Friday, October 2, 2015

What I Want 2016

I have to admit, Trump’s been crushing it as far as pretending to campaign for president goes.

I mean, every new thing out of his mouth has been crazy, inappropriate, racist or all three, and I’ve been eating it up with a childlike sense of hope and wonder. I could not ask for a better piece of entertainment product, and while I don’t know what we did to deserve this, I’m wiling to go with the flow, lean back, and watch an angry clown pretend to run for president without thinking about it too hard.

After all, his candidacy is the sort of thing that really does start to fall apart if any level of scrutiny is applied to it.

If you’re a Trump supporter, I apologize, but that’s the level on which I’m choosing to enjoy this whole thing. It’s a shallow level, but that doesn’t make my joy that he’s running any less real. And isn’t it more important that we ARE enjoying the same thing than petty questions of why?

Ultimately, I don’t think Trump will take the Republican nomination, because the people who own the party choose how it’s run, not the voters, and the owners know that Trump is too much of a wild-card to allow as their standard bearer during a major election they think that they might actually win. Which is unfortunate, but nothing can be done about it, that’s just how the process works. A safer choice will be made and the whole US election program will become a much less interesting one.

Which is what it is, though I DO believe that with a little luck, and sufficiently passionate supporters, Trump CAN make himself an important enough part of the conservative conversation that, when the time comes to choose a vice presidential nominee, he will be legitimately considered and, though this is not likely, perhaps even chosen. With the sheer number of people running, after all, the party will be splintered, and a moderate, business-friendly candidate might need a good way to reach out to the more conspiracy-minded base. Stranger things have happened, after all…

That would be a lot of fun.

On the Democratic side, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is running basically unopposed and the whole primary can safely be ignored until the national convention.

If you’re a Sanders supporter, I apologize, but you had to know on some level that this was the case. As I pointed out earlier, the people who own the party choose how it’s run, not you. Sanders is moving the Overton window further left than I’d have thought possible, and congratulations to him, but you’re going to have to take that win and be happy with it.

It’s not a bad win, after all.

Once she has the nomination officially nailed down, however, things begin to become interesting. Because the sitting vice-president, who at one point did have a slim but non-zero chance of mounting a legitimate challenge had he entered the race, chose not to do so, keeping Clinton’s path to the presidency clear for her. And presumably, while it’s unlikely any actual quid-pro-quo situation has been negotiated, he would appreciate something in return.

Due to this, as well as the fact that, technically, there is no legal reason the same man can’t be the vice president under two different presidents over the course of sixteen years, there’s a small but non-zero possibility that Jolting Joe Biden is tapped to, once more, run in the VP slot. The Republican nominee picks Trump, Clinton picks Biden, and NOW the decks are cleared for a Donald Trump/Joe Biden vice presidential debate.

I want this so much, you guys, I can’t even say. People forget because the Obama administration has done a pretty good job keeping him on a short leash, but Joe Biden has basically zero internal censor, in a way that’s frequently unbelievably entertaining. His debate against Paul Ryan was one of the highlights of 2012, not the presidential campaign, the year, it was one of my favorite things that happened that year, and his tendency to go off script, contradict the official white house position on major social issues or drop a random F-bomb makes watching him do things while camera’s are pointed at him a fascinating prospect even when nothing goes off the rails. Even when he’s well behaved, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air!

And, partnered with somebody like Trump who CLEARLY has zero interest in such petty things as “Facts” or “Research” and who genuinely believes he can speak authoritatively on any subject, Biden off the leash could really go to town, unleashing his own unrestrained id with a willing, if much dumber, sparring partner.

It would be a debate for the ages. For all the wrong reasons, obviously, but for the ages nonetheless, and I want to watch it happen SO MUCH!

Alternately, Comedy Central could host the “Parallel Universe” Trump/Biden presidential debates. I’d watch that too.

But let’s be honest, part of the sick thrill is the danger of this taking place in real life, with actual policy decisions in the balance. Staged for the purposes of a show, much though Trump’s candidacy IS staged for the purposes of a show, I don’t know that it would have the same impact…

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Mirror

By Christopher Munroe

I’ve replaced the ceiling of my bedroom with mirrors.

The walls too.

My quilt and sheet set are now made of reflective material, and I’ve covered what furniature I have with mirrors as well. This way, wherever I look, I can’t escape the vision of myself, reflected back at myself, all the way to infinity.

It’s been suggested that this will drive me mad, and it might. There are days where I feel like it’s driven me mad already…

Nonetheless, it is necessary.

Something, after all, had to be done, to compensate for my own lack of capacity for self-reflection…

Thursday, September 24, 2015

...on Humanity

I’ll loan you my pen, if you need to borrow a pen, but you do have to give it back.

I’m not kidding around about that, if you try to steal my pen I will humanely end your life.

It’ll be completely painless, I’m not a monster. Lethal injection or some such, it’ll feel just like you’re going to sleep, you’ll barely know you’re dying. A warmth will come over you and you’ll settle back into it, comfortable as the end swallows your consciousness whole, allowing yourself to drift off into that eternal sleep that is the end point of every one of our journeys.

I don’t want you to suffer, after all, there’s no reason that I would want you to suffer. I consider us, if not friends, at least friendly acquaintances, as evidenced by my willingness to loan you the pen in the first place, and I’ll be genuinely saddened to see your life end, saddened further to know that I was the one to end it. But there will be nothing I can do about this, because much though I might regret your death, I will know that it is necessary.

