Tag Archives: politics

Arguing with an Idiot

Everyone has their own opinions and most people want their opinions known. This results in a lot of arguments and debates between people who don’t see eye to eye. I’ve discussed politics, religion, sports, et cetera with friends, family members, and random people at the bar. Most of the time I end up having a decent conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than me. But occasionally I realize that I’m talking to a complete idiot who has no idea how spectacularly wrong they are.

Case in point: the other day I was talking to a Dodger fan at a baseball game and I mentioned that beach balls in the stands is a Dodger thing. He disagreed and said that beach balls in the stands is a baseball thing. I couldn’t help but laugh at his ignorance. We were sitting in the bleachers at AT&T Park on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon with nary a beach ball in sight. If beach balls are a baseball thing, then where the fuck were all the beach balls? Oh, in Dodger Stadium, that’s right. 

I didn’t bring up that very valid point though because there’s no point in arguing with an idiot. It’s an excercise in futility. If they don’t believe basic facts, they aren’t going to believe you. I want to be clear that he’s not an idiot for being a Dodgers fan. That’s not his fault. Your team is chosen for you before you’re born. He’s an idiot for not realizing that the traditions of Dodger Stadium don’t extend to all of baseball. He probably thinks that every stadium sells Dodger Dogs. They don’t. Just like they don’t do The Chop outside of Atlanta. Don’t argue with stupid people. You’re never going to change their mind. It’s a waste of time and energy. Ignorance is bliss and sometimes people want to be happy. Let them believe the world is flat.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Gay Marriage

So DOMA was struck down, the Prop 8 appeal was denied, and now equality is one step closer to reality. This is a great time for the US, and especially for San Francisco… Gay marriage + Pride weekend = One hell of a party. I’m not gay, but I live in San Francisco and there’s no room for bigotry here. I work with gay people, I hang out with gay people, I drink with gay people, and I see no problems celebrating their victory. But this isn’t just their victory; it’s a victory for everybody. Everybody has the right to be happy and marry the person that they love. And if more people can get married, then there will be more weddings. And weddings usually have an open bar. Everybody wins. Gay marriage shouldn’t even be an issue. Shit, homosexuality shouldn’t be an issue. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. We already knew all that, but now the courts recognize it too. It’s about fucking time. Congratulations to us all. But you should still be a little weary because in the next few years all the bigots/haters/igorami will start talking about the dangers of gay divorce.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Election Day

So it’s the first random Tuesday of November and it’s finally Election Day. This is a big one too. Who will win the presidency? This cookie cutter candidate or that one? It’s so exciting knowing that whoever wins will spend the next 4 years getting our country into more wars and more debt. What a great time to be alive. The best part about Election Day is that we have two and a half years before another presidential campaign starts up again. This country will continue to go down the drain until we get rid of the Electoral College and political parties. And we will never get rid of either. Remember George Washington? Our first president and inventor of the quarter? He was opposed to political parties and foreign entanglements. You think he would like the state of the union these days? I doubt it. Amurika.

Critically Rated at 2/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Fourth of July

The fourth day of the seventh month of the year is just another day for most of the world. For Americans, the fourth day of July is Independence Day, the annual birthday of freedom. And we celebrate with hot dogs, beer, and fireworks. For most Americans, it’s just an excuse to barbeque and hang out in backyards. The best way to celebrate America’s birthday is to blow things up. Every Fourth of July, thousands of cities across the nation try to destroy the sky with an aerial bombardment of bright colors and misshapen smiley faces.

The Fourth of July is a holiday because Americans are stupid. Before the Declaration of Independence there was this thing called the resolution of independence or the Lee Resolution. On June 7, 1776, a Virginian named Richard Lee proposed that colonies should break away from the English. On June 11, 1776, A Committee of Five (Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) got together to prepare a document detailing why they wanted independence. Only July 2, 1776 we officially declared our independence. On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence. August 2, 1776 is when most people signed the document and the last guy signed it on November 4, 1776.

That’s kind of a watered down version of what happened, but of all those dates, July 4th seems the least likely option to become our Independence Day. John Adams thought that July 2nd would be the day we celebrated our freedom. All he did was help write the Declaration and become our first president after George Washington… what the fuck does he know about American patriotism?

john adams presidential dollar coin

So the Fourth of July is not when we declared our independence, it’s when we finished writing a note to Mom and Dad a letter saying that we were moving out. But then we didn’t sign it until a month later. Most of the world ignores the Fourth of July, and maybe we should too. Because July 2nd seems like a much more logical choice. So does August 2nd. So does June 7th or 11th. Whatever.

The spirit of this holiday is perhaps best captured by Bill Pullman in his greatest performance yet.

The Fourth of July is our Independence Day. I just don’t know why. But I’m a sheep and will go along with it like everyone else. Happy Birthday, America! Now where’s the booze?

Critically Rated at 14/17

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V for Vendetta (comic)

V for Vendetta is one of those comics that transcends comics and gets accepted as genuine literature. Alan Moore’s story is about a masked vigilante who rebels against the oppressive dictatorship that the UK has become. And he wears a Guy Fawkes mask because you have to look cool if you’re going to fight the government.

The story is set in the UK a few years after a nuclear war. Society collapsed and a group called the Norsefire takes advantage of the chaos and establishes itself as the new government in charge. If you are trying to assume total control, it’s only natural that you would eliminate your enemies or any threats against you, and so the Norsefire purged the UK of foreign immigrants, left-wing liberals, homosexuals and put them in concentration camps.

