I think liking Star Wars requires generally disliking the Jedi Council. Those clowns are terrible when it comes down to it. Mace Windu is particularly bad, and Yoda spends the entirety of the Clone Wars “having a bad feeling about this” but never actually leading. Even Obi-Wan, who I love, is shady as hell.
The best things about The Clone Wars series are the arcs that focus on the clone troopers (especially the Domino squad characters), the droids, or Ahsoka. Also good are arcs that expand the Star Wars mythos in general, and there are plenty of those. The series also does what the prequel trilogy could not: establish Anakin as a tragic hero who spends the run up to his fall as being mostly right about everything.
Also: why does the Republic care if the Separatists leave? Also also: the clone army is Republic state-sanctioned slavery.
The show does a really good job showing all the flaws with the Republic and with the Council. It shows the hubris of the Jedi leadership as a main reason for their failure to sense the Sith threat. For these reasons, I love Luke’s attitude in The Last Jedi.
To put it another way: If James T. Kirk had been around to Kobayashi Maru the Jedi Council every now and then, Palpatine would have been arrested within the first ten minutes of Attack of the Clones.
I agree with almost all of this by Jason Tabrys. And as a student of the Jesus tradition, the coming into power resonates on an allegorical level. That said, I don’t think Marvel will let Carol be the full answer to Thanos. The remaining Avengers are going to……spoilers ahead…….
….they are going to…..
Time travel. They are going to time travel. That is happening. Somehow, people like Black Widow and Hawkeye are going to do as much as Thor and Captain Marvel…which is kind of ridiculous. Last time I checked, Clint wasn’t Batman.
This is from March, 2012. I’m reposting it today because everyone seems to think Mitt Romney is going to save the world from Donald Trump. Or something.
I had the blissful opportunity of enjoying exceptional hot wings, conversation, and bro time in Wayne, PA this week. One of the insights that emerged from this time of fellowship is offered here for your consideration.
Mitt Romney is so unpalatable because there’s absolutely no reason for him to be running for president. It’s great that he’s not an ideologue, but it would be nice if he had some ideology. It’s not the incessant flip-flopping so much as what that says about his real motives for running. He has no great beliefs and hence no great motives. He’s running because he wants to be President, pure and simple. He’s running because he wants the Office of Ultimate Upward Mobility. He’s running for power or prestige or from some deep-seated need to leave no opportunity untapped.
We’ve been saying things like this for a long time, but it wasn’t until this week that we’ve been able to put it in the most precise terms possible:
Say want you want about the tenets of Obama’s socialism, dude, but at least it’s an ethos.
Does anyone really believe anything this man says?
My wife and I saw a trailer for Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar recently, and boy, does it look good. As we watched, my wife leaned over and told me about Eastwood’s recent GQ musings about human rights in general and gay marriage in particular:
“I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War,” Eastwood tells the magazine. “And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone.”
Make a “get off my lawn” joke if you want, but Eastwood’s right about what the modern GOP becomes when put in the hands of Michele Bachmann and other dominionists in libertarian clothing. Americans of any or no party can certainly be of good will while holding some disparate political beliefs in tension, but we need to be honest about it. There’s certainly no good will coming from quarters that want to curtail gay rights.
They are, instead, the photographic evidence of the beautiful wedding of two wonderful friends (groom not pictured, natch). As the day and evening progressed, the degree to which people just called me Alan increased accordingly.
Happy Friday, friends. Just a few things I want to talk about today. If you’re a fan of the shows mentioned in this post’s title and haven’t gotten to your DVR yet, be aware: there are spoilers after #1.
I’ve been hoping that when Ricky Gervais made his inevitable “Office” cameo, it would be as David Brent. And he did! Non-Michael/David line of the night: “Where’s your jet pack, Zuckerberg?” Was the interaction believable? In some ways, yes, since for the storyline to pay off, it had to happen. But I tend to think that people reconnecting as adults are a lot more gracious to each other than TV would have us believe. I tend to think that after a certain point, we all realize that life is hard, things don’t always work out the way we plan, and we’re all pushing on. That’s not just me, is it?
