What’s the Matter with Sri Lanka and the Netherlands?

I’ve just published my latest Medium.com piece: “What’s the Matter with Sri Lanka and the Netherlands?”

The upshot is that insane government policies induce popular revolts. Not that governments seem to care much.

New Medium.com Piece: ‘Reflections on an Era Recently Passed’

I’ve just published a new piece at Medium.com: “Reflections on an Era Recently Passed: The Pandemic Crisis and the 2020 Election.” I discuss two books published last year, on the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 election, respectively: A Plague Upon Our House, by Dr. Scott W. Atlas, MD, and Rigged!, by Mollie Hemingway.

This one turned out to be rather lengthy, owing to 1) I’m reviewing two books in the same article, and 2) I am the worst choice to be my editor.

But I think it’s worth your time.

Ukraine Notes

I caught Obama’s former CIA director, Leon Panetta, for a few minutes on CNN late this past week. He said that the U.S. put the kibosh on a proposal to transfer 29 Soviet-era MiG-29s from the Polish to the Ukrainian government as a result of some kind of “miscommunication.” Which is odd, because I had just seen it widely reported that the Pentagon threw cold water on the idea because such a transfer would run a “high risk” of escalating the war. It would directly implicate NATO in an armed conflict with Russia, you see, which is something that Biden has repeatedly stated he is studiously avoiding. (Though maybe he and his old boss should’ve thought through the possible consequences eight years ago when they decided to back the overthrow of the then existing Ukrainian regime for one that they thought they could more effectively control, and then arm that regime to the tune of $2.5 billion so that they could wage war on Ukraine’s Donbas region). We would then be in the World War III scenario that nobody wants: European states joining in the fracas, triggering Article 5, and before you know it, the nuclear-armed U.S. and nuclear-armed Russia are facing off not merely by proxy, as they are now, but directly, mano a mano. Cities of NATO countries then become Russian targets and vice-a-versa.

But I guess that was wrong…? Turns out somebody just didn’t get a memo or something…?

Nonetheless, there are members of the U.S. Congress calling for the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, led by my adopted home state’s Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin seems open to the idea as well. To describe these individuals as being in dire need of mental health treatment would be an understatement. Vox explains why.

Pete Quinones recently interviewed Kirill from the podcast Russians With Attitude, who gives his no-nonsense take on the chain of events leading up to the Russian attack on Ukraine. This includes some deep background on the Ukrainian nationalist project as an anti-Russian project dating back to the 19th century and the rivalry between the old Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, and the ad hoc invention of a “Ukrainian” language.

Michael Malice recently talked to Curtis Yarvin on the Russian-Ukraine war and Yarvin explains that based on an application of classical international law, Putin kinda has a legit beef–the U.S. would certainly take some kind of action if the Russians or the Chinese built military installations and bases in southern Canada or northern Mexico, which is directly analagous to how the U.S. and NATO have been gradually surrounding Russia since the mid-2000s or so. Yarvin, however, believes that Putin has likely miscalculated and is now in way over his head. Nonetheless, recent U.S. economic actions against Russia may lead to the unintended result of “de-dollarizing” the global economy, which would have some pretty serious economic consequences for Americans.

The blog Moon of Alabama recently relayed some disturbing reporting that 450 Islamic radicals have arrived in Ukraine by way of Turkey to fight the Russians. Meanwhile, the Russian government claims that 16,000 fighters from the Middle East have volunteered to go to Ukraine to fight on the side of Russia and the Donbas region. Whether either claim is actually true remains to be seen, in my own humble opinion. The propaganda always comes in hot and heavy from all sides during a war. However, there has just been some recent reporting today that the Russians have struck a complex housing some foreign fighters, killing 35. Perhaps more details on who they were and where they were from will be coming out in the coming days.

Scott Horton’s recent interview with journalist Ann Williamson is a must-listen. She was living and reporting in Russia at the time the USSR imploded. She discusses her testimony before the U.S. senate back in the late 1990s in which she predicted that U.S. ambitions to expand NATO further eastward would yield disastrous results. She wasn’t the only one, of course. A long line of U.S. Russia experts, ranging from the late George Kennan, the architect of the U.S. containment policy toward the USSR during the Cold War, to President Biden’s current CIA director, William Burns, had made similar predictions.

