Hollywood & Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is cruel for if we could choose who we fall for, we’d never pick someone we know doesn’t love or could never love us back. Yet we fall for the ones we can’t have all the time.

Movies popularize the tale of unrequited love, albeit with a twist. There’s the main hero and their love interest. The problem? The love interest either doesn’t notice the hero or doesn’t share a romantic intention. Over the course of the story our hero will demonstrate their worth before this love interest and despite their problem of unrequited love, the love interest will wind up loving the hero back. Happy endings for all.

Unrequited love doesn’t work this way. You can’t make or force someone to love you. It’s either the case that you share that passion or you don’t. Unrequited implies the passion is not shared. Sure maybe down the road things may change but that rarely happens. Yet movies and novels make it seem like unrequited love is a solvable problem. Solving the problem is a staple in the romantic comedy and romance genres; probably coming in second only to the problem of forbidden love.

The reason unrequited love is so common as a story is because it is popular fantasy. What if an average guy like Adam Sandler’s characters could get all those beautiful successful women? The nerd in The Sandlot actually married Wendy Peppercorn. The down on her luck woman in countless romance novels and movies like Pretty Woman meets the guy of her dreams. They all get the one they can’t have.

Not only does the hero win, they often do so in ways which would be considered inappropriate in real life. The hero often gets the guy or gal through creepy behavior like stalking or socially  inappropriate gestures which would never be accepted outside a fictional universe. Yet people try and do these same things in everyday life and wonder why it didn’t work for them.

Popular fantasy rarely translates to reality. Sometimes your wildest dreams do come true, but for the lot of us it won’t. Even if there were some way to get someone to share our level of enthusiasm, there is so much complexity that could prevent a viable romantic union; a current marriage, age difference, location, status. All these things still come before.

Yet we like to imagine a popular fantasy where we can get the guy or girl. We don’t choose who we fall for, love is like gravity, once we fall we cannot stop. Instead of acknowledging the painful reality of unrequited or forbidden love, it’s easier to live vicariously through someone who got what we can’t have. It is more enjoyable to imagine a fantasy where your dreams come true.

The more we spend time fretting over what we can’t have we loose sight of what we can. That is the danger in this popular fantasy. Sometimes it’s ok to not get the guy or the girl. Not winning all the time only serves to make us stronger. Love will come again.

We’re Not Listening. LaLaLaLaLa!

As the debate around writing better diverse characters continues, one group is taking things to heart and refusing to make an effort: white male creators.

Yes, hashtag not all white male creators. Certainly of those refusing to write better diverse characters, they make up the lions share of examples.

Some notable examples include the Game of Thrones writers refusal to accept criticism of the way they wrote the arcs of female characters in S5; notably the gratuitous use of rape from a male character perspective for shock value and an utter lack of examining the female experience apart from… You guessed it: shock value. Some notable critics refused to continue reviewing the show after this.

More recently, Rob Liefeld, Marvel comics artist and creator took to Twitter after NYCC to defend the casting of a white male as Iron Fist because “the character is historically White.” Never mind the numerous fans both White and Non-White saying not making him Asian was a missed opportunity for diversifying the current MCU, Liefeld was adamant in his defense of historical accuracy. His exchanges with fans on Twitter are both smug and extremely blind to his own white privilege. While I think it is a stretch to argue his views are racist, his inability to accept criticism is certainly ignorant. Iron Fist can be whatever race and it’d have no impact on his character! Comics have changed the races and even genders of characters numerous times to positive effect.

While not as controversial, HBO’s new show Westworld also includes gratuitous rape and damsel in distress tropes to fuel its plot. This in spite of being co-written by a woman, Lisa Joy. The show is run and created by her husband, Jonathan Nolan. Variety noted in its review of the show “drama writers continually resort to rape, assault and murder of women to provide inciting incidents, or to make a show seem ‘edgy’ or to ‘raise the stakes'”

That writers continually rely on these tired tropes are precisely why many are so resistant to change. Why change something which works in their mind? Is it lazily employed, sure. But that’s neither here nor there so long as people are consuming your product by watching as viewers. The problem is it is already starting to get tired and thus uninteresting. And as people begin to criticize this style of writing as not only sexist but as lazy that is when writers ought to especially take notice.

