Saturday, November 07, 2015

Everybody's Linking for the Weekend

Happy November everyone!  If you're like me, you needed this weekend not just because of all of the joys of having some time off, but also because, quite frankly, this week exhausted the crap out of me (in a good way), and I need some down time to recharge.  One of my favorite ways to recharge is, of course, learning more about the world, and what better way to do that than exploring around the internet?  Let's take a look, shall we:

In Entertainment...

-Glenn Dunks over at the Film Experience went through an interesting exercise this past week, looking into why Cinderella isn't getting the same sort of Oscar attention as The Martian considering both are critically-acclaimed, feature an Oscar-winning performer at their center with an easily nominatable performance, and both were hugely popular hits.  While I think the reasons that Cinderella isn't competing are obvious both in a clearly sexist way (certainly unfairly, but Matt Damon's penis causes him to have more "serious film" credentials in the eyes of older, male Academy members-just look at how rare it is for a female-driven hit to actually make it to the Oscars, and even then it's only in dramas like The Blind Side or The Help), there's also a couple of less-sexist aspects going here at least, principally that Disney is not great at Oscar campaigns and that Ridley Scott is an Academy favorite.  Still, I am curious to see how both films turn out with Oscar, with Martian supporters a bit more manic about its chances than most (it's not winning Best Picture!), while Cinderella has Patrick Doyle, Dante Ferretti, and Sandy Powell behind the camera clamoring for another chance with Oscar.

-In a nod to increased need for public safety after the shootings in Lafayette and Aurora, Cinemark and AMC are both banning simulated guns and masks at the new Stars Wars movie, and reiterated that this is an overall policy and not just for the very-high profile Lucasfilm production.  As a result, you can get your Princess Leia hair buns on, but Chewbacca is not in-the-cards.  While fans have expressed outrage, this seems like the right decision in the wake of public safety concerns.  I love it when people dress up for premieres (I've done it a few times and always had more fun with the crowd), but there is a public concern about these sorts of midnight openings, particularly considering that the Aurora shooter (I stand with Megyn Kelly on this one-not saying his name) used his costume to hide firearms.

-Tom Hanks was honored at Outfest this past week, and pointed out a glaring truth about his work in Philadelphia (and no, it's not that he should have given his award to Liam Neeson), that the film actually came a bit too late.  It's interesting still to see Hanks' feted not only for his bravery in portraying a gay man (which, admittedly was true for a star of his stature at the time), but because it took until 1993 before a truly significant movie about the HIV crisis, which had been ravaging the gay community for over a decade at that point, crossed into the zeitgeist.  It's also of note that Hanks is winning another high-profile award because I can't get a gage on his Bridge of Spies Oscar chances-after his dual snubs for Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks, is AMPAS over the beloved two-time Oscar winner, or does he have a shot for this Steven Spielberg drama (and quite frankly, does Spielberg?)?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

In Politics...

Indianapolis Mayor-Elect Joe Hogsett (D-IN)
-Even fifteen years later, the 2000 presidential election still elicits incredible reactions from both sides of the aisle and CNN did a marvelous job looking at the ways that the election could have turned out.  The report finds that generally the recount, the way that the Gore camp was pushing for it, likely would have resulted in a victory for then-Gov. Bush, but that going with undervotes and overvotes would have landed the Vice President in office.  It also rather boldly points out that more people in Florida almost certainly went out on Election Day wanting to vote for Gore, something that still incites ire in Democrats everywhere who want the four years they feel they should have won back. While I am very much one of those Democrats, what fascinates me in part about this race still is that, at the time, no one really wanted their candidate to win with a fiery passion.  After candidates who became wildly popular with their parties like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Al Gore were "ehh" sort of choices, likely due to their backgrounds (Ivy League-educated sons of wealthy, patrician politicians).  However, in the months and years that followed, Democrats in particular have worn that election as a battle scar, something to be trotted out as the ultimate in "unfair" whenever a Republican brings up pretty much any race as being biased.

-Speaking of Democrats and rough elections, if you're still reeling from this past Tuesday like I am, you might want to check out this rundown of the elections Democrats actually did win.  While I knew about the elections in Pennsylvania and the Grimes/Beshear wins in Kentucky, the Indianapolis victory for the Democrats (winning back the mayor's office and the City Council from the Republicans) and the victory for Jennifer Roberts in the open Charlotte mayoral election both were off my radar.  While new Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is a well-known perpetual candidate (he'd lost three high-profile elections in the state since his last victory in 1990 as Secretary of State), and may be a risky bet for higher office, considering the purple-nature of North Carolina and the critical role Charlotte plays in Democratic turnout, Jennifer Roberts (who actually ran for Congress in 2012 and lost a close race) may be a name we hear more about in a future statewide run.

-Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had his portrait removed from the Speaker's Lobby by new Speaker Paul Ryan this week amidst a guilty plea by Hastert that he was paying hush money.  It's an interesting conundrum for historians in the Capitol, as well as one that's a bit eyebrow-raising since Hastert gets to keep his pension (you only lose your pension if you committed a crime while you were in office, rather than before or after, according to what I've read).  While this obviously seems the appropriate choice from a pragmatic standpoint, one wonders if the Capitol and the surrounding historical buildings should coverup their seedier past as a way to show future generations the error of the past's mistakes.  It's never a great idea to discard the aspects of history that are unpleasant for worry that they may be repeated, but it opens up the question of whether the Capitol is in some fashions a museum (in which case Hastert's portrait should stay up) or should it be a representation of America at its best (in which case Hastert clearly should be dismissed).  Either way former Massachusetts Senator Frederick Gillett, who had a six-year term as Speaker of the House, certainly gained here as he took Hastert's spot in the Lobby some 100 years after his tenure.

-Finishing off our political articles this week is this piece from Politico which talks about the unlikely event of the U.S. House being won back by the Democrats.  While the author is pretty open that the odds are just above zero, the combination of the rises of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, in conjunction with where they are popular is interesting, as Trump/Carson are popular in places where the Democratic roadmap to a theoretical House majority wouldn't cross, but less popular in suburbs and exurbs, where the Democrats will likely have to be victorious if they want to win the House again.  Places like suburban Philadelphia, the Twin Cities, Greater New York, and suburban Denver, all locations with Republican-held House seats, could be more vulnerable to a poor showing by the Republican nominee in those areas than places like rural Alabama and West Virginia, places Trump or Carson are more likely to outperform.  It's an interesting read even if it's a longshot proposition.

Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week...

-Nic Hoult will see you now.

YouTube Video of the Week...

-Kate Winslet and Julie Walters share their awards show histories, which is delightful because who doesn't love Kate and Julie?  Also, Michael Fassbender is there, which makes everything better:

Just One More...

-Normally this last link is related to environmentalism or adventuring, but this week I was actually struck by a Washington Post link about the increasing deaths of middle-aged white men.  It's an interesting phenomenon where mental illness (particularly depression and alcoholism) has increased the death rate in this demographic while almost all other death rates have seen a decrease.  Definitely worth a read.

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