Is Bradley Manning suffering from vaginal dryness? Is his hair thinning out? Are his breasts getting smaller while his tummy swells like a gourd? How regular are his periods? What about his personality: is he behaving shrewishly toward his jailers at Fort Leavenworth, haranguing them about the toilet seat? The world wants to know. Or at least I do.
What do progressives want? If you want to know, to really see, then pack up the wife and kids and head to your local movie theater on August 15.
Based on the Lois Lowry novel, a new movie called The Giver is going to change the way people think about the nanny state. The movie is not some sort of right-wing propaganda film. In fact, it has such Hollywood heft as Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Brenton Thwaites, and — a casting decision that will please my 15 year daughter Lucy — Taylor Swift. The novel’s author is, in fact, an Obama supporter.
So why do I say all conservatives should see it? Because it shows us what’s at stake.
The movie includes a totalitarian government like we’ve seen in The Hunger Games and Divergent, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these themes keep popping up under and administration that regularly erodes our liberties and targets its perceived enemies.
Filmmakers adapting Lois Lowry’s The Giver to the silver screen — fitting to the monochromatic utopia she created — have a tall order. I attended a prescreening of the Weinstein and Walden Media film on Wednesday (signing in the process an embargo not to review the movie until next week), but I can probably say that the adaptation remains true to the themes highlighted in the well-loved novel.
The story’s protagonist, Jonas, is the new “Receiver of Memories,” a historian a la George Santayana in a history-less society. He who must dispense wisdom for the present based on memories of the past must grapple with the guilt of moral knowledge as a member of an amoral society.
Gallows humor is one of the most traditional and least savory elements of esprit de corps. For cops, doctors, soldiers, social workers—anybody whose job site is the miserable human heart—gallows humor puts the “against the world” into us-against-the-world. In a Venn diagram of “jokes cops post in online forums” and “civil rights violations,” a lot of material would fall in the overlap area. Emergency-room abbreviations like CTD (Circling the Drain) or FDGB (Fall Down Go Boom) cauterize the emotions, triaging competence at the expense of empathy. When gallows humor enters journalism it’s often dehumanizing without the excuse of necessity: I’ll always love the tabloid style, but one day I realized that HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR describes the death of some mother’s child.
In this hard-bitten landscape, the journalistic experiment in empathy Cracked.com has embarked on is an outlier. Cracked, which started out as MAD Magazine’s kid brother, now looks more like a punk version of the Washington Post.
The news has been filled with their stories—children just seven or nine or eleven years old, on their own, faced with the impossible, braving death under a hot sun, with nothing but their wits to tell them when to roll down the window.
You thought I was talking about the child migrants? No, I’m referring to our own chubby doltlings, who apparently aren’t up to playing in the park by themselves or even capable of sitting quietly in a car without spontaneously expiring, much less handle a 1,400-mile journey from Guatemala unaccompanied.
Gay and transgender characters don't feature often enough in major Hollywood films, according to a bizarre claim from the activist organization GLAAD. I say that the claim is bizarre because their gripe is that "only" 17 out of 102 big studio films from 2013 featured gay characters. GLAAD regularly bean counts the number of homosexuals in film in their Studio Responsibility Index. "Only" seems a bit of an odd choice of words, though, when 3.8% of Americans identify as LGBT. If anything, gays are disproportionately represented in movies. This should hardly be surprising, given the distinctly liberal complexion of the entertainment industry.
Are vampires scary? Though by all rights they should be, they’ve never really frightened me. Or even been that compelling, really: I read Dracula once and stopped there.
Pop culture, on the other hand, loves vampires. But most of its vampires aren’t frightening either. From The Vampire Chronicles to Buffy to True Blood to Twilight, vampires can be seductive or they can be ridiculous, but they don’t seem to provoke fear in the audience or even seem to be designed to. (Articles I’ve never seen: “Scary moments from last night’s True Blood.” This sort of article, on the other hand….) Indeed, the vampire who kicked off this whole trend back in 1819 was modeled on Lord Byron; a striking figure, to be sure, but not really a frightening one.
In The Brothers Karamazov, after the atheist Ivan has talked for two full chapters—“Rebellion,” the greatest statement of the problem of evil, and “The Grand Inquisitor”—he gives his Christian brother Alyosha a chance to respond. Here we’ve heard the prosecution speak. What’s the case for God?
And Alyosha leans over and kisses him.
Scott Derrickson’s new, sincere horror film Deliver Us From Evil should have listened to how much the wordless Alyosha was saying. Human arguments can only be as big as the arguers. So much of God is left over: outside, eldritch, Other.
Horror should be the genre which best captures this inexpressibility of God, the wrongness of Him compared to the tidy, familiar, practical mental apparatus by which we make sense of the world. The Exorcist is admirably incomplete: tragic, broken, ferocious in the face of evil but submissive in the face of suffering. It convinces by never trying to convince.
In a proverbial middle finger to authorities in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and other states, the popular taxi service Uber’s advertising has gone from clever to downright hysterical. Uber is offering free rides in the Tyson and Reston areas of Northern Virginia this week.
Uber’s campaign is brilliant because of its message. Coinciding with the long-expected opening of the Washington Metro Transportation Authority's silver line, which starts at Dulles airport and joins the orange line in Rosslyn, Uber is promoting free rides with the code name “SILVERLINE” to and from Tyson’s Corner.
This is a direct dig at some of the actions taken against the company in both D.C. and Virginia. According to Blake Seitz and the Washington Examiner, the D.C. Taxi Operators Association staged a major protest:
Let the world take note of the Onion and its incredible commentary on the Middle East. On Friday, it tackled the escalating conflict in Gaza with the headline: “Palestinians Starting To Have Mixed Feelings About Being Used As Human Shields.” The piece employs sarcastic understatement with aplomb, pointing out the lunacy of human action.
It would ruin the humor to try and summarize the deceptively mundane “news” article that follows that title. It’s the truth artfully concealed as a lie, however. Whether or not Palestinians have awoken to the reality that it is their leaders who put them in the line of fire and give Israel cause to retaliate, the Onion points out that truth for anyone who gets their news on the Internet.