Open Thread for July 29, 2011

All the threads in the house, OPEN UP, OPEN UP! Wow … check these threads up in the front here. Damn. What’s up this week? Cowboys and Aliens, the movie that promises what it says on the package, hits theaters … Continued

All the threads in the house, OPEN UP, OPEN UP! Wow … check these threads up in the front here. Damn.

What’s up this week? Cowboys and Aliens, the movie that promises what it says on the package, hits theaters this weekend, along with 80s retread The Smurfs. MTV celebrates its 30th birthday on Monday. Ashton Kutcher was confirmed as the newest of the Two and a Half Men (is that old news? I wasn’t paying attention).

And if you ain’t heard, the NFL is back, baby!

Comment of the Week (I remembered) goes to Monzenn on The First Non-Avenger:

One more thing: that shot of Captain America during the Holocaust (captain-america-concentration-camp) reminded me of an art exhibit I saw when I recently went to Singapore. It was entitled Superhistory, by Agan Harahap of Indonesia, and it features superheroes and other movie characters (it even had The Joker!) in famous historical shots. Too bad the exhibit is already finished, though.

That led me to a thought that would tie in nicely with this article: the fact that the superheroes fit so perfectly in these historical shots only signified that fictional characters, if they are to function most effectively as a mirror of society, should not be removed from the issues of their era, and that new characters should be made for the new generation.

Honorable mention goes to the guy who called us a “bunch of red assholes” in the comment thread of “Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism,” and Tulse for reminding the newbie of our URL.

Would you watch Chad Ochocinco, Daniel Craig and Ashton Kutcher do a cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star”? What about if Papa Smurf played them out? Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

19 Comments on “Open Thread for July 29, 2011”

  1. Mark #

    I’ve nearly caught up on the podcast so, instead of my normal “I’ve got comments on a movie I just saw that you talked about 2 months ago,” I’d like to say something pseudo-serious:

    I think you should consider promoting Timothy J Swann and Priya Ramanathan from Regular/Special Guests to Featured Players, if they’re willing. The best way to give an ensemble-based enterprise like this longevity is to continuously work in talented newcomers. With the increase in guests recently it seems you may already be thinking along these lines, so this is just to throw in my support from the cheap seats.


    • Pasteur #

      Counterpoint from another fan: sacrifice any and all other guests to have Shechner always be on the podcast.


      • Gab #

        I’d vote for all three suggestions. ZING!


        • Timothy J Swann #

          I’d like to, for my part, thank Mark for his words, and say that I’d be honored deeply by such a thing, but Pete is right that in my current nation-state I basically need a Monday off to commit to such a thing. Having said this, I’m trying to work on a guest article now which at least will mean I can contribute to the site in the daytime!


      • cat #

        Pasteur, have you been reading my diary?


    • fenzel #

      Availability is always our biggest constraint. We love Tim, Priya and Dave as much as you guys do – but Tim has to stay up crazy late to guest on our podcast because of the time difference, and Dave is married – to both his laboratory and his charming Turkish wife – so we can’t always get him on. Heck, I lived with the guy for a year and didn’t see him all that often; dude works _hard_ on the science.

      Priya I thought did awesome and would love to have her on the podcast more, but I don’t know her all that well personally and presumably she does other stuff too as awesome people often do.

      The other main consideration is keeping the number of people on each individual podcast recording manageable – we find the flow breaks down when we go too far above 4 or 5 and try to do it sparingly.

      These two factors, plus habit, are what keep the podcast structured the way it is for now. But I agree that fresh blood is important and keeps the show vital, and I’m really glad we have been able to bring you podcasters like Tim, Priya an Dave – in the future this gives us a lot of opportunities.


  2. Lee OTI Staff #

    “Crazy, Stupid Love” is also opening this weekend. You’ve probably seen this ad for the movie which prominently features a woman’s high heel in the foreground and a scared Steve Carrell in the background:

    Can we deconstruct this image together?


    • Gab #

      Her heel is his penis.


