Peloton makes Christopher Nolan sweat, May December is exploitative comedy maybe, and labor rights as usual

I mentioned a while back that I got a $15 balance board off Amazon and I love it. Guess what? It’s mostly fixed my hip pain (at least the way that matters to me right now). I can stand at my desk for hours. When my hip/back starts aching at all, I climb on the balance board.

My guess is that it’s just engaging all the muscles I normally don’t engage standing and sitting around, and that’s enough to stabilize my hip. Or whatever. The first week or so, I felt that achiness that indicates muscle growth in all sorts of weird places, like the adductors, obliques, and even my *deltoids*? (I think because my arms have to stabilize me against the desk to use my computer.)

Whatever I was missing in my routine to alleviate pain, the board has helped way more than using the treadmill at my desk and going for walks and stuff. It’s awesome.

Typing honestly isn’t my favorite on the balance board, just because it makes me so tall that I can’t raise my standing desk any higher and it’s not ergonomically ideal. But I’ve been using it a lot for gaming. My combination is padded standing mat + balance board + slippers with supportive soles, and I can stay standing for hours.


My favorite chuckle of the morning came from Christopher Nolan complaining that a Peloton instructor shit-talked Tenet during a class (Variety), unaware Nolan was in the class. Hysterical. Nolan’s response was (paraphrased) “How dare you? Criticism shouldn’t be instinct but a job.” Meaning he thinks nobody should have opinions on movies where he might hear them unless they’re a critic.

I still love Nolan’s directorial style, but the last couple years have made it clear he’s intolerably precious. He’s among the guard of Hollywood who feels entitled to the movie community’s time. He feels the movie community should have gates and keepers. He thinks that he should have a certain number of big screens for a certain period of time. He thinks the masses should keep their opinions to themselves, as someone who only gets these budgets because the masses tolerate him.

I think Nolan is a giant wiener who should accept nobody *needs* to take movies as preciously as he does. And he should accept that being a household name means everyone has opinions on him. He can’t reshape the world to his demands no matter how many times he stomps his feet; the world is not made of executives kissing his rings for providing profit-generating content. Nolan needs to learn to Deal With It.

I like art to be rowdy and messy and full of unprofessional people and so Nolan’s preciousness has officially made him a target of my playful mockery. I hope he never knows another peaceful Peloton class. Fucking Peloton! They hurt his feelings! What a precious little wiener. lmao.


Kate Hudson keenly noted that romcoms are hard to make now (The Hollywood Reporter) because, ultimately, studios aren’t investing in good writers. The headline is about actors, but she says it’s because studios aren’t getting writers that write movies worth big-name time. Hudson is surely longing for another Nora Ephron, much like Meg Ryan, and it’s just nice seeing folks remember that writing matters once in a while.


I am not disturbed by the man in Las Vegas attacking the judge. (NPR) Did you watch the video? He tried to make himself vulnerable in a plea for leniency based on his overall behavior, and she crisply, patronizingly said something like, you need a taste of punishment, byyyeee. I just think it would take a real strong person not to lose their shit over this.

I don’t know what he did to land in the court. Maybe he’s a horrible person. But I just don’t think that people with the power to toss humans into the meat grinder of our carceral system with the sneering dismissal of a middle school math teacher should be *surprised* if they get an unpleasant reaction. Do you know how violent the entire prison system is? Do you know what’s going to take over this man’s entire life for months/years to come, and probably has already done a mess to him?

I’m not violent personally; I just find it a willfully ignorant position to act like judges are vulnerable lil innocent babies when they are knowing, powerful participants in a vicious system. This man looked so desperate to me. America puts way too many people in desperate positions.


Vili Fualaau, the victim of Mary Kay Letourneau, doesn’t like May December. (IndieWire)

When I watched the movie, I thought it was more broadly cribbed off the type of abuse in the Letourneau case, not about the Letourneau case specifically. Shortly thereafter I learned that some lines were directly taken from an interview with Fualaau and Letourneau, and the lisp that was so central to the female characters also came from the real-life abuser. It’s not as much a mosaic as I thought. It’s much more direct, like Velvet Goldmine.

I do feel like May December is yet another act of abuse against Fualaau, effectively; it’s insane we live in a world where others’ stories are fair game for profit-making schemes. The fact that May December is one of the most tasteful and respectful iterations doesn’t matter from the viewpoint of the man it’s about.