Whether a criticism is about the poor portrayal of women or stereotypical portrayal of non-white characters, the reason many may not want to listen is because their job is hard enough. These writers may very well care about diversity, but in practice they don’t make the effort to address criticisms and in fact double down on the use of harmful tropes and stereotypical portrayals because it is what they’ve long gotten away with and made money from. They react defensively because they are merely trying to defend their work against any criticism. If they acknowledge the criticism, they will be expected to make changes and when you’re on deadline and up against a whole host of other more pressing story issues, diversity concerns will always take a back seat.

Is this fair? No. Of course not. It’s not a valid excuse so much as it is the likely one given — at least on a subconscious or internal basis. Writers, producers, creative executives who are largely white and male are probably not going to take the extra step toward assuring that their product is diverse or presents women in a better light. They just want to turn around their projects and sometimes that means hacking the storylines and arcs of its women and POC.

In 2016 this attitude toward defending hack jobs is unacceptable. Writers should always be striving to improve, to accept criticism and grow from it. Those who do not have clearly lost a big part of what it means to be an artist or writer.

Finally, we need to make moves to hire more women and non-white writers to writers rooms. Currently you’ll get one or two diversity slots and many times creators and White male EPs treat their input in a hostile manner — again not wanting to address their concerns. This was recently the case when an Adult Swim executive in charge of hiring writers noted in an interview that he won’t hire women because “they’re prone to conflict.” Good! Writers rooms shouldn’t be an echo chamber. In spite of addressing the criticism toward his sexist views, he doubled down on his remarks in an AMA on Reddit.

The entire industry needs to diversify to where no single person is strung out for daring people to be better. We need diversity initiatives across the board, from above and bellow the line, to the agencies, to the executive suites– we need more diverse perspectives! The face of America is changing, as is the world around it. You can either listen to their criticisms, or continue to ignore and condemn it. The choice is indeed yours, it’s your future. Try to be on the right side of it by being a better writer and creative tomorrow than you were today.

Are You Scared Of Outerspace?

You are small and cosmically insignificant. I am too. When compared to millennia of space, our short lives remind us of our own mortality.

As a species we have evolved from microorganisms to multicellular beings with highly advanced cognitive function. But you are weak. I am weak. We are vulnerable. An effortless kill.

Space is infinite. The world is small. Our world is smaller. Our worldview is microscopic. There is not enough time to understand. You’re running out of time. I am running out of time to learn more.

The tides they ebb and flow. The moon above dictates their schedule and that too provides the false construct of time we live by. Months turns to years and years turn to ages. You will live maybe another 30, 40, 50? Less than 100 for sure.

But space? Space lives on for millennia. When our sun burns out and takes our planet with it, other universes will still go on. When we look at the stars, it took them millions of light years to shine down upon us but only seconds to glance at.

Everything around us is old. Everything above us is ancient. We are young, fragile creatures who have every right to feel insignificant before the concept of our greater universe.

It should scare you to be sucked into a blackhole. That nothingness which comes to define our comprehension of what lies beyond. We don’t know.

There is not enough time to know. We know almost nothing. We are primitive. We are weak.

Mentorship Is The Key To Diversifying Hollywood

Today I tweeted about mentorship being one of the greatest barriers to entry for young women in the business. So I wanted to expand on these thoughts a bit.

Whereas men hire men that remind them of themselves, women are rarely in the position to offer them the same level of mentorship. Frankly, it needn’t be the case that women exclusively mentor women. The prevailing power structure in Hollywood, white men, need to do more to mentor women.

I briefly had a white male mentor. He was and still is a producer. I’ve no explanation for why he no longer speaks to me. I can’t think of anything I did. He hasn’t worked in a few years, perhaps it is that. All that aside, I know how much it meant to have his advice and feedback. I very much wish I still had it.

Unfortunately, White men still get most of the opportunities in this business. This is a statistical fact supported by numerous studies. Regardless of talent, the pattern of white men hiring other white men and mentoring other white men leads to an industry full of white men.

