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"Why did I agree to do this horrible fucking movie?!"

“Why did I agree to do this horrible fucking movie?!”

Lots of people have said it much better than I ever could, and in many different ways, but Batman vs Superman was a really, really, epically horrible movie.

I could talk at length about why this is the case, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll just offer reason #3182:

You know what the most unbelievable thing about Batman vs Superman is?

It’s not that Superman’s bulletproof or can shoot laser beams out of his eyes.

It’s not the idea that Perry White is the editor-in-chief of a major newspaper but is sending Clark Kent to cover a local football team.

Those are nitpicky criticisms of poor writing or the absurdity of fantasy. I can suspend my disbelief about the laser beams.

It’s the notion that the United States would convene a Senate hearing on the deaths of innocent civilians in a third world country in order to bring Superman to justice. American soldiers kill civilians all over the world without a second thought from the vast majority of Americans. Zack Snyder presents a righteous vision of America that would only be familiar to the most blindly patriotic Republicans, and doesn’t exist in reality. It’s a vision of an America that puts itself out into the world in order to do the right thing every time, and is always looking out for the little guy. In reality the United States does exactly what Superman does: drops into volatile situations it doesn’t understand, throws its muscle around, protects a narrow version of American interests, and leaves without any concern for the chaos, destruction, and death it’s left behind.

SupermanSuperman’s weakness is not so much Kryptonite as it is his moral code: he won’t kill or be otherwise immoral (although he has been known to be deceitful, especially when dealing with with foes such as Mr Mxyzptlk). He is the paragon of virtue, the defender and best example of The American Way. But his virtue can hold him back: he refuses to kill, but how often has this refusal led to greater suffering later on? How many times has one of his foes escaped, only to wreak further havoc, surely including death? Granted, death and pain are not so much a part of the Superman universe compared to Batman, but certainly amid the destruction wrought by battling titans in the middle of Metropolis, sometime somewhere someone has been killed. What responsibility does Superman feel? Not as much, it seems, as characters like Spider-Man or Batman, characters whose entire motivations for being superheroes are based on feelings of guilt over the loss of loved ones or the desire to avenge their deaths. Superman, however, despite the loss of both parents (biological and adoptive) is a pretty together guy. He represents the happy, well-adjusted face of American culture, with a never-say-die, can-do attitude. He is the principled volunteer who went to war to make the world safe for liberty, whereas Batman is the hardened veteran whose motivations are good but just might burn down your village to save it. Therefore, Batman is the stronger character, even though he has no super-powers, because he’s willing to do nearly anything to win the fight. Superman is held back by his morals, which are ultimately more important to him than winning, and because of that, Superman is much more likely to lose. (It needs to be said that in the comic books, Superman of course never loses–he’s too powerful. What we’re talking about here is the real world, if characters like Superman and Batman existed in it.)

Blue states are where the action is!

Sports are integral to the American experience. Baseball is famously “America’s pastime” and the Super Bowl is the biggest game in the world. Basketball, though invented by a Canadian, is a quintessentially American game that is rapidly expanding across the globe. And as much as Canadians will tell you that hockey defines our national identity, there are far more NHL teams in the United States than in Canada, and they’ve had much more success than Canadian teams over the last twenty years.

Many pundits divide America into Red and Blue states, but if there’s one thing Americans can agree on, it’s their love of sports. It crosses all boundaries: class, race, geography. Or does it? It’s interesting to take a look at the distribution of major league sports teams in the United States, and what it may mean for the country.

