03 May 2020

Internet Bangers and Chips

possibly without the chips.

  • So nice to learn that BoJo's doctors were preparing in case "things went badly wrong" during his bout with COVID–19 (fortunately for them and him — but probably not for the UK as a whole — he recovered). Too bad there was no evidence whatsoever of his government doing so, because it doesn't have anything like the 25th Amendment; its continued insistance on an "unwritten constitution" has Problems.
  • As does its insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road. This is a classic example of "proximate cause versus first cause" in public health and safety: If the UK hadn't allowed a few aristocrats to keep it from following the then-emerging consensus a century ago, this particular instance might not have occurred… and UK motor-vehicle manufacturers would have been unable to extract billions of pounds in rents from UK citizens (while seriously harming their own export markets) over the years, but that's another story entirely.

    This implicates the non-uniformed services' attitude toward posting and preparing dependents given local conditions. When I was stationed Over There, even during the depths of the Reagan Administration, there were effective multimedia presentations (no PowerPoint, dank' sei gott) for everyone — even kids — on both driving-on-the-left in general and difficult areas near the base, near housing areas, near major shopping and cultural districts. (And I learned the expected, and workable, way to handle a roundabout, which is completely different from the way a Bostonian manages a traffic circle…) At least statistically, Americans and their dependents were less likely to be involved in vehicle mishaps than were the locals around that base, despite the significantly greater average driving distances and car-dependence. The less said about extending diplomatic immunity — and extraction — to a dependent of a non-confirmed-posting individual, the better. So this needless death is perhaps a little bit less about the individuals involved (even if it also involved a motorcycle, and do not get me started on motorcycle safety and young riders) than it seems to be.

  • All of which beats misogynist trolls attacking the author of a book about victim blaming. It appears that irony really is just like goldy and bronzy but made out of iron. Or antimony alloy. Or semiconductors.
  • Speaking of trolls, though: I am now officially, for the foreseeable future, boycotting AMC cinemas in the wake of the Trolls fiasco (aside: it was a bad movie that would have been a direct-to-VHS/DVD release a couple of decades ago, along with a whole bunch of other toy-selling efforts and just-barely-not-infringing low-budget ripoffs). This is bloody rent-seeking, buggywhip-manufacturer-whingeing, real-estate-speculating investor entitlement. The major self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, oligopolist ownership groups with their continued insistence on exclusivity, inhumane seating, and $5 sodas and $8 popcorn laced with things I'm allergic to, among other barriers to an actual positive audience experience, are much more like Queen Barb than they can contemplate. (The Pop Trolls are no better — quite possibly worse if one includes "B'way" in "Pop" as done in this film — and that film seriously softpedalled the arrogance and unjustified condescension coming out of N'ville. But that's for another time, with much more literary theory and stultifying references to fourth-wall permeability and sociopolitical reflection on who actually benefits from the marketability memes and barriers and discrimination.)

    That even so backwards an organization as AMPAS has allowed — even enabled, with the mandatory distribution of screeners that are the source of most early-leaked pirated copies! — at-home viewing as a basis for Oscar voting for over two decades should be a big expletive-deleted-to-maintain-general-audience-rating hint that "wide-screen purism" is inappropriate for general releases. If you're actually making a film that really depends upon IMAX projection or its equivalent, so be it; but exclusivity for the next generic rom-com or slasher flick or invincible-action-man thriller? Not so much. (Also, the MPAA and its undiluted malign influence on films and theatres can go anatomically-impossible-act-also-deleted-to-maintain-general-audience-rating with a splintered 2x4, too. But I'm an intellectual with an education in lit'rature and therefore not part of the core audience in the first place.)

    So AMC won't be getting any of my money as long as it is "boycotting" Universal releases. Not that it's going to make any discernable difference to its bottom line, as I'm not exactly a regular filmgoer; but Universal didn't say that all films would be released simultaneously VOD, either — just those for which it would make some sense (according to its own, dubious marketing plans). Ironically enough, that definitely includes the one-and-a-half-star film that set this dispute off.

    Any resemblance of this particular fiasco to commerical publishing's "adaptation" to e-books is both left for another time and waaaaaaaaaaay too close for comfort.