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Interesting Links for 06-08-2014

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

I don't get why Israel seems to be intentionally making themselves look bad.

I think that Israel has, historically, gotten a very easy ride, because the media didn't tend to cover them Doing Bad Things - and instead focussed on Palestinians Doing Bad Things.

I mean, they got out of things like the Second Intifada without much in the way of negative publicity. They presumably assumed this would go the same way.

Unluckily, for them, we're now getting reporting via a number of different channels now, so it's much easier for news to reach us, even if the general media isn't initially covering it.

I've seen discussions of whether destroying Gaza's power generation ability was actually a strike to cut off the bloggers in the area...

That blogger idea could easily be true.

I wonder if no longer getting an easy ride will change their tactics or cause them to double down.

The thing about Israel is that the situation between them and Palestine has been in a holding position for decades. There's not been any kind of end-game in sight for either side, and the basic goals of (the extreme of) both sides was entirely incompatible.

Sorting out The Troubles took both sides in Northern Ireland going "You know what, I'm fed up with this, and it's not getting me anywhere." We'll need something similar to happen in Israel/Palestine for that to get sorted.

(And that's not terribly likely while Israel is surrounded by other countries that are still not recognising its existence.)

I'd say that also America is getting less popular globally, and the right wing and its influence in America (the bit that seems to be the most vocal about Israel) is to a large degree to blame for that decline in popularity. Imagine I made some clever analogy between the Iron Dome system and the United States here.

American influence perpetuates/ed both conflicts by providing money and arms. America switching from supporting war to supporting peace was important for Northern Ireland and it will be for Palestine.

Because Israel seriously doesn't care what random American or European leftwingers think about their actions. Netanyahu has this particularly badly, but a lot of people have the mindset that they'll hate us whatever we do. If it doesn't actually affect their funding or their arms deals, the people who make the decisions are totally indifferent to articles in the liberal press or on blogs full of handwringing about racism or killing children or whatever. Partly because there's just as much handwringing when Israel is being relatively humanitarian as when they're being aggressive, I suspect. But it's pretty much like, everybody hates us, especially on the left, and that's how it's been for 70 years, why bother trying to look good to these people who hate us anyway just for existing?

Unfortunately I can only find a version of it with Spanish subtitles blocking out the English ones on youtube, but Defamation by Yoav Shamir is an interesting documentary from 2009 on anti-Semitism and particularly the new definition that is seems to have taken on: criticizing Israel. There's some part of it that really show this entranced view of the world.

I've finally seen GoTG and re-read yesterday's links. I agreed with people who said it was great fun, and maybe more diverse than most films, but still had notable problems.

I was confused by "the rise of post-plot cinema". I agree that is a problem with many recent films, where the characters do things just because that's the sort of thing they do in that sort of film, even when it makes absolutely no sense given what's happened so far (let alone what that character knows). But I thought GoTG was a pretty good anecdote to that. It had _some_ plot holes, and I could have done with a bit less mass destruction in the second half, but there was much less than many films.

And lots of things made sense. Unlike lots of films, it successfully conveyed that different places were _different_. It didn't waste a lot of time on travel time, but nor did the characters randomly teleport from one side of the galaxy to the other. The fight scenes made sense! No-one ever hit someone because "that's what people do in martial arts films". Everyone hit people because it was a direct path to winning the fight, and was prevented by something which made sense in retrosepct but wasn't obvious in advance. There were lots of cinematic shots, but there was pretty much no gratuitous destruction (or gratuitous quips, or gratuitous flirting) that didn't move the plot along...

The reviewer had difficulty keeping the characters straight. Well, sure, that's a problem in many films. But he doesn't think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is plot-less? I honestly don't see how they could have made it much clearer. The guy with the black eye-shadow and the black cloak who spent five minutes monologuing about how he was a renegade and a terrorist and he wanted to commit genocide that was the bad guy. The giant guy in the void-throne pulling his strings that's the real bad guy who will show up in the next film. The leader of a gang of thugs who looks a bit disreputable? That's the anti-hero guy. The characters TELL you what they're going to do. "We're going to steal this and sell it." "We have to stop genocide-guy getting to the planet because he will kill everyone." In 90% of films, the bad guy would have showed up when the heros were trying to fence the stone "just because". Here, someone explicitly tipped him off! Which was an important plot point in the rest of the film!

I thought the plot in the second half could have been more gripping, I had no real doubt they're defeat the bad guy using the macguffin somehow. But I didn't know anything about the source material, and didn't feel like it would have been better if I did...

Yeah, I thought GotG had a plot.

Admittedly, I did wonder where the green woman vanished to. She was in one scene on the ship and then, zap, gone.

But anyway, plot: StarLord is some sort of thief nicking stuff for a fence. He gets into hot water. Two sets of people are after him for different reasons. They all end up in prison together, where they form an alliance of convenience. After a bit of a clash of motivations, they go to try to sell the McGuffin, where they realize that the McGuffin is a Really Big Thing and decide to try to do the Right Thing. They succeed.

See! Plot!

I wonder how Chapman was able to actually have the interview with The Independent, as his head is so far up his ass it must have disappeared. The fact he's actually been nominated for the Turner says it all: you need to be full of hot air to accomplish that. These are the people that give art a bad name. Such a shame.

Edited at 2014-08-06 02:47 pm (UTC)

With the growing female audience, hopefully it will also help in pushing forward a solo superhero movie with a female lead.


Until recently I had an Indian production manager who has spent the best part of 8 years trying to become a British citizen. He has 2 degrees, and is now doing a PhD, so exactly an unskilled worker, and it still took him and his wife (who is similarly qualified in IT) a very long time and a huge amount of money to complete the process. I remember when their parents came to visit, they also had to put up a large (several thousand pounds) bond before they were granted a visa to visit the country. Our dear leaders seem to be determined to make the process even harder, which is ultimately pointless given that less than 15% of immigrants are from outside the EU. If people want to limit the number of people coming into the country, vote UKIP and leave the EU (not something I want BTW). This pretence of being ever tougher on immigrants is a waste of time and frankly barbaric.

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