Why Mitt Romney is Worse than Dracula

agosto 23, 2012 at 12:38 am (Politics, Sarcasm, Videogames & Vidcons) (, , , , , )

Fans of Konami’s Castlevania series know him as the series’ big bad, the man they must kill every hundred or so years lest he bring untold darkness upon the Transylvanian landscape.  And yet, a look at the videogame franchise’s history will show that for an undead, soul-sucking monster, Mathias Cronqvist (a.k.a. Vlad Tepes, or most famously Dracula) might as well be a Flea Man for all the actual damage he does.  If he wants to truly be something to be feared, he could stand to get some tips from some real world people…say, current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia” screenshot obtained from Castlevania Crypt.com

Okay, so Romney wouldn’t suck the blood of innocents or personally kill anyone, nor would he mind-control people from beyond the grave in order to assure his resurrection.  Still, given his history, character, and claims, it’s fair to say that were he to become president, he would cause a level of suffering ol’ Vlad could only dream of.

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So Puerto Rico held a referendum yesterday… (Spoilers)

agosto 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm (Noticias, Politics, Puerto Rico, Stuff) (, , , , , )

On the ballot were a measure to reduce the size of the island legislative branch in a way that would consolidate power among the current ruling party and make it impossibly hard for third parties to obtain seats in it, and another to severely restrict the right to bail.  And while the results were scarily close, and the side supporting both measures had much better funding, both measures were soundly defeated.  And how does that make me feel?  Here’s a hint:

Like that.

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Sacred Cows: “Robotech” (Part 2) (Spoilers)

agosto 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm (Animation, Anime, Sacred Cows) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The second cycle of Robotech, known as The Robotech Masters, The Masters Saga or simply The Masters, is often considered the black sheep of the series, and it’s not hard to see why: it takes longer to find its footing; its character and mecha designs don’t have the immediate appeal of Macross or MOSPEADA‘s; and the conflicts between the script and the footage are far more pronounced, since Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross‘ overall scenario–about the two-mooned planet Glorie, which was immigrated to and terraformed after Earth became uninhabitable,  and which is now being attacked by its previous inhabitants–had to be changed completely for it to fit Robotech.   Things like the nature of the antagonists and what the characters are supposed to know change from episode to episode; footage is rearranged in ways that contradict the established continuity (particularly in the first episode, a clip show made from scratch to tie the cycle with the one that preceded it), and in short, it just doesn’t make that sense a lot of the time.

Still, it’s not hard to see why it was chosen as a follow-up for Macross, despite everything.  It turns Robotech into a story that is not only multi-generational—The Masters stars the children of the first Robotech warriors–but cyclical, as events repeat themselves and allow for a deeper thematic exploration than was available in the original Japanese material.  Here we once again have romance between earthlings and aliens, unity through music, bellicose leaders whose belief that hard power is the only worthwhile power ends badly for them, and the near destruction human civilization, in ways that are interesting in their own right.  They suggest that even with The Macross Saga’s hopeful ending, humanity is still humanity, and happy endings are something you can only find after spending time digging in the rubble after the smoke clears.

Fifteen years after the SDF-1’s destruction at the end of The Macross Saga, Earth is still under the rule of a military government– specifically, the Army of the Southern Cross (ASC), under control of Supreme Commander Anatole Eli Leonard.  The heroes of the First Robotech War have long since left Earth as part of a diplomatic mission in an attempt to forestall future conflict, which means that they aren’t available when the Robotech Masters arrive, ready to retrieve the Protoculture Matrix which they need in order to replenish their own dwindling supplies of the power source and keep their civilization going.

While The Macross Saga was as much about the civilians as it was about the soldiers, this one is all about the latter.  Our three protagonists all occupy positions in the armed forces, and in fact, the only civilians we properly meet are all part of the attacking alien fleet—a reversal of the previous arc’s dynamic.  First and foremost is Dana Sterling, half-human/half-Zentraedi daughter of The Macross Saga‘s Max and Miriya Sterling, who leads the 15th Squadron of the ASC’s Alpha Tactical Armored Corps.  Cheerful, optimistic, and only vaguely acquainted with any concept of military discipline, she is a pain in her superior’s asses, a fact which she makes up for by being a crack hovertank pilot and a capable leader.  Attempting to keep Dana in line is GMP (“Global Military Police”–The Masters is awash in initialism) officer Nova Satori, whose basic competence would perhaps be more evident in a story in which she wasn’t set out as a foil, but whom I really like anyway.  Rounding up the triumvirate is ace pilot Marie Crystal, unit leader at the ASC’s Tactics Armored Space Corps, whose role is to give a face to the numerous space battles and to provide Dana with a friendly rival.

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Things That Need Saying, People Who Say Them Better Than I Can: Oak Creek

agosto 7, 2012 at 12:06 am (Commentary, Current Events, Noticias, Politics) (, , , , , , )

(Content Note: racism, eliminationist violence, white supremacy, terrorism)

Because terrorist attacks such as yesterday’s Oak Creek shooting are things which leave more thoughts than my limited powers expression know what to do with, I instead leave you with the thoughts of smarter, better people than me.

