December 30, 2016

BUT MUH WHITEWASH! OR, WHY THE GREAT WALL SHOWS MATT DAMON IN A GOEBBELS MOVIE VIA POWER RANGERS



Oh, what was the Twitter outrage huge!

Matt Damon! Taking away the coveted big budget movie spot that should have been gone to an Asian actor (of course by that we mean an Asian-American actor, and by "we" I mean the Perpetual Outrage People, also known as POP)! In a movie about the most Chinese thing, ever, The Great Wall!

Oh, how dare we even think that a white male trigger-saves poor Asian culture from evil demons, those poor Chinese that have played the cultural victim card, oh so well in the past 25 years (while buying up everything that isn't on a tree at the count of three)!

Now, having actually seen the movie, I can tell the Outrage Brigade to relax.

Matt Damon just might be the most cliched version of a Westerner as seen through the Cultural Racist eyes of Grand China that has ever "graced" a movie screen. From the first moment the basement bargain Bourne and his buddy from Game of Thrones, Oberyn Martell, uh, actor Pedro Pascal are introduced to us, there is no doubt whatsoever that

a) these are culturally inferior men (Damon was sold to an army as a kid, he only ever fought wars to keep himself fed, and in what must be the shortest history of Europe, ever, he tells us that throughout his life he fought for everyone and everything, without ever believing in anything, ending the list of things he fought for with... the Pope. Ka-Ching indeed!)

b) capitalist, greedy swine who came to good, moral, high-cultured China to steal "the black powder", or in other words, get some modern weapon to be rich! Rich, I tell you! Filthy rich! Financially secure! What do you say, Daffy? Was it all that bad to take that wrong turn at Albuquerque? 

Meanwhile, the Chinese defenders of the Great Wall (against creatures that move like the zombies in World War Z and look like a Pokemon had an unfortunate affair with something from Jurassic World Park VIII ), they are... perfect. They even come with their own color-coding.

Red are the Archers!

Black are the Foot Soldiers!

Blue are the Spear Carriers! (all women, because, uh, why not? I guess it's "logical" because they bungee-jump into the fray from the Great Wall, phallic-execute some beasts before they do the bouncy-bounce ballet that Chinese Wire-Fu is so famous for)

Or as tied up scruffy scumbags Bourne and Oberyn gasp as they see them fight the beasties, "have you ever seen anything like this?"

It is then, of course, that we are introduced to the obligatory Chinese coward foot soldier who brings shame - SHAME, I SAY! - to the courageous defenders by going WAAH WAAH on the beasties as they storm the wall, allowing our meanwhile freed Western duo to kinda sorta prove their worth by killing a few of those things and thus impressing the Asian Superhero Goebbels brigade of Generals with their barbarian fighting style... and Jason Bourne's apparently direct ancestral line to Orlando Bloom via The Lord of the Rings, you know, where we have all seen that "I can shoot seventeen arrows so fast that in modern day I would grow a goatee and become a star on a WB TV show" in 2002 already.

Needless to say, moral scumbag Matt Damon has an awakening as impossibly cute feisty female warrior Lin Mei tells him that she too has been her entire life in the army, but as opposed to him, she fights for the greater glory of China, yes sir!

Yes indeed! She does it for honor!

And ... quite possibly the fancy blue uniform

Oh, the shame! The shame! To be a Westerner without honor!

The rest of the (very fucking short and not at all epic) movie is a simple "Get the McGuffin, use the McGuffin", colored in that cultural fascism that China is so very good at. You remember the Bejing Olympics, right? Where the same moves done by the Nazis 1936... looked so very cute if you put them all in bright sparkly colors!

There is even some slight romantic tension between the Bourne Barbarian (get it?) and the classy Chinese female warrior, who set out with the Chinese foot soldier coward to save the day (can we call him a Yellow Shirt? Or is that racist?)

But boy, the shame! The shame! To have had his live saved earlier by a white male! THE SHAME! Of course his way of making it up is to suicide bomb himself to give the others one final chance to defeat the evil demonic hordes that want to invade glorious China... can you be a little less subtle, maybe?

And of course, it is not Matt Damon who saves the day, he's a glorified sidekick, it is strong, warrior woman Lin Mei who growls "I trained for this all my life!" before blowing the demonic creatures to hell in a final showdown (after Matt Damon failed several times, oh, yes, he totally was the White Savior in this one, sure, let's rub that one in to the Twitter Outrage crowd, you know, the way they rub one out over everything that makes them angry)

And in the end, Matty Damon learns his lesson, he trades the reward of the superior technology that could have made him rich to buy back his faithless, greedy bastard Oberyn from the Chinese prisons (see, he was a baaaaaaaaad white dude, only he isn't white, he's kinda sorta the total Spanish/Muslim/Something scumbag, yep, we can always go one lower)... and go back to barbaric Europe, even though he totally has a boner for the Asian warrior woman, but hey, we don't mix pure Chinese with inferior cultures, okay?

This is a movie that if the same standards were to apply would be called out to be one of the most racist pieces of shit to have ever been produced, but since it's Chinese, it will be mistaken for the glorification of a maligned culture.

Whitewash?

Piss yellow is more like it.

December 18, 2016

BUT MUH REALISM! OR, WHY IT IS TIME TO PUT STAR WARS AWAY AFTER ROGUE ONE


... and I am done with Star Wars after seeing Rogue One. It's not that it's a "bad" movie, it is perfectly done, it has all the ingredients that are in the computer software that apparently writes movies in 2016, but...

