Rewatched and Reconsidered: Crash

Originally

Rewatched

Paul Haggis’ Crash is a go-to example on Row Three for people when they think of a film that is undeserving and pandering, a film which not only won best picture at the Academy Awards but did so beating out the more likely candidate, Brokeback Mountain. Haggis hate hit a fevered pitch when this film came out, but I was never really a part of that backlash, so I thought I would rewatch the film and see if anything has changed.

Don Cheadle’s disembodied voice elicits one of the underlying themes of the film in the first few moments before the story officially begins. The weightiness of the speech, which is poetic yet bordering on the pretentious, lingers a mere beat before it is effaced by another character. This effacement in a way diffuses the pretense of the speech and allowed me to appreciate it for its stark beauty. What was to follow never really lived up to that same cosmic balance of gravitas/irony though periodically throughout the film there were faint glimpses of the measured sophistication Crash could have been had it gone through a few more rewrites.

It is telling in this respect that Paul Haggis not only directed Crash but co-wrote it, perhaps stifling the story’s latent potentialities had it been made independently. Perhaps if someone else had directed the film that person would have included some marginalia on the script regarding the highly suspicious dependence on coincidence at the core of many of the narrative’s intersections. For as it stands one would have to believe the Los Angeles depicted in this film consisted only of some six city blocks so is the sheer implausibility compounded by the chance appearances of characters in each other’s lives. And unlike the cosmic balance afforded by gravitas/irony in the first scene of the film there are various scenes throughout the film which are so blatantly agenda-ridden in their interests to propel the race relation thematic issues that they forego the basic responsibilities of good drama: the nuanced interrelations of the characters must bring about the topical issues rather than the topical issues bringing about the character interrelations. Scenes particularly dealing with Sandra Bullock’s and Brendan Fraser’s characters are about as transparent in their thematic agendas as the hygiene play in Woody Allen’s Love and Death.

That being said, there is still some very good stuff in Crash to make me suggest people should see this, for although the film does not work as a whole there still remain several narrative strands which maintain a higher level of sophistication in their portrayal of the issues posed. Most notably are the narrative strands which follow the wayward contradictions of Matt Dillon’s cop and Ludacris’ car thief, it is just unfortunate that their two paths do not meet up in the film. The prospect of having Ludacris rather than Thandie Newton at the center of the car crash recovery scene seems like a missed opportunity on the part of Haggis; the confrontation of racism between these two confused men would have been far more profound I think. Also intriguing in this film was the study of race relations between people of the same color, which for me is the real revelation of the film, when it veered away from antagonisms between blacks and whites and looked at how they behave as communities in opposition to an ‘other’.

To put this film in a proper frame of reference I would have to say that this is no Short Cuts but it is better than Magnolia. In fact, had the opening monologue of Magnolia been edited onto the beginning of Crash it could of diffused the ridiculousness of the coincidences with a pervasive irony. I think as a rewatch, Crash was even better than I remembered. What sticks out sharply in reflection are the overt plot points that Haggis hammers home but one forgets the little bits in between, Ludacris’ and Cheadle’s story arcs in particular really work, and if one can suspend disbelief and try not to be turned off by the racial commentary of the film, it is an enjoyable if sometimes guilty pleasure. I would take this earnestness over Soderbergh’s pretenses of legitimacy in Traffic, which left me flat, bored, and unconvinced. At least Crash is foremost a well put together, entertaining film that is worth a second look.

Mike Rot
Master of War

384 Comments

  1. Rot, watch the BBC mini series of Traffik. Much more nuanced than Soderbergs version. The 3 hour run time of Traffic stifled the film, wheras the 6-8 hours of Traffik allows it the necessary room for it to breathe and for nuance to settle into the pores of the series. Or something like that.

    /Still have not seen Crash so no comment. I don't really like Haggis as a screenwriter for Clint Eastwood though.

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  2. I doubt I will have anyone on this site agreeing with me, and I am not defending the film just to be contrary, I actually believe the film has gotten a bad rap. I would extend it to Haggis in general because I also thought Million Dollar baby was a fairly decent script, what I remember of it.

    I think there is this manifesting expectation of realism for every story that is something fairly modern, and cannot except old-fashion more contrived ways of telling stories. I might do one of these rewatched posts for Signs as well, because this is another film that is far better than people contend. It also plays off of olf-fashion movies, like Hitchcock's the Birds, and is doesn't try to hide its script, people talk in a way overtly giving away the storytelling agenda… but Christ Goon, you are a fan of Lost, is there not a more clear example of the a show that is putting its storytelling agenda in the mouths of its character to perpetuate plot?

    I see Haggis and M. Night working in this vein, and if you have seen any film of the sixties or earlier you would see how cleanly their storytelling fits into that period… its maybe passe nowadays with the gritty realism in vogue, but if the stories are good enough, I accept the way they get there.

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  3. I'm itching to REWATCH Hitch's THE BIRDS, but my last viewing (10+ years ago) gave me a sense that the film hadn't really aged that well; both compared to several of Hitchcock's other films and also in a general sense. But I do want to revist it for sure.

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  4. I maintain that to criticize a film properly you need to first acknowledge the internal logic of its filmic reality. The L.A. of Crash is not a normal, realistic L.A., everything is heightened, every character interaction is like they took the most charged racial moment of that character's life and set them side by side, not once do I feel like this is a real L.A., its a staged L.A. that is being staged to tell a specific story. When I watch Maltese Falcon, its not a real place either and I do not look at it begrudgingly because it doesn't sit well with the real world… the difference for a modern audience is its a different time period and so its easier to digest, but similar realities can be depicted in modern day for the express purpose of telling a story, or how depressing and imprisoned is the creative spirit, that only reality should be depicted.

    Crash never really pretends to be anything but a filmic reality, like I said in the post, otherwise L.A. consists of four blocks, so consistent are the coincidences. Its about ideas of racial relationships and playing them out on a dramatic stage. Its the same way that Juno is shat upon for its bubbly hyper reality, well its never tries to be anything but that, it has its own internal logic, and can't be criticized for it not living up to some external model you have… I mean it can for your own sake but it has no meaning if you are trying to be socially critical of the film. If you are trying to find faults with it that people can agree upon.

    I think there is an epidemic of post-Borne realists fetishists out there now, they think everything needs to be compared and contrasted with what happens on their street, nothing can be obvious, nothing can feel written, no style but verite, and thats bullshit. I say that as a person whose stylistic preference is verite, but I can acknowledge that other techniques exist and work within their own spheres to great effect.

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  5. Don't get me wrong, I think Crash has flaws too, but I think a lot of the criticisms are misplaced.

    I associate the filmic worlds with thought experiments, accept the ground rules so that you can do the work inside the bubble, and you come out with some product, now leave the boundaries of the thought experiment, or the 'reality' of the filmic world, and then process whether or not the end product has any value to you. If you quibble over the ground rules the entire time you have no product to even process.

    Problems arise with filmic realities like Benjamin Button or Indy 4 where arguments can be made that their internal logic is inconsistent, they don't know what they want to be, and they keep transgressing their implicit realities to service some immediate end.

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  6. Well I for one really enjoy Crash. There are times in life when the "hit you over the head" type cinema works; not often, but sometimes. I think Crash is one of those films. I don't think Haggis intended this to be nuanced. I don't think he sat back with the finished product of this film and thought, "I hope people understand what I'm trying to say here." No, this film is in the enjoyment one gets from the way the story is told and from the performances.

    ** SPOILER SPOILERS **

    You are right about it being a bit on the schlocky side, but there are so many individually great scenes in this film (the broken door, the invincibility cloak, the car fire, Terrence Howard snaps and Felipe talks him down, any scene with Cheadle, etc. etc.) that the movie is easy to follow and it makes you want to follow it.

    One thing though:
    "The prospect of having Ludacris rather than Thandie Newton at the center of the car crash recovery scene seems like a missed opportunity on the part of Haggis; the confrontation of racism between these two confused men would have been far more profound I think."

    Really!? I think that scene (which is my favorite in the film) works really well. Sure it's a bit coincidental and maybe too obvious, but you can feel the energy, the drama and the immediacy of the situation. With Ludacris, he'd have no idea the cop is a racist and it wouldn't matter. What is so great about this scene is not only Thandie Newton's reaction, but Dillon's realization of how his actions have affected others. He's never really realized how his actions psychologically affect other people. When he comes across this woman who would rather burn to death than have him touch her… wow. It's intense as hell for the audience and a real eye-opener for his character.

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  7. Actually that scene, Andrew, (which is in the image of the post) is actually really good but seems less good in retrospect because you remember the corny aspects to it, but it plays far better. No I was saying Ludacris' storyline should have been interwoven entirely with Dillon's, so that there would be a meaning to the encounter and it feels more significant for him to have that realization than Thandie Newton, but yeah I guess you would lose Dillon's realization in the process.

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  8. yeah the people that bitch about Dogville, about how it doesn't represent the real America, that is the kind of idiocy I am ranting against. Even with the stark division from reality that he sets up people still want it to be somehow side by side and analyzed with what happens on the streets of America. Von Trier had never stepped foot in America, Dogville is about his perception of America, a perception that a lot of people have actually.

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  9. I'm on board with you, over at my screener blog, the quote in the header is from Robert Coover, "The Miracle of Artifice, is Miracle Enough" and yea, a film that operates its drama and such in its own 'reality' is as valid and interesting and useful as verite or any other such style. It is why I like Gilliam and Wes Anderson, and yes, Lars Von Trier who delights in smashing both styles.

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  10. But neither kinds of reality, filmic or verite, are in themselves justification for the value of the film craft, I guess is what I am trying to say. They are a means to an end, and like almost the grammar so that you may understand properly what is trying to be conveyed. Its like the person who insists about correcting your grammar rather than focus on the message, getting caught up in the minor details that suddenly overtake anything else about the film.

    Again, I prefer realism, and in the pantheon of what I value, it will be a higher proportion of films that strive for literal realism, thats just my aesthetic preference (give me an Edward Hopper Painting over a Pollock).

    But when artifice works, it works, I embrace it. The film we saw last night, Passion of Joan Arc, or John Ford's The Searchers these are highly artificial but transcendent nonetheless…

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  11. I'm continually amazed how well Guy Maddin hits on emotional resonance under layers of artificial, meta- and ironic style. It just shouldn't work beyond formal and aesthetic exercises, but humanity seeps thru the melodrama and heightened state of most of his films, even as you laugh at/with them.

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  12. I have a lot of problems with Crash, but one of the bigger ones that doesn't get discussed a lot is the design of the script. Rot mentions Lost, and Kurt mentions Traffik in above comments. Though I haven't seen the BBC version of Traffik, Kurt has a valid point. A lot of people don't realize that from a writer's point of view, film writing and television writing are two completely different art forms. The design and techniques of one don't necessary work for the other.

    In a typical hour-long TV episode (45 minutes without commercial breaks), a series like Lost has two or three storylines to work with. That's only fifteen minutes to twenty minutes per story, which is not a lot of time to convey detailed points. Writers rely on the characters to reveal plot through dialogue. It's a fast-paced medium, and there isn't a lot of time to linger on visual clues.

    When you pull back and look at the bigger picture however, the character arcs and their storylines over the course of a season or a series, you eventually get a lot more detail than you would in a film. It just takes longer and it's more densely packed.

    With film on the other hand, writers have two hours to tell an entire story and to fully develop their characters. This is why most multi-character films, such as Crash, Traffic, and Babel, don't work. There simply isn't enough time to properly build all those intertwining character arcs and their relationships with each other.

    I think Crash could have been much better if it had been presented as a mini-series. Haggis could have allowed himself more than three scenes per character, we would have been able to get to know them a lot better. Plus, with the story being segmented into episodes, with commerical breaks, the constant beating over the head with the message would have been less apparent, not to mention more tolerable for the audience. Haggis got his start in television after all, and this style of writing seems to come naturally for him.

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  13. Ashely. Bingo! (Although BABEL works just fine after a second viewing – likely the same with 21 Grams for that matter, certainly with Short Cuts and Magnolia).

    While we are on the subject, if this were late 2007 I'd argue that the TV/FILM (12-60 hours vs.2-3h it also explains why something like 6 Feet Under works better than say, TOWELHEAD. But then Trublood came a long and sort of fucked that argument up….

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  14. Very good point, I take back the Lost comparison.

    But I still maintain something like Maltese Falcon is acceptable for doing the same sort of filmic reality shorthand that Crash is doing but because Crash is modern day and an issue film, it is overly criticized for its lack of plausible realism. Now I can take the criticisms of plausible realism in its depiction of race relations, that's a different matter than how all of them interconnect in a less than realistic space. I accept the filmic space it exists in, but I see some problems in how each part of the story approaches the race issue, some are very good, some are weak.

    Another film I need to rewatch and post about is Babel, I only ever saw it at TIFF and was not terribly impressed by it, but suspect there may have been more to it to consider.

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  15. Most of the time when I dislike a film I put it immediately on my "eventually rewatch" list, just in case I missed something and the problem was with me instead of the film. I commend you for doing that with Crash – I don't think I can bring myself to!

    My biggest issue with it wasn't the reliance on coincidence (I loved Magnolia, for instance) or the unrealistic cinematic space, but the "hit you over the head" factor that Andrew mentions. It's the cinematic equivalent of bad freshman essays that follow the "tell what I'm going to tell you, tell you, then tell what I told you" format. I agree that Haggis wasn't trying to be subtle, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with that decision on his part.

    I didn't like Babel either, for basically the same reasons, though I did like Amores Perros.

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  16. Yes, Jandy, I would agree that the hit you over the head instances with regards to race relations does happen in Crash, there is no doubt, but I think it is a shame because it doesn't happen nearly as much as you may think. I mean once you accept that everything on stage is going to be about race not even as subtext but text, then the frequency of it occurring ceases to bother me, merely the individual cases of execution. The Thandie Newton-Terrence Howard-Matt Dillon story worked for me because that is a genuine issue, both the representation of the black male in society and the profiling (I have a black friend who was stopped and put in jail for driving in the wrong area of town), the Ludacris-Terrence Howard cross worked the best, because I don't remember ever seeing that kind of internal race issues displayed, same going for Dillon and Phillipe. Cheadle's storyline is the most subtle and nuanced, whereas Bullock's is the worst. The film does a lot of good things, but it needed another rewrite to clean out some of the more obvious stuff it threw out there.

    I think of Crash as an equivalent of the play Blue Room, which maybe not so many know of, but its a series of interrelating sex stories, different partners, same essential dilemma, and Crash is like that, same issue, different characters, the sheer volume of situations in a short span is not a fault of the film, its deliberate, its what the film is about. That does not excuse the individual scenes, which are uneven at times.

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  17. for me, it was the exact opposite. i enjoyed it the first time i watched it. the second time, i enjoyed it less. the third time, i began to dislike it quite a bit. haven't watched it since, but i'm still blown away that it won the Best Picture oscar.

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  18. No, he was just trying to insult me by calling me a name. My theater is in a area filled with aging hippies, so naturally the worst curse they can think of is to call someone a Republican, whether they are one or not. Andrew would never last.

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    • My friends call me a Republican all the time; even though I'm a registered independent. It's true that in this town if you own a gun or want to teach abstinence in lieu of abortion, you're automatically a Republican. Having said that, if "McCain" is the worst thing someone can think of to call you, that's pretty funny – not to mention pathetic.

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  19. Why would you own a gun or not teach abortion though? Such backwards thinking, you must be a republican. (By the way, registering for something doesn't really mean anything, and unless you're in a position where your friends require documents, I don't see how it's a relevant argument.)

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  20. Oh, and abstinence education… Are you kidding me? Does anybody anywhere have any positive experience with this? Scratch that – has it ever worked anywhere? I think the only place abstinence is succesfully implemented is in the tribes of Somalia where they circumsize girls.

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    • Reword. I should've said, "Teaching abstinence in lieu of promoting abortion. Not teaching abstinence in lieu of teaching about abortion." Still, I see your point and understand that teen pregnancy is a good thing. I wish I wasn't such a backwards thinker. If I ever have children, I'll try to impress upon them that sex at age 12 is totally fine, in fact encouraged. And when the time comes, I'll help them financially and emotionally to take care of it. That will be so much better for their psyche and physical health in the long run.

      And yes, I have quite a bit of personal and scholastic experience with this particular topic.

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  21. Teach them that sex is natural and fun, but having a child takes responsibility, and you're not ready for it at an early age. Also, teach them that abortion is a legal and acceptable thing, but it is killing what will inevitably become a human being, and therefore is an extremely deep strain both emotionally, physically and mentally. It is desireable to be avoided.

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  22. "No pragmatism, only dogmatism, is what fucks you and your stupid nation up."

    Holy hypocrisy, how many times have I tried to philosophize with you and you said that you believe what you believe and will not give in to any kind of reasoned debate?

    Remember this gem:

    Its okay to pursue knowledge as a species even if it means our annihilation, all that matters is the knowledge not us.

    You want to talk dogma, you are fucking Jonestown dogmatic, Henrik.

    that said, even considering pragmatism, the issue of abortion has got to be the single most complicated issue to work out, it depends upon metaphysical ideas that we have no grasp of, and to just assume that they don't exist is convenient, but that don't make it right.

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  23. Is that an exact quote?

    I fail to see your point I'm afraid. What we were discussing there is much grander than an abortion, something that can actually be experienced and has to be dealt with in the real world. It's easy to be dogmatic towards stuff like the nazis, but not so easy if you have to deal with them in the real world. I think discussing the future of human kind as a species and abortions are completely different things, and call for completely different mindsets.