    • JosephFM #

      Putting aside almost context for the image because I know nothing about the movie aside from this picture and who Steve Carrell:

      My first thought is that male victims of rape and sexual assault aren’t allowed sympathy in our culture, unless they were children and their attacker was male, because masculinity is structured is such a way that assumes that any “normal heterosexual man” is constantly sexually available and would therefore never turn down another women for any reason aside from being married. The argument is something like “men (and also teenage boys) are always willing to have sex, and don’t need to be coerced into it, and therefore women can’t rape men.” You hear this every time there’s a female teacher accused of having sex with a male student. Disregard the age and power imbalance, he’s a teenage boy and therefore constantly horny; he must have wanted it. And that is why we think Rape Is Okay When It’s Female On Male (WARNING: link is to TV Tropes, click at your own risk), and treat men who don’t consent to sex in movies as subjects of ridicule while later hypocritically praising them for restraint (yes, as planned by the marketing department, I can’t avoid getting “dirt” from seeing other recent comedies out of my reading of the image).

      So, I guess what I am saying is, I really hope that’s not what’s going on in that image.


      • Brian #

        The first dirty image I thought of was The Graduate poster, though here the women is posed aggressive and the man scared. But there’s actually three versions of this image, this square ad and two full size posters. One full size is cropped to put Carrell as subordinate by having Tomei fill the top two thirds of the frame, and another cropped to look as if Carrell fills the frame with his two turgid legs. So with that image in mind it frames Carrell as doubly interested.

        To your point about male victims of rape in pop culture, I wholeheartedly agree. The double standard on teachers -I defer to South Park too much but- there was one where every time Kyle tries to report that his little brother is being molested by his teacher all the adult men can say is “Is she hot?” Kyle-“Yeah, I guess.” Adult man- “Nice.” or “What do you want us to do? Give him a ‘Luckiest Boy in the World’ award?” The teacher in South Park is shown as deeply depressed and the public and law structures because of their bias allow this behavior to escalate. Which in reality the law treats female sex offenders equally, hot or not, but the public does have that bias that boys want it and that goes towards lower reporting.


        • cat #

          I would add to your point that it isn’t simply a question of male desire but an issue of how we view male and female. Men are assumed to be physically more powerful regardless of age so how could a woman physically overpower a man? Also, the nature of the “equipment” conjures up imagery of the man being the aggressor and initiator which is so entrenched in our society that it becomes difficult to conceive of the woman taking control. Which one is in control? The train or the tunnel? I think this was covered on Law and Order: SVU. Actually, I can probably safely assume that because they’ve covered practically everything else.

          I found this ad confusing when I first saw it based on what I knew of the film, which at the time was only that it was an ensemble movie with 4 actors I like to varying degrees. I think any aggressiveness is downplayed by the size of the title “Crazy Stupid Love” with the word “Love” in bold. I think the ad is asking you to figure out how this image should be tied to love. For some reason I thought of Sandy at the end of Grease who becomes the assertive one.


  3. Gab #

    Another 80s throwback tonight, a revamp of Thundercats is starting up with an hour-long premiere. Could go either way.

    Since I first suggested the NFL thing when I guested on the Podcast, I’ll weigh in on it. I feel like now that the deal has been closed, more information and the real problem has come forth. Before, it was couched in the idea that it was a traditional workers v. The Man kind of situation, the players being the former, the owners being the latter. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention prior to this week, but now I feel like it looks like none but a squabble over money. Basically, it’s as if they found this extra pot of mula and couldn’t figure out how to divide it properly- literally, they have so much money, they don’t know what to do with it. NFL football has always been the sport I followed most closely, but this has me quite disheartened and disappointed. Part of me would rather watch Ochocinco on DwtS again.

    Is it just me, or has Ryan Gosling suddenly become A Thing? (No, not that kind of thing.)

    Oh, and Ashton Kutcher? Indeed, ’tis old news, sorry. ;)

    Just a suggestion for future overthinking, ABC has a show called Pan AM as part of its fall lineup. I’m hoping to watch it because it 1) features Christina Ricci, and 2) looks as though it could be quite an interesting pop culture study in gender politics and women’s issues- circa the mid 60s. I’m curious as to whether they’ll present modern mentalities as ones from that time period, or if they’ll stick to the times as the characters interact and deal with the situations they encounter.


