Category Archives: Crossposted

Independence Day: Resurgence

On its own merits, Independence Day: Resurgence suffers from a little bit of sequelitis, a lot of “bigger=better,” and felt longer than it really was despite so many cool things happening on screen. I liked it, but did not love it.IDResurgence

The thing it did right, it did almost perfectly. The events of the first film, set in 1996, are treated as if they happened 20 years ago. It’s now 2016, and the actors who appear in both films played their characters as having aged twenty years. Which the actors actually have. Sequels almost never get to do that to this extent, and I liked it a lot.

And that’s it for the “review” part of this review. If you’re just here for the movie, stop reading now.

Had it not been for the disastrous results of the Brexit referendum, and the “Leave” campaign’s abuse of the word “independence¹,” I might have given this film nothing more than an ordinary review. One of the connections is far too strong for that, however.

See, the thing Independence Day: Resurgence did perfectly is one of many things which the Brexit referendum underscored as a terrible failing.

The film tells a story in which the old people champion a future that the young people have chosen. The older generation in Independence Day: Resurgence has spent twenty years in a world united, and is fighting to preserve it for the next generation.

I don’t know what the UK’s older generation, the ones who voted “Leave,” have spent twenty years thinking, but the younger generation has spent those years looking forward with hope, not backward with fear. With Brexit, the older generation voted against the future that the youth of the UK overwhelmingly desired.

At 48 I guess I’m technically an old person², at least in the eyes of the 18-24yo voters who so overwhelmingly favored remaining in the EU. I’m an old person who has changed his mind numerous times, and who looks back and is appalled at some of what I used to think³. If I’m wise, it’s not because I’m constant, unless you count “constantly learning.” Young me probably would have been won over by words like “sovereignty” and “independence.” Old me sees how connected we all are, and how every single act of ignorant distrust tears at the fabric of the future we want to build.

Fellow old people: Look around.  Listen and learn. That thing you’ve believed for decades may not be true anymore. It might not even have been true then. Inertia is not wisdom, and those who praise common sense are often calling for you to remain ignorant.

Young people: Old people aren’t all jingoistic relics of the isolationism that has been useless since before most of them were born. Some of us want to hand you a world that is better than the one we were handed, better even than the “good old days” that we, in our more honest moments, will admit never actually existed.


¹Along with a many other words.

²There are at least two generations of people who are older than me, and who look at the number 48 and furrow their brows, scowling at me for co-opting their adjective. Sorry. I’m camping on your lawn now, but in ten years I’ll be moving into the house.

³I still hold to the “faith of my fathers,” but I am quite happy to not conflate it with the cultural baggage that so often accompanies it. 

Check That Metaphor, Counselor

Context: I had Jury Duty on Wednesday. We’re done now. We reached our verdict at around 5 pm after deliberating for about an hour, and with that done, all the sequestering and no-talking stuff is done too. The judge gave us permission to speak freely about the case.

The defendant was charged with “possession with intent to distribute.” The defense claimed that he was going to use all 250 doses of meth himself. The prosecution claimed that this was actually unheard of. They also pointed out that, according to the law, even  if he only planned to share, not sell, and was going to share just one dose, that’s still intent to distribute.¹

When arrested, the defendant did not have all of the other paraphernalia of drug distribution in the car with him. Just 25.681 grams of chunky, uncut methamphetamine. Distribution would require baggies and a scale, and a full operation would be evidenced by cutting agents, a client list, and some wads of $20 bills.

I’m getting to the metaphor soon, I promise.

The prosecution suggested that these things would likely be left at a facility, where they could be used in secret on a large flat, stable surface, exactly like none of the surfaces found inside the car. The absence of the other stuff in the car simply meant they hadn’t found the facility yet. (They never found a facility, and whether or not they looked for one never came up from either team of attorneys, which seemed WEIRD to me, but maybe these things go missing all the time.)

The metaphor: In closing arguments the defense attorney said “if you’re going to bake a cake, you don’t leave all the ingredients at home, and then go shopping for an oven.”

It’s cute, but okay, stop.

If you’re going to bake a cake, some of the things you need are re-usable, but some are consumed with each cake. You go shopping for the stuff you run out of. A digital scale is the sort of thing that is very sensibly left at home when you go shopping for the key consumable ingredient in your business.

That was my exact thinking when she broke out the oven metaphor. Literally, the moment she said “oven” my brain said “your metaphor works better against you² than it does for you.” During jury deliberations I found that pretty much all of us had that same thought.

The point being, if you’re going to use a metaphor, you go shopping for the one that isn’t pointier on the end you’re going to hold it with. Same rule if you’re shopping for swords, probably.


¹  I see the logic in that law, but I can also see how it can easily be abused in its application. That said, I am not a lawyer, even if I am now a part of the system.

² I was pretty disappointed³ with the prosecuting attorney for not reversing the metaphor during his rebuttal. I’ll grant that it is possible that he trusted That One Juror Who Said He Is A Cartoonist to make the reversal during deliberation. Lawyers trusting juries to be clever seems like a stretch, but trusting me to fix a broken joke is a slam dunk. 

³ Technically, I did not go to court today to be entertained by the attorneys. I went to court FOR GREAT JUSTICE and that’s usually only entertaining on TV.


Absurd and Nerdy

It started with a discussion of logic gates, and the futile attempt to map the seven gates onto the seven deadly sins. Sloth was invoked. At some point we (Otter, Ubersoft, and Will) began to wonder whether logic gates could be mapped onto animals.

The output of that was this picture of a baby hippoxnortamus.


“Hippoxnortamus” is fun to say.