Sunday, January 15, 2017

Leopold and Michelob


Put your feet up, crack open a beer, and listen as Season 2 of The Slumgullion debuts with two separate looks at sociopathic thrill killers (and Love, American Style).

We begin with a fairy tale by writer Indy McDaniel, who proves, with geometric logic, that Jeff is an idiot for liking Rogue One. Then we  eulogize Carrie Fisher, play the Sigmund Freud Movie Title Word Association Game, then Jeff and Mary run off into a corner and recap the final season of the TV series Bones while I'm left to empty the ashtrays and put all the beer bottles into the recyclables bin.

Finally, this week's Unknown Movie Challenge is a double header of movies inspired by Leopold and Loeb: Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948) - a lush, glossy Technicolor production that's ultimately evasive, gimmicky, and claustrophobic - and Compulsion (1958) a gritty, low budget black and white flick with class, sass, and the big brass balls necessary to take Rope's ten year old timidity about homosexual relations and just flat out play the queer stuff straight.
It makes for an interesting topic, so please drop by our new website and check out the merchandise (including the actual merchandise, since we now have two distinct flavors of themed coffee mugs for sale: one that will enrage ancient Hillbilly Vikings, and one that is almost guaranteed to irritate leprechauns. Choose wisely)

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The "Tormented Like Trump" Edition

MOONDOGGIE: I think this blanket is eating me. Unfair!

MOONDOGGIE: This cat is ying-yanging me! Sad!

MOONDOGGIE: Now this blanket is eating me, after we made a deal that it would cover me but not consume me, because that's the job of a blanket in our democracy.

MOONDOGGIE: This is a very dishonest blanket.

MOONDOGGIE: You know what? It's not any fun cosplaying Trump, and I don't think you should make me do it just because I'm orange, because that's kind of racist. I also think you should make it up to me by letting me sit on your lap in the recliner and maybe put a pin spot on my eyes so I can pretend I'm Captain Kirk fighting Romulans.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Aspiring Super-Villain Edition

MOONDOGGIE: I'm sick of you guys leaving us alone all day! So you know what? I've come up with a cunning master plan, because I got your bra, and now you can't leave, can you, Scott?

MOONDOGGIE: Why is he laughing? What's so--I'm the one with the cunning master plan! I'm the one who's supposed to laugh!

MOONDOGGIE: You guys suck...

SHADOW: (QUIETLY) I'm only gonna say this once...If you ever laugh at one of his master plans again, I'm gonna claw this upholstery down to the fluff!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Wondah Womaaaaan!

[Note: I just found this in my Drafts folder, where it's been sitting since November. Not sure why I never posted it, but it's probably because I'm a post-modern moron.]
No, Wonder Woman is not queer. You’re just a post-modern moron
See? Thanks for clearing that up, Steve Deace.

Wait..."Who's Steve Deace?" I hear you ask. "Never mind!" I hear you add, but a fraction of a second too late, because I've already got his bio here:

“[Steve Deace] is a rising star” that represents “the next generation in conservative media."
And here he is now, in thoughtful repose.  Hmmm...Is he picking his nose? Or just thinking? Or just thinking about picking his nose? The world may never know...

Anyway, Steve's the host of one of those vein-bursting right wing monologue shows, a frequent "guest pundit" on TV, and a "prolific writer" for a bunch of sites like Townhall (which auto correct desperately wants to render as "Downhill"), WorldNetDaily, Breitbart, etc. "His youth combined with his writing and broadcast ability makes him uniquely positioned for today’s multimedia environment."

In other words, he's a nerd who's well qualified to recruit evolved Pokémon for the conservative cause!

"Deace lives in Iowa with his wife, Amy, and three young children Ana, Zoe, and Noah. He feels that living in the heartland provides him with a grassroots conservative perspective often lacking in a beltway media culture that treats Middle America like flyover country."

Hey, no need to feel defensive about living in the Corn Belt, Steve. Our own Heydave is a Hawkeye, which just goes to prove that for every blustery, insecure jerk stinkin' up the prairie, there's a nice, smart, funny guy who volunteers at a soup kitchen (thank you for your service, Heydave).
The cost of being a superhero has been reflected upon in many of the recent DC and Marvel movie franchises.
Yep, it costs roughly $200 million a pop. $400 million when you include P&A.
The mighty responsibility of being able to avoid bad things happening to good people, but minus the transcendence of knowing whether you always should and what the collateral damage will be if you do.
With great power comes great responsibility to avoid bad things. (I dunno, maybe Uncle Ben should do a second draft...?)
Turns out no matter how cool these movies are visually, their true depth relies on something that isn’t remotely futuristic or cutting edge. These are profoundly human stories. These are stories filled with soul.

