Wednesday’s Forum

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


  1. DK says:

    Still thinking of Jax this morning. Prayers up.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On one occasion, prosecutors said, Santos charged $12,000 to the donor’s credit card – money that ultimately ended up in his personal account.

    And he thought he would get away with that???

    Also, this:

    Citizens for Ethics

    Republicans’ temporary speaker, Patrick McHenry, received 90 percent of his campaign cash this year from lobbyists and industries he regulates — and only $856 from small donors.

    Just another day ending in ‘Y’ for any GOP not named trump.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Olympic gymnastics champion Mary Lou Retton is “fighting for her life” in an intensive care unit, according to her daughter.

    Retton has been diagnosed with “a very rare form of pneumonia” and has been in the ICU at an undisclosed hospital for more than a week “not able to breathe on her own”, McKenna Kelley said in an Instagram story posted on Tuesday afternoon.

    “Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details,” wrote Kelley, a former gymnast at Louisiana State University. “However, I will disclose that she is not insured.”

    Not good news for her.

  4. Scott says:

    Good grief. How many adjectives can be applied to Tuberville: weak, spineless, dumb, petty…

    The complaint was to the Capitol Police.

    Tuberville says former CIA director threatened him over abortion fight

    Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville filed a formal complaint against former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden for threatening his life in a social media post over the ongoing nominations fight between the lawmaker and the Pentagon.

    On Monday, in response to a post asking if Tuberville should be removed from the Senate Armed Services Committee over his eight-month blockade of military promotions, Hayden wrote, “how about the human race?” Tuberville called the message “politically motivated violence” against him.

    In response, the 78 year old replied:

    Hayden shrugged off complaints about his comments, posting Tuesday morning that “I was surprised to wake up this morning and discover that many MAGAnuts had lost their minds over my suggestion that ‘Coach’ Tuberville not be considered a member of the human race. I stand by that view.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Singapore: Unvaccinated who recover from Covid-19 at higher risk of heart complications.

    They have a 56% higher risk of heart complications, such as heart failure, stroke and blood clots, a year after falling ill with Covid-19.

    One more reason to get the jab.


    Aaron Rogers challengers “Mr. Pfizer” Travis Kelce to a Vaccine Debate – I’ll take RFK JR & he can Take Fauci

    “Mr Pfizer said he didn’t think he’d be in a Vax war with me. This ain’t a war homie, this is just conversation. But if you wanna have some sort of duel, debate, have me on the podcast, come on the show, let’s have a conversation about it. Let’s do it like in John Wick 4, so we both have a second. I’m gonna take my man RFK JR and he can have Tony Fauci or some other Pharmacrat and we can have a conversation about it.”

    God what a f’n idiot. I’m beginning to think the Jets really dodged a bullet this year.

  6. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: All pro football players should be assumed to have CTE until proven otherwise.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Yep. Still trying to figure out what we do about the people who take medical advice from a has been ball tosser.

  8. CSK says:


    Indeed, My condolences to her continue.

  9. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Jets owner is rich because he is the grandson of one of the Johnson & Johnson founders.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The EU has issued a warning to Elon Musk over the alleged disinformation about the Hamas attack on Israel, including fake news and “repurposed old images”, on X, which was formerly known as Twitter.

    The letter arrives less than two months after sweeping new laws regulating content on social media seen in the EU came into force under the Digital Services Act.

    If Musk, the owner of X, does not comply he can face a fine of 6% of his revenues from X or a total blackout in the EU.

    Thierry Breton, the commissioner responsible for the act, wrote to Musk to urge him to ensure “a prompt, accurate, and complete response” to the request to contact Europol, the EU police enforcement agency, and “relevant law enforcement agencies” within the next 24 hours.

    Breton reminded Musk that he needed to have “proportionate and effective mitigation measures to tackle the risks to public security and civic discourse stemming from disinformation”.

    He responded to Breton on X saying: “Please list the violations you allude to on X, so that the public can see them.”

    Shorter Musk: “Piss off.”

    In a reference to the law’s requirement that platforms regulate their own content under the new laws Breton replied: “Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk.”

    Shorter Breton: “My pleasure. It’s your head in the urinal.”

