Archive for May, 2017

so, why was she white again?

May 24, 2017

or maybe the question should be why was Ghost in the Shell (GitS), the recent live action adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson, is set in an Asian locale since three of the main characters were Caucasians speaking English?  Ever since there was an initial blow back on the movie for whitewashing I sort of blew off the controversy.  I loved the original anime, and if they made a good live action movie starring Scarlett Johansson I wasn’t going to complain. After all, simply casting a white woman instead of an Asian one for the lead shouldn’t be enough to essentially hit a film with a racism charge.

The problem with GitS, and what makes the whitewashing so obvious that it becomes impossible to ignore, is how the rest of the film was essentially left in place. This was not a story that was appropriated, where its core elements were lifted and fit together with a different culture to create a legitimately new and self-standing work. This was putting white people into prominent roles because appeal to an audience solely through the whiteness.

To draw a comparison, look at Scorsese’s move The Departed. It was a reworking of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs that starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, among others. What GitS did would be like Scorsese filming a remake of Infernal Affairs set in Hong Kong, starring Asian actors and actresses in all of the side roles, using Asian motifs and cultural touch stones, and then still casting DiCaprio and Damon as the leads because, well, white guys.

What’s confusing is that this should have been an easy fix. If you want to cast a bunch of white people in the leads, set it in New York or LA or even London or Paris. Just pick a city in the west and go with it. Maybe they were worried about turning off fans of the original anime if they changed too much of the story, or maybe they just wanted to keep the Asian motif and didn’t think of how shallowly it used it. I don’t know. But it was a reflection of the general laziness in the script and execution that plagued the entirety of the film. It’s an incredibly slick movie. It looks incredible. But the writing was weak, the dialog clumsy, and it ended up not doing justice to the source material or to the actresses and actors.

Well, then where is single payer?

May 6, 2017

Give him credit, at least he’s facing his constituents. Of course, the line he offers at the end about Obamacare being unsustainable is an unadulterated line of horse manure, but at least he’s saying it to their face.

Our health care spending add a lot to our federal budget/debt. It’s expensive no matter how you cut it. The truth is, though, that the ACA has done more to reign in those costs and control them than we would have seen without it, or that we will see with the AHCA.

For the talk of the cost of premiums going up, they have still climbed at a slower rate than they did the decade previous.  For anyone who had health care, take a look at your premiums. They never went down. And while some places had hikes that were abnormally high, others didn’t. As a whole, it put our health care system in a better place.

It also extended the life of the social security fund. Now, to be clear, social security was never going to go entirely bankrupt. Even after the fund that was set up runs out of money to guarantee 100% of expected payouts, the yearly money coming in was still expected to meet anywhere from 75-85% of those costs. It was never going to shrink to zero and, if some pretty simple and relatively painless (compared with the pain of screwing over the elderly in 15 years who won’t have those social security checks they expect/need) taxes are enacted, there won’t be any short fall.

The ACA has made it possible for a whole bunch of people to have insurance that would have otherwise went without.  And going without insurance does, in fact, kill people. I’ve talked about the moral imperative of caring about your neighbor before. Personally, I think it’s just a bit easier to be okay living in a nation where we decided to put our money where our mouth was and ponied up to try to make sure they could be a bit more okay.

This doesn’t touch this unsustainable malarkey that Rep. Tom Reed went to, though.  The truth is that if the ACA is unsustainable, then market based insurance is going to be unsustainable unless you’re fine with everyone but the very wealthy being able to afford to see a doctor. Which is essentially saying that a whole bunch of people are going to live painful, disease-ridden lives before dying before their time in likely miserable, painful ways while afflicted with diseases and conditions that could have at least been mitigated with proper health care. This is a long way of saying screw the poor. Or even middle class, because health care is really really expensive and even if you’re pulling down $70K a year, if you get hit by the cancer stick you’re also going to get hit with the bankruptcy stick just trying to survive it.

The only fall back at that point is to just go to the emergency room for everything, where they have to see you and treat you since a law Ron Reagan signed in 1986, and then just not pay whatever bills result.

Which will increase costs for everyone else. So even if you’re not paying for someone to be on medicaid, you’re still paying for their care but in a far less efficient way. In other words, you’re spending more money to provide care to that person than you could have spent if you just made sure they could have some sort of insurance.

But, yeah, the ACA isn’t sustainable. Which should mean the only rational choice is to move to a single payer system. Instead, we’re going to go with a more expensive, less efficient system that gives coverage to fewer people. Because rich people, taxes, and an insanely selfish, short-sighted GOP that lies through its teeth about all of this.