Journey to Manzanar

Hello, all.

First, very sorry for being so slow in updating over the last six months or so. Mea culpa.

Second, before I launch back into EoA, I want to discuss my experiences and thoughts about my time visiting Manzanar. I was in Los Angeles for another reason last week, but as I had a rental car, I knew I wanted to, if at all possible, take the opportunity to go to Manzanar. It turns out to be a three and a half to four hour drive from LA, and I went up on July 5, 2014.

Because of the heavy image content of this post I have hidden them under a cut.

Continue reading

Libertarianism Comics Redux

I’m actually a bit shocked. The latest comic here actually has a classic tale of corporate malfeasance in the name of securing power and profit instead of engaging in the usual Libertarian hagiography about the wiseness of corporations and the wrong-wrong-wrongity-wrongness of governments.

I think Quantum Vibe is definitely becoming more nuanced and less doctrinaire than Escape from Terra. (and certainly less heavy-handed than the Probability Broach) That said I might still nitpick some of the gratuitous lesbian sex and the fact that the women are drawn with rather well-endowed body parts, but that’s more symptomatic of a general trend in comics generally of still tilting to catering to a young straight male audience rather than a more general audience than anything specific to Libertarianism generally.

Fireproof Follow-Up

Well!

I have to say I am actually kind of pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Caleb’s dad gives him advice and a book that has the effect of forcing Caleb to actually think about what he’s saying and doing to Catherine, and although he still along the way blames her more than himself when he complains again to his dad, by the end of it he’s actually behaving quite decently to her.

Of course, along the way there’s the usual come-back-to-Jesus thing, but it’s thankfully rather understated compared to the Moment After, etc.

Couple of parenthetical notes:

1. There’s this funny as hell scene in the movie that just legit cracked me up.

2. That boat thing? It turns out Catherine discovers Caleb’s extensive “boat surfing” involves more than just boats, which ends up with Caleb throwing his computer out to avoid wanting to look at naked women who aren’t his wife.

So I guess there is less Stepfordization than I had originally feared, but even so I can see why secular critics mostly panned this movie while the Christian critics went into positive gyrations of joy, because the marriage is SAVED ZOMG.

What I don’t think the Christian critics grasp (either because of their worldview or because they want to ignore it) is that the cycles of niceness and meanness are common to abusive relationships and Catherine’s extreme reluctance to believe Caleb has changed is a natural consequence of putting up with many such cycles and fearing that this latest iteration is simply another in a long series of such; where this movie does its intended audience a disservice is in portraying abusive men as ~changeable with Jesus in their hearts~, that is, insisting that magically a person can change just because they prayed the prayer, instead of conceding that these changes need to be born of hard work in counselling and admitting to oneself that one has done wrong by one’s spouse.

Also, I think it makes short shrift of the challenges in dealing with addictive behaviors; it’s clear that Caleb’s obsessive saving for a boat and his pornography-seeking are likely symptoms of addictive compulsions and while him throwing out his computer makes for great movie drama, it is highly likely he will relapse if not treated by a counsellor experienced in such things, since he needs to develop the proper coping strategies to deal with them. Now I am not saying ‘cold turkey’ never works, but I am a bit skeptical that this presentation of it within the movie as an implicit model to people in the audience is necessarily a beneficial thing.

Anyway, I’ll get back to The Moment After II soonish and then from there, EoA! :)

Fireproof

[ NOTE: Image-heavy post, content warning for abusive behaviors ]

So, I was reading Samantha Fields’s blog (Defeating the Dragons) and she noted in passing she’d watched Fireproof, a movie made in 2008 starring Kirk Cameron. Now, being as it stars Kirk Cameron, right off the bat we know it is Christian-themed.

The movie is absolutely larded with Mom-and-Apple-Pie Gender Essentialist America in the Good Ol’ White Boy South, being set in Albany, Georgia.

