Things I Learned About Life From Watching Brazilian and Portuguese Soap Operas- a blast from the past from August 2nd 2016


Things I Learned About Life From Watching Brazilian and Portuguese Soap Operas- a blast from the past from August 2nd 2016

1- The most effective way to kill a baby is to leave the window near his crib open at night. He’ll be stiff and dead by morning. (Sorry kids. I keel you a lot.)

2- If you work too hard you’ll get a “drained brain.”

This will cause you to sing New York New York at your important meeting, then pass out.

3- You can kill any number of people on your way to success, and no one will notice, not even enough to have rumors about you.

4- Memory loss is WAY common. I mean, you walk out your door and forget your name every other morning.

5- While suffering from memory loss you’ll fall in love with someone you hate. EVERY TIME. Preferably someone you hate who is married to one of your best friends.

6- The best way to avenge yourself on someone for anything ranging from trivial to heinous, is to create a really complicated plan that will eventually bring about their downfall. Or yours. Or… nothing, really. But you have to try it. Holy Plot Dictates so.

7- If a priest shows up in any role but villain, you’re watching a Portuguese soap opera.

8- Priests, Doctors, lawyers, anyone in an advisory capacity will come to your house to discuss your current problem, even if objectively he/she can do nothing about it.

9- Your priest will come to your house and tell you to be strong when you’re attracted to someone-not-your-husband. It’s amazing they have time to do anything else, including breathing.

10- the most menial occupations pay enough for palatial digs. This is shared with American sitcoms, I guess.

284 thoughts on “Things I Learned About Life From Watching Brazilian and Portuguese Soap Operas- a blast from the past from August 2nd 2016

  1. Congratulations! You’ve discovered why I regard all soap operas as works of the devil and don’t watch them. I’d rather read a new story by you anyway! .

    1. I’ve never watched a soap opera beginning to end. This was written while visiting with my parents. Apparently in your eighties you go a little goofy and have a TV in every room. (This from the people who had a black and white TV well into the eighties, because mostly we did other stuff.) Dad watches sports all the time, and mom watches like … 8? soap operas a day. During this visit, too, for whatever reason, we went nowhere and did nothing (not our choice but my family’s. We were supposed to be on hand all the time, so we couldn’t go out and do anything.) I ended up doing a lot of work in the family room (I was finishing a novel) to be near mom, and couldn’t avoid seeing some of this stuff. Plus my husband who understands just enough Portuguese to understand what’s going on, kept asking me stuff “Sarah, Sarah, did they kill the baby by opening the window near the crib? Our sons are both dead multiple times!” Etc. etc.

      1. Nobody has ever watched a soap opera beginning to end. It is not possible within a single human lifespan.

        OTOH, there is an argument that they are the modern version of Medieval morality plays.

        1. I meant an episode. Mostly I caught bits of it, growing up, while sitting in the family room doing homework or something.
          And when we visit, that’s where my parents are.

          1. Cecil B. DeMille reportedly liked doing Bible stores because they allowed him great latitude to depict folks sinning. Got to show how Evil and Godless those Philistines were!

        2. There was a Filipino-dubbed Mexican telenovella called Mari Mar that would actively slow down the nation because of its viewership. I recall there being news reports on the phenomenon; crime would drop because even the criminals would stop to watch. The male (and straight) demographic admitted that they had initially gotten into the show because hot and skimpy clad women, but then got hooked on the story, episodic as it was.

  2. In American soap opera land, women get up in the morning with perfect hair and makeup. Having seen that once, I swore off soaps forever.

    1. In American soap opera land, women get up in the morning with perfect hair and makeup. Having seen that once, I swore off soaps forever.

      Have you ever watched any Hollywood movie made before, say, 1950?

  3. >> “6- The best way to avenge yourself on someone for anything ranging from trivial to heinous, is to create a really complicated plan that will eventually bring about their downfall. Or yours. Or… nothing, really. But you have to try it. Holy Plot Dictates so.”

    So THAT’S where the left’s political strategy came from!

            1. Charlie’s father was a cartoonist and animator, known for his snout. When he was working on The Peanut’s Christmas Special someone hung a caricature of him by the time clock. Uncle Frank took one look, got his eraser out and rubbed off the nose, and added a bit to it making it bigger. Then everybody who punched in or out would do the same, by the end of production they had added so much more it covered pages that ran down the hall and around a corner.
              Uncle Frank’s illustrated letters had his self portrait that looked remarkably like the man in the Pink Panther cartoons. Somewhere I have copies of one he wrote when he was first Black Listed for being a commie.

