It’s true that 2016 was kind of a dumpster fire, but thought we’d think really (really, really) hard about it & come up with the best things of 2016. And after like an hour, we realized that there were some great moments.
Like we started high school at OCSA, went to Hawaii, got into Club 33, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios, we were extras in Hairspray, saw Hedwig, Book of Mormon, Beautiful & Newsies, had some great times with our friends, got to interview some of our favorite writers & actors, went to a bunch of cons, and took in some amazing memes, TV, comics, books, & movies. Things were really good when they weren’t bad and we’re grateful.
So this week, we give you the best of last year….and look ahead to more good stuff in 2017.
DC’s Rebirth is now in full swing. Last week I wrote a response to one aspect of DC Rebirth #1. Later that week, I picked up Batman, Superman, and Green Arrow Rebirth (sorry Green Lanterns Rebirth). I read them. They ranged from awkward to interesting with Green Arrow, to me, being the most solid of those three. There was something not sitting right with me as I read these issues though, and it wasn’t in regards to the story or the art in the comics but in the credits and advertising.
Every one of those comics, including Green Lanterns Rebirth which I haven’t picked up yet, features exclusively male creators. Every. Single. One. In the middle of the books themselves they all advertise four more upcoming comics for Rebirth: Action Comics, New Super-Man, Superwoman, and Supergirl. All of which are exclusively male creator teams. Finally, in the back of each issue they advertise for more Rebirth comics including Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Titans. All of which, again, are exclusively male creator teams. That is a total of twelve ongoings as well as the DC Rebirth one-shot with not one female creator. Not one.
That’s not to say that they won’t be having women on any of their titles (though I wish they’d advertise that). Amanda Connor will continue to co-write Harley Quinn, Hope Larson will be on Batgirl, and the entire creative team on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey are women. Emanuela Lupacchino and Nicola Scott appear to be bouncing around some titles as well as they have been during The New 52. That leaves one title with an all women creative team compared to the 24 titles that have all male creative teams, and that number could easily go up as some creative teams have not been fully announced. That’s a large disparity that’s hard to ignore, but an even larger problem needs to be addressed as well.
The titles that do have women on their creative teams whether it’s initially or later in the runs are Harley Quinn, Superwoman, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and Wonder Women with Superwoman and Wonder Woman being male only until later in their runs. You seeing a pattern here? The women freelancers on creative teams have all been allocated to books that are either solo women superhero titles or to the only all women superhero team being published there. That’s it. No exceptions, as of yet.
Whether it’s intentional or not, women freelancers have been segregated to the books about women. Meanwhile, men are tackling comics with men, women, or teams that have a mix of both. Assuming none of this is intentional means having to acknowledge that a deeper systemic problem exists.
Part of this problem is that going from individual comic to individual comic, it isn’t inherently a problem. For example, I’m looking forward to Steve Orlando on Supergirl.
There is no inherent problem with men writing or drawing women. None whatsoever. The problem comes when men are so much more likely to be hired in the first place, to be writing and drawing both men and women, and for women to only be given the opportunity to tackle female protagonists and not even given a chance to write or illustrate a team with both men and women. The only team they get is the all-women’s team.
To be fair, DC Comics does seem to have an idea that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. In their pilot program for the DC Writer Development Workshop, six of the eleven participants were women. That’s a good sign. They also have their line that’s directed specifically to young girls, DC Superhero Girls, which again is very encouraging. And lastly, they do have women involved in other areas of the company. Editors, Colorists, and more. Still, the male to female ratio is not ideal, but at least some books have women giving input to all male creative teams at DC.
What’s discouraging is how, before The New 52, women made up roughly 12% of DC freelancers, but once it was launched made up 1%. As they got those numbers up over the course of The New 52 with talent like Nicola Scott, Emanuela Lupacchino, Marguerite Bennett, Ann Nocenti, Amy Chu, Babs Tarr, Meredith Finch, and more, the recent relaunch has dropped the number of female freelancers back down to roughly 4%. It’s 2016, it shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t be starting relaunches of books to reach new audiences by having a straighter whiter more male cast of characters than we did a few months or so prior with creative teams that more reflect that dynamic. It’s not going to bring in new readers. Perhaps it won’t alienate large swaths the old readers, but the fact that this is a reboot in a fashion will.
