Thursday’s Forum

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

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Phoenix turns to ice-filled body bags to treat heatstroke as US south-west bakes

    The season’s first heatwave is already baking the south-west with triple-digit temperatures as firefighters in Phoenix – America’s hottest big city – employ new tactics in hopes of saving more lives in a county that saw 645 heat-related deaths last year.

    Starting this season, the Phoenix fire department is immersing heatstroke victims in ice on the way to area hospitals. The medical technique, known as cold-water immersion, is familiar to marathon runners and military service members and has also recently been adopted by Phoenix hospitals as a go-to protocol, according to fire captain John Prato.

    No doubt Texas will pass a law banning this life saving practice.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    Some good news worth reporting:

    Baltimore Police recorded 71 homicides from January through May, a marked decrease compared to the same period last year and the second fewest homicides tallied in the first five months of a year since 1970, according to a review of police data.

    If we continue on at this rate we would finish the year with 170 homicides. Tragic, yes, but half of the rate in the 2015-2022 era, when we regularly topped 300.

    Murders are down in big cities since the pandemic surge, and they are a completely different place than the 70’s-90’s, when for example, NYC’s murder rate was 10x what it is today. But Baltimore’s recent drop is dramatic even in comparison to other cities. We’ve tried a bunch of things, a number of which I was skeptical of, but I’m hoping this is a formula rather than a statistical anomaly.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    Always worth pointing out that Trump states are among the most dangerous in the country, corresponding with the highest rates of gun ownership. For example in 2022 Memphis had a murder rate 8x higher than NYC, and Atlanta 6x. New Orleans was a terrifying 13x. There are dangerous northern cities too. Chicago has murder rate 4x that of NYC, but of course that means it is half that of Memphis and 2/3 of Atlanta. But somehow the Repubs are endlessly focused on my hometown and not the messes they’ve created in their own areas.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Balloon War has escalated.

    Activists fly K-pop USB sticks into North Korea as ‘poo balloon’ row intensifies

    The “balloon wars” between the two Koreas have intensified after activists in the South said they had sent balloons carrying anti-North Korean propaganda over the countries’ heavily armed border.

    A group of North Korean defectors called the Free North Korea Movement on Thursday said it had sent 10 large balloons filled with 200,000 leaflets critical of the regime of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, as well as US dollar bills and flash drives loaded with K-pop, according to South Korean media.

    Kim will answer by sending trump speeches.

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  5. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Kim will answer by sending trump speeches.

    No, they’ve already tried sending crap.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Giant, invasive joro spiders to spread on US east coast – but pose no huge threat

    My wife will definitely freak out over this news.

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  7. Kingdaddy says:
  8. Kathy says:

    Xtarship didn’t blow up this time.

    Xlon claims these are flights. They are tests. Impressive and interesting, but tests of the hardware. Not flights.

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  9. becca says:

    Yesterday I was talking to my neighbor and brought up the failure of the right to contraception vote failed because of republicans. Her eyes widened.
    Then she told me her son just had a vasectomy. His wife had recently had a miscarriage and she was afraid to go to hospital. Because of Republicans, she was afraid she would be prosecuted.
    My SIL already got the snip.
    These are young men in their 30s. White southern men.

    .

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @becca:
    It’s going to make it hard for Real Americans to avoid being replaced by Browns and Blacks and Rainbow People and Jews if they keep having themselves fixed.

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  11. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When I was living in Daejeon, the balloons used to bring socks to N Koreans.

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  12. Kingdaddy says:
  13. Kathy says:

    @becca:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe responsible parents will begin doing vasectomies on their newborn boys rather than circumcision. Surely insurance will cover that.

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  14. Kathy says:

    Ah, the moment when a 737 MAX contemplates the infant Starliner and realizes it is truly a Boeing.

    TL;DR Starliner is leaking helium.

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  15. Slugger says:

    Today is June 6. It is thrilling to see the pictures from Normandy of the cheering crowds and the leaders of the USA and France expressing the gratitude of the whole world to the heroes who landed on those beaches.

