"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, October 05, 2018

Links - 5th October 2018 (1)

Cultural Studies Is the Target of Another Hoax — And This One Stings - "They wrote 20 credible papers in about two weeks (!) each...
They taught themselves how to produce these papers in only a few months with no formal background in the subjects at hand.
They were not investigating ideas on the edge of analytical philosophy, where non-intuitive notions of reality have an obvious and well-accepted place.
The fact that they had claimed to perform obviously ridiculous fieldwork is all part of the hoax.
Ditto for their obviously ridiculous statistical analysis...
It’s those who are outside these fields but still close to them—and who perform real scholarship themselves—who need to accept what this hoax shows and help lead a cleanup of a badly polluted area of the academy. Unfortunately, what we’re probably going to get is (a) a number of knee-jerk defenses because it’s not worth getting all these folks mad at you, and (b) the usual crew of right-wingers saying “See?” That will allow the whole affair to be forgotten in short order, and that’s the worst possible outcome."
Mother Jones joins the fascists

Can Star Wars Be Saved? - "the fact that Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) became Star Wars' first ever financial failure can largely be placed at the feet of its predecessor. Many fans were simply too unhappy with The Last Jedi to continue with the series so soon. Strangely, the result is that the Star Wars Anthology films, which hinted entries about Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, are now put on hold and Johnson has been given his own Star Wars trilogy... The biggest crime of The Force Awakens is not that Abrams delivered yet another remake, but that in doing so he undid every single victory the original trilogy won at the end of Return of the Jedi (1983)... The Force Awakens is not merely content with destroying the legacy of the original series, but the prequels as well... Johnson's mandate was, it seemed to fans, to not only ruin the joy of the past trilogies but also the promise of this one as well... were the prequels nearly as polarizing to fans as The Last Jedi or even The Force Awakens have been? No. Not even close. Even 1999's Jar-Jar Binks rich The Phantom Menace hasn't achieved the pariah status that The Last Jedi is now condemned with... Do you know which Star Wars film the fans have been reported loving? Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), which is the one Disney Star Wars film that Lucas did work on. The Han Solo origin film was his idea and it was Lucas who hired Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan to create the plot and started the whole thing moving forward before he departed his own company. Sure, Solo is the first ever Star Wars franchise's financial failure, but again, whose fault is that? Is it Solo's fault or that of its largely reviled lead-in, The Last Jedi?... Call it a crazy piece of trivia or call it comeuppance, but just as Lucas had his own outlines for the sequel trilogy, so did Abrams create his own sequel scripts after having scrapped all of Lucas' ideas. What happened? The Last Jedi writer/director Johnson scrapped every bit of Abram's ideas in favor of his own... Say what you want about the prequels or even the original trilogy (both have been derided and praised at different times), at least they had a single vision and that vision didn't include simply remaking the work of others... If Abrams is so adamant to end the Skywalker saga why is he also so determined to rip it off and repeat it just slightly differently?"

Kaitain Jones's answer to Did The Last Jedi kill the franchise? - Quora - "Probably, yes. But it will manifest as the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. The IP will walk on for a while, seemingly unharmed, then collapse. But the blame should be shared at least as much by JJ Abrams and “The Force Awakens”... A common argument dismissing concerns about The Last Jedi is, “The prequels were awful but the IP survived anyway”. Well, the prequels WERE a bit lame, but in a very different way. Their sins were ones of execution, most obviously dialogue and performances. Everything felt stiff, and the romance thread between Anakin and Padme felt very unconvincing. Yet at no point was the core story ever problematic... Palpatine’s rise to power should be seen as the Great Aberration after thousands of years of peace safeguarded by the Jedi. Episode VI was intended to be the point at which the Republic was restored and the aberration is over. Yet this is potentially problematic for making a rip-roaring sequel to Return of the Jedi... For the first time in Star Wars, there is no joined-up thinking. This doesn’t feel like a story written by people thinking about lore, mechanics and continuity. This feels like a story written by people who understand what Star Wars looks like on the surface but none of its internals and complexities. This is a film designed by a focus group. Lucas’s prequels felt clunky but authentic. The sequels feel snappy and vibrant but inauthentic. They don’t really fit the SW universe... Last Jedi wants to go SO far in the other direction that it throws the baby out with the bathwater. It feels like it’s designed to be everything that Star Wars fans DIDN’T want, almost for its own sake, to make a point. You can call this bold, but you can also call it arrogant and self-indulgent. It would be forgivable if Johnson set up a whole slew of interesting new plot threads and ideas, but he doesn’t... And then nothing is set up for the final chapter. No interesting questions, no cliffhangers, nothing unresolved. Other than the aforementioned question of what on earth Kylo Ren actually wants. Are we rooting for him to die? To be saved? What’s at stake? What’s motivating me to see Episode IX? Finally: Star Wars is a somewhat formulaic franchise. The formula is what makes it successful. It would certainly be bold and subversive for Coca-Cola to start shipping apple juice in their cans, but we should not necessarily applaud them for doing so. And if I were Coca-Cola I would be very wary of dismissing the complaints of Coke fans as coming from people who don’t understand bold visionary moves."

