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John C. Wright Hates the Last Jedi

He hates it soo much

flames

…that he devotes a series of posts at his block to smashing it into tiny bits, and then jumping on those bits. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty amusing. But in one of these bromides, he does kind of gloss over some stuff that I think would merit a more thorough discussion:

Hotshot Pilot, now demoted to Dogcatcher, goes to the new commanding officer, who is not fan favorite Admiral Ackbar, but instead is a thin-faced crone in a sadly sagging evening dress with brightly-dyed purple hair, hereafter called Girl-General Gender Studies van Grievance.

He politely asks her what plan he and his men should be following to preserve their besieged and dying flotilla from the hot pursuit at that moment shooting at them. She replies by telling him men are the inferior sex, and are not allowed to hear plans invented by Gender Studies crones with purple hair.

He must obey orders without question, mechanically and mindlessly. After all, that is the principle and the philosophy the rebellion has stood for during the entire Star Wars canon of films, novels, and comics: The Empire stands for freedom and initiative, and the Rebels are fighting to bring about a regime based on perfect mindless obedience of authority. How clear. How reasonable.

Okay. A couple of things on the Vice-Admiral Hole-Card Super-Secret Escape Plan:

  • In the military, you don’t have any right to have your orders explained to you, or your superiors plans laid out for discussion. Ours is not to wonder why, ours is but to do and die. So I’m completely fine with Hole-Card not explaining things to Captain Jump-Into-An-X-Wing. At first.
  • However, there’s a scene later on, when Jumpy emits a J’Accuse at Hole-Card, and names her a Coward and Traitor, in full view of everyone on the bridge. In every navy that has ever sailed, this constitutes mutiny. So Hole-Card has one of two options:
    1. Pack him off to the brig and let him cool his heels while they get out of this situation, whereupon he can answer to a court-martial,
    2. Take him aside and Explain Her Stupid Plan to him.
    3. Why not Do Both of those?
  • Instead, she does neither, and carps at him to leave the bridge, as if that’s going to solve the problem, and has the nerve to look surprised when he tells her he’s cooked up his own scheme to save the day, which he is prepared to back up with Non-Technical Mutiny. You’ve got a guy you’ve sussed out as being Dangerous and Hot-Headed, who just got a stripe ripped off for pushing the envelope, and all he wants from you, is BEGGING for from you, is to know what you’ve got in mind that isn’t Wait for the First Order to Blow Us All To Hell. And you’re Surprised that he wasn’t content to sit on his hands while his comrades were dying?
  • Because, while an admiral doesn’t have to explain her orders, it’s generally a good idea to build consensus among officers, to have them point out potential pitfalls, to allow them to keep morale up among the ranks. This is called Good Leadership, and it makes following orders you don’t agree with easier. When you know the plan, and get a chance to get heard, you tend to accept the decision better, even if you really think it’s the wrong call. Militaries at the upper echelon do operate that way.
  • It’s kind of a clever plan, except for the fact that it has no flexibility. It depends on a surmisal of First Order operations, which is to say, it depends upon your enemy doing something one way and not another, when you have no means of influencing that. And once committed, you have no backup plan. You’re in these lifeboats that have no hyperdrive, shields or weapons, and you’re sitting ducks, and the only thing that has to turn this from Clever to Nightmare is one First Order officer saying to himself “any chance they loaded up escape pods and headed over to the salt planet?” I dunno, I feel like Sun Tzu would have had a problem with this.

21b5y6

 

A Short List of Things I Do Not Care About

smokin' JayWilliam Burroughs used to write, back in the jet-age 60’s, about starting a riot with a tape recorder. You ask some people their opinion of a different group, and record their responses, then take them to members of that group, and ask what they think of it, and record their responses, then take them back to the first group, etc., etc.

Social Media is that tape recorder. It’s also the riot.

So here’s a list of things going on in the Riot, that I am shrugging my shoulders on:

  1. John McCain. I voted for McCain in the primaries against George W. Bush in 2000. I voted for him against Obama in 2008. He was good enough for my approval then, and I’m not suddenly going to decide that he’s the Enemy because he didn’t like Trump. I didn’t vote for Trump, so I’m not going to do that.

    But I also don’t care that he’s dead. He was old, and sick. That happens. He lived a full life. His family can mourn him. He wasn’t a hero to me; he was just a politician. I have nothing to say about that political circus that was his funeral other than “McCain finally became the Media’s favorite kind of Republican: Dead.”

