Posts by Rich Lock

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…,

    We got scared and the reason we got scared is because we have kids now.

    It's the same problem every generation seems to go through: How can I make sure that my children grow up with the same experiences I had?

    Just re-reading the original blog again, more thoroughly - this is what I was getting at with my first post. I went through something like this when my daughter was two-three (you will play with the toolset..... No, the toolset... the toolset. Step away from the fish). However, my jedi mind tricks didn't work on her very well. I sort of came out the other side around the time she turned four. I'm actually really enjoying being along for the ride as she finds her own way. It's fun trying to find new stuff that we might all enjoy, and seeing it and the old stuff through new eyes.

    http://xkcd.com/1053/

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…, in reply to mark taslov,

    Nice. I tend to think Craig's comment....

    It tanked in 1982, but everyone who saw it went off and drew comic books, directed music videos and made more movies

    ....could sorta be applied to 'Star Wars' as well, as that film shows. It inspired a lot of people to go off and dream up their own stuff set in that Universe. Most of the expanded universe stuff ranges over a full spectrum from 'meh' to 'embarrassingly bad', but still...

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…, in reply to BenWilson,

    She's always in the thick of it, you can't accuse her of not pulling her action weight. She's the last one to leave the rebel base when Hoth is invaded, still barking evacuation instructions. She's on board the fleeing ship custodian of the stolen plans, defiant in the face of torture by Vader. She's in the rearguard battle on Cloud City, she's riding a speeder on Endor, shooting at Storm Troopers. She totally chokes out Jabba, and that's after staunching out the whole throne room dressed as a bounty hunter carrying a suicide bomb. Not to mention she has some of the best lines. She's a really big part of what made the first franchise hold together.

    Not to mention that when she has a gun held to her entire planet ("You would prefer another target, a military target?"), she has the brass ovaries to stone-cold poker-faced lie right to the face of Governor Tarkin. And that's after torture by the freaky floating torture-droid thing in her cell block. Which she clearly was able to effectively resist.

    I have lots to say about Star Wars, but must resist.

    It's still of some relevance to the younger generations. My 4-year old daughter likes it, but doesn't love it: for her, it's just one of many, many options: Marvel Cinematic Universe, How to Train your Dragon, Frozen, Mary Poppins.

    The fun for her seems to be in mixing them up. I usually end up playing George Banks or Anna to her Elsa, Toothless or Stormfly. Occasionally I manage to be Iron Man.

    I've found the best way to watch any of them is an almost literal machete: We've watched the original Ep4 escape from the death star and subsequent attack dozens of times, but hardly any of the rest of the film (frankly, a lot of it is pretty dull, and I say that as a fan). There's only a few small parts of the prequels actually worth watching. For example, the Darth Maul/Qi Jonn/Obi-Wan fight at the end of Ep1. In the original cinematic release, it's intercut with the fucking abysmal climatic Trade Federation/Droid army fight ("this is neat!" "use-a da bomb-ba jar-jar" shudder), but it's actually pretty awesome if watched uninterrupted/uncut, and available in that form via Youtube.

    That was the worst part of the prequels for me: If they'd been pure unadulterated crap, I'd have preferred that to what we got, which was flashes of enough really cool stuff, often in the background or as atmosphere, to show you how good it could have been, before dropping a huge steaming pile of something awful onto your lap.

    And I'd recommend anyone jonesing for a Star Wars action hit to youtube the intro/cutscenes from 'the old republic' games. Far more energy and imagination than Lucas showed in almost all of the tired mess of the prequels

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Terror panics and the war imperative, in reply to BenWilson,

    How can military policy ever be based on anything but death threats?

    Portions of the top brass in a lot of western militaries have been moving more towards attempting to position/align their military arms for a more peacekeeping/policing/nationbuilding role over the last 20-odd years.

    Which is all very well, but the infrastructure, equipment, training and mentality is still combat-oriented, and there is quite a bit of institutional passive and active resistance to movement in that direction, both macro and micro.

    Once governments have sunk billions into a project like the Eurofighter (so that we can achieve air supremacy over Europe if the USSR invades), it's difficult to pull the plug.

    Similarly, if the gunnery sergeant responsible for training a bunch of raw recruits has an old-school mentality, no amount of memos on the soft use of force is going to change the style he passes on.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Terror panics and the war imperative,

    Attachment

    Well, it all seems quite clear to me.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    pompous lecturing

    Do your homework.

    So, you don't appear to be able to recognise a genuine attempt to engage in reasonably good faith (my second, in case you were keeping score), and your response is, to say the least, unecessarily aggro and combative.

