Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts

October 4, 2023

What Trump and The Fonz don't have in common and what they do

Photo by Olga Ernst (Great white shark in Wikipedia) 
CC BY-SA 4.0 adapted by Hal Brown with Trump's hand and tie

Click to enlarge images

By Hal Brown

This is Wednesday's blog. Thursday I posted the same illustration with these captions. Read that blog here.

Wednesday blog:



The former president turned a rant against renewable energy into a wild explanation of how he’d rather die if he were on a sinking electric boat.

“But if I’m sitting down, and that boat’s going down, and I’m on top of a battery, and the water starts flooding in, I’m getting concerned,” Trump said at an event in Iowa in Sunday. “But then I look 10 yards to my left and there’s a shark over there. So I have a choice of electrocution or shark, you know what I’m gonna take? Electrocution. I will take electrocution every single time.”

If anyone hasn't seen  a video of Trump's insane rant about electric boats, sharks, and how he'd chose to die, here it is:

Click to view

What Trump and The Fonz don't have in common.

According to someone who had a very close relationship with him, Trump is obsessed with sharks and is terrified of them.

 The strangest thing about that night — this was the best thing ever. You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the U.S.S. something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history. He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks. He was like, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.” He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know. Stormy Daniels interview in Touch Magazine.

The Fonz wasn't afraid of anything and if he knew there was a shark in the water in the iconic episode which led to the term "jumping the shark" being added to the lexicon, meaning the beginning of the end (as follows), he wouldn't have be fazed.

The idiom "jumping the shark" or "jump the shark" is a pejorative that is used to argue that a creative work or entity has reached a point in which it has exhausted its core intent and is introducing new ideas that are discordant with, or an overexaggeration of, its original purpose. The phrase was coined in 1985 by radio personality Jon Hein in response to a 1977 episode from the fifth season of the American sitcom Happy Days, in which the character of Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jumps over a live shark while on water-skis. (Wikipedia)
What do Trump and Fonzie have in common?

Fonzie jumped the shark. However, this happened in the fifth season of Happy Days and it went on to air for six more years. It is unsettling to think that Trump will wield power for six more years. There are critics who argue that in spite of Happy Days' longevity the level of creativity declined in its final seasons. Likewise, there are those who may look back years from now and say the same thing about Trump in his later years.

Trump in his rant about sharks proved once and for all that he has gone irrovocably into the delusional drink. His boat is sinking and he's just admitted to this fantasy suggesting that in some recess of his mind he has this knowledge and fear.

He said it. This means it is in his mind. The unconscious percolated up into his conscious and this is why he speculated on the way he'd  chose to meet his demise.

He sensibly sensibly chose execution as the way he'd want to die if he was on a sinking boat between the choice of a quick death and being riped apart by apex ocean predators. However, dead is dead, and not to be too graphic, once you're dead in shark infested waters the disposal your corpse is taken care of.

July 24, 2023

Does the Barbenheimer weekend tell us anything about our country?"

By Hal Brown

Please bear with me as I explain why watching the wonderful Danish TV series "Seaside Hotel" relates to this topic. The series starts in the early 1930's and follows the characters of guests and staff and their intertwined soap-opera lives. Now we're watching season six and it's 1939 and Hitler has already been elected PM of Germany and anti-Semitic violence has erupted across Germany. Only one character has been following the news from Germany since the series began and is sounding the alarm about the growing threat to German democracy and the danger to Denmark. 

Sometmes mocked by other guests for listening to the radio to keep up with the news Hjalmar Aurland (left) followed events in German since the beginning of the series. He has the newspapers delvered secretly to him by the staff because he knows that his wife gets upset when he reads them.

He tries to explain this to other guests but they don't take it seriously. One is even trying to invest in German industry. Another is a young German woman who worships Hitler.

There is a chilling parallel here. The light themes of the early seasons are getting darker and darker. We know that what is going to happen not only in Denmark, but in the world. Without giving too much away, there are two gay characters, one in the closet and one out, and both have already suffered because of not just prejudice but actual visiting teenaged NAZI youth.

Now we get to what I make of the Barbenheimer weekend. My sense is that there are two kinds of people who decided to venture into the theaters despite some of them having friends or acquaintances who recently came down with Covid. Those who went to see Barbie I would hazard a guess mostly wanted to either escape from worrying about the threat to democracy posed by Trump or someone like DeSantis becoming president or actually want to see us become a fascist state ruled by a racist dictator. Both want to see the fluff of an escapist movie like the hyped up Barbie film which has reviews called it WITTY, IMPECCABLY DESIGNED, OVERBLOWN FUN.

Then there are those who opted to see the can't get much more serious movie Openheimer. I'd bet my pile of chips that the majority of these viewers are those who are very concerned about what having a far-right president would do to democracy in America.