... it is totally unnecessary

The entire reason for it existing is (other than making heaps of money) that question "why would you build a giant space station that can be defeated by firing two torpedoes into an exhaust shaft?"

"Well, George, I am glad you asked. See, the space station was built by an engineer we kidnapped 15 years ago, who had his wife killed by an Imperial Baddie for no reason whatsoever in what essentially a worse variation of the opening of Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (seriously, it is the exact same fucking scene that introduces Christoph Waltz, only in "Star Wars")"


"Ze Hallo, I am from ze Empire, ja!"

"But Steve, how does that explain?"

"Well, the engineer had a little daughter who wound up with Osama Bin Laden via Forrest Whittaker, so she is totally kick-ass, but has Daddy issues up her twat, and that is about the extent of her character, but we all love strong women these days that can do any- and everything, and she is drafted by the Rebellion to find Daddy and kill him, but..."

"Can we get to the point?"

"Okay, okay... see, the engineer planted that exhaust as a revenge after 15 years and building the space station for killing his wife."

"Oh"

"And then the terrorists, uh, rebels... have to steal those plans from a really good-looking planet"

"Ah"

"And it's totally gritty realism, George!"

"Oh, okay"

"What about Darth Vader?"

"Okay, I give you Darth Vader"

"Peter Cushing?"

"He's dead"

"But we have computers?"

"We can CGI the shit out of it?"

"Awesome!"

"Do we have a funny robot?"

"We can do a funny robot"

"Can the robot be, like, a fight robot?"

"Sure"

"It sells more toys to boys that way"

"Yeah"

"Nobody really wanted C3PO"

"I know"

"I mean, unless they were gay"

"We can do a fight robot, no worries"

"Excellent"

"And some Asians, I mean, we need to think of the Chinese market"

"Yeah, sure"

"Awesome"

Like I said, not a bad "movie", but actually it isn't a MOVIE.

It's the penultimate episode of a TV show

If Star Wars (The New, Best, Last, Earlier, Something Hope) was the final episode

Because it literally ends 5 minutes before the beginning of that movie

What pisses me off is not so much the movie, it is the reaction to it

I saw Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge last week, which is the (real) story of a guy in WW 2 who did enlist but he refused to carry a gun because he was that religious. That guy Desmond Doss wound up on one of the worst fights during WW2 in the Pacific, when thousands of US soldiers were shredded trying to take that ridge.

And this guy, without a gun, being a medic, he saved on his own 75 soldiers and carried them. Let's just think about that. In a single battle. 75 men. And anybody who has ever had to carry someone who is either unconscious or seriously ill (fuck me, I remember how much Dad weighed last year, and he had dropped to 64 kg to due the cancer, it was horrible to try and pick him up when he dropped on the floor in the bathroom or later when he dropped out of bed, and I am a big boy)

So, anyway... that movie gets criticized by the same people who praise Rogue One for its "gritty" portrayal of a fictional war that never should have been more than a silly fairy tale... that movie about something that actually happened, something dreadful where real people died...

... as violence porn.

Because Gibson doesn't turn the camera away when the soldiers get shredded. He doesn't make it look cool, either. He just barrages you with 20 minutes of hell on Earth.

That is "violence porn"

But do it in that almost propaganda "heroism" in a fictional universe that has no fucking stakes?

You get applauded for "gritty"

Excuse me?

Apparently, our society has decided that our cultural reference point now is Star Wars, not an actual war. That you should see Darth Vader like Hitler, and Imperial retards like the Nazis. As opposed to, uh, I don't know, actual Hitler?

There is a real danger in this, because it means a psychological transference from real events to something totally made up, and it's not like people today are the smartest to begin with, give it another ten years, and we will start to believe Star Wars is more meaningful than history

(I am not completely joking, only about 55% of that is a joke)

In a very real way, Alan Moore is to blame for this

(that is only 10% a joke)

because all the shit that is splattering against the movie screens today can be traced back to a singular event exactly 30 years ago. Watchmen. The idea to inject "realism" into something that shouldn't have been real in the first place. And you know how much I love Watchmen as a writer, because it is so extraordinarily clever, but just like in comics... the effect of this has been disastrous

Because it has led to this. Rogue One. And all the things that will follow.

It has led to a culture where fictional characters by the constant bombardment of them on the public mind.. have almost reached the same "weight" and in many instances more "weight" than actual human beings. We already seen the beginnings of that in 2003 during the Bush years when Jack Bauer (!!!!!) was actually seen as the hero for the government's policies on torture ... by the government

And that will only worsen.

But without me.

It is time to remember the child-like things and not be childish about giving them more meaning than they ever should have had.

July 29, 2016

RE-BUILDING MY MIND PALACE

Meanwhile, I am slowly writing through Kylie's Big Book of Monsters after such a long time, but in the past two months I have picked up the pace from 0 in three years to 3 chapters in two months.

What do you mean, even George R.R. Martin shits words out faster than this?

Actually, in a way Kylie's Big Book of Monsters might be the most difficult thing I have ever written, since I think (rightly or wrongly) that a book to be read to kids has to leave the impression of being effortlessly written.

I have read tons and tons

(that is a lie, by the way, tried to read them)

of the "modern" children's and YA lit over the past couple of months, and I found myself very disturbed by the overall lack of stylistic sophistication. Not that I am going to sit here (on a Friday night, no less) and tell you that I am sophisticated, because I am sure as hell am not, but the things I read, they were written in a style that - while it can be called efficient and maybe even effective - lacks a certain poetry, the idea of word play that made me read as a child in the first place.