Before it seems like I am blaming my former mentor for contributing to these numbers, I am not. A Google search will reveal past assistants of his that were female, including a woman of color who now owns her own indie production company. Sadly few of his peers have a similar track record in hiring diversely.

One thing is clear, when women are given mentorship opportunities, they do better than those without the same opportunities. All of his former female assistants are still in the business in varying capacities.

If we want to assure that more women are given chances as writers, actors, development execs, directors or producers — white men need to hire them and groom them the same way they would with men. If women cannot even stick a foot in the door without such mentorship then all the money thrown at diversity will fail to change the makeup of the industry because women are not given the help they need at the outset of their careers. Currently the same women are hired over and over again. What needs to happen is the industry must do more to recruit, mentor and hire young women.

Diversity needs to be more than a buzzword. If Hollywood studios and production companies truly want to “read more women” or see more films directed and staring women, they need to turn their focus to the outset of the process. The PAs, the young woman with internships and experience looking to take the next step, the female writer who placed in a contest or shows ability young. You know, the young men with the same abilities and experience that get pulled up the ladder first. If you’re a white man it stands to reason that promoting the next female talent could also be a very lucrative effort if you take the studios at their word — that they want to hire diverse talent.

While I think it’s important to continue to gear diversity efforts towards women with experience, such as those already qualified to direct and write features, too much is already geared toward such efforts. The next step in the diversity conversation must be about mentorship and recruiting young talent. Nobody in this business has made it alone. Somewhere along the line they had a mentor, a friend, an ally in the business that gave them a chance. Without that initial chance women’s numbers will not increase. If that is a key part of the diversity initiative, we must acknowledge what must come first not just what comes ten steps down the line.

LOUD Twitter

Loud. It’s the way Twitter can feel some times when a particular topic or issue blows up to the point where it feels like everyone is shouting over one another.

Loud Twitter is a large, diverse and ever growing group of people who get all up in arms over every little thing. They take an issue and blow it so out of proportion that they become impossible to reason with. Today Loud Twitter gathered in the film Twitter sphere. The topic was whether it is good or bad for showrunners to live-tweet shows. While most debated whether they found the practice enriching or distracting, a vocal chorus of people made a strawman argument implying that anybody against the practice would be left behind the times. That’s because Loud Twitter interpreted it to be out of touch White male showrunners v. the many diverse showrunners who have adopted the practice of live-tweeting

I don’t see how they got that from THR’s interview with the showrunners or industry people’s opinions  on Twitter but somehow that’s where we’re at.

If you’ve read my blog or Twitter at all you’d know I am a staunch proponent of diversifying the industry and I have been consistently intersectional in my support of that goal. But when we argue over stuff as petty as livetweeting, it turns the whole diversity conversation into a caricature of itself. You tune people out, because not every issue requires being that loud and frankly in this case obnoxious.

Nobody wants to hire someone who is so loud and upset at every little thing. Many will avoid having to step on eggshells around someone like that. It is toxic to live in a constant state of negativity. So go hard at the issues which require it but be mindful that not every issue does. Be loud but remember sometimes there is no need to be. Being loud doesn’t make you right, it mostly makes you obnoxious. It’s something that I’ve learned as I’ve matured, and it’s something I have remained mindful of since cleaning my Twitter.

So go ahead and get mad that I wrote this. Or accept personal responsibility and understand that outside your echo chamber you may actively be avoided for the way you come across.

PS livetweeting sucks.


Breaking Bad v The Wire v The Sopranos

The Sopranos v Breaking Bad v The Wire

The heavy weight class of the great TV dramas. The Wire is often considered by many critics to be the greatest of all time. More recently its cult fans have named Breaking Bad the greatest. Somehow while it was among the most popular show of its generation, The Sopranos is less talked about today when considering “the greatest.” So I decided to form an opinion for myself and spent the last year watching the entire series run for Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and The Wire. So without further ado, my analysis…

Breaking Bad (my first rewatch of the bunch)


Style – By far the best cinematography of the bunch– even if it heavily copied TRAFFIC (2000). Its use of setting as character was wonderfully conveyed. The use of music to set themes was also very good. The way it employed flash forward as a foreshadowing technique was a very interesting stylistic narrative tool – think the pink bear; a meth lab explosion? Nope, a plane crash as consequence for White’s actions.

