No Minister

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Cancel Kulture and the tools it uses.

with 3 comments

And one of those tools has been Twitter.

Here’s one way that Cancel Kulture can be made to work, and has worked on a number of people, especially in show business.

It’s quite simple: you just reach back into the past of that person, find something that’s “problematic” by today’s standards – problematic is a great word in that it’s not a direct attack but implies that a problem exists with the target of the word – and use that standard combined with a gathering wildfire of outrage on Social Media, followed by the MSM, to force the target into groveling apologies, most of which don’t work, the target gets de-platformed anyway.

This is what happened to Oscars host and comedian, Kevin Hart, three years ago. That was the end of that high profile job, and pretty much his career. The same stunt has been pulled on nobodies as well, like the young woman who lost her university place when a former high school classmate published an old Tweet of her celebrating getting her drivers licence at the age of 16 by repeating the line of a famous rap song (all the rage with her generation at the time) that included The Word That Can Get You In Trouble (unless you’re a rap artist).

Recently it was tried against the famous American comedian Steve Martin, because of a forty year old sketch he’d done on Saturday Night Live. Stephen Green at PJMedia takes up the story:

“Steve Martin” briefly trended on Monday after Silver Age Television tweeted the anniversary of King Tut’s debut on SNL. It trended because some zero-humor wokester forced it to trend. But only briefly. Mediaite did its best to generate heat with this headline yesterday:

Steven Martin’s ‘King Tut’ Sketch from 1978 Sparks Twitter Debate on Cultural Appropriation.

Steven Martin? Anyway, as the story made clear, there wasn’t even so little as a “Twitter debate.” The worst Mediaite could find was two barely-critical tweets by a couple of low-follower Blue Checks.

The Twitter Outrage Machine was cranked to life, then almost immediately ran out of gas. Maybe it’s because Twitter spent Monday outraged about the Elon Musk buyout and didn’t have time to worry about Martin.

Excellent news, but how did that little wokester actually get “Steve Martin” to trend in the first place, lighting a spark as it were?

“They do it,” Dice explained, “to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Twitter manually inserts a topic on the list. People see the topic and think everyone is tweeting about which “caused” it to trend, so people *start* tweeting about it, and *then* the issue goes viral.”

Easy peasy. Japaneasy.

Oooo. Is that racist? Or culturally inappropriate?

Well anyway, after delving into yet another aspect of the grim, toxic underbelly of the politically correct Left, have a laugh at Steve Martin’s original sketch:

Happy falling

I had another collection of these but as is often the case it amidst a sea of open browser windows and tabs, vanishing with the next crash / reset.

Enjoy.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 5, 2022 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Art, Humour

The Art of the Critic

When I joined this blog I wanted to do the occasional movie review and I have done so for the rare movies that I’ve enjoyed.

I had also intended to do a post covering the Golden Age of Pixar animated movies, a period which lasted roughly between the mid 1990’s and mid-2010’s, an extraordinary period where the company produced hit after hit, movies that made a lot of money and received a lot of critical praise.

Older readers who loved cartoons in their youth would likely dismiss these movies as the same thing. They’re not. One of the genius aspects of these Golden Age Pixar movies is how they could entertain the parents as much as the kids, both with “adult” humour and storylines that were anything but childish. As my kids have grown up it’s been fun to see them re-watching these movies and laughing at the inside jokes they didn’t get when younger.

There’s been a recent example of how good these movies are with an article by a history professor on his substack space about why the restaurant critic site, Yelp, needs to be destroyed. Many of his commentators agreed but at the same time they weren’t interested in his desire to return to the world of dedicated food critics, considering it “elitist”.

He decided to follow up with an article explaining why such a critic does not have to be elitist, Anton Ego and the Critical Sense. Anton Ego is the food critic in the Pixar movie Ratatouille, which is about a rat who is a gifted at cooking and becomes a hidden member of the staff of a Paris restaurant.

Anton Ego

At first it seems that Ego (brilliantly voiced by Peter O’Toole) is going to be the chief protagonist of the story: everything about him seems scary and it’s obvious that restaurants live and die on the basis of his reviews.

But I loved the following passage from the article, which I think carries a message far wider than about food critics, or critics in general:

Anton Ego has a pure soul. He is someone who cares only and exclusively about art (in this case cookery). He knows what is good and suffers enormously from what is bad. This is close to what I mean by “critical sense”, that the critic knows, deeply knows, the difference between what is good and what is not and is emotionally affected by it.

