Monday, September 7, 2015

Five Non-homo Reasons You Shouldn't Stand With Kim Davis That Have Nothing To Do With Race

The latest topic of conservative political fodder is the arrest and detainment of a certain Kentucky-based ex-clerk Kim Davis, who has allegedly been unfairly persecuted and harangued for expressing her profound, “religious” conviction that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman.  Davis has risen to a sort of stardom among conservatives and especially among such presidential backrunners as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee, the last of whom called her evidence of the “criminalization of Christianity in our country”, but Davis is not a conservative, nor do I think she’s a very good Christian.  Has conservatism entered such a rut of cultural influence that its proponents must resort to idolizing fake conservatives and creating pat, imitatively cutsey pound signs like #ImWithKim and #IStandWithKimDavis in order to stay relevant?

Unlike Huckabee and Cruz and so many others, I don’t pound sign stand with Kim Davis, not because I’m not a conservative, but because I abide by conservatism in its most essential, undiluted form.  More than just a philosophical or legislative doctrine consisting of various policy positions, real conservatism is a way of life, a behavioral disposition that governs all its adherents’ actions and statements.  Part of being a conservative is taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions, reaping both the good and bad fruits of your labor, which is why we conservatives don’t like the welfare state, crony capitalism, or socialism in general.  True conservatives don’t have to take the fall for their mistakes that often because true conservatives know exactly what they want, why they want it, and what it will effect.  True conservatives don’t need a cabinet of advisors or spokeskids to make their choices and speeches for them because they have common sense and logical reasoning and can usually deduce what’s best for themselves.  True conservatives don’t really need to look at the R or the D label on the voting guide, although they’re often helpful, because they’ll already be well acquainted with each candidate’s intentions and know which one is most suited (or least destructive) to the proper ends of government.

Kim Davis is not a true conservative, and she’s certainly not given to researching a politician’s values before she gives him her moral support.  In so far as she considers herself a woman of God dedicated to protecting real marriage, she’s not a very pious Christian either.  Kim Davis is a member of the Democrat party – see the photo above –, and as such she only has herself to blame, not merely for the country’s current marriage debacle, but for our broader epidemic of amorality, which spans racial segregation, subjugation of religious liberty to imagined “compelling needs”, tens of millions of dismembered babies, and, most recently, the eradication of traditional, scientific conceptions of sexuality in support of a radical electioneering agenda.  By virtue of her identification with the Democrats, Davis has aligned herself with and condoned a noble lineage of godly people including Jonathan Edwards, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Woodrow Wilson, Robert Byrd, Barney Frank, and so on and so forth.  What was she expecting to happen when she threw in her vote for Barack Hussein Obama, possibly twice?  Surely she didn’t think that empowering such an ideologue, who gets most of his moral positions from his daughters at the dinner table and who uses every mass shooting perpetrated by a Muslim to sing the praises of the peaceful faith of Islam, would render the American political landscape more friendly to religious independence and practice? Did she somehow believe that electing Obama would lead to a more conservative, constitutionally reverent Supreme Court?  Was she blind when filling out her ballot?  Did she really care at all about who would occupy potentially the most powerful office of the land?

So why have all the Republican candidates excepting Trump and Fiorina and Carson and Rand flocked to the defense of this “heroic” woman, who obviously isn’t one of their own, being a low-information voter, isn’t a martyr in any meaningful sense of the word, and represents the most obnoxious form of insubordination by a public worker?  Davis epitomizes every disrespectable trait a conservative should aspire not to exercise: she’s irrational, ideologically inconsistent, and strikingly indifferent towards the rule of law.  Assuming for the sake of argument that the Supreme Court has the constitutional authority to “legalize” homosexual marriage in all fifty states (it does not), Davis cannot pick and choose which “laws” she follows, nor can she claim a religious exemption because she’s already sold her soul to be a worker for the government.  She bases her refusal to sign the documents on the sincere belief that homosexual unions are “not of God”, but are opposite-sex marriage documents filled out by her office any more of God?  A marriage license issued by the government has nothing to do with God; it’s a piece of paper denoting a secular, legal status bestowed by potentially godless people upon other potentially godless people in a transaction that has no religious implications and can be revoked at any time.

