I haven’t written anything in a little bit now. Part of that has been that I’ve been busy with work and general life stuff, but part has been that all of the topics that have been presenting themselves lately have been really annoying, or at least annoying to me. I just don’t want to annoy myself with my writing. Although, the topics have me annoyed anyway and I haven’t been writing, so I thought I’d take a moment to vent about some of these topics and maybe get it out of my system.
Genre Labels Are Racist
Billboard magazine recently decided that “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X couldn’t be on their country charts. Anyway you look at it, it was a racist decision. Billboard is apparently just that racist. I know they can point to Ray Charles, Charlie Pride and Hootie and say, “Look, we have black friends,” but that only reinforces their racism. I’ve been talking about racist genre labels for more than 20 years now. The system is set up so there’s white music and non-white music. If a white artist wants to try their hand at some non-white music, they can be quite successful. But if a non-white artist encroaches on white music, organizations like Billboard have to put a stop to it. The few examples we do have of people of color crossing over is tokenism at its finest. Besides, not that I know what makes a country song country, this song is easily as country as plenty of other hit country songs.
Two of the Reactions to the Notre Dame Fire
Notre Dame is an old cathedral in Paris. I’ve never been to France, so I’ve never seen it, but I believe the countless people who have described it as an amazing feat of architecture and a wonderful piece of art. Therefore, it made me sad to hear of the fire that nearly destroyed the cathedral. What other reaction is there to the loss of a great work of art? I’d be equally sad if the Sphinx or the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall were similarly damaged. I would argue that sadness is the proper reaction. But I’ve seen two reactions that are basically chastising people for feeling sad. One reaction I’ve seen a bunch is along the lines of don’t repair or rebuild Notre Dame, spend that money on curbing global warming or feeding the hungry or something. This reaction is making a couple mistakes. First, charitable giving is not a zero sum game. Notre Dame can be rebuilt and we can also work to mitigate climate change. Second, it misunderstands how people work. There is always a rise in charitable giving after a specific tragedy because most people need to feel a personal connection in order to be moved to give. It’s sad to say, but things like hunger are constants and people get numb to them. No one is taking money that they would have given to hunger and sending it to Notre Dame. The choice is not between competing charities, at this moment for most people, it’s Notre Dame or nothing. It certainly wouldn’t meet the approval of the Effective Altruists (I have major problems with the Effective Altruists, maybe I’ll write about that sometime), but on a very basic level, some charity is better than no charity, so let people donate to a cause that they feel connected to.
The other reaction is basically saying that France is an evil, imperial power and deserves any bad thing that happens there. It’s crazy to think that everyone who has ever appreciated Notre Dame is equally guilty of France’s historical sins. It’s also crazy to think that a society’s sins can invalidate every other thing that society has done. It leads to nihilism. If the only art that it’s right to appreciate has to come from a blameless society, then there’s no art left to appreciate. Whatever you think of France, don’t criticize people who have been moved by a work of art that happens to be French. Now, I hang out in some pretty far left areas of the internet, which is where I’m seeing these reactions. They bug me because of their basic wrongheadedness, but they also bug me because they are why people dislike the left. If the lefties would just keep their mouths shut in times of tragedy, maybe they could win an election.
Star Wars: Episode IX
The trailer for the last Star Wars movie of the third trilogy dropped. Everything about it annoyed me. The name of the movie is “The Rise of Skywalker.” That’s a really dumb name. It could have been the name of Episode IV, or the entire original trilogy, but the last movie of a trilogy that barely even features anyone named Skywalker and turned the one Skywalker it does have into a sulky coward is just weird. Either Luke is going to rise again, which will totally undercut his death in the last movie (not that his death really landed, but if it did, this would ruin it). Or it will turn out Rey is really a Skywalker even though they specifically said she is not in the last movie (and if it turns out she is a Skywalker, wasn’t “Force Awakens” the actual rise of Skywalker?). Or they could say Kylo Ren is actually a Skywalker on his mother’s side, but that would give this movie almost the same exact plot as Episode VI. Or I suppose they could introduce an entirely new Skywalker, but I don’t think I even need to explain how stupid that would be.
Aside from that, I hate, hate, hate two uses of slow motion in the trailer. One is where Rey is doing a backflip as a speeder chases her and the other is as Kylo stabs someone. It’s like they don’t understand the aesthetic of Star Wars at all. That’s The Matrix, not Star Wars. Hopefully it will just be in the trailer, not the movie. And possibly the worst thing of all, there’s the line, “No one’s ever really gone,” followed by Emperor Palpatine’s laugh. It’s like they’re trying to retcon the original trilogy out of existence. Not the prequels, mind you, but the original Star Wars. The idea of Palpatine being involved in any way with anything that happened after “Return of the Jedi” might actually be the stupidest idea ever.
Since the release of the Mueller Report, the younger segment of the Democrats (and Elizabeth Warren) have started loudly calling for Trump’s impeachment. I think that’s crazy. The Republicans control the Senate. If Trump survived an impeachment, it would make everything far worse. He would basically be untouchable. I like most of these new congresspeople. But they’re wrong about this. The only circumstance under which Trump should be impeached is if there is absolute certainty that the Senate will convict.
So there are some of my rants. Sorry. Hopefully I’ll write something more interesting in the near future.