Granted, I started with both Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-The-Pooh, both examples of how to tell a story in a voice that should or at least could be your Dad's voice while he was reading the adventures of a little girl in a mad, mad, mad, mad world or a cuddly teddy's lazy exploits in a forest full of adventures.

(since were are now in the age of perpetual outrage, I will say that of course it could be your Mum's voice as well, otherwise some retard will point at me and scream I am a sex-racist-vegan-hating conservative)

For me it was always my Dad's voice I heard. Which is odd, since my Dad never read anything to me when I was young. Dad, he was not much of a reader, never had much use for it, he said. He taught me how to build things, how to use a saw, a knife, how to make entire space stations from Lego and how to build my Fortress of Solitude in the middle of our little hometown's forest

(no, I am not going to tell you where it is, because it is still there, 40 years later, and I will have you shot if you come near it, no, wait, I am not allowed to do that as a German, bugger, where is a 2nd amendment when you need one?)

in such a way that it would be cool on a hot summer's day and dry when the inevitable July showers would come, keeping my comic books that I had stacked up there, together with small cartons of durable chocolate milk, chocolate bars and... boy, that sure was a lot of chocolate, no wonder I got diabetes now.

But reading to me?

That wasn't Dad. But in my head, it was. In his soft, slightly growling voice that could have been a monster's, that never was that, that was always quiet and came with a smile and a tousle of my hair.

That's how a kid's book should read, I think.

That's what I am aiming for. Now, I might miss that aim by a mile or two, but I figure, if I drop a nuke at that aim, I'm still good. That is what matters, that you at least aim for something better than the lowest common denominator, and hopefully it will be liked when I am finally done with it, and hell, I figure even if people don't like the writing, they will love my trusted partner Edo's art, so I win either way, because as any good writer knows, if you have a partner illustrating, you can hide behind that and every now and then come out and shout "Me! It was all me!" and run away laughing.

But it is hard. The writing, I mean.

The damn diabetes took as big a chunk out of my mind as I did out of those chocolate bars as a little boy, and even on the best of days, my brain can sometimes feel like molasses (hey, what the fuck is up with all those sweet metaphors?), it is sluggish and slow.

Now, try to write funny word play on that. I have, and the past three chapters I squeezed out of my brain like the last remnants of an empty toothpaste tube might just be the best things I have ever written. And it slowly continues. In those moments when I am lucid enough to not have the empty screen stare back at me and whisper, "come on, I double-dare you to put a word down and commit to it, you brainless diabetic fuck".

It is easier to look at the world and be outraged, I admit.

It is easier to fire off a tweet or two that makes fun of Clinton or Trump or the countless celebrities that clog up the internet, which actually means one thing more than anything else. What that is? That we are living in brainless times.

I have so many ideas, they are inside my Mind Palace, and like my Fortress of Solitude, that brain's Mind Palace was built with all the knowledge Dad gave me. They're dry enough to not have caught mildew, they're warm enough to still burn when and if I have the courage to take them out, blow the dust off them and put them in that little heater that fires up this cold, empty tree house I call my mind.

Some of them, they might crackle a bit, some might spark and burn the whole fucker down, so I best be careful when and if I take them out. But I feel I can. Some day.

And for that, I am grateful to my Dad. Because he taught me to build things.

Even though most of the things I build, they will only be inside my brain.

But on bad days, I promise him I will be careful, and in my memory of him, he smiles and tousles my hair. And he tells me - just as when I was a little boy - that he trusts me to handle the dangerous tools, because I'm his son.


May 22, 2016

MEANWHILE, DC REBIRTH IS BRILLIANT BUT ALSO HIGHLIGHTS ALL THE PROBLEMS OF THE US COMICS INDUSTRY IN 2016



Somewhere in Burbank, this is the head honcho of DC Comics (soon the head honcho of DC Films) Geoff Johns, and I can only imagine him doing exactly what Adrian Veidt did in Watchmen, who essentially did the same thing as Alexander the Great did.

What Gordian knot? 

I will fucking cut through it and give the world a second chance!

It's a decision that managed to both piss people off and have people applaud it. For the entirely wrong reasons, I would say. Now, this blog entry will probably - because I am deluding myself that after applying to the DC Writers Workshop recently that somebody at DC might read it - nullify any chance I might have to be picked out of that giant hat at random, but, well, here I go.

Much has been said, no, more or less ranted about Dan Didio and Geoff Johns and the editorial issues and micro-managing and [insert your favorite hate rant here] at DC Comics over the past decade or so, how the DC Universe has become virtually unrecognizable from that Second Golden Age in the 1980s, which by the way birthed exactly that Dark Age that people then ranted about, looking back at earlier days with the fondness of an old fart with Alzheimer

(of course I am not talking about Ronald Reagan, settle down)

But here is the thing. And I have said this, both publicly and privately, DC Comics was merely reacting to what the ever-decreasing paying fan base in the US comic book market voted for with their dollars, and what they voted for was

(1) The Dark Knight/Watchmen era

(2) The Image Superhero "Splatterpunk" era

(3) The Mark Millar/Warren Ellis/Brian Bendis Ultimate era

All three eras on their own were highly successful mind you, and especially the Mark Millar Ultimates era is the Daddy of those Marvel movies everybody considers to be all light and delightful, because if you hadn't had Millar, you wouldn't have had funny dickhead Tony Stark, grim and yet utterly American idealist Captain America and a variety of other influences so big, they changed the entire Marvel publishing model. Most of all this could be seen by the very Meta creation of Nick Fury as Sam Jackson becoming Sam Jackson as Nick Fury.

