Ready Tweeter One: A Friendly Reminder That Not Everyone is on Twitter.

 

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The other day I tweeted this: “Somebody smarter than me needs to write an essay about auteurs who are oblivious to the current cultural conversation.”

Well, no one volunteered, so here goes nothing.

I should probably clarify that when I referred to the “current cultural conversation” I was specifically talking about Twitter, the headquarters, if you will, of the Take Industrial Complex.

If you spend a lot of time on Twitter you know that it’s an ecosystem, with its own unique language, short-hands, rules, rituals, obsessions, and inside jokes. A few days ago, for example, most of the people I follow were preoccupied with an essay in The Washington Post called “I am Tired of Being a Jewish Man’s Rebellion.” We all agreed that the essay was bad—narcissistic, shallow, and almost certainly anti-Semitic. The article was so widely discussed that one needed only to tweet: “I read the thing” and people knew exactly what you were talking about. And within hours, there were satirical responses to the essay that were also circulating.

But here’s the thing you need to remember. Off Twitter, most people hadn’t read the article. If you said, “I read the thing” they’d have no idea what thing you were talking about. And of those who did read it, many didn’t give it a lot of thought. I can even imagine a world where someone might read that article and not be offended by it, or think it warranted little more than a chuckle and a shrug. On Twitter, however, some people were literally calling for the firing of the story’s editor. (Which was crazy talk, by the way.)

The point of this example is not to defend that particular essay, which was, indeed, trash, but to remind you that Twitter obsessions are not always real world obsessions. Likewise, Twitter speak is not always real world speak. On Twitter, everyone knows that captioning a GIF or photo with “It me” means you seriously identify with the image at hand. Post that same phrase on Facebook and people would assume that you left off an apostrophe.

On top of all the great and horrible things that it is, Twitter has become ground zero for the most up-to-the-moment conversation about race, pop culture, media, identity, gender, and sexuality.

We lefties on Twitter tend to agree on a lot of things. For example, we agree that white men have held the pop culture reins too long and that it’s time for women and POC to take charge. We agree that representation matters, both in front of and behind the camera. We know that it’s more polite to describe yourself as “cisgender”—as opposed to just male or female—and what it means when someone says they’d like to be referred to as “they” and “them.” We don’t think the #MeToo movement has “gone too far” and we deride those who do. We think that, in an attempt to appease “both sides,” the New York Times editorial page has become almost unreadable. We liked Jesus Christ Superstar—yeah, that was good. But Roseanne? Not so much. And so on.

But when everyone in your online ecosystem feels the same way—or claims to feel the same way—it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming those beliefs are more widely held and understood than they actually are. And I guess that’s why I’m pretty sympathetic to people who aren’t part of the Twitter conversation.

A couple of years ago, Matt Damon got into some hot water for some ill-advised remarks he made on his show Project Greenlight. One of the producers on the show, Effie Brown, who is black, was advocating for a more diverse behind the scenes crew.

“When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” Damon said to her.

It was a dreadful moment: Mansplaining, interrupt-y, white privilege-y. And as I watched it, I thought: Damon is clearly not on Twitter. Enlightened dudes on Twitter are so afraid of coming across as “mansplaining” they will actually apologize before answering a question that you asked. As for a white man explaining diversity to a black woman—time to fire up that Betty Gabriel “no no no” GIF from Get Out. (Cue the blank faces from those who aren’t on Twitter.)

Damon’s brand of paternalistic “liberalism” felt square, old-fashioned, out of it. The conversation had passed him by and he didn’t even know it.

He more than proved that point a few months ago when he stepped in it again, this time discussing the #MeToo movement. Damon tried to point out that there was a spectrum of misbehavior and that it was dangerous to lump, say, Louis CK and Harvey Weinstein in the same category. He also “helpfully” noted that lots of men hadn’t been accused of sexual harassment. It was a classic #NotAllMen moment, an unnecessary and unwanted addition to the conversation. But would Damon even know what a #NotAllMen moment is? Those of us on Twitter understand that it’s a form of defensiveness, usually expressed by guilty white people and, in particular, men. (“Not all white people are racist!” “Not all men are jerks!” etc.) Twitter, in its evolved understanding of how important it is to shut up and give the once-marginalized the floor, has created useful rules: Don’t argue. Don’t get defensive. Just listen. This isn’t about you.