  4. I only watch one soap opera even semi-regularly.

    And that was Dark Shadows. 👿

    1. My mother was extremely delighted to discover that it was on Hulu (I’d told her this several times, but it wasn’t until she actually started using the profile I set up for her and dad–instead of my profile–that it stuck.)

      It’s on my to-watch list, because every time I pass through the room and she’s got it on, the delightful, overwrought absurdity of it makes me smile.

    2. I was very briefly hooked on General Hospital, back in the day when Luke ‘n’ Laura were the key couple. Mostly because it was on FEN-Misawa. Came back to the US, and the plot was six months ahead of where I had left off watching … and I lost all interest.
      Probably a good thing, considering.

    3. Never watched Dark Shadows, though $GIRLFRIEND and her compatriots watched it regularly (when it first showed, get off my lawn!).

      Several years ago, we had two little Italian Greyhounds. For inexplicable reasons, they weren’t happy unless the TV was on. Mary loved Passions*, which was too weird for more than a few seconds for me. She and her brother Knight loved Third Rock from the Sun. They had the TV to themselves for those two shows.

      (*) The only scene I recall was something about an evil clown trying to break into some room.

      There’s a moral to that story, but I’ll pass.

      1. I got hooked on it during the summer vacation between the third and fourth grade. I have no idea why; I never paid any attention to what my mom watched during the day. I had to go over to a friend’s house and watch it over there.

        When I found several seasons of it on a torrent I snagged a few and tried watching, but… maybe it was the allergy medication I was on that summer, because almost nothing ever happened. I mean, how much time could people spend, walking around the dead plants in the abandoned conservatory or brooding at the paintings in the drawing room? I guess it saved money on scriptwriting…

        Well, I guess it was the closest thing to science fiction on the TV then, and I’d already read all the SF in the library. I don’t think they even had old Lost in Space reruns on any of the local channels then.

  5. This will cause you to sing New York New York at your important meeting, then pass out.

    Drat, I’ve been doing “drained brain” wrong all this time! Why has no-one told me?!?

        1. back in the 80’s & 90’s on cable (Univision?) there were so many, when you surfed by, there would be one within seconds if not on screen at that moment. A buddy used to joke about it, calling it the “Hot Blonde Channel”. It was like they were trying to convince you Daisy Fuentes was the norm or something.

          1. The American TV version of Ugly Betty had an ongoing Mexican telenovela in totally bizarre snippets. I think there was a fan (or maybe it was one of the extras on the DVD version) who spliced them all together for full-strength dramatic absurdity.

            1. later, we got the other main spanish language channel and he started just calling them “The Babe Networks” because the same rule applied, just not always a blonde. 75% of the time when you hit the channel there was a very good looking woman on screen, and the other 24% or so of the time within seconds one would appear. Shows or commercials didn’t matter much. One of the few times it didn’t occur was a Chevy commercial, the other channel though had a girl in a bikini looking right out of SI.

  6. I hear Korean soap operas are fantastically crazy as well.

    Grandma spent a lot of time on Netflix watching all manner of foreign soaps, but after one too many near-porn versions of such things, we took her netflix privileges away, heh.

    1. The Asian shows (aside from possibly the Japanese – I haven’t watched any of them, but I get a different vibe from ads and trailers for them) are amazingly prudish. No nudity. Sex is never shown, and it’s usually implied (if not stated) that unmarried couples aren’t sleeping together. Male and female romantic leads generally don’t even kiss until late in the series.

      The shows tend to be so prudish that I was quite literally surprised when one Mandarin language historical drama showed the main character straddling his new wife in bed – while both were still fully clothed. The camera then cut away almost immediately afterward.

      1. Yeah, the ones that finally made us go “NO STOP WATCHING THIS GARBAGE” were either Indian or Turkish. Or possibly Russian. (I think it was the Russian one that had the nudity–the Turkish and/or Indian (Pakistani?) ones were heavy on the violence and bad language.)

