Monthly Archives: March 2009

The AFA Blackmails Pepsi

The mob has a lovely little setup they call “protection.” The federal government calls it “racketeering,” and has laws against it.  The American Family Association, headed up by Donald Wildmon learned a lot from La Cosa Nostra; specifically racketeering and strong arm tactics.

Their most recent “project” is an attempt to boycott PepsiCo because Pepsi had the audacity to dare to donate $1M to the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG. It’s very obvious from the AFA’s Boycott Pepsi website they were truly loath to do this. They “asked Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war, but the company refused — choosing to support the homosexual activists.” The BASTARDS! Of course, when AFA said neutral, what they really meant was “side with us,” but that’s just semantics.

Even worse, according to AFA: “Pepsi has made no effort to hide their support for the homosexual agenda!” Can you imagine the nerve? Instead of being ashamed of treating those in the LGBT community like people, Pepsi is actually PROUD of their actions! Well. Obviously, AFA took immediate action, setting up a website  to boycott Pepsi products. They’ve even got links to contact Pepsi distributorships and letters to and from Pepsi, which essentially read like a bad gangster movie.

Recently we noticed that PepsiCo gave a $500,000 donation to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  We were indeed surprised by PepsiCo’s support of the homosexual group.  It would appear to us that PepsiCo would not involve itself in a political and culture war, especially supporting an organization seeking to redefine marriage and family.

We ask PepsiCo to remain neutral in this culture war, neither supporting nor opposing the homosexual agenda.

We would like to discuss this matter with PepsiCo.  Would you have a representative of PepsiCo contact us?

In other words: “Gee, Pepsi. This is a nice little place you got here. Be a real shame if someone were to torch it.”

Pepsi’s response was intelligent, honest and, IMO, brilliant:

’m responding to your letter to our Chairman. In 2008, the PepsiCo Foundation awarded a grant to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to support a national program specifically designed for workplace environments.

The initiative seeks to promote further understanding and equality in the places where people spend much of their time at work.

Among the values promoted by the PepsiCo Foundation is ensuring a work environment that is respectful and where associates are valued for their contributions.  I hope this helps  clarify this grant by the PepsiCo Foundation.

Honestly? Aside from Cherry Pepsi (for which I am an absolute fiend), I’m not much for junk food. But today? I’m tempted to go to the store and buy as many Pepsi products as I can fit in my budget.

Oklahoma State Legislature Jumps the Shark, Film at 11

Recently, the University of Oklahoma to speak at their celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. Dawkins’ talk focused on “seeing purpose all around by looking at the differences between the appearance of purpose, as seen in evolutionary development, and true purpose, being the product of the mind.” All went well, and Dawkins was greeted like a rock star.

Sadly, Rep. Todd Thompson was so threatened by the very thought of the brilliant biologist speaking and discussing evolution at a public university, he went and wrote up two resolutions, one of which stated:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

Rep. Thompson, how dare you? How dare you attempt to enforce what can only be called censorship and hide behind the people of Oklahoma? And how dare you use something as transparent as argumentum ad populum to hide your repugnant and ignorant views? Once the “views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma” have a say in what can and cannot be taught at the UO, then that university will quickly top the list of “schools not to attend.”

The University of Oklahoma is not a religious university.  It is a state institution, and as such is subject to the laws not only of the State of Oklahoma but also the United States. Censorship is a crime, and your resolution is censorship, Mr. Thompson. It is to be hoped that the rest of the state legislature will recognize the harm that would be done not only to the university, but to the state should these resolutions pass. The university will slide further behind the national average and lose students, tax dollars and prestige. The state in turn will become that much less competitive and functional and more deeply entrenched in economic stagnation.

This is precisely why religion should never be allowed control of the state. In every instance, ignorance triumphs over learning.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Sadly, Me.

So the SO and I decided to head over to Plano last weekend to catch Watchmen. His summation? “The movie jumped the shark when they did the slow backward pan from Dr. Manhattan’s asscrack.” I thought it happened a lot sooner than that.

Watchmen did not manage to carry off the dark, gleeful chaos that the Coen Brothers elicited from V for Vendetta or even the surreal alternate universe feel Wimmer created with Ultraviolet. What Zack Snyder presented was, instead, a disjointed, overburdened attempt at wrapping up three plotlines in three hours; a feat not easily accomplished and one that has been the undoing of other directors (I think Spiderman III more or less makes that argument for me). Had he stuck with the core plot, any of those three components may well have succeeded.

I had fairly high hopes during the first half; the buildup of backstory was well presented and the suspense was introduced early. At about the 90 minute mark it started to flounder. One was left with a feeling that the movie was like a Seinfeld episode; not really about anything. The twist on saving humanity from itself was heavy handed and so campy it floundered under its own weight. The only thing that broke the tedium was the sex scenes, and even they couldn’t stop themselves from descending into camp. The whole slamming down of the hand on the “fire” button…wow. I would like to be able to say I enjoyed some other part of the second half of the film, but to be honest, I fell asleep right about the time Silk  Specter the younger went off to Mars with Dr. Manhattan. I haven’t fallen asleep at a movie since Gattaca, and it’s the first time I’ve considered walking out of one since The Saint. 

On a meta level, it was amusing to see this, the conservative whine about whiney liberals and how kindness kills a society all reduced to easy black and white lines, replete right down to the refrain “Won’t someone think of the chilllllldrennnn?!” and the insistence that we are creating our own destruction by “coddling criminals” and the “immoral behavior of whores.”  It’s a conservative wet dream. “Look what you liberals did to us!”  It was almost enough to keep me awake (because I really wanted to laugh at it) but the soporific effect of  Billy Crudup & Matthew Goode’s voices and the absence of direction were impossible to fight.

I am still mystified by the fanboi reaction. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting cinematic masterpeice. All I expected was to be entertained for a few hours, but apparently you can’t make that happen even with a decent story and $100M. If nothing else, it has convinced me that  Zack Snyder is simply incapable of directing a movie I’m interested in watching.