Anton Ego’s opinion about food is learned and uncompromising. He cannot be bribed, threatened, or cajoled into changing that opinion, which he delivers with style. For that reason, he seems villainous, for only a villain could have this level of consistency and artistic purity, only a villain could have such uncompromising standards. But, Anton Ego is not a villain, nor is he a snob. He is, like all great critics, a troubled romantic; in love with the art, but disappointed in the artists.

Read the whole article, and you may also enjoy the embedded podcast where a New York Times movie critic discusses how that movie and the character of Anton Ego changed him in his work.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 4, 2022 at 6:02 pm

A little happiness

Nice version of The Andrews Sisters classic, “Boogie, Woogie, Bugle Boy”.

I’m sure the old guys appreciated it. It’s not every day you get greeted at a museum by something like this.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 13, 2022 at 9:08 am

Posted in Art, History, Military

Tagged with

The China Syndrome

Since the movie was made in 1999, has come to be regarded as a cult classic and viewed by tens of millions of people, I don’t think readers will mind if I give up at least one of the plot spoilers from the end of Fight Club.

The skyscrapers owned by the credit card companies do get blown up by Tyler Durden’s team of anarchists – all while the classic Gen X band, Pixies, have their song “Where Is My Mind?” playing in the background (inside joke).

I didn’t watch the move until the mid-2000’s and that final scene is a lot more shocking than it would have been pre 9/11, especially since the way those buildings fall is eerily realistic.

But that’s not the problem that the Chinese censors had with the scene.

No, their problem was that a bunch of anarchists (somewhat organised anarchists I must say) cannot be seen to be demolishing The Powers That Be, being the modern tangle of state and corporate power. So if you’re streaming the movie in China the screen fades to black just before the explosions begin, and the following text appears on screen:

Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.

I don’t know about releasing old Tyler: it seems to me that the solution employed by Edward Norton’s character was the only one that could work.

The Washington Free Beacon had some fun imagining similar re-workings of other classic movies:

Gladiator 

The Praetorian Guard surrounded fallen emperor Commodus, saving him from certain death at the hands of his treasonous slave. The crowd cheered as Maximus was slaughtered and dismembered with his fellow gladiators. Their bodies were reassembled, crucified, and displayed at Roman Forum as a warning to common citizens. On the emperor’s orders, the bodies of Maximus’s dead wife and son were exhumed and re-executed.

Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi  

Following their arrest for incest, among other charges, Luke and Leia were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, providing crucial intelligence. Imperial Forces launched a preemptive strike against the Ewoks, killing most of the furry terrorists. Survivors were relocated to education camps on Zeitooine Autonomous Planet. The Death Star destroyed what was left of the Rebel Fleet, and order was restored to the galaxy.

But before you laugh too hard at the Chinese Communist obsession with speech and mind control you should check out what’s happening on Airstrip One:

A number of skits from classic comedy shows have been memory-holed entirely by the BBC, with the UK’s national broadcaster quietly editing re-broadcasts of old programming to remove supposedly offensive elements of the shows.

Shows such as Dad’s ArmySteptoe and Son and I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again have been hit by censorship according to the publication, with some sketches being stripped from rebroadcasted programmes entirely… Frequent targets of censorship are jokes revolving around sexuality, gender relations and race.

“Listeners enjoy a huge number of old comedies from the archives on 4 Extra and on occasion, we edit some episodes so they’re suitable for broadcast today, including removing racially offensive language and stereotypes from decades ago, as the vast majority of our audience would expect,” the spokesman said.

Of course. Incredible. There are now, in the BBC, real-life Winston Smiths, quietly altering the past in order to match the present. It is beyond irony! It is beyond fucking parody. Speaking of which:

Meanwhile, a 1970 episode of I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again had an entire sketch cut that involved a gag about scantily dressed women seen on Top of the Pops.

“We have noticed that it is possible to see right up to the girls’ knickers, owing to the shortness of their miniskirts, so we’ve asked the girls to drop them,” legendary actor John Cleese said while parodying a spokesman for the BBC during the bit.

If you didn’t laugh at that you know which camp you belong to.

Twenty years ago the idea of free trade with China was that it would enable the West to also export its ideas to China. Instead, we’re importing their ideas, and their values.

I can’t even!

Written by Tom Hunter

February 2, 2022 at 10:58 am

Prescient cartoons

Calvin & Hobbes was always one of the great cartoons and since it ended its run almost thirty years ago it has moved into the category of being a classic.

Still, when it predicts our future it gets a little scary.

And so….

