Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Batman movies

EMPIRE is a British film magazine.  They note an upcoming interview:

One reason why Batman continues to endure on screen is his adaptability. Over the years the World’s Greatest Detective has been brought to the screen in various incarnations, from the campy ‘60s TV series to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, each version bearing clear signs of the filmmakers and eras from which they originated all while being unmistakably Batman. Perhaps no Bat-flick has exhibited this quite so distinctly as Batman ReturnsTim Burton’s go-for-broke sequel that followed up his 1989 blockbuster with lashings of latex, exploding penguins, and an oddball outlook that could only have come from the mind behind Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

In a major new Empire interview, Tim Burton revisited the film for its 30th anniversary, looking back on a movie that – at the time – was deemed as dark as Batman could get. This year, Matt Reeves’ hard-boiled noir The Batman proved there were darker depths to explore. “It is funny to see this now, because all these memories come back of, ‘It’s too dark’,” he says. “So, it makes me laugh a little bit.” While Returns has a skewed, playfully gothic, and often kinky sensibility, it’s far from the grounded grit of The Dark Knight movies or Reeves’ film, the latter of which Burton is yet to watch (“I’d like to see it,” he says).

[, , ,]

Read Empire’s full Tim Burton interview on Batman Returns – with a brand new photo shoot by Steve Schofield with digital imaging by Jacey, plus rare Tim Burton artwork from his own archives, and behind-the-scenes images – in the Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power issue, on sale Thursday 9 June and available to pre-order online here.

So let me use that to reflect on the Batman movies.

Best director?  Tim Burton.

Worst director?  Christopher Nolan.

Burton's films weren't nihilistic.  Nolan's were.  They're the ravings of some right-wing lunatic.

Best Joker?  Jack Nicholson.

Best Catwoman?  Michelle Pfeiffer

Worst Batman film?  BATMAN & ROBIN.

If BATMAN & ROBIN is the worst, why isn't Joel Schumacher the worst director?  Because he also directed BATMAN FOREVER which wasn't a great film but was better than all three of Nolan's films.

Best Batman?  Michael Keaton.

That said, I do think Robert Pattison was a good choice.  I wish they'd get him a better script next time -- and cut off a lot of the sloth and fat before releasing it.

Best Batman movie?  BATMAN RETURNS.

The Batman films ranked.


2) BATMAN (1989)





7) BATMAN (1966)





Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, June 7, 2022.   Joe Biden thinks he can market the pandemic while a British subject finds out that the British Empire can't keep him out of an Iraqi prison and that White entitlement may get him good coverage in the western media but didn't sway an Iraqi judge.

At WSWS, Benjamin Mateus reports:

A report in Politico Monday sheds light on the ruthless and cynical effort by the Biden White House to convince Americans that the COVID pandemic has officially ended. Citing three sources, the website reports internal conversations among Biden aides as to what would be a “general metric” for daily COVID death figures that would be acceptable to the public and provide the basis to declare the pandemic over.

This would come from the president who declared last summer that America had entered a period of “freedom” from COVID, to be followed by a deluge of infections and deaths that stunned the population and pushed the health care system once more to the brink of collapse. COVID vaccines were being hailed as decisive in lifting the country out of the pandemic, but while effective, they provided only limited relief.

Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, the three individuals who spoke to Politico did so on conditions of anonymity, knowing the explosive nature of making these calculations public. Politico reported that “the discussions, which took place across the administration, and have not been previously disclosed, involved a scenario in which 200 or fewer Americans die per day, a target kicked around before officials ultimately decided not to incorporate it into pandemic planning.”

Politico remarked, “the discussions represented at least a nascent effort to create a framework for a post-COVID world. One of the three people involved in the conversations last year said it was an effort to gauge what the American public would ‘tolerate.’ ‘Five hundred a day is a lot. You still have 9/11 numbers in a week,’ the person said. ‘People generally felt like 100 [a day] or less, or maybe 200, would be ok.’”

What is such talk?

These cold-blooded calculations show representatives of the White House, supposedly sworn to protect and defend the population, speaking like insurance executives who are determining the cost of their payouts versus income from premiums. It is clear from the casual character of these discussions that such barbaric mathematics are part of everyday life in the top circles of the Biden administration.

And while the death toll from COVID is calculated in the tens and hundreds of thousands, the death toll from an all-out war with nuclear-armed Russia or China will be tallied in the millions, if not billions.

The White House conversation sounds like something out of Stanley Kubrick’s macabre Dr. Strangelove. When General “Buck” Turgidson, played by George C. Scott, advocates a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, he tells the president, “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.” 

Turning to Iraq. as we noted yesterday, Jim Fitton was convicted for attempting to steal antiquities from Iraq.  The British citizen's family has boo-hooed since the beginning -- when not insisting Jim was a modern day Indiana Jones.  It's so unfair!!!!! Whine, whine, whine.

