Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who Vetted This

From time to time in my life I like to play a little game called "Who Vetted This?"

The concept is simple. You look at something that someone has totally fucked up and just ask, "who vetted this?" It's not so important that you actually know who vetted it. It's more just an earnest acknowledgment that something is truly FUBAR.

For instance. CNN hiring Erick Erickson. For a succinct examination of who this guy, consult this link. Basically, CNN hired a man who called Justice Souter a "Goat Fucking child molester." Compared the white houses communications director to Joseph Goebbels (not to be confused with Hans Gruber which would have made her awesome!). And most recently said that he would pull out his wife's shotgun (though if he was a real man one might ask why he didn't have his own) and threaten a census worker who tried to make him fill out a census form. Though to be fair he did say it was only a census worker with a community research survey, so it's all good, right . . .

So, if you're looking at a news network that calls itself, "The Most Trusted Name in News," and your key demographics are centrist if not slightly xenophobic old people, and if you've lost nearly half your ratings since firing the one person who appealed directly to said latino hating geriatrics, of course you're going to hire a dude who called First Lady Michelle Obama a "Marxist Harpy Wife." Though to be fair he probably doesn't like that wise latina, Justice Sonia Sotomayer, which sort of puts him in line with CNN's usual viewership?

So the question begins. Who vetted that. Who sat down at his desk one day, saw the suggestion that they hire Erick Erickson, and said, "Yeah, that is just what our network needs." Dumbasses. You do have to admire Erick Erickson's brazenness though. He's an internet debater, he knows Goodwin's Law (the longer a debate rages on the internet the more the probability of Nazis being brought up approaches 1. The person who brings up Nazis is the loser) yet still compares everyone who disagrees with him to the national socialists everyone loves to hate (In the immortal words of one I. Jones, "NAZIS! I hate those guys")

Another good example were the racist robots in Transformers 2: Ridiculous Subtitle After the Sequel Title. Let's see, in most movies the objective is to make the audience sympathize and hopefully even root for the heroes. This goes double for a summer action blockbuster. So, of course you'd want to create to characters so obnoxious, so radically offensive, that when you think one dies I can imagine people standing up in the audience and cheering, only to throw their popcorn at the movie theater a moment later when it turns out the little shit is still alive.

In the case of Trannies 2: Rest in Piece Childhood Nostalgia, the question of who vetted that is easy, Douchenozzle McCreeperton, aka Michael Bay. Knowing that he was the one vetting the decision is actually kind of nice. See, now you know, if MB is directing, producing, or just walking past any movie coming out during your life time, skip it. It's so nice of him to provide this handy little guide to living.

Sometimes though, who vetted this may get a little preemptive. We see a decision and immediately think, "who vetted this?" without actually waiting to see the results. The real question is in such a case, are we stuck with some Schrodinger's Cat scenario where we can't actually know if something is terrible unless it occurs and we witness it, or can we just say that as a per se rule the decision is so bad as to be a WVT moment.

Take a border-line WVT moment, the casting of Chris Evans as Captain America. For those who don't know (Kate Carrie and Kari . . . of course none of you is gonna know what the hell I'm about be talking about, so just go ahead and skip down three paragraphs, no one will blame you), Captain America is supposed to be a super patriotic, uber-stoic, all-American, cheese-burger scarfing war hero. I don't know that he ever smiles more than this one frame at the end of each adventure where he just looks out and sees how damn beautiful America is, and can't help but smile.

So, of course, you'd cast Chris Evans as Captain America. Because he pulls off stoic in everything he does. Whether it was his stoic role as the ever stoic human torch in Fantastic Four. The stoic human torch in Fantastic Four: Hey, The Silver Surfer is in this Movie so You Might Forget it's Another Fucking Fantastic Four Piece of Shit. The stoicly stoic jock hero dude in that critical marvel, Not Another Teen Movie. Or his other three movies a total of twelve people have seen where I'm sure he plays the same smirking, shit-eating little fuck he's played throughout his entire fucking career. (No, Sunshine doesn't count, someone actually has to see a movie before it exists . . . damn, two Schrodinger's Cat references in one blog post. . . I'm feeling quantum physicy).

The point is, clearly he might actually be able to pull off this role. He certainly has a jaw that kinda works for it. But really, at first glance you have to ask, "who vetted this?" So here is the conundrum: If the nerd-rage over his casting is sufficient to drive the studio to another actor, a more sniff-test-passable actor perhaps (in reality they'd just pick Sam Worthington so perhaps we should put our nerd rage away for this one), would we still need to play WVT, or would the change mitigate the need to vet.

Finally, I'll leave you with this thought. In the world of film and fiction, the game of WVT is nice in the hypothetical sense, because really, we'll never know who truly vetted this. However, with something like a blog, there isn't really any doubt. The poster herself is ultimately responsible for the content. So, there can be no question as to who vetted this."

Therefore I ask you, "who vetted this?"