Archive for March, 2012

The Hunger Games And Children: Who Should See This Movie?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Hunger Games premise is not for the faint of heart: children are offered up as sacrifices to appease the central government gods who control 13 districts. [See more about an explanation of the movie in Part I of my Hunger Games Series.]

Here are the tributes:

You’ll note that some are babies. And, in fact, in a wrenching scene one of the youngest of them dies a brutal death. And the protagonist Katniss Everdine gives the child funeral rites even though she is a competitor.

The kindness in the midst of the brutality causes a riot in the dead girl’s district.

It is a lot to take in for an adult. For a child? Well.

Not all children should see this movie. In fact, children under 10 – 12 shouldn’t see the movie no matter their constitutions. There is some good reasoning here as to why.

One of my older children (14) is especially sensitive and won’t be seeing the movie either until it’s on a small screen, the movie can be stopped, and the issues explained. Also, the books must be read first.

My twelve year old daughter did see the movie. She’d read all the books and didn’t seem to grasp the horror of forcing children to fight each other to the death.

She sat curled into my arms at a couple points during the movie. Seeing is believing, evidently.

While the filmmakers did their best to minimize the blood and gore, the graphic nature of kids breaking necks, stabbing and slashing, poisoning, etc. disturbs all but the most detached.

The books are actually more graphic and distressing. As I shared in my previous post, I was so sickened by the premise that I put the book down.

Many books deal with children as protagonists in life and death situations — Lord of the Rings (in the books the Hobbits were coming of age), Ender’s Game (6 year old protagonist), Black Beauty, Lord of the Flies, etc.

Children read these books, evaluate them, and process them on a different level. Their lack of life experience is a help here. In books, one imagines what one has experienced and apply it to the reading.

The movie gives no such room. The violence is there to see.

There is great risk watching the movie Hunger Games of becoming the voyeur watching the reality game. The American audience, especially, weaned on Survivor, the Bachelor, etc., can be immune to the human difficulty and suffering.

Children are used as pawns and killed while, as a friend stated, trying to hold on to their humanity. This is a subject only the more mature can process. Beware of robbing your child’s innocence with this movie.

If you doubt your child’s ability to handle it, wait.

[More about the cultural relevance in the next installment.]



The Hunger Games: The Wrong Conclusion [Part 1]

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Nothing written about The Hunger Games movie is right. Why? The movie isn’t right. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely.

It didn’t occur to me while watching the movie, but when I read Ed Morrissey’s review (meh, derivative) and then this Socialist’s site (best movie ever), I knew something was wrong with the movie. And when I read this Psychology Today review, I knew something was wrong with the psychologist and our culture [More about that in another post].

People who saw The Hunger Games saw a different movie depending on whether they read the books or not. On the optimistic side: most teens read the books. On the pessimistic side: most parents had not. This lead to two very divergent perspectives on the movie.

The Hunger Games trilogy books describe a dystopian, post-Civil War future where the central government is rich off the backs of twelve districts of slaves. The central government uses technology, coercion, and laws restricting any form of self defense (no guns..no bow and arrows, even–thus Katniss’ hidden, handmade bow and arrows).

The central government controls by dividing commerce. There are agrarian, fishing, and in Katniss’ case, energy producing districts. Katniss’ father died as a slave in a coal mine to produce energy not for his business or his employer but for the government who would then redistribute the commodity in just enough measure to keep work going to meet the needs of the other districts and to keep the central district in the luxury they were used to.

The oppression, lack of ownership, lack of right to bear arms, lack of free speech, lack of freedom of association, and the central-command misery induced by this situation were never clearly spelled out in the movie. Those who read the books, filled in the blanks. Those who didn’t, took home an entirely different message.

As one liberal reviewer said it, “This is a movie about the 99% and the 1%.”

Uh no. This book was about the oppression of communism and the failure of redistributionism. It was also a book about self-determination and freedom. These are all very American concepts.

The personal despair caused by the oppression really wasn’t fairly portrayed, either. Peeta fed a starving Katniss (a little CGI work to show her emaciated would have been helpful) at great risk to his own life due to reducing his ability to trade on the black market. His mother would beat him.

After Katniss’ father died, the family was starving. Her mother had completely lost her mind. Collectivism creates individual misery.