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  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    Israeli National Security Minister leads race riot in the Arab section of Jerusalem:

    Far-right violence, chants of ‘Death to Arabs,’ at Jerusalem Day Flag March in Old City

    More of the Netanyahu administration’s “unprecedented” measures to avoid civilian casualties, I suppose.

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    Can’t think of a clearer illustration (no subscription required) of how the Republican Party has become a haven for degenerate dirtbags living in a violent and angry fantasy world full of conspiracies. Yesterday two former police officers who were injured defending the US Capitol on January 6th visited the Pennsylvania capitol and were introduced on the floor. Enough Republican legislators booed and jeered that the Speaker had to raise her voice to be heard over them. More stood up and turned their backs.

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  18. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: “Shitty people doing shitty things.”
    RIP, Teve.

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  19. Kathy says:

    We wanted another scumbag, but Banon will do for a start

    Think of it as the body politic’s immune system ridding itself of pathogens.

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: It is thrilling to see the pictures from Normandy of the cheering crowds and the leaders of the USA and France expressing the gratitude of the whole world to the suckers and losers who landed on those beaches.

    I translated it to trump speak for anyone who is cornfused.

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  21. inhumans99 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The GOP is going to be so confused a couple years from now when they start noticing that birth rates have not noticeably gone up in areas where they have banned abortion and contraception. When they start to realize it is because so many men are getting vasectomies at a fairly early age it will seriously freak them out.

    I say this because if they try to make it harder for a man to practice safe sex that will not work at all, as it is the job of the GOP to force women to give birth, not to prevent men from getting laid without having to wear a condom but not have to worry about an unexpected bundle of joy in their life about 9 months later.

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  22. Kathy says:

    I’m buying more masks. Some real 3M N95 masks, too, uncomfortable as they are to wear. And I’ll go hunting for a flu shot this month. I had one in November, but getting another one won’t hurt.

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ron Filipkowski
    @RonFilipkowski

    Definitely not a Post fan. But I will concede they write the best headlines.

    Catholic priest claims Jesus died with an erection,
    Gets a rise out of congregation

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  24. Paul L. says:

    @Kathy:
    Remember if Hilary Clinton was President with the Obama pandemic task force and plan, Covid deaths in the US would have been under 10,000 instead of 1.3 million under Trump’s watch.

    Inflation at 9% when Biden took office.

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  25. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That’s a Hall of Famer along with “HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.”

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  26. Paul L says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Deep throat the boot.
    Dunn testilied to the J6 committee and still has not provided any video of him being called racial slurs. The J6 committee would have played it with the crappy gallows footage.
    Cheer on “Stop and Frisk” Fanone too.

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  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Really recommend these. If you remember, my company makes equipment that tests filters, and during the pandemic we developed an adapter for N95 masks (or equivalents) and tested dozens and dozens of different masks in the process. These babies were fantastic, outshining everyone else. 99.3 – 99.7% efficient (N95 guarantees 95% efficiency). And once when I had to visit a production facility at the height of COVID, they sent me three of these and paid for someone to come to my office to do a fit test. This is where you put the mask on as best as you can and then the tester sprays the area with absolutely foul smelling aerosol. Never smelled a thing as long as I had the mask on, and I had to sit, stand, talk, rotate my head back and forth etc. Then at the end he asked me to pull my mask down and he sprayed a little more and the odor made me gag, so I know it wasn’t just me not being able to smell it. That mask was working overtime.

    It is also noticeably easier to breath through than anything else I’ve ever worn. It does use the two straps, one above and one below the ear, but if you want a tight fit you gotta have that. A mask is a mask and therefore a pain, but these are better than most.

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  28. Paul L. says:

    1.3 million Covid under Convicted Felon
    der OrangeFührer und Reichskanzler Trump’s watch.
    But Putin is Trump’s der Führer und Reichskanzler. Slava Ukraini!

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  29. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Thanks!

    I found some locally and ordered them a minute ago. I also ordered another batch of KF94. Compared to the height of the trump pandemic, they’re really cheap now.

    I still wear a KF94 just about everywhere outside my home. I still have some leftover regular N95s. I save those, and the ones you recommended, for times when I have to attend some crowded event, like a wedding.

