This time, Daniel has called Kit and Jack back to the WWA recording bunker, joined by James too this time, to talk about what it's like to have lived a full year since Trump 'won' the 2016 US Presidential 'election'.
Show notes: Main Topic: Trumpism At One Year. Introducing the band.
Non-productive news obsession. Alabama and purity. James praises his
co-hosts. Corbyn and the soft left. #TheResistance.
Misplaced catastrophism. The first few weeks. John McCain. The roles of
the two parties. Kit's personal and political issues. Don't watch the
news. Obligatory Batman reference. Bush and some weird shit. The
Republicans and Obama. Activists. Discipline. Factionalism and the ACA.
High floor in polls. "This is fine." Easy versus hard. New normal in
global capitalism. The bumbling chessmaster. Scarmucci. Pizza-eating
billionaire. Republican Dave. Mocking the empty suit. Form and content.
Natural charisma. "No-drama Obama." The 2016 primary bullshit.
Homeopathic socialism. "Gary Hart Would Have Won." Women's march.
Drifting left on social issues. Obama was Republican enough. Back to Roy
Moore. Hating pedophiles or women more. Mendacious media and epistemic
closure. Elephant. C-span typography problems. Daniel's guess for 2020.
Intermission: turd-miners. What has Donald Trump done well? American
imperialism and nascent fascism. Trump and Charlottesville. Twitter as a
direct connection to the base. Trump and the media. The spectacle of
wealth. Impossible to ignore. A plurality, not a majority. Foreign
policy and American politics. Never anti-war. Non-ideological. "Lot of
killers." Trump as comedy. Adam Sandler billionaire. Steak and classism
and tiny hands. Trump and mental illness. Trump versus previous
presidents. Crisis? Sorkin. Bullet. Lucky. Conniving versus reckless.
Empire. Russia. Predictions. Wrapping Up. "Old Man Trump."
Oh... Jack is sorry for his mic problems by the way. His generous patrons just paid for a Blue Yeti, so hopefully the situation will soon be resolved.
At long last, here is the first episode of a new strand of 'Wrong With Authority', in
which we (sadly we were Murphyless this time, but we expect to be fully Jamesed-up in future episodes) record commentaries on the movies that shaped and
misshaped us, movies released between the first inaugurations of
Ronald Reagan and George Bush the Elder.
This is 80s pop culture we're talking about pilgrim, so expect sickness.
time, we mcfly backwards and forwards through time in a shitty car to
discover that the deep psychological structure of America's
understanding of its own history is best viewed through the prism of the
Hello fans, Jack here to make an announcement of sorts.
The original plan was that Wrong With Authority would just be a new podcast, in which the four of us - me, James, Kit, and Daniel - talked about movies about historical events. But we find ourselves chronically unable to stick to one thread and format. As some of you may have noticed, this site changed somewhat a little while ago. This was done to reflect the fact that 'Wrong With Authority' had obviously already become something wider than was originally intended... what with commentaries and footnotes and Drunken Whocasts, etc. WWA even played host to a Shabcast, one month when bandwidth over at Pex Lives was running short.
'Wrong With Authority' is now effectively something akin to the banner under which we do all sorts of things. It could even be seen as our 'band name'. But we're still releasing podcasts called 'Wrong With Authority' which are about movies about history, and intend to continue to do so. So what's going on?
Well, we'd like you to think of Wrong With Authority as being both our 'overall' name and the name of the podcast strand we do about movies about history. It's a bit like when a band releases an album with the same name as the band. Except that we're going to keep doing it over and over.
But we're also planning to have other podcast strands under the overall umbrella of Wrong With Authority, so to speak. We've already kindasorta begun doing this, as you'll have noticed. I mean, James Whale's Frankenstein isn't based on a historical event, is it? We could do Bride as a WWA one day... but only the bit at the start.
Am I overthinking this, do you think?
Anyway, here's the point: the Wrong With Authority podcast will continue, as will the Drunken Whocasts, and they will be joined by another strand which we're going to call Consider the Reagan.
Eagle-eyed readers will remember that 'Consider the Ray Gun' was/is an occasional strand of Oi! Spaceman, in which Daniel chatted with a guest about a book - usually SF. Consider the Reagan, by contrast, will usually feature all four of us (or at least two of us) doing a commentary on a film released between the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as president and the inauguration of his successor - a limit we set for ourselves in amused awareness of its spurious rigour. The idea is for us to revisit the films of the 80s that shaped us as kids. Our ages converge just enough that this will work - to some extent anyway. Think of the Superman III bonus episode of Watching Robocop With Kit Power as the pilot.
