Would Gina Carano still have a job at Disney if she’d showered with Harvey Weinstein?

Gina Carano was fired by Disney/Lucasfilm for “The love that dare not speak its name” (modern-day version: love for the working class and the politician who promised to cut back on elites stealing from workers).

Here’s a question… suppose that Ms. Carano had followed the traditional path to Hollywood success by agreeing to shower with Harvey Weinstein. And she’d joined Harvey at fundraisers for Democrats and when he was getting “a cultural activism award from Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research” (see “How Harvey Weinstein became one of the most powerful figures in Democratic politics before his career was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal” (Business Insider)). Would she still have her starring role?

(And, of course, as a victim of Harvey’s sex-for-jobs racket, in addition to whatever roles she obtained she would also be able to claim additional cash compensation for having been forced to scrub Harvey’s corpulence in the Four Seasons shower.)

Separately, when will the righteous demand that Gina Carano’s character be replaced with one that can be played by a white male?

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Best Super Bowl commercials?

What are folks’ favorite Super Bowl commercials so far? (with YouTube links if possible)

My favorite is this Jeep commercial in which Bruce Springsteen (arrested in November 2020 for “suspicion of driving while intoxicated”) says “As for freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few, it belongs to us all, whoever you are, wherever you’re from.”

Residents of California and Maskachusetts certainly have the freedom to follow their respective governors’ orders to stay home, educate their children themselves (while paying taxes to fund still-closed schools), fill out mandatory travel forms telling friendly government officials where they’ve been, supply medical records to the government when asked (or pay a $7,000 per-person fine), etc. (See this ranking of states by coronapanic restrictions.)

Jeep also reminds us that these are the “ReUnited States” now that a single party controls Congress and the White House and can do whatever it wants to people who voted for the other party.

Could it be that Jeep is lobbying for a handout from the unifying Biden administration now that the Kia Telluride is on the Car and Driver 10Best list rather than a Jeep?

And what do football connoisseurs think of the game?

Some photos from Tampa… Bern’s Steakhouse (if you have a craving for an Impossible Burger within a week of eating at Bern’s, I will pay for your soy and coconut oil mishmash):

A billboard offering “wife insurance” next to an, um, gentleman’s club:

A Grumman Widgeon at Sun n Fun (April 2021, supposedly!) in nearby Lakeland (sacred to Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts):

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Immigrant Dad’s tutorial on the “real hidden figures” in Hidden Figures

The local 9th graders were sentenced to watch Hidden Figures by their English teacher. Immigrant Dad’s running text message commentary:

Watching the movie “Hidden Figures” about Black women at NASA. About how they created the space program for us.

I stopped the movie to say that the real hidden figures were 1600 Nazi scientists, led by Werner von Braun, the SS Sturmbannführer [major] who basically did everything.

All white males.

Aryans.

In this movie, von Braun is nowhere to be seen despite scenes with Alan Shepard and NASA top brass

Can’t afford to have an SS guy in this poetic script.

Black women all coding now. And teaching white men how to do it.

This whole film was a giant waste of time.

I need to help my kid write a paper referencing this work of woke art. I am teaching them how to feed idiots what they want to hear. Useful in life.

Another friend chimed in:

The scene where Harrison smashes the Colored Ladies Room sign never happened, as in real life Katherine refused to walk the extra distance to use the colored bathroom and, in her words, “just went to the White one”

A Silicon Valley coder in the chat group:

These ladies make money in a more civilized manner: https://youtu.be/hsm4poTWjMs (featuring Joe Biden’s friend Cardi B). Those fingernails are like Chinese foot binding, they say, “I am too important to do a ghetto job like programming.” Remember that the black struggle was all about getting off the plantation; why go back to it with all the Indians and people on the autism spectrum? [black power fist emoji]

I’m not sure that the youngsters learned what the teacher was hoping they would…

They are watching and making fun of it. Especially black women programmers. In [one kid’s] view Blacks are as rare in computer science as whites in basketball.