Plot – As far as its cumulative run is concerned, there is not an ounce of fat or filler in any season. Every episode builds without boring the audience. That is because it is a plot driven show and it works to propel things forward quickly (more on that later).

Characters – I should say character, because it goes without saying that Walter White is one of the greatest ever created. Everyone knows a Walter White, someone who is smarter than what they’re doing in life and is disrespected in spite of it. The entire show is his arc in breaking bad and for that alone it should be considered in assessing the greatest.

Inventiveness – It showed how you could make a TV episode look like a movie. If I were to pinpoint the moment when TV could stand up against film, it would be Breaking Bad.

Style – None. It is arguably the strongest aspect of the show.

Plot – A main issue with Breaking Bad is that it is a plot driven show. This means the plot events dictate the actions of the character and not the other way around. While that makes for lean story telling, it also makes for conventional story telling. Sure it’s fun to watch and exciting, but it doesn’t allow for much introspection or greater analysis of characters internal conflict.

Characters – While Walter White may be among the greatest characters of all time, he is the only character we get the internal conflict of. He propels the plot forward in many respects and a bunch of clever archetypes react around him. Hank is a hero/policeman archetype. Jessie is a bumbling sidekick archetype. The two wives, neurotic housewife archetype. The villains, Saul – archetypes as well. They are barely two dimensional characters. While we come to like them for their various quirks and personality, there is no introspection. They exist to react to Walter White and to propel plot forward, with some surface level examination of their feelings. Even Jessie, while he begins to have his own awakening toward the end is little more than a pawn in the game. This is Walter Whites show, everyone else is a piece on the chess board.

Inventiveness – It doesn’t really break new ground in the drama category. While it takes an unlikely antihero on a unique journey, the story is conventional. While stylistic, it doesn’t make up for the fact it’s a plot driven show without much introspection. So while it’s visceral and action packed, it is also been there before sort of fare.

A super fun show to tear through with memorable archetypical characters and a great central protagonist in an otherwise conventional Shakespearean tragedy. It is a very good action movie, but it is not the greatest of all time.

The Wire (last rewatch)

Style – The least flashy. It’s unique in the sense that it lacks any visual or musical narrative. It is more or less treated like a true crime docudrama. It is filmed with pure realism in mind and it works great.

Plot – Takes a while to build up but boy does it pay off. No show has done it before or since. It takes risk by focusing on a different element of the cities institutions and wraps all these threads up brilliantly. Everything pays off.

Characters – Too many! Yet at the same time we felt like they were all acting out of self preservation, we understood them even if they were surface level plot pawns. The ultimate character is the city of Baltimore and that like other cities it is run by imperfect people who perpetuate a deeply imperfect system. That the city is the greatest character is a testament of how brilliant this show is.

Inventiveness – It must be considered among the greatest for what it tried to achieve, to make a show about the imperfect nature of our government and society using a city as opposed to a central character.

Style – I get why they employ the minimalism they do, it just feels stale after a while. It could’ve employed a little bit more visual narrative.

Plot – Sure it pays off big in Seasons 3 & 4, even if 5 fell off a bit. But the first season was little more than cops and robbers. The second was boring and such a left turn that it made me want to quit. So while it is praised for how it all threads together neatly, the lack of any introspection among its characters or any visual narrative made it a slog to get through. A show cannot be considered the greatest because of two seasons of work, no matter how ambitious.

Inventiveness – Hurt it in the long run. It did a great job in its payoff but taking that long to build up hurt its earlier seasons and therefore looses points in my eyes. It juggles too much.

A very ambitious show that made a profound and lasting statement about how and why our government and society is ineffective and all about self preservation. It hits home in ways many others have not. That it juggled so much and took so long to pay off, I cannot reward it the greatest of all time because of a few seasons of work.
The Sopranos (second series rewatched)

Style – While not as stylistically flashy as Breaking Bad, it did a great job of employing visual narratives. Various objects and foreshadowing without insulting the audience by overly emphasizing them. The series is full of clever framing and use of objects as narrative symbolism. Because it didn’t over explain them, it worked brilliantly. The finale? The reaction POV shot sequence culminating in cut to black — “you never hear it when it hits you” — absolutely brilliant. The use of music was always thematically solid too, on par with Breaking Bad.