    • Megan from Lombard #

      a) I’ve ranted about this to some of my sports friends, but it really doesn’t surprise me that the whole thing was over money. Yes, a “normal” person can’t hit/throw a 90mph fastball or dunk over a car but at the same time the amount of money that they get paid is simply disgusting. Here we have teachers, who give us knowledge and most likely inspired/supported the players in high school, hardly being paid anything while they earn more money than they know what to do with.

      The whole situation reminds me of the baseball lockout during the 90s where (again) it was over money. Granted I was a bit on the young side when the baseball lockout occured, but I remember reading a quote from the Chicago Tribune where a public worker said that if the players had to work his job (sanitation) and earn minimum wage then they’d stop complaining.

      b) with ‘Pan Am’ and ‘The Playboy Club’ slated for the fall premires, I feel that networks have seen the massive popularity of ‘Mad Men’ and are trying to cash in on the period drama of the 60’s/70s. That said, both shows look like they could be interesting (however one is on NBC so the odds are more than good that it’ll be axed before the mid season mark).


      • Gab #

        Le sigh. I’m not surprised. Just disappointed. I was hoping for more from someone. The NHL has only gone on strike three times, though, so I sometimes feel like I should get more “into” hockey, if only because those guys don’t really complain much.

        Oh yeah, I’ve heard about The Playboy Club, too, now that you mention it. There’s a rather lengthy trailer for it floating around the internets. That one doesn’t interest me as much, but I bet you’re onto something about the period craze because of Mad Men.


        • Chris #

          The NFL lockout was a bit more than a squabble about money, though that was a big part of it. The NFL has had the worst labor situation for their players for years. The NFL owners wanted a bigger piece of the financial pie, and it is a massive pie, despite the fact the players generate the money with their play.

          However, player health and safety was also a major issue for the NFLPA/the players after they dissolved the NFLPA so they could sue the owners. As such, in the end the players gave up some money, rookies were hit especially hard but their contracts had gotten quite bloated, but in return they don’t have to play 18 regular season games, there will be less contact practices, and retirement and health services were improved.

          It’s great that football is back, as it is my favorite sport, and the fact my Detroit Lions might actually make the playoffs this year (and get a Monday Night game) makes it that much better. I’m glad they didn’t miss any games, which probably won’t be the case with the NBA unfortunately.


          • Gab #

            … the fact that my Detroit Lions might actually make the playoffs this year…” Don’t y’all Detroit fans say that every year? ZING! Jk, jk. My team chokes all the bloody time, I have no ground to stand on!

            Don’t get me wrong, I know there have been issues over the retirement plans and the services they get, etc. (like I said, I follow the NFL), but it was triggered by a pot of money- and one would think they make enough while playing that, were they fiscally responsible, they’d be okay after retirement. We could get into a discussion about status and what society expects of its pseudo-heroes (and a potential debate over whether athletes should be called “heroes” at all); and I don’t think the whole debacle was only the fault of the players- Heavens no. Yet… I realize I prolly come across as a cold-hearted piece of work, but I see little difference between these guys (on either side) fighting to keep a few zeroes in their paychecks and CEOs complaining that they have to downsize and reduce the number of homes they own to three or jets to two or something ridiculous like that. I suppose that’s the bottom line for why I am so exasperated. Excess, and a fight over copious amounts of what so many don’t have. ::end high horse::

            But, being the fat-ass hypocrite I am, I’ll likely watch every Sunday- I’ll be in class Mondays, alack, alas! And yeah, definitely having another Superbowl party. So, basically, ignore every bloody word I just said. :)

          • Gab #

            I fail at HTML, sorry, folks. ::hides::

        • cat #

          I would throw in the show about making a musical about Marilyn Monroe into the mix of Pan Am and The Playboy Club. To me, they all seem like odd ways of approaching that era/other popular properties. I looked it up, it’s called “Smash”. While it seems questionable, it does have Brian d’Arcy James and Christian Borle. I hope they don’t use them as straight men because they’ve been great in things like Spamalot, Legally Blonde, The Apple Tree, The Wild Party, and Shrek.

          Did I just take a conversation about football and gender politics and make it about musicals? Yes. Yes, I did. :)


          • Gab #

            Relate the Marilyn musical to the NFL lockout and you have another OTI article. ;p

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