Who Would You Rather?

Who Would You Rather?

I know, asking “Would I rather hump on Gerard Butler or Mel Gibson?” is like asking “Would I rather end up at the top of the CDC’s Most Wanted list or would I rather have my genitals banned by Jewish people, black people, gay people, women people, hispanic people, jacuzzis, etc….?”

So apparently, Mel Gibson and Gerard Butler are friends and together they terrorized Miami over the weekend. These pictures have got me craving an IV drip full of Gatorade and menudo, because they look like two hungover and hairy nutsacks in sunglasses. They’re like two rejected members of The Pussy Posse. But you know, Gerard is a genius for hanging out with Mel Gibson. Because next to Mad Mel, Gerard looks like a fresh piece of fresh ass and you completely forget that his crotch probably smells like a Limburger cheese and tonsil stones sandwich and you don’t even care that when he unzips his pants, an unidentified wart mysteriously grows on your genitals. Who cares! Give me Gerard! Give me a mysterious kind of STD! But don’t give me Mel Gibson!

Besides, call me vanilla, but when a sweaty piece is grunting over my back, I really don’t want to hear him moaning about how Jews are evil. I also don’t want a piece to threaten to burn my house down if I don’t tickle his huevos. Oh, and don’t call Mel’s ballsack “huevos” or he’ll demand to see your papers and call INS on you. That’s a total orgasm killer.

Sandy Hook Shootings: Who Are We Supposed to Be Mad At?

Sandy Hook Shootings: Who Are We Supposed to Be Mad At?
Sandy Hook Shootings: Who Are We Supposed to Be Mad At?
Posted by Tracy Moore
Reading the responses across the Internet to the horrific Connecticut elementary school massacre, which as of this writing, has led to the deaths of 27 people, 18 of whom are children, and it’s clear that we, as a nation, are not exactly sure who we should be mad at. Hollywood? Washington? Fox News? The NRA? The schools? Angry white men? The lack of mental healthcare access? All of the above? Because just being mad at the disturbed man who did it doesn’t feel like enough. That leaves us as powerless bystanders in an increasingly familiar nightmare.

As the details pour out, it feels like déjà vu: The young, angry white man, the innocent children, the terror, the powerlessness and frenzy the parents feel, the mental block and deep, deep sadness of all the rest of us trying to process unimaginable horror. And then, the desperate pleas from average citizens to stop making this such a terribly easy crime to commit.

A few randomly plucked comments from this New York Times initial report on the massacre give you an idea of the general feeling:

Suspend the constitution, conduct door-to-door searches of EVERY private residence in the United States and confiscate ALL guns – YES, rifles too!

And then melt them ALL down.

We need to restrict movies, TV, and video games that glorify violence.

Do any of you honestly believe that there could have been anything done by this sleepy, little Connecticut town to prevent something like this from ever happening? 

Connecticut is already among the top five states with the most strict gun control laws, among the lowest for gun crime, and yet something like this still happened. The fact is that the man was a killer and if someone ever crosses a threshold to kill on a scale as this man had, then they would find a way to do it.

First the horror, then the compassion for the victims, the families.
Then the rage against a people for whom having and using guns is a national pastime.
How many senseless killings will it takes for the nation to awaken and revolt against the barbaric NRA type neanderthals running amok in the streets of America.

Every incidence of a shooting in a public place makes me more and more frustrated that we can’t have a serious political discussion about guns.

I feel such sadness for the children and their families, yet this is overridden by my anger at the NRA.

It’s really sad that it’s easier for a crazy person to buy a gun than it is to get proper mental healthcare.

What is the tipping point? When will Americans love their children more than they love their guns? How much more? How many more?

Everyone is right to one degree or another. But the answers to those questions, are, of course by now, 31 school shootings later, quite familiar: We are not supposed to talk about policies, but people, pundits and politicians remind us. We are not supposed to blame access to guns, but rather, the unstable individuals who purchase them for harm. We are not supposed to be mad at Hollywood, but rather, the people who cannot tell the difference between real life and the glamorized fantasy portrayed on screen. And we are not supposed to blame those angry, unstable young men, but rather, a mental healthcare system that failed them.

The problem is, none of that gets us any closer to an action to take, a plan to implement. Doing nothing is no longer an option, a frustration now part and parcel of the coverage of these events.

