Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss Margaret Thatcher, the "Accidental Racist" song, and the Point Break remake.
1) I never much liked Margaret Thatcher but I think the reaction of some liberals to her death has been disgusting. They all but pissed on her grave. What do you guys think?
Chez: Thatcher did a lot of really terrible things in England that hurt A LOT of people and the consequences of her political decisions are still being felt today. She stood for almost everything I stand against. But that being said, I agree with you -- with a few rare exceptions I can't imagine rejoicing in somebody's death. Certainly not because I happened to disagree with that person's politics. I was thrilled when Bin Laden was killed, but he was a terrorist who, among other things, killed 3,000 Americans with one shot. Yeah, there's probably an argument to be made that Thatcher too caused pain and suffering, but it's not a fair comparison. It's ghoulish to openly mock the very recently deceased and it's also a bad idea from a PR standpoint. I don't like it when those who disagree with my politics do the Snoopy dance when something terrible happens to someone I admire; we expect people to react like civilized, decent human beings and not behave that way and we make comments like "stay classy" when they don't. Best not to set yourself up to be a hypocrite when you're on the other end of that situation.
Bob: I can certainly understand the notion of celebrating a deplorable political leader leaving office, but, like Chez, I don't grasp why her death was somehow a victory for anyone. It's not like her post-political life was a disaster for liberalism and she needed to be stopped, so hooray for death! All of that said, I didn't necessarily see a systemic display of liberal jubilation -- just the usual internet-age gaggle of anonymous trolls and instigators.
Ben: I wrote about this earlier during the week and argued against celebrating Thatcher, or anyone else's death. A personal story - I grew up with a kid in my area who used to pick on me and some of my friends. He was a nasty bully who became a time drug dealer (and from what I heard), did time in prison for stabbing someone. We would see each other on and off for years, and the majority of the interactions were pretty horrible. The last time I saw him, we ended up in a very nasty confrontation when I refused to take any nonsense from him. I won't go into detail, but I was a grown man by then, and it didn't end well for him. Days after the altercation I received some pretty serious threats, and spent several years watching my back around my neighborhood. Then one day, I heard he had died from a drug overdose aged 25. It was a strange feeling given our history, but I couldn't help feel sad for him. He had spent most of his life being unpleasant to people, and had caused a lot of pain. I obviously don't miss the guy, but I hope that if there is any sort of existence after our life on earth, he is at peace. Why do I feel that way? Because I think death itself is nothing to be happy about, regardless of who it is . Thatcher may have done some terrible things while in office, but she at least deserves dignity in death.
2) I just finished listening to that new Brad Paisley song. I know it's terrible but what I can't understand is why southerners have all this pride they CAN'T suppress. This gets asked a lot, but what is it with the south? Why do they continue to revel in their confederate flags and their "heritage?" They lost the Civil War. The cause they were fighting for was wrong to begin with? Why can't they get over it?
Bob: That's a fantastic point, and I could write volumes about all of this so I'll keep my answer as short as possible. Funny how we never hear about Northeastern pride or Pacific Northwest pride -- certainly not to the degree we hear from Southerners about their beloved region. And, naturally, it all has to do with the Lost Cause Mythology, which involves the wistful memory of what could have been: a Southern nation and the loss of their war for independence. That's how they see it, while the rest of us understand that the war was all about their desperate and bloody defense of slavery as a socioeconomic necessity. And because they lost the war, and lost their chance at self-government, militant Southerners continue to share a sense of loss and victimization. Since the end of the war, and throughout the last 150 years, the South has lashed out at African Americans and northerners who they blame for everything bad. Brad Paisley and way too many other white southerners don't realize that the Civil War wasn't the end of the road for African American oppression. The consequences of Southern slavery are alive and well today -- in fact, one of our two major political parties still uses racial dogwhistles and the "Southern Strategy" to win elections. Make no mistake: Southern Pride is mostly about White Southern Pride, even though many Southerners don't realize it or won't admit it.
Ben: I wasn't born in this country, so I don't really feel comfortable taking pot shots at particular regions. I can talk shit about areas in England I don't like, but I'm English and have a born right to do so. I've met quite a few Southerners in my time in America, the majority of whom have been exceptionally friendly. I will say this thought - I'm not a fan of their politics.
Chez: It's because they did, in fact, lose the Civil War. You've got the dumbest, most patriarchal and pretend-macho region in the country being completely emasculated at the hands of those pussies to the north, and not only were they crushed but basically progress has left their way of thinking in the dust. So like the bully who just got his ass kicked on the playground, they keep trying to act tough to save face. The other thing is that, again, many of them still believe the wrong-ass ideals that led to the war in the first place and while they pretend they don't -- that the Confederate flag is just a shout-out to southern gentility or whatever-the-hell -- they secretly love the idea of the South becoming a powerhouse again, something worthy of respect instead of mockery. I don't know -- I feel like my IQ is just dropping steadily as I continue to talk about that part of the country.
3) Why are they remaking "Point Break"?!? WHY?!?
-- J. Utah
Chez: I honestly have no idea. My girlfriend and I have a joke that there's never a time when we turn on the TV that we can't find "Point Break" playing on at least one channel. Actually, it's not really a joke since it's true. It's one thing to remake an older movie, maybe one that could benefit from today's action pacing and updated special effects and shooting technology and techniques, but "Point Break" looks amazing even by today's standards and although it's not considered a "classic" it really is the kind of movie that caught lightning in a bottle. You can't make that happen again and I think the studio trying to is going to be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Bob: Because too Americans spend money on films that are familiar instead of elevating truly original films. Hollywood only ever gives us what we want. And right now, we want mindless recycling of ideas instead of new ones.
Ben: It's Hollywood in a nutshell. The industry these days is almost entirely about profits rather than producing quality movies. I mean, what do you expect from a town that churns out cinematic masterpieces like Transformers 4 and Big Mommas House 3? There have actually been some pretty good movies recently, but the big studios don't like to take risks and would rather pump money into titles they know will sell. Point Break the remake may not be a massive hit, but it will do the numbers given the name recognition.
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