Fireproof 0

It starts out with slow pans over what is obviously a little girl’s bedroom, replete with all the stock dialog that implicitly pays homage to the way some purity-culture fundamentalists adopt and twist the Oedipal and Electra complexes for their own ends:

Girl: Mommy, would you ask Daddy to come tuck me in?
Her Mom: No, he’s at work tonight at the fire station. But he’ll be home tomorrow night.
Girl: Mommy, l want to marry Daddy.
Her Mom: You do? Catherine, you can’t marry Daddy. He’s my husband.
Catherine: Well, when you’re done being married, can l have him?
Her Mom: We’ll never be done. You’ll have to marry somebody else.
Catherine: Can l wear a white dress and white gloves?
Her Mom: Sure, if you want to.
Catherine: Will we live happily after ever?
Her Mom: lf you marry somebody who really, really loves you.
Catherine: Like Daddy?
Her Mom: Yes, like Daddy.

I mean, just wow. Normally this would just be the cute dialog I’m sure parents have had with their kids the world over, and which is quickly forgotten as their child grows up and begins to socialize and develop a sense-of-self and so on and so forth.

But in purity-culture circles, this snippet above carries a much deeper meaning, since a girl’s father becomes, almost literally, a guardian of her “womanhood” until the day when he “gives” her to her husband, who then takes up the mantle of said guardianship. So along the way the father is the husband-substitute, which can be kinda squicky when you think about it.

Then scene cut and pan over the Georgia flag, being sure to get the “In God We Trust” and the Stars and Bars in there. I’m sure there was a specific reason for choosing a state that’s part of the former Confederacy and not a state somewhere else, but I can’t deduce exactly what cultural motifs are being touched on here in the intended audience, aside from the implicit assumption that white people and their problems are the focus of the story. That’s not unique to a film like this, though.

Kirk Cameron’s first introduction is him reaming out a subordinate for screwing up fighting a fire. Oddly, the person bringing the complaint is a black firefighter named Terrell, and it was 100% legit: his partner didn’t check in and rushed off to “play hero”. There’s also another black firefighter introduced later, a man named Michael.

Scene cut to a hospital. Now, one thing I noticed in particular when I was in the states is the sharp racial divide that still exists in a lot of places: the ‘professional people’ are generally white and the ‘help’ are generally black. See, for example, this introductory scene where we meet up with Tasha (black) and Catherine (white). It’s obvious that Catherine is some high up media muckity-muck and Tasha is the file-clerk/receptionist/help-type person.

Fireproof 1

We learn that Cat’s (uninsured) parents are dealing with her mother’s stroke, and that she’s going to visit with them. A doctor named Gavin (white, of course) almost crashes into her and Tasha plus another aide are all like “Uh-huh, guy’s gotta cruuuuush.”

Fireproof 2

Just for some added gender essentialism and chauvinism, the doctor mutters, “Sweet girl”, as she leaves. Sorry, Gavin-dude, did you just call a ~30 year old woman a “girl”? (-_-)

Cat goes and sees her mom and dad, and just to make sure we all know we’re in Georgia, she asks her dad for sweet tea with lemon in it. She then wishes she could hear her mom talk; apparently she lost her ability to speak due to the stroke. :(

Fireproof 3

Okay scene cut to a nice house in suburbia. Kirk rolls on in in his firefighter outfit and is all like “Where’s breakfast?” And then oh my God this dialog has to be read to be believed:

Caleb: You have breakfast already?
Catherine: Yes.
Caleb: What’d you eat?
Catherine: I had the last bagel and a yogurt.
Caleb: Are you planning on making a grocery trip soon?
Catherine: Caleb, you work 24 hours and then you’re off for 48. You’ve got more time to go than l do.
Caleb: l asked a simple question. You don’t need to get smart with me. You could at least save me some breakfast.
Catherine: I never know when you’re coming or going. You don’t tell me.
Caleb: Catherine, what is your problem? Did l offend you by walking in the door this morning?
Catherine: You can’t expect me to work every day and get the groceries while you look at trash on the lnternet dreaming about your boat.

