Thoughts & Essays

Kevin Conroy, Twitter, Trump, more

🦇 Kevin Conroy, who was the voice of Batman for basically everything worth a damn in the DC Animated Universe, as well as in videos games and other media, died today. He was the best Batman, arguably the definitive Batman. What a shame to lose him.

🤣 So Twitter rolled out that Twitter Blue mess, and the site promptly filled up to the rim with imposter accounts causing trouble for brands. Including, apparently, a fake Eli Lily account costing the real company billions.

🍊 Donald Trump claimed in a Truth Social tirade that he sent the FBI and U.S. attorneys to save Ron DeSantis’ campaign in 2018. Trump’s a pathological liar and this is probably not true? But I’m pretty sure it is the sort of thing we should check into.

🍉 Oh, shit, Gallagher died today, too. I remember watching his specials with my dad as a little kid, just laughing until we cried. And also the watermelon smashing, of course. I don’t remember any of his actual comedy bits anymore. I just remember thinking they were the height of hilarity when I was, like, 5 or 7. Apparently he was still touring right up until 2019. Huh.

📱 So, you know that advertisers are tracking the hell out of you via your mobile phone. Did you know you can turn a lot of that off? I didn’t.

-fin-

Thoughts & Essays

Re: The Midterms & Other Thoughts

I think the one thing that has struck me the last few days is how very little our “pundit class” appears to actually know about anything. One reason this caught my attention was because I was watching them migrate en masse to Mastodon and promptly start screwing up and complaining about the social norms there.

It’s a little embarrassing to watch, to be honest.

Journos flooded Mastodon over the weekend. Mastodon has its own social norms to follow, one of which is the use of “content warnings.” When posting, they have a little feature that allows you to add a note of warning about the content of your post, and hides your post behind an extra click. This is used for lots of obvious things – gore, sexual content, things that might trigger phobias, etc. – but also for political posts. Which threw me for a second, but then I was like, “Okay, that’s how we do things here, no worries.”

Many journos, on the other hand, threw a big ol’ hissy fit about the idea, including some journos I really sort of admired, and started getting all high and mighty, refusing to use content warnings on their politics/elections posts. Which resulted in the large and growing new journo server that had been started getting blocked from several other servers.

It’s like watching someone blunder into a new friend’s house and be like “What do you mean I need to take my shoes off at the door? I don’t do that at home, I’m not going to do that here,” and then they get all offended when their friend kicks them out.

The other thing that struck me is, in the run-up to the midterms, a wide variety of non-Fox, non-OANN news sites and journalists bemoaning the coming “Red Wave” and strenuously pushing the idea that inflation was going to kill the Democrats’ chances, and so on. And that “Red Wave” just… didn’t show up. As far as I know, at this writing (11/9/22, 9:30am), the Senate and the House are still up for grabs, and if the GOP takes the House it seems like it’ll be by one seat. Which: Not a Red Wave, folks. Barely even a Red Ripple, really.

In fact, it seems like the two biggest motivators in this election were abortion rights and saving democracy, and definitely not, as many journalists/pundits insisted, the economy and the idea that Biden isn’t particularly popular.

I think partly the issue is that these folks kind of don’t know what they’re talking about and are guessing as much as the rest of us are. But also, in some cases, a lot of these folks are heavily incentivized to push GOP narratives. It’s what makes them ad money. Also, their outlets – particularly the 24-hour cable news gang – are owned and operated by conservatives.

I haven’t quite decided what I think that all means, yet. I’ve got some other vaguely connected thoughts still percolating. But it’s something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind going forward.

Links

ETA

Thoughts & Essays

Today’s Thoughts: Twitter, COVID-19, Trump, more

🦠 Vanity Fair and ProPublica had this big article over the weekend about the origins of COVID-19 and the “lab leak” theory – IE, that COVID-19 originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and escaped into the wild by accident. Which… it’s possible, but most of the reputable scientists I see talking about it think it’s unlikely, and that COVID-19 had a natural origin – came from critters at the farmers market in Wuhan. Either way, the Vanity Fair/ProPublica article seems… a bit dodgy, to be honest. A lot of it feels weaselly to me, and apparently they managed to misquote at least one contributor to the article, making him sound like he might agree with their article instead of directly disagreeing and also warning them not to misquote him. Dunno, don’t love this article. Feels untrustworthy.

🐦 Lots of fun Twitter drama over the weekend, too. Elon certainly seems to have had a weekend of it, at any rate. First he tweeted a crappy conspiracy theory about Paul Pelosi at Hillary Clinton, then he got roasted for it, then he deleted it, then he got roasted for it again by his fanboys for “caving to the left” or whatever. Meanwhile, he floated making verification checkmarks – those blue checks some people and organizations on Twitter have to prove they’re the real person/organization – a kind of subscription service. That is, to keep your check you’d have to sign up for Twitter Blue, a paid service. He floated charging $5 a month for the check, then $20. I can’t think of anything cringier than paying money for a checkmark which has been basically meaningless for years now, and which will become even more meaningless and laughable by charging for it.

🍊 Apparently the GOP is expecting a Trump indictment after election day. And I really, really hope they’re right to do so. There must be consequences – serious consequences – for what Trump did. He must pay the price, and the price must be prison time. I don’t believe we can continue to be America if we don’t hold Trump accountable for his crimes.

-fin-

Thoughts & Essays

Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor (Spoilers)

The power of the Doctor was friendship. It was friendship. That’s what they were talking about.

Okay, so, a few quick thoughts about yesterday’s send-off for Jodie Whittaker. There’s gonna be spoilers, FYI.