With the impending DC Talent Workshop participants being announced this summer, DC’s recent tendency to diversify as they get farther from their reboots, and rumors of shake ups occurring in the not too distant future, DC Comics may give us some hope soon.
For all you mainstream comic fans, last week was a doozy. If you’re in that tiny minority of people that somehow avoided all the craziness last week, haven’t read the new Captain America or DC Rebirth but still plan on it, maybe it’d be best if you did before you read on. I’m totally going to spoil things.
Now that we’re all caught up let’s start with the less controversial DC Rebirth #1. Other than my own personal issues with it being far too heavy on the exposition through narrative (come on people, it’s a visual medium!) the most striking thing to myself and seemingly many others was the introduction of Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen fame into the main DC continuity.
Watchmen has been an odd property at DC ever since it premiered, never quite being in the DCU but also not being allocated to one of DC’s smaller imprints. Damn near very comics fan is at least somewhat familiar with Alan Moore’s falling out with DC Comics. People higher up in DC like Paul Levitz did try to respect Alan Moore’s wishes in so far as pushing back against others within the company from trying to use the property in other projects. However, after Paul was no longer corporate president, plans were quickly put in motion to capitalize on Watchmen’s success with Before Watchmen.
Before Watchmen was met with mixed reviews and comparatively disappointing sales. So after Before Watchmen flopped, why would DC want to try to incorporate Dr. Manhattan into the main DCU? Did they feel like they haven’t annoyed Alan Moore enough recently? Incorporating Watchmen into Rebirth seems like it’s not only a bad idea, but a bad idea with a recent proven track record of being a bad idea.
We’ll get back to that in a bit. Now onto the more controversial comic from last week, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. In case you did not heed my earlier warning and are reading this without having heard what happened, live firmly under a rock with no Internet access and someone was kind enough to print this column out for you, Captain America has come out as a Hydra agent. You know, that Hydra. The bad one. The one that has caused the Internet to argue over exactly what degree of Nazi that Hydra is.
Newsflash: if you’re arguing about how Nazi a thing is, said thing in question is probably already too Nazi.
I’m not going to get into too many of the details here as it’s been explained and editorialized into oblivion since last week. I do fall onto the side of the argument that goes: maybe don’t do this to a beloved movie franchise character that children look up to. And I will add that some people I’ve seen compared this to Superior Spider-Man, and while I under that it’s tempting to compare the two the reality of this fiction is that we all knew Superior Spider-Man was Doc Ock from day one.
Although both of these events last Wednesday seem radically different from one another, they are really both different parts of the same problem. The mainstream comic book industry, Marvel and DC, are uniquely trapped by their intellectual property and this problem has not and is not being addressed properly. I’d argue that reboots are absolutely necessarily for these companies. The problem is that they keep trying to reboot the characters and stories, but what really needs to be rebooted is the corporate culture.
We live in as world where if you create new characters for Marvel or DC you have no ownership of them. They could be a huge hit and a cash grab for a generation or more, but you won’t see much money from it, if any. Hell, our own Denny O’Neil wrote the Iron Man story that was borrowed heavily from to create the movie that launched Marvel Studios and saved the company. Try to find a producer credit for him.
No one expects every idea to take off and be a mega hit. And comics is a very collaborative medium where it can become difficult to figure out exactly who gets the credit, especially in the years before this was taken more seriously. However, a creator is not going to be nearly as motivated to use the best ideas, create the best characters, and give Marvel or DC the chance of getting big crossover hit. They can just take those ideas to Image or another creator-owned publisher.
You see it all the time now. Indie creators getting some buzz, Marvel or DC scooping them up and helping build the creator’s fan base, then said creator takes a chunk of those fans with them when they decide they’ve gotten enough out of Marvel or DC and focus on their creator-owned ideas. Just look at Rick Remender, Alex Kot, Matt Fraction. Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Ed Brubaker. That’s just off the top of my head.
