Watch Game of Thrones? Use this space to talk about what just happened. And god(s) help those of you who click through hoping to avoid spoilers.
Seven Samurai is the version I know, so I don’t have an allegiance to the “original” American remake. I adore Denzel Washington, I like Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence, and Anton Fuqua’s Training Day was very good IMO. So we may not get around to seeing this in a theatre (the Spousal Unit does not have a strong stomach for on-screen violence), but I’ll watch it at home eventually.
On a rather different topic, while I am not qualified to have an opinion on Beyonce’s Lemonade, I know some commentors like Melissa Harris Perry’s work and you might have missed this, because Elle. And before you explain how separate you are from this topic, you might at least enjoy the way it sent Alex Jones a little further over the edge…
Apart from entertainment & arguing, or arguing about entertainment, what’s on the agenda for the day?
ETA: NSFW (language) or for people who’ve been bullied (you already know)
Context, from Petula Dvorak at the Washington Post:
… Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, 31, killed herself in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, the state medical examiner concluded. But even after the search for her was over, her body was identified and memorial candles began to burn, the cyberbullies — who claimed they were her fellow firefighters — kept scorching away at Mittendorff online.
There is an investigation at Mittendorff’s firehouse to find out who posted the vicious online attacks and whether they played a role in her suicide…
Online harassment gets directed at public-facing women on social media and by online commenters all the time… I know. I am on the receiving end of the onslaught daily.
Here’s a gem I got during a week when I wrote about a neighborhood bone marrow drive and Planned Parenthood:
“Hey Petula, you [profanity] ugly [profanity],” he wrote in a Facebook message. “Too bad your mother did not have an abortion.”
I Googled him. He’s an older income tax specialist living on Long Island who likes to post inspirational quotes and pictures of himself on his Facebook page.
He’s not a co-worker, just a foul-mouthed jerk trying to humiliate me for what I do for a living…
Men, part of the burden of cleaning up this kind of anti-social behavior has to be on you. Middle-aged tax specialists and nitwit stans on barstools alike don’t just do this for their own pitiful gratification — they think it makes them look manly in the eyes of their peers. I’ve seen for fifty years, starting when my younger brothers were forming friend-packs, that Y-chromosome carriers are every bit as susceptible to peer pressure as junior high girls; there’s always one trailing street ape who wants to push the mutual social displays a step too far, and it’s only his personal street ape cohort that can smack him back into line.
Twenty years after Anita Hill exposed the ugly realities of workplace sexual harassment, even the dumbest office workers have learned that Everybody does it and besides it was just a joke is no longer a free pass. Plenty of ugly stuff still happens, but persistent pressure has weeded out all but the real sickos (and even they’ve learned to be more furtive about it). And the anti-bullying school campaigns are giving the rising generation tools their elders don’t always have for calling out bad online behavior. Right now, it’s time for those of you who’ve finished puberty to call out your fellows who slide into this kind of anti-social behavior, if only because these guys are giving all men a bad name as would-be molesters and enablers.
Is Hamilton the first musical to potentially influence a big government decision? Cats didn’t, right?
— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) April 20, 2016
Well, "Our American Cousin" wasn't a musical… https://t.co/JG3TnX9ckf
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 20, 2016
*I* laughed, because I am a terrible person.
RIP Prince and Bowie. pic.twitter.com/mThKsxckQq
— Frenetic Geek (@JaidenEverett) April 22, 2016
at a certain point you wonder if a higher power is rescuing the best people from the future
— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) April 21, 2016
Come together, Boomers and Gen-X. Alyssa Rosenberg, at the Washington Post:
… We’re in a moment in American politics consumed by gender panic, from Donald Trump’s menstrual anxieties to the rise of and backlash to a movement for transgender rights. And now we’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so…
Both Prince and Bowie often seemed more than merely human. Bowie was an ageless vampire in “The Hunger,” a human manifestation of an alien being as Ziggy Stardust, the rock star from “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Prince left language behind to adopt what became known as the “Love Symbol” as his moniker; his death prompted many people to remark that mortality seemed like the only garment that didn’t fit him, that he had transubstantiated or ascended rather than truly died…
57 is awfully early for anyone to die, but it feels especially so for Prince; he never reminded us that he was growing older by trying to seem young. Now he’s gone before we could possess him as fully as he always invited us to. But we’ll continue on into the weirder, more beautiful world he seemed to be living in decades before the rest of us arrived there.
Link your musical favorites in the comments…
Seriously, these have to be two of the best mugshots of all time pic.twitter.com/MaEY5QQYTu
— Neal Rogers (@nealrogers) April 22, 2016
— Niagara Parks (@NiagaraParks) April 22, 2016
Bowie, to me, felt like an uncle was gone. Someone you knew. Prince feels like a letter of the alphabet is gone. What do you do without it?
— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) April 21, 2016
So I guess it's on all of us now to make the world feel more possible for weirdos.