One of the few Bible stories generally known by anyone who hasn’t read the Bible is Jesus telling the Pharisees and Herodians, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.”  This was a really clever retort, firstly because it stumped the enemies of Jesus who were seeking to ensnare him and secondly because it illustrated a distinction between civil goods and dues, which are owed to Caesar, and spiritual goods, which are owed to God.  The denarius in our time is the marriage license (ponder that language for a moment, that a homosexual marriage document is no more transcendent or spiritual than a license to drive), and Anthony Kennedy is Caesar, but to listen to Kim Davis, one would think she’s filling out a job application for the heavenly kingdom.  Davis’ empty, vain, and self-indulgent protest is not the fulfillment of the 1st amendment because there isn’t any cause or sense behind it.  It’s just protest for the sake of protesting, serving also to fool less perceptive people into thinking she had nothing to do with societal ills she herself has continually helped to instigate.

Should Kim Davis have been placed behind bars on taxpayer support simply for not doling out printed certificates of “marriage” to people who want the satisfaction of hearing that they’re married from someone else’s mouth?  No.  Hurting someone’s dignity or feelings is just a really petty warrant to waste a lot of money incarcerating someone who has posed no tangible, quantifiable burden to the rest of society.  At the same time, couldn’t one say that she is getting exactly the treatment she deserves, poetic justice of sorts for voting in the fascist circus freaks she did?  Did she ask for anything less?

But Kim Davis isn’t the problem with the American democratic system, nor does her imprisonment mark the first and most perturbing breach of religious liberty in our nation’s 400-year history.  The problem with American democracy is all the robotic, brainless politicians who should know better than to make a saint or hero of Kim Davis but victimize her anyway because certain talking points are so programmed into their dialect they see no other safe and viable way of addressing such a hot button issue.  The problem with American democracy is that we continually focus on distractions like Kim Davis instead of things that really matter, e.g. the record number of unemployed people in this country, the freaking Hillary Clinton email scandal, or the ongoing exposé of a dystopian human-harvesting project being waged by a recipient of some half a billion dollars in government aid.

None of those are of the Lord, but none of those have raised the slightest indignation from Miss Davis.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Not Worth The Effort – Paul Blart, Focus, Chronicles of Riddick

Well, this is it, folks.  We have officially hit that season of the year when we’re running on fumes, pulling from reserve posts written over the summer and unpublished until now.  Much though we’d like to keep growing this website on a twice-weekly basis, other obligations will hereby prohibit us from delivering the content you so crave quite as regularly.  You never know what you got till it’s gone.  While we finalize an article explaining with pictures and empirical evidence why Rotten Tomatoes is kind of rotten, here’s a rundown of some 2015 titles that were neither fresh nor gross but merely stale.

Paul Blart Mall Blarb 2 –

I don’t get why everybody hates the Paul Blart movies.  I don’t get why this one in particular has a 6% on the Rotten Tomatoes meter.  It tells me that the Rotten Tomatoes meter is kind of broken.  Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 may aim really low on the comedic scale but it accomplishes everything it sets out to do.  These are the cinematic equivalent of an America’s Funniest Home Videos highlights reel, and I for one find them hilarious.  If you watch this on cable or get it through Redbox for a dollar and two quarters, you’ll get to see Kevin James run straight into an invisible glass door, fall down a flight of stairs in a suitcase and nail a bad guy on the way, defeat a smaller, nimbler henchman by rolling all over her on his back, dispatch another henchman by swerving madly on his segway, and do a lot of other incredibly stupid things I’ll refrain from spoiling because they really cracked me up when they happened.

Many critics seem to hate this just because they think Kevin James is a fat, talentless Adam Sandler piggybacker (we have another word for this in college) who falls down a lot and exploits his weight as a substitute for real humor, unlike Chris Farley, who did so much more, or something.  Chris Farley is dead. He will never make another movie, skit, or anything.  Will Kevin James ever leave as strong an impact on American culture as Chris Farley?  Probably not.  But is that really a bad thing?  Kevin James doesn’t need to be Chris Farley, and expecting him to be is wildly unfair to him as a professional bumbling idiot.

Yes, the central dramatic arc of Paul Blart accepting his daughter growing up and both learning to trust and respect the other is very cheesy and predictably handled, but those scenes comprise such a small percentage of the movie that I just took them as an opportunity to go make popcorn.  The heterochromic antagonist, who’s reprising basically the same role from Red 2 but with much less charisma, gives away the cause of his later downfall pretty far in advance (oatmeal sunblock lotion, if there is such a thing), but you’re not watching a movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 for a twisty, thrill-packed heist-prevention crime drama.  You’re watching Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 to see Kevin James flop over on his back and lap up strawberry drips from an unobservant patron’s melting ice-cream cone.  I pity the fool who can’t even chuckle at that.

