Open Thread for Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Grown-up Harry Potter, son Albus, wife Ginny.

Had to retype that after writing “Monday.” Such days are confusing. Some possible topics:

  1. Haley to endorse opponents of Senate veterans Leatherman and Rankin — This one’s kind of old news, but I needed something local for the mix. I don’t know about you, but even odious lawmakers can get my sympathy when governors decide to go into bully mode against them (just ask Katrina Shealy). And I don’t think of either Leatherman or Rankin as particularly odious. I’d have to do more research on Rankin, but generally when Leatherman disagrees with Nikki, I disagree with her, too.
  2. Saudi Arabia’s Bid to Ease Off Oil Stirs Cultural Shift — The Saudi rulers are trying to wean their people off of oil-financed handouts. Which raises the question of whether the Saudi people might opt instead to wean themselves off the House of Saud.
  3. The middle-aged Harry Potter — Photos from the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” were released today. That’s grown-up Harry, with son Albus and wife Ginny (nee Weasley), above. As Hagrid might say, it’s not every day your young man turns 41!
  4. Poll: Nearly 1 In 4 Americans Reports Having Had A Concussion — This surprised me, because hasn’t everyone — or practically everyone — had a concussion at some point? I’m pretty sure I did that time I broke the bed with my head and got seven stitches. I have no memory of the incident, and I was spacey for a couple of days after. But I’m right as rain now, right? Right?
  5. It’s time for Jane Bond: I spy seven potential 007 actors perfect for the role — They meant actresses, not actors, but that’s probably The Guardian making some gender-neutral, ideologically correct point. Kind of ridiculous, under the circumstances, since the POINT being made is that they would be women, not men. If ever a context called for a gender-specific noun, this one did. Anyway, bottom line, the whole topic’s rather silly — although James Bond himself would probably vote to see more of these particular women. You know why? Because James Bond is a total pig, an early-’60s bigger-pig-than-Don-Draper pig — that’s who the character is, so it’s ridiculous to speak of changing him to make a feminist point. I’m almost to where I can go for Idris Elba, if they can come up with a good-enough back story for him (after all, we managed to adjust to a blonde Bond, which was itself quite a departure). He certainly has the poise for the role. But not this.
From Gillian Anderson's Twitter feed.

From Gillian Anderson’s Twitter feed.


35 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, May 31, 2016

  1. Bryan Caskey

    /climbs up onto soapbox

    The Jane Bond thing is just dumb. I mean, the character of James Bond exists in this particular cinematic universe where he works for fictional version of an agency of the British government. You can’t just make him a woman in that same fictional universe and still have any continuity. It would make as much sense as having James Bond work for the Mexican government, as in…it doesn’t work at all.

    The thing is, these dopey producers are missing a simple, simple thing. Just make this new female agent some other double-oh agent. She could be agent 008, or whatever. Just make a new character! Are the people in Hollywood so completely brain-dead that they can only re-make old things and give them a new Social Justice Spin?

    Are they totally devoid of any creativity at all? Maybe she could rescue 007. Wouldn’t all the Social Justice types like seeing a woman rescue a captured (and maybe wounded) Bond? She could kick-butt and save him from the bad guys. It would be cool to see bond in a different situation – where he ins’t totally in control of the action. (They use the idea of a captured double-oh agent all the time).

    Or maybe 007 is dead (or at least we think he is) and she goes to avenge his killers.

    Something. Anything. Anything but, she’s “James Bond”. Because that doesn’t work.

    And to sort of riff of what Brad was saying about Bond being a big pig. Well…yeah. James Bond isn’t just a guy, he is the ultimate macho-alpha male of his time. (He never listens to Q’s instructions because he’s a know-it-all. He always hits on the secretary. He always hooks up with strange women. He always outfights the bad guys, usually in hand-to-hand combat at some point.) He’s a dude.

    Even when they changed Bonds, they never changed who the crux of the character is. Changing him to a woman changes everything. Is she going to blithely ignore Q? Is she going to hit on a male secretary in the same way? Are there going to be male counter-spies who she sleeps with and converts to the British side? Is she going to have hand-to-hand combat?

