Are the Ruby Rose Accusations Delusional?

Ruby Rose

Model turned actress Ruby Rose performed as the lead for the first season of Warner Bros. Television version of Batwoman. She left the show after that season and recently made serious accusations against other actors, the production staff, and the crew.

Ruby Rose claims both her serious injuries and another’s occurred on set because of negligence and corner cutting. In addition, Ruby Rose claims there was pressure to return to work while still injured and that several fellow actors were abusive to women on set.

Batwoman

Batwoman, now in its third season, continues to receive reasonably good reviews and moderately decent ratings for the network it is on. There is a lot of ill-feeling toward Batwoman because it is generally considered to promote a “Woke” agenda. Ruby Rose herself is an outspoken proponent of the LBGTQia+ (yes, I had to look that up) community.

Needless to say, there are quite a few outspoken people happy to believe both the worst and best about Ruby Rose and her accusations. That being the case, I’m seeing plenty of hot opinions on these accusations.

The Response

The actors accused of behaving in a toxic fashion deny it completely. The company claims it was Ruby Rose who behaved badly on set. Warner Bros. claims they fired her because of her own bad behavior, showing up late, treating crew badly, not knowing her lines, storming off set in a rage on multiple occasions.

What Really Happened

It’s likely we’ll never really know what happened but my suspicion, without any kind of conclusive proof, is that Ruby Rose is exaggerating minor events and possibly even fabricating much of what happened. If that’s true, then why is she doing it when it’s pretty clear those she accused will dispute her claims?

One of the strange things in human nature is the ability to become completely delusional about reality. It’s my opinion that is in play here with Ruby Rose. She’s surrounded herself with Yes People who fuel this delusion. Online she gets endless support from those who tie their own belief system to that of Rose and they will support anything she says.

Conclusion

Here is where I think I’ll lose everyone reading along, nodding their heads in complete agreement, the Ruby Rose haters. I honestly think former President Trump, and many of his allies, engage in this practice almost constantly. They are surrounded by True Believers who tolerate the most abhorrent behavior and fuel it to levels of delusional insanity.

We must disagree with people we like and support when they do things with which we disagree. If we don’t, we create evil monsters, capable of damage beyond comprehension. If we continue down that road this country is in serious trouble.

I say to you, stand up for what is right, no matter who says it. Fight against what is wrong, no matter the source. The world will be a better place.

Tom Liberman

White Lotus Ultimately Disappointing

White Lotus

What is White Lotus?

White Lotus is a recently released mini-series which received acclaim from both critics and audience. It tells the tale of a group of travelers at a luxury resort and expands on their personal problems while hinting at a murder mystery.

Really Good for While

The thing about White Lotus is that it’s really quite good in almost every respect. It’s not a situation like The Nevers or Miss Scarlet. Those shows, while many people certainly enjoy them greatly, I found to be almost without redeeming qualities.

In White Lotus the writing is well-paced and interesting. The characters slowly reveal themselves to us through dialog and events rather than obtrusive exposition. In particular the Quinn character story arc spoke to me in a number of ways.

Steve Zahn as Quinn’s father annoyed me to no end but slowly grew into an interesting and fully three-dimensional character. The acting is largely excellent. I thought Jake Lacy as the annoying husband to the confused and unhappy Alexandra Daddario particularly effective. Connie Britton peeled away the crazy layers of her character with wild-eyed abandon.

The sets were lovely, the cinematography well done. Quinn going outside to sleep on the beach as the sun set and whales breeched is an image I won’t soon forget.

Why it Doesn’t Succeed Fully

You might be wondering at this point as to why I found White Lotus disappointing if all I can manage to do is heap praise upon it.

It’s the ending. Perhaps I should say some of the endings. I don’t mind a story that doesn’t tie everything up in a nice little bow, in fact I general prefer a little ambiguity. I also don’t mind an ending that isn’t happy. That’s real life and it happens.

The fate of Rachel in a golden prison with Shane is not my problem. Nor is the conclusion of the Nicole story with her joyously sprinkling the ashes of her dead mother. Those two I liked, it’s everyone else’s ending that disappointed.

I really don’t know what to make of the Paula and Olivia ending. What happened? Are they still friends? Did they learn anything. What about poor Kai? Manipulated by Paula to salvage her own conscious at being of color but living in luxury.

I worry that Quinn won’t even be able to make it back from the airport to the resort with no phone and no money. How will he survive? His parents certainly won’t let the plane leave without Quinn on board.

What about Belinda? What will she do with the wad of cash? Will Nicole run the business opportunity by her team and change her mind?

Armand’s story seemed to simply justify the premise of the opening scene where we know someone died. It didn’t seem organic to me.

In the End

Too many of the endings just weren’t endings at all. I found myself unsatisfied. I’m certainly not saying White Lotus is bad, it’s quite good really and I very much enjoyed watching it. I’m looking forward to a second season reportedly in the works with new guests.

I guess my point here is that endings are really important. If you can’t find a good ending then every wonderful thing leading to that point is forgotten. White Lotus was close to wonderful and I’d recommend it even though the ending left me disappointed.

Tom Liberman

Your Mind is Altered by Bad Fighting in Movies

Bad Fighting

The Most Dangerous Game

While watching The Most Dangerous Game, 1932 version, I found myself laughing at the bad fighting. Then I realized something interesting. What I considered poorly choreographed brawling actually fairly accurately depicted a fight between combatant with few martial skills.

The bad fighting took place between the main character, the villain, and several hired thugs in the climactic scene. The fighters ran at one another, flailed wildly, scored a few glancing blows, and ended up in largely wrestling matches.

Here’s the thing though, the bad fighting was actually more realistic than what we see in heavily choreographed fight scenes today.