Meanwhile, the central government was indulgent: a combination of Elizabethan England, coked out models, and crass material excess. Their entertainment was Roman gladiator meets reality show spectacle where children fought to the death as tributes to “peace”. All the districts, including the central one, offered up one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as tribute and penance for their warlike past.

The premise of the book was so horrifying to me, I had to put the book down. My daughter, in contrast, seemed strangely unbothered–until she saw the movie.

And the horror of it all would is compounded by no context. If it isn’t made clear what the characters will be fighting against, it’s difficult to grasp their desire for freedom. That is, if they’re free and just down on their luck, that’s a different story line. If rich business owners in each district controlled all commerce, that would tell another story.

That would be the storyline the left wants to promote–thus, the 99 and 1% reference.

Critics and fans of the movie must read the books. Without the story, what is a pretty good movie already, becomes an excellent, and scarier, movie. They’re not tough reads and they’ll give the needed context.

Whether it was intentional or just lost on the cutting room floor because of film length, more attention to the foundational why of the story would have helped.

In the next post, I’ll talk about whether children should attend the movie and how to talk about your kids who do go to the movie.



Bill Maher’s Selective Outrage Over Outrage

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Bill Maher, liberal, pretend libertarian and over all, failed comic, decides, finally, that the outrage over, well, everything, has finally all become too much. From his editorial in today’s New York Times:

When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don’t like? In the last year, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the unbelievable insensitivity of Nike shoes, the Fighting Sioux, Hank Williams Jr., Cee Lo Green, Ashton Kutcher, Tracy Morgan, Don Imus, Kirk Cameron, Gilbert Gottfried, the Super Bowl halftime show and the ESPN guys who used the wrong cliché for Jeremy Lin after everyone else used all the others. Who can keep up?

This week, President Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, described Mitt Romney’s constant advertising barrage in Illinois as a “Mittzkrieg,” and instantly the Republican Jewish Coalition was outraged and called out Mr. Axelrod’s “Holocaust and Nazi imagery” as “disturbing.” Because the message of “Mittzkrieg” was clear: Kill all the Jews. Then the coalition demanded not only that Mr. Axelrod apologize immediately but also that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz “publicly rebuke” him. For a pun! For punning against humanity!

The right side of America is mad at President Obama because he hugged the late Derrick Bell, a law professor who believed we live in a racist country, 22 years ago; the left side of America is mad at Rush Limbaugh for seemingly proving him right.

If it weren’t for throwing conniption fits, we wouldn’t get any exercise at all.

Please stop apologizing, Maher implores.

Here’s how the right’s outrage machine got started Mr. Maher–just for your edification. (I will admit, I worried about this tactic for fear it would stop being ironic and become the New Right’s political correctness.)

See, for years, decades even, the Left’s number one weapon in its arsenal has been outrage over nothing. Let me make a list:

Silent Spring (Environmentalism outrage)
The new Ice Age (Environmentalism outrage)
Sensitivity training (racism, sexism, minority outrage)
Poisoned apples (Environmentalism outrage)
DDT (Environmentalism outrage)
Any kind of cultural joke…ever. (See isms above)

Words, and worse, ideas, started to be censured. Like the prohibitionist knitting circle of yore, leftists have cluck clucked their way into power by being the church ladies aggrieved at every blond joke, straying eye, proper use of word (niggardly!!!), scientific disagreement, and on and on.

In response, the right of center side decided to throw the selective outrage back at them.

There’s a lot of pent up fury. How would you feel about being hectored over every meaningless and stupid aside (MACACA!!!!).

So, conservatives through New Media, are holding the left to their own race-baiting, sexist, offensive-language standards.

Big surprise! The left turns out to be more racist, sexist, degrading, closed-minded, and ugly than the right–something that minorities who have defected from the left know all too well.

And now, when Bill Maher is finally taking some heat for being the sexist jackass that he is, he’s crying foul.

In the years before New Media, everyone just wink-winked and chortled at how edgy and clever and brave Maher was while castigating conservatives who said far less offensive things.

Restricting speech on one side was such a great tool. Everyone hated conservatives and laughed at liberals. And then they realized they were the butt of the joke.

Now, liberals are hated too.

You’re welcome.

Liberals have themselves to thank for this fine politically correct mess.