Now, how meta is that?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, DC was running into problems.

Yes, they have had their share of grim'n'gritty, even started the grim'n'gritty with Moore and Miller, and some will blame and have blamed that they took the wrong lessons from those books in every way but Sunday.

I disagree. 

I don't like to disagree, because it is so much more fun to just shout "Dan Didio must die! Or leave! Or eat shit! Or.." Well, you get the idea. But let us take a good look at what sold, the kind of books that I listed above. Much is being made out of how creative and creator-friendly a place Image is. Today. But not at the beginning. It was friendly to the original creators. And what they created were knock-offs of those mythic characters they grew up with, then twist and turn them into something vaguely recognizable yet utterly cynical and violent.

In such, yes, Dark Knight and Watchmen were influential in all the wrong ways, but that is like blaming Star Wars (the original) for all the crap blockbuster movies you can "choose" from today. In the intelligence community, they call that "unintended consequences".

You, aging kids, bought those other books.

You were not content with Dark Knight and Watchmen, you wanted the Dark Watching Knightmen forever and ever, more violence, please, more gritty, more rah rah rah.

Now, Image could do this easily, since none of those characters were ever invented to also be read by kids

(BAM! POW! ZING! Comics! They ain't just for kids anymore)

and Marvel was already halfway there, with their bestselling book(s) throughout the 1990s being primarily SNIKT and BANG, uh, Wolverine and Punisher, both hyper-violent as well.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, DC Comics looked... quaint. All the things that people demand to be brought back now, those are the things that made the same people leave buying DC Comics in the 1990s. What? Superman being a good guy who would always do the right thing, regardless of cost?

Boring!

Batman being first and foremost the world's best detective?

Boring!

Them being friends?

Inconceivable!

Have you not read Dark Knight

And so, DC Comics reacted the way any company has to and will react. They... changed the formula. They did the New Coke to react to Pepsi, because DC Comics didn't leave you, you left them.

But here is the problem.

You can do this shit of rape porn, violence porn, porn porn... to meaningless characters. It's easy. They have no impact. They have no pop culture value. You cannot do this to Superman, to Batman, to Wonder Woman, to the Flash. 

These characters, they are the pop culture equivalent to Jesus. Gasp! Shock! Horror! Did I offend somebody with this as well? Probably. Shut up. Sit down. Listen. The DC heroes have been around for such a long time that we "know" who they are supposed to be, the way we "know" who Jesus was supposed to have been.

No, we don't know what cloned fish he and his CEO Monsanto Pete used to feed all those hungry mouths at the lake, but we have a general, mythic idea of who and what Jesus was, and if you were to tell a modern Catholic that Jesus also pretty much threatened those who didn't follow him with eternal damnation, you'd get that glazed look of "don't believe you. I know Jesus. Jesus, he knows me"

The same thing applies to Superman (I always come back to Superman, because he was and is my hero). We don't care that there have been stories here or there where Superman killed or was violent. Those stories existed long before Zack Snyder. 

But we reject them. The way a modern faithful rejects threatening Jesus.

We know Superman. And Superman knows us.

Especially in the far vaster landscape of movies and pop culture, far removed from the minutia and fan wank of the shrinking comic book market place, where they get really angry if you change a little thing from a book they read 30 years ago, screaming, "But in 1983, this happened, how dare you change this bit of continuity that I based my life on!"

(I am no better, only I don't scream, but also because I know, I will always have my Superman, and he is owned by a corporation, and that corporation needs to make money, so... from a professional standpoint, you have to accept it and maybe not buy the books but don't get your knickers in a twist over it)

Marvel has had it far easier, especially launching those movies.

Nobody knew Iron Man. It allowed Robert Downey Jr. to make Iron Man his own. You cannot do this to Superman, as the (sorry) failures of both Zack Snyder movies have shown, where he fundamentally changed what people perceive as Superman. 

But in the comic book market, things are even more difficult, because the audience is (a) smaller by far and (b) are heavily invested in those characters, for better or worse, often for worse, since it comes with a sense of entitlement similar to one I once encountered when we launched The Official Dreamcast Magazine. Greenlit by Sega, it was supposed to look, feel and read like a lifestyle magazine, that was the general mandate I was given when I launched it.

However, neither Sega nor the publishing company realized or understood that the first year or two of a console launch was presenting you with a product so expensive that it by default became a specialty magazine, with far different rules. With "fans" heavily invested in the product, again for better or worse, but ... just imagine being trolled by Sheldon Cooper for eternity and eternity and eternity.

This tension between fans and the potential wider audience, it started to choke and suffocate, boxing itself into ever smaller boxes, because fans demanded 

(a) an eternal continuity 

and

(b) something new and original

and 

(c) something that is retro

Now, you try and do that shit all at once. I did the re-launch of another magazine called PowerPlay with its editor Ralf Müller once upon a time, which was positioned as a hardcore gamer magazine but which had bled readers by the time it was taken over by the company I worked for, and of course they wanted to position that magazine again as a lifestyle magazine, with pretty big pictures and short articles, and to his everlasting credit, the editor told me that the readers would shit on that from way up high.

(Note to people. Always listen to the folks on the front line)

So there all I did was minor touch-ups, better design but left the editorial positioning largely alone, because I am arrogant. Not that fucking arrogant. 

With DC, though, Rebirth's start is literally the "fuck all this shit, I am going to Gordian Knot the fuck out of you". It is a brilliant yet also desperate move, and one that will hopefully also soon forgotten as the new universe takes hold.