"You have the soul of a man who can cosplay a rodent."
The butler Alfred tells Bruce Wayne that the duty of Batman is to “endure” what others cannot. That’s a Christ-like sacrifice.
Except...Batman lived. For your analogy to work, Christ would have to be waging a one man war to avenge the death of his Father and Mary, which either means Nietzsche was right, or you need to go to remedial Sunday School.
Kal-El/Clark Kent is a Mosaic exile from a doomed culture sent upstream to inspire humanity with his messianic altruism.
So...Judaism is a doomed culture? Somebody should tell Netanyahu he can ease off on the settlements, because what's the point? Just toss your babies into the river, Jews, and hope for the best!
Bruce Banner’s reality as the Hulk is he is “always angry.” He struggles to temper his perpetual wrath into a righteous indignation used for good.
If he fails to master his temper, all of humanity will suffer, but he'll probably get a show on FoxNews.
Even the straight-laced Steve Rogers tries to equivocate concerning his Captain America mission statement, before being called on his hypocrisy by the far more deeply conflicted Tony Stark/Ironman.
Whew. Okay, I co-host a podcast about geeky stuff, and even I want to beat this guy up for his lunch money.
All of these characters must bear their cross and suffer a Christ-like descent into hell to perform their service to humanity. That’s why their characters, even with their flaws, are cornerstones of the pop culture zeitgeist. They mirror both our Adamic frailty/sinfulness as well as the imago dei each of us possesses, which inspires us to be something more than a fallen son of Adam and a daughter of Eve.
Plus, they can thwart crime with Hostess Fruit Pies!
Alas, despite the Christ-like hell vacations and the light tender crust, Steve has gone limp with rage because Greg Rucka, writer of the Wonder Woman comic, suggested -- one might even say, "acknowledged" -- that a woman raised on an island of women might have banged a lady or two.
A recent Time magazine article delved into this ever-so-shallow pool of philosophical larceny, when comic book author Greg Rucka considered the nature of Diana Prince’s/Wonder Woman’s Amazonian heritage.

“When you start to think about giving the concept of [her female-only homeland] its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same-sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise. It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able … to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.

Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicole and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.”

So, how much question-begging do you have time for? Because that is rubbish.
Enough time to point out, for the millionth time, that "question-begging" doesn't mean "raising a question"? No? Really? Okay, fine...
Only a hell-hole mistaken for a paradise— whose real-life source material insists that men in dresses pee in women’s bathrooms — could arrive at such a conclusion. 
So according to Steve, the reason Themyscira -- Diana's homeland -- was called "Paradise Island" is because it's the one spot on earth where only ladies use the Ladies Room. Problem solved!

Wait...I just had a thought. What if there are trans Amazons? Do they have to trudge all the way over to the Themyscira Target just to take a leak? That seems unfair.
That’s just another way of saying that this author’s definition of paradise may be partaking in one of the classic blunders: paving the road to hell with fake good intentions.
According to highway engineers, paving a heavily traveled roadway with fake good intentions can lead to a higher incidence of potholes, collapsed culverts, and uneven shoulder surfaces, making it 30% more likely that Jesus' road trip to hell will end with a broken axle.

First, the upcoming Wonder Woman movie makes clear that far from being without male influence, her very life and culture is owed to the male god Zeus.
STEVE TREVOR: Have you never met a man before? Well--what about your father?
DIANA: I had no father. I was brought to life by Zeus.

And since she's never seen him, Zeus is clearly a deadbeat dad. No wonder she became a lesbian.  But the point is, the Amazons don't have same-sex relationships, they're only sexually attracted to their daddy, which sounds creepy, but is apparently considered perfectly normal in Themyscira. And Trump Tower.
Might that not be the plumb line we should operate from in deciphering not only sexual relations but all morality within this universe? I don’t seem to recall any discussion in the Greek pantheon where Zeus must first check in with Bruce Jenner before making a ruling on matters of state from Mount Olympus.
Right. The rigid plumb line of ancient Greek heterosexuality. Anybody want to tell Steve? But please, break it to him easy. Maybe start him off with tales of the Sacred Band of Thebes -- you can tell him it's like a Peloponnesian Avengers movie -- then ease him into the pederasty.
Second, Rucka makes a weird and hypocritical plea for nuance in the quality of Wonder Woman’s “obvious” gayness: “We’ve had a long history of people—for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason—say, ‘Ooo. Look. It’s the Amazons. They’re gay!’”

Who are you to judge another culture’s titillation, Mr. Judgy Pants?
He's judging our culture, Mr. Clueless Culottes, with its predilection for faux lesbian porn. But Steve's larger points stands, because really, who are we to judge others? Maybe there's a radio host in the heartland who likes to put on his loose-fitting "Judgy Pants", rage about possible same sex subtext in comic books, then enjoy a well-deserved spanking from a Daddy figure he calls "Zeus". That's the kind of thing that can only make our moral plumb line all the straighter.
Is it Diana’s true identity to be freaky as she wants to be or not? Don’t shackle those poor Amazonians with all your self-important man-splaining. If an American kindergartener and his parents can insist, for any reason they want, that the boy is a girl, and the rest of us simply have to deal with it, then those Amazonians don’t have to fit into your obtuse categories, either. Just add another letter onto the end of the LGBTXYZ train and be done with it, you troglodyte.
TV DETECTIVE: What've we got?

