Watching the World – Zimbabwe: Neria

On African in-laws.

Trouble with in-laws is a predicament that transcends borders and cultures. Getting along with one member of any given family is never a guarantee that the others will be agreeable in one’s relations, and the odds only grow less favorable of cooperation when material matters such as money, property, and sex are thrown into the mix. Combined with tremendous institutional and customary power to ruin lives, and a patriarch with no moral compass aside from his id; you get the 1993 Zimbabwean picture Neria.

Zimbabwe has never been a country known for her rich cinematic history. Most of the pictures made until the 1980s in this country were horrific propaganda pieces designed to terrorize the majority-black populace into submission towards the Rhodesians, including outright snuff films of guerrillas being eaten by hyenas (which I’ve yet to see uploaded to the Web, but can easily imagine existing in a world where the Dagestani Massacre is unfortunate enough to have been filmed). Combined with the economic ruin brought about by President Robert Mugabe’s brutal land-seizures against thousands of the Nation’s Whites starting in 2000, there has been almost no point in Rhodesian or Zimbabwean history since the invention of film where any kind of cinematic culture could thrive at all.

Aside from the 80s and 90s: when Neria, Flame, Jit, Everyone’s Child, and almost every other fondly-remembered Zimbabwean picture was released; concluding with 2000’s Yellow Card.

With the exception of Wrestlemania XX, it’s hard to think of a feel-good ending more retrospectively depressing than that of Neria. A film about the abuse of tribal custom at the hands of a greedy, selfish in-law named Phineas (Dominic Kanaventi: former Zimbabwe Actor’s Guild President and, as of 2009, an American citizen) who wants to bully his own brother’s widow (Jesese Mungoshi, the titular protagonist) into becoming his second wife; and whose plans are thwarted by the magic of the rule of law and a robust judicial system that cares about the well-being of the nation’s people. Phineas’ hideous disregard for his extended family may be extreme even by chauvanist African tribal standards — he not only steals Neria’s home, but refuses to drive his niece to the hospital when her appendix bursts, leaving Neria to carry her alone on foot — the problem of in-laws stealing homes from widows in Zimbabwe is sadly commonplace to this day.

Zimbabwe’s squander of her promise has been rightly mourned by all aside from the kleptocratic sociopaths currently ruling the unfortunate land; but the spirit of Neria shows not only that the desire for a fair society transcends cultures, those who wish it shall continue to fight for its achievement no matter how long they must tredge through failure on the way.

As for the actual quality of the film: I enjoyed it, but the limitations director Godwin Mawuru was under are more than a little obvious. Namely the audio-recording and the cinematography, which is reminiscent of a budget picture from the 1950s. The most famous person in the picture is a musician and composer of the film’s soundtrack, Oliver Mtukudzi; and during his performances with his band, it’s more than a little obvious that the audio you hear in the film is not the same as what was being performed on the stage. But none of Neria‘s production weaknesses are blatant or distracting enough to be a dealbreaker, and Mtukudzi’s music touches the heart regardless of the listener’s knowledge of Swahili.

I’m glad I watched Neria. The titular character’s triumph may be both literal and metaphorical fiction, but a fight that is righteous and deserving has no bearing on said fight’s odds of success. Literal and metaphorical doom for what is noble is worth more than any number of victories for the side of evil; and if Neria was ultimately on the wrong side of history, it was a loss any with a soul should happily take the dive with.

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O.R. Welles is a current writer trying his hand at film reviewing. He can be found working on his Watching the World series, and linking to the IMDb page of Neria in the post-script of his review.

Watching the World – Introduction: Shamelessly Ripping Off Ann Morgan

Is this how Dave Sim felt?

Of course not! He committed for thirty years.

I’ve found a gimmick, and I intend to see it through.

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When I started writing for my website, the earliest advice I received recommended that I find a topic no one else was writing about, still being of interest to a broad group, while remaining something I have both interest and expertise in.

Needless to say, this task is close to impossible. If it weren’t, everyone would be a professional writer. But eventually, I found not only inspiration, but an endless supply of material to work with and research. Eventually, I found the ‘countries’ section of IMDb.

Jean Cocteau once said that film will only become an art when it’s materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper. That point has not quite been reached yet, but we still live on a planet where everyone from tech billionaires to Somali peasants has access to audiovisual recording technology, editing software, and distribution channels to uncountable hundreds of millions in nearly every corner of the planet. All this is well close enough to Jean Cocteau’s standard for my lack of patience to clear, and my silly gimmick to prop itself up.