I feel like “Community” got its heart back last week. Heart and sincerity are what made season 1 so good. Yes, it was outlandishly funny, but that only worked because it was balanced by heart. The first half of this season missed a lot of that. Last week’s episode found it, and last night’s kept it going. Good good good.
The discussion on the “A Few More Things Your Kids Won’t Do, Generation X” post inspired me to follow up on a project I started a few years ago. Everyone gets those Nick Hornby-inspired Facebook memes (“15 Albums That Changed Your Life”), and as much as we identify with certain collections of songs our favorite artists put out at pivotal (I am “What’s The Story (Morning Glory?)” in case you were wondering), I think an inventory of radio singles is a much better sampling. First of all, there are more of them, and radio singles are more accessible sooner than the esoterica of record stores. (Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure we stilled called them record stores well after they stopped selling vinyl records…but that’s a whole other esoteric discussion.) So, your life in radio singles. What would it look like?
They have to be singles that you remember the release of, either on the radio or on television.
They must evoke a person, time, place or way of being whenever you hear them.
You must list them chronologically, or as Rob from High Fidelity has it, autobiographical.
1. “An Innocent Man” by Billy Joel, 1983.
2. “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel, 1983.
3. “Gloria” by Laura Branigan, 1983.
4. “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel, 1984.
*1, 2, and 4: I listened to this album all the time in the basement with my dad in the house we lived in when I was born. We had a silver analog stereo, and I remember wondering where the songs and singers went when they faded out. We watched cartoons, practiced spelling, reading, and boxing and listened to Billy Joel. I danced and jumped to the doo-wop grooves of this album and made the record to skip. This would directly lead to the need for digital audio in the Cocca household. 3: I remember seeing this performed on one of those awesome pop shows.
5. “Take On Me” by A-ha, 1984. One of the first music videos I ever saw. It was a cartoon. And it was perfect.
6. “Born In The USA” by Bruce Springsteen, 1984. My dad had this one too. I remember singing the chorus as loud as I could in my room.
7. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr., 1984. If you were a kid in the 80s with any access to a radio, you loved this song. I had a Ghostbusters mirror from a fair in my room. It fell off the wall and broke, probably because I was dancing too enthusiastically to “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr.
Speaking of. 8.”Dancing On the Ceiling” by Lionel Richie, 1986. Dancing. On. The. Ceiling! I remember this in conjunction with being at my cousins’ house and seeing the Latter Day Saints commercial where the little boy takes a groceries to his lonely neighbor.
9. “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon, 1986. Another one I remember because of the video. And the trombone.
10. “True Blue” by Madonna, 1986. Walking around my grandma’s development and singing it to show my older cousins that I knew a Madonna song.
11. “Luka” by Suzanne Vega, 1987. The 80’s could be effing scary.
12. “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)” by the Beastie Boys, 1987. I was licensed to spill.
13. “Superstitious” by Europe, 1988. Because I decided I should start watching MTV and have a favorite hairband. I was 8.
14. “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, 1988. Cocktail and Uncle Jesse were everywhere that year. Elementary school music class “bring your favorite tape to school day” was no exception. What a cool song. Hard to believe Mike everlovin’ Love wrote it without Brian.
15. “Make Me Lose Control” by Eric Carmen, 1988. My sister was 3 and LOVED this song.
16. “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, 1988. The first rap song I can really remember.
17. “Nightmare On My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, 1988. My cousin and I were at our grandparents’ house and called the station to request this one. We got through and got on air and listened to it on our Pop’s radio in his den. I dedicated it “to everybody.” I think it was Halloween.
18. “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul, 1989. I was in fourth grade. She was so hot. And the video was awesome.
19. “Batdance” by Prince, 1989. From the Batman soundtrack. My cousin insisted that Prince said the f-word in it. Dancers were dressed like half Jokers/half Batmen. Started watching Vh1 around this time.