How does Immigrant Dad’s history lesson hold up? Wikipedia:

Operation Paperclip was a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) largely carried out by special agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were taken from Germany to the United States, for U.S. government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Many were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party.

Some January photos from the Kennedy Space Center. Note that programmer Margaret Hamilton is depicted larger than life size, while Werner von Braun is at 1/10th the scale. (The photo on the bottom is captured “The Original Mercury Seven Astronauts with a USAF F-106.” Alan Shepard is among them.

And this is a good time to reprise my heroic Cirrus SR20 landing on a 15,000′ runway (same trip):

Also a good time to remember our hosts down there, Al Worden, who sadly died just 6 weeks later despite seeming to be in perfect health, and Bruce Melnick, helicopter pilot-turned-astronaut.

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New York Times style: Mx. Jones

“The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism” (NYT):

Heirs whose wealth has come from a specific source sometimes use that history to guide their giving. Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old “socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist or all of the above,” has a trust fund that was financed by their former stepfather’s outlet mall empire. (Mx. Delahunt takes nongendered pronouns.)

“When I think about outlet malls, I think about intersectional oppression,” Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anticapitalist mission and in some way tackle the externalities of discount shopping.

A friend who was a reporter for this paper in the 1980s told me that they wouldn’t write “Dr. Jones” for a mere Ph.D. Jones had to be an actual medical doctor. I think the paper has been doing “Mx.” for a while, but I didn’t notice until recently.

The article is also interesting for the unchallenged idea that immigrants from India are victims:

“The narrative of giving away everything feels like it’s being framed by white inheritors,” said Elizabeth Baldwin, a 34-year-old democratic socialist in Cambridge, Mass., who was adopted from India by a white family when she was a baby. Heirs in her position, she said, must decide whether to redistribute to their own communities or others’, and what it means to give up economic privilege when they don’t have the kind of safety net that comes with being white. She plans to keep enough of her inheritance to buy an apartment and raise a family, enjoying the sort of pleasant middle-class existence denied to many people of color in the United States.

Because her adoptive family’s wealth originated in land ownership and slavery, she donates to anti-racist groups and will soon begin making low-interest loans to Black-owned businesses. “The money I’m living on was made from exploiting people that look like me, so I see my giving as reparations,” she said.

Black Americans look like Indian-Americans? Is it time for an update of alllooksame.com? People of color from India can’t lead a middle-class existence in the U.S.? Is that because they earn 2X the median and therefore have to live an upper-middle-class existence? From Wikipedia:

Indian Americans have risen to become the richest ethnicity in America, with an average household income of $126,891 (compared to the US average of $65,316).

The rich and righteous don’t like stocks for the long run:

“My money is mostly stocks, which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery,” Ms. Gelman said.

Maybe it would be possible to get hold of some of Ms. Gelman’s cash by creating a mutual fund of stocks in companies that don’t have a significant number of employees and/or that pay high wages to employees because all of the crummy jobs have been outsourced to contractors?

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Sean Connery as an inspiration for American suburban life

From one of our Facebook friends:

RIP, Sir Sean Connery. Your impact on my childhood and becoming a man cannot be understated. Thank you.

This led to a mystified chat discussion. The guy who posted this has been married for 25 years, works at a desk job, never does anything without first asking his wife for permission, never expresses an opinion that he and/or his wife think might upset the town’s cabal of stay-at-home moms, and is an apparent slave to his high school-age daughters. What was the connection between James Bond and the suburban soccer dad? How had Danny Dravot’s attempts to take over Afghanistan in The Man Who Would Be King inspired his trips to Costco?

Also, if Joe Biden delivers on his promise to shut down the United States, do we start calling Anthony Fauci “Dr. No”?

Related:

  • Wikipedia reveals the inclusive nature of the U.K. Connery was knighted by the Queen in 2000 despite (a) living in the Bahamas to minimize income tax liability, and (b) supporting Scottish independence.
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Togo, the Disney sled dog movie

If there is a dispute in your household regarding whether a big furry dog is allowed to sleep in the bed… Togo is the movie for you! This is a fantastic (in all senses of the word) dramatization of the 1925 dog team relay that brought diphtheria antitoxin serum to Nome.

