Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category
Here’s Coyne quoting Myers:
Here’s how you don’t respond to Williams death: as P.Z Myers has in a post at Pharyngula, in which he claims that the media (and our government) has taken advantage of Williams’s death to draw attention away from racism and other social problems. In other words, we’ve been manipulated:
I’m sorry to report that comedian Robin Williams has committed suicide, an event of great import and grief to his family. But his sacrifice has been a great boon to the the news cycle and the electoral machinery — thank God that we have a tragedy involving a wealthy white man to drag us away from the depressing news about brown people.
. . . Boy, I hate to say it, but it sure was nice of Robin Williams to create such a spectacular distraction. No one wants to think the police might be untrustworthy. [This refers to the police shooting of black teenager Mike Brown in St. Louis.]
And think of the politicians! Midterm elections are coming up. Those are important! So people like Barack Obama need to be able to show their human side and connect with the real concerns of the American people by immediately issuing a safe, kind statement about Robin Williams, while navigating the dangerous shoals of police brutality and black oppression by avoiding them. Wouldn’t want to antagonize those lovely law-and-order folks before an election, you see.
Wealthy white man? Really? This is one of the most contemptible and inhumane things I’ve ever seen posted by a well-known atheist. It reeks of arrogance, of condescension, and especially of a lack of empathy for those who loved and admired Williams not because they knew him, but because he brought them happiness and made them think.
Well said. But I wonder if Coyne was caught off guard by Myers’ “arrogance” and “condescension,” which isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Surely Coyne isn’t just now discovering that Myers’ comments often reek of arrogance and condescension. And atheists wonder why believers sometimes brand nonbelievers as close-minded pricks. Its because of assholes such as this.
Postscript: After sleeping on it and talking in the comments section, I had a few more thoughts on this. I think the point Myers was trying to make about the media milking Williams’ death was probably a legit gripe, but it was far overshadowed by the statement about “wealthy white men” and “it sure was nice of Robin Williams to create such a spectacular distraction,” which were particularly abhorrent. The man hung himself after a lengthy battle with depression and addiction and still managed to be one of the most beloved figures of our time; whatever the media and politicians hope to gain from his death is beside the point.
Here is an honest talk with Robin Williams from April 26, 2010, with comedian Marc Maron. He talks honestly about depression, addiction, mortality and of course, comedy. He even contemplates the notion of suicide at about the 56:00 mark. It may change how you think about Williams.
20. The Flaming Lips
Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face/Do you realize we’re floating in space/Do you realize that happiness makes you cry/Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes let them know/You realize that life goes fast/It’s hard to make the good things last/You realize the sun doesn’t go down/It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize/Do You Realize/that everyone you know/Someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes let them know/You realize that life goes fast/It’s hard to make the good things last/You realize the sun doesn’t go down/It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face/Do you realize
21. Weezer — Weezer blazed onto the scene as a band that still had that metallic punch of guitar distortion and fuzz, but without all of the angst or pensiveness of some of their contemporaries. While the self-titled “Blue Album” and “Pinkerton” are beloved fan classics, the band still enjoyed with acclaimed success the “Green Album,” “Maladiot” and “Make Believe,” selling a total of more than 9.2 million albums in the United States and about 17.5 million worldwide. “Make Believed” reached number two on the U.S. charts and number one in Canada. And, of course, all those accolades aside, they brought geek rock to the mainstream:
22. The Replacements — No top alternative list would be complete without The Replacements, and they just edge out Sonic Youth and the Meat Puppets for their sheer longevity and influence on the industry.
23. Depeche Mode — Not to overstate matters, but Q Magazine has listed Depeche Mode as one of the 50 bands that changed the world, and “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known.” At more than 75 million albums and singles sold worldwide, Depeche Mode is one of the most successful bands of all time. Enough said:
24. The Offspring — One of the highest selling punk rock bands in history, The Offspring’s third album, “Smash,” sold 20 million by itself, with the breakout tracks, “Self Esteem,” “Come Out and Play” and “Gotta Get Away.” After the mediocre offering, “Ixnay on the Hombre,” The Offspring enjoyed its greatest mainstream popularity to date with “Americana,” with the songs “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” The band had another standout track in 2012 with “Days Go By.”