    I expect we’ll get the same when George H.W. Bush finally dies, a lamentation for the Old Good Kind of Republicans, who are totes magotes different from the New Evil Scary Kind (never mind that Bush was the New Evil Scary Kind back when he was actually President. We have always been at war with Eastasia). But George W. probably won’t, because he’ll live too long to be useful against Trump. They’ll probably feel authorized to give him Hunter Thompson’s Nixon sendoff.

    Or not. I don’t care. Here’s the only sensible thing I’ve read about John McCain in the last week.

  2. Anything pertaining to the NFL. The NFL lost me permanently last year when it decided to become a political organization, in which one kind of Cheap Political Theater was acceptable and one kind not. Overpaid Jockulas braining each other for millions acting like Bold Martyrs of Truth? Whatever. But allowing that and fining a guy for wearing 9/11 memorial socks? That means you’re a political organization, and not my kind. So I don’t care who wins the Super Bowl, and I don’t care what teams do what. None of them are my heroes, and if the sport dies tomorrow and everyone plays soccer instead, I will nod bemusedly and then go back to playing Crusader Kings 2.

    By the same token, I don’t care about Colin Kaepernick. I don’t hate the guy. I don’t know if he really means what he’s said, if it was all an act for attention, or if he just zoned out on mushrooms and then felt like he had to commit to the bit. I don’t care that Nike made him their poster boy, and I don’t care that people have decided to burn perfectly good shoes in protest of this. Everything is political now, so this is the sort of thing that’s going to happen. Your shoes are political. Your car is political. Your fast food is political, as are farm-to-table restaurants in Lexington, VA (and the smoking holes left of them). Ill-thought actions, meet foreseeable results. Have fun yelling at each other over it.

  3. Whatever Stupid Movie They’re Rebooting Now. You know, that one? The one that comes from the pre-internet age, the last era with shared cultural touchstones? The one that’s going to be ruined by adding/removing X? I don’t care. It’s going to be boring, I’m not going to see it. I would say Hollywood hit Peak Cultural Ouroboros with Ready Player One, but that would imply that I didn’t think they could crawl up their own rear ends any further, and I’m not prepared to make that claim. It would also imply that I cared enough to actually watch it. And I do not.

    All of which means, the only way I’d probably end up watching an episode of Jack Ryan is if I fall asleep binging The Man in the High Castle. The only really good Jack Ryan movie was Hunt for Red October.

  4. Whatever Celebrity X is Doing. Pick one. Taylor Swift. Brad Paisley. That Guy who was in That Thing. Sarah “I Slummed America So You Don’t Have To” Silverman. Whatever Late-Night Mouth of Sauron who said That Thing that people are all OH NO YOU DIDN’T and I CANNOT EVEN about. Or whatever YouTube personality fell afoul of MiniTruth and got unpersoned (I might care about that last one slightly, because it’s creepy).
  5. Brett Kavanaugh. Dude is going to get confirmed. It’s going to happen. And then he’s going to reduce everyone to Handmaids and eat babies. Just like immediately happened when Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas were confirmed. Because it’s not like Roe vs. Wade has been UNDER THREAT for the last 30 years, and is somehow still on the books, or anything. You know, kind of how Donald Trump can’t throw all the Muslims out of America, because George W. Bush already did that, and anyway we all died in the atomic wars that Reagan started.

    Enjoy the Kabuki.

Woodie Guthrie was a Showboating Commie Stooge, and He Never Killed a Single Fascist

220px-woody_guthrie_nywtsI don’t blog about politics anymore. Politics is a numb suckhole of fools and swine stabbing at each other with bent knives. This is not about that.

This is about taking down a liar.

I could give a tinker’s damn about the policies of the Old Left, because the Old Left hasn’t been relevant for two generations. But I tire of the shallow iconography of ersatz revolutionaries.

Really what set me off was reading a Neil Hilborn poem about Ol’ Woodie, rhapsodizing that today he’d be a crust punk spraying his famous catchphrase on walls like Bastiat or some nonsense. I rather think that if Guthrie were alive today, he’d be shaming people for appropriating blues music and telling people on Twitter which of their opinions are Hate Speech. Party Men are like that.

Woody personified what Orwell wrote about the Socialists of England.

Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started.

