Caitlin Jenner and Rachel Dolezal’s differing Delusions

“She[Bruce Jenner] is, in that sense, transitioning from a Jenner to a full-blown Kardashian”Mark Steyn


I wasn’t sure I was even going to write about Bruce Jenner “transitioning” to a woman.  I mean, sorry folks, but he’s not actually a woman.  A person’s sex is not a social construct; it’s a biological reality, unchanged by hash tags or E Television.   You can’t just change your sex with hormones, surgery, or a new twitter account. The fact that people are buying into his delusion is frightening.  In the old days, if a person thought they were Napoleon we threw them in a lunatic asylum.  Now I guess we would make him emperor of France.  We’re even allowing him to take his delusion to medical extremes.  Doctor’s are allowed to pump a man full of female hormones, regardless of the damage to his body, so he can pretend to be a woman, but won’t pump male hormones into a male for the purpose of enhancing athletic performance.

I’m not mad at the guy, just the opposite.  I feel bad for the suffering he’s enduring with this psychological disorder.  Although we’ve made enormous advances in medicine, it seems in some ways when it comes to psychiatric and psychological disorders, we’re still in the dark ages, applying leeches. But the outing of Jenner’s disorder does explain a lot of things, such as his marriage to Kris Kardashian. If I’m mad at anything, it’s the media’s reaction.  Their praise for his “courage,” and the use of female pronouns when referring to Jenner seems to justify his delusion.  Apparently style books in newsrooms have totally gone crazy.  But…. given that there isn’t much in the way of real treatment for disorders like Jenner’s, if prancing around in a dress make him feel better, than he should do it. But after reading that Jenner’s son Brody has a girlfriend named Kaitlynn, I recommend Bruce continue with a lot of therapy.  It sounds like he needs it.


But when is a delusion a fraud?  Or….did the fraud come first, and then the delusion?  I’m referring to Rachel Dolezal, leader of the Spokane NAACP and self proclaimed African American. In a way, I’m surprised we don’t have more Rachels.  A white liberal, from a white liberal family; so identifies with victimhood and victimization that she wants to be that victim.  Despising her white privileged skin, she adopts a different personal, pulls a Soul Man and gets a scholarship to attend Howard University and basically lived with it for years; successfully too.  Faking being Black, getting a scholarship meant for a Black person…if that doesn’t define White Privilege; I don’t know what does.

She became the leader of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington.  Whether the NAACP knew she was white or that’s a chapter filled with the biggest collection of dummies ever.  In any case, they’re supporting her.   How long they will I don’t know.  I don’t see how this ends other than her losing her teaching gig of “Africana Studies” at Eastern Washington University and resigning from her leadership position in the NAACP.

At some point in the future, after all of this is over, an interview with Dolezal about why she wanted to leave her position of “privilege” as a White woman to pick up the mantel of oppression as a Black woman might really be revealing.  However it’s unlikely that she’ll ever give an honest interview.  Why start now?

So Jenner wants to be a chick, Dolezal wants to be Black…hey if there are any Black women who would like to be White men, apparently the door is wide open.


Fake Jobs at Fake Companies

Several months ago I did a post on automation and it’s elimination of “good jobs.”  I wondered then,” …frankly I don’t know what to do about the problem of people being rendered permanently unemployable.”  I still don’t, but it’s been an observation of mine that Europe is about 20 years ahead of us in all of the bad indicators, and a permanent unemployed class is one of those indicators. So once again, from France, an idea whose time may soon be coming to the United States; fake companies for the unemployed.

From the New York Times:

In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits

Sabine de Buyzer, working in the accounting department, leaned into her computer and scanned a row of numbers. Candelia was doing well. Its revenue that week was outpacing expenses, even counting taxes and salaries. “We have to be profitable,” Ms. de Buyzer said. “Everyone’s working all out to make sure we succeed.”