Good to know that list is not “exhaustive”.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 29, 2022 at 9:57 am

Posted in Art, Humour

Tagged with

“Celebration Day”

Do we have something to celebrate?

I guess the end of the bullshit vaccine passport or C-19 test checking for Southbound Aucklanders on the Waikato Expressway on Monday this week, counts as something. You have to take your wins where you get them.

I doubt many readers of NM are also on Instagram but for anybody under the age of 30 it’s very much a thing. While working on the agricultural contracting job last year I was astounded at the constant camera-sound from a phone as my Irish workmate “communicated” with friends around the world via an endless stream of selfies while I drove us to our harvesting sites.

Then there are the woman of Instagram, exceeded only in obnoxiousness by those on TikTok. The following captures well what’s really going on with those endless photo streams.

I wonder how many dates and marriages will result from all this, or is it all just hookup culture? I guess we’ll know in a few years via surveys.

Back in the real world, increasingly meaning the old world, there were caches of things more valuable than butt-shots.

Is that stack of $500 notes Confederate money? A DDG search says no, and the same for the Union, so perhaps it’s Mexican? I don’t recognise the dude in the picture. Readers are invited to guess or find out. I suppose whoever planted this stash either died or never found their way back to their hiding place.

Jumping back a century or so is another tale of a hard-living chap.

As Captain Benjamin L. Willard would say: “A Tough Mother Fucker!”

And they’re still around. Looks like Hideaki Akaiwa’s story was real enough for Wikipedia, but I’m surprised I’ve never heard of him despite watching several documentaries on the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, given how often we focus on one person’s story amidst many. The lack of body cam video means it can’t compete with Reality TV!

Then there are these heroes, who managed to be heroes while having fun. MUCH FUN.

I wonder why Ferrari, who I think of as the quintessential Italian sport car, have been beaten out for this role by Lamborghini. Also – given that I doubt even modern developments in automotive technology have changed the Italians that much, in that they still love their manual gear shifts – what must the service costs on these babies be like, given Lamborghini’s history.

More history.

And as a final sop to history there’s the story of the sequel to the semi-famous TV series of the late 1990’s, Sex and The City. I saw glimpses of it from time-to-time because it was truly a chick-flick and I never got what was so great about living the loves and travails of four glamorous mid-30’s White Woman in NYC. Still, a lot of ladies around the world loved the characters and their joys and sorrows, all happening in stunningly fashionable clothes and apartments in the New York City of Rudy Guliani, meaning when it wasn’t a shithole like the 1970’s or today.

As a result these fans, now aged twenty more years, were filled with anticipation for the sequel. Had they known any Star Wars fans they’d have guessed what they were in for.

The show is fucking awful, it’s even getting panned by woke Leftie fans who were wanting more than the original four White-girls world. One writer summed it up pretty well by saying that “the writers clearly hate the characters, hate the show and hate the fans”. They even hated the original name and called this one, And Just Like That, which is hopeless. Who could have done this? Fans investigated and…

Yep. The lead writer is someone who hates the characters, hates the show and hates the fans.

So not a celebration then.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 19, 2022 at 6:00 am

I miss this.

Not the bullets obviously.

No, these scenes of beauty that are the result of ordinary people reaching for beauty in times both ordinary and extraordinary.

In downtown Chicago they put this up every year. There are similar ones across other parts of the city.

Believe it or not this is one of the zoos, in this case in one old neighborhood of mine, Lincoln Park.

Having just finished putting up our lights, with only a minimal effort on the trees in our front yard, I can’t imagine how many hours of labour you’re seeing here. I’ve walked through all this with my family.

Which brings me to this last. A YouTube video of a house display in Park Ridge, one of the many suburbs that lie on the boundaries of Chicago and not five minutes drive from where I lived.

The best equivalent you can find in New Zealand is in Franklin Drive in the suburb of Freemans Bay in Auckland.

Sadly it’s been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to guess what.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 24, 2021 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Art, USA

Tagged with ,

SOUTHPARK – in the “post Covid” future

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have hit this topic before, but this time they’ve taken it into the near future where the threat is from a new Covid variant, the…

Covid Delta Plus Rewards Program

From which Kenny has died – because Kenny always fucking dies.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 3, 2021 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Art, Humour

Tagged with , ,

Just clouds

I’ve never heard of Mammatus clouds and now I want to see them with my own eyes.

Meanwhile, in honour of the lunar eclipse the other night, which was rather more spectacular than the usual ones because it lasted such a long time (the longest in 800 years apparently), here’s something else that’s beautiful.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 23, 2021 at 5:53 am

Posted in Art, Environment