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Reason Cameos Around Town

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Mark Steyn is souring on superhero films. His column is largely a lament—already familiar if you follow the right-wing press—that Hollywood doesn't make movies with Islamofalangist villains. But along the way, Steyn notices a little something I wrote in Reason:

Recently, in Reason magazine, Jesse Walker mocked me for claiming to have detected Bush Doctrine subtexts in the first Spider-Man movie while entirely missing the masturbatory metaphor. Well, I saw Spidey in 2002, the day after visiting the World Trade Center site on what was the last chance to see it "as is," before the authorities closed it for redevelopment (if that's the right word for a decade of bureaucratic sclerosis). So perhaps my emotional compass was pointing elsewhere. I thought Spidey's big-screen debut made a case for Bush-style pre-emption in that "the men who killed his Uncle Ben were small-time crooks Peter could have stopped earlier but chose not to." On the other hand, apropos his uncle's famous advice to Peter Parker–"With great power comes great responsibility"–I seem to recall my colleague Paul Wells defending Jean Chrétien's 9/11 anniversary plea for the Americans to "be nice" to foreigners as simply a Shawinigan variation on Uncle Ben: "Wid da great power come da great responsibilities."

Who's right? Me? Wells? Both? Neither? Well, it's seven years on, and I can't remember a thing about the movie except Kirsten Dunst's clinging shirt in one rain-sodden scene. Mr. Walker is right that too many of us went looking for messages in the superheroics, and seized too eagerly on the slim pickings. As he says, the superhero genre has a "philosophical flexibility." Spider-Man himself compared biceps with Don Rumsfeld on stage as part of some Pentagon war promotion. But in January he was trading fist bumps with Barack Obama in a presidential inaugural special. Boy sidekick to Rummy, arachnid ivory to Obamessiah ebony: which is the real Spider-Man?

I don't think Steyn received the exact message I was trying to transmit. But it's an honor just to be nominated.

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  1. Steyn is a paranoid pussy – always seeing boogiemen around every corner and crying for government help every three minutes. He should man up, buy a gun, and quit screeching.

  2. Kirsten Dunst’s clinging shirt in one rain-sodden scene

    Yeah, that, er, sticks out in my mind as well.

  3. I don’t think Steyn received the exact message I was trying to transmit. But it’s an honor just to be nominated.

    It’s dry cool wit like that, that makes a Walker piece so much fun to read.

  4. I’m surprised he didn’t attack you more, Jesse. I think he fears you. I know I do, but it’s more the smell than anything else. Would it kill you to take a shower?

  5. Sifting through the crazy, there’s a shred of validity. I was always annoyed by the change in Sum of All Fears, to be honest.

  6. shrike, you didn’t mention anything about ‘christ faggots’ in your post. Please stop neglecting your shtick.

  7. Please stop neglecting your shtick.

    It is kind of ironic to see a post from shrike that complains about someone else “screeching.” Maybe he’s finally on the right meds?

  8. Guys, his proper name is “shriek”, for obvious reasons.

  9. Guys – Steyn is complaining about the lack of freedom-loving cinema superheros derived from comic books? Is he completely daft? How did he miss ‘V for Vendetta’?

    Oh, I know. ‘V’ didn’t fit in his little worldview. A worldview where an authoritarian Western leader is the bad guy.

    Well, fuck that little dipshit.

  10. Are all authoritarians right wing?

  11. a Shawinigan variation on Uncle Ben: “Wid da great power come da great responsibilities.”

    The only thing I miss about the Chretien years is the endless opportunities to take potshots at his accent.

    “I like da peppar on da plate.”

  12. Are all authoritarians right wing?

    According to the Soviets, Castro and others, yes.

  13. Are all authoritarians right wing?

    All the evil ones.

  14. Chretien was awesome! the accent, the throat [troat] grabbing ass kicker. Kept us outa Iraq, balanced the books on EI surpluses and reduced transfers to the provinces [then passed to municipalities]

    His stroky like face just added to the whole package. Now we got liver lipper Harper and a Harvard egghead to choose from. I’d vote for the Bloc if they would just run some candidates outside Qweebeck.

  15. Are all authoritarians right wing?

    Most are left-wing.

  16. “But it’s an honor just to be nominated.”–Jesse walker

    Getting all in a twitter at the mention of your name in any context whether positive or negative is a good sign that your part of a cult. Pathetic little cults have an insatiable hunger for recognition.

  17. IF THE URKOBOLD WERE IN A PATHETIC CULT AND SOME DORK KEPT HANGING AROUND IN THE CULT’S BASEMENT, YELLING RUDE REMARKS AND INSISTING THAT THE URKOBOLD WAS IN A PATHETIC CULT, THE URKOBOLD MIGHT SUSPECT THAT HIS PATHETICALNESS WAS OF A LESSER KIND ALTOGETHER THAN THE DORK’S.

  18. Morris turned from his keyboard, shaking. His incredible rage was harder and harder to control. He wished he would turn into the Hulk, but instead he just had to take a massive dump. He pulled the trash can over and squatted over it, voiding himself like a cholera patient eating Ex-Lax for dessert. Most of it made it into the trash, but some did splash over the side onto his legs and the floor.

