Top of the morning to you, dear readers. I’ve decided to do something a little different today, because I realized this morning that I’ve now been working for State of Affairs for a little over three months, and in that time I’ve received some outstanding feedback (both positive and negative) on the articles I’ve written during that time.
As of this writing, SoA will feature one hundred twenty-four articles, most of which written by yours truly, with a staggering three hundred sixty-four comments spread out over those.
I’d like to take a minute to thank our regular comment contributors: Shayla over at A Poet on Adelaide West (a fantastic writer in her own right; check her out), Brent at Two Assholes Talking About Nerd Stuff (whose commentary regularly shores up the parts I might have missed), Sean, my outstanding music partner from Nerds With Guitars, our good friend Jeff at Keep Your Coins I Want Change, as well as those “anonymous” users who don’t have online profiles: Ryan, Michelle, Meaghan, and even my personal hate-mail generators Moot and the Mule. Without your support, SoA wouldn’t be what it is today, so thank you all (even those I may have missed).
So after talking with Jim (recently back from South Africa) we decided it would be fun to do a monthly roundup of stories I’ve covered, revisiting and following up on issues I’ve written about over the last thirty or so days. Since this is the first time I’ve done this, I’m going to reach a little farther back in the archives to talk about new developments, but from now on, mark it on your calendar – if you’ve missed anything worthwhile throughout the month, this post will be the one you want to visit to get the skinny on everything I’ve covered.
So let’s get down to it, shall we? We’ll start with the oldest and move forward.
Given the number of comments I got on this post, a lot of you will probably remember my scathing prophesying regarding the upcoming Tim Burton “Alice in Wonderland” project. I had some pretty nasty things to say about Disney, and I wasn’t particularly nice to old Tim, either, which got a lot of you up in arms. Turns out, it wasn’t just my regular readers who got a piece of the action. Stop Motion Works posted a link to my blog when discussing Burton’s controversial decision to incorporate stop-motion animation into his new epic, and it caught the attention of “Dark Alice”, a blogger who runs a fan site detailing all aspects of the new movie. Needless to say, she and I had a bit of a disagreement when it came to our opinions on the film:
“Stop Motion Works provides a link to a rather venomous attack on the Tim Burton movie, titled “Alice’s Adventures in Mediocrity”. I thought this might be worth reading until he said he loved Big Fish and hated Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I just can’t get into the head space of someone like that. BUT click this link if you want to read a tiresomely long tirade against Alice 2010, Disney, Tim Burton and his girlfriend, and yet another person dragging out the old saw about Carroll’s supposed drug use.”
Now I tell you, folks. It’s one thing to get hate mail on my blog. To have another blogger call me out on their blog actually made me excited. I made a point of responding to Dark Alice in the interest of a) defending my position (though she was kind enough to link back to me) and b) opening the lines of communication between me and another great blogger (we might not agree, but she’s doing a bang-up job of keeping people in the know about this movie). Here’s how it went:
I just wanted to take the opportunity to respond to some of your comments, since I’m the tiresome cat who wrote the Mediocrity blog (I can’t argue with that, by the way — I’m notoriously long-winded).
I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m knocking Tim Burton as a director; I tried to convey that I like a lot of his work, I just don’t think the direction he’s going with “Alice” is going to be to my liking.
I’m a HUGE Lewis Carroll fan (and thank you for providing that link to the myth debunking — I spent hours looking for some kind of definitive proof that he wasn’t actually a drug addict, because I never believed he was). But like I said in the post, “Alice” genuinely terrified me as a child, and I was really hoping to see something a little darker in the new incarnation.
As far as Depp and Carter go, both great actors, and I wasn’t trying to shit on them either. However — I *do* hate Disney. There’s no getting around that. And Pee Wee Herman always creeped me out.
I probably came off a little harsher than I needed to be, but that’s sort of what I do. Regardless, always good to get a little rousing debate out of our blogging, no? Thanks for your thoughts!
And her response:
“Thanks for stopping by. There are a lot of people who are worried about and for this movie, and I’m one of them. LOL. I did think your article was interesting enough to post and blab on about myself.”
Let me tell you what, this is exactly why I do State of Affairs. It’s all about community. Or something.
I just can’t get enough of this man. Silvio Berlusconi is an unabashed ass who really, truly doesn’t give a fuck what you think about him. As I said in my original post, he’s been the target of more criminal charges than John Gotti – and never once served jail time – he routinely makes incredibly inappropriate statements about other politicians, and he’s never once apologized for his constant womanizing. He’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an honest politician. And he’s only getting more insane with time.
To my male readers: what would you do if a seventy-something guy (who resembles your creepy Uncle George) looked at your wife/girlfriend this way:
I bet your response would be similar to President Obama’s:
I don’t know what he was saying, but I bet it was something along the lines of “Motherfucker, if you look at my woman like that one more time I’m gonna jack you, capice?” If anybody ever finds a soundbyte of this conversation, please please please send it my way. I would be willing to pay for something like that. Serious. Turns out Michelle felt the same way I did – at the G20 conference, every other world leader got a hug and kiss on the cheek. Old Uncle Berlu got a very reserved handshake and, presumably, a non-verbal warning to stay the hell away from her. Guess she had no interest in seeing his collection of prehistoric caves.