I get that it’s not an easily solved situation for Marvel and DC. I understand how these are complicated problems that involved multiple departments and corporate entities. However, the way both companies are handling their properties right now with the constant reboots, reshuffling, shooting for short term profits and ignoring (at least publicly) long term solutions, the only reboot they really need to concern themselves with is in their legal departments.
So Mike Gold, our old and grumpy and sly editor, threw down the gauntlet last week, challenging the marvelous Marc Fishman and the grammatically incorrect me to read the same comic and opine on it. That comic was DC Rebirth #1, the umpteenth revision of the company’s four-color mythos. Marc had his turn on Saturday. Today is mine.
Unlike Marc, I didn’t have travel a long and hard road 45 minutes from my suburban home to another suburb “to make a transaction.” Unlike Marc, I live in a city and the nearest comics store is three blocks away. However, I’m not a particular fan of this four-color emporium – I used to have a fantastic shop six blocks away where I browsed and hung out and bought for many decades, but it closed because of the owner’s illness – so I downloaded and read the e-comic version.
First the positives:
The artwork, by Gary Frank, Phil Jimenez, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Joe Prado, Matt Santorelli, Gabe Eltaeb, and Hi-Fi Colorists, is brilliant, breathtaking, and inspiring. It’s clean, it’s sharp, and it’s spectacular. The storytelling is so fantastically good that no writing is even necessary to follow the story, and every emotional nuance is there in the faces of every single character, from cameos to supporting characters to the “all-stars.”
That writing, by Geoff Johns, is no less than anyone would or could expect from a man who is a master of his craft. As Marc said, and as I concur, “Geoff [Johns] made hiscareer (in my humble opinion) – and also im-not-so-ho, and c’mon Marc, don’t be so modest or polite! – on harnessing emotion and sewing it into the rich tapestry of DC’s long-standing continuity.” Geoff also has the writer’s gift of building tension, that all-so-important command of plot that keeps the readers engaged and turning pages, while not forgetting those common-to-us-all integral and humane emotions that unite us with our fictional avatars, doppelgangers, and heroes.
And weaving through all of this is an understanding of the complexity of the DC universe since the hallowed days of Crisis on Infinite Earths collapsed it all into a ball of wax, and playing on his loom to bring it all back into one single tapestry.
The climatic and emotional moment in which Wally West reconnects with Barry Allen, his uncle, his idol, and his mentor, is so! right-on! bro! that even I, jaded and cynical and world-weary, felt a wee bit of the emotional lumping in throat. Barry Allen was the Flash I knew and loved, the symbol of the Silver Age of DC, that – if you’ll excuse the expression – golden era of my life in which I discovered and fell in love with comics and their universes of imagination and adventure.
His was the lynchpin that kept it all together, and when that lynchpin was pulled from its place, it all fell apart for me. Supergirl was gone, the Legion of Super-Heroes were strangers, and Superman and his family (Superboy, Krypto, Ma and Pa Kent, Lois, Perry, Jimmy, Lana, Lex Luthor, Lori Lemaris, Lyla Lerrol, Jor-el, Lara, Lex Luthor, Lena Thorul, everyone! – along with his hereditary planet of Krypton, were all just one disjointed mess of a fallen soufflé. It was, in too many ways, just one big funeral.
Okay, here come the negatives.
Though I realize for purposes of plot, for purposes of story, for emotional climatic wallop, and for purposes of cleaning up the mess of the fallen soufflé that the DC Universe has become, it was (and is) necessary for ReBirth #1 to wind its way through the many layers of said soufflé, giving acknowledgement to everything that has come since 1985 and Crisis – especially the “Dreary52.”
However, the almost biggest pitfall of the storyline is that Wally, struggling to survive in and escape from the Speed Force before he succumbs to death, isn’t immediately drawn to the man who gave him everything that he was and became, not only as a man, but as Kid Flash and then as the Flash. Given that it is this rich, undying love and bond between the two that saves both Wally and Barry from the Anonymous “what and who” that threatens on the nearing horizon, it just doesn’t make sense.
