19 August 2011

Friday Double: (7) Kon'nichiwa (Part 1)

Fall, 1973:  My family had just moved 2000+ clicks north from Texas.  Since we were now in suburban Chicago, the TV now picked up eight -- count 'em, eight! -- channels, not just the three I got before.  Before the move, the nearest pro sports teams were Houston, three hours away by car, and Dallas (way too far!).  Now, there were five teams just an hour away.  The whole experience was a culture shock I was enjoying.  On top of all that, I had never seen anything like Speed Racer, something to which I became addicted.  Eventually, I outgrew that anime, but it's remained a keystone for me, a reminder of some very happy days.

Shouldn't that red car have about
400 endorsements plastered on its sides?
Yes, the storylines in Speed Racer suck, and so does the animation.  The animators, I suppose, can blame it on the 1960s, but it turned into a really bad movie just two years ago.  Nobuyoshi Koshibe's soundtrack music, happily, has held up much better over the decades.  It borrowed from the West Coast style of jazz that was popular then.  I'm still looking for one commonly used piece that would fit in beautifully in an NFL Films video, but my other favorite Koshibe track is the theme for "The Mammoth Car" (1967; still shown at right).  The episode is one of the most ridiculous of the entire series, and the Mammoth Car itself makes Aruba's World Cup dreams look downright credible.  Nevertheless, its theme carries a tone of menace worthy of a major villain from a series that's actually worthwhile.

Alas, I'm not allowed to embed this video, so you'll need to click on a link.   Go ahead; it's worth the effort.

These days, it's Yoko Kanno who's been scoring some of the better Japanese anime out there.  Her best known pieces Stateside come from Cowboy Bebop, a program that's decent, but not as enjoyable as another anime she's scored, Ghost in the Shell.  On the other hand, I do like the music on Bebop better; in particular, it has a really snazzy theme.  Enjoy.

15 August 2011

The Bachmanns' unfunny corn-dog joke

Yeehaw!  You go, Optimus!
With Texas governor Rick Perry coming on board as a GOP Presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann's campaign will probably fade.  Perry's a gun-totin', macho man from Texas (just like his predecessor, George W. Bush), so conservative evangelicals will probably fall behind him.  For now, though, Bachmann still holds the Dominionist banner.  However quickly Perry's campaign overtakes hers, those corn-dog pictures that have won such attention last week still hold a lesson for those of us who would like to keep her like out of power.

I've wondered why Michele hasn't more forcefully defended her husband Marcus against all the questions and jokes about his sexuality.  It's not that he doesn't deserve criticism regarding his counseling of gays.  Those "pray away the gay" tactics Marcus has used in his practice are offensive.

The Bachmanns, unlike fellow fundamentalist-Christian favorites Perry, Bush and Sarah Palin, are hard-core Dominionists.  I don't think Bush has even wondered whether he is one, but he did appeal to them.  Palin is one, but she's more like the lead choir singer at Sunday services than an actual church official.  Perry isn't one, yet, although he has quite consciously moved into their corner.  Unlike any of them, the Bachmanns know what they are preaching.

Given that the Bachmanns's beliefs include "complementarian theology," which boils down to the notion that wives must submit their husbands, you'd think that Michele's candidacy contradicts itself.  How, after all, can a woman rule a nation is she is subservient to her husband?  Shouldn't Marcus be the one running for the White House?  What's wrong with him, anyway?  At face value, it's Michele's Dominionist supporters who should be going at her in weapons-free mode.

Michele can answer that:  wifely submission serves the larger goal submitting to God.  I would imagine that some of her supporters also think that Marcus's counseling would be much better served with Michele running the Oval Office.  Not all Dominionists buy those arguments; some would still feel obligated to attack the Bachmanns.  But even then, why bother, when their common enemies are doing all the hard work for them?  This way, Dominionists (and the rest of the Fox News set) can yet again pretend the victims of the godless pinko Muslim pagan Communist socialist heathen mutants who supposedly dominate the mainstream media.

Enter these photos of the foot-long corn dog:

A starburst in every bite.  Oh, wait:  this isn't Caribou Barbie, is it?

You know what they tell me?  The Bachmanns have decided to stop fighting all the questions about Marcus's sexuality.  If they really cared about quelling the rumors once and for all, they would have just stayed away from the corn-dog lines in Ames.  They've seen all the phallic jokes, and now they're just playing along.

Sometimes a corn dog is just a corn dog.  And sometimes it's a big, fat middle finger to the world.