Man, if I had to check off all the ways this dialog snippet implicitly buys into the dutiful-wife-is-being-insufficiently-deferential paradigm I’d get Bingo. I mean, here’s Caleb (o hai, Biblical name!) being all I’m-the-husband-I-tell-you-what-to-do, and then for bonus points blaming her by trying to make out like she’s being unreasonably “offended” for wanting him to get in his truck and go do his own damn shopping.

And then on top of that, Caleb goes on to pontificate that she chose to take her current job, to which she retorts they need the money because he’s off stashing away cash ($24,000 already!) for the damn boat instead of using the money to fix things in the house. Then he patronizingly lectures her that those house things are “preferences, not needs”. Dude, Caleb, SERIOUSLY???

Man, what a marriage. If I were the lawyer for either of them, I’d say, “You guys need a no-contest divorce, stat. Divvy up assets, sign the agreement, and we’ll get it in front of a judge and call it a day. $200, done.”

Scene cut. Caleb is now working out at a gym, and while I’m no expert, I would venture to say he’s got terrible technique, because he’s letting the weights slam down and bounce on the ones underneath every time he lets them down.

Fireproof 4

Finally he quits with the weights and talks to the dude on the bench press, Michael: “How is it that l get respect everywhere l go except in my own house?”

Gosh, Caleb, I wonder. Maybe it could be you’re lecturing your wife like she’s a kid, and blatantly saddling her with tasks you should be taking up in your copious boat-surfing free fucking time.

Segue into standard “your marriage isn’t broken, you just have to make it work” dialog along with more gender-essentialist chauvinalia: “Your wife should respect you, but a woman’s like a rose. Treat her right and she’ll bloom.”

Since when are women delicate flowe–oh, never mind, I just realized the filmmakers and scriptwriters and producers and actors are all pretending it’s still 1958, only it’s a 1958 that exists in their minds only and is an idealization of what actually happened back then, which was that men could cheat and get away with it more often than not, even if their wives found out and sued for a divorce.

Oh christ, Caleb comes home and it’s more of the SSDD. He comes home, there’s no pizza left because Catherine ate it (it’s a pretty large pizza box, so I’m going to assume it’s leftovers). She reasonably explains that (a) she thought he was going to eat out with Michael, and (b) if he’d called her ahead of time, she could’ve left some of it.

But noooo, he has to berate her over it: “Why do you have to make everything so difficult?” he yells after he patronizingly lectures that “two people in this house need to eat”. I’m just rolling my eyes at this crap, but I can see why ex-fundamentalist women in particular could be triggered watching this. The culture implicitly assumes that women can never do anything right on their own accord unless it’s at the direction of a man, and so the man is fully justified in ignoring his own faults and blaming everything on “his” woman.

I mean, at this point it’s no mystery why Caleb’s behavior could be termed “abusive”.

And it degenerates into an argument where Caleb insists he’s doing all the heavy lifting paying the mortgage and the car loans, but he ignores that he’s socking away a third of his post-tax paycheck on the boat, so when Catherine retorts that she’s covering all the other household bills on her salary, he turns it around on her and tells her she agreed to it in the first place, and then finishes it off with the ‘I provide you this good life’ line: “Do you not like this house? Do you not like your car?”

Ah, but Catherine still has some reserve! She points out she’s doing all the clothes washing and food marketing, and she’s helping her parents every weekend. That is legit a lot of pressure, and any reasonable person would shut up at this point and apologize.

But nooooooooo. Caleb has to bat that off and come back out on top. RAWR I AM A FIREMAN AND I AM UNDER SO MUCH PRESSURE WHEN I FIGHT FIRES! AND RUSH TO CAR WRECKS!