  11. Jax says:

    @DK: Thanks, my friend. Hanging in there. The adrenaline and the need to be busy all the time has worn off, I can actually take a nap now! I’ve been scouring my computer for all the pictures of my Dad I can find, and so many of them bring back so many funny memories. Mom will hopefully be home tomorrow night, depending on the weather. My brother has a friend staying with him to help with a new fence we’re building, it gives me some comfort to have somebody to cook for.

    We’ve got all the hay stacked, and we’re bringing the last of the cattle home from the forest on Saturday. I suspect the people who have volunteered to ride may outnumber the cattle, but that’s ok. It will do everybody some good to be doing something in Dad’s memory.

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear that we actually have Airbnb’s here, the two local hotels are already booked up with out of town friends and family coming for the funeral. I feel so uptown knowing that we have Airbnb! 😛 I mean, who’d a thunk in a town this size?!

    I appreciate everybody here on OTB thinking of me. We really are a tiny community of our own, even though most of us don’t know each other in real life.

    Has Mu commented at all while I’ve been distracted and not paying as much attention to the comment threads in their entirety?

  12. CSK says:


    I suppose to a rabid anti-vaxxer Rogers is a fount of medical wisdom.

  13. Barry says:

    @Jax: Please accept my condolences.
    I have been there.

  14. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Aw, look who’s jealous that Travis is getting all of the attention lately…

    Seriously, I DNGAF what Aaron Rogers says, thinks (if there is any evidence of this), or does. What a tool.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    Good to hear from you and the support that you’re receiving, and to mention you still have your playful humor.

    Re: Mu, IIRC he was headed to China for a few months and didn’t anticipate being able to post.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: It’s good to “hear” your voice.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    Rogers is just jealous that Kelce is dating Taylor Swift, the best Rogers could do was being dumped by Danica Patrick.

  18. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep, agreed. I think he also got dumped by Shailene Woodley, who probably isn’t a household name but is a pretty lovely actress. He seems like a dope.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Caution: this tweet is only for those with a strong stomach and a resilient nature. Made me LMAO but could induce nightmares in others. And oh yeah, put down the coffee and swallow twice before opening.


    Hell’s bells, even his profile comes with a warning:

    Caution: This profile may include potentially sensitive content
    You’re seeing this warning because they post potentially sensitive images or language. Do you still want to view it?

  20. Scott says:

    @Jax: Jax, I’ve been out of town and off line since last Thursday and didn’t hear about your tragedy. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Along with everybody else, I will be keeping you in my thoughts.

  21. Kathy says:

    It seems uncertain when the next showing of the Never Ending Clown Show will debut in the floor of the House.

  22. Rick DeMent says:


    If Musk, the owner of X, does not comply he can face a fine of 6% of his revenues from X or a total blackout in the EU.

    Hey I have a couple of Blue sky invite codes if anyone wants one 🙂

  23. inhumans99 says:


    Your AirBNB comment made me smile, my brother has an AirBNB right near the Sugar Pine Railroad near Yosemite (the cabin might actually be in the city of Sugar Pine), about half of the few structures are AirBNBs, lol. People sure do like to visit places like Wyoming and Yosemite (he is literally 17 minutes or less from the South Gate of Yosemite National Park).

    Anyway, I bring this up because stuff like this makes me smile and is a distraction from the fact that I am still digesting (mostly digested by now, but not completely) that my father recently passed away from cancer (he was buried on August 7th). I was oddly quiet about it on this forum.

    Your post kind-of triggered some thoughts in me but I also went into overdrive sending positive vibes your way. I was born 7lb 11oz in Henderson, NV (so my parents and others simply say I was born in Vegas), considered a lucky weight, and I have been told that being a lucky baby, it can only be of benefit to have me sending good luck vibes your way.

    My mother has issues of her own and has refused to see a doc for many years, and was in a bit of denial practically up until the very end, so family and friends (and a really awesome neighbor or two) have been more frequently visiting and talking to my Mom. My brother is a Googler so he has the $$$ to visit more often, and I now call her at least 2-3 times a week vs 1 which she appreciates.

    I know I just made this post all about me (look at me!!!, lol!!!), but every update from you has been positive in my opinion, it is nice to hear about your family, friends, and neighbors coalescing to offer you support.