    1. Bob Amundson

      Business model decision; recreate is paying off as much as create, and is so much easier! Waiting for Star Wars 27; perhaps by then the good v. evil with lots of special effects (and becoming cooler with each movie!) theme will have evolved.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I could do that.

        Nikki Haley should hire me to be the guy who makes sure everybody harrumphs for her.

        But you know, she probably doesn’t even realize she needs that…

  2. Bryan Caskey

    And what is she doing with her hands in that picture above looking mournfully into the camera? James Bond doesn’t mourn. He makes a wise-crack right after he tosses the bad guy off a cliff.

    And he certainly never stands holding his hands like that. What kind of dumb pose is that?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      In the lady’s defense…

      Someone else made that poster, and she thought it was cool and passed it on (which she mentioned on Twitter). So we shouldn’t blame her for the photo selection.

      I had the same thought. Surely out of all those X-files episodes, there’d be an image more suitable.

      This one, for instance…


      Although it’s not perfect. There’s a touch of fear in her eyes. The expression is better in the other one where she’s doing something odd with her hands…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Better shot here.

        (See what I did there?) “Shot”?

        Don’t forget to tip your waitresses, folks.

  3. Bill

    Oh ye dudes of little faith and even less imagination, someone like Gillian Anderson could pull it off without being even the least bit shaken or stirred. You obviously haven’t seen her in the mini-series The Fall.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      I have less imagination? Moi? I’m not the one who can’t come up with a new character. Gillian Anderson, or whomever you like, would be fine. Just make a new person!

      I already came up with a core idea for the new movie with Gillian Anderson as 008 in about 10 seconds. It ain’t rocket surgery.

      1. Bill

        In the words of little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two:
        “Why, Mr. Santa, why won’t you let a lady play 007. Why?”
        To which the Grinch did grumble in reply:
        “Because that’s how it’s ALWAYS been. Now git, ye danged li’l shrew! “

      2. John

        Have you seen the 1967 version of Casino Royale? It’s one of my favorite parodies. In that move, “James Bond” was played by (I had to go to IMDB to get the whole list): Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven (who in this movie was the original James Bond), Daliah Lavi and Terence Cooper. Woody Allen played James Bond’s nephew Jimmy Bond.

        If you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil it. It’s wonderfully bizarre movie. It makes the idea of Jane Bond look positively vanilla.

      3. Brad Warthen Post author

        By the way, Bryan, in a previous burst of absurdity, they’ve already tried your “008” approach — converting Moneypenny into an action heroine.

        That’s just absolutely ridiculous. Moneypenny’s not supposed to be some hot young action figure. She’s supposed to be the den mother type who may smile at Bond’s flirting, but knows better than to get mixed up with the likes of him. In the early Bond films, she’s the only real grownup to be seen.

        And of course, there was only one real Moneypenny:


          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, it started with Skyfall, but I think they didn’t actually call her “Moneypenny” until Spectre — which I haven’t actually seen…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I’m sort of waiting for it to crop up on Netflix, the way Skyfall did awhile back. I’m not inclined to PAY to watch it via iTunes.

                I meant to see it in theaters, but missed it…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Speaking of shaken v. stirred…

      Daniel Craig’s best line ever, when asked whether he wanted it shaken or stirred: “Do I look like I give a damn?”

      Of course, THAT was a break with the canon, and it served notice that this was a rougher, less effete Bond than we’d seen before.

      But actually, in retrospect, I think his dismissiveness on that point was situational. He was very stressed at that moment. Earlier in the film, he got VERY fussy about his martini: “Wait… three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.”

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Expanding upon item No. 1 above… I like what Jay Lucas had to say about our governor’s priorities:
    “She believes her time is better spent endorsing opponents of sitting General Assembly members, rather than demand the senators across the hall do their job and pass a roads bill,” Lucas said to raucous applause from House members.
    After the Speaker did HIS job — standing up for fixing our roads — the Senate did theirs and acted (on reform — I can’t tell yet what they did on funding). I’d have included that in this open thread, but I don’t think it was reported until later…

    1. Doug Ross

      The first rule of the Good Old Boys Club is that you don’t mess with the Good Old Boys Club.

      “We may be crooked, but we’re all in it together.”

