Friday, April 17, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Open Thread

by Kit

Not much to say today as I am nearing exams in college, so consider this an open thread. Discuss what you want. I'm posting some thought starters below, with maybe more to come as the weekend progresses.

Starting with…

The new Star Wars trailer!

Like it? I'm going to admit when he said, "You have it, too" and the score swelled I got a chill down my spine. And that last line? Heck yes!

I still have my reservations but I will probably see it.

Here are some quotes by G.K. Chesterton that I think will provide some fodder for discussion:

First, on the importance of optimism:

"There are two main moral necessities for the work of a great man: the first is that he should believe in the truth of his message; the second is that he should believe in the acceptability of his message." (Twelve Types, "Thomas Carlyle")

"The pessimist is commonly spoken of as the man in revolt. He is not. Firstly, because it requires some cheerfulness to continue in revolt, and secondly, because pessimism appeals to the weaker side of everybody, and the pessimist, therefore, drives as roaring a trade as the publican. The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade all the other people how good they are. It has been proved a hundred times over that if you really wish to enrage people and make them angry, even unto death, the right way to do it is to tell them that they are all the sons of God. Jesus Christ was crucified, it may be remembered, not because of anything he said about God, but on a charge of saying that a man could in three days pull down and rebuild the Temple. Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness. The prophet who is stoned is not a brawler or a marplot. He is simply a rejected lover. He suffers from an unrequited attachment to things in general." (The Defendant, "Introduction")

"Pain, it is said, is the dominant element of life; but this is true only in a very special sense. If pain were for one single instant literally the dominant element in life, every man would be found hanging dead from his own bed-post by the morning. Pain, as the black and catastrophic thing, attracts the youthful artist, just as the schoolboy draws devils and skeletons and men hanging. But joy is a far more elusive and elvish matter, since it is our reason for existing, and a very feminine reason; it mingles with every breath we draw and every cup of tea we drink. The literature of joy is infinitely more difficult, more rare and more triumphant than the black and white literature of pain." (The Defendant, "A Defence of Farce")

And for any parents reading:

"The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea." (The Defendant, "A Defence of Baby Worship")

"But the humorous look of children is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the Cosmos together. Their top-heavy dignity is more touching than any humility; their solemnity gives us more hope for all things than a thousand carnivals of optimism; their large and lustrous eyes seem to hold all the stars in their astonishment; their fascinating absence of nose seems to give to us the most perfect hint of the humour that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven." (The Defendant, "A Defence of Baby-Worship")

You can purchase The Defendant on the kindle for free or you can go to Project Gutenberg. Your choice.


BevfromNYC said...

Hey, Kit, why is everyone's hair on fire about a Black person in the new Satr Wars trailer? I keep readingg comments about how people will be upset by it?

Kit said...


It is unbelievably stupid. It is a combination of innocent confusion due to Lucas' handling of Star Wars in the prequels, trolls taking advantage of the situation, and people who want to pat themselves on the back for being good progressives standing up against "racism". But, really, it is all George Lucas' fault.

The the Star Wars trilogy it was revealed that (1) the stormtroopers were all clones and (2) they were all cloned off of one guy, this guy: LINK

Which was odd because in the original trilogy the stormtroopers behaved like a combination of regular conscripts and volunteers. You know, not clones. But, Lucas made them clones in canon and the new Star Wars films are treating it as canon. You see how it is already Lucas' fault?

Now, what got lost here, again, was that in the expanded universe (video games, novels, etc.) it was established that the Galactic Empire started recruiting non-clones to be in its army as stormtroopers. But most people don't know that.

So when people saw a black stormtrooper, clearly not one of those guys, they naturally went, "Huh? That doesn't make sense." A bunch of SJWs went "HOW DARE YOU BE RACIST YOU RACIST NERDS! WHITE NERDS ARE ALL RACIST!" or hnad-wring articles

Then the trolls got involved spewing crap like, "N*****s can't be storm troopers because I'm a jerk who likes making offensive comments to get a rise out of people." you know, that sort person.

So, yeah, it is the world we live in. And it is Lucas' fault.

Rustbelt said...

So, Kit, what you're saying is... (slide ahead to 1:02)

AndrewPrice said...

Kit's right. The nerds freaked out because Storms troopers can't be black because the Empire only hires cloned Mexican labor. This generated a backlash (blacklash?) from the racist types who claimed it was racist to claim that blacks can't be storm troopers... a claim they made without ever understanding why the nerds had said that.

What everyone forgets, however, is that JJ Abrams is a c*cksucking wart on Satan's ass and he is going to open the film with a lens flare and then a giant worm farting into a time vortex which undoes the entire history of the Star Wars universe and lets him repeat the first three films with younger, hipper actors... teens... while claiming he is writing totally original material.

And the MSM will lap up this crap, because they are too stupid to know any better.

AndrewPrice said...

