Authors Posts by Elliott Morgan

Elliott Morgan

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Or does it help it?

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! MLK Day is probably my favorite I-never-remember-today-is-a-holiday holiday. MLK Day is to Christmas or Thanksgiving what AMC is to CBS or FOX. That’s right. I just did a holiday/television network analogy. For what it’s worth, it made sense in my head. The bottom line is that I have a soft spot for Dr. King.

Where was I? Oh yeah, being disappointed in Dr. King.

Let’s recap: Every year, we celebrate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an activist, a minister, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He changed our nation for the better, and he did so while maintaining a constant theme of loving your enemies.

Upheaval after upheaval has reminded us that modern man is traveling along the road called hate, in a journey that will bring us to destruction and damnation. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, the command to love one’s enemy is an absolute necessity for our survival. Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world.

Unfortunately, King was what he himself would call an “adulterer.” In other words, historians confirmed many years ago that King had extramarital affairs. The affairs are well documented, and they serve as a reminder that even our greatest heroes can be incredibly flawed.

The questions that arises when tales of hypocrisy, bigotry, and fraud are attached to publicly lauded figures include: Does it tarnish their legacy? Does it cancel their good deeds? Does it make their message void and null?

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.

It’s easy to discount trespasses when they’re performed by those we love or admire. Similarly, we can use people’s failures as evidence to write them off entirely.

In my opinion, the failures of Dr. King should serve as a means to glorify his message. The reality is that Dr. King’s flaws should be posted on billboards and printed in newspapers. Scratch that. No one reads newspapers. Take the raunchy, x-rated details of Dr. King’s past and plaster them all over the Twittersphere. Smear them on your Facebook wall. Tumble them. Reddit them. Put the ugliness on display for everyone to see. I do not believe we should do this so we can put all of the attention on his faults. Instead, I believe we should spread the word of his infidelity so we can take the attention off of him.

Because it was never really about Dr. King, was it?

Wasn’t it about equality? And love? And forgiveness? And if we can learn how to achieve equality, and love, and forgiveness, from someone who we know was inherently flawed, isn’t that kind of better? Doesn’t that make him more like us? Doesn’t it take him from his godlike stature and put him closer to our level? Once we accept that the man was flawed, maybe we can move on to his words. The longer we esteem the guy as a beacon of perfection, the longer we’re avoiding the real dilemma: We suck, too.

I suck at life in a lot of areas. I’m incredibly flawed. And yet, unlike Martin Luther King, Jr., I am not actively seeking justice. I am choosing to stay in my comfort zone and read scathing reviews about an incredible, flawed man. After accepting King’s failures, I have even less of an excuse to not follow what he said.

So yes, I do believe King’s infidelity tarnishes his legacy. But it also propels it.

Question time: Is there a benefit to everyone knowing the dark side of Dr. King?

The tough mind is sharp and penetrating, breaking through the crust of legends and myths and sifting the true from the false. The tough-minded individual is astute and discerning. He has a strong austere quality that makes for firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment. Who doubts that this toughness is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Django

Why Movies Suck Nowadays

My wife and I were talking the other night, and we came to a conclusion: I don’t really like movies. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I like them. But I don’t LIKE them, if you know what I mean. I’m not a movie buff.

I’m a television guy. I love my TV. I love my Community, Breaking Bad, American Horror Story, and a slew of others. I think that television has surpassed film both in quality and in scope over the past several years, just as I think (hate me or not) rap music has trumped rock in terms of originality. This year, the word that I would use to describe movies would be “disappointing.” The Dark Knight Rises (as much as I loved it) and The Avengers were both tentpoles of letdown for me.

My favorite movies of the year were probably Django Unchained, Cabin in the Woods, and 21 Jump Street. Honorable mentions would be Lawless, Looper, Argo, and The Dark Knight Rises, which honestly should be firmly planted in my top films of all time. It’s not, so there’s that word again: disappointing.

