Writer | Actor | Voice-Over Artist

Monthly Archives: January 2016

The “Star Wars” kids aren’t alright: The movie gets millennials right — our fight isn’t with “The Man,” but with each other

A lot has already been written about “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” and its meteoric ascent into the pop-culture canon after the mixed reaction to the prequels. One of the takes I liked best was how the very idea of doing a sequel to “Return of the Jedi” and its splashy happy ending turns the Star Wars saga from fairy tale to something bleaker and more realistic, facing the hard truth that war never really ends and evil is never really defeated. “One Death Star is a horror; two Death Stars and one Starkiller Base… is something more like the inexorable logic of history, grinding us all to dust.”

There are many reasons Episode VII feels like a bleaker world than Episode IV–one of them being that the backstory to Episode VII consists of movies we’ve actually seen and characters we already love. It’s one thing to kill off an old man we met in Act I as the climax to Act II; it’s another thing entirely to kill off an old man we got to know and rooted for as a young wisecracking scoundrel over the course of three movies.

Similarly, it’s one thing to vaguely imply something about the “Clone Wars” as an old, settled conflict and vaguely posit that that peace somehow led to the war we’re in right now (and to somewhat unsatisfyingly try to fill in the details of that transition with an ill-conceived prequel trilogy). It’s another thing to give us the happy endingwe were promised at the end of three movies–celebrating Ewoks, exploding fireworks, our protagonists hugging and laughing and smiling–and then show us that happy ending collapsing into wrack and ruin years later with a new movie and a new war.

Read the full article at Salon

The Oscars have a taste problem, too: Here’s hoping new academy rules can zap middlebrow “Oscar-bait” dreck for good

The big news this week after a steady barrage of #OscarsSoWhite controversy is that the academy has finally, to a degree, caved. People of color in Hollywood finally hit a breaking point after the second year in a row of zero non-white nominees in the acting categories. With big names like Spike Lee, Michael Moore… Continue Reading

My Life as an Alien-American

“Asians are aliens and aliens are Asians.” It wasn’t a big presentation, even for a small liberal arts school like Swarthmore College. It was held in a classroom, not in one of the big lecture halls, attended mostly by professors who chuckled at the idea of studying racial tropes in pulpy space opera with barely… Continue Reading

Celebrity deaths and the “problematic fave”: Enough with the moral tug-of-war between “hero” and “villain” legacies

My feelings about the past week of grieving celebrities and bickering with fellow social-justice-warrior-y types about how to grieve over celebrities were summed up pretty well by a tweet from one of my Twitter friends: “A quick Google and a thorough check of Your Fave Is Problematic indicate that it’s safe to publicly mournAlan Rickman.”… Continue Reading

Don’t blame me for Donald Trump: The liberal “p.c. police” didn’t make this monster

All those who don’t themselves support Trump pointing fingers at each other and blaming each other for Donald Trump’s runaway candidacy is the new spectator sport. Normally I wouldn’t find a new column blaming me (or, rather, people like me) for Donald Trump’s existence as a political figure to be remarkable, but Tom Nichols is a… Continue Reading

Stop calling them “Vanilla ISIS”: Mocking the Bundys and Oregon extremists pretends that violence isn’t an American tradition

Yes, I laughed at the names “Y’all Qaeda” and “Vanilla ISIS” to describe the armed terrorists–and yes, I do insist on using that word–who’ve taken over a federal building in Oregon. And like many other Twitter users it took me just a few hours to regret laughing at the name and start saying we shouldn’t… Continue Reading