I’m going to say something, very publicly, and without fear. I don’t mind the Star Wars prequel trilogy. There, I said it. I know there are fans who really don’t like the prequels, and I know there are fans who love them. That’s fine – no two people will like the same things.

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(yes, I like the prequels, I don’t care how you judge me)

There are people who hate the prequels rather passionately. Even this is ok, for we all have things we hate. These people will sometimes vent their opinions. This is also fine – we have that right.

What irks me is when the sort of disdain someone has for a movie turns into an irrational hatred, that almost seems to require them to hate people who like that particular film. On top of that, some of the ‘analysis’ done to justify why a subjective opinion should be classed as objective fact is a joke.

Case in point is an old sparring partner who has long-standing issues with the animated film Titan A.E. Not only does this individual have a furious hatred for this film, but he objects to other people liking it. When I dared to mention that I would have no problem with my daughter seeing it, he posted a not-so-subtle jibe about my parenting skills. He has repeated this suggestion with a post on a site I won’t link to, but I will quote him:

This guy had Titan A.E as a staple of his childhood and was even allowed to see it when it first came out in theaters when he was three-years-old all thanks to his sick parents who were unwilling to set proper boundaries.

Ok, maybe I’m over-reacting, maybe this isn’t a pointed reference to whether I’d let my daughter watch it. Maybe, just maybe, it is what I think it is. If that’s the case, then not only is his rant suggesting that a PG-rated film can somehow cause trauma for children (as if a three year-old would even remember it), he is displaying once again his irrational hate for a movie.

There’s more, a lot more. This individual has moved on to the Star Wars films, and has very strong opinions on the film Fanboys, which is based on a true story.

Fanboys is set in the fall of 1998 and it revolves around a band of Star Wars junkies who take a daring cross country road trip form their home state of Ohio to Skywalker Ranch to see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace six months prior to its release.  They feel that this “mission” of theirs so so important mainly because their terminally ill friend Linus would not live long enough to actually see TPM when it comes out in theaters and they want him to see it before he dies.  That seems like a decent fan film just form that simple description, so why to I hate this movie to death?  Let me explain the top three reasons as to why I loathe this one.

#3) There is no emphasis on reality in this movie:

Three of the main protagonists cared way more about Star Wars than any real like issue as demonstrated by Eric Bottler’s point about the real world near the beginning of the movie.  This movie has no basis in reality at all and portrays living a life of sheer fantasy in a positive light and that really ticks me off.  At least Free Enterprise featuring William Shatner has a message of having at lease SOME reality with your imagination like when Bill told Robert mix at least a little reality with his imagination.  I have plenty of reality mixed in with MY imagination, so take that Fanboys!

I’ve seen Fanboys. It’s not meant to place an emphasis on reality. By complaining like this, he demonstrates that he misses the point. The film is a fantasy journey, made poignant by both its position as based on real events, and to represent the escape from reality we all sometimes crave, especially in times of pain and despair.

With that in mind, the rest of his ‘critique’ falls apart in short order.

#2) The main protagonists BREAK THE LAW all because they are “on a mission”:

The main Star Wars fan protagonists of Fanboys are not only annoying and bigoted assholes, they are fucking criminals who will break any laws that they feel get in the way of their “mission”.  These vermin have commuted THREE crimes on their way to Skywalker Ranch.

  1. VANDALISM: In their first fight with Admiral Seasholtz and his buddies which they started, they purposely backed up their van into a Kirk vs Khan statue and broke it.  If I were present in that situation, I would have called the cops and gave a description of that distinguishable van.