    A belated but genuine condolences on your loss, and yes, it is sad but also puts me in a super happy place at the same time that I look at something in my apartment that triggers memories of my father. I have the worlds most unusual extreme emotional attachment to a couple of Starbuck You Are Here Mugs, the one I picked up in Chicago when I attended Chicon (Worldcon, this years was held in China, which I did not attend, lol) with him a bit over one year back (big focus is on Science Fiction, and they happened to have a panel on Science Fiction the year he was born, very cool), and the Yosemite mug picked up when my Brother took my father and I up to his cabin and down into Yosemite valley a few months before he passed.

    Your sadness regarding your father’s loss may never go fully away, but this sadness will oftentimes be tempered by the smile that pops up on your face every time you see a picture or hold something in your hands that reminds you of the good times with your father.

    Continue to hang in there and may your day continue to be well for you and enjoy your time with family and friends.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    2023 wildlife photographer of the year winners – in pictures

    For my money, the hands down winner: Last breath of autumn by Agorastos Papatsanis, Greece.
    Winner, plants and fungi

    Agorastos Papatsanis reveals the magic of a fungus releasing its spores in the forest. Long-fascinated by fungi, Agorastos used his silver photographic umbrella to stop his camera getting wet, and covered his flash with a plastic bag. The colourful touches come from refraction of the light passing through the spore-laden air currents and rain. Parasol mushrooms release spores from the gills under their cap. Billions of tiny spores travel – usually unseen – in the air currents. Some will land where there is moisture and food, enabling them to grow networks under the forest floor. Location: Mount Olympus, Pieria, Greece
    Photograph: Agorastos Papatsanis/2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Hell’s bells

    When I click on the link I get this:
    “Hmm…this page doesn’t exist. Try searching for something else.”

    I am disappointed.

  26. Scott says:

    Just in case there are those who think the Israeli conflict is distracting from the Ukraine conflict, the Biden administration announces another $200M in arms authorized by the Presidential Drawdown Authority.

    Biden Administration Announces Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine

    The capabilities in this package, valued at up to $200 million, include:

    1. AIM-9M missiles for air defense;
    2. Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (c-UAS) equipment;
    3. Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
    4. 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
    5. Precision aerial munitions;
    6. Electronic warfare equipment;
    7. Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
    8. AT-4 anti-armor systems;
    9. Small arms and more than 16 million rounds of small arms ammunition;
    10. Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing; and
    11. Spare parts, training munitions, maintenance, and other field equipment.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    LA Times has a quiz: spot the AI script. I got them all correct without having to read any of the examples through, total time less than five minutes. It was surprisingly easy.

    AI is not capable of originality. Granted a lot of writers aren’t, either, but if AI is all that it should have been able to pass this test, should have been able to fool me at least once.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    Scalise secures GOP Speaker nomination
    House Republicans on Wednesday nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) to be the next Speaker, sending his candidacy to the House floor following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) stunning ouster last week, multiple lawmakers told The Hill.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I only got 3 of 5 but in the two I got wrong I have to admit I picked them because I considered the writing atrocious, not because it seemed AI. There was a tech one where it seemed the writer knew nothing about technology (a 3D rendering of an integrated circuit? What does that even mean? Why would it convey any information to a tech savvy person?) and there was a gay one that seemed so heavy handed and on the nose. I wanted both of those to be AI.

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    AI is not capable of originality.

    Large language models achieve their fluency because they are based on statistical models of which words tend to follow which other words in the corpus they were trained on. The generated selections are randomized, but only among the few most likely next words. That necessarily means LLMs are anything but creative, absent lots of customization. And any customization that enables surprising choices, simulating creativity, is liable to break the basic fluency.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for an LLM to produce the equivalent of Cordwainer Smith or e e cummings. (Or Lewis Carroll, for that matter.)

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland right as the Civil War was wrapping up. Will AI write anything so original, funny, appealing and unique that people 158 years from now will still think it’s original, funny, appealing and unique? Nope.

    I have to admit there’s an urge to thumb my nose and say nyah nyah nyah, you can’t do what I can do, robot.

  32. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: As a writer, I am relieved to report that I got all five correct too. (I find it disturbing that AI used the incorrect “poured over” rather than “pored over”…shouldn’t we at least be able to depend on AI using the right words?).

  33. charontwo says:

    Very long review of a documentary currently on Max:

    Just from this long review, some really shocking outrageous behavior:

    Lots of dead children in Uganda, work product of a know-it-all missionary

    Kramlich asked Bach very, very basic medical questions. Bach had no idea of the answers. She gave massive dosages of medications to children, killing them by overdose or by refeeding syndrome.