The Thing about Bad Fighting

I can’t fight and I’m betting most of you can’t either. Sure, there are some people out there trained in boxing or martial arts skills but when it comes to a brawl with no rules and simple instincts, I think even some of them might end up in a mess of a fight like in The Most Dangerous Game.

While watching the climactic fight and giggling at the bad fighting, I suddenly realized the heavily scripted, well-acted, and brutal fights of today’s movies are actually the real bad fighting. My brain expects people to duck blows. My brain expects people to throw speedy and accurate punches whilst someone is trying to do the same to me. That’s the nonsense. That’s the bad fighting.

Why Bad Fighting is Good Fighting

You see, bad fighting is actually good fighting because it’s realistic. This 1932 movie got it better than almost every movie made today, although my brain failed to realize it, at least at first.

This got me thinking as well. I know for a fact I can’t fight, but in my imagination, when I confront that bully, I can suddenly fight like the badass women and men in the movies. I’m a lightning fisted, deliverer of thunderous blows. My brain actually thinks I can fight like that because the movies make it seem like everyone can do so.

I don’t think I’m alone in this fantasy and I wonder if all the brawling at sporting events, political rallies, bars, and everywhere else is to some degree a product of the bad fighting in movies, by that I mean the too good fighting in movies.

Conclusion

Maybe we’d all be better off if entertainment showed us how silly fighting looks when attempted by amateurs.

Asides

The Most Dangerous game starred Fay Wray, yes please, who filmed it during evening hours at the same time as King Kong and on the same location. That’s a long day.

I also found the final scene as Bob and Eve, Joel McCrea and Wray, are escaping via boat form the island interesting. Wray unties the boat from the post as Bob prepares to flee the island. She isn’t told to do so but simply does it without comment. She is largely portrayed as a capable woman throughout the movie despite being the damsel in distress. Something I’ve noticed in a number of pre-code movies. Was it the Code, designed supposedly to protect women, that turned them into helpless fools?

Tom Liberman

Woke Sexual Assault on The Nevers

Woke Sexual Assault

What Happened

Our drunken protagonist, Amalia, walks up onto the stage, grabs the lute player’s instrument and kisses him violently while grabbing his genitalia with her free hand and violently stroking him. Yep, that’s sexual assault.

She then breaks the presumably expensive musical instrument over the head of another patron who had the temerity to ask for kiss. That’s theft and destruction of property. Earlier, Amalia proffered a kiss in exchange for a pint of beer, several of which we witnessed her guzzling down with gusto. You see, she made an offer and the man, perfectly reasonably, asked if it was still available. Of course, he wasn’t as physically attractive as the lute player so he deserved to get smashed with an instrument and violently punched for this transgression.

Amalia performed her woke sexual assault on the lute player because she assumed it was welcome as he made eye contact with her from the stage and smiled. Clearly a signal he wanted a woke sexual assault.

The fact an executive producer for The Nevers, Joss Whedon, is under considerably scrutiny for equally vile behavior seems all part and parcel for a world in which understanding and tolerance are preached by all sides but only shown to those who are in lockstep agreement.

This is not Anti-Woke Incel Propaganda

I’m sorry to break the bad news to you Incel maniacs. Just because it’s horribly wrong for Amalia to grope and assault the lute player doesn’t absolve you. If it’s wrong for Amalia, it’s wrong for you.

I consider myself woke in that I know transgenders, people of color, women, religious minorities, and various other groups face tremendous discrimination and violence in this world and this country. Deny it all you want, it happens, it is happening, and you are responsible for this environment.

The woke agenda is absolutely right. It’s the woke playbook imitating those it condemns which bothers me.

A Personal Interlude

There is something in human nature that seems to turn horrors inflicted on themselves into doing the same to others. I played sports. In sports there is hazing. I witnessed bizarre pseudo-sexual violence committed by older athletes on younger athletes more than once.

The absolute glee on the faces of those committing the assaults stays with me to this day. It is almost certain the offender was the victim just a few short years earlier.

Conclusion

Respect for others means respect for those with whom you disagree and dislike. It doesn’t mean respect for your circle of friends who sit around blaming everyone else for the world’s problems while slapping themselves on the backs and advocating for atrocities. You sicken me as much as does Amalia with her woke sexual assault.

All this being said, There is a great deal of hope for humanity. I think we are making progress. I think we will get to a good place, someday.

It doesn’t help when those advocating for change are happy to glorify violence and assault on those they despise. Yes, I’m talking to you, all of you.

Tom Liberman

The Nevers Baggage Free Review

The Nevers

An Objective Review of The Nevers

The Nevers is a new show on HBO and I’m right at the center of the demographic audience for whom it is intended. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m a nerd with money to spend.

Not long ago I wrote a review of All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlett and in it I discussed the ideas of reviewing a show for its objective good or bad traits rather than any baggage associated with the show or those who are involved in it.

If ever a show needed an objective review, it’s The Nevers although I’m not going to go into reasons why it is necessary, trust me on the subject. Most review are going to be at least partially if not mostly influenced by said baggage. None of that here.

What is The Nevers?

The Nevers is a much-hyped show on HBO which follows the exploits of a group of late nineteenth century Londoners dealing with the results of an unexplained phenomenon that left a number of people touched, that is to say, with special abilities and traits.

It’s a nerdalicious show with all the elements that have intrigued me since the early days of such shows which arguably began with the underrated Misfits of Science. To say that I’m a fan is to damn with faint praise indeed. I eat this stuff by the gallon and beg for more.

The Review

Acting

The ensemble case, and I do mean ensemble, for the premier episode did an excellent job for the most part. It doesn’t hurt that lead actor Laura Donnelly is an athletic, dark-haired vixen with more than a touch of crazy in her eyes. I have a weakness for that type. Still, trying to ignore my rapidly beating heart, I thought she was believable in the lead role as Amalia True.