  2. SPEEDING: When Hutch was speeding and one of his buddies warned him to slow down he did not pay attention.  Then flashing lights appeared form the behind since a police cruiser was following them to give them a glorious ticket!  The Star Wars crooks refused to stop for the ticket and instead decided to hit the red button and speed even a lot faster with blue rocket fumes coming out of the tailpipes and they busted a bid Darth Vader-shaped hole in a Police billboard.  They ended up in Jail bot only for a very very short time since a Judge let them go due to Bottler’s dad’s note for him to return home to Iowa.  But since those asshats were “so on a mission”, they continued their way to Skywalker Ranch.  But if I were the judge, I would have refused to let them go and keep them in their cozy little jail cell.

  3. TRESPASSING/BREAKING & ENTERING: The fanboys barge onto Skywalker Ranch without permission and when they are caught by security, they talk with Lucas and Lucas agreed to drop all charges if they were what they appeared to be which was fanboys.  Linus got to see Episode I alone while his friends waited outside due to his terminal illness.  If I were Lucas or his security guards, I would have had those fanboys arrested no matter what their reasons were for trespassing onto Skywalker Ranch.

All of the above stems from the misunderstanding I mentioned earlier. It is not meant to be taken a serious film. I am a Star Trek fan, more so than I am a Star Wars fan, and I was not offended by the playful fun poked at the rivalry between the fandoms (which, to be honest, doesn’t really exist, save for the most diehard of fans).

Linus died a few weeks after he and his buddies trespassed onto Skywalker Ranch, but that was ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE to break the law.  Plus the fanboys sexually harassed some ladies in the movie and those women rightfully gave them “the finger” for it but that is besides the point.  Realistically, they would have been charged with three different crimes in three different places and have a stiff jail sentence.  If it was certain that Linus would not live to see the opening of TPM, I would have told him to BITE THE BULLET and that he will therefore never see Episode I at all, too bad!>:-D!

I refer to my earlier statement.

#1) The very derogatory portrayal Star Trek fans and the LGBT community:

This film goes out of its way to insult Star Trek fans as a whole.  Admiral Seasholtz is literally a Star Trek fan stereotype character. The Star Wars fans who are the fucking protagonists of this movie are in fact the ones to start the fight between themselves and the Star Trek fans in the movie.  When a couple of Star Trek dudes came into a comic store Harold “Hutch” Hutchinson flat out refused to sell to them calling them “Kirk-loving Spock-Suckers”.

Plus Hutch, Windows, and Linus taking Bottler with them decide to go out of their way from their cross country trip to barge into Riverside Iowa just to pick a fight with the local Trekkers which results in the aforementioned vandalism of the Kirk vs Khan statue. Seasholtz and his friends later reappear at Las Vegas to exact revenge against the fanboys who instigated a fight with them.  William Shatner’s cameo does nothing to change the fact that this movie hates on Star Trek fans.

This movie also contains homophobic jokes and has its moments of promoting homophobia and blast, I HATE homophobia! At least Titan A.E. never ever dehumanized any real groups of people!

The film pokes fun at both sets of fans for their fanaticism but it doesn’t do so maliciously. It’s a massive leap of logic to conclude the film is derogatory to anyone. Once again, I refer back to what I said about reality.

Conclusion:

This movies deserves worse than the harshest of criticism it has received before I chipped in my two cents.  Its protagonists of Hutch, Windows, and Linus are in fact each WORSE than Cale Tucker.  Geez, at least Cale has a FUCKING REASON to be in insufferable bastard, the Drej blowing up Earth for nothing except on a PACK OF LIES when he was only 4.  Those Star Wars fanboy characters had no reason at all to be asses and they are totally like Mike TV from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since they are out of touch with reality.  I am a Star Trek fan myself hence I am against Fanboys for its portrayal of that group of people that I belong to.

When it comes to Star Wars, I am only comfortable with the prequels and The Clone Wars.  I fucking HATE the original Star Wars Trilogy due to bad memories, forebodings, and its atrocious fanbase.

The author doesn’t understand that this was never intended to be a serious film. It was never going to be a realistic portrayal, but rather a tribute to the idea that a group of friends wanted to help one of their number reach a milestone before he died. It’s ironic that he speaks of being out of touch with reality (emphasis mine).

