porcelainandporcupines

Archive for the ‘something I did’ Category

Fear not: this is not the usual long-winded post about nothing in particular, although there will obviously be more of those to come in the future, sporadically though they may.

Instead, a housekeeping note: I noticed recently that the Fun With Song Lyrics posts seem to be taking over here. And, while I enjoy those quite a bit, it seems like maybe not the sort of content the 3 of your signed up for when you subscribed to this blog. So I’ve decided to branch those out into their very own blog – funwithsonglyrics.wordpress.com, which you can choose to subscribe to or not in whatever fashion you choose.

To get with the times, there’s even a twitter account – @funwithlyrics – you can follow for updates, or send me requests if there’s a song you desperately want me ruin for you. In a couple of years, there will probably be an Instagram presence, and maybe a while after that, I’ll look into Periscope. Oh, and Reddit! Because that I’m sure will always be a thing. Just like blogging.

Anyway, there’s new content there right now – a close look at the weirdly bleak depiction of love in The Power of Love, by Huey Lewis and the News.

One other housekeeping note, which goes for that blog and this one too:  if you get the content sent to you in some fashion – like a reader or something – I’d appreciate it if you could still at least click over to the actual site  so I know someone besides me is reading this. I know I’ll always be my own biggest fan, but it would be nice to know that someone else is out there too.

Okay! Back to your Tuesday. Wait – Wednesday; back to your Wednesday.

Although I had some grand plans for my first paid vacation in 2 years, I spent the majority of my week and a half vacation wearing pajamas, enjoying the luxuriously soft new sheets I received as a holiday gift, and watching an absurd amount of television on my laptop while Oola Belle slept on my legs. And while I am happy to watch an endless marathon of just about any procedural on USA, I was intrigued by all the passionate reviews of Netflix’s new series Making a Murderer, particularly the favorable comparisons to Serial, whose own second season just returned only to immediately and frustratingly take a holiday hiatus, as well as The Jinx, which I actually didn’t watch but enjoyed reading about. And so, on Sunday, when no other investigative shows seemed to be streaming, I decided to check it.

I did not love it. Not for the reasons that I’d read, because of a justice system that is grossly incompetent at best and deliberately obfuscating the truth at worst, and an innocent man railroaded by a corrupt system, although there was some of that at the outset. But the longer I watched, something nagged at me; it seemed small, almost trivial at first. And then Steven Avery – wrongly accused man who tragically spent 18 years of his life in prison – said he’d been arrested for setting a cat on fire, and I realized the problem is two-fold.

First, I don’t like Steven Avery. While others might find his circumstances to be extenuating, I am comfortable with my unwavering and inflexible belief that, like the waiter rule, an otherwise good person who is cruel to animals is not actually a good person. Steven Avery set a cat on fire, and that is his defining trait as a human being as far as I’m concerned.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think he deserves to be treated fairly by the justice system. That I think he’s garbage for killing an animal doesn’t mean he should have served nearly 2 decades for a horrific crime he had absolutely no part in. Further I thought the show – in the form of one of Steven’s attorney’s – made an excellent point in that much of the reason Steven was in jail for so long is because of a justice system not constructed to investigate its own shortcomings; it is not designed to admit that it has made a mistake.

But what the show doesn’t do, and this is problem the second, is that it doesn’t question Steven’s explanation about what happened with the cat: that he and several friends were playing catch with the cat near a fire, and it unfortunately got burned. Which, even if this is true – and there is ample evidence that it’s not, that Steven very deliberately set a cat on fire and let it burn to death – is not reasonable or excusable behavior. But the show doesn’t question Steven’s explanation. They don’t investigate the contradictory evidence. They let his story pass, uncontested.

The show takes a similarly interesting approach to another of Steven’s prior arrests, mentioned in that first episode, that he ran a woman off the road and pointed a shotgun at her. This was part of an ongoing feud between Steven and his neighbor, who was also a relative, as well as dating a member of the local law enforcement. And while much is made of the fact that Steven had a feud with someone involved with a member of the law enforcement, much less is made of the fact that he ran a woman off the road and pointed a shotgun at her.