But Damon doesn’t know those rules and I’m sure he thought he was being perfectly reasonable. (He subsequently apologized for his statement, noting: “I wish I’d listened a lot more before I’d weighed in on this.” At this point, he’s run out of excuses.)

No, I’m not going to go on to defend Terry Gilliam, who said that the #MeToo movement has devolved into “mob rule,” because he just seems like a jerk. But needless to say, Twitter wasn’t having it.

All of this leads to the question that I posed above: How attuned to the politics of Twitter does a filmmaker need to be? I ask this because in the last month, two great auteurs have put out films that suggest that they are not on top of the cultural zeitgeist—which is to say, they’re not on Twitter.

The first is Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, based on the divisive Ernest Cline bestseller of the same name. The book, about a dystopian world where people retreat into a virtual reality and a young man who saves the day by being more obsessed with 80s pop culture than anyone else, has gotten a lot of backlash for elevating a gamer to godlike status, especially in the wake of something called the GamerGate scandal. Now before I continue, I want you all to do something. Ask your parents. Ask your neighbors. Ask some random dudes on the street if they even know what a GamerGate scandal is. I’m guessing they don’t. (For the record, and this is an oversimplification: It was a grim period that presaged a lot of the bullying techniques of the #MAGA and alt-right movement where online gaming fans harassed and doxed female gamers and journalists who dared to call out the sexism of video games and gamer culture.)

I’d argue that, as an artist, Spielberg certainly doesn’t need to know what GamerGate is. But I’d also argue that, if he’s going to make a film out of a book that was the subject of a GamerGate controversy, well, it sure wouldn’t hurt. And having seen Ready Player One, which I mostly liked, it’s clear to me that Spielberg wasn’t thoughtful about his gamer guy saving the day and getting the girl and being rewarded for his mastery of arcane trivia. And he doesn’t really grapple with the fact that film’s Wonka-esque hero is another dude. So, basically, one god-like male savior taking over for another one.

The other out-of-touch auteur is Wes Anderson, whose Isle of Dogs has gotten a fair share of backlash for its “Orientalism” and “cultural tourism.” I like the idea of Anderson being this mad genius who works in a place that is adjacent to our world, but not quite of our world. I honestly don’t want him being overly influenced by pop culture trends or the latest correct way of seeing things. That being said, these criticisms have been leveled at him before. At some point, to not respond to them in a thoughtful way is a kind of willful ostriching. Because despite all his fussy nostalgia, Wes Anderson does live in the real world, and in the real world, issues of inclusion and racial sensitivity matter. In my review, I whacked Anderson for exoticizing Japanese culture, but I particularly criticized his use of a white female savior. As I noted to some friends on Facebook, even if Anderson is completely oblivious to the current conversation about race and inclusion, surely he must know that the white savior trope is tired and offensive. I mean we were talking about this shit in 1989 with Kevin Kline fixing apartheid in Cry Freedom.

I don’t know where I ultimately land on all this, except to say this: We should all have a little patience for those who aren’t versed in the latest, most nuanced understanding of every conversation on representation, race, and gender. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that heroes in movies were reflexively male or white—and usually both. We’re evolving, slowly but surely. I want filmmakers to catch up, but I also want them to be driven by their own creative impulses, their own muses. A film that parrots the current “correct” way of thinking is, in some ways, just as bad as one that seems oblivious to it. My experience with Twitter is that it’s often ahead of the curve—what was an exclusive conversation on Twitter becomes a mainstream way of looking at things two or three years later. But sometimes, Twitter—yes, even progressive twitter—gets it wrong. Sometimes it over-compensates, bandwagons, and silences opposing views. I’d hate to think that singular artists like Spielberg and Anderson were beholden to today’s group thought. Somewhere, there’s a compromise. Because an artist who doesn’t pay attention to the world around him or her is no artist at all.

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Why I’ll Never Get Over Hillary Clinton

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What if someone you admired greatly was treated unjustly? And not just a little unjustly—the kind of relentless unfairness that makes you want to scream into a pillow. What if the attacks on this person got so ridiculous, so ubiquitous, so manifestly obvious in their bad faith, that it would almost be laughable if it weren’t also so infuriating.

Such is the case with Hillary Clinton.