If the answer to the “Big Bad” is, as Marc said (and to paraphrase) “hope, optimism, love, friendship, kindness, and heroism,” then doesn’t it seem that all of Wally’s attempts to “reach out and touch someone” are useless fodder that merely stuffs 81 pages with folderol? As I read it, it is really Wally’s soul, not truly his physical body, his very being, that is being torn apart and filtered into the Speed Force (art not withstanding); and if that being does not want to go, fights for survival, would not it first and foremost search for that anchor which means the most to it, that gave it meaning to exist in the very, very, very, very first place?
But of course that would have been a different story.
My absolute B-I-G-G-E-S-T problem with the story is the inclusion of the Watchmen. Okay, okay, I know, all we see is the blood-dropped Smiley Face. But Watchmen was, and is, a singular novel, existing outside the DC Universe – in fact, it was Alan Moore’s adaptation of the old heroes of Charlton Comics which had been acquired by DC Comics. It had, and has, absolutely nothing at all to do with the mythos of the DC universe. It stood, and stands, on its own, and is considered by many critics as one of significant works of the 20th century. It was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the “All-Time Novels”published since the magazine’s founding in 1923. Here is what critic Lev Grossman wrote when the list was published in 2010:
“Watchmenis a graphic novel – a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station – starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged, retired superheroes: the paunchy, melancholic Nite Owl; the raving doomsayer Rorschach; the blue, glowing, near-omnipotent, no-longer-human Doctor Manhattan. Though their heyday is past, these former crime-fighters are drawn back into action by the murder of a former teammate, The Comedian, which turns out to be the leading edge of a much wider, more disturbing conspiracy. Told with ruthless psychological realism, in fugal, overlapping plotlines and gorgeous, cinematic panels rich with repeating motifs, Watchmen is a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium.”
And though, yes, Time Magazine is part and parcel of that “huuuuge” – I just had to get my Trump dig in – mammoth known as Time-Warner, of which DC Comics is also a flea in that mammoth’s wooly hide, it’s pick to be on that list was not influenced by its publishing house. There are many books on that list without “Warner Publishing” on their copyright pages.
It is crass and mercenary to me, not to mention oh-so unimaginative, that DC has the chutzpah to claim literary ownership (if not copyright rights) to a work that is included with such masterpieces and classics as Animal Farm; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Great Gatsby; The Grapes of Wrath; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; On the Road; Mrs. Dalloway; Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret; and Beloved.
Blood-spattered Smiley Face also telegraphs to me that the “Big Bad” will have something to do with the machinations of Adrian Veidt, a.k.a. Ozymandias, of whom Dave Gibbons, artist of Watchmen, said: “One of the worst of his sins [is] kind of looking down on the rest of humanity, scorning the rest of humanity.”
Hmm. If I may digress here for another moment of Trump-O-Rama: “Sounds familiar.”
This year WonderCon was in L.A. for the first time. While we are fans of the Anaheim Conventions Center (and not just because they have the best ice cream), it was kind of exciting to try a new convention center out. It wasn’t bad, just a little confusing (as you’ll see in the video, we get lost). But we’re really happy it’s returning to Anaheim March 31 to April 2, 2017!
As you’ve probably seen in our videos over the last couple weeks, we got to meet a ton of really cool people — and don’t worry, we have more interviews to come, but this week you’ll get to see what else we did at the con, like the DC Rebirth press launch, the panels, and the shopping.
This past weekend was WonderCon out in LA. DC made many announcements about it’s upcoming Rebirth, some of which we already had some idea about. Now we were given information on creative teams, like Scott Snyder heading up All-Star Batman with rotating artists including Sean Murphy and Paul Pope, and James Tynion IV taking the reigns on the soon to be back-numbered Detective Comics. One of the other Bat family announcements was that they will soon be revealing the Joker’s name.