20. “Cherish” by Madonna, 1989. Reminded me of The Association. Thought she was pretty. Wanted to live underwater.
21. “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx, 1989. Do I listen to pop music because I’m miserable, or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?
22. “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty, 1989. Cartoon video. Awesome song. Discovered it (and Tom Petty) while looking for something to watch.
23. “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty, 1989. Two kids singing this on the escalator at the mall. She loves Jesus? And America? I am 9 and so do I.
24. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, 1989. This is when I started to realize there was something inexplicably beautiful about being heartsick. Could longing be better than having? Wait, what? Nevermind. Baseball cards!
25. “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel, 1989.
26. “Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins, 1989.
25. “I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Phil Collins, 1989.
27. “Leningrad” by Billy Joel, 1989.
28. “The Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel, 1990.
29. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor, 1990.
*25-29: I memorized “We Didn’t Start The Fire” for a poetry recital and explicated “Another Day In Paradise” for an English project. These tracks and these albums crystallized some early ideas about social justice, history, politics, longing, work…
30. “Black Velvet” by Allanah Myles, 1990. In addition to Jesus, I must now also come to terms with Elvis. Staying up late on Friday nights watching Vh1 and the Family Channel with my mom.
31. “One More Try” by Timmy T, 1990. I wonder what kinds of things people do to screw relationships up. Driving to my grandparents’ house past the municipal golf course and hearing it on the radio.
32. “No Myth” by Michael Penn, 1990. I had trouble sleeping as a kid. I used to listen to the local adult contemporary station every night and I really loved all these 1989/1990 songs. And black jeans.
33: “I’ve Been Thinking About You” by Londonbeat, 1990. See above. Sha-pop-pop. I’d often hear “No Myth” and “I’ve Been Thinking About You” back-to-back on ninety-six-one. And “King of Wishful Thinking” and so many other classics. “Wicked Game” was like a bonus.
34. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, 1990. I remember hearing this in the car for the first time.
35. “Hazard” by Richard Marx, 1991. Mystical. This is one of the great narrative videos of the early 90s. I buy Rush Street.
36. “Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant, 1991. And everything else from Heart In Motion.
37. “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams, 1991. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Soundtrack. Video plays at the end of the VHS tape. This is the single greatest “couples” song ever played at any elementary school skating party. I am in 6th grade and am smitten. See #21.
38. “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. One of these arty grown up bands they’re playing on Vh1 when I’m 11. More of this, please. I hear it walking past the Tilt-A-Whirl at Dorney Park.
39. “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men, 1991. I don’t think anything needs to be said about this song. I borrowed the album from my cousin and dubbed it. They came to the Allentown Fair that year with Hammer and TLC. I was not allowed to go.
40. “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” by Boyz II Men, 1991. See above. These guys were the real deal.
41. “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, 1992. See above. Still waiting for theuppityupalexvanderpoolera.
42. “Just Another Day” by John Secada, 1992. Remember Adult Contemporary? Do you miss it as much as I do?
43. “Jesus Is Still Alright” by DC Talk, 1992. Samples the Doobie Brothers, Madonna, and Snap! The video on that Christian station out of Bethlehem makes me want to grow a goatee. Nathan Key turns me on to Free At Last.
44. “The One” by Elton John, 1992. And we’re back to see #21 above.
Redaction: I forgot “Into The Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 1991. The early 90’s music video aesthetic is something I miss. Petty was dressing like a hippie pirate at this point and I first heard this song on SNL. When you’re a kid, and you’ve sort of grown up on a certain album by a certain artist, and then you start getting a little older and that artist releases something new, it’s sort of like John on Patmos. This is a great track with a great narrative video on a great album from a great artist. When I was 11, this is what I was listening to instead of Nirvana.
Part 2 forthcoming next month.
Nick Hornby image via Wikipedia. Billy Joel image via Wikipedia, fair use. Bruce Springsteen image by werejellyfish via Flickr. JJ/FP, Phil Collins, and Boyz II Men images via Wikipedia, fair use.