If we simply accept this kind of violence as the new normal, then what? Schools are more than just a vulnerable population of innocents — they are, for some people, symbols of their earliest exposure to the cruelty of fellow humans, badges for their failures, some of their first experiences with alienation, marginalization and the judgment of others.

For the mentally unstable, that symbol has proven to be a particularly irresistible outlet for revenge fantasies. Isn’t it time we regarded schools as the same vulnerable target as airplanes? Why are they not among our nation’s top-guarded entities? Because we simply cannot accept that they are no longer innocent places?

If we will not implement gun control, and will not make mental health a universal, destigmatized resource, then the least we can do is protect the most obvious targets of the mentally unstable people who commit these crimes. Because otherwise, our only choice is to become as jaded to this terrorism as we have to every other “unsolvable” issue in this country, i.e., issue at which we have reached another political, partisan impasse: homelessness, poverty, immigration, sexism, racism. Remember? There was a time all those things floored us too, when all those things seemed like unspeakable horrors. And their continued presence in our every day lives is the price we pay for our complacency.

South Park Blasphemy | Right Wing Fox News Cronie Seeks Government Inquisition

Fox News Host Wants Federal Investigation into ‘South Park‘ for Blasphemy

Fox News’s Todd Starnes is sick and tired of ‘South Park’ and Hollywood getting a free pass. The Fox News commentator participated in the Values Voter Summit panel on “Religious Hostility in America” over the weekend.

The panel featured the familiar argument that Christians in America are somehow a beleaguered minority that is under constant assault. Starnes claims to have a pile of stories stacked up on his desk about “instances of people who have been facing attack because of their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Speaking of the controversy surrounding the laughably bad “Innocence of Muslims,” Starnes asked why the federal government isn’t investigating “shows like ‘South Park,’ which has denigrated all faiths.” He also demanded to know why President Obama hasn’t denounced Hollywood.
We have the seen the administration come out and say, “we condemn anyone who denigrates religious faith.” And they come out in regards to this anti-Muslim film.
Well, that’s well and good, but my question is, when has the administration condemned the anti-Christian films that are coming out of Hollywood? Where are the federal investigations into shows like ‘South Park,’ which has denigrated all faiths?
Where is the outrage when people of the Christian faith are subjected to this humiliation that is coming out of Hollywood?
Religious Right activists have been the most vocal supporters of the filmmakers, if you can call them that, and have rightfully pointed out that the First Amendment protects their activities. Starnes, however, seems to have a double-standard when it comes to speech that he deems offensive to his religious views.
As it turns out, the only investigation going on around the “Innocence of Muslims” concerns whether one of the purported “filmmakers” violated the terms of his probation. Otherwise the government has no place policing speech, regardless of who is offended, and the president is not the film critic in chief. President Obama can be excused, however, for speaking out when Americans are being killed over an amateurish YouTube video.

Inside the Crazy Cult of Ayn Rand

A Look Inside the Crazy Cult of Ayn Rand

Here’s a great read about the Ayn Rand cult which discusses not just the pernicious effect of its adolescent philosophy but the soap opera of Rand’s personal life — perfectly illuminating the bad Romance novel character of the books:

While Greenspan (tagged “A.G.” by Rand) was the most famous name that would emerge from Rand’s Collective, the second most well-known name to emerge from the Collective was Nathaniel Branden, psychotherapist, author and “self-esteem” advocate. Before he was Nathaniel Branden, he was Nathan Blumenthal, a 14-year-old who read Rand’s The Fountainhead again and again. He later would say, “I felt hypnotized.” He describes how Rand gave him a sense that he could be powerful, that he could be a hero. He wrote one letter to his idol Rand, then a second. To his amazement, she telephoned him, and at age 20, Nathan received an invitation to Ayn Rand’s home. Shortly after, Nathan Blumenthal announced to the world that he was incorporating Rand in his new name: Nathaniel Branden. And in 1955, with Rand approaching her 50th birthday and Branden his 25th, and both in dissatisfying marriages, Ayn bedded Nathaniel.

What followed sounds straight out of Hollywood, but Rand was straight out of Hollywood, having worked for Cecil B. DeMille. Rand convened a meeting with Nathaniel, his wife Barbara (also a Collective member), and Rand’s own husband Frank. To Branden’s astonishment, Rand convinced both spouses that a time-structured affair—she and Branden were to have one afternoon and one evening a week together—was “reasonable.” Within the Collective, Rand is purported to have never lost an argument. On his trysts at Rand’s New York City apartment, Branden would sometimes shake hands with Frank before he exited. Later, all discovered that Rand’s sweet but passive husband would leave for a bar, where he began his self-destructive affair with alcohol.