Ann Skelly as Penance Adair was also excellent as a sidekick. She brought a sweetness to the role that seemed to shine through. The secondary characters all performed well. Amy Manson seemed over-the-top as the murderous Maladie and I thought hers was the weakest performance although she had little to do so I’ll withhold judgment.

I have only one quibble with the acting and it’s probably more with the sound team and the writing than the actors. I struggled throughout to understand the dialog. Their accents along with a lot of mumbling made it really difficult to follow.

Characters

The characters were all quite interesting and the opening vignette where we met them was relatively nicely managed. It’s not easy to get in so many backstories so quickly and I felt somewhat shortchanged, particularly in regards to Amalia who attempts to commit suicide but why?

In addition, Amalia’s Touched power is precognition but she somehow has ninja skills and is a martial arts master. I’ll talk more about this in the writing section.

Likewise, the Beggar King was introduced almost as an afterthought and attempting to make him menacing with so little to do didn’t work well for me. Lord Massen was handled particularly well as the big baddy. They did a nice job of explaining, at least partially, his hatred of the Touched in that his daughter collapses after the inciting incident.

Mary Brighton’s introduction seemed very forced as well and I just didn’t care about her at all even in the climactic opera scene. I think the big problem was too many characters too quickly. There’s just not enough time to get to know or care about them.

All in all, I think the characters are interesting and promising.

Writing

In a nutshell, this is where things went wrong. The writing falls into the typical trap of action shows where entire scenes appear out of nowhere, make no logical sense to the plot, and take me out of the moment. By this I mean I leave my immersion and shake my head in astonishment at the stupidity.

Particularly egregious from my perspective is Amalia with martial skills. Why does she have them? It makes no sense. They really needed a third lead along with Penance who has such Touched abilities but I guess the cast was already far too large.

In addition, Amalia’s precognition is a real problem in that she sees the future, changes her behavior, and alters the timeline removing what she just witnessed. I kind of have this problem with precognition in whole. I’d like to see her Touched ability give her insight into what to do after the event happens, not prevent it entirely.

From a scene related perspective, when Amalia and Penance went to investigate a touched girl, Myrtle things made little sense. Suddenly, while downstairs with her parents, kidnappers arrive upstairs and an enormous chase scene ensues. The investigation was just an excuse to have the chase.

Now, I will give the writers credit, they tried to explain the coincidence of the kidnapping at that exact moment as a result of the Beggar King giving the same information to the group led by Maladie. Still, I’m not buying it.

The pivotal opera scene made no sense whatsoever, from beginning to end. Why were they there? Maladie was there apparently to capture a Touched girl but goes on a nonsensical rant on stage as a way to introduce her compatriots, I guess. I couldn’t follow her dialog at all. Why did Mary start to sing?

It was an enormous hodgepodge of a chocolate mess. Why didn’t security rush the stage immediately? How did Hugo Swann only notice the murderous rampage on set when Maladie rushed by with Mary? I mean, he was standing right there for the entire thing.

The weepy dialog between Amalia and Penance after the failed pursuit didn’t make any sense at all. The entire scene, arguably the most pivotal in the first episode was baffling.

The writing really killed my enjoyment of what otherwise seems like a promising show. Too bad.

Sets and Costumes

The sets are stunning and believable and the costume design work is absolutely first rate. No quibbles here.

Music

Music is generally a problem in shows of this nature as it grows overbearing and preachy. When should I be afraid? When should I sense romance? Just listen to the volume cranking up. I’m thrilled to say the music was used with a relatively deft touch. The action scenes weren’t drowned by the music.

I am happy with the relatively deft touch displayed by the sound team here although they must do something about making the dialog understandable.

Conclusion

I didn’t enjoy the show almost exclusively because of poor writing. Many scenes seemed to be setups for action sequences rather than a plot moving device. Everything else was worth watching and I’ll keep tuning in for the moment, but we’ll see.

Tom Liberman

Why the Simp Shamer is Worse than the Simp

Simp Shamer

What is a Simp Shamer and a Simp?

A Simp is someone who donates money or other gratuities to an entertainer on streaming services like Twitch. The general term of Simp indicates a male who donates to the stream of an attractive female who then says their username in an affectionate way.

The term has significant negative connotations; so much so that Twitch has banned its use in chat. People who laugh at and otherwise denigrate so-called Simps are to be found on virtually every stream but I find a Simp Shamer to be far viler than those who donate the money.

A Simp Shamer is someone who denigrates the Simps at every opportunity, apparently in order to show the world how much better a person are they.

Why is a Simp Shamer such a Douche?

The problem for me is the so-called Simp is donating money of their own free will. It is certain the often-attractive female streamer is using her sex appeal to illicit such donations but a lot of people donate to streams on Twitch.

People donate to chess streams, game streams, music stream, ASMR streams, and plenty of others. Yet the derogatory term seems to only apply to men donating to the streams of attractive women. Listen, I spend money on role-playing games, my gym membership, chess site memberships, and plenty of other things that others certainly would not spend their money upon. Good for them, spend your money on the things you enjoy.

The Simp Shamer goes onto streams essentially to pat themselves on the back for being better than the Simp. The reality is they are worse, far worse in my opinion. Why do you care how other people spend their money? Why do you think your stupid hobbies are somehow better than mine? What weakness in your own character makes you have to shame others to make yourself feel better?

You’re a douche, Simp Shamer. Let me say that I’ve never donated to the stream of an ASMR artist but who cares? Maybe someday I will. They work hard, I enjoy their efforts. It’s like any other voluntary expenditure and completely my decision to make.

Conclusion

What is it with our willingness to negatively judge other people in this world for the things they enjoy? Why do so many of you derive your sense of personal worth from shaming others?

