"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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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Links - 19th February 2019 (1)

Captain Marvel Movie In Trouble? Drops Whopping 80M - "I previously wrote how Brie Larson is a huge gamble for Disney and Kevin Feige - especially following the failure of Star Wars: The Last Jedi - and now the Captain Marvel movie looks to be in big, big trouble, unfortunately.Back in January, following the NCAA trailer, it was reported that Captain Marvel was projected to have a massive $160 million opening weekend with some estimates even offering $180 million.However, the bad news for Kevin Feige and Captain Marvel is that those projections have now dropped upwards of $80 million (note: article has been updated to reflect million and not percent), as it is reported the flick may only open around $100 million... There is also a huge problem with Brie Larson who has been spinning Captain Marvel as a feminist movie, essentially isolating the audience, and she even recently came out against white males for some reason. I'm actually surprised and disappointed in Kevin Feige that he is allowing Larson to destroy the MCU audience, and that Disney and CEO Bob Iger haven't learned anything from Star Wars. It's never a good thing to split the audience or insult them. Do they not want white males to go see the movie? As I have been tweeting and responding to fans, the storyline surrounding the character is also cause for concern - something Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have recently responded to - as the character's movie is not even out and already she is said to be this overpowerful character, the new face of the MCU, reason for the formation of the Avengers, new leader of the Avengers, etc. The same arguments apply to any male character as well, as Feige is retconning Captain Marvel as a be all end all character in the MCU, which is coming off as more and more ridiculous, especially as Larson does more and more interviews (with non-white males, because why - white males are bad?? Larson does realize her bosses are white males, right? Guess that didn't come into question when she signed her $5 million deal for Captain Marvel and her 7-picture MCU deal, right? Is Larson buying any young underprivileged girls tickets with that multi-million dollar contract??). Disney, Feige and Marvel Studios could be banking on having a zombie audience that will simply go see all their movies no matter what is said or how good they are; however, that scenario has been played out with the aforementioned Disney Star Wars movies and also Marvel Comics. As a result of The Last Jedi, Disney has put the movies on hiatus for what looks to be at least another two years (no movies are coming out after Episode IX that have been announced). Regarding Marvel Comics, the past seven years or so saw them insult fans and force characters onto fans - all shades of what is happening with Captain Marvel - which backfired big time for Disney as executives were fired and sales are dwindling (it's so bad that Disney's consumer products, which includes Star Wars and Marvel Comics, is the only division at the company to have reported a loss). So will the same happen with the MCU?"
Who knew, after Ghostbusters 2016 and The Last Jedi, that insulting your customers was a bad marketing strategy?

Blood Sword by Dave Morris — Kickstarter - "When I edited the series for republication in 2014, it soon became clear that the last book was going to take a lot more effort. The original ‘80s version suffered from having multiple authors working with different themes and tones. Worse, there had been minimal editorial oversight. The tactical maps were printed far too small to be usable, character abilities had been forgotten, and there were missing numbers that made the book almost unplayable. So I re-released books one through four and put the last one aside as a project to return to when I had a chunk of spare time. A BIG chunk. And that’s what this Kickstarter is about."

Ramadan: Woman attacked by Muslim on bus for wearing shorts in video - "University student Melisa Saglam was travelling on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, when Ercan Kiziltas allegedly said to her: "Are you not ashamed to dress this way during Ramadan?"CCTV footage showed the man sitting at the back of the bus before standing and slapping her in the face.Enraged, she got up and attempted to retaliate, but Kiziltas violently wrestled with her before running out of the open doors and leaving her on the bus."

