Talking Pulp: Comicsgate and the Sustainability of Crowd Funded Comics

*If you have been following what has been going on with Comicsgate over the last several months, you can probably skip over the long introduction and jump right into the second part of the article. The introduction is to get people who aren’t aware of Comicsgate up to speed on what has been happening.

Part I: An Introduction to Set the Stage:

I have always hated labels but I find my ideals and my fandom in line with the Comicsgate movement. I hate anything called “(insert name)-gate” because it’s been done to death and at this point, it is misused. Initially, it was used as a suffix to label anything that was a scandal. Comicsgate like Gamergate before it isn’t a scandal, it is a push back against a forced social cultural agenda brought on by liberal extremists that many refer to as SJWs (or social justice warriors).

I really don’t want to spend my time on this article talking about SJWs, as all the big wigs in the Comicsgate movement have that covered. But in a nutshell, they tend to latch on to something in pop culture and use it as a platform to force diversity on the masses. No one I talk to or support in Comicsgate has a problem with diversity. We love diversity, which can be found in many major comic book titles going back decades.

Hell, it’s rare to find an old school comic book fan that isn’t a huge fan of the Chris Claremont era of X-Men, where diversity was kind of the whole point. My favorite franchise of all-time was G.I. Joe and that certainly wasn’t short on diversity. As a kid two of my favorite characters were Stalker (a black man) and the Baroness (a woman). My absolute favorite was Shipwreck, whose real name is Hector Delgado, so he’s probably Hispanic.

What Comicsgate people have a problem with is the SJW’s tactics and how they use hate filled rhetoric and intimidation while preaching the opposite. The big thing that people supporting Comicsgate want is good storytelling and for the intellectual properties that they love and cherish to be respected. But if you disagree with SJWs, they tend to call you names like “racist”, “bigot”, “misogynist”, “homophobe”, “white supremacist”, “Nazi”, “alt-right”, “Trump supporter” and whatever other bullshit they can come up with to bully you and paint you as something you aren’t.

I’m none of those things, by the way, not that I should even have to defend myself. And I didn’t support Trump… or Hillary for that matter. I’m an anarcho-capitalist that hates talking about politics because I ran a blog about it for several years until my brain exploded. It then took several more years for my brain to regenerate into something other than pulpy goo.

Anyway, when you try to have rational or reasonable discussions, the SJWs call you more names and then block you on social media because that’s what modern day bullies do. In the old days, bullies at least had balls and would get in your face, physically. Nowadays, the bullies are setting up GoFundMe accounts to get their fans to pay for surgeries to remove their balls (see for yourself). I guess being a writer for Marvel and DC Comics with an SJW agenda isn’t a good paying gig when you need to crowdfund your sex change operation. Point being, comic book sales are terrible in 2018, as the industry is essentially being held hostage by these SJW types. Comic books, as we know them, are dying a horrible death. Seriously, look at Squirrel Girl… who buys this shit?

But with all that being said, there are several people who are now creating their own comics because they no longer want to work within an industry where they aren’t wanted by those who hold the keys to the kingdom. Many conservatives in comics have been harassed and blacklisted. Those who still work in the comics industry that don’t agree with SJW politics and tactics, keep their mouths shut for fear of losing their jobs or receiving even worse backlash.

However, guys like Richard C. Meyer a.k.a. Zack of Diversity & Comics (currently at 81K subscribers) and former DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver a.k.a. ComicArtistPro Secrets (currently at 68K subscribers) have spoken out heavily against the SJW types and have created their own projects, which are being crowd funded with great success, unlike SJWs trying to crowd fund the snipping of their genitalia.

Diversity & Comics was the first to come out with his own graphic novel, which is called Jawbreakers – Lost Souls. Right now, this book has raised $362K from 9403 backers, funding 3867% of its initial goal. Ethan Van Sciver followed with Cyberfrog: Bloodhoney, which has raised $436K from 6928 backers, funding 5452% of its initial goal. These campaigns are still open and will continue to raise money.

Now there are other creators entering the fray and that’s what I’m here to discuss after this long winded introduction to get my readers up to speed.

Part II: Moving Beyond the Genesis of Comicsgate:

I have supported Jawbreakers and Cyberfrog. I did it gladly, without even knowing much about the comics themselves, as it is about funding something bigger than just a comic book project. It is about funding a movement and trying to change the industry. As time rolls on and things change and modernize with technology, we don’t have to necessarily buy comic books the same way that we’ve been buying them since, well… half a century before I was even born. To be honest, I still love walking into my local comic shops and buying stuff off of the wall and I think every true comic fan agrees with me there.

Since supporting those two projects, I’ve also found myself backing Cautionary Comics’ Ravage – Kill All Men!, Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s Red Rooster: Golden Age (the one I’m most excited about) and Richard C. Meyer’s second project Iron Sights.

The thing is, there are more projects out there that I haven’t supported and many more in the pipeline. So that raises some questions worth exploring.

To start, these comic books are typically graphic novel size or longer than standard comics. Plus, they are printed independently without being under the banner of a large publisher like Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc. Therefore, they can’t print these books as cheaply because they aren’t printing mass quantities, month after month, till the end of time.

Printing costs are determined by a combination of things: mainly cost of goods (paper, ink, etc.) and labor. More comics means that the cost of overall goods goes down and so does the amount of labor, as labor is mostly tied in to setting up the press. It doesn’t matter if you set up a press to print 100 comics or 100,000, the set up process is virtually the same. Spreading that cost out over 100 copies is going to cost more per issue than spreading it out over 100,000 copies.

So keeping that in mind, the cost of these crowd funded indie comics is more expensive than that issue of Detective Comics that you bought at your local store. What usually costs $3.99 to $4.99 costs at least $20. Keep in mind that there are more pages in these books but the price is still quite a bit more than the norm.

But realistically, most people will spend more than this. I’ve spent between $30 and $75 on each of these projects. Reason being, there are all types of perks based off of what tier you decide to purchase. So for instance, on Red Rooster I got the $50 tier, which comes to $60 after shipping but it includes a signed copy of the 48 page Red Rooster comic, a sketchbook of unused and conceptual art, as well as a sticker related to the project. I really wanted the sketchbook in addition to the comic, so I spent twice as much as I would have for just the comic alone, which was $25.

The point I’m trying to make here is that these things aren’t cheap. But that’s okay. I gladly funded these projects because I like them, the people behind them and what all of this represents. Tens of thousands of other people feel the same way and so far, these Comicsgate related projects have raised more than $950,000 in less than two months and that’s just the projects I have supported. I’m sure the ones I haven’t backed push the number over a million dollars. Plus, Red Rooster and Iron Sights just started a week or so ago.

Additionally, there is a lot of buzz around these books as most of the creators are helping each other out by promoting different projects than just their own. YouTube and Twitter have been the strongest forces in getting the word out. And since Jawbreakers and Cyberfrog both went gangbusters, everyone is excited and motivated even more than they were a few months ago. This is great for the creators and even better for the fans.

But can this momentum maintain? How big is the market share, really? It is easier to control a few projects and to pinpoint where the consumer should put their buck but what happens when others start jumping on the bandwagon, which is already happening?

