Drawing Parallels on a Perpendicular Plane

darkside of dorothy politicizing movies
I’d like to see the darkside of Dorothy, if you know what I mean

The image above doesn’t really make a lot of sense given the title because in this case it is art drawing parallels with more art. However the Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz parallels are so popular I figure I’d go with it. The underlying point of it anyway is that you can draw parallel meanings from anything if you try hard enough. Sometimes, you don’t have to try very hard and that’s when things can become stupid and annoying. For instance, Rush Limbaugh made the shallow remark that perhaps the villain in the Dark Knight Rises film Bane is liberal propaganda against Mitt Romeny and his former company Bain Capital. After much Internet hubbub, Limbaugh backed down and said he made no such mention of a conspiracy theory.

It gets better though. A Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Andrew Klavan says the movie is about far more than just good vs evil (my words, not his really) but depicts a striking resemblance to the real-life Occupy Wall Street movement and other “leftist” movements that brought about radical change and “inevitable” dictatorships (his words this time, for real). Because let it be known, all “leftist” movements *will* result in some kind of dictatorship. In fact, I can’t think of any movement where a large group of people rebelled for freedoms and rights that didn’t end in a dictatorship – give this man a Nobel Prize!

Can’t The Dark Knight Rises just be what it is – a summer blockbuster where two VERY fictional characters in a VERY fictional world fight each other unrealistically? Why draw the Tea Party/OWS lines? Why even bring up Michael Moore?

The best part of the post is where he brings up the tragedy in Aurora just to say, out of respect for the victims, he won’t be talking about it in his article.

Movie Inspired Violence – A Big Deal?

violence
This image alone makes me want to kill bathroom signs

In the wake of the tragic Aurora Colorado shooting, some pundits have turned to lack of gun control promoting violence. Others are saying that the influence of violence in movies (like the Dark Knight Trilogy) lead to gruesome crimes, such as the one in Colorado. In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, Peggy Noonan, says that there is no doubt that our culture is poisoned with explicit material in movies and that it has been getting worse over the past few decades. In a New York Times Op-Ed, Stephen Marche cites examples from hundreds of years ago, where explicit art has lead to some serious crimes, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Everyone knows art imitates life, but does life imitate art though? Of course it does. Does that mean certain art should be banned or regulated (even more so)? No, but some people will suggest it. Well then how about the argument for stronger gun control? Perhaps, but it doesn’t really strike at the root of the problem. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 26.2% of adult Americans suffer from some kind of diagnosable mental disorder. That’s an alarming number (just pointing that out in case you suffer from a mental disorder where you can put percentages in perspective).

The point here is do not blame Batman, Eminem, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, or Dick Sharpe for society’s problems. I would go as far as to say don’t blame the lack of gun control either. Start with the source of the problem – the prevalence of mental instability among American citizens. Most pundits don’t point to this because A) it doesn’t make for an entertaining dialogue and B) it’s a far more difficult problem. How would a country go about treating its citizens for mental illness? Do mental health professionals even know how to treat all these mental illnesses? These types of questions don’t make for good TV, but it’s probably the right questions people should be asking after a tragedy such as this.

To Be or Not to Be – Circumcised That Is

circumcised baby
“It hurts – but he’ll never remember it”

A court in Germany recently ruled that it is illegal for parents to have their newborn boys circumcised (as if Germans needed another reasons for Jews to hate them) because “circumcising young boys represents grievous bodily harm”. As a man about to be a parent to a baby boy in a few months, this is probably something I should think about. So I’ve asked around and have found that most people are VERY passionate about this topic – on both sides of the issue. I was actually quite surprised, because honestly, this is not something I have ever given a lot of thought about.

On one side of the issue, some people believe that it’s simply wrong because the baby has no say in the matter. To this, I say too bad – babies have no choice in any matter, that’s why they have parents. Perhaps they’d choose later in life they wish they were never vaccinated, or had never had their teeth cleaned, or had never been bathed, etc. Babies are babies and are stuck with whatever shit their parents believe in. On the same side, people will argue that it is an unnecessary mutilation to which I say, perhaps. There are a very small percentage of procedures that get botched and cause significant harm to the baby.

On the flip side, there are many reasons to remove the man helmet. First, the thing that started it all, religion. I find this to be the worst reason, for or against, because the old testament clearly says something like “God made man in his image and he is to stay that way”. Well if that’s the case, why are we cutting things off at birth? A better reason for the tip-cutting celebration is hygiene: apparently it’s difficult to keep the man-drapes clean. Not keeping it clean facilitates the spreading of communicable diseases. Other, much weaker, evidence says it can reduce the chance of certain cancers. On that note, I’ll say let’s see more studies on the subject.

circumcised man
This guy misses his man-curtain

There are other arguments like an uncircumcised penis is more sensitive, ie. more pleasurable sex. Of course, others will argue some women are turned off like a light bulb at the site of an uncircumcised penis. All-in-all, I find the debate to be quite pointless. If you’re the type of parent that will take the small risk in an effort to possibly prevent future health problems, then go for it. On the other hand, if you’d rather the child grow up and make the (riskier and more painful) choice down the road, so be it. No one should feel ashamed of either decision.

NYTimes Page for Debate