    In a moment of inspiration, Morris dipped his fingers in the brown filth and drew battle lines on his face. He was ready to take on the libertards once again.

  19. Pathetic little cults have an insatiable hunger for recognition.

    I must be watching the wrong movies. I thought they had an insatiable hunger for privacy, the better to assemble a doomsday device without anyone noticing.

  20. Well, done, Epi. I actually cackled like the villain in a radio melodrama.

  21. Episiarch,

    I like this book even better than the LoneWacko effort.

  22. Pathetic little cults have an insatiable hunger for recognition.

    They also tend to lack humor or the ability to recognize it. So I’m not sure where that leaves you…

  23. Where did Morris’ “comment” go? It vanished after I responded to him…

  24. It’s alright, Untermensch. Epi’s comment is all we needed.

  25. Without Edward’s comment, the shots taken by the Urkobold, Episiarch, and Jesse have no meaning.

    Damn the Internet’s impermanence!

  26. Who is this irresistible creature who has an
    insatiable love for the dead?
    LIVING DEAD GIRL

  27. Just to make sure: Morris is Edward, correct?

  28. Once, I saw an Edward comment that had subtance to it.

    Once.

  29. Just to make sure: Morris is Edward, correct?

    The posting style seems way too similar for them to be different people.

  30. Seems that way to me, but you never know for sure. Regardless, we attract some high-quality trolls here, don’t we?

  31. Regardless, we attract some high-quality trolls here, don’t we?

    +1. And I will also add that if Edward/Lefiti and Morris aren’t the same person, they should definitely hang out.

    Come to think of it, I doubt Lefiti has any friends. 🙁

  32. I very much hate superhero movies.
    So, so, tired of films based on comic books.

    Actually, in general I can’t understand why supposedly mature adults seem to feel a need to display an interest in children’s entertainment.

  33. Actually, in general I can’t understand why supposedly mature adults seem to feel a need to display an interest in children’s entertainment.

    You probably haven’t read any good comics. Hell, what about American Splendor, Ghost World or Road to Perdition?

  34. Hazel,

    I don’t read them (haven’t since the teen years, back in the Before Time), but I like some of the comic book movies. My motivation is simple: I want super powers.

  35. Without Edward’s comment, the shots taken by the Urkobold, Episiarch, and Jesse have no meaning.

    Damn the Internet’s impermanence!

    Hey, I’m just doing my part as a pathetic pseudo-liberal troll, that’s all.

  36. “I must be watching the wrong movies. I thought they [pathetic ;ittle cults] had an insatiable hunger for privacy, the better to assemble a doomsday device without anyone noticing.”–Jesse walker

    It depends on the pathetic little cult. Those that have no prospects at all crave attention. Their leaders need the donations.

  37. “It depends on the pathetic little cult. Those that have no prospects at all crave attention. Their leaders need the donations.”

    You know, Morris/Edward/Lefiti/concerned observer/whoeveryouare, you’d be a little less annnoying and easier to ignore if you were an earnest, genuine progressive a la Matt Taibbi. But, no, you’re just another typical partisan faux-liberal Democrat who’s oblivious to the fact that Obama is ramping up the war effort in Afghanistan and still wants to keep the HMO’s in charge of health care. But yet you think it’s those evil, heartless libertarians who seldom win any elections who are the cause of all that’s wrong with the world.

    I also notice you support the War on Drugs for seemingly no other reason than to infuriate libertarians while overlooking how racist and classist it is. But, hey, it’s “for the children”, right? What a sad little fraud you are.

    And I don’t know why I even posted this because I doubt you’ll respond (since you’re a gutless coward anyway), let alone address anything I wrote directly.

  38. A,

    I don’t think libertarians are the cause of anything. That’s what’s so pathetic– a pointless cult.

  39. “…those evil, heartless libertarians who seldom win any elections …”

    Seldom? How about never?

  40. I don’t think libertarians are the cause of anything. That’s what’s so pathetic– a pointless cult.

    And if you think they’re so pathetic and useless, why do you even bother to troll libertarian websites or talk about them?

    And why do you have the gall to consider yourself a liberal while defending a racist War on Drugs?

  41. “…redevelopment (if that’s the right word for a decade of bureaucratic sclerosis).”

    Yea, redevelopment is the right word. It got picked after people figured out “urban renewal” was another word for bureaucratic sclerosis.

  42. You probably haven’t read any good comics. Hell, what about American Splendor, Ghost World or Road to Perdition?

    I have seen all three. Those are okay, but you have to admit that they are NOT the comic book movies that are getting the popular audiences. Those are arthosue films, and despite happening to be animated, are not children’s entertainment.

    I can’t help but think that the “not being children’s entertainment” and “not being popular” have a connection between them.

    IMO, there seems to be a kind of corny belief amoung young adults that it’s cool to watch children’s entertainment. As soon as you make the animated films witty and sophisticated, it’s too high-bow for them.

  43. Er, I should say based on graphic novels or partially animated, or use comic book style visuals.

    Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ and ‘300’ have gotten popular, but although not children’s movies, aren’t really “intelligent” either. They are still pretty dumbed down.