Part III: The Uncertain Future:

The thing is, as more projects hit the market, there will be more choices. That is how capitalism works.

However, more doesn’t necessarily mean better and while the creators now seem like a good, solid group of people in this for the right reasons and to help establish something larger for the comic book industry, there are no guarantees in the type of people that could come along next.

I’m not saying that we should be weary? Quite the contrary. I’m all about accepting people with open arms. If they turn out to be a douche, I cross my arms and move on. But everyone should be given the same platform and means to achieve success. I think people should be smart with their money though and not just freely throw it onto every project that pops up. I’ve had to do that with some projects that I was going to help fund simply because of my excitement level for what’s been happening. I’d love to fund all of these things but I only make so much money and have bills to pay; that’s life. Plus, there’s other things outside of the Comicsgate sphere that I want to back just because they’re projects that resonate with me in some way.

Anyway, once the floodgates are open and they’re nearly there, it will be hard for others to have the same sort of early success that Richard C. Meyer and Ethan Van Sciver had with their first projects. Truthfully, their follow up comics might not perform as well either when other projects pop up on Indiegogo or Kickstarter. I hope that the word spreads and that sales continue to increase but we don’t yet know how big this market can be.

Right now, the market is only so big. It is growing, however. I definitely feel like it still has room to expand but that also comes from maintaining the level of enthusiasm people have for all of this.

I found out about all of this Comicsgate stuff through a friend that introduced me to Diversity & Comics six months or so ago. I also started following Ethan Van Sciver after that because I liked a lot of the things he was saying, even if his channel is mostly about Star Wars and I’ve pretty much moved on from that franchise.

I think that it is important for people to share what is happening on social media because in this day and age, it is the best way to get the word out. And people are doing just that, which is why the movement has drastically expanded in the last few months and why Cyberfrog and Jawbreakers are crushing it on Indiegogo.

Wearing your passion on your sleeve is the best thing you can do. And being outspoken against the haters and the bullshit is also important because anyone who supports these guys is public enemy number one to the majority of comic book pros in the mainstream comics industry.

With more people coming into this from the creative side, the pie will have to be cut up into smaller pieces. That’s fine though, because in a free market, the better comics will survive and outshine the ones that just aren’t up to snuff. That’s how it works and I think that most people on the Comicsgate side of the coin understand this. But if the market continues to increase, that’s just more money to go around.

Unfortunately, there are some lesser known creators that are getting all worked up and accusing the more popular guys of stealing their thunder and cutting into their pieces of the pie. The truth is, this shit isn’t going to help them sell more books and no one will really have sympathy for this sort of whiny bullshit. Everyone that’s creating on the side of Comicsgate is working towards making the industry better overall but ultimately, are also working to make their bank accounts larger because that’s what business is.

These people that feel entitled to something just because they have been doing it longer won’t matter in the grand scheme of things and this sort of infighting within the network doesn’t help anyone. Get motivated by your competition and use that as fuel to make a better product; see what works for the successful creators and learn from those successes.

Plus, the success of the bigger guys like Ethan Van Sciver and Ricahrd C. Meyer is what brought more people to the movement. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for these two guys. The truth is that they’ve baked a much larger pie for people to get in on. Their presence in this network of like minded people should be seen as something positive, as it does benefit everyone.

Part IV: What the Future Can Be:

I have heard a lot of people make the same connection that I am about to but this Comicsgate movement is very similar to the Image Revolution in the early ’90s. The last time I felt this way about comics was when I was in middle school and seven major comic book creators walked out on their jobs at Marvel to start their own independent company. Their reasons and motivation were different but what they were looking for was essentially the same: a better comic book industry where the creators own their creations and get to make as much money as they possibly can by plying their trade. And in the case of Comicsgate, creating better stories and respecting the established history of the industry.

The biggest difference between this generation’s rebels and the founders of Image, is that these modern rebels interact directly with their customers. They are approachable, easy to communicate with and have the ability to adapt to trends on the fly. This isn’t just about crowd funding money, it is about crowd funding ideas and criticism. It’s also about building the movement. If my middle school aged self could have had conversations with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld or Jim Lee, I would’ve lost my damn mind. We live in a really cool time.

The SJW creators don’t want to interact with their fans, they want to dictate what their fans should support and call them “toxic” if they don’t follow suit. The SJW way of doing business will absolutely fail and the Comicsgate creators are on the right side of the consumer.

As this continues to grow, the future will start taking shape for the comic book industry in new ways. I don’t think Marvel or DC will ever go out of business, as they own very profitable characters that are essentially the gods and heroes of American mythology. But guys like Ethan and Richard will probably have to start their own companies. Or there will end up being some sort of indie publishing house that will form to take on the duties of printing and distributing these products with more regularity and eventually, at a cheaper price.

This could very well lead to a third major company forming and making the same sort of impact that Image did with their first string of releases in 1992. In fact, this could be bigger, as a large part of the Comicsgate fan base is comprised of people that have been long time fans and are no longer kids buying comics with their allowance. We have jobs, make real world money and are a much bigger financial pot to dip into than Image had with their earliest fans. I understand that the comics industry doesn’t do early ’90s numbers in 2018 but that can change. Maybe this is what the industry needs and the x-factor that can propel it forward for future generations. Especially, when just two guys have independently crowd funded over $800,000 for just two comics in less than two months.

Part V: Conclusion:

There is a lot to be excited about and things have changed for the better with the impact that Comicsgate has made on the industry in just a short time. The SJW creators try to ignore it and downplay it but they’re terrified, which is why they spend all their time trying to undermine it, harass its supporters and attempt to sabotage it at every turn. Just look into what Mark Waid did to Antarctic Press in trying to stop Richard C. Meyer’s Jawbreakers from being published (video on that here).

It is still an uphill battle and a few big victories don’t necessarily win a war. It’s up to the fans and the creators to keep pushing forward in positive ways and to not become swayed by hate filled shitbirds that are just projecting that hate onto normal, well adjusted people. Plus, SJWs have proven time and time again that they’re not very smart and that they’re just cowards that will talk shit and then immediately block you. Ding Dong Ditch was a game for pussies.

It is important to support these projects if you believe in what all of this stands for and if you want to create a comic book industry that is once again thriving and healthy without lame ass identity politics, crappy writing and shitty Tumblr art.

As the train keeps running, spend that money wisely. Buy what you want though. So many new projects are about to flood the market and that’s a good thing because you now have more choices. It’s okay to be selective because these comics are pricier and with that, you deserve to get more for your investment. The cream will rise to the top and with that, bigger and better things for the creators that succeed and the fans that have supported them.

Maybe one day there will be a Jawbreakers or a Cyberfrog movie. Why not both? Why not more?

*The highest rated definitions of “Comics Gate” and “SJW” on Urban Dictionary.

Talking Pulp: The Politics of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

*Written circa 2011 when I was running a blog about politics and economics.

I recently re-watched 1987′s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and I was quickly reminded as to why this film is by far the worst in the series. It completely lacks the utter awesomeness that was Superman and Superman II and even though Superman III is arguably a suckfest, it did have Richard Fucking Pryor and an awesome fight between Superman and his evil doppelgänger, which made for great cinema when I was a really young lad.

