Archive for January, 2022

Don’t Look Up

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

Lefty loosey streaming service Netflix comes up with a what-if movie about the world ending, conceived, written, produced and broadcast to make liberals feel good about themselves, giving it a title that ends in a “phrasal verb” dangling preposition.

Professional critics, and members of the audience, give feedback on what they thought of it.

Smug lefty actor Ron Perlman offers his thoughts about the critics.

“Fuck you and your self-importance and this self-perpetuating need to say everything bad about something just so that you can get some attention for something that you had no idea about creating,” said the actor. “It’s corrupt. And it’s sick. And it’s twisted.”

He said that he “understands that it’s part of how the internet has almost killed journalism. And now journalism is trying to do everything they can to co-opt and maintain their importance.”

Later in the interview, Perlman delivered his opinion on Fox News hosts.

“I really don’t give a fuck [about them]. I’ve given up on those people,” he told The Independent. “They’re all vaccinated and telling you not to be. They know everything they say is a lie but they’re doing it anyway. They’re all fucking pieces of shit that can go fuck themselves.”

On the subject of Trump, the left-wing actor once again expressed his unconditional loathing of the 45th president.

“The heartbreaking thing is 74 million people voted for a man who has been impeached twice, groped 26 women, inflated his personal wealth and then deflated it when he needed to. I hope there’s a special place in hell for people who have exploited others’ vulnerability,” he said.

For the record, Trump was impeached twice because he was uncovering crimes, no one else elevated to that high office before or since had even been making the effort, and Washington is a swamp. That’s just my opinion, shared by others, but the evidence supports it strongly. Much more strongly than anything about the world ending due to a climate crisis anytime soon.

I really don’t see what his problem is. Somewhere-in-fifties from critics, somewhere-in-seventies from the audience. Four more percentage points and the movie would have achieved the sixty-percent threshold, “fresh” across the board. So the audience of liberals tuned in and it made them feel smug and good about being liberals. It did what it was supposed to do. Critics rated it according to whether it was an enjoyable viewing experience — for all of us, not just smug lefty libs — and, as one would expect, they were divided. But they didn’t pan the movie. Those among them who down-voted it acted within reason; it’s a little on the long side, and there’s not an awful lot happening.

Perlman talks about self-importance. Monologuing away for 138 minutes about a problem with no solution and getting all pissy when some subset of the audience, or critics, gets bored with it seems rather self-important to me.

And therein lies the dirty little secret about “Don’t Look Up.” If you take the time to actually watch the movie, you’ll notice this comet that is hurtling toward Earth, serving as an allegorical device standing in for Climate Change, is going to kill us all. It’s a certainty. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. The movie itself is a critique against our social milieu, or it’s supposed to be, but it’s really a critique against people who don’t panic when the liberals tell everyone to panic. It’s about how frustrating it is to the liberals when we don’t act like panicky puppets, dancing the right way when they pull our strings. “Don’t look up” indeed. The frustration that occurs when the puppetmaster can’t control all the puppets, achieves a high zenith somewhere during the second half, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character goes on national television and suffers a meltdown. The liberals who want us to dance like panicky puppets liked that part a lot. So did I. I found it revealing.

Liberals, and Hollywood liberals in particular, can’t come to grips with the basics of activism: You state your case, and between the ears of each and every person who is on the receiving end, there’s going to be a tiny courtroom. They’ll conclude what they want to conclude about it. The case they’ve made is “It looks like our species is affecting the global climate a tiny bit even as the climate affects our species, isn’t that scary?” That’s it. We’re supposed to freak out and go into a Leonardo Meltdown because we may be having an effect on our environment…as most-to-all species have an effect on their respective environments. In a lot of cases, the answer is no, that’s not scary. There are reasons for this. It is how nature works, after all. And we’re still waiting on the evidence that is scientifically meritorious, and portending comet-of-death-like doom. That’s the reality. Leonardo can shriek about that as much as he likes.

Well…can we stop pretending?

It’s not really that big of a mystery to me why Perlman, and others, are disappointed. It’s not the disapproval. When you say F.U. you’re entering a world, and likely building it yourself, in which disapproval doesn’t mean anything. I mean, that’s the sentiment behind the expletive, is it not? The movie is a shout-out to fellow liberals about “Isn’t it frustrating when the puppets don’t dance?” and it was wildly successful. Liberals, famous and otherwise, joined together and shouted in unison “Hell yes!! Grrrr!! Me so mad!!” It did what it was supposed to do.

But it’s a mediocre, self-satisfied, self-gratifying project. Here it is the end of January, and we’re pretty much all done talking about it. There’s no reverberation. It’s not going to change the calculus of the issue, or the public’s perception of it.

And frankly, if that’s what it was supposed to do, it deserves more negative ratings. As an effort toward that, it didn’t even achieve basic competence. If the movie had a message for the malcontents like me who aren’t panicking properly on demand, that message was “This is what you look like to us.” It was a tantrum. How persuasive is it when a toddler throws a tantrum, and then in the middle of it stops and says “This is what you look like to me”? Not very.

If you develop the project with input from others who don’t think exactly like you, maybe you’ll see that. If you build it in an echo chamber, you won’t. This one was built in an echo chamber and it shows.

So…there was a bit of not-all-positive feedback, where there was a deficiency of competence. There was hope that we’d spend 2022 talking about the movie, and it’s not gonna happen…where there was a deficiency of competence.

Seriously Mr. Perlman, how surprising is that? You’re an entertainer, aren’t you? Isn’t that what you do? It’s all about gelling with the audience, anticipating their reactions. And you’re exceptionally experienced at it.