Plot – While it can definitely feel like filler at times, the characters are so well constructed that it pans out. This is a character driven show, and one where all characters are given time to develop into nuanced and non-archetypical beings. The analysis of various complexes and feelings about this world made it so much more believable and made us relate to all involved. How harrowing when they’d be killed by this world or others in it. It examined so many moral quandaries and still felt fresh after six seasons. This is not a show to binge watch, it is a fine delicacy to enjoy slowly as not everything is overly explained or spelled out (like in Breaking Bad) – David Chase appreciated the intelligence of his audience. If you found it boring, perhaps your taste is more conventional.

Characters – Tony is such a compelling character, a mob boss with a deep complex; a man in therapy justifying his sociopathy. All those around him are equally trying to justify their actions – especially Carmela toward the end, who seems to have an epiphany in Paris only to realize she can never quit this life. Even the characters we didn’t delve into felt larger than life with great humor and supporting roles. All of the main cast’s actions were a result of their internal neurosis or feelings. What a fucked up bunch but boy did it make for amazing introspective television. When the action ramped up, we were so much more invested in it because we felt like we knew these people on a deeper level. We liked them in spite of their sociopathy.

Inventiveness – It reinvented the mob genre. Sure it had all the standard mob fare but it also went a step further in psychoanalyzing the criminal lifestyle in the way Mad Men (created by Sopranos alum Matthew Weiner) psychoanalyzed the American Dream through ad men. It took great dramatic risks like employing dream states to really hammer home the neurosis. It brilliantly built up to the most debated finale of all time through carefully constructed foreshadowing. It left so much to interpretation that rewatching still reveals more.

Style – I almost wished there was a bit more flashiness. I felt while the visual motifs were solid I would’ve liked more flare. Then again that may have detracted from its realism.

Plot – Drags at times. Sometimes in its quest to say something grand it does fail occasionally. There are definitely some stinkers. After the actress who plays Tony’s mom dies abruptly, the show had to quickly adapt loosing a valuable thread early. It more than made up for some slow pacing with great characters and it would always build into payoffs well. I’d rather a show drag sometimes if it’s trying to take risks than rush along without saying much at all.

Characters – The strongest part of the show. There really is no con here and that is why it’s the greatest in my opinion, because no show has done more with its cast.

Inventiveness – It was a game changer. Nothing to add.

The greatest of all time for the sheer scope of it. It reinvented the genre and arguably kicked off the golden age of TV. Not only was Tony a great well-developed character, they all were. While it may have some more individual episode stinkers than Breaking Bad, it examines so much more, it says and does so much more. It is a brilliantly ambitious show and nothing in the gangster or action genre has come close.


So I think while the other great dramas have a lot of things going for them, including some of the greatest achievements in individual categories, The Sopranos is the more balanced of the three. The Sopranos is firing on all cylinders where the others are excellent for how they do one or two things really, really well. The Sopranos is brilliant TV on a whole other level and I don’t care what critics say regarding The Wire or what fanboys say about Breaking Bad. It is my opinion and you are free to disagree. Overall – 1. Sopranos 2. Breaking Bad 3. The Wire

Your Protest Isn’t Working

Today David Brooks drew scorn for his post taking issue with Kaepernick and other athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

He concluded that kneeling during the national anthem is counterproductive to the goals of the protest. Instead of explaining and arguing for his conclusion, what followed was a convoluted rambling about the (White) American experience and civic duty so dripping with pretension you’d think you were reading a Tom Friedman column.

But I digress, I actually went into that article wanting to agree with the conclusion: that this protest is misguided and ineffectual. I happen to disagree with my fellow progressives on this one. Since David Brooks couldn’t argue his point, I will.

Progressives argue that the protest is Kaepernick and others first amendment right. Correct. On this I agree. They also argue that the protest has started an important conversation. On this I partly agree.