When the Nazi-Soviet pact was a thing, Woody Guthrie followed Pete Seeger’s lead with the rest of the Almanac Singers, and wrote songs about how war was bad and a phony capitalist lie:

Franklin D, listen to me,
You ain’t a-gonna send me ‘cross the sea.
You may say it’s for defense
That kinda talk ain’t got no sense.

Only after Operation Barbarossa was it time to kill Fascists. Which he did not do. He instead did everything he could to avoid Army service, eventually enlisting the U.S. Merchant Marine. Now, the Merchant Marine was hardly a safe service in WW2, and he was on a ship that took a few torpedoes off of Utah Beach in 1944. But the Sea Porpoise didn’t sink, and he was fine. A lot of guys on Utah Beach were not so lucky.

And yes, I get the idea that by rallying the people at home, by raising the spirits, he was doing his bit. It’s not wrong exactly, but there’s something slimy about that particular martial self-congratulation regarding it. Bob Hope did at least as much to keep the troops happy, but he never claimed to be winning the war himself.

So to that aesthetic bit of self-importance, no, that “machine” does not kill fascists. M-1 Garlands and Browning Automatic Rifles kill fascists. Sherman tanks kill fascists. And yes, Russian burp guns and T-34s kill fascists (when they aren’t helping them invade Poland). Your guitar just sings your self-conception disguised as communal spirit, helping to birth the culture of overgrown children who had the temerity to be angry when Bob Dylan picked up a Stratocaster. The guitar does nothing without the hand that plays it. And I know whose hand was playing yours.

First Order After Action Review for Operations on Jakku – The Angry Staff Officer

I know I’ve been doing a lot of Star Wars content lately, but that seems to be where my head’s at.

Anyway, this is pretty funny. First Order After Action Review for Operations on Jakku.

Okay, so, operations on Jakku: what was supposed to happ – dammit, GD796, if you can’t keep your hand out of your crotch piece for five seconds, I will cut it off. As I said, what was supposed to happen?

RL29: Um…sergeant, we were supposed to land on Jakku and find some dude with a map.

SG51Okay, yeah, in frikkin’ Bantha-speak, I guess that’s what was supposed to happen.

AK22: Sergeant! At 0045 we received orders for 1st Platoon, 2nd Company, 4th Battalion, 225th Legion to conduct an air assault onto Jakku in order to interdict a high value target for interrogation by Kylo Ren.

SG51: No one likes a show-off, AK22. But yeah, that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. What did happen? Anyone?

Read the Whole Thing.

What’s Wrong With Star Wars

SWsplatter

Solo bombed. It may not have deserved to (I liked it), but it bombed. The Last Jedi didn’t do nearly as well as The Force Awakens. The narrative has switched from endless-franchise-money-machine to “maybe we have a problem with the fans“.

And they do. Whether or not they want to acknowledge it, they do.

There are many reasons for this. Some of it is Disney’s fault, some isn’t. But it’s a blunt reality that the Star Wars fandom has a lot of anger inside of it. Disney chose poorly treating the SW universe as it did Marvel.

I’m going to put my premise here, and let you decide how well I argue it:

All problems within the Star Wars fandom hinge on the creators of Star Wars not showing the same respect to the story that the fans do.

Compared to Star Wars, the Marvel Universe is an easy lay-up. These are a set of comic book characters that have never been successfully translated to the screen. The bar for a successful Iron Man, Avengers, or even Thor movie was low enough for any reasonably competent film to clear. They cleared them (and then some, as far as fans are concerned).

The exception to this is Spider-Man, which had been a trilogy already, and then rebooted, with mixed results.

Note how this explains the issues the DC Universe has been having. Batman has already had critically and commercially successful film franchises. Superman has, too. You know who hasn’t? Wonder Woman.

See the pattern?

Now translate that to Star Wars, a film trilogy from the late 1970’s-early 1980’s that had a mass of fan canon and even a second, inferior trilogy, long before Disney got its hands on it.

See the problem?

Marvel fans did not have a very clear idea of what good Marvel movies would look like, and so were content to accept anything not horrible (I’m on record has having enjoyed all the Marvel movies I’ve seen, so that’s not me damning them with faint praise). DC fans do have a clear idea of what good movies in their universe look like. Star Wars fans have a very clear idea of what a good Star Wars movie is, and a clear idea of what a bad one is. They are bound to be a great deal more picky, right out of the gate.

On top of that, the fandom has been feeling very disrespected by Lucasfilm for a very long time. Not directly disrespected, mind. Lucasflim loves fan events and fab merchandise and Fan Experiences.