Oh, and did I mention this was after Berlu referred to the First Family as “tanned”? Again?
“I must bring you greetings from a man whose name is, whose name is … wait, it was someone tanned: Barack Obama! You won’t believe it, but two of them went to the beach to sunbathe because his wife is also tanned.”
When people predictably went ape-shit the first time he dropped this bomb, he responded with a cursory “How could you take such a great compliment negatively?” And then he said it again. Either this guy is the most clueless man in the world, or he knows how to manipulate headlines. Folks, you heard it here first: Silvio Berlusconi is going to take over the entire world, because we’ll all be too busy shaking our heads at his social faux-pas to notice him quietly building a robot army in the catacombs beneath his estate, waiting to release the Vespa-riding, pasta-munching mechanical monstrosities on the unsuspecting citizens of planet Earth. Mark my words.
Ah yes, the British. A few months back, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls (still funny) announced his plan to fix the growing “anti-social” problem in the United Kingdom. His plan? Implement a project whereby twenty thousand high-risk families would have government social workers essentially move in with them and help teach them how to be proper parents. At the time I said it sounded vaguely Orwellian, since the initial plan also suggested the families would be under 24 hour surveillance to ensure the new “rules” laid down by the social workers would be followed. Apparently I was right, at least on the Orwellian part.
Turns out Mr. Balls now has the full support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who two years ago wrote about the project’s pilot (a town called Dundee) in his book “Britain’s Everyday Heroes”. Brown has pledged an additional 36 million pounds to help expand the existing network of Family Intervention Projects across the U.K. This will allow the government to raise the number of families “helped” by this program from the original 20,000 estimate to over 50,000 – and here’s the kicker. These families will be forced to submit to this program, under penalty of the sinisterly-titled “punishment”. No word yet on what this punishment will consist of, but I guarantee it’s not going to be pleasant.
It scares me sometimes how prophetic I am. I said at the time:
“[The Family Intervention Project] sets a precedent saying the government can now come into English households and start dictating terms on how people live. And that could be even more harmful in the long run, because as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, individual freedom is already an endangered concept in the paranoid, hyper-secure world we live in.”
And guess what? The slope is already starting to get slippery. Go figure. Word to the wise: just as it’s finally getting palatable to go back to the United States, stay the hell out of Britain. They might not like how you live.
Bob Gee has gotten awfully popular for his stance against the Nova Scotia government’s anti-smoking legislation. Specifically, he refuses to cover up his cigarette display as the legislation demands. Anybody living in Ontario will be familiar with this requirement: go to any convenience store not specifically branded a “tobacco” outlet and you’ll see big grey partitions in front of all cigarette displays; presumably they’re designed to hide those evil, evil smokes from the sensitive eyes of children who would doubtless be convinced by the bright colours and brand labels that smoking is a great idea (despite the other legislation requiring business owners to post all kinds of frightening anti-smoking advertisements all over their products and their stores).
Well, old Bob isn’t having any of it. He’s repeatedly refused court orders to implement the partitions, and now he’s being taken to task over it. Bob appeared in provincial court on Monday, September 14th so the court could set a trial date for two charges of violating provincial tobacco regulations. Apparently he’ll be hitting that date on January 21st of next year. And according to the 65 year-old business owner, he’s not giving up.
“[I] made the decision this morning that if [going to court against the government] has to be a late-life goal, so be it.”
This is one feisty geriatric, folks, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. There’s been a wash of local and national support for Bob’s initiative; there are even Facebook groups popping up to chime in their two cents in Bob’s defense. Bob’s lawyer plans to make this a rights issue – he’s claiming a violation of freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter. Obviously the government will make the case that it’s not freedom of expression if it’s promoting a dangerous substance, but who’s going to have egg on their face at the end of that debate? Ordinary citizens of Kentville, N.S. and beyond have already pointed out the huge liquor displays at the mall down the street and are questioning the same things I did in my original post – why is it okay to promote booze and not smokes?
Unfortunately, thanks to the molasses-like progression of the Canadian court system, I’m going to have to wait till January or later to find out what will happen with this case, but believe me when I say I will revisit it at that time. In the meantime, I wish Bob Gee the very best in his fight, and I’d urge any of you who feel the same way to check out the Facebook group.
That’s All, Folks
I was really hoping I might be able to give you some more information on that crazy old guy in Atlanta who smacked the shit out of that lady’s kid in Wal-Mart, or gleefully report the Wii-playing cops in Florida were being suspended without pay for wasting taxpayer time and money, or most of all – maybe hearing back from Billy Corgan about my scathing castigation of his “look at me, aren’t I great” music-for-free scam, but alas, there’s no further information available on any of those topics yet.
But the minute I hear from Corgan, believe me, you’ll be the first to know.
And that’s it for September, my friends. It’s been a fun month with lots of entertaining material, and I guarantee you October is going to be even better, so be sure to come on back. Tell your friends, et cetera. Or, if you’re really at a loss, just go to Google Images and search Demons Fucking On The Moon. Apparently that will get you here.
This is Alex James for State of Affairs; back to you.