American Russia expert Gilbert Doctorow‘s recent conversation with Tom Woods is also well worth listening to.

Meanwhile, 52% of polled Americans appear to believe that Biden has not acted “forcefully” enough against Russia. This is the kind of poll that is ideally made into the warmongering bullshit that any astute observer has come to expect from Conservatism, Inc. in recent decades. Rather than call out previous Democratic administrations for crafting the foreign policy that has made this whole tragic shit show possible, they would much rather hector the current Democratic occupant of the White House into tangling directly with Russia, which, of course, as previously noted, would mean World War III.

ADDENDUM: Be sure to check out this March 2014 editorial by the late Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com, wherein he breaks down the list of neo-Nazis and fascists scattered throughout the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Democrats saw a brown shirt in every closet following Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 victory, and yet when they’re confronted with evidence of actual Naziism and fascism being the ideological standard of their Ukrainian allies, they barely talk about it. Appalling, but hardly surprising.

About ‘Last Night in Soho’…

So the wife and I decided to catch filmmaker Edgar Wright’s latest at the moving picture show last night, Last Night in Soho. I had never been as big of a fan of his work as some people–he seems to have a fairly devout base of fanboys–but I always thought that he at least knows how to serve up a decent couple of hours or so of entertainment. Actual storytelling was never quite Wright’s greatest strength but at least his movies were usually funny. Any plot deficiencies that Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz may have had were more than compensated by the humor that permeated those movies, as schoolboyish as it may be. I never got the impression from Wright that he was ever necessarily out to make grand cinematic masterpieces. His goal always seemed to be to simply provide some decent distraction for the moviegoer’s dollar. And that’s perfectly fine. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that at all.

But now he’s given us Last Night in Soho. It seems that Edgar wants to take himself a little more seriously these days, which is also fine, but the result is a bright and pretty neon dish that unfortunately serves up some very confused storytelling, with very little of the laughter that is usually to be had in his films. It’s so confusing, and so offensive to the audience’s intelligence, as to be downright embarrassing.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that Wright has become anxious to change things up a bit and get a little more artsy. “Evolve or die,” as the late John Lennon once said during the recording of Sgt. Pepper. Wright’s 2017 movie Baby Driver attempted to extend his artistic reach beyond his usual grasp, but as far as plot and story goes, that action-heist-car chase crime thriller is far more satisfying than Soho. Of course, Wright reportedly spent two decades developing Driver, having started working on the script as an adolescent. Soho feels like it was slapped together over a long weekend of heavy drinking and bong hits some time during the height of the #MeToo controversy. This is all the more perplexing considering that the film was co-written with a woman screenwriter, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who also co-wrote the script of Sam Mendes’ perfectly respectable (if not entirely memorable) World War I drama, 1917, for which she shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay with Mendes. Soho is definitely attempting to make some kind of a statement about women and what they have had to deal with in the professional world in both the past and in the present, but whatever it is that it’s trying to say is much too garbled to make out. Surely Wilson-Cairns must have a more distinct take.

The film looks good, to be sure. Edgar Wright never fails to deliver pretty pictures and some interesting camera work, and he obviously finds mid-1960s London to be quite the inspiration. But–and this should be more than obvious to a filmmaker of Wright’s caliber–if you’re going to pull a bait-and-switch on your audience, the switch had better turn out be a lot more satisfying than what they thought they were getting when they took the bait. At the very least, you shouldn’t totally undermine in the final act a major part of the premise that you had set up in the first.

It was entirely fitting that Wright should cast veteran actors Terrence Stamp and Diana Rigg in a film that in part harkens back to the swinging ’60s. But Stamp turns out to be a mostly incidental character and so he’s unjustly wasted in this movie. And it’s very sad that this was Rigg’s final curtain. Young lead actress Thomasin McKenzie is fine in the lead role of Eloise considering that she’s saddled with a character who’s almost an entirely reactive protagonist, an apparently unintended irony considering the film’s semi-feminist pretensions. (McKenzie was far better in the underrated and underappreciated JoJo Rabbit.) Matt Smith also appears to be trying his best with the script’s shallow character development.