To quote JJ's totally original stolen quote from Star Trek 2/2: "It's a connnnnnnn!"

Kit said...

This weekend, Goldberg's "G-File" consisted of of Whittaker Chambers' review of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged for National Review. In sum, he did not like it. In fact, she was so furious with Buckley that if there was ever an anti-communist gathering to which both she and Buckley might be invited she would call up the organizers and ask them if Buckley would be there and if he was then she would refuse to come.

Here it is, if you want to have a look:

OR, if you want to read a fairer take on Ayn Rand from National Review, try Jason Lee Steorts' "The Great Ghastly Rand." He compares Atlas Shrugged, which he found abominable, to The Fountainhead, which he seems to have liked.

I have not read Rand, mainly because of that 60 page speech in Atlas Shrugged. Really, who has a speech go on for 60 damn pages? That is a full-on Star Wars prequels George Lucas and Hobbit-era Peter Jackson level of self-indulgence.

ScottDS said...

As I wrote on Facebook, the new Star Wars teaser is almost enough for me to forgive JJ for Star Trek Into Darkness...

ALMOST! (But not quite.) :-)

And yes, I almost shed a tear at the end when some familiar faces show up.

I recently watched Phantom Menace and I hate to say it: the film is DOA. The political stuff doesn't help, but the acting, the lighting, the dialogue... it's all so wooden. Liam and Ewan can only do so much to save it!

However, I hate this idea that one of the reasons the prequels failed is because they weren't "dirty" enough, as if Star Wars ONLY works when it takes place in "used" environments. I guess that's just me.

AndrewPrice said...

Yahoo has a real asinine headline up today involving Carly Fiowhateverhernameis: "GOP's Lone Woman Has Eye On White House."

Lone woman? WTF? I can name a dozen elected or recently elected GOP women. That's pure political slander.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Forgiving Abrams would be a sign of sheer stupidity. Why? Because he follows the same pattern. He lies through his teeth about what he's doing, then he turns out the same old stolen product. At the same time, he's completely unrepentant.

And in this case, he's invaded the Star Wars universe for one simple reason. Here's your clue: he demanded a cut of the merchandizing.

Forgiving Abrams is a bit like a wife forgiving the guy who keeps saying, "This time will be different" right before he beats the shit out of her and blames her for the beating, and who is now saying, "Baby, give me one more chance, this time will be different... how much money did you inherit?"

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, as for Star Wars going gritty, I've read the first scene. It's very creative and entirely original. It has Cheech walking into a dirty Wookie bar. He orders a product-placement beer, which he gets in a dirty glass. He is here to buy drugs. As he and his friend wait to be checked out, he tells the bar tender a story about this guy who pisses all over the bar and the bar tender and wins money for doing so. Then they shoot his friend in the head (obscured by lens flare) and then Cheech goes into this nasty, nasty ass bathroom to buy his drugs. As he does, a young mariachi player, er, Han Solo arrives outside and a shootout begins in which he kills the entire bar.

It's highly creative, super gritty and not stolen in any way. Trust me... this time will be different.

Kit said...

re J.J. Abrams,

I enjoyed the first Star Trek and the Lost pilot so I'm not the anti-Abrams guy Andrew is but, yeah, I have reservations about this one.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Your snark is showing... and it's very unbecoming. :-)

And I said ALMOST!

At this point, I'm just as eager, if not more so, to see what Rian Johnson will bring to the next two installments and what Gareth Edwards will bring to the first spinoff (titled Rogue One).

Kit said...

Instead of Hillary or Bush, how about…


Why settle for the lesser evil?


AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It's not really snark so much as I hate cynicism and liars, and Abrams is both. What he's doing in raping these franchises while pretending to be a fanboy is deeply cynical. And I hate people like Abrams who flat out steal from prior films and then tell the most obvious lies denying that's what they did.

I have the same feeling about Peter Jackson for every time he claimed they "stayed true to the book" in LOTR or The Hobbit, when he did no such thing and he never intended to. If you want to rape the franchise, go ahead, but stop trying to tell us you aren't.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, We will always get the evil of two lessers.

Kit said...


I actually think he made an effort to stay true to the book with Lord of the Rings. Given the two years he spent in New Zealand and the time and effort put into set design I think I can say he made some attempt to stay true to the book. And I can understand the compulsion to "dumb it down" a bit considering just how much an expensive gamble it was.

With The Hobbit I think he was being very self-indulgent. There was no one to say, "No, this is stupid" or "No, this drags on too long." He may have been trying to stay true but his ego got in the way. A bit like George Lucas when he made the prequels.

ScottDS said...

Okay, I'm officially just as excited, if not more so, for Rogue One.

Koshcat said...

Andrew, JJ may have raped Star Trek but it wasn't rape rape. Not like the kind Lucas and Speilberg did to Indy.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I believe that not-rape-rape is called Whoopie Rape, isn't it?

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