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  24. @ but lets not get political again, shall we.

    I had no idea that the admins here objected to the frequent political bouts.

    I always thought that the policy here was that threads were free to go off in whatever direction.

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  25. I think the issue of abortion is extremely complicated as well, but I believe it is complicated on a personal level, specifically wether or not you should have one. The people who are comfortable making this sort of decision for others are crazy.

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  26. @ Dogville is about his perception of America, a perception that a lot of people have actually.

    This is going to sound odd but it's baffling to me that anyone think Dogville (or Manderlay) is about America.

    To me it's obviously a sardonic interpretation of Catholicism.

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  27. "@ but lets not get political again, shall we."

    Shall being the key word. There is no editorial policy here (or the almost complete lack of policy is the policy). We like the free-for-all nature of things and the spirited debates from the 'regulars' and anyone else that wishes to join in.

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  28. For the record, I'd rather have a monarchy than be a retarded gun owner.

    I can support gun rights, but everyone I know who ends up getting one becomes an absolute retard overnight.

    and if anyone here owns a gun and takes offense? Good.

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  29. Stupid is as stupid does, and getting a gun is doing something stupid that at the same time seems to make people stupider.

    And I'm talking firearms here, not hunters, but for the record there as well, having fun killing animals, and the people who have fun watching other people kill animals (hunting shows?). I don't get it. At all.

    Look, don't assume I'm some ivory tower person who has never seen a gun or doesn't understand this shit. I've had a gun waved directly in my face, randomly, by someone just looking to scare the shit out of someone to impress his friends. Did that shape my overall opinion? Sure, but its just one thing. I've watched person after person get a gun for seemingly logical reasons, only to become a rabid idiot with increasingly ridiculous ways to justify it to himself.

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    • Mine was a gift and is worth quite a bit of money. It's a rare piece of equipment, fires really well and looks cool. If you know someone who waved a gun in your face, you should call the police. It's HIGHLY probable that that person does not have a permit as anyone who has their permit has taken classes and respects their sidearm. If not, it should be revoked.

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  30. "That’s the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard from you Goon. I don’t take offense from stupidity."

    Again like I said, everyone I've ever known to has gone out and become a gun owner, has become a gun NUT.

    N. U. T.

    The first line in my most recent paragraph is just baiting, I hope that's obvious. I am definitely talking my own experience, and as its shown already, that even dictating your own experience of how you've seen gun owners become idiots, drive out kneejerk reactions to call the other person an idiot.

    I've been through this enough time that your response was predictable, which is why I preempted it with "if anyone wants to take offense…" Anyone that would jump to take offense when someone is describing their personal experiences, DESERVES to have gotten a rise out of them, and should think for two seconds why that is.

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    • You didn't describe your personal experience in your first comment. You simply said people who own guns are retards. That's not offensive in the slightest. It's asinine and borders on humorous. I guess we just know different people or travel in different circles. I know tens of people who own guns and none of them are stupid, retards or "nuts." Most of them have college educations.

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  31. "If you know someone who waved a gun in your face"

    The person who waved it in my face was someone who I did not know, and they were out of there as soon as they got the look on my face that they wanted.

    I've had another gun in my face, but it was a replica/fake and he was pretending. We didn't talk too much after that, and in the social circle we were in there was not much I could do about it, and in that case I was too young to think about it much after that.

    If anyone gave me a gun as a gift they would no longer be my friend. I would not own a gun, period, even if I lived in a shitty part of town. That's a personal moral I've come to and I'm sticking to it. I have no interest in shooting one for entertainment (I have no idea the rush anyone could get from one, but thats me. I've said again and again that guns are absolfuckinglutely the most boring weapon around). If you want to get into 'protection' thats a whole other thing I suppose, and its a real debate to me where you can get into stats about the likelihood of it being used to save your life vs. the likelihood of it being stolen or taking the life of someone you love, etc. – Thats all well and good but I'm not that interested in that. I will say that when I do get into these debates with a lot of gun owners, the ones I know have gotten to such extremes to justify it to themselves they can't even acknowledge theres a debate to be had, they get so riled up that they could spit and shout "Commie"

    So yeah, I can't say I'm defensive and reactionary so much as i have encountered that same crap over and over again so often with people I know in real life that I have to put up with, because well – THEY'RE PEOPLE YOU KNOW WITH GUNS – that on the Internet I'm pre-emptively rude because. Sorry bub, but the Net is where people like me who have to put up with shit from gun owners they know go to vent.

    I like swords, knives, blades, or that friggin Klingon thing. I see those things as art and sure I suppose they could be used as a weapon and you've got some of those same problems. There we have my 'looks cool' vs. your 'looks cool' – I don't think guns look cool, I think they look like ugly replacement cocks. Nothing elegant. That sounds harsh, but that is what I see when I look at them.

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  32. "You simply said people who own guns are retards."

    I said 'than be a retarded gun owner' and then immediately gave a sentence saying everyone I knew that got a gun became retarded. I thought that would have clarified things by itself. Guess not.

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  33. If we're going to continue how far I go with civilian gun owners though:

    I would not go into a persons house if they owned a handgun, and while I can back up the stats thing for part of it, I can bluntly admit my experience is partially to blame as well. I don't want to be around them in that setting. It creeps me out. Look, I don't trust people in general, so obviously I don't think most people are smart and/or responsible enough to handle a firearm to the degree I would like them to.

    I can be in an OutdoorWorld looking at guns, I can seperate fantasy from reality and watch guns in movies, and if I am watching guns in movies I like big loud BOOMS and noise instead of spattering non stop gunfire that never hits anyone. But even a firing range isn't secure enough for me. Nope. Not gon' do it.

    Ironically enough, the last time a store anywhere near here was robbed, it was at sword-point.

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    • Yeah, I definitely think it's a personal experience thing. I grew up with guns. I was in boy scouts where we learned how to handle, understand and appreciate guns as potentially useful tools and/or as entertainment. I've been in many, many homes with guns, known many, many people who own guns and as far as I can remember have never had a negative gun related experience (which I'm sure I would remember). The people I know take guns seriously and respect them. They also respect people.

      I truly believe in the old cliche that "guns don't kill people; people kill people." The fact that you and others get worked up about guns is usually due to either a bad experience from someone who is an idiot, or simply just a general lack of knowledge and/or experience. i.e. ignorance.

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  34. I grew up around guns too man, my grandfather is a complete hunter/fisher and I lived in that house with my grandparents. I assure you I had more guns and dead animals around me as a child than you did. 😛

    But I never got it. I never thought fishing was fun, and I was too young to go hunting by the time we moved away, and I really don't regret it. I'm verrrrrrrrrrrrry far from a PETA person, I eat delicious animals, but I still don't think much of hunting or hunters and its all because of the sport of it. I dont give a fuck if they use every single part of the animal and claim some respect for it, I don't buy it when you're putting on ridiculous fatigues and expensive scaffolding and making a fucking event out of it. I think the 'sport' of hunting is a joke, and if theres any enjoyment to be had out of killing animals, if thats a bonding experience, than its one I can do without thank you very much. i know every democrat likes to come and pander to the hunters and call it a grand tradition and its wonderful, but I dont. I grew up in it and I can say that I personally think its retarded.

    I've never been personally satisfied with anyones description of a gun as entertainment, shooting targets or cans or the rush from the blowback, it just sounds lame to me. Honestly. And if its just a tool I dont see the need for it to be rare, cool, or collectible

    So thats fine. I dont get cars either. I dont get why people follow most sports closely anymore, even though I used to. I think NASCAR is the most retarded of them all. There's a number of things I simply do not relate to at all.

    So you've never had a negative experience, but what to chock up not liking them up to 'ignorance' – doesn't that seem a bit unfair? I think its pretty logical that someone with close access to a weapon is pretty dangerous when it comes to a moment of rage or fear. Guns dont kill people, but access to guns sure can, and does.

    Also, going back to our old city/country thing. I grew up in these small towns and have moved to gradually larger ones, and one thing country/rural people flat out do not respect about city people is that the urban gun experience is a lot different, and the 'tradition' and grooming of young boy scout gun owners is just not there. We only hear about city folk enforcing their values on small town america, well sorry, but its a two way street, there is a need to crack down on inner city violence and there are reasonable measures that can be taken without hearing about some stupid Alex Jones level crap.

    LIke I said before, I dont trust most people to use a gun responsibly, and that can be do to several factors. When you see their temperament, how they handle other people with actions vs. words, how they drink, how they drive…

    In the end the people who I think would be most responsible and even tempered with a gun… don't own one. It's like how the people who I think would be the best parents claim they'll never have kids. Guns and kids are in the hands of the people who I trust the least, and thats more terrifying than the guns (or kids) themselves.

    Fuck, kids are getting taught to use weapons before they can drive a car or be allowed to drink. I will gladly get on my high horse and say there's something kind of disturbing about that.

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  35. You know, considering how much opposition there is to sex education, teaching kids that guns can be entertaining… that is so fucking weird. I mean you might as well cue the People vs. Larry Flynt sex/violence speech right underneath me.

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    • I've never gone hunting a day in my life, nor do I want to.

      I think it's odd that you wouldn't want people/kids to be educated about firearms. That's why people get killed accidentally; because they haven't been taught that there's no such thing as an unloaded gun. Should we stop teaching that running in the house with knives is bad and simply either remove all knives from the house or just let thenm figure it out the hard way?

      Oh yeah, and where did I ever, EVER say I have an opposition to sex education? That's ridiculous. I just said that encouraging abstinence is better than teaching abortion as a method of birth control. There's a HUGE fucking difference.

      Reply
  36. Going back to Crash, I think almost every movie about race has been pretty terrible. maybe its a "RA_E" curse, because that goes for most movies with a rape scene to.

    Every since I saw it, i've been flipflopping back and forth about American History X. Here's how it goes – I see it and I think its a bit too after-school special, then I argue it and remember the points I like and want to see it again. ie. the basketball scene

    Then I see it again and remember all the parts that are retarded, and how that overall framework is still pretty stupid: "I hate black people. I met a nice black person. I changed my mind" – Really strong convictions you have there, Derek. This man led a movement?

    Oh yeah, and so of course the movie has a rape scene as well, because its easier to show him changing his mind when you have his prison friends rape him.

    "Hey guys, since we've spent all this time making the black guy and Nazi friends, couldnt someone come to the conclusion that maybe Nazis can be nice while also (or instead of) learning that black people are nice?" "Oh shit, you're right. The other Nazis need to rape him and hunt him like a dog the second he leaves prison. Not even his girlfriend will understand."

    Reply
    • I don't know, obviously you're a bit on the sarcastic/facetious side, but I think Derek's change of ideals is fairly gradual isn't it? It's been a while since I saw the film, but I remember him being really confused for a long time and reading books and his teacher visiting him and stuff. And beyond the racial stuff, wasn't he more worried about keeping his brother out of trouble? I'll have to watch it again, but I remember being quite moved by that film.

      Reply
  37. How the fuck do you encourage abstience Andrew? Other than cutting up body parts to remove the pleasure, how do you make it less appealing? I can't believe there are still retarded idiots thinking that abstinence education is worth a pot to piss in. Sex rules, especially when you're young and full of fervor. Just give the kids condoms, teach them how to use it, and tell them what being a parent is. After that, cross your fingers – this is the main activity when raising a teenager, and the one nobody seems willing to accept.

    Reply
  38. Also, the movie puts more effort and time into making the racist opinions eloquent than it does into his enlightened post-prison stint. "What good is it to be hating someone all the time?" is a nice point, but they're putting that up against a humongous wall of other shit that they never bothered to address.

    And he only starts to change their mind when he sees the other racists don't practice what they preach and deal with other racial gangs. So… if the prison Nazis were true to their stripes, none of this would have happened? The biggest baddest and hardest of the hard Nazis who killed people and are doing time are the least committed? The whole movie like that just seems like the case of a writers pen clashing with actual research, rather than marrying it.

    Reply
  39. You don't think it's insight on behalf of the movie, that the nazis in the end are pragmatic towards real life? Cough-Hitler/Stalin-cough. Nothing is as easy or simple to believe in as what Derek thought was right, and that's a lesson worth learning. I think the number one cause of nazism in the world is stupidity, not ideological beliefs.

    It's brilliant that the racism is the seductive, eloquent and exciting part, whereas the actual real world, the truth is boring, ineloquent, diffuse and offers no real solutions to any problems.

    Reply
  40. "Slowly poisoned by society to become killers and thugs?"

    I'm sorry, I thought the society consisted of american people too.

    "Unless they are properly educated."

    The same people who won't release education to the poor. Guns though? A dime a dozen. That's how you build a society.

    God damned retarded country.

    Reply
  41. Yes Henrik, and I'm going to teach my kids the merits of non-violence by hitting them in the face with a shovel to show them what it feels like. Next, we're going to drive into a telephone pole at 60 mph without seatbelts so that they are sure to understand the importance of car safety.

    Reply
  42. "Oh yeah, and where did I ever, EVER say I have an opposition to sex education?"

    Never, I was making a general point/aside. I even forgot that you had said this:

    "I just said that encouraging abstinence is better than teaching abortion as a method of birth control. There’s a HUGE fucking difference."

    Are you saying schools teach abortion as birth control, as if its that flippant? That's news to me and certainly not my experience. The sex ed class in my high school was pretty damn good, I'd give it an A+ if I were rating, but a lot of that was the honest way the teacher handled things. Our gym teacher was a lot like Henry Rollins personality wise – honest and funny but kind of intimidating and directly confrontational, and he made sure people understood pregnancy, stds, abortion, everything in a way that was purely common sense and had no political, activist or religious morality overtones. Abstinence is probably the best thing to teach, but abstinence-ONLY education is shown to be ineffective, and its pretty easy to see why. It baffles me how many adults have forgotten what its like to be a kid, and that the think if only they somehow knew even less than they did, that it would somehow work out better. If we're on a train attacking ignorance, abstinence-only education is the standard bearer.

    Reply
  43. I didn't use it as an example, I used it as a scare tactic. What else are you going to do? Simply repeat "Don't do it" and install Lost-in-Space robots in kids rooms? "DANGER, DANGER!"

    Reply
  44. Henrik, you're starting to sound like Lars Von Trier. Unless you've ever been to America, documentaries, books and movies probably itself aren't going to cut it, and calling the country 'retarded' overall isnt going to help anything here.

    But overall…

    Obviously if I were to summarize my entire world view it would be that people in general are pretty silly and stupid, and it isnt a government or system that is always keeping them down or causing them to be that way, because the people in government are people too, and well, they're silly! Attacking America as a whole would be just singling out a particular form of silliness. If I were to pick which area of the world I relate to most, it would probably be Scandinavia, but I don't live there, I'm not fully educated or aware of their real problems, I havent dealt with their overall quirks or traits, if they have an overall way. I could go there and be driven insane by having to deal with them everyday, I don't know.

    I'm rambling.

    "Yes Henrik, and I’m going to teach my kids the merits of non-violence by hitting them in the face with a shovel to show them what it feels like."

    So I suppose you're anti-spanking then?

    But that's apples and oranges, there's an obvious benefit to not being violent. You can't explain the merits of not having sex to most teenagers, its just not a tenable, rational position. You don't say "Please have sex" but you show some common sense and say "If you fuck up at it, you're dick is going to be green, everyone will know, you'll have a son from a girl you're to young to know if you really like and your life will be ruined" – Pregnancy and anti-abortion movements really do collide with proper sex education. Children having children is not a miracle, is not joyous, its a shame, if we were able to properly cut past the 'babies are great' mindset and teach people how fucked up being a teen mother is, maybe some of this shit would be easier.

    Reply
    • NY is its own country. I've been there twice for about 3 days each. I too loved it. Go to Milwaukee or St. Louis or Laramie, WY. Completely different. Maybe I'm wrong, but Iceland is probably one culture where "everybody knows everybody" kind of feel.

      Countries like the US take days to travel across (in fact, you can't get to all of the states without a boat or plane) and have SO MANY different ways of life it's almost overwhelming. There aren't too many generalized statements you can make about America; which is why you get flak Henrik when you say things like "America is retarded because 'X'." Because that X factor is probably different in ten different corners of the country. So when I say you have 8 people in your country and we have 300 million, it's not a cop-out or an excuse; it's simply the way it is.

      Reply
  45. "Pregnancy and anti-abortion movements really do collide with proper sex education."

    I should clarify – teaching people a program like abstinence only that doesnt work, and also teaching them that if they get pregnant they need to keep the kid? Thats a problem to me.

    Teaching them explicitly about sex, the benefits and the consequences, and they get pregnant anyways? Then you have a kid that either didn't listen or didn't care.

    Which one is more sympathetic, the ignorant victim of bad parenting and bad (or no) education, or the wilfully ignorant? Knowing who is who, knowing who wilfully is ignorant and asking why they ignore the education, seeing why they personally may even want the kid, all of this is useful information and a positive result of sex education even if certain kids fuck up. There is nothing to be gained from abstinence only education, it is putting your fingers in your ears and going 'la la la la la la'.

    Pretend you bought a teenager a car, a gun, or a 40 ouncer and then told them not to use it until they were something vague like 'old enough' – if they go out and use these things without education and do something stupid, the parent is at least partially responsible. It's as much their failure if not more. And kids in general care a lot more about sex than they do about these other things, and damned if they dont like these other things too. An abstinence only parent is a failure of a parent, obviously too immature to deal with the reality inside their child's head and pants.

