Beauty and The Beast ramblings

Some folks have been calling this nonsense a controversy, so I said to myself “screw it, I’ll just ramble about it for a bit”.

Why does anyone care if LeFou is gay? I know Disney wants to pander to broader audiences to make more money, but frankly, I don’t understand why the demand is there in the first place (well, that’s not entirely true… I know a lot of people are entitled, identity politics-spewing, self-obsessed idiots who like taking advantage of the first amendment and trolling as many people as they possibly can with their stupidity). That may sound hypocritical considering I’m voicing a strong opinion, but the difference is I’m ACKNOWLEDGING that this is a mere opinion and I encourage those who disagree to come forward and voice their responses. Intellectual diversity is the only form of diversity that matters.

The origins of the story of Beauty and the Beast, which go back to the days of cave paintings, is really about understanding the three-dimensional nature of humanity. Villeneuve’s fairy tale specifically focuses on the idea that one who looks menacing may actually be kind at heart. In 1946, Jean Cocteau brought to contemporary culture the character of Avenant, who was the antithesis of the Beast – pretty at first glance but evil at heart. That love triangle was replicated in, among other works, the Disney version of the fairy tale in the form of Gaston.

Labeling the tale a story of acceptance is simply a shallow way to justify cheap corporate pandering.


A Historian’s Perspective on The Importance of Domestic Job Growth

Preliminary Note: I believe NAFTA is one of the worst things to happen to us in recent years.

Many economists argue that sacrificing factory jobs in this country is worth overall economic growth. Well, I’m not an economist (yet), but I do know something of history; the last time corporations sacrificed workers to increase profits, our nation was rewarded with Black Tuesday.

In the 20’s, the market did nothing but rise. Everyone appeared to be making record profits, but with unemployment rising, debt proliferating and wages disproportionately low (sound familiar?), the economy was doomed to fail.

Right now, the national unemployment rate may be down in many fields and the demand for skilled labor may be rising, but the working class seems to be getting fewer and fewer opportunities. Corporations will only bring in profits for so long; when every-day Americans become unable to buy new goods no matter how inexpensive they may be, when people lose the ability to enter the workforce and contribute to the national economy, when only corporate executives make any profit whatsoever, history will repeat itself.

It can be argued that we mainly got out of the depression because the Second World War increased the demand for unskilled labor. Since college costs have increased (I blame the unions) to the point that many (NOT including me) doubt its worth, there are plenty of folks entering the workforce with nothing more that a High School diploma. That means if corporations don’t stop outsourcing, we’ll have a crippling surplus of unskilled workers, and that’s never a good thing. Now you may be thinking, “what if we make college free?” My answer, and the answer of many economists is: there is no way we’ll be able to pay for that. If you’re going to say, “but many countries in Europe can do it!”, don’t. One, most of those countries are suffering much worse problems than we are, two, our economic system is profoundly different than theirs at the core, and three, we have significantly more people we’d have to cover than any European country. I could go on, but if I haven’t convinced you by now, I doubt anything else I can say will change your minds.

If we put an end to outsourcing and increase wages to match inflation (something we haven’t done since Reagan), I don’t think there would be a negative impact on the economy as people will have enough money to contend with increased prices. Of course, this would be politically toxic as many among the socioeconomic elite feel they will not make as much money if such laws are passed and will lobby against them, killing them before they even reach the House Floor. Some economists have come up with a less unrealistic alternative: continue to outsource old markets, but open new markets for unskilled laborers in their place. I think that will fail all too quickly, as corporations will outsource THOSE jobs as soon as they emerge.

Oh, how I wish NAFTA never happened…

Dei ex Machinis

I’ve had enough of Dei Ex Machinis. From the Brett Ratner X-Men movies, to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to every other series that cheapens the emotional impacts of character deaths by bringing back supposedly dead characters… it’s gotten real old.

You know why producers really use that plot device? It’s not because they like the characters, nor is it because fans demand they return; it’s all about money. If a character is profitable, production companies will milk them dry, no matter what the cost to the story.

Whether it sells more merchandise, provides new, profitable material, or simply would increase the production’s audience, the producers will always choose to bring a character back for the sake of profit. If a particular action will make them money, they will do it.

It’s sad, but such is the nature of humanity. We are a society built upon the premise that great material wealth is the ultimate goal. “True Art” is a long lost concept; all too many people are more concerned about making money than producing quality content that will withstand the test of time.

And, I must admit, my goal in life is to make as much money as I can. The difference between me and many others is, I do believe some things are sacred, and I will not defile art, nor will I create bad art, no matter how much money doing so will bring me.