Shut your yap, Simp Shamer. Mind your business. There’s nothing wrong with the Simp, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

Tom Liberman

Meghan Markle and Donald Trump Two Peas in a Pod

Meghan Markle and Donald Trump

Narcissistic Personalities

In an attempt to anger the entirety of the human race I thought I’d write about how Meghan Markle and Donald Trump are pretty much the same person. It appears to me they clearly share a few traits; namely a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and struggles with empathy.

It’s called a narcissistic personality and the way both of them endlessly center their woes on the perceived behavior of others and refuse to accept any personal responsibility for the situations they find themselves in does not sit well with me.

Why You Support One and Not the Other

More to the point of this blog are the people who choose to support Meghan Markle and Donald Trump. They tend to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum. This paradox may surprise you but it does not come as any shock to me.

You see, politics don’t matter when it comes to people of this nature. They exist in a simple transactional environment where the only thing you are to them is a means to an end. Nothing political, ideological, moral, or ethical binds them from their goal of using you to get what they want. And, of course, you oblige.

We all have experience with this sort of person. You run into them after a long absence at some place you frequent. They tell you how great you look, laugh at your wonderful jokes; then they get to the point. What can you do for them? The meeting was no accident.

Meghan Markle used Piers Morgan to get into a party where she targeted Prince Harry, then she had no more need of Morgan so she dumped him. Donald Trump flailed around various political ideologies until he found a Republican base willing to listen to his completely disingenuous ramblings on immigration. When he no longer needs them, he dumps them. Meghan Markle and Donald Trump are largely one and the same.

Enlightened Self-Interest

I thought this might be a useful time to speak briefly on the concept of Enlightened Self-Interest because you might mistake the narcissism of Meghan Markle and Donald Trump for it. Nope. They tend to destroy all they touch in their mindless grasping for the glittery trinket in front of their face.

Someone who act to further the interests of others, or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong, ultimately serve their own self-interest. That’s enlightened self-interest.

Narcissists are Sometimes Right

It’s also important to understand that Meghan Markle and Donald Trump sometimes have good points. They aren’t wrong all the time and just because they are selfish, transactional people doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to their legitimate grievances.

I live in the real world and I’m quite certain Meghan Markle was subject to racist abuse and that Donald Trump was occasionally harassed not for his policies but simply because of his name. When bad things happen to bad people, we should call it out. That doesn’t make the narcissist less self-centered, it just makes us a better person.

Conclusion

When it comes to Meghan Markle and Donald Trump it is likely you hate one and support the other. If you dislike them both you are in the minority but, if it’s any comfort, you have my support.

Tom Liberman

Conservatorship of Britney Spears

Conservatorship of Britney Spears

The Conservatorship of Britney Spears is in the news these days because the entertainer was suing to regain control of her finances which her father has controlled for the last twelve years. The issue in regards to whether or not to revoke the conservatorship of Britney Spears is an interesting question from a Libertarian perspective.

First a little background, twelve years ago Spears went through a difficult period in her life that led to losing custody of her two children, serious financial setbacks, and out-of-control behavior fueled by various intoxicants. In order to prevent further damage, Jamie Spears, her father, petitioned the state of California for Conservatorship and was awarded such. It is now 2020 and, according to Britney Spears, times have changed. She thinks she is now capable of handling her own finances and is concerned her father is not managing the money appropriately.

The question about the conservatorship of Britney Spears is a difficult one because it seems quite clear that she was, twelve years ago, incapable of properly managing her life. The state allowed her father to step in and manage her money and life and, judging by events over those twelve years, he has done at least an adequate, if not exceptional, job.

That being said, who is Jamie Spears or the court system to say that Britney Spears is still incapable of managing her life and finances after twelve years of personal growth? The general Libertarian mantra suggests if a person wants to ruin their own life, it is their right to do so. However, if the person is not mentally or physically capable of doing so, the question is much more nuanced.

I have a mentally disabled family member and there is no question she should never be in charge of her own finances. The money would be stolen by dishonest entities and she would almost certainly be left destitute and in horrific conditions without protection.

Britney Spears is not so impaired, physically or mentally. She might well have a substance abuse predilection but we just don’t know one way or the other if she is capable of handling her own finances. It’s possible some con-artist is pulling the strings in an attempt to end the conservatorship of Britney Spears. I strongly suspect Jamie Spears is better capable of handling the finances than his daughter. That suspicion is not enough, in my opinion at least, to keep the conservatorship of Britney Spears fully in place.

In this particular case it is a father attempting to look out for the welfare of his daughter but there are parallels to government trying to look out for me and you. In some cases, the father does know best and, in some cases, so does the government. That does not mean we should allow them to take control of our lives without strong reasons.

Britney Spears has spent twelve years without control of her own money and I think that’s long enough, barring any evidence to the contrary. She should be allowed to manage her own finances. When it comes to controlling another person’s finances or life, we must err on the side of freedom or we risk tyranny.

Tom Liberman

The Generational Misogyny of Sean Connery

Sean Connery

Sean Connery died earlier this week and while tributes poured in from many sources one of my social media friends brought my attention to his opinion on striking women. Connery felt it perfectly acceptable to hit a woman if she was being annoying. Sean Connery was 90 years old when he died and that means he grew up in the 1930s and 1940s. The general misogyny of the United States during this period is something people seem to have forgotten.

During that era the first women voted in the United States. Women didn’t serve on juries in many states and Mississippi was the last to allow them to do so starting in 1968. The first woman elected as a judge in the United States didn’t happen until 1920. I could go on but I won’t. When Sean Connery was a boy, women were largely second-class citizens, beholden to their husbands, commanded by religion to obey, with fewer legal rights than men.