This was a sentiment any boss would like to hear, but in this case the entire business is fake. So are Candelia’s customers and suppliers, from the companies ordering the furniture to the trucking operators that make deliveries. Even the bank where Candelia gets its loans is not real.

More than 100 Potemkin companies like Candelia are operating today in France, and there are thousands more across Europe. In Seine-St.-Denis, outside Paris, a pet business called Animal Kingdom sells products like dog food and frogs. ArtLim, a company in Limoges, peddles fine porcelain. Prestige Cosmetique in Orleans deals in perfumes. All these companies’ wares are imaginary

The whole concept of fake companies is mind boggling.  The idea that you can set up a parallel economy of fake companies that produce nothing, but can’t figure out a way to make that capital and manpower do something useful and profitable is stunning.

Office Space I did nothing

As a training concept, which these were apparently originally set up for, a fake company isn’t a bad idea. It certainly seems to beat the American government version of job training, which has devolved into one failure after another. However these have gone from training programs to place holders for the unemployed.  I suppose from a Keynesian viewpoint, at least the modern Obama era view; there isn’t any difference between a fake company and a real one.  It employs people and provides them an income to buy goods and services. In real economic terms, that’s pointless, but heh, we’ve passed real economics a long time ago.

Convicts manage to make real goods so I don’t understand why fake companies couldn’t do the same, but this is a concept I expect to see more of as our permanent unemployable underclass grows and grows, and we scratch our heads trying to figure out what to do with them.

Office space stapler

Syfy Trying Science Fiction this Year

After years of trying everything but science fiction, from nerd reality shows, to Wrestling, it looks like the Syfy channel is coming home.

We’ve missed you.

ascensionWe started to see a few science fiction toes dip in the water with last December’s miniseries event, Ascension,   The 6 hour show, played over three nights, is the story of a secret nuclear powered generational starship, launched in 1963, on its way to Alpha Centauri.  The story is set in the present day as the ship reaches the half way point; there are factions on the ship that want to turn the ship around to head to earth.  Meanwhile on Earth the son of the founder of the Ascension program is doing his best to maintain the earth end of the program and keep it a secret.  There is a very big spoiler involved in all of this which I found absolutely delicious, and definitely defies your conceptions of what this show really is, however it’s nice to see an adult drama in a science fiction setting.  We’ve not really had a space opera like that since Battlestar Galactica.  In fact, that’s probably how the show was pitched; Mad Men meets Battlestar Galactica.  There is definitely a cultural stuck in amber effect since the crew left earth in the early 1960’s, without the benefit of women’s lib or the civil rights movement.  However the ship culture has evolved in interesting ways, and featured some political maneuvering that tops House of Cards in plausible political chess play.  Unfortunately this show wasn’t picked up, but even so, I recommend watching the miniseries when it’s available on DVD or for In Demand and streaming.

And January was the season two premiere of Helix.  This is another show that isn’t exactly what I thought it would be.  BeforeHelix season one, just based on watching the promos and trailers I would have guessed Zombies meet Andromeda Strain.  However after watching the entirety of Season one, I can’t come up with a simple description of the premise, so I really don’t know how it was pitched to the networks.  Maybe they actually did pitch it as Zombies meet Andromeda Strain and then decided to do their own thing. In any case, it worked, and season two seemed to start off as almost an entirely new show, with the same characters but facing some entirely new challenges.  I guess I’m excited about this show because I can’t guess what they’re doing.  It’s nice to be surprised with good writing without resorting to the multitude of common TV tropes.

The TV adaptation of 12 Monkeys also premiered in January.  This time travel episodic TV series is based on the movie, but diverges quite a bit in order to make episodic TV work.  The basic plot is that in the plague decimated year of 2043, a small group of scientists are trying to send someone back in time to stop the virus from killing off 7 billion people in the first place.  12 MonkeysThe show takes it’s time travel seriously and takes its characters seriously.  We don’t know much about the villains yet, but the heroes are flawed and have done some terrible things to save the world, and sometimes, their motives reveal much more personal motives than world saving.  It’s a great show and apparently enough people agree with me so that it’s already been renewed for another season.


