Changing tastes

Re-reading authors you’ve liked for a long time can be weird when they’re kind of political writers. Reading some of John Ringo’s arguably less political writing, the ‘Troy Rising’ series, for, oh, the…seventh time, I think, and some of the subtler political barbs are bugging me more. John Ringo confuses me sometimes. Military fiction and military sci-fi, a certain degree of pro-military/hawkish politics is probably inevitable, or at least difficult to avoid. You write a scenario wherein military action is justified, unless you’re telling a very specific kind of story.

Ringo confuses me because he’s clearly conservative, but he’s difficult to peg as a conservative. He doesn’t seem to be extremely socially conservative (I can’t really call him socially progressive. He seems apathetic about gay people, for the most part, not hostile, but certainly not terribly concerned about justice for them, either.), but while economically conservative, he seems to be more comfortable with things like taxation and compassion than you usually see from more hardcore economic conservatives. Yet at times he’s been rabidly anti-liberal in his writing, so I’m not sure I buy that he’s just adopting the native clothing among Baen’s fairly heavily conservative reader base. The problem is his criticisms of liberals tend to be stereotypical, unsupported, and very, very non-specific.

It comes across like the unquestioned belief accepted from one’s rearing and peers that the ‘other’ is bad, even though that doesn’t mesh with your own views. It just feels unexamined and that makes me a little sad.

David Weber can be a little problematic in similar respects but honestly rarely bothers me to the same degree. The People’s Republic of Haven comes to mind, but as a portrayal of a welfare state run amok it really comes across almost as parody to my mind, more a device created to fill a need plausibly than a statement that this is the inevitable fate of any attempt at social welfare.

-VoG

Concussion review

Saw Concussion with Wee Fierce Beastie at the dollar movies this afternoon. Another date night. We’ve been wanting to see it for ages but by the time we had the ability to do so, it was barely showing anywhere, in that weird spot between normal movies and dollar movies.

Spoiler: Really enjoyed it.

Wee Fierce Beastie already reviewed it so I’m largely going to be echoing her sentiments. Will Smith was amazing, and so very un-Will Smith. He looks like Will Smith, but you’ll forget it’s him after about ten minutes because it doesn’t sound like Will Smith, and it doesn’t act like Will Smith. I don’t know if that’s an accurate Nigerian accent but it sounded convincing to my uninformed ear, and his mannerisms were so soft spoken, and graceful, and just…a strange elegance that I’m not used to seeing from Will Smith characters.

It isn’t bombastic, melodramatic, but it does hit hard on a real thing that hurts a lot of people.

I realize again I’ve failed to talk about what the movie is about. So, this is another docudrama dealing with the discovery of what happens when you hit people on the head, over, and over, and over. I’m talking, of course, about american football.

Pathologist performing an autopsy on a famous retired NFL player realizes his brain has been destroyed by concussions in a way not detectable without autopsy, which sets him on a collision course with the economic juggernaut that is the National Football League.

I am decidedly anti-football now. It’s violent. It is violent enough that on a routine basis at any level of play, players will be subjected to repeated impacts (in every game, in every practice, over and over) sufficient to cause cumulative neurological damage. This is routine. It isn’t something you can fix and have football be recognizable.

The movie is pretty clear on the NFL’s complicity in disguising this fact, they acted much like the tobacco industry and cancer, becoming the driving force into research into it to be able to spin and control the results of that research.

I realize the problem, too. The NFL doesn’t have a motive to make the game less violent because violence is what sells the game. Look at highlight reels. If it wasn’t supposed to be violent the NFL would play flag-football. It disturbs me the degree to which it is a sort of proxy for gladiatorial blood sports. Oh, safer, surely, but the motive is to keep it as violent as possible without crossing the line where it is too overt and draws public outrage from elements of society that otherwise just ignore it altogether.

The problem is that children play it. I played it as a small child, full on tackle football. It’s fundamental to so many local communities across the country.

So basically, I don’t watch football, and I won’t be watching it at all going forward. I won’t be in any way consuming it to the best of my ability. I won’t be watching Superbowl ads on youtube. My child won’t play it.

Go see the movie.

-VoG