The final paragraph brings me right back to my original comments. What the author is doing here is demonising fans of the original trilogy and flippantly behaving in exactly the fashion he decries.

 

This is the continuation of my look at an article that speaks about abortion. You can see part one here.

The next paragraph is one that TA himself is quoting:

“It’s not abortion that’s bothering them. It’s empowering women to live our own lives,” she asserted. “And when we have power over our own destiny, we honor our most cherished traditions of charity and equality. These aren’t just women’s issues. These are the very foundation of our freedom

I think is very much what bothers a lot of those who argue against a woman’s right to choose. This is about freedom on the most basic level – the freedom to make decisions about one’s own self, especially regarding life-changing events. No one I know would ever pretend it’s an easy decision, but is it the right of any singular religious organisation to impose a judgement upon everyone else, least of all in respect of their own bodies? As the quote about said, it’s about freedom.

If a woman wants to be a master of her own destiny then she needs to live a life that is approved by God and men need to help them get there. To be ’empowered’ women need to understand that there are so many ways where they can influence the world around them and make wise decisions influenced by Jesus and avoid destructive and foolish decisions influenced by fallible, sinful, disobedient women.

The irony in the first sentence is remarkable. Women can be masters of their own destiny, providing they do as God and their men direct. That is the above paragraph, summed up in a nutshell.

How are women empowered by God? God has given them many of the same tools he has given men to be spiritually correct in their lives. he has given them intelligence to make wise decisions, he has given them the ability and desire to learn correctly, he has given them the right to choose how they will live and that choice empowers women. if they do not want to sin, they have the right to say no and that right to say no helps them avoid unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Emphasis mine. I don’t know how TA can argue women have the right to choose how to live when he would also argue they need to be subservient to men on matters concerning their own bodies.

There is yet more to this, but frankly, there’s only such much I can go through before I get weary of it. Much of what he says is repetition and therefore I would only be doing the same.

Back to Feminism

One of the toughest, most challenging discussions that exists out there is the subject of abortion. It is inevitably emotive, and the topic is divisive.

Overlapping this is the subject of women’s rights, and religious beliefs. One of these issues bears a great of relevancy to abortion – the other depends entirely upon your personal beliefs and should not be used to force anyone down a particular route. You can probably guess as to where I stand.

Not for the first time, I find myself in disagreement with TA. One of his most recent articles speaks of the empowerment of women – but this is apparently not a good thing.

(on the idea that empowered women benefit families)

This is not biblical teaching and what has made us angry is that some woman has decided that she wants to play God and wants to lead women to do the same thing. We do not need empowered women. Those women ignore God’s teaching, willfully sin and disobey God’s instructions and such women are not building a strong family but destroying one.

The most obvious point I can make here is – what if the women (and for that matter, their partners) do not believe in God? Furthermore, is a woman who wants to be the master of her own destiny really a bad thing? If someone is not a believer, should a religious rule be forcibly imposed upon them?

We do not need wives and mothers kept imprisoned in sin and encouraged to be sinners.We do not need the hand that rocks the cradle to be thinking that it gets to decide who lives or dies before the child is born.That is not a choice granted to women by God. These type of women are destructive to their husbands, their children and to society in general. Their support of evil and calling it good places then in the path to face the wrath of God. And no husband or son, if they are decent people wants their mothers or wives to be placed in such a position.

This is where emotion plays a huge part in this argument. It would personally very difficult for me if my wife had said to me ‘I want an abortion’ when she was pregnant with our daughter. However, it is ultimately her body. It belongs to no one but her. She is the one who will undergo physical and psychological changes for several months, not me. Refusing to respect this and using religion to hide behind what is misogyny at its worst would make me the destructive one.

What I believe is the inalienable right of the woman to choose. I would like to believe a discussion would take place between the prospective parents, but ultimately the final say belongs to the person whose body (and indeed life, in most cases) will be affected the most.

