure it out. I was checking some old articles to see whether they matched my recollection. There was definitely a backlash against Ellen after her coming out that contributed to her show’s cancellation, but I think only the SBC tried to organize an actual boycott against Disney, and that wasn’t their only reason–they objected to the company’s offering benefits to gay employees, and to the less kid-friendly films from Miramax (principally Pulp Fiction).
The broader right-wing attack on Disney seems to be a more recent phenomenon.
@CSK: In the last speech Tucker gave he spoke to Heritage. I read where the emcee told that ‘if Fox doesn’t work out’ Heritage would love having him.
And I saw the screen shot of Russia Today offering him a position.
And I thought – Heritage and Russia. Don’t that tell you something?
As much as my wallet would have benefitted from the draw of free libations I just don’t have the temperament for food and drink service. I once saw the manager of a place I frequented usher a customer out the door “I think it’s time for you to leave” was all he said as the drunken ofay son of a bitch repeatedly called him a ni99er right to his face.
Later when I saw the manager I told him “If you ever need help taking the trash out let me know”.
He just smiled and said he had it all under control. I’m sure he did.
I disagree. Mad Max Fury Road, Charlize Theron as the Imperator Furiosa. White males loved her. Seven of Nine. Ripley. Sarah Connor. Black Widow. What’s that character from Guardians. I could go on. White guys complain not about female characters per se, but female actors taking over what had previously been a male role. That’s the single biggest element of the backlash.
Why do they race-swap and gender-swap? Because they are trapped in re-land. Re-imagine, re-boot, re re re. If you write something original, guess what? No need for swapping because you did it right from the start. This is Hollywood’s timidity and failure of imagination.
Your attitude seems to be the one shared by a lot of writers/producers, and the result has been a financial loss plus – and this is important – undermining the entire DEI push because they cannot just tell a fucking story, they have to shove DEI in the faces of the audience, putting that first, character and story second or third or never.
They make it about themselves and not the story. ‘Look at me! Look at my DEI! Hey everyone, it’s a Black dwarf! Praise me!’
No, assholes, tell a fucking story.
When She-Hulk came out the backlash was not about a female Hulk because that character was canon from the comics. The backlash was that it was shit, and that the producers tried to cover up for the fact that it was shit by blaming toxic men. Shit cannot be excused by pointing at diversity, it remains shit. When it’s not shit, and in particular when it’s not gender-swapping shit, it works just fine.
You know how many of those toxic White Males object to Ripley? None. She’s a woman, she’s a badass character, and no one cares because 1) it was well done and 2) she was a female from the start.
When people 1) set out to do the right thing and then 2) do a pathetic, self-aggrandizing job of it, they are actively hurting the cause. Being right is not enough. It never has been enough. It never will be enough. This is not school, this is politics, and in politics no one GAF if you have the ‘right’ answer, because in politics, marketing, publicity, framing, all matter.
I actually have direct experience on this having now written multiple books (entire series) featuring diverse characters and receiving effectively zero backlash because I followed the simple rule of, story first. The writer has opinions, the writer has beliefs, but the writer’s job is to tell a fucking story and let political/philosophical points be made by characters and story.
And rule number two is: it’s not about the writer. The writer is not the star. The writer’s job in most cases is to be invisible. The very first thing I tell people looking to write YA or even middle grade is, do not fucking condescend. You are not their teacher, you are not their parent, you are their dancing monkey who will, nevertheless, find a way to both teach and parent. But if you condescend they will sniff it out like a zombie smelling a blood bank.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Once again, Jesus knew some things.
The UK is close to passing a digital consumer bill.
I think we’re well overdue, and it may be argued this does not go far enough. What I wonder about is this part: “Firms that are deemed to have “strategic market status” – such as tech firms Google and Apple, and online retailer Amazon – will be given strict rules on how to operate under the bill and face a fine representing up to 10% of global turnover if they breach the new regime.”
Good luck collecting on that.
@becca: You didn’t, I was just stating the obvious for the oblivious.
It was a very faithful adaptation of one of the character defining runs from the comics. It was also a comedy, like that run. The backlash was because they were pandering to a different audience rather than the angry men.
Ms. Marvel faced a lot of the same criticism and backlash.
I never bothered watching MMFR, but all the rest are cut from the same template* — a straight man’s objectified view of a woman with a traditionally male personality. Hot Tomboy, unemotional the same way men want to be unemotional. Black Widow gets an extra boost for in-universe using her sex appeal against men.
Skew that slightly, like Captain Marvel being a bit less for the male gaze, and the men start shrieking because it’s “woke”
Make She-Ra look like the 15 year old girl she’s meant to be rather than bursting out of her armored bikini, and the men start shrieking because they can’t “masturbate to a children’s cartoon.”
