|WHO WANTS DESSERT - 2013-12-07 |
Political cartoonists are the worst people on earth. They have ONE JOB and yet they consistently fail at both politics and cartooning.
Ted Rall is a hack who can't draw guys that look like anything other than Homer Simpson and he desperately clings to every manufactured controversy in the hopes of attaining some degree of relevance.
That sounds like two jobs.
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One of my favorite Ted Rall moments. The dude criticizes Roger Ebert for belittling ground-breaking genre work by experimental directors and then in the very next panel Rall himself belittles a ground-breaking genre work by an experimental director with zero irony. All under the guise of a memorial strip for a man who is dead and can therefore be mocked with impunity since he's in the grave.
That's an amazingly inaccurate and dishonest summary of the linked cartoon.
Ted Rall... big fan of Cole Smithey's movie reviews. That's right, Chris-chan's half-brother.
Nah, WWD gets it right -- in one panel Rall is getting on Ebert's case for not appreciating, say, "Blade Runner" while in the next trashing "Citizen Kane" for being "boring" and "unwatchable". That may not be a summary of the entire strip, but then again WWD didn't claim it was.
By the way "Citizen Kane" is eminently watchable from a number of perspectives. Watching a man's slow descent from principle into ruthlessness is itself worth the price of admission, as well as the question of whether he was ever truly principled in the first place. The film works as a window into William Randolph Hearst, a worthless piece of shit if there ever was, and incidentally the son of George Hearst from "Deadwood". And the cinematography is still worth watching in its own right.
As for the Obama cartoon, here's my take. Rall did a typical Rall cartoon, but failed to take into account that a lot of people are on patrol at all times for any implication that blacks are apes. When called on that (justly or unjustly), Rall accused his critics of being Democratic loyalists, which is horseshit; Daily Kos people are usually the first to claim Obama == Bush. So neither side deserves points for being quite right here.
Rall should have done what anyone else would do to avoid a fight: don't draw Obama with a flattened nose.
... and you know what? Ebert's criticisms of "Blade Runner" are spot-on. Ebert says:
"He seems more concerned with creating his film worlds than populating them with plausible characters, and that's the trouble this time. "Blade Runner" is a stunningly interesting visual achievement, but a failure as a story."
And that's where I have my problems with "Blade Runner" too. The Nexus-6 have legitimate grievances, they're the ones who have been dealt a shitty hand and at this point are trying to extend their lives, but here comes Harrison Ford to shoot them, hooray for the good guy? It could be that's Ridley Scott's point and I'm too dull to see him saying it, but if it's there, I feel he ought to say it more clearly. I ought to feel like, after Deckard has killed Zhora, Ridley Scott no longer sees Deckard as a good guy doing the right-ish thing.
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Plus that Ebert quote is from his original review of the butchered theatrical version, which even Blade Runner diehards admit isn't that great. When they released the restored version years later Ebert revisited it and gave it a glowing review.
Better review, anyway. I say there are still the same problems with the story: Ridley Scott built a remarkable world, but the story of a good guy stopping the bad guys doesn't ring true, and I don't see that as intentional on Scott's part.
I can't help but think about a story set in 1858 or so, with runaway slaves doing what they have to do to survive, and a well-regarded slave catcher going after them. Good luck making the slave catcher the hero of that story.
I was a teenager when "Blade Runner" came out, and even then I thought the Phillip Marlowe narration was laughable. Not an opinion one could share with fellow nerds without taking some heat, at the time anyway ...
Philip K. Dick's characters were shallow as hell, Ridley Scott added tons of depth to all of them. The replicants weren't retards and the "hero" wasn't a pill head trying to impress his neighbors when he wasn't playing religious Farmville to get away from his wife.
Only nerds wont allow you to like both movies.
What you are seeing in the movie is Decker becoming more cruel and machinelike as he hunts and kills the replicants, just as the replicants become more human as they try to survive and develop compassion. At the very end, Baty saves Decker, and for a brief moment before his death entirely transcends his machine nature. From Phils point of view, this would be the point of the birth of Roy's soul. It's pretty close to the point of death for Decker's soul. It is also possible that Decker is a replicant, but the truth is much much worse. He's a human becoming a machine. No, you're not supposed to be cheering for Decker, you're supposed to pity him.