Now, much has also been said about how the mere concept of Rebirth (and its inclusion of Watchmen as a meta-level event) is trolling Alan Moore and his genius. And how DC fucked him over. And how they now stalk him and troll him and...

... I'll be honest (and if somebody at DC during the vetting of the application even gets this far reading this, I won't get a place at the Workshop for sure). I don't like how that shit played out. I don't. But not for the reasons you might think. 

Rather, I believe that once upon a time, Alan Moore was happy. And DC was happy. And both lost out. If you don't believe me, look at Supreme, which I consider to be maybe the best Superman of the past twenty years, next to Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, but they both suffer also from high-concepteritis and are heavily dependent upon those fan wank memories that both writers ostensibly are so vocally against. Read Supreme without knowing Superman, it's a worthless series. Read All-Star Superman? Same thing.

So, relax, everybody. 

You can start your bitching and/or applauding in a year or two.

May 21, 2016

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T INTERACT WITH "FANS" ON SOCIAL MEDIA, ANYWHERE

Once upon a time, I was a minor celebrity.

That was when I was part of the launch team for NBC Europe's Giga in 1998, and we had this "amazing" and "novel" idea (at the time) to do a live show on Cable TV for 5 hours each day, starting when what I now would call the Google Kids

(only Google didn't exist back then, not really, it was an Internet toddler, and the whole Business 2.0 thing was about the break, bubble up and then burst just three years later, burning a lot of cash and bridges)

came home from school, hey, kids, we are the modern MTV, we are hip, we are so you, and by the way, you can talk to your hosts every moment of the day through special chat and there would be an immediate reaction and incorporation into the show.

Me, honestly?

Didn't like it. Well, I did like the idea, but I didn't want to be in front of the camera, because I never had the urge to perform like a monkey. But a monkey I became, and I was rather good at it, primarily because I didn't take it seriously, nor did I take myself seriously.

What I did take seriously?

The interaction between the viewers and myself.

You wrote me an email, you could be sure I'd be the one replying. 

You chatted with me, even while I was doing the news live on air?

You could be sure I would be the one responding to you, in a casual way that nowadays would be the equivalent of a 7 (because I started the chat before we went on the air) hour Reddit AMA.

It was draining. It was long. It was burning me out.

But I thought, people "deserve" to know who is that asshole playing the monkey in front of the camera. Now, let me tell you something (all three of you who are not too busy spouting bullshit on Twitter, Facebook, commenting on shit because you feel the need to).

You don't deserve shit. You are not entitled to shit.

A writer. An artist. An anchor. An editor. They are not your little bondage piggies, for you to tie up and wrap around and bitch at. You have two choices. You buy what they produce. Or you don't.

That's it. 

That's all you are entitled to. 


That doesn't mean you don't have the right to bitch. To moan. To whine. And to cheese. Nobody is taking that right away from you. But that? That isn't good enough for you. You think you are entitled to something more. Something bigger. You think you are allowed to crash somebody's time line on Twitter, to put comments up on their blogs, on the Facebook feed or whatever the shit it is you feel like doing.

You have the right to an opinion

You have the right to voice it loudly

The artist, the editor, the writer... they have the right to not reply. 

Oh, and they have the right to not give a fuck.

They are not your friends. Too many of them feel the need to be "out there" and "connect" to you. Bullshit. It takes too much time, and most of the time, you have to deal with shitheads.

Yes, you. Over there. I'm talking to you. You know who you are. The serial troll on Twitter, the serial poster on boards, the serial bullshit wanker who thinks you "own" the artist's time, because I PAID MY MONEY, MY GOOD MONEY FOR THIS, I HAVE THE RIGHT TO...

... you don't have the right.

Don't delude yourself. You have the right to be pissed off. You have the right to voice it. To talk to your friends. And have your often retarded little "debates" on the Internet that barely ever amount to more than "you don't know" followed by "you're an asshat" and "you're a racist sex terrorist transgender vegan" or whatever else your tiny processed-food excuse of a brain can come up with.


It usually isn't much.

Once upon a time, I was yet another minor celebrity.

During the Egypt Revolution. On Twitter.

And I thought, maybe I can do some good there, and I told the truth, and I never ever trolled somebody. But I was trolled. Was I hurt by it? Fuck, no. But I again felt the obligation to answer to every retard, to explain, to debate, to have a civilized conversation, you know, the way we used to have them before the Internet reduced your brain capacity to a binary code of ME LIKE and ME HATE and nothing else between it.

Essentially, the kind of mindset that now allows rich retards like Trump and corrupt retards like Clinton run their campaigns on your emotional infantile black hole of a mind. 

In 2013, when I got so ill that I could barely get through the day, I also closed my Twitter account, I replaced with a tiny one that only has a select group of friends invited in. And I make jokes. Sometimes I make them laugh. It's like a nice dinner party. And that is all that I care about in "social media", even now that I am feeling better.

I have not allowed and never will allow comments on this blog.

You can read it. You can not read it. 

That's your choice.

You can have your opinion about me.

That's your right.

And I have the right not to be bothered by any of your opinions.

We are not  friends.


I know my friends.

By the way, this extends to both good or bad opinions. Because they are both the same coin, different sides. They are what "fans" are. Fanatics. Either side. Bad shit, kids. As much as I always loved comics, movies, books, I never felt the need to interact with those who wrote them. Why should I? I enjoy what they do (or did), not who they are. I am sure I wouldn't be friends with most of them, just as I am sure most wouldn't want to be friends with me, primarily because I don't care much for people. 

People bore me. They always have. 

But those vocal "internet fans"?

Bore me the most.



