May 27, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - Stop Killing the Enterprise!!






Okay, the first trailer for this movie was a mess and did not say Star Trek to me at all. This trailer is much better. It feels like the Trek vibe, some focus on Kirk that makes sense. I think action in these flicks is good, particularly if it has a point, if it's action grounded in a reality that action must be taken. So I actually think this trailer is a serious win, BUT......the trailer and the movie if these things remain, has two fails, one minor but annoying and the other just really problematic as hell to me.

Fail 1 - minor, more annoying than it should be, and that is the villain looks just like G'Kar, the Narn diplomat in the Babylon 5 series. Was instantly my first thought when I saw him. That is a fail and how the character designers miss that the villain looks like a ripoff of that is beyond me. I'm going to spend the whole movie feeling like the Federation is facing off against the Narn. it will be an irritant the whole film, like a fly buzzing around that you can't shoo away.

FAIL 2 - All caps because this is the big one. WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ARE WE GETTING ANOTHER TREK FILM WHERE THE ENTERPRISE IS DESTROYED!!!

The ship is a character in Trek as pivotal and key as Kirk himself. It's like the unnamed member of the team -Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, Enterprise. And we now have in multiple movies, this key member of the team getting killed off and not only killed off, but getting taken out in ways that give her no opportunity to even demonstrate her mettle, to give as good as she gets and to go down hard, go down fighting and bloody up the other son of a bitch on the way out. They keep killing this character, but they never give her death any meaning!

You sacrifice key characters for impact in a story, but this particular plot device of the Enterprise being destroyed merely to allow the crew to then be forced to operate in other ways is becoming a regular thing. It's treating Enterprise like Lois in BVS, having her get in trouble just so Superman can save her. But Enterprise doesn't even get saved, it just gets wasted to be resurrected for the next film, so she can be beaten to death again.

This is the huge and seemingly repeating fail for me with this Trek and the one before it. You can't keep killing this key member of the team and treating the Enterprise like a throwaway plot gimmick.

These new movies need to figure out some balance between the interplay of the human characters and giving the Enterprise an opportunity to shine in some serious ship to ship combat where everything is on the line. But you just can't keep throwing away the Enterprise every movie. It's not iconic, full on Trek without the goddamned Enterprise!

December 4, 2015

Use of Force Legal Review Standard Obviously Flawed

L.A. declines to prosecute CHP officer for assault caught on video http://flip.it/WtZy0

The legal standard for review of police use of force needs to change. Under current legal standards, police behavior like this and worse is permitted and allowed as lawful. The standard is clearly out of alignment with decency and human rights.

November 29, 2015

Confederate Flag Wavin

Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air opines about NYT reporting on what looks to be a new round of "fly or do not fly" arguments about the confederate flag getting ginned up in Missippi.  


“The South” – at least as defined as a unique, richly flavored heritage in the American melting pot – nearly died at the end of the 19th century. But it hung on in the tenacious way that southerners have always held on. They held on even as they came (as Virgil Cane said) and tore up the tracks again. And as they held on and regrouped through the 20th century, they had a symbol to cling to. It might not have been the best symbol, and others would obviously see it as a sigil of war, but it was the symbol they had. And they hung on to it. It grew to mean something deeper and more profound about the cultural identity of just being from The South when everyone else wanted to pretend that The South had never existed. That’s what it’s all about. And it’s what it’s been about for a very, very long time.

I don't think he explains much about the meaning of the confederate flag at all with the above, but let's set that aside. Here's my personal take on the confederate flag.  I don’t think the confederate flag should be the official flag of any federal, state or local public entity, and I don’t think anybody should want it to, but that’s for the people of those different jurisdictions to decide. I think people should be able to fly it or otherwise display it, because that’s freedom of speech. If their community ostracizes or otherwise responds negatively to them because of it, I say great. If their community thinks it’s fine or actively cheers, I say shame. But that’s America.

A lot of the Hot Air comments have said that people who are not from the south simply don’t get it. That the confederate flag symbolizes something deep and fundamental, a history and heritage encompassing any number of things about the south, its culture, its history and people that are elemental to it’s meaning to southerners. They suggest that racism and slavery, while certainly bound up in the flag’s symbolism, are merely incidental to it’s meaning, rather than core to what it stands for. You can have a lot of fine debate about it, a lot of fascinating historical discussion. I suppose there is something to that argument. Personally, I don’t think race and racism are incidental to the confederate flag’s symbolism, but I’ll accept this view of it at face value as sincerely felt and believed by its proponents.
As a black citizen, as a descendant of people who were enslaved, as a descendant of people who wore the Union uniform (13th US Colored Heavy Artillery) the confederate flag is the symbol of the people, who had they won, would have kept me and mine enslaved to this very day. It’s the symbol of the people who fought and died by the thousands, who were willing to kill thousands of their fellow white citizens, for the right to maintain my family members who came before me as chattel within a routine and organized system of degrading, violent and inhuman slavery so that I could one day be born into it as well. When I look at the flag, what I see are the colors of the people who desired to perpetuate a continuous and barbaric crime against humanity on me and mine and were willing to kill and die for it. Show a swastika to a Jew and you get a visceral reaction that pretty much anybody understands. Show me or any other regular black citizen a confederate flag, pretty much the same thing. It’s the symbol of people who fought a war to preserve their ability to enslave and degrade us. That’s what I see and that’s never gonna change.

November 28, 2015

Every local official associated with cover up should be politically destroyed

Every local public official  that facilitated the delay in releasing the video and covering up the crime should be pilloried .

Laquan McDonald’s Death Is an Outrage. The Charges Against His Killer Are a Political Triumph. http://flip.it/W-p.n

November 15, 2015

If we're not careful, it could happen

We might really elect a loon: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and a GOP gripped by wingnut fever http://flip.it/ZL8UA

November 13, 2015

Listen to the spymasters

‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’ http://flip.it/3BzwV

November 8, 2015

We must play the long game

White Republicans are revolting: They keep winning elections, and keep getting angrier http://flip.it/Usn4A