Disney: The Star Wars Franchise Is In Trouble - The Walt Disney Company - "While Disney laughed off the controversies surrounding The Last Jedi, Solo’s failure has made it get serious. In the wake of the flop, Disney canceled a raft of other spinoff film projects, including one set to be led by Rian Johnson, erstwhile director of The Last Jedi... When Disney made the groundbreaking decision to allow Joss Whedon to mastermind a multi-film, multi-superhero shared universe, it seemed like a tremendous financial gamble. Yet it paid off massively, and continues to do so. With Star Wars, Disney took a very different approach. Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm, seemed to prefer treating each film in the new trilogy separately, rather than as a single narrative"

Intrigue and Drama on the Han Solo Set - WSJ - "It isn’t unusual for high drama to surround big-budget movies in Hollywood. Many cinematic series, including Marvel, DC, the X-Men, Fast and Furious, and James Bond, have replaced writers and directors or had significant reshoots. But firing directors in the midst of production, as Ms. Kennedy did to Messrs. Lord and Miller, is rare... Mr. Lucas hired Ms. Kennedy shortly before Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Since then, there have been three director changes over five “Star Wars” films, raising eyebrows in Hollywood and among fans... A firm and decisive hand is needed in running a major Hollywood franchise, and Ms. Kennedy’s supporters say she has worked well with J.J. Abrams, director of 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” and Rian Johnson on last year’s “The Last Jedi.” Others say she has too frequently second-guessed her own choices and hasn’t effectively resolved disagreements with directors... People who have worked with her on past movies, including “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Sixth Sense,” described her as more of a skilled manager than creative mastermind... momentum for the series is on the wane since “The Last Jedi.” Controversial among fans, its ticket sales fell faster than for earlier “Star Wars” movies, a sign of weaker word-of-mouth."

Regarding the "Lucasfilm Story Group" : saltierthancrait - "collectively they have practically ZERO experience in writing or entertainment... How the Hell did this happen? Why did Disney let a group of people with zero experience play such important roles in the franchise they paid 4 BILLION dollars for? The members of the LSG are probably getting 6 figure salaries too. My biggest question however is what exactly was the metric used by Kathy Kennedy and Kiri Hart for hiring these people? It obviously wasn't writing, entertainment, film or television experience... nor was it experience in the Star Wars universe. It looks like they only hired one person from within Lucasfilm's existing pool of employees (Leland Chee from Lucas Licensing).... so what exactly were the qualifications and experience they were looking for when choosing people to hire for the Lucasfilm Story Group? That's what I want to know. I want to know why they hired this batch of people who are so obviously unqualified. I think we're over the target now regarding who to "blame" for the sorry state of Star Wars today: Kathleen Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Kiri Hart and the Lucasfilm Story Group seem to be the culprits."

Mike Prinke's answer to Why is Rey considered so annoying? - Quora - "Fundamentally she is a character lacking in agency, waffling between heroics that we’re ideally supposed to think are thrilling, or being a quibbling doormat who doesn’t want to be here. The fact that she’s so good at the heroics but wants nothing to do with them leaves the character frustratingly under-utilized, but worse than that, leaves the audience with only her to blame for it... For the better part of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, however, Rey is repetitively cast as the “reluctant hero,” a character who doesn’t really want to be in the position she’s in and constantly spends the movie trying to get out of it and hand the burden of heroism off to someone else... In The Last Jedi Rey has some newfound resolve to try and get Luke to come back and join Leia’s Resistance. Finally, she has a goal and a direction — but the goal is to beg the previous main character to come back and save the world so that she doesn’t have to. Worse yet, Luke spends the entire movie trying to avoid coming back himself, making each character’s desire not to participate in the story the central conflict of their arc. He doesn’t have any alternative goals or problems for her to solve, he doesn’t have any tests or trials for her, he doesn’t even want to make them up. As a result there’s a lot of time that passes where these characters are just caught in a dead-end before Chewie finally berates Luke into getting involved... [Luke's] decisions make this story go forward. Rey’s indecision drags her back. As a result her adventures feel less like they take a natural pace, and her accomplishments as a hero feel somewhat hollow."