  44. And if you think they’re so pathetic and useless, why do you even bother to troll libertarian websites or talk about them?

    Ding ding ding! But for all the times he’s been asked the question, I don’t think he’s ever answered it. My guess is mental illness.

    Hazel Meade:

    IMO, there seems to be a kind of corny belief amoung young adults that it’s cool to watch children’s entertainment. As soon as you make the animated films witty and sophisticated, it’s too high-bow for them.

    Are you referring to mainstream, counterculture or both? ‘Cause I can definitely go for a good fantasy epic every now and then. I do prefer arthouse films, but I really also enjoy movies like The Dark Knight.

  45. Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ and ‘300’ have gotten popular, but although not children’s movies, aren’t really “intelligent” either. They are still pretty dumbed down.

    I enjoyed Sin City quite a bit, and I don’t think it’s unintelligent, but it’s ultimately an adolescent movie. Artful, but adolescent.

    300 was just abysmal.

  46. “And if you [Morris} think they’re so pathetic and useless, why do you even bother to troll libertarian websites or talk about them?”

    Why does Dawkins bother to attack creationists? Maybe Morris believes that your market fundamentalism is just as wrong-headed, even if pointless and ineffectual. I’m just guessing

  47. Why does Dawkins bother to attack creationists? Maybe Morris believes that your market fundamentalism is just as wrong-headed, even if pointless and ineffectual. I’m just guessing

    Actually, not to speak for Dawkins, but I’m sure he believes some of the superstition and dogma involved with religion has been intrinsic to injustices and atrocities such as The Inquisition. If he thought creationism was only as harmful as being left-handed, I’d question if there was really any point to his attacks. Also, your comparison is inapt as authoritarianism is no more ‘scientific’ or ‘rational’ than libertarianism.

    And did you just refer to one of your other personalities in the third person?

  48. 300 was just abysmal.

    Actually, I rather enjoyed it.

    As a defense for the enjoyment of superhero films, I refer you to the “Foxtrot” cartoon in which Jason and Marcus are imagining themselves as characters of the Marvel and DC Universe and in the last panel Paige picks up one of their comics and says “I don’t know what you guys see in these things,” or something to that effect.

    Dammit, I want an adamantium skeleton and if that makes me immature, then so be it.

  49. Also, there is something of nostalgia endemic in the creation and the enjoyment of films such as “Transformers” and the upcoming “Thundercats”. Any superficiality to such films is due to the limitations in ability or ambition of the writers and director (cough, Michael Bay) than it does the source material or aesthetic motifs of the genre. Does anyone doubt that Darren Aronofsky or Francis Ford Coppola could somehow add layers of philosophical depth to “The Smurfs”?

  50. Why does Dawkins bother to attack creationists? Maybe Morris believes that your market fundamentalism is just as wrong-headed, even if pointless and ineffectual. I’m just guessing

    You’re still artfully dodging the question of your hypocritical support for the racist drug war. Like I said, you’re a coward.

    And if you have a problem with “market fundamentalism”, the rather moderate Beltway libertarianism of Reason doesn’t exactly make a good target.

  51. And speaking of “market fundamentalism”, it was your hero Bill Clinton that helped give us NAFTA and the WTO, nor is “The One” planning to reverse that anytime soon.

  52. A,

    Here’s your goat back.

  53. Oh, hey Lefiti, I’m glad to see you. Did you see which way Morris went?

  54. I need to tell Morris that this Lefiti guy never makes a valid point and relies excessively on invective to communicate.

  55. Lefiti,

    You’re still a gutless little chickenshit who won’t answer all of my questions and a crypto-fascist fraud. Whatever libertarianism’s faults, that is a fact.

    Furthermore, as long as you continue to support the War on Drugs, then you have no right to accuse anyone else (Ron Paul, libertarians) of being racist and anti-poor. I should that I’m going to keep bringing up your support of the drug war until you give a direct response to it.

    You are also a complete idiot to assume that anyone who thinks you’re full of crap is libertarian or right-wing (which is ironic considering how you buddy up with Eric Dondero). Typical privileged white male pseudo-liberal fuck who can’t admit when he’s wrong.

  56. should=should note

  57. Just what are you driving at, A?

  58. A., I think this quote applies to Lefiti

    It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever

  59. Just what are you driving at, A?

    Well, you do support the drug war, don’t you?

  60. And here’s a link for you (even though you’re going to avoid directly addressing it anyway):

    http://www.counterpunch.org/drugwar.html

  61. Re the drug war, I’m rooting for Tylenol. Satisfied?

  62. I think this quote applies to Art-P.O.G.:

    Halfwits choose goofy-sounding handles.

  63. Re the drug war, I’m rooting for Tylenol. Satisfied?

    Nice flippant response, fraudboy.

    You know, I’m not even really a libertarian and I consider you to be the most idiotic, annoying commenter here thus far, and that’s saying a lot when considering Lonewacko, Eric Dondero (a guy who should be deserving of your vitriol) and Underzog have posted here, too.

  64. Fraudboy?

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