What conversation are we having on this issue? Are we discussing the act of the protest itself or the reasons for it? The former of course. In fact if you were to poll any reasonable number of Americans on why athletes are kneeling I’m sure many wouldn’t even know the answer. That’s because we’re not starting a conversation about racial injustice and police misconduct. We’ve started a conversation about whether this protest is patriotic, or whether it’s insulting, whether it even works as intended. We’re taking sides around the act itself, not the reason for the actions. That’s ineffectual protest!

Progressives will counter with, well when has a protest ever been convenient? It doesn’t need to be convenient. But it should actually lead to a discussion about the reasons for it. At least the Sit-In movement during the 60s made sense. The bus boycott made sense. This doesn’t make sense in the least.

A well conducted protest should lead to a spirited discussion, a movement for progress. This one hasn’t. There are so many other more effective ways to protest. How about Kaepernick marches with Black Lives Matter? How about Kaepernick follows through with his promise to donate to such organizations? How about Kaepernick mentors at risk youth through the thousands of such organizations that do so? Through these actions, Kaepernick could discuss the issues of racial injustice in a way that is far less polarizing and divisive than kneeling. He could protest in so many more effective ways.

So the protest is ineffective. It has forced people into debating the actions of Kaepernick as opposed to why he is kneeling. So many are disgusted by it that even if they were to agree with the reason for the protest, they’ve already been lost by the action itself. Kneeling on 9/11, a day we should be coming together and not discussing politics, is a repulsive action to so so many. Of those who got his message, they’re already in agreement on the issue of police brutality. It is merely reinforcing progressive beliefs in an echo chamber. But it’s not progressives who need to learn.

So congrats on your jersey sales Kaepernick, but I won’t commend you for this. It’s pretty much the Leftwing version of the Oregon militia protest of big government by camping in the woods. It’s so far removed from the thing you are actually protesting that the protest pretty much becomes ineffective. It winds up a discussion of the protest and the protestors as opposed to what they’re upset about. If that’s the case, your protest stinks. Kneeling stinks. Sorry that David Brooks couldn’t make the same simple argument.

White Diversity

The Night Of has taken social media and critical circles by storm. The powerful crime drama takes a hard look at social issues, including Islamaphobia and how Muslim Americans are treated by the media and our justice system.

I am going to proceed with the understanding that readers are familiar with the show, and have already seen most if not all of it. So spoilers ahead.

My main problem with this show is that it seems to highlight a familiar problem in Hollywood, diversity as shown and told by White creators. We’ve all seen the dismal numbers for writers/directors, how most are still white men even after the uproar of Oscars So White and an ongoing ACLU investigation. The Night Of despite a well-intentioned show concerned with diversity is no exception. It it is written by two White men. The executive producers too are nearly all White men.

And it shows.

The show centers around the events that unfolded around Nasir Khan, and how he wound up in the wrong place, at the wrong time and is now charged with murder. Instead of Naz being our primary character, we are quickly introduced to his oddball lawyer, John Stone. It is he who overtakes Nasir as the main protagonist. While Nasir remains the one in a bind, the one we care about, the show focuses on this turmoil largely through the perspective of John Turturro’s character — not Riz Ahmed’s. It focuses on this small time lawyer who got the case of a lifetime, and will now try and save his co-star.

The character of John Stone feels a lot more well developed than Nasir Khan. That’s not too surprising considering the show was originally a vehicle for the late James Gandolfini. A pilot was even shot starring the actor portraying John Stone. He remains credited as executive producer. With that understanding, it’s fair to say this show was likely devised as a show about this lawyer and added in the Muslim arc to give the story a social conscious in post-9/11 New York City.

Instead of exploring the Muslim community, and Khan’s family, we are only given a superficial glance at it. Most of what we see in terms of Islamaphobia is reacted to by the White cast. While Nasir initially takes issue with the Black men and their racist joke in the pilot, White people step in the rest of the show. It is John Stone who speaks for the Khan family and Nasir, describing them as “American as baseball” when the prosecution says he could flee to Pakistan (a country Nasir never visited). It is the White female lawyer, who briefly hijacks the case from Stone who stands on the courthouse steps and doesn’t allow Mr. Khan to speak.