    This nurse was the first whistleblower—and the first of many people whom Bach and her mother would in turn vilify for pointing out the incredible harm their mission of aid was actually doing. One of their rationalizations was that Kramlich was only there for three months, so it isn’t “fair” for her to make these characterizations. As opposed to the more obvious and reasonable explanation that Kramlich, as she says, couldn’t be a part of what she saw in the clinic, after she realized she couldn’t put a stop to it.

    The medical community knows how to treat malnutrition. And this is the age of Google. Bach could have just gone to the WHO website. But she didn’t. She thought God was literally telling her the dosages. She behaved as if her faith made her naturally a doctor. To be clear, there were actual doctors and nurses at Bach’s clinic…but they weren’t the ones calling the shots when it came to Bach. One dedicated head nurse, Constance Alonyo, didn’t see it that way—she saw herself as the medical “boss” of Bach. But Alonyo also can’t account for how Bach came to be doing so many procedures herself. The basic fact remains: Bach set herself up as an emergency medical provider and botched care when desperate people came to her.

    Renee says she looked into the children’s eyes and saw people who were “so full of Jesus.” It’s how she apparently sees everything. And she can’t escape it. Lauri Bach, her mother and homeschooler, is fully immersed in the Kool-Aid, with an active hand in the disastrous nonprofit and contempt for anyone who challenged her daughter’s mission.

    I cannot overstate how infuriating this documentary is to watch. Bach does not understand what white supremacy is. She pretends she doesn’t know how to pronounce “colonialism,” like it’s such a distant and esoteric concept activists are just making up to victimize her.

    If she thought positioning herself in front of an HBO documentary crew was a surefire way to make people see her as she sees herself—-well, that shows just about as much judgment as all her other decisions. Instead, it simply becomes more and more horrific to look into the face of this banal monster.

    One of the main whistleblower activist groups that took up the charge against Bach—and whom Bach in turn thinks are clueless bullies, of course—is an organization called No White Saviors, which challenges the impunity and ethos of white missionaries, like Bach, who come to Africa on some kind of self-actualization power trip to, in their view, help the poor unfortunates and bring them to Jesus. “Africa is not your playground,” says the group’s social media.

    One co-founder, Kelsey Nielsen, who calls herself a “recovering White Savior,” also felt “called” by God to Uganda after high school. She knew Renee Bach, and speaks out vehemently against her. Other, active white missionaries raised alarmed about Bach’s behavior. Children were dying. It was one of their own causing those deaths. But bringing the law or even the health department to bear on Bach was shockingly difficult—well, not too shocking, when you tally up the amount of money that Bach and missionaries like her brought, and still bring, into the country. But the activists, missionaries, and lawyers pushed on, and eventually, Bach’s clinic was shut down.

    No White Saviors has its own internal messes, and their methods were sometimes reckless and at odds with each other and with the legal team in Uganda painstakingly and slowly trying to bring Bach to justice. And while the documentary details those battles and fallings-out among the activists, it doesn’t lose sight of the real villain in all this: Bach, and the ideology/fantasy she subscribed to, where her very presence was an undeniable good and the children she killed with inept treatment were blessed to be in her care. There are bigger problems than Renee Bach, the documentary makes clear, but she’s a clear flashpoint of how not to address those problems.

  34. gVOR10 says:

    @DrDaveT: Cordwainer Smith. It’s been a long time since I heard that name. Imaginative indeed.

    Brad DeLong describes Chat GPT as “stochastic parrots”.

  35. Beth says:


    I watched some of that with my partner. It’s deeply horrible and depressing. That woman should be put in one of Elon’s rockets and fired into the sun. Just malignant evil.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Does it need to be?

    Anything you didn’t know about is new to you when you first learn of it, even if it has been around for millennia.

    So, the AI bots don’t need to come up with something new and different, but rather with something obscure enough that lots of people haven’t heard about it. A human writer can then instruct tweaks and come up with a work that seems original.

  37. becca says:

    @MarkedMan: I got all five correct, but struggled over the dramedy category, too. Both excerpts were awful, but the AI was slightly less awful.