I appear to be a part of a small minority, however. Soho has an audience rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and though the critics’ rating is a more tepid 74%, that strikes me as surprisingly high in light of just how bad this film is. As horror, while I suppose it does have its moments of creepiness, it’s not really that scary. There aren’t any moments that shock and jolt you out of your seat. This flick also fails as suspense. Only a total moron would fail to see the film’s supposed “twist” being telegraphed well in advance of its “big reveal” (which, as I’ve alluded to above, completely contradicts a major element of the film’s established premise, leaving the viewer completely befuddled). Either people are getting dumber, or perhaps I’m becoming more and more crotchety as I age. Or maybe it’s both.

Last Night in Soho does seem to be the kind of neon-shiny crap that people typically flock to these days.

Feynman’s Answers

This is quite popular online:

Feynman Questions

The late American physicist Richard Feynman started his career as a young physicist on the Manhattan Project, the secret U.S. government project to develop the atomic bomb. He would go on to win a Nobel Prize for physics in 1965 for his work in quantum electrodynamics, which he shared with two other physicists. I couldn’t tell you much about quantum electrodynamics, but I know that Feynman also attracted a lot of attention as a member of the U.S. government’s Rogers Commission, which investigated the tragic Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986.

It was Feynman who figured out what went wrong: the rubber “O-rings” that were used to seal the joints of a solid rocket booster failed to expand at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature at the time of the shuttle’s launch on Jan. 28th, 1986, was right around 32 degrees F. Due to the O-rings’ failure to expand, gas escaped and turned into flame, heating the fuel tank until it ruptured and released liquid hydrogen into the atmosphere and exploded. Feynman and the commission also found a variety of other problems related to the O-rings.

In his own seperate report appended to the commission’s main report, as well as in media appearances, Feynman criticized NASA officials, who, he said, should have known about the O-rings, but they had ended up fooling themselves. They had not previously suffered any problems with other launches and so, reasoned NASA’s managers, things would continue to be hunky-dory. This blinded them to obvious flaws that had not previously led to disaster thanks only to mere chance.

They really should’ve known better, said Feynman. That nothing had gone wrong before was no excuse for those men of science, whose knowledge should have been their guide.

Those views did not win him many friends in Washington, where the unquestioned expertocracy rules all. No doubt these final words from his addendum to the commission’s report rankled the feathers of a D.C. bureaucrat or two: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

“Nature cannot be fooled,” implying, as emphasized by the bit about public relations, that human beings most certainly can be fooled, including scientists. We are all gullible and naive to some extent, and we all have our blind spots and shortcomings, including those with PhDs in physics who are employed by NASA.

Naturally, when people see the quote at the top of this post, they nod their head in agreement. For they instinctively understand that nobody has all the answers to everything and so there is always room for doubt and skepticism, for some more critical examination of people’s claims and ideas. And doesn’t agreeing with this very sensible insight show everyone just how open-minded you are, how liberal and tolerant you are toward contrasting and dissenting views?

But let’s be honest. A cursory glance across social media on any given day tells you that an overwhelming number of people really believe that it’s only other people’s claims that should be questioned, not their own. There are many, many people who sincerely believe that they really do have it all figured out, and there’s no amount of logic or evidence that could possibly persuade them otherwise.

“It’s all those morons out there who are polluting the world with silly and destructive notions,” goes this mindset, “and fortunately I’m far too intelligent to fall for any of them, and so I’m always prepared to set them right.”

Such people are a little too damn sure of themselves, in my opinion, and unfortunately they seem more numerous than ever. Even worse, they’re a little too intoxicated with their own moral righteousness. There’s no telling how much havoc such people can wreak on the world–indeed, how much havoc such people have already wreaked on the world throughout human history. It’s damn scary.

You can’t convince me otherwise.

 

Brendan O’Neill Doesn’t Want You to Talk About Conspiracy Theories

I have a new piece up at Medium.com offering my own theoretically conspiratorial take on the recent death of multi-millionaire financial guru and alleged teen sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. I speculate in the piece as to what people should really be focusing on in regards to Epstein’s mysterious life, never mind his death.

While poking around the internets during the writing, I came across this piece on the Epstein conspiracy theory mill by the British political commentator Brendan O’Neill of Spiked-Online. In it, O’Neill derides the open discussion of conspiracy theories.