Men you have to do something biblical about this and combat this rising tide of disobedience in women. You cannot take a pass and say that it is the woman’s body. It is no longer her body when she has mated with a man and the body she is disposing of is not hers to destroy. The woman was never given authority over reproduction in deciding who can or cannot be born. You need to stand up and be men instead of rolling over and appeasing the woman. You need to lead them to the right way to think, you need to lead them away from the path of destruction and to the path of life.

Emphasis mine. Where does this line of reasoning end? ‘It is no longer her body when she has mated with a man’? Seriously? Does this mean my body is not mine when I’ve ‘mated’? By the extension of his logic, this should be the case. Should we consider the case that by ‘mating’ I lose full authority over what I do with my body? I doubt very much TA would make this case. It is clearly intended to be a one-way system of male authority, over the most female of experiences. Women apparently have no authority over reproduction and who or who isn’t born. Does this mean that as men we have the authority to do so? That’s the implicit suggestion here, even though we should have no more authority to do so than women, since according to TA it’s up to God.

While abortion is not the unforgivable sin,it is not an action approved of God and we know how God hates the destruction of innocent people no matter their age or stage in life. Men have to get a backbone here and wisely say ‘no’ to women and their desire to sin.

Does blocking this desire force women into inferior and subservient roles in life? Of course not for God has already empowered women to levels they cannot imagine but he empowers them with the tools to be holy not sinful, arrogant, and masters of their own destinies.

 

What actually happens is that religious beliefs are allowed to greatly interfere, on a fundamental level, with what 50% of the human race can do with their bodies. It is the ultimate expression of misogyny, as mentioned earlier. It is also yet another demonstration of the desire to force a belief system upon people, whether they want to follow it or not.

There is more, but that is better saved for another time. Stand by for part 2 later

Back to Feminism

12 races down, 9 to go, and a break between now and the end of August, when we rejoin F1 in Belgium. What’s the story of the season so far?

Rosberg Dominant Early On

The first four races of the season could be easily summed up as Nico Rosberg’s Magic Roundabout (ok, that’s a bit of a simplification, but you get the idea). He would win quite comfortably in these rounds, whilst Lewis Hamilton would make mistakes at the start of the first two races, and suffer technical issues in the next two. It added up to a 43-point lead for Rosberg as they headed to round 5 in Spain.

Ferrari had threatened to be a little closer to Mercedes at the start of the season, and actually looked on for a win in Australia, until strategic errors cost them dearly. From that point on, Ferrari have actually looked like they’ve gone backwards. Red Bull meanwhile, have improved steadily, making a nuisance of themselves to Ferrari and even Mercedes. In fact, Red Bull are the only team other than Mercedes to win a race this season.

Smashing Spain

The narrative between the Mercedes pair has been one of a publicly subdued yet privately intense rivalry since 2014. They’ve had flashpoints (Belgium 2014, and several strong-arm moments, such as Japan and USA 2015), but Spain 2016 was their ‘Senna/Prost’ moment. Hamilton had qualified on pole and needed to start winning in order to reverse Rosberg’s juggernaut, but as the two went into the first corner Rosberg managed to slipstream by Hamilton. Coming through the next few corners, Rosberg was surprisingly slow – he had his engine in the wrong mode and as he was looking at his steering wheel to correct that, space opened up to his right for a possible move. It was always going to be a long shot, and in my view Hamilton was too impatient, but he lunged for the gap, which Rosberg – reacting late – closed abruptly. Hamilton was forced onto the grass and lost control of the car, skidding and smacking straight into Rosberg. The pair of them were eliminated there and then, paving the way for someone else to win – and there’s a story here too.