  38. Jax says:

    @inhumans99: Thank you, I’m sorry to hear about your Dad, and that your Mom isn’t doing well. I’m glad you are spending more time communicating with her.

  39. Beth says:

    Potentially stupid question time: Why doesn’t Biden call up Schumer and tell him to put the Senate in recess for a lil while and then make a whole bunch of recess appointments? That should fix some of the diplomat vacancies and at least one other (labor I think). Hell, give some recess promotions for the military and let the Republicans fuck that pig (sue to rescind the promotions).

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Via commentor Old School over at Balloon Juice, comes this Reddit link which shows the same pic. A number of folks over there had the same problem as you. Damned if I know why. Maybe Darkwing is just picky about who he allows to see his stuff. Nah, that can’t be it, he let me see it.

  41. Michael Reynolds says:


    Does it need to be?
    Anything you didn’t know about is new to you when you first learn of it, even if it has been around for millennia.

    That’s true if your consumer base is a sufficiently dim. But even undemanding consumers eventually get tired of the same old shit, however cleverly it’s packaged. See the latest Fast movie, or the Indiana Jones flop, or all of Superherodom.

    One of the big reasons Hollywood is in such a mess is that they tried extending the same old shit for too damn long. If you produce 600 scripted shows a year you guarantee that 550 are shit, there just isn’t enough talent to do 600 good shows. That was the streaming model: pump out mass quantities of content and hope some of it will stick. Unfortunately this results in consumers noticing that you mostly produce shit. See: Marvel TV or Star Wars TV. SW pumped out shit TV shows one after another, then had one good show, Andor, and it was too late, the brand had already been fatally compromised. And having to finance 550 shit shows to get 50 decent shows is a rather costly and unprofitable way to do business, as the streamers now recognize.

    What’s profitable is more hits, fewer misses. That requires judgment, insight, inspired guesswork, all of which both publishing and Hollywood do their level best to avoid.

    I’m not saying AI can’t write books or scripts, it just can’t write good books or scripts. It can riff on established tropes, it can’t create a new trope. AI will be able to handle a lot of low-end stuff, say, an episode of Teletubbies. It will never have the idea of Teletubbies.

    So, I’m coming down tentatively on the side of people who believe creators can use AI, but it can’t use us. It has no intentionality. It doesn’t want anything or need anything. It can’t create. It can’t even want to create. An artist’s job is to see and translate that which does not exist. AI can’t see what does not exist. But Stephen King and Christopher Nolan and Ursula Le Guin and Greta Gerwig and even yours truly, can.

  42. Beth says:

    SW pumped out shit TV shows one after another, then had one good show, Andor, and it was too late, the brand had already been fatally compromised.

    I know you hate Star Wars like a true fan, but this is just bonkers. For every whiny man baby complaining about Star Wars there 10 people like me quietly adding to her stack of women Star Wars character toys. I almost bought a Bix Black Series on monday. I will certainly be buying a Sabine and Ashoka at some point. I have 8 toys I’m looking at now (4 princess Leias, 2 Cassian Andors, 1 Jyn Erso, and 1 Lando. I also have an old school Lando, that I’m not counting). For what it’s worth, I also have a Keely Jones Funco, a pair of Spider-Gwens and a Kat-B320 (Halo). As long Disney puts out stuff at roughly the the quality of Kenobi, I’ll be there watching, quietly buying more toys and fighting with you. I suspect Star Wars and Disney will be just fine.

    Oh, and slightly different, my partner got me my first Barbie:

    lol, this Barbie’s a burner.

  43. Kathy says:


    I find the warning exaggerated.

    Benito looks slightly less insane with the makeover.

  44. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But even undemanding consumers eventually get tired of the same old shit, however cleverly it’s packaged.

    Brain: You said you wanted something new and different.
    Broadway producer: It’s too new! Too different! I mean different enough so we don’t get sued.

    I actually think TV improved, a great deal, once streaming companies hit upon the shorter season telling one story, despite my many complaints about pacing.

    But that’s a different matter.

  45. Kathy says:


    I last bought SW dolls last century before the prequels turned into a great, big disappointment. I’ve two versions of Padme, and a young Obi-Wan (clean shaven). One Padme holds a light saber, because why shouldn’t she. They all stand on a book case shelf next to a small Saturn V replica.

    I can see getting a Sabine and Ahsoka to keep them company.

