May 19th, 2012

Ben Stein for Prez

The Road Goes Ever On And On

Well, that's the end of that.

Ron Paul has practically suspended his campaign.

It's not official, he's just not going to campaign in any more states due to a lack of funds.

Yup, knew this was coming.  Paul was the only one left from the start of the primary season who was still in it.  At least he's leaving before he starts racking up debt (Newt Gingrich kept it up after Santorum was forced out expecting all that support to go to him, and, with it, the campaign contributions.  Didn't happen, and now Newtie is up to his ears in debt and at the mercy of Romney and the R's or they won't help dig him out).

While I'm not surprised, I sort of am.  Paul's exit underscores a massive, massive problem.  Early in the campaign, Paul was on fire, enough to force the TV networks to include him in debates.  The general populous would not let him be ignored by the Establishment, and constantly pointed out any exclusions.  While Romney was sleepwalking through the campaign and Santorum and Gingrich were bouncing off the ceiling, Paul had people around the country speaking up for him as a candidate who would actually listen to the people and to ethics instead of his contributors.

Where are all these people now?

It can't be that Romney has the nomination sewn up.  No one thought Paul had a realistic shot at the nomination (and I would certainly like to see him funnel that voter following to the Libertarian Party proper), but they were supporting him anyway.  And the only conclusion that can be taken away from it is this....

The people didn't really support Paul to begin with.

Paul was just a vehicle for their frustration, a way to express their displeasure with the old guard in politics.  They weren't voting FOR Paul, they were voting AGAINST Romney et al, and since "None Of The Above" is not an option on any ballot outside Nevada (no kidding, it's part of their election rules to include it, look it up), they marked Romney.  And now that the old guard has won, they are done and have gone back to just bitching instead of continuing to keep up the pressure and effect positive change.

Sorry, Paul, you did good.  Unfortunately, not enough people really believed in you.

Waist Management

When you see certain trends among stories in the news, you realize you now have proof that the world is hopelessly fucked up.

In the space of a week, there have been three "leading" entertainment stories that prove that women get a raw deal when it comes to appearances.

First, was Shawn Johnson.  She's a former gymnastics Olympian who won a gold medal.  I mean, I guess, I don't watch gymnastics because I don't consider it a real sport (same goes for ice skating), so I wouldn't know who she was if she came up to me on the street and kneed me in the groin.  Johnson is trying to requalify for the team going to London (which, I hate to say it, she's wasting her time.  The scoring and events favor young girls before sexual maturity because the muscles operate better and the center of gravity is different.  Johnson is twenty now.  For what the events are, she is just too old).

Just a short time ago, Johnson was attending a public event and wore a very nice blue dress.  She looked very cute and very appealing.  She didn't look fat, she looked normal.  Now, however, she's lost "the weight".  And it can't be because she is trying to get on the Olympic team again, because all the interviews focus on how "fat" she was and how great she looks and feels now.

A few days later, Kelly Clarkson made the news for weight loss.  Clarkson is in the middle of a tour (which, you'd think, would garner some sort of press) and has apparently dropped some weight.  Clarkson's weight has always been a problem.  The whole appeal of Clarkson's image is her girl next door persona.  So she looks normal.  But magazines have tended to airbrush her figure to make her look slimmer on the covers (even with quotes from Clarkson right there saying she's happy with her size).  And now, this isn't an edit, Clarkson is apparently tired of hearing she is fat even though she is perfectly normal, and has dropped some weight.

Most recently was a Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai.  Described by some as the most beautiful woman in the world, Rai recently had a baby.  The Indian press is starting to criticize her for not losing the baby weight.  They want her to stop looking normal.

Now, yes, I like women with curves (the average size for a woman in the US is a size 14.  I like what I see), but there's a bigger problem here.  Ostensibly, celebrities are not supposed to be "normal" people.  They are supposed to be like superheroes, bigger than life and doing things we never could do so we can live through them.  Elle Macpherson, for example, maintains her figure by exercising four hours a day.  Does any normal person have that kind of time?  (This is why, when people don't lose weight despite hitting the gym for an hour every other day, I nod sympathetically.  It's their job to keep slim, not something they do with the time they can spare.)  As William Shatner sang, "Who wants to be normal people?"

