Open Thread for July 8 2011

This Open Thread biodegrades if properly composted. So hurry up and read! All this stuff: Horrible Bosses opens this weekend; legendary UK tabloid News of the World is folding after a hacking scandal; Warner Music Group was acquired by a … Continued

This Open Thread biodegrades if properly composted. So hurry up and read!

All this stuff: Horrible Bosses opens this weekend; legendary UK tabloid News of the World is folding after a hacking scandal; Warner Music Group was acquired by a Russian media mogul; and we got our first glimpse of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.

Comment of the Week goes to Brian on Commander Shepard and the Effective Agenda:

Yo I like yall comments and Imma let yall finish debate’n imperialist morality, but “Thon” is the best gender neutral pronoun of all time… of all time.

It works because of its relevance, but because of how much of a reach it is (how long ago was that Kanye debacle? A year and a half?)

Honorable mention goes to Lars Brown, for his detailed look into the life of a projectionist in an American theater. It is, in fact, not as serious a craft as Michael Bay would have us believe.

Lots going on in Europe this week, I suppose. Anything of note happening in the States? Or Australia or Asia? If so, sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

6 Comments on “Open Thread for July 8 2011”

  1. Mark #

    I just saw a trailer for Cars 2 and it raised several troubling issues. I guess it came out a couple weeks ago in the U.S. but it’s still a couple weeks away over here. And I’m a couple of months behind on the podcast so I don’t know what you talked about already, although in the show notes for the Carsploitation episode I didn’t see anything related to the actual content of the movie, so…

    -First, some fundamental questions about the ‘Cars’ universe: Where did the cars come from? We clearly see a progression from ‘old’ cars to the newest cars in the movies, which implies that this entire civilization is barely a hundred year olds. This site talks a lot about determinism, so where’s the agency when each individual is born/created into such a specific role (race car, tow truck, etc.)? Why do they have structures that only make sense if there are drivers (doors, windows, side-view mirrors, etc.); what happens if you open a door and look inside? What about the non-cars citizens of the universe, the planes, trains, boats, etc.? Are they viewed as entirely different species that co-evolved, or horrible mutations? For that matter, how do the cars perpetuate themselves?

    Okay, those questions are kinda boring. I’m more interested in:

    -There’s an airport security scene in the trailer, making cheap laughs about cars taking their tires off to go through the metal detectors. Wait, how will a metal detector work on a car anyway? The need for airport security implies that there is terrorism in the Cars universe (i.e., car bombs). Would suicide bombs even really be an effective terrorism tool since there aren’t really ‘soft’ targets? Are things we view as pranks/vandalism (e.g., keying a car, potato in the tailpipe, sugar in the gas tank) actually grotesque mafia tactics in this world? Will Cars’ gritty reboot be something like ‘Cartacus: Oil and Asphalt’ and follow a stolen car on the demolition derby circuit?

    -Several ‘female’ characters are clearly meant to be attractive/sexy, but the way they are drawn (curves, eyes, etc.) follow a very anthronormative formula for attraction. What would actually be considered sexy in the Cars universe? I guess this depends mostly on how they procreate, which we don’t know. Would there even be much weight to visual appeal over performance? Is the whole grand prix-conceit an elaborate mating ritual in this world?

    -Finally, what is the intersection between Cars 2 and the Transformers franchise? Is Cars a simplified and idealized vision of Cybertron, a bed-time story that the Autobots tell their children? The trailer suggests some convergence. The logo at the end does some very Transformers-esque shifting, and even looks vaguely Decepticon-ic. There’s a Mater-transforming scene when he goes undercover (I can’t tell from the trailer whether it’s supposed to be holographic or actual structural modifications). And the weapons that the spies are equipped with seem to be right out of Transformers. The simplest explanation I can see for all this is that Pixar remembers that ‘Cars’ was primarily a merchandising success, and they want to repeat that success with a new crop of little kids but continue the success with the older kids that just wanted cars, sheets, and lunch boxes in 2006 but are now older and want toys that are more versatile (i.e., can change and fight each other).