Okay, he has kind of a point, but what Catherine’s not happy about is what he’s doing or not doing around the house. Which is an ongoing thing and not discrete, sharply defined events like house fires and so on, which are often attended to in a ~few hour time span, not days and weeks.

And this is where it finally blows up. Caleb blows his stack, goes to full-on yelling and backs Catherine up against the wall. (O_O) And then he goes on to blame her for “nagging” him and being “ungrateful and selfish”.

Yeah no mystery why this is triggering. All that “Give me respect and look at me” stuff? Classic abuser dominance. But Catherine still says she wants out! So Caleb gets one last shot in and yells more. Just to make sure she knows he can make her cry. And since a movie like this can’t exactly show a man hitting a woman, we see him go out into the yard and throw the garbage can around. In real life? It’s probably even odds he’d have hit her before storming out.

Fireproof 5

HA HAAAAAAAAAA OH MAN THIS IS WONDERFUL. The old guy’s just staring like ‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’

“Mr. Rudolph.” (beat) “Caleb.” (INTENSE STARE, walks off slowly)

Good! At least the show does not present what Caleb has done as normal or acceptable, but it is still bothersome that it uncritically accepts the basic premise that in such arguments the woman is assumed to be at fault.

Scene cut. and we’re at the fire station. The noob who got his buddy in trouble is busy looking for a “hose stretcher”, which doesn’t exist. :P Meanwhile, Michael and his wife are busy chatting about their intended date night, and when the chat ends you can see he’s all but just about smacking her ass in that kind of playful-jock way as she walks out.

Meanwhile, Catherine’s chatting with her co-workers from the hospital.

Fireproof 6“A real man’s gotta be a hero to his wife before anybody, or he ain’t a real man.”

Even within the cultural confines of the film, this is decidedly a step up from the “a man can be a douchebag to you all he likes because you’re his” mentality. Catherine insists that she’s not the one with a problem, he is – and the others encourage her in this. *thumbs up*

Oh, nice cinematography.

Tasha (to Catherine): That’s right, girl. Stand your ground. Make him respect you. lf there’s one thing a man understands–
[ Scene cut ]
Caleb (to Michael): –it’s respect. That’s the issue. That’s the reason our marriage is failing.

Even though the contexts are totally different between the two dialog snippets, that’s a beautiful blending of scenes from a purely cinema-critiquing point of view. And then it keeps going! It beautifully cuts back and forth across dialog, showing Catherine voicing her problems and how Caleb doesn’t seem to grasp why the marriage is failing.

Caleb: l don’t know what to think. l don’t understand her. She’s emotional about everything. She’s easily offended and way too sensitive.

Clueleeeeeeeeeeess.

Scene cut. Some teenage boys, wanting to impress a couple of girls, get into a race. This will not be good.

Meanwhile, Caleb’s on the phone with his dad, admitting the marriage is likely over. Dad wants to visit, so Caleb arranges to meet later on. And then at that moment, fire alarm! It’s the teenagers who were racing; they got into a bad accident and Caleb’s fire station is closest, so off they go!

Fireproof 7

Pretty bad accident! And one of the cars is stuck on the tracks, which adds to the danger because the trains need to be stopped, and they have very long stopping distances. For all Caleb’s faults at home, he’s definitely a competent and assured fireman on the job. He makes sure the teenage girl, who’s injured and bleeding, stays calm and makes sure she and her friend are safely extracted from the vehicle.

OH SHIT TRAIN COMING. Just for lulz, a guy in a suit bellows, “Hey! There’s a train!”

No fucking shit, sherlock. The firefighters already know this, that’s why they’re trying to get the car off the friggin’ tracks!

Anyway WHEW they manage to move the car, but Michael has a helluva close call. He prays! “Thank you, God.”

And then out of nowhere, back at the station, after hearing Michael speak in generalities about where he’s going if he died, Terrell beings up the “heaven and hell” talk with Caleb, who of course is like, “Pshaw, no. But I know one of you is right and one of you is wrong.”