    I'm done with you. I look forward to when you step over the line and get banned again. Probably won't take too long.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    Jake - if you do want to argue here in good faith, as you've stated, then bear this in mind:

    We're all Russell's guest's here, but many regulars have been around for a long time, and have got pretty comfortable, as has already been stated. When a new guest comes to the party, starts talking loudly, acts a wee bit obnoxious to the extent that they can't give a straight answer to a question like 'what's your name?', then it's going to put a few backs up. I'm sure you can understand that.

    I'm happy to hear decent, coherent counter-arguments to my prevailing view. If you want to make them, be my guest. But I'm not going to accept baldly-stated conclusions. You have stated:

    1) Fran is a well-respected journalist (with an implication that because of that there's nothing wrong with her latest column).

    OK, why? Facts, arguments, conclusion, please.

    2) You think John Key is a good PM.

    Same again, please. And I'm not interested in 'he's popular', or variants thereof. Lorde, Ritchie McCaw and Lion Red are all popular, but no-one's suggesting they should run the country. So why is he a good PM?

    Like I say, I'd be delighted to hear a good fact-y argument. If you can't or won't provide one, then the rather inescapable conclusion is that you're just at this party to annoy people, because I'll do you the courtesy of assuming that you know that dropping into a group having a conversation and loudly and repeatedly stating an opposing and unsupported conclusion does nothing but annoy people.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery,

    There’s a George Monbiot article here which has some reasonably pertinent points in relation to media echo chambers and self-reinforcing viewpoints. He’s talking about the Scottish independence campaign, but it’s still illustrative of a certain hive mindset.

    Those who are supposed to hold power to account live in a rarefied, self-referential world of power, circulating among people as exalted as themselves, the “small number of guests” who receive the most charming invitations.

    ...

    Living within their tiny circle of light, most senior journalists seem unable to comprehend a desire for change. If they notice it at all, they perceive it as a mortal threat, comparable perhaps to Hitler. They know as little of the lives of the 64 million inhabiting the outer darkness as they do of the Andaman islanders. Yet, lecturing the poor from under the wisteria, they claim to speak for the nation.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    When you critique the media … they get very angry. They say, quite correctly, “nobody ever tells me what to write. I write anything I like. All this business about pressures and constraints is nonsense because I’m never under any pressure.” Which is completely true, but the point is that they wouldn’t be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk … and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like … They have been through the socialization system.

    There's a recent example of it's application here:

    In place of the logo for Fox News was a beneficent visage: the face of the network’s founder. The man known to his fiercest loyalists simply as "the Chairman" – Roger Ailes.

    “It was as though we were looking at Mao,” recalls Charlie Reina, a former Fox News producer. The Foxistas went wild. They let the dogs out. Woof! Woof! Woof! Even those who disliked the way Ailes runs his network joined in the display of fealty, given the culture of intimidation at Fox News. “It’s like the Soviet Union or China: People are always looking over their shoulders,” says a former executive with the network’s parent, News Corp. “There are people who turn people in.”

    ....

    Ailes then embarked on a purge of existing staffers at Fox News. “There was a litmus test,” recalled Joe Peyronnin, whom Ailes displaced as head of the network. “He was going to figure out who was liberal or conservative when he came in, and try to get rid of the liberals.” When Ailes suspected a journalist wasn’t far enough to the right for his tastes, he’d spring an accusation: “Why are you a liberal?” If staffers had worked at one of the major news networks, Ailes would force them to defend working at a place like CBS – which he spat out as “the Communist Broadcast System.” To replace the veterans he fired, Ailes brought in droves of inexperienced up-and-comers – enabling him to weave his own political biases into the network’s DNA. To oversee the young newsroom, he recruited John Moody, a conservative veteran of Time. As recounted by journalist Scott Collins in Crazy Like a Fox, the Chairman gave Moody explicit ideological marching orders. “One of the problems we have to work on here together when we start this network is that most journalists are liberals,” Ailes told Moody. “And we’ve got to fight that.” Reporters understood that a right-wing bias was hard-wired into what they did from the start. “All outward appearances were that it was just like any other newsroom,” says a former anchor. “But you knew that the way to get ahead was to show your color – and that your color was red.” Red state, that is.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to Sacha,

    Thousands of years if we change ‘state’ to society.

    We're veering close to a discussion of legal principles, and probably shouldn't encourage he-who-should-not-be-named to make a re-appearance.

    Whatever you do, don't say 'Blackstone's' three times while looking in a mirror.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

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