Anne Hathaway Is Made of Teflon-Coated Adamantium

It's taken me a few days to really recover from the ordeal that was Valentine's Day.

The film takes the concept of dreadful to new depths. It's an abomination, a safe, sterile, cynical mess that is more concerned with making sure all possible audience demographics are pandered to than it is in saying anything. Wait, I take that back; that would imply the committee who spawned this horror were in any way concerned with saying something. Calling the movie Valentine's Day must have been some kind of sick joke on their part. It's an unromantic anticomedy that will almost assuredly result in far more children being killed (as their mothers, in a desperate act of mercy, try to spare them the knowledge that they were born into a universe that could allow such a hollow, soul-withering, cancerous dung heap to exist) than conceived in its unholy wake.

Watching Valentine's Day is like staring into the dripping, newly risen, sanity-blasting visage of Cthulhu, if Cthulhu were played by Ashton Kutcher and dressed in pink.

And with that said, Anne Hathaway is impossible not to like in the movie.

I'm now convinced she could do anything, and still come across as cute and lovable. "Hey, look, Anne Hathaway starred in a remake of Salo. Aww, look, she's being forced to eat shit and mechanically fuck the guy she kind of has a crush on in front of witnesses. How adorable!"

It's uncanny. Here she is, trapped in the kind of vacuous hellscape that only Garry Marshall could vomit up, and she ends up being the only remotely human, remotely likable character in the whole damned thing. She's forced to do terrible Russian dominatrix and Southern belle voices (because, silly, she moonlights as a phone sex operator and Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year! Even though she has a date with Topher Grace! Wacky hijinx must surely ensue!) and even the fact that she's doing truly abominable accents just makes her seem all the more charming and quirky and sweet.

I've got no desire to see the inevitable train wreck that will be Tim Burton's Alice in BeatingMyStalePseudogothyVisualShtickIntoTheGroundLand, but I'm sure Hathaway will emerge from that one unscathed too.

By the way, I'm not sure if this came across or not, but Valentine's Day isn't actually very good.

Cheney's Tar Baby

I think Scott Horton is right -- Dick Cheney does want to be prosecuted.

But what about cases in which an instigator openly and notoriously brags about his role in torture? Cheney told Jonathan Karl that he used his position within the National Security Council to advocate for the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques. Former CIA agent John Kiriakou and others have confirmed that when waterboarding was administered, it was only after receiving NSC clearance. Hence, Cheney was not speaking hypothetically but admitting his involvement in the process that led to decisions to waterboard in at least three cases.

What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants.

I'm not implying that, in some forgotten cul-de-sac of his twisted soul, Cheney realizes the evil that he's done and wants to be punished for it. I'm suggesting that Cheney a) believes he'll be found not guilty in a trial, and b) knows that a torture trial of the former vice president will completely consume Obama's presidency.

Obama, for his part, almost certainly doesn't consider going after Cheney to be his biggest priority right now.

Me? I believe Cheney has to be tried if the country is ever going to erase that black mark on its soul. And I believe that he will be found guilty if he does go to trial. Which leaves me right back where I started... wondering if there's anything I can do to accelerate the process.

I'm Sure the Germans Have a Word For This

I'm on the board in my Facebook Death Pool.

Doug Fieger, lead singer of rock group the Knack, died at 57 after a battle with cancer, his brother Geoffrey confirmed today. “I’ve had 10 great lives,” Fieger told the Detroit News in a January interview. “And I expect to have some more. I don’t feel cheated in any way, shape or form.”

I was the only person in the pool who picked him so yay, 43 points for me. I'm sure that Heaven, or your afterlifal equivalent of choice, has a place in it for purveyors of awesome power pop. The Knack really deserved to be more than two-hit wonders.

For posterity, here's my rest of my Death Pool roster. (There was no draft, everyone just submitted a list of 25 names). Some are there based on research, some on wishful thinking, and one in the believe that there really is such a thing as justice in this universe:

Muhammed Ali
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Jean Beliveau
Pat Burns
Fidel Castro
Dick Cheney
Noam Chomsky
Dick Clark
Gary Coleman
Jeff Conaway
Ronnie James Dio
Kirk Douglas
Roger Ebert
Bobby Heenan
Dennis Hopper
Etta James
Steve Jobs
BB King
Gene Kiniski
Artie Lange
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi
Merlin Olsen
Nancy Reagan
Mickey Rooney

We Surround Them

Saw this on Sully, but it deserves as wide an audience as possible:

On a cold and windy February night, a man who gave only his first name walked up to the Al-Farooq Islamic Center in south Nashville and handed a gallon of stain-blocker paint and a bag of brushes, rollers and rags to a Somali man standing in the parking lot.

Tim, an East Nashville resident, said he did the first thing he could think of when he drove by the center Wednesday and saw the words “Muslims Go home” and a crusade-style cross spray-painted in red across the front of the center, which doubles as a mosque.

“When I saw it, I just broke down crying,” the self-described unemployed truck driver said. “I went straight to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint.”

As he handed over the paint he said, “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I hope you know that [this act] doesn’t represent my city. Again, I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”

Those who have succumbed to hate are loud, and obnoxious, and get disproportionate attention in our Network-ized media because they are loud and obnoxious.

But they are a minority, by far. The Tea Baggers who cheered Tancredo's race-baiting, or gave a standing ovation to Birther idiocy, are not representative of the people of Nashville:

Salaad Nur, one of nine board members at Al-Farooq, said the congregation has received great community support since the incident and since a WTVF-Channel 5 news report about an alleged private Muslim community some are calling an Islamic terrorist training camp.

“We take it as a really strong symbol that the larger Nashville community is with us,” Nur said. “Especially in the face of inciting news against us. It’s reassuring that people are not shaken by what they hear over the airwaves.”

Even within the 20-25% block of Beck-watching, Red State reactionaries, the driving emotion is fear, not hate. And fear can be neutralized, with patience and empathy and even just with the passage of time. The unreachable ones, the ones who can only hate, they are but a sliver of a fraction.

They do not speak for America.