Just for clarity’s sake, here’s how I see Hillary Clinton:

To me, she’s an uncommonly smart and hard working public servant; a little wonky; progressive but not an ideologue, with a particular affinity for causes that help women and children. She believes in getting things done, even if that means reaching across the aisle and, yes, compromising a bit for the greater good. She’s been in politics her entire adult life—and is one of the most famous women in the world—so she’s a little more connected than the average politician, has more potential conflicts of interest—more opportunities for paid speaking gigs; more meetings with powerful world leaders—which she has mostly navigated with a good amount of common sense and integrity. And again, she’s been in the public eye so long, she’s also made her fair share of mistakes—almost all of which she’s owned up to and learned from.

She’s not the warmest person, maybe even a bit prickly at times, but I personally find her funny and engaging and kind, especially when she’s around children. I think the fact that she’s a little stiff on TV is touching—she’d much rather be writing and enacting policy than talking about herself or performing a skit on SNL. Her evident brilliance—her command of facts, her knowledge of history, her grasp of international politics—is nearly unparalleled.

Importantly, I think she’s no more “corrupt” than any other longtime politician who knows how to work within a system to get things done—and that includes Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, et al. What’s more, I think she’s smarter, more truly caring, and harder working than most.

That’s it. That’s how I see her.

Here’s what the Hillary Clinton haters see:

To them, she’s some sort of combination of Lady Macbeth, Medusa, and Claire Underwood—a power-hungry, greedy woman who will say or do anything to get elected; a woman without a sincere bone in her body who fakes everything—her religious devotion; her love for her family; her good health; her commitment to liberal-leaning policies; hell, even her love of hot sauce—just to win votes. In some of the crazier corners of the internet—alas, on both the far left and right—they see her as a murderer or someone capable of running a child pornography ring. There is no bridge too far when it comes to hating Hillary Clinton. In their eyes, she might as well be stroking a cat and plotting to blow up Gotham City. (This comic book reference is not incidental—her haters have dehumanized her; they hate her as much as they might hate a cartoon villain.)

It’s hard to reconcile those two things, isn’t it? The woman I see: Brilliant, wonky, and wholly committed to public service vs. the cold, calculating villainess seen by others. But let’s just assume for a second that I’m right. That Hillary is quite simply the woman I—and her legion of admirers—see her to be. Certainly there’s more actual evidence on my side than theirs. Can you see how monstrously, maddeningly unfair the last several years have been? How the injustice of it all could actually drive a person a little nuts?

Because Hillary Clinton has had to put up with shit that not a single politician in the history of this country has had to put up with.

Hating Hillary Clinton—in a vicious, visceral way—has become a national sport. The lusty chants of “lock her up” and “hang the bitch” that followed her everywhere she went; the unprecedented and politically motivated investigations into her private email server and the Benghazi attacks (FYI: there were 20 deadly attacks on U.S. embassies under George W. Bush, none of which were investigated); the reckless and mean-spirited speculation about her health; the characterization of her, by her both her Republican and Democratic opponents, as the very embodiment of political corruption and avarice, and on and on…

There were times when the whole thing seemed surreal: The so-called left-leaning media endlessly haranguing her for not being sufficiently likeable or inspirational; that infamous Matt Lauer interview, where the first (pre-selected) audience question began with the provocation: “If I had done what you did, I’d be in jail”; Bernie Sanders making that same joke, again and again, about his lack of paid of speeches (while knowing full well that U.S. Senators are not allowed to give paid speeches); the chants, led from the stage by Mike Flynn, of “Lock her up!” at the Republican National Convention; the Bernie supporters throwing dollar bills at her motorcade; Donald Trump, cracking mid-debate, that if he were president she’d be in jail.

The hatred was such that at times I feared for her life and wondered why she didn’t just quit—could it really all be worth it?—but she weathered it all with equanimity and a stiff upper lip. As she said in What Happened, she ran for president because she thought she was the best person for the job. She wasn’t going to let the haters keep her down.

When she, arguably the most qualified person to run for president in my lifetime, lost to Trump—a man who, among other unsavory personality traits has been accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women—it was crushing. It felt like a rebuke, not just of Hillary Clinton, but of women in general. It felt personal.

But it least it was over, I thought. At least they wouldn’t have Hillary Clinton as their punching bag anymore.

