TV

Charlie Jane Anders: The Essential Difference Between Star Wars and Star Trek – io9

The later Star Trek series are frequently concerned with the wisdom of command—Picard, in particular, obsesses about choosing the wise path and being a responsible leader. Deep Space Nine and Voyager try to take away some of Starfleet’s awesome power

Posted in Movies, Neo-Imperialism, Noted & Quoted, TV Tagged with: , ,

Only a Zombie Walks in L.A.

BBQ, bad booze, and worse TV on the agenda: Or a typical Sunday evening out here at Dunvegan West. New on the TV schedule, however, replacing HUMANS, is, of course, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. Moving the TWD setting to L.A.

Posted in Movies, notes, TV Tagged with:

The things the body cries out for…

In the totalitarian totality of entertainment for entertainment’s sake and no other sake, THE AMERICANS is therefore condemned to a dark corner of television Siberia. Its inhabitants, including its fans as fellow inmates, are left to seek the peculiar victories achievable only there.

Posted in TV Tagged with: ,

Buy this TV now, or some books – thanks!

Amazing TV. I only give it 4 stars because they didn’t mention the importance of securing it to the wall. My dog was running through the house and bumped the stand causing the device to fall over. Luckily the dog

Posted in Books, Monetization, Pets, TV Tagged with:

Comment and Tweets on the True Detective Season 1 Finale…

(Comment at Crooked Timber, “Wonders of the Invisible World,” by Henry Farrell) Nicely done, though I think the critique of the ending is in its own way as too-neat as the ending itself, or simply recapitulates or re-extends the, of

Posted in notes, TV

2014.02.18 – Unhappy Consciousness and True Detective (Title Sequence)

Perhaps disappointingly, perhaps necessarily, TRUE DETECTIVE will likely end up having to mean something, and not stand merely as an assertion of the impossibility or pointlessness of assertion – the kind of statement nearly credible, because comical, coming from a character in a Thomas Bernhard novel or in the theater of the absurd: the never believable claim, because destructive of any belief, that it would be better on balance for our hero, for the story’s tortured victims, and for us, never to have lived at all.

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On Breaking Bad 3 – Post-Finale

Breaking Bad has often exploited this reversal from meaningless to most meaningful, whether for an incidental ironic laugh or for the sake of overarching awe, and always both at once to some greater or lesser extent, but such devices, when over-used, will turn around again. Rather than being converted by the naturalism of scene, dialogue, character, and logic into an image of “fate,” the next incredible plot plot, or one or a few too many, can subvert them under the sign of “fake” – a danger all but the most naive viewers understand instinctively. The over-accumulation of improbabilities risks falsification of the whole, threatening to turn the self-sufficient fictive world into a mere artifact, a collapsed assemblage of meaningless gestures. Put simply, too much contrivance refers us to TV writers on deadlines, not to anything that could possibly matter more.

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On Breaking Bad (2 – Present Absence of Religion)

The very title of the show announces a morality tale, an investigation of “good” and “bad,” with an implicit come-on to enjoy the thrill of “breaking” the rules, before finally being delivered up to the proper message- at which point rather than “breaking to or into the bad,” the show will, one presumes with some confidence, finish “breaking the bad”: Hallelujah! The key challenge for the writers has always been, perhaps until now or next Sunday, preserving the thrill but ensuring the wholesome delivery in a way the morally depraved can accept, for their own good, despite themselves. Medieval morality tales almost certainly worked the same way, but Gilligan and company (probably?) cannot rely on horned demons dragging Walt down to painted flames of Hell – or on a chorus of the dead appealing for his salvation.

Posted in notes, TV Tagged with:

On Breaking Bad

He didn’t and couldn’t anticipate the consequences of his actions, which is the main theme of the show, that seemingly rational or “scientific” solutions to immediate problems turn into their opposites due to the complex interwovenness of real life or society: i.e., Crime Doesn’t Pay. Even when it seems to pay, it turns you into an unhappy monster, or someone who has “earned” millions of dollars for his family but is unable to put it to use for them in any way. He can’t even find a way to get a fraction of it to them. They don’t even want it.