This is the era of Sean Connery and when he said it was perfectly acceptable to hit a woman if she was being annoying, he was speaking for the majority. I don’t write this to absolve him of blame for this misogynistic opinion, I write it to showcase how little removed we are from such a world. It seems to me women in the United States largely forget their gender was, until relatively recently, not considered legally competent to make their own decisions in life. They were barred from everyday practices men enjoy.

This casual and systemic misogyny has a number of sources, not least of which are religious texts regarding adultery, rape, and other such decrees. I’m an Atheist because I am convinced there is no creator deity but I despise religious doctrine in no small part in regards to its views about women. I don’t want to go too far in that tangent so I’ll get back to my point.

The normal, systemic, acceptable view of women being nothing more than chattel for men is not as far removed as you might delude yourself into thinking. Search through your social media with due diligence and you will find plenty of people who imagine women must be subservient to men, they must be modest, they must follow religious laws, they must bow, they must whimper, they must beg, they must trust men to make decisions for them. Sean Connery is dead but his world is not gone, it lurks, waiting, hoping for a return.

Stand on guard, my friends, do not forget. An individual must decide the path of her life. Those that wish to control, to degrade, to inflict violence and enforce their will, they are the enemy.

Tom Liberman

Amplifying the Bad on Holey Moley

Holey Moley

Producers of the miniature golf show Holey Moley decided that amplifying the bad segments from season one for the second year was a good idea. Sigh. I actually semi-enjoyed the first season which pairs miniature golf with obstacles. I hoped they would fix the issues and remove the problems for the second season. Wrong again, Tom. Wrong again.

I recently ranted about how Lego Masters was nearly unwatchable because of the format; at least it was the first season and, hopefully, they will make changes for next year. Holey Moley had that very opportunity and decided amplifying the bad segments of the show was the best way forward. If you enjoy my rant blogs then gear up. If not, well, move along, nothing to see here.

The show pits twelve, eight for season two, golfers against each other in head to head competitions on holes which run a wide gamut of challenges. This is a problem. One hole consisted of a straightforward four-foot putt. Whomever took more strokes to finish was dumped from the platform into a pond. Another hole had competitors making long putts through a windmill which they then navigated themselves, risking being pushed into the pond. In other words, the challenges were completely different.

This leads to three problems. Sometimes a competitor in the first round ended up playing the same hole in her or his second or third round while their competitor had never played the hole before. This is obviously unfair. The second problem is some of the holes were so complex it took the players long minutes to navigate them. This meant not all the first-round matches could be shown completely. Finally, some of the holes were so difficult they required more physical ability than golfing skill giving an advantage to coordinated and fit competitors.

The same problem of too much time spent on skits and jokes seen on Lego Masters was present in Holey Moley, although not nearly as bad. Overly long introductions, explanations, and long periods spent where the hosts set up complicated and, largely, unfunny jokes took away from gameplay. So much so that some of the competitions were not shown at all.

What did they do for season two? The made the complicated and difficult holes longer and more physical so that is now almost an American Gladiator like contest. They spend even more time on promotion, skits, and nonsense. The essentially decided amplifying the bad was what people wanted. They might be right.

Maybe people want more hype, more dunking in water, more smashing into things, more stupid jokes, and less miniature golf. I am not one of those. It’s what I despise about most movie sequels. They spend time amplifying the bad things in the first movie, or even amplifying the good features until they are badly overused and boring.

I couldn’t even make it to the end of the first episode of season two of Holey Moley. Oh well.

Tom Liberman

Video Killed the Radio Star or Did it?

Video Killed the Radio Star

I was there the day video killed the radio star; watching in my neighbor’s room at Upham Dormitory at the University of Idaho. It was a glorious time to be alive when video killed the radio star. Momentous events that changed the world were going on all around me. Well, no, it’s all a bunch of hyperbolic nonsense, wistful memories, and wish fulfillment. Video didn’t kill the radio star and you’re not a special flower.

I’m reminded of the song Video Killed the Radio Star in relation to events going on in the world. People want to assign momentous meaning to anything and everything. This is the end! This is the beginning! Everything is different this time! It’s not. People are people and the answer to the question; did video kill the radio star is no, it didn’t.

If the radio star dies, it will be because people lose interest in the medium of radio. They listen to music on a music platform like Spotify or via internet. The musician lives on. Change is constant, nothing is the same as it was yesterday, at least if you view the world from anything other than a subatomic level, which we all do.

If the world changes it isn’t because of some external element, it’s because a whole bunch of individuals changed the way they go about their business. If the people of a country want a dictator who issues edicts with no checks and balances, no check and no balance will stop it from happening. If they believe in individual liberty with limited government control; by golly, we will have it.

The fight isn’t against a new technology but lazy minds that prefer comfort and safety over freedom. It’s just like Jonathon E told Ella in Rollerball: I’ve been thinking, Ella. Thinking a lot — and watching. It’s like people had a choice a long time ago between having all them nice things or freedom. Of course, they chose comfort.

The sky might well be falling but video didn’t kill the radio star, you did.

Tom Liberman

The Hays Code and its Effect on Strong Women in Hollywood

Strong Women in Hollywood

Way back in 1934 Hollywood Instituted the Hays Code which had a deleterious effect on the portrayal of Strong Women in Hollywood that seems to have lasted almost to present times. A while back, I wrote about the demise of the Hays Code but I didn’t examine its long-lasting negative impact on strong women at that time. My thoughts on the Hays Code and its correlation with the lack of strong women in Hollywood came to my attention last night when I was watched a Pre-Code movie called The Silver Cord.