Oh, how wrong I was.

After the election, Hillary could do nothing right. She was chided for not giving her concession speech quickly enough. (Wisely—and very much true to form—she got a few hours of much-needed sleep and wrote an eloquent, gracious, and forward-thinking speech encouraging more young women to believe in themselves and run for office.) She was criticized for being too quiet—mocked for taking walks in the woods and going to Broadway shows. She was criticized for being too loud—having the temerity to write a book about her experience as the first female presidential candidate of a major party. She was told to go away, to shut up, to take up knitting, to never, ever, ever run for president again (when she had already made it abundantly clear that she has no intention of running.) (Also, newsflash: HILLARY CLINTON CAN DO ANY DAMN THING SHE WANTS.) Many male politicians—Bernie, of course, but even Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, and (sigh) Barack Obama, stepped forward and said they could’ve won the election, that it was some sort of inherent character flaw that kept her from beating Trump—and not the result of a smear campaign led by Trump, Bernie, the media, and Russian social media bots and bolstered by a last minute assist from James “November Surprise” Comey.

Meanwhile, over on FoxNews, they covered Hillary as though she were president. It turned out that, on top of serving to distract from the many crimes that Trump and his administration are being investigated for, attacking Hillary Clinton was good for ratings. Again, the hatred for her was a kind of national pastime, on both the right and far left. A phony Uranium One scandal was cooked up. It was hinted that the Steele dossier proved she had been colluding with the Russians. There was no scandal they couldn’t blame on her—if only tangentially. Somehow, even the Harvey Weinstein debacle was made partly her fault. It was so funny, I forgot to laugh.

And now that the walls are closing in on Trump and his team, he’s using the justice department as his own personal attack dogs and opening up investigations into the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s private email server—again.

It’s ridiculous. Unfair. Sickening.

So no, I’ll never get over Hillary Clinton and how horribly she was—and continues to be—treated. Excuse me while I go scream into a pillow.

 

Game of Unknowns or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Game of Thrones On a Remedial Level

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The following essay almost certainly contains spoilers for the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones. Unless I got all the details wrong.

Game of Thrones is a show with thousands of castmembers, hundreds of whom have speaking parts. There are seven kingdoms, each with complex and thorough backstories and lineages. There are mystical creatures and witches and knights; zombies and dragons and giants. Some of the characters have multiple nicknames, for example: Daenerys Targaryen, who is known at various times as Dany, Khaleesi, the Mother of Dragons, The Silver Queen, Dragonmother, and Daenyerys Stormborn. There’s a group of warriors—the Dothraki—who even speak their own language. And the characters all have tongue-twisty names like Aegon Targaryen and Stannis Baratheon and Jaqen H’ghar.

As far as I can tell, there are three basic types of Game of Thrones viewers. There are the people who read the books, who follow the show with Talmudic attention to detail, who know arcane facts about dragonglass and direwolves and Valyrian steel, who could easily draw you a map of the Seven Kingdoms, and who can recite, by heart, the names, character traits, battles won and lost, and love affairs of multiple generations of Westeros’ seven major families.

Then there are those who never read the books but watch the show with similar closeness, who tune in to Game of Thrones podcasts and after-shows and who spend time on Reddit threads and various other message boards to dissect and analyze and obsess over each show. For these people, no detail is too minute, no character too minor, no snippet of dialogue spoken too passingly.

And then there are various degrees of folks like me, although I confess I’m a particularly hopeless case. I watch the show the way a small child watches one of those cartoons that contain lots of inside jokes for parents—easily half, if not more, of the plot goes over my head. I’d say that I’m playing checkers while the rest of y’all are playing chess, except checkers might be too sophisticated a game for my level of comprehension. Frankly, Tic-Tac-Toe might be a better analogy.

Take a few recent examples: A couple of episodes back, the scheming Littlefinger planted a letter, once written by Lady Sansa, in a place where her assassin kid sister Arya would surely find it. That particular show ended with Arya reading the letter. My first thought: What a cliffhanger! What could possibly be in that letter? Meanwhile, readers of the books and close watchers of the show already knew what was in that letter: It was the letter evil queen Cersei had demanded Sansa write, forcing her to pledging fealty to the Lannisters and blaming her father Ned Stark for his own death. Oh yeah, I thought, when I was reminded of all this on Twitter, that letter.

