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Some thoughts on Gotham and its potential

[ 33 ] September 23, 2014 |

So, as noted yesterday, I went on Graphic Policy Radio and discussed the series of premier of Gotham, which you can listen to here:

The more serious discussion concerned how a show whose conclusion is foregone can actually survive — after all, even though Gotham is going to focus, somewhat Wire-like, on the internal conflicts of the police and various criminal organizations, in the end we all know that the situation’s going to deteriorate to the point at which the only answer is a wealthy orphan patrolling the night in a fetish bat outfit.

Still, that leaves room for a good 10 or so seasons of watching the city fall apart, and that could certainly be gratifying, but only if the series creators understand what they have and how to use it. Which brings me to the second David Simon reference in this post, because I think the show’s ceiling could be something like Homicide: Life on the Street.

Consider how that show began, with Tim Bayliss catching the Adena Watson case, and how it haunted him through all six-ish seasons. In a similar fashion, you know the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne are going to haunt Gordon, and you know that he — like Bayliss — is going to form an unhealthy attachment to both the case and those left in its wake. Do I think Gotham is going to reach these heights?

In all likelihood not. But do I think that it has a higher ceiling than most quasi-procedural cop dramas currently on television? I most certainly do.

On a side note, we also established the most appropriate possible context for one of those Internet traditions I started awhile back:


You know — because he is.

SEK on Graphic Policy Radio tonight! Call in and heckle him! Tweet mean stuff!

[ 20 ] September 22, 2014 |

I’ll be on Graphic Policy Radio again tonight discussing Fox’s new Batman-related show Gotham. The show begins at 10 p.m. EST and you’re more than welcome to call in, tweet at me, or drop me a line on Facebook if you have something you’d like to add to the program — or if you’d just like heckle or berate me. The choice is yours!

New Internet Film School column, on how Community and Winter Soldier are exactly the same thing…

[ 7 ] September 18, 2014 |

…at least in the way they establish and use space.

SEK discusses Guardians of the Galaxy, Marx Brothers on Graphic Policy Radio

[ 39 ] September 16, 2014 |

If you’re interested in what I have to say about Guardians of the Galaxy, I was a guest on Graphic Policy Radio radio talking about it last night.

I made a number of claims about the film, foremost among them its indebtedness to mid-period Marx Brothers films.

I also said quite about something I kept calling “old-school sci-fi wonder” — though I have no idea why I became so wedded to that phrase — and Parks and Rec, because anytime I have the opportunity to discuss Parks and Rec, I will.

UPDATE: I forgot many of the interesting tangents we went on, e.g. What would a science fiction film that wasn’t anthropocentric actually look like, and would it ever get made? (For example, can you imagine a film version of an Iain M. Banks novel?)

AND ALSO: All of the “Bert Macklin, FBI” stuff on Parks and Rec — his deep commitment to his flights of fancy — always reminded me of what Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes would’ve grown up to be like, so Guardians of the Galaxy struck me like a “Spaceman Spiff” serial.

AND ALSO, AGAIN: A discussion of abusive relationships, in which I noted that “it’s a really weird thing to be talking about in the wake of the Ray Rice incident, but this was an abusive relationship, but also very clearly love. I think this is something that gets glossed over in popular culture — yes, let’s condemn people who abuse their loved ones, but don’t make it so that people don’t love the ones they beat, that’s where the pathos is, that’s where the humanity is…We tend to like to simplify things when we’re demonizing people. And I think the film did a really good job of showing that love exists in an abusive relationship — and God, is anybody recording this?”

Check Out Pop Culture Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with graphicpolicy on BlogTalkRadio

If ladies burped, farted, or told raunchy jokes, I could see them serving in the infantry. But…

[ 138 ] September 14, 2014 |

Lioness training in Iraq via United States Marine Corps

Of course women aren’t fit to serve in the infantry. Men are pigs who will sexually assault and harass them at the drop of a beret.

[This post is brought to you by a pair of your old friends.]

About those walking dead…

[ 77 ] September 10, 2014 |


A dead Facebook friend literally went zombie today — a mile-walking app hijacked his account and started posting how far he’d traveled and how many calories he’d burned doing so.

I would’ve been deeply saddened if I didn’t think he’d find it damn hilarious.

But it brings up an interesting question — how would you like to be memorialized online?

For the record, when I die, I encourage everyone to treat it in the spirit I would. Bad jokes aren’t merely welcomed, they’re required. Remember me at my worst best and best worst, is how I’d like it.