    Reply
  46. Percentage-wise, we have the same nutcases you do. They're just not in control like they are in America.

    I think going to Milwaukee or St. Louis or Laramie, WY would be experiences that would frustrate me to the point of insanity, and make me so depressed that I would have to turn to shit like Iron Man just to get away from the horrible world I was in.

    Reply
  47. "They’re just not in control like they are in America."

    There are a enough influential racist parties in Europe, and outright fascist movements throughout Europe, to watch your tongue. Just because it hasn't happened in your own country doesn't mean it can't.

    Tiny fun facts for perspective and just because:

    – There are about as many people in Minnesota as there are in Denmark. If we want to throw insults around at overall countries, Henrik I advise you brush up on Minnesotans and specifically target them 😛

    – Every part of Minnesota is further north than New York city, and almost all of it is further north than where Kurt, rot and I live (around Toronto)

    – Prince, Husker Du and the Replacements are from Minnesota (right?) They are very good. Volbeat, Junior Senior and Mercyful Fate are the first three bands I think of when it comes to Denmark. I'm gonna have to give that one to Denmark, personally.

    If Henrik lived in Iceland I'd defend his right to hate America to death. the US is probably more responsible for what is currently happening in Iceland than Iceland is itself. They are just FUCKED right now.

    Reply
  48. I don't.

    I guess I can not critisize America, because it is so big, I could not possibly understand it. America wins again, and the time-old american mantra and way-of-life "SIZE MATTERS" once again solves their problems. Glorious retards.

    I have no idea what Mercyful Fate is but Volbeat and Junior Senior are pretty poor bands. We don't have much worthwhile music in Danmark I'm afraid.

    Reply
    • Of course you can criticize America – for a lot of things. What you can't (or shouldn't) do, is make blanket generalizations. It isn't fair to the Eskimos or the blacks in Mississippi or the Latinos in Minneapolis or the ranchers in Colorado or the CEO's on Wall Street. It's so vast and diverse that nearly any statement one makes about America (or more specifically Americans) is probably going to make the statement incorrect regarding a huge percentage of the population.

      Reply
  49. "I guess I can not critisize America, because it is so big, I could not possibly understand it. America wins again, and the time-old american mantra and way-of-life “SIZE MATTERS” once again solves their problems. Glorious retards."

    Oh come off yourself, you're pushing this too far. I will openly say that if its a broader Europe vs. America argument, most Europeans will know America better than vice versa, but it's still stupid to pull some overall judgment. You're projecting problems with certain americans onto all of them. I understand the frustrations with Americans, and when one of them comes to visit and doesn't understand why we take off our shoes when we go in the house (is this something that happens in Minnesota too? It's weird, you savages 😛 ), I'll laugh, but at the end of the day its not a tenable position to be so enraged all the time and on the attack if you can't demonstrate you know what you're talking about, and sorry man, I don't think you know enough to properly keep up.

    Volbeat sound like an American band, influenced by rockabilly, punk and New York hardcore like Life of Agony and Type O Negative. I like them. I like good blue chip pop music, and Junior Senior are definitely that. Mercyful Fate? King Diamond? I guess they're more known over here? They're an earlier era extreme metal band, very influential, and probably their biggest exposure was being the metal song they always keep playing in the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back movie.

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  50. I associate Dylan more with NYC since thats where he well, became influenced and actually good 😛 – I identify people more by where they are nurtured into real successes. I mean, if I suddenly became a more famous person overnight, it would be annoying to watch people in New Brunswick claiming me as their own. Fuck those people, if they tought me anything at all it was in what I dont want to live in and be nurtured by. 😛

    I mean, do you think of Spielberg as a product of Hollywood, or a product of Ohio?

    Reply
  51. "Minneapolis is considered one of the best music cities in the world. "

    This is news to me. When I think about great American music cities, beyond the obvious big cities that would pretty much have to be – NYC Chicago and LA – I think of Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis, Nashville, Portland, Seattle, Athens, Atlanta, Boston.

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  52. Austin smokes Minneapolis alone because Austin has Spoon.

    And I even forgot to mention Detroit Rock City. Even though Kiss, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent totally suck.

    I think this is a case of Minnesota pride blinding your judgment. Seriously? I mean come on, what other relevant acts have you actually produced lately. Fucking Semisonic?

    Sure you've got Tapes N Tapes and Low, but they're really not that great or important.

    I didn't even mention Montreal or Toronto, both of these cities kill Minneapolis right now. If we're talking indie at least, these cities are taking up more of the share of relevant acts – Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Feist, Fucked Up, Wolf Parade, Constantines, Final Fantasy, Holy Fuck, Hayden, Metric, Death From Above.

    And if you want to play legacy cards – Neil Young, who is up there with Dylan at the very least, and was actually influenced and nurtured by his surroundings.

    Natch.

    Minnesota's not on the map for modern shit.

    And if we want to talk rap or metal, even worse. Europe is smoking every American act out of the water, and only the Bay Area of the US seems to consistently produce good thrash, and the glory days of NY and Florida metal are long gone.

    Reply
    • I'm impressed you know who Tapes N Tapes are. We also have Hockey Night, Jayhawks and Soul Asylum (ok, bad example), Mason Jennings, Lateduster etc. But I think Matt just means in terms of venues and national acts that we get here. The number of good to great bands playing any night of the week here is ridiculous. I mean we've got Tegan and Sara, Ting Tings, Appleseed Cast, Ben Kweller and Aqueduct all coming within the next couple of weeks.

      On the local scene was have a SHIT ton of bands that are fantastic that maybe aren't heard of, but certainly should/will be: Haley Bonar, Doomtree (hip hop), Alpha Consumer, Sick of Sarah, Big Wu, Dosh, Pete Yorn, Duplomacy, Romantica, etc etc

      Reply
  53. Atlanta has Deerhunter, Mastodon, Man or Astroman, Outkast, Cee-Lo Green, Ludacris, T.I.

    San Francisco has a shitload of 'legacy' cards to pull from Metallica to parts of Slayer to Santana, Jefferson Airplane and more, but in modern indie terms Deerhoof alone are better than any band I can think of from Minneapolis. Portland has M. Ward, Menomena, and thats where Britt Daniel is originally from if that matters.

    The Hold Steady has what, one member from Minnesota, but they are definitely an NYC band overall, and aside from that, they totally suck. Seriously, who the hell is from Minnesota thats actually important right now?

    Reply
  54. first Tapes N Tapes album, from what, 2005? is good. Second was ass.

    but you said "I’d rather be in Minneapolis if I were a musician than any other of the cities you mentioned." – I dont know what justifies that if its not actually producing anything, and most decent size cities can manage to get that sort of lineup. Even when I was in Edmonton within a week Metallica and DragonForce were there. In Toronto this week we've got Ben Kweller, Meshuggah, Eagles of Death Metal, Soilwork, Ben Folds, Blitzen Trapper, Antony and the Johnsons. its kind of taken for granted :/ – Lykke Li was here last week and I missed it, I had no idea she was even coming until the very last second.

    Reply
    • I guess Matt should back up his own statements. I can say that when I hear lists of cities mentioned on the radio or in discussion or whatever, Minneapolis is mentioned quite often. "Top cities in the world" might be a bit excessive, but yeah, I think other than Austin and maybe Seattle, Mpls has quite the music scene (even if you haven't heard of the bands internationally).

      Reply
  55. "Minneapolis is considered one of the best music cities in the world. Dylan alone is better then anything Denmark has produced."

    I know Matt, the implication is Dylan is associated with Minneapolis, but have you read his Chronicles, he hated it, and only got into his own in New York.

    Have not parsed this whole tangental thread though, so maybe someone already made this point.

    Reply
  56. I mean come on, what other relevant acts have you actually produced lately.

    Currently Minneapolis is considered one of, if not the best hip-hop city in the country currently. Between the Doomtree and Rhymesayers labels alone you have 4 (Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Heiruspecs and P.O.S.) of the most cutting edge hip hop acts in the world right now. Brother Ali's 2003 album Shadows of the Sun is widely considered one of the greatest rap albums ever made. But yeah, Minneapolis hasn't produced anything recently.

    BTW, I'm not from Minnesota, so claiming its my Minnesota pride is simply incorrect. I'm not even a huge hip hop fan but the acts Minneapolis is producing right now are making people notice just what Minneapolis has been doing the past decade. Minneapolis is currently one of the most influential music cities in the world, and has been for the past 3 decades. Hell, during the 80's Minneapolis was THE music city in the US. It's not like that all suddenly stopped.

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  57. Atmosphere sucks and has put out hyped disappointment after disappointment. "…Lemons" is a step up but they're still nowhere near being first class.

    If you want to try and make the case that it stands up to Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, or a number of other cities, fuck even Kansas City, you're kidding yourself.

    "Minneapolis is currently one of the most influential music cities in the world"

    yeah, it influenced Bob Dylan to get the fuck out of dodge and become a legend somewhere else 😀 😀 😀 😀

    BURN

    Reply
  58. I don't need to make the case Goon, its a fact. That you keep claiming Minneapolis doesn't have any modern acts, yet know of an underground act proves how full of shit you are. Ant is one of the most sought after producers in the business, but yes Goon, "Minnesota’s not on the map for modern shit." You go on believing that. Keep repeating it to yourself as well, maybe eventually someone might actually believe you know what you are talking about.

    Mould left too. Who cares? Oh wait, that's right, that means Husker Du is a DC act now. My bad.

    Reply
  59. "That you keep claiming Minneapolis doesn’t have any modern acts, yet know of an underground act proves how full of shit you are."

    I said they're not on the map, and they're not. They're not producing anything particularly good, and definitely not producing anything relevant. The fact that I know a few bands doesn't mean anything, considering I know the Polish metal scene very well and they've only produced 1 and a half decent groups, ever, and they both share one of the same members.

    "Mould left too. Who cares? Oh wait, that’s right, that means Husker Du is a DC act now. My bad."

    I suppose maybe they are. If they couldn't get nurtured or at least positively influenced, it's a little silly to hold on to them too much. The neighborhood where Dylan grew up has been scolded and attacked by him saying he never fit in and people were bad to him, but they go and change the name of the road to Bob Dylan Street and they paint his old house with him all over it. "He's a flower that grew out of a pot of dirt! We're proud to be the dirt!"

    Yeah sure part of me here is trolling and picking a scab because whether or not you admit it I can see the local pride or delusion poking through 😛 – It happens everywhere. I mean where I grew up, near where we live we happen to produce a lot of good wines, occasionally a great one. But then someone will say we're known as one of the great wine regions of the earth, and then its like "Hold on buddy."

    Reply
  60. I don't know about nationalism, I would never defend Canadian cinema as something of national pride, and I would gladly exchange our Harper for your Obama, but sure, our horrible socialism, I would take it in a second over the general disregard for average citizens in your country. Lest we forget where this credit crisis originated from, and why.

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  61. I think we support Canadian Cinema here at Row Three because the examples we generally crow about are good films that are not getting their due because our film economy does not the distribution or Marketing clout to bust into the American market (and for that matter barely our own market).

    I'll defend and crow about good movies from any country. It's not about nationalism, it is about good movies. It just so happens that I can hear about the more obscure stuff becuase I live here and have access to folks/media that i don't really easily have in Sweden, Serbia and Sri Lanka. And a lot of Canadian films that simply look crappy (like say Paschendale) I'm happy to ignore and not offer up my $ to.

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  62. lets see: quality of public education, lack of universal healthcare, with respects to emergency response, dare I mention Hurricane Katrina, I mean the Mounties were on the ground helping your citizens before FEMA. The continual trend of deregulated privatization that has allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, and with this latest housing crisis, led to the near collapse of your economy, not to mention the world economy. I mean even Alan Greenspan acknowledges the lack of foresight into how unstable the economy is as a direct result of this unfettered capitalism he spent his life defending.

    you know, the entire platform that Obama won on.

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  63. I love this wonderful American disconnect, even while the economy is falling all around you spurned on by glaring errors made by deregulated private institutions (something I say again, the one guy who built his reputation upon unfettered capitalism, Alan Greenspan, even he has publicly acknowledged that he was wrong) and yet the message he spread continues beyond him more fervent then ever, blind to the facts. One wonders what would constitute as sufficient proof to dissuade people that deregulation is a very bad idea? No matter how evil one may suppose a government to be, it is nothing to the profit motivations of private institutions all wanting their share no matter the cost. At the very least government relies upon a modicum of accountability to the public, private institutions, to their shareholders.

    And the counter-argument to Obama and anyone who points out this fact is that we are being shrill, or even better, there are a couple bad apples, and weed them out and capitalism will chug along happily. It is a complete misunderstanding of how self-interest works, if a holistic perspective is not mandated by some regulating body, profit motive will do what it needs to satisfy its immediate ends, its built upon the notion of competition, so its sees the outside world as something to use not enrich.

    mutual self-interest does not work without regulatory measures. Provide me with an example where it is shown to have worked, and then we can talk.

    Reply
    • I'm not in favor of deregulation, but I am also not in favor of the gov't running everything since, as you pointed out, they do it pretty poorly (FEMA, public education, etc). For instance, the economy is slagging a little bit due to a bunch of really stupid people and lack of oversight. What's the solution? Write another trillion dollar check and spend spend spend. Great idea.

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  64. @Andrew – "Are you saying we need less gov’t and more privatization? Because you’d be righ"

    Come Again? Oi!!!! Seriously?!!!!?!!! My Lord.

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  65. Maybe the government would do a better job if there was a collective mindchange to support it, by paying bigger taxes to improve schools and hospitals for EVERYONE, instead of wanting that money to use to improve those things FOR YOURSELF.

    Reply
    • Well, that's the difference in philosophy isn't it? And like the abortion debate, no one will ever agree upon it. Take care of you and yours – be responsible for yourself (while doing it in a courteous way) and let others work hard and be responsible for themselves. OR give up half your paycheck so that others less fortunate can enjoy a higher quality of life.

      I fall into the former belief myself.

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  66. Yes the double whammy of BAD Goverment and PRIVITIZATION has the current combined debt-load (that's all in) on a per capita basis at $184000 (Yea, that is each American!) Oi!

    Source is http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0218/p09s02-coop.ht

    "The US Treasury's Financial Report of the US Government is the key document for understanding these problems because it is the only place where Uncle Sam uses real accounting and audited numbers, just as every major company, charity, or state or local government is required to do by law…The report will tell you that the per capita share of America's total obligations, including entitlements, is more than $184,000 each. The typical American family's share is roughly half a million dollars."

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  67. @ rot

    yeah, that's the type of stuff I thought you were getting at.

    There's a lot of truth to what you're saying. But I think you're opperating under a fallacy common among socialists.

    Socialist are always refering to their programs as if they're free. Free health care , free eduction.

    Nothing's free, and socialist health care is actually pretty expensive. There is no "free" alternative. It's an argument about which is the most efficient means of distribution. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Americans who can't afford it sneak in to canada and thailand. Europeans who can afford it come to the US.

    There are different ideas about what the proper role of gov is and reasonable people can come to different conclusions.

    We get criticized a lot (somewhat rightfully) for not having Socialized medicine. But I think where people go wrong is mistaking that policy for some kind of hostility towards the poor.

    There is after all a legitimate controversy about the efficiancy of socialized medicine. Many of those socialist havens have troubled medical systems as well. Gov intervention raises medical costs. Some people argue that by privatizing the market to a greater degree we'd lower cost and thereby make medicine more affordable to the poor.

    Socialists tend to think of of gov programs as a right. Obama said as much when he called health care a right. I don't think this makes any sense. It makes more sense to think of something like health care or education as a responsibility; one that a society has to itself and it's members.

    I'm not a doctrinaire libertarian. I think there's a place for gov and regulation but I don't think it should be our default solution.

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  68. So I wouldn't say that America's problem is a disregard for US citizens. You pointed to Hurrican Katrina but I don't think that proves what you want it too. The gov programs were in place they just didn't work. It's an example of gov incompetence not indifference.

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  69. @ No matter how evil one may suppose a government to be, it is nothing to the profit motivations of private institutions all wanting their share no matter the cost.

    History doesn't really bear you out on that.

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  70. but the key is there is no taking care of you and yours if there is no sovereign protecting your liberties, and part of that protection is regulating the financial market. There is such a danger in vilifying the government and idealizing the private sector, a shortsightedness that makes it seem like you are doing things for your best interests when in fact you are undoing your freedoms.

    Can the government fail its citizens, of course, and reform is key to enforcing accountability, but the solution is not to cut it out of your life. government and private sector abide by the same self-annihilating self-interest if unchecked. your democracy is what it is because of checks and balances.

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  71. Like Michael Moore says, we have big waiting lines for cancer treatment etc. but the US solution to decrease lines was just to reject a huge amount of the population. Seems inhuman to me.

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  72. the word I used Rusty was disregard, not hostile. And I am not even talking about the poor, we are now talking about people who were making high income salaries who are now unemployed because of presumptions of how self-interest manifests itself in financial markets. This also is a disregard for the citizens of America, by a continual pushing of the envelope since Keynesian economics lifted your country out of the first Great Depression, away from believing in the sanctity of the free market as something that can operate as neo-conservatives suppose it to, despite the lack of any empirical proof in any of the lab states they have devised for this to show sustainability.

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  73. 1. no taxes are ever paid willingly.

    2. the US has more medical availability. Depending on how you measure such a thing. That's why Europeans who can afford to come here. No lines, more resources.

