Episode 23: Tiny Little Controversies, Part 2

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4 minute read

Robert and the boys are back to talk about all the petty little controversies that have swirled around this week!

Part of the fun of watching, and reading, the news constantly is seeing the shifts in mood. From outrage to shock, and from guffaws to giggles there’s always little controversies that makes us go red in the face or force an eyeroll. From Star Wars, to kneelers, and always the POTUS, we are here for the petty tea party.

Solo: a Star Wars story

Listen, We’re nerds, it’s fine. And yes we discuss our expectations of the anthology installment from the Star Wars franchise.  To keep things seperate and organized we’ll be doing a movie review after the weekend on Solo. Most of the controversy around Solo comes from expectations built or shattered by previous movies. While we generally see this new era of Star Wars as a blitz of content, it is sort of a mixed bag when it comes to reception. As the second stand alone film (Lucasfilm and Disney prefer the term “anthology”) there’s a certain element of excitement. Rogue One was fantastic in my opinion. The anthology films have the ability to use all the elements of the franchise while going their own way.

The hesitation creeps in with the shadow of The Last Jedi looming over the franchise. Infamous, or notorious, The Last Jedi created rival camps. Critics and the studio in one tent, with those who bought tickets in another. On the heels of such a big rift, Solo has the burden of creating peace and trust between both tents, and establishing itself as its own pillar in the franchise. Big task for a movie that has low expectations from critics and fans alike.

NFL owners cabal have a vote

Like the olympians of Greece, and the gladiators of Rome in ancient times, or the jousting knights of medieval Europe, athletes have created a pillar of the cultural experience for civilizations as far back as we know.  We are no different today. Our modern sports aren’t exactly as brutal as charging each other with great lances and swords. But fighting and team sports have a historical context on every continent, in almost every culture. And the little controversies of politics and culture are often woven into the experience in every era. Again, we are no different today. But I only mention this for context, and to make fun of the glorification of our cultural icons.

This week the owners of the teams within the National Football League, a truly august and serene body of majestic individuals, voted to require all players on the field to be standing for the national anthem as it plays. Jed York, from the glorious and magnificent 49ers, abstained from the vote, but it was otherwise unanimous. There will be fines or penalties for kneeling during the anthem while one the field, though players and staff may remain in the locker rooms while the anthem plays. Immediately the blood pressure of the talking heads went off the rails! Jay Michealson of The Daily Beast laments, rightfully, the public funding of stadiums and teams while attacking the NFL’s tax free status. To be fair to the counter argument, while the NFL may avoid corporate taxes no one in the league avoids income and property taxes.

For more on sports and politics check out Episode 11: Dragons and Dum Dums.

POTUS and his bullshit, or Twitter and lawyers.

We do this mostly because we have to. If there was a week where Trump wasn’t doing something it would be kind of unreal.  It’s not even his direct actions that make controversies appear. It’s the satellites in orbit around him that can also make impacts.  Twitter is POTUS’s favorite avenue of communication, and his personal account has been the source of amusement and consternation for millions of people. Some of whom he’s blocked. Now a federal judge has reversed a previous decision that allowed Trump to block users, and we are here for the Chrissy Teagan tea party! With no way to put the blocked wall up between him and his critics on twitter we’ll likely see a new era of Twitter Wars. The judge ruled the blocking of users by the president’s personal account as unconstitutional, which may be a stretch.

In less fun POTUS news, Micheal Cohen, the beleaguered personal attorney for Trump, has been accused of taking about $400,000 from the Ukrainian leader to create access to the president of our United States.  Now the term “allegedly” still applies, and not because we don’t believe it, but because we can’t verify it. As far as character goes, Michael Cohen finds himself in a little bit of an untrusted state with the general public.

Is it wrong for a foreign government to pay for access to a president? It’s kind of illegal, but that depends on what actually happened. It looks bad that Cohen got the money and the Ukrainian president got a better reception afterwards. It looks worse that the Ukrainian investigation into Paul Manafort’s dealings were stopped afterwards. Cohen denies any wrongdoing, for what that’s worth. It’s hard to tell how much longer Trump can allow his surrogates to undermine trust in his administration.

We’ve done this before

Check out Episode 5: Tiny Little Controversies for a trip down nonsense lane with Robert, Sean, and myself.

I'm here to talk about things, and drink things, and write about things. Doing it with friends makes it better.

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