See, I’m a free speech absolutist. Do I think it’s despicable to make fun of Sarah Palin’s kid and calling him a “retard”? Yes. Do I want to be able to use the word “retard”? Yes.

As in, Bill Maher is a retard.

To have any credibility whatsoever, he should have been decrying the politically correct war on words from the left years ago, but of course, that didn’t serve his political ends.

My concern on the right is that we’re becoming as bad as the left–that is, we’re actually starting to believe the outrage we’re pouring at the left.

My concern is that rather than being outraged at the leftists phony outrage and throwing it back at them, we’re becoming as politically correct and insufferable as them.

As long as Sandra Flukes exist and screech about inequality over nothing, the right has every reason to thrown their hypocrisy back at them.

The minute, though, we buy into political correctness and start being just like the lefty church ladies we loathe, the whole battle has been lost.

Humor, art, science, technology can only thrive where new, outrageous and edgy words and ideas thrive.

Conformity of language is conformity of culture. Stasis.

Free speech. Cherish it.

It would be nice if Bill Maher could have found his outrage at outrage when the leftist outrage machine has survived on outrage fuel. But then, Bill Maher’s not a great mind or comedian. The irony is lost on him.

Updated:

Bruce of The Conservatory notes what Maher really wants:

In essence, Maher wants to be able to say anything he wants and not have to apologize for it.

I agree.

Please, do so. And don’t apologize. That is fine with me.

But … and you knew there had to be one … that doesn’t mean what you say is consequence free. You still get to pay the price for what you say.

That’s really what Maher wants to see go by the boards, make no mistake about it. He really wants no-penalty “free speech”.

Sorry, no such thing. Never has been, never will be.

Updated again:

Great piece from Dorian Davis: Get a sense of humor.



The Atlantic’s Anti-Christian Bigotry: Tim Tebow Reveals The Press’ Hate

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Imagine reading this in The Atlantic:

The Twitterverse is already taking notice of the “holy” pairing of last month’s sensation New York Knicks point guard Mohammed El Arabi with this afternoon’s sensation: New York Jets quarterback Abd Al-Ala Awwal. (We’re still getting used to typing that last one.) New York City’s professional sports won’t be lacking in the Qu’ran thumping department. As you may have already heard, the New York Jets have traded a fourth round pick to the Denver Broncos for Abd Al-Ala Awwal’s services. For now, the trade sort of puts a stop to the schadenfreude surrounding Abd Al-Ala Awwal and the Peyton Manning acquisition. So what now? Well jokes, of course. For some–the pairing of the very-Muslim, pro-life, Allah-loving Tebow and New York City might be bit odd. (However, we’re guessing there’s some cheering going on around the New York Post and Daily News sports desks). We won’t know how this will work out for the Jets until the fall. But with Allah, Mohammed El Arabi, and Abd Al-Ala Awwal on New York City’s side, who’s going to take the blame for next season’s losses?

Or better yet, this:

The Twitterverse is already taking notice of the “unholy” pairing of last month’s sensation New York Knicks point guard George Carlin with this afternoon’s sensation: New York Jets quarterback Christopher Hitchens. (We’re still getting used to typing that last one.) New York City’s professional sports won’t be lacking in the The God Delusion-thumping department. As you may have already heard, the New York Jets have traded a fourth round pick to the Denver Broncos for Hitchens’ services. For now, the trade sort of puts a stop to the schadenfreude surrounding Hitchens and the Peyton Manning acquisition. So what now? Well jokes, of course. For some–the pairing of the very-Atheist, abortion loving, God-hating Hitchens and New York City might be bit odd. (However, we’re guessing there’s some cheering going on around the New York Times and Wall Street Journal sports desks). We won’t know how this will work out for the Jets until the fall. But with biology, George Carlin, and Chris Hitchens on New York City’s side, who’s going to take the blame for next season’s losses?

And then read this:

The Twitterverse is already taking notice of the “holy” pairing of last month’s sensation New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin with this afternoon’s sensation: New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. (We’re still getting used to typing that last one.) New York City’s professional sports won’t be lacking in the bible-thumping department. As you may have already heard, the New York Jets have traded a fourth round pick to the Denver Broncos for Tebow’s services. For now, the trade sort of puts a stop to the schadenfreude surrounding Tebow and the Peyton Manning acquisition. So what now? Well jokes, of course. For some–the pairing of the very-Christian, pro-life, God-loving Tebow and New York City might be bit odd. (However, we’re guessing there’s some cheering going on around the New York Post and Daily News sports desks). We won’t know how this will work out for the Jets until the fall. But with God, Jeremy Lin, and Tim Tebow on New York City’s side, who’s going to take the blame for next season’s losses?

