Mika and the First Great Presidential Debate

"I think, probably, we all think Hillary won....I just wouldn't be surprised if he came out doing better in the polls after this."

This is an interesting statement that Mika Brzezinski made, one that I corroborate.  Hillary had some powerful zingers in the debate: "Trumped up trickle down economics" (well that's sort of wince-inducingly clever), her rebuttal to his belittling her for preparing for the debates; "Donald criticized me for preparing for this debate....I (also) prepared to be President"; and her calling him out for all of the degrading comments he's made towards women.

However, her body language conveyed a smugness, an "I'm going to just get out of the way and let the clown destroy himself with his ridiculous rhetoric", that could really incite ire in a certain kind of person.

That kind of person is someone who feels very marginalized from the establishment, and who can see unmistakably that Hillary's a cornerstone to the establishment.

In this respect, Trump's defensive rantings (which were quite incoherent, particularly in the case of explaining that he did not support the Iraq War--he brought in age-old conversations with Sean Hannity) actually may have serve to aid him, as he sounded like a little guy defending himself against a powerful tyrannical politician.

And another point that I'll make about these debates, that touches on a topic that (I hope to anyway) be posting on at some point, is how each candidate claimed to resort exclusively to "facts" to support his/her arguments, then openly also supported speculative, dubious claims.  Hillary did this when she responded to Trump at one point by saying "let's look at the facts" and another time "Donald I know that you live in your own reality"; presumably implying that she considers indisputable facts as the basis of her arguments.  Yet later in the debates she makes the conspiratorial claim that the Russian Intelligence hacked into the Democratic Party e-mails, causing Wasserman-Shultz to resign.

This sort of filthy thinking--resorting to facts when they support you, then to conspiratorial claims when they support you--is a cancerous sickness in our culture that's, well, seeped into everything.  And seriously impedes our ability to think, to assess reality.


Tickled 9/22

*Spoiler alert*  I will discuss this entire documentary in this reflection!!

This extremely well researched and tenacious documentary created by New Zealand filmmakers David Farrier and Dylan Reeve will be in the running for an Oscar.  Although initially an effort to document the relatively unknown phenomenon of competitive endurance tickling, it evolves into a film that discusses issues of internet bullying, libel, and (particularly with individuals with legal cachet, money and clout), our justice system's (in)ability to reign in abusive behavior.

Upon receiving an inordinately legally threatening response to an inquiry into "Jane O'Brien Media", an online company that promises thousands of dollars to men who volunteer to be video taped for endurance tickling sessions, Farrier's driven to investigate further.  He correctly suspects that "Jane O'Brien is just a front; at one point three men from the company visit him in New Zealand with concern about the spin that the documentary would put on the company.  In the face of repeated legal threats, Farrier attempts to document one of their tickling conventions in US but isn't permitted into the building.


Kubo and the Two Strings covers Beatles

Regina Spektor's cover for The Beatle's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is well worth listening to.  (As for the rest of the movie--well if you're not like me and immediately fall asleep in dark theaters when anime's on the big screen--it might be worth the watch!)


Bo Jackson and Marshawn Lynch

With the onset of the NFL season this past week, I can't help but feel a pang that Marshawn Lynch isn't in the game anymore.

Watch this incredible video from the NFL with highlights from his career.  What a remarkable running back!  

Lynch reminds me a lot of Bo Jackson.  After watching the awesome 30 for 30 documentary "You Don't Know Bo" on Netflix, I have an appreciation of just what a bright and shortly burning flame Jackson's career turned out to be--with equally amazing ability in football and baseball.

Both, too, have unusual personalities.  Lynch has his comically exagerrated taciturn personality, that even incurred fees from the NFL when he would answer every. question. in. an. interview. with "yea"(!), and Jackson is, well, sweet and very real.   His fame did not seem to do anything to change his sweet and humble personality.   

Lynch - says 'yeah' 40 times in an interview.

Lynch - "over and over"


Don't Think Twice

"Your 20s are all about hope, and then your 30s are all about how dumb it was to hope."  In this
idealized look at the creative life, writer/director Mike Birbiglia poses that raw, pure improv is intrinsically ephemeral, contradicting a more conceivable claim that he made in his first movie Sleepwalk With Me.

Don't Think Twice follows a cast of improv characters who perform at a theater in New York City.    Miles (Birbiglia), the 36 year old leader, teaches improv during the week and has a habit of sleeping with his 22-year old students in his dorm-like apartment.  The other improv cast, played by Keegan Michael-Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher, he fleshes out in fun, deftly interwoven vignettes.  Stealithy ambitious Jack (Michael-Key) lands a spot on the "Weekend Live" (a fictionalized "Saturday Night Life") after he bombards an improv sketch with a one man-show in order to impress casting agents in the audience.  Samantha (Jacobs), a restaurant hostess during the day, is also selected to audition for "Weekend Live", but bails on her audition at the last minute in a moment of existential crisis.  Allison (Micucci), an illustrator as well as comic, demonstrates real talent but lacks the volition to compile a portfolio.  Bill (Gethard) struggles with a father who never accepted him as an artist.  Yet, working as a grocery store clerk, he clings to his ability to kill on stage as it's the only respectful identity he feels he has.  Lindsay (Sagher), about 30 years old, still lives with her parents in their Manhattan brownstone and attend counseling twice a week, also paid by her parents.



Had thought that I wanted to see this movie....until I watched the trailer.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden?  Seriously?!  I don't know if I can do it now.  Watch another of these Jewish Brat-Pack actors on the big screen, that is.  What was Olive Stone thinking?  Talk about creating something that could have been substantive and is instead wince-inducing crap.  Yes, all just because of this poor casting decision.  

And let's get to the heart of it: why is Stone creating this movie at all?  Didn't we all get to see, in stunning firsthand, Snowden's actual revelation in Hong Kong with Laura Poitras's "CitizenFour"?  I don't get it, honestly.  Somehow it just feels like Stone's trying desperately to still be the life of the Edgy Film Party.  Although other filmmakers (that is, Poitras!) have clearly edged him out of this position.

After this movie and the weak "W", he's really just standing on the fringes.    



Definition: a rhetorical strategy whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise insulting remark to another person in order to undermine his or her confidence in a way that gains approval.



The Complete Unknown

A good, simple, low budget movie.  Compelling story, if somewhat sparsely told, about a woman who changes lives every two years or so, adapting an entirely new career, contacts, persona.  She left her original life w/out a trace, never explaining to any of her family or loved ones what happened to her or where she went.  (She went to some place in Mexico).  It's filmed primarily in an apartment and the surrounding neighborhood.

Couldn't tell if the movie was interested in telling a story or more so simply exploring the conceit of a person changing lives over and over and over again.  By that I mean that her back story (what motivated her to leave her original life; did some kind of psychosis compel her to constantly up and leave to a new locale, or perhaps childhood trauma?) could have been explored much more fully.  I honestly could not discern any original motive at all.