Just as soon as we seem to be getting into the Khan families internal struggle we cut away. Most of the time, we just see them silent, our White cast talking over them. When they are alone, we get a few plot-driven scenes, but none of true introspection. We never really see the Khan family digest what has happened in a way that feels truly revealing. They mostly just mope about throughout the episodes, letting the White cast interpret events for them.

I can’t help but imagine that if we had a muslim POV in the writers room, the Khan family and their diverse community would have had a more dynamic role. I am not faulting the White writers for this, it is a cultural blind spot. I am sure they wanted to portray this family struggling with their identity, but in their cultural blindspot they failed to let the story unfold in a way that truly explored the Muslim identity. That’s because it is an identity that they don’t really understand. They can’t understand it, no matter how well researched. So instead it was largely John Stone and others reacting for them. It was other characters taking us through a world that still treats Muslims and Middle Eastern Americans as second class citizens and perpetual suspects. The show is textbook “White Diversity,” a diverse show obviously and transparently written by White people.

I’ll still take White Diversity over no diversity on screen. However, sometimes it is not White people’s story to tell. This presumptive idea that diversity only happens before the camera is false (sorry Matt Damon). As writers we need to be mindful when another POV is necessary, and other times know when to back off in acknowledgement that another POV may be better. Otherwise, all we get are shows and films which lack a true cultural representation; we get a superficial analysis of a problem or theme which requires greater introspection. Sometimes, if not most times, that introspection is better provided by those who best understand the problems/themes at hand.


For those writers who want to write better depictions of people of color, please check out this post written by Asian American writer Mari Naomi.


In the past decade and a half since 9/11, New York has changed, and not necessarily for the better.

As we approach the fifteenth anniversary, my anger is rubbed raw. My emotions flow uncensored. I am vulnerable.

So allow me to breath, and now… release.

Fifteen years ago, when people leapt to their deaths from the Towers, do you think it mattered if they did so wearing Brooks Brothers. Did it matter when the planes hit the building what Class you were sitting in?

Of course it didn’t. Yet we live every single fucking day like it matters a whole deal. It doesn’t. It means jack shit.

That is what this city today has become. An endless competition of wealth; who has the biggest condo, who sold the biggest real estate pie, whose restaurant is the most exclusive.

For what? To brag about it? To put it on Facebook and Instagram? To pat yourself on the back because you had the experience? You act like that’s what you’ll be remembered for! It is fleeting!

A meal isn’t worth $65 if the company you eat it around is unbearable. A meal is worth far more than $65 when the company you keep makes up the ambiance, and not the imported napkins and model host too busy snorting cocaine up her deviated septum to care that your drink is empty.

What has become of this city? Perhaps much of this is due to the fact that so many engaging in this behavior weren’t even here on 9/12/01 to remember how we all came together. Nobody cared that Steve Buscemi was an actor on 9/12, on 9/12 he was a fireman again like all of his brothers. Nobody remembered those who died by the money they made in life, they remembered the life they gave.

Rich people today wall themselves off on Billionaires Row in second and third homes and have people deliver everything to their door. The poor door of course, because you’re not good enough to enter through the front. What in the fresh hell has this city become?

Sadly it extends beyond NY as well, to LA and other wealthy cities where the sum of your worth is determined by the material value you bring. Will you liven that Instagram or Variety article mention? Whether you get replied to or associated with is directly proportional to this material value.

Just remember that money doesn’t buy happiness. It doesn’t buy friends. It doesn’t buy freedom from problems like addiction or heartache. It buys you a BMW and a nice house — both of which you can’t take with you when you die. Both of which nobody will be thinking about when they lay you to rest.


Trickle Down Tech

Peter Thiel wants to make a self-sustaining island full of technological wonders that will solve all of mans problems, so jack into your cybernetic framework, because it’s 2045 and it’s time to party!

Oh wait, I’m not invited. Oh gee, I guess you’re not too.

How did this all happen? I thought that once the so-called Singularity arrived, we’d all be so much better off. I thought that all of this technological largess would trickle down like  Bush’s economic policy to lift us all out of our mundane misfortune.

