So I eagerly bought and read Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump. Of the ever-expanding library of books on her uncle Donald written by burn victims and spurned former enablers inevitably left in his wake, Mary’s perspective as both member of his family and clinical psychologist piqued my interest. That Donald’s younger brother, Robert, was tasked to run point on behalf of their family to quash publication of the book only served to further whet my curiosity. And not just mine. The book sold more copies in the first week than Donald’s ghost-written Art of the Deal has in all the years since it was first published. Oh, and then Robert died — probably from complications caused by COVID-19 that his brother, the President of the United States, has barely acknowledged, completely failed to contain and has arguably made worse, given that any other cause of death short of overdose, suicide or embarrassing accident would not carry the shame with it necessary for a superficial family like the Trumps to cover up and deny in order to keep up appearances.
Though the book chronicles the creation of Donald and ultimately culminates in the emergence of the ruined creature we’ve all come to witness loosed upon our world, it’s more an insight into the monster makers themselves, the systemic forces that shaped him and the role Mary’s father, Fred “Freddy” Trump Jr., played in particular as a kind of catalyst. I’d wondered about Freddy ever since first hearing him mentioned by a piece PBS Frontline did on each of the 2016 presidential front runners; the eldest of Donald’s siblings scapegoated and ultimately driven to self-destruction — it resonated with me.
Continue reading Too Much and Never Enough
So after swearing I would never watch another one of these big budget cinematic abortions after walking out of The Last Jedi and binging on the bad reviews for Rise of Skywalker, this masochist had see this unholy clusterfuck for himself. After all, I rationalized, it’s not as though Mystery Science Theater would ever be granted permission to properly mock this shit. No, it was up to me. And, well, it was actually almost okay.
Continue reading The Farce Is Strong With This One / Dive Into Disney’s Dark Side
This is not a review. I haven’t seen the movie. Rather, I have been binging reviews by critical film connoisseurs all descending into downward spirals of exasperated madness as they recount their despairing experiences of the movie … because I’m sick that way. They drink so I don’t have to. And after The Last Jedi there was no way I was giving Disney another wad of cash to waste more of my time with yet another one of these boring big screen disasters. Unsurprising but a shame nonetheless.
How difficult is it to honor the legacy of the storied past while exploring exciting new opportunities it has lead to peppered with the spectacle of sorcery, dogfights, war machines and epic laser sword duels? It takes effort to fuck up a gift like that!
Continue reading The Rise of Skywalker / The Fall of Star Wars
Socialized, single payer, government assured, medicare for everyone would spare a lot of needless suffering and death while saving all of us a shit-ton of money and, most importantly, time. It’s a win-win for those of us corporeal humans. Naysayer mouthpieces and witless parrots for corporate entities are wrong.
Continue reading Medicare For All, Totally Affordable
Over the past few months now Mother’s continued to send scrappy packets of childhood memorabilia and rediscovered photographs hewn from old family albums. And each time I respond with a simple “thank you” token of appreciation for the gifted materials. But sometimes I’m tempted to write a longer letter.
Continue reading Fear & Perfection in Las Narcisistas
Joker is a masterpiece.
I didn’t know what expect from the previews or the warnings issued the Department of Defense (of all agencies) that incels might use screenings of the film as an opportunity to shoot up a theater as one such unhinged freak did previously at a screening of The Dark Knight. As it happens, there’s a sports shop at the end of the mall opposite of the theater that sells the AK and AR style assault rifles and ammo but there are plenty of other things to shoot in my neck of the woods (literally) so I wasn’t too worried.
The film ended up being a breath of fresh air from start to finish. No spandex. No CGI. No product placement or branding bullshit, unmolested by studio executives or focus groups — which is amazing in and of itself. Just great shots at real locations, brilliantly written and performed.
Joker is the antithesis forgettable, Skittle-vomit, superhero flicks I’ve been totally burned out on. Appropriate, given that it tells the story of an anti-hero and not a superhero. In fact, rather than losing everything that typically kicks off the hero’s journey, Joker begins at the bottom with a beaten-down, impoverished, mentally ill man, Arthur, looking for belonging and seeking to define himself in and in spite of a world that shits on him when it notices him at all. Strangers attack him, family denies him, friends betray him, public services fail him and his heroes humiliate him. He wants to do good, to make people smile. He tries to be that. He perseveres against each setback as they compound and almost seem to conspire against his steadfast goal of becoming a stand-up comedian. But it isn’t enough. He loses to become something else instead.
I found Joaquin Phoenix’s performance of Arthur very relatable, easy to empathize with. Through him, I could feel Arthur’s anguish, embarrassment and exhilaration. Every one of his victims is someone who’s hurt him and has more power or means to have done so. He becomes a symbol of empowerment, punching up against those punching down. And it’s delicious! The movie ends with Joker embracing the chaos that’s embraced him and coming into his own. I left the theater feeling great for a pleasant change.
As is too often the case, the editors who cut together the trailers for this movie should’ve been the ones who cut together the movie itself — maybe scripted and directed it too. Because then I might’ve left the theater with what I came for: the story of a tormented alien child discovering his power and struggling with the choice between doing good by the loving family who raised him or giving in to his destructive impulses.
Continue reading Brightburn
This is a photograph of me, “you’re so selfish” Sister, “you’re too sensitive” Brother and Mother’s adopted daughter obediently smiling for posterity. It’s one of a cache of similar nostalgia Mother stuffed into a Happy Birthday card that she appears to have begun mailing directly with a stamp and return address sticker before tearing off the return address, marking a black “X” over the tear where it was and, I assume, instead sent it through Father who dutifully left it on my doorstep to find. Pretty standard procedure as these things go.
Continue reading Remember When You Smiled For Us
So Google+ is to be shuttered in a few days. After an undisclosed data leak was finally uncovered last year, Google’s like “Fuck it! So what if Facebook bleeds out users’ personal data like a gushing arterial wound every other month. Their social media platform turns a profit. Ours doesn’t. It’s just not worth it.”
Continue reading Google Minus
Savoring a delicious helping of schadenfreude from Trumpists expecting the healthy tax return they’d always received under Obama only to receive crumbs or having to cough up more taxes owed under Trump. I’d anticipated this inevitable outcry and, if I’m being honest, looked forward to it.
Continue reading Trumpenfreude