In the Silver Cord a woman scientist, portrayed magnificently by Irene Dunn, is married to a young architect. He is offered a job at a prestigious New York architectural firm. She is, from the first moments of the film, a strong woman. She is a biologist working in a lab and clearly skilled and intelligent. When she makes it clear she will accompany her husband to New York and take a position at a laboratory that offered her a position some time ago, her boss laments her leaving but tells her she is the sort of woman who must have both a career and a marriage, that it is not a choice of one or the other.

I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the plot of the movie and how Christine, Dunn’s character, proves time and time again to be not only a strong woman but also a woman. She likes being married and very much cherishes the idea of motherhood. This is the sort of character long absent in Hollywood. She is not just a stereotypical male protagonist being portrayed by a female actor but she is a strong woman in every sense of the word.

Did the Hays Code destroy this sort of portrayal of women? It’s hard to argue against the idea. In 1933 a woman was being portrayed as a scientist, a wife, and a potential mother. She stands up to her husband and tells him if he cannot cut the Silver Cord of his overbearing mother, she will move on without him. That she cannot stand to see his career and life stifled, that is not the sort of man she can tolerate. Her soliloquy is bold, strong, and independent.

It was claimed the Hays Code was implemented to protect We the People from the degenerate influence of movies but one suspects it was fashioned, part and parcel, from the fear of white men that ideas, good ideas, were promulgating and influencing us. How often do we see that same mantra when it comes to censorship? We must be protected, like children, by the politicians.

If the Hays Code had not existed, how many movies portraying strong women might have been made in the ensuing eighty years? We will never know. We can only see the damage such paternalistic rules engender.

The Hays Code did far more damage than anyone can really calculate. Generations of strong women were not shown examples that might have fundamentally altered their lives. Generations of men did not learn of the sort of woman who makes a perfect and equal companion. What a terrible crime.

Tom Liberman

AMC Theaters versus Universal Films

AMC Theaters

AMC Theaters just announced they will no longer showcase Universal Film movies. Why are they doing it? Because Universal released Trolls World Tour directly to home viewers rather than offering it to theater chains first. Universal did this largely in response to the fact most theaters are closed because of the Covid-19 situation.

The stated problem for AMC Theaters and their CEO and President Adam Aron is simply the release of the movie in a way that bypasses the theaters. There is some truth in this but I suspect the bigger reason for the decision is that this particular release generated over $100 million in revenue. A number that is similar to the projected take for a widescreen release. This is a frightening confirmation of something the movie theater owners and operators have long feared, the end of their revenue stream.

More and more people watch their media at home and on their devices. This is undeniable. Hollywood revenue has remained relatively stable for the last eleven years after having nearly doubled in the same period prior to 2009.

Universal released Trolls World Tour directly to viewers and this is not particular strange. Plenty of content providers are doing the same but not for what are considered Blockbuster Movies. For companies like AMC Theaters the blockbuster has become the heart of their revenue stream. Independent movies continue to thrive but generate far less revenue than blockbusters. Meanwhile, streaming services like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon are taking a bigger and bigger bite out of their potential content.

AMC Theaters wants to stay in business. Universal Films wants to make as much money as possible and those two desires are now in conflict. Thus, the strongly worded letter from AMC Theaters. That letter, quite amusing if you read the whole thing, has this little gem within: Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way…. I chuckle. It is absolutely done out of pique and is punitive in nature. That boldfaced fib alone is enough to make me take Universal Film’s side in this issue.

AMC Theaters has legitimate concerns and they are desperately attempting to slow the movement of media consumption away from theaters and onto devices. Perhaps they will succeed. Maybe Universal, and other content providers, will ignore the fact they made as much from a non-theatrical release as they would have from putting the blockbuster in theaters.

Of course, if AMC Theaters goes through with this plan, they are also eliminating a major studio from their theaters and thus a large stream of revenue.

Personally, I think the steady decline of people viewing movies at the theater will continue and AMC Theaters will eventually go the way of Blockbuster Movie Rentals. Perhaps I’m wrong. Time will tell. What do you think?

Is AMC going to succeed in their threat to pull all Univeral Films?

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Tom Liberman

Lori Loughlin is the Covid-19 Response from the United States

Lori Loughlin

Do you want to be Lori Loughlin and fight for a long time or Felicity Huffman and take your punishment up front and move on? Sometimes in life you have a choice between suffering today or delaying the pain until later in the hopes of avoiding it altogether. It’s an interesting decision from a Game Theory perspective and I like to examine it today.

In the case of Covid-19, the United States trod the Lori Loughlin path of delaying the pain in the hopes it would go away. It didn’t and now we’re paying the price. Meanwhile countries like Japan and South Korea went the Felicity Huffman rout and took the punishment early, avoiding more disastrous consequences later.

Is one choice better than the other? If you choose to avoid punishment today there is always the chance the pain will never come. Perhaps Lori Loughlin will have the charges against her dismissed or she will not face any prison time. Felicity Huffman, on the other hand, pled guilty and served a few weeks in a minimum-security prison. She has that on her record forever but she is basically living her best life now and has been for a while.

There are arguments both ways. It’s sort of like staying in place when a hurricane is forecast for your region. If you don’t leave and the disaster doesn’t come, you’ve saved a lot of time and effort. However, if it does come, you might well die, be horribly injured, lose family members, or otherwise suffer for a long period of time.

In this case, President Trump and many of his political allies decided Covid-19 wasn’t that big a risk. That it probably wouldn’t get bad and we shouldn’t risk economic pain today for the uncertain forecasts of its dire consequences tomorrow. Some of them maintain that position even today despite the dying going on all over the country.

To be honest, we still face that very same decision right now. We are currently avoiding public gatherings but people are still getting sick and dying. The question we cannot answer is how many might have died; how bad would the economic impact be if the disease spread more quickly and widely throughout the United States? How bad might it get if we give up on social distancing too early?