Another, perhaps even more embarrassing example: Recently, a group of seven of warriors went in pursue of the White Walkers or “wights” (honestly, I think White Walkers and “wights” are the same thing, but this could be another one of my gaps). All of Twitter was abuzz with talk of the “Magnificent Seven” and the “Dream Team.” But of the seven, I only knew four really well and the fifth guy I was a little sketchy on: There was Jon Snow (major character! Him I know!), Tormund (whom I call the “curiously hot ginger Wilding guy who was also in Force Majeure”), the knight Jorah (aka Dany’s bitch), the Hound (he’s kind of hard to miss), and Gendry, the one I was a bit sketchy on (I have some dim recollection of him being Robert Baratheon’s bastard son and also being seduced/tortured by the witch Melisandre, unless that was actually his lookalike, the kindly squire Podrick, who I think has an enormous shlong). It’s the two other guys I want to talk about because this is what really separates the chess players from us tic-tac-toe players. I had no idea who they were. Eventually, it became clear to me that one was a drunken preacher with the power to raise the dead and the other was a guy I vaguely remember he resurrected a bunch of times? Maybe in a cave? But I couldn’t recall how or why, or what either character’s connection to the larger plot was. And more to the point, I didn’t care.

Upon hearing this, serious Game of Thrones fans would no doubt be shocked or appalled—or both. But honestly, you have no idea how much fun it is to watch this show on a surface level. You still get lots of great acting and unchecked debauchery and awesome battles. There are still zombies and dragons. And you have a pretty solid understanding of the major characters and their motivations in any given scene. Every once in a while, you’re completely lost, but at that point you either tune out until the next scene, accept the fact that you have the comprehension of a small, helpless child, or, if you’re feeling particularly need-to-know-y, use Twitter or Google for additional insight.

Which brings me to this season. Much as I’ve loved Game of Thrones, I’ve always found it frustrating that most of the major characters are rarely in the same geographical region as each other, let alone the same room. This year, partly because the show is on an accelerated timeline (it’s ending next season) and partly because it has finally whizzed past George R.R. Martin’s painstakingly mapped out books, all that has changed. There have been reunions galore—Sansa and Jon, Sansa and Arya, Arya and the she-knight Brienne of Tarth, Bran and his sisters, all the dueling (and shagging) Lannisters, and so on. And characters we’ve long wanted to meet—hello, Dany and Jon!—have finally met and proceeded to get it on (all while buzzkill Bran calmly informed us that Dany is, in fact, Jon’s aunt). It’s been extremely satisfying. Some have complained that this is all akin to fan fiction, but it turns out I’m okay with expensively mounted fan fiction, as long as the acting is still great, the dialogue still clever, the stakes, both personal and political, still high, and the special effects still extraordinary.

What’s more, there have been grumblings on Twitter and elsewhere that the show has thrown away its sense of time and place in service of plot. Characters do seem to get from one part of Westeros to the other in record speed—I’m still not sure how Gendry ran all the way to Dragonstone, for example. Other reveals—the fact that Sansa and Arya weren’t really at each other’s throats, but were secretly conspiring against Littlefinger, for example; or a fake out involving Euron Greyjoy pretending to leave King’s Landing—seem less about logic than about creating awesome drama. Again I say—bring it on! With a few exceptions, this is the first season of Game of Thrones that I’ve been able to largely comprehend. Plus—zomg!— zombies vs dragons! Crumbling walls! Undead polar bears! Dragons that are zombies! After seven seasons, they’ve made Game of Throne for Idiots and this idiot, for one, couldn’t be happier.

Paint it Black: Thoughts on The Sopranos finale

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Thanks to actual godsend website web.archive.org, I was able to find this long lost post I had written on The Sopranos finale. I still feel this way.

The following contains boatloads of spoilers about the final episode and, for that matter, the entire Sopranos series. Like, duh.

Let’s put aside, if humanly possible, the maddening ending, the cut to black that had everyone checking their TiVo connections and satellite dishes and, finally, taking David Chase’s name in vain.
Let’s talk about the rest of the episode.
I thought it was a damn good finale, with as much humor, pathos, and, insight that true fans of The Sopranos could possibly expect.

