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Snowmeggadon TV

21 Jan
Agent Carter

Agent Carter is a difficult show to pull off, though Joss Whedon and company did it will enough to come back for a second season.  Peggy Carter is a rare female CIA agent (or a pre-cursor to the CIA)  in the late 1940s.  The difficulty the show has to deal with is that Carter (and her antipode, the KGB villainess Dottie Underwood), are more intelligent, and even better at martial arts, than most of, if not all of, the males around them.  In SyFy and fantasty shows like Buffy or Bionic Woman or Wonder Woman, the heroine has mystical powers or high tech upgrades.  Agent Carter, played by Hayley Atwell (whose facial perfection is a kind of mystical superpower), is just human – though in the Avengers’ universe she is the love interest of Captain America.  So she has to be brilliant without merely looking so because the male characters are all written as stupid.  Whedon is succeeding at that.

The two hour premier features a little interracial romance way back in the 40s.


Unlike Agent Carter, Billions is all testosterone.  Starring Damien Lewis (formerly best known for Homeland) as a Wall Street billionaire who survived 9/11 after graduating from Hofstra as a kid from a working class Irish family and then working as a trader.  It will be curious to see what lib-Dem Aaron Sorkin does with this.  Since Sorkin’s stock in trade is repeated liberal porn valorizing D.C. insiders, liberals, Democrats, Beltway journalists, etc. it’s hard to imagine he will provide a critique of the criminalization of free speech and information, i.e. “insider training.”  One suspects he was forced into this because incumbents, the ruling political class, mainstream media, are just not sexy.  Everyone hates them.  Not to mention that so many of them are freaks: spitting Chris Matthews, mush mouthed Eugene Robinson, pie cow Claire McCaskill, flop eared Obama, chew baca-ish Michelle, botoxed Andrea Mitchell, closet case Barbara Mikulski, medusa-like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, corpse like Harry Reid, discolored John Boehner, tongue tied EJ Dionne, and the nasally, phlegmatic castrati of NPR.

You can watch the upcoming episode already on Comcast on Demand.  So far it’s entertaining but it is all about a developing case where a homunculus Justice Department attorney played by Paul Giamatti tries to keep a perfect prosecution record by taking down a billionaire for insider trading, i.e.  making money off  tips and info not already available to every potential market participant.


For all of us Buffy fans still suffering withdrawal over a decade later, Supergirl, along with EXTANT,    Agent Carter, and reruns of Emma Peel on The Avengers are our morphine drip.  Not perfect substitutes but still welcome and each tasty in its own way.  For those entertaining feminist theology we are just seeking splintered reflections of the Goddess.  Thank God Sarah Palin has returned to politicking.

But Palin’s not the only starlet to re-emerge.  Emma Caufield, a Ron Paul fan, a little more mature and thicker in the (facial) cheeks, who was hilarious as the vengeance demon/vulnerable girl/medieval witch Anya on Buffy, and who has been underused and underemployed like so many talented comic actresses (Madeline Khan), has joined Supergirl as An FBI agent.  Let’s hope her role grows if it adds to the show.

Making babies – Some questions for libertarian futurists/transhumanists

9 Oct
I was reading Dr. Donald Boudreaux’s excellent essay on legalizing markets in parental rights (aka, pejoratively, “baby selling”) and thought of some future scenarios I don’t remember coming across in my formerly vast reading of science fiction (though the series finale of Buffy and the made for TV movie Twilight of the Golds are tangential).  Boudreaux discusses the gains of trade for poor mothers, neglected children and infertile couples by allowing markets to operate.  I am wondering not about the marketing of desirable babies, but about their manufacture.

If gene therapy could do the following, should it be legal:

1) Eliminate a child’s inherited disorders

2) Allow a mother to eliminate or re-code the DNA contributed by a biological father who was her rapist

3) Allow a parent to eliminate or re-code the DNA contributed by a former spouse who had given up parental rights

4) Allow gay or lesbian couples to re-code DNA contributed by a donor to be more similar to that of their partner who was not a biological parent

5) Allow parents to shift their child’s appearance – hair, skin, eyes, nose, height, talents, mannerisms –  to assimilate them to their society’s dominant or more successful ethnic groups

6) Allow adoption agencies, orphanages, or adoptive parents to make parentless children more desirable to those willing to adopt, including shifting their appearance to be more like the parents, even recoding their DNA to be that of the adoptive parents.  This could include shifting their ethnic identity.

Currently there is a surplus of never-going-to-be adopted babies of color.  Indeed, upper middle class left-liberal “anti-racist” Americans routinely fly to Russia, China, Latin America, to adopt non-black babies, rather than adopt black American orphans.  I’ve sold at least two houses to lovely people in DC who exactly fit that stereotype, one of whom runs a major leftover political group.

Incidentally, to return to the Boudreaux essay, black critics of current adoption regulations say they discriminate against prospective adoptive parents who are black.  Of course, economic theory tells us when markets aren’t free people discriminate on bigotry instead of price; black would-be parents can’t afford the monopoly adoption fees.  Perhaps if black moms could sell their parental rights and choose to sell them only to black parents, at the lower prices in a freer market, the glut of unadopted black babies would be reduced.

Joss Whedon’s "Much Ado About Nothing"

5 Aug
Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, the upcoming The Avengers and savior of various stalled movie franchises, has produced a perfect date movie, incredibly sweet, from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  Somewhere half way through one forgets both the antique English and the fact that the actors may be known to you as “Wesley Wyndham-Price” and “Winifred Burkle” (the lovers Alexis Denisov and Amy Acker played on Angel before they were Beatrice and Benedick in the current film) and the movie becomes adorable and engaging, Shakespeare’s comedy of love reset in suburban Los Angeles.  I hadn’t realized what a great debt Pat and Mike and other Hepburn/Tracy fare owed to this play about two arrogant, witty know-it-alls being dragged into admitting their desire for each other.

(Libertarians have long been in the forefront of Whedon fans for reasons I have written about elsewhere, though the libertarian content in his work may come partly from some of his less well known writer collaborators.)

Mr. Whedon also sets several short Shakespeare poems from the play to music that he wrote, sung by his brother and sister in law:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, 

Men were deceivers ever, 

One foot in sea and one on shore, 

To one thing constant never: 

Then sigh not so, but let them go, 

And be you blithe and bonny, 

Converting all your sounds of woe 

Into Hey nonny, nonny. 

Sing no more ditties, sing no moe, 

Of dumps so dull and heavy; 

The fraud of men was ever so, 

Since summer first was leafy: 

Then sigh not so, but let them go, 

And be you blithe and bonny, 

Converting all your sounds of woe 

Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Such Good People

6 Jul

Gay Objectivist Romantic Comedy looking for funders.

I know, I know.  It has all been done before!