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  74. incompentence is disregard if it is done by those whose job it is to govern and protect civil liberties… regard would have been taking the time to pragmatically weigh the pros and cons of each decision made rather than ushering in a preset ideology of how the world works. There is a very persuasive pragmatic argument against unfettered capitalism, the argument for is largely abstract and unproven. thats a disregard for people, and regard for dogma.

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  75. Rot, when I used the word "hostile" I was talking about health care not the mortgage crises. And I never claimed you used the term, I was speaking in general terms.

    And are you sure you're using the term "neo-conservative" correctly.

    I intentionally tried to limit my response to health. It's hard to have a conversation when we're jumping around so much.

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  76. What problem do you want? Hypocondriacs or people dying in their homes unnecessarily? Which is the greater injustice? Which is the nicer world to live in?

    I do care about other people. Alot. I wish all of you available health care, and I most of all wish that you had lived in countries that encouraged education!

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  77. I see now why Kurt said 'shall'…

    um, let me cut the gordian knot here:

    If we agree that only the pragmatic conclusion is just, and the ideology for ideology's sake is extraneous rhetoric that can be cut out of all debate… and we agree that pragmatic political decisions take into regard the needs of the citizenry, and any other kind of motivation for decision-making is by contrast, a disregard for this same group, we have something to work with in discussion:

    Keynesian economics (public and private checks and balances) vs. Friedman economics (unfettered capitalism)

    which yields the most likely success at upholding the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL American citizens as listed in the Declaration of Independence?

    One can look at the underlying philosophical concepts guiding both kinds of economics, working within a thought experiment where rational argument wins out

    One can look at empirical evidence, historical evidence to consider which path is just

    and in the end, reasonable consideration would win out.

    I have participated in this sort of deliberation on the issue and come to the conclusion that Keynesian economics is the more pragmatic choice, and the as of late political decisions to move away from this strategy was interpreted by me as a disregard for the people because of how ill-conceived it is.

    To get into the details of why it is pragmatic will take a lot of commitment, and probably more than could be endured on this thread.

    Reply
  78. Pursuit of happiness means nothing. Hitler was pursuing happiness. All that matters is that you're empathic with your fellow humans when they're struggling. If you're not, you're not much of a human being.

    Reply
    • I have medical insurance and it's because my parents raised me right and worked hard to send me to college and then I graduated high school and went to college so that I got a good job with medical bennies. Not my problem is someone else does not pursue this happiness – I shouldn't have to pay for them.

      Reply
  79. Neither public nor private institutions work properly in a vacuum, they require checks and balances to operate.

    The same self-interest guiding individuals in either system requires socialized regulatory measures to keep them from destroying themselves. The wild west to the present exemplifies this shift from blind desire to considered cultivation. There seems locked up in the notion of free markets that good intent = good result, if someone has the good intent of self-preservation than his actions will make it so. But that excludes the reality of the external world, with other people in their same self-designed ends interfering with each other towards their own preservation. Intent has some role in how things gets done but its hardly the deciding factor in a world comprised of conflicting intentions. What is needed is an over-arching perspective of how to operate within that kind of conflict of egos, what system best ensures your rights protected while not impinging upon your rights to grow and develop also.

    a free market? Where people rely on profit motivation to ensure that their self-interest garners positive results? This assumes some kind of Herculean influence over the mitigating factors that are born from the reality that everyone has self-interest foremost in their minds, and the preservation of sovereign second, and even if everyone was enlightened to the fact that keeping the social system afloat in some kind icky socialist way, such a reality is so clearly utopic and the mirror reflection of the Communist ideal that even the far right need to blush at the comparison. Human nature doesn't work that way, or at least how it has operated since history has been recorded, it does not work that way.

    Reply
  80. 50 percent of bankruptcies in the US are health care related. I have a friend who is a freelance illustrator who still makes 100 grand but has regular panic attacks about the thought of getting sick.

    I know a very conservative Texan who I obviously spar with on another board, and he went uncovered for a couple days while switching companies, and his wife of course went into labor prematurely, and the charges for that time were ridiculous. he changed his tune pretty quick.

    So all this crap means nothing when people are dying for capitalism off its leash, for companies who do everything they can to insure the people they WILL cover. This whole line about 'voting with your dollar' is crap – its a casino and the house always wins. You either pay in and hope to hell you'll get the coverage youre paying for, or you don't buy in, hope you dont get sick, and if you do you're even more screwed.

    the system is one of the few things i will bluntly call EVIL. its absolutely sick, and even though i can be quite a misanthrope yes my heart bleeds for people here, and yet its largely because theres no logic behind a killer system where the average american pays more per capita for health care than we do and yet cant get proper coverage.

    Reply
  81. "I have medical insurance and it’s because my parents raised me right and worked hard to send me to college and then I graduated high school and went to college so that I got a good job with medical bennies"

    This idea that if you work hard and play by the rules you'll be find and get yours is a load of shit. Hardworking people get laid off and lose their coverage every fucking day and then lose their homes. Good people who did everything they could do be educated and properly taken care of get screwed left and right every day. This 'bootstraps' mentality is all well and good in theory but its not reality.

    Reply
  82. AS Kurt said, you cannot pursue anything but survival if you are disadvantaged by bankruptcy, medical expenses, a poor educational upbringing… this notion of the self-made man is a myth Malcolm Gladwell exposes in his latest book, Outliers: the story of success. It would do every American some good to read it.

    you need the foundation to be successful, or in the case of the declaration, to be happy, and if you don't have that, you are just surviving, and the foundation doesn't come from nowhere, it comes from a functioning system based on sound pragmatism, of what works, so again I come to the question, what works better, Keynesian economics of Friedman economics? To say Friedman economics just because of some half-conceived notion that left to their own devices people figure their shit out and get stuff done, the American spirit will overcome, its the equivalent of being thrown into a den of lions and saying you will be okay because your spirit is true… ok. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    Reply
  83. "Not my problem is someone else does not pursue this happiness – I shouldn’t have to pay for them."

    Shit happens. Imagine if you privatized the fire department and they wouldn't save your house if you couldn't afford to pay them. thats essentially what we're looking at here.

    We're also talking about walking into a job with a pre-selected insurer who may not follow through on its promises, who can make any excuse about pre-existing conditions. I suppose you don't know if you actually have good coverage until its too fucking late.

    Reply
  84. so Andrew its okay because you grew up privileged? and the people who did not grow up that way, tough shit?

    Its important to have empathy, and its not a liberal bleeding heart thing, its real, because to be empathetic is to acknowledge that not everyone has what you have, and some point later in your life you may not even have what you HAD, we could become mentally ill, or disabled, or down on our luck, I mean, were the people begging for food during the Great Depression lazy? no, they were victims of circumstance, and that is what this myth of the self-made man neglects: circumstance.

    intent + circumstance determines success, not intent alone.

    the circumstances need to be mitigated to yield the greatest success rate for people to accomplish things, does that not make sense?

    Reply
  85. "Not my problem is someone else does not pursue this happiness – I shouldn’t have to pay for them."

    Well Andrew, you're the egotistical pathetic speck of human trash I accused you of being. At least you're fucking honest about it.

    Reply
  86. "that is what this myth of the self-made man neglects: circumstance."

    Perfectly said. The American system punishes children for the failures of their parents, punishes people for random disease, and the random sudden failures of their employers.

    How many people die from illnesses spread by those who can't afford to be insured and taken care of? How many people forget your cold indifference to other people may ever come back to you in some other form? Desperate otherwise good people often do desperate things to innocent people to survive.

    Everything you have can fall apart in days, and the government and your former employer to everything they can to minimize their responsibility. You have all the responsibility in the world to them, but you're just a statistic.

    Reply
  87. "I have medical insurance and it’s because my parents raised me right and worked hard to send me to college and then I graduated high school and went to college so that I got a good job with medical bennies. Not my problem is someone else does not pursue this happiness – I shouldn’t have to pay for them."

    Oh my, oh my, Andrew…

    I think I'm going to stay out of this ideological debate… as tempted as I am.

    Reply
  88. @ “Not my problem is someone else does not pursue this happiness – I shouldn’t have to pay for them.”

    People like Andrew give my side a bad name. Not all small gov advocates are ghouls looking to throw the less fortunate to the wolves so that their taxes stay low.

    Some of us advocate small gov and deregulation out of an desire to benefit the most amount of people the most amount of time.

    Andrew's position isn't a political philosophy, it's being an asshole. People who don't have medical coverage weren't raised right?!?! Thanks for the editorial Bill O'Reilley.

    Reply
    • That's putting words in my mouth. I'm saying it's not hard to get medical coverage here. Sure there are people that go without, but I don't blame the gov't system for that. Nor do I want to "throw people to the wolves." There are assistance programs for that kind of thing.

      This conversation is getting old.

      Reply
  89. @ This conversation is getting old.

    When someone calls you out you have neither the where-with-all to defend yourself nor to admit you were wrong.

    No one's forcing you to post. The conversation isn't getting old, it's gotten inconvienient for you.

    Reply
    • "gotten inconvienient for you." Exactly. I just don't give a shit at this point. All of these threads that go on like this (and there are quite a few on R3) seem to just never end. I get bored running in circles. Henrik thinks the gov't should just take care of everyone and I don't. The debate only goes in circles after that.

      For everyone I personally know right now and just about everyone I care about or even know indirectly, the system has worked great for. Until I see otherwise (and not because "60 Minutes" has a segment on foreclosures or you read some book of one guy's opinion that it doesn't work) I stand by my opinion. In the world I live in and for everyone within that circle (which is a pretty big fuckin circle) it works great.

      Reply
    • WTF are you talking about? Here are my last 6 points I made that were "weak"…

      1) making health care "free" by having the gov't pay for it only succeeds in making it more expensive. That's a fact.
      2) I like Crash
      3) I am in favor of the pursuit of happiness
      4) I went to school and worked hard to get a good job so I could get health insurance. I shouldn't have to pay for people who choose not to do this.
      5) My two (actually it's three now) friends with cancer are getting excellent health care.
      6) EVERYONE I know that I can think of is getting along great. I look at my graduating class and pretty much every single one of them that I've talked to or heard from or about are doing great. People are getting laid off, but there are usually programs and alternatives for them to get by and make a comeback.

      Which of those things can you dispute or tell me is wrong? None of them. They are all facts. If you don't like that I choose to believe in the system in which all of these facts exist, that's your perogative (sp?).

      And as an adendum to my #3 point above: I don't feel I should have to pay for people who choose to be alcoholics and need liver transplants. I don't feel I should have to pay for the guy who chooses not to wear a helmet and scrambles his brain in a motorcycle accident and is in a coma for ten years. I shouldn't have to pay for thousands of people who choose to pollute their lungs with cigarettes and get emphysema/lung cancer and all the other problems associated with smoking. I shouldn't have to pay for someone who eats Doritos and McDonalds for dinner every night and then wonder why they need triple by-pass surgery. That list goes on and on and on. If you feel that we should pay for all that stuff, good on ya for it. You're just a better person than I am.

      Reply
  90. "I went to school and worked hard to get a good job so I could get health insurance. I shouldn’t have to pay for people who choose not to do this."

    How is it a choice, when it's not available except in a certain circumstance?

    But Andrew, your worldview is the very definition of short-sightedness. I can see now why you don't think Signs makes sense either. Yes, I am a better person than you are. Hopefully the will of good men will be enough to stop this evil that has been set in motion.

    Reply
  91. I completely agree with Andrew. I live in Canada, which has a socialist government and health care system (in Ontario), and my family had horrible experiences when my mom was sick when I was a teenager. Hospitals and doctor's offices are so overcrowded here, the dire cases can't get the help they need in time. My dad eventually found a doctor in Chicago who specialized in what we needed, but by then it was too late.

    Reply
      • Just for fun, here were the two "weak" points I made before the six I listed:

        – like the abortion debate, no one will ever agree upon this one either. I happen to fall in the category of believing in not having socialism.
        – I’m not in favor of deregulation, but I am also not in favor of the gov’t running everything – or writing trillion dollar checks… twice.

        Reply
    • “What do you mean other people have get help as well? This is MY mom! We need to change this system!”

      If you're referring to Ashley, yeah, I agree with her. All I hear from the Canadian system is that you have to wait wait wait wait to see a doctor. Sorry ma'am, your colonoscopy will have to wait, this man bumped his knee on the coffee table and it really hurts.

      Reply
    • Oh I've read them. For the sake of ease, here are your last 5 comments directed at me. Not bothering to contradict me or tell me my facts are wrong, simply this:

      -pathetic
      -This should be the new FOX NEWS slogan.
      -Andrew’s position isn’t a political philosophy, it’s being an asshole.
      -People who don’t have medical coverage weren’t raised right?!?! Thanks for the editorial Bill O’Reilley.
      -you’re not much of a human being.

      All I did in any of my comments was point out my situation and what goes on in the system in the world I live in and how I see it affecting regular folks. I never made any outrageous claims or called someone an asshole. I merely pointed out that in my case and from my perspective of what I see, the system seems to be working great. You can't dispute any of that so you resort to attack tactics and putting words in my mouth. You can say I'm shortsighted or even uncaring if you want, but because I don't want my income taxes to go up (by the way, Minnesota taxes are some of the highest in the nation) my points are automatically weak.

      Lame Rusty, lame.

      Reply
  92. Funny joke haha.

    Andrew, you know nothing and if you truly have a college education I'm appaled. You just want to live in your own cozy little bubble, things aren't too bad, and all those big bad things well that's just the news, can't trust'em anyways, we're doing allright aren't we? This will get fixed, and also the pie is ready, isn't this nice. Oh look, snow! How romantic, see this global warming thing is totally blown over, that's just the news, can't be frightened by that, and we're doing alright aren't we?

    Ignorance like yours is why I fucking hate America. You're more stereotypical than I ever suspected.

    Reply
    • I never said there's no problems with the world or the system at large. In fact, I believe I said just the opposite. I simply said that for me everything is peachy. What is hard to understand about that? I don't want drastic gov't system changes for a country that's functioned outstandingly for 225 years. Hiccups? Yes. If you want change, vote for it. Simple as that. I vote my way and you vote yours. If you want socialism, vote for it.

      Reply
  93. Thank you for clarifying my point Andrew. Of course I want everyone who truly needs help to get it. It's when my mom was forced to wait for hours in the emergency waiting room while cuts and scrapes went right in that it bothered me.

    Reply
    • Thank you ashley. These are FACTS that affect real people that I know. This is important. Family and friends mean nothing to Henrik or Rusty. It's the system that is at fault. If they were in your situation, they would probably appluad the system for taking people in the order in which they arrived. Because that's fair.

      I have to close up the store and do a Cinecast now. I'm tired of fighting that goes no where and is futile.

      Reply
  94. That definitely was a list of things I said (Except for that last item about you not being a human being. I don't know where you got that from.)

    But it doesn't seem like you get what it was with which I was taking issue.

    It's weird that you dont' what is objectionable about your comments. While you didn't call anyone an asshole you did say that people who are uninsured weren't raised correctly and don't work hard. That's a bit worse than calling someone an asshole.

    Reply
    • I don't think that's exactly what I said. I said I was raised well and my parents worked really hard to get money for me to go to college and their parents worked even harder. I guess I didn't mean to imply that because someone isn't able to get health insurance they weren't raised right. What I meant is that for the vast vast majority of people, good health insurance is easily within grasp if they choose to work hard to get it.

      You're right. Not EVERYONE succeeds and sometimes tragedy strikes. But I'm saying that in general (actually more than in general) the system works well for the vast majority if they're willing to "go for it" and initiating some major gov't over-haul is overkill, knee-jerk and simply a bad idea. Tweaks here and there are how you get an engine working properly.

      Reply
  95. @ This is important. Family and friends mean nothing to Henrik or Rusty. It’s the system that is at fault. If they were in your situation, they would probably appluad the system for taking people in the order in which they arrived. Because that’s fair.

    You claim to have read my comments and then you say this… I'm at a loss.

    Reply
  96. My issue with you was never about socialism vs capitolism. It was about your callous remarks towards others. Small gov conservatism stops being a virtue when it expresses itself as hostility or indifference towards human beings.

    I mean, human beings dying of treatable illness is a "hic-up"?!?! That is the definition of callous.

    Your remarks still sound a little FOX NEWS-y (sorry, I know you hate that) but I can appreciate that you've at least reconsidered your original comment.

    By the way, I didn't really appreciate your accusation that I don't care about friends or family. If you're going to complain about others putting words in your mouth you should take care not to do the same.

    Reply
  97. All it takes is an inhumane common enemy like utter ignorance, we can find eachother in friendship taking a stand against that.

    Same sort of thing happened with me and Goon. Mortal enemies for months and months, but all of a sudden a religious nutcase shows up preaching nonsense and we became brothers in arms.

    Reply
  98. Here is a little play, inspired by this conversation. It is my interpretation of american health care (by the way, if we're being personal, I have family in america and when my mom went there, she was told not to call an ambulance if she saw people ill in the streets, because they'd charge the person who called, not the person who was ill):

    "Excuse me, why are we waiting? My mom is ill."

    "Well sir, you see there are 4.000 other moms with the same illness and we are trying as best we can to treat all of them."

    "I see what you're saying, I see your point. But wait… what do we have here?" *pulls up money bills*

    "Very nice sir. We'll put you first in line."

    Reply
  99. Henrik, I'm not saying my mom deserved priority treatment over others with the same disease. I just wish she had been given more consideration when I saw other people WALKING through the emergency room doors with clearly less severe injuries, while she could barely even sit straight in her wheel chair.