Superman IV, however, was an incredibly poor effort at cashing in on the franchise while Christopher Reeve needed a large vehicle to get his personal political message across. In fact, the only way he would do a fourth film, was if he was allowed to write it and to add his political ideology to it. Unfortunately, for us comic book and film fans, he used one of the greatest heroes of all time to convey that message.

The film more or less begins with the potential threat of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Superman then gets a sappy letter from a young boy who is concerned about nukes killing us all. Superman debates his own mind on whether or not he should intervene. He actually goes to the Fortress of Solitude to seek advice from the ghosts of his long gone ancestors. They warn him not to intervene and tell him to find another home away from Earth. Despite their advice, Superman goes before the United Nations and tells the world leaders that he promises to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Already, we are being introduced to a new kind of Superman who is willing to play God in an effort to create a global nanny state. Now while Superman’s motivation and efforts seem noble, he is interfering in the affairs of several governments and essentially turning himself into a know-it-all de facto dictator over the people of Earth.

If Superman can take it upon himself to tell us all how we need to live or even die in this example, he is preventing mankind from making their own choices and learning their own lessons. Like big government, Superman assumes he knows what’s best and is going to use force against humanity to mold us into the world he desires. Superman is robbing us of our freedom in what is a classic example of bad things happening because of good intentions. Superman is so high on his own Kryptonian ego that he fails to realize the unintended consequences his actions will bring forth.

Realistically, one has to wonder if Superman’s selfless actions are indeed selfless or if he is really driven by a selfish agenda. Whenever someone thinks that they know what is best for everyone else and then decides to take action, they show that they are close-minded control freaks that are under the strong belief that people cannot take care of themselves and make their own decisions. Superman assumes he is more informed than the rest of us. This is a Superman I do not like and essentially, he is on the road to becoming a supervillain.

A friend of mine, while we were discussing this via e-mail, added some great points:

Superman has become a villain because he is using the threat of force to subjugate the world to live by his personal moral code. He forced governments of the world to deliver to him their possible only recourse to defeat a possible threat, which is Superman. I bet this new Superman would next force all governments, especially in Africa where it was first discovered, to retrieve and encase all Kryptonite in lead. Superman can then throw that into the sun and therefore the governments of the world and its people would forever be subjected to dictator Superman.

Just like that, people put too much faith in any authority figure larger than themselves. They believe that government, while in the beginnings a humble, dedicatedly small entity, grows into the monstrosity that can destroy freedom for all. And we allowed it to happen, put a shiny symbol on it and say it’s for your own good and if enough people believe, we become defenseless and subjected to the whims of a power mad villain.

All things to think about.

Not only is the issue of eradicating all the nuclear missiles from Earth a big step towards tyranny but the fact that Superman addresses the United Nations, as if they are the real governing power, is a slap in the face of his home country, the United States. Superman has always been a patriot and always exuded the very best qualities of American Exceptionalism. Now he is basically telling the globalist bastards that he is their puppet and he is willing to put their interests before those of his own country.

Now I can see the point in wanting global unity and world peace, I think any sane human would want that. However, Superman treats the UN as if they are a world government and in doing so, he dismisses the Constitution and American sovereignty. I’m not trying to say that he can only play for our team and that he shouldn’t strive to better things but he also shouldn’t act on gut instincts and take such drastic measures at the expense of his homeland. Superman’s actions undermined the United States and in effect, painted them as one of the villains of the story.

Throughout his journey, Superman is once again confronted by a scheme from Lex Luthor. This time Luthor, with his nephew Lenny, devises a plan that could actually potentially destroy our hero. Taking advantage of Superman’s blind faith in his quest, Luthor plants a surprise in a nuclear missile. When that missile is launched, Superman intercepts it and throws it into the sun. Once the weapon explodes into the sun, a new menace is born. Lex Luthor’s new superweapon, known simply as “Nuclear Man”, grows out of the solar-nuclear explosion and flies back to Earth to cause destruction in what is the perfect allegory to all the points I’ve been trying to make.

Nuclear Man wreaks havoc and nearly kills Superman a few times but is ultimately destroyed after being dropped into a nuclear reactor. Hey, nuclear power saves the day! Lex Luthor and Lenny Luthor are rounded up with Lex being sent back to prison and Lenny being sent to a Boy’s Town home. In the end, all is happy and well and Superman regains his senses, thus abandoning his egomaniacal quest to destroy all the nukes in the world. Maybe after all that, common sense struck him and he finally realized that weapons of mass destruction could just be rebuilt and that his quest would be endless.

The film ends with Superman once again undermining the United States and going straight to the United Nations to make a speech. In that heartfelt speech he declares that his mission only achieved a partial victory saying, “There will be peace when the people of the world want it so badly that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them.” While that sounds good, Superman has now gone from hero to villain to hippie. Unfortunately, governments will not just give peace when everyone wishes it. Government is force but Superman is apparently too trusting in the decision makers to make the right decisions when the time comes. The same decision makers that made the decisions to make the nuclear missiles to begin with. The same decision makers that continually go to war, disregarding what the people at home actually want. The same decision makers that formed governments to begin with and invented war when the world was already in a state of global peace.

Poor, poor Superman, you’ve fallen so hard and so far that you can’t even see the forest for the trees. Is this the protector of Earth that you want? A guy reacting to his gut that can’t properly assess a situation that has godlike power to carry out whatever mission he pleases? Whether the film ended on a happy note or not, given enough time, this Superman would once again take it upon himself to forcibly shape the future of our world and everything in it. While he promotes and wishes for peace, the world could never achieve it with Superman standing guard atop the United Nations building.

The truth is, this story was borderline ridiculous for several of the points I already made. In reality, there is no way that all the nuclear weapons could be rounded up and destroyed. Even if this could happen, what is to stop the nations of the world from building more? Also, if you were say China or Iran or North Korea and Superman, who you’ve always associated with America, swoops down into your country and rounds up your nukes, would that not be an act of war? Wouldn’t people in countries that were forcibly disarmed become paranoid over the fact that Superman may have missed some somewhere and therefore, they are now sitting ducks? Apart from that, would everyone in the world just trust Superman to do the right thing and eliminate all the warheads indiscriminately?

What if he actually left America’s nukes alone and this was just a ploy to disarm everyone else?

No one would get paranoid when this guy started missile collecting and fire some of theirs off before Superman was able to get there and stop them? And even if Superman stopped those missiles, what if other nervous leaders got freaked out by the missiles that were being launched and they started launching their own as a countermeasure? Could Superman stop every fired off nuke in the world? It’s easy to just think that he can fly around and force his will on everyone and disarm them but there would be real repercussions that would be catastrophic if not apocalyptic. In trying to save the Earth, Superman would be the last being standing on a smoldering radioactive heap.

You see, even if he could remove all the weapons of mass destruction, he couldn’t force the evil out of evil men’s hearts. In fact, his actions would only anger them more and would spawn other forms of attack. Look at 9/11, that wasn’t done with a nuclear missile. If there is a will, there is a way and if evil men want to strike at the heart of whatever they feel is their enemy, they will still try and sometimes succeed. It’s nice to fantasize and wish that there was someone like Superman who could save the world from itself but ultimately, it is up to mankind to save itself or not.