Oh right, I guess that economic policy was a lie to the Middle Class too. Hmmm.

Welcome to Trickle Down Tech; where a bunch of overly optimistic guys from Silicon Valley invade your privacy, automate your jobs and promise to cure your cancer if you just sign right here ____

Okay, perhaps I am being somewhat unfair in my assessment. Lets rewind…

As I write this on Labor Day weekend, 2016, wealthy investors are tripping over themselves to fund the next great technological disruption. The next app that will disrupt an industry, leading unionized workers to sign right here ___ to loose everything laborers before them fought to secure. All this so a bunch of tech titans can please shareholders and investors while lining their own pockets. All in the name of progress! Wait a while, and these amazing apps and disruptions will make your life better. Keep waiting for it to trickle down. Yes I know you’re out of work, keep waiting for that trickle.

Ah, the only trickle you’re going to get is the excess moisture dripping from the wet bag you’ll be left holding by this faulty promise.

Silicon Valley loves to present itself as the bastion of progress. Lets take a look at Singularity U as an example. It is a partnership between venture capital titans and inventors like Peter Diamandis, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Google, Nasa (to name a few) where super wealthy people can pay thousands and thousands of dollars for seminars on the next great disruption! It’s called a university, but in reality it is a VC pitchfest, where people can learn to aid the disruptors or become the disruptors themselves.

The godfather of the Singularity movement, Ray Kurzweil is notoriously optimistic regarding future tech, assuring us that we’ll figure all these things out once we get there. He swears to us that there is no problem that technology cannot fix. While I happen to think Kurzweil is far more well-intentioned than the Libertarian Bond villain that is Peter Thiel, he is naive in his assessment.

This is the problem. Even if people are well intentioned, when you push full ahead on disruption without considering the immediate impacts and solutions for those impacts, you’re assuring failure not just for those people, but for yourself.

While these silicon cowboys may have all the money and resources on their private islands, when unemployment reaches 90% because Singularity Hub adherents celebrate the automation of those meaningless jobs, people will revolt. They’ll find a way to build gunships and blow it up for making their lives miserable. Then, the “Luddites” will win because everyone will hate technology just like they’re already starting to hate Capitalism.

While Singularitarians like to promote a Star Trek vision of our future, most people won’t have the luxury of affording the pursuit of knowledge and the arts. The fact remains that people depend on those “meaningless jobs” to feed their families and provide for basic necessities. How dare some smug, overpaid plaid-clad writer living in a $5000/month Palo Alto studio write that someone else’s labor is meaningless. To who? You? Fuck you.

Ah but universal basic income! That’s what these people proffer as a solution, despite numerous economists noting that the only thing this will achieve is hyper inflation. This will only further disenfranchise the unemployed and wealth divide. It almost would seem many of these futurists are ignorant of the market economy. They’re not. They know that things cost money, and if we disenfranchise enough people these precious resources will be kept for the few. The rest of us will rejoin the Middle Ages in a bartering economy — Need some eggs? I have a chicken!

The futurist in me doesn’t want to believe that all promoting this grand vision for the future are like this. I genuinely believe that many want to make the world a better place through technology. I want this too. That is why we need to pause and consider the impact of disrupting things so quickly. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Until we slow down and consider how our new technologies impact others adversely, we must not proceed. We must consider solutions to potential problems before we create them. We must do this to assure responsible technological progress.

Failure to listen to the cab drivers in the streets after Uber decimated their industry will doom us to a warring world of have and have-nots. Don’t we want things to be better than that? Do you really want to go back to the turn of the century rich-poor divide? The tenement housing and mass unemployment? I highly doubt anyone would want that for humanity, even if they could insulate themselves on a private island. If you do want that, enjoy the party, just don’t get too close to the other sharks.

So before we plow ahead with great disruptions,  we must assure their success by making sure they do not disenfranchise people. We must make sure that these new inventions like computer health technologies, and 3d-printed resources are available to all of humanity, not just the rich. Trickle down tech, just like trickle down economics doesn’t work. It is up to those among the have’s to help the have-nots. Failure to do so will assure that the Luddites, that starving masse of rioting unemployed, win.