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The Falsehood of “Access”

In the Civil Rights Era, people on either side of the debate understood “access” to refer to being able to enter a place and do business there according to one’s ability. Blacks having “access” to the same public amenities — drinking fountains, bathrooms, luncheon counters, seats on buses, voting booths — as whites did meant that whites would no longer physically prevent their entrance.

In that debate, the progressives were right and the conservatives were wrong. This gradually became so obvious that the debate ended and access was granted — which is to say, attacks on access were prevented — with bipartisan support in both houses of congress.

Recreating that purity and that victory has become something of an obsession to the Left. If either side of a debate carries costs and benefits which must be balanced, then compromise is necessary and just. But if one side is monstrously denying something that a struggling person needs, then we are right and pure, they are wrong and corrupt, and we must bring them down. QED.

Thus, Sandra Fluke’s determination that all she wants is “access” to birth control (h/t: Ace).

They constantly attempt to mislead people with rhetoric designed to imply that the question here is about outlawing contraception.

Of course it’s not. You could find only one voter in ten willing to even consider such a proposition.

The question is whether third-parties will be dragooned by yet another government law to cover yet another personal expense.

This is what they call “access” — their ability to compel you to pay for their wants.

When I was 4, I wanted an AT-AT Walker. Lacking the funds for such a purchase, I demanded that my mother buy me one. She refused, and a vivid discussion on the basis of economic decisions ensued. If only it had occurred to me to define my desire for an AT-AT  Walker in Civil Rights terms, my childhood would have been vastly enhanced.

It’s a robotic dinosaur that shoots laser beams from its face. How is this NOT in the Constitution?

The fact that two days ago I sold my Imperial Shuttle, Millenium, Falcon, Ewok Village, and Tie Interceptor for $3 at a yard sale means NOTHING about my NEED for an AT-AT then. My access was denied, and the fascists in the Reagan Justice Department ignored my plight. At least, so goes the logic if we accept the progressive discourse on “access” and “‘freedom.”

Progressives are fundamentally uninterested in freedom, defined as one’s ability to make choices based on your individual needs and means. This “freedom” they continually compare against the reality that not everyone can afford an AT-AT in their garage. Their idea of freedom involves freedom not only from coercion but from reality itself.

The balance in one’s checkbook is a stark reality. You cannot persuade the bank that you have more money than you have, nor that they should grant you infinite credit to make up the difference between your means and your aspirations. What Progressives in general and Sandra Fluke in particular insist upon is that such infinite credit is sine qua non of a just society. And to get around the manifest absurdity, they misappropriate terms like “access”.

What Sandra Fluke wants is for others to pay for her choices. She may claim that to be a right in any way she chooses, but this right, like the AT-AT, exists mostly in the imagination of children and those who know how to exploit them.

Star Wars Day is a Good Day to Slag George Lucas Once More…

I finally got around to seeing “The People Vs. George Lucas” and found the nerd-rage satisfying.

But this has never been about nerd-rage for me. I don’t accuse George Lucas of raping my childhood. Bill Corbett (of MST3K fame) has it right in this tweet:

The average Star Wars fan has put 7000 times more thought into the story than Lucas ever has.

— BillCorbett (@BillCorbett) May 4, 2012

 

For nerds, nothing is ever really right. Given the fever-pitch of anticipation for The Phantom Menace (a name I never had a problem with, to be honest), I somewhat doubt if even a film as good as Return of the Jedi would have been awesome enough. So the prequels are unwatchable, derivative crap, so what? I don’t have to watch them ever again.

Rather, this has always been about Lucas’ deliberate destruction of his own art. He is killing what has made him. With the cruel coldness of a MiniTruth memory-holer, he is taking away what we all liked, and replacing it with an ersatz version that sticks in the throat. He’s on record as saying that in 30-40 years all our copies of the original-release of the OT will be degraded and unwatchable, and we’ll have to sit through his “true” version. I find that infinitely more offensive than Jar-Jar Binks or Vader’s silly scream at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

But I am unbowed. If worse comes to worse, I can always shell out for Laserdisc.

Episode I in 3-D? *That* is Why You Fail.

It’s sublimely ridiculous to presume that I can say anything else about Star Wars that has not been said. For many, the very subject itself is boring. I sympathize with your point of view. The movies are as old as I am, and in some way, it’s mere perverse nostalgia to want to argue about them. But I am unable not to. As a boy, I was obsessed with them, the way other boys might have obsessed over comic heroes, folk legends, or warrior sagas. I still remember seeing Episode VI in the summer of 1983, all of six years old, thinking it was the greatest thing that had ever been done.

My reverence for Star Wars ensured that I was among the first to see Episode I, at the midnight showing in May of 1999. I was 22, and more that ready to revert back to that excited six-year-old. I wanted awesomeness, which is not what I got. I wanted to believe it was good. I pretended that I thought it was good. It wasn’t good. Neither was Episode II or Episode III.

If you like them, fine. I like Weekend at Bernie’s. That doesn’t make it a good movie. The only way to enjoy the prequels is to stare at the spectacle and ignore the utter lack of storytelling, dialogue, or any of the other things that make cinema good. Continue reading → Episode I in 3-D? *That* is Why You Fail.

George Lucas is Done

If Red Tails doesn’t take off, that’ll be it for him. Here’s why:

What the blistering fan reaction illustrates is one downside of Lucas’s naïve style. By persuading us to drop our snarky defenses and embrace his fables, Lucas had forged a bond with fanboys like no filmmaker, outside of Spielberg, before or since. (Adjusted for inflation, the three original “Star Wars” movies and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” still rank among the top 20 highest-grossing movies of all time.) But naïveté is a fragile emotion. When Lucas goes back and futzes with his mythology — has Greedo shoot first or creates a goofball like Jar Jar Binks or makes Indy uncool by sticking him in a refrigerator — he isn’t just messing with beloved movies. He’s telling fanboys the naïve belief they gave to him was misplaced.

In other words, the spell is broken, and the guy who made the mother of all popcorn films doesn’t understand that you can’t screw with people’s nostalgia and expect them to forgive it. Instead of getting that, he rails about the movies being his — with his name on them. Which is as true as it is irrelevant.

Because you can only keep shoveling garbage for so long before people get wise. If the prequels were half as good as Empire Strikes Back, then Red Tails would not be getting dissed by the studios. But since Lucas has spent the last fifteen years doing everything in his power to stick his finger in the eyes of the very people who should be his bulwark against the studios, no one cares about watching more CGI pixelations explode against a matte painting. Everyone would rather see Warhorse.

I don't care. It still needs to be said.