And there seems to be even more, hard SF in store this year for Syfy.  2015 (sometime this year) should see the introduction of The Expanse, a space opera set within a future colonized solar system in which people living in the asteroid belt are oppressed by Earth and our heroes stumble across some sort of conspiracy.  The show sounded suspiciously like the Space Pirate idea that my son and I came up with last year over pizza.  I was almost on the phone with my attorneys, Dewey, Cheatum, & Howe, when I read that the Expanse is based on a book series by James S. A. Corey.  You may have gotten away with it this time Syfy…

Also in 2015 (again, sometime this year) two more space opera type shows are being produced for Syfy, Dark Matter is about a spaceship crew that come out of suspended animation with no memories of who they are and what they are doing there.  There is a lot of room for mystery there.  Also coming up is Killjoys about, who else, interplanetary bounty hunters. So take that Boba Fett.  That’s a lot of real science fiction on air.  So its good news, but I also hope it’s good science fiction.



Zombie TV

Like any other fan of the Walking Dead, I’m looking forward to the Season 5 premiere tonight.

I’m expecting excitement, danger, fear, death, pathos, blood, gore, and lots and lots of zombies.  I’m also expecting big ratings.  Walking Dead has been somewhat of a phenomenon in that regard, as a cable show that is regularly beating network television.

So why has it taken so long for TV to come up with a knock off?  I don’t know but the Syfy Channel finally came up with its own zombie show, Z Nation.  The show premiered last month, and based on the first five episodes, I think I can place the show firmly in the middle of the Zombie-verse.  With Walking Dead at the top, and multiple horrible zombie movies at the bottom, Z Nation is probably a cut above your typical zombie movie; particularly if it’s produced by Syfy or if you find it on Netflix and it’s never had a US theatrical release.

Z NationWalking Dead appeals to a fairly large audience, based on its ratings, and there are plenty of fans of that show who have no interest in horror movies in general and zombie movies in particular.  But Walking Dead has managed to capture the current appeal of dystopian fiction, and adult drama where damaged people deal with loss and hopelessness.  A Walking Dead episode doesn’t end with the whole gang laughing, then freeze frame and credits.  It’s relentlessly hopeless, which for some reason people are attracted to.

Z Nation, in contrast, is fun.  Sure, the apocalypse has hit, civilization is destroyed, and things look bad, but this show has hope.  The premise of the show is that due to an experimental vaccine, there is a cure for the zombie plague in the bloodstream of one ex convict that a group of survivors are trying to get across the country to a government lab.  This is a post zombie America in which there are plenty of survivors and not every human survivor is out to get you.  Some are just trying to get along.  That’s unlike the America that Rick Grimes woke up to from his coma.  That was an almost empty world, where human survivors were often more dangerous than the walkers.

The Z Nation group is under the direction of “Citizen Z,” played by the fantastic genre actor DJ Qualls.  Any show that Qualls is in is worth taking a look (Legit accepted).  Qualls plays the last survivor of an NSA outpost in some unidentified Arctic location. From his base he can control satellites, radio and television, computers, and remote cameras; with or without electricity.  Clearly the post Snowden era has left the public with some unrealistic expectations of the NSA’s capabilities.  The lesson should have been the opposite. But it’s an overall fun show that will appeal to fans of the genre, if not to the larger Walking Dead audience.  It even gave a wink to the Syfy audience with last Friday’s episode, “Home Sweet Zombie,” which included a zombie spewing tornado and a character saying, “well at least it ain’t sharks.”

