In Memory of Ned Beatty

For Through the Shattered Lens, I wrote about Ned Beatty.

Through the Shattered Lens

Ned Beatty died yesterday, at the age of 83.

Ever since I heard the news last night, I’ve been thinking about what an amazing actor Ned Beatty was. He could play it all. He could play a hero, he could play a villain, and he could play the quirky comic relief. He could effortlessly move from the movies to television to the stage and he seemed to instinctively grasp how to modify his style for each medium. Physically, he was instantly recognizable but he still managed to disappear into every role he played. You never thought you were watching Ned Beatty. Instead, you thought you were watching Bobby in Deliverance or Detective Bolander on Homicide or Otis in the first two Superman movies.

It’s amazing that, in his long career, Ned Beatty was only nominated for one Oscar and it wasn’t for his film debut in Deliverance. Playing the…

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Have You Ever Noticed?

This has been getting a lot of play on twitter today.

Have you ever noticed that the biggest assholes in government are always the czars? That’s because most of policy czars are people who the president wanted to be appoint to an official post but, because they’re all almost uniformly assholes, it was realized that they would never be able to get Senate confirmation. So, they became czars. Most of them don’t have any real power but they do get to go on the morning shows and pretend to be experts.

What I know is that my family sacrificed. My friends sacrificed. Jobs were lost. Businesses were closed. People stood by helplessly as their loved ones died alone. You want to talk about COVID and how the American people responded? You need to talk about the people who suffered and who did what they were told to do and who were constantly scolded by the media and who watched as the rich and powerful continually skirted the restrictions that they insisted everyone else had to follow. You need to talk about the people who went through this and somehow did it all without losing their minds. A lot was demanded of the American people over the past year and a half and the majority of them did the best that they could and they’re still hurting as a result. Would a little gratitude be out of order? Maybe give the scolding a rest and just say, “Thank you, we know it’s been hard?”

So many of the people who are still scolding Americans for “not sacrificing enough” are the people who haven’t really had to sacrifice anything.

I Finally Watched Mayweather vs Paul

This morning, I finally watched the Floyd Mayweather/Logan Paul fight on Showtime. YouTuber Logan Paul stepped into the ring with one of the greatest boxers ever and he went the distance, making it through 8 rounds of nothing.

It’s easy to go the distance when your opponent won’t even punch you. That definitely helps. Put me in the ring with Mike Tyson and, as long as Tyson promises not to actually make contact with any of his hits, I should be able to go the distance too. Of course, if Tyson did accidentally make contact, I’d probably die on the spot.

The Mayweather/Paul fight was only an exhibition match so I can’t get too angry about it. It wasn’t a real fight and no one pretended like it was, except maybe for Logan’s idiot brother, Jake. Still, I feel bad for everyone who paid money to watch it. During the final round, Logan Paul spent over 20 seconds with his hands down, just staring at Mayweather. Mayweather could have easily flattened him with one punch. Exhibition or not, I don’t blame anyone who was booing after the final bell rung.

As Howard Cosell might have said, “A sadder display will not be found.”

Enough!

Today, I woke up to the news that Marjorie Taylor Greene had compared getting a “vaccine logo” to Jews being forced to wear a gold star in Nazi Germany. That’s a stupid comment from her. It’s one of many stupid comments that Greene has made in the past. I imagine she’ll make many more stupid comments in the future because that’s who she is.

Greene is being rightfully condemned. At the same time, I think some people are missing the bigger picture. It has become so common place for people in America to compare their opponents to Nazis that it’s led to the actual horror of what the Nazis did has been downplayed. When you compare everyone you dislike to Hitler, the end result is that it becomes easier for people to overlook or even forget just how uniquely evil and thoroughly depraved Hitler and his followers were. I’ve seen four U.S. Presidents in a row, all compared to Hitler by their opponents. Say what you will about any of those presidents, none of them rated the comparison. By making the comparison, people do a gave disservice to both the victims of the Holocaust and the people who spoke out against it while it was happening, often as the risk of their own safety.

I don’t care how you vote, knock it off with the Nazi comparisons. If you can’t make your point without doing a disservice to and cheapening the memory of the over 6 million people who died during the Holocaust, perhaps you shouldn’t be taking politics in the first place.