I’ve always liked O’Neill. He is, as I like to say with my tongue in my cheek, one of my favorite commies. He’s one of the small handful of pundits who can actually scribble genuinely critical and logically coherent opinion pieces in this age of emotion-driven, brain-clouded hyperbole. And he’s always been a fearless advocate of completely free and unfettered speech. But I’ll have to respectfully take some issue with him on this one.

He starts off deriding the popular meme circulating through the right-wing web that the Clintons had Epstein murdered. Fair enough. It is indeed a theory entirely lacking in evidence. I make no such claim in my own piece. For what it’s worth, I think Occam’s Razor dictates that the creep did indeed hang himself. He wasn’t murdered by the Clintons or anyone else.

But O’Neill then goes on a rant against the discussion of conspiracy theories in general. My criticism is that he treats all of them equally.

Yes, many, if not most, of the conspiracy theories out there are batshit-crazy. Where did the whole “Clinton body count” meme even come from? So far as I can tell, it originated with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Clinton Chronicles videos that he peddled on late night TV in the early to mid-1990s. Falwell tosses around all sorts of dark rumors about the Clintons, including accusations that they had various enemies murdered in Arkansas during Bill’s 12-year reign as that state’s governor.

So far as I’ve ever been able to tell, the foundation of Falwell’s rumor mill was laid by the infamous case of the double-murder of the two teenaged “boys on the tracks” in Arkansas during the 1980s. Journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard documents a solid circumstantial case in his book The Secret Life of Bill Clinton (terrible title, fascinating read) that the county prosecutor at the time, Dan Harmon, was involved in the boys’ murder and subsequent cover-up. The two murdered boys, Kevin Ives and Don Henry, may have stumbled upon a nighttime drug deal that involved Arkansas state or local law enforcement officers. This occurred during the same time that the infamous CIA operative Barry Seal was trafficking cocaine into the Mena, Arkansas airport as part of the “Iran-Contra” operation. Harmon was eventually arrested for dealing drugs some years later.

Though there’s no evidence to implicate the Clintons in the boys’ murder, Harmon was definitely a connected political player at the time who was jacked into the Clintons’ Arkansas machine. Thus, I suspect, the “Clinton body count” meme was born.

Anyway, everybody knows that the only person the Clintons actually had murdered was Vince Foster.

But I digress. What was I talking about? Oh, right. Conspiracy theories, and how Brendan O’Neill thinks discussing them is bad. They’re bad, says O’Neill, because the people who buy into them deprive themselves and others of agency. They become convinced that everyone is secretly manipulated by dark, sinister forces. They’re anti-democratic because they ultimately pacify people. Why bother organizing for any kind of change if the dark conspiratorial forces always prevail?

Pish. Posh.

Such people as O’Neill singles out for eating up the most absurd nonsense are the most easily duped who will believe almost any hysterical nonsense that Alex Jones shouts into his camera. (Ironically, such people now include, as O’Neill points out, members of the establishment liberal “intelligentsia”, who continue to insist that Vladimir Putin used voodoo social media ads to elect Donald Trump president.)

That doesn’t mean that mature adults can’t entertain the possibility that there really are people–in government, high finance, or otherwise endowed with enormous political privilege–who really do get up to some genuinely shady shit from time to time. Do they “control the world”? Nobody controls the world. But do these aforementioned privileged fucks occasionally get away with fucking over people less politically endowed than themselves? Absolutely.

The killer, though, is that the most sinister conspiracies are carried out right before our eyes: The false pretext for the Iraq War; the false pretext for intervening in Libya; hell, the false pretext for the first Iraq War; the Big Bank bailouts of 2008–the biggest heist carried out in U.S. history–and in broad fucking daylight right on our television sets–are just a few examples of the plots that have been carried out right in front of us in recent years. Most of us are just too duped by the daily propaganda of the usual news outlets to recognize them for what they really are.

And never mind about Jeffrey Epstein’s death–how the hell did he get that secret non-prosecution deal with the feds back in 2008? It’s not unreasonable to speculate that if he had lacked all of his high-flying social and political connections, they would have been more than happy to throw the book at him and make him into the poster boy of the evil denizens from whom they protect us and our daughters on a daily basis–oh what we would do without the ever-vigilant federal agents of law enforcement?!