Melissa McEwan, Shakesville

Mitt Romney [emphasized by me for uniformity] calls the shooting a “senseless act of violence,” which, as I’ve previously noted, elides the fact that, in a frame of racist eliminationism, a crime like this absolutely “makes sense.”

Unequivocally, the sensibilities by which such a crime not only “makes sense” but is considered eminently reasonable, or even heroic, is racist, violent, eliminationist, and vile. But we can’t pretend that particular brand of sense-making doesn’t exist.

Fred Clark, Slacktivist

Somehow, it seems, [the alleged (*1) shooter, Wade Michael Page ] had become convinced that these people, these peaceful families, were his enemies. He had no basis for deciding this because it was, in fact, not true. These people were not his enemies. Nor were they the enemies of anyone else. And yet, somehow, this man got it in his head that they were — he somehow came to believe that they were an enemy, a threat, a menace to be countered with sudden, lethal violence.

And we all know that “somehow” is not a mystery.

That somehow is a multi-billion dollar industry. The leading figures of that industry are respected, powerful, wealthy people who have grown rich and famous through an infotainment empire that pours gasoline with one hand while shooting sparks with the other — all while denying responsibility or culpability or any association at all with the fires that “somehow” keep erupting.

 Harsha Walia, guest contributor for Racialicious:

The crimes of white supremacists are not exceptions and do not and cannot exist in isolation from more systemic forms of racism. People of colour face legislated racism from immigration laws to policies governing Indigenous reserves; are discriminated and excluded from equitable access to healthcare, housing, childcare, and education; are disproportionately victims of police killings and child apprehensions; fill the floors of sweatshops and factories; are over-represented in heads counts on poverty rates, incarceration rates, unemployment rates, and high school dropout rates. Colonialism has and continues to be shaped by the counters of white men’s civilizing missions. The occupation of Turtle Island is based on the white supremacist crime of colonization, where Indigenous lands were believed to be barren and Indigenous people believed to be inferior. The occupation of Afghanistan has been justified on the racist idea of liberating Muslim women from Muslim men. Racialized violence has also always targeted places of worship–the spiritual heart of a community. In Iraq, for example, the US Army accelerated bombings of mosques from 2003-2007 with targeted attacks on the Abdul-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque, Abu Hanifa shrine, Khulafah Al Rashid mosque and many others. And so I repeat: the patterns of hate crimes have a sense, have a logic, have a structure – they are part of a broader system of white supremacy.

(If any of the writers would like for me to remove these passage, or feel I have violated their copyrights, let me know.)

 This was not an unavoidable tragedy, nor was it one for which no lessons can be drawn (although the lessons, in this case, are ones many people, including some who pretend otherwise, already knew).  Claiming that there is no context for this, that it exists in a vacuum and that therefore nothing can be done in order to prevent it from happening again is dishonest  and irresponsible in the extreme.  My heart and thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and/or the sense of security to which they have every right to, and my contempt is with those in power who are either dishonest or silent about the reasons for this catastrophe.   

—-

(*1) : Journalism/Legal question: Okay, I know the proper protocol is to describe suspects as “alleged [type of criminal]”, even when guilt is beyond reasonable doubt; does that still apply when those suspects are dead?

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Review: “Marceline and the Scream Queens” #1 (of 6) (Spoilers)

agosto 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm (Animation, Comic Books, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“Two conflicting personalities on a journey of rock and self discovery…LUMP YEAH!”–Marceline
Publisher: kaboom!

Script: Meredith Gran (Main), Jen Wang (Back-Up)

Art: Meredith Gran (Main), Jen Wang (Back-Up)

Colors: Lisa Powers

Covers: JAB (Cover A); Too many people to include (variants)

Recommended Audiences: Everyone

Marceline and the Scream Queens’ existence is a bit baffling.  Yes, a team-up between Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum seems like a natural, if you’re looking for people to star on an Adventure Time spin-off—they’re far and away some of the cartoon’s most popular supporting characters–and yes, music seems like a particularly solid foundation from which to begin an exploration of their relationship as frenemies, given their established and shared interest in it.  But once you get down to it, the fact remains that Marceline is a comic book, and the medium is very rarely at home with music, for obvious reasons.  The idea of it hits that same skepticism spot Top Chef does: sure, it looks very pretty on screen, but showcasing food the audience will never be able to taste always seemed mildly cruel.  To be fair, there have been a handful of comic books that manage to translate the mood-altering energy of music to the page—Sonic the Hedgehog #221 does a bang-up job of it, and I’ve heard good things about Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Phonogram—but still, it’s not something to attempt unless you’re very confident in your mad panel composition skillz. 

Of course, Adventure Time—in both its television and comic book incarnations—is nothing if not skillfully made, and Marceline is no exception. 

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