So I’ve decided: I will go through the entire IMDb countries list, starting with the less-common countries section and saving obvious countries like Spain and Japan for a later date, until I’ve seen at least one film, documentary, or series of shorts from every country that has — or ever had — produced a film with an IMDb page. I shall do so starting immediately, hopefully working my way through the list of less common countries by August of next year, and I shall go through the list in reverse-alphabetical order for no reason other than my personal fancy.

It’s the perfect idea for WordPressers like myself. So perfect, an almost identical idea was already accomplished by London authress Ann Morgan in 2012. But I’m nowhere near stupid enough to care against shamelessly ripping off successful ideas as long as they’re worth taking. As Jim Cornette says: when you steal from one person, it’s plagiarism, when you steal from several, it’s research.

Ann Morgan, stealing from you is an honor.

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O.R. Welles is a freelance writer of aspiring notoriety and financial compensation. He’s still stunned that the people of Zimbabwe haven’t yet resorted to eating their cameras to stave off micronutrient deficiency.

Cathy Young: A Feminist Worth Reading

I just wanted to write about how great Cathy Young’s “Russia’s Global Anti-Libertarian Crusade” article was.

I ended up with an article of my own about how great Cathy Young is.

Cathy Young: A Writer Worth a Tribute Column

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It seems each passing decade, Feminism and Feminists become worse for the World. It’s downright depressing how agreeable rationalizations; women deserving the same legal rights as men; women deserving the same protections and responsibilities as men: are now little more than a distant memory to an orthodoxy indefensible to anyone belonging to the Rougher Sex; women deserving the same outcomes as men; women deserving better outcomes than men; women being identical to men, yet still deserving greater protections due to systemic effects of patriarchy.

It’s bad enough these self-righteous bimbos think the only people who complain about the rights and lives of African and Asian women are white misogynists trying to misdirect from women’s rights in the West when they themselves have known the most comfortable lives in the history of Earth: with notable exceptions that still fall far short of Salafi dementia, such as the many legitimate grievances of mainstream Mormon women. The fact that they’re now waging wars on common sense, biology, and elementary speech rights to which Feminists themselves may be exempt from whenever convenient has poisoned all causes Feminists profess to care about for generations to come. No one cared about Donald Trump’s deplorable pussy tape when the people promoting it were troll-shielding a woman who used the slut-shaming defense to protect a violent statutory-rapist from incarceration; and a post-Millenial right-wing backlash, though still theoretical, could absolutely happen in retaliation against the Feminist War on Reality the same way the War on Drugs fostered contempt for authority in the last half-century.

Not that all is bleak. Indeed, it is only the supreme awfulness of the likes of Anita Sarkeesian and Francesca Ramsey that lets genuine articles like Cathy Young shine.

Cathy Young, a woman who called for a ceasefire between the sexes back in 1999 as the only way to actually attain any kind of desirable progress. Cathy Young, who neither exaggerates nor denies difference between the sexes. Cathy Young, who called out the social left and right for their sexual-harassment double standards regarding Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton, and who called out exactly how both sides self-inflicted bullet wounds to their feet would damage them a generation on.

Ms. Young was ultimately ignored by both sides, their powers and influence withered and gangrened to the point where both exist today only as liabilities; but she tried, damnit!

But Young’s greatest achievement in my eyes, and the inspiration for this article, is her treatment of Russia. No blind patriot: Young repeatedly attacked the Western Left for their defense of the oligarchic ethnic-cleansing enthusiasts who run Moscow while justifiably defending Sarah Palin on one of the rare occasions the Moose-huntress was in the right, and their coddling of Kremlin-friend Edward Snowden even while acknowledging the good that could come from preventing unchecked-N.S.A. power. No partisan hack: Young did the same against Trump-tards and right-wing opportunists who’ve taken a shine to Vladimir Putin when he lent them a helping hand to the White House for the mere cost of eviscerating eighty percent of their political positions since the Reagan Era. My favorite bit from the article comes below:

[P]ro-Russian (or at least anti-anti-Russian) arguments have become fairly common not just among conservatives but among a contingent of libertarians, such as former Rep. Ron Paul and Antiwar.com Editorial Director Justin Raimondo. The new Republican affection for Russia is largely a matter of political polarization: Since Putin is the Democrats’ boogeyman du jour, he can’t be all bad. But quite a few conservatives also genuinely see Putin’s Russia as a Christian ally against Islam, a perspective recently endorsed by Ann Coulter in a March column trollishly titled “Let’s Make Russia Our Sister Country.”