CSI: Signs of a struggle between argument and tantrum. I'd put time of death of the metaphor at somewhere between midnight and two a.m.

TV DETECTIVE: Cause of death?

CSI: Looks like attempted satire.
Third, Rucka says Wonder Woman’s relationship with this world’s war hero, Steve Trevor, couldn’t possibly be uniquely characteristic of her sexuality. Why? Because if she was “only interested in men, then fans could interpret her departure from (her home world) as an attempt to pursue (that relationship).” That interpretation, he says, would undermine “both the sacrifice she makes leaving her home and her heroism.”

So if she’s straight, she’s a hypocrite. But if she’s gay, she’s Joan of Arc? Totally get it now. Wait, no I don’t. I thought love is love. Why won’t you jerks just let poor Diana be happy in her multi-world bi-curiousness? How is her not-totally gay, maybe-someday fictional marriage affecting you anyway?
Oh oh...Somebody's attempts to relieve the tedium of Iowa by sneaking Wonder Woman comics into the bathroom just hit a patch of auto-erotic black ice.
And lastly, why cast the drop-dead gorgeous Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman if the essence of being Amazonian is more connected to homosexuality than classical notions of femininity?
Yeah! Only classical notions of masculinity should be connected to homosexuality.
Why not go full Ghostbusters? Cast Melissa McCarthy, put her in a baggy t-shirt and some sweatpants instead of a form-fitting suit of armor, and have her protest us to death?
Well, I guess Steve would ruin fewer sweat socks that way. Wait a second...What if Marvel and DC secretly controlled the global sweat sock cartel, and that's why they constantly feature busty women in skimpy outfits when it makes no sense, because Freshmen would rather buy another 12-pack of tubesox from K Mart than do a mid-week load of laundry!
Maybe because even though Wonder Woman is a fictional character, her actual muse is much closer to Almighty God’s truth of the stunning allure and glorious strength of the female design than the stupid lies our post-modern fantasies keep foisting on us? That there really is a feminine mystique after all? And it’s not here to be shamed by political correctness, or put down by a patriarchy. But rather to be celebrated and unleashed because it, too, is made in the image of the Creator.
So Wonder Woman was made in the image of William Moulton Marston? I frankly don't see the resemblance.

Anyway, now that Steve has turned a comic book character's sexuality into a religious issue, I assume Bible-bangers are done worshiping Mother Mary and have moved on to a feminine icon who gets with the program and shows a little skin.
A Creator who said “it is not good for man to be alone.” And when man first gazed upon that stunning allure and glorious strength of the female design he responded with a “wo-man, I’m totally all in for this. Anything she wants, and I’ll try to make it happen.”

Wow, history's first pick-up line sucked. He sounds like Ro-Man from Robot Monster. It's amazing we ever even got to Cane and Abel.
So here’s my challenge to Rucka and the charge of the light in the loafer’s brigade. 
"Come up with a worse bon mot than 'light in the loafer's brigade.' G'wan...I dare ya!"
Go ahead and tarnish the American legends you’ve inherited with your progressive hedonism, rather than honor their legacies as symbols urging us to be something more. And see how much you’re rewarded for it at the box office.
I notice Steve doesn't seem too upset that Captain America is now a nazi in the comics.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, Same Old Crap


[On the phone with an old friend who prefers I not drag his good name through my sordid blog]

SCOTT: What'd you do for the holidays?

FRIEND: I went SCUBA diving in Hawaii.

SCOTT: Very nice. Did you get certified?

FRIEND: No, it was just a resort course, but now I feel like fucking Jacques Cousteau!

SCOTT: He is very sexually attractive.

FRIEND: ...

SCOTT: I mean, not so much now. But back in the day I bet he was a tigershark in the sack.

FRIEND: ...

SCOTT: Probably why that knit cap he always wore looked so much like a reservoir tip.

FRIEND: (Sigh)

SCOTT: I'm texting you the url to my Jacques Cousteau/Rod Serling slash fiction site...

FRIEND: This is why I only talk to you once a year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

So Long, Farewell Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight

Note: In the days since Scott and Jeff recorded this retrospective, we have lost George Michael, Watership Down author Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. This episode is respectfully dedicated to their memory.

Note 2: This episode is completely unedited.

Note 3: This episode contains several very important announcements.

Note 4: 2016 will never be spoken of again.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Agog With Blogs!

The 2016 Jon Swift Roundup is live, featuring the best blog posts of the year, chosen by the bloggers themselves (well of course they'd think these were the best published this year. But hey, it's the Age of Trump now, so conflict of interest no longer exists). All thanks to Batocchio for keeping the tradition, and the memory of Reasonable Conservative Jon Swift, alive.

Check it out when you have a few moments, because there's some great stuff on display this year (and also one of our posts, but that's just there for scale, or contrast, or something).