    Reply
  100. This is in severe danger of getting out of hand. I suppose the last thing I'm going to add is that if personal experiences are so important, I've never waited more than 20 minutes for a doctor, regardless of severity. I've had two cousins and an aunt both have cancer and have no problems with waits or treatment. It's pretty well known that of all universal health care countries, Canada is not the standard to measure what it can be (this is why US politicians love to compare to here).

    It's like when you read an argument and pick at only the weakest points someone else is making, or are in a barfight and square off with the scrawniest person you can find. But I still passionately believe that both on pragmatic and on ethical terms its a far superior program.

    "while cuts and scrapes went right in that it bothered me."

    Its my experience that the cuts and scrapes (including my own) had to wait, and emergencies were treated by priority/necessity. I don't know where the fuck you went. I understand cities have bigger problems in ERs than most towns though.

    "initiating some major gov’t over-haul is overkill"

    Its not overkill, but its unlikely to move to a single payer system. Theres too much to combat, and in a PR war, the HMOs have the funds to win that battle. It really comes down to marketing and idealism.

    "knee-jerk"

    Hardly, this has been a debate long enough that a zillion scenarios have been put into play. If you think its knee-jerk its because so many people want to prorogue (thats a big canadian word lately) the details as long as possible and ignore the broken system until its absolutely necessary.

    As for the general government thing. I don't believe in big government or small government, I believe in good government and holding people accountable. When a party operates with the intention of sabotoging the effectiveness of government, you are going to get bad government.

    Reply
  101. Three more short things

    One – UHC countries kick the shit out of the US for preventative care, thats a huge benefit of it being "free". In the US too often people avoid care until it is absolutely necessary and even too late.

    http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/1295/costlonglif

    How awesome is it to pay so much more for less life?

    Two – if you're gonna go FOX, I'm pulling out Michael Moore (and not Sicko) – here is where he literally helps save someone's life by pressuring a non-compliant HMO (Humana) into finally delivering on a reneged promise.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm4sNMKp0Mw

    Three – http://religionandpolitics.ytmnd.com/

    Reply
  102. To Ashley: If long lines really do bug you though, ever consider the reasons why so many Americans have shorter lines is because so many people can't afford to go see a doctor? I mean its pretty fucking obvious. I was going to avoid addressing that, but I mean please. When every american can go to a doctor for cuts and scrapes, then come to talk to me about how much better the lines are.

    Reply
  103. Goon, that directly addresses my problem. People abuse the system in Canada, simply because they can. I know of two friends who go to the ER every single time they think something is wrong with them. And every single time, they are sent home and told to take an Aspirin. I feel bad for the seriously injured/ill who had to wait while they received that information. Like Andrew said earlier, I think those that honestly need care should be able to find a way to get it, and I don't think coverage is that far out of reach for average Americans. Most good employers offer some kind of plan. It's the idiots who don't wear helmets, and the smokers, etc, that I don't want to foot the bill for. And I lived in a small town when I was growing up, and more often than not, I saw smaller injuries arrive after my family and go in for treatment first. I don't think there is an easy or universally-agreed solution to this, but I'm sure there is a better way than what either the US or Canada has to deal with now.

    Reply
  104. What was the point of the Bill O'Reilly video? Just that things might not get better? He didn't say anything.

    I love how they have the teleprompter words on the thing. His audience must be gutteral retards. Seriously, finding Bill O'Reilly honest and fair, I can not relate to a world like that at all. Surely, you must have some thoughts Andrew? Even tiny ones.

    Reply
    • I do. I put it there because he directly addresses what we were discussing. It was relevant. No point needed to be made, just another voice and I thought it was pretty fair. He didn't attack the President nor defend him. He said it may work or it may not. Very few political pundits will say that – most of them are on one side of the fence or the other and refuse to get off their high horse.

      As for the "teleprompter words," as you call them, are only on during that first 3 minute segment of the show. They are the general outline of his "talking point" segment – just like any good office presentation has (but of course anyone who works in an office and puts together a power-point presentation must be talking to retards or is one themself).

      I love how you think that everyone who does something a little different from you is automatically a "retard." Yet you think that if everyone acted and thought like you, the world would be perfect.

      Reply
  105. Its easy to have an opinion, to look at something and have a knee-jerk reaction and say I don’t like that, I wish things were this other way… but all I ask is that everyone truly consider the underlying reality before you convince yourself that your way is the right way.

    My concern, Andrew, is again with your perception of the haves and have-nots, its riddled with problems and has no basis with reality. You say you don’t want to pay for an alcoholic and again in your worldview its pure intent and nothing else. To you this person was a neutral entity and then he willingly choose to be diseased, and why should you pay for that? You are continually resisting the notion that circumstance plays a part in where all of us get to, and that, more importantly, not everyone has your specific circumstances to rely upon to make it so easy to have health coverage, to have a good education, etc. You perceive of it like a race and you are all starting at the same spot and the self-made man is the one that gets the farthest, but it really truly doesn’t work that way. The basis for your belief that the system is working is false, it supposes everyone is like you and your circle. You can ignore the statistics all you want, or that Obama won on a platform addressing just how broken your system is, but not everyone is like you and your friends. Not all of the have-nots are there by their own volition and poor choices. It’s not a zero sum game, this game of life. Your knee-jerk reaction that the system is fine because you and your friends are fine, this reductive empirical viewpoint, completely ignores any of the glaring philosophical problems and statistical evidence that speak to the contrary.

    I am not attacking you but rather this worldview that is so blatantly incorrect and that I am in awe of actually, and I think a lot of Canadians are in awe of, because it is something so American. You are quick to reduce the other to something inhuman, a neutral entity that just didn’t have the same gumption and get-go as you, and so failed… if anything good comes from my writing, I want you to acknowledge that this is false, that people have their own innate difficulties, burdens, sacrifices, and the Darwinian approach of survival of the fittest is not dissimilar to the Aryan ambitions of Hitler (and no I am not being overly hyperbolic with this point, it is the exact same kind of idealized reduction of reality). Treating people like things not complicated interrelated nexus points for the world to interact with there own hopes and dreams and boundaries and divisions and ideas and supposed limitations, capacities, fears. Your worldview writes them off like they are weak when they may very well be stronger than you, but what they have to endure, their burden, is ten times what you could even conceive of.

    Of course there will be the lazy in all societies, but you would rather throw the baby out with the bathwater, the knee-jerk solution to fixing problems.

    Reply
  106. "People abuse the system in Canada, simply because they can."

    There are people that game every system, so what, we're going to abolish and privatize every social safety net? So it means that some people are going to go to the doctor for cuts and scrapes, but it also means people will go to the doctor for serious things before they become much much worse.

    I'd much rather see abuse from the bottom than abuse from the people pulling the strings, which is EXACTLY what is happening in the US. You complain about waits, well what about people who desperately need surgeries who are waiting for people in a boardroom hundreds of miles away deciding on your life. That's fucked, you put your lives in the hands of people whose job it is to cut corners to make an extra buck.

    Reply
  107. "You perceive of it like a race and you are all starting at the same spot and the self-made man is the one that gets the farthest"

    Well said.

    Another big problem I see in america is this idea that anything someone else gets, is something being taken away from YOU, that you're somehow being robbed if someone else is being helped. It's insane.

    Reply
  108. Or take for example, an immigrant who in their country maybe had an education but for some pressing reason needed to come to America, and once here, the only job available to him is a taxi driver with no benefits. I have talked to a taxi driver who was a doctor in his home country. Suppose he works hard to make ends meet and he has mouths to feed, and he overcomes language barriers, prejudice, long hours, and he he is diagnosed with cancer.

    Explain to me how your worldview makes any sense in this scenario.

    The right to life and the pursuit of happiness is denied this person because his country takes the view of 'me first' and takes the Darwinian survival of the fittest as a mantra, embodying the cruel efficiency of nature without living up to the ethical potentialities that man is capable of, and that Jesus (if your Christian) laid down his life to embody.

    Reply
  109. "It’s the idiots who don’t wear helmets, and the smokers, etc, that I don’t want to foot the bill for. "

    This is flat out ignorant of reality. You act as if all those taxes on smoking aren't going anywhere. In fact I'm pretty sure smokers are paying more into the system than they're getting back out.

    I mean just the other day in the US Obama passed a cigarette tax where funds go in to funding SCHIP
    http://www.uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=3761542

    If you're going to continue on this ignorant train, you may as well claim you shouldn't have to pay for fat people. Might as well through your judgments on them too as if there's never any circumstance involved there either.

    Ridiculous.

    Reply
    • "you shouldn’t have to pay for fat people."
      Actually, I did say that. lol.

      And for the record, the reason I'm weening myself from this discussion is not because it is "inconvenient" for me. But it's because it is not a simple issue and to explain myself properly takes time and long paragraphs which i just don't have the time for right now. I was at work for 12 hours yesterday and got behind because I had to defend myself from people putting words in my mouth (which is happening again – twice in rot's comment actually). Then Ihad a late night podcast, got six hours of sleep, came to work early this morning to catch up and now I'm here again, busy as hell, but popping in once in a while. If I don't speak up, Rusty autoatically assumes it's because I can't "hack" it or whatever. It's more that I just prefer to do my political debating aurally and face to face. These long diatribes on a comment section are had to follow, hard to get the point across and frankly it's just a waste of time and people get the wrong ideas (from BOTH sides of the argument). Hence, I'm sort of backing off.

      Reply
      • “Another big problem I see in america is this idea that anything someone else gets, is something being taken away from YOU, that you’re somehow being robbed if someone else is being helped.”

        Really? I only think that people think that if they actually ARE being robbed for it. I already pay what? 35% of my income to taxes? I think that's fair. But you guys seem to be arguing that maybe 50 or 60% should go to the gov't. Then yes, that is robbing me and things are being taken away from me.

        Reply
  110. @Goon

    "Another big problem I see in america is this idea that anything someone else gets, is something being taken away from YOU, that you’re somehow being robbed if someone else is being helped."

    exactly, but not just America, it is everywhere, its human nature, or the knee-jerk human nature to think of everything as self-interest first, anything else second. This is why unfettered capitalism will never work and has never worked in any capacity.

    The other problem is associating beliefs with oneself, that you are a conservative or liberal, logic or circumstance be damned! and to think that if someone is challenging your belief it is an attack on you and then you fight even harder to hold onto it. I believe what I believe on this issue because it makes sense, it can be held to scrutiny, and I welcome it to be, and if new evidence arises that is convincing enough than I will believe that in turn.

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  111. "because his country takes the view of ‘me first’ and takes the Darwinian survival of the fittest as a mantra,"

    No kidding. they all want to talk about the American Dream, but only THEIR american dream. everyone else having good health and being able to thus attract better workers, paying less per capita on health care, all of this comes back to you one way or another, it helps everyone. its how you build a society rather than tear one down into a bunch of rats eating each other in a cage.

    This "Me first" attitude is trumpeted so much, but its directly at odds with "buy american" patriotism, ironically. The me first attitude justifies sending all your jobs overseas to enslave small children. The US doesn't manufacture things like it used to, and people act surprised when people cant get a job and cant afford to buy all the products they used to make. It's a huge snowball of problems when a handful of companies keep merging together and eliminating jobs. They too think of short term profits and cuts and not long term damage to the market. All of these policies are coming home to roost.

    "But we're passing the savings on to you!" – right.

    Where's the money going to trickle down from when China owns everything?

    Its a complex web that goes from everything from crime/black markets to small business loans, its intrenched in everything, but its battling "Taxes HURRR" – nobody ever things longterm, they think "I'm getting a Blu Ray player!" With something as simple as bad genetics you could end up stocking Wal Mart shelves for minimum wage until the day you die. Nice life.

    I'm rambling.

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  112. "But you guys seem to be arguing that maybe 50 or 60% should go to the gov’t."

    Again you're taking it to percentages, when its about pragmatism, effectiveness, and long term investment in your own life. As it is, each person in the US, including the uninsured, are paying taxes for health care that not everyone even gets. They are being gamed. They are paying for medical research and advances they can't even reap. That's criminal. That is robbery. But its okay because you have YOUR insurance. "I got mine!" – Nice.

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  113. um, ok, I would love to know where I put words in your mouth, my first comment was taken from your notion that you didn't feel you should have to pay for alcoholics ("And as an adendum to my #3 point above: I don’t feel I should have to pay for people who choose to be alcoholics and need liver transplants.")

    key word, choose.

    my two comments are essentially saying your assumption of free-will and choice in something like alcoholism is a blanket statement which includes both the lazy weak people and decent people whose circumstances contributed greatly to their infirmity. Like I said, this blanketing of it all being choice is throwing the baby (decent people) with the bathwater (the lazy). You may accept that as collateral damage for less time waiting in line, but myself I cannot accept that.

    and I accept that you may not have the time to articulate your side, and this is not the most ideal forum for getting into deep debate.

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  114. "This is why unfettered capitalism will never work and has never worked in any capacity.

    The other problem is associating beliefs with oneself, that you are a conservative or liberal, logic or circumstance be damned!"

    The problem is that capitalism was such a success that it eventually became like a religion, and thats when you get blind faith in it and see anything remotely socialistic treated as if its demonic possession.

    There are good ideas in enough -isms, economic, philosophical and social, that we should be able to pick and choose what makes the most effective system, rather than being so much like "I subscribe to Rolling Stone. Fuck you Spin!"

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  115. Andrew, I suggest you read many of the post above a second time. They are some of the most clear and cogent arguments in favour of a compassionate social structure over a Darwinian one.

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    • "words in my mouth" – well constantly saying that I think the system is perfect or that it is fine, when I've repeated at least twice, probably three times, that it definitely needs tweaking and changing. I've been accused of calling America's health care system perfect several times, therefore I should be on Fox news.

      All I'm hearing from you guys is that the American health care system is fucked, American ideals are fucked, American laziness is fucked, America is Darwinian, etc. etc. Yet no solutions. Just a bunch of "America sucks" rhetoric. The solution you guys offer is that everyone needs to rethink their ideals and get with the program. Fantastic. Good luck with that.

      Reply
    • "Andrew, I suggest you read many of the post above a second time. They are some of the most clear and cogent arguments in favour of a compassionate social structure over a Darwinian one."

      No they're not. They are a bunch of ideas that may or may not work within a social structure that is already grounded in a system. What I read is a bunch of anti-American rhetoric.

      Goon's last statement however, is SO fucking right. Thank you to someone for finally seeing a gray area! Although that gray area is only from the perspective of a socialist wanting to bring capitalism in that direction. Not from seeing that unfettered Socialism has equally (if not more problems) and could also use some tweaking.

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  116. "Like I said, this blanketing of it all being choice is throwing the baby (decent people) with the bathwater (the lazy). You may accept that as collateral damage for less time waiting in line, but myself I cannot accept that."

    Yes, this 'fuck you, you fat alcoholic smoker' assumes theres no benefit of investing back in any of them to being productive members of society, assumes they dont have children or other dependents who suffer second-hand.

    I mean for all these bailouts, they are happening because these companies are too big to fail, they have too many 'dependants' working out there, and that if you let the companies fail, all these people are desperate, likely to turn to bad things, and in turn their dependants suffer. Its a chain. Nobody likes the bailouts because ultimately the people on top fucked up and in many ways DESERVE to fail, but its easy to understand WHY they happen. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It doesn't make sense to entirely throw all these people away. If you can afford to pay for roads and military to keep people safe, you can afford to invest in the basic economic survival of your populace.

    And you can find the flat out anti-bailout people on the far right AND the far left. I'm not pretending at all the far left has its idealogues who dont think about how their policies extend beyond the immediate group of people they are trying to do justice for.

    This attitude also extends to prison. People complain that this person or that person gets this this and this. Well yeah it makes sense that they not have X, but it acts as if there aren't regular people walking that prison yard who hit a bad circumstance who can never contribute to society again. People just want to throw them all away, stick them in a cold cell and let them get raped (seriously, ever think about how the average person laughs and is okay with people getting raped in prison? I guarantee the ones getting raped are probably not the ones who would deserve it, if you dare even think some do).

    That's why an idealogue like O'reilly isn't helping at all. He just gets angry and has this shortsighted idea of justice that doesn't give a shit about all the other people it effects. If the US made a radical change to a single payer system, are there people that it would negatively effect? Yeah, you bet, thats why I think it will be a long time until it ever happens, IF it ever happens. They want the benefit of the investment immediately.

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  117. Andrew, you said the system worked fine for you and your friends, did you not? That is what I said. the notion that because it works fine for you and your friends then don't break what is not broken is the overarching point of your posts… you have to see that, and you can put all the little addendums you want about its not perfect, your main point is it works fine for you so let it stay, and definitely let it stay vs. universal healthcare.

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    • I did say that and it is a fact. That doesn't mean I said "let it stay". What I meant was that it works well for 85% of Americans. To me, that doesn't mean change the entire system. It means it needs to be improved upon.

      What I find interesting here is that all the Canadians on here keep claiming that the way to go is their way and the Canadian system is so great. Boo America, you're broken. Yet everywhere I go (and Ashley has attested to this), I hear about the major problems with Canadian health care. So I guess I just don't get off where you guys go on and on about how fucked America is, when you have your own shit to deal with.

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  118. "Although that gray area is only from the perspective of a socialist wanting to bring capitalism in that direction."

    You praise the gray area, but are deciding someone is an overall socialist because of certain beliefs. Come on dude, don't complain about other people putting words in your mouth if you're going to do that.