If y’all sit shiva and don’t swap “SEK was a world-class dumb-ass” stories, I’d be very disappointed, you know, if I wasn’t dead.


SEK’s new AV Club column: On circles and lines in The Hudsucker Proxy

[ 27 ] August 21, 2014 |


Yes, I am a man obsessed — obsessed with circles!

This may be the greatest conversation I’ve ever had

[ 70 ] August 8, 2014 |

SEK went to the supermarket to pick up tuna fish for his elderly cat who now only eats food that also contains tuna. As tuna is on sale, he purchases twenty cans of it and is on the checkout line in front of POLITE DRUNK MAN.

POLITE DRUNK MAN: You don’t eat all them cans, now?

SEK: Wasn’t planning on it.

POLITE DRUNK MAN: TV say they full of Menicillin.

SEK: Mercury?

POLITE DRUNK MAN: Menicillin, bad for the children, real bad.

SEK: I promise not to share it with any kids.

POLITE DRUNK MAN: Menicillin’s terrible, make ‘em have miscarriages.

SEK: The kids?

POLITE DRUNK MAN: Ain’t even get a chance to be kids, they born miscarried, or with arms.

SEK: I’ll keep that in mind.

POLITE DRUNK MAN: Dead babies with arms, that’s what Menicillin do. Best watch out.

SEK: I will, promise.

And the winner of this year’s “DUDE! THAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE THE SUBTEXT!” Award is…

[ 150 ] August 4, 2014 |

Alabama Representative Mo Brooks.

Because Jesus-fucking-Christ what is wrong with you?

A screaming comes across the Internet…

[ 28 ] July 31, 2014 |

It just occurred to me that my daily output at Raw Story would make for a damn fine Pynchon novel:

Pro-choice satanists align with bare-breasted anti-gun advocates and a liberal pope against a cabal of baby-penis-sucking Orthodox Jews controlled by a blowhard television personality calling his followers to “rise up” against an abortion clinic where no abortions are performed — all while a cat walks around with guacamole on his head.

I don’t know about you — but I’d read that.

RELATEDLY: Every time I hear the host of the Diane Rehm Show, I’m convinced she’s a Pynchon pun come to life.

SEK’s New Internet Film School column: How the politics of Snowpiercer don’t matter if you’re an idiot anyway

[ 6 ] July 24, 2014 |

Here you go. Sample:

Much praise has been showered upon the unsubtle English-language debut of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer, but the most interesting came from an unexpected source, conservative columnist Michael Potemra, who wrote that “the film succeeds aesthetically and as pure entertainment” despite the fact that “it’s a pretty heavy-handed Marxist allegory.” Convincing your ideological opponent that your “heavy-handed” slagging of their belief system is an exceptional work of art is quite the feat. Imagine convincing the grandchild of someone who survived a concentration camp that Leni Riefenstahl brilliantly captured the pain of the German people when she had Hitler lay a wreath on the Great War memorial in Triumph Of The Will. Not going to happen.

But that is precisely what a student of film should be able to do—divorce content from form, and remove both from the historical context, in order to understand how a piece works. Which is not to say that Potemra is a student of film, because despite his praise for the “aesthetic” of Snowpiercer, he also claims that “the train is an excellent set, a realized world that manages, amazingly, to avoid claustrophobia.” Potemra seemingly prefers to remember the more well-lit second half of the film to the painfully claustrophobic opening scenes. The latter half of the film, after all, concerns the tortured choices the capitalist elite must make in order for humanity to survive—a theme much more to the liking of someone who writes for the National Review

UPDATE: If only I’d known that Jonah would publish his review the same day I did mine!

In his defense, I don’t think he understood it was an insult

[ 144 ] July 15, 2014 |

SEK takes his car to TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN in order to make sure it won’t explode and kill him when he makes a road trip next week.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: You just put a new battery in it?

SEK: That I did.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: Means your electrical is reset, our computer can’t do a lot of the tests.

SEK: So long as its fluids are replenished and it doesn’t have murder in its heart, I’m fine.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: So when do you need it by?

SEK: I have a meeting at 2 p.m.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: I don’t think I can have it done by 1:30.

SEK: No a problem, I work online. Just need to be back home and I live around the corner.


SEK: I write online.


SEK: As long as they pay me to.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: I thought that was computers did that.

SEK: ?

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: They don’t have that shit programmed out yet? Our computer tells us what happened with a car, figure it was the same with what the President said and shit.

SEK: I don’t think they have a computer that can do that.

TRUSTWORTHY LOCAL AUTO MAN: Couldn’t be worse than what they’ve got.

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