This thing got booted around for a quite a while and when the final script was done it was by all accounts a piece of shit. An unprecedented and irreproducible moment in Hollywood then occurred: the creator of the original story was called in to doctor up the script. He did this, and we got this magnificent movie. I doubt Riddley Scott understood the story as such. I've yet to see an adaptation of Phil's other stories that come close to capturing the feelings and ideas in the original works. This is odd considering that Phil did write screenplays. But I've come to appreciate that the ideas themselves are too disturbing for most people to discuss. In a world where we all all electric friends without bodies or histories, and our heads are all buried in these screens, you can sort of see why eh?
Yep, I did catch how the replicants were the only "human" characters in the bunch, but I don't think Ridley Scott quite saw that; or if he did, he did a poor job of pushing it as an intentional theme.
When Roy is having his "confession" scene and is searching for the right word, and finally decides that he's done "questionable" things, I really like the choice of word. He can't say what he's done is wrong, but neither can he feel it's entirely justifiable, and he's appealing to his creator for insight. Turns out he had a pretty crappy creator.
The subtle characterizations in Blade Runner were lost in the shuffle, but they're there. My take?
We all know that Decker was a replicant, but he was based on the best Blade Runner ever, and that's why his partner despises him so openly, because he has to work with the homunculous of his dead partner. That explains his constant contempt.
And Batty figures it out in the end, which is why he saves Decker... watch his final scene again, from the PoV that Batty suddenly GETS IT and is amazed and amused that the perfect Blade Runner is a Nexus 6 that thinks it is a human, and therefore isn't troubled by its own shortcomings. Batty is floored by the irony of that final joke, that the passion that drove him was countered by a replicant who simply doesn't know it's a replicant, yet is similarly fighting for a few more moments of life (only Tyrell knew that Rachel and Decker had unlimited lifespans, Batty would have been pissed if he'd figured that out and probably killed Decker out of spite).
Syd, I'll watch BR sometime soon, and see if your take works for me. You have a lot of good insights on entertainment.
As for Roy saving Deckard at the end, I think it was very simple, nearly too simple: Roy knew he was at his end, and Deckard's death could no longer benefit him, so he stopped it.
To a certain extent, the fact that this is a question at all for people exposes an expectation of the worst from Roy, like he really is a monster, and a very simple act of decency requires complex analysis. But then again, there hadn't been a single scene prior to this where we could see Roy petting a dog or smiling a child or doing any of the other things that signify "okay dude", so I shouldn't be surprised that people form their expectations along what has been shown. I guess this is Roy's one scene to show that, if he weren't always doing questionable things to survive, he'd be at least as kind as the humans in whose image he was created.
"At the very end, Baty saves Decker, and for a brief moment before his death entirely transcends his machine nature. From Phils point of view, this would be the point of the birth of Roy's soul. It's pretty close to the point of death for Decker's soul. It is also possible that Decker is a replicant, but the truth is much much worse. He's a human becoming a machine. No, you're not supposed to be cheering for Decker, you're supposed to pity him."
I like this. This works.
"I doubt Riddley Scott understood the story as such."
Agreed. In my mind, that makes it impossible for me to rate "Blade Runner" very highly. It does many things exceptionally well, but it fails at the very basics (i.e., the script and the director's vision are out of sync).
|BiggerJ - 2013-12-07 |
HERE'S A TIP
DON'T GET MAD AT PEOPLE WHO AREN'T TRYING TO HURT YOU
IS IT THAT HARD
|memedumpster - 2013-12-07 |
Five for someone saying the Daily Kos is progressive.
|StanleyPain - 2013-12-08 |
I was with Ted Rall up until he decided to double down on portraying Pat Tillman as some racist scumbag who only joined up with the Army so he could kill brown people. He can be funny, but I have learned from his columns and interviews that he's basically an insufferable douchebag of the self-styled "radically liberal" bent meaning that basically his grasp of politics is generally not much better than that of an "edgy" teenager.
Nah. He has some interesting & insightful views on politics. But you're right that they're sprinkled with some stunningly juvenile views.
Ted Rall has always been a shithead. He kicked Tim Kreider off of a major panel at the last second so he could put one of his friends on instead who draws a perfectly horrid left wing political comic. No it wasn't Ziggy, it was Stephanie McMillian or something. Battered by this and by other slings and torments, Tim has since quit cartooning and become an author. Anyways as a member of the Tim Krieder fan club I am still bitter about that slight. So fuck Ted Rall.
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