Can’t Hang ‘Em Thrice: Dzhokhar and the Death Penalty

Friday saw a federal jury sentence Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the culprits behind the horrific bombing of the 2013 Boston marathon, to death by lethal injection. When I saw the headline pop up on my news feed, all I could think to myself was-

What’s the point?

Readers, no one- even the defendant- disputes Tsarnaev’s guilt. Tsarnaev’s cowardly attack murdered three innocent people and wounded over a quarter thousand others. That Dzhokhar and his brother, Tamerlan (killed in a standoff with police shortly after the bombing) are monsters is likewise not in question.

But with all of that in mind- the guilt, the heinous nature of the act- what’s a lethal injection going to solve?

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the death penalty on this blog, but I think there’s hardly a better example of how fundamentally useful the thing is. And don’t for a minute think this is some bleeding-heart outcry against killing- I’ve got no problem with that, and I actually think we don’t resort to violence nearly as fast or often as we should.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

What are we trying to acomplish here?

It’s Not Justice

It’s not.

Tsarnaev murdered three people and mutilated hundreds of others. If we take a balance-the-scales approach to justice (which I don’t- but that’s another discussion), then we’d have to find some way of killing and reviving him three times and subject him to years of physical and emotional torture.

We can’t do that.

Morally or practically.

You can pick whichever you want, but it’s just not going to happen. If you want to you make justice your sticking point, then fantastic. And I don’t say that with an iota of sarcasm, I really and truly to laud that. But again, this isn’t justice. Continue reading

Recap Filler and What To Do This Weekend

Of the four posts that went up on the blog this week four of them were penned by yours truly. Alongside Gordon’s illuminating takedown of “career resource” website TheLadders and Kat’s experience watching a live production of The Phantom of the Opera I reviewed two items of pop culture:

  • the penultimate episode of the fourth season of 2 Broke Girls, a show that has tested every fibre of patience in my body yet still manages to amuse me just enough for me to keep going [the hundreds of site hits a day certainly don’t hurt].
  • the 15th issue of Ms. Marvel, a comic book that is as consistently good as the above is bad disappointing, in which a critically-acclaimed self-contained title threatens to connect more fully with the larger and more confusing universe it inhabits.

Just like any other piece of art it’s so easy to take what we’re given and simply let it entertain us. The truth is, however, that you don’t need to review a show for a living the sake of doing so in order to really engage it. We can always be consciously considering whatever it is we choose to get into, even if it’s to ask ourselves that most simple question: “What is the creator’s intent?”

Which is all to say that I don’t have it in me to write a third blog post this week, so this is me telling you to go out there and enjoy Mad Max: Fury Road. Not simply because it currently has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes but because it will make Men’s Rights Activists upset. Seriously, though, MRAs are actively campaigning against it, so what better reason to see it, possibly even more than once?

That’s all I have for you. Go out there, enjoy your Friday-

“What a day! What a lovely day!”

Ms. Marvel, #15: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel15So ends the three-issue story arc “Crushed” and any semblance of a relationship that Kamala Khan and family friend [not cousin/blood relative] Kamran once had, not with a bang but with a helping hand. Let me backtrack a little-

Really, this plot in this issue is fairly simple. As I mentioned pretty explicitly in my last review the newest character to be introduced is bad news, his closeness with our heroine seemingly acting as a way for him to more easily serve his master, Lineage. That’s where things get a little less simple, so I suppose I should backtrack yet again and try to explain what’s been happening outside of Jersey City for those of you who are only reading this book out of Marvel’s many, many titles.

To start with, on the recap page you may have noticed the final line: “These events take place between Inhuman #14 and the Inhuman Annual.” Continue reading

In Defence of the Theatre [or What the Film Version Just Can’t Give You]: A Culture War Report

theatreA few weeks ago a close friend called me up because her family had bought a bunch of tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. Lucky for us, they ended up with a few extra tickets that they needed to sell. The tickets were an incredible deal and Seattle isn’t very far from where we live, so we leapt at the opportunity.