    Most times on the internet I'm arguing from the liberal position, but within leftist circles I have my own battles as well. I agree with a number of libertarian ideas too, except so often I get very frustrated with them because there are too many idealogues who dont understand my rights end where yours begin, because well, way too fucking may of them are paranoid and delusional conspiracy theorists, and because they seem to think every person in the world would all of a sudden become smart if their way of thinking was instituted. I can at least say of conservatives and liberals that both understand that under their systems there is accounting for the fact that people are too busy or sometimes yes, too dumb, to look out for themselves. This is where we get back to my good government argument – because the answer isnt having more and more bureaucracy, and the answer isn't eliminating it, its making sure what you do have works, and having enough to make it work.

    Its funny that for all the presuppositions about socialism and bureaucracy and big government, its the US health care system that on every local level for each person is so much more bogged down in paperwork, gotchas, and fine print. You're dealing with the mafia when you go to an HMO.

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    • "because the answer isnt having more and more bureaucracy, and the answer isn’t eliminating it, its making sure what you do have works, and having enough to make it work"

      Yes yes yes. Thank you. This is constructive. "America is completely broken and needs to do it the way other countries does it" is NOT constructive and frankly just wrong.

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  119. "What I find interesting here is that all the Canadians on here keep claiming that the way to go is their way and the Canadian system is so great. Boo America, you’re broken. Yet everywhere I go (and Ashley has attested to this), I hear about the major problems with Canadian health care."

    Ashley also showed blinding ignorance about smokers and taxes, so dont just pick and choose whose personal experience is true and whose is false.

    I bluntly said that the Canadian system is not the best one, and that is why the US loves to compare to it. But overall yes, on pragmatic and ethical grounds, even with its flaws it has been both cheaper per capita, medicine is cheaper, so many different things. There's just no contest.

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  120. "So I guess I just don’t get off where you guys go on and on about how fucked America is, when you have your own shit to deal with."

    if you're speaking on behalf of America, America should practice what is preaches.

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    • Question: In Canada, can you choose which doctor you want to see? Are the better doctors as available as the not so good doctors? In other words, if you have the means, can you spend extra $$$ and see who you want to see? Or better question, is a private doctor available in Canada or would that be seen as Darwinian and therefore illegal?

      – – I'm not being sarcastic or confrontational. I genuinely am curious about this.

      Reply
      • "and that if people are just going to sit around and debate the same old points instead of trying something, just buying a new one may at this point be flat out impossible."

        Like what we're doing right now and why I've said I want to get off this shit? What is the solution then? What is the best way to fill those cracks? So far I've heard what is great about other systems and how America is fucked, but I've yet to hear a plausible way of "fixing" it within our societal and governmental structure. In other words, say your last name was Obama, what would you do?

        At this point, I don't give a shit about Moore or O'Reilly. They are pundits and irrelevant here… though yes, I understand that I threw the video in above. But that's because I happened to run across it and it was fitting with what we were discussing. Sicko may or may not have had a good message, but the movie itself was pretty damn boring and repetitive.

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  121. "Yes yes yes. Thank you. This is constructive. “America is completely broken and needs to do it the way other countries does it” is NOT constructive and frankly just wrong."

    Nobody is saying copy anything exactly. Even in "Sicko" Michael Moore urges the American way should be to borrow the best of everything, not go overboard, and keep it cheap and make sure people can focus on actually living, rather than surviving. That movie is far more reasonable than given credit. People kept saying "He's saying we should have the government do our laundry!" – fuck off, he did not.

    But sorry man, a lot of things are broken, and it doesn't take a lot to prove it. There's a crack in everything, and from our perspective there are so many cracks in yours that its going to take a whole lot of effort to fix it, and that if people are just going to sit around and debate the same old points instead of trying something, just buying a new one may at this point be flat out impossible.

    Moore and O'Reilly are both idealogues, both blowhards, but from where I stand Moore is asking questions and providing possible solutions, whereas O'Reilly is the guy in the room who when he's not covering his ears or shouting over the other guy, is just demanding none of them would ever work and/or that everything is fine.

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  122. Take this as america-bashing if you want- i dont think it is, but there is definitely an ego/patriotism thing to overcome too. Not that Canadians can never be patriotic and that we're all paragons of rationality and temperance – far from it. But so many americans are so used to being the best or biggest at everything that any crack in the facade, even if its something as insignificant as beer, is met with some of the most violent responses I've ever seen.

    "German beer is better"

    "We kicked their asses in World War II"

    "French wine is better"

    "Cheese eating surrender monkeys"

    I mean, whoa. i mean seriously, remember Freedom Fries? That is some juvenile shit right there.

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  123. "Question: In Canada, can you choose which doctor you want to see? Are the better doctors as available as the not so good doctors?"

    I havent been to a proper hospital in around 8 years and that was a shortness of breath/panic attack so i couldnt properly attest myself. our family has a personal doctor that I think Im still technically with, and I'm pretty sure we got to choose them. I know my girlfriend has some specialists that she specifically chose, I dont know the details. Whenever something is wrong I usually hit a walk in clinic – any walk in clinic.

    TMI ALERT –

    I had a hemmerhoid in 2007, my first one ever, and because I was ignorant I read online and was scared shitless I might have ass cancer. Just walked in to the doctors office, waited 20 minutes, got inspected, it wasnt so bad. got my cream, went home. done.

    My girlfriend has had some major back surgeries and still has to see doctors from time to time, she's done calculations of how much she would have spent in the US even with insurance vs. here, and of course its made her a major proponent of UHC.

    "Like what we’re doing right now and why I’ve said I want to get off this shit?"

    You've said you were done like 5 times. if you're gonna get off the bus, get off, man 😛

    I have an America question though that is unrelated htat i mentioned before. Do you wear your shoes in/around the house? I need to start making a pushpin map of all the americans I know who wear their shoes around the house. I find that so very weird, its apparently so common. i never knew until last year, but its confirmed for me over and over again, especially out east. i wonder what kind of tiny psychological or personality traits that sort of cultural thing ends up causing to the populace at large.

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    • Get off the bus thing: well it's easier to have a conversation with one person rather than 5.

      Shoes thing: totally depends on the house. Growing up we usually wore our shoes in the house (unless dirty). But I find that most people I know automatically take their shoes off if they are a guest in someone's home (unless instructed that they don't have to). Now me? I can't stand walking around in stocking or bare feet. But I also want to keep the carpet clean; so I wear house shoes or slippers… ALWAYS (I bring them with me if I'm going to be hanging out at a friend's house or something). Fuck I hate walking on hardwood floors with no shoes. Yuck!

      Reply
      • So lastly before I go to lunch, I don't mind the debate and the ideas that float around. But most of what has been written is a lot of unsubstantiated America bashing and blanket statements that ALL Americans think a certain way or have a certain ideal. This bugs me and takes time to defend when I could be making a constructive point instead.

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  124. Not sure where I expressed blind ignorance. I never said I was an expert on the subject. I'm just providing an example from personal experience that shows that the Canadian system does not always work. And this subject matter is starting to hit too close to home for me, so I'm officially done. Enjoy your debates everyone.

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  125. "a lot of unsubstantiated America bashing and blanket statements that ALL Americans think a certain way or have a certain ideal."

    if this bugs you then at least in kind accept that not all UHC systems are the same

    Some blanket statements are a case of ignorance, others are a matter of convenience/time saving.

    I mean it goes for a lot of things – "Liberal" "conservative" – there are enough divisions within each, such a range, all labels are unfair to someone. There are a lot of issues where if you go far enough to either end, the political spectrum becomes more like a horseshoe. Some issues, like censorship, anti-pornography, etc, you find far leftists and far right wingers both going for the same goals but for different reasons. I find it so interesting when that happens.

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  126. Say what you want, Andrew, you have not acknowledged my ethical argument, and either go patriotic or suddenly pragmatic (yeah but how do you implement it, whats the solution?)

    What I am saying is you start with the ethical question, you come to an ethical conclusion and then you decide which system best suits that ethical end.

    we agree upon the declaration: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an ethical right of ALL American citizens, do we not?

    Then how do you endorse a system that does not provide free healthcare for its citizens, so that the have-nots are excluded from both life and the pursuit of happiness? How do you deny the taxi driver with cancer who has no benefits the same opportunity to the American dream as you?

    part of my ethical argument was the point that not all of the have-nots are lazy, do you agree?

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  127. The general statement about rights is often "My rights end where yours begin" – that even though we preach freedom, in practicality there are limits so thus the majority does not unreasonably enforce its whims/will on the minority

    I wonder how you attach this idea onto something like 'the pursuit of happiness' – at one point does one persons pursuit of happiness interfere with anothers, is there a limit and how you come to it?

    Of all my ramblings here, one of the ones I'm most satisfied with is what I said about 'dependants', that there is so much of a chain reaction to everything that a callous "Not my problem" approach to such important issues is impractical and at times even immoral. I'm hoping thats my 'final thought' for the day.

    Reply
    • "…at one point does one persons pursuit of happiness interfere with anothers, is there a limit and how you come to it?"

      That's a fascinating question, and a relevant one. How does the gov't taking more and more of my money to help others give me the opportunity to pursue my happiness (whatever that happiness may be)?

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  128. good. Then it is your position Andrew that a system that tiers between haves and have-nots excludes not only lazy have-nots but all manners of people who by circumstances beyond their control may be left without means to get health coverage?

    and now is it a matter of percentages? what number of decent American citizens is it okay to be deprived of life and the pursuit of happiness, so that you do not have to wait in a long line and you do not have to have your taxes raised?

    I am not being an ass, I am dead serious, because this ethical dilemma is dead serious.

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  129. foregoing the misconception that all universal healthcare scenarios cause long lines and poor service, and if we are going to put so much emphasis on personal experiences, here is mine:

    Last month I had chest pains and shortness of breath, something I have never felt before. It was not sharp but alarming, so I went to the local clinic, he thought it may have something to do with my gall bladder, I had an ultra-sound done four days after and was told the result that friday. all I needed was my health card.

    My wife had surgery last October, diagnosed the month before and the surgery was done, no complications, speedy recovery. done.

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  130. pursuit of happiness is not happiness, its having the means to achieve it. its having your health, or as much of your health as can be attained given the medical advances that exist. its not about whether you are inconvenienced because of a long line-up, or because you have less money to spend on dvds. Its that the fundamental obstacles to you achieving happiness are paved away.

    also lets not forget my original point that the have-nots are not some distinct 'other', all of us can at one point be the have-nots, defending them is defending your future security. You have benefits through your job, and if you lose that job? I mean I lose my job, I still can afford to have an ultra-sound.

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  131. On the shoes in the house thing. —-WEIRD—-

    Never head of that, and despite the strange diversity of topics in this thread, I count that as my "Learn Something New Everyday" tidbit.

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    • look rot, I'm not going to give you a percentage of which Americans should go without so others can have. I will say that I agree there should be some sort of stepping stone for those without benefits or current employment – especially prescription drugs or long term care. Because let's face it, if you need immediate medical attention or surgery or its death, a hospital is not going to turn you away for not having coverage. They'll just send you a bill which you simply just don't pay.

      If I lose my job, which I very well could in the next couple of months, I am fucked. But I don't expect the gov't to come in and bail me out (they only do that for high-paid CEOs who can't run a company or for people who think they can buy $500,000 houses with a $25,000/yr paycheck). I have friends and family if it were dire enough to come to that.

      I also disagree with this:
      "its not about whether you are inconvenienced because of a long line-up, or because you have less money to spend on dvds." I mean you're being a little bit more materialistic about it than I would like, but yeah. Paying more out of my pocket will mean less luxuries for me. Whether that luxury is buying a blu-ray disc or going out on the town for beers with friends or having the gas money to drive up to the lake on the weekend. Take another 100, 200, 300 dollars out of my paycheck and all that goes away.

      Reply
  132. "How does the gov’t taking more and more of my money to help others give me the opportunity to pursue my happiness"

    The way you worded this sounds like exactly what I said about Americans thinking that something for someone else is something being robbed from you. Everyone pays into the system to at least some degree, and the ideal is for everyone gets back something, but naturally it is going to be in different ways. There is no definitive answer, again, its a big interconnected web, some sort of economic ecosystem, you pay taxes and maybe you use the roads other other public facilities more than someone else. I mean we're focused on health care but I'm sure some guy out there who walks to work that might complain that he's paying taxes so you can have safe roads to drive to work on while watching movies. Some road you're helping pay for is leading to a place nearby that you will never visit. What are you going to do, ask for your money back?

    If everyone got to tick off boxes of what they will and wont pay into, some fucked up shit would happen, I hope that's obvious.

    To bring it full circle, you probably should stop watching racing movies on the way to work. You are begging for an ironic death. I assure you a cop will find your player and you will end up in the newspaper with some terrible headline like "Monkey See Monkey Do"

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    • To bring it full circle, you probably should stop watching racing movies on the way to work. You are begging for an ironic death. I assure you a cop will find your player and you will end up in the newspaper with some terrible headline like “Monkey See Monkey Do”

      Awesome. Next up? 2 Fast 2 Furious. Maybe Ronin?

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    • If everyone got to tick off boxes of what they will and wont pay into, some fucked up shit would happen, I hope that’s obvious.

      It is obvious. But I already pay 35% of my money to the gov't. Since everyone is doing that (well, almost everyone) I think that should be more than sufficient for the community/state/country to work with.

      The problem is (or one problem), as I said there are plenty of people who pay little or no taxes at all and in fact TAKE from the gov't on a yearly basis. I know this is fact because I lived with one for 2 years. Both years she paid X dollars in income taxes but got back $X + 10% at the end of the year. You want to talk about American being broken? How about our fucked up tax structure.

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  133. "what number of decent American citizens is it okay to be deprived of life and the pursuit of happiness, so that you do not have to wait in a long line and you do not have to have your taxes raised?"

    one of the big arguments against the death penalty is that if even one innocent person is put to death by the state unjustly, then it is unethical. But who knows how many average people are needlessly dying or suffering for the comfort and "happiness" of others?

    I had a good job. I got laid off in December, I'm getting by on a lot of freelance work while I hunt for new work. I'm skilled, I actually graduated the very top of my class for web design, but theres a lot of other people near here laid off lately to compete with, and a lot of places very careful about hiring at all. I knwo something will come up eventually, but as it is some days I'm ready to have a panic attack thinking about finances. If something bad happened to me I'd have no insurance, nothing. Do you know how much that piece of mind is worth to me? It's pretty fucking great, and I wouldn't trade it for anything right now.

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  134. "I have friends and family if it were dire enough to come to that."

    Very few people actually have the luxury of being bailed out by family and friends. This is not a tenable health care policy.

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  135. "Because let’s face it, if you need immediate medical attention or surgery or its death, a hospital is not going to turn you away for not having coverage. They’ll just send you a bill which you simply just don’t pay."

    I didn't realize bills were not taken seriously in America, so does that mean when these bills pile up no one comes to collect them?

    and like Goon said your tenable health care policy is to mooch off of family if you lose your job and have health care expenses? I mean, I guess. and for the individual who has no family in America because he is an immigrant still trying to afford his family to arrive in America, I guess he can pick through the garbage and deal with the pain?

    you talk about stepping stones, making benefits, but these cost and they will never go to everyone who needs them, because it will be so much redtape to see who qualifies for what that it would be cheaper to just have universal.

    I'm not expecting to win you over Andrew, but I gotta say these arguments are pretty weak.

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  136. "I think that should be more than sufficient for the community/state/country to work with."

    That's not really addressing the point, you asked about happiness and how it comes back to you and I explained that its complex.

    "there are plenty of people who pay little or no taxes at all and in fact TAKE from the gov’t on a yearly basis."

    Once again you're basically saying that you're being robbed and someone else is getting something, as if all these supposed 'bums' are never also a victim of circumstance.

    If we move on to taxes this thread will never end, but pfft – you know, yeah, so unfair, because the poor people can totally afford super accountants to avoid paying their fair share. Let's attack the welfare moms, and lets institute a flat tax so its even HARDER for people who start out with nothing to end up with something.

    Once again we have idealism clashing with pragmatism and the reality of how people live:

    I'm going to crib from the PPI here because they always say it better than I can:

    "Flat taxers may be right that it would be morally offensive to tax higher income people more heavily if differences in income reflected only how hard different people work. But income differences reflect much more than that, if only because people don't start in the same place. People are born with different talents and come to age in families, neighborhoods, and cultures with different resources to prepare them for market competition. And plain luck often plays a role. "

    A progressive tax system, however, can protect poor and middle class families from bearing the higher tax burdens entailed in a purely flat or proportional system, and in this sense, ameliorate some of the distributional inequalities achieved through our markets but based on factors other than how hard different people work. And the additional burden of progressive taxation is a reasonable price to pay by those who in some respect start with more, for the privilege of prospering relatively more under America's laws and in her markets. Bill Gates and his investors have a responsibility to not merely bear an equal share of the burden, but a greater share because they enjoy a larger share of the benefits provided by these laws and markets.

    Furthermore, when accidents of birth and luck affect people's ability to succeed through hard work, economics as well as social considerations can dictate that they receive the means and opportunity to participate more fully in the economy. At the very least, the tax burden to finance these efforts should be progressive at the bottom so that the tax system does not further impair the ability of low income people to participate.

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    • Alright, so what ARE the percentages you think are fair? Some people should be negative 10% while the super rich should pay 80%? Where do I fall in there so that's fair to all the immigrants and welfare moms and hard wroking people and unemployed people of circumstance? As a single dude who makes a decent living for himself (we'll say more than 30,000/yr, but less than $70,000). What is the percentage? What is this fairness so that the entire nation has "free" healthcare?