        1. Yeah, Russia is probably your best bet of those for a media culture that is nudity friendly.

        2. Unfortunately profanity is up to the translators. A friend of mine who speaks Korean was recently complaining to me about how mild Korean profanity frequently gets made much worse in the English translation (even better, the most common Korean exclamation of frustration sounds *exactly* like ‘Ah, sh…’). I’ve heard similar things about English translations of a frequent exclamation in Japanese animated shows.

          1. I do get very tired of the attitude of “We must have profanity/vulgarities to be edgy!” everywhere. I don’t mind creatively applied swears (I keep trying to reassure a coworker that no, I don’t actually mind her use of the f-word. I only mind if it’s the Lord’s name, and that’s because it’s a personal religious thing for me, I don’t like hearing it abused. Otherwise, it’s something I can generally tune out.) What I mind is the underlying tittering of juveniles who think they’re shocking the normals–when for crying out loud I’ve been hearing those words since I was in elementary school, and at this point, unless you are very good at it and it amuses me, it’s boring and irritating and does not usually lend itself to a good atmosphere, say, at home. (Hence the objection of the rest of the relatives to grandma’s choices of viewing material.)

            But yeah, I can agree that it’s probably on the translators.

            To be fair, one of the worst insults you can call someone in Romanian, translated to English is…well, not particularly insulting. Not in English. It’s all about the cultural context.

            (It’s “dracul.” Yes, the root word of Dracula. Basically, translated to English, it means dragon–or, more accurately, devil. But not THE devil. Just, generally, devil. Or dragon-devil. But it’s super rude to call someone that in Romanian. I once read that it’s much the same with cretin vs. cretino in Italin: calling someone a cretin in English is rude–provided the person you are calling that knows what cretin even means–but apparently it’s way, way ruder in Italian. So…::shrugs:: It also could be translators reaching for something that would have the same IMPACT in the translation as it does in the original language. Dunno.)

            1. Sounds like my dad trying to explain that there’s no cussing in Basque– there’s stuff you don’t say, and then there’s endearing insults, like “fathead.”

            2. I also get tired of “Swearing is how we show we’re super-serious.”
              BUT OTOH I get very worried when people send me notes saying they liked DST “except for all the swearing” and “Constantly dropping the f bomb”
              I searched.
              Yeah, Athena swears. I think on ONE occasion. Which is when she wakes up naked, strapped to a hospital bed, and her husband is missing.
              She might say “sh*t” a couple other times. (Not sure. It’s bee a while. But I know when I searched it was like “uh…. character not a saint. Swearing very rare and warranted.”) Geeesh

              1. Yeah. I don’t…recall much at ALL in the way of swearing in DST.

                Heck, Larry cracks jokes about his bishop commenting on the sweary-ness of MHI, and yet…still not THAT much. (I think Larry actually swears more on his blog, lol.)

                A well-placed swear can be an extremely effective tool for emphasis (both in real life and fiction). The opposite…not so much.

                My dearest friend once had someone get upset with her about a character in a fanfiction story she’d written because that character drank, slept around, swore (insofar as there is swearing in Star Wars, natch), because, like me, friend is Mormon.

                I recall her being incredulous at this, because, as she tried to point out the upset reader, that character was a SPACE PIRATE. And also: no Mormons in the Star Wars universe, for cryin’ out loud. (Though she did go on to write a hilarious short about two missionaries on the Babylon 5 space station…)

        3. Re: talking things over, Japanese homeroom teachers are supposed to come to your house and do parent-teacher conferences whenever they feel it necessary. I don’t know that this actually happens as much anymore, but it is supposed to occur.

          Re: European historical soaps and dramas…. Um. Yeah.

          You remember those old paperbacks that claimed that historical fiction was bawdy and lusty, and had lots of covers threatening nudity and sex?

          Spanish historical soaps think you should have more nudity than Showtime or Game of Thrones in every episode, at least until people start dying right and left. French ones, too. Geez, even French mysteries and comedies keep throwing in the nekkid.

          If you don’t believe, watch an uncensored version of Isabel (the Ferdinand and Isabella show). Holy crud, guys, there’s plenty for you. (Not much for us gals, but some.) All the seasons are free on Amazon Prime now, if you have that; don’t know if it’s censored though.

          Not exactly a fair portrayal of lots of historical people, mind you, but it looks super-sweet, and helps you remember the major events. (And if you’ve read Lois McMaster Bujold’s Curse of Chalion or taken Spanish history, you already have a cheat sheet.)