So, sorry, Brendan, but the rest of us do intend to continue speculating, and to openly discuss our speculation, about what socially and politically powerful people do when nobody’s watching them, or caring enough to hold them accountable. It is sheer speculation, of course. But the difference between speculation about conspiracy theories and the kind of speculation that political commentators such as yourself frequently indulge in is only a difference of degree, not of character.

And it is, in fact, quite democratic in its own way. It’s the way we ordinary folk remind ourselves and one another that as the ruled, we need to watch out for what the rulers are up to. That they may only be interested in serving the public good rather than their own personal gain sounds a little too much like a, well,–wild conspiracy theory.

The Entrepreneurial Immigrant

I recently took an Uber driven by a gentleman who informed me that he had recently arrived from Turkey. He said that he had followed his son over, who was attending medical school here in Chicago.  The fellow looked like he was nearing sixty years of age. I thought it quite impressive for a man to migrate to an entirely different country at that stage of life.

My mother had come over from Belfast, Northern Ireland at the tender age of nineteen. I’ve always imagined how overwhelmed she must have felt coming to a strange country at such a young age, but at least she had many years ahead of her if things didn’t work out. That was one advantage my new Turkish acquaintance lacked. But as if merely immigrating to a strange country wasn’t courageous enough, this guy informed me that he was also starting his own business here. His willingness to undertake such a risk in his newly adopted country is truly impressive.

I have to wonder: Do immigrants tend to be more naturally entrepreneurial than the rest of us? And do those of us who are U.S.-born and bred have a prevailing tendency to avoid risk and play it safe?

Did something change over the past generation? Did native-born Americans transform from risk-takers to risk-avoiders as the country got considerably richer during that time?

Anyone who dares to migrate to a new and strange country is certainly a huge risk-taker. That would certainly indicate a personality prone to entrepreneurship. And perhaps the regulatory climate of the countries immigrants come from have a lot to do with that, too. A country whose government imposes all sorts of needlessly intrusive regulations and licensing requirements for every little transaction–state-sanctioned extortion, essentially–is most likely to spur an underground economy of black market business people.

Perhaps I’ll get off my lazy butt and see if there’s been any solid research on this.

“Space Force Are GO!”

The U.S. Space Force concept that has been so embraced and hyped by the Trump administration of late appears to have attracted a strange bedfellow–albeit ambivalently–in celebrity astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse-Tyson:

“Although a segment of the scientific community has been vocally opposed to a Space Force, the sentiment is not universal. Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of Cosmos and an outspoken science advocate, explained to Yahoo Entertainment why the idea of a Space Force shouldn’t immediately be mocked.

………..

“Just because an idea came out of Trump’s mouth does not have to mean it’s crazy,” Tyson cautioned. “A Space Force is an idea that’s been around, actually, for several decades as our space assets have grown. And the assets we, as Americans, have in space is almost incalculable at this point. Not so much the value of the satellites themselves but the value of the commerce that they enable.

“Look at GPS, for example,” he continued. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of industry relies on this now. So as any good military, wisely constructed military would have as its mission, it is to protect your assets. A Space Force is not a crazy idea with regard to that. What would they do? They would protect us from asteroids that might want to render us extinct. I can guarantee you if the dinosaurs had a Space Force, they’d still be here today.”

The whole “U.S. Space Force” concept, which was recently announced by Vice President Mike Pence as possibly being organized by 2020, appears to be far more driven by concerns that Russia and China are advancing more rapidly toward a hypersonic missile than is the United States, than it is by an eagerness to play a real life game of “Asteroids”, even though Russia’s entire economy is but a small fraction of that of the U.S. And for all the breathless media coverage of China’s alleged ambitions for global military conquest, a lot of experts have a far more tempered view that the Chinese are far more interested in simply securing a hegemony over their own immediate region than they are in going head-to-head with the United States, a confrontation that the Chinese would be sure to lose.

But a never-ending parade of hobgoblins must be trotted out, as always, to keep the American public in a perpetual state of paranoia and fear that the United States, the most militarily powerful country on the planet–perhaps even in the entire history of the planet–is in mortal danger of being utterly destroyed in a single blow.