Phil was whacked—and then, in a posthumously heroic gesture, saved his grandchildren from a dangerous fate in a runaway car by stopping them with his fabulous head of hair and (crushed) skull.
AJ was still depressed and wanted to go to Afghanistan, or maybe work for Donald Trump. And then he got a new M3, a job as a D-boy on a slasher film, and a hot girlfriend. Bye-bye depression.
Tony had an affectionate visit with Janice—they joked about blowjobs under the bridge and how nobody understands their warped, Sopranos sense of humor.
Tony went to see Junior and realized that any lingering resentment was poorly spent—he was a toothless old man, who didn’t even remember that he once ran his own crew.
Meadow was going to become a lawyer to defend other hard-working, law-abiding Italian-Americans like her dear old dad.
Carmela still had her spec houses and her impenetrable shield of denial.
Paulie Walnuts was going to take over Vito’s construction job and maybe wasn’t in cahoots with New York, after all.
All in all, a lot went down.

You see, real fans of the show know this: David Chase never gives us juicy finales. The major action usually takes place in the penultimate episode, or before. That’s when Pussy got whacked. It’s when Janice killed Richie Aprille. It’s when Ralph Cifaretto had his head lopped off; it’s when Jackie Jr. went to the big strip joint in the sky.
The final episodes are usually about averting danger; they almost always ended with the family together somehow—at a funeral, in their living room, at Artie Buco’s restaurant—bent but not broken.
And surely, no one can argue that tons of shit went down in this season’s penultimate episode: What, Bobby getting killed, Silvio clinging to life, and Tony on the run, sleeping on a tiny bed, cradling a giant AK-47 weren’t enough for you?

I even went on the radio here in Baltimore and predicted that nothing would really happen in the final episode, that there’d be no closure, just more ambiguity. I knew it in my head to be true.

And yet. . . damn that David Chase, even before the show started—fed by the hype, the largeness of the moment, and yes, a giant tray of baked ziti—I began to waver.

One of my friends at the finale party I attended ran a theory past me: Janice would whack Tony! It was perfect. Wasn’t this show all about Tony and his mother? Would Janice, blaming Tony for Bobby’s death, finish the job that Livia was never quite able to do?
Hmmmm.

And then, that first scene where Tony meets with FBI agent Harris suddenly I’m thinking: Whoa. He’s going to turn state’s evidence and go into the Witness Protection Program. It’s really happening!
But no.

And then, the scene where Tony goes to visit Janice at the beach house. This is it, this is the scene where she’s going to get Medieval on his ass!
But no.

And then, the scene where Paulie Walnuts is alone in the Bada Bing! He’s going to get it; it’s quiet in there—too quiet. Run, Paulie, run!
But no.

And then, the scene where AJ and his girlfriend are alone in the car listening to Dylan. They’re going to die in fiery blaze!
But no.

I go back to what I said earlier in this blog: I was a non-believer. A Sopranos atheist. I didn’t think anything big was going to go down in the finale.
And yet, even I got snookered.
As the family gathered, as Journey’s ridiculous (and perfect) Don’t Stop Believing wailed on the diner juke box, as one suspicious looking character after the next filed in, as the creepy guy with the American flag hat went ominously into the bathroom (just like Michael Corleone!), as Tony ordered onion rings for the table, as Meadow could. . .not. . . park. . . her. . . car—I felt sick. I couldn’t sit still. It was really going to happen. Something horrible. Something huge!

But no.

Black out. The Sopranos is dead.
All over but for the theories:

“When you die, it just goes black,” fans remembered Tony told Bobby at the beach house. (I of course, had forgotten that line, but I’ve never been one of those Talmudic readers of the show.)
So the screen going black symbolizes the death of Tony.
A nifty theory, one that would make more sense if the entire Sopranos had been from Tony’s POV. It wasn’t. Yes, he was our protagonist. But there was plenty to the world of The Sopranos that existed without him. So I don’t buy it.

Then, if I may borrow a phrase, there’s the three gunmen theory: In this theory, the diner was filled with assasins. The creepy guy with the American flag hat was Phil Leotardo’s nephew. The young African-American men were hitmen who’d offed Bobby. A third suspicious character was the brother of someone that Christopher had whacked. Really?
But David Chase has responded to that theory and said, unequivocally: not so much.