      I keep getting attacked because I don't pay enough into the system and I sound "inhumane" because 32% isn't enough. So what IS enough for it to be fair for everyone in this utopia?

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  137. so I say again, then you are paying more taxes than I am, and I have universal healthcare.

    I think we can agree there is something wrong with your system, if only because of that.

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      • Oh yes, and I'm no economist so I don't know what the outcome would be, but I've been a proponent of getting rid of income tax altogether and just going with a consumption tax. Proponent might be the wrong word but I'd like to try the experiment. So this would mean that instead of taxing me on how hard (or how much) I work, I'm taxed on my consumption. This would not include food or clothing. But major hikes in sales tax on other goods like cars, TVs, lunchboxes and hammers. This I would think is more "fair." Poor people would be making more money now but would only be paying taxes when they want to… sort of. Rich people will still be buying the expensive cars and Playstation 3's and plasma TVs and would be possibly be paying more into the system with their exhaustion of resources.

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  138. "Oh and Goon, for the record, I am 100% against the death penalty."

    So am I – whatever point i was trying to make it was not an argument for it.

    "I didn’t realize bills were not taken seriously in America, so does that mean when these bills pile up no one comes to collect them?"

    I remember that was once Rush Limbaugh's advice to the poor – just go to to an ER and bail. Seriously, wtf.

    "and for the individual who has no family in America because he is an immigrant still trying to afford his family to arrive in America"

    Yeah, so lets get this straight. Nobody should be able to complain because you have to be out there working hard and paving a way for yourself… but in order to do this you need some sort of genetics or natural marketable talent, enough wealth and stability in your family to raise you well adjusted enough to focus on these talents, enough money to invest in your talents through education and training… and then if you have the fortune to find a fulfilling career with benefits, you need to make sure your family has maintained enough luck, savings and care for you to look after you if you hit a bad patch.

    Sounds like a great care for being nice to your friends and family, and a bad case for having children. Unless of course, you are intending to invest and groom them into something good for yourself to mooch off of and move in with later in life.

    I mean we hear about arranged marriages, but this takes the cake. If you don't love your parents you better be pretending pretty god damned well! Acting classes, here I come. Must. Pander. To. Relatives.

    Reply
    • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the bills thing. Again, I didn't say it's the way to go, but again another fact that I'm the asshole for mentioning it. You can go to the doctor here and they'll treat you and send you a bill later. There is nothing to make me pay it. They'll hassle me forever about it, but (and I could be mistaken here, someone can correct me if I'm wrong) because it's a medical bill, there's no interest added and it doesn't go on a credit report. Not sayin, just sayin. This is the way it is.

      I am not Rush Limbaugh. That would NOT be my "advice." But you can do it that way.

      Reply
    • @Goon, yeah that's actually a major reason people in other countries not as well off as we are had large families. So that they could help out on the farm and then take care of the elders in the family down the road. Before you start yelling, I am not saying that this is how America should fix its health care! I'm just saying that this is what people used to do (and still do to some extent).

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      • HOWEVER, if I was really sick or needed a place to crash, yes I would hope (and expect) friends and family to help me out, just like I would help them out if they needed it. NO THIS SHOULD NOT BE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE POLICY before you start saying that's what I said. I'm saying that for me this is an alternative if dire circumstances required it of me.

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  139. yeah but people would conserve on consumption and that affect the economy. look at the problems with people conserving on the idea of buying a car to instead take the bus.

    what is the right percentage? That's a pragmatic question about implementing universal health care in your country, thats different from is it ethically right or wrong, which is what I have been focusing on (Goon has been my pragmatic implementation wing man, or me his).

    once you accept that it is ethically right, than you figure a way to implement it and at what cost. Obama, god bless him, is trying to deal with the fiscal nightmare he inherited, and it was certainly a goal of his to have free healthcare for every American citizen. It shouldn't be a pipe dream if Canada has it for as much taxtes as you are paying right now. It may take sacrifice, but sacrifice for gain is no sacrifice at all.

    There is a guarantee that any of us who grow old will need medical help, I can't imagine what it must be like to be old in America without health insurance, to have to decide about how much you are going to pay to find ways to keep you alive. I am generally a misanthrope egoist and that breaks my heart, if only because I know that could be me, were the situations reversed.

    Reply
    • "It shouldn’t be a pipe dream if Canada has it for as much taxtes as you are paying right now. It may take sacrifice, but sacrifice for gain is no sacrifice at all."

      Fair enough, but I think it's funny that you guys who pay less money to the gov't than me, are asking me to pay more, yet I'm the asshole because I don't want to. If Obama can implement "free" (I love that word) health care under our current tax structure, fine. But I just think asking me to chip in half my pay grade is unfair. Call me callous, but c'mon… that is. not. fair to me.

      Reply
  140. I don't see the consumption tax as tenable. it sounds to me like more idealism over practicality, and at this point so much of it is still theory.

    A working stiff who has to spend all his money to survive and feed his family will find almost his entire income taxable, and a wealthy who makes enough to invest or save is only paying a portion. I mean come on.

    Reply
    • Well, I agree it's just a theory and it would certainly be an experiment, but

      "A working stiff who has to spend all his money to survive and feed his family will find almost his entire income taxable, and a wealthy who makes enough to invest or save is only paying a portion. I mean come on."

      How so? There's no tax on food or clothing, so the only tax this hypothetical guy is paying is for his TV, computer, coffee mugs, etc. Meanwhile, 35% of his income is now in his pocket directly instead of going straight to the gov't. It's now up to this working stiff to decide where his money (and how much of it) goes.

      Reply
  141. "Fair enough, but I think it’s funny that you guys who pay less money to the gov’t than me, are asking me to pay more"

    Repeating once again, americans already pay double per capita than we do. I provided a chart and everything. If done effectively you could and should be paying LESS. Less now, and less later if you get sick.

    If you could steer past the HMOs and the socialist boogeyman criers, I actually think the US could produce a significantly BETTER UHC system than we have.

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  142. "the only tax this hypothetical guy is paying is for his TV, computer, coffee mugs, etc"

    Some proposals have excluded things like food and clothing, yet so many others have not, because it needed to make up for funds lost in other areas in order to keep the state running.

    Last time I argued this it was actually with another Minnesotan, and apparently some dude from your state was running for some position and was arguing the income tax be replaced with a consumption tax, and that from then on food and clothing would be taxable. Apparently food and clothing is not taxable in your state currently?

    Anyways i have no idea what his name is anymore or if he won, but I know there was a lot of controversy because the guy himself admitted poorer and larger families would suffer and that bordertowns would lose a lot of business to cities in other states.

    I really need to ignore this thread for a while. jeez.

    Reply
  143. Anyways either way all stats i've seen show the poor spend a much higher percentage of their income, so its going to be weighted against them.

    All I will say is that the term 'consumption tax' also gets mixed up with sales taxes and other things. I havent seen an overall consistent proposal about it, in some cases it sounds like our national sales tax, the GST, which is both a good revenue stream, but also very unpopular.

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  144. In Alberta there is no provincial sales tax. Great for vacations, but when I was there in December, guess what? Apparently they hate taxes so much that when the snow comes, most of the roads dont ever get paved, salted or sanded. I saw about 6 car accidents a day.

    Not results of car accidents, no in that case I'd be in double digits. I mean witnessed fender benders, people going off the road. What a casino, what a trade off. Get cheaper products and hope you don't crash your car and die. Go fig.

    That's not even the stupidest shit that I saw in Alberta, but whatevs.

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  145. @ I had to defend myself from people putting words in my mouth

    Andrew I don't agree I ever misquoted you or put words in your mouth. I would I was much more considerate about reading and comprehending your position than you were towards me.

    On the other hand, you mistakenly claimed I called you "not much of a human being" and never bothered to clarify yourself after I corrected you. And then engaged in baseless character assassination claiming that "Family and friends mean nothing to Henrik or Rusty. "

    Reply
  146. @ My sister lives in Wyoming and pays no state tax. Something about how they make so much freakin money from their oil well that they don’t need to.

    I don't quite understand why conservatives praise stuff like this; like when Hannity praised the Alaskan tax system and told Sarah Palin he wanted to move there. Isn't state owned oil a more extreme example of socialism than progressive income tax?

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  147. "So what IS enough for it to be fair for everyone in this utopia?"

    100%. Keyword: Utopia.

    Andrew, your experiment is a joke, how big would the black market get all of a sudden? Think in your head man.

    Re: character assasination. My feelings are that an insult from an inferior can be just as satisfying as a compliment from an equal. And I did call Andrew bad things, so I understand where he is coming from, even though he is throwing out random attacks based on nothing, whereas my conclusion was based on his personality.

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  148. No Andrew, I looked yours up, you were right, 25% federal, 7% state. for the same tax bracket I am practically the same, .5% less actually.

    and this is not a Canada vs. America thing, I love America, but there is this American mentality that is so backwards that it is about ready to do the whole thing in, undo everything great that was achieved by your forefathers for instant gratification… and that is what this comes to, this NIMBY me first, need to see the results as they directly affect your bottom line, not factoring in the intangible benefits as well as tangible benefits that come from pragmatic and ethical solutions. Like I said what sacrifice is it really when you are gaining something in the process… so have less drinking money but more security, potentially more life to live.

    Goon brought it up, but I was just thinking about the anxiety of not knowing if I could afford to have a medical test. Like if I couldn't afford an ultrasound on my chest last month, it cost you $200 and here it is free. If I didn't have the money to do it I would be freaking out about what happened to me, I would never know what the chest pains were, I would probably stop playing squash because I would fear a heart attack, I would get depressed and anxious… all of these things that do not fit into a bottom line consideration need be factored in the average uncovered American.

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  149. I would say Obama is the very best of America, because if you think about it, the American constitution is a very pragmatic tool made by very savvy people, but even they could not anticipate how corrupted their words could become. Actually they did come to think of it, there is a clause about overtaking the government if it ever deviates so far from these original goals, it appreciated the organic nature of human civilization.

    Obama is the America I love, not the Rockfellers, not the made up self-made illusory bullshit story Americans tell themselves to keep them satiated. Its the ingenuity of America that is to be admired, the Pragmatic Philosophy movement originated in America, they cut out all the bullshit that European Philosopher got stuck on, and its this cutting to chase and figuring out solutions that is admirable. But alongside this is a very backwards puritan knee-jerk America, that holds the leash of real progress, and has pulled it so tight that the realities have caused cracks in your infrastructure, open wounds in your economy, and not even God can get you out of this one. but then these people don't care so much, at least those that believe in End Times.

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  150. I found some comments of mine in another thread where I think I article my opinion on socialized medicine quite well

    I’m not necessarily opposed to socialized medicine. The weakness of the US system is that it allows the uninsured to go without treatment, possibly dying of otherwise treatable illness. This is not only inhuman it doesn’t makes sense from a pragmatic stand point. Dead people leave behind orphaned children and other problems. No first world country should let people go without basic medical access.

    But socialism is never a free ride. While it supplies superior coverage it doesn’t foster medical inovation as well. There’s a reason why rich Europeans come to the US for treatment but poor Americans go to Thailand.

    Even libertarian economists (No less a libertarian authority than Ron Paul agrees, and he’s a medical doctor to boot.) agree that privatized health insurence completely defeats the purpose of a free market. It’s essentially a “voluntary” form of socialism combining the worst of both worlds. Prices are inflated and poor people go without coverage.

    In first world countries if you’re starving we feed you. It’s equally about both compassion and pragmatism. There should be a balance. Similar to the US’s balance of public and privately financed schools. Of course that system is fucked as well, and I’d like to see a lot of improvements made.

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  151. Like “Family and friends mean nothing to Henrik or Rusty. “

    I meant in terms of this discussion/debate. That personal experiences and all of the people we know and interact with don't count. Not that you don't actually care about them personally.

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  152. moderation is the key, go to both extremes and you have communism and unfettered capitalism and neither work, neither has a basis in reality, in how human nature operates.

    Universal healthcare is not an extreme on this spectrum, its a feature within a larger political system that has checks and balances between the authorities of both public and private institutions so that both work to their optimal benefit to the people and is also sustainable. American far right pundits like to say its a slippery slope to socialism but its not, and this myth that Canadians are somehow sorry they have such a thing, I mean Ashley is one person, but you take a poll of Canadians, it is loud and clear: we love our healthcare, and that is why there has not been an attempt by any party to use as part of their platform the privatization of health, they would be laughed off the stage. Can it be improved, sure, everything can be improved, that doesn't negate it.

    be moderate and sensible, and do not believe anything in politics that cannot be held up to scrutiny. Politics is entirely about pragmatism, its about making the hard choices, but that doesn't mean they have to be done without any consultation to ethics, rather they need to work in good conscience of them to the best that they can achieve.

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  153. watching that video makes me want to see The Wrestler. I have it, but having seen it twice, I promised myself to save it till I can take people to the theatre to see it. IN FUCKING MAY. AFTER STAR TREK.

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  154. That's a good point Henrik – I never thought about the black market thing. I wonder.

    and BTW, I'm not necessarily advocating this method of market (consumption tax). I threw out the idea/experiment/thoery just for the sake of discussion. You don't need to be so confrontational about it. Chill (I remember now why we had to put up the FAQ).

    Reply
    • I need to tell you my honest reaction and opinion.

      Actually, unless you're socially retarded, you don't need to. If you don't like the guy behind the counter at the gas station, do you tell him he's an asshole? If a co-worker asks you where the extra coffee filters are (and it should be obvious they're next to the coffee maker), do you say, "are you fucking kidding me you idiot!? They're next to the coffee maker in the drawer marked 'filters' you fucktard!"

      I'm sure I already know your answer is yes, that you would say something like that, but most civilized people do not. I know I sound like John Campea here, but why wouldn't you just say I don't agree with this because A, B, C? Why do you always find it necessary to talk down to another person? There are times and places for that, but usually there is not.

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  155. If you had served me gas or asked me where the filters were, I would not have reacted anywhere near as strongly. What you did was expose your inhuman and despicable self in public, as if there was nothing wrong with it.

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    • Proposing a theory and asking what others thought of it is "exposing my inhumanity?" Seriously, do you have friends? Like, any?

      Are you just trying to push my buttons or do you honestly think I'm despicable?

      Reply
  156. Not proposing the theory, but the theory you proposed.

    You sound like a nice enough guy, you're just ignorant, so I get pissed off when it's about serious matters. Like how to make the world a better place for humans.

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  157. "Like how to make the world a better place for humans."

    Calling people "pathetic," "losers," twisting words to fit your agenda and calling others names to satisfy your own insecurities and ignorance, etc. A good place to start.

    By the way, this is just a test comment since the site went down yesterday.

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  158. I love this test comment.

    I would like to apologize Andrew. I did not realize this would mean this much to you, I thought your foundation would take more than me on a message board to shake. I feel bad for stirring you to the point where you stoop to my level and call me names in return.

    Reply
      • "he’s been holding it in for five months it looks like"

        Actually, I just came here to re-read your Crash review and I just noticed that there were 300+ comments and remembered how crazy this discussion got. Seemed like a good place to insert a test comment since I was already here.

        I wanted to see if you drew any comparisons between this movie and Lee's DtrT.

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  159. I think a comparison can definitely be made between the two films, they are not aspiring for true reality, they have a theme (in both racism) and they create an environment where that theme can be enacted dramatically. Both do not try and solve the issue, they try and get the conversation started.

    but Do The Right Thing is a masterpiece and I genuinely cannot fathom how you think otherwise Andrew, I don't even think there is room for debate, its like you saw a different movie completely. All of the criticisms you brought up in the email made no sense to me whatsoever. I don't even see a flaw in Spike's acting, I think he was convincing as Mookie. Visually this is one of the most enjoyable feasts for the eyes, I love the way it looks, I want to live on that block, I want to cross paths with these characters. You said it is not subtle or complex and I beg to differ. The question of whether Sal is a racist is so subtle that during shooting Aiello was convinced he wasn't and Spike was convinced was was, and the riot is not caused by the cops and bad white people, its caused by a decision by Mookie, who you would expect, given Lee's politics, to be the hero of the film, but he isn't, he is as flawed as every other character. If he was a hero, if he even had dignity, he wouldn't of picked up the money at the end of the movie, but he did. The two quotes at the end, how to choose between those two and how that is dramatized in this film is VERY VERY complex. its not answered, nor should it be.

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  160. do you agree with the New York Times critic who asked "yeah but where are all the drugs?"

    I get the sense you object to the artificial components to Lee's storytelling, that he should not stylize the narrative.

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  161. I agree with rot, DtrT is very complex, because, who are you going to root for? Just like in real life, there is nobody to root for, and nobody to root against. How often do you get THAT in american cinema? Hardly ever.

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  162. I mean I, like most I would assume, was on mookie's side, albeit flawed a likable guy, and expected him to be a character worth having sympathy for, but in the end, he does something absolutely despicable and it took me aback, I was disappointed in Mookie, very much so, I thought he was a pathetic asshole. But not just that, he still makes sense to me, he surprised me and still holds up 100%. Just like in real life.

    Reply
    • I have no problem talking about the characters and their motivations. I think discussing the decisions and fleshing out who is "right" and who is "wrong" is worthwhile and interesting. I had no problem with any of that. I just think calling it a masterpiece is going overboard. Really the entire message you're speaking of is really only brought to the forefront in the final 30 minutes or so. That's when the movie actually gets interesting. Up until that point (about where the time when the guy in the convertible is sprayed by water) the movie just drags on and on with needlessness and annoying people.

