Sunday, June 12, 2016

Answers Part III

Here are some questions from Kelly:

1. How indicative is it of a broken nation that a major party is about to nominate Donald Trump?

Very. What's weirdest about it--and this may just be me--is how inevitable it feels. It feels like this is the logical end result of the past several decades. Between the dismantling of social programs/the New Deal/public education and the right wing whipping up the ignorant/fearful and the rise of Fox News and the way the internet legitimizes the unscientific (and the just plain wrong) and the fact that we can't even seem to agree that easy access to guns is not the greatest thing ever for our society and the weird pride people take in their racism and the Iraq War and just how damn tired people are of our system just not working for anyone not making $100,000 a year... and how so many people are quick to take the bait when politicians tell them which even more marginalized groups are to blame for it... yeah, I'm just not surprised that someone like Trump can become a presidential nominee.

It's dangerous as hell. Trump is everything that I think is working against America's progress in human-like form.

The only positive about this Trump onslaught is that it's shown me which family members I don't have to talk to anymore. We're talking about a man who doesn't care if Americans live or die, who wants to cut my medical benefits and all of the public assistance I need to live. Sorry, but if you support someone who wants to take away the things I need to stay alive, I take that personally.

2. You haven't mentioned baking in a while. Have you been baking of late?

I actually haven't been. Instead, I've been focusing on riding the exercise bike (ugh) and maintaining all of my flowers (yay). I do have a cookie-brownie mix that maybe I'll get to this week.

3. Do you read SAGA? If so, any thoughts on it?

I've read the first trade collection, which is something like the first five or so issues, and I thought it was really vibrant. I got it from the library, and I haven't been there in a while (they were closed for part of the winter to add on to the building, and now my card's expired and I just haven't taken care of it yet), but I'd love to read more. I don't have any thoughts on it as yet, but I find it very enjoyable and I think Prince Robot has one of the most interesting designs I've seen, either in spite of or because of it's simplicity.

4. What is DC's movie problem, anyway? (Assuming you think DC has one. I think that their movies are pretty crappy, the Nolan Batman films excepted, and while I like those, I don't think they're the best thing ever.)

I think the biggest problem is the unrelenting self-seriousness. I mean, yeah, the grimdark is a problem, and the inconsistent characterization is a problem, and even the two recent films of theirs that I still kind of enjoy--Batman Begins and Man of Steel--end up falling apart under their weirdly contradictory pretentiousness. But I think the heart of the issue is how seriously they want us to take these movies. I'm not saying these movies have to be full of quips and laughs, but all the best stories need a moment to lighten things up. People are like that. People, in any situation, are not 100 percent serious at every moment. If all Batman and Superman do is brood on their indecisiveness, they're not interesting.

The self-seriousness also makes all of those movies seem ridiculous and campy. The weird fear of ever appearing silly has turned Batman into a fascist one-percenter who has a pathological respect for the law and shows it by dressing up as a bat so he can break the law and punch mental patients because he's never properly processed the death of his parents. I absolutely hate that version of Batman. There's nothing noble or selfless about him. (He can't really be selfless, anyway, since he has no real sense of himself, despite how much time Christopher Nolan devotes to what each and every character symbolizes.) He's a narcissist and a control freak and deeply needs help. There's nothing heroic about that Batman. He's just a drag having a trilogy of breakdowns. Hey, kids! Comics!

I've not seen Batman v. Superman, but I think it's just going to retroactively make me dislike Man of Steel, a movie which has flaws I've been willing to overlook that now come across differently. I thought there was something interesting about a Superman who was reluctant to be a hero. But I don't need a Superman with a savior complex.

From the movies I have seen, I think DC needs to get over what they think their heroes symbolize and meditating on it, and stop taking themselves so seriously. I'm not saying their characters need to be comedic or breezy or silly. But I would love for them to stop defining themselves by the way they're damaged and actually freaking be heroes.

Damn, I wish Batman: The Animated Series were on Netflix...

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