Verstappen Rises, Kvyat Falls

At the start of the season Daniel Ricciardo and Danill Kvyat were representing Red Bull. After some high-profile collisions involving former Red Bull golden boy Sebastian Vettel, Kvyat’s days with Red Bull came to a swift end. After being replaced by Verstappen (the two swapped places, with Kvyat going back to Toro Rosso) in time for Spain, there are signs that Kvyat’s not recovered from the blow.

Verstappen meanwhile, would become the youngest ever F1 winner in Spain, holding off the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen for several laps at the end. His win owed something to a strategy call for Ricciardo that backfired, but nevertheless, it was a mighty effort, and signified to many that Verstappen is a world champion in the making.

Red Bull Resurgence

Improvements to the rebadged Renault engine in the Red Bulls saw Ricciardo take pole position in Monaco, and from the start he swiftly pulled away from Rosberg, who demonstrated a distinct lack of confidence in the wet. The Monaco GP was an indication of who could handle the conditions on a slippery, narrow street track – Ricciardo could, Hamilton could, whilst Rosberg would end up finishing 7th, and Verstappen would crash out of Monaco for the second year in a row. Monaco was also an indication for how not to conduct a pitstop – Red Bull weren’t ready for Ricciardo and the time lost cost him a certain win. Needless to say, he was not happy.

Hamilton’s first win of 2016 clearly meant a lot to him, and taking it at Monaco – a track Hamilton wants to do well at – would have been a huge confidence boost. At the next race in Canada, Hamilton got punchy with Rosberg at the start and held his line, leaving Rosberg to go wide (quite why Rosberg didn’t back out is unclear). Their lines through the corner were forced in part by a lightening start from Sebastian Vettel, who would lead for the first few laps until a virtual safety car (due to the retirement of McLaren’s Jensen Button) saw Ferrari bring their drivers into the pits. Unfortunately for them, the virtual safety car ended as Vettel pitted, thus committing to a strategy that would prove unlikely to see him win. He might have chased Hamilton down late on, but more than one mistake through the final chicane ruined any chance of that.

It would be a bad day a the office for Rosberg, who would also spin at the final chicane whilst chasing down Verstappen in the battle for 4th. His 43 point lead had been reduced to just 14 points in the space of two races. He needed to respond.

New Ports of Call

Formula 1 had a new venue in 2016 – Baku, in Azerbaijan. Officially classed as the European Grand Prix (even though Azerbaijan is somewhat removed from Europe), this race would take place on a street circuit that ran between the modern and classic parts of the city. In qualifying it looked like Hamilton would take pole, but he made yet another mistake in 2016, crashing in Q3 and ruining his race before it had even begun. Rosberg claimed pole and would breeze to an easy victory, with Vettel some way off in 2nd. Hamilton’s 5th place meant the gap rose to 24 points once again.

Amidst the title race, there were other things going on. Sergio Perez took his second podium in three races in Baku, having also taken 3rd at Monaco. Force India were starting to reel in a struggling Williams team in the battle for 4th in the constructor’s championship, whilst Ferrari were hoping to stay ahead of Red Bull in the chase to be best of the rest. Their results in Baku were encouraging, but from there, it would be a slow decline.

Another Smash

The Austrian Grand Prix would mark a few things. It would be the first of three podiums in four races for Verstappen. It would be the first of four consecutive races in which Williams’ Felipe Massa wouldn’t score a point. It would see a 6th place finish for McLaren’s Button, and yet another solid points finish for Romain Grosjean in the new Haas team (who had also scored points in three of  the first four races, a remarkable achievement for the newcomers). Manor would also score their first point of 2016, and their first point since rebranding as Manor (having formerly been Marussia). Pascal Wehrlein has been quietly doing a good job for Manor, consistently outperforming his teammate Rio Haryanto. In fact, in every race they’ve both finished, Wehrlein has finished in front of Haryanto.