That view manages to ignore not only Russia’s coziness with Iran but the fact that one of Putin’s staunchest domestic allies, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, runs a de facto sharia state within the Russian Federation. This spring, Kadyrov was in the news for throwing gay men in prison camps and threatening a fatwa on Russian journalists who exposed the persecution.

I expressed the same sentiment myself in my “Russia’s Islamist Problem” article last month. Thanks to Cathy Young, a meaningful number of people will now read that message.

The respect I’m showing Young doesn’t just come from my agreement with her opinions,. Much as I’ve found them ridiculous and at times contemptible, I felt the same way about Andrea Dworkin and Glenn Beck when both threw middle-fingers at Bill Clinton and Donald Trump respectively rather than sell out their beliefs on sexual abuse, for Dworkin, or free markets, for Beck. Whorish buffoons like Gloria Steinem and Alex Jones sold out to both aforementioned Presidents without hesitation,* get no such leniency from me, and I wish nothing but alimony bills the size of ostrich eggs and cold, underoccupied mattresses to both for the duration of their miserable lives. Though I admit, general agreement certainly makes the expression of affection easier, Cathy Young still possesses something I never properly expressed about anyone.

Until this paragraph:

Perhaps it was her Soviet upbringing that gave her perspective and a bullshit detector worth more than a bucket of warm piss, but the woman has patience for neither right nor left-wing bullshit. But, given the demented ramblings of Ayn Rand sprung from the same scenario, I believe this the real truth: a good writer can omit or bullshit as long as they’ve no concern for anything but themselves; a writer who cares about anything else is required to either be terrible, or become terrible; but no writer can do both at once.

Cathy Young hasn’t, and I have faith she’ll stay so forever.

*Nor do I believe “changing your mind” and “selling out” need be the same thing; Laci Green being a good example of the former, and George “Maddox” Ouzounian being a great example of the latter. But that’s an article for another day.

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O.R. Welles is spinning his wheels. He can be found smoking a pipe and re-reading The Lord of the Rings.

Joking About Donald Trump Having Sex With Men Isn’t Anti-Gay

I would like to thank Andrew Kahn for curing my writer’s block.

Humor can, does, and must, exist independent of socjus concerns.

* * *

Writer’s block is a funny thing. Not due to the difficulty of inspiration: most writers have far more worthwhile ideas they’ll do nothing with in a year than their total number of ideas good or bad they’ll have actually used in a lifetime. The funny part comes when you’ve been desperate to come up with something to write about that hasn’t already been exhausted in the recent collective consciousness of whatever sphere you consider your own; and, after getting halfway through a piece that just barely touches your standard of acceptability, you open up some recent material from whatever news source is most technologically convenient to access in your era, and inspiration strikes you so perfectly you toss out whatever crap you’ve been working on and pump out something you actually feel happy about with no effort or struggle beyond that of your usual writing routine.

For me, that happened when I opened Slate this afternoon to see a lament that people were making jokes about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin having sexual intercourse because of America’s “weaponized bigotry.” In the words of the Slate editor who greenlit Andrew Kahn’s piece and clickbait-ified the title for publication, “our worst villains must be gay.”

Something happened to the World after the Mayan Apocalypse. In all previous years of history, the humor behind fat old men with terrible haircuts having sex with anyone never had to be qualified to check against bigotry. There are hundreds of millions of humans alive today, and billions from Mankind’s history, who were always comical creatures in sexual matters. There are examples for this across all sexes, races, and attractions that have existed or will exist; and to suggest merely because some among those number have been the victims of bigotry and persecution, these groups should be spared all jokes that could be interpreted as an attack on them personally is the kind of compassion only the deliberately stupid or sociopathically cynical could advocate.

This applies just as much to those belonging to oppressed groups in their lifetime as it does to people in the case of Trump and Putin who are merely being mocked via the suggestion that they’re among such folk. D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was caught on tape with a crack pipe and a crack whore. J. Edgar Hoover left his estate to Clyde Tolson, his “best friend” of nearly half a century, and the same man that draped the flag over the coffin at Hoover’s funeral. Michael Jackson, gay and black, launched a lifelong propaganda campaign to convince the world of his heterosexuality, culminating in 1994 when MTV broadcasted the least romantic kiss in the history of television at the Music Video Awards between Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, his wife at the time wife. I’m sure there were and are plenty of David Dukes who laughed uproariously at all three of those developments. That still doesn’t make these examples any less humorous, nor the quest to purge the mind of unacceptable comedic reactions any less tantamount to crimestop.