A Week In Xinjiang's Absolute Surveillance State - "we got into the city and reality started to set in. The reports aren’t fake news. It’s all quite true"

Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley - History Extra - "[On Queen Victoria] In his will, he unusually left the guardianship of his daughter to the mother, because clearly he loved and trusted her. And normally the guardianship of the heir to the throne would have gone to the present incumbent. And you see this in the 18th century, sometimes kings take away their grandchildren from the control of their actual parents, because they want to bring them up according to what they think is the right royal way to do it. So Victoria was not, she didn't come out of the royal factory...
They always commented, well, many of them commented on her excellent figure. And one American gentleman said that her bust, like that of most English women is very good...
I think that widowhood suited many Victorian women to an extent, because it was the time in your life when, for the first time you were free of the power of your father and then of your husband, it was liberating. And I love the idea that there're all these Victorian widows dressed in black sort of hiding in plain sight, what new freedoms they were experiencing... It seems weird to us that they did this devotion to the black, but I can also see a lot of advantages in it. Firstly, you didn't have to dress for fashion anymore, you could dress totally for comfort. And secondly, it signals to everybody that you are bereaved, and therefore deserved special consideration. Today, when someone's bereaved, we don't know, do we, they're expected to act normally, to try to get over it, to come back to normal life. And it's sort of healthier in a way to show it so that it can be recognized and they can be treated accordingly. And also, in Victoria's case, the black wearing, it was the most fantastic visual branding. Everybody knew exactly what the Queen looked like, because she always looked the same...
Part of the reason that a lot of obsession takes place about these relationships [with men] is because of the Victorian medical understanding of what would happen to a woman going through the menopause and if you read the medical manuals, it is hinted that she will become a sex maniac, it's just going to happen, there's no escape from it. So that's why people are so prudently interested in whatever she did or didn't do it with John Brown"

Brexit and American independence - History Extra - "Loyalists... at least a third of people living in North America weren’t in favor of independence in the first place... there's plenty of good arguments for why you wouldn't want to leave the British Empire. The most important one is trade - exactly the same with the European situation. By far, the biggest trading partner for North American colonies was Britain and its empire, including its Caribbean colonies. Quite a lot of that trade is done illicitly. And of course, Americans who favor independence think well, we can just basically carry on doing what we've been doing and now we’ll have the opportunity to negotiate trade treaties with everyone else as well. Now we’ll be able to trade with Spain, we’ll be able to trade with France, it'll be great, very much like, you know, the Liam Fox School of Brexit, right?... most of the more realistic American politicians, American thinkers are looking at the situation and thinking with some worry, you know, how exactly are things going to work after we leave this trade bloc the British Empire which has been so crucial to creating prosperity in America up till now?… the most optimistic ones think that if Britain really knows what's good for it, they will continue to trade with America after independence"

The end of the First World War - History Extra - "The First World War has suffered in many ways in terms of it's sort of image if I can put it that way because it’s succeeded by the Second World War and in the Second World War it's very easy to come up with some binary opposites. The Nazis are wholly evil, in comparisons the Allies are good. Of course it’s a lot more complex than that, but that's the way it's often sold. Particularly if you're talking just about the British context. Britain against Germany, Churchill against Hitler. In the First World War things are more complex. The Imperial German state was brutal, aggressive, militaristic, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the Nazi state. It was bad enough, but it pales into insignificance in comparison to the Nazi state... We should not just remember the day, we should also remember those who came home however. Something like 89% of all British soldiers who went off to war came back again... we’re sort of airbrushing those who came back out of our commemoration of the First World War...
The war poets have a completely valid view of the war as individuals. But we should not imagine that their view was shared by every single British soldier or indeed, even the majority of British soldiers"