But we digress slightly. Austria would be a turning point in the title battle between the two Mercedes drivers. Rosberg crashed in P3, leading to a gearbox change and therefore a five-place grid penalty. Hamilton put his car on pole, alongside the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, who had done very well to get his car that high on the grid. With Vettel also taking a penalty for a gearbox change, Button in the McLaren was promoted to 3rd on the grid, McLaren’s best starting position for some time.

Hamilton led from the start but after a slow first stop, lost position to a charging Rosberg. Ferrari’s afternoon turned sour when Vettel, leading on lap 27, was forced to retire after a tyre blowout on the start-finish straight. This brought out a safety car, and when the race re-started, Rosberg pulled away.

As the next set of stops unfolded, Verstappen, who had started 9th, found himself leading the race, but on old tyres. Rosberg and Hamilton were both able to dispatch him quite easily, and continued their private battle for the lead.

It was a battle that would see a dramatic end on the last lap. Rosberg had made a slight error coming out of turn 1 that allowed Hamilton to close right in as they approached turn 2. Hamilton used the slipstream to zip up on the outside of the corner, and Rosberg… drove into the side of Hamilton. The Englishman was forced wide, but Rosberg’s front-wing was crippled, disintegrating as he tried to carry on. Hamilton’s car was unscathed and he was able to take his third win of the season, whilst Rosberg would fall to 4th. His championship lead was cut to 11 points.

Hamilton turns the Screw

Mercedes were furious, warning both drivers that another collision would carry severe penalties, including possible suspensions. In the wake of the latest incident, it would be Hamilton who would seize the initiative, though not without a slice of fortune.

He would take a straight-forward win at his home Grand Prix of Britain, putting together a tremendous lap once the safety car (which, as in Monaco, had disappointingly led the drivers away at the start) pulled in, and from there would barely look back. Rosberg meanwhile, would fall afoul of a rule on radio messages and cop a 5-second time penalty, that put him from 2nd to 3rd, and allowed Hamilton to cut the gap to just 1 point.

The radio message penalty was harsh, and the rules have since been relaxed, but titles can hinge on such moments, and Rosberg may be quietly fuming if, at the end of the season, the margins are small enough for the title to be settled by such events.

Hamilton would win again in Hungary, jumping Rosberg at the start of the race. For the first time in 2016, he would lead the championship, and things would only get worse for Rosberg, at his home event of Germany.

For the second race in a row Rosberg qualified on pole, and it seemed pretty clear he was not going to roll over and let Hamilton run away with the title. However, for the second race in a row Hamilton got the better start, and this time the two Red Bulls also got by Rosberg. Hamilton would control the race comfortably, whilst Rosberg would struggle with the Red Bulls, and would take yet another penalty for pushing Verstappen off the track. Once again the penalty seemed quite hard on Rosberg, and it was compounded by his team holding for 8 seconds rather than 5 at his pit stop. He would end up 19 points behind Hamilton as the summer break began.

Ferrari Fail

At the beginning of the season the suggestion was that Ferrari had found some extra engine power and might just make more of a problem of themselves for Mercedes. They had opportunities to win races (Australia, Canada), but strategic blunders have been compounded by a general sense that the car is not where it should be. This, coupled with some reliability issues, and a well-designed Red Bull with an improve engine of its own, has seen Ferrari slip to 3rd in the constructor’s standings.

Williams are another team who have struggled so far this year. Two consecutive 3rd place standings in the constructor’s championship looked like a platform to build on, but they haven’t managed to move forward, and instead there is a very real chance that Force India will catch them for 4th spot.

As we look ahead to the next act in the championship drama, we will see how this will all play out. Hamilton will have to take a grid penalty at one of the next two races for an engine change – this will almost inevitably hand Rosberg w win, so much will depend on whether Hamilton can battle his way back up the grid for good points. Ferrari will be keen to arrest their slump and give Red Bull something to worry about. Verstappen will hope to continue showing why he is touted as a future world champion, and further back, McLaren will hope their steady improvement this year continues. There is much to look forward to.

Back to F1 2016