*: it’s Nebula or Gamora we like from Guardians, right? Mantis has a whole different set of issues.
@Jax: Beer is beer and free beer is the best beer. Ok ok… COLD free beer is the best beer but warm free beer will do in a pinch.
Having drank lukewarm free beer on the crest of the El Abra, I know that for a fact.
@Michael Reynolds: Fuck the WATB fragile white males. Haysoos F’n Chrispo. I am so dawg damned tired of hearing about them. The sooner this country ignores them all the better.
Kathy – I sincerely hope that you have seen this article:
As the article link states, it is a postmortem of the launch and subsequent explosion.
While the explosion is touted by SpaceX as a “success”, the article make clear that the choices made by Elon to save costs at the expense of safety led to the failure of the multi-billion-dollar vehicle.
8 engines failed. Likely caused by cement flinging upwards because elon decided not to put in channels to route the massive blast of the engines away from the launch area. So when the rocket rolled to separate (because it is dependent on gravity to do so, unlike how NASA does it) it was not at sufficient altitude to do so.
And the next time? Not only is the ground at the launch site trashed, but Elon chose not to put in a fire suppression system on the tower… so all that massive methane rocket fire likely toasted the gantry.
And a local community (that had no say on if Elon should launch rockets there) covered in debris.
@Michael Reynolds: “The backlash was that it was shit, and that the producers tried to cover up for the fact that it was shit by blaming toxic men. ”
Except that it wasn’t shit. It was exceptionally clever. And the rage monkeys hated it because if some chick was also a hulk, then boy hulk wasn’t hulky enough.
And then they went ahead and made the villains a bunch of incelly he-man-woman-haters types, deliberating targeting the assholes who were going to hate it no matter what.
Agreed. She-Hulk was Hot! Green looked great on her!
@Michael Reynolds: I thought She Hulk: Attorney at Law was just fine. Not fine enough to pay $X/month for Disney+, but fine. She Hulk failed as a comic book because Marvel was struggling to find new ideas, but that was in the 80s. Long before DEI was even a thing.
@Gustopher: I read She Hulk back in the day. It wasn’t anything near as clever an idea as Disney’s version.
Quite a bit of speculation that the serious erosion of the Stage 0 launch area and resulting debris took out engines, damaged plumbing, and led to assorted problems.
Commenters at Ars Technica with actual experience all seem to suggest that some combination of massive water deluge and/or flame trench can solve that problem. Also that the such solutions probably require that the FAA environmental impact work will have to be redone. With a nonzero probability that, given the proximity of the wildlife refuge, the FAA won’t approve. Ditto a nonzero probability that there is no site in the US where the current SH/SS test launches will be approved by both the environmental agencies and the Space Force range operators.
You know how many of those toxic White Males object to Ripley? None. She’s a woman, she’s a badass character, and no one cares because 1) it was well done and 2) she was a female from the start.
She’s also clearly a maternal figure, just like Linda Hamilton is in Terminator.
As someone once told me about online dating–straight guys who have 54 objectifying requirements about women are livid when a woman who is 5’11” doesn’t want to date a guy shorter than them.
Same holds for this stuff: what’s being objected to is the hint of equality, and that means women are strong without being others, hilarious as that is.
Veering off into the tall weeds, got damn dusty reading this…
Damn. Way too dusty tonight.
First of all, MMFR is amazing.
Second, nah. That might work as a criticism if ‘woke’ female characters were any different. In fact, the writers of She Hulk went hard for the notion that for a woman to be equal, a man must be diminished. This is sexist thinking. It imagines women as only being equal to diminished males.
So, in addition to ham-fistedly exacerbating backlash, a hell of a lot of presumptive wokeness is actually inadvertently sexist and even racist because the writer/producers are not, shall we say, sophisticated.
And I despair of this whole ‘whaddya gonna do, they’re always gonna ….’ I think it’s defeatist. It’s not hard to write a story that features strong female characters alongside equally strong male characters where the story takes precedence and you express ideas without condescending or peacocking. Shoving that into Marvel or SW universes is hard, but if you were writing independently? Easy peasy. I do it all the time. None of this is rocket science, unless you insist on imposing your vision on that of a previous creator.
TL;DR: Write your own fukkin stories and DEI is easy.
I had not read it, thanks.
Still, there’s much speculation. SpaceX has the telemetry, the software, and maybe they’ll recover some wreckage (not bloody likely). So I still await the investigation.
Dude, She Hulk was not good. As in unwatchable. And the objections had less to do with her than with the treatment of Bruce Banner. Marvel has created a universe and now it’s stuck with a universe, meaning that it is trapped within its own limitations. So, in universe, when you belittle Hulk you violate your own rules. This is not complicated, make a universe, live in that universe. SF/Fantasy 101.
