Late Night Open Thread: Good for Luke Skywalker

The whistleblower’s under federal protection because of rabid MAGAts, but Daddy’s Liddle’ Pwincess wants the world to know how very normal’n’basic her life is…

Gotta agree, I personally can’t wait until Jarvanka and all their adult kin are in prison or in exile, may the Goddess of Consequences permit.

(Semi) Respite Open Thread: Area 51 Storms Back

One the one hand, it’s sad we’ve got so much overtly political idiocy that there’s not enough space to mock mere ‘viral’ stupidity. On the other hand, Facebook ‘pranksters’ don’t need any more encouragement. Per Kotaku:

… “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” began as a joke Facebook event earlier this year. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” the post read. Two million people hit “Going.” There were plans for a music fest called “Alienstock.” But in the intervening months, the Facebook event’s creator has condemned the initiative, citing a lack of infrastructure and safety issues, and the event has been removed. A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force told the Washington Post that Area 51 “is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces.”

Today is the planned date of the event, and according to 13 Action News, Rachel, Nevada, is still preparing for an onslaught of alien truthers and Naruto fans…

Original ‘organizer’ Matty Roberts actually disowned the event some days ago, per the Washington Post (Sept. 10)…

Dueling accusations of dishonesty and sabotage have derailed “Alienstock” — a Woodstock for alien watchers — which creator Matty Roberts promoted as alternative programming to any plans to storm the base on Sept. 20 despite officials’ warnings.

With just over a week to go until the event, Roberts and the host town’s website are both comparing Alienstock to the Fyre Festival, which was supposed to be held in April and May of 2017 in the Bahamas but became synonymous with “epic failure” and led to a fraud conviction. Roberts has pulled his name and support from the three-day gathering in Rachel, Nev., but the owner of a motel in the town who had signed up as a partner plans to go ahead…
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Open Thread: Oh Joy, A New ‘Demonic Drug’ to Abuse… Politically

Mandatory disclaimer: I don’t vape, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to start vaping. But whenever the Repubs start ginning up a new WON’T SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!! scare, I assume it’s an electioneering tactic…

The replies to Tolentino’s tweet are, so far, astonishingly sensible:

Interesting Read: “The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV”

Not sure I could bear to read a whole book on this topic, but NYTimes TV critic James Poniewozik makes a good argument here:

Try to understand Donald Trump as a person with psychology and strategy and motivation, and you will inevitably spiral into confusion and covfefe. The key is to remember that Donald Trump is not a person. He’s a TV character.

I mean, O.K., there is an actual person named Donald John Trump, with a human body and a childhood and formative experiences that theoretically a biographer or therapist might usefully delve into someday… But that Donald Trump is of limited significance to America and the world. The “Donald Trump” who got elected president, who has strutted and fretted across the small screen since the 1980s, is a decades-long media performance. To understand him, you need to approach him less like a psychologist and more like a TV critic.

He was born in 1946, at the same time that American broadcast TV was being born. He grew up with it. His father, Fred, had one of the first color TV sets in Jamaica Estates… TV was his soul mate. It was like him. It was packed with the razzle-dazzle and action and violence that captivated him. He dreamed of going to Hollywood, then he shelved those dreams in favor of his father’s business and vowed, according to the book “TrumpNation” by Timothy O’Brien, to “put show business into real estate.”

As TV evolved from the homogeneous three-network mass medium of the mid-20th century to the polarized zillion-channel era of cable-news fisticuffs and reality shocker-tainment, he evolved with it. In the 1980s, he built a media profile as an insouciant, high-living apex predator. In 1990, he described his yacht and gilded buildings to Playboy as “Props for the show … The show is ‘Trump’ and it is sold-out performances everywhere.”

He syndicated that show to Oprah, Letterman, NBC, WrestleMania and Fox News. Everything he achieved, he achieved by using TV as a magnifying glass, to make himself appear bigger than he was.

He was able to do this because he thought like a TV camera. He knew what TV wanted, what stimulated its nerve endings. In his campaign rallies, he would tell The Washington Post, he knew just what to say “to keep the red light on”: that is, the light on a TV camera that showed that it was running, that you mattered. Bomb the [redacted] out of them! I’d like to punch him in the face! The red light radiated its approval. Cable news aired the rallies start to finish. For all practical purposes, he and the camera shared the same brain…

If you want to understand what President Trump will do in any situation, then, it’s more helpful to ask: What would TV do? What does TV want?
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Late Night Open Thread: Space Crime!

Good quip, but of course it’s not really about money. Where there are primates, there are sexual relationships; and where there are sexual relationships, there are messy breakups, with the related financial complications. This is certainly not the first relationship to be broken by the rigors of astronautical travel, and I personally suspect it’s not even the first one involving accusations of related financial impropriety:

Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife’s private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.

The astronaut’s spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden’s family filed another with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.

McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple’s combined finances — something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported…

McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism…

Of course, IMO the Musk / Bezos et al rocketeering isn’t really about finance, either: Those guys are the tech-advantaged version of Jane Goodall’s Gombe Mike, the chimp who discovered he could compensate for his relatively puny physique by banging around empty oil drums to make a REALLY BIG NOISE…