Monday, December 5, 2016

Westworld season finale has one big problem

I love the HBO show "Westworld" but there was one big problem with last night's season finale. And before I begin, I'm going to warn you that there's going to be spoilers with the show and the finale revealed. So stop here if you don't want to know them. But come back when you've seen the show.

Okay, first let me say this about "Westworld." I enjoyed all the metaphors the show threw at you. The robots search for meaning in their narrative is like us and our search for a meaning to our lives. There are other themes also such as what it means to be human with our strengths and moral weaknesses.

But if you watch the Westworld's finale last night, you were struck with a nagging question.

Where does Westworld go with season 2?


If you recall the end of the show, robot Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) starts to kill the board members of Delos which owns Westworld. She does this after recognizing her sentience and announcement to Teddy (James Marsden) that the robots own "this world." The slaughter begins with her shooting founder Dr. Robert Ford. (Anthony Hopkins)

Let me digress a little here. I never expect a big movie star actor like Anthony Hopkins to stay in a seasonal TV series. So, I was hoping for a mini-series with a satisfying ending. And yes, it could be a sad ending.  After all , this show is based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film, "Westworld."That had one sequel, "Futureworld" which could be relevant.

Back to the finale, there's a big problem with the ending. If the park is this big a failure, why would anyone in future go to it? Yeah, go to a theme park where you are likely to be killed by murderous robots. Fun for the whole family. Okay, you wouldn't want to take the kids to place where the adults are openly engaging in sex with robots. Then there's this. The government would likely carpet bomb the place and thus end Westworld.

Here's one possibility. The robots replace the board members with look a like robots. No massacre.   The park stays open .   Invite the rich and powerful.  Replace them with robots.   Robots rule the world.   And... we have the plots to "Futureworld" (1976)  and "The Stepford Wives." (1975)  

Don't get me wrong.  This "Terminator" plot line may work out.  I just hope the show continues to be smart.  Don't chicken out like the show "Lost" did in its final two years by forcing a conventional ending.     If smart fans guess the twists, I hope the producers stick to their guns.   Keep up the intelligence and you may have great science fiction.

Right-wing lies lead to a dangerous situation

It's finally happened. With all the right-wing lies peddled in the presidential election, a crazy person took one of them literally. There had been an internet lie which said that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her aide John Depodesta were running a child sex slave operation out of the Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong. Well, this guy went there with a rifle and shot it. He admitted to the crime. Thankfully, no one was injured. CNN report

Donald, are you listening? Words have meaning. Untruthful conspiracy theories and lies that you have spewed have consequences. Try sticking to the truth. It will be much safer for us.

Trump causes international incident

He hasn't been sworn in yet, and right-wing President elect Donald Trump has demonstrated his total lack of knowledge of foreign affairs and diplomacy. A few days ago, he allegedly took a call from Taiwan president Tsai Ing Wen. CNN report. There seems to be some debate over how the call was set up. `Washington Post.

Sounds innocuous. But the United States has been running under the one China policy for over thirty years. You see, they don't believe that Taiwan is a country but part of China. Yes, the United States and Taiwan do have kind of an informal relationship, however we have been very delicate in not offending the Chinese by say, giving any type of recognition that Taiwan is a country. Until now.

Trump like a bull in a China shop, has created an international incident. And he isn't even President yet. Taking that call if that's what happened, gives recognition to Taiwan. And instead of apologizing, the Donald compounded the situation by attacking China on Twitter. CNN

Look, being racially Chinese, I'm no fan of the Communist Chinese. They are authoritarian. And Trump might be right on their actions with their currency and the South China sea. But the job of the presidency requires intellectual curiosity. I would have hoped as Trump ran for President that he would have at least read up on Chinese-American relations. They are after all, the largest country in the world. He should speak softly and show less of the big stick.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Saturday Night Live's Third Debate Parody is the best

Saturday Night Live's parody of the third Presidential debate was the best of the three Clinton-Trump debate skits. I believe the reason is that this one uses broad comedy that is less subtle than the other ones. And while that may not work all the time, it certainly works here. So, here it is. Enjoy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Shut up Donald Trump, part 2. Taking Iraq's Oil is immoral, and illegal

If you watched MSNBC's Commander and Chief Forum with presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and conservative Republican Donald Trump, you heard The Donald say we should have taken Iraq's oil after the disastrous 2003 Iraq war. "To the victor go the spoils" he said. Well, Donald you are again showing that you are a fascist. (by the way, he's made the argument about taking the oil before, five years ago. I called him out on it back then.)

Stealing another country's resources after war is immoral, and illegal. The Wall Street Journal reports that such action like taking Iraq's oil would violate the Geneva Convention, and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Not to mention, it is the simple crime of theft.

Look, here Donald. We are not the conquering Romans or Nazis out to plunder other countries. We are Americans. We stand for justice and freedom.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Chinese audiences love white people as the stars of movies

So, I'm watching the trailer for The Great Wall where Matt Damon saves the ancient Chinese from whatever the Great Wall was built to keep out. Mexican illegal immigrants? I kid The Donald. (Trailer for The Great Wall below.) And as a Chinese American, it bothers me that a major movie set in China needs a white guy to be the star. Should I ask, "Where would Asian civilization be without the white man?" Yeah, Republican Cong. Stephen King (Iowa) you made the point that whites gave the most to civilization.

Then I found this out. The movie is directed by a Chinese filmmaker, Zhang Yimou. And the movie is partly produced by the Chinese. (China Film Group Corporation) Okay, then I noticed more "whitewashing" of upcoming films. Actress Tild Swinton is playing The Ancient One in "Doctor Strange." That character is supposed to be a Tibetan man. Then there's Scarlett Johansson who's playing the lead in the Japanese anime classic Ghost in the Shell. Her character is supposed to be Japanese.

So what's going on here? It's not all racism in Hollywood. China is a big market for movies. There are changes to movies to appease a Chinese audience. ScreenRant: 15 Movies That Made Drastic Changes For A Chinese Audience You would think that more Asian actors would be cast for those markets.

I think Bill Maher was onto something here when he said on his HBO show Real Time this, "The dirty little secret is most movies are made now with an eye to the foreign market, and Asians really are racist.” He added,

“I’m just honest. They don’t want to see black people generally in their movies. The Hollywood executives are, like, ‘We’re not racist, we just have to pretend to be racists because we’re capitalists. We want to sell our movies in China (and) they don’t like Kevin Hart.’ ”

From Jan. 22, 2016 Real Time with Bill Maher reported by Deadline


Being racially Chinese, and an American, I can't dispute Maher's notion. I don't believe the great number of Chinese are racists to non-whites but it exists. (See Huffington Post article.) Growing up, I heard the Taishanese Chinese around me speak of black people as "Black Ghosts." Trust me it's not a compliment. So, maybe the Chinese like their movie stars "white." Maybe that's their idea of human beauty. And it's their prerogative. But in doing so, cinema is going to be less diversified.


Donald Trump against the world....

What a week for The Donald. Okay, it was Donald Trump against the mother of dead soldier. Then it's Donald Trump taking on House Speaker Paul Ryan by declining to endorse him in his primary election. He just recently endorsed Ryan. Now, it's Donald Trump against a baby. A baby? Yeah, he told a mother to take out a baby who was crying and in a kind of well, elitist way. Um... Donald. you are supposed to kiss the babies as a politician not kick them out. I need Stephen Colbert to have some fun with this.