But really.  What does it hurt to let people live in a way that is healthy?  Actresses like to brag that they can wear a size 0 (Jennifer Love Hewitt is one).  That is just plain dangerous because their bodies have shifted into starvation mode and will start consuming itself.  And there is such a thing as too skinny, as the hubbub over Kate Bosworth during Superman Returns demonstrates.  Unfortunately, I couldn't see the difference between her build and any of the other arm candy on display.  Combine that with modern fashions being meant to show off the female body instead of expressing its artistic beauty and you have a race no one can win.  Because, in a few years, age catches up.

Tracey Gold of the TV show Growing Pains said her anorexia started when the writers started slipping fat jokes about her character into the scripts.  This is a dangerous subject, one that people feel free to bash others for being fat while they sit on the couch and pop M&M's like vitamins.  It is hypocrisy, plain and simple.  You think it's that easy to lose the weight and keep it off?  Why don't you get off your fat ass and do something about it?

Lay off women who look like women SHOULD, not because they look like some idealized image brought to life.  I can appreciate looking at Jessica Alba just fine.  But if they decide to hop off the roller coaster because it's just too much, let them be.  We're talking Hollywood, so there will ALWAYS be another young skinny girl to fantasize about.

Besides, Alba wears Spanx.  She's not just admitted it, she's bragged about it because it keeps guys from not thinking she's not hot after having a baby.  That figure you salivate over is still phony, and she's using you just like you are using her.

There Goes The Bride

I don't get the negative reaction to marriage.

I would love to be married some day (am working on it now, in fact).  I understand marriage is a risk because so many marriages end in divorce or you don't really know the person you are marrying or you still have growing to do or whatever.  But if you find that right person that you fit perfect with, marriage is wonderful.

But a lot of people don't see marriage as wonderful.  They view it as the death of having fun and doing things when it is simply a shift in priorities.  And this is reflected with a lot of writers.  They don't know how to write a happy, affirming, loving marriage where the couple doesn't turn into lumps.  Hell, they can't even write steady relationships.  Characters are constantly getting together, breaking up, getting together, breaking up, and so on and so on and so on.

The hostility in the comic book world towards marriage actually isn't surprising when you think about it.  Most comics are adolescent male power fantasies (with some execptions, like Birds Of Prey or a certain indie comic about a girl who becomes friends with a mermaid).  As such, they want their men doing manly things.  Action!  Adventure!  Not being tied down!  (I mean, a committed relationship, smart ass.)

While it's always been there, it really got the spotlight when editor Joe Quesada decided it would be a good idea to have Spider-Man make a deal with the devil to wipe his marriage to Mary Jane from existence.  It continued with the DCnU, as Barry Allen's remake of the DC Universe erased his own marriage to Iris West, and the two don't really know each other that well.  Superman is also not only no longer married to Lois Lane, they aren't even attracted to each other.

That last one is the part I want to focus on at the moment.  Matt Idelson is the line editor for the Super books, and was fielding fan questions.  Here's a quote from him....

"After reading the latest interview with Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens, whose plans honestly gave me a sense of ‘been there, done that’, along with the disturbing implication that Lois and Clark are inevitable,which to me is another word for lazy and unimaginitive, I’m wondering why there seems to be such an aversion to taking chances with Superman. In a previous Ask Matt, one fan brought up the possibility of another book in the Superman line, in which you questioned him starring in it, and I’d like to know why Bruce Wayne can have four books of his own but it’s too much for Superman to even have three. And I can already see the whole sales argument coming, as valid as it might be, so what about a miniseries for Superman fans who aren’t fans of the traditional trappings of the character, in my case the Lois and Clark nonsense."

Oh, dear.

I understand editors have to keep things interesting.  And I can understand being committed to making a certain direction work.  But do you have to piss on the fans who liked the old way?