Talking Pulp: In Defense of George Lucas & Property Rights (in the form of a drunken rant)

*Written circa 2011 when I was running a blog about politics and economics. And well before Disney bought the franchise and made the Prequel Trilogy look like a masterpiece.

George Lucas is the man that nearly every fucked up juvenile thirty-something fanboy loves to hate. Now I understand that people have the right to be critical of someone’s work when it is put out there for public consumption but to hate the man as vehemently as many people do, is just absurd.

Many fans of Star Wars and Indiana Jones feel that somehow those franchises are theirs and that Mr. Lucas has gone out and ruined them. People truly feel that these massive franchises are their intellectual property and that they have some sort of ownership rights to them. Nothing is further than the truth. So when I read articles all over the Internet about how much of a greedy sick untalented hack George Lucas has become, it really pisses me off.

Now don’t get your tiny nads in a tangled tizzy, I’m not here to defend the Prequel Trilogy or Crystal Skull, in fact, as a fan, I have serious issues with these films as well but unlike the consensus, I don’t allow my dislike of some minor things that are insignificant to my life as a whole push me over the edge to the point that I am out for this man’s blood. I certainly don’t harbor the opinion that somehow his later work has bastardized and ruined his earlier magic. Even with some of the questionable changes to the Original Star Wars Trilogy, the films are pretty damn solid and to discount their greatness over Jar Jar Binks and wooden actors is in later films is asinine.

The Original Trilogy set the stage for what was to come in the future of movies. They were damn good films in every respect and they influenced nearly every person that has picked up a film camera since they came out. Star Wars forever changed Hollywood, the art of filmmaking and special effects. George Lucas, through his intuitive and crafty brilliance, upped the ante and forced film studios to catch up to his imagination and vision. The sad thing is that people often forget this when bashing a man that just wants to share his stories with the world. It’s quite obvious that George Lucas is a child at heart and he only wants to make us smile. However, there’s always an asshole in every group and unfortunately for Mr. Lucas, it seems as if the assholes outnumber the sane people in this instance.

I don’t really understand where this entitled attitude comes from with fans and I’m not just talking about Star Wars fans, I’m talking about fans of any franchise really. These people who get so disenfranchised with something they once loved to the point that it makes them spit venom at the stories’ creators is childish and narrow-minded. If guys like Lucas didn’t create and deliver their masterpieces to you in the first place, you’d have nothing to base any of this on. To curse a man’s legacy and the man himself, who has given you decades of joy is pretty disgusting and just shows how sad and pathetic some of these pompous bitches are. Hell, I still remember people being in an uproar over the Battlestar Galactica remake before they actually saw it. In the end, it was pretty close to being a science fiction masterpiece! Sometimes you have to spread your wings and fly and that’s what Lucas did. When series are rebooted, remade or continued on, it can go really well or really bad – that’s the risk involved but the person who owns the rights to the property has the freedom to do what they want with it.

No one owns Star Wars but George Lucas. For anyone to claim that they have some sort of right over the man’s blood, sweat and tears is ridiculous. He owns the franchise, he owns the characters within it and he can tell any tale that he wants to tell. The fact of the matter is that people have a choice. They don’t have to watch the new material if it isn’t up to their standards and fails to meet their expectations. These little bastard jitterbugs act as if there is some sort of magical gun to their head and that they are forced to soak up every bit of Star Wars that is released. Well people, you don’t have to do a damn thing! You can opt out and never look back.

The problem is that so many people put so much of themselves into this fantasy world that they lose a sense of their own reality and when things don’t go the way that they want, the fantasy starts to remind these sad people living vicariously through the fiction that real life is moving along without them. Nostalgia is a motherfucker and it only seems to exist strongly in those who are unsatisfied with what’s really going on around them. To have intense hatred for George Lucas or any great storyteller because their work becomes less than what it once was is pathetic. To invest that much emotion into complete fantasy is retarded. Yes, I wrote “retarded”; call the sensitivity police.

Kids today, and by kids I mean middle-aged nerds, just don’t seem to respect property rights. Of course, if someone thought that they could infringe upon or add their unlimited hysterical two cents to everything one of these hypocritical fanboys did, they’d have a serious fucking shit fit. Hell, they probably wouldn’t come out of their mom’s basement for several months while losing themselves in an endless one-person Skyrim marathon where the only way they’ll even eat is if their mother slides a plate of cold cuts and cheese puffs under the door.

The reason I feel the need to write this rant is because I’ve come across several articles lately that have stated that the fans of these franchises have invested so much of themselves into them that they truly believe they now have some sort of stake or ownership in the property. Yes, the property that they have never contributed anything to creatively other than writing their own shitty unofficial and non-profit fan fictions and role-playing scenarios dictated amongst their equally entitled geek pals. You people have no claim to anything and to think you do makes you look like socialist pussies who are convinced that the whole world and everyone in it owes them something just because they are breathing.

Fuck you people. If you don’t like something, move on. Hell, stop crying into your tauntaun sleeping bags and go create something yourself. If you think you know more about storytelling, science fiction and fantasy than George Lucas then go out and fucking prove it! If you don’t, then you’re nothing more than a whiney talentless hack yourself and I’d tell you to go get a girlfriend or boyfriend but the only people that would have you won’t leave their basements either. Create something for once in your life and stop trying to destroy someone who just wants to share their imagination with you. You people are the parasite sponges of the world that rape and pillage the ideas of those greater than you because you’re weak and can’t make something bigger than yourself that people will passionately care about. It’s time to grow up and stop acting like ungrateful cunts.

The truth is, George Lucas has contributed more to this world than any of you probably ever will. Besides, you’re the ones “torturing” yourselves with weekly doses of Clone Wars not Mr. Lucas. Guess what, you don’t have to watch it.

Accept it and move on. It’s fucking entertainment for chrissakes.

Talking Pulp: Gordon Gekko, the Hero?

*Written circa 2010 when I was running a blog about politics and economics.

Gordon Gekko affected me as a child. When I first saw the film Wall Street, I was around nine or ten years-old. I remember my father watching it on HBO or Showtime. I certainly didn’t understand the film at that time but I do remember my first impression of Gordon Gekko and knowing, even at that young age, that the film misrepresented him and made him the villain when in reality, he was the hero.. or at least, the anti-hero.

I didn’t know why he was the hero at the time, I just remember being somewhat afraid of him but also respecting him and seeing him as sort of a mentor. Granted he was a mentor to Bud Fox in the film but I saw him as a mentor to the film’s audience. Something about that character stuck with me and became a weird obsession. I didn’t know what he meant with his “greed” speech when I was ten but I knew it was important and the most pivotal point in the film.

It was Wall Street and Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko that really got me into being a huge fan of film on a more intimate level. Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Hammer Horror, Back to the Future, Robocop and Predator mixed with Oliver Stone’s masterpiece Wall Street made me want to be a filmmaker.