But AMC is giving another try at the Walking Dead audience with a Walking Dead companion series.  Again, why so late?  They could have started the ball rolling on this show years earlier to capitalize on the Walking Dead popularity.  But work is ongoing and a list of characters has already been released.  Not much is known about the new series other than rumors that it’s to be set at an earlier point than the current Walking Dead show is at and it’s going to be somewhere else other than Georgia.  I for one, welcome a new series set in the Walking Dead universe.  Like any fan, I have my own wish list of what I would like to see.  The character list released seems rather lackluster.  I would have preferred at least one Prepper.  Then he could die early to show the futility of preparations.  I would also like to see an emergency room doctor, since if they start on day one of the Zombie Apocalypse (which I would prefer), they can show the utter confusion and disbelief of not believing what they are seeing, the dead coming back, with an appetite.

So I would love to see a companion series timeline that in the first season runs from day one to a few weeks later when it’s effectively over, about the time Rick wakes up in his hospital bed.  What happens to the world while Rick is in his coma?  I’d like to know. But in the meantime, I do have the original Walking Dead to welcome back and fairly decent copy cat.  That’s more zombies on TV than I’m used to.

Quickie Fall Reviews: Selfie

selfieSelfie:  This ABC show is normally one that it would never occur to me to watch.  But it showed up On Demand from my cable service so I thought why not?  As for the “why” in this case…Karen Gillan.  I figured she would be worth watching if nothing else.  As it turns out, as a comedy this show is terrible, but watching the pilot, it had a few surprises.

First, I’m not sure Karen Gillan can really do an American accent.  It sounds as if she is going over her lines with a dialect coach, taping, then on to the next few lines to practice her Americanese; at least when she’s understandable.  Unfortunately her character speaks in such an argot of social media nonsense that she’s probably mostly unintelligible to all but teenagers.  But an American accent is wasted on her.  Why take a beautiful Scottish actress and force her to talk like an American teenager?  In other words, this is not the role for her.

Second, I was about 12 minutes into the pilot when suddenly it hit me, her character, Eliza Dooley…dang it, this was a retelling of My Fair Lady!  Like the most interesting man in the world, I don’t often recommend a musical, but when I do, it’s My Fair Lady.

So knowing that much, you can probably guess what the show is about.  Self centered Social Media maven goes to the top marketing guy in her company to try change her image and herself into a normal human being.  Antics ensue and you can guess where this will be going for Eliza and Henry, the marketing guru.  The question is, will I watch this?  I don’t know but it’s got two things going for it:  Pond (Karen Gillan of course) and My Fair Lady. But whether I watch it or not, it’s a safe bet that the rest of America won’t.  Already on the list as one of the worst new shows, it’s unlikely this show will get past one season, which is really all for the best.  Karen Gillan deserves better than this and the sooner this goes away the sooner she can get better than this.

Quickie Fall Reviews: Sleepy Hollow

sleepy hollow

Last Monday night was the season two premiere of Sleepy Hollow.  Considering where the show left off at the end of Season one, Ichabod Crane was trapped in a coffin, put there by his son, revealed as the Horseman of War and  his wife Katrina retrieved from Purgatory, was kidnapped by the Headless Horseman (True love don’t ya know).  Meanwhile Abbie Mills was stranded in Purgatory.  All in all, a lot of dangling plots.  So I was really annoyed that the first ten minutes of the show picked up as if a year had gone by.  Sometimes these shows are too clever by half.

And although I’ve enjoyed the show it’s annoyed me almost as much.  It’s sort of a supernatural Castle, which isn’t a bad thing. However regardless of whether it’s good or not  I’m stuck with it since this is one of those shows that my wife and I watch together, so there is no easy way to bail out of watching.  So since I’m in for the long haul, let me get a few things off my chest:

First, I don’t like how densely packed the mythology is.  There is a lot of worldview that you are given to swallow, and I’m not sure it all makes sense when you are combining an old American fairy tale with Biblical themes.  The Headless Horseman is one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Ichabod and Abbie are the two witnesses mentioned in the Book of Revelations.  They could have eased us into all this.