Lastly, the greater sin of Kahn’s article is not anything I’ve already mentioned, nor even the insult to his readers intelligence at the end of the piece when he offers them his quarter-assed I don’t think most people who make jokes about Trump being gay are personally homophobic apology — itself immediately followed by Kahn’s I do sense something peculiar qualifier, like he was trying for weasle-word bingo in writing this article. The real damage that can and will be done when crying before hurting becomes both socially acceptable and an effective method of problem solving is that the least scrupulous among us will find problems in all places of any, or no, validity and will use this public consciousness shift to abuse as many people they dislike as they possibly can. They will do so unceasingly, and do so regardless of whether the problem they complain about is even something they actually oppose. In fact, as those who remembered the recent kerfuffle Stephen Colbert had with the F.C.C. for homophobic remarks towards a public servant would know, that’s exactly what President Donald Trump and his acolytes have already done.

Nevermind. It’s already too late.

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O.R. Welles is a freelance writer of aspiring notoriety and financial compensation. He can be found nowhere particularly important, just the way he likes it.

Donald Trump’s Violent Demise Just Isn’t Funny Anymore

If only Nancy Pelosi would finally have a stroke.

Why it was much funnier before the election.

* * *

On September 23rd, 2015, Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s South Park aired what might very well be the meanest punchline ever broadcast on American television at the climax of the season 19 episode “Where My Country Gone?”. South Park Elementary teacher and noted sexual deviant Herbert Garrison, upon finally losing his patience with the massive influx of Canadian immigrants in his homeland, vows to invade America’s Northern Neighbor and personally fuck every last Canadian to death. His quest impeded by the unexpected construction of a Canadian Great Wall, Mr. Garrison decides his best option is to be catapulted over Niagra Falls from the New York side to the Ontario side so his quest of sexual genocide can begin.

It nearly kills him, but being a cartoon character, Garrison is able to survive the stunt, make his way to Ottowa wearing only a singlet, and reaches their capitol building to find Canada a wasteland: the population fleeing after electing a disastrously stupid and cruel unnamed man with terrible hair to lead the nation. Garrison finds the creature grooving to “The Safety Dance” flanked by only two security officials, neither of whom intervene as the two men start a wrestling match, even after Garrison gets the upper hand and removes his singlet. . . .

. . . Garrison keeps his word, and it was the funniest ending to any TV episode in history.

So what makes the recent Kathy Griffin and Johnny Depp shenanigans different? Why does “Where My Country Gone?” still hold up while the severed mannequin head died on the vine?

It certainly wasn’t the fact that Stone and Parker didn’t actually mention Donald Trump by name. Charles Foster Kane was a less obvious stand-in for William Randolph Hearst. Nor was it the acts obscenity. Griffin and Depp combined weren’t remotely as offensive as a man getting raped to death. Nor is it the prestige of the Office of Presidency. Donald Trump was born a smug, stupid, Yankee choad who will die a smug, stupid, Yankee choad; and will remain as such every moment of his unwanted life in between those points. No position of any kind is prestigious enough to bring value to such a worthless occupant. If a man like Donald Trump were revealed to be the Messiah; all members of the World’s Abrahamic faiths would become Dharmists or Communists.

No. The difference between even as short a timespan as 2015 and 2017 is, even with the meanest mockery of any political candidate by both the U.S. mainstream media and the average American citizen, Donald J. Trump still got what he wanted and those who had a meaningful chance at preventing otherwise made all the wrong moves to stop him, when they bothered trying at all. There’s room for neither joy nor heroics when those who stand up to the evil and stupid are dishonest and cruel the whole way to the battle only to belly-flop their way to failure upon meeting their adversary.

The mainstream media of the United States, for all the remarkably brutal jokes they’ve made at Trump’s expense before and after 2016, always gave him a free platform worth untold millions with their coverage of him because Trump was a celebrity who drew good ratings in places viewers otherwise ignored. All unscripted. All cheap. Only once he’d completely destroyed all opposition to him running next to an ‘R’ rather than a ‘D’ was his persona actually looked at critically by the likes of CNN’s detestable president and longtime Trump suck-up Jeff Zucker. Only once he threatened her political ambitions did Hillary Clinton call out the detestable past racist actions of the man whose third wedding she attended with a smile.

The average American, even those who know Donald Trump deserves every insult ever thrown at him, also knows the 2016 Election and the media disaster surrounding it was never about standing up to the evil and powerful. Donald Trump could’ve been eviscerated and marginalized long before his famous escalator ride if the media did their jobs properly from the beginning rather than fatten themselves off advertising revenue and increased subscriptions from Trump’s three-ring circus. The mainstream media in America hates Donald Trump because they couldn’t stop him from gaining power the one time they actually tried to fight against him rather than for him.