Scene cut. Caleb’s pouring his heart out to his parents: “l could have saved the lives of two people at work and if l’m not here helping wash the dishes, l’m a horrible husband.”

DUDE DOES NOT GET IT. What you do at work is awesome, great – but what you do at home, that’s what’s gonna matter in your marriage! Being a hero elsewhere does not obviate the fact that even heroes still need to pitch in and help their life-partners when asked, if it’s not unreasonable. And being asked to help with the dishes is not an unreasonable request; it certainly beats mooning over that fucking boat that’s supposed to be the be-all-and-end-all of Caleb’s existence.

Caleb’s mom makes some valid points about Catherine’s own workload, hospital-wise and parents-wise, and he whines she’s “taking [Catherine's] side.” Dude, grow up. Seriously. A boot up the ass is what you need, buddy.

And then Caleb and his dad kinda shuffle his mom off to the side so he can get validation from the old man. Only his Dad decides to drop in the Deus Ex Machina, literally:

Caleb: Why didn’t you split up?
Caleb’s Dad: The Lord did a work in us. ln both of us.

Oh, well, how bloody-all convenient. Can’t communicate to your partner? Can’t see their side of things? That’s okay, God will just roll on in and fix you both to be harmonious forever!

I can’t decide whether to laugh or groan at the sheer absurdity of encouraging laziness in relationship building, figuring God will always leap in to save your bacon instead of doing the hard work oneself.

At this point, however, I can pretty much guarantee that how this movie’s gonna go is Caleb will pray to God, God will magically ~fix his wife~, and he can go right on coasting through life being waited on hand and foot by his hot wife Catherine while he dreams about his fucking boat.

I’ll check back in when I’m done with this movie because the blow-by-blow at this point isn’t even that fun anymore, unlike with the “Moment After” series which is so hokily low-budget with bad acting it’s actually sporkably funny.

Libertarianism Comics Follow-Up

So, in the vein of my commentary here, which I reproduce below:

At the same time, however, look at Mercury. There’s a labor dispute and the author, in developing an analogy to 20th century history, happily references the United States (gee, would that be the same US government he caricatures as the Eeeeeeeevil World Government spending (HAW HAW) CONTINENTALS) sending a boat to guard the tribe from the Panamian government in the same way a “belter ship” would somehow guard the workers from retaliation by the wealthy employers.

Never mind that such a labor dispute, absent a government, would’ve been settled the way it was in the Gilded Age: send in the Pinkertons. None of this “Create a provocation” business, it would be just straight up the bosses telling the workers to quit getting ideas.

And in another instance, a shop proprietor legally (because ofc governments passing anti-discrimination laws is baaaaaaad) can discriminate against “beltapes”, but la-di-da, changes his mind when another rich guy with socially egalitarian instincts (Seamus) wants to dine there. Discriminatory behavior shouldn’t be subject to the benevolence or malevolence of the wealthy.

And check the latest strip. One of the guys casually suggests “spacing” the lot of workers in the labor dispute on Io, and the other one doesn’t object on humanitarian grounds. Oh no. “Recruitment is expensive. AND I own some Gensaxwal stock.”

It’s all about money, money and more money with Libertarians.

I’d like to follow up and note that the recent plot arc of rebels invading the ship to “deal with” the pilot, crew and passengers really points up the necessary Plot Armor that is given to the main characters, but which does so in a way that almost renders Seamus, Nicole and Murphy Mary Sues. While the other people interviewed by the rebels are venal, mercenary, unpleasant and in general wastes of space, the trio of Seamus et al are praised in almost glowing terms, and it becomes obvious he has a history with them that includes compelling them (unsuccessfully) to stop executing people they run across.

It’s patently obvious that Libertarians set great store by the Great Man Theory of historical development – the idea that the movers and shakers of history are but a few select individuals rather than a much broader pictrue which takes into account not just political and economic leaders recognized by “official” accounts of history, but also the social forces among populations as a whole and even unrecognized leaders left out of the official accounts.