I won’t cause you pain, because I don’t want for you to suffer, but I will end your life because, if you try to steal my pen, your life will need to end. It’ll end that I might send a message of warning to others and, more importantly, it’ll end in punishment for a minor crime that, repeated time and time again, ceaselessly, over the course of a lifetime, has worn down my patience to the point that its commission now drives me to murderous rage, fury that I can not manage but give into, and that I am no longer willing to even try to suppress.

So yes, painlessly; But death will come should you try to steal my pen.

And I suspect that, on some level, you understand why.

Because really, we’ve all had pens stolen and, really, we all know how fucking irritating it is…

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Scoop

Lois Lane
By Christopher Munroe

Lois Lane is NOT a good reporter.

There, I said it. Somebody has to. I don’t care how many Pulitzers she’s won off-panel, how many hypothetical stories she broke while nobody reading the comic was paying attention, the scoop of a lifetime sits two desks over, and glasses are NOT a disguise.

I don’t care what steps Clark adds to make discovering he’s Superman harder, noticing things is literally Lois Lane’s entire job, she should be better at it.

That said: Clark Kent, in spite of his powers, is a consistently worse reporter than her, so what does that say?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Let's Make a Movie: Michael Jackson

So: Michael Jackson was a member of the Jackson 5, yes?

And then he released Off the Wall, which spawned a number of sizable, pleasantly funky late-70s hits.

However, as a thought experiment, let’s imaging that before he could complete the album Thriller, he was in a car accident, or contracted pneumonia or some such, and as such the album never came out. Michael Jackson was a famous pop singer, to be sure, but he was never Thriller famous.

Were this the case, he would definitely still be alive, I suspect everyone who thinks seriously about it would agree. Alive, dramatically less crazy than he was toward the end of his life (fame is, after all, a toxic state in which to be and one that will absolutely drive you mad if you let it), in his fifties and reaching the point in his life where he was considering whether or not he still had it in him to mount a proper comeback to a career that likely petered out at some point decades previous.

So: Here’s my movie.

Hollywood is constantly making biopics of famous performers, actors win awards for playing their heroes, we get to watch a cleaned-up, warts and some version of our idol’s life, it’s all quite interesting if somewhat sanitized, but what’s never been made is an ALTERNATE HISTORY biopic of a famous performer.

Our POV character will be a music documentarian following Michael Jackson around and interviewing his family, friends and staff as he prepares himself for his comeback. Not the huge, bombastic Michael we know, but rather the logical progression of Off the Wall-era Michael, the laid back, chilled out, funky everyman, forty years later, relaxed and at peace, having never been swept up in the whirlwind that was his life as the king of pop and in the private time this allowed him having at some point come to terms with his past.

We see him, older, wiser but still vital, working on music that genuinely doesn’t care about sounding contemporary, more interested in doing work he enjoys than being rewarded by the pop world at large, and as we do we see him revitalized by the very throwback-ish nature of the music that he’s making, settling into a groove and getting genuinely excited about making music once more, and we then follow him up to the album’s release and the first night of his tour of mid-sized concert halls, seeing him see the smaller crowds than he’s used to, and seeing too that he doesn’t really mind. After all, he will say in a monologue that will make up the centerpiece of the film, he’s a musician, and a performer, but he’s not a politician. He doesn’t need to please everyone all the time…

Handled correctly, with the right actor playing Michael, I think this could be a powerful story to tell, a much more interesting way to handle the life of such a complex figure than the traditional biographical film. And I think that, marketed correctly, it could be a hit as well.

Everyone, after all, loves Michael Jackson.

The soundtrack, I should think, will be produced by Pharell, and will be light and fresh and bouncy, reminiscent of Off the Wall but also poignant, as it like the film will remind us of what could have been and in doing so make what was all the more heartbreaking.

I think this film would be a success.

Off the Wall, after all, was a better album than Thriller anyway.

And yes, I know that’s going to get me some hate.

I stand by the opinion…

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Adventure!

By Chris Munroe

Life’s an adventure.

Insomuch as you’re stranded on a rock hurtling through space faster than you can possibly comprehend around an atomic furnace that’s constantly exploding.

Life, however, is NOT an adventure insomuch as you, probably, spend much of it doing the same things over and over, both at work and in your “free” time, out of habit rather than genuine desire to partake in said activities, whatever they might be in your particular case.

So, yeah, mixed bag.

If the first thing’s good enough for you, hooray! If not, responsibility to create additional adventure is yours, and yours alone…

Friday, September 11, 2015

On the Topic of Raising

Things that are generally accepted by the public at large as being appropriate to Raise:
- Children
- Hell (figuratively)
- The Roof
- The temperature on the thermostat (in winter)

Things that are NOT generally accepted by the public at large as being appropriate to Raise:
- The Dead
- Hell (literally)
- The temperature on the thermostat (in the summer. Come on, what are you thinking? It’s already sweltering!)

“Taxes” is a more contentious point, with regard to raising or not raising, and the subject of whether they should or should not be raised should not be brought up in polite company, either pro or con, unless you are willing to deal with the resultant animated debate.

Many are not, and this is perfectly understandable. Life is, after all, short, and you do not want to spend more of yours than you have to locked in debate about political topics you genuinely possess little in the way of power to influence in the real world.

To this end, I’ll add “The subject of whether to raise taxes” to the list of things you might NOT want to raise, for the sake of clarity.

But definitely the roof. It’s almost the weekend and, moreover, I am very tall and tend to hit my head on things, so you’ll definitely want to raise the roof...