On the day of the play we were ecstatic. In high school, several friends and I had become obsessed with the film version of The Phantom of the Opera. One of these friends made himself a Phantom-like cape for Halloween and even managed to convince the rest of our class that we should have a Phantom of the Opera theme for our grad banquet. While John wasn’t quite as familiar (or obsessed) with Phantom, he had acted in community theatre in high school and was looking forward to seeing a professional version of such a well-known play.

At this point I should probably warn you about spoilers, just in case you have never seen the film or the play. 

Since our tickets were such a great price, we were hardly surprised when we were seated in the nosebleeds. Quite frankly, we didn’t care. We were too busy looking around at the ornate theatre itself.

chandalier

This was the only photo I was allowed to take in the theatre itself. As you can see, we were pretty far back. The brown object in the centre is the chandelier, covered up, and the stage is covered with a dark screen that makes all the objects appear covered in cobwebs.

Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E21 “And the Grate Expectations”: A TV Review

isurehopetheresagraterinvolved

I, Evan Yeong, do solemnly swear that I will keep it together when reviewing this episode. This close to the end of Season 4 and it only makes sense that I remain cool, calm, and collected as I chronicle how 2 Broke Girls concludes its fourth year and prepares for its fifth. In retrospect, given how things have gone as of late, I was kind of a fool for not instituting the EVAN YEONG MADNESS WATCH I considered back in my first ever review of the show.

This week’s episode is the first in over a month without Nashit, a poor character portrayed by a very stand-up dude named Austin Falk. His tenure as Max’s love interest lasted all of five weeks, which doesn’t quite match up with reigning champion Deke [Eric Andre] who holds the title at eight episodes. Let’s all pour out a bit of our beverage of choice for poor Sebastian who was with us but for a single installment of the show. And no, I haven’t forgotten about Johnny, but he’s from a time before I was officially reviewing 2 Broke Girls when it was somehow worse than it is now-

-and before you remind me of the first line of this entire review you need to hold on just a sec, because this episode was actually pretty good! There were some terrible “jokes” as per usual but also some very funny ones! I’m actually in a good mood because of it! Continue reading

The Ladders (Aint Worth Your Time)

Earlier last week the blog’s email address received an email from a representative over at TheLadders.com, a “comprehensive career resource” site for high-end job seekers. We at Culture War Reporters were graciously told by this representative that we were “perfect” for a project the company was hoping to run, and we were asked if we wouldn be able to provide some tips and hints for recent grads out there seeking work. After some research and discussion with my co-authors, I decided to do just that- so here’s my advice.

Stay the **** away from TheLadders.

Seriously. Continue reading

Marvel Fan Admits DC’S Movie Are Better [In One Crucial Way]

Yeah, I saw Age of Ultron exactly a week ago. Yes, keeping myself from watching as much promotional material as possible prior to seeing it actually improved my viewing experience immensely. Oh, and that being said I did enjoy it, thank you for asking. Not a perfect film by any means, but still pretty good.

To back up the title of this post allow me to reveal that I spend at least three digits of dollars worth of comic books every month, and at least 90% of that money goes to Marvel Comics. As a company they own most of my favourite characters and are telling the stories I’m most interested in. I think “fanboy” goes a little too far, but you cut those last three letters off and I’ll wave that flag with a moderate amount of enthusiasm.

Having gotten that out of the way it should go without saying that even when they’re pretty bad [I’m looking at you, Iron Man 2] I still enjoy them. I know for a fact what movies I’m watching out to 2019, which is something I’ve never been able to say before. With the way the hype train has been rolling on towards the third installment in the Avengers film franchise there are still times when I need to pump the brakes [trains have brakes, right?] and remember something-

Three hunky White Chrises.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly White [I know there’s something you want to bring up, fellow Age of Ultron viewers, and I’ll get to that closer to the end]- Continue reading