As a result fictional stories such as the aforementioned “Quantum Vibe” almost inevitably have to contort their plotting in ways which are oddly reminiscent of a completely different sector (a-ha! Now we get to the theme of my blog. :P ) – Christian fundamentalist End-Times writing, such as Left Behind or Edge of Apocalypse.

In fact, the story of Joshua Jordan is an interesting parallel to Seamus O’Murchadha’s, although Seamus is generally kinder and far less of a jerk to those he considers his good friends and family. But both men are, if not the centerpiece of the story, certainly major players and excused from their actions in ways which would not pass muster for realism or for the test of “would the same thing happen if someone else were in the same situation?”

Just as the almost Mary-Suish release of Seamus et al from the rebel tribunal in QV tends to leave one a bit skeptical about the depth of plotting in the series, so too does the entire arc of Josh’s brushes with Congressional hearings and courts of law. In both cases it’s as though the arcs were designed to show off the main character(s)’s “virtues” rather than for any attempt at a realistic resolution-of-conflict (in the literary sense: we know there is person-vs-person, person-vs-nature, and person-vs-self) which then moves the story forward in an organic sense.

And that is the failure of works of fiction that are purposely constructed around ideologies*: they become at times ham-fisted vehicles of presentation, rather than riveting stories in their own right.


* I don’t excuse Bellamy’s Looking Backward either. While aspects of it are memorable, the sheer Utopia it creates is far too perfect, and while the reader is invited to have hope for what a future world might be under Bellamy-style socialism, the narration is somewhat heavy-handed in that respect.

Some Thoughts on Libertarianism

First: Apocalypsereview is a very bad blogger. Sorry about that. :(

Second:

There was cause to discuss things like the Probability Broach and other comics that have been featured on Big Head Press’s website. Most notably I have read the “Escape from Terra” and “Quantum Vibe” arcs; I couldn’t really get into the others.

Anyway, some common themes leap out at me:

1. The stories are set in a far enough future to allow the characters to be space explorers within the solar system; the author clearly has a fascination with space exploration, and likes to show his work.
2. The stories, while they have engaging plotlines in their own right, are largely showcases for the author’s Libertarian political views.

Because of #2, this is where implausibilities rapidly start to mount up.

To begin with, all the major conflicts in the comic series are always initiated by an obviously caricatured Big Worldwide Earth Government and/or subsidiaries thereof. It is supremely ironic, as well, that the author blithely features corporate-backed governments without in the least recognizing how nongovernmental forms of coercive power also emanate from large monopolistic corporations dominating the economies of places in the solar system.

Flowing from this, how do the Libertarian “belter” settlements get the things they don’t have, but they need them to survive? They have to trade, don’t they? Yet I don’t see any evidence of a wide trade between Earth and the outer settlements, which would surely have had to spring up if only because the asteroid belt could specialize in, say, mineral extraction and water extraction, while Earth, having the pre-existing manufacturing base, could supply necessary final goods like books, food, machinery and what-have-you.

The stories try to handwave the relative economic isolation of the settlements by insisting that settlements use gold as their currency, while the Evil World Government uses “Continentals” (haw, haw! GEDDIT? Continentals! – the sheer hamfistedness of this reference to a worthless currency would be absurd if it wasn’t so matter-of-fact in these comics), and happily prints money as they need or want to obscure pressing economic problems.

As a result the exchange rate obviously fluctuates wildly and so trade flows are understandably restricted.

Just to really hammer the omgevilgovernment thing home, in one of the comics the Moon’s government is run by a bunch of people who are barely smarter than morons, and they have intrusive security screening at immigration, plus overly complex exchange controls. And then to put the cherry on top, the omgevilgovernment tries tilting the deck against the main character by having her arrested on trumped-up charges and throw into jail. The deus ex machina of a sympathetic judge and a wealthy patron of the main character leap in to save the day.