The “Big Four” sports are generally agreed upon to be Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey (even though college football or basketball are arguably bigger draws than hockey). These are the biggest professional leagues in America. There are 113 major league teams in the United States divided between these four sports, an average of more than two teams per state. But would it surprise you to know that all of these 113 teams are located in just 25 states, plus the District of Columbia? It’s true, which means fully half the states have no major sports team whatsoever. The concentration of teams in larger markets is well-known, but the fact that there aren’t more outliers dotted around the country in smaller population centres means that many Americans don’t have a local team to root for, in any sport. As a proud Montanan baseball fan, which team do you support? The closest teams are in Seattle, Colorado, or Minnesota, not even in neighbouring states. Here are the 25 states that have no major league sports teams:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Maine
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Vermont
  5. Alaska
  6. Hawaii
  7. Connecticut
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Delaware
  10. Virginia
  11. West Virginia
  12. South Carolina
  13. Kentucky
  14. Alabama
  15. Mississippi
  16. Nebraska
  17. Iowa
  18. Arkansas
  19. Kansas
  20. North Dakota
  21. South Dakota
  22. Wyoming
  23. Montana
  24. Idaho
  25. Nevada

You might say that the divide between have and have-not states looks fair, being split 50/50, but look even further. Of the 113 major league teams, fully 48 of them are based in just five states: New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, and Texas. But here’s where it gets interesting from a political perspective: only 36 teams reside in states that vote predominantly Republican. And of the 25 states that have no teams whatsoever, 15 of them–or 60%–are Republican strongholds. Just 15 states hold 77 of the nation’s major teams… and those states vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

So what do Republicans have against sports in America? Why have they left it to the Democrats and their Blue states to dominate sports?Are they too busy shooting guns, stopping a woman’s right to choose, and having tea parties to enjoy well-executed double-plays, fast breaks, Hail Mary passes, and goals in the five-hole? Why have the Republicans fallen down in providing a local sports experience for their hard-working, family-values constituents?

WHY DO THE REPUBLICANS HATE SPORTS?

Q: Which month has 29 days?

A: All of them!

That’s an old, stupid joke, meant to prey upon misrepresentation of facts and the eagerness of people to think they’re clever. I mean really, when someone asks you a question like that, you know it has to be a joke or a trick of some kind, but most of us still answer February, because we think that’s the smart answer, even though if we were smarter we’d know we were being set up for a punchline.

You’ll often hear about someone born on February 29th celebrating their “fourth” birthday when they’re really 16, as if a year only passes when it hits a certain calendar date. Perhaps we should just induce birth so that no one is born on the 29th. That would settle that debate real good. On the other hand, if I had a child, I’d love for it to be born on February 29th, so that I’d only have to buy it presents once every four years. That’s the reason I got married on the 29th.

Today I was thinking about the old saying about March coming in and leaving like either a lamb or a lion… but if it’s a leap year, and February 29th is like a lion, and March 1st is like a lamb, I think we’ve been cheated.

Every leap year, a donkey and an elephant poke their heads out of their dens and say, “Shit, this is the guy we have to vote for as President this year?”

In a recent speech, U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke about American exceptionalism, and his belief that God has big plans for the United States. In fact, Romney believes that God (not just some Mormon God, because Romney also wants you to know that he believes in the same God as you do, as long as you’re a Christian, because he’s a Christian too, even thought most Americans believe Mormonism is a cult and not Christian at all–much like many evangelicals believe Catholics aren’t really Christians either) created the United States for a higher purpose, which hasn’t been fulfilled, despite fears that American hegemony is over and that China will soon rule the world. Not so! says Romney. America is just getting started! The twenty-first century will be a century of American dominance! The United States remains a beacon to all freedom-loving peoples everywhere, with the possible exception of the French! America is not done with you yet, planet Earth!

In light of Romney’s confidence in the ongoing supremacy of the United States, it’s interesting to look at the rest of his speech, in order to see what he believes God’s plan is for some other countries. After all, this could be the next President of the United States of America, and the rest of us ought to know where we stand in Mitt’s vision of the coming world order.

