I’m a little late to the party. This was released quite a while back, wasn’t it?
I hoped, desperately expected, a relevant and insightful glimpse into American greed, that voracious monster that gobbles up our cultural dream and vomits out a bland, monetized culture of insignificance; or maybe, a wise dissection of America’s soulless national idiosyncratic consumerist culture topped with sugary toppings of conspicuous consumption.
Instead, I find myself sitting through the longest, most droll piece of crap I’ve seen in ages.
Rather than using the cinematic format to create a pointed observation about financial American entropy, director Martin Scorsese and scriptwriter, Terence Winter, have joined ill-fated forces to mold an excessively long vapid superficial examination that is so bad, so vague and meandering, that I keep losing track of what the theme is. And why is this sound on this movie so loud and grating that it requires me to turn the volume down to levels I usually avoid because of my middle-aged, heavy-metal-damaged hearing?
I hate the movie for what it fails to tackle, and for its smug self-assertion about what a grand statement it is making about American greed when in fact, it only manages to shed a dim glow that approaches the subject from a disconnected, moronic level of non-interpretation.
The movie is rolling right now, as I type, and Leonardo DiCaprio is giving a robotic performance dictated by the Scorsese Manly Formula, but lacking in charm or ingenuity. Movies like this, seeking to self-importantly conjure a culturally damning commentary, instead do more harm by being chickenshit vehicles of mass media inanity than biting examinations of a subculture they do not apparently have the energy nor intellectual fortitude to tackle.
I expected “Wall Street,” but got a haltingly narrated rote knock-off of Goodfellas seeking to make a sophomoric sociological statement.
Quite oddly, it’s actually a very difficult thing for me to hear, and perhaps, by extension, to integrate and accept.
We were discussing a mutual co-worker who appears to have alienated a good many people due to her complaining, back-stabbing, negativity and overall unfriendly vibe despite her superior abilities. This person might have been overlooked for an internal promotion due to her “stellar” personality. We don’t know this with certainty, but we have a strong suspicion.
Anyhow, we discussed this co-worker’s predicament and contrasted her with another employee in her department who is well-liked and popular and who, it turns out, was offered an opportunity to “move up” within the company regardless of the fact he didn’t seek it out, and despite the fact he is very average ability. Essentially, the opportunity fell in his lap. Quite an opposite situation of the other person we spoke of. He represents a jovial, cooperative employee who was rewarded for his outgoing attitude.
I joked, somewhat facetiously, “and then there are those of us who are friendly, hard-working, and sharp but who always get overlooked.” She looked at me and told me blankly, “You are not friendly.”
OK, I know this.
But, see…it’s not that I am not friendly. It’s that I have simply integrated this outward expression of utter neutrality. I treat everyone equally, I barely conceal my distaste, disguised as indifference and aloofness, for most people. I don’t treat them badly, however. I am respectful, or at the very least, accepting. In other words, I give people the time of day. I don’t shine them on or treat them like crap. However, I do not dabble in BS, small talk, fluff talk, routine chit chat, superficial inanities. I don’t go out of my way to visit people, to laugh and bond over that verbal glue that holds the human race together. In this respect, I am not “friendly” if that is to be defined as the profuse expression of artificial positivism and disingenuous validations. I compliment rarely and humor nothing which I don’t see worthy of my time. But I am friendly in the respect that I will say “hi” and even smile for people. I am not a grave, dire person but I also don’t live outside myself and thus, pay little attention to others in a flagrant, tryhard manner. My demeanor is closed off from others in that I do not acknowledge them or seek approval of the outside world.
I’ve often joked with my family and close acquaintances that I am fully capable, if the situation called for it, of sitting in an empty room for a day while staring at the wall. I could do this. It would not bother me. There is enough of an internal mental life and concomitant dialog batting around my brain that this hypothetical situation would not be unbearable to me. I am that much of an introvert.
Now I know all this, but perhaps, when pointed out by someone, it all comes crashing down.
Oh my god. What have I done!
Who am I?
What have I become.
And of course, I have shut the door on so many opportunities by virtue of my behavior and social inaccessibility. I have not let the world in nor have I sought it out. I am content in my own smoldering pot of silence and inward fixation. Knowing this is one thing; having it pointed out, another.
Acceptance is cruel, but really, ultimately, I don’t think I care much or I would have embarked on some route of change and improvement. Instead, I just shrug it off with a mighty “fuck it.” I am happy with who I am.
I am a meritocratic fool. I meander through this life expecting that one day, in spite of myself, I will be surprised and rewarded for my mind and work ethic, solely. I suppose the fact I have survived thus far in this industry is a testament to my merit, and little else, for the entertainment industry is one large, rampant adult social playground of infinite falsities and social duplicity. Merit is fine in the Industry, but you gotta bring lots of other garbage to the table or you will be professionally stillborn. In my case, I believe merit makes up about 93% of my standing while the other 7% is pure personal innocuousness.
I find the PC euphemism of “intellectually disabled” tedious, clumsy and desperate.
Back in my day, we called them retards, maybe dimwits. We didn’t tramp around flower pedals to put a fine fragrant scent of perfume on every turd to present itself.
If you’re able to take a human life, then you’ve surrendered your claim to intellectual disability. The act of initiating a premeditated murder tells me you have joined the ranks of human, hence, your share of brains is adequate enough to call upon that frontal lobe to perform the delicately human task of cold-blooded murder.
If you can find it in your brain to, over the span of your insignificant, noxious life, kill two women and two children, you don’t get to plead dumb. Especially if you look like this, in which case, brains and lack of intellectual vibrancy have little to add in the way of explanation.