The best part, from my point of view, is that the growth of a character (and in every Hollywood movie, of course, someone has to grow!) is demonstrated by abandonment of a previous objection to a dog sleeping in the (humans’) bed.

Recommended if you’ve got a Disney+ subscription. (Does it qualify as “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life,” as Michelle Obama said of Hamilton? Maybe not, but it has Arctic dogs and, at least when presented on a TV, it holds the viewer’s attention much better than Hamilton.)

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Who has watched Hamilton more than once on Disney+?

Michelle Obama on Hamilton: “it was simply, as I tell everybody, the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” The proletariat seemed to agree with her, happily shelling out a month of income for a family night at the (sold-out-at-$1000+/seat) theater.

The musical has been out for months now on Disney+. Who has taken the trouble to press the “Play” button more than once? Or knows someone who has watched the musical more than once on Disney+?

I ultimately failed to persuade even a single friend to come over and watch this. Visiting a friend’s vacation house for roughly 7 nights this summer, I could not persuade anyone there to watch it with me.

[The same people were happy to gather, perhaps contrary to a subset of our governor’s 50+ orders, for other movies, shows, games, and activities.]

I am having difficulty understanding how something that was so valuable to people in the theater is essentially worthless on TV. Part of this, I guess, is that sticking a camera in the back of a theatrical production has seldom been a hugely successful technique for making a good movie. On the other hand, that’s what the Metropolitan Opera did before they were shut down for coronapanic and the results were successful with millions of viewers on PBS and at least hundreds of thousands in theaters.

Also, what’s our verdict on the show? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any painting in the Metropolitan Museum, Louvre, or National Gallery (I think we can assume she has been to these places)? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any work by Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, or Mozart? Who agrees with Michelle Obama that this is better than any work misattributed to Shakespeare?

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What new monuments do we need?

From the New York Times:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest humanities philanthropy in the United States, has pledged to spend $250 million over five years to help reimagine the country’s approach to monuments and memorials, in an effort to better reflect the nation’s diversity and highlight buried or marginalized stories.

The first major grant under the new $250 million initiative will be a $4 million, three-year gift to Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based public art and research studio that works with artists and community groups across the country to “reimagine public spaces through stories of social justice and equity,” according to its website.

The cover photo of the story:

Readers: What new monuments do you propose?

My first idea is a monument on the Hudson River to the French software engineers who kept the Airbus A320 from stalling despite Captain Sully’s heroic stick-full-back-the-whole-time landing (some details). Computer programmers are a group whose stories are marginalized, as required by the foundation. How often does anyone want to hear a tale of cisgender white male nerds writing code?

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Hollywood says it is okay to be racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQIA+ half the time

“Oscars Announce New Inclusion Requirements for Best Picture Eligibility” (Variety):

For the 94th and 95th Oscars ceremonies, scheduled for 2022 and 2023, a film will submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form to be considered for best picture. Beginning in 2024, for the 96th Oscars, a film submitting for best picture will need to meet the inclusion thresholds by meeting two of the four standards.

If these standards are important, why does a film need to meet only half of them? Would we say that a person was a virtuous anti-racist if he/she/ze/they went to only half of the local KKK gatherings?

What are America’s victim groups, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

•Women
•Racial or ethnic group:
•Asian
•Hispanic/Latinx
•Black/African American
•Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
•Middle Eastern/North African
•Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
•Other underrepresented race or ethnicity
•LGBTQ+
•People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

(Only “LGBTQ+” and not “LGBQTIA+”?)