It’s not unreasonable to conclude that had people continued to congregate normally the eventual economic impact could have been far worse. If huge numbers of people got sick then everyone would isolate without prompting from the government, merely out of self-preservation. This would hurt the economy far worse than we are currently experiencing.

Of course, it might not have been that bad. That’s the risk you take when you decide to avoid pain today in hopes it won’t arrive, and be significantly worse, tomorrow. It’s the decision you face right now in regards to social distancing. Accept the suffering today? Put it off and hope it won’t be so bad tomorrow?

Perhaps Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman might give us cogent answers to these questions. As for me, I think it’s better to take the consequences today rather than suffer later, you may disagree.

Tom Liberman

United States Government now a Sopranos Associate

Sopranos Associate

With this latest, and unstoppable, economic bailout the United States now officially declares itself a Sopranos Associate. The government currently owes $22 trillion and, with the stimulus package in the works, that number is going to rise more rapidly that in any time in the history of the country. What you have to understand is that this is borrowed money on which interest is paid by taxpayers.

In the criminal world this is called Loan Sharking which was one of the main methods in which a Sopranos Associate made money, off which they pay a percentage to Tony Soprano and the rest of his criminal organization. In government, they call this debt service but it’s the same thing.

The United States borrows money from bankers and wealthy people, largely Chinese and Saudi Arabians, who purchase Treasury Bonds and then pay interest on this loan with the intent of eventually paying the principle amount back. As any good Sopranos Associate knows, you don’t ask for all the money back at once, you bleed them slowly with what is called vigorish, or vig, in the criminal world but interest in the banking world.

I wrote about how the Post Office of the United States was deliberately driven into bankruptcy in order to take out loans so taxpayer money could be used for the vig to bankers. This is essentially what has happened to the entire United States government and we the taxpayers are paying the bill for the degenerate gambling politicians who, it must be admitted, we elected in the first place.

I’ve said for many years now that there is no chance the principle amount of the loan will be paid off and the entire debt is largely a way to redistribute taxpayer money to friends of politicians. If you are unwilling to admit this reality now, well, I suppose I’ll never convince you and just stop reading.

The saddest part about all of this is that we are the ones getting run over by the $60K Lexus but it is our elected officials who borrowed all the damn money. We didn’t even get to do any gambling and that Sopranos Associate, the United States government, is having all the fun.

The end of the story? World governments go bankrupt and forgive all the debt. In the meantime, your money is going to a Loan Sharking Sopranos Associate who is buying vacation homes, renting yachts for family vacations, and generally doing all the things with your money that you should be doing yourself.

Tom Liberman

Why You Throw Like a Girl is both Wrong and Right

Throw like a Girl

I was watching a Reality Television show called Southern Charm when Chelsea Meissner erupted at a male cast member who was having a meltdown. She said something along the lines of check your pants for a vagina and I’ve got a bigger penis than you. Meissner, as you might imagine, has more than a bit of There’s Something About Mary in her. In any case, it got me thinking.

Meissner did not intend to denigrate women but the phrases she used most certainly did. On the baseball diamond it was not unheard of to say, and I’m as guilty as anyone: You throw like a girl. What is meant is not that girls throw badly but the person in question is not good at throwing. The reality is it insults women and makes negative assumptions about their throwing ability.

In the same way Meissner was subtly, although I’m sure unconsciously, suggesting men are better adults than women. Her point was the male cast member was throwing a temper tantrum like a small child and that he couldn’t handle even the slightest bit of adversity without falling apart. This was absolutely true. She was accurate in her assessment but the phrase she used is clearly denigrating toward women in general. That’s the problem.

We have a culture of terminologies that make clearly false gender assumptions, particularly in this modern day and age when women, in progressive countries at least, are finally being given all the same opportunities as men and proving, over and over again, they are equally capable.

What’s to be done about it? I think it’s important to come up with new phrases that will, hopefully, slowly enter the culture. We can easily find ways to make our point without insulting one gender or the other. Instead of you throw like a girl we can simply say you don’t throw well. If we want a bit of color, I’m sure there are ways to make the phrases both appealing and gender neutral. You throw like a penguin perhaps. I’m sure someone else can do better.

It’s got to be a conscious effort. I have to stop complimenting a person’s boldness by tying it to the size of her or his testicles, non-existent though they may be. You have to do the same. It takes time, these changes, but it can be done with a concerted and honest effort. When you say something that denigrates a gender unfairly, you are setting an example. Try to be better, I am.

Tom Liberman

Human Trafficking and David Miscavige of the Church of Scientology

David Miscavige

There is a story breaking about a woman suing the Church of Scientology and its chairman, David Miscavige for, among other things, sex trafficking. I’m convinced this lawsuit was spurred by the conviction of NVIXM founder Keith Raniere over similar charges.

I wrote a blog back in April of 2018 about why charging Raniere and his associates with a crime for their sex cult activities was a bad idea and the subsequent conviction and this lawsuit further hardens my position. Basically, if anyone, for any reason, stays somewhere where perhaps they don’t really want to stay, they are going to be able to bring charges against whatever entity convinced them to stay.

I would guess your first reaction would be this is a good thing. No one should be convinced to stay somewhere they don’t want to stay. However, I don’t think there is an organization in the country where someone hasn’t been talked into or threatened in some way in order to make them stay. It is common behavior for a church to threaten anyone who is thinking about leaving with ostracization from the religious community. Anyone who decides to stay in the church to avoid such is now a victim of human trafficking in accordance to the way those ridiculous laws were written. The church is liable and the leaders, like Miscavige, are subject to imprisonment.

It’s not just churches, it’s virtually every voluntary organization in the world. People will always have doubts about continuing to be a member of such groups and if they are told about certain consequences should they choose to leave, it can easily be construed as a threat and thus subject to these poorly imagined laws that are on the books in virtually every state in the nation.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone is physically restrained, drugged into submission, blackmailed, or otherwise coerced into staying; there should be an investigation to see if the law was broken. That being said, the way human trafficking laws are currently written, being interpreted, and enforced, I doubt there is a single one of us who hasn’t been so victimized.