25. Arcade Fire — With just four albums under their belts since the release of “Funeral” in 2004, Arcade Fire has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, basically skipping over the sophomore slump phase and going straight to cult status as one of the most innovative, diverse acts of this generation. Among their many accolades, the band won the Grammy of the Year award for their album, “The Suburbs.” Their most recent offering was “The Reflektor, which “Rolling Stone” named the top five release of 2013. Here they are performing the French cover, “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son:”
26. Sonic Youth — Sonic Youth has been around for as long as R.E.M. and is an influential as any other band on this list. With their experimental and ferocious guitar style, they came to define alternative grunge before grunge was a thing, releasing five albums before 1990s. An idyllic photo of band member Kim Gordon walking across her bass tells the story of “disaffected youth” like no band before them could. And one only has to listen to the opening seconds of “Kool Thing” to hear the inspiration behind songs like Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” and many others.
27. Coldplay — To say that Coldplay has, at least temporarily, abandoned their roots is probably a mild understatement here in 2014 with the release of the squeaky clean, synth-pop, lovefest known as “Ghost Stories,” but the band was once an influential rock act in the same vein of Oasis, Radiohead and U2. While I personally enjoyed parts of “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” (not the least of which was a tune that didn’t even make it onto the official cut, “Life in Technicolor II“), I view “X&Y” as Coldplay’s last true rock album. The rest of it — well, let’s just stick with classics: “X&Y,” “A Rush of Blood to the Head” and “Parachutes.” That’s really all the Coldplay you need to put them in the top 30 on this list.
28. Bush — Bush’s “Sixteen Stone” was one of a handful alternative rock albums in the 1990s in which almost half the record became a radio single. Off the strength of singles, “Everything Zen,” “Come Down,” “Glycerine,” “Machine Head” and “Little Things,” the debut album sold more than 10 million albums in the United States, although the band didn’t enjoy equal success in their native England. After 1996′s “Razorblade Suitcase,” the band fell out of the mainstream until 2011 when their new album, “Sea of Memories,” hit number 18 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
29. Meat Puppets — Like Teenage Fanclub, Sonic Youth, The Replacements and The Flaming Lips, Meat Puppets influenced countless bands coming out of the early 1990s alternative rock scene, including Nirvana, Sound Garden and Dinosaur Jr.:
Here is a thoughtful review of “God’s Not Dead” from the atheist perspective. Even from the reviews and the trailer, we can glean that Kevin Sorbo’s character grossly misrepresents the atheist position and fails to have an understanding of basic philosophy, especially about the quote from Nietzsche on which the film’s title is based.
So I had heard good things about the movie “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and was excited to see it if for nothing other than the visual experience. Now that I actually have seen it, I can say that astounding visuals — and some decent but certainly not stellar acting — were about all this movie gave us. I mean, a movie that wins seven Academy Awards is at least worth one viewing, right?
Barely. Where to start? The movie had no semblance of a story. The only reason we had to care about Sandra Bullock’s character was that she had a daughter back home, except that she doesn’t have a daughter back home anymore. Her kid got killed in a freak accident on the playground. That’s totally plausible, right? Bullock was playing a character named Ryan Stone, and when Clooney asked about her seemingly masculine first name, we learn that Ryan’s parents wanted a boy. So, not only does Stone have reason to despair over her daughter, she’s got reason to despair over her own life. Frankly, halfway through the movie I found myself not caring one whit whether she made it back to Earth or not. At one point before the final sequence, she even resigned herself to give up the ghost and seemed satisfied to wait and die to the sound of an Asian parent singing a lullaby to a baby over the crackle of the intercom. Hell, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere sounds like about the most exciting thing that could have happened to her at that point, but I digress.
Not only do we have no reason to care for Bullock, her character is completely inept — you know, from a technical standpoint — which for those paying attention, some technical skills with space technology might have come in handy 3 kilometers above Earth. We learn from her conversations with Clooney that Stone failed all of her re-entry simulation tests before coming onto the mission, so she had no business whatsoever in space, with or without a crew. When she finally reached the International Space Station after Clooney and the other crew member died, seemingly safe for a little while, she failed to inspect the interior of the craft and missed the fact that a couple wires had a short. Because of this oversight and in the ensuing fire and explosion, she lost most of the station and was relegated to a small pod in an attempt to reach a Chinese space station, her last hope to make it home.
If all that weren’t bad enough, at the end of the movie, after finally reaching the Tiangong, without having a clue what she’s doing — this might be a bad time to start reading the instruction manual — she somehow manages to start the engine, detach her pod and inexplicably initiate re-entry into Earth by randomly pressing buttons through a rousing game of eenie meenie miney mo. I wish I was joking.
And this from a flick that won seven Academy Awards? I guess storytelling isn’t requisite in movies anymore.
Without the impressive visuals to save it, the rating would have been like -2.