Which reminds me, everybody’s rich in this series, naturally. Or has a buddy who’s rich. Like in some cases, fabulously fucking rich who can command absurd access to resources with no conception of where the materials would come from or how long it would take to get them built (although there is a kind of effective immortality through the “rejuv” process…), and there is never a case where a rich person could ever possibly use their economic and financial power to coerce anything from anyone.

Unless of course it’s an EVIL rich person in which the author again unthinkingly brings up all the kinds of abuses rich people could undertake and blithely handwaves the lack of a government to be a countervailing agency in a dispute involving a rich person and a poor person. But then to put the cherry on top of that sundae, characters in a comic even admit that a wealthy person could hijack an arbitration process and get a verdict in their favor.

It’s like the author can consider issues like economic coercive power, or regulatory/corporate capture of a government, etc, but only in isolation and without reference to an analysis of a deeper and more fundamental problem underlying the stories he’s trying to tell: that in order to ‘sell’ Libertarianism as a viable doctrine, he has to create caricatures of governments, turning up their bad aspects to eleven, while presenting an idealized frontier society as the basis for “real true Libertarianism”.

Further in the Vein of Old Economy Steve

From Adam Weinstein, Fuck You. I’m Gen Y, and I Don’t Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor. This article is a nice expansion on why memes like “Old Economy Steve” have gotten such traction.

Example:

They had room to advance and buy things. Yes, even the creatives. I once listened to a professor, who is in his sixties, read us the first published piece he’d been paid for, in the late 1970s. A thousand words or so. The rate, he says, was something like two bucks a word.

Even if they still paid $2 a word, the value of money has dropped by about a factor of five, or more if you think the SGS Alternate Measure of Inflation is a more reliable measurement. I could probably name a dozen examples where the value of work done for someone else has declined since the 1970s even as people misguidedly praise the superhuman efforts of those who still “succeed” in this era.

It’s the disconnection between the world the Old Economy Steves used to live in and the New Economy Sams* have to inhabit today. Even back in the 1990s, some people, like James Carville, Lester Thurow and James Galbraith, could already read the signs and were point out that the US economy in particular stopped rewarding the efforts of workers unlucky enough to run into the drive for profits, profits and more profits. Carville’s political solution was to invest in more education, and while the Clinton Administration tried to do it, they had to deal with a generally hostile Congress and the overarching need, in the political realities of the day, to bring in balanced budgets.

As for Thurow and Galbraith, their diagnosis was more complex but the basic solution remained that the US Government needed to do more for people, and it hasn’t done that in over a generation – at least not enough to prevail against the inexorable drive to transfer wealth into the hands of the already-rich, as opposed to the poor.

The declines of empires don’t go in straight lines, but I think history will look back at Obama’s Presidency as an ultimately well-meaning but ineffectual attempt to arrest the trends that began under Reagan and accelerated under Bush Jr.

And that is ultimately bad for the American worker, for whom the world of Old Economy Steve may very well never return.


* It’s a name that can be applied to either men or women, so I like it.

The Moment After II Part 1

[ NOTE: Image-heavy post ]

Hello again!

The movie starts off with a short recap, standard End Times fare as noted from the voiceover with overlapping voices, with each line representing a different speaker:

There is no doubt it’s the beginning of great tribulation…
Don’t be blind to what the government is trying to do!
…and democracy. One world government.
Take heed, my brothers. These things are happening now.
We must remain vigilant.

Then we get the One World Government and treaty with Israel and all the rest, as a newscaster speaks:

The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.00.34_[2013.08.26_12.57.34]“Tonight’s top story, the UN Charter becomes void as the last two remaining countries in the world surrender their now worthless paper money and economic autonomy to join Global Alliance.”

And as that voiceover happens, OMINOUS WORLD GOVERNMENT SYMBOL TRANSITION IS OMINOUS.