The Silence Is All I Needed To Hear

Like many people, I’ve been shocked by the open anti-Semitic violence that I’ve seen in the United States, the UK, and in the rest of the world. It hasn’t just been the violence, though. It’s also been the silence from the people who are usually quick to rightly speak out whenever any other group is targeted with threats and harassment.

As much as it pains me to say it, anti-Semitism does not surprise me. It’s the world’s oldest prejudice and one that stubbornly refuses to die. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the same people who have spent the past few years supporting BDS and spreading lies about Israel are now conspicuously silent as those lies are used to justify attacks on Jews worldwide. And yet, I am surprised because, deep down, I keep trying to convince myself that the world is better than this and that even those who are critical of Israel have enough human decency to step and condemn anti-Semitism.

Don’t get me wrong. After spending a week attacking Israel, some members of the Left have offered up half-hearted condemnations of anti-Semitism. Of course, they always making sure to mention that Islamophobia is bad too. And yes, Islamophobia is wrong but, when violence broke out in New York’s Diamond District last week, it wasn’t because Jews were driving through the neighborhood and attacking Muslims. Apparently, the “both sides do it” argument is suddenly once again acceptable when it comes to discussing attacks on Jewish people. The message that I’ve gotten from so many on the Left is that open anti-Semitic violence is bad only because it is saying the quiet part loud.

The lack of any real condemnation will be remembered long after this current spate of anti-Semitic violence has died down.

The Angst Of Replaying Red Dead Redemption 2

Last week, I started replaying Red Dead Redemption 2. It had been quite a while since I last played the game and it’s been nice to be reminded of just how good the game actually is. At the same time, it’s been downright traumatic to rediscover just how easy it is to accidentally shoot people.

From the minute I started my replay, I promised myself that I was going to play Arthur Morgan as being a good guy. He may be an outlaw but he’s not a murderer. At least, that’s what I wanted to believe. I wasn’t going to rob strangers unless it was absolutely necessary. I wasn’t going to shoot any helpful shopkeepers. I was going to help everyone who needed help.

It hasn’t worked out that way, though. It’s not intentional. It’s just that it’s very easy to push the wrong button on your controller. Over the past week, there have been so many times when I’ve thought I was pushing the “greet” button just to discover that I had accidentally pushed the open fire button. I’ve even gone back and restarted the game a few times because I’ve felt so bad about shooting the wrong person.

The big difference between Red Dead Redemption and a game like Grand Theft Auto is that when you kill someone in Red Dead Redemption, they don’t come back. In Grand Theft Auto, you can run over a hundred pedestrians just to find them all resurrected as soon as you drive to a new neighborhood. In Red Dead Redemption 2, accidentally shooting the wildlife photographer means that you never see him again. It can be traumatic but, at the same time, it’s also emotionally rewarding when you manage to get through an entire mission without accidentally shooting anyone.

Of course, I’m taking my time with my replay so I’m just on Chapter Two right now. I’ve been busy exploring the towns of Valentine and Strawberry. There’s many more chapters and town to come. Hopefully, I’ll remember to push the right buttons and the violence can finally come to an end.

The Census Results

The U.S. population is now 331,449,281.

Texas is gaining two Congressional seats.

Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon Florida are gaining one.

California, Ohio, Illinois, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are losing one. I feel bad for West Virginia since this means they’ll now be down to only two members of the House. Of course, whoever loses their seat can always just run to succeed Joe Manchin whenever he finally decides to throw in the towel.

Now, we move on to redistricting. At this point, all I care about is getting out Colin Allred’s district. Hopefully, once the news maps have been drawn and approved, I’ll be a Van Taylor constituent.

This Has Been A Good Week

Lisa and I finally got to go up to Lake Texoma this week and it’s been great just to get away from it all. We’ve observed a no-TV rule with a few exceptions. Tonight, we’ll definitely be breaking the rule so that we can watch the Oscars. I haven’t seen many of the nominees but I’m still looking forward to seeing how the ceremony is going to handle giving out awards during the final days of a pandemic.

Plus, there’s always the competition to see who will give the worst acceptance speech. I’m going to guess Sacha Baron Cohen if he wins for Trial of the Chicago 7 or for writing the Borat movie.