Also… when is victimhood measured? At the time that the victim is hired? At the time that the victim first works on the film? At the time that the victim completes work on the film? At the time of the Academy Awards? We wouldn’t deny, I hope, that gender ID is fluid and changeable. Hollywood itself loves to give us examples of people who change their LGBTQIA+ status from negative (cisgender heterosexual) to positive (e.g., homosexual). Racial identification is fluid. Most recently in the news, Jessica Krug, whose brilliant Ph.D. colleagues accepted her as a Black woman (NY Post):

Finally, what actually qualifies under the LGBTQIA+ banner? The actor tells the producer that he/she/ze/they had sex in an LGBTQIA+ manner? How does that move the needle with the general public unless the actor has sex in an LGBTQIA+ manner on screen? Rock Hudson, for example, allegedly identified as LGBTQIA+, but his on-screen characters were cisgender heterosexuals. Why did that advance the LGBTQIA+ movement compared to simply hiring a cisgender heterosexual actor?

(Even a movie with an all-Asian (a victim category for Hollywood) cast and a female lead is objectionable currently: “Disney Wanted to Make a Splash in China With ‘Mulan.’ It Stumbled Instead.” (NYT, complaining that Disney did some filming in a Muslim area of China (wouldn’t the revenue actually be good for Chinese Muslims?)))

Related (going through old posts to see if any of them involve movies that would qualify):

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Midnight in Chernobyl: Helicopter heroes

Suggested reading for 9/11, in which I hope we remember those who ran towards the stricken towers rather than following instinct and running away: Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster Kindle Edition, by Adam Higginbotham. This follows my general rule that the only good popular books on science and engineering are written by British authors, who tend to assume that their audience is actually capable of comprehending some of the technical and scientific points.

The heroism in the book is inspiring. I was partway through this book when a scheduled flight to Upstate New York came up. There was a 40-knot headwind which would, I knew, combine with the mountains and hills to form turbulence. The FAA had issued a warning for moderate turbulence below 10,000′. The trip was a favor to friends who wanted to look at an antique wooden boat for sale. I thought about wimping out on two hours of bumps, but then said “If the Soviet firefighters and nuclear plant ran toward Chernobyl Reactor 4 rather than away, I can handle a bit of discomfort.”

A lot of the workers in the plant behaved heroically, trying to resupply what they thought was left of the exploded reactor with cooling water. They knew that they were going to receive lethal doses of radiation, but they strove to reach manual valves and controls in hopes of saving fellow citizens. About 60 of these men died within a month (Wikipedia).

Although there was no shortage of heroes following this explosion, I had never realized the heroic actions of Soviet helicopter crews. They flew directly into the worst of the radioactive cloud to drop, by hand, bags of boron-containing sand, straight down into the ruined core. “Historians estimate that about 600 Soviet pilots risked dangerous levels of radiation to fly the thousands of flights needed to cover reactor No. 4 in this attempt to seal off radiation.” (Wikipedia, which also notes that the efforts might not have yielded significant results; as with coronaplague, when the guy running the helicopter operation was told that it was futile, he said “we have to be seen to be doing something”)

From chernobylgallery.com:

It is a good book. I haven’t seen the HBO series. What do folks think of it?

Circling back to 9/11, the New Yorker ran a good article on Rick Rescorla, who went into the World Trade Center to get people out.

Related:

  • the cause of the accident (Chernobyl Gallery)
  • “How HBO Got It Wrong On Chernobyl” (Forbes): 2 immediate, non-radiation deaths; 29 early fatalities from radiation (ARS) within 4 months from radiation, burns and smoke inhalation, 19 late adult fatalities presumably from radiation over the next 20 years, although this number is within the normal incidence of cancer mortality in this group, which is about 1% per year, and 9 late child fatalities resulting in thyroid cancer, presumably from radiation.
  • Wikipedia: There is consensus that a total of approximately 30 men died from immediate blast trauma and acute radiation syndrome (ARS) in the seconds to months after the disaster, respectively, with 60 in total in the decades hence, inclusive of later radiation induced cancer.[2][3][4] However, there is considerable debate concerning the accurate number of projected deaths due to the disaster’s long-term health effects; long-term death estimates range from up to 4,000 (per the 2005 and 2006 conclusions of a joint consortium of the United Nations) for the most exposed people of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, to 16,000 in total for all those exposed on the entire continent of Europe, with figures as high as 60,000 when including the relatively minor effects around the globe
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