The first official episode of Consider the Reagan will be along soon, and will feature myself, Daniel and Kit talking over Back to the Future. The next episode of Wrong With Authority will be along soon too, and will feature the entire gang talking about Inherit the Wind, the classic Stanley Kramer drama from 1960 dramatising a heavily-fictionalised version of the Scopes 'Monkey Trial'.
We appreciate your patience and enthusiasm as we thrash out the exact contours of our increasingly overcomplicated nest of projects. We're still having fun. We hope you are too.
Welcome to Wrong With Authority Footnote 3: Watching Frankenstein with
James Murphy and Kit Power!
James and Kit were lucky enough to find
themselves in the same room at the same time recently, and decided to
just do what came naturally - i.e. break out the recording equipment and
record a podcast (mind out of the gutter, you). So we sat and watched
1931’s Frankenstein, and recorded the resulting conversation, which we
present here, warts and all, for your listening enjoyment.
Another Wrong With Authority 'Footnote' episode, this time featuring Daniel and Kit talking about George Romero (who probably died recently or something... I'm losing track), most specifically The Crazies and Martin.
Main Topic: George
Romero, specifically The Crazies (1973) and Martin (1977). Imposter
syndrome. Critical distance. Ground Zero artist. Chutzpah. Often great
without being good. Actors. Casting. Race in Night of the Living Dead.
The Shield. Changing dialogue. Moving on to The Crazies. First the 2010
version. Justified. Crazies as a thematic sequel. Gun control. Vietnam
in Pennsylvania. Survivalist Armageddon. Representations of the
military. Hero entrance. Spark of genius. Ableist title.
Oversignification. Adaptation of an art film. Irrationalism as
overarching theme. Immune survivor. The love triange. Father/daughter
rape scene. Cozy horror iconography. Incestuous. Parallel narratives.
Gas masks. Back to the Future. Trapped in a gym. Bleak George. Nuclear
cynicism. Personal malice. The poison isn't the bacterium. Subversive
art. Romero the hippie. Romero and the moneychangers. Moving on to
Martin. One long rape scene. Censorship. Kit's history with Martin.
Toxic masculinity. Sympathetic murderer/rapist. "Involuntary celibates."
Amplas and vulnerability. Ducking syndrome. Romantic vampire myth. "The
Moffat Effect." Unreliable. Are the murders real? Dreamlike. Fantasy
seduction. Misogynist men. Dehumanization. Butchery. Adult material on
developing brains. Porn and existentialism. "How bad can human nature
get?" Intimate. Black and white sequences. Innocent versus good. Coming
to adulthood. Understanding the ending. The one he didn't do. Sleeping
teenagers. Virtuoso middle. Stumbling Daniel. Walkie-talkie. Guillotine.
"Fuck the New Atheists." Ambiguity. The priest portrayed by George
Romero. Impurity and the mark of the outsider. Reinforcing stereotypes
and The Bad Seed. Monsters as postmodern construct. Wrapping Up.
Wrong With Authority, the podcast where four white guys talk about movies based on real historical events, returns... and this time we're talking about Mississippi Burning (1988), a travesty of the story of three civil rights workers - Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman - who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by the Klan/cops/state government (all essentially the same thing at that point).
Beware triggers. We're talking about vicious racism, hate-motivated
violence and murder. At one point in the episode, one of us reads out
part of a historical document which contains the n-word. We believe the
context justifies its inclusion, but please be aware that it's there. Jack made the decision to not bleep it out, and takes responsibility. Also, we mention rape a couple of times - because it was an integral part of both Jim Crow and slavery.
The film focuses not on the Civil Rights workers, or the struggle, or the African Americans oppressed by Jim Crow (American Apartheid), but rather on the subsequent FBI investigation. It portrays the FBI as a heroic organisation bursting with concerned liberals, but also as solving the case via maverick vigilante violence. Systemic racism is effaced. In other words, according to Mississippi Burning, black people are invisible, or are passive and cowardly; Civil Rights workers are foolhardy victims; and the problem is neatly solved by a benevolent establishment going righteously outside the law to punish the bad guys - bad apples who are bad because they're just inbred hicks.
With this episode, we're all acutely and especially aware of the structural flaws inherent in our show... i.e. we're all white guys. This episode is, nonetheless, an attempt to grapple with the fact that WWA has, up til now, been heavily white-centric. But we're inevitably going to underperform here. We in no way wish to talk over PoC who are talking about issues like this. We'll be happy to hear input and criticism.
[Jack here to add a personal note: I deliberately chose Mississippi Burning to address the overpowering whiteness of our subjects to date... which shows a fair bit of privilege and privilege-blindness on my part because a) Mississippi Burning isn't about African Americans, as mentioned... in fact, it is a film that thieves an African American story from African Americans, and b) I unthinkingly chose a story about African Americans suffering, and which portrays them as passive victims. I'll try to do better in future. I can only hope our critique of this film on these terms stands for something.]
