Forgive Me While I Rant for a Moment

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I’m having a bit of trouble discussing politics these days. I caught myself this weekend blowing up like a jerk on a thread that a friend (super, super awesome friend) had posted in my Google reader. And it gave me pause.

First, sorry again random guy from the internet (even though I don’t think you’ll see this), for accusing you of being a Republican. Them’s fightin words. I was being a dick. And to be fair: accusing the wrong person of being a Democrat can be fightin words as well.

I used to be really, really bad about this. It takes me back to a job I had a little while back. The corner of the office we were in was split pretty evenly between Repubs and Dems, and being the Bush years as it was, we got into some very, ahem, spirited debates. There was this one guy. Let’s call him Dale. We haven’t kept in touch, but I can 110% guarantee you that where ever Dale is, he’s a proud member of the Tea Party. This dude and I used to get into out and out shouting matches. I would like to say that history has proven me right, but I’m sure he would see it differently. We would even argue about how to pronounce the name of the restaurant across the street. That’s how me and this guy were.

But I learned some lessons then about cooling my temper. And he did too. He’s not a bad guy. Just extremely idealistic.

I’ve been good these days, but lately I just find it so hard. The shooting in Arizona has supposedly cooled tempers for the time being, but the cynic in me says that we’ll be back to shouting at each other before too long. I know we will. I just caught myself doing it.

I don’t intend this journal entry to be a treatise on what’s wrong with us or how to fix it. Although I primarily blame televised news. Journalism used to mean something in this country. Now our journalists are called newscasters, and they have lots and lots of plastic surgery. They think that presenting two sides to every issue is being thorough (though there are almost never two sides to any story–and frequently one of the sides presented is woefully over-represented.) Fact checking doesn’t exist. Statistics are as meaningless as ever.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

This is a reminder to me to be on good behavior. To lead by example.

I think what happens to people these days is simple: we can cherry pick our information. Do you identify as a Republican? Then watch Fox News. Do you identify as a Democrat? Then watch MSNBC (I think… I don’t actually watch MSNBC). Do you want to actually be informed about events? Then listen to NPR.

The point is it’s too easy these days to ignore anything you don’t want to hear. Just change the channel. I was thinking about this, and in a strange way a great deal of erstwhile editorial power has been placed in the hands of the consumer. We edit out what we don’t like, and we get our information from sources that confirm our self identity. To be perfectly honest, I see absolutely no solution to this problem. When you get down to it, we’re not debating facts. We’re screaming at each other “my identity is more real than yours.” Which, of course, for each of us individually is true.

The political conversations I have with my centrist friends (especially my center right friends–myself being center left) can be pretty amazing. But along the way so much frustration builds up.

It’s not a resolution exactly, but I have an idea: smile and ask questions. This is a mental note to myself not to be one of those ranting dickheads. Smile. Ask a question. Slow things down and either steer the conversation to something positive, or simply leave it alone.

There’s something I’ve noticed myself doing more and more of as I get older: giving negativity no quarter. I don’t care for people who do nothing but bitch. And I ignore them. But it’s a lot more difficult when my principles urge me to engage negativity.

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So I’ve had this stalker lately.  Cute girl.  Sweet.  But she just, like, doesn’t seem to be getting it.  And I’m getting to a point with it.

And before I get too far, you can see why I stopped linking these pages with my Facebook pages awhile ago.  Hell, Facebook is a Flickr/eVite hybrid to me these days–that’s all I use it for.  But the thing is: people will seek you out on Facebook.  They won’t seek you out on WordPress.  Or even Twitter.  And if they do, they’re either savvy enough that you’ll get along with them; or psycho enough that you feel fully entitled to tell them off.

Anyway.  Stalker.

Like seriously, man, how many hints does it fucking take sometimes?  Really?  Really? Are you going to make me blow you off?  My general awkwardness around you and habit of suddenly cutting out aren’t obvious?  And this when you’re throwing yourself at me?  Like how many times have you blatantly thrown yourself at me?  I’m losing count.  And each time I end with a polite, “Goodbye, see ya!”

My friends were even teasing me about this.  And with good reason.  It seems obvious to everyone but this poor young lady that I am–capital–NOT interested.

There was an encounter with this person this weekend, well two–the first one I knew was going to happen, it was someone else’s party.  But when I turned and “randomly” ran into her a certain Maryland local faire the next day, I began to wonder: is this a coincidence?

I don’t know.  I don’t want to say actual bad things about this young lady because, hey maybe it was.  But it was suspicious as shit.  Did I mention on Facebook that I would be there?  Did I mention it to her and forget it?  ‘Cause it was really suspicious.  To the point that I almost texted a few friends and said, “Hey, if so-and-so asks for my number, mind saying that you lost it?”

And now she’s hounding me again.

And this is what I want to say to her:

“Heyyyy, girl, what’s up!!! lol!  So yeah, like I could totally come “grab some coffee” with you, but see I’m seeing this chick now, and she’s like, kinda… possessive.  I don’t want to scare you or anything, but she’s got some warrants in another state.  It’s regular stuff.  Just like, uh… traffic tickets, maybe a ‘failed to appear’.  Oh and that one for hacking into that guy’s computer and stealing his wife’s identity.  Lols!!! Omg!

