A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.
Questions for Maiello
Another mass shooting. It's disturbing - one a damn month it seems. I had an epiphany when we were last talking and I heard you talk about firearms that hit a crescendo in my mind. The idea that firearms exist in rural areas just for the hunting lifestyle, etc. is false. Assault weapons and handguns are clearly not being sold for hunting purposes. I've seen gun ads and talked to gun nuts and it's obvious that neither hunting or mass murder are on the mind of owners but a generalized anxiety and paranoia. Slaves were once sold just like firearms. They existed for a long time until the existence of slavery started to cause really serious and chronic societal problems. It took alot of bloodshed and division for change to occur. I do think this epidemic, which I think is caused by everything from prescription drugs to economic and social decline in this country, will be met by some sort of swift action that may be as authoritarian as Lincoln's war with the south seemed. What do you think?
The rural gun issue isn't just about hunting. It's cultural. Guns are not like slaves because guns aren't people. Guns are objects. To a lot of people, telling them that they can't own an object, especially one that the constitution tells them they can own, is a non-starter. I can see growing numbers of people realizing that guns are a barbaric hobby but, remember, most people who own guns will never, ever, do anything wrong. They will shoot targets or maybe hunt or maybe they will use them, legitimately, to defend themselves. Comparatively few people with guns will ever put them to nefarious use. So why would a largely law abiding segment of society ever give up their rights?
So alot of marketing going on for Star Wars. It's weird - George Lucas' use of CGI for his prequels was hardly conservative but, when it came to marketing, he didn't milk his franchise anywhere near what Disney plans to. What do you think of it all?
I think the movie had better be damned good. It's going to have a lot of hype to live up to and remember, the first Star Wars trilogy was really the first of its kind -- an epic, movie, space opera serial. We've seen so much since then. Lord of the Rings, for example. Can you make something a phenomenon just by throwing money at it? If it's good, it had damned well better work, given how hard they're trying. But if it isn't good, we're going to find out if hype trumps quality in 2015.
Suicide Squad trailer! Harley Quinn looks a little oddly like my late fiance and Jared Leto looks like an excellent Joker. What do you think?
I'm not a D.C. guy. My Joker is Nicholson.
Batman vs. Superman as well! I am especially excited about this. I disagree with Grant Morrison - I think the warrior Wonder Woman makes sense. I always thought the Amazonians would be a bit militant and defensive against a male dominated outer world. What were your impressions?
The mythical women of Amazon were fierce warriors. We're talking Hippolyta, who wore a girdle given to her by freaking Ares, the god of war. We're talking Medea, who helped hunt the boar of Calydon. Damn right, Wonder Woman is a warrior woman!
The Pope is on the cover of the National Geographic. His encyclical, Laudato Si, has transformed the climate change debate by adding both a religious and spiritual voice to it. It's a pretty swift transformation - I worked at Tikkun only last year and there was some writing like what he released but it was deep in the catacombs of ecclesiastical literature - nothing so high profile. Are knee jerk secularists on the left going to have to rethink their allegiance to organized religion? And likewise are knee jerk "Christians" on the right going to have to rethink theirs? Likewise, I'd like your real honest thoughts. We've only talked religion a few times but I've registered a mild but not overt skepticism - but you're skeptical about a lot of things.
To the extent that the Pope can help on issues of social justice and climate change, people outside of his church should accept that help. I don't think atheism is any great virtue but there's no more point in a non-believer having "allegiance" to any organized religion than there is for a somebody who hates Star Trek to start signing up for conventions. Of course there are progressive and conservatives aspects to any religion, or secular belief system. Francis at least reminds people of that.
Did you watch Ant-Man?
Bill Cosby. I wasn't surprised about these accusations as they surfaced. Cosby spent decades lecturing people and, in my experience, people who lecture like that usually have alot of skeletons going on. Human beings are messed up, fallen creatures - people getting caught up in some rancid and horrible situations isn't shocking and may unfortunately be part of what being human, on this planet, is. However, it wasn't a questionable relationship like with Woody Allen or psychological trauma in action like Michael Jackson - Cosby was a predatory asshole who never stopped lecturing anyone even as he raped women. Thoughts?
This is multiple accounts of assault. Woody Allen shouldn't even be mentioned in this context. As for Cosby the predator vs. Cosby the community leader -- everybody thinks they're a good person, don't they? I wonder how he rationalizes it. Maybe he thinks the good he did outweighed all this. Maybe he convinced himself that his victims wanted it, or him. Who knows? He rationalized it, somehow, and kept it up for a long time. He probably became more hardened in his beliefs as he successfully defended himself for so long before it fell apart.
Hugh Jackman is saying that this next Wolverine film will be his last and asked fans what they'd like to see. I personally want to see him in his full yellow and blue costume. We've seen that work in First Class so I don't see why it couldn't be done. What would you like to see?
I really grew up with that black and brown costume from the Mutant Massacre era. The best pairing, to me, was always Wolverine and Hulk. Unbreakable bones vs. unlimited strength. Both have healing factors. They fight each other for half the story and then together for the other half... classic.
Building off our last convo, I thought about what the Star Wars animated team could do after Rebels. I think that a series that takes place during Force Awakens would be awesome. It could continue the continuity of whatever is to come on Rebels and, in the end, would have created a continuous non-film Star Wars storyline, which has been something long missing from the franchise. Thoughts?
I like your idea. Depends on how good The Force Awakens is, of course. The other way to go is to say "It's a big galaxy" and go elsewhere. I'd love to see what's happening outside the Empire's sphere of influence, for example. Does the Force exist elsewhere? Are there other empires? What if, Star Trek voyager style, a rebel cruiser trying to outrun a Star Destroyer hits the hyperdrive and gets hurled into another galaxy entirely? What they get tossed into ours?
Now, questions for you:
When I lived on Guam, I saw prostitution up close with natives. It wasn't trafficking - these women were selling their bodies because they needed money - so it was more like economic pressure as opposed to be taken and brought in to something. In urban areas, you have professional escorts who are obviously doing a well coordinated business but I think an organization like Amnesty International is always going to have to look at sex related exploitation. Acting like prostitution is an amoral thing is a bit libertarian.
I'm guessing you saw Ant-Man. Spill!
No, I didn't see it. I asked in hopes that you had!
Questions for Orion
The Sandra Bland story reminds me that if a cop wants to haul you in, they can always find a reason. I think we have too many laws, frankly, that police can use against citizens. Do you think we could change our laws to minimize contact between police and people just going about their business? Bland's seems a great example -- she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling but she changed lanes without signaling because the cop's car was rapidly approaching her and she was trying to get out of the way.
I think we should have disarmed police and fewer of them.
How many of these books have you read and what do you think of them? I think you would love Infinite Jest.
My taste in books has gotten really specific just as my taste in music has as I get older. My favorite author I read recently was Amitov Ghosh and his River of Smoke trilogy. I have trouble getting in to sci-fi. Maybe I'm just getting old!!