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  30. CSK says:

    Bannon has to report to prison on July 1.

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  31. Paul L. says:

    Stupid Republicans are claiming Jack Smith’s appointment as Special Council by Attorney General Merrick Garland was illegal as he was not appointed by POTUS nor confirmed by the Senate.
    The Attorney General has that power because in 1908 they created the FBI with a Memorandum.

    Just because the Assault Weapons Ban expired doesn’t mean we can’t charge people under the law.

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  32. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Sorry, Kathy, I didn’t see that you had already posted about Bannon.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    Inflation at 9% when Biden took office

    That would be Trump’s inflation, which he handed off to Biden, under whose watch it has been cut in half. Right?

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  34. Paul L. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Sorry that your epistemic closure bubble prevented you from understanding.
    Fact check: Biden again falsely claims inflation was 9% when he became president.
    Trump’s Inflation But I was told that Inflation under Biden is caused by Top 1% and Corporate greed.

    Facts First: Biden’s claim that the inflation rate was 9% when he became president is not close to true. The year-over-year inflation rate in January 2021, the month of his inauguration, was about 1.4%. The Biden-era inflation rate did peak at about 9.1% – but that peak occurred in June 2022, after Biden had been president for more than 16 months. The March 2024 inflation rate, the most recent available rate at the time Biden made these comments, was about 3.5%, up from about 3.2% the month prior.

    Justice Matters

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  35. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You really ought to know better than to argue with the bot when it’s glitching.

    At least call tech support first.

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  36. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Oh, Michael, you and your being rational.
    Don’t you know it’s the feels that count?
    *sobs* *snarls*

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  37. JohnSF says:

    @Paul L.:

    Slava Ukraini!

    WTF is it with some people and their solipsistic loonery that somehow Ukaraine’s resistance to Russian aggression is some sort of librul conspiracy?

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  38. JohnSF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Giant, invasive joro spiders

    Nope, nope, nopity nope.

    OTOH, maybe they can get the killer bees to attack the fire ants, and then have the spiders polish off the survivors.
    Then we settle with the spiders.
    Ideaz, I haz them. 😉

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  39. Kathy says:
  40. JohnSF says:

    @Slugger:
    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I saw a rather moving video of a massive auditorium of French students giving a standing ovation that went on and on to US D-Day veterans.
    Actually, not that surprising.
    I’ve been in small French towns on Bastille Day, where part of the ceremonies were couple of young children laying flowers at a plaque commemorating the American soldiers killed in the Liberation in that commune.
    Or similarly at a little British cemetery near Bayeux.
    The French don’t forget.

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  41. JohnSF says:

    Anyway, here’s the REAL news!
    USA beats Pakistan in the T-20 Super Cup.
    Bloody hell!
    If the US get to the next round and face England, that will be something.
    We’d win, obvs.
    But then again, that’s likely what Pakistan thought.
    Interesting times.

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  42. Kathy says:

    Re-taking the matter of life and technological civilizations from yesterday, I had a few thoughts.

    Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Life arose around 4.3 to 3.7 billion years ago, meaning rather early in Earth’s history. But multicellular life dates back only 600 million years. So, if anyone had visited the Earth over its history, odds are they’d have found a planet teeming with bacteria and bacilli and most likely viruses, and nothing else.

    It gets worse. It looks like in as little as a billion years, increase in the Sun’s luminosity will render Earth too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface. So at around 5.5 billion years of age, the Earth will lose all or most of its life. Around 4 billion years after that, the Sun will expand into a red giant as it exhausts the hydrogen and helium at its core. 1 to 2 billion years after that, it will lose all its outer layers and contract into a white dwarf. It will then keep on going for billions of years (estimates range from 10 to 20 billion years).

    Now assuming Earth is not wiped out by the expanding red giant Sun, it will remains in some kind of orbit around the Sun, lifeless, dry, and cold.

    So let’s give Earth an lifespan of around 15-20 billion years. Life will have existed for perhaps 5.5 to 6 billion years, and the longest a technological civilization could last is under 1 billion years. So a random visitor to Earth has a rather small chance of finding any life at all, and only a 1 in 15 to a 1 in 20 chance of finding pet-keeping bipeds who read and write.