I never became a filmmaker, unless you count videos of me chugging vodka and shooting bottle rockets from my mouth on YouTube as real cinema, but I did become a writer. Often times I would write outlines and even scripts for films that I wanted to make. At fifteen, I started to write a script called Gekko which was a sequel to Wall Street that had a time traveling twist to it. Essentially, the film ended with Gordon Gekko, as a member of the “Greed Party” defeating FDR and Herbert Hoover in the presidential race of 1932. Yeah, it was a fucking horrible idea and I think I used the script as scrap paper for another project I started writing; I think that one was about vampires and the Culper Ring during the Revolutionary War. Anyway, Gekko obviously affected me and influenced some of my creative endeavors during high school.

As I got older, towards the end of high school, I was more of a liberal. Still, something about Gekko continued to resonate with me. At that point in my life, I had more of a mentality like Bud Fox and his father but deep down, I knew they were wrong. I mean, Bud Fox was a snitch and a bitch in the end and with that, he lost any street cred he could’ve potentially had. As I educated myself, learned the ways of the world and experienced things, I became, more or less, a libertarian. In many ways I have also become an objectivist. Having that stance and knowing what I know, I truly understand why Gordon Gekko was the hero of the story in Wall Street, contrary to what the director himself tried to convey.

Oliver Stone told a very honest story, which is a credit to his skill as a director and it makes me respect him even though he is buddies with Hugo Chávez. Stone’s father was a Wall Street broker, so that was the inspiration for the story and the source material that he witnessed first hand. Stone didn’t pull any punches with Wall Street and, in my opinion; he was fair to both sides of the coin. I really feel that even though you are supposed to leave feeling like Gekko is the villain, the film’s honesty really leaves it open for interpretation despite the director’s real intention: to expose the “evil” of capitalism unleashed.

So why is Gordon Gekko the hero and Bud Fox the villain of the story?

Well, Gekko was only out for one thing, to maintain his wealth and to accumulate more, much more. Bud Fox was the Gekko wannabe who risked everything to be a clone of his initially reluctant mentor. Bud Fox was the son of an airline union boss, so you can see the “moral” dilemma between his roots and where he wanted to be. His father’s emotional speeches about his men and their families were touching and only added to Bud’s moral struggle throughout the film. The liberal union rhetoric, while it seemed moral and truly just and was sold that way by Bud’s father and the film itself, was the small gust that made the whole damn house of cards come tumbling down on everyone and everything Bud touched in the film. Yet the audience, well most of the audience, sided with this sad pathetic parasite who sold out the one man that gave him an opportunity. Hell, it was an opportunity Bud desperately begged for. Bud Fox made his own bed.

Bud was a mess, a conflicted weakling who was unable to see the big picture. He was someone that saw and believed in the hype surrounding Gordon Gekko and desperately wanted to have everything that Gekko created for himself. However, Bud wanted instant gratification. Because of that he abused the rules and put himself out on a limb while Gordon benefited from Bud’s careless hard work and willingness to sell his soul to make it up one more rung on the ladder of success. What Bud was unaware of was that he was climbing the wrong ladder. The ladder he climbed may have been parallel to Gordon’s ladder but they were not one in the same. Gordon’s ladder was steel and strong, Bud’s ladder was like termite infested wood. The only thing to pull Gordon off of his ladder was Bud Fox grabbing him for safety when his shit ladder crumbled beneath the weight of his own baggage.

Bud played crooked and he did so very carelessly, whereas Gordon used the information that Bud freely gave him to tweak his personal investments. Gordon may have used and influenced Bud to go out and get this insider information but there certainly wasn’t a gun to Bud’s head. Bud wanted to do it, pleasing Gordon was his obsession. The reason being that Bud was motivated by intense greed but unlike Gordon, Bud’s greed was aimless and unrestrained. Gordon had a plan, a big plan and his sort of greed is a greed that is calculated, concise and thorough. Gordon was a creator of opportunity for those in his employ and those around him; Bud was a destroyer.

Granted, Gordon admitted to the fact that he creates nothing, instead he owns, but that was a reference to money itself not the empire he built around the transference of wealth, which opened the door of opportunity and success to the hundreds, if not thousands of people that worked for him in one way or another. Gordon created the opportunity that Bud begged for and received. Bud however, took a huge shit on the opportunity and bit the hand that fed him. Bud dug his own hole from the first time he met Gordon and his downfall all stemmed from his own actions, yet he took Gordon Gekko and his empire with him. Well, not really as we found out in the sequel. But Bud certainly had the intention of burning Gekko to shorten his already measly prison sentence.

Now Gordon Gekko is not a pillar of morality by any means, but he is a man that did what almost any of us would have done in his position. Picture yourself as Gordon Gekko. If some energetic already loyal kid came into your office bearing gifts and his blind allegiance to you, wouldn’t you be at least curious at what he had to offer? Now if that nervous kid, trying to win your trust, just happened to volunteer some information, that you didn’t even ask for, about a specific company’s future, wouldn’t you use that as an opportunity to make some extra cash? What’s the difference between acting on facts and acting on a hunch? The difference is, a hunch is legal, magically discovering some inside info gets you jail time. Even if the info was just handed to you and you didn’t ask for it.

I’m not going to argue that insider trading is a victimless crime but there are many things in this world that create victims more easily that aren’t crimes. Besides, is it really a crime? I mean, say that you are invested in a company and a friend who just happens to do their finances comes to you in secret, looking out for your best interest, and warns you that there is no way that the company can survive much longer, are you going to keep your money invested in that company or are you going to pull out and cut your losses before you are too broke to invest what you still have in another opportunity? Sure, people will lose jobs, the company will fall faster and you may face a moral struggle in making this decision but ultimately you are just trying to keep your own ass afloat. Why is this morally frowned upon in our society? Liberal socialist rhetoric has poisoned our judgment. If you have a right to earn a living, you have a right to your money and your own self-interest. The rest of the world is not your responsibility, just as you are not someone else’s responsibility. That’s the stone cold truth and it is time that people wake up to this.

What really set Bud Fox off about Gordon Gekko, was that he felt betrayed. He felt betrayed by Gordon buying and then closing down the airline that Bud’s father was the union boss for. Gordon promised to keep it running and Bud took him at his word. Whatever Gordon’s motivation was doesn’t even matter. The fact is, he saw more opportunity in wrecking the company than allowing it to exist any further. Bud felt conned, duped and used by the one man that he wished was his father while his real father was in a hospital bed post-heart attack broken and defeated by what had happened to his company. In all of Bud’s anger and despair, he just felt sorry for himself and couldn’t see that all of this stemmed from what he had done since his first meeting with Gordon Gekko. It wasn’t until he saw his father in the hospital that he vowed to get revenge.

Bud’s revenge was pointless however. Gordon wasn’t the enemy, if anything he was still the beacon of hope that could’ve kept Bud afloat had he only kept his cool and learned all the lessons that he was being taught throughout the film by Gordon. Bud betrayed himself but it was easier for the weakling to pin that betrayal on Gordon. Bud took it way too personally. Hell, one of the first lessons Gordon gave Bud was that if he wanted a friend to get a dog. Business is business and personal attachments and feelings will only cloud your judgment and affect your bottom line. Bud skipped out on this lesson because he was too busy having fun committing corporate espionage at every turn.

