Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the time flies edition

Howdy folks. It's that time again. Tuesday. Time to rant.

If I'm being completely honest, I haven't really had all that much time to read or watch the news. I'm a week behind even on The Daily Show....just don't tell Jon. Having four kids playing baseball or softball, a dog in obedience training, summer school starting, Comic Con and everythingelsethatihavetodoeveryday just isn't allowing me a lot of free time to peruse the internets and watch tv.

I mean, I still totes watched the season finale of GOT, and I'll get to that in a minute. First, though, some other things I'm thinking about this week.

You know you're getting old when...
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the day I graduated from high school...which means that today is the 20th anniversary of the slow motion chase orchestrated by OJ Simpson and his good buddy Al Cowlings. 

That chase is one of the defining moments of our generation, I think. I mean, you can probably tell me exactly where you were when it happened, right?

I was in the middle of my graduation party. A house full of people, and we spent hours huddled around a screen wondering what the hell was going to happen. For real.

The whole OJ situation is one that I came to have a little more of a personal involvement with as time went on. Living in the greater LA area, we became familiar with the wonder that is the freeway chase. I even had the great pleasure of being on the freeway, pulled over to the side a few times to wait one out. It was a thing for a while. I'm not sure if it is like that anymore or not honestly.

Anyhow, OJ went to USC. So did I, leaving for school just a couple months after that chase. He kinda turned us into a running joke for a while, which...whatever. I watched, as did everyone, as the criminal trial unfolded and the entire thing turned into a circus. Then a few years later, when I was working for the LA County District Attorney's Office, the civil trial played out. (yes, I worked there, and holy crap that stories I could tell you but I can't tell you so there)

It was an interesting place to be. Let's just leave it at that.

Political Extremism
This is something that I've been talking to a lot of people about lately, something that only seems to be getting worse in our country - the growing extremism in the political world.

If ever we needed proof of it, we got it last week in spades. Virtual unknown David Brat unseated not just a House incumbent, but the Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He did it without really raising any money, he did it in a way that shocked just about everyone.

Cantor wasn't a moderate, not even close...but he wasn't far enough right to keep his job.

The reality is that our country is becoming more and more polarized. Congress becoming less and less effective, shutting down even for a bit recently because of their inability to come to an agreement. Most people with any background in history, political science or common sense will tell you that the solutions to most major problems necessarily lie somewhere between the extreme views. Compromise gets a lot more done than philosophical debates ever will.

Extremism is endangering this country. Point blank.

When you look at the fact that 92% of citizens are in favor of background checks for gun purchases but Congress won't even touch it with a ten foot pole, we have a problem. A major problem.

Elected officials are too afraid to talk about anything even remotely controversial these days because if they do, they will be eaten alive by the factions with enough money to do it. They'll be annihilated in television and radio ads, people will be constantly robo-called and sent propaganda in the mail slanting the issues whichever way suits the sender. We've had people recalled here in this state for daring to legislate anything about guns.

They aren't doing their jobs. They aren't doing what they are elected to do. They are being removed from office for even trying. The extremism has gone too far, and it is going to run us all into the ground if we don't stop it.

This isn't something that is happening on only one side either, both sides are doing it. Meanwhile, next to nothing is getting done in Washington. So, sure, we can keep dragging out our soapboxes and screaming at each other, wasting vast amounts of time and resources...or we can start to listen to what the other side has to say again and meet somewhere in the middle.

Oh, Game of Thrones...
Unlike most of the people all riled up this week about the finale, I actually felt kind of let down by it all. I'm learning the hard way, yet again, that the books are almost always going to be superior in every possible aspect than whatever eventually makes it to the screen.

Now, if you haven't read the books, not much of this will be relevant to you, and if you haven't watched this week's episode yet and plan to, stop reading now. I'm not about to censor myself here because of being called a spoiler.

p.s. when did that become a thing anyway? It used to be that the only people who could be considered legitimate spoilers of anything were those who revealed what happened in an earlier time zone, but now it seems like anytime anyone writes about anything that happens in a book or movie or on tv gets called to the carpet for being a spoiler. Seriously, if you aren't caught up on whatever it is and haven't watched it in a timely fashion, why should that be my fault?

Anyway...the warning is there.

I've been a bit disappointed with this season...mostly because, as I said just above, the books are so much better. The character development is deeper, the explanations for events and conflicts more sound. There is enough material for them to work with in the books (seriously, there is a TON of material) that I wonder fairly often why they feel compelled to change so much of it. Some of the things they are changing so much that the storylines have veered so far off course that I'm starting to wonder how they are ever going to get it all to line up again.

They throw in rape and violence often for no particular reason, make it somewhat irrelevant, then carry on the next episode as though it didn't happen. WHY DO THEY DO THAT?

There's plenty of sex and murder and gore and that in the books...there really isn't a compelling reason to change it as much as they have.

Anyhow, I'm always amused with the people who clearly haven't read the books and have no idea what is going to happen. If you've read the books, you knew damn well that Jaime was going to release Tyrion to Varys, but that he'd kill Shae and his father before he left. What is missing in the show, though, is a full disclosure of his motivations. Tyrion is one of the most consistent characters in the books, and the way it played out on the screen just didn't make much sense.

I'm also left wondering why the creators of the show are so hellbent on playing up (or flat out making up) supernatural elements of the stories, but leaving out some of the most important ones. If you've read the books, you know exactly who should have shown up there at the end and didn't.

Ice breaking skeletons, old man trees, fine. Zombies, though...not okay. Hmmmm.

You have to wonder what Martin makes of all this and why oh why they wouldn't have wanted to use Lady Stoneheart as the cliffhanger.

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