Secondly, yes, Ichabod Crane is brilliant and educated, but come on, he’s adapted to the 21st Century a little too well.  They could have gotten a lot more play out of his fumbling with light switches and car door handles,  He’s confused about filling up the memory on his cell phone with video, but not with the concept of the phone itself?  But as well as he fits into the 21st Century, he’s still wearing the same 18th Century wardrobe.  Some Dockers and a polo might be a nice change of pace.

The elephant in the room, which is almost never mentioned, is race. The show as much as sleeps through race as Ichabod Crane slept through the centuries.  On TV, when you have such a diverse cast racial issues are either the star of the show or are totally ignored.  How many shows have had the one black friend, who hangs around with a bunch of white guys but has no black friends?  That’s not a really an example of the real world.  Of course, the world of Sleepy Hollow isn’t of course the real world, but the Headless Horseman seems more realistic than the casual way the show ignores race.

And it’s surprising too considering the diverse cast.  It’s probably one of the most diverse casts of a show when it didn’t need to be.  The show is set in upstate New York, and if the cast had wound up all white, no one would have batted an eye.  But the producers specifically went for a rainbow of colors in casting.  Why waste it?

When Ichabod and Abbie first meet, he asks her if she’s been emancipated.  Naturally she’s a bit incensed at this but humors him about being from the 18th Century and explains that slaves were freed.  Crane of course quickly explains that he’s always been an abolitionist with all of the quick earnestness of a white liberal meeting a black person and saying that they so respect Martin Luther King and think soul food is the best food ever.

And that’s it.  They’re partners and work together as equals in 21st Century fashion and race never comes up again.  The thing is, race would come up every day for Crane.  Skipping over the past two centuries leaves quite a gap in the racial history of the United States.  Crane should be constantly full of questions about racial manners and mores.

Well, it’s a wasted opportunity not to explore race, particularly when the set up of the show gives you the perfect opportunity.  Oh well, back to chasing monsters.


Quickie Fall Reviews: Black-ish

Black-ish is the latest attempt to sell an ethnic sitcom to the wider, non ethnic audience.  Unlike the Cosby Show, in which a Black upper middle class family has the same concerns as any non Black upper middle class, and being Black was not a prominent part of the show, Black-ish is about nothing else but being Black.  It’s about upper middle class Black people who are concerned about being Black, ruminating what it means to be Black, embracing Black culture, maintaining Black culture, what is Black Culture… in short, it’s all Black, all the time.

Or at least that’s the case for the main character, Heathcliff Huxtable…err I mean Andre Johnson.  Anthony Anderson plays the Bill Cosby character in this Cosby show with guilt that can’t seem to stop thinking about race and its effect on virtually every aspect of his life.  I literally could not keep track of the number of stereotypes that this show…not skewered like you would think, but embraced. The main character is desperate to get his family playing basketball, eating fried chicken, you name it.

The lesson here is that assimilation to middle class values is bad, and “keeping it real” is good.  But maybe that’s just my white privilege talking.  Could this really be a positive uplifting show that I can’t see because of my privilege?  If so, how do I “check my privilege” in order to understand the true intent?

After typing into Google, “Am I racist for thinking the new show Black-ish is racist?”  I did find there was an actual petition requesting the show be dropped from the fall schedule because…it’s racist.  So I’m not alone on that.  But being racist isn’t even the worst sin this show commits.

It’s not funny.

Based on the pilot episode, the laughs were pretty sparse, and by sparse, I mean I didn’t laugh once, although maybe I missed something since I was constantly checking the clock.  If the show had been racist and funny, this would have been a totally different review. Some of the stuff that white people like is Black comedians playing up Black stereotypes.  Oh, how white people like that!  But for a show in which the main character wants to base his life on a racist parody of Black life you would think there would be laughs.

So I cannot give this show my much coveted thumbs up. There might be a Black audience for this show, and maybe it could find a second life on BET, but I don’t think that ABC is going to be keeping this.