          Isabel is the Hero, and everybody else is considerably more iffy in their morals (although Ferdinand is basically princely Han Solo). But everybody is ridiculously good-looking and the clothes and horses are good. Also you can learn Castilian swearwords that your Spanish teacher somehow neglected.

          The Russian historical soap about Catherine the Great is also sensationalist, as you’d expect.

          1. It did notice, when I lived in Europe, every time I passed a tv that there was an inordinate amount of bare skin being shown, and NOT during the “the kids are in bed” hours. Well, and they didn’t hide the porn mags there either. I know the attitude is that Americans are puritanical about that kind of thing, and perhaps we are (certainly I also have religious objections to it all, but also feel it’s up to individuals what they choose to see).

            But…honestly, for me it boils down to “Look, I’m an artist. I’ve sketched/painted plenty of live models. And let me tell you: NAKED PEOPLE ARE FUNNY LOOKING.” They just are. Nothing wrong with it, and no doubt in the right contexts it’s arousing rather than funny-looking, but…it’s just not that exciting, really. (Like I said elsewhere regarding bad language: unless done really well, mostly it just gets eye-rollingly boring. The imagination does a much better job.)

            1. Frankly, from what I’ve given to understand about European sexual practices, I’m going to take charges of prudery from them about as seriously as I would from some of my coworkers who go through women like tissue paper.

            2. From my background, naked people tend to lead my brain to “zombie!” because dead people and nekkid. And yes, they are funny looking. Eh.

              That’s probably another reason Odds are in the minority. We don’t seem to breed much, because there’s always more interesting things Just Over There. *chuckle* Not just having Social Signal Defense System 9000 installed and running from birth.

    2. K-dramas. “Fantastically crazy” is a good term for it. There’s far less skin than euro public television. But the plots sometimes require a bit of head-tilty or alcohol. As I don’t drink, I used to watch them when very sleepy.

      And had the weirdest dreams thereafter. Why was the squid part of a marriage proposal, and who cries because their childhood rival wears green shoes? I’m sure our culture is similarly weird to other people. Flavors of sanity, at best, I suppose. Someone has to be licorice.

  7. It has always seemed to me that Soap Operas were full of people who in a rational world would have been shot long ago. Not just the Bad Guys, the protagonists too. I have yet to see one, Dark Shadows included, that didn’t make me want to go on a spree with a tire iron.

    OTOH long running serial entertainment forms all tend to fall apart upon examination. Why does anyone with a lick of sense work for LexCorp? I mean, Lex Luthor’s hobby is annoying a being who can knock a hole in a battleship with his eyelashes. And sooner or later Luther is going to succeed. I don’t care how good the benefits package for working for LexCorp is, being a parachute tester has got to be safer.

    1. Never underestimate the power of idealism.

      I think it was RES who posted the clip of Mr. Conspiracy Theory (seriously, that’s his super power) going “hey, Superman might be going evil. I am going to go confront him.

      There HAS to be some other folks who really think that Supes is a possible threat.

        1. I did.
          Had to borrow a cup of brain bleach from Stephanie.

          “Let’s take 3 completely different story lines and mash them together. Now we take the brightest shining star of superheroes, and put him in a movie so dark that everyone who buys the home blue ray will still end up turning up the brightness to see it. And while we’re at it, we’re going to take the smartest, most cold blooded villain, and have him pretend to be the Joker.”

          It’s pretty bad when the two featured characters are eclipsed by the one that was just supposed to be a supporting role. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was the only thing that saved that film.

        2. Nope.

          Impression I got was that the director didn’t understand Superman, and only half understood Bats, so why would I waste money and time?

          1. Oh, I think Snyder understands Superman just fine. This particular scene is my favourite part of any superhero movie ever. The media and the politicians see him as a potential threat, the public sees him as some kind of godlike figure, but he’s neither. Only one of the talking heads gets it right: you strip away the fact he’s an alien and that he has superpowers, and he’s just a guy trying to do the right thing. Snyder shows the super and the man.

            BTW, the coda of the scene, with Clark Kent, was cut from the theatrical version. One of the many, many sins of that version was how it reduced the role of Clark — the protagonist — to a cameo. And don’t get me started on the theatrical Justice League. Just don’t. I could rant for days.