When I look at my three favorite movies of the year, there are some similarities. All three have horrendously uncomfortable moments. All tell stories that are unpredictable. The craziest story is, of course, Django Unchained, which I believe everyone should see. Historical accuracy be damned, Django Unchained is everything a movie should be. When I left the theater, I was visibly sweaty from stress.

If more movies were like Django Unchained, I might actually like them.

If more movies were as unapologetically MOVIE-ish as Django Unchained, I might like them. When I look at my three favorite (favorite, not best) movies of the year, each one says something about Hollywood. Django Unchained gets movies back to their roots and uses the medium to tell an amazing story. Cabin in the Woods and 21 Jump Street are commentaries on originality in both horror and comedy, respectively. That commentary is basically summed up with, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

I need to like movies more. But movies also need to get better. Here is a list of things that Hollywood needs to fix:

  • Get them closer to the 90-minute mark again. I don’t need to nearly pee on myself every time I go to the theater.
  • Be original in dialogue and pacing, not necessarily in plot. There are no new plots, but you can figure out a better way to get from point A to point B. Movie screenwriters need to watch Breaking Bad and learn a thing or two about storytelling.
  • Audiences aren’t dumb. Stop treating them as such.
  • If your trailer is more enjoyable than your film, go back and work on your film some more.
  • If you’re a comedy, the f-bomb is not inherently funny. If you’re a horror, the jack-in-the-box shtick is not inherently horrifying. If you’re a romantic comedy, I don’t need to see a stupid obligatory misunderstanding. If you’re action/superhero, seriously, cool it a little on the CGI.

These thoughts and opinions are solely my own. I know saying that I enjoyed 21 Jump Street over The Dark Knight Rises is borderline blasphemous, but here’s the thing: One surpassed my expectations, and the other fell short. Although objectively, the Batman film trumps the buddy cop comedy, subjectively I preferred the latter. 

Do you think movies need to, as a whole, improve? How so?

Possible “Roger Rabbit” Sequel?!

According to MTV, a possible sequel to my all-time favorite film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, has been written. The original’s director, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future), is incredibly happy with the script. Now, they are playing a waiting game with Disney.

Angus T. Jones HATES “Two And A Half Men”!

Actor Angus T. Jones is lashing out against his primetime sitcom. And who wouldn’t? Two And A Half Men is a microcosm of horrid, trite “comedy.” Its setup-setup-punchline formula has allowed the program to skyrocket into the most-watched category. Even following Charlie Sheen’s departure, the show continues to earn piles and piles of cocaine-laced dolla dolla billz.

But Angus T. Jones isn’t raging against his own show because of how unfunny it is. He’s raging against it because of how evil it is. Literally. The uber-religious Jones stated,

I’m on Two And A Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it, and filling your head with filth… If I am doing any harm, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan. You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can’t. I’m not OK with what I’m learning, what the Bible says and being on that television show.

Jones earns a salary of $300,000 per episode. To put that in perspective, there are around 20 to 25 episodes in a single season of a network sitcom. Do the math. Clearly, Jones is a rich, rich kid, but that shouldn’t necessarily discount his convictions. After all, we don’t attack other celebrities when they feel suddenly regretful over their work. And frankly, this is Two And A Half Men we’re talking about. I’m just glad Angus and I can agree that the show is awful. Objectively speaking, the program is fairly raunchy, but what show isn’t these days?

Peep the vid below to hear straight from the Angus’s mouth:

QUESTION: What do you think of Jones’ sudden change of heart, and do you think he should get out of his contract on Two And A Half Men?

Pope Schools Everyone on Christmas

I’m a big Christmas nerd. My wife and I rock Christmas like it’s a terrifying roller coaster that we pay a lot of money to ride. That’s just how we do, being gangster through and through.

