Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Thanos meets Miley's Blowfish

It’s been kind of a depressing news week.  I hope you don’t mind, but I’m not gonna talk about any of that. Presidential politics is as serious as it gets this week, and I don't know how serious that really is. This election kind of reminds me of the election of 2000, when both candidates were running on the same basic platform.
Since officially kicking off her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has answered somewhere between eight to 13 questions from reporters, depending on how generous we’re willing to be with our definition of the word answered…

Clinton’s stonewalling initially sparked an existential crisis among the national press corps, many of whom were reduced to literally running after her caravan in Iowa. But in the weeks since, the political press has turned noticeably hostile in the face of her silence. Outlets like the National Journal, NPR, and NBC News are keeping their own tallies of the paltry number of reporter-asked questions Clinton has fielded. The New York Times, which is running a reoccurring feature listing the questions its reporters would ask Clinton if they had the chance, summed up the general mood on Monday morning with a blog post wryly headlined, “Today in Politics: Hillary Clinton’s Busy Week Presents More Opportunities for No Questions.” Local editorial boards, meanwhile, have begun making the implicit criticism explicit. “If she can’t handle a tough question from a journalist,” asked the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “how can she handle the duties of the highest office in the land?”

Secretary Clinton can do whatever she wants with her campaign, of course, but if she’s not going to give the press more than a token percentage of her attention, then why is the press giving her more than a token percentage of its attention?  He campaign will die without coverage, and it’s clear that she’s taken it as given that they’ll follow her no matter what she does.  Meanwhile, there are other Democrats in the race, and if they’re all longshots, well, at least maybe they’ll answer a few questions, no?  Why don’t we see more from them?

EDIT: She took a few questions on Tuesday, shocking everyone.  No real answers were given, and indeed, there were barely any real questions. (That link is pretty interesting if you want to see the kinds of questions they could have asked.)

There’s some stuff going on with the Republicans, too, and it’s no better than what’s going on with Secretary Clinton’s campaign, but they are at least having a campaign.  There are now something like eighteen or twenty Republicans who’ve jumped into the race, and several -- like Sen. Lindsey Graham -- have to be considered serious contenders even though their current poll numbers aren’t very good.  Fox News is hosting the first televised debate, and it capped the number of participants at ten.  To be included, candidates have to have filed all necessary paperwork to be officially registered as Presidential Candidates, and they have to be polling in the top ten amongst their peers.  That seems like a reasonable standard, but it will for sure winnow the field.

2. Ethics in finance: stuck at mediocre (Marketplace)
Note: That link is to a radio segment from NPR's Marketplace. I heard it earlier this week but couldn't get the stupid embed function to work properly.

I’m always surprised when people wonder about the lack of ethics in finance.  These jobs are about money in its purest form.  To whom are they meant to appeal if not to folks for whom money is the primary consideration?  Example: “Five Big Banks Plead Guilty to Host of Financial Crimes, Agree to Pay Billions in Fines.”  No kidding.  You can’t beat the market every day, and anyone who’s smart enough to get into business school knows it.  So you do what they teach in business school -- you go along to get along.  That’s how business gets done.  Anybody B-School graduate can tell you that it’s better to deal than to compete.

The kids today think Gordon Gecko was the movie’s hero.  They don’t understand why he went to jail and don’t care to argue about it.  They see what kind of world we live in, and as a result, they want to make a pile and get out before they get caught.  All you have to do is ask, and they’ll tell you all about it.

3. Friday Hair Metal: More Miley
I heard she sang a song about a fish, and it was supposed to be pretty moving.  Haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know how good it’s gonna be.

Yup.  That’s some secret.  Their publicist managed to get it into every newspaper in the country.

I’m not usually one for variant covers, but this one by Starlin is excellent.  

Secret Wars #4 variant cover by Jim Starlin
One of my favorite things about the Secret Wars – and about Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers in general – is the way he’s made such interesting use of Thanos and some of his inner circle of lunatics.  For example, Terrax (the guy with the axe) seems finally to have found a master he can believe in.  Terrax started as a particularly brutal herald of Galactus, but he was so proud and uncontrollable that even Galactus thought he was too out-of-control.  Working for Thanos has been a better fit, presumably because he can’t possibly kill too many people for the Mad Titan’s taste.

Anyway, Starlin created Thanos and has written a new Infinity graphic novel, The Infinity Revelation.  Some of his other books, especially The Infinity Gauntlet and The Death of Captain Marvel, have had something of an impact on the comics and movies of today.  It’s good to see him putting out new work.

I'm done. Sorry for the weird spacing, but I flat-out don't feel like fixing it. It'd take twenty minutes at least, and I'd rather spend the time looking at cat videos on YouTube.

Congrats to the Class of 2015.

The Long Grey Line of us stretches
through the years of a century told,
and the last man feels to his marrow
the grip of your far off hold...

Have a good weekend.

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