            1. It’s a strange world we live in where a four-part ‘fan film’ made by a YouTuber narrating and using cuts from other shows as illustration is superior (in my opinion) to the Justice League film we got.

              I tell all my friends, if you haven’t watched Justice League, don’t: Watch this instead.

              The only change I’d make is that Cavil should play Amazo, thus we get to bring him back without resurrecting Supes just yet.

              1. All I’ll say about Justice League right now is this: The original theme of the movie was “freedom”. Warners spent $50 million in reshoots to remove all traces of this theme from the movie. Think about that for a moment.

              2. I would have loved to see this get made. It took Adam West’s Batman world and inverted it.

            2. And to think: a four-part ‘fan film’ made by a YouTuber narrating and using cuts from other shows as illustration is superior (in my opinion) to the Justice League film we got.

              As I tell all my friends: if you haven’t watched Justice League, don’t. Watch this instead.

              The only change I’d make is that Cavil should play Amazo, thus we get to bring him back without resurrecting Supes just yet.

            3. Sorry about the repeat posts. My computer tends to act up on me so sometimes stuff gets lost in the process.

            4. Edward Rutledge: Remove the offending passage from your Declaration.

              John Adams: If we did that, we would be guilty of what we ourselves are rebelling against.

              Edward Rutledge: Nevertheless… remove it, or South Carolina will bury, now and forever, your dream of independence.

              Dr. Benjamin Franklin: John? I beg you consider what you’re doing.

              John Adams: Mark me, Franklin… if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.

              Dr. Benjamin Franklin: That’s probably true, but we won’t hear a thing, we’ll be long gone. Besides, what would posterity think we were? Demi-gods? We’re men, no more no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. First things first, John. Independence; America. If we don’t secure that, what difference will the rest make?

              John Adams: [long pause] Jefferson, say something.

              Thomas Jefferson: What else is there to do?

              John Adams: Well, man, you’re the one that wrote it.

              Thomas Jefferson: I *wrote* ALL of it, Mr. Adams.

              [stands and goes to the Declaration, crosses out the clause]

              – – –

              Be merciful when you judge, as only one being has perfect knowledge (well, maybe two, I’m not clear how Doc Strange’s thing works.)

        3. I did. Absolutely loved it.

          Particularly as the followup to Man of Steel, where Superman was put in an impossible position and forced to violate one of his dearest principles (not abandon or invalidate said principle, so it’s not subversion, but forced to violate it) then in BVS we see him struggle internally and externally, hold fast to his ideals, earn back the people’s trust and inspire a Bruce Wayne who had sunk into cynicism and near-despair. Glorious.

          I was a little leery of Lex Luther’s incarnation in that one, but even that won me over: Lex has been a mad scientist, a crime boss, a businessman and politician, so a tech magnate ala Zuckerberg was the next logical step.

            1. I felt the same at initially, but he grew on me.

              I mean, why try to make Lex imposing or compare him to Superman when the Man of Steel could crush him with a breath? I found the contrast interesting: Lex as scrawny, immature and spastic compared to Superman’s tall, stoic presence.

          1. For both movies, I was initially uncertain of what to think, but subsequent viewings cemented them as some of my favourite superhero movies. Fun escapism is fine. But sometimes you want a little more.

            What few people have commented on is how Snyder uses real media figures (De Grasse Tyson, Jon Stewart, et al) in a story that makes the mainstream media look really, really bad. That took some balls. And I suspect it didn’t make him a lot of friends either.

          2. Don’t know if you noticed, but that movie was in continuity with Batman Returns – there is a line about an army of penguins with rockets strapped to them.

      1. While I haven’t read much comics in the last twenty years, I always thought Lex’s “Superman may become a threat” was more of an excuse.

        IE Businessman Lex was the Big Man in the city until Superman came to town and Lex Could Not Buy Him. 😉

        Mind you, “Superheroes might become a threat” would be a valid concern for any government.

          1. Lex was a supreme egotist which can lead to stupidity. 😉

            Of course, if I was a writer, he might be an interesting villain to write.

            Outwardly, a “good man” supporting the proper charities, causes, etc. (While his political party wasn’t mentioned in the comics, I saw him as a Democrat so “Liberals” would like him.)

            His dark side would be that he considers himself the Smartest Person Around and Only His Opinion Really Matter. While he supports the “proper causes”, he’s only concerned about “What’s Good For Him”.