    I also think the new shows have worked rather well. In particular The Mandalorian (including the parts shown in the Book of Boba Fet), and The Bad Batch.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    SW pumped out shit TV shows one after another, then had one good show, Andor, and it was too late, the brand had already been fatally compromised.

    Psst. Andor has no business being a Star Wars show. It’s comically wrong-toned.

    I love it, but this has always been a franchise for 8-12 year olds and people who can be 8-12 in their heart for a little while.

    @Beth: I’ve begun picking up the retro line, because I like the old sculpts that merely suggested the characters rather than actually liking them.

    And what fascinates me the most are the faux retro action figures — Ahsoka in the style of a 1980s action figure, the black woman from Obi-Wan with a vinyl cape, etc.

    I desperately want 80s style action figures for Andor because it would be so ridiculous.

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    Andor was tonally wrong because Star Wars refused to grow when it could have and should have. Instead it was more of the same. You’re right it’s a property designed originally for the 8-12 demo, but it should have been able to grow up with that audience. Star Wars was never built for endless continuations, the original world-building was too thin, so they needed something new within their universe. They needed it to be built out, but all they did was recycle the same old shit as their fan base got older and bought fewer toys.

    SW is actually a very conservative little world, stultified. It’s been treated like an originalist’s constitution or an evangelical’s Bible. Rigid, unadaptive. You have to grow your fictional world, it can’t be static. It’d be like James Bond still wearing that blue sun suit from Goldfinger. That’s how dated Star Wars looks and feels.

  48. Michael Reynolds says:


    I actually think TV improved, a great deal, once streaming companies hit upon the shorter season telling one story, despite my many complaints about pacing.

    And yet every one of those shows gets its ass kicked by Suits and The Big Bang Theory. 6-8 eps is great if you write a story for 6-8 eps and don’t try to stretch a 90 minute movie into 6-8 eps. But even when well done, it does not scratch the itch that these old sitcoms and the USA network crap, do. No one on any of these 6-8 ep, two season shows is Joey or Rachel or even Michael Scott or Kramer.

    They are not your TV family, they’re not your friends, they’re not the people who are going to be there for you when you wake up at 3 AM thinking about death and you need to think about something else. They’re just characters. That’s why Friends and Seinfeld and BBT are worth more as properties than any ten new streaming shows put together are. The TV business seems to have forgotten that we didn’t just watch Cheers, we sat at the bar, we were part of it.

  49. Matt says:

    @Beth: Ahsoka has been a dumpster fire of terrible acting/choreography and bad writing. The show just does what it wants to do regardless of what canon and lore says. It’s like a live action version of Rebels but worse in every way.

    I dunno if you missed my rant when asked about the season finale a couple open threads ago.


    I love it, but this has always been a franchise for 8-12 year olds and people who can be 8-12 in their heart for a little while.

    A franchise where people are brutally tortured, murdered and lose limbs. Historically star wars was a very adult orient franchise with some limits on gore to keep the parents happy. I remember playing Jedi games in the late 90s early 00s gleefully cutting heads off and torsos in half with a light saber. KoToR and KoToR 2 both had very adult themes among other SW IP. The books were very much aimed for adults too.

    Now? It’s a franchise that has abandoned what it started off as so it could sell more kid’s toys.

  50. CSK says:

    Talk about total bullshit arguments:

  51. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I said since season 1 there was no reason for Stange New Worlds to do only ten eps per year, as it’s not episodic even if it keeps rather good continuity. Likewise for Lower Decks*. So, basically I agree for such series. The sitcom How I Met Your Father did ten eps in season 1, but 20 for season 2.

    But series like Severance, Foundation, Loki, Disenchantment, etc. which are episodic, benefit from a shorter season. The problem with these, as I alluded before, is that the streamers usually don’t order multiple seasons, but wait and see how the first one does. Then you get a two or three year wait to see what happens next. I had to re-watch Loki before season 2, to remind myself what had taken place.

    I’m also a bit put off by limited series. Some are good enough that one wants to see them go on, like Hawkeye or Falcon and The Winter Soldier. In contrast, the one about Theranos was perfect, as it told the whole story to the end (minus the trial, but it came out before that took place).

    *And even more so Futurama. Though I’ll admit Fry did warn us it would be ten eps right at the start of the season.