The third theory: That David Chase left it ambiguous because he’s greedy and wants to make a movie. You know what? As cynical as I am, I don’t buy that.
I think the open-ended ending was very consistent with the ethos of the show. Chase simply stuck to his guns (so to speak), didn’t pander, did what felt true to the spirit of the series.

So what are we left with? Ambiguity. Uncertainty. Life.
What? You were expecting closure?
Fugghetaboutit.

Does It Bother You?

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AS ALWAYS, ALL OPINIONS IN THIS BLOG ARE MINE ALONE.

Let’s just say you’re a person who believes in all of Trump’s policies—America First, the travel ban, the Wall, the draining of the swamp—the whole bit. Let’s just say you think the Russia probe is totally bogus, it’s just the lamestream media attacking a man they hate. Let’s just say you even think Putin has been mischaracterized by the press—that he’s a strong leader, a man’s man, and a clear ally of the United States.

Let’s just say all of that is true. I still have a few questions for you:

•Does it bother you that…instead of draining the swamp, Trump has filled his administration with ex Goldman Sachs employees?

•Does it bother you that… he has spent nearly 20% of his presidency on the golf course?

•Does it bother you that…he admitted that he has no intention of reading or even comprehending a Healthcare Bill that will account for 20% of the U.S. economy and affect millions of lives—he just wants to sign something?

•Does it bother you that…he forced his cabinet members to lavish him with praise before that one cringe-inducing meeting?

•Does it bother you that…similarly, his new communication director, in his first press conference, boasted that the president swishes foul shots, throws a “dead spiral” through a tire, and sinks 30 foot putts? (Seriously, isn’t that some Kim Jong Un shit?)

•(Speaking of which) Does it bother you that he…called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “pretty smart cookie”?

•Does it bother you that…he hasn’t built the wall, not even close, and that last we heard, he admitted that Mexico probably wasn’t going to pay for it after all?

•Does it bother you that…he allowed Russian-state television into the Oval office but no American TV?

•Does it bother you that…at that same meeting, he divulged top secret intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval office?

•Does it bother you that…he lied about the crowd size at his inauguration?

•Does it bother you that…he put his neophyte son-in-law in charge of “Middle East Peace?”

•Does it bother you that… he put that same neophyte son-in-law in charge of the “Office of American Innovation”?

•Does it bother you that…he said “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office”? (What the hell does that even mean?)

•Does it bother you that…he’s publicly harassing his Attorney General in the hopes he’ll quit?

•Does it bother you that….he didn’t seem to know who Frederick Douglass was?

•Does it bother you that…his new communications director threatened to sue his chief of staff on Twitter?

•Does it bother you that…he lamely tagged along world leaders during the G12 summit in a golf cart?

•Does it bother you that…German magazine Der Spiegel said that “Trump has turned the United States into a laughing stock”?

•Does it bother you that…Nordic prime ministers mocked his infamous orb photo?

•Does it bother you that…he took that weird orb photo to begin with? (What was up with THAT?)

•Does it bother you that…he engages in petty Twitter fights TV personalities like MSNBC’s Joe and Mika?

•Does it bother you that…his intelligence briefings have been dumbed down, because of his notoriously short attention span?

•Does it bother you that…NATO speeches had to be limited to four minutes or fewer, for the same reason?

•Does it bother you that…he tweets all the damn time from his private account?

•Does it bother you that…he seems to get most, if not all, of his news from Fox & Friends?

•Does it bother you that…he accused the former president of bugging his office, with zero proof?

•Does it bother you that…he seems to have replaced The National Anthem with the Make American Great Again anthem? (That doesn’t feel a little Stalin-y to you?)

•Does it bother you that…188 days into his presidency, he STILL boasts about his general election victory?

•Does it bother you that…188 days into his presidency, he still conducts campaign rallies?

•Does it bother you…people in his administration keep quitting, recusing themselves, or getting fired?

•Does it bother you that…while in front of thousands of Boy Scouts, he told a bizarre and nonsensical anecdote about a debauched billionaire’s yacht?

•Does it bother you that…his speech was so inappropriate the Boy Scouts had to apologize for it?

•Does it bother you that…HE STILL HASN’T SHARED HIS TAX RETURNS?

 

Seriously, folks, does any of this bother you? Not even a little?