But it’s been a long time since Lucasfilm treated the story with anything like respect, as far as the fans are concerned.

And unfortunately, this goes all the way back to the beginning.

A Long Time Ago, in a Retcon Far Far Away

As The Secret History of Star Wars has it, George Lucas hates writing. The last thing Lucas cares about is flawless devotion to continuity. He based Star Wars on the Flash Gordon-style adventure serials he grew up on, and those things were wild and sprawling and made up on the fly. Star Wars was, too.

Darth Vader was not originally Luke’s father. Princess Leia was not originally Luke’s sister. Both of these were retcons that got turned into Surprise Twists. There really was supposed to have been a Father Skywalker, separate from Darth Vader. Indeed, some early drafts of The Empire Strikes Back has Ghost Anakin training Luke. They were changed because after Obi-Wan Kenobi started Luke on his journey, another father-figure would have been redundant, while the Vader reveal creates a powerful low-point for Luke’s character. There was also supposed to have been a lost twin-sister from Luke, on her own journey, whom Luke was to find, perhaps in the second Luke Skywalker trilogy (there was originally supposed to be nine of them). This is what Yoda’s line in Empire about “There is another” meant. Leia became Luke’s sister in the writing of Return of the Jedi to cover this plot hole up so that Return of the Jedi could wrap the whole story up, as by 1983 Lucas was exhausted from making Star Wars and wanted to do something else.

The fact that these changes made whole scenes of exposition from the first movie nonsense or early Luke-Leia scenes suddenly weirdly incestuous was papered over with silly dialogue (say it with me: “A Certain Point of View?”) in the third film. But Vader being Luke’s father worked for the characters, and Leia being Luke’s sister at least settled Leia’s romantic affections without need for further competition between Luke and Han. So fans shrugged and accepted it.

But Lucas’ takeaway from this was apparently that he could get away with anything. Which he began, it the 90’s, to do.

The Shot Heard Round the Galaxy

In 1997, Lucas re-released the first SW film, cleaned-up and re-edited, under the title “Special Edition”. Most of the changes to the film were unnoticeable. Some, like the bigger Death Star explosion, could even be called an improvement. But none of that mattered when Lucas changed the scene Han Solo-Greedo scene to make Greedo get a shot off first, missing Han at point-blank range, while Han hits from under the table.

It looks ridiculous, and it scuttles Han Solo as a character. The essence of Han is an anti-hero who looks out for number one, thus making his double-back to save Luke from Vader at the end a meaningful turn. Shooting first to shut Greedo up is in line with that. Waiting until Greedo shoots first, hoping he’ll miss, is what Luke would have done. Han is not Luke. That’s the whole point of Han being in the movie.

George Lucas does not care. He even shoehorned in a discarded scene in front of the Falcon with a CGI Jabba the Hutt (initially Jabba had been human) in which Han states much the same dialogue we just heard in the Greedo scene. It ended up on the cutting room floor for a reason. It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know. Jabba actually works better as an offstage threat, until appearing in full monstrosity in ROTJ.

And when fans protested the changes, Lucas told them they were wrong, that Star Wars was his, and that he had always intended Han to shoot second, despite the fact that the shooting script, as tweeted by Peter Mayhew, said the exact opposite.

And in a Mini-Truthian turn, the Special Editions stopped being labelled as such and became the definitive versions of the films. You cannot currently buy the versions of the original Star Wars trilogy as they appeared in theaters. Lucasfilm has decided they don’t exist.

This is How Not to Treat Your Fans for $500, Alex. This is Customer Relations 101. You don’t get to memory-hole a movie this popular. This early instance of Lucasfilm showing no respect for the story paved the way for much of the rancor that followed. The fractious relationship between Lucas and fans, leading to a documentary called The People vs. George Lucas had its beginning here.

Fandom Menace

It’s difficult to quantify how much The Phantom Menace divided fans when it appeared in the summer of 1999. Very few people were just okay with it. There were those that loved it, and those that hated it. Time has not been kind to it. Lucas himself has admitted that it was a “jazz riff” on a Star Wars that did not particularly pay off.

The rest of the Prequels are hardly better. Many, including myself, actually think Attack of the Clones is worse, for it’s dreadful Padme-Anakin romance and it’s barely-there plot. But the fans kept buying tickets, hoping that This Time we’d get something like the original trilogy. We never did. Revenge of the Sith was borderline-competent, but still felt flat and uninspired. I spent a long time trying to like them, but I no longer do. I don’t ever watch them. I’ve seen enough of them.