But the verdict was out for two hours yesterday when, five minutes before the snapshot posted, a man claiming to be Jim's son or son-in-law posted to Twitter that Fitton might be executed.

Remember that was an option.  But the Iraqi court decided to just put the man behind bars.

Now some would see that as a good thing.  The family no longer has to worry that Jim Fitton is going to be executed.  Instead, it's more whining.  THE DAILY MAIL notes:

The daughter of a retired British geologist condemned to 15 years in an Iraqi jail after he was convicted of trying to smuggle shards of antique pottery broke down on national television this morning as she spoke of her father's fate.

Jim Fitton, 66, was yesterday found guilty of intending to take the 200-year-old artefacts he picked up at an archaeology site in Eridu, southern Iraq, out of Baghdad in March.  

[. . .]

Fitton's daughter Leila this morning appeared on Good Morning Britain to give an interview regarding her father's detention, but only managed to utter two sentences before breaking down in tears.

'We feel helpless... we're so so broken,' she sobbed, before her husband Sam Tasker told hosts Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid: 'We only just found out yesterday, it's a very emotional time. This whole thing has been unbelievable.'

A 15-year jail sentence would see Fitton languish behind bars into his eighties. 

The rotten family was teamed up with at least one rotten host.  Never having seen what Fitton was caught with, the morning host Madely went on to tell everyone that what Fitton had tried to steal was "completely worthless, like stuff you'd pick up on a beach."  

Listen to the press whore.  He's never seen the evidence but, by all means, lie like a whore does.

The worthless son-in-law "claimed the retiree had been made an example of by the Iraqi judge who was appealing to an anti-Western crowd."  They really know how to sweet talk for their loved one, don't they?  Can someone tell them to shut up before they make things even worse for Fitton?

As they all minimized the actions of the convicted, the world was left again with spoiled, rotten British citizens who still refuse to apologize.

They minimize the theft.

Here's a thought for Fitton's daughter and the rest to contemplate:  If at any time, any of you had made even one public statement noting the continued theft of Iraqi artifacts and offered any sort of apology, that might have registered with the judge.

Instead, despite all evidence to the contrary, you have insisted that Iraq is in the wrong and your family member's 100% innocent.

Your father's responsible for his actions.  And you all made it worse for him.

He's convicted now.  Stop making it worse.

Quit your lying and quit your bulls**t.  He's in the custody of the Iraqi government.  If you're wanting an early release, both you and he will have to show remorse.  Otherwise, expect that 15 year sentence to last at least ten if not all 15.  I can't believe how stupid the Fittons have come off in all of this.  But that's what happens when you go around believing your entitled.

Your father went into a foreign country.  He then picked up things that did not belong to him.  He then got caught trying to leave the country with this things.

Stop pretending he is the innocent in this.

The whole family should have publicly apologized before the matter went to court.

But, hey, we're from the west and we do what we want and we don't care how it looks in your country -- where the trial will take place -- we're just going to insult you by refusing to apologize and by making rude remarks.  

The ego and the lack of humility is amazing.  

And now they want to cry on TV?

And they want to offer insults to the judge?

They're White Entitlement personified.

NBC NEWS Headlines "British man sentenced to 15 years in Iraq for smuggling artifacts,"  BBC NEWS goes with "British geologist jailed in Iraqq after taking artefacts," but then you get the worthless NEW YORK TIMES insisting ''shards'' in their headline.  I thought they were 'woke' but I guess it's a funny kind of woke that doesn't take into account the feelings of non-Whites outside US borders.  Then again, we shouldn't forget, that NYT stole from Iraq as well, remember?

We called it out here.  We weren't like some idiots -- oohing and ahhing over a podcast.  We saw it for what it was: Theft.

And we were not alone.  For example, The Society for American Archivists issued the following statement in real time:

Statement on Removal of ISIS Records from Iraq by New York Times Reporter

June 13, 2018—The Society of American Archivists (SAA) is deeply concerned about recent reports related to archival records in Iraq, specifically the April 4, 2018, New York Times article by Rukmini Callimachi in which Ms. Callimachi admits to removing more than 15,000 pages of Islamic State (ISIS) documents from Iraq.[1] Although we welcome the Times’s recent commitment to returning these records to the Iraqi government, this case still raises several important issues.

The New York Times code of ethics states that journalists “may not purloin data, documents or other property, including such electronic property as databases and email or voice mail messages.”[2] The plundering of the ISIS archives is a direct contravention of this important principle.

SAA objects to the Times’s plan to digitize and disseminate the ISIS records. The Times must give consideration to the human and privacy rights of the individuals whose lives are captured in the material. Public accessibility of this information could have harmful repercussions on private citizens. If the Times proceeds with this project, we urge it to partner with archivists and the Iraqi government to ensure that all due consideration is given to the citizens who may be harmed by the dissemination of these documents.