California Bill Requires All Corporate Boards to Have a Token Woman - "California might become the first state in the nation to force publicly traded companies to put women on their boards of directors"
Just get a man to identify as female

A History of Malay Singaporeans in Ten Objects - "This advertisement for Guinness Stout was featured in a programme book for the 1968 West Malaysia Teachers’ Union (Kesatuan Guru-guru Malaysia Barat) Annual General Meeting. For this reason, its reach may not have been widespread. However, it raises interesting questions about attitudes towards Islamic dietary restrictions and how they change over time. The caption in bold reads — “Guinness Stout: good for us”, and the passage proclaims, “A glass of Guinness Stout whets the appetite. A glass of Guinness Stout restores energy. For every glass of Guinness Stout is healthy. It provides strength when your body feels tired and lethargic. This is the drink that gives extra health to every meal. Yes, after work, whenever you’re exhausted or sometimes lack appetite, nothing is better than a glass of Guinness Stout.”

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Germany's far-right - "‘What we see, is that the public and the media and also the BBC, and everyone else is not accepting that people getting furious about those killings. It's not one killing for what now two three people are arrested. There is a killing every other week, and we've got 447 killings and murders by illegal migrants last year’
‘The number of crimes, according to the Interior Minister, the number of crimes committed in Germany is at the lowest level since 1992.’
‘It is rubbish... The numbers of murders are going up by 100 percent, 400 percent by the illegal migrants coming from 2013. What is going down by thousands of numbers is the the stealings of bikes, and you can't say look, there are less bikes stolen and this outnumbers by far the amount of more killings...
We said that for months and years now already we said look if you do this policy, it will be very difficult for the public to keep the control because people get angry. What we are doing at the moment, we are calling the people not to fight, not to be angry, not to be violent. This is what we tell the people in public, but in the same minute of course we do understand that people are angry and it's just ridiculous to say-...
These [people giving Nazi salutes] are Nazis and they are known, this is nothing to do with our party, and this is what you try to link together and this is what makes people even more angry because there're thousands of very normal citizens walking in the street and expelling that they do not agree with the policy. And they are angry. But if you, and this is what German media is doing as well. They will be put all together with those Nazis with the few you've seen. You've seen maybe, I don't know, 20 or 40, or something, and then you blame all those other thousands walking there quiet and not violent, and you just call them all to be Nazis. This is what makes people even more angry. So that's the media whose responsible for the situation which is getting worse'"

Imam Tawhidi - "Memorial photographs of migrant victims at the truly peaceful protest today in #Chemnitz. Yet the media calls them “far-right”"

Rebecca Baldwin's answer to What screams “I’m asking to be pickpocketed”? - Quora - "there are huge signs that warn you about pickpockets... When the subway stops and tourists immediately see these signs, they stop in their tracks and check their most valuable possessions. They check for their money, credit cards, passport, and visa by touching their pants, coat pocket, or purse where their valuables are. They will even check their neck and wrists to make sure their necklaces and watches are still there from the subway ride. Once they feel their valuables are still safe with them, on they go. Well, what they don't realize by doing this is they’ve actually told pickpockets and other thieves where their valuables are... don’t wear expensive jewelry out during the day. It’s just stupid to do that and too easy to get a nice necklace yanked off your neck. Even wealthy people rarely wear expensive jewelry when sightseeing. Many even wear replica costume jewelry during nice dinner evenings out. The only times I see people wearing a ton of nice jewelry are when people want to shove their wealth in your face. That’s just asking to be robbed."
Clear evidence of our disgusting pickpocket culture

Ubang: The Nigerian village where men and women speak different languages - "boys grow up speaking the female language, as they spend most of their childhoods with their mothers and other women, as Chief Ibang explains. By the age of 10, boys are expected to speak the "male language", he says. "There is a stage the male will reach and he discovers he is not using his rightful language. Nobody will tell him he should change to the male language." "When he starts speaking the men language, you know the maturity is coming into him." If a child does not switch to the correct language by a certain age, they are considered "abnormal", he says."
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