By 1964, the 34-year-old Nathaniel Branden had grown tired of the now 59-year-old Ayn Rand. Still sexually dissatisfied in his marriage to Barbara and afraid to end his affair with Rand, Branden began sleeping with a married 24-year-old model, Patrecia Scott. Rand, now “the woman scorned,” called Branden to appear before the Collective, whose nickname had by now lost its irony for both Barbara and Branden. Rand’s justice was swift. She humiliated Branden and then put a curse on him: “If you have one ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health—you’ll be impotent for the next twenty years! And if you achieve potency sooner, you’ll know it’s a sign of still worse moral degradation!”

This is the muse for many of the GOP leaders who pronounce themselves social conservatives.

The important point in all that is the one in which the 14 year old Nathan says that he was “hypnotized” and that Rand’s novels made him feel like a hero. That’s the key to Rand’s influence: the people who organize their lives around Rand’s overwrought philosophy are emotional adolescents and the pretense of “rationality” in her books is little more than a justification for youthful narcissism. Her own life bears this out as does the application of Randism to actual policy.

What’s frightening about all this is the number of leaders who count themselves as adherents. It’s common for narcissists to make it to the top of the food chain, but empowering this peculiar brand is akin to giving a 15 year old a Ferrari and a gun and taking off for the week-end. These are not people you want to put in charge of anything.

By Digby | Sourced from Hullabaloo

Non-Review Review: Dark Shadows

Non-Review Review: Dark Shadows

Via:- Darren

I really liked Dark Shadows. Of course, the film comes with the proviso that it’s probably nothing at all like anybody is expecting, at least based on the trailers. While there are elements of a comedy about a vampire lost in time, Tim Burton is far too busy constructing an elaborate spoof of a gothic melodrama to every really develop that thread. Instead, it’s a movie that seems wry and self-aware more than it is side-splittingly hilarious, an old-fashioned homage to the melodramatic horrors of old rather than a compelling story in its own right. I don’t think anybody could argue that this is truly “classic” Burton, measured against Ed Wood or Batman Returns. However, it is a director who seems to be having a great deal of fun playing with some rather esoteric toys.

Collins family values…

Of course, Dark shadows is an adaptation of the classic seventies soap opera about the Collins family – it was sort of like Genera Hospital if General Hospital featured vampires, ghosts and werewolves embroiled in a generational history of a New England family. So it isn’t really that similar, to be entirely honest. However, Burton seems to be using that familiar brand to play with the sort of crazy over-the-top gothic melodramatic nonsense one might imagine from a soap opera, but with a healthy dose of the supernatural to boot.

The plotting is very clearly structured in homage to those trashy soap operas. It seems that barely a scene goes by without somebody revealing an ominous secret, or Barnabus stumbling across some evil that has taken root in his family home. Sometimes it’s the revelation that a previously trustworthy character is planning to steal from their next of kin, or that somebody’s motives for assisting Barnabus aren’t entirely altruistic. At one point, almost completely out of the blue (save one line of foreshadowing dialogue towards the start of the film), it’s the revelation that there’s a werewolf in their midst. “Yeah,” the person confesses, “I’m a werewolf, so what? Can we not make a big deal about it?”

A strange chain of events…

The movie wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve. Trapped alone, Barnabus begins monologuing, referring to himself in the second person. The structure is gleefully ridiculous, as plot points are picked up, played with for a few minutes, and then resolved. In a delightful bit of seventies pseudo-science, one of the family proposes to cure Barnabus of his vampirism using blood transfusion. Don’t ask where they get the copious amounts of human blood necessary to run the operation, or why a psychiatrist is perfectly trained to do that sort of thing. It would spoil the joke. Towards the end, as the evil villainess Angelique Bouchard reveals the ridiculous and improbably ways she has laid the Collins family low, matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard seems more confused than upset. Very little of these revelations are set up, like so many soap opera twists.

Hell, there’s even a “special guest musical performance” very much in the style of television stunt-casting, which would seem like the musician promoting his album… were the film actually released in 1972. Burton even throws in a perfectly trashy vampire love scene, injecting more energy into one ridiculous sequence than the entirety of Breaking Dawn, Part I. Still, the film’s style is more of an ironic smirk than a beaming grin. Given the massive commercial success of the bland Alice in Wonderland, it feels like Burton indulging his more esoteric sense of humour.