The 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property during armed conflict covers “manuscripts, books…of…historical…interest; as well as…important collections of books or archives” and requires parties to protect and safeguard such materials. Although the New York Times and its staff are not parties to this convention, we nevertheless believe that journalists in war zones must adhere to these internationally accepted standards. Indeed, the 1983 International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism, under Principle VIII: Respect for universal values and diversity of cultures, states that journalists should “be aware of relevant provisions contained in international conventions, declarations and resolutions.”[3]

Further, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics enjoins journalists to “be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.”[4] Although this is a commendable sentiment that the archives profession supports, we believe that respecting the integrity and documentary heritage represented by the ISIS archives should be paramount.

In 2008 the Society of American Archivists and the Association of Canadian Archivists released a statement calling for the U.S. government "to return to the lawfully established government of Iraq – with all deliberate speed – Iraqi records now in its possession. Moreover, the United States government has the responsibility to intercede, to the greatest extent possible, in ensuring the return of Iraqi records removed by private parties" due to its obligation under commonly shared international agreements and its own past practices.[5] Nothing in the intervening period has given SAA any reason to change this stance or to relieve private individuals from their responsibility to repatriate records to legal authorities once they have been removed from circumstances that would have resulted in their loss or destruction. As noted in recent reports, the issue of displaced archives from Iraq, and other conflict zones, continues to raise ethical issues and denies communities access to their documentary heritage.[6]

Archives preserve and provide access to the essential evidence of government, protect individuals’ rights, improve cultural knowledge and understanding, and ensure transparency and accountability of officials. Archives are the foundation by which a society can assess the past, think critically about the present, and consider directions for the future – and they should not be dispersed arbitrarily, no matter how noble one’s motives, by a single individual.

He stole.  He got convicted.  He's going to prison.

It's time for him and his family to grasp that they gambled that no one needed to show remorse and they lost.

Now that he's going to be behind bars, they better grasp that remorse -- public remorse -- is required.

And they should have grasped earlier that westerns going into a foreign country that is sick and tired of people stealing from it are not going to go easy on a westerner stealing from them.  

How stupid and uninformed are the Fittons that they thought this was something minor?

Your stupidity helped get your family into this situation.

Back in August, for example, Hadani Ditmars (TRT) reported:

The US-led invasion created the destruction that paved the way for Iraq’s looting. Without political stability, the future of Iraq — and the artefacts — remain endangered.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi returned home from his visit to Washington last week with more than 17,000 antiquities over 4,000 years old, the unprecedented return of looted artefacts seemed a good first step. But it underscores an issue that has plagued Iraq for decades: you can’t separate the suffering of a nation from damage to its patrimony; they are inexorably linked.

While the pilfering of antiquities in Iraq is not a new phenomenon, the illegal smuggling of artefacts began in earnest under UN sanctions. The salaries of civil servants plummeted to a few dollars a month as the dinar devalued by over 1,000 percent and desperate Iraqis sold whatever they could to survive.

I remember visiting the ancient city of Babylon in 1997 and being offered a few choice artefacts by a guide. We toured the grandiose 1987 reconstruction spearheaded by Saddam Hussein, who saw himself as a neo-Nebuchadnezzar and had bricks inscribed with his name. It was completed at the height of the Iran-Iraq War that bankrupted the country as the US funded both sides and a million young men perished on the battlefield. 

The guide, who had a PhD in archaeology, complained that his children were going hungry. He told me that, like so many Iraqis who suffered under the draconian 12-year UN embargo, he had to sell his furniture for basics like food and medicine.

NPR from the year before:

Seventeen years after it was stolen, archaeologist McGuire Gibson still checks eBay for a 4,000-year-old stone cylinder seal that he excavated in Iraq in the 1970s.

Gibson was the field director at a University of Chicago-led excavation in Nippur, the ancient Mesopotamian religious capital, when he discovered the seal — used by a governor who became a king. When rolled over a clay tablet, the seal certified the governor's documents.

"I was cleaning around a drain and I put the pick in and the thing jumped out," Gibson says. "I hit the seal on the end and it jumped out. It was a magnificent agate seal with a really wonderful depiction of a human being led to a god."

The inscription indicated it had belonged to Shar-Kali-Sharri, who later became king of the Sumerian and Akkadian empires.

"It's a exceptional seal and a very important one," says Gibson, the coauthor of Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums. "I'm still looking for that one particular seal ... I'm pretty certain that it's out there."

The piece was among thousands looted from the National Museum in Baghdad in 2003, he says. Without instructions from the U.S. military to protect the museum, American soldiers who helped topple Saddam Hussein stood by while Iraqi looters rampaged through the museum.

It's laughable that a citizen of the British empire was unaware that non-westerners might take offense to his helping himself to historic artifacts.  Adela Quested showed more awareness in E.M. Forster's A PASSAGE TO INDIA back in 1924.

The following sites updated:

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