May 20, 2016

WHY THE ALL-NEW-ALL-DIFFERENT 2016 GHOSTBUSTERS DOESN'T WORK, AND WHY IT'S NOT VAGINA HATE TO SAY SO



Oh boy.

Oh, sorry.

I shouldn't have said that. Boy, I mean.

I really, really wish it was looking like a winner, just so I could feel good about myself for cheering it on. It's like I feel guilty for looking at this and thinking, sorry, but you still don't understand what made the original Ghostbusters work.

It was – and I am being quite serious – a work comedy, the kind that Damage Control etc in the Marvel and DC universes are work comedies, the way that Keith Giffen and DeMattheis's Justice League was a work comedy.

It was about a couple of (yes, sorry) guys who were losers and – in Venkman's case – even frauds, they were those guys who'd get booted out of their “acceptable” jobs and try to land on their feet.

One of the major moments in the movie is actually … them waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Until Janine hits that buzzer and shouts with that wonderful gleeful smile “WE GOT ONE!” as they get their first job.




Add to that the whole riff on them being the supernatural fire dept, that they are the working stiffs that people don't care about, until people figure out, these guys (again, sorry, see? I am being Pavlov'ed) are the ones who are the true heroes, even if they are looney.

But look at this trailer.

Kirsten Wiig does a hysterical woman cliche moment with“GET OUTTA THE CITY, GET OUTTA THE CITY”, she does a cliche “Oh my my my hottie meat hunk” with Thor, there is fatty jokes and racial jokes in the other trailers that people would get the knickers in a twist about if they had been done by male comedians.

If you had really good actresses and a great comedic director, the whole "hottie meat hunk" could have been very funny and not stereotypical at all.

Just imagine this, after looking at Thor, this very casual, subdued exchange, do it almost Aaron Sorkin style. Do it like The West Wing (another work comedy, by the way, with the best female role I have ever seen on television, with CJ)

"You okay?"

"I'm okay."

"You don't look okay."

"He's fine."

"What?"

"I'm fine. Okay. I mean, I'm okay."

"Fine."


"Yeah."

"Okay."

Always. Underplay. Comedy.

Always. 

Trust your timing. Trust your instinct. Don't scream it out.

Now, let us compare that to the original casting. 

Did they hire 1986 Aliens' Sigourney Weaver? 

No. The Sigourney Weaver, as clouded as your memory may have been, was not hired for being the hottie.

This was a Sigourney Weaver known previously to Ghostbusters as

(1) the unlikely survivor of Alien

(2) being in the drama Year of Living Dangerously

(She had two more credits, but nothing that would have stuck with audiences in 1984)

She was not a sex symbol (geek or otherwise) back then. And neither was the character she played. Dana Barrett was a single, working woman. With a nice apartment. In a really shitty big building. Or as Ray says, “Remember that nice lady? You know, before she turned into a dog?”

And even Janine, she wasn't cast, because HOT HOT HOT… she was another, dare I say it, working stiff. A temp. She wasn't played dumb. She wasn't played smart. She was just another one of “the guys”





"I've quit better jobs than this", indeed.

We  could make – and people have made – quite an argument over Ernie Hudson, racism and whatever, although honestly, I always felt that Hudson's role was essentially “us” as the audience. 

We could be part of the Ghostbusters, even without being a scientist. 

That's what they're kinda doing with the black role here, but by always making it black, you set yourself up for some bad shit. Hudson's role was essentially Robin in the original Batman comics. An anchor for the audience to identify with, because none of the three leads were somebody you could easily identify with. 

The Brain (Egon).
The Goofball (Ray). 
The Hustler (Venkman).

Craziest. Bosses. You. Ever. Worked. For

This movie here, you don't need to see it. 

Just as with RoboCloneCop and TotalForgotHowToRecall (both entirely male-centric), you have seen that movie already, and it was better the first time.

May 14, 2016

YES, VIRGINIA, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN SO FAR REALLY IS A BOX OFFICE BOMB... SANTA DOESN'T EXIST, EITHER (SORRY)

Tell me, do you make a profit?

There are many (way too many) things on the internet about whether Batman vs. Superman is a good movie, a shit movie, a movie that tries too hard, that doesn't try hard enough, that... oh, well, you know what I mean. 

And there usually is no debate, just a lot of screaming on every side, and I say this as somebody who loves two Zach Snyder movies (Dawn of the Dead and 300, respectively), who loathes two others (guess the two, win a No-Prize, yes, that is how old I am, I remember those, well, actually I don't, but it sure sounds like I know stuff, right?), and somebody who's had a lot of issues with both his Superman movies, but more with his take on Superman himself. 


But those are personal opinions, and the way the Intertubes work, personal opinions are way too quickly dressed up as facts, with the latest being, "this movie is an unqualified success! How dare you question it! Marvel Geek Boy! Disney Shill!" vs "It is an utter failure, you Doomsday Ass Fucker!"I hate both of those sides, because they both are... retarded.


Now, let us look at this without any passion (I know, that is hard to do because in today's Intertube Retardedness, emotion is everything, and it is even “better” when it can be condensed into 140 characters)


So, with that in mind, we shall look at the numbers (as far as they are known, I warn you, some of this will be a bit fudgy, but while I could spreadsheet the shit out of this down to nickel and dime if I had the actual numbers, yeah, dream on, we can actually look at whether the ballpark figures add up, kinda sorta).


First, costs.