Sink your teeth into this…

It isn’t just the script that’s in on the joke. Johnny Depp is very much in scenery-chewing mode here. It seems like we’ll never see the same nuance and depth he brought to roles like Donnie Brasco or Ed Wood, but his approach works here. It’s very melodramatic, very over-the-top, with every line delivered with the utmost ridiculous sincerity. His timing is impeccable, and his style faultless. Even his silent reactions are perfectly overstated. It’s not a performance with an abundance of nuance, that’s entirely the point – it’s all heightened melodrama, and Depp is at the very peak.

Depp is perfectly matched by Eva Green as the vamp witch Angelique. Green has a sultry style all her own, and chews on the scenery with impunity. Indeed, it almost reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s villainous turn in Burton’s Batman, complete with lost of evil smiling and a gloriously theatrical style. And the rest of the cast get in on the joke too. Special mention must be made of Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman and Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis. Carter is a wonderful actress, and she’s perfectly used as the self-medicating psychiatrist coping with the stress of a job… that doesn’t seem very stressful at all. Haley is an underrated performer who wonderfully underplays the role, simply going along with everything that’s happening. His reactions are quite priceless.

Home, sweet gothic home…

The cast make their dramatic pronouncements in the most garish manner possible. There are lots of sudden jerks and movements as the actors deliver shocking revelations in a manner clearly designed to wring every ounce of dramatic tension from the moment – it is very much in the spirit of parody, as they emulate the sort of worst excesses one might imagine from a daytime television cast. Motivation speeches (“fight on, Barnabus!”) are delivered with stern conviction, and rhyming spells (“burn, baby, burn!”) are read like Shakespearean soliloquies.

Even Burton and his direction get in on the act. One of the best gags is the way that Burton repeatedly cuts away to the image of waves crashing against the rocks. It’s obviously an attempt to imitate a seventies television director trying to imitate an autuer, hoping to add some depth to a shallow and trashy plot by using visual metaphors, even if they don’t fit. The best use sees the camera cutting to the waves as Dr. Hoffman explains “doctor-patient confidentiality” to Barnabus, which is one of the film’s best visual gags.

Vamping it up…

More than that, though, Burton makes sure the camera is always moving, as if frantically trying to keep our attention – particularly during the sequence where Angelique discovers the Barnabus has woken up. It’s deliciously over-stated, like absolutely everything else, and that’s why it worked so well, at least to me. The period setting is overwhelming and garish – to the point where the soundtrack is constantly reminding us of the decade – but that’s entirely the joke. It wouldn’t work if Burton reigned himself in at all. One can spot the horror conventions he brings to the film – from pea soup to bleeding walls – all done with a measure of self-awareness.

Of course, there’s a catch. It is, pretty much, a one-note joke extended over two hours. That is, to be fair, a bit much and I can see the film easily wearing its welcome out, especially with viewers who might have been expecting something just a bit different, and just a bit more conventional. After all, sometimes it is quite difficult to tell the difference between a spoof of a bad film, and a bad film itself. I’d make an argument that Dark Shadows is an extremely earnest and affectionate parody, but I accept that the target market is probably quite small. I suspect that the film will be quite divisive on release, but I hope that opinion might come around, as has happened with a few earlier Burton films.

(Sea)horsing about…

Still, there’s a lot of interest going on under the hood. The most obviously interesting facet of the film is Barnabus himself. As portrayed by Johnny Depp, we’re invited to imagine him as the hero of the story, struggling against a witch trying to destroy his family. However, the movie has a great deal of fun playing with that expectation. Surprisingly for a relatively straight-forward summer film, the movie is remarkably candid about his feeding habits. He slaughters a construction crew on waking, and then goes after a hippy commune, even after they are nice to him. Offered a glass of blood by Angelique, he’s initially hesitant, until she confirms, it’s not from anyone he knows. Because presumably that makes his habit okay.

Although the movie allows him to state his version of events, presenting an account where he is chased out of town by a mob and buried alive, struggling against the odds to keep his family afloat, the script seems to accept that this is a somewhat biased version of events. He confesses to feeding on some of the villagers later on, somewhat justifying their response to him. He’s also shown to be exceptionally manipulative and self-centred, with no real prospect for growth or development. He sleeps with Angelique knowing full well she is in love with him, while he just wants quick and easy sex. Even when he’s besotted with the family’s nanny, Barnabus is still something of a sex machine, hooking up with both his sworn enemy and Dr. Hoffman.