The music in this episode is 'Strange Fruit' sung by Billie Holiday, 'Mississippi Goddamn' sung by Nina Simone, and 'A Change is Gonna Come' sung by Sam Cooke.
Mississippi Burning (1988), d. Alan Parker; screenplay by Chris Gerolmo. Starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, Stephen Tobolowsky, R. Lee Ermey, Michael Rooker, Gailard Sartain, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Kevin Dunn, and Badja Djola.
"How long will we have to wait before Hollywood finds the courage and
the integrity to tell the stories of some of the many thousands of black
men, women and children who put their lives on the line for equality?" - Coretta Scott King, partner and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.
"It was unfortunate that it was so narrow in scope that it did not show
one black role model that today's youth who look at the movie could
remember." - Myrlie Evers-Williams, partner and widow of Medgar Evers.
"a film that used the deaths of the boys as a means of solving the murders and the FBI being heroes." - Carolyn Goodman, mother of Andrew Goodman.
"... the image that younger people got (from the film) about the times,
about Mississippi itself and about the people who participated in the
movement being passive, was pretty negative and it didn't reflect the
truth." - Ben Chaney Jnr., brother of James Chaney.
"[a] terribly dishonest and very racist [film that] distorts the realities of 1964" - Stephen Schwerner, brother of Michael Schwerner.
We may occasionally produce irregular 'footnote' episodes such as these.
The so-called 'Zodiac' was a serial killer who haunted San Francisco and its environs in the late 60s and early 70s, and who was never caught or identified. The movie is based on Robert Graysmith's best-selling book about the case, and purports to tell both Graysmith's own story and to (maybe) unmask the killer. Listen to find out what Daniel thinks about these claims.
This episode is a compliment to a forthcoming episode of the They Must Be Destroyed On Sight! podcast (on which Daniel is also a co-host), which will also look at Zodiac, probably from a different standpoint. Be sure to check that out, along with TMBDOS generally.
* Zodiac, 2007, directed by David Fincher, written by James Vanderbilt, based on the book by Robert Graysmith. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jnr., Mark Ruffalo, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, Chloe Sevigny, Brian Cox, and John Carroll Lynch.
Main Topic: Zodiac (2007). But first, a thirteen minute
riff on superhero movies. Token. Is Jack the Zodiac? Aren't we all the
Zodiac? Unsolved mysteries. "Curtain rods everybody." Not to interrupt.
Jack projects. General thoughts of the film. Fincher as director.
Quality pastiche. Empty. JFK versus Zodiac. "The look." The radian
theory. Pattern-seeking behavior. Marrying Chloe Sevigny. No social
turmoil. Daniel pours a beer. Misogynist Zodiac Killer. Daniel projects.
DNA. The guilt of Arthur Leigh Allen. Lingering fascination with
history. Ferrin and the painting party. Two previous victims. Avery's
discovery of a possible Zodiac victim. Missing evidence. Evidence
presented by the film. 1978 letter not real. ALA lived near the IHOP?
Ferrin trying to get weed. Ferrin's humanity. Inaccuracies in the
opening sequence. Verisimilitude. Fake docudrama. "Graysmithed." A
Current Affair. Toschi the camera hog. Searching the trailer. Not a good
guy. The Dick Cheney joke doesn't land. Graysmith is always wrong. An
aside about Steven Knight. Paranoid Graysmith. Fleischer as Vaughn.
Papering over mistakes. Gay porn. Alt-right and the serial killer. The
trailer search. Why the fascination? Displaced interest in history.
Prickle and salaciousness. Puzzles and connections. Storytelling as
justice. The ciphers. Serious droopy. Escalation. Earlier victims? Paul
Avery. Handwriting. Ambidextrous. Seven versus Zodiac. Figures of
intense anxiety. Looking for a black guy. Johnnie Cochran reference.
Daniel pours another beer. In the past. Pitiful. Pepe the Zodiac.
Infodump education. Murderous retail. Police files. Siding with
Graysmith. Wallace Penny/Penny Wallace. Reading Graysmith? Faces in the
dark. Gay Ellroy. The ending. Graysmith the hero. The poster. Wrapping
Wrong With Authority returns with the last episode in our first cycle, this time hosted by Kit. It's a two-part episode this time, because... well... it's a long one. But please stick with it, because it's a great show and we're all proud of it. And we sweated blood over it. Seriously, it's been a bastard, this one. It's our Apocalypse Now. A huge, bloated monster that has left a trail of nervous breakdowns in its path.