Is it possible a group of mean girls from the local junior high might be thrown in prison for threatening to refuse another girl entry into some social group if she refuses to join their clique? You may laugh but that’s where we are heading and it is why we must be so careful not to legislate morality.

If someone wants to be a sex slave, or work long hours for some nonsense religious organization like that of Miscavige; that’s their business. Not yours. Not mine. Not the governments.

Tom Liberman

Loot Boxes to be Outlawed by the Federal Government

Loot Boxes

Once again, an overreaching, big government loving politician is trying to intrude into the lives of citizens, this time by banning so-called loot boxes. The Senator in question happens to be Republican Josh Hawley from my beloved home state of Missouri. I have one thing to say but I can’t say it or the FCC will fine me. Poop on you, Senator Hawley and I’ll be happy to tell you why.

Loot Boxes are in game transactions where game players can purchase various things. Games like Fortnite, Candy Crush, and many others rely on these purchases for revenue. The games are otherwise free to download and play. People make the purchases for a variety of things like cosmetic skins to make their character look cool, extra items to help progress the game, and things of that nature.

Senator Hawley uses the fact that children are part of the market for such games as an excuse to foist his morality upon us. We must save the children he says; ignoring the fact that the majority of people who play the games and spend money on them are over 18. Ignoring the fact that children can’t make such purchases without a credit card on which their parents can easily place limits. No, good old big government Senator Hawley thinks he knows best how we should lead our lives and isn’t at all shy about forcing us to do it by his rules.

If Senator Hawley is successful then games like Fortnite, which have generated an enormous amount of revenue for not only the makers of the game but many ancillary companies and millions of hours of fun for willing gamers, will no longer be free to play. Double poop and a Libertarian pox upon thee!

If someone wants to pump money into a video game then it’s their right to do so. If a kid does so then it’s up to that child’s parents to control their spending. It is absolutely, positively, not the government’s job to protect us from spending money on video games.

You, Senator Hawley and all the rest like you, are not our guardians. You do not get to dictate how we lead our lives or how we spend our money. It’s this paternalistic gobbledygook that created the entire overreaching, nanny state in which we currently reside. There is a law against everything and every citizen is a criminal. The state simply gets to decide who to arrest and when.

If I don’t want to pay a microtransaction on loot boxes then I won’t do so. If I don’t want my non-existent child to do so then I’ll restrict her or his credit card. Get out of my personal life, Senator Hawley.

Tom Liberman

Candace Bure and the Misleading Headline

Candace Cameron Bure

I’m not sure misleading is the proper category for the headline that suggests Candace Cameron Bure isn’t getting older but it does present an opportunity to allow my inner Grammar Police personality out in all its annoying glory. You guessed it; it’s time to learn the difference between Literally and Figuratively. Yay!

When someone says something happened in a literal fashion what they are saying is that it actually happened. While it may sound crazy what I’m telling you, it really did happen. An example might be shy, socially inept me was sitting at the bar at my favorite watering hole, Sub Zero when a quite attractive dark-haired vixen with impressive surgical enhancement cozied up a few stools down. I literally moved over and engaged her in conversation. Hard to believe, yes, but literally true.

Now, an example of figurative. Later, after a few direct messages she figuratively blew me off. That is to say, she stopped responding to my texts. If she literally blew me off that would mean that with her breath or perhaps her hair dryer, she aimed a gust of wind at me and sent me cartwheeling off to the barrel of rejected boys. The barrel of rejected boys is, by the way, also figurative.

If Bure literally stopped aging it would certainly amount to a medical miracle and the poor young woman would be subject to a hurricane, figurative of course, of lab tests.

Now, my disciples, go out into the world and use figuratively and literally properly!

Tom Liberman

I was Much the Same Myself

Much the sameWhile watching a clip from the classic Robert Redford film Jeremiah Johnson a bit of a throwaway line caught my attention; I was much the same myself. Johnson is trying to decide on a name for the young boy he took off the hands of a crazed woman who had seen most of her family murdered. The boy is not in a talkative mood as they ride along. Johnson gives him the name Caleb as it is one Johnson has much admired. The boy does not respond. Rather than pursuing the discussion, or chastising the lad, Johnson utters the line in question.

It’s a good line. I’m of the opinion it has a lot of relevance in today’s world. It seems people have always enjoyed being critical of one another but with advances in communication and the advent of social media such has risen to new heights. Much of the criticism involves telling other people how they should think or conduct their lives. This is what I was much the same myself addresses.

Johnson recognizes that, as a child, he wasn’t particularly talkative and when Caleb exhibits a similar attitude, Johnson accepts it without criticism. It is very easy to criticize people making what we deem as similar mistakes to those we made ourselves as children. I think the actions that tend to draw the most outrage are often those things we see in ourselves. The traits we dislike about ourselves and see in others.

Most often I see it in adults, like myself, in criticizing the way younger people are going about their business. Kids today. We were kids once but that is a fact apparently lost upon most of the critical curmudgeons of the world. Even as adults we do unwise things on a fairly frequent basis, but when someone else does something stupid, we are eager to point out their foolishness.

Perhaps it is a way to pretend that we are better than the other person. I wouldn’t do something so foolish, I wouldn’t think that, I wouldn’t act that way, I’d never take a picture like that, I’d never blah blah blah blah blah. The truth is, yes, we would and yes, we probably have at one point or another.

The next time you are considering chastising someone for their behavior or opinion, think about that line. I was much the same myself. Try it out. You might be pleased with the result.

Tom Liberman