Now, do I understand that young writers want to impose their own values on existing IP? Sure. I understand. But that’s not the job. The job is to extend a universe that was not created by young writer, but by her ancestors. If you don’t want to live within that universe, excellent, write your own stuff. If you’re taking Marvel’s money, deal with Marvel’s universe and Marvel’s fan base.
I’d be the first to agree that Disney needs to expand beyond legacy fandoms. It’s complicated, but not impossible, and again, first step would not be to hold a series of press conferences where you announce ‘fuck the legacy fans, fuck the IP, we’re doing it our way and you peasants need to tug a forelock.’
Marvel and SW are both underperforming. They’ve lost their way. I imagine they know. DEI is part of that, not all, but not none. Fandoms resisting all change is part. Corporate cowardice is part. Lousy writing is part. But mostly it’s the greed. Can we just stop Marvel for, say, 5 years to let it breathe, to let writers think and create? Hah hah hah. No. Churn it out, make the money.
@Michael Reynolds: How was the Hulk mistreated?
Jennifer Walters isn’t amazingly gifted at managing and integrating her Hulk, Bruce Banner is just amazingly bad at it. Bruce Banner being bad at being the Hulk is 45 years of comic history at this point.
Since at least Peter David’s Hulk run that started in the late 80s, Bruce Banner’s Hulk has been affected and limited by his psychological problems stemming (dissociative identity disorder, although it may have varied over the years). It’s why he has no control, and why he has no memory.
Jennifer Walters, along with most other semi-stable characters who have gotten Hulk powers have quickly integrated it, controlled it, and been if not more powerful, then more effective.
All the exercises he was having Jennifer do were mindfulness and CBT stuff to help himself deal with his trauma from his father’s abuse, because getting those problems under control helps him function (and settle on the Smart Hulk personality from his many, many distinct identities). Jennifer doesn’t have those problems, she’s just a bit freaked out, so she advances faster.
The silly comedy show did briefly mention that Bruce has other things going on that Jennifer doesn’t, but it didn’t get into the details of Bruce being abused as a child because that’s not great comedy. (You can go back to Ang Lee’s “Hulk” movie if you want to see some abuse… although that is probably not in canon, plus few people want to see that movie*)
*: Fun bit — Bruce Banner’s father in that movie is named David Banner*, just like the main character from the 1978 tv Hulk series, so you can see the movie as a sequel, where David was experimenting on his child Bruce to find a cure for his own Hulk)
@Michael Reynolds: The backlash to “diversity” in Marvel movies is happening even when characters were canonically women in the comics.
Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk…
It’s not shoehorned in. It’s in the source material.
The first bunch of movies were all about white men doing white men stuff (no woman or minority lead until Black Panther and Captain Marvel). I think *that white maleness* was a mistake because it set an expectation that Superhero movies are for boys, and certain boys didn’t want to let women into their club at that point.
It’s not that the newer stuff is forcing in diversity, it’s that the MCU started by deliberately choosing to center on white men. (And then those actors getting old and aging out, leaving them in a position where they could recast, or select other characters who are more diverse).
That weird enforced white-male viewpoint in the MCU led to backlash when it was reduced.
Just as there was a backlash when certain fans didn’t want a black woman in their Star Wars.
@Michael Reynolds: “Dude, She Hulk was not good. As in unwatchable. ”
Huh. I’d think a professional writer would understand the difference between “was not good” and “I did not like it.”
“If you’re taking Marvel’s money, deal with Marvel’s universe and Marvel’s fan base.”
Um, how do you think this show came into being? That Jessica Gao, having finished up her run on Rick and Morty, wrote and produced this show on her own, then forced Disney+ to air it? Or that Marvel commissioned her to do a completely different series, and then she took the money, hid away for a year, then returned with these episodes, leaving the streamer no choice other than to air them, hate them as they might?
I thought you’d spent the last few years learning how the Biz works, but apparently you haven’t figured out yet that producing a series is not the same a writing a novel. Every element of this series was approved by Kevin Feige who, for all intents and purposes, is Marvel. He apparently believed that this show “deals with Marvel’s universe.” And, I’d suspect, his intention was not just to pander to the portion of Marvel’s fanbase that is terrified of women, but to actually grow that fanbase to include new people.
You are, of course, as free to despise the show as I am to treasure it. But you don’t get to say that it somehow violated Marvel’s universe, since the people charged with defining Marvel’s universe embrace it.
@Gustopher: “Just as there was a backlash when certain fans didn’t want a black woman in their Star Wars.”
Or a black guy. Or an Asian woman who didn’t meet their definition of hotness.