It’s crazy to think he’s been dealing with this public scrutiny of his life for so long. Letourneau truly robbed this person of any opportunity to be innocent, and the various sordid retellings make creators complicit in this theft.

As for my position as a viewer who loved the movie, I don’t know. I already deal with this dilemma in all sorts of media that I routinely enjoy. True crime is riddled with people who don’t consent to their involvement; the industry is built on furthering trauma against victims. I think it’s normal for humans to be sordidly curious. I also think all humans have deep deep flaws, and maybe my conscious willingness (and enthusiasm) to engage with media that makes entertainment of others’ pain is one of my worse ones.

That’s not satisfying commentary, I know. But I think it’s true all at once that May December is great filmmaking, and an act of abuse against Fualaau, and a sign that I like juicy stuff even when it hurts people. The fact the movie itself may ask us how similar we are to Portman and Moore’s characters in our complicity with this situation is so much of why I liked it.

There’s also a lot of conversation right now as to whether May December should be regarded as comedy. (Variety)


It’s interesting to hear that use of hearing aids (NPR) can lengthen life span, since hearing loss can worsen cognitive *everything,* isolate the individual, and send them to an early grave.

I don’t need hearing assistance (yet?) but I do use glasses, and have done so since elementary school. My eyes aren’t that bad. I can get around a house fine without glasses, and if I’m not attached to seeing details or reading captions, I can watch TV.

But I noticed if I go without my glasses for a while, I kinda fully disconnect from the world. I just start drifting. I don’t respond as strongly to anything. I can imagine how losing hearing might cause a more profound drift unless consciously combated.


Reading about the old Vectrex console was an absolute delight for me yesterday. (Ars Technica) It makes me wonder how different gaming might look if we’d focused on vector-based rather than point-based design.


Al Jazeera English notes this is a big year for elections and democracy is kinda on the ballot everywhere.


In 1905, Lucy Parsons wrote her feelings about the problems with labor in capitalism, which I could have written nowadays 120 years later. I’d surely have more fart jokes though. Read it on Panarchy.

Every person who is rendering no good to humanity is useless, no matter how hard he works. Head work and hand work are equally hard and equally useful if rightly applied. All men, rich and poor, are working at something; perhaps one at useful labor, the other at useless labor. Nevertheless they are each and all using their energies at some occupation.

Men work because they cannot hold their physical and mental energies in check without causing themselves pain. But we have made work disagreeable because we have allowed conditions to obtain which force us to continue to work after we are tired, or at something for which we have no taste, take no interest in and have no adaptability for.

For this reason we lose pleasure in work and it becomes irksome to us; for this reason, often what we do is done in a slovenly manner and the community loses thereby. The selfish scheme called “property rights” has superseded human rights and created four times more useless work than is required to produce and distribute all the comforts and luxuries of life.

All these useless workers are either capitalists or the allies of capitalists. In this class of workers whose sole business is to sustain the “rights of property” can be classed the lawyers, jailers, police, bankers, insurance companies, agents and nearly all bosses in all branches of industry; add to these those who cannot get work and those in prisons, and we get some conception of the vast hordes that must be supported by those who perform useful labor, and these must devote their entire life’s energies in keeping up the “rights of property,” a thing which they have neither a share nor interest in.

And this condition of affairs makes paupers, suicides, thieves, cut-throats, liars, vagabonds, hypocrites, and unsocial beings generally.

Who, pray, are benefitting by all this waste and confusion? The few, a mere small percentage of the population of the world. All the remainder submit, because they think “it always has been so and it must always be so.” The work of those who have a conception of a true society of the future, must devote all their efforts toward disabusing the people’s minds of the ancient falsehoods. It can be done. Many other hoary lies have passed away, so will this one, too.

As a side note, eleven miners are trapped in Zimbabwe. (AJE) These are subsistence miners working in unsafe unregulated mining sites. It seems to make it easy for the owners of the mines to mostly shrug when things happen. The owner sent a team to rescue folks, but they say they can’t get in because of unsafe ground. The ground was already unsafe and they let the subsistence miners go. Anyway, just thinking about labor today. My heart goes to the miners and the families and hope rescue operations proceed smoothly.

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