I will most remember Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Doubt,” Capote,” and of course, “Scent of a Woman.” He was an actor who put the entirety of his soul into the characters he played, and that fact was palpable on screen.
This quote, from director Robert Falls, perhaps best summarizes his unique abilities:
The theater was very difficult for him. It cost him; there was an emotional cost to the work, having to do it for eight performances a week, and having to rehearse. In ‘Long Day’s Journey,’ a role about an addict who would be dead in a number of years, who was filled with self-loathing, certainly Phil had access to those emotions. But I’m not talking about a method actor. He just brought every fiber of his being to the stage. He was there — with his depth of feeling, depth of humanity — and no other actor I’ve ever worked with ever brought it like that, not at that level.
Immediately after the backlash surrounding Royal Rumble and raucous fans in Pittsburgh who were not happy — and that’s putting it mildly — that Daniel Bryan was excluded from the main event of the show, Randy Orton and Batista, in particularly, were said to have been equally enraged backstage as the WWE Universe largely rejected their matches and booed them six ways to Sunday. This fever more or less developed organically, as the live crowd went nuts when Danial Bryan opened the show, only to lose in a five-star match with Bray Wyatt. Fans then waited with bated anticipation for the better part of 2 1/2 hours for what they really wanted to see, which was Bryan not only getting into the 30-man battle royal, but winning the match to get a shot at the title at Wrestlemania, despite the fact that WWE did not advertise Bryan as a participant.
For what it’s worth, Batista, Orton and bookers backstage were apparently not anticipating the kind of reaction the show would receive, according to online reports. To compound the amount of vitriol WWE is still receiving from fans, CM Punk’s departure, whether he left because of sour grapes or to address real health and stress concerns, leaked online and now bookers are rethinking their approach leading into Wrestlemania because of these two main developments. Vince McMahon has apparently taken negotiation power away from Triple H and company officials regarding Punk and is doing it himself, which I find mildly humorous.
In any case, I can’t imagine why they would be so surprised by any of these outcomes. First take the John Cena and Randy Orton match at Royal Rumble. These have been WWE’s consistent cash cows for the past 10 years. I get that, and I think anyone who takes off the Bryan/Punk blinders will have to admit to this fact. But other simple truth is that fans are burned out on Cena and Orton, no matter how much they might be over with casual audience. Every few months after WWE has busily worked to repair Cena’s image by throwing him in front of the camera with troops or kids with cancer or some other sympathetic figure, and thus guilt-tripping fans into cheering him — After all, who would boo a guy who’s granting wishes to sick kids and supporting the troops? — most adults who aren’t female and especially Internet fans inevitably begin raining down boos on him, and company has to begin the laborious process all over again. So, how many times is the WWE going to fall back on the Orton/Cena program instead focusing on building up fresh talent?
The company will certainly milk Orton/Cena for all their worth, but discounting the fervor over Bryan, the Royal Rumble showed that fans, both in the arena and at home, have had enough of this tired feud and their listless, non-innovative and mediocre matches. We all know and understand that Cena and Orton are nearly ubiquitous and are going to be a significant part of every PPV for as long as they can go, but I don’t think anyone would raise much of a fuss if they were in more high-profile non-title feuds. Does WWE really think that people will only come to see Orton and Cena if they are in the title hunt? Cena and Orton have had 19 title WWE title reigns combined the last 10 years, while Punk and Bryan have had four runs since coming to the company. Bryan’s total days as WWE champ can be counted on two fingers. Granted, WWE threw fans a bone and allowed Punk to have the longest title reign in the modern era, but most of that time he was as a “cowardly heel” and wasn’t main-eventing PPVs (the final match) or winning cleanly.
I also can’t fathom why WWE somehow would have expected the story about CM Punk walking out of the company to remain a secret. We are coming off of one of the “big four” PPV’s of the year and leading in the WWE’s proverbial Super Bowl, with asinine sign-pointing aplenty, and fans would naturally have been wondering why Punk was not appearing on RAW or Smackdown each week.
I think it’s a positive that the writers are considering options for Wrestlemania with and without CM Punk in the mix, and whether or not he comes back, and this could — I stress could — be a sign that WWE is at least feigning interest in listening to the fans at this point. I hope they are keen enough to know that a stadium full of hardcore wrestling fans who traveled far and wide to see the show will be vocal about what they are seeing in the ring, and if Bryan (and Punk if he comes back) aren’t big parts of Wrestlemania, they might as well expect the rain of boos to commence. Lest anyone forget, if the fans gave up on the company tomorrow, there would be no Wrestlemania.
Read the first part of this series here.
