Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the category “Media”

They’re coming to get you, Barbara

I was mostly out of it yesterday due to some meds I had to take, but I was up and kind of alert around 8pm and looked around for something to watch. I am a fan of Joe Bob Briggs, and I haven’t had time to watch any episodes from this season, so I fired up the first one for the year.

The special guest was Svengoolie, who is probably the most famous horror host after doing it for decades and having a show on MeTV. The movie was: Night of the Living Dead.

I don’t know if I am a horror film fan (I like them, but I’m not a Fangoria reading, tons of DVDs of horror film, going to horror convention guy), but the Romero movies are my favorites. I loved old movies and after I got over my period of being scared of EVERYTHING as a kid, I would stay up to watch Pywacket Presents after the late movie on Saturday Nights on Channel 8. Pywacket Presents was the horror movie, and while I don’t know when it ended (I am thinking around 1981 – 1982) it started sometime before 1975, because I would watch it after Saturday Night Live.

If I could stay away until the late movie on Channel 8 ended, at least.

Most nights it was a Corman monster movie. Once in a while, they would have a Universal Horror or a recent Godzilla movie, but it was most 50’s black and white monster movies. I saw a LOT of my low budget loves there like Robot Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Crawling Terror, and the like.

By the time I was 12 or so, my parents would go out on Saturday nights, my sisters would be taken to a grandparent’s house, and I could stay home alone. We lived in the middle of nowhere, 3 – 4 miles outside a town of 350 people. I’d watch Saturday Night Live, read comics and watch the Monster movie.

However, one night, it was Night of the Living Dead. On Joe Bob, they said that they scene where the zombies eat the couple who were killed in the truck explosion was edited from the TV version, but it wasn’t edited out of this one. I watched this story of zombies surrounding people barricaded in a house in the middle of nowhere…in a house in the middle of nowhere. It affected me more than any movie I have seen before or since. Not the horror, not the gore. The nihilism. The starkness of it. The look at a civilization falling apart in a couple of days.

I was a kid who grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam war, the Cold War, the mounting fears of nuclear annihilation, the fading embers of the Civil Rights movement as the South and Right Wing realized how to use the levers of power to keep white supremacy in place by going subtle with it, and Watergate. This movie, and the books from the time helped me understand that things were not OK, and they never would be OK.

When Joe Bob Briggs showed it this year, he asked us to watch it like we had never seen it before. I have to admit, I have seen the movie more times than almost any movie in my life, and I even own the Criterion Blu Ray.

But this low budget horror movie, thrown together in bits and pieces, with improved dialogue, and now having the weight of so many interpretations from people layered on top of it, still packs a hell of a punch. I forgot all of the different essays and criticisms and studies and discussions and watched it with fresh eyes.

Tt is still one of the most powerful films ever made, and the characters can stand in for any group of people in conflict.
When Johnny says “They’re coming to get you, Barbara…” he’s not wrong.


We Are All Antonio Brown

A bit of context:

NFL player Antonio Brown quit in the middle of a game yesterday.

What the sports media and other media aren’t much talking about is that he was close to getting a massive bonus for the year because of his number of catches, yards, etc… So, they benched him for the rest of the game to ensure he wouldn’t get that bonus. So he, quite rightly in my opinion, he said screw this and walked.
You can bet this will be spun into how he is a spoiled, entitled brat and the rest, not that he saw he was being screwed over deliberately and decided if they were going to treat him like crap, he didn’t need that any more.

For years we have heard that burger flippers aren’t worth a livable wage. That if you don’t like your job, find another. That abusive customers is just something you need to take and don’t ever not smile at people even if they can’t see you.

Over the last few years, customers have gotten more aggressive and abusive, mostly because the public discourse has become about as gentile as a YouTube comment section. More and more people are deciding that the abuse they take on a routine basis isn’t worth the low pay front facing jobs get. When I last worked at a movie theater, we often had people who would seek out the youngest looking person working to scream at, knowing their actions would get them what they want, no matter how unreasonable.

So if someone sees an employer treating them poorly, or in this case going out of their way not to pay an agreed upon bonus, I don’t blame people for quitting. As someone in HR, I am seeing more and more industry articles about how “Employees are getting too much life in their work life balance” as companies feel like they are losing control. Employees are no longer putting up with being “on call” at all times, working terrible jobs for unlivable pay, and even with record profits, these companies think sharing those profits with the workers is untenable.

In the 90’s, there were more jobs that workers, and eventually, companies learned they had to treat people better. It immediately led to jokes about workers demanding stupid things like foosball tables and flexible hours, and any sort of perk is actively mocked in the media.

I think they aren’t ready for the coming changes. Baby boomers are leaving the workforce to retire in record numbers. There simply aren’t enough workers to replace them as it speeds up. Worker concessions that are called insane in the US are common in the rest of the post-industrial world. However, the US has always had a history of beating down workers, making them accept the worst conditions possible and told to be grateful they even have a job.

They can’t handle it if we all start thinking like Antonio Brown. Look for him to be vilified across all parts of our society.

The owners can’t allow people to think it’s OK to say “No more.”


What year is it?

Twin Peaks: The Return, is over.

A show I never thought I’d get to see ran for 18 episodes, and as part of his deal, David Lynch demanded no interference from the network and got it. The first episode drew around 300,000 viewers when it aired, but Showtime stated that it was viewed over two million times on various platforms, and had a huge jump in their subscription service.  Lynch himself said to watch it like an 18 hour movie, and while I didn’t do that, I did do a few binges and liked it much better that way that watching an hour a week.

It was confounding, vague, impressionistic, weird, funny, goofy, horrifying and in some scenes, the darkest and most disturbing thing I have ever seen.

It was exactly what I needed without knowing it was what I wanted.

AND I am not going to get all snobby about it and say “You didn’t understand it” in a snide, condescending tone. It was not meant to be easily understood, challenged the viewer and made no apologies about that.  You bought in and decided to play in Lynch and Mark Frost’s nightmare or didn’t.  It wasn’t weird for weirdness’s sake, it was how David Lynch tells a story now.  Dreamlike, without answers and leaving much of the connective tissue up to you to put it together.

One of the great things about the series is that I have read multiple summations of the last episode. They all have very different interpretations of the ending, and, in my mind, they are all correct.  It was a sad ending.  It was a terrifying ending.  It was a satisfying ending.  It left a huge cliffhanger. It wrapped everything up.

Every one of those observations is valid. I have my own interpretation, but think about it:  What was the last piece of mainstream entertainment that allowed for ambiguity?  Where everything wasn’t tied up, explained and given to the audience prepackaged and easily summarized for Wikipedia?

If there is only the book in October and then Twin Peaks goes away forever, I am fine with that. If Lynch and Frost revisit that world, I am fine with that too.  In a time of Tentpoles instead of movies, I like that there are still people out there exploring how to tell a story and being afraid to make the audience work.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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