Bernard Cornwell on The Last Kingdom - History Extra - "If a book comes out, which is a huge, tremendous success, 50 Shades of Grey, and then every publisher is dreading the moment when they're going to get a book which is called 51 shades of taupe or whatever...
Look, nobody forced me to become a writer. I'm tired of people saying: oh god, it's difficult, you know, writer's block. It's so hard. As if somebody put a gun to their head and said you will no longer be a bank clerk, you will no longer be a chartered accountant. You're going to be a writer. Oh, no. Please. No, no. It's a huge privilege. I spend my days telling stories. I make up people. I invent their lives. I am, dictate their fates. I give them love affairs. It's wonderful. It's, it's, it's amazing. You hear their conversations in your head when you go to bed at night. You can hear them talking to each other...
[If the Norman invasion had failed and England had continued to develop] Oddly enough, I don't think it would have been that much different. Because what you have with the Norman invasion, you, you've obviously got a new ruling class coming in that speaks a different language and is going to go on speaking that language for 400 years. But there comes a moment in the 14th and 15th centuries, where, where that ruling class begins to understand that if they're going to stay on top, they need these people underneath, which is the Hundred Years War. The longbow, and I mean, 1415 the year of Agincourt, I might be wrong about this, was the first year that English was used in the law courts. And suddenly if you like, it's taken them a long time. But the Anglo Normans have gone native. It might have been a nicer country, I mean, in the sense that I think that the Saxons had a greater sense of social justice. But the in the end that came back, I mean, in the end, the Saxons won. We won. You know, we assimilated the Normans and we civilized them. So I think in the end, it probably wouldn't have made a huge amount of difference."

Tales from D-Day - History Extra - "Rommel, who is in charge of the defence of the whole of Northern France, he had said right from the beginning, that if we don't defeat the allies on the day itself, the day of the invasion, then we've lost the war. He was quite categorical about that, and he knew that to defeat the Allies you had to get them when they were still on the beaches. These men were inexperienced, and they were very, very seasick when they landed, and so he wanted to attack them when they were on the beach. To do that he needed his elite divisions, the SS Panzer divisions who were stationed inland. Now, unfortunately for Rommel, they could only be released into the battle by Hitler himself, and Hitler was fast asleep, way away away in Bavaria. He’d taken a sleeping tablet, and no one dared to wake him. So it was not until after midday that finally they got permission to use the Panzer divisions and really I think that delay was absolutely crucial in the Allies being able to get ashore."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Not Just a Rich White Woman’s Problem - "‘Do you think it's important that black South Africans with eating disorders can speak to black psychologists?’
‘What we know about therapy is that if a good relationship can be established any, any person talking to anyone from any race, you know, can find to be beneficial. But you do find patients often asking for same race therapists.’...
‘The exposure to Western culture is something that seems to influence the likelihood of one developing an eating disorder’…
‘But eating disorders aren't just about being thin, are they? Some of the people we’ve spoken to on this program have been really keen to emphasise that that is not what triggered their eating disorder.’...
‘A lot of patients will talk about different things around trying to control what feels external, like a very chaotic outside world. Being able to live independently without other relationships because people disappoint you and hurt you.’...
Some doctors are wary of putting too much emphasis on influence from the west when we talk about eating disorders in Africa...
‘Sometimes the attitudes that are held by the rest of the world is that they are not able to fully accept or see someone even from a rural part of an African country or just anyone from that part of the world as a fully whole and complex human being’"
Presumably it's good for blacks to ask for black psychologists, but not for whites to ask for white ones

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Aristocrats and Archaeo-Food Nerds - "‘I think it is absolutely impossible to recreate the taste of the past. We've altered genetic stock by crossbreeding. We've altered flavorings by changing the chemicals behind them, and using different techniques to synthesize different tastes. The atmosphere has changed, that's absorbed by plants and nutrients. We've bred animals to remove the fat content. Probably the only thing you can get that tastes the same is water. If you could defrost a glacier from the right deposit layer.'...
[The Romans’] flavor profiles were very, very bold, they used a lot of wine, they reduced a lot of wine in their cooking, so there's a pungent flavor. To some of their cooking they used a particular condiment called garum, a fermented fish sauce. It's like a salt component that they used to flavor their food, almost like an MSG. But they would also use this type of sauce in their sweets as well, or in their desserts...
Even 100 or 150 years ago people had massive respect for the food. The social media process, it's very dangerous. There the food started to looks absolutely the same in Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Tokyo at the same time. So we need to protect not just the flavors but also traditional of aesthetics as well, especially this time when food chains around the world looks completely the same. Keeping our heritage, knowledge about the product, cooking process, whole cultural aspects of food, it's probably more important than even in the past right now"
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