Road to redemption…

And even Hoffman sees through him more than anybody else in the film. “He’s a murderer!” she argues, before confessing that she didn’t go to the cops because he’s handsome and fascinating. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement – the only reason that she doesn’t inform the authorities is because he looks like Johnny Depp. Sure, Barnabus wants what is best for his family, and gets a tender moment or two with the family’s youngest son, but he’s also portrayed as a sinister hypocrite. Though he laments being used as a tool by Angelique, he has no hesitation about overwriting the free will of others. There’s some measure of irony in the fact that he uses it on people who are actually following his own code of honour. When a fisherman refuses to be bought and swears loyalty to Angelique, Barnabus doesn’t convince him to switch affiliations through reason and debate, but instead hypnotises him.

Indeed, Dark Shadows is filled with incredibly inadequate men, perhaps reflecting the time where it was set. This was, after all, the era where feminism was truly coming into its own. For better or worse, the most ambitious characters all seem to female, and the real heroes of the Collins household are the two women who head it – David’s deceased mother and Michelle Pfeiffer’s stern Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Sure, Angelique is hardly the image of female empowerment, hopelessly devoted to Barnabus and fixated on his rejection, and Dr. Hoffman is revealed to be fixated on her physical appearance, but it’s interesting that so many of the men turn out to be completely useless. That arguably includes Barnabus himself, given how the final confrontation between Angelique and the family plays out.

Out of his Depp?

At least the women are proactive and ambitious, while the men are petty and ineffectual. The surviving male Collins, the sniveling Roger, is shown to have a wandering eye, a lust for money and no interest in his son. Willie, the family’s loyal groundskeeper, is prone to drinking and sleeping and mumbling to himself. It’s interesting that that’s no reference to Elizabeth Collins Stoddard’s lover and Carolyn Stoddard’s father. He may have just died, but Carolyn seems to imply he simply ran out on them. However, neither Elizabeth or Carolyn ever fixate on him or discuss him.

While Depp might be the biggest name above the poster, it’s possible to argue that Barnabus isn’t the real hero of the piece. He provides the money necessary for the family to find its feet, but Elizabeth seems just as capable of managing the family and holding them together. While references are made to Barnabus’s “business acumen”, Elizabeth seems to take an active role in the restoration of the family industry, studying plans and appearing in photos (while Barnabus seems more preoccupied with restoring the house).

Hot shot…

Hell, Barnabus isn’t even the traditional Burton leading character, although he might seem it. He is an outsider, and a stranger, but the movie doesn’t portray him as a misunderstood monster. If anything, his actions justify the label – brutally feeding and murdering those around him. Bella Heathcote’s Victoria Winters arguably fits the traditional Burton mold better, once her wonderfully soap-opera-esque mysterious past is revealed.

Victoria literally sees the world differently, and her cheesy flashbacks, set to an Alice Cooper song, are the most emotional moments in an otherwise light film. Like Bruce Wayne or Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood, she is the person who must learn to accept her strange habits and gifts as an inherent part of her identity – even if the world would brand her a freak. Barnabus has no such conflict – while he might want to be normal, he accepts and exploits his otherness with comfortable ease.

It’s Johnny Lee Miller time…

The fact that Victoria seems to fit the traditional Burton mold is just a lot less apparent than it might seem, because Heathcote doesn’t have a screen presence to match her distinguished co-stars, and because she’s a weird person arriving in a story populated with other weird characters. She doesn’t drive the plot, because she’s the least interesting person in the film, but Dark Shadows is a far more transformative experience for her than it is for Barnabus or any other character.

I suspect I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I liked Dark Shadows. I really did. I think that, if you accept it for what it is, it’s a fun little film, if not the most essential one.

Atheist Chicks Angelina Jolie And Jennifer Aniston’s Bikini Battle (PHOTOS)

Angelina Jolie And Jennifer Aniston‘s Bikini Battle (PHOTOS)

Angelina Jolie Jennifer Aniston


It’s a feud that the public loves to fuel. Angelina Jolie, 36, and Jennifer Aniston, 43, have been at odds (in the media at least) ever since Brad Pitt, 48, divorced Jen and shacked up with Angelina.