Only one prisoner managed to escape and he decides he wants a little revenge. He dons a cloak and a Guy Fawkes mask, and has an unnatural obsession with the letter V and the number five. In the beginning of the comic, our masked vigilante saves a young girl named Evey from a sticky situation. He takes her to his underground lair and begins teaching her how to become free, while showing off his bombing abilities and literary prowess.

It soon becomes clear to the Norsefire that they have a terrorist on their hands and they have to stop him. Eric Finch, the head of The Nose (the police force) , is assigned to track down V. We start to see how the party works. We meet the Leader, a shut-in named Adam Susan, who spends all day with his beloved computer system, Fate. There’s also The Finger (the secret police), The Eye (the visual surveillance branch), The Ear (the audio surveillance branch), and The Mouth (in charge of propaganda).

V starts killing a bunch of seemingly random people with ties to the party. Finch discovers a link between the victims – they all worked at a concentration camp. He finds a diary from one of V’s victims and learns about a mysterious prisoner known as the Man from Room Five because he was locked in a room with a roman numeral V on the door. The Man from Room Five escaped the camp using improvised explosives and vanished into the night. Finch deduces that this prisoner became the masked vigilante. He just has no idea who his true identity is.

V continues wreaking havoc on the Norsefire of the next few months and years, all the while continuing to teach Evey how to be free and what it means to be free. While V is terrorizing the party, the party is becoming divided and there’s a lot of bickering and backstabbing and attempts to seize power. V’s continued assaults on the party makes the oppressed masses start to stir and fight back. The party must try to deal with a potential political uprising in addition to warding off V’s victories.

Finch goes a little off the deep end and starts to think like V. He figures out where V’s hideout is and confronts him He wounds V mortally and V ends up dying in Evey’s arms. She doesn’t unmask him, she instead decides to don the cloak and the mask and assume his role. His ideas will live on through her, he lives on as a symbol.

V is one of the most unusual characters in comic history. You never see his face, you never learn his identity. And neither do any of the other characters. V could be a hero, he could be a villain. He could be sane, he could be totally crazy. He’s a little bit of everything, and he’s always an enigma.

Alan Moore’s depiction of dystopia is very reminiscent of Nineteen Eighty-Four. David Lloyd’s fantastic illustrations are perfect for this story. Although some events are over-the-top, the artwork keeps everything grounded in reality. It makes everything seem not just possible but inevitable. The art and the story are perfect compliments of each other.

If you liked Nineteen Eighty-Four or Fahrenheit 451 but wish there was more violence and nudity and a masked vigilante, you would probably like this comic. They made a film version that doesn’t really translate well, but it has Natalie Portman in it and she’s nice to look at. It’s not a terrible movie, but it sucks compared to the comic. This is a good comic, it’s a smart comic, and it’s an important comic.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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Game of Thrones (TV show)

HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows I’ve ever experienced, and it’s not even through its second season. It’s hard to make a great show: you need a great premise, strong writing, a solid cast, and a TV network that is willing to invest in a great idea. Game of Thrones has all the requirements to being awesome, and it also has dragons, which makes it even better.

I’ve noticed that there’s been a trend of TV shows based on books, like True Blood, Legend of the Seeker, and this show, which is based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Each season represents a book. HBO can afford to have amazing production values. Each episode feels like a movie. There is a scope that rivals any fantasy film, in most cases exceeding them.

There is a lot going on. There are multiple families competing against each other for power. The Stark family is feuding with the Lannister clan, but sometimes they get along. There’s a clan of warriors known as the Dothraki, and the Viserys, heirs of a usurped king, marry into their tribe to get access to their army so that they might one day reclaim their land. Basically there’s a shit ton of politics and wars and incest. The middle ages were truly a magical time.

This is one of those shows that you get on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a marathon where you watch all the episodes back to back. It’s addicting. There’s something for everyone. There’s talking. There’s action. There’s nudity. There’s violence. There’s romance. There’s politics. There’s nudity. There’s betrayal. There’s religion. There are dwarves. There are dragons. There’s nudity. There are fools and bastards and evil kings. Did I mention the nudity?

No character is safe. This is like a medieval 24. You get to know a character, you get to like them, and then WHAM! BAM! They are dead and your jaw is dropped. And there are a lot of characters. There are a lot of subplots. There are a lot of things going on, but everything ties together. This show is still young, it will get to be a cult phenomenon. It’s already on its way there.

George R. R. Martin has crafted an amazing world. HBO tries to respect it. They do a great job of it too. There is a sense of history. He created a whole backstory that you catch glimpses of that adds to the depth of the story. There are different religions, different gods. There are different languages and customs. There is a sense of honor and chivalry. This is a medieval period, there is still fear of the unknown. Magic still exists, it’s real and possible.

The show follows the book more strictly than True Blood follows the Sookie Stackhouse books. So if you don’t like spoilers you probably shouldn’t read the books. You don’t want to be the jackass pointing out all the differences anyway.

Game of Thrones is awesome. Dragons, kings, swords, nudity… it’s the best swords and sorcery TV show ever. HBO shows are usually awesome, and this is one of their best shows to date. I hope I’m not jinxing season three.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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