The point is, greed is good! Self-interest is virtuous. Now all you lefties are probably getting pissy about how greed created capitalism and capitalism is the creator of evil corporations and monopolies with unlimited power. I already gave you two primers on how that is just complete bullshit, so wash your mind and free yourself from that twisted logic. You see, because without greed and self-interest, we would have never had the industrial revolution or achieved American Exceptionalism. Greed is what gave us Apple, the light bulb, the automobile, Nintendo, the Internet, television, radio, Starbucks, Target, Baby Gap, electricity, McDonald’s, refrigerators, air conditioning, smartphones, professional sports, American Idol and the ability to get the fuck up in the morning.

You can try to convince yourself otherwise but greed is what motivates you too. We all have greed for something. Keep telling yourself you don’t, you’ve convinced yourself that it’s all been working out just fine for you so far. You might as well stay delusional. Reality is, we all desire profit. Without profit we cannot live. We cannot pay our rent, buy food, buy gas and buy gifts for our loved ones. We’ve got to get the perception out of our head that the words “profit”, “greed” and “money” are evil things. They are great things. That is what Gordon Gekko understood and what Bud Fox could never understand. That is why Gordon Gekko is the hero. His methods may be questionable but those questioning them are typically people who will never be in Mr. Gekko’s shoes. Why?

Because those people carry too much blind bullshit guilt to make that much money and feel good about it.

Instead of saying stupid tired ass slogans like “Money is the root of all evil.” How about telling the truth for once and really drop some knowledge on someone with a slogan like “Money is the root of all opportunity.”

Talking Pulp: Mad Men and the Nanny State

*Written in 2010 when I was running a blog about politics and economics.

*This article is pretty much spoiler free. It is also a rebuttal and a different take on the show than the Mises Institute VP Jeffrey A. Tucker’s article “Mad Men and Government Regulations”.

Mad Men is a show I just recently got into. Like most shows, I just didn’t want to start watching it because I didn’t want to find out I really liked it and then be stuck watching it like an obedient and perfectly timed zombie every week. That’s not a knock against the show; in actuality it is a compliment. I hate having to be pulled in at a specific time, on a specific day, week after week because it disrupts my life and other things I could be doing, like writing an article such as this one.

You see, shows I fear that will be too good, I typically avoid until they are over and then I sit down and have a marathon. Why? Well it is because of those damn cliffhangers! This way I avoid a week long, or god forbid a year long wait of tension and suspense dying for answers to what just happened. I have been a regular watcher of Dexter since the beginning and the end of season 4 (I won’t spoil it for you) left me fucking breathless, confused, saddened, puzzled and starving for answers! I had to wait nine damn months! Situations like this are why I waited until Lost was completely over before delving into it. I am glad I did. That show was incredible and there was no way in hell I could’ve gone through that madness weekly and then for months during a prolonged break between seasons and writers’ strikes.

In regards to Mad Men, I had heard so much good stuff about it from a lot of my libertarian leaning friends. Knowing that a new season starts every summer, I decided to finally sit down and watch the first four seasons to prep for the upcoming fifth season. It wasn’t until I finished Season 4 and then went to Wikipedia to see when Season 5 was set to air that I discovered that there were contract disputes and that it would be delayed until March of 2012, a year away! Damn it television demons! It figures that the moment I watched it, some bullshit would happen and the show would be delayed so the broadcasting gods above could laugh at me and my torment! Damn those gods, I defy the crap out of them!

Anyway, this article isn’t about my personal issues with television deities and my inability to be patient from episode to episode, it is actually about the rise of the nanny state, which is very well present in the world of Mad Men. Being that it takes place in the 1960s, we are shown a world that is going through a major metamorphosis. From the Kennedy-Nixon presidential race, through the assassination of JFK, the LBJ-Goldwater race and the Civil Rights movement, we are shown bits and pieces of a state that is slowly slipping into nannyism. Government regulation and intrusion into our lives really took a major turn for the worse in the ’60s and Mad Men does a good job at painting a picture of a world before the nanny state took control and how the world had to adapt as the state’s grip slowly tightened.

Jeffrey A. Tucker, the Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute wrote an article titled Mad Men and Government Regulations. In his article, he claims that the show glorifies the rapid expansion of government regulation and intrusion into our daily lives. I don’t feel that this is the case at all actually. I don’t find that the show glorifies it; I feel that they just display it and the audience is able to make up their own mind.

In my case, I see the regulation and it irritates me and I view the actions of the characters on the show and their distaste for it, as their show of utter resistance. I find it to be more of a heroic critique against the state’s control. Granted no one goes into an uproar over it on the show but that isn’t what the show is about. Many of these references are subtle and much of the defiance against it is wittily wedged into a single lines of dialogue sprinkled into lengthy conversations about old fashioneds, bear claws, Lucky Strikes and titties.

One example Mr. Tucker gave in his article about the glorification of regulation in Mad Men was the incredible overabundance of smoking on the show. He cites that the chain smoking, which is done mostly indoors, is done to creep out the viewer and give them a sense of discomfort. He uses that example to say that it convinces the viewer into feeling a sense of relief over the government’s regulation of the tobacco industry, whether through labels and warnings on the packaging itself to endless laws limiting an American citizen’s right to smoke.

Well, I never took it that way. In fact, I took it just the opposite. While I don’t feel that everyone should just chain smoke an office space into a wood-burning barbecue smoker, I also don’t feel that it is the government’s job to force an office to comply. That should come down to company policy and if people are offended by a smoky workplace, don’t fucking apply.

The actions of the characters on Mad Men are just doing whatever the hell they want to do and no one is saying a damn thing about it because in that day and age, they could grin it and bear it or they could leave. It is their choice to work in that environment. Maybe I am biased however, considering that my day job is being the Senior Creative Director for a major cigar manufacturer and sitting in smoke just comes with the territory. Whenever Don Draper lights up in his office, I see it as a big “fuck you” to the rising nanny state within the confines of the show, as well as a message from the producers to the bureaucrats of our real world.

The issue of daytime office drinking is also used as an example that should raise eyebrows. Sure, pounding down scotches and vodka gimlets before noon while discussing that day’s sales pitch is a bit over the top but many executives in high profile companies have their little display of bottles and rocks glasses in the corner. A sip of some Laphroaig to ease the tension while going over the quarterly numbers isn’t unheard of in the real world today. Hell, it is commonplace.

I guess the issue with Mad Men though is the amount that they drink. Sure, they do push the boundaries further than they should in their office space and in their own livers. However, I don’t take this as a glorification for regulation by the show’s producers; I take it as a glorification of the characters’ self-serving attitudes and their overwhelming desire to ignore the risks and to be the old school badass ad agency execs the show pimps them out as. It’s their bodies, they can do what they want and no one is going to tell them otherwise. I think that they are all freedom loving Americans at heart.

Well, we all know that Bertram Cooper is pretty much a libertarian and/or an Objectivist after he insisted that Don Draper use part of his bonus check to buy Atlas Shrugged.