As ever, beware spoilers, and also beware triggers. (Seriously, this one contains discussion of scenes of sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug use, racism, etc.)
Our movies this time are...
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Martin Scorsese's biopic of human garbage con-man Jordan Belfort, based on his two autobiographical book-type objects. Written by Terence Winter. Starring Leonardo "Sprout-Face" DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Joanna Lumley, and Kyle Chandler.
The Big Short (2015), the fictionalised movie version of Michael Lewis' book about how and why the financial crash of 2007-08 happened, and the gaggle of Wall Street guys who saw it coming, and heroically set about profiting from it. Directed by Adam McKay, and written by McKay and Charles Randolph. Starring Christian Bale, Steven Carell, Ryan Gosling, Marissa Tomei, Melissa Leo, and Brad Pitt. And featuring celebrity cameos from Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez and, er, Richard Thaler.
As ever, beware spoilers, and also one or two possible triggers.
Shadow of the Vampire (2000) is the fictionalised story of genius director F.W. Murnau, actor Max Schreck, and the making of classic silent horror Nosferatu, but with a twist...
Directed by E. Elias Merhige, written by Stephen Katz, and starring John Malkovich, Willem Defoe, Caroline McCormack, Udo Kier, Eddie Izzard, and Cary Elwes. * Gods and Monsters (1998) is the fictionalised story of the last days in the life of James Whale, the director of classic Universal horror films, including Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.
Directed and written by Bill Condon, based on the novel Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram, and starring Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave and Lolita Davidovitch.
This time, Wrong With Authority covers
two movies about mathematicians! 'A Beautiful Mind' (Russell Crowe as
John Nash) and 'The Imitation Game' (Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan
Turing). High-octane excitement! Sex! War! Espionage! Madness!
Equations! Inexplicable impromptu pen-giving ceremonies!
This being Daniel's episode, effort has been put in, which means there are show notes:
Main Topic: A Beautiful Mind and The Imitation Game.Mathematics,
male homosexuality, and mental illness. Three. Four Oscars. A Woody
Allen digression. Synopsis. Content Warning. Spy movie. Boringly.
Serious Oscar Bait. Drained of challenge. Not about John Nash. The Sixth
Sense Thing. Twenty. Positive. "Shit's about to get real." A Dick
recommendation. Cure with love. Fucks it up both ways. Not about math.
Willpower and medication. A personal failing. A proper ubermensch.
Medication and mathematics. Unaging little girl. Amorous. Visceral. Bird
in a cage. Low tactics. Nicer. Transformed details. Illegitimate.
Studio interference? Sincerity. Exactly two black people. Crowe's
performance. Trousers and briefcases. Crowe versus Bale. Save the cat.
Lesser mortals and charm. Mainstream audiences. Hogwarts. Attempting to
explain the Nash equilibrium. Adam Smith was wrong. "Well, actually..."
Nash's reaction to the film. Alicia Larde. The Phantom. If John Nash
were black.... Anti-semitic? Preordained. An extended riff about pens. A
Philip Glass Interlude. Moving on to The Imitation Game. Alright.
Biopics kinda suck. The "Fuck Your Machine" bullshit. Epic fail.
Ideologically opposed to fun. Writing ourselves into history.
Midwesteners feel icky. Progressive and tolerant. Tumblr fodder. The
inverse Nash equilibrium. Cumberbatch skeptic. Sheldon. Moments. Not
neurodivergent. Gas masks and tissues. Barely closeted. 20% effort.
Factual errors. William Goldman. Sidetracking onto Boogie Nights.
Foundational WWII. A Ghost in the Machine. Secrecy. Not a traditional
marriage. Implication of treachery. William Tutte. Swords into
plowshares. "The lovely girls." Glorification. Burning of books.
Cryptonomicon. German infallibility. Believing the hype. Jack has no
thoughts. Big picture Cold War. Reaganesque machismo. "Nothing to eat
but guns." Keystone Kops and intelligence operations. "It is now."
Mornington Crescent. Double consciousness. Autism as alibi. Different
people. Non-dualist, non-vitalist. Christopher. Capturing human
intelligence in a machine. Indictment. Next week on the Alan Turing
show. Nice but then. Commodities. Clever. Fake tits. Different people.
Joan Clarke, physicist. Always more interesting. Forever World War II.
Platonic and nontraditional friendships. The Easy Rider ending. Suicide?
A damp squib. Reaching for a reference. As crazy as Stone. Snowglobes
and superbrains. Why sanitized? Keeping Calm and Carrying On. Finally,
Trump. Also, the USSR doesn't exist anymore. Old intelligence. The cold
shoulder. Manpain. Churchill and moral ambiguity. Because fuck Isaac
Newton. Wrapping Up