The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for January, 2011

Scumbags on Parade

Posted by Matt on January 31, 2011

The Canadian Values people won’t leave me alone. Now ‘Dr.’ Charles McVety is his entourage of kooks are whining to me about their TV channel being ‘censored’:

“In December, the CRTC, through their Canadian Broadcast Standards Council began to censor Charles McVety and his television broadcast Word TV for unapproved political speech. Fearing the heavy hand of the CRTC the new corporate leadership at CTS bowed to the censors, rejected three subsequent Word TV programs for frivolous reasons and then publically announced that CTS will no longer air the program.”

Gee, I’d like to help, but you don’t seem to be giving me much information. What are these ‘frivolous’ reasons? When did it happen? It’s almost as if you’re withholding these facts from us so you easily manipulate and propagandize this press release.

“Dr. McVety says “I don’t know how they want me to talk. I thought I lived in a free democratic country and that political censorship was reserved for totalitarian regimes. The first thing a dictator like Hugo Chavez does is silence voices of opposition. Iran, Cuba, North Korea and other despotic regimes all move swiftly to suppress voices of dissent. Canada criticizes China heavily for human rights violations of denying free speech while Canada practices heavy handed political censorship. I am not suggesting Canada is moving toward fascism, but toward total control of the education of our children. No country on earth confuses its children as young as eight-years-old with “gender identity” teaching.””

“I am not suggesting Canadia is moving towards fascism”

Of course not.

And are you still on the gender identity thing? Get off this fucking obsession you have, especially when it has nothing to do with what your talking about! This seems to be a regular feature of McVety’s news ejaculations.

“For years this Orwellian Council has attacked other Christian leaders such as James Dobson, John Hagee, Jack Van Impe, James Robison and many more however this is the first time their acts of censorship have forced a Canadian Christian leader from the air.”

Yes, that would the James Dobson who has spent over thirty years rallying against homosexuals, gay marriage (which will “Destroy the earth”, I remind you), and convincing parents to ‘fix’ their kids if they ever show any sign of the queer.

And yes, that would be John Hagee, apocalyptic cult leader and all-around chucklehead.

Yes, McVety puts himself in good company.

“McVety says “This is an attack on all Christians and we will fight to defend our basic human rights afforded to us by Canada’s Charter that guarantees (a) freedom of conscience and religion;(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”.

As leaders representing hundreds of thousands of Canadians, we believe the actions of CRTC, CBSC and CTS contravene the Broadcast Act and are unconstitutional. Together we call on the CRTC and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to uphold our basic human rights and to cease and desist all actions of political censorship.”

Yeah, good luck with that.

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Posted by Matt on January 29, 2011

Another continuation of an old old post that sucks.

I’ve been watching commercials from children’s programming blocks again. From this, I have come to a new conclusion: advertising fast food to children is vile. The toys, the sugar cereals, the snack foods, and all the other junk you don’t need that clogged the commercial breaks are nowhere near as disagreeable on a most basic level of fast food.

Here’s why: I’m sure most people of my age or older remember a time when going to McDonalds was a big deal. Like, when you were a kid, you wanted to eat there, it was something special. As most people get older, they realize something: McDonalds food, and pretty much all other fast food, is bland and boring. How could I ever be convinced this food was ever even satisfactory? It’s fucking wafer-thin ‘meat’ coasters and microscopic french fries drenched in salt. It really makes you appreciate the thick, juicy, hand-crafted motherfuckers you get at home. Even if you still eat fast food, it’s out of convenience or cheapness, not out of a desire for the food itself. It’s never “Let’s go to Burger King!”, it’s “I need something quick…look, there’s Burger King. That’ll work, I guess”.

So, the food sucks, and it’s the worse thing for your health unless you eat caramel and chocolate-covered steak stacks deep-fried and coated in salt and sugar, so why are kids so obsessed with it? I guess it’s been sweetened quite a bit (the buns especially are very obviously filled with sugar), and when they don’t know any better that draws them in. But that can’t be the only thing. And that leaves the marketing, which came to us primarily through commercials aired during kid shows.

Now, we all know kids are more susceptible to advertising than adults are. They just haven’t had the chance to become savvy, to know when they being marketed to (hell, many adults still haven’t figured that out). And that’s why fast food commercials aimed at kids were so bad, all things considered: they were aiming to get kids to want something that is very definition of something you don’t need, something that essentially has no redeeming qualities. And as far as my anecdotal evidence goes, it worked.

Now the things are far more regulated than before, and you know what? I don’t care. Fuck ’em.

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(Chapter XI)

Posted by Matt on January 29, 2011

Previously

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(Chapter X)

Posted by Matt on January 27, 2011

Previously

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(Chapter IX)

Posted by Matt on January 25, 2011

Previously

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(Chapter VIII)

Posted by Matt on January 21, 2011

Previously

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(Chapter VII)

Posted by Matt on January 20, 2011

Previously

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Thoughts on a Thing

Posted by Matt on January 18, 2011

What, I’m still allowed to make some fun posts every once in a while.