A saving grace of having a president as divisive and widely reviled as Donald Trump is that few fear to mock and heap derision on his administration’s proposal to expand the U.S. war machine into space. However, I have this nagging feeling that all of this mockery and derision is simply #BecauseItsTrump–if it were President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton pushing the idea, everyone who is now so contemptuous of it would be applauding and cheering it.

I’d like to close by suggesting a slogan with which to adorn the U.S. Space Force logo–as wittily coined by a friend of mine–that I think is far more poetic than Trump’s:

“SPACE FORCE ARE GO!”

James Gunn Sacked for Sick Tweets

The newest tweet-based outrage involves the sick and twisted tweets of movie director James Gunn–best known for the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise–posted way back in 2008-09 or so.

Mr. Gunn’s defense:

1. Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor. — James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018

2. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. — James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018

4. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it. — James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018

5. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all. — James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018

Here’s a sampling of some of Mr. Gunn’s harmless, erm, “jokes”:

Gunn Tweets

“RT @peteralton I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place–shhh!”

“The Expendables was so manly I fucked the shit out of the little pussy boy next to me! The boys ARE back in town!”

“‘Eagle Snatches Kid'” is what I call it when I get lucky.”

“Three Men and a Baby They had Sex With. #unromanticmovies”

“I’m doing a big Hollywood film adaptation of The Giving Tree with a happy ending – the tree grows back and gives the kid a blowjob.”

“RT @blackehart ‘I remember my first NAMBLA meeting. It was the first time I felt OK being who I am. Some of those guys are still my BFFs.”

Good Lord.

Gunn posted these incredibly sick, vile, and disgusting tweets about a decade ago, when he was just starting out as a filmmaker. He says that he was deliberately acting out as a provocateur, going for the obviously outrageous. In other words, he did what most people insecure in their own talents and abilities do when they feel so strongly that the rest of the world isn’t giving them their due: they scream out for attention like a spoiled little child.

People can certainly give him the benefit of the doubt that that’s all he was doing–vying for attention to jump start a career. It’s ironic that Gunn appeared to have torn a page right out of Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal. If you really want the attention of the media, Trump recommends in his seminal work that you very publicly state something as shocking and outrageous as possible, and then you will certainly get what you wish for. For all of his heated criticism of Trump, Gunn appears to share his outlook in at least this one respect.

I see no reason to believe that Gunn is an actual, practicing pedophile–one should take his denial at his word in the absence of evidence–but the material which Gunn chose for shock value certainly demonstrates some pretty severe callousness. And the fact that he left those tweets up for years, even after striking success in Hollywood, reveals not only something about Gunn’s own casual attitudes toward the abuse of children, it likely says something about much of the film industry’s culture as well: Gunn probably never felt compelled to delete the offensive tweets because his own experience informed him that his colleagues and co-workers wouldn’t much care. Millions of other people, however, who do not inhabit the Hollywood universe, see it differently. They would most likely stop associating with anyone who saw nothing wrong with posting child-rape jokes on social media.

So there’s an obvious question to be asked here: Did anyone at Disney/Marvel find out about Gunn’s sick joke-tweets at anytime during the preceding decade that they were out there, but simply dismiss them out of hand?

What did Disney and Marvel know, and when did they know it?

UPDATE: I had not caught this before, but one of the people most outspoken against Disney severing all ties with Gunn has been none other than conservative pundit Ben Shapiro. Interesting and ironic, considering that Shapiro had just recently been tangling with Gunn on Twitter.

Says Shapiro,

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 4.36.21 PMInteresting.

Let’s recap what Gunn found so funny in an “outrageous” and “provocative” way: Sexually assaulting children.

“There is no limiting principle to the outrage mob”????

He made jokes about raping children. 

What an odd thing for a conservative pundit to say when a major corporation–who’s bread and butter has long been children’s entertainment–sacks someone for posting jokes about raping children on social media, and then leaves them up for an entire decade.

Maybe there’s no limiting principle to Shapiro’s tolerance, or perhaps it’s more accurate to observe that there’s no consistently defining principle to what Shapiro finds tolerable or intolerable.

What a confused little man.

