Image for post
Image for post
I’m still in a dream, Snake Eater.

It’s not hard to walk around in 2020 with the feeling that all the metaphors have become literal. Donald Trump brings his supporters to a rally and then leaves them out in the cold. Joe Biden’s campaign rides a bright, well-branded cheery bus; Trump’s drives a hearse. But perhaps the most apt is his constant misuse of Oscar Brown’s civil rights song “The Snake” as a fixture of his rallies, meant to demonize immigrants and refugees when the analogy to his own presidency couldn’t be clearer. …


My first salient memory of the news or current events is the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I was too young to understand specifics but I could already pick up that it was just a lazy, cynical exercise. All the eye-rolling and bloviating and posturing, carried out by senators and pundits who obviously didn’t believe in any of the words coming out of their mouths, and also constantly twisting themselves in knots to keep polite language standards on television. I couldn’t tell what it all actually meant, but I could definitely tell that I was being condescended to.

Around this time was the bombing of Kosovo in 1999. I remember seeing the footage of schools and homes completely destroyed. I remember wondering why we were doing that: we were the good guys, right? Were they bad? Were we at war? Of course, the answer was no. They weren’t “evil” or whatever. We just wanted to control what they would do. And the bombing of other countries was our way of doing that. It’s just a thing that was done. …


When the entire landscape of music changes, even this must too.

I don’t really listen to metal anymore.

Sure, I’ll put on some Blind Guardian, or Cynic, or Fen, or Incantation, or Devin Townsend Project once in a while. I’ll occasionally lose myself in Candlemass’s King of the Grey Islands or check out whatever mind-bending mysteries Toby Driver is up to these days. I’ll put on some vintage Agalloch every fall, and still find myself humming the iconic vocal theme to Lost Horizon’s “Highlander (The One)” like, twice a week. …


Toxic fandom, as encouraged by corporations, is destroying art. What to do about it?

Lots of things are coming to an end these days. The Avengers films. Game of Thrones. The world. As can be predicted, nobody’s taking it particularly well.

Certain sectors of the Internet have predictably melted down about the dumbest, silliest shit imaginable, reminding us once again that the greatest currency is not money or clicks or uniqueness, but rage. Your takes must be hot: designed to rile up your audience. The madder you make them, the more they respond. It’s a cycle. Every Youtuber knows it. It could be trying to remake a season of TV or redesign a movie character or remove a female character from your franchise (because of course). …


And they will keep being men until they are held to account.

One day in middle school, I was in detention. The room was surrounded by rows of isolated cubicles circling the room, with a large gap towards the center. I was seated at the last cube near the center. Even though we were nominally being punished for various transgressions, we still mostly sat and amused ourselves while the gym coach pretended to keep an eye on us.

Just to my right, in the open space, a girl was pacing back and forth. She was looking out the window, bored out of her mind. The boy to my left and I were laughing, making crude jokes, and generally not at all acting punished. …


Victims and their families deserve better than this sheer cruelty.

Whenever a tragedy happens in 2018’s America, there are usually three extremely rapid responses anyone has to it. They are as follows:

  1. There are those who politicize it immediately, calling for action or rapid change on this or that issue, to prevent it from happening again;
  2. There are those who pre-emptively try to stop people from politicizing it only in ways they don’t want it politicized, thus politicizing it themselves in their defense of the status quo that allowed the tragedy to happen;
  3. There are those who politically weaponize it, immediately speaking over those actively impacted by the tragedy and exploiting their pain for attention to themselves. This is distinct from merely politicizing it in that it is not in the service of any policy goal or change to society, it is the lashing out of self-serving reactionary fear. …

Incels interlinked, incels interlinked, incels interlinked

In the summer of 2007, a friend of mine introduced me to Pick Up Artistry. He had a whole stack of books and bookmarkedwebsites about it; and I’m sure you could guess why a couple of dumb 16-year-olds about to enter senior year in high school were entranced by the idea of being able to seduce any and all women. There was a whole method to it; if you just followed their simple steps you were guaranteed to get laid. Not even “get a girl”, just to have success in your sexual prowess.

They had all sorts of strategies: have a gimmick, like magic tricks, or carrying guitars around, or walking your dog. “Neg” women by subtly insulting their appearance or intelligence. Be mysterious, and never give out your own number, but leave with theirs. The most important piece of advice: be persistent, be adamant, and never, ever, ever, ever give up. You may be rejected by the first 100 women you ask, but if number 101 was a success, it was worth it in the end. …


This post contains spoilers for Black Panther.

With those words uttered in solemn reverence, the most sacred of all Wakanda’s rituals begins. After being crowned King (or Queen), or deemed otherwise worthy to bear the title of Black Panther, he (or she) is fed the juices of the heart-shaped herb, and then they are completely buried underneath the Earth.

This particular aspect of the ritual is fascinating: as shown in the film, it doesn’t matter where or with what material they are buried. The most important part is to make sure they are wholly covered, even for just a few inches. They are shut off from the existing world and transported into a new place, their senses completely removed from the world around them, their very souls sent into a space of no-time and no-space, all at once with all-time and all-space. …


Image for post
Image for post

What Comes After The Trump Era™?

Perhaps the most striking aspect of The Trump Era™ has been the way we’ve collectively, as a nation, been borne to the edge of our wits by the rambling, vulgar man technically occupying the White House. 2017 was a hell of a year, and so was 2016 before it. And rather than things looking bright, we’re barely two weeks into this year and we’re already hearing racist rants. This isn’t just a shift in status quo, this is the status quo. It’s a whole era.

So when did The Trump Era™ begin for you? Was it on January 20th, 2017, during an inauguration soaked with slurred words, crude misunderstandings of the basics of presidential etiquette, and hilariously erroneous crowd-size claims? …


This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

It’s December, and you know what that means: Star Wars season. Every year we see a new rush of anticipation. What’s next for the Skywalker Saga? How are Rey, Finn and the gang? Will Jar Jar Binks ever make an appearance to redeem himself?

All of these are worthy questions for any fan of the franchise. But sometimes we can take it even further. What does it all mean? What are the connections and clues to find out? What mysteries can we solve? All this speculation is so commonplace today, in a post-Marvel Cinematic Universe world. Everything is connected to everything else. …

About

Alex Ricard

Bad opinions about movies, worse opinions about politics.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store