But, no, like, maybe we should just be friends.  Like I’m not kidding, you could get hurt.”

And what I’ll actually say to her:

Something polite.

My point is that there are times in life when I just want to say fuck it and make a bunch of shit up.  Because why the hell not.  How many times in life do you get the opportunity to make some crazy flying bullshit up and not give a fuck about it?

But I’m not really that type.  Apparently I do, in fact, give a fuck.

And in either case here’s a tip for the ladies:  throwing yourself desperately at a guy is the most unattractive thing a woman can do.  And if a guy actually goes for that, hey guess what?

But hopefully you already know all that.

(I really, really hope you already know that.  Take good care, ladies.)

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Apparently, the latest craze in NYC is this place that sells pizza by the cone.  They even have a fancy website.

Hey assholes!  You’re doin it wrong!  It’s supposed to be Pizza in a Cup!  Not a cone!

Also:  I miss NYC.

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Apparently, Glenn Beck had some asshole on his show today who actually made the argument that the tanning salon tax in the new health care bill is racist.  He argues that since mostly white people will use tanning salons, then it’s racist.  Jesus fucking christ!!  Really?  Really!!!  You have got to be fucking kidding me.

More here.

It only took me 30 seconds of Googling to find out that half of all states already regulate tanning salons.  And if you haven’t heard that excessive sunlight causes certain skin cancers (and sunlamps are believe to do it too!), then you live in a cave or you are a willfully ignorant robot.

I am so fucking sick and tired of the conservatives in this country.  They will SAY ANYTHING just to that they can be right and the liberals can be wrong.  The state of the Rupublican party in this country is 2 + 2 = 5.  They just want to win.  They don’t give a shit about reality, they just want power.  If the Republicans take back a majority and even win the next presidential election, does anyone really think anything will change?  Really?  Those assholes just ran the show for eight years, and they left us with the highest deficit in history.  When you register as a Republican, do they wipe your brain?  Seriously, how fucking short can people’s memories be!!

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So, I should say first, that you should probably go see it.  It’s pretty.  Tim Burton is good at pretty things.  But I hated it.  And that’s what I keep telling people when it comes up.  Hated it.

The movie delights the visual senses in every frame.  Even in the film’s beginning, before we descend into Underland, as they call it.  It’s amazing.  Every fabric begs to be stroked, each flower begs to be smelled, each ray of light begs one to pierce the veil and step onto the screen.  There were so many frames where I wish I could have paused the film to soak it all in.  The rich synthesis of color and imagery is truly one of Burton’s best.  The film is sexy.

And the cast:  bravo!  It really was cast perfectly.  Depp’s Hatter enchants, Bonham Carter’s Red Queen enthralls, and who wouldn’t want to follow Mia Wasikowska into the rabbit hole?  Even the voice acting was spot on.  I was expecting a little more from Alan Rickman, to be honest, but it could have just been that all his lines sucked.  And I want to be clear that playing these characters was no easy feat.  Consider Bonham Carter’s Red Queen.  Who doesn’t remember the queen from the Disney classic, with her her grim, absolute sentencing:  “Off with her head!”  Bonham Carter did not attempt to out-bellow the classic character that we all know.  Her performance was more subdued and emphasized the queen’s puerile brattishness.

So we had a lot of good things on the table.

But the story… oh the filthy story.  Looking back over Tim Burton’s films, I realize that storytelling was never his strongest suit.  His best films follow an earlier work, be it play or novel, as closely as they can.  I think that Sleepy Hollow compares with Alice best.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I remember the scenario being similar:  amazing cast, amazing visuals, complete afterthought of a story.

But this story is one I hold rather dear.  The fact is very simple:  The last thing Alice in Wonderland ever needed was a plot.  In fact, its lack of plot is if not part of the point, then at least tangential to it.  Carroll’s classic was an episodic narrative game.  Its puzzles and logical inversions engage the reader, just as they engage the book’s hapless protagonist.  While some puzzles have solutions, and some are clearly playful parodies of cultural realities, so many of them are simply beautiful nonsense.  Attempting to corral these episodes and sew them into a good old fashioned three act structure is a vulgar insult to one of the few books in history that has always, since its inception, been in print.

The only saving grace that I can find with the film is that Burton loves his Alice just as much as Carroll loved his.  This, I think, is the one thing that makes me hesitate from condemning the movie as outright shit.  (I think a lot of people will like the movie.)  And while, I’m fine with Tim Burton bringing his very own, very special Alice back into this world, I can’t help but feel that it’s our Wonderland.  A grown up Alice lost in the strange, beautiful, and utterly non-sequitur Wonderland might make an interesting film indeed.

But Burton instead brought us into an echo of that familiar world.  And while it might have sprung to life as a most beautiful verisimilitude, it is as hollow as the bluescreen that most of the damn thing was filmed on.

Like I said, you should probably go see it.  But seriously:  fuck that movie.  I hated it.

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