    That’s the best case scenario. I know us, and we won’t last a billion years.

    The same odds and intervals apply to a distant alien observing the Earth with a huge interferometer (ie several telescopes working in coordinated fashion) and the most sensitive instruments, or the biggest radio telescope array. Chosen randomly in time, their chances of detecting us are small.

    So maybe there were, are, or will be many technological civilizations in the galaxy, but none near enough for us to detect in the tiny sliver of time we’ve been searching.

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  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    I suspect if we are being visited it’s by entities who are thrilled out of their gourds (or whatevers) to have encountered an industrial civilization that industrialized just a few hundred years ago. The odds of encountering industrialization are miniscule. The odds of encountering one at it’s beginning? Astronomical (of course!).

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  44. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    This.
    IMUHO the likelihood is life may be widespread, but judging by the one example we have, it may well be stuck in pre-eukaroytic or mono-celluar or etc modes.
    There is no indication that tool-using sapience was specially favoured.
    Even once you DO get tool-using and (probably) language using Hominids, they stay in “old stone age ” for more than 90% of human history.
    Even “advanced Homo sapiens” post-neolithic has around 4,000 years of subsistence agriculture versus c. 500 of rather contingent technical advance.
    Without evidence to the contrary, the historical record suggests our technological/scientific/progressive culture is a statistical oddity.

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  45. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    I’ve also been thinking about time spans lately. In particular, changes within such time. Like the Sun may have a lifespan of 20 billion years. But life, at least on Earth, may top out at 5.5 billion years. Still a very long time, but most of it has elapsed already. So…

    And I haven’t even gotten into what resources a technological civilization needs, or how long they will last. I’m pretty sure we’ll need to go looking off Earth for at least some.

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  46. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    There is no indication that tool-using sapience was specially favoured.

    That’s been on my mind a lot.

    Among the great apes, our closest genetic relatives, there are, I think, 2 species of gorillas, two of chimps, and three of orangutans. But just one of humans. We know there was one other, the Neanderthals, and possibly a thirds one, the Denisovans.

    Why? Why aren’t there two or three human species?

    Possibly because the “winner”, H. Sapiens, killed the other two off, or assimilated them through interbreeding*, or a bit of both.

    And, yes, so called anatomically modern humans spent a lot of time more as what we would call tool-making animals, than as proper humans. IMO, there was some fundamental change that left no trace in the fossil record. That is, not brain size, or overall size, or anything that leaves a mark on bone. Maybe a neurotransmitter form slightly more effective, which allowed for greater intelligence; or a slight modification in the vocal chords that allowed for real speech. Something long those lines.

    We don’t know how long we will last. We’ve been the most successful large animal ever in terms of numbers. Dinosaurs were around a long long time, but no single species grew to billions of individuals. But natural selection is about passing on genes, not intelligence. About the best argument for why natural selection may go for smarter humans, is that we wouldn’t be able to feed ourselves any more without technology.

    But this can also get dystopian. If machines, especially AI, can handle food production and distribution, and were wholly or largely self-maintaining, we could grow less intelligent over time.

    And of course, we could begin guiding our own evolution through genetic editing and selection, and give natural selection the boot. Who knows where that would lead.

    *It may be H. Sapiens was a better hunter gatherer and outcompeted the others. So they’d go extinct, but not necessarily by being murdered in large numbers. More by being pushed ut of the more fruitful areas, or finding H. Sapiens had picked areas clean by the time the others tried to hunt or gather there.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I gather this involves cricket (not the insect). So my question would be, “Did the Americans even know what sport they were playing?”

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  48. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    But, OTOH, once (if?) a tech civ emerges, assuming it’s not too late in the stellar calendar, then it has maybe a billion years more or less, to figure out the issues and deal with them.
    OK, we may not last a billion; but to assume a “late filter” for all seems a bit anthropocentric.
    I suspect tech-capable sapience may be a very, very small subset of life.

