Quotes: Author Tract

Why must we punish our most productive citizens with an income tax? Oops, I forgot to tell a joke!

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

A recurring character in these books—variously named Hugh Farnham, Jubal Harshaw or Lazarus Long—is a crusty older man who's a wellspring of wisdom. 'Daddy, you have an annoying habit of being right,' runs an actual bit of dialogue from Farnham’s Freehold (1964). In the worst of Heinlein's later books, daddy not only knows best, he often knows everything.

The problem is just that Quatermass didn't fit 1979 at all. And the blame here really goes to Nigel Kneale. That Kneale is a conservative writer is hardly a revelation. But by 1979 that had tipped into an unfortunate overdrive. Quatermass is so appallingly reactionary as to occasionally tip over into comedy. Its central premise involves mind-controlling aliens whose mind control doesn't affect old people. It largely concerns itself with the dangers of hippies and how they contribute to urban decay. The other part of its premise is that there's a cult called the Planet People, who believe that aliens are nicely transporting them to a utopia on another world when in fact they're just being incinerated... The result is, essentially, 100 minutes of Nigel Kneale yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.
Phil Sandifer on Quatermass

Hey, you! Viewer! It’s all your fault we’re not in space! [Chris] Carter portrays NASA in a sincere and respectful manner, entirely sympathetic. Which seems a little weird, when the FBI is crawling with corrupt conspirators. I do love the implication that perhaps the massive government conspiracy just assumes NASA isn’t worth their attention. I imagine a cut scene with the Cigarette-Smoking Man boasting, “We’ll just cut funding again.”
Darren Mooney on The X-Files, "Space"

The problems seem to have come from several different directions at once: the over-familiarity of Los Angeles as a setting for crime shows; a pilot episode that unappetizingly plays up broad stereotypes about Angelinos ("the glitz, glamour, and guilt of Los Angeles" promised NBC's official website); curious and dramatically unjustified swipes at real liberal celebrities...Unsurprisngly, creator Dick Wolf was a vocal supporter of George W. Bush and, later, actor-turned-candidate Fred Thompson. While previous Law & Order shows were unquestionably pro-Law & Order, this is the first time I've noticed the politicization of an entire Law & Order series, subtly imposed by its creator.

The Newsroom is pretty, slick pandering — fan service, but for policy wonks. It is a derivative superhero story designed to play to a specific crowd. There is no story to The Newsroom. There are no characters. There is only puppetry designed to show you, the viewer, exactly what you want. If you agree, what you’re seeing are heroes at work; if you don’t, you’re seeing a caricature of the enemy. The Newsroom is not convincing anyone to agree with its ideas. It is merely confirming the beliefs its audience already holds, which means it has a lot more in common than Sorkin would like to admit with the cable news shows he so deplores.

Oh man. So last week we watched an amazing episode where Gambit went full scumbag... Well, after that column went up, my good friend Mark Hale informed me that the episode where Gambit is a creepy possessive stalker who calls Rogue fat because she’s hanging out with another guy was written by AN ACTUAL PICKUP ARTIST , whose recent work includes a 'system' designed to teach dudes in their 40s how to hook up with girls in their 20s. This is the single most amazing piece of information I have ever received, and I will cherish it forever, for I now have the key to understanding why Gambit is such a hilarious scumbag.
Chris Sims on X-Men, "Dazzled"

In the tradition of the wacky-themed Bat-villains of the '60s comes Anarky, the character whose superpower is giving pedantic stoner monologues... Haha, what brilliant satire! The character who thinks this base-level philosophy is so cool is literally a snotty 12-year-old. Suck it, teenagers with Che posters and overdue copies of Nausea. But nope: Anarky's creator, Batman writer Alan Grant, admits that the character was meant to be a mouthpiece for his own thoughts.

Batman: Yes, yes, I am thinking that whoever spouts such brilliant philosophy surely has a huge dong, no matter what Jenny Walker said in home ec.

Superman threatens persecuted 'illegal aliens' with deportation if they don’t prove their worth to America. Grounded is full of this kind of ponderous, pretentious gobbledygook, meant to show the reader how important and thoughtful it all is. Over and over, Straczynski inserts shrill arguments for how seriously the reader should take this pointless exercise in Superman solving 'real' problems through glib assertions of nonsense axioms and generous application of brute force and intimidation... and then #705, a rushed piece of mechanical hackwork featuring a child abuse story made up of half-remembered garbage cliches from network television specials 20 years ago.

Aaaaaand scene. Exit Straczynski, stage left, to the sound of 1,000 flatulent windbags vigorously deflating.
Jason Michelitch on Superman: Grounded, "The 5 Worst Comics of 2010"

Whereas in the first volume, it was just a kind of crazy storyline, it is now a Batman story whose content appears to be sponsored by Coast To Coast AM. It’s like someone took their top five favorite conspiracy theories and shoehorned them into Batman mythology alongside random product placements. Like, I am legitimately expecting Obama’s birth certificate to show up at some point.
Laura Hudson and David Wolkin, "The Complete and Utter Insanity of Batman Odyssey"

Yes, the same man who 'held the company hostage' that summer and refused to re-sign unless his outrageous demands were met now decided that protests were for pansies. Or commies. Or something else that didn’t conform to a Cold War standard of the ideal American man. 'Hippies' was the word he used, actually. Twice in the same sentence, in fact. Somehow, everyone remembers his 'pipe bomb' worked shoot from the summer but forgets about the 'hippie sit-in… like a bunch of hippies' remark, which was the dumbest line Vince had ever fed anyone since that 'anal bleeding' business a few weeks before.

I met [Roberto] Orci on the set of Enders Game, and in his defense I can say that he came across as very fan-friendly and totally willing to hear audience concerns... But I will say that before he deleted his very entertaining Twitter feed, he had Fidel Castro as his avatar and was prone to linking to conspiracy theories, which may explain why every major movie he's written has featured a large-scale secret plan by either government, an evil corporation, or both.

Seagal’s previous movies had his trademark action mixed with the actor’s own crazy views on politics. Here, we eliminate the action and are left with a dramatic movie about Seagal’s nutty political views. We kind of have the same crack pot view as in The Sunchaser where 'medicine BAD' and 'doctors want to make people sick to earn money'. Our good doctor heals all afflictions and illnesses with herbs and roots from good ole nature. In fact, the cure to the (and I really want to emphasize this) government engineered virus are some tea leaves Seagal grows on his property. Now I have no medical training and most of my science I either read on my own or are throwbacks from high school/college. But I think I can safely say that is complete and utter BULLSHIT.

You can't judge Christian films like other movies. Any casual examination shows them to be conventionally terrible without explanation. But they are not meant to be good, but rather they are designed to deliver pointed messages, spurring audiences to promote and support established political and religious powers. They are vehicles that carry naked threats for people who believe differently and are threatening reminders to keep believers in line.