      Peruse The Nerve some time about Leatherman’s questionable activities and then tell me why we need him running the state. It’s really sad that you can ignore all the stuff he does to line his (and his family members’) pockets with tax dollars. But then you thought Bobby Harrell was a good guy.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, lest we get too excited…

      My understanding now is that what the Senate did last night was rather bizarre. Yeah, they give the governor the power to appoint the DOT board members — but they have to be confirmed, get this, by the congressional delegation!

      What were they smoking when they came up with that one?

      Why not… why not have them confirmed by the board of governors of the Capital City Club (of which I am a member, full disclosure)? Or the cast of “House of Cards”? Or the state champion Little League team?

      1. Mark Stewart

        The Senate wants to set up the Governor’s office as an SPE. It’s the only way they know how to think.

      2. Bob Amundson

        I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned The State’s new series REBUILDING SC. The first installment was Sunday: “HOW SC’S LEADERS FAIL ITS PEOPLE (SC’s Lost Decade).” The Esquire covered the Sunday article yesterday; “HOW SOUTH CAROLINA FAILED ITS CITIZENS (And why Republicans want to bring that model nationwide).”

        Good data, good writing; about time …

        1. Doug Ross

          Only solution (other than wishing on unicorns and rainbows) is to apply the same term limit rules to the legislature that we have for the Governor. 8 years is plenty of time. Then move up, move out, or take a one term break in the real world and come back for another eight years. Nothing will change in this state until the ten legislators with the longest tenure are booted to the curb. They created the system we have and pillaged the tax coffers for decades.

            1. Doug Ross

              It’s a battle Brad can’t win. Because he defends thinks the system can be fixed with the same people who have been in there forever. Every year that passes with the same people doing the same stupid things strengthens my case. Every time one of the long tenured legislators is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, my case is strengthened.

              No, I should really quit. I will accept that the road the good government starts at Hugh Leatherman’s house (with a taxpayer funded road built by his construction company).

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                The only battle I can’t win is the one that involves getting Doug to understand the truth.

                Doug thinks monolithically of “the same people who have been in there forever.” It doesn’t occur to him that SOME of those people are fighting the good fight and the rest of the people are refusing to go along with them. In this case, what you want is MORE people like Wes Hayes, not fewer.

                If you want to change things, you KEEP the people who are trying to change things, and going about it the right way. You replace the people who are standing in their way.

                If you start with getting rid of the few who are fighting the good fight, you just dig the hole deeper. (Which I suppose is convenient if you’re a government-hater, because you push reform further away, which means things are more hopeless, so you can keep running against government as dysfunctional and pointless. So more people join you in wanting to replace the best people with the worst, and things get even worse, and you get more people to join you, and it just goes on and on and on…)

                This is SO patently obvious, and yet Doug is like a brick wall…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Your first statement: Probably not, if I had a better choice.

                    Your second: As far as I can tell.

                    Of course, you’re asking the wrong questions (or implying the wrong questions, since you didn’t use question marks).

                    Nobody runs South Carolina. No one is even close to being in a position to do so. But if there were such an office, and Hugh ran for it, I’d need to see who was running against him. If Joe Riley ran for it, I’d be for Joe. If Lee Bright ran for it, I’d be for Hugh. If Jay Lucas ran for it, I’d probably favor Jay. If Bobby Harrell was his opposition, I’d be for Hugh.

                    And if someone I knew nothing about ran for it, I’d have to learn a lot about him or her to know whether that person would be better than Hugh.

                    Basically, Hugh would have a couple of strikes against him because of his age and his lack of a vision for improving the state, from what I’ve seen. The question is whether his opponent had more strikes against him or her.

                    On your second point: It’s not about honesty. Yeah, you need to be honest, but the bigger question is what you honestly want to DO. I don’t see Hugh as dishonest, but I sometimes disagree with what he wants to do…

                1. doug ross

                  Fighting the good fight and losing is what we cali losing.

                  The simplest way to measure someone is to ask “What have you accomplished? “

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Get back to me when you have someone who has been up against what Wes Hayes has been up against and succeeded better than he has. Then we’ll talk.

                    But don’t waste my time with people who have NO relevant experience, or worse, think making it through law school or building tacky casinos and hotels makes them better qualified than a man like Wes Hayes…


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