    But, OTOH, even a miniscule number of tech-civs emerging past monocellular/ocean-bound/pre-sapient/neolithic etc “early filters” should leave enough, statistically, for the Fermi Question to still be interesting.

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  49. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    I recall some years ago seeing a TV thing where English cricketers and US baseball players tried each others games.
    Hilarity ensued.
    Seems the baseball batters in cricket mode could not cope with fast bowling, but were fine with spin.
    While cricket batsmen could hammer baseball bowlers on a cricket pitch, but floundered on a baseball one.
    Baseball bowlers couldn’t do run up cricket bowling.
    And vice versa with cricket bowlers trying to bowl from stand-still.
    Funny: it seems baseball originally derived from cricket, but was adapted to smaller grounds.
    There is a UK version of baseball: “rounders”.
    Known as a sport for children and girls.
    *ducks* *runs*

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  50. Rick DeMent says:

    @JohnSF:

    Hey, the US beat Pakistan today in the T2oI cricket World Cup. A bit of a shocker.

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  51. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    My assumption is that a technological species that doesn’t grow dumb and avoids self-extermination, should never go extinct.

    With a lot of caveats: if they develop economical space travel, in order to be able to get resources from other planets,satellites, asteroids, and comets. But also to guard against stellar changes.

    The latter may not be needed. A red dwarf, or M dwarf, star burns so slowly, it won’t get too luminous or too big. So no need to fret it will boil your oceans or eat your planet. Other stars are less mindful of their planets.

    The other major caveat is said species will inevitably evolve into a different form over time. So the Fronabulaxians of a billion years hence, may not look like today’s exemplars.

    Seeing how far we’ve come in only the last three hundred years as regards science and technology, I really wonder what a technological civilization can develop in ten thousand years, never mind a billion years.

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  52. JohnSF says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    Yah,
    See above@JohnSF:
    The times they are a changin’, weird scenes inside the gold mine, and all that.

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  53. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    You can’t offend me by bashing baseball. Were it not for the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine, it would be entirely without redeeming qualities.

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  54. Joe says:

    @JohnSF: The Dutch also remember. A few years ago I got to visit the American cemetery in the south of the Netherlands. It was immaculate and well cared for. I was told that every grave had a local family that, as a matter of family heredity, watched over that grave and decorated it on appropriate days. There were three graves of Medal of Honor recipients, each of which had a gold cross. One of the graves was receiving new gold leaf when we visited. Arlington (and other similar national cemeteries) are well cared for by our government, but I am not aware that any grave in this country is under the care of any family but its own.

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  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    I started to watch The Acolyte before realizing I just DGAF. I never really loved Star Wars, it contains no ideas, just mystical mumbo jumbo and cool effects. First season of Mandalorian was OK, then it failed. Andor was excellent all the way through – and it’s the first and only time they’ve stepped outside of that stifling Skywalker story and all the Force crapola. Not to mention that same worn-out aesthetic. This new show they’re trying to expand again, it’s a prequel, but right off the bat it’s into light sabers and ill-defined mystical powers. And still apparently no one has a can of Pledge, or a light bulb. But cool prosthetics and masks.

    Andor had no Jedi, no Force, no latex masks, and the lights worked. It was really a good show. It was actually interesting. It had thoughts. It had stakes. It breathed some life into the Star Wars zombie, so naturally it’s right back to the Bobba Fett/Mando/ObiWan zone. I just can’t.

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  56. Franklin says:

    @JohnSF: I see you waited until Bill Jempty was out of town before starting this sacrilege.

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  57. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The Acolyte is absolutely abysmal and just dumb. The “plot” is dumb the characters in the story are dumb beyond belief and the fights are bad. It was absolutely painful to get through the first two episodes. This is one of those shows where you end up yelling at the TV because the characters are that fucking dumb. When they killed Carrie-Anne Moss’ character off at the start of the show I laughed so hard I lost track of what was going on. Ahsoka just had a character take a lightsaber through the chest and was totally fine but Moss dies to a small kunai to the chest.

    To be clear Sabine should be dead and so should Tal among others.

    I’ve run into people who argue straight faced that Andor was actually the worst star wars show of late. Those same people love the Acolyte..

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