Still, Christmas itself is a very commercial and historically inaccurate holiday. It’s also growing increasingly politically incorrect. I’m not a big fan of the word “holiday” usurping the word “Christmas,” because I think it’s anti-progressive (read: silly). But despite the fact that Christmas is a time to go into debt and buy the affection of your loved ones, I’m still hugely into it. At the end of the day, I’ll take my Christmas any way I can get it… hopefully with eggnog, Home Alone maratons, and big ol’ tacky Christmas trees.

But Pope Benedict XVI has decided to school everyone on the more inaccurate aspects of Christmas. Here are a few fun facts:

  • December 25th? Wrong. Correct year? No. At least the right time of the year? No, it’s all wrong.
  • Angels singing at the birth? None. Or maybe they did, but we have no way of proving it.
  • Animals by the manger? Nope.

But don’t go throwing out your nativity scene just yet. The Pope doesn’t believe we should alter the current misrepresentations, as they are traditional and festive and fun. Those were my words, not his. At the end of the day, the details about the birth of Jesus, which the Pope has collected in “Jesus of Nazareth — The Infancy Narrative,” are meant to show that Christ was a living, breathing person who walked around and talked to people.

Question time:  What are some historical Christmas facts you wanna drop?

For example, I once heard that the birth of Jesus occurred in something more closely resembling a cave than what’s depicted in nativity scenes.

Behold: The Greatest Atheism Meme Ever

I found this on the front page of Reddit today, and I can say that this is unequivocally, objectively, scientifically the greatest atheism meme ever. I have deduced this through my observations in the physical universe (Reddit) and have collected the data in a non-biased fashion. In other words: You can trust my claim… or you can disagree with it, whatevs.

This is atheist/scholar/UFO-lovin’ Carl Sagan. He’s dead now, and he died before he could witness the culture of the Internet, where skepticism is king. Fortunately for Sagan, he did not witness the floodgates of hatred that were blasted open with the advent of the web. You know what I’m talking about – the people who refuse to speak kindly to others if they’re speaking from behind a computer screen. We’re all guilty of it at some point. So now, this quote is needed more than ever.

“…let us temper our criticism with kindness.”

This is not done anymore. Our generation as a whole has prioritized our stances and opinions over kindness to others. It’s cool to be a jackass on the Internet, because we’re right and they’re wrong and they’re stupid. Right?

Now, I’m not an atheist, but I do have atheistic tendencies. And atheism has a lot of excellent ideas that should be implemented. For me, atheism is like a cat: I can become best friends with an individual one, but I don’t think I’ll ever adopt it. My personal favorite atheist is Christopher Hitchens. My least favorite would be Richard Dawkins, mainly because he seems to be the embodiment of what Sagan is criticizing here. Still, people like Carl Sagan and the works of these very intelligent people are worth reading, regardless of what your philosophical opinions are. Both theists and atheists can learn a lot from Sagan’s quote here. Be nice. Use empathy. Don’t be a d-bag. I would add to challenge yourself. That’s it.

I’m going to leave you now with some of my favorite quotes from various people, because it’s happy-fun-times and they make me think:

Søren Kierkegaard:

Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth — look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.

Peter Rollins:

Christianity, in so far as it is reduced to simply one more political, cultural, or religious narrative, is unmasked as having the same status as the six categories that Paul wrote of in his day: Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male and female. The event testified to in Christianity questions all such narratives.

Christopher Hitchens:

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.

More Christopher Hitchens:

Whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.

THINKING IS FUN! 

Question: Do you feel like it’s easy to be nice to others when they believe totally opposite crap than you do?

 

Chris Brown (Who Beats Women) Signs Modeling Contract

Chris Brown, who beats women, has reportedly signed a modeling contract with agency Wilhelmina International. Wilhelmina International will try to attach Brown, who beats women, to various deals, so that the domestic terrorist can rake in even more money.

Brown, who beats women, stated, “Art and style has always played a significant role in my life. It’s evolved with me throughout my career.” Taylor Hendrich, the director of Wilhelmina Men, stated that Brown, who beats women, believes he’s a solid choice. He stated, “Chris Brown is a…multifaceted artist with a unique take on style, and we are excited to translate and extend his brand.”