Russia – supplier of mail order brides and strippers

Canada – buffer between America and Sarah Palin’s Alaska

Afghanistan – cudgel to criticize your predecessor’s foreign policy

Iran – beards and poignant but little-seen cinema

Great Britain – royalty we pretend to hate but secretly envy

Tunisia – setting for George Lucas Jr.’s Star Wars sequels

Colombia – cocaine to fuel America’s need to condemn drug use

Mexico – drug wars to scare America and keep border fences high and wages low

Japan – to prove to everyone that the U.S. will drop the bomb if they don’t behave

North Korea – a reminder that Communism is evil and America kicked its ass

As the deadline to raise the US debt ceiling approaches and Americans and financial markets become more and more concerned about the inability of politicians to come to an agreement, the rhetoric around Washington, D.C. has become elevated. Here are some excerpts from recent speeches:

“The term ‘debt ceiling’ is just a metaphor which places limits on American growth… let no one tell America we have limits! Imagine that America doesn’t live in a house with a single ceiling, but lives in an apartment complex with many, many ceilings… I think we can agree that there is almost no end to America’s potential to borrow and spend and grow and borrow again…!”

“Someone once told us that man would never fly… but the Wright Brothers proved them wrong. Later, someone said that it was impossible to fly faster than the speed of sound… but Chuck Yeager said ‘Fuck that shit.’ Then people said we couldn’t go to the moon… and President Kennedy, in his eloquent way, said ‘Lick my balls, commies!’ Anyway, my point is, you’re telling me we can’t raise a fucking debt ceiling? Bullshit.”

“Okay, if we can’t raise the debt ceiling, can we build a dormer or something to give ourselves a little more room? Plus, it’ll allow a little natural sunlight to come into America, and if we build it south-facing, maybe we’d even save on some heating costs. I know this guy who can do it cheap, and if we buy the supplies from Walmart we’ll save tons…”

“If we can agree to build a debt roof, rather than raising the debt ceiling, then we’ll have all sorts of room in the debt attic, allowing us to continue to borrow for years to come. I have the experience, the knowledge, and the dedication… I understand the working man. It’s better to do one job well than two jobs… not so well. Can we fix it? Yes we can!”

“I am calling on all Republicans to support my plan, not to raise the debt ceiling, which is what the President wants, but to build a separate ‘debt doghouse’ into which we could put all the excess spending that Obama (who wasn’t even born here!) is forcing upon the American people… America isn’t going ‘broke’–it’s going ‘Barack’! Who let the dogs out? Obama! Who’s going to put them back in the doghouse? The Republicans!”

"I dabbled in witchcraft"

Over the weekend a video surfaced of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell admitting that she “dabbled in witchcraft” in high school, with the politician brushing aside the story, saying “How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?”  Her remarks have angered the Wiccan community, who have found themselves in the position of being the reasonable side in an argument, for the very first time ever, anywhere.  They are also being completely adorable in their belief that anyone actually cares about them.

“Any political candidate that is going to equate witchcraft with Satanism is ill informed and is not likely to get the support of people involved in nature religion,” Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary, told the Huffington Post. Her non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality, and is blissfully unaware that Republicans are not, have not, and never will court the “nature spirituality” vote.  Fox believes that O’Donnell’s flippant remarks about her religion show a lack of respect.  “Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed,” she said, with a completely straight face, having clearly not watched any news programming or read any newspapers in the last three months. When asked if she sees any connection between O’Donnell’s comments and the Park 51 project near Ground Zero, Fox replied that “as Wiccans, of course we support parks, which bring us closer to Mother Earth.”  Seriously, she had no clue what Park 51 actually is.

Sylvia T. Webb, first officer of the non-profit organization Covenant of the Goddess, told ABC News that O’Donnell’s remarks were “bizarre” and contribute to the public’s misunderstanding of the religion.  Let me repeat that: a representative of Covenant of the Goddess believes that the American public doesn’t have a clear understanding of Wicca.  Islam has over a billion followers, and Americans don’t understand it, and Webb is surprised that they don’t understand Wicca?

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