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A Global Force for Goods

What the commercials want to tell or remind us is this: The US Navy is the US global-historical role and purpose objectified, American ideology concretely, defined by a presumption that the two meanings of “for good” become the same meaning over time, are always approaching each other via that arc “bending toward justice” that the President likes to recall in his seemingly most heartfelt speeches.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, TV, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Noted & Quoted

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Trump actually congratulated Erdogan on the outcome. Trump apparently thought it was a good thing that, despite all the flaws in the process, a bare majority of Turkey’s citizens voted to strengthen their populist leader. I don’t think any other post-Cold War president would have congratulated a democratic ally that held a flawed referendum leading to a less democratic outcome. This is not that far off from Trump congratulating Putin on a successful referendum result in Crimea if that event had been held in 2017 rather than 2014.

Public disquiet and behind-the-scenes pressure on key illiberal allies is an imperfect policy position. It is still a heck of a lot more consistent with America’s core interests than congratulating allies on moving in an illiberal direction. In congratulating Erdogan, Trump did the latter.

For all the talk about Trump’s moderation, for all the talk about an Axis of Adults, it’s time that American foreign policy-watchers craving normality acknowledge three brute facts:

  1. Donald Trump is the president of the United States;
  2. Trump has little comprehension of how foreign policy actually works;
  3. The few instincts that Trump applies to foreign policy are antithetical to American values.
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He sensed that the public wanted relief from the burdens of global leadership without losing the thrill of nationalist self-assertion. America could cut back its investment in world order with no whiff of retreat. It would still boss others around, even bend them to its will...

There was, to be sure, one other candidate in the 2016 field who also tried to have it both ways—more activism and more retrenchment at the same time. This was, oddly enough, Hillary Clinton... Yet merely to recall Clinton’s hybrid foreign-policy platform is to see how pallid it was next to Trump’s. While she quibbled about the TPP (which few seemed to believe she was really against), her opponent ferociously denounced all trade agreements—those still being negotiated, like the TPP, and those, like NAFTA and China’s WTO membership, that had long been on the books. “Disasters” one and all, he said. For anyone genuinely angry about globalization, it was hard to see Clinton as a stronger champion than Trump. She was at a similar disadvantage trying to compete with Trump on toughness. His anti-terrorism policy—keep Muslims out of the country and bomb isis back to the Stone Age—was wild talk, barely thought through. But for anyone who really cared about hurting America’s enemies, it gave Trump more credibility than Clinton’s vague, muddled talk of “safe zones” ever gave her.

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As they war with the right, though, Trump and Kushner would gain no quarter from Democrats—unless Democrats were allowed to set the all the terms. This is Bannon’s central point. Democrats have no incentive to prop up Trump’s presidency for half-loaf compromises that many will suspect are contaminated with seeds of Trumpism. Trump can adopt or co-opt the Democrats’ infrastructure platform outright if he likes, but he can’t easily entice them to compromise with him, and he can’t entice House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to advance a trillion dollar direct-spending bill filled with environmental and labor protections that the GOP exists to oppose.

Which is just to say, Kushner wants Trump to chart a new course that leads to a substantive dead end for at least another 19 months. Bannon’s path, at least, preserves the hope of keeping his base consolidated through the legislative ebb. He can deregulate, scapegoat, and unburden law enforcement to turn his Herrenvolk fantasy into reality—all while keeping congressional investigators at bay.

There’s no real logical rebuttal to this, except to point to three months of chaos and humiliation as indicative of the futility of continuing to do things Bannon’s way. That is really an argument that Trump should get rid of both of his top advisers, but Trump is unlikely to grasp that in a contest between loyalists, both might deserve to lose. Family loyalty, and the beating his ego will take when the stories of his first 100 days are written, will pull him toward his son-in-law. And that’s when the real fun will begin.

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@CK_MacLeod

State of the Discussion

+ Wade, your last paragraph is crucial to your argument. Certainly it expresses economically the source of the weight of a country's foreign policy, and [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
CK MacLeod
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Not sure where you got the idea that I ever wrote “[President Trump] doesn’t know what he’s doing!!!!!!" - bob's idea for a possible rallying [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
Wade McKenzie
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ The conversation that you and Bob were having at the time that I wrote my comment had everything to do with the recent missile strike [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic

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