We go with the lower end of the production cost here, which is according to the Hollywood Reporter's latest story


$ 225 million


This does not account for marketing. Forbes puts the marketing costs at $ 165 million


This might be an accurate number, but for this purpose we shall peg it down a notch (because they always inflate numbers, for both grosses and costs), so shall work with this number


$ 125 million


This brings the TOTAL COSTS of Batman vs Superman to


$ 350 million


(fans always tend to forget, yes, marketing costs money, a lot of it, it makes every big tentpole a huge risk as well as potentially very rewarding)


Now… here is where it gets a little bit complicated.


Because not all movie gross dollars are equal.


If you run the numbers for most big blockbusters, what you ideally will want is a 50-50 split between domestic (US) and intl. box office, for a simple reason. The more it is skewered towards intl, the deeper you are in shit as a studio.


Why?


Because the percentage of the gross varies very fucking wildly from territory to territory. In China, e.g., you net only 25 cents per dollar earned at the box office, whereas e.g. in Japan you net about 83 cents. What most industry watchers go with, it is a number of 33% from all intl. territories combined on average (not mathematically the best way to go, but workable)


Meanwhile, the US has an average of 50 cents per dollar that you get to keep, and depending on your power and control, you might even get 60 to 70% over the opening weekend (I couldn't find, though, if Warner had a deal like that for Batman v Superman, so we shall go with the 50% number, okay?)


The movie grossed 37.7% of its overall gross of $ 863 million in the USA.That means at 325.1 million gross a profit of$ 162.5 million


Let us keep that number in mind.


Now, the rest is – according to the Hollywood Reporter – divided up as follows 




Can anybody in class point out the problem?


Anybody?


Bueller?


The second largest chunk of gross comes from…… China.


Remember, boys and girls? That is the country where you get just 25 cents on the dollar.So, the $ 95 million they grossed there comes out to just


$ 23,75 million.


We are now at a profit of


$ 186,25 million… with China and US combined.


The other $ 442,9 million we shall divide up by the average used in industry watcher's overall analysis, so at 33%, which makes that an additional $ 147,6 million. 


Put that together, and we arrive at a current net income for Warner of


$ 333,88 million


Now, which one of you in class remembers the overall costs of the movie?


Hm? Bueller?


Yes, $ 350 million (at the low end of what was given to the media, and with me subtracting a substantial 40 million of the marketing costs as given by the Forbes article)


Now, we do a little math.The movie is still in the red by about


$ 16 million


Mind you, this is only box office, not including the long tail of Blu Ray, TV, ancillaries etc, so the movie will get a nice profit in the end, even with Blu Ray movie sales being essentially flat and coming in at a higher cost than old DVDs once were.


However, we can conclude that for the moment at least, Batman vs. Superman is a bomb. 


I'm sorry.


This has no bearing on whether it was a good movie or not (if you look at Transformers, movies I loathe with a passion, they turned quite a good profit despite losing ground in the USA as well)


The notion if it is a good movie and widely accepted, that will only bear out in potential sequels. 


Considering that even a widely-liked movie like Avengers faltered in its second outing, it is likely – but not a given – that a sequel might falter badly. 


However, this is also counter-acted by the Wonder Woman movie and the fact that the sequel will be called Justice League, which like Batman vs. Superman, has a built-in hype machine.


There we go.


No passion. 


Just numbers.

February 15, 2016

SO, I AM STILL ALIVE (KINDA SORTA)

Now, I have not written anything here, because at the time of my last post, now nearly three years ago, I started to get really, really ill. And the first thing that went was my mind.

Then my body. I could still function on Twitter (which I have since then abandoned, except for a closed account that I only use to stay in touch with a few people, I do have a public account not associated with my name, and I use it to make fun of the news), but I was unable to formulate a clear thought that couldn't be squeezed into a 140 character headline.

In 2015 I was almost dead. My kidneys had begun to shut down due to an untreated diabetes.

So, yes, I was literally pissing my life away. And how is that for an image to haunt your days, eh?

The treatment almost came too late. In the past year I have been fighting to stay alive almost every day, and there were days when I thought I would lose this fight.

But like I once said on this very blog, if I died... then the wrong people would have won.

And I cannot have that.

I am rather stubborn that way.

So, no, I have not been able to write a single word for a long time, and this now is just a little exercise in typing, although in the past few days I have started to write again, something that is more than

Shit
Shit
Shit
Shit

on an empty page (so to speak, in today's digital world), and no, I am not even making this up. See, diabetes is a shit illness, kids, it isn't that nice, fluffy thing that people talk about while they are scarfing down the same fast food bullshit that has gotten them in this situation in the first place.

Diabetes, it attacks your body first. In my case, I started to no longer be able to metabolize carbs. In other words, every damn thing I ate turned into a layer of fat, and I had no idea why I started to gain weight in places where I had never had weight.

Then it started to affect my mind.

It went... out to lunch, so to speak.

Eat at Joe's it wasn't.

I couldn't hold a thought anymore. First, I lost the plot. Then, I lost the ability to form complex sentence structures (some would argue, maybe rightfully so, that I had never had such ability in the first place, and to those who would argue that way, uh, shut the fuck up), until each moment was frozen in time. Each breath was work. I could no longer walk. I could barely sit up straight, even when the treatment began, I got worse.

And whatever strength I had left, whatever of my mind had not gone away, I used to research every possibility to stay alive. So, yeah, by now I know a fucking lot more about diabetes and metabolism than my doctor does. This is not me boasting. This is me looking back at the past year and thinking, how the fuck did I get through this?

I nearly died twice.

I collapsed as my body gave out while I was whipping it back into shape, changed my entire diet, lost all the weight, became a fucking Master Chef, all to stay alive.

