~On Hiatus~

Things have gotten real overwhelming lately, so this blog is on hiatus for a couple months. When we return, there’ll be a snazzy new design and everything! Thank you for your patience, and have  good spring.

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Lowest Common Lit-ominator: Movie Novelizations

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I’ve never understood movie novelizations.

There’s some slight rationale when they’re aimed at children, since kids relish being told the same story over and over again. (Hence the Teletubbies forcing you to watch a forty-second clip of a boy playing basketball eight times in a row no matter how loudly you scream or how hard you punch the TV.) But adults seek novelty, generally speaking. Why would any self-respecting grown-up purchase a written description of a movie they’ve already seen?

The answer has less to do with closed-head injuries than you may expect. Setting aside the rabid fanboys who live only to spend their parents’ money on every single piece of 300 tie-in merchandise, functional human beings can derive some modicum of stimulation from licensed paperbacks because such novels are usually based on earlier versions of scripts. That means they contain scenes that were written out of subsequent drafts or left on the cutting room floor. Sometimes, this makes novelizations compelling.

More often, it makes them really shitty.

movie-posters-novelization

I’ve spent the past several weeks reading not one, not two, but ten movie novelizations. Join me as I recount, in a two-part post, the quirks, caprices, delights, and assaults on human intellect contained in the tie-in novels for Star Wars, Home Alone, and many more.

This week: Back to the Future, Jumanji, The Cat in the Hat, Night at the Museum, and Suicide Squad. Continue reading

Cringe n’ Purge: The Rise of Islamophobia and a 9th Grader’s 9/11 Diary

Writing-Make-a-Difference

“Osama, Saddam, you guys are messed up. You can kiss my ass.”

We all know things in the United States haven’t been going so hot. Between the imminent dismantling of the ACA, threats to abortion rights, and Sean Spicer eating entire packs of gum, every day has started to feel like the movie Groundhog Day, if the movie Groundhog Day was about Bill Murray waking up every morning and getting punched in the balls by a billionaire megalomaniac with lips like a bleached sphincter.

The current political and social atmosphere has made it hard for me to come up with ideas for posts. I want to be entertaining, but I also want to be relevant. Moreover, I want to keep my head above the sewage waters of current public discourse and help others do the same. So I started to think: When was the last time it really felt like the world was going to hell?

And I answered myself: 9/11.

And I just so happen to have a written eyewitness record of that most pivotal era in American history. Some of it is fairly prescient. Some of it is exactly the kind of stupid bullshit you would expect a 9th grader to spout. Meanwhile, some of it shows that the more things change…

Well, you’ll see what I mean.

9/11/2001

4:00

This morning started out normal. I did my hair, put on my jeans, blue tanktop, and blue hooded sweatshirt. Mrs. Ellerby, my neighbor, Zayne’s mom, gave me a ride to school since she was going there anyway.

I went to 2nd hour, laughed at a diagram of a fish’s anus, and got annoyed by the dumb jocks. Daniel and Jenny Deville kept fighting and wouldn’t shut up.

Then, in 3rd hour, it all started. Mr. Miller came in and said, “Today is a day that will go down in history as, um…a very strange day. The Pentagon and the World Trade Center have been attacked by terrorists.” Continue reading

All the World’s a Scam: Pseudoscience, Psedoreligion, Pseudobusiness, and Donald Trump

TrumpRegrets is a new Twitter account that’s almost as hilarious as it is disheartening. A catalog of voter remorse, the account retweets messages from former Trump supporters who somehow–miraculously–didn’t anticipate the turn things have taken. Some of the tweets are poignant. Others are just abusive.

I save the latter, because they cheer me up whenever I’m forced to contemplate the thin-skinned, bloviating flesh bag we’ve just inaugurated president.

TrumpRegrets

Bitch.

Those of us who didn’t vote for Trump may wonder how the other half got duped into supporting a man who looks like a three-week-old Jack o’lantern and talks like a smackhead with a closed-head injury, but it’s really not so mysterious. Generally speaking, people respond well to being told what they want to hear.

I’m not exempting myself from that assessment, by the way. When I stumbled across alleged evidence of Trump photoshopping his hands to look bigger, my first instinct wasn’t to fact check. It was to wallow in feelings of validation.