The combination of the Prequels and the “Special Edition” sundered the fandom into TrueFans, who like everything, and Original Trilogy Purists (“Gushers” and “Bashers” as they were known in the 90’s) who really only like the first two movies and tolerate Return of the Jedi. We see a similar dynamic today, between critics of the Disney films and those content with anything after the John Williams fanfare plays. Only the names have changed: from “Bashers” and “Gushers” to “Toxic white male fanbois” and “idiot SJW harridans” today.

The online slapfights of the prequel era were obnoxious, but this was before Twitter, so unless you were specifically logged on to various Internet fan message boards, you would have known little about it. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, George Lucas made some dull CGI-borefests that pale in comparison to the originals, but they made a bunch of money, so whatever. But the schism was real, and never healed, even as the balance of opinion moved slowly in the direction that the “Bashers” were more or less right: the Prequels are inferior. This is not enough. For many, the existence of them is an insult.

In 2012, over a decade after The Phantom Menace premiered, a YouTube channel called Red Letter Media created a 70-minute video dissertation, intermixed with silly, macabre, and gross-out humor, explaining why the movie doesn’t work. It’s something of a masterpiece, if you’re into that sort of thing, but the fact that it exists at all is a sign that the Star Wars fandom was still arguing about it, thirteen years after the fact. Here begins that sense of memory tainted, of “childhoods raped” as the more hysterical ones put it, that sits underneath the nostalgia. Disney had no idea what they were getting into.

You Will Pay the Price For Your Lack of Vision

Even the news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm in the first place met a divided response. There were those who thought Disney would finally Ruin Star Wars, and those who thought Disney could fixing the saga by showing respect to the franchise. I was in the latter camp, bone-weary with Lucas’ meretricious shenanigans and reasonably hopeful that Disney, at least, knew how to make popcorn movies.

And The Force Awakens met that expectation. I remember thinking, back when I saw the Star Trek reboot, that J.J. Abrams would be a good director for a Star Wars movie, and The Force Awakens vindicated this belief. You can look at the whole movie, with it’s Find-Luke maguffin, as a metaphor for getting back to Old-School Star Wars. I was satisfied, and a great many other fans were, too.

But again, not all. The biggest problem in TFA is the character of Rey. Despite a very charismatic performance by Daisy Ridley, Rey remains too underwritten (so far) to center  the series as Luke Skywalker did. I don’t really know what she wants, other than to sit on Jakku and wait for her parents to return. And that’s fine as a start. But it’s less than heroic, so making her the victor in a lightsaber fight with Kylo Ren comes off as unearned. Luke spends three movies becoming strong enough to hold his own against Darth Vader. The Force is supposed to be something you can access on your own, but must slowly learn to master against someone more experienced than you. This is what the story had told us.

And yes, Kylo Ren isn’t as powerful as Darth Vader. Yes, he was wounded by Chewbacca’s crossbow.  Yes, there’s something to the reveal that Rey is mega-Force-powerful, a Diamond in the Rough. I get all that. But to a disgruntled fandom, it looks like Big Corporation throwing the Rules of the Universe out the window, because It’s Our Story Now.

Which brings us to The Last Jedi, which compounded all of that. I suspect the idea behind this episode was to open up the possibilities of what could happen in a Star Wars movie, by teaching people not to expect what they had expected. And in this respect, it was a hard turn away from the criticism leveled at TFA for being a carbon copy of A New Hope. But to a lot of fans it felt like the universe they knew being wrecked for no other reason than Because We Can. Which, after The Special Edition and the Prequels, carries a whiff of Because Screw You, Nerds.

Now, I liked what the movie does with Luke Skywalker, and the movie in general, for reasons I’ve gone into before. The Disillusioned Old Hero is as much a trope of the heroic cycle as any other. But the combination of subversion, and subversion, and subversion started making people feel like they weren’t watching Star Wars so much as a Star Wars parody made by people who don’t like Star Wars.

And it doesn’t really matter if you think they’re right or not. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re just spoiled nerds who need to get over themselves. It doesn’t matter how goofy and obnoxious it is to get this torqued over a space fantasy adventure.  I’m not here to do anything other than tell you what the problem is and how deep it goes.

