The Spectacle Blog

Game of Thrones and the Art of Revenge

By on 4.7.14 | 6:04PM

The Game of Thrones season four premiere enticed 6.6 million viewers, up 52 percent in viewership since the season three debut. Meanwhile, HBOGo.com was publicly humiliated after a crash effectively decapitated the online service. Too soon with the decapitation jokes? 

Not if the Game of Thrones model holds true: Violence is viewership, after all.

Warning: spoilers.

In the first minutes of the episode, Ned Stark’s valyrian steel sword “Ice” is re-forged into two blades for Lannister hands. This is a metaphor for the shattering of northern power after the deaths of both Ned and his heir Robb at the hands of the Lannisters and their allies.

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The All-American Captain America

By on 4.7.14 | 5:14PM

On Friday night I reluctantly dropped $17 to watch Captain America in 3D. Sliding into the cushy seat with a bag of popcorn and a Diet Coke, I hoped the experience would be worth it. Truthfully, I’m no die-hard Marvel fan, but by the time I left the theater, Cap had stolen my heart and ignited it with patriotic pride.

I was worried about classy Cap being thrown into the mess of our age. I’d rather him stay in 1940 so I could dream of time-traveling back to the good ole days when women wore skirts instead of yoga pants. Instead, I thought he successfully injected our cynical world with a dose of WWII American pride. 

So you can imagine my shock when I read Armond White’s scathing review of the film. He writes:

[Captain America] Evans’s emblematic face has no emotion behind it. What he conveys, actually, given the way the actor plays down physical passion in favor of bland duty, is a political anachronism.

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Confiscate the Pen: Obama Demands Wage Transparency

By on 4.7.14 | 1:31PM

Someone really needs to confiscate Obama’s pen and phone.

According to Reuters, he plans to sign yet another executive order on Tuesday preventing “federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their compensation.”

In other words, federal workers have free rein to gripe and complain about their wages, and supervisors cannot do anything about it.

The order stems from Obama’s “equal pay for women” soap box, and a White House official claims they just want “transparency." The only way for women to know if they are being discriminated against is if they poke and prod, asking nosy questions to their coworkers about their paychecks:

“The executive order does not compel workers to discuss pay nor require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data,” the official said.

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Morning Round-Up 4-7

By on 4.7.14 | 9:58AM

Feature of the Day: During Cold War, CIA Used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

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RLC Will Test 2016 White House Hopefuls at New Orleans Event

By on 4.7.14 | 9:33AM

Republicans who can't wait for an advance preview of the 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign should mark the last weekend in May on their calendars and book their flights for New Orleans, site of the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference. Among the names already announced for the three-day event are Texas. Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Tennesssee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Florida Rep. Allen West, businessman Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. RLC spokesman Ryan Cross said that further speaker confirmations will be announced in coming weeks.

"The road to the White House begins in New Orleans," said Cross, noting that previous conferences have attracted more than 3,000 Republicans from 47 states as well as reporters from more than 100 national media outlets. The RLC's presidential straw poll will test "who can make a strong showing" among conference attendees in an early barometer of 2016 preferences, Cross said.

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Unions and their war against the public

By on 4.6.14 | 3:13PM

Thanks to the Cato Institute's Walter Olson, a former colleague of mine, for highlighting public employee unions and their war against the public. Via his Facebook page, Olson gave his characteristically sharp take on an article about a recent train crash at Chicago's O'Hare Airport:

Don't you love unions? "The CTA's contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union authorizes the agency to fire rail operators who have had *two* [emphasis added - W.O.] serious safety violations in a short period of time, and officials said the two incidents when Haywood dozed off qualify her for termination." Falling asleep just once at the controls of a train wasn't enough!

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More on Brendan Eich’s Forced Resignation

By on 4.5.14 | 1:13AM

I share Bill Zeiser's outrage concerning Brendan Eich being forced to walk the plank at Mozilla because he had the temerity to donate his own money back in 2008 in support of Proposition 8 in California which sought to ban gay marriage. He was forced out by people who might not have careers if it were not for Eich's hard work and innovation. Some reward.

If one looks at this rationally why should gay rights advocates give a damn if Eich gave money in support of Proposition 8? Although Prop 8 did pass in November 2008, it was struck down by a federal judge less than two years later and that decision was upheld in the appellate courts and eventually in the Supreme Court. The last I checked same sex marriage is legal in California despite Eich's modest efforts.

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Gay Activists: Be Tolerant. Or We Will Destroy You!

By on 4.4.14 | 6:11PM

We have made great strides in the policing of thought in this country. Just ask Brendan Eich, one of the founders of Mozilla, developers of the web browser Firefox. Eich had just landed a promotion to the big chair as Mozilla's CEO. He lasted all of nine days. The reason? Back in 2008 Eich donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. The unearthing of this donation led to protests from gay rights activists and the high profile call for a boycott of Firefox by dating site OkCupid.com. Eich, as many people in circumstances such as his, was stricken with the sudden desire to "spend more time with his family" and quietly resigned.

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