Tucker also talks about the treatment of women on the show. Granted, as the show begins and then for quite some time, the attitudes of men towards women can be shocking in contrast to the way the world is today: fifty years later. However, as the show progresses, some of these attitudes change and some of the main woman on the show go from being just pretty objects to gaining the respect from the men who initially treated them that way. Once again, this is a sign of the times and a display of how well the show is able to evolve with the quickly changing times of the day.

For an example of this, one has to look no further than the character of Peggy Olson. In the beginning, Peggy is just starting out at Sterling Cooper and is a very timid and shy girl, who is seemingly easily flustered and pushed around by the men in the office. Pete Campbell, who is the meanest to her, also ends up having an affair with her right off the bat, which causes much more turmoil and confusion than she obviously needs. She is a second class citizen in the office but she never gives up in this sexist man factory with impossible odds to succeed apart from putting out and doing “favors”. No, Peggy is the antithesis to what you think she is going to be when you first meet her.

Peggy goes through hell early on in the series but it doesn’t deter her, she nearly gives up but her boss, Don Draper sees something special in her that the other token chauvinists have overlooked. Peggy has talent, she has desire and she has the ability to be one of the biggest assets in the company. Don, being the only one with the foresight to see this, gives her that little shove she needs. By the third season, Peggy has an office next to Don’s, the guy she was the secretary for only a few years prior. In the fourth season, she is literally the creative glue that keeps the company afloat during hard times. Peggy hustles; she hustles better than most of the men on the show and is properly recognized and rewarded for it as time goes on. Peggy shatters the mold.

Joan Holloway also takes a similar path as Peggy Olson. Joan starts out as the token office bitch and mother figure to all the women at Sterling Cooper. She is virtually the madame at the corporate playhouse. When Joan first meets Peggy, she coaches her on how to succeed. She tells her to basically stay out of the way, do what is asked, look pretty and don’t be shy if asked to go that extra mile.

Joan is also Roger Sterling’s mistress at the beginning of the series. Roger is one of the partners of Sterling Cooper.

Joan is pretty much a cookie cutter character in the beginning. There are signs that someone is in there that deserves to be more than Roger’s doormat. By the end of the third season, she gets married to a decent guy, leaves that “do anything to please” shtick behind and her badass work ethic is also greatly recognized. She officially becomes the office manager of the company and oversees the fall of one company and then is an instrumental part in forming and growing a new company. By the end of Season 4, Joan literally runs shit. No she isn’t a partner but she is nearly at that level. Where Peggy owns the creative side, Joan owns the day-to-day and gets mad respect for it.

Does the development of these two characters make me want to thank the heavens for sexual harassment laws and women’s rights? No, not really. Granted I have no real problem with those things. It just makes me appreciate that two women were able to beat the odds and to truly make something great out of themselves. One played the game and one defied the game but in the end, they both persevered on their own, not because some laws helped them and made it more “fair”. These women fucking rock. I’d marry them both.

Also, who can forget Rachel Menken, who in Season 1 took over her father’s huge Manhattan department store? I wouldn’t consider her a victim of male chauvinism. In fact, she held her ground against Don in their first meeting. Eventually her and Don became each other’s side item but in the end, she stood firm and had an incredible impact on Don. Her words steered the course of his character in a new direction. Rachel was able to make Don look inside of himself and question things he otherwise wouldn’t have if she were a pushover and just some sex toy.

Another thing Mr. Tucker made mention of in his article, while describing the theme of “patriarchal domination and savagery” is that housewives were so aloof and stupid that without government labels and regulations, they allowed their kids to do dumb and dangerous things. Well, kids just do that shit anyway, even today. There were times I did real dumb stuff with fireworks and they were covered in warning labels. All the flashy and colorful “DANGER” logos plastering the packaging didn’t stop me from launching multiple bottle rockets from my mouth.

One specific incident Tucker cited in the article is of a scene where one of the kids is wearing a plastic bag over their head. He mentions that because the Consumer Products Safety Commission didn’t yet exist. Betty Draper was too stupid to warn her kids of the possible suffocation that could occur playing their friendly game of “bag head” because a warning label didn’t spell it out for her.

Well, watching the show and knowing the characters so well, when I saw that scene I felt it was meant to show how aloof Betty is. Not housewives in general and definitely not because warning labels weren’t on the bag. You see, over the course of the entire show, Betty is shown to have severe mental issues that make her act and think like a child. Something in her never properly developed and she is a grown woman living a grown woman’s life but with the mind of a child. This is an issue they hint at in the beginning of the series and it continues to grow and expand throughout all four seasons.

Tucker concludes, in his article, that he sees a constant theme that Mad Men is glorifying, that being “the inability of society to improve itself without the helping hand of the master.” The theme I see in Mad Men is that before government regulation was as widespread as it is today in our Diet Orwellian society, the people of the 1960s didn’t need the help of the state. Instead, they lived without that helping hand and did just fine. The social issues would’ve worked themselves out and competent mothers would know what was too dangerous for their children without the labels. I’m sorry, I just don’t see Mad Men as Hollywood’s attempt at force feeding us the paranoid idea that government regulation and control is cool and necessary. I actually see it as the polar opposite of that.

Now I am not knocking Tucker. I love Tucker; he is one of my favorite writers/bloggers out there. I love his book Bourbon for Breakfast and I repost a lot of his articles and lectures on this site. He has given me sound advice on fashion (although I can’t afford a pair of Alden Genuine Shell Cordovans… yet), as well as how to properly utilize my water heater and how to combat “Generation Sloth”. That is why I found it odd to disagree on the subject of Mad Men.

It’s all good though; great minds often times disagree and I actually really appreciate and respect his interpretation of the show, as we all have our own viewpoints. That is what makes us special. Besides, it’s a television show; we’re both probably over thinking it way more than we should. It is a story and it is fiction; I doubt the writers were really tinkering around with anything other than just trying to tell an awesome story.

Talking Pulp: The Enchantress and Asgardian Boners

*Taken from my personal journal, written in 2013.

So I was debating comic book stuff with a friend of mine yesterday and afterwards, reflecting on the debate, Thor and Asgard kept popping into my thoughts.

Then I started over analyzing the sometimes ally but mostly villainous Enchantress. I always liked her character and style and thought that she was a good balance against the cookie cutter “good vs. evil” formula of Thor vs. Loki.

It got me wondering as to when or if she would be in one of the upcoming Marvel movies or, at the very least, in the new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show that I never watch. Sorry, I’m not a Joss Whedon fanboy but I can admit that he does well working with complex female characters – except for the Black Widow apparently.

Anyway, I really thought about the Enchantress’ power and it is a bit useless really, all things considered. You see, she has the magical ability to seduce men and in many cases Asgardian “gods”. I’m calling bullshit on that power though. I mean, has it ever been tested, really?

The reason why I must call bullshit is because of how the Enchantress looks, acts and carries herself. She is a tall athletic blonde with large yet perfectly proportioned breasts who dresses like a slut on Halloween: every single day. Her looks are considered to be so naturally stunning and mesmerizing that she makes Victoria’s Secret models look like Janice Dickinson does now. This is why I call bullshit on her power. And even if she does have her “seduction” power, she doesn’t really need it.