Then we recap the President mentioning the “B” chip and Rabbi Messianic Jew (’cause he’s one of the 144,000) Jacob Krause telling us all it’s really the BEAST chip (shock! horror!). Then Krause’s voiceover changes subject: “And for all the brothers and sisters who are now being persecuted throughout the world, we especially want to lift up Adam Riley, whose execution is now drawing near.” (the second image is a close-up on the article, which can just be made out well enough to read, for those who are interested)

The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.00.58_[2013.08.26_13.16.57]The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.01.01_[2013.08.26_13.17.57]

Of course, being as we’re in an End Times themed movie, the good guys will totally win and Adam won’t be killed. But let’s see how it plays out, yes?

A talking head indicates that Riley’s execution order was upheld in a court and so no delay of his execution is gonna happen. Darn.

Prisoners

We eventually end up with Riley daydreaming he’s out in the desert in his suit, only to wake up and realize he’s in his orange jumpsuit with a couple more prisoners, all of them apparently being taken to be executed. I wonder if they have Loyalty Enforcement Facilitators in this fictional version of Earth or if they’ll just go with the old firing squad.

The brown-haired guy in the middle (who, in the truck, is seated opposite Riley) is Rex. The darker-skinned guy, Robert Jackson, has a way with the lingo of the Bible: “My time is in your hands. Deliver me from my enemies and those that pursue me.”

That being said, one suspects the dude isn’t quite as “humble in Christ” as other Christians might be.

Anyway, the truck (in a pretty obvious body kit) shows up at a checkpoint.

The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.03.33_[2013.08.26_13.32.54]

Small talk ensues. The driver complains the air conditioning’s busted, and given that the movie (and its predecessor) were filmed in California, I don’t envy them in that heat (could be worse though; it could be in the humid parts of the US in summer)!

Turns out the actual place of this execution is so secrety-secret they can’t even tell the guards where they’re going. BUT SURPRISE! The checkpoint guards aren’t real guards! They shoot the driver and passenger, then dash around to the back of the truck and release the prisoners!

Much backslapping and congratulating all around, then Riley gets invited along with the escapees, who steal the pickup truck parked nearby. He refuses, preferring to go off alone.

The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.05.40_[2013.08.26_13.41.16]

Maybe you shoulda gone with the Christian militia guys after all, buddy. That gas tank ain’t gonna un-leak itself.

He decides to hot-foot into the hills and hopefully run across someone who won’t bust him and turn him in for an undoubtedly huge dead or alive reward.

The Moment After 2 - The Awakening(2006).avi_snapshot_00.06.38_[2013.08.26_13.43.49]

I have to say, the choice of a more common generic serifed font compared to that sillyass typewriter font for the first movie is a nice change and looks more appealing. Also, nice scenery into which Adam is running, albeit he won’t have any water or food.

We then see a fade to the title, then fade to black and scene cut.

I think I’ll take up the next part in a new post, since we’ll be switching to Baker, Riley’s ex-partner.

Prelude: The Moment After II

So, we return to see many of our characters on the big screen direct to DVD TV screen!

It is of note that The Moment After II: The Awakening took about six years to get issued after TMA, and it shows. The characters have visibly aged in some cases, and if they don’t get The Moment After III out soon, it might be impossible to re-use the same people and believably maintain continuity. Bad enough when they did this (having to swap out all the actors) to Atlas Shrugged – it just made a crappy movie even worse.

That said I predict that this movie will suffer from the haphazardly constructed plot in TMA, and that some hurried patch jobs and/or limiting the focus to only the major characters will be one way they’ll avoid needing to factor in world events or other phenomena which would require linking events of the first movie to the second, beyond the fact that Riley is in jail when we start out.

I’m not sure how I’ll split it up this time, so I’ll go back and edit the section titles to indicate part 1 of x, 2 of x, etc. In any case, Part 1 due to come shortly! :)