January 16th, 2013

bilbo

Hobbit oscar nominations

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

I’m curious what people think about the Hobbit Oscar nominations. They were only nominated for three awards:

  1. best production design</p>
  2. best visual effects
  3. best makeup/hairstyle

Do you think they were snubbed in other categories? Are there actors or other people you think should have gotten a nomination but didn’t?

While I liked parts of it quite a bit and liked it even more on seeing it a second time, I don’t think it was a great story. I wasn’t swept away by it the same way I was by Lord of the Rings. A lot of it was that I simply had a hard time letting go of the book as I remembered it, but it also was an uneven story: too many gratuitous chase scenes, too much infodump and not enough character development. Still, I think Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman both did admirable jobs, and Andy Serkis deserves something gold and shiny that won’t eat away at his soul for his work as Gollum. He was simply magical in that role.

What say ye? Who would you have nominated for an Oscar, even if you weren’t viewing the movie as a fan but as someone trying to judge it objectively?

bilbo

Obama’s gun control suggestions

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

CBS has a rundown of some of the suggestions for gun control Obama is expected to announce any day. I don’t know how accurate this list is or here the information is coming from, but if it’s accurate, it seems pretty reasonable. Most of the suggestions being floated seem to fall in three categories:

1 – closing loopholes, like on background checks for gun purchases
2 – reenacting provisions from the Brady Act, which suggests to me they’re not unconstitutional; certainly people would have objected to the Brady Act if they were
3 – addressing root causes like bad access to mental health services, training teachers to fight bullying, etc.

All of which seems pretty reasonable to me. It won’t solve the problem by itself – we need a cultural shift here and not just a legal one – but its a pretty good start.

One additional idea that occurred to me reading this is: what about a breathalyzer? It could work similar to the things alcoholics use, where if their BAC is over the limit the car won’t turn on. You breathe into a tube and if it shows you’re intoxicated the gun won’t fire. At the least it would give you a certain delay before firing, to give you time to reconsider your actions (since drunks often suffer from poor impulse control). This is an idea original to me (as far as I know), and it may be a bad idea. Thoughts?

I’m also a little disquieted by the focus on background checks. If we’re talking about criminal and past violent acts, I’m fine with that. But if the purpose is to look at mental health (I honestly don’t know if it is or not), that could motivate people not to get treated. And that’s a problem. Of course, it’s no more of a problem than what you had before, so long as we’re talking about the same kind of background checks.

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As we head into a serious discussion of gun control (one can only hope), I’d like to urge my friends who have strong feelings about the politics here, particularly on the anti-gun control side, to be careful about spreading misinformation. Snopes is your friend, and often just googling the first paragraph of a meme or chain email will bring up people fact-checking its claims. It’s the first thing I’ll do when reading your post, so spare yourself the embarrassment and see whether the facts support its case before you post it.

And generally, both sides, be careful with the language you use. It seems to me that when the left vilifies lawful gun owners, and when gun owners think the end is near because high-capacity clips will be outlawed, that ratchets up peoples’ anxiety on this issues. Which usually counteracts any good benefit of gun restriction because stressed-out people who feel they’re being targeted generally aren’t in a position to make good decisions about how to use their guns.