  1. Plot? We don’t know her. Episode didn’t make a lick of sense. People just showing up randomly with no explanation, the Master’s plan was overly convoluted and unintelligible, Thirteen barely mattered to her own swan song.
  2. Despite that, it still managed to be a lot of fun, largely thanks to a metric shit ton of fanservice. Just mountains of it. Here’s Vinder – y’all liked Vinder, right? Hey, Graham’s back! Couldn’t get Ryan, he had another job, but we got every single living former classic Doctor who didn’t have a scheduling conflict, plus David Bradley to play the First Doctor again, whee! Look, classic companions, too, including Ian for a hot second (William Russell is 97, guys).
  3. Was Chibnall mad he didn’t get to write the 60th anniversary special? It kind of felt like he was mad he didn’t get to write the specials.
  4. When Ace and Tegan popped up I said, “Y’know, if I had to pick two companions to start shit with, those two would be near the bottom of my list.” Ace in particular, who spent her entire run either blowing things up or bashing things over the head. Which is most of what she did in the episode, by the way, good for her.

I really liked Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, but she was underserved by the scripts she got, for the most part. Wasn’t super thrilled with Chibnall’s run, but then, I’ve been saying basically that exact thing for three Doctors now.

Moffat got so far up his own ass that it really sold both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi short. He was hell on wheels for writing a good Doctor Speech, but he got so enamored of his own supposed cleverness that he spent all his time trying to recapture what he managed with Don’t Blink and never really got around to writing anything good again.

Chibnall just… well, his run wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t great. It was serviceable. That’s a damning thing to say, but I can’t summon one amazing moment from his seasons. The stuff I do remember – Jack Harkness popping in for a few minutes, for example, was just what last night’s episode was: Fanservice. I don’t hate a little fanservice here and there, but there has to be some substance to prop up the sizzle, folks.

It was a shame, too, because I liked the direction they started off in with Thirteen. I really liked her first episode – that little montage in the workshop where she was building a bunch of stuff. I wish there had been more of that, and less of her being shuffled to the side for no particular reason. I liked that she empowered her companions a lot more than other Doctors did, but the show kept sort of undercutting that, too.

Anyway, spoiler warning…

Continue reading “Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor (Spoilers)”
Thoughts & Essays

About the new Quantum Leap show…

I have some questions.

What’s happening to Ben’s body while all this is going on?

In the original Quantum Leap, when Sam leaped, his body was left behind in the waiting room or whatever it was called. Sam leaped into a new body and the person he displaced chilled in Sam’s body in the waiting room. Occasionally Al would say he had to go interview the leapee in the waiting room for more information, or some such.

Is that happening here? If Ben’s body is laying around somewhere, no one’s mentioned it. We haven’t heard a word about David or Who’s-Their-Face from Ep. 1 that Ben leaped into. Did the sequel just decide, eh, never mind, too much hassle to do it that way, and retcon that? It wouldn’t hurt my feelings any to have a little clarification on that score.

If Ben’s body is still around somewhere… does that mean Sam’s is, too? Like, what happened to Sam?

We know Sam “never made it home.” But what happened to Sam’s body, assuming that hasn’t been retconned out?

Even if the original Quantum Leap Project was defunded and shut down, there would still have been Sam’s body to contend with, regularly hosting new leapees as Sam continued jumping. What happened to the body? Did Al take him home and install him in the guest room?

If that’s the case… man, I feel like there’s just a whole monstrous pile of fridge horror sitting right there, quietly festering away in the background. Like… Sam’s body sitting in some room somewhere, hosting one confused leapee after another, with Al and his wife checking in from time to time, everyone involved growing older and sadder as time passed.

That’s assuming Sam kept successfully leaping without Al’s help, too. You have to figure that at some point, no new leapee turned up in the body, and it just laid there and died. Either Sam had failed a leap or died himself, out there somewhere, alone.

Jesus. Thanks, Quantum Leap. There’s a nightmare I didn’t need.

What happened to the previous incarnation of Ziggy?

Did Al lose access to that too, or is that what all that computer equipment in Al’s kid’s basement was – a hacked-together version of the old Ziggy, possibly something Al was using to keep tabs on Sam until he couldn’t anymore?

Whats the timeline here?

The original Quantum Leap was set in the “near future.” I don’t think they ever gave a solid year. I have to admit I haven’t seen the show since it first aired and I’m relying solely on memory and what I can Google here. And since the original recipe aired pre-Internet, there isn’t a whole lot to Google.

At any rate, the original show’s timeline was always pretty wishy-washy. I assume the writers never nailed that down on purpose so they’d have some room to play if they needed it.

I read somewhere that the original show was set about six years ahead of IRL time. So, the show premiered in 1989, meaning it was set around 1995-ish. It’s been 30 years since Sam leaped, apparently, meaning the new show is set in 2025-ish.

How old is Ben Song? The actor, Raymond Lee, is 35, so I assume the character is around the same age.

I’m asking because in theory, leapers can only jump in their own lifetimes (I think there were a couple of pre-Sam’s-life jumps in the original show that were handwaved in, but those were pretty uncommon and tied to fairly-unlikely-to-be-repeated flukes). The overlap between Sam and Ben’s lives has to be pretty small, so the opportunities for Ben and Sam to bump into each other have to be thin on the ground, is what I’m getting at here.

Also, one random question – I wonder if the “evil leapers” are going to show up?

Sam bumped into an “evil leaper” (or did they call her a “dark leaper”? Something like that) once on the show. A woman who was leaping through her lifetime, “setting things wrong that once went right,” as it were. Pretty sure we only saw her once, and it was never followed up on in the show. It would be kind of neat to pick that thread up again eventually.

Wait, one more random question – is Ian nonbinary?

I know the actor playing Ian Wright, Mason Park, is nonbinary – is Ian, also? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use any pronouns for them on the show so far, so I’m not sure. Just curious.