#2. Quentin Tarantino
There's no denying Quentin Tarantino's talent or success. It doesn't matter how incapable he is of tying a tie or not making all of us uncomfortable with the words that come out of his face when he speaks. He is an important and successful filmmaker.
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There is the "windsor," the "half windsor," and the "four in hand," and then there is the "screw your tie, I'm badass."
At a very boring time in American cinema, Tarantino exploded, pushing the boundaries of what a film could do. His film style can be summed up best by Bruce Willis' choice of weapon in Pulp Fiction. Why take a hammer when you can take a bat? Why take a bat when you can take a samurai sword! But even though he comes off this way in every interview, Tarantino can't be all tits and explosions. If he were, he never could have crafted the opening scene to Inglourious Basterds. No, not the Jew Bear shit. He could have written that in his sleep, or at least while doing giggly bong hits with Eli Roth. I'm talking about the Nazi, Hans Landa, politely interrogating the good-hearted French farmer who's hiding a Jewish family. This scene contains so much about the nature of evil, the difficulty of following a righteous path, and the vulnerability of compassion. That one scene is hands down the most masterful piece of Holocaust-inspired art in Western civilization, and it's from the same guy who wrote the immortal response to Steve Buscemi's question, "Why am I Mr. Pink?"
But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Quentin Tarantino, It's OK to Dismiss Most of His Fans Because ...
"Fucking A! Did you see that fucking shit where the dude fucked that guy's shit up and shit!? Holy shit, like the one dude is all BAM and then she's like, yeah, I don't think so POW!" Oh sorry, that was just an outtake from any conversation with anyone who calls himself a Quentin Tarantino fanatic. I guess all I'm saying is that often his biggest, most vocal fans are the first ones to sell him short, to talk about him like some one-trick pony who is great simply because of his level of ballsy badassery.
To Tarantino's Worst Fans, I Say ...
Yes, he sure is awesome and ballsy. He has some other talents, too. Check it out, or, y'know, just please stop talking to me.
#1. Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow is a liberal-leaning talking head for MSNBC. Being somewhat liberal-minded on social and constitutional issues myself, I'd have to say that I probably agree with 85 percent of the rhetoric that comes out of Maddow's mouth. Having said that, I cannot stand hearing Rachel Maddow speak. She is a living cartoon of how Republicans like to portray Democrats.
When the right denigrates the left and tries to explain to middle America why Democrats can't be trusted, they paint us as a bunch of arrogant East Coast homosexuals completely out of touch with everyday Americans. Basically, their caricatures of Democrats look a lot like this:
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"Hi, let me take your guns and give your children free access to porn!"
Yes, only homophobes and morons would take issue with a pundit's sexual orientation. That's not the issue at all. (At all. I'm serious. At all. Shut up.) But everyone can be rightly put off by Maddow's habit of punctuating her elitist, sanctimonious, long-winded rants with smug eye-rolling and crooked smiles.
In a world of extreme right-wing talking heads, we probably need Maddows, and although everything about her style is maddening, I'm at least glad there's a counterbalance to the extreme right's chicanery. She is the mirror image of human garbage neo-conservative Ann Coulter. Unfortunately, changing the message of extremist punditry garbage doesn't get rid of the smell.
But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Rachel Maddow, It's OK to Dismiss Most of Her Fans Because ...
They don't sweat the details, and they are all about the fight. Democrats loved to go on and on about what an intellectual lightweight George W. Bush was and how so much of his support was from a bunch of born-again nimrods who cared more about electing the man who looked most like a cowboy. We did that because it was completely true. Having said that, you would have to be foolish to believe that there aren't an equally clueless bunch of voters in the Democratic Party supporting Barack Obama for all the wrong reasons. Both parties are irreparably tainted. In 2013, neither side has the right to claim the intellectual or moral high ground.
People who routinely claim higher moral or intellectual ground strictly among party lines are either liars or fools. So I might agree with a lot of the positions of Maddow and her fans, but their desire to trade extreme left hooks in return for massive right undercuts keeps them in a constant state of battle.
To Maddow's Worst Fans, I Say ...
Yes, Maddow's a wise woman fighting the good fight against partisan hacks on the other side. But as you cheer and champion her takedowns of silly Republican boobs, maybe go somewhere besides MSNBC to places that take a more critical eye of civil rights abuses, not just to gays and women, but to all Americans. Things like our current administration's stance on NDAA and drone strikes that go to the heart of everyone's civil liberties. A stance that most of the Democratic and Republican parties seem in harmony about.
The right screws the left. The left rolls its eyes and shakes its head at the screwing it's getting while castigating the right mightily. And The Man, who is not Democrat or Republican, straight or gay, male or female, atheist or believer, is content at the bickering that keeps everyone busy and blind.
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