The problem is the makers of Star Wars have not respected the story well enough, have not even understood it well enough, to satisfy a large swath of fans. The really spiteful ones, who send death threats to news commentators and chase actors off of social media platforms, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is the ones who’ve quietly decided that they’re done, the ones who didn’t bother seeing Solo and may well not bother seeing Episode IX. No amount of internet shaming is going to stop that Irish Democracy (if anything, it will accelerate it). Because you cannot shame people into liking something they do not like. You can only make them withdraw from the conversation, and inevitably, withdraw from you.

 

Why I’ll Continue to Dislike Mamma Mia

Making a movie is hard. Making the crappiest B-movie requires thousands of man-hours and and Sisyphean struggle. Making a moderate cheeseball popcorn flick for a major studio, such as Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a huge undertaking, from which humans rightfully earn a hefty salary.

So I accept the “Get Over Yourself, Shut Up and Singalong, Dorks” spirit of this review from The Onion:

That said, I can’t actually follow the advice proffered. This is why:

  • I Dislike Musicals. Musicals are that genre of entertainment that interrupt the story so one ore more actors can sing a song about how they feel about certain aspects of the story. I do not like this device and never have. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t need the story explained to him. Sit me down midway through any piece of entertainment, and within five minutes or so I’ll be able to figure out who is who and what part of the story we’re in. So I don’t need the ingenue to describe her romantic longing to me with string accompaniment. You want to not be where you are, got it. Let’s get you there.

    This isn’t a hard and fast rule. I do like some musicals, either because the story is good enough for me to look past the singing device, or because the musical numbers are entertaining enough to overcome my antipathy. I like Guys and Dolls. I like West Side Story (although “I Just Kissed a Girl Named Maria” is the classic example of the kind of song that violates my rule above. I know you kissed her bro, I JUST SAW IT). I like Singing in the Rain (even with the over-the-top movie-within-the-movie that stops the story cold in its tracks. It’s fun enough so that it doesn’t bore me). I liked Rent. There might be one or two others (I’d probably like The Sound of Music better than I did as a kid if I watched it today. I didn’t hate it then, truth be told).

    But a musical in which the story is wrapped around old pop songs that were not written for that story? No thanks. Which leads me to…

  • I Really Dislike Jukebox Musicals. The trend of building a musical around a pop musician’s body of work reeks of the genre’s desperation for “relevance”. It has not resulted in good musicals. It has died the death and needs to be buried. However much I dislike Oklahoma, I appreciate that the songs in Oklahoma were written for that story. They are a part of the story. I’m not big on Rogers & Hammerstein, but I recognize how hard they labored for their art. Jukebox musicals are dreadfully lazy by comparison. They are to actual musicals what The Emoji Movie is to Wreck-It Ralph.

    So instead of a variety of songs written in a variety of moods, to suit the story (yes, I don’t like the result, but that’s just my opinion), we have a story shoehorned to fit around ABBA songs, which mostly all have the same mood and tone. Which brings me to…

  • I Really Really Dislike ABBA. ABBA has an emotional resonance and wavelength that does not reach me. All of their songs are in that orchestral-disco pop style that formerly made me cringe and now provoke weary sighs. There’s a strangeness and a cloyingness to them that I cannot get past. Yes, they’re a multiplatinum, international success. Yes, millions worldwide love them. Good for them.  I do not. A musical based on ABBA songs nights as well be the Ludovico treatment to me.

    Ludovico
    Why are they singing again? MAKE THEM STOP SINGING

All of which means nothing more than I’m Not Their Target Audience. Which is fine. Lots of people like ABBA, and even more like musicals. So I can simply ignore this product for one more to my liking. If you’re the sort of person who likes this sort of thing, then that’s completely cool. I like enough of my own dumb stuff, which is by no means superior to your dumb stuff. Which brings me to…

  • Mamma Mia is Transformers for Women. Which is to say, it’s wish-fulfillment schlock, appealing to women in the same way that dumb action schlock appeals to men. Husbands and boyfriends dragged along to see this will feign Interest and Appreciation the same way wives and girlfriends do for a Fast and Furious sequel. Emotional Europop and romance and Cher snarking it up are just car chases and ‘splosions and “Yippie-ki-yay, motherf$%*er” for the fairer sex. And since it’s obligatory to lament the very existence of dumb guy schlock every time it makes its presence known to us, it should be equally obligatory to do the same for dumb chick schlock.

Sound fair?