      The scenarios are real and believable, but the way everything is portrayed on screen seems so artificial and manufactured. I really had to force myself to get through that first hour. I looked online and started reading reviews and discussion and realized interesting things were coming, so I stuck with it. I'm glad I did because I liked all the confrontation (as bombastic and stereotypical as they were) towards the end. It gives the viewer something to think about.

      If you like the way the films looks, then fine. That's a matter of personal choice. You have Dogville on your top 5 of 2003 (to be posted soon) as well. I assume part of that is for aesthetic. An aesthetic I didn't care for and a movie I didn't get into at all. On that point it is needless to debate. You either like the art of the film or you don't. I didn't… highly.

      Reply
      • Clearly I'm in a VERY small minority though. So I'm either an idiot or I just missed something. Why is the camera tilted at an angle for every scene again? Just annoying and pointless.

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  163. I also love the guys on the corner, and the speech about being sick and tired of the Black excuses for why they can't change their plight. How often do you hear that in a movie? Lee puts special emphasis on how the black community is letting itself down.

    Buggin' Out is an example of activist youth culture, and again here you would think Lee would be celebrating this, instead he shows how misplaced activism is another failure found in the community, that people get caught up in the stupidest shit, like having brothers on the wall, that to me is the same media fixation we have today, 20 years later, getting people fired up over trivial stuff, neglecting what really matters.

    Lee portrayed himself as a deadbeat dad who is only looking out to get paid, one day at a time, and this too is a comment of a culture that is not organized, that is wasting its potential for stuff like Air Jordans or boom boxes. At the same time, there are legitimate white racists in the film, because its not just the blacks' screwing themselves over, but people like Pino are full of ignorance about the world around them and respond that way. The conversation between Mookie and Pino about who his favorite musicians and actors are, and that they are okay because they are More Than Black, is too, an issue that genuine racists have, they disassociate the race from those who become big celebrities.

    There is so much to chew on in this film, no man you are outta your mind.

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  164. @ Clearly I’m in a VERY small minority though. So I’m either an idiot or I just missed something.

    All conservatives hate this movie. They're convinced the end represents Lee's black supremesists fantasies come to life.

    This has come up a lot lately in lieu of the 20th anniversary. It is unreal to me how many conservative critics are outraged by Mookies "cold blooded" (in Kyle Smith's words) property destruction (which are they are all convinced the film is celebrating) while dismissing Radio Raheems death the kind of thing that happens in that sort of environment.

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  165. @ I was disappointed in Mookie, very much so, I thought he was a pathetic asshole.

    So would you agree with the review I quoted using the term "cold blooded"?

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  166. @ its caused by a decision by Mookie

    Well, that's sort of true. But it's also true that every character who enters the situation escalates it.

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  167. Definitely not, I think he did it because he was enraged and felt a desire to do something about what had just happened. It's the very opposite of cold blooded, that would imply that he was simply using the mood after the incident as a means to his end of trashing Sals. I think he was burning inside from the injustice he felt he witnessed. As for what he witnessed, I think Raheem is the asshole who I have no sympathy for, just a retarded moron with an inferiority complex, but obviously the cops had extraordinary issues with their own power as well. They may have been scared, but seemed obvious that the perpetrator-in-uniform had issues with black people anyway. And again, these cops start out immensely sympathetic, and completely realistic in the waterspray scene. Pragmatic and trying to get things to glide. In the end, stuff happened to change that attitude, and it obviously ended up far worse than anybody wanted. I believe, including Mookie, but at the same time, he had passion that he needed an outlet for, and the cops knew to get the fuck out of dodge ASAP. Sal takes the punishment, and the audience is heartbroken for it. Masterpiece.

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  168. I think Spike Lee is great, because he is sympathetic towards the black man, but in his movies always calls them on their bullshit rhetoric about stuff like 'the man', like in that corner scene, and exposes their pathetic infatuation with buying bling like Air Jordans, and if Spike Lee does that with his black people, I believe it to be the truth and it does ring truthful. He will stand up for his brothers anytime, anywhere, but at the same time he is telling them to not fall back on excuses or blaming their color or everything else for whatever has happened to them.

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  169. Y'ALL NEED TO CHILL!

    I have seen the film many many times, and I gotta say I hardly remember the canted angles except in the last confrontation between Sal and Radio. Although I think it is used when Da Mayor is on the street outside Mother Sister's perch… its usually used to show a disjointed interaction between two characters, which makes sense in this film with so many people incapable of communicating to one another.

    I can accept Kyle Smith's outrage at Mookie, I think there should be some outrage, this is why the movie is so damn great, how many times have you had a sympathetic main character do something potentially reprehensible in the end of the movie without a hint of forgiveness? The second he picks up the garbage bin he is choosing between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the theory is made practice, and the situation is not cut and dry, its not an easy argument, its very complex, what is the right thing at that moment?

    I will and have defended Crash, but it doesn't even come close to that kind of bold challenge to the moral and ethical sensibilities of its audience.

    Reply
    • I just think it's interesting. In Rusty's warped way of reading English:

      "I didn't like the aesthetics of the film but I really liked the final hour or so." = "I'm a conservative and hated the movie."

      And you guys wonder why I bail out of these "discussions."

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  170. Most of the film seems to be on youtube I just riot scene (from entering the pizzaria to the conclussion, not the next day).

    I think what gets me in the scene is that the whole movie I've kinda felt like these people are my friends. But then towards the end I was wondering where I stood. To Mookie the act is clearly about retailating at "whitey".

    Still, I can't call property destruction cold blooded. Mookie's crime is less than what the cops did.

    The scene is so effective because it perfectly capture the infectious violence of a riot. The scene takes you with it.

    I didnt remember the canted angles either. This article made me want to go back to and rewatch the riot scene.

    @ "I think he did it because he was enraged and felt a desire to do something about what had just happened. It’s the very opposite of cold blooded"

    Yeah. Mookie's right to be enraged. But he makes it about race not justice. That's why he's in the wrong.

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  171. Ought one make such categorical distinctions of race and justice when confronted with the wanton destruction of hate? Isn't that just like trying to reason with a psychopath, the King route of let's talk about it, let our voices be heard, presuming the hate has ears.

    I think what Mookie did was wrong but I understand it. If you are powerless you make yourself heard by any means necessary. The riot would make news, there would be some attention laid on what happened. Its a desperate despicable act but to do nothing would also be despicable.

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  172. So I found out today that Paul Haggis was a Scientologist

    I say was because he's in the news for quitting it and sending a letter out about it. How bout that.

    Now if he can also quit sucking we'd be going somewhere.

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  173. So Emma and I rewatched this the other night (first for her) and I (we) still really enjoyed it. The emotional impact that I got the first time is gone since I know what is going to happen and the first 25 minutes or so are ludicrously (no pun intended) heavy handed. The race fighting in the beginning is retarded – no one talks like that.

    But the actors are the ones who really carry this movie. Everyone is great in the movie (shit, even Ryan Phillipe is alright here). Cheadle, Bullock, Michael Peña, Dillon, Terrence Howard are all awesome. I think for first timers, this is a really great melodrama if you can get past the first reel. It wears off on subsequent viewings, but I still enjoy watching the performances and the look of the whole spectacle.

    It's also put together pretty well; it never feels clunky. Take Magnolia and just add some cheese and race relations and you've got Crash.

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  174. I hope that you have finally gotten around to RASHOMON, because if you are watching this Haggis movie for the 3rd or 4th time and ignoring the Kurosawa masterpiece, then boo-urns!

    Reply
    • Yeah I watched Rashomon like 2 months ago. Didn't I mention it on the Cinecast? Thought it was relatively boring; ZERO emotional impact. Some really nice shots, but the story has since been done so many times that it was just uninteresting at this point. Also the acting was just… weird and kind of off-putting.

      I respect the movie in retrospect for its time and place and for what it is. Will I ever watch it again? No.

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  175. Andrew, you just summed up most of my thoughts about Kurosawa films in general. I thought it was a Japanese thing, but I've since found a bunch of Japanese films that I love very much, so now I'm wondering if it's just Kurosawa, and I don't know what to make of that. So many people think he's just amazing, and I don't get it. 🙁 I do want to watch High and Low, though – if I don't like that one, which sounds right up my alley, I may give up.

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  176. I do not think it is possible to watch HIGH & LOW and not be blown away by how fucking awesome (and for that matter, modern feeling in its ambition and structure) it is.

    But I disagree with you both (jandy and andrew) in that Kurosawa films are boring. even if many other filmmakers have borrowed heavily from him (just as Kurosawa borrows heavily from John Ford) it doesn't make his own films any lesser. Holy shit, RASHOMON is (for me personally) just as engaging as any of its imitators.

    Anyway, I'm off to see RedBeard on Sunday, it's playing at the local cinematheque as a part of a Kurosawa retrospective. It's a first-time watch for me, and I expect no less than greatness.

    we will have to agree to disagree on this subject.

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  177. I'd totally disagree with the boring statement too. I understand the emotional detachment you describe, but boring? It's been about a decade since I saw Rashomon so I can't comment on that, but one of the things that blew me away rewatching Sanjuro and finally catching High and Low, was just how entertaining they are, even by modern 30-second attention span standards.

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    • Just to be clear: I never said Kurosawa is boring.

      I said Rashomon was kind of boring. I'm seeing Ran at the local art house in a couple of weeks for its 25th anniversary cut. I look forward to that. I also like Seven Samurai quite a bit.

      In Rashomon, "engaging" is the adjective furthest from how I actually felt.

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  178. I strongly agree with Kurt and David. For me (and quite a few others, it seems), Kurosawa's films are majorly engaging and fresh. I do know that he often got from his actors a more exaggerated and theatrical acting style than what is usually seen, and Rashomon definitely shows this. So I can see where you're coming from, Andrew, but unlike you, I find it to be totally compelling with every viewing, even though by now I practically know the narrative twists and stylistic touches by heart.

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    • Again, the style is awesome. The story is just so bland with zero depth. It relies too much on Mifune, who is frankly just kind of annoying with his monkey-like antics. Not to mention the terrible fight choreography.

      I like Hero (IMDB).

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    • The CriterionCast (new favorite in the movie podcast world) just did their last show on Ozu's A Story of Floating Weeds. I look forward to diving into this director's vault.

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  179. I dunno – I think the story has tons of depth. The emotions felt by the characters during the key incident (in each of the four times), their respective reasons for killing the man, their respective reasons for lying (once you figure out that each of them are lying), the three characters re-living the story in the gate, etc. There's lots there, but I suppose you just weren't affected by it.

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  180. As for the "terrible" fight choreography, I think Kurosawa wanted it to look kinda clumsy – at least for the final fight between Mifune and the man. In the previous fight, as narrated by Mifune, it's meant to somewhat glorify him, to show that he put on a good fight before triumphing over the man. But in the last version of the grove story, there is no music at all (unlike the previous segments), and none of the combatants are particularly triumphant-looking. Quite the contrary, they're scared shitless – Mifune is trembling like crazy in that scene. And ultimately, they're just clumsily trying to kill each other – a down-and-dirty fight, as seen from a (somewhat) objective viewpoint instead of one of the men, who would have presented a more biased perspective. That's how I see it, at least.

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  181. I'm not badmouthing Ozu, he's a genius, but as incredibly well made as his films are they are very slow. Kurosawa might lack the subtlety and emotional wallop of Ozu, but his films are a hell of a lot more entertaining. I wouldn't want to pick one over the other though as they're both brilliant at what they do.

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  182. I think I just don't get the acting style. I don't have a problem with emotional detachment (I freaking love Godard and Antonioni), if you want to call it that, but I don't feel like I get anything real from the actors – it's either blank faces or so over-done I don't believe it. I'm not sure if I should blame that on Kurosawa or not – but I watched Sansho the Bailiff a few months ago, and that absolutely BROKE ME UP, so it can't just be that I don't get any older Japanese film.

    As regards Ozu, though, I've tried to watch Tokyo Story two or three times and I never get more than twenty minutes in or so before I get too antsy to continue. That's a failing on my part, and I intend to go it again before long – it's been a few years since my last attempt. Or maybe I should start with a different Ozu film instead.

    Andrew, I just started listening to CriterionCast, with the show on Revanche. They spoiled Revanche a bit, but I'd seen it; do you know if they generally talk about the endings of the films they cover?

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    • CriterionCast. I only listened to the Floating Weeds episode so far and they didn't spoil that one I didn't think. Good to know on the Revanche one however. I think the point is sort of like our movieclub: We're supposed to watch the movie before listening to the show.

      Next week: Michael Bay's The Rock. Haha.

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  183. Funny – Criterioncast just popped up on my podcast radar recently too. I have yet to start listening, but I think I might begin with their episode regarding Hunger – once I finally watch the Criterion disc I picked up a few days ago.

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  184. They just kind of mention in passing a couple of things that are at the ending – Revanche doesn't really depend on not knowing its ending, though, and even with that I'm not sure you'd know from the way they said it that it was the ending. You know how sometimes you only recognize things as spoilers if you've seen the movie and know what they're talking about it? It was kind of like that.

    But I agree, I think it's better to watch them ahead of time, and they do announce what they'll be discussing in advance.

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  185. I've only seen 2 Ozu movies, Good Morning and An Autumn Afternoon. They are both slow. They are both amazing.

    Of Kurosawa I have seen Seven Samurai as a kid all I remember is that it's long, maybe it's watchable, tried watching Ran and turned it off an hour in, watched Rashomon and thought it was inane and uninteresting – definitely a way slower movie than any of Ozus.

    Ozus movies are lovely calm and delicate. Not much happens, but everything that does happen is interesting and engaging. Kurosawas movies are basically emulating blockbusters.

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  186. I'm in total agreement with your Ozu comments, but I do find Kurosawa's films an easier watch. Each to their own I guess…

    I've just ordered the Masters of Cinema double set of Sansho the Bailiff and Gion Bayashi. Looking forward to giving Mizoguchi a try, I've not seen any of his work yet.

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  187. I saw Sansho the Bailiff at a rep cinema, and I seriously was sitting in my car for like a half hour in the parking lot before I could pull it together enough to drive. That's only happened to me a few times. I'm going to keep plugging away at Kurosawa, if only to say I've tried them all. Maybe one day they'll click.

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  188. "One day, you're an uncaring, tough-talking boxing coach, the next, a completely redeemed mercy-killer — all in about two hours. It's just so easy! In the world of Haggis and Hollywood, resolutions come fast and furious"

    ANd in defense of Crash I say again, it is not aspiring for verisimilitude, it is living the Hollywood fantasy scenario, the same way any number of vintage films did back in the day… I just watched The Treasure of Sierra Madre, the characterization in that is laughable, the hammering home of the theme is laughable, but you enjoy it outside of any need of realism.

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  189. call it Hollywood hyper-reality. Its the same of Avatar, and I am able to enjoy that wavelength without it offending me, most times. So long as they don't try to keep the feet on the ground but give in to the 'magic of hollywood' I am usually able to enjoy it on that level.

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  190. I agree with you with regards to most Hollywood films and 'hyper-reality', but the problem for me is when films (like Crash) are presented so earnestly and clearly want to be taken very seriously. The Treasure of Sierra Madre may hammer home a theme, but it's within a fun thrill-ride of a movie (I've not seen it by the way so I might be wrong). Something like Crash wants to be more than a fluffy piece of Hollywood entertainment, it wants critical recognition and gravitas and shoves that agenda in your face. So when the 'message' and the themes seem to be the film's chief focus point I'm going to critique it most heavily on that. Avatar and Sierra Madre may have blunt themes but they really exist to entertain and excite so I'll focus on that when I watch them.

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  191. Treasure of Sierra Madre is not a thrill-ride, its about GREED in big bold letters in the same way Crash is about RACE. Everything in both films exist to respond to the theme, they don't exist in reality, they exist in the imagination of Hollywood. The coincidental meet ups in Crash are like they all lives within four blocks of each other, not a sprawling Los Angeles. Everything everyone is talking about pertains to race and that is not an error in verisimilitude, that is by design. It is not meant to be real, anymore than Shakespeare is meant to be real, and yes I am comparing Haggis to Shakespeare 🙂 Dramatic license has been taken to indulge in the theme without the now more fashionable restraints of storytelling realism. Crash indulges in melodrama too, and the same way I wouldn't criticize Douglas Sirk films for being sappy, I apply to Crash. Not all of it works for me, let's be clear. Sometimes it crosses the line, it wavers, it stumbles, or has uninteresting points to make, but there is also a lot of good and interesting elements…

    quoting the review:

    "intriguing in this film was the study of race relations between people of the same color, which for me is the real revelation of the film, when it veered away from antagonisms between blacks and whites and looked at how they behave as communities in opposition to an ‘other’."

    "What sticks out sharply in reflection are the overt plot points that Haggis hammers home but one forgets the little bits in between, Ludacris’ and Cheadle’s story arcs in particular really work, and if one can suspend disbelief and try not to be turned off by the racial commentary of the film, it is an enjoyable if sometimes guilty pleasure"

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  192. Stay tuned for a MOVIE CLUB PODCAST later this weekend in which we dissect this film. I think it’s probable that I’ll be the sole voice of positivity on this one.

    We’re also hitting the Cronenberg CRASH if you are so inclined to have a listen:

    movieclubpodcast.com

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