The short answer is that Batman found out his name when he asked that question on the Möbius chair in Justice League #42 (42, the answer to the ultimate question of life. Coincidence?). The long answer is a combination of figuring out how to handle a decades old franchise coupled with changes in audience expectations.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Don’t we already know the Joker’s name? Many comic historians will tell you that the Joker is Jerry Robinson. Some out there may still argue his name is Bill Finger or even Bob Kane. Or maybe it was Conrad Veidt?
His name has changed many times over the years. Dick Sprang, Carmine Infantino, Denny O’Neil (Hi Denny!), Neal Adams, and many others. Personally, I liked when the Joker was both Marshall Rogers and Steve Englehart. Maybe sharing two minds helped to fuel his insanity. In more recent years, he’s gone by Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, Tony Daniel, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and many other names.
There are some purists out there who will tell you that no, the Joker only has one name. They’ll argue with you that his one true name is Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, or Heath Ledger. Some new Joker worshippers are even claiming that his real name has been Jared Leto all along. Perhaps we’ll find out soon enough.
Now that I’ve had my fun, I’ll address the long answer to that question (kind of the sort of thing the Joker does, isn’t it?) of why we are finding out the Joker’s name. The real answer is we’ve changed a lot as a society. Part of that is entertainment is different. Oddly enough, in the disposable age where we create more garbage than ever, the one thing we won’t discard is a story.
Way back in May of 1939 when Batman debuted, back when the United States was only comprised of the continental 48, comics were not intended to be reprinted the way they are today. Audiences were not expected to stick around either. No one imagined that a nine-year old reading Batman would still follow that character for decades to come. All of that came later. Television was the same way. People used to just pump out television programs and if an episode was rushed and turned out to be pretty bad, who cares! People will forget by next week. Who would ever see it again?
Now that’s all changed. We’ve gone back and we’ve read many of those stories. We’ve tried to make continuity out of stories that were never intended to have any originally because we demand that the world makes sense. We even demand that the Joker makes sense. Part of making the Joker make sense is giving him a name.
Personally, I have less than no interest in the Joker’s name. Just tell me a good story with the character. That’s not the point of the Joker. Audiences want it though. Or we think they do. In the age of the Internet, people want to know everything about the things they like. Many people “keep up” with comics by reading wiki entries of storylines at this point. Maybe it’ll sell a few comics too.
In defense of the decision to reveal the Joker’s name, audiences do appreciate an immersive world and I do appreciate that and I even enjoy that myself. Escapism is easier in a fully fleshed out world that we can imagine. When imaginary worlds leave out pieces of information like that, it can be harder to be immersed in that world. Plus, selling a few comics isn’t and shouldn’t be a bad thing. Having issues of comics sell big in this market helps to allow the wiggle room to try more experimental comics or to keep a critically acclaimed comic that might not be selling as well afloat for a few more months.
Either way, we’re finding out his name whether we like it or not. I could have sworn Tim Burton already told us his name was Jack. I don’t see why Burton would lie to us.
A well-timed survey indicates two out of every three people do not trust self-driving cars. Amusingly, this survey was released just as a Google self-driving car in California became the first of its ilk to cause an accident in traffic. It hit a bus; thankfully, nobody was injured.
Well, gee. When we started our space program, a whole lotta rockets went blooie either on or shortly after leaving the launch pad. We’ve mostly worked that out, although statistically space travel remains just about the least safe way for humans to travel.
One of the top-selling gifts of the recently concluded holiday season (screw you, Donny Trump, it is the “holiday season”) was the hoverboard. This was a locomotive device that did not actually hover. However, it did have a tendency to burst into flames. Retailers pulled the product, and some refunds were offered.
Americans who are all to willing to buy a pig in a poke (screw you, Donny Trump; quoting Mussolini and not rejected the support of white separatists were the most honest things you’ve done since Hector was a pup) rapidly created a nice black market for hoverboards. They still do not hover. They still burst into flames. And they’re still selling like hotcakes – particularly now that they are sold tax-free.