Texas has executed an intellectually disabled prisoner despite a high court ban on putting mentally impaired prisoners to death, the second such violation of constitutional protections to occur in the US this week.
Robert Ladd, 57, died by lethal injection on Thursday evening. Under Texas’s unique – and widely ridiculed – definition of intellectual disability, he was deemed capable of being executed because he did not match the degree of mental impairment depicted in a character in a John Steinbeck novel.
In the wake of two Texas executions of allegedly retarded murderers in the past week, Brian Stull of the ACLU (incidentally, a group I routinely support), told the Guardian, “we are in the midst of a complete systems failure in terms of honouring the constitutional protections the supreme court ordered for intellectually disabled people.”
I don’t give a crap about “intellectually disabled” people. And as I said, they cease to be so once they take a life.
They forfeit their “dumb card” upon committing a capital offense.
Reality is not some sappy, apologist Tom Hanks piece of crap movie like The Green Mile.
In real life, people can be vile murderers and dumb as rocks. It doesn’t make them a saint or deserving of any special guilt-tortured human grace.
“Most random.” That is a boast not to be taken lightly.
I’m fascinated by the concept of random. What is elemental randomness?
One of the most random processes in nature is radioactive decay, which occurs on an atomic level. Any atom has a constant probability of decaying regardless of its existence’s traits. The constant probability across all objects points to mind-boggling randomness.
However, on the macro level of human existence, very little is truly random since our reality is overwhelmingly steered by preconceived notions, upraising, ego, sensual appetites, lust and gluttony.
In that order.
Since most transitory stages of existence in circumstances and matter are dependent on such rudimentary conscious and subconscious levels, nothing of a human nature can truly be considered random in the quantum sense where all probability waves exist at such an elemental state of primordial simplicity that they are bound only by the unforgiving nature of randomness itself.
Humans are the sums of billions upon billions of scattered interdependent states of reactions, and thus, their human-sized decisions and behaviors are easily explicable by psychology, sociology, genetics and physical aberration. We are horribly complex systems.
Hence, not very random.
So…the most random fellow we ever saw is, in fact, the most random fellow we ever saw. No lie.
Likewise, he is also the least random fellow we ever saw. That’s what he left out.
The location of the crash was situated between two schools, Monterey Park Christian School and Meher Montessori School (map).
The identity of the crossing guard was being withheld.
No information was released regarding the driver of the vehicle.
Now it did not catch my eye because I know the intersection and drive through it occasionally. Or because I went to the nearby intermediate (what we called them in the 70’s) public school where the crossing guard worked.
No, you see, this caught my attention because it’s been just over two weeks since my dash cam caught an amusing driving maneuver at the very same intersection while the same crossing guard watched on.
When you buy a dash cam, there is a tendency at the outset to show every little stupid incident and boring street nuance because the urge to do so when you have it on tape is a bit…overwhelming. In time, you accustom yourself to having such a ridiculous mobile toy and you realize that most of the crap you catch on video is not really that amazing or spellbinding. And this video, while curious, was hardly noteworthy. Until tonight when I learned that same crossing guard was killed today.
It happened two weeks ago at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Avenue in Monterey Park, California, on the morning of Monday, January 12. It was foggy as hell. The air was frigid and damp. Water seemed to linger and trickle everywhere. I sat at a red light along with a Camry on my left. We waited for the light to change while the doomed crossing guard manned his lonely cold post. Suddenly, and inexplicably, the Camry darted forward just before the light turned green, nearly colliding with a truck. It was an utterly lame move but not unheard of in the heavily-Chinese suburb east of Los Angeles.
The crossing guard looked on, probably with an amused expression in his eyes. You see crossing guards like this everywhere. Elderly men who find it fulfilling to earn a little spending money while helping children cross school-adjacent streets. They are seniors and thus exude maturity, security, and safety. Well, this crossing guard, who was 70 according to the news, was tucked on the right side of screen. He was bundled up and I thought of this video the instant I heard of his death. Just two weeks later.
He has not been identified, and watching the video now, which I only posted on Facebook back then due to the amusing Camry move, with the shrouding fog and the near accident, seems a little haunting and ominous, and a whole lot of sad.
Not a good intersection for crossing guards.
RIP, crossing guard guy :(
You shall live on sorta forever thanks to this rickety old blog of mine.
The 19-year-old man who was driving the car that struck and killed a school crossing guard Tuesday has a California driver’s license, California Highway Patrol officials said Thursday.
Spokeswoman Officer Doris Peniche said she didn’t know when the license was issued but said it is a valid one.
She said the CHP is still trying to determine if Jin Yang of Monterey Park was texting before the fatal collision Tuesday on Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Street. The crossing guard, 76-year-old Abel Castellanos, died at the scene.
Yang hasn’t been arrested or charged.
Peniche said the investigation could be completed in a week or two.
According to the CHP, Yang was driving a Ford Mustang southbound on Garfield Avenue at about 50 mph. A Toyota Celica northbound on Garfield Avenue was stopped on the left turn lane.
Peniche said Yang stepped on the brakes, steered to the right and lost control of the car.
The Mustang went onto the corner and struck Castellano who was sitting in a folding chair.
Peniche said Yang’s mother, Yin Hua Li, suffered moderate injuries in the crash and was taken to Garfield Medical Center. Li was released from the hospital that night, she said.
Yang or Li couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
The crossing guard was identified as Abel Flores Castellanos, 76. The clip below alludes to police “cracking down” on reckless driving on this street. Duh. The street has intersections, parked cars, crosswalks, but people use it as a freeway.