The Secret Service puts an eye out on anybody who jokes about killing the President regardless of the President or the threatener’s individual morality. As they should. The preservation of institutional and democratic norms in countries that actually have institutions worth preserving is more important than the consequences of a terrible leader who still has to live with meaningful checks and balances. Americans have multiple mechanisms to dispose of bad officials both before and after they become a problem, but those who could’ve meaningfully helped to stop this fiasco before it happened have no right to act like members of the Rebel Army when they were to incompetent to perform their civic duties for at least a generation. This is a temper tantrum, and those throwing it are getting exactly what they deserve.

Pity instead the rest of Humanity, who suffers at their side.

The Classic Gay Rainbow Flag Isn’t Racist

When did the folks at Tierney stop condoning the murder of gays?

Only the profound phoniness of the issue could allow it to take off.

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The poisonous nature of loaded questions are reasonably common knowledge to most of the thinking population, even if many still lack the ability to properly stand up to the practice. The classic “Have you stopped beating your wife?” example is insidious precisely because any answer given by the questioné automatically validates the assumption of the questioner.

Likewise — even though the term was only just now coined by myself and doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page at the moment — the sister practice of the loaded solution is, if anything, even worse than her more famous family member. The classic example, should this term become commonplace, would be the recently-unveiled eight-color L.G.B.T. flag by the Philadelphia Office of L.G.B.T. affairs. It proposes a problem that doesn’t exist, creates a solution with no uses aside from solving said fake problem, automatically insults everyone who doesn’t immediately adopt the solution; and, much like loaded questions or the Global Thermonuclear War Game, the only winning move is not to play. Most insidious of all, the loaded solution is often presented as a sort of gift, even when accompanied with an outrolling of merchandise by the cruel, cynical blood-suckers who created said worthless product in the first place.

These people are called “marketers,” and the marketing team that added black and brown stripes to the Gay Rainbow Flag are known by the unimprovable name of Tierney.

None of this information is secret. Even articles promoting this worthless product have cited Tierney by name in their puff pieces,* but that still doesn’t make the practice any less insulting. Homosexuals have integrated along racial lines ever since homosexuals started forming communities at all, even as far back as the Stonewall days. Only a state of reflexive paranoia and the complete impossibility of such a problem being legitimate could possibly enable a solution this worthless to gain ignition rather than immediately being snuffed out in an ashtray like spent tobacco, which at least had some use to someone before burning out.

Even the message of racial inclusion provided by the Eight-color is laughable. Why only two extra stripes to represent racial harmony rather than a more traditional five? Are the red and yellow stripes of the original supposed to represent Amerindians and Orientals as well as the Newtonian color spectrum? Was the original flag being deliberately inclusive of Amerindians and Orientals and deliberately exclusive of Negroes and Maylayans? Why was a white stripe excluded? Because racial harmony is a fantasy?

Was no thought put behind the creation of the Eight-color? Of course not! It was developed by brainless marketing twits who only care about guilting and bullying the gullible and incredulous into buying tacky merchandise.

The Eight-color is bad enough for all of those reasons, but what makes the flag intolerable even by the standards of cynical marketing campaigns is the implied insult to the original flag and creator Gilbert Baker, who passed away earlier this year. There is neither evidence nor accusation that Baker’s design has ever been considered a slight against the ever vague community of “non-whites” the Tierney marketing team insists the flag excludes. Tierney’s flag wouldn’t even exist without Gilbert’s, and that still didn’t keep their marketing hacks from tossing this design in the dumpster rather than smearing a symbol that actually contributed to society as racist.

Tierney only put these stripes on the flag because they knew a community that prides itself on inclusivity to the degree seen in the L.G.B.T. community would provide less resistance to this fake accusation of racism than a family of Christian Fundamentalists in the 1980s would provide to the equally baseless accusations of homosexual heavy metal singers planting subliminal messages into their records encouraging their fans to commit suicide. Having values is all well and good, but no community should willingly slip under the thumb of marketing weasels and loaded-solutionists. Be they L.G.B.T.-ers, feminists, or the Reagan Coalition: thinking human beings should stop tucking their tails between their legs, and start telling the likes of Tierney which hole they can suck.

* Though not all, as the suckers who read Vox have experienced.

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O.R. Welles is an aspiring legend in his own time who has an entire garden hose in his backyard for Vox‘s Alex Abad-Santos to suck raw. He can be found impersonating a Nigerian Prince while conversing with Philidelphia’s L.G.B.T. community and making an absolute killing in the process.