Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
November 10, 2017
But I don’t blame China.
Category: Current Events … Serious

After all, who could blame one party for knowingly and eagerly taking advantage of another party in agreements that were supposed to work to the mutual benefit of both parties? Any lopsidedness in these agreements was clearly the fault of the United States -- and its stupid leaders, and its stupid people for electing those leaders -- for being so incredibly stupid and inferior. China was both right and in fact morally obligated to exploit that stupidity for the benefit of its citizens.

This is the kind of "leadership" we get from a "businessman" president. Silver lining: Trump can't actually file for moral bankruptcy.

-posted by Wes | 8:30 pm | Comments (0)
November 8, 2017
Too Soon
Category: Current Events … Serious

Over the last couple of days, I've been thinking a lot about the Right's aversion to gun control efforts and the insistence that it's "too soon" to discuss those efforts in the wake of tragedies. Intuitively, that latter response seems especially baffling to me. In the days following a hideous car accident -- one that likely resulted from some problem with an automobile's construction or design -- we wouldn't insist that it was too soon for the manufacturer to begin looking into the problem and consider issuing a recall. So why, when guns are involved in tragedies that take the lives of too many Americans, are we so hesitant to discuss policies that might prevent those tragedies from happening in the future? Why is it too soon to talk about saving lives?

And as I think about it, I think it partly comes down to an issue of trust. The Right might sincerely disbelieve the premise that gun control measures will actually help, but more significantly they believe that liberals also don't believe gun control measures will have any positive impact. Instead, the Right maintains that this is a Right/Left culture-war issue. Liberals simply want to take their guns because liberals hate guns in principle, and fuck those liberals and everything they stand for. This isn't actually about saving lives or preventing tragedies; it's about trying to screw over one's political enemies. Those libtards are just taking advantage of bad press and dead kids (for shame!) to push their anti-gun and anti-conservative and big-government agenda. And that's all well and good, libs, but we should at least call a temporary truce to mourn the dead. The Right's not saying it's too soon to advance potentially helpful policies (note how quickly Trump tweets about restricting immigration and railroading/executing suspects following incidents where he believes "radical Islamic terror" is to blame); they're saying that it's too soon for that antagonistic back-and-forth that now characterizes our politics. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 7:35 pm | Comments (0)
November 2, 2017
DEATH PENALTY!
Category: Current Events … Serious

Admittedly, I oppose the death penalty in the vast majority of scenarios we're likely to encounter. I'd support it for the Joker -- dude breaks out of Arkham every other week and murders at least thirty people every time he hits the streets, so killing him would be in the interest of public safety. But insofar as our criminals are contained and aren't continuing to menace the public at large (by, say, running a criminal empire and ordering hits and the like), I don't support killing them. I maintain that killing people who are no longer a threat diminishes us. (And, of course, there's the possibility of condemning innocent people and the reality of disproportionate application of the death penalty along racial lines and all of that jazz.)

In any case, whether one supports the death penalty or not, I hope that most of us could agree that there should be some discussion whenever we seek to apply it -- that we should consider what we hope to achieve by it and whether it upholds or runs counter to our values and aims in particular instances. Might it actually be a deterrent in this case? Will it instead make a martyr of a perpetrator and inspire others of his ilk? Could it deprive us of the opportunity to learn more about the perpetrator? Insofar as we could convince him of the error of his ways, could it deprive us of a potential ally? And so on. In short, whatever one's feelings about the death penalty, it should not be taken lightly.

It should definitely not be the kind of thing a US president demands, in all caps, without qualification or apparent thought.

-posted by Wes | 7:15 pm | Comments (0)
October 13, 2017
Four Movie Reviews

I watched a handful of movies recently! Here are my thoughts on It (2017), mother! (2017), My Little Pony (2017), and Before Midnight (2013)...

It (2017)

Honestly? I found It kinda boring. The characters were unbelievable and underdeveloped. Certain elements of and changes to (compared to the 1990 miniseries; I haven't read the novel) the story were baffling. Pennywise himself -- the main attraction, at least for me -- ultimately had me groaning every time he appeared (which was a LOT). A friend described Pennywise as less a performance than a special effect; I wholly agree with that assessment. And perhaps the following occurred to me because both feature the same distinctively weird-looking kid, but I kept thinking that the movie played out like an abridged and way less interesting Stranger Things adaptation. (Admittedly I wasn't a *huge* fan of that show, either. It was okay.) (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:31 pm | Comments (0)
May 20, 2017
Currently Reading: Asura Girl
Category: Books

So this week I started reading Asura Girl by Otaro Maijo, which I think I acquired during one of a friend's book purges. I don't recall what initially moved me to take the title home, but one of the things that persuaded me to read it now was my curiosity concerning prose translated from Japanese. Shusaku Endo's Silence ranks among the most satisfying and thought-provoking books I've ever read, but I haven't read any Japanese novels besides that.

About halfway into Asura Girl -- and having looked up some additional information about the book online -- I'm finding myself wondering about other details, like the fact that the book is written in first person and the protagonist is a 17-year-old girl, yet the author was a 30-year-old man when the book was released. The book also won the Mishima Yukio Prize for that year, which seems surprising because it's not all that good (at least so far, and admitting that whatever elegance the original prose possessed was perhaps lost in translation) and Yukio Mishima is kind of a big deal in Japanese literature. But the depiction of Japanese teenage culture is intriguing because of how alien it seems (to me; it might not seem that strange to others), and what story there is is interesting enough (though so far the novel has largely consisted of the teen female protagonist's musings, hence my curiosity regarding the reality of the author's age and sex), so I'm sufficiently motivated to keep reading.

-posted by Wes | 8:41 pm | Comments (0)
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