Stuff I Learned From The Movies

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They say art imitates life, and even though I don’t know who “they” are, I believe them.  Sure, in the 21st century, we’re definitely swimming in the shallow end of the artistic pond, but we still have film makers.  These are the contemporary artists whose vision, diligence and painstaking efforts help us understand the human condition.  Here are just a few things I’ve learned from the movies.

Impossible missions are not only possible; they’re down right probable.

Nazis and drug cartel henchmen can’t shoot straight.

There are more than 100 ways to build a time machine, but if you build one, expect it to end badly.

Englishmen are evil.

When you look up “weird” in the dictionary, they spell M. Night Shyamalan’s name correctly.

Your gay friends are a lot smarter than you are.

Aliens hate Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and The Statue of Liberty.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — major urban areas have very little traffic, and you can drive as fast as you want on most surface streets.

Small towns are creepy, the wilderness is dangerous, and whatever you do, stay away from the water.

Eastern Europe is full of old, broken-down automobiles and abandoned buildings.

White groups always have one black friend, but black groups seldom return the favour.

It’s okay to stalk your ex-girlfriend, a co-worker, your best friend’s wife or the woman in your apartment complex — as long as you’re convinced you truly love her.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — all people over 50 have Alzheimer’s.

Secret government agents (spies) are easy to spot: they’re the ones in the expensive clothes.

Adam Sandler isn’t funny.

Sad things have subtitles.

People in New York and Chicago are really good at managing their money.  Even when they have the crappiest job in history, they can still afford a decent apartment.

All Asians know kung fu – even the little kids.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — super-hot girls are actually attracted to nerdy guys.

Contemporary bras are so comfortable women wear them all the time — even when they’re sleeping or having industrial-strength, marathon sex.

When you hear Middle Eastern music, something’s going to explode.

Amy Adams and Isla Fisher are the same person — and she even proved it in Nocturnal Animals.

But the best thing I ever learned from the movies is —

If a bald guy offers you the red pill, run like hell!

Platitudes!

preachingNot that long ago, Social Media was being called the greatest gift to democracy since Jefferson.  How the mighty have fallen!  The problem is a) you don’t have to take an IQ test to own a computer and b) statistically, half the people who have computers would fail it if there was one.  The result is Social Media is over-populated by people on the bottom end of the “I’m-just-as-smart-as-you-are” scale, and the rest of us can’t disagree with them because that’s some kind of brain-shaming or something.  Meanwhile, these (for want of a better term) stupid people have reduced the conversation to the lowest common denominator which includes bashing everybody over the head with industrial-strength platitudes.  And, unfortunately, unlike cute cat videos, attaching deep meaning to meaningless clichés digs a deeper hole in the cyber-stupid and that just makes it harder and harder for any of us to get out.  Let me show you what I mean.

Bravery has many forms – No doubt — but not all bravery is created equal.  Somehow, we’ve forgotten that there’s a big difference between running into a burning building to save grandma and finally getting up enough courage to tell grandma we’re gay.  They’re not the same thing, and every time we equate the two, we devalue what courage really means.

Face Your Fears – I’m afraid of grizzly bears and I’m pretty sure that going mano a mano with a large North American land mammal is going to end badly– regardless of my personal growth.  Facing your fears only works when your fears can’t rip your face off.

People Can Surprise You – This isn’t always a good thing.  Like it or not, life dictates that we’re all going to accumulate more than a few substantial scars from getting stabbed in the back by people who’ve – uh — surprised us.

You Can Do Anything If You Try – This is why so many people think they’re creative, don’t want to do the grunt work and spend their entire lives pissed off with the world when they discover they have to.

Money Isn’t Everything – I’m not even going to grace this stupidity with an answer.

It’s Okay To Ask For Help – Yeah, but don’t be shocked out of your socks when you don’t get it.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your friends to help you move!

Don’t Give In To Hate – Folks, life isn’t a Star Wars trilogy!  There is no Dark Side that will suck you in and corrupt your soul.  I hate people who litter, and I don’t care what their motivation is.  Honestly, if it’s morally reprehensible, what’s wrong with a little hate?

And finally:

Be Yourself – These days, everybody’s so wrapped up in being themselves they’ve totally forgotten that there are 8 billion other people on this planet.

Lazy Words For Journalists

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English is an exact and beautiful language, rich with words that do so much more than just modify, identify or describe.  Unfortunately, it’s also full of tired old words that lazy people use because — well — uh — they’re probably journalists.  Honestly, journalists love lazy the way French pigs love truffles.  They’ll go out of their way to dig up the most hackneyed crap and spill it out onto the page.  Here are a few of these overworked gems.  When you find one of these little puppies — and you will — just walk away.  If journalism is a dying profession, these are the nails in the coffin

Bureaucracy — Coined in the early 19th century, by a Frenchman who didn’t like government (he also gave us laissez-faire) in the 21st century, bureaucracy means bad — full stop.  It’s like wearing a black hat in a 1950s Western.  The problem is journalists use “bureaucracy” the way rednecks use duct tape.  It’s an all purpose fix-it for whatever ails ya.  According to the media, government bureaucracy is the cause of all our problems– from the extra-long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles to the fat kid sitting on your sofa, playing video games.

Cyber-Anything — This is a double barreled word that journalists use to sound techno-savvy.  In actual fact, most journalists limit their digital experience to Google, Facebook and whatever’s trending on Twitter that day.  However, they believe that if they slap a suffix on “cyber,” it sounds as if they’re on the cutting edge of cool.  No!  Mostly, they just sound like cyber-dicks.

Anything-Gate — Another double-barreled word, this one is used to make mountains out of molehills.  Watergate was (and still is) the Holy Grail of media excellence, and journalists have been trying to reproduce it ever since.  Typing “gate” at the end of something gives journalists the idea that people will think they’re serious about their profession.  Here’s a news flash: not every mistake, misstep or misappropriation is the smoking gun that’s going to lead to a conspiracy worthy of Richard Nixon’s White House.  And, more importantly, most people realize if you were a serious journalist, you’d know the difference.

And speaking of evil:

Hitler — This word isn’t really about the guy with the funny moustache anymore.  It has become a measurement for politicians who disagree with The New York Times.  For example, Donald Trump was compared to Hitler before he ever got nominated, whereas George W. Bush had to actually get elected to make the grade.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama was well into his second term before he got hit with the H-word, but it didn’t matter because most of his fan club didn’t know who Hitler was, anyway.  In the future, all politicos will be rated by how long it takes New York journalists to make the comparison.

And finally, my favourite:

Politically Correct — These are the weirdest phrase in the English language.  First of all, to any thinking person, this is literally the worst term possible for a dumbass.  Politically correct people are so narrow minded they can look through a keyhole with both eyes.  However, because of that, no one ever admits to being politically correct.  Ask anybody:  politically correct is always somebody else’s fault.  Yet, even though the faith has no followers, there are tons of journalistic apologists out there, and they’re swearing on every holy book they don’t believe in  that they are not now — nor have they ever been — politically correct.  Personally, I think that’s why this particular brand of ignorance is still alive and thriving in our world.