— Erin Kissane (@kissane) April 22, 2016
"Andrew Jackson!" chant briefly breaks out among Trump supporters across from BLM protesters
— Emma Roller (@emmaroller) April 22, 2016
If Trump represents America's last gasp of Jacksonianism I'd be totally cool with that. https://t.co/DQJFfNQjyG
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) April 22, 2016
It goes without saying that I'll only accept my reparations check as a stack of Tubmans.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) April 20, 2016
Eugene Robinson, at the Washington Post, pokes the snake…
Conservatives should be delighted that Harriet Tubman’s likeness will grace the $20 bill. She was a Republican, after all, and a pious Christian. And she routinely exercised her Second Amendment right to carry a gun, which she was ready to use against anyone who stood in her way — or any fugitive slave having second thoughts. On her long road to freedom, there was no turning back…
Critics who polluted social media with invective after Lew’s announcement seemed to look past Tubman’s deeds and focus on her identity. Yes, she was a black woman. If anyone can’t deal with that fact, and doesn’t want to use the new bills when they finally come out, feel free to send them to me…
Alyssa Rosenberg, the Post‘s popcult critic, also reports:
… You have to go back to 1978 to find a full-length treatment of Tubman’s life, when Cicely Tyson and Jean Foster played Tubman at different points in her life in the two-part (and unfortunately treacly) NBC miniseries “A Woman Called Moses.” Alfre Woodard played Tubman twice in the 1990s, once in a larger project about the Underground Railroad, and a second time in a children’s show. CCH Pounder portrayed Tubman in the satire show “Histeria!”…
A number of small independent movies have taken stabs at Tubman. But the biggest potential take on the Underground Railroad conductor and Union spy comes from a potentially unexpected quarter: Last year, “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin teamed up with Viola Davis and “John Adams” writer Kirk Ellis to adapt Kate Clifford Larson’s Tubman biography “Bound for the Promised Land” for HBO Films.
When I reached Ellin yesterday, he told me that Ellis was at work on the script and that he hoped they would be able to shoot the movie during one of Davis’s hiatuses from “How to Get Away With Murder.” Ellin fell in love with Larson’s book when he read it and was taken aback at how little the people he talked to seemed to know about Tubman, who he believes should be an internationally recognized figure…
Apart from admiring strong women who take no guff, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?
Evidence that progress has been made, in some areas; there are still individuals who regard D&D as the Devil’s Doorway but nowadays the rest of us laugh at them. From the NYTimes article:
… The 1980s were prime years for accusations that the game fostered demon worship and a belief in witchcraft and magic. Some religious figures cast it as corrupting enough to steer impressionable young players toward suicide and murder. As Retro Report recalls, fears began to be stirred in 1979 with the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, a gifted 16-year-old student at Michigan State University and a devoted D&D player. The game warped his thinking and drove him to behave erratically — or so some insisted. In reality, the boy was already troubled. After a month’s absence, he was found. But in 1980 he ended up taking his own life.
A nationwide focus on his plight propelled interest in D&D. Sales soared, with the numbers of players leaping from the thousands into the millions. Condemnation rose as well, usually after bad things happened to D&D gamers….
Agitation over the game has subsided. So has general interest. D&D is classically low-tech, played with pens, paper, dice and figurines. Its influence, however, abides, notably among creative types who acknowledge that they qualified as full-blown nerds in their teens…
Figures that the Grey Lady somehow manages to overlook the real reason D&D has been “normalized”; the kids playing it today are the kids and grandkids of those original 1970s gamers.
As for the foundational horror story highlighted in the video… I was working on that campus when Dallas Egbert went missing and William Dear discovered his perfect marks in Egbert’s parents. Even the campus and city newspapers reported — obliquely, as was the custom in those days — that Egbert was a gay sixteen-year-old, bullied by his older dorm mates’ jock friends, seeking to explore his sexuality and consuming whatever intoxicants he could get his hands on. Given his extreme youth, all the men were older & he couldn’t legally consume so much as a beer. He also played D&D. Private Investigator Dear might not be able to track down a flatulent St. Bernard in an old-fashioned phone booth, but he could spot a gullible media personality like a hawk hunting mice. And since the campus bullies, the still-mostly-underground local gay community, and the people who sold Egbert drugs & booze weren’t exactly eager to speak for attribution, Dear made himself an easy profit blaming Those Witchcraft-Addled D&Ders who were Egbert’s only street-legal comrades.
It’d be nice to believe Dear was genuinely afraid that gamer voodoo had ensnared an innocent child, but his every action during those dark days belies that. Like every other outbreak of Satanic Panic in America, the Great D&D Terror was 60% gullible idiots, 30% victims / victimisers looking for something to blame, and 10% grifters honing in on the latest profitable outrage. Only the proportions change, and that not by much.
Commentor Condorcet Runner Up linked to a great post by Annalee Newirtz at io9, “How We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons” — the NYTimes reporters would have done well to read it, too. But then they’d have risked their readers (or their editors) seeing comments like…
It was never a fair fight between fundamentalist Christianity and D&D. One was a dangerous system full of dark mysticism and threats to warp a young mind beyond repair, and the other was a tabletop RPG.