Maybe you should be a little less worried about your feelings of surprise and disappointment, and be putting a bit more thought into how & why you’re surprised. You and others.

You’re not inspiring me to look to you for prognostications about what’s going to be happening to us, our planet, each other, etc. Picking up the impression you’re not that intelligent about such things.


Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

So over the holidays, or shortly after, I joined the swelling ranks of those who received notice their Facebook accounts had been restricted. I have been caught, so goes the tale, repeatedly spreading misinformation. The process of reviewing my sins is comical and sad at the same time. My assertion that such-and-such a link represented true information, is often missing, and in many cases my assertion is something very different — in one of them I’m specifically saying “OMG someone please tell me this isn’t real” or words to that effect. So the admins, or their algorithms, really don’t want anyone posting the contraband, at all, in any context. They’ve digitally-fingerprinted the links and they don’t want ’em anywhere. Good to know!

It goes without saying that we don’t all do things this way. If I ran the system and “caught” someone posting something I thought was untrue, my solution to the problem would be to discuss it rather than censor it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Facebook takes the opposite view. This doesn’t prove the truth is on my side, of course, but it raises serious doubts against it being on theirs.

A lot of people would like to keep the discussions about these things limited to “Do they have the right?” I imagine such discussions are consistently short, and not very enlightening, because of course they do. In a free society in which people have rights, among these must be the right to do dumb things; and if you have the right to do dumb things, a conclusion of “Do they have the right?” can never be final, for it must necessarily lead into subsequent questions of “But is it smart?” Or, if you want to consider different and competing interests, “What is the likely result?”

I see a result in which we, as a society, at least within the culture of things that are affected by social media — which is a lot — are becoming detached from the fundamental concept of truth.

This word “misinformation” is supposed to be applied to untrue things. If there’s one example of it that guides our current understanding, upon which I can look with the greatest sympathy, it is “Barack Obama was born in Kenya.” When that controversy was aroused years ago, and then re-aroused by Obama’s friend as a publicity stunt a short time later, I reviewed both sides, couldn’t see proof one way or another, and at some point became convinced it wasn’t plausible for Obama’s mother to have given birth in Africa because her known whereabouts didn’t place her there during this time. So today I believe He was born in Hawaii, but I’ll stop short of calling other people loony tunes if they believe otherwise. Then, as now, I concluded that questioning the Hawaii-birth narrative, and skeptically, is what reasonable people should be doing; the controversy exists because Obama created it. He acted sketchy. It worked to His advantage. But back to the claim…Obama born in Kenya…misinformation, therefore, false. Okay, I’ll buy that.

There has been a campaign to reduce “In the 1970’s, they were trying to scare us about a new Ice Age” as misinformation. Well, that would depend on who “they” is. As I understand it, the argument was “Hold up, that was a bunch of raggedy old magazines you read while you’re waiting in dentist’s offices, not scientists. This climate change stuff today is much more scienc-y, or something.” See the slippage? We’re going from…”Misinformation is something false, that I can prove as false, or at least bring some industrial-grade doubt against” — like Obama being born in Africa — to, “Misinformation is me going back in time to these old claims, and selling you on the idea that it was those people making them, not these people.” Already, we’ve slipped down a few notches and we’re not talking about false stuff anymore.

“The polar bear population has actually increased” is something else we often see identified as misinformation. As you peruse the various debunkings, you see we really don’t know what’s been happening to the polar bear population. We slip another peg. Now we’re applying the M-word to things that aren’t known.

Gender is the same as sex, and there are only two sexes — that’s supposed to be misinformation. Here we slip yet again. Now we’re applying the word to things we know are true, but that make certain people feel not very good. The intent of the movement is to reserve the word “sex” for the biological configuration, whereas “gender” is supposed to be how a person identifies. And, we must be ready for the situations in which these two are different. Well if misinformation is supposed to have something to do with deceptive things, the word should be affixed to that effort, because this is deceptive. “Sex” is measurement of, and “gender” is feelings about, a common attribute. Sex vs. gender is thought vs. feeling. It’s not like “hair color vs. height.”

Now that we’ve crossed the Rubicon of attaching the word “misinformation” to true things, anything is possible. And we’ve seen lots of topsy-turvy twisty-bendy nonsense take place before our eyes. It’s misinformation that George Floyd was strung out on Fentanyl when he died; that the resulting Black Lives Matter protests were coordinated, with plans deliberately put in place to wreck things and damage businesses; that Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self defense. That COVID came from China; that Joe Biden, or his campaign, cheated in the 2020 elections; that Antifa members were involved in the Capitol Penetration event of January 6, 2021. All of these things are either proven true, or if not proven, at least highly probable.

Let’s stop pretending now. “Misinformation” means, if you define “truth” according to what’s not going to tick off people who have power over you, this stuff is in conflict with that. But deep down I think we all know, it’s wrong to define truth that way.

The M-word, now, means that we — some undefined “we” — have mobilized a campaign to make people doubt it, even though it might very well be true. Because people believing in it would be inconvenient to…someone.

Who is that “someone”? That’s the question people should be asking now that we’ve essentially re-defined what “misinformation” is.

This is an old issue. Ayn Rand pointed out,

It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

It’s a lot like that. Where we’re obliged to pretend true things are false because they’re not approved…or known things are unknown because they’re unapproved… someone, somewhere must be doing this approving.

And where this approval is being withheld from known, true things… someone, somewhere is lying.