They are like the Hjalmar Aurland character in Seaside Hotel. They are like Thom Hartmann who just published "How Democracy Dies the First Month of the Next Trump or GOP Presidency."

Hartmann concludes his essay as follows:

As Trump told a group of young people last week of his plan to destroy the American government: 

“This will be the most important election with your country, your freedom, and your future on the line. We are in trouble. This country is in trouble. The election will decide if your generation inherits a fascist country or a free country, if you will have the rule of tyrants or the rule of law, if Marxist radicals burn our civilization to the ground, which they are looking to do, or young patriots like you propel America to glorious heights greater than ever before. … When I get back into the oval office, I will obliterate the deep state.”

Gradually, then suddenly.

People like Thom Hartmann and I, and probably almost everyone reading my blog including the 2,280 weekly readers in Germany and 468 in Russia (see below) have been following the news and are anxious over the prospect that what happened in Germany in the 1930's could happen here.



May 11, 2023

In our match between The Peanut Butter Falcon and the Trump Show, we're glad the Falcon won

 By Hal Brown

Click images to enlarge

My partner and I decided that we'd find a good alternative to watching Donald Trump's misnamed town hall on CNN and watch something uplifting on TV. "The Peanut Butter Falcon" turned out to be worthy of being a great escape not unlike the plot of the book and movie by the same name. The story involves a great escape not by a group of POWs but by a young man basically imprisoned in a nursing home.

Here's what some of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes write about the movie:

  • A tender and often funny heartwarmer with loads of charm, personality, and humanity.
  • The importance of the family you make, rather than the one you're given, is at the heart of this low-budget independent American feature that just happens to have two enormous Hollywood names on the marquee.
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon makes a strong case for the value of sentimentality.
  • It might be pretty optimistic in its wholesomeness, but whats the point of the movies if they cant be? Especially in a film that is committed to its faithful and hopeful representation for a community that is almost never shown on screen whatsoever.
  • Peanut Butter Falcon excels as a story of simple kindness.
  • Swept up in those bayou waters, we all root for Zack and happily accept whatever good fortune the writers provide for him.
The movie begins with the escape shown below. The character Zak,  has the same name as the actor playing him Zachary Gottsagen,  who has Down's syndrome like the actor does in real life.

Zak is living in a nursing home and due to two thwarted attempts to escape has been labeled a flight risk. His last attempt, enabled by this roommate Carl, played by Bruce Dern, helps him in his third and successful escape (below screen grabs from trailer).

The story involves Zak's quest to go to the wrestling school run by his idol, pro wrestler Salt Water Redneck. The name he adopts for himself is Peanut Butter Falcon for reasons that are made clear in the movie.

Since this is a feel good movie it shouldn't be a spoiler to reveal that he with his partner Tyler, played by Shia LaBeouf, Zak not only overcomes threats to life and limb to actually fight a match as the Peanut Butter Falcon in a local competition where he battles against a villainous cruel opponent twice his size. 
I won't reveal the outcome of the match.

This morning I watched "Morning Joe" and saw the most outrageous clips from Trump's CNN appearance. Seeing them was plenty to endure. It was better than enduring 70 minutes of Trump spewing his lies and venom.

“Morning Joe” co-host Scarborough ripped CNN and Trump for a “virus of lies” as Trump peddled falsehoods on live television about the 2020 election, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, which he called a “beautiful day.”

It was “a disgraceful performance” and “showed the corrosive effects of Trumpism over eight years,” said Scarborough.

The “most shocking part,” Scarborough said, was the audience “who cheered on a president who tried to overturn American democracy, an audience that mocked and ridiculed the woman who, a jury of her peers, Donald Trump’s peers, found had been sexually assaulted.”

Our own breaking point might have come when many in the audience applauded his saying he'd pardon most of the J6 prisoners, below:

The crowd also cheered and clapped when he insulted E. Jean Carroll.

It is also possible that Trump gave prosecutors new evidence for all three ongoing criminal cases (see article). This Salon article also describes how what he said about E. Jean Carroll makes a new case for her to sue him for defamation. If she saw him call her a "whack job" which prompted the audience to laugh I imagine this would have hurt.

I am pretty sure that had we decided to watch CNN instead of "The Peanut Butter Falcon" rather than rooting for the good guys and experiencing inspiration we would have been feeling frustrated and angry. 

CNN deserves all the excoriation they are now receiving for giving Trump the opportunity to spew his hateful lies. For example:

Click above to read article

We are happy we decided to spend our evening enjoying our home cooked delicious filet mignon dinner with the first baked potato we've had since we began a low carb diet the day after New Years, and watching "The Peanut Butter Falcon", rather than enduring the Trump debacle.
Our filet mignon, zucchini and yellow squash, crispy skinned baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives dinner.

Rather than feeling pleasantly sated after diner I think we'd have had cases of dyspepsia.

Addendum: Here's another feel good movie we watched a few days ago: A Man Called Otto.

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