I’m a pretty strong willed guy and can see through a woman’s bullshit quite well. Men’s bullshit too, let’s be fair, as gay dudes think I’m some sort of magical bear even though I’m not down for peen vaulting.

So yes, I can see through the games and cock foolery. Maybe not as good as Thor, but I’m still pretty astute. Regardless of that, if the Enchantress straddled me like a stripper looking for a Washington, I’d probably be quite powerless. If she was wearing her spandex emerald catsuit with her tippies falling out, I’d probably be a blob of Silly Putty in her sultry hand.

Respectfully, Thor would probably be right behind me. Loki would be the only one who probably wouldn’t give a shit because he could easily lock himself in his own bedroom, shapeshift into the Enchantress and then flick his shapeshifted Asgardian bean all day. I’m not trying to be lewd, that’s just the facts. I’d probably do it too. So would you.

On a side note, maybe Loki should just walk around looking like the Enchantress thus getting everyone to do his bidding with a lot less effort on his part. He could’ve gotten Odin’s throne, considering he wouldn’t mind letting his dad nibble on his faux lady bits while spanking his bare butt. Granted, I may have crossed a line there but I really wouldn’t put that passed Loki. That dude’s got drive and follow through like no other Asgardian, ever.

Okay, those were some weird tangents.

Anyway, in the end, giving the Enchantress the magical ability to seduce is like giving a combat boot the magical ability to crush a snail.

Talking Pulp: We Need More Revival Cinema

The last few months, I have been taking it upon myself to take advantage of the old school movies that have been playing in theaters near me. Unfortunately, I do not live in a big city. If I did, I would have a lot more places to go and a lot more variety in which classics I could see in the theater.

Being born in December of 1978 means that there are a ton of great motion pictures that I never had the opportunity to see on the big screen. Sure, there have been a lot of great films that have come out in my lifetime but, for the most part, you only get to see something on the big screen once. Plus, a lot of the great films that I have seen in the theater, I saw so long ago.

My first experience seeing a film come back to the theaters was in 1997 when George Lucas re-released the original Star Wars trilogy. Granted, these films were special editions littered with new effects but the experience was still unforgettable. Then I saw E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Alien and a few others that came out on their milestone anniversaries. It was a cool trend in the late 1990s and early 2000s but they still came out pretty scarcely.

Recently, some of the theaters around me have started bringing back some of the classics on a regular basis.

One theater near me hosts a program called Flashback Cinema. Every week, they show a different classic film. The showtimes are on Sundays and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., which gives you four chances to try and make the show. Recently they have shown Citizen KaneThe GodfatherAliensThe NeverEnding StoryLabyrinthYoung FrankensteinRear WindowThe King & IHello DollyThe Ten Commandments and a slew of others. It’s a cool program and I try to take advantage of it as much as I can. Check their website because they list the theaters that host their program.

Fathom Events also does a good job of bringing back classics, as well. Recently I saw North By Northwest and I know that they have The GraduateSmokey and the Bandit, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Bonnie & Clyde and Casablanca on their docket. They don’t do it on a weekly basis like Flashback Cinema but it is still nice to have two alternative sources for classics on the big screen.

As the years pass, movies seem to get worse and worse. Sure, we have good films that come out every year but it seems like less and less are true classics. Look back at all the Oscar winners for best picture since the turn of the decade, how many of those do you truly consider classics?

MoonlightSpotlightBirdman12 Years a SlaveArgoThe ArtistThe King’s SpeechThe Hurt LockerSlumdog MillionaireNo Country for Old Men? Ok, maybe that one. The Departed? Also, maybe this one. CrashMillion Dollar BabyThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King? The only clear cut classic. ChicagoA Beautiful MindGladiator? For the most part, do any of these really have much value in repeated viewings? A few do, but just a few. I’m not saying that they aren’t good films but there is just something lacking in today’s best pictures compared to the stellar filmmaking artistry of yesteryear.

Frankly, I think it is important to look to the past and to see what was great in the earlier days of film history. It just seems that the competition among peers was stronger and the quality of the films being put out were better.

When we live in a world where Hollywood is mostly concerned with tent pole blockbuster films, milking every proven franchise till their tits chap, less attention is being given to making thought provoking motion pictures. The industry is losing its heart and its unique ability to challenge the social and political climate of the day. Celebrities giving long-winded speeches about how Trump is a Nazi and how guns kill babies and how vaccines create zombie children and how gluten is a registered Republican isn’t the type of social and political message that we need from Hollywood. In fact, that shit makes most people roll their eyes and ignore Hollywood. Well, except for celebrity obsessed ass clowns that will buy tickets for the next 214 Michael Bay Transformers movies. But those people should just be bulldozed into a ditch and buried because they’re why we can’t have nice things.

People need to be reminded of a time when Hollywood was this bad ass place where a filmmaker could get his message across artistically. There was a time when movies changed people’s lives and opened their eyes to things that they might not have experienced or conclusions that they may have never reached on their own.

In places like Los Angeles and New York, there are a lot of revival cinemas. There are these places that show nothing but old movies: many classics but also some lost gems. Sometimes they even show some real diamonds in the rough. Besides, what one person deems a classic, another might deem as trash. To each his own but variety is always a good thing and art is always a voice. Hollywood rarely makes art anymore. At least not at the same speed that they churn out mindless crap.

The world needs more revival cinema. Every town should have a place, a safe haven, where the masses can go, escape the world and the plastic mass produced entertainment of modern times and challenge themselves with something better than what is spoon fed to us today.

If I had Bill Gates money, this would be a priority for me. I’d open up a revival cinema in every town. I’d have a strong preference for 35mm film and old school projection. I’d want to show movies in their original format. Fuck all this digital HD special edition with new special effects crap that we get when things do come back to theaters.

While the likelihood of my dream happening is pretty slim to none, unless I find out that my long lost adoption records point to me being a royal, people can make the effort themselves. Nowadays, just about everything you can imagine is at your fingertips. You can be your own revival cinema. Granted, there is still something magical about seeing movies in a dark theater on a large screen with a gut full of popcorn, butter, salt, Sno-Caps and Diet Coke (gotta save my caloric intake for that butter).

It is nice to know that there are still people in the world that feel the same way; maybe not in my neighborhood but at least the Internet brings us closer.

I hope that other theaters or other organizations can start getting more of the old stuff back on the big screen. Hell, I’d go to the movies just about every night if there was something worthwhile playing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Hitchcock marathon, a giallo triple feature or a spaghetti western night including a pasta dinner.

Sometimes, though, I just wonder what it was like to grow up in an era where there were grindhouse cinemas and old movie houses that ran twelve hour Godzilla marathons just for the hell of it. I never got to experience any of that and frankly, I don’t know why people stopped supporting these things.

I don’t even know where there’s a damn drive-in anymore, either!

Kudos to the real champions… or reel champions out there like New Beverly Cinema and the Alamo Drafthouse. Kudos to Flashback Cinema and Fathom Events for giving us something old and something different.

History is important. Besides, the future doesn’t really look too bright unless you’re just distracted starring at Optimus Prime having butt sex with a supernova because, at this point, what the hell else can they do with a Transformers movie?