An expansion on this old piece of shit.

I still happen to think that the Green Goblin is a super-silly villain (so, pretty much on par with 95% of the Spider-Man rogues gallery) who was somewhat arbitrarily chosen to be a ‘Big Bad’. Norman Osborn makes sense as a major bad guy for Spider-Man, but there’s no real connection between his psychosis and dressing up as a Halloween-themed criminal, unless you are to consider that the norm in the world of Spider-Man. So basically you have a cognitive dissonance situation where the evil mastermind who is your best friend’s dad and threw your first girlfriend off a bridge is also a guy who dresses up in a D&D costume, carries a purse, and flies around on a bat-shaped flying wakeboard throwing jack-o-lantern-shaped explosives. I can accept this idea, but it just means I have a hard time taking anyone’s argument that Green Goblin as a major villain seriously.

But that was then. Let’s talk about now. I think GG/NO’s status as a major part of an influential story has hurt the character in the long run. Technically, there shouldn’t even be a long run for the character…he died at the end of ‘The Night Gwen Stacy Died’, impaled on his own glider. And he stayed dead for a good long while, at least 25 years. From that, we got some interesting character development for Harry Osborn, leading to the semi-obvious conclusion of him donning the goofy Halloween gear himself. And then he died too, and that should have been the end of that. Hobgoblin and Jack-o-Lantern essentially stole all the Green Goblin’s gimmicks, so there was really no goblin-shaped void left in the Spider-Man mythos, either.

But then the Clone Saga happened. Most comics fans know all about that, but for those out of the loop, this is here for you to gain all you need to know about it, and lots you don’t need to know. In brief, it was an infamous overextended storyline that many think irrevocably damaged Spider-Man comics for years and years to come. One of the things the storyline did, basically as a way to finally kill it after the writers, artists, and editors got fucking sick of it, was to bring Norman Osborn back to life as the mastermind behind the events of the previous years of stories. They saw it as thematically sensible, but it started a downward spiral for the Osborn/Goblin duo that goes on to this day.

Norman Osborn works as a Spider-Man villain because he was Peter Parker’s best friend’s weird dad. If I’m remember the characterization of him in the first Spider-Man movie correctly, then that is what I imagine he works best at: sometimes he fills the father figure role in Peter’s life, sometimes he’s just a plain old jerk. But in the end, he’s a good villain BECAUSE of that personal connection; the Green Goblin is just a standard early-era Spider-Man villain with a twist, but that’s perfectly okay.

But once you start turning Norman Osborn into a conspiratorial puppet master, it takes what should be a somewhat smaller-scale character battle and makes it ridiculous. It gets worse: after his revival and into the modern Marvel era, Norman goes even further, becoming an insane evil genius who manipulates his way into a top position and then starts wrecking the entire Marvel universe. It just completely warps the character beyond any level of recognition. I thought he was just an unscrupulous businessman with a weird pastime; now he’s off-brand Lex Luthor? What’s the point?

Well, I think the point was that ‘Hey! He was the bad guy behind that important story! He should be central to the Marvel Universe in general, even when it doesn’t make sense!’ It’s a weird fanboy mentality that tries to translate the meta-importance and memorability of a character into importance and memorability within the fiction, regardless of what that actually means within the text. It’s the same point brought up by the recent Red Letter Media review of Star Wars: Episode III about Darth Vader: just because he’s an important villain to us as an audience doesn’t mean you need to turn him into the central figure of the story’s mythology. They were trying to do the same thing with Obsorn, essentially making him Marvel’s Lex Luthor AND Joker at the same time, which many of the creative minds behind it probably think is essential to such an IMPORTANT character.

Here’s the thing: it makes sense for Lex Luthor to have the level of importance he does. Not only is he the archenemy of the most famous superhero in the world, but his characterization from day one made it a possibility, whether he’s the golden age mad scientist or the modern corporate overlord. You could probably argue that the Joker has been overblown in much the same way as Osborn, but even so, he could still make sense within the wider context of DC’s superhero line. Osborn/Green Goblin, on the other hand, are so essentially tied to Spider-Man as a character, that it just doesn’t feel right to have him battle the Avengers. And it doesn’t even make sense for them to, either; Green Goblin would barely register as a second-string member of the Masters of Evil in terms of the kind of threat he would pose someone like Thor or Iron Man.

Now that Siege is long over (digression: I find it hilarious how quickly that supposedly back-to-the-basics approach represented by the ‘Heroic Age’ has been replaced by another dark crossover story) and Osborn is no longer the head of the most powerful agency in Marvel’s comics, I hope the creative forces at Marvel recognize some of these issues and can fix some of them. Of course, they’re probably not going to kill him again, so the central issue will remain.

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(Chapter VI)

Posted by Matt on January 18, 2011

Prologue
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V

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(Chapter V)

Posted by Matt on January 13, 2011

Prologue
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV

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