In fact, one lawyer while questioning the woman about the incident asks if she had started a rumor about Steven having sex with his (Steven’s) wife on their front lawn. Although it’s not stated outright, it seems to me very heavily to imply that Steven’s violent behavior was somewhat understandable; that perhaps in this case, turnabout was fair play.

And this is what I objected to in the 1.5 episodes that I watched: Steven Avery was unjustly incarcerated, but that doesn’t mean he’s never committed a crime. He has, and serious ones at that. These crimes certainly don’t justify him spending 18 years in prison for something he didn’t do. But, the other side of that coin is that, just because he spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit doesn’t automatically mean he couldn’t possibly also have killed someone. The effort to portray his as an innocent, simple man in my mind betrays the very serious bias of the makers of this project.

I would like to know what happened to Theresa Halbach. But Making a Murderer is not an investigation into the murder of Theresa Halbach. It is not an unbiased presentation of evidence, but someone else’s interpretation of events. Clearly, the filmmakers believe in Avery’s innocence, and judging by the reviews online, the make a compelling case. But they are ignoring key pieces of evidence that don’t support their theory of the crime(s). They’ve presented a plausible alternate theory by going after an easy target in the prosecution that so seriously botched their investigation of the first crime. But there are holes in their own case, too, just as there are holes in the prosecution’s. I can’t overlook them. And their efforts to wave their hands and make them go away just make me not trust them.

I will repeat that I would like to know what happened to Theresa Halbach. It seems unlikely at this late date, with both sides so deeply entrenched in their own stance, that there will ever be a judgement that is accepted as definitive proof. And the real shame of this case (which I must admit I read elsewhere online, although I read so many different articles I can not give proper credit) is that Ms. Halbach has become a footnote in her own story. She, like Steven Avery, deserves justice.

 

 

Jurassic World has gotten some mixed reviews, and rightfully so: some really annoying shit happens before the dinosaurs show up and start eating people. Why anyone would think a child running away from a dinosaur would be more dramatic if said child were sad about his parents impending divorce is beyond me; in a movie like this, the bulk of the drama should be coming from the dinosaurs. And, to be fair, once they show up, everyone you’d hope does actually get killed, so I still give it a thumbs up. But, if you want to make a dinosaur movie but feel like you need something more than a child narrowly escaping the literal jaws of death, here are a few divorce alternatives for upping the drama:

1.Make it Class Trip day at Jurassic World!
More kids makes more suspense. Plus, the teacher could get eaten; since the only real hero who dies in the current Jurassic World is a brontosaurus, this would add a few actual stakes to the story while also allowing the shy and quiet transfer student in the class to step up and shepherd the rest of the class to safety with his or her heretofore unknown leadership skills.

2. Make the older sibling a teenaged girl!
If we’ve learned anything in the past three years, it’s that all you need to avert the apocalypse is a spunky brunette teenaged girl. (Okay, there’s a boy in that last poster, but he’s very attractive, so I’ll allow it.) Imagine how effective she’s be if, instead of being from an impoverished district and having only her own cunning to help her survive, she had actual high tech weapons at her disposal! Dinosaurs running amok? Easy peasey lemon squeezy. WHICH BOY IS SHE GOING TO TAKE TO THE PROM?

3. Have the parents actually be divorced!
What better place for a weekend dad to take his estranged and slightly resentful children to assure them that they’ll always be a family? Nothing brings together broken families like dinosaurs. Plus, in the sequel, we can watch them go to family therapy to deal with the trauma of having been hunted by dinosaurs, as well as the survivor’s guilt of having seen so many others perish. Not to mention the lawsuit as the mother sues for sole custody after the father so recklessly endangered her children. Good times.

4. Have the siblings be identical twins!
Okay, this one is not quite as fully fleshed out as the others – which, in fairness, set a pretty high bar. But there must be a way for a movie whose entire premise is cloning genetic material to incorporate identical twins: they’re nature’s clones! Plus, they could do that thing where it looks like they’re standing next to each other, but it turns out one of them is actually just a reflection of the other. But which one? The dinosaur would never figure it out! Or would she?


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Fun With Song Lyrics

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