UPDATE #2: Good Lord, a veritable mine of Hollywood pedo-joke tweets appears to have been discovered following the James Gunn childrapejokegate. What is the deal with these people? This is getting disturbing.

Just as a side note before I proceed, no, it doesn’t really matter that it’s mainly right-wing outlets like Breitbart who are highlighting all of these disgusting tweets from left-wing celebrities joking about molesting children. The tweets speak for themselves, no matter who is shining a spotlight on them. And it’s just mind-boggling that these people left this stuff up for years, apparently without a single thought ever entering their heads at any point in time that, gee, somebody might be a little disturbed by child-rape humor, such as, say, the millions of people who take their kids to their movies. As I stated in my initial post, that’s likely because the people they work with in their industry, including those responsible for the hiring and firing, have absolutely no problem with it, either. The sensibilities of all the bourgeois rubes who pack the movie theaters for the latest blockbuster are to be acknowledged only for mockery and ridicule.

Speaking of Breitbart, they’ve recently published a couple of columns by John Nolte that get to the root of why this is something to give at least a half a damn about:

First,

“As I have expressed countless times, nothing would make me happier than to live in a world where dumb jokes, stupid comments, tasteless humor, moments of weakness, and legitimate mistakes, both big and small, could be forgiven for those expressing true remorse. I believe in second chances, most especially for myself, and despise our current culture that allows social media mobs to dismantle lives and careers over bad words.

“But guess who disagrees with me?

“That would be James Gunn himself, who called for Roseanne Barr to be fired over a single terrible tweet.

“He has since deleted the tweet (Gee, I wonder why?), but on May 29, Gunn wrote, ‘I wish some of these so-called defenders of liberty would start to understand what freedom of speech is AND isn’t. Roseanne is allowed to say whatever she wants. It doesn’t mean @ABCNetwork needs to continue funding her TV show if her words are considered abhorrent.’”

“And…

“On March 29, and only because she called someone a ‘whiner,’ Gunn publicly called for the destruction of Laura Ingraham’s career via a boycott.

“’I hope @hulu stops advertising …  on the Laura Ingraham show, so I can watch [‘The Handmaid’s Tale’]. Online bullying & shaming of teenagers should not be supported by Hulu. Let them know,’ he tweeted to his half-million followers.”

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 10.38.05 AM.png“Gunn might have stopped joking about raping children, stopped joking about ass-raping his friends, about Mexicans, the Holocaust, AIDS, and how kiddie porn gives him an orgasm, but he only set aside those words in order to use the new words that built the petard he just hoisted himself with.” [Emphasis mine.]

Exactly.

Next,

What the hell is up with this fetish for joking about sexually assaulting children???

“Hollywood might be all kinds of ‘woke’ and hyper-sensitive and crippled by a censorious political correctness that declares countless topics and left-wing sacred cows verboten, but ‘joking’ about raping children is totally cool.”

……….

“[W]hat we have on our hands is an entertainment industry that will ex-communicate you for being ‘insensitive’ (toward anyone other than a conservative), that will blacklist you for voting in an ‘unapproved’ way, that will publicly humiliate and ‘re-educate’ you for telling ‘inappropriate’ jokes, but has absolutely no problem with you telling countless jokes about raping a child, even a baby.”

A smattering of the sick jokes highlighted by Nolte:

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These…”comedians”…seem so desperate for material that they have to dig into the gutter for jokes about molesting kids. And when they’re called out for their tastelessness, all they can do is sputter, “oh, I said that years ago,” or whatever ad hoc rationalization that enters their heads.

That’s the thing about self-appointed arbiters of public morals and taste, especially those who dwell atop the loftiest of castle towers. They’re entitled to form a social media mob and ruin other people’s careers for merely uttering or typing words, but when they’re called out on their own violations of public morality and taste, they simply brush it off with a wave of the hand. In their minds, they alone fashion the rules, and those rules always convict those with whom they differ in politics and worldviews, while at the same time everyone’s to just assume that they’re to be automatically exonerated.

If there are people who can’t see the obvious self-serving, double-standard hypocrisy at work here, then this country just may be at a point where it’s best for the conflicting factions to simply each go their own way. I suspect that we’ll be seeing such a development in the years to come.