The aforementioned was actually written.

God-hating. Christian-despising. American-loathing.

Our modern media is very out of touch with America.



The Psychology Of The Disaffected Obama Voter

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Lots of people hate Obama. Most of them hated him and his moronic ideology before he got elected the first time.

Many more people loved Obama; they were enthralled and captivated by him. They thought he was different. He was special.

Back in the day, I had a photoshopped picture with Britney Spears screaming girl fans except I exchanged the picture of Britney on their pink T-shirts for a picture of  Obama.

The Obama fangirls didn’t like this picture.

Everyone loved Obama and the ones who weren’t totally sure thought something like this, “well, everybody is doing it, so he must be okay. He’s gotta be better than the boring old boyfriend.”

He turned out to not be better. Depending on one’s point of view, he turned out to be much worse and for a variety of reasons.

Jim Geraghty has a very insightful piece explaining the mind of an Obama voter  that is must-read. Here’s an excerpt:

Monday I spoke to a smart political mind who had been watching focus groups of wavering Obama voters in swing states, and he said that one word that those voters kept coming back to, again and again, was “naïve.”  (The term was to describe the president, not themselves.) Those who voted for Obama won’t call him stupid, and certainly don’t accept that he’s evil. But they have seen grandiose promises on the stimulus fail to materialize, Obamacare touted as the answer to all their health care needs and turn out to be nothing of the sort, pledges of amazing imminent advances in alternative energy, and so on. He seemed to think that reaching out to the Iranians would lead to a change in the regime’s behavior and attitudes. He was surprised to learn that shovel-ready projects were not, in fact, shovel-ready. He was surprised to learn that large-scale investment in infrastructure and clean energy projects wouldn’t great enormous numbers of new jobs. He’s surprised that his past housing policies haven’t helped struggling homeowners like he promised.  He’ssurprised that his signature health care policy has become as controversial as it has. The “recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized.” When a woman says her semiconductor engineer husband can’t find a job, Obama says he’s surprised to hear it, because “he often hears business leaders in that field talk of a scarcity of skilled workers.”

Naive. The screaming girls weren’t naive. Oh no. The new boyfriend was naive.

The part that bothers me about this mentality is that people who externally project their stupidity tend to not learn from their mistakes.

Still, it’s wise to think of all the divorced people you know.  Few admit they screwed up. Most, to their dying day, will call their ex evil or wrong and that they, the innocent victim, was horribly deceived. Conned, even.

One Twitter acquaintance says this: RT @heatpacker:  The #GOP must speak #truth about the 2008 Obama Con. Voters must not be insulted for credulity, but portrayed as victims.

A nation of gooey-eyed victims.

Well, for Republicans to win, I don’t think that blaming Obama voters for their vapidity will go a long ways to convincing them to vote for someone else. How many beaten wives stay with their abusive mates out of sheer stubbornness? He is too good! You just don’t understand.

America can’t afford that nonsense. So, those voters who saw the Obama fraud for what he was would do well to use great restraint and reinforce the (hopefully) better decision of the deceived masses this time around.

The best thing to do for conned Obama voters? Feel sorry for them. They know not what they did.



Social Media Can Kill Your Job Prospects

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A quick way to kill your job hunting: be an idiot on social media:

One in five technology firms has rejected a job applicant because of his or her social media profile, according to a Eurocom Worldwide Survey.

The annual study had previously found that almost 40 percent of respondents checked out potential employee’s profiles on social media sites, but this is the first year that companies had confirmed that they had rejected applicants based on their digital presence.

“The 21st century human is learning that every action leaves an indelible digital trail. In the years ahead many of us will be challenged by what we are making public in various social forums today,” said Mads Christensen, network director at Eurocom Worldwide.

“The face the one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in.”

Don’t be a social media dummy. It could cost you.