Because, see... I know there is nothing but this life.

I know, because I was dying.

And want to know what's there, when your brain fires its neurons in a desperate battle to stay alive?

Nothing.

There is nothing.

No heaven. No hell.

Just darkness.

And your heart screams. And you reach out to the nearest thing, the nearest person, you claw into them, the way I would see my father claw at me at the end of the past year when cancer took him, I saw it in his eyes and I knew what I saw, because I had seen it myself, and the only thing I could do was to hold him, his head on my shoulder, tell him that I would be there until the final moment, even when the cancer had started to take his brain and he would no longer recognize me, only my mother, his wife of 51 years, the love of his life for 54.

And I fought.

I am still fighting.

Every day.

But I am alive. Kinda sorta.

I didn't beat the diabetes. I never will. But I managed to corner it, and it claws at me in frustration, it claws at my heart on the bad days, it growls that I will fall asleep one of those days, that I will become weak one day or another, that all it takes is something that has too much sugar, too many carbs in it, and it will take my heart and me down.

But I cornered it. In the past few months, while I was fighting for my life, I had been put on three different diabetes meds plus a daily insulin injection, my kidneys were almost gone, my liver as well, and the doctor gave me another two years at the most.

It has been a year since that diagnosis.

I am alive. Kinda sorta.

I have managed to get off all medication.

Yes, you read that right.

I am not healthy. I never will be.

But I am off all medication. My kidneys work. My liver works.

You see my blood work and didn't know me, you'd think I am healthy.

My blood sugar is that of a healthy man my age.

My blood sugar lies.

I am beating the shit out of my diabetes each day. I beat the shit out of it by using the discipline I learned while I was fighting at school, that I learned while I was in the army, I look at it and I whisper, "come on, motherfucker, come and get it, I fucking dare you."

I know the carb count of everything. I know how to pace meals. I know how to essentially starve my body in the right way that it had to jump start my pancreas again. That my levels became those of a healthy man.

All it took was to be ready to die.

When the darkness came for me.

And I looked at it and said, fuck you. Not now.

I will never be healthy again. And I will fight each day.

But I am alive.

Kinda sorta.

And I will write again.

Watch out.

I am still here.

March 26, 2013

HOLLYWOOD: WE LIKE TO FUCK (SHIT UP)!

Well, kids, now you done gone done it!

Hollywood is fed up with you. And says that it will no longer give you sex. You know, just like your girlfriend. No, wait. In theaters, that is. Well, on the big screen in theaters that is, so as with most things in life today, you have to bring your own. Sex, that is.

Which is kinda sorta rather traditional, really, considering that in those Wonder Years that Hollywood wants to return to there was no sex on the big screen, but a big fucking lot of sex in the theaters. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, ask your grandparents and watch them fucking get red faster than a cock in the middle of dawn.

See, the thing is, we don't like sex. Not really. Because sex doesn't sell any longer. Because sex is now a free commodity, and we all know, hell, free commodities can be found on the web.

And in your pants.

But the wholesome thing? The Disney bullshit they blow up in your ass to the tune of 400 million dollar budgets, which is incidentally worth more than 400,000 awesome Thai transsexual girlfriend experiences?

That sells units. That sells like hot cakes in hot pants.

And them in Hollywood are all about panting, not touching.

Oddly enough, like any fuck that's now called a "girlfriend experience".

It's explosive ejaculation into thin air.

And you're still trying to swallow it anyway.




August 19, 2012

THE TEENAGE GIRL SHELL GAME

There are 61 years between those two photos below, both belong to Conde Naste, maybe the biggest fashion magazine publisher in the world (it's too late for me to check the actual numbers, but I am fairly certain it still is, despite the loss of circulation everywhere) -

This one is from 1949



This one is from 2011


Now, I am not going to talk about my personal preference in dress style, anybody who's known me for longer than ten minutes will know that I prefer the glamor shots and the fashion of the 1940s, want I want you to do is to look at those two images for more than a minute.

The first one shows, whether you like it or not, a woman, she's dressed up, yes, but there is something about the way that she's photographed that tells you she's her own woman, regardless of the realities of the 1940s and 1950s America, where this wasn't the case at all, where women were only their own for as long as men would allow them to.

But again, not the point here. There's sexy in that image, but there's also a certain distance, she's the kind of woman who you'd like to pass on the street and maybe give her a glance, you wouldn't whistle, of course, she's too classy to give her a whistle, but you would look.

The second image from last year, what does that show you?

I don't know about you, kids, but what I see is something straight out of what's called the Uncanny Valley in CGI animation, airbrushed and photoshopped to the max, but also composed in such a way that it sexualizes and makes these two girls (I'm sorry, but I will not call them women), both with strange, elongated necklines not only Barbie dolls, both objects and sex objects, dressed in creepy layers of something that's somewhere between innocence, both of them sucking on those whistles, both of them look at each other as if they're about to get into some kind of lesbain love feast that only waits for you, the guy, to join in.

These two photos are not the only things, of course. We dress our little girls like 20-year-olds and our 20-year-olds or even 30-year-olds dress like teenage girls, blurring the line not only in fashion but also in our sexuality as to what a woman is and what she shouldn't be.

No, I am not saying that the way girls and women dress today is an open invitations to do whatever the hell you are thinking right now, looking at the second image. What I am saying, though, is that it gets increasingly more difficult to know who's what.

Think about it. The next time you see someone walking down the streets.

If it's a woman dressed as a teenage girl.

Or a teenage girl dressing as if she was a woman.