You vain, pathetic little man, I thought. Aren’t I clever for not having voted for you.

In reality, I has nothing to do with cleverness and everything to do with having been burned in the past (well, okay, and a sizable differential in conscious racism–but that’s beside the point). Trump, at his core, is a con artist, and I’ve been targeted by con artists before. Any vulnerable member of society has. Me as a poor kid. You as a member of the LGBTQIA community. Her as a woman of color. Many people learn to recognize the signs of a scam, chief among them that “a-person-with-power-is-being-suspiciously-nice-to-me” feeling.

Some people, though. Someone people are just a little too desperate–or clueless, or isolated, or bigoted, or whatever–to run things by their internal fact-checker. And that’s when people like Donald Trump can convince them to act against their own best interests.

Continue reading

Cringe n’ Purge: Excerpts from My Middle School Diary

Between the ages of 12 and 18, I kept a regular diary. Well, diaries. When I dug them up out of my mom’s basement this past Christmas, they comprised at least 15 volumes.

Box of teenage diaries

Pictured: a box full of shame

As I peruse these snapshots of a misspent adolescence, I realize I had a lot to say, and absolutely none of it was good. I evidently fancied myself a bit of a rebel, when I was really something closer to the anime-addled offspring of Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way and a Livejournal meme. I was the human embodiment of a t-shirt reading “You laugh because I’m different, I laugh because you’re all the same.” Witness Exhibit A: Continue reading

Proud American: Film or Fever Dream?

Proud American, the movie

I am about to describe a movie that, to the best of my knowledge, no one but I, my husband, and a handful of film critics ever saw. This film has no online presence and received no DVD release. Its official website is long gone, though it does retain a Wikipedia article, which cites it as the lowest grossing film of all time.

Also, the trailer is still on YouTube.

When I sneaked into Proud American eight years ago as a joke, I had no idea my brain would one day become the primary record of its existence. At the time, I just wanted to have a giggle at the most naked, artless piece of propaganda to hit theaters since World War II. Produced by Hallmark and financed by Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, MasterCard, and American Airlines, Proud American is ostensibly five intertwining stories about Americans making good. In actuality, though, it’s a hyper-capitalist nightmare. If a corporate lobbyist and a Fox News commentator had a love child, and that love child had a wet dream, and the fluid products of that wet dream were pressed into celluloid and run through a film projector, this is what you would get.

Given the recent resurgence of nationalist feelings in the United States, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this lunacy. Keep in mind, however, that I saw it exactly once back in 2008 and am thus describing it from long-decayed memory. Keep in mind also that there are practically no screen shots online, so I’ve made some crappily Photoshopped approximations of what I think I saw all those summers ago. Continue reading

Indigo’s the Color of Your Energy, pt 2: My Kid is Specialer Than Your Kid

ADHD, Attention Dialed Into a Higher Dimension

I often stop to thank my lucky stars that my mom wasn’t a credulous yuppie. Had she been just a little bit dumber and a lotta bit richer, I’d be draped in amber and freebasing chia seeds right about now. That’s because, at least superficially, I meet many of the criteria of an indigo child.

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Gawky, awkward, and indigo–a fatal trifecta

So what are the signs of indigo-ism? According to P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., indigo children are

  • sensitive
  • impatient
  • diagnosed with ADHD

That last one must be important, because Atwater runs back to that well over and over again. We saw last week that she blames ADHD on allergies and advocates curing it with head massages. She later states that ADHD is actually a sign of membership in the fifth root race and signifies the return of the “hunter gene,” an allele that will save humanity as the fifth world goes into ascension. So…guess it’s not caused by allergies, then? This is one of many occasions on which Atwater tries to combine two competing new age theories, and she never quite carries it off.

Some of the other qualifications for membership in the indigo club are

  • memories of one’s own birth
  • psychic ability
  • giftedness

This is the part of the book I could barely bring myself to read. It’s so rife with bullshit and special-snowflake-ism-by-proxy, I feel like I need chelation therapy to get rid of the douche chills. And now, I’ll share it with you. Because I care.

Continue reading