Via @sistertoldjah



Pinterest: Remember How People Made Fun Of Apple?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Franklin Center is putting together a new website and I wrote a post for them about Pinterest. Here’s a snippet:

BONUS: Tips for Integrating Pinterest into your journalism:

1. Always have a picture in your post/article. Pictures are the way people search topics on Pinterest. There needs to be an “anchor”.

2. Make the picture in your post relevant and logical. Pinterest, like the internet, is literal. Clever and ironic pictures won’t make sense on Pinterest where no text is visible.

3. Put a Pinterest plugin on your Website. Make sure people can see what you follow.

4. Create a board on Pinterest of your work. People will follow and share your articles this way.

There’s much more at the link, including how Pinterest is the next Apple.



The Leftwing War On Words: Where Is The Handwringing Over MSNBC And Bill Maher?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

What bias? This bias:

Nevertheless, in the wake of the furor over Limbaugh’s denunciation of Georgetown law-school student Sandra Fluke last month, Sileo’s firing suggests to many that something has changed about the sensitivities of talk-radio stations. A medium built on pushing the limits of acceptable speech appears, once again, to be reassessing just where those limits are.

The Washington Post singles out talk radio and can’t seem to find one above-the-fold example of leftwing inflammatory rhetoric.

And after all that, we have this nifty campaign against free speech — not a campaign against child porn, or schools failing the most underprivileged or the rank sexualization of children on shows like Toddlers and Tiaras — nope. Media Matters and its army of robots fuel calls against a talk show host who differs with them ideologically.

For one thing, the Limbaugh flap has demonstrated anew how individuals and interest groups, such as the liberal Media Matters for America, can gin up and sustain outrage via social media (in Limbaugh’s case, President Obama’s consoling phone call to Fluke probably helped fan public revulsion, too). The group waged a sustained campaign targeting Glenn Beck’s advertisers that drove many off Beck’s highly rated Fox News program and ultimately ended Beck’s association with the cable network. Similar campaigns drove Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger from the air after they made inflammatory comments.

For another, some see the radio industry as uniquely vulnerable to sustained pressure. A long period of consolidation has left industry giants such as Clear Channel with a vast portfolio of stations but also deeply in debt, making them extra sensitive to anything that might disrupt their revenue (for the record, Premiere has issued a statement generally supportive of Limbaugh).

These thought police and their drones wage campaigns against conservatives and conservatives are still largely silent in the face of it.

How does MSNBC still get advertisers–besides government grants to General Electric, that is. But that question won’t be asked at the Washington Post.

Bias. It’s everywhere. It’s not even often what’s said, it’s what’s left out. The Washington Post skews again.



Why Are There Still Obama Surprises? Breitbart Video Cometh

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There shouldn’t be any surprise videos about Obama, should there be? Do you find it stunning that there’s more out there about Obama?

The press no longer functions independently. It is wholly co-opted by the Democrats. Americans don’t really want to believe this yet, but Breitbart bringing out videos four years after Obama is president demonstrates how corrosive and complete is the press-Democrat collusion.

Just. Wow.

See Jim Hoft for the whole story.



Raping The Younger Generation, Fiscally

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The older are getting richer on the backs of the poor. How? Rich people who don’t need government services get them whether they need them or not. Medicare and Social Security isn’t a safety net for the poor, it’s a cash cow for many people who already have money.

Where does this money come from? Younger workers who don’t have the money to pay off student loans, buy a house, or save for their retirement.

From Anna Tergenson of Smart Money:

In documenting a rising age gap with regard to economic well-being, the authors compare households headed by adults over age 65 to households headed by adults younger than 35. They examine data over time–particularly from 1967, 1984, 2005, and 2009-2010. (The comparison between 2005 and 2009-2010 illustrates the impact of the Great Recession.)

Here are some of their conclusions:

• From 1984 to 2009, the median net worth of older households rose 42%. For younger households, it declined by 68%.

The author of the post ends on a high note, saying that more young people have college education and says that the education translates into higher income potential.

My thought is that college education is worth less now, too. Basically, college education is what a high school education used to be. I see the very intelligent and innovative foregoing college and working right out of high school–often in the tech industry. Some professions will still benefit from education, but I see an impending burst bubble there, too.

Bottom line, the way things currently are, the Baby Boomers will hoover up all the revenue and incur tremendous debt that will cause the younger generation to transfer their wealth to pay the tab.