    Sorry if this repeats anything said on the podcast. I’m still getting used to being a couple months behind due to later release dates in Europe, but what I really miss (especially in the summer) are slurpees (or any bevarage of the slush variety).


    • Brian #

      Great overthinking, none of these topics came up in the podcast, it was mostly about if Cars 2 was “exploiting” Cars franchise.
      Looking at “trailer 3” version shows an actual bombing attack on the World Grand Prix by a spy and looks destructive- Oklahoma City bombing was just one van. Trailer starts ominously, ocean at night lit by dozens of flaming oil derricks, so “Cars 2” doesn’t look as willfully naive as I imagined, it must drop the political ball despite it being about spies and international hijinks because it’s gotten critically panned as vapid, so it must not be like “Wall-E” but a movie inspiring the consumer dystopia within “Wall-E.”

      The idea of a potato in the ass as a mafia tactic is too hilarious, just thinking of the burly thug who made that his signature tactic, eating curly fries staring into distance for inspiration- “Vinny ‘The Vice’ nah, Vincent ‘The Knife’ eh not scary enough, I need something that stands unique amongsts my fellow hitmens like, *looks at the one straight fry that’s always in the curly fries* Vinny ‘Potato in the Ass!’ The one thing every human through all times has feared is potatoes in their ass!” Every victim heard Vinny ‘Potato in the Ass’ recount this story just before affirming his namesake, the story was feared more than the actual potatoes, on the rare occasion Vinny was feeling generous he would give the choice between the story or the potato, all chose the potato. -This is my allegory for how I feel about Transformers 3, I chose the potato.


  2. Trevor #

    Without getting into the rightness or wrongness of the verdict, I just want to comment on the continuing commentary about the Casey Anthony trial. When the media (in this case, Nancy Grace and her ilk) grab ahold of a story and run with it, turning it into an almost foregone conclusion that someone is guilty and will be found so, how satisfying is it to see that apple cart turned over? I’m not saying Anthony didn’t get away with murder; that is a seperate issue. But any regular viewer of “Law & Order” can tell you that sometimes the bad guys (or who the media determines to be the “bad guys”) get off. You’d think Miss Grace was never a lawyer, had not practiced the law at all, and was not aware that sometimes juries acquit on the basis of reasonable doubt, not because they think someone is innocent but just because the stakes are too high (in this case, Miss Anthony’s life) to go on a hazy premise.

    I suggest the media pundits currently wringing their hands watch “12 Angry Men” over the weekend, whose message is “when you have reasonable doubt, you can’t rush to judgment.” Of course, try telling any of them that. Miss Grace said something about Anthony cashing in on this somehow, with a book or movie. What the hell is she (Grace) doing, if not cashing in?

    Sorry, just felt the need to get on my soapbox for a minute.


    • Megan from Lombard #

      well you know that Lifetime/WE is going to make a TV movie based on all of this…

      I think that she’s already capitalizing on all the hype that her trial has gathered from the media-I’m not any expert but from what little I’ve seen of all of that she’s loving the attention that her trial has garnered. And I know that one of the jurors is trying to capitalize on the attention and sell her view on Casey and the whole trial.

      It just makes me sick that the whole thing has been turned into a three ring circus and that everyone would rather pay attention to this rather than focus on our three wars or any of the more important issues that our country needs to deal with.

      *steps off soap box as well*


      • Brian #

        Steven Soderbergh was going to make a movie on it too even before the trail ended, if that appeal to artistic authority works to counterpoint Lifetime’s lack of integrity. Soderbergh couldn’t finance the movie so he did a stage play loosely based on the incident instead.

        I guess this could be about tabloids, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t report this story, it’s too bizarre, timelessly tragic, and mysterious not to. That it’s mysterious enough to project whatever ones pet theory is for decay of society turning the event into a resentment news turbocharger to stroke our self-righteousness sucks, but it’s not Justin Bieber scuffing his new Keds- now available online. Some article mentioned that these stories remind us how much of a happy caricature motherhood is in popular entertainment, that none of it shows the dark complexity of actual motherhood, so maybe this is only time we ever allow ourselves to face that dark side we all secretly know is there. Word to yo mother.

        *drops mic like a bomb and steps off soapbox*


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