Distraction –

Part of me really wishes that Focus was made solely for the purpose of showcasing Margot Robbie’s stunning beauty. As such it would make a very fine, not that guilty pleasure for dejected males who sit before their computer screens, write about movies, and have no hope of attracting the fairer sex.  Director (… internet loading…) – directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa do an excellent job overall of sexualizing one of the most attractive celebrities alive today without flat-out objectifying her, if that makes sense, which it doesn’t, but props to them for making up a hackneyed Hollywood script just to parade her face in front of a camera.  Heck, if I didn’t follow professional, AP-style rules for my reviews and could recommend the film on the subjective basis of Robbie’s femininity alone, I would do so in a heartbeat.

I guess I will.  Why not?  Why else would a guy burn good time on such a pointless and staggeringly mediocre romantic thriller as this?  It doesn’t mess anything up that royally, but if you’re going to watch Focus, you shouldn’t be doing so for the plot, dialogue, soundtrack, cinematography or acting, all of which are serviceable pillars of the whole but not outstanding on their own.  Robbie and Smith act believably chummy together except when they’re not supposed to be, and it’s interesting how their partnership, criminal camaraderie, and love develop over two major con jobs that are separated by three years.  The second of these scams gets needlessly convoluted with too many players and respective motives to keep track of, so many in fact that I doubt the writers themselves knew who was screwing whom and tried to compensate for the lack of cohesion by throwing in some touching moments between a son and his formerly absent father.  The truth that said father, whose existence has barely been established through dialogue, is indeed Will Smith’s father is blatant from the moment he unexpectedly returns to a scene he just vacated, but just in case the stupid audience doesn’t get it, he calls his boy “Marshmallow” and makes some other chiding, Dr. Jones-ish remarks dispelling any uncertainty over his identity.

Aside from Margot Robbie being gorgeous and the romantic elements functioning relatively smoothly, what does Focus do really well?  Nothing much.  There’s a spattering of fun, engaging scenes throughout, particularly when Nicky Sturgeon (which is more fun to say than Will Smith) is training new recruit Jess Something how to pick valuables off of distracted people, a trick she’s virtually guaranteed to turn against him at least once.  The film also manages some moments of real tension, as in a prolonged gambling standoff at the Super Bowl where Sturgeon repeatedly raises the stakes as we and Robbie beg him to take his money and run.  In general it’s nice to see Will Smith once again playing a character with some charisma and comedic pluck, though it’s also true that I’d accept pretty much anything remotely funny from Mr. Smith after he stoically sat in a pod and barked orders at Jaden all through After Earth.  Even the advertising makes him look a lot more crazy and loudmouthed than he really is; e.g. the main trailer shows him at a party yelling, “Where are the black people!” but in the context of the movie he’s actually trying to fulfill a deal that requires convincing the other guests he’s drunk.

Focus is an acceptably entertaining timekiller that shouldn’t put you to asleep even if you’re drunk like Will Smith.  Trusth me.  I mean, what else are ya going to watch?  Straight Outta Compton?  Sausssage fesht.

I’m tellin’ you, that Harley Quinn movie is going to be amazing.

Riddicking Around

I’m trying to watch The Chronicles of Riddick, but it all looks so cheap and dull and fake that I have to keep hitting the fast-forward button until some shooting happens and I still have no idea who is winning.  Most of the movie is set underground, and whenever the characters venture to the surface everything looks like CG test footage that didn’t receive the proper tuning.  It may just be the fakest-looking sci-fi movie of the 21st century, in the same league as Battlefield Earth, which at least offered some entertainment in its technical ineptitude.  Like Battlefield Earth, Chronicles of Riddick is replete with gratuitous Dutch angles and goofy costumes, but expands upon that film’s atrociousness with annoying zooms, hyperactive cutting, and a drab color palette that almost makes one yearn for Battlefield’s sickly green and purple tints.  It’s a great movie to present to aspiring filmmakers to show them how not to direct action, if they can make it to the action without falling asleep.

Wikipedia says that The Chronicles of Riddick was panned upon release but has since amassed a “cult” following.  Taking what appears on Wikipedia with a grain of salt, I would beseech anyone who admires this film devotedly to find a better sci-fi groupie club to support.  Look at The Fifth Element, look at Bill and Ted, look at the Tron franchise, look at Firefly, look at Star Trek in all its iterations.  Join the cult of any of these universes, join any of the more mainstream nerd communities – Star Wars, The X-Files, Alien, Transformers –, even join the cult of Buckaroo Banzai, but for the love of God, do not allow a Riddick cult to ever become a reality.

Someone else made this.