  52. Gustopher says:

    @Matt: Kids shows can have very complicated, “adult” themes — they just tend to present them in ways that are digestible by kids. The more “adult” stuff in Star Wars spinoff media has traditionally be aimed at 15 year olds.

    Ahsoka has a thread about the title character coming to terms with her master being not just a monster-to-be and that she can connect to others without falling down his path.

    And the better villain had the start of an arc about breaking the cycle of violence that was Jedi and Sith. Alas, with the death of Ray Stephenson, that may not be picked up in a Season 2.

    Star Wars doesn’t have to “grow up” to tell complex stories. You can not like it, because you’re a grown ass adult who lost their sense of play, but that probably means that if you were exposed to the original movies for the first time now that they wouldn’t have any charm for you.

    Our own Michael Reynolds would likely have a lot to say about complicated themes in kids lit.

    My favorite property, Transformers, has the extremely kid approachable show Transformers: Animated (terrible name, but trying to separate itself from the movies) which is about the different ways four characters deal with regret for the harm that they have caused people close to them in the past, including when efforts to make amends fail. Just wove that slow character growth through three seasons of silly adventures.

    (Meanwhile, the more “adult” movies made masturbation jokes, dealt with the age of consent in Texas, and had racist stereotype robots)

    The fact that Andor was written for people firmly in middle age is very funny to me. I love it, but it really doesn’t fit with the rest of the franchise. It’s also one of the best pieces of media about life under fascism because it uses the setting of a story for children and so people can sink their teeth into it without all their prior knowledge and beliefs getting in the way and blinding them.

    Anyway I want a classic style 5-points-of-articulation action figure of Luthen Rael so I can reenact the elevator speech. I want Kino with an authentic not swimming play pattern.

  53. Kathy says:


    “If it pleases the court, we submit into evidence 1/100th of the tip of a gnat’s eyelash.”

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: A few years back, I was working with a bunch of little Millennials (the last few years of Millennials, leading into the Zoomers) and it was shocking how they all loved Friends. Just bizarre that they didn’t have their own show that started while they were alive.

  55. Gustopher says:

    I also want a Star Wars: Andor Imperial Prison Lego set, with the assembly floor, minifigs of all the key characters, and the parts for 100 Death Star widgets that you have to assemble if you want to get flavor in your food.

    There’s so much potential for toys in that series.

  56. Jen says:

    I’ve enjoyed Andor because it’s a proper spy show. In that sense, it’s completely out of whack with the rest of Star Wars, which takes an overly simplified view of right/wrong, good/evil, etc. (My favorite movie of all of the films has been The Last Jedi, which took a far more nuanced view, examining things like profiting off of war.)

  57. Paine says:

    No post about Will Hurd ending his presidential campaign?

    (or has this joke already been made?)

  58. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland right as the Civil War was wrapping up. Will AI write anything so original, funny, appealing and unique that people 158 years from now will still think it’s original, funny, appealing and unique? Nope.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, we are agreed about this.

  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    It was an excellent example. The man had an interesting brain.

  60. DrDaveT says:


    shouldn’t we at least be able to depend on AI using the right words?

    No, you should be able to depend on AI using the same words people on the internet use. Which is to say, often the wrong ones.

    I work with a native English-speaking PhD rocket scientist who simply cannot figure out when to say “I” and when to say “me”. His success rate is worse than coin-flipping. Phrases like “him and I” come out of his mouth, routinely. No wonder the AI is confused.

  61. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It was an excellent example. The man had an interesting brain.

    Obligatory reminiscence: the last French class I took in college was a terrifying beast of a class called “Advanced Grammar through Translation.” After the initial trial period, there were only 4 of us left, and 2 were auditing. The professor, Madame Macksey, was awesome. We learned obscure verb tenses and moods by reading Diderot and de Maupassant and translating them into English, and by reading English works and studying their French translations. Including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Which involved not only l’imparfait du subjonctif, but also the fine art of translating puns…

  62. Jen says:

    @DrDaveT: I would have thought that a) the dictionary would be one of the sources AI uses, and b) that AI is “trained” using both professional and regular sources, leading to a more often than not correct use of words.

    AI is currently being used to create scripts and emails for overseas scammers, and it is in fact eliminating one of the classic “tells” that you’re dealing with a scammer–it’s using proper grammar.