Joey Q has gone out of his way to piss off Spider fans who want Peter Parker and Mary Jane back together.  Twice in the book, it was hinted that the two would get back together only for Lucy to pull the football away.  Then there was the "One Moment In Time" story.  The image with puzzle pieces showing MJ in her wedding dress reaching out to Spider-Man.  The current regime is continuing this, with the recent issue of Fantastic Four showing Johnny Storm partying down with MJ in front of Parker.  I get the point.  You don't want Parker and MJ to be together.  But these displays are just there to piss off the fans and they make you look childish.

(Side note:  with the introduction of Sherman in Sound Waves, I got a couple of letters asking if Melody was going to be jealous that her friend Rhapsody would have someone else competing for her time like what they do on iCarly.  Short answer?  No.  In fact, the next issue of Sound Waves not only establishes she's not threatened, she's actually trying to push the two together, and Sherman is going to appreciate the wonder in Rhapsody's life.  So, spoiler alert, Rhapsody and Sherman not only will not break up at any point in the series, but in the "epilogue" story, it shows they are happily married and Rhapsody is still friends with Melody.  So don't expect me to mine any drama from that.)

Marriage is not for everyone.  But there's something petulant about slamming other people who think marriage is something beautiful and can't understand when something is done purely for arbitrary reasons.  You don't want certain characters together?  Fine.  You're the editor-writer-whatever.  It'd just be nice if you could leave the attitude at the door and just say it's what you think works best and you're running with it.
Sound Waves

The Name Game

It's always interesting when you find someone who named their kid from a fictional source.  For example, Kevin Smith named his daughter "Harley Quinn Smith".  One person named their son "Dante Randall".  A couple of hardcore gamers named their daughter "Atari."  I sometimes wonder at the lack of dignity that goes with such events.

My teacher's niece recently had a baby.  Talking with my teacher after the worries had passed (another trip to the doctor for some tests to make sure the kid was okay), I asked what they had named her.

"Elizabeth," she responded.  That didn't surprise me.  "Elizabeth" is Hebrew for "God is my oath."

My teacher then looked at me conspiratorially.  "They almost gave her a different name because they thought it sounded very pretty."

What did they almost name her?


I have every confidence that they just liked how the name rolled out.  It's the whole reason I created the character of Rhapsody in the first place, because I thought it would be a pretty name for a girl, and she just sort of rolled out from that.  Sound Waves is too obscure for anyone to get that it was a reference, and I'm pretty sure my teacher's niece doesn't read my comics.  All I can say is, if it was going to be as a reference, at least it was something could stand on its own instead of just being a tribute to any awesomeness perceived in me.

Although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't flattered and humbled by the thought.

Birth Of A Nation

I would like to suggest a new subset of political discourse -- zombie politics.  This is when something that is supposed to be dead cold wormfood gets brought up again.  In threads, this is known as "necroing" a post.  This also ties with politicians not having the brains to come up with anything original.

Ken Bennett is the secretary of state for Arizona.  He has asked the state of Hawaii to verify that President Barack Obama was actually born there or he will not be allowed on the Arizona ballot.

Arizona just can't seem to let this go.  In March of this year, Joe Arpaio, the legendarily hard case Arizona sherif, announced his office looked into Obama's birth certificate and deemed it a forgery.  Nice to know that, even with illegal immigration, drug dealing, and other problems, Arpaio won't let the important stuff slide.  Arpaio conducted the investigation at the request of those bottom feeders of modern politics, the Tea Partiers.  The actual leg work was handled by a bunch of Tea Partiers who probably watch too much CSI, and Arpaio just rubber stamped it.

Bennett claims he made the inquiry at the request of a constituent.  Anybody want to place any bets who that constituent is?  Here's a hint:  Bennett is Mitt Romney's campaign co-chair for the state of Arizona.

I know Arizona doesn't generally like Da Gubmint, but this Obama birth certificate thing is really getting out of hand.  There's no way Obama is going to carry Arizona anyway, so the only reason to do this is to keep it in the public eye for the mouth breathers to support Romney (read that:  anyone but Obama).  Have you noticed yet that no one else is every bringing it up anymore?

This is the reason I don't watch so much TV -- I hate reruns.