Last Sunday’s Academy Awards broadcast was the lowest-rated in eight years. According the the early demographics, this is because of a significant drop in white viewers. Hello? Is that because all of a sudden a lotta white people decided they no longer like Chris Rock? Maybe. Is that because they’re tired of hearing about dealing with racism?
Gee, I don’t know. Ask Donny Trump.
Our popular culture has grown somewhat reckless. It’s as if, as a nation, we’ve grown fed up with giving a shit. Overload, perhaps, and maybe that’s understandable. Not supportable, but understandable.
As ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo has pointed out many times, Marvel Comics has retreated somewhat from its commitment to diversity in characterization. What makes this all the more regretful is that Marvel has pretty much led the way in opening opportunities up to a much more diverse range of creators. Go know. DC’s response to our changing times is to hit the reboot button once again, like a monkey in a crack experiment.
Here’s a fact of life that people who try to sell you shit don’t want to know, and this includes manufacturers, politicians, and comic book publishers alike: we “consumers” (I loathe that term; I shall not be defined by what and how much I buy) control the markets. All of them. If we do not like a product, if we think it’s not safe, if we decline to vote for imbecilic megalomaniacs, if we shift our attention from the umpteenth painting of lipstick on a pig towards honest efforts from dedicated storytellers… then all that crap will go away. Ford couldn’t sell Edsels so they stopped making them.
That’s how capitalism works. Let’s use it to our advantage. Let’s not support crap.
“This computer will soon stop receiving Google Chrome updates because Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 will not longer be supported.” – Message on My Computer when I Open Google Chrome
“Justice Scalia was a hero. We owe to him, & the Nation, to ensure that the next President names his replacement.” – Tweet from Ted Cruz, 2016 Presidential Campaign
“The other candidates – they went in, they didn’t know the air conditioning didn’t work. They sweated like dogs… How are they gonna beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen…You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass… My IQ is one of the highest – and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault… You’re disgusting.” – Donald Trump, 2016 Presidential Campaign
“At DC we believe in superheroes and what makes them great. And we also believe in the direct market and the core comics fan. Rebirth is designed to bring back the best of DC’s past, embrace the stories we currently love and move the entire epic universe into the future. We are returning to the essence of the DCU. With Rebirth we are putting the highest priority on the direct market and we will continue to create and cultivate new opportunities for retailers to thrive and prosper, grow readers, fans and customers.” – Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment
Annoyed: The Tyranny of the (Geek) Mob.
Every time I open Chrome I get the above message from Google; if I click on the “learn more” link I’m at the “Chrome Blog,” which says that those unsupported platforms will not receive updates or security fixes. In other words, Google is giving a big fuck you to consumers who are happy with their systems – including those using Windows XP and Windows Vista – and have need to go out and spend money on new computers and/or software. Norton is doing this with its security platforms as well. I’m being told on an almost daily basis that the company is soon going to stop supporting my Mac OS X 10.8 with anti-viral software; meantime every time I go on Facebook they want more and more information – which I don’t give them – and the page looks different. Apple releases a new iPhone almost every six months and is and now encouraging people to update to Mac OS X El Capitan, which is something like OS X 10.11.3.
Look, I get it – updating systems and platforms is like the car manufacturers introducing new models every year. But I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix (and I see even older cars out on the road – I know someone with a 1999 Ford Ram truck with over 250,000 miles on its odometer), and when I bring it in for an oil change (or, just recently, some major work – the steering wheel was shaking and twisting like a hula dancer whenever I went over 30 miles an hour, turned out my brake calipers kept getting locked), my mechanic doesn’t say to me, “Sorry, Min, the Matrix is no longer supported, so you have to go out and buy a new car.” What Google and Apple and Facebook and all the technology companies are doing is pure bullshit.
Angry: The Repugnantican Party.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said upon hearing of the death Justice Antonin Scalia said that the “vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” and has promised to block anyone that Obama nominates. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said, “that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year,” which is total bullshit, because Saint Ronnie nominated Arthur Kennedy to SCOTUS, and the Senate confirmed him, in 1988, when that Presidential campaign was in full swing.