No word on what was originally in place of the above quote’s ellipsis, but I’m guessing it was something about having beaten up a woman one time. Could be wrong.

Now, Chris Brown, who beats women, sometimes gets ridiculed for having beaten women, a fact that much of the public has not forgotten. His fanbase, however, staunchly defends the artist. Because they’re fans. That’s what they do.

Also, just as an Elliott Fun Fact: I used to be repped by Wilhelmina’s commercial division. Almost booked a Chevy commercial once, probably because I’m so rugged.

Question: Have you ever beaten a woman? And what’s a fun, non-violent, fact about yourself?

This is Tom Hanks hanging out with a couple seemingly intoxicated dudes at a pizza joint.

What magic is this, what trickery? What good deed did I do to deserve this kind of Internet treasure? Good lord, this man is simply one of the greatest.

Question: How can we all become as cool as Tom Hanks? Trick question, we can’t.

 

Elliott’s Objectification(s) of the Year

In response to every popular publication choosing an attractive female celebrity as the hottest, sexiest or most worthy of obsession, I’ve decided to share with you my personal favorite female(s).

 

This is Alison Brie. She seems to have an excellent personality, as well as great comedic timing.
This is Tina Fey. I respect her from a professional standpoint, specifically in regards to her views on feminism, which mix idealism and realism in a way that I think will benefit society for generations to come.
This is Natalie Portman. Her outer beauty is a coincidence, a genetic roulette game she was fortunate enough to win. It does not give her value. That said, her performance in “Black Swan” is stellar and I’ve heard she has a great personality.
This is Megan Fox. She’s gone to my church a few times, and though I’ve never spoken with her, she has a good head on her shoulders and a surprisingly sound moral compass.
This is Charlize Theron. I’m just including her because she’s kind of pretty, but I recognize she likely has numerous personality flaws. That said, it’s best not to judge, so she seems kind of cool from this picture.

So question: Excluding looks, what do you find attractive in females? Because usually, they’re more than that.

 

Rappers Rob Studio After Recording Session

A pair of unidentified rappers recorded a song called “Larry Hoover” early Thursday morning, and after recording their soon-to-not-be-a-hit, they returned with guns and robbed the place blind. They told everyone at Copy Catz recording studio to get on the couch and proceeded to ask for “valuables.” The primary clue in this investigation is the rap song they recorded. The police are evidently hoping to use voice recognition to catch these real-life “thugs.” I put thugs in quotes because I’m white. I also used finger quotes, but you didn’t see those.

Now that this whole “story” is out of the way, I’d like to present to you my new favorite news reporter. A lot of people choose their favorite news reporters based on clout (Dan Rather), pompousness (Rachel Maddow), or tongue-in-cheek dickery (Brian Williams). I choose mine based on their ability to turn throwaway news stories into cinematic masterpieces.

Behold, I give you Pat Collins.

Short story short,  I love this guy. I searched for him on YouTube and found another video where he interviews a young man dressed as a banana while wearing a grape costume. This. Is. News.

Some local newscasters fall into obscurity, doomed for eternity to the realm of “local celebrity.” I can’t let that happen to Pat Collins. He is a hero… not to me, but to somebody probably.

Oh, and I hope the rappers get caught or whatever.

So question: Who’s your favorite local news person?

 

Boy Meets World

Boy Meets World

Why a New “Boy Meets World” is an Awful Idea

If I had to pick my favorite television show of all time, it would be Boy Meets World. The show has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, as ABC Family has refused to stop playing reruns. Good. They shouldn’t. Ever.

I could go on a long tangent as to why Boy Meets World is my favorite show. I could talk about the writing, which holds up consistently to this day. Every season, from the early years that focused on an awkward middle child to the later, more mature story arcs, is watchable again and again. That’s the definition of good television writing. Community may be my favorite on-air show, but Boy Meets World is my all-time favorite, because it represents everything a sitcom should be. 

