Told You

« February 2012 »

Memo to Catholic Bishops, New Hampshire Republicans, and George Lucas: YOU ARE DUMB.

I know you creatures of habit were thrown off by a full-length column going up on Monday. I was, too. But I really did want to get to the contraception thing when I did, and it was excellent timing, because a few hours after it went up, Obama offered a compromise that's just interesting enough to fill one third of a three-part column. So let's just roll back the clock for a special Monday edition of SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

So basically, here's where we stood on Friday. Obama wanted contraception to be covered without a co-pay. Catholic bishops pushed back, because insurance companies paying for all of the contraception with a small portion of the premium money paid by some Catholic institutions is somehow infinitely worse than the insurance paying for only part or most of it. So the Obama administration said, fine, you won't pay for it out of your premiums, the insurance company will pay for it.

This was a nice bit of jujitsu, because if they went for it, problem solved, and if they didn't go for it, all the reasonable people would understand that it's not about the money or the principle, it's about scoring political points and furthering a prudish hate for modern, independent women. How did the bishops react? You will be shocked.

"In the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.” - See? Catholics are giving insurers money, the insurance company is deciding how to spend it once they have it, and it's STILL a problem.

So the good news is, all the reasonable people know what's really going on. The bad news is, since none of the reasonable people are actually in charge of making these decisions or explaining them to the American people, enjoy hearing about this until at least November.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Republicans have introduced a plan to repeal the law requiring employers to give employees lunch breaks. But they insist it doesn't have anything to do with not wanting employees to have lunch breaks. They're just streamlining the legal code. The reasoning here has been shown to cause whiplash and ear-bleeding in rats, so be warned.

"This is an unneeded law. If I was to deny one of my employees a break, I would be in a very bad position with the company’s human resources representative. If you consider that this is a very easy law to follow in that everyone already does it, then why do we need it? Our constituents have already proven that they have enough common sense to do this on their own.” - Kyle Jones, a Republican state representative who thinks you're stupid.

First, who the fuck does Kyle Jones think the HR department works for? He can't possibly actually think that the HR department is the free-market, private sector's solution to protecting the rights of employees, can he? I mean, sure, if one boss decides to cut out lunch breaks, maybe HR would get involved, but if the entire company decides to cut out lunch breaks, then HR's job is to fire anyone who complains.

And second, if they're doing this "on their own", then they're doing it, by definition, without the law being enforced. If the law's not being enforced, then the only reason to take it off the books is if, like unenforced sodomy, adultery, and miscegenation laws, the law articulates a point of view that the state no longer agrees with. It's not like companies are being forced to account to the government for their lunch break policies. Why not leave the law alone if it's so easy to follow?

I think we all know the answer to that.

And speaking of not leaving well enough alone, George Lucas.

Last week, the man whose most recent technological innovation in the world of filmmaking was bringing the concept of "find and replace" to his own movies insisted that audience perception is to blame in the whole "Han Shot First" debacle. ACTUAL GEORGE TIME!

"The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down."

Let's ignore for a second that the last time George Lucas blamed the audience for being confused about what they were seeing and hearing, it had a little something to do with a few ethnically insensitive portrayals that you'll soon be able to re-live in three dimensions. So there is a pattern here of blaming the audience for his shortcomings as an artist.

But really, this is about George Lucas trying to go back and change something that didn't work out the way he wanted - the perception of George Lucas as someone who's constantly insisting he can go back and change something that didn't work out the way he wanted. And there's really only one way to change that perception, George. STOP FUCKING WITH THINGS. Don't add in extra screams where they didn't need to be. Don't post-convert your shit into 3-D. Don't go back in a few years and "fix" Red Tails so that it's about white pilots in the hopes of it making more money. Leave well enough alone, and maybe people will start thinking of you as a guy who finally learned to leave well enough alone.