And then of course there is Ted Cruz, whose vitriol about the Supreme Court now includes Chief Justice John Roberts, whom Cruz supported. He actually said that it was “unconstitutional” for the President to nominate a justice while in his last year of office. I have a copy of the Constitution; Article III, Section 1 simply states: The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. That’s all it says. There is nothing in there about the nominating process that I could find. (Hello, Bob Ingersoll! How did the nominating process come about?)
So, yeah, yeah, tell it to the Marines, Repugnanticans. If Obama were a Republican you’d be falling all over yourselves in your eagerness to get another justice his or her seat. And why does your bullcrap about “activist judges” only extend to those judges who were placed by Democrats?
And by the way, Repugnanticans, it’s your obstinacy against working with Obama, and your barely disguised bigotry towards our first black president, that’s created the specter of Donald Trump swearing on the Bible on the Capitol steps in January 2017.
Aggravated: Donald Trump
Y’know, I’d feel sorry for the people who support Trump if they weren’t such tremendous patsies. Trump is the ultimate con man of our times, and like any good con man, he knows how to sell it by sticking to the script. I’ve watched and listened to Trump in interviews and at televised “town halls.” No matter what anyone asks him, he never really answers the question. He repeats slogans. He avoids specifics. At one town hall that was hosted and televised by MSNBC, a woman asked him what he was going to do to help small business entrepreneurs. He said, “Did you read my book, ‘The Art of The Deal’? I hope you read it. The answers are all in there. Did you read it? If you read it you should be successful. Oh, you read it? Then you must be successful.” He said versions of “Make America Great Again” a million times in one hour. Again and again he tells us, “I’m rich, I’m funding my own campaign, I’m beholden to nobody.”
He feeds on people’s fears and bigotries, he listens to what people say, and responds by giving them what they want. Immigrants are taking our jobs and lowering our wages. “I’m going to build a wall on the border and make Mexico pay for it.” Hello, people, we have a longer and more porous 3,000 mile border with Canada, how come no one is asking him if he’s going to build a wall at that border, too, and make Canada pay for it?
And btw, Donald, how many illegal immigrants are working for you, keeping your golf courses green and smooth and playable? I lost my job when my company moved overseas. “I know how to negotiate, and I’ll make China live up to its obligations” Hey, people, you’re the ones shopping at Walmart and other cheap shit stores, you’re the ones supporting the global market. Why don’t you try a nationwide boycott for one day or one weekend instead of hauling your fat asses to buy stuff made by men and women and kids chained to their desks for 12 hours at a time without even a bathroom break? And besides, even The Donald admits to doing “business” with China.
The point is, it’s a lot more complicated than you might think, people – our cars are a hodgepodge of parts from all over the world, same with our computers; and by the way, it ain’t just Walmart and The Donald. Hell, you want to talk upscale? Our Calvin Kleins and Donna Karans and Ralph Laurens – don’t you remember the tumult that occurred when it was discovered that our team uniforms for the last Olympics were made in China? – are all made outside our borders. Go to Macy’s, go to Nordstrom or Bloomingdales or Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus or any boutique store. Few and far between are the clothes and lingerie and handbags and shoes and belts and scarves and sunglasses with a “Made in the USA” label. And soon our Nabisco cookies – Oreos! – are going to be made in Mexico.
The globalized economy is here to stay, folks. Its ramifications aren’t going away. This isn’t your WWII veteran grandfather’s America. Hell, it’s not even your father’s America. Hell, it’s not even the America in which I grew up. Those Americas are gone for good. Those Americas ain’t coming back. Yeah, in some ways it does make me sad. But I also realize that those Americas weren’t Utopias, either. Looking backwards is always dangerous. Rose-colored glasses and all that…
My TV is on right now. The Donald is campaigning in Atlanta. He just told the crowd that “We’re gonna be winning so much, we’re gonna get tired of winning. Make America Great Again!”
Yeah, choosing a guy who picks fights with the Pope – the Pope, for Christ’s sake! – is just the way to do it.
Apathetic: Reboots, Sequels, and still more Reboots