Now, TVLine is reporting that the Disney Channel is in the early stages of developing a sequel series. This means that the story will follow Cory and Topanga’s daughter. Disney is reportedly in the process of attaching Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel. The series would be called Girl Meets World. 

Let me make something clear: This is my Star Wars VII.

And it’s a horrible idea. A lot of critics will accuse this new series of not doing justice to the original. They’ll say things like, “Disney keeps ruining my childhood!” or “Why can’t they come up with an original idea?!”

There are problems with both of these complaints. First of all, Disney isn’t ruining anyone’s childhood. Your childhood is over and encased in the past. The movies you grew up with won’t Marty McFly themselves out of existence. The business endeavors of the Disney Channel or movie studios won’t retroactively negate the awesomeness of original works. So “ruining your childhood” is not why Girl Meets World is an awful idea.

It’s also not an awful idea because of the second complaint. The whole “original idea” argument is ridiculous. Every movie we love, every show we watch on a weekly basis, and every book we read is little more than one of the same five to seven ideas with different makeup on. There are no original ideas. There are original characters, and settings, and plots, but certain storytelling elements are timeless. The idea of a girl “meeting” the world is timeless, just as Cory Matthews “meeting” the world back in 1993 is still timeless. So not being “original” is not why Girl Meets World is an awful idea.

The reason a sequel series is an awful idea is because, even though great storytelling hasn’t changed, television has. Boy Meets World was a flawed television show, but that’s part of what made it so great. They had ridiculous, horror movie parody episodes alongside very serious, albeit ridiculous episodes about cults. They subtly covered sex before marriage, and they wrote a middle school boy darn near perfectly.

In this age of political correctness, Girl Meets World doesn’t stand a chance. I don’t expect the Disney Channel to tackle life for a girl in middle-class America in 2012. Is Girl Meets World going to tackle the Internet? Facebook? Online bullying? Furthermore, Boy Meets World went through crazy story arcs. An episode from 1993 looks like a different show than one from 2000. The original sitcom adapted to their audience and to their culture, for better or worse. Depending on who you talk to, Boy Meets World had its peak at different points. There is no pleasing the core audience when the original is so varied.

The reason this show is a bad idea is because it won’t be able to balance being wholesome with today’s big issues. The age of the sitcom, when serious topics were filtered through pop-perfect backdrops, is over. Now, Girl Meets World will likely end up being too wholesome–and therefore irrelevant–or it will be so cutting edge that it will lose the franchise’s original appeal. That said, I’ll watch the crap out of this show for at least a few episodes, and I’ll give it a chance — especially if Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are involved.

Question: What do you think of this?

 

 

Leaked Romney Video Goes Viral

A perfectly-timed YouTube upload is currently going viral. It shows Mitt Romney during a commercial break going off about his Mormon faith. Despite having just been uploaded, the interview is actually from 2007. Before I go into my opinions on this craziness, you should watch this video in its entirety. If I had to sum up the effect this thing will have on the Romney campaign in one word, it would be “crippling.”

Cruise Captain Suing for Wrongful Termination

Remember back in January, when a negligent cruise ship captain ran his ship aground, killing 32 people? He now faces charges of manslaughter and abandoning the ship. The guy is evidently a horrible human being, let alone captain, and is suing the cruise line that employed him for wrongful termination. Francesco Schettino, according to his lawyer, reserves the right to appeal his “dismissal.” That’s cool. I wonder if the victims of his stupid actions also reserve the right to appeal their “dismissal.” Oh, right, they can’t. Because they’re dead.

And adding insult to injury, the cruise ship, Concordia, is still out there. It was supposed to be removed in January, but the company hired by Costa to pull it from the shallow depths of the Tuscany sea have issued a statement saying the ship won’t be removed until spring.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you can slaughter 32 people and abandon your post, and still manage to be a crazy douchebag.

So question: What’s the douchiest thing you’ve ever done? I’m asking under the assumption you’ve never slaughtered people.