Monday, August 29, 2016

a few quotes about philanthropy

"Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary." —Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Millionaires at one end of the scale involved paupers at the other end, and even so excellent a man as Mr. Carnegie is too dear at that price." — Hugh Price Hughes

“First they take billions from you, then they give back half. And that makes them the world’s greatest humanitarians.” —Slavoj Zizek

Related: America’s Wealthiest Family Uses Phony Philanthropy to Increase Personal Wealth | Jobs With Justice

The 19th-century critique of big philanthropy.

Three reasons why leftists don't support Hillary Clinton

There's nothing new in this. I keep having to explain these things to Clinton apologists, so I'm creating a post that I can share.

1. She supported the coup against the democratically-elected leader of Honduras, just as Kissinger supported the coup against the democratically-elected leader of Argentina.

2. She helped create the chaos in Libya that created enormous suffering and allowed Isis to thrive, just as Cheney and Wolfowitz helped create the chaos in Iraq that created enormous suffering and allowed al-Qaeda to thrive.

3. She supports mandatory private insurance rather than universal health care.


The Hillary Clinton Emails and the Honduras Coup

Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall

How Clinton W.H. bungled health care

If you wish to comment, please don't bother talking about spoilers—if the Democrats cared about what happened in 2000, they would've begun working on ending the Electoral College then. And don't bother arguing that Trump is awful; I entirely agree he is—the only reason he has any support is because he's the only alternative to the disastrous policies of the neoliberals who control the Democratic Party.

ETA: If you're in a swing state and you want to vote for the lesser evil, I understand your fear and won't judge you for it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings — mini-review, no spoilers

I enjoyed this but didn't love it as much as some people have, for a number of small reasons that aren't worth going into. So much depends on endings, and this one has a smart ending, but I felt like they didn't quite nail it. So I recommend it to fans of animated movies and give it a B+. Stick around for the credits to see a little of the making-of.

While I quibble, I understand why the people who rave about it raved about it. It's an impressive accomplishment. If I hadn't seen the rave reviews, I might be writing one now—it's possible I was hoping for a little too much. There must be a term for being a bit disappointed by something you would've enjoyed more if your hopes hadn't been raised too high. If my quibbles make you go and think it's better than I've suggested, I'll both understand and be a little pleased.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How I would rewrite The Legend of Tarzan

As a number of people have said, The Legend of Tarzan is an enjoyable movie that doesn't succeed in overcoming its white savior proposition, and perhaps because that's so noticeable, no one I've noticed has said that it also doesn't succeed in overcoming its sexist girl-as-hostage plot. I was inclined to skip the movie until I read The Legend of Tarzan (2016) | Steven Barnes, and after seeing it, I generally agree with his take.

So what would I do differently?

One minor spoiler follows.

But first, three problems that go into my revision:

Jane is generally stuck in the hostage role when she should've been consistently awesome. She's someone who grew up in Africa, and she's lived with Tarzan for some time. While she should not be his equal in the jungle, she should be his superior in some ways—like being a crack shot and a cooler head when making plans.

Making George Washington Williams able to keep up with Tarzan is wrong—Tarzan should not wait for anyone, and no one should be able to keep up with him in the jungle.

None of the African characters have enough time onscreen to become more than supporting cast.

So my first change is one I never expected to propose regarding an adventure film: Jane and Tarzan need a child who can take over the hostage role.

Which means:

Initially, Tarzan charges off alone to make the rescue. Jane, Williams, and the chief's son or daughter (who refuses to stay behind because of a need for revenge) set off in pursuit, perhaps with a few supporting characters.

Tarzan is slowed down when he fights Akut, his ape brother. Jane, Williams, and the Chief's Kid catch up. In classic film fashion, this becomes the Assemble the Squad moment: two white characters, two black characters, and an ape unite to defeat Rom.

The tactical leader is Williams; he's both the oldest and the one with military experience. The final assault is co-ordinated by him, and all five get to do Cool Stuff. The Chief's Kid kills whoever killed the chief, Jane and Williams free the hostage, and Tarzan defeats Rom.

Ah, well. I enjoyed the movie, and Emma may've enjoyed it even more than I did. The scenery's gorgeous. I would've liked less CG action, but I'm not complaining about that. Will-Bob gives it a solid B, and maybe a B+.