For frequenters of this site, I am now going to start a series in which I talk about professional wrestling. Yes, as far fetched as it may sound, a person can be both a nonbeliever, be into philosophy and all that and still be a professional wrestling fan. Just ask CM Punk and one of my favorite YouTube users Steve Shives. In any case, if you are intrigued, by all means stick around. If this is not your thing, that’s OK too. I’m sure I’ll be ranting about religion again shortly.
In the mean time and to quote CM Punk, I’ve got a lot of things to get off my chest, especially after the apparent departure of the Second City Saint from WWE, the constant barrage of dinosaurs that get reintroduced each year during Wrestlemania season and the continued misuse of Daniel Bryan as the most over wrestler in the business at least since Stone Cold Steve Austin.
If you haven’t heard — If you’re a wrestling fan, who hasn’t by now? — CM Punk walked out of WWE this past Monday night after a prolonged period of being frustrated with the direction of the company, along with generally being banged up and probably overworked. The plan was for CM Punk to face Triple H at Wrestlemania to continue his long standing resistance to WWE leadership and The Authority. I, for one, liked that direction, at least as a way to give Punk a high-profile role on Wrestlemania because it harnessed some of the energy from the Summer of Punk when he was defiantly railing against Vince McMahon and the corporate suits back in Connecticut. Of course, CM Punk, in my view, deserves to be in one of the two big main events at Wrestlemania, but I was at least willing to get invested in a Triple H match if that’s the inevitable direction Vince and the Triple H, the shovel master himself, were going to go. CM Punk, after challenging “the streak” last year against The Undertaker, however, seems to have felt that wrestling Triple H was a downgrade for him, and I can’t say that I disagree.
Some of Punk’s decision, no doubt, had to do with the return of Batista, his subsequent win at Royal Rumble and the company’s plan to put the WWE World Heavyweight Title on him in the main event of Wrestlemania, even though he has been gone for four years and guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and even Dolph Ziggler have been busting their asses every night for years now, only to take a back seat to a part-timer.
WWE has continued this trend for several years now, most notably when The Rock returned and was instantly inserted into the main event picture after a long hiatus making B-reel movies and eventually won the WWE title belt from Punk. Unfortunately for Punk, Bryan, Ziggler, Roman Reigns or anyone else who is hoping for their breakout moment at Wrestlemania, guys like Batista, John Cena and Randy Orton are apparently still selling the most merchandise and popping the biggest ratings on RAW, so until that changes, don’t expect any kind of new direction because it’s all about the money for WWE, in spite of whatever the fans might want, and apparently in spite of a completely hijacked PPV. The message at this point: WWE just doesn’t care about what the fans want.
And that was never more evident this past week on Raw when Triple H mocked the whole arena as fans cheered for Daniel Bryan after the no-show during the Royal Rumble match. In fact, WWE officials almost seem to be displaying a kind of neurosis regarding fan support of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. In the segment on RAW this week, Triple H again mocked Daniel Bryan for being too small, and reports online indicate that WWE has been confiscating CM Punk signs at recent NXT tapings.
It’s almost childish the way Triple H and the gang have insisted on pushing the jacked up wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, Batista, Ryback, Cena and yes, Triple H himself, over smaller guys like Bryan, Punk and Ziggler who clearly have the fans in the palm of their hands, almost as if to say, “Get over on your own and you will get buried. We the WWE decide who will gets over.” This is just petty booking, and in the end, if WWE continues to go against the fans, I hope they are ready for their precious main event at Wrestlemania featuring the Randy Orton and Batista snooze fest to be crapped on just like Batista’s anti-climactic win at the Royal Rumble.
Read more about her here.
I tweeted about this earlier today, but if you missed it, Cracker Barrel initially said it was going to remove Duck Dynasty merchandise from its stores after Phil Robertson’s noxious comments on gays and black people, but only 48 hours later reneged on the decision claiming that it had learned the error of its ways by displeasing its customers.
Here is the entirety of the statement, which was posted on the Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page. It has more than 21,000 comments, most of which are drivel:
Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:
When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.
You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.
Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.
And, we apologize for offending you.
We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.
We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.
The part about offending its customers by pulling the merchandise is particularly shameful. What about the millions of homosexuals Robertson offended when he more or less compared the human love and affection of consenting adults to bestiality? What about the millions of blacks Robertson offended with his idyllic and inaccurate portrait of the segregated South?
In short, Cracker Barrel seems more concerned with kowtowing to its bigoted customer base rather than fighting bigotry itself. Oh that’s right: Without the bigots, Cracker Barrel would be out of business.