            So this extremely powerful individual show up and Lex knows what he would do if he was that powerful so he tries to take control of him and when that fails, Lex works secretly to find a way to defeat this individual. Publicly, this Lex would support the individual and won’t let anybody (including this god-like being) know Lex’s opinion of him.

            1. In other words, self-interest, without the “enlightened” leavening.

              I’ve always gotten the impression that Luthor is what liberals think capitalists are–and of course, it’s not true, because someone THAT determinedly, self-destructively self-centered I can’t help but think would not, in fact, stay a very successful businessman for long. I could be wrong, as I don’t know any wildly successful businessmen in real life, but…

              1. Agree about Lex being what “Liberals think capitalists are”.

                However, the thing about Lex (after the comics made him a businessman) was that he was highly popular in Metropolis for his “good works”.

                IE There were plenty of people in Metropolis who had good reasons to see him as a good man.

                1. The reason he and Superman sorta got along, at times, was that *sometimes* he could be convinced to do good things, or not to mess up Superman’s play. He could be a reasonable, logical man with a good sense of self-preservation, as long as the hatred and envy didn’t kick in.

                  So although a lot of his good works are cover, some of them are noblesse oblige, some of them are “I’ve got nothing better to do and it’s a tax break,” and some of them are probably things he actually wants to do. But Luthor is not forthcoming about which is which, and maybe he doesn’t even know.

                  You can easily imagine that Lex has friends or correspondents somewhere who think very highly of him, because he shows them his good side or has never had need to expose his bad side.

                  So yeah, he’s a failed Bruce Wayne/Batman, or a failed Lex Luthor. Bruce harnessed his anger, grief, and hatred in the service of his better feelings. Lex did the opposite.

            2. His dark side would be that he considers himself the Smartest Person Around and Only His Opinion Really Matter. While he supports the “proper causes”, he’s only concerned about “What’s Good For Him”.

              So, just like basically every politician or academic.

          2. Stupid? Maybe.

            It could be argued that Lex has as much or more ‘faith’ in Superman than anybody else: he wouldn’t keep trying if he wasn’t absolutely sure Supes would never really cross that line.

            Which also underlines the ‘he’s a threat’ excuse is just that: an excuse. Lex himself doesn’t believe it.

            Lex knows Supes for what he is, and he hates him for it.

            1. Hate does tend to make folks stupid.

              Thought the cartoon’s spin where the hate is literally killing him was a very good spin.

              (Kryptonite cancer.)

              1. Nod.

                Oh, to those who might not know what Foxfier is talking about, Lex had gotten his hands on a small piece of Kryptonite which he wore on a ring to protect himself from Superman.

                Unfortunately for him, while Kryptonite is immediately deadly to Kryptonians (like Superman), its radiation is deadly to humans upon long term exposure.

                Oh, while DC apparently killed off Lex, he got better. 😀

                Oh, I’m not sure if Lex’s “death by Kryptonite” is canon in the current DC timeline (they’ve changed it several times since then.

        1. This is why I could never get into X-Men. A Big Theme is that mutants are unfairly suspected of being threats to society. The existence of the Bad Guy Mutants pretty much proves that the suspicion is completely justified. Hard to accept that weird premise.

          1. Agree about X-Men. The whole “mutants are blacks/gays thing” falls flat when you have the big bad Mutants like Magneto and even the good mutants could be extremely dangerous. Heck, Xavier the “Great Good Mutant” can control people’s minds (if he wanted to).

            1. In the movies, at least, I remember Xavier controlling minds of unknowing cops in order to talk to Magneto. His views on whether or not he’s allowed to do whatever he likes to normals is, shall we say, flexible. Wolverine, at least, clearly has some innocent blood on his claws.

              It might be interesting to do a storyline in the X-Men world from a non-mutant perspective. A politician or a cop perhaps who’s trying to balance the threat that these mutations represent with the fact that they’re people too. However, what I’ve seen of the world generally vilifies normals with any view other than, “Mutants are the most awesome thing ever!” as far worse than Magneto.

              I wonder what the views of the writers are on gun control. They strike me as the sort who might believe that AR-15s should be outlawed but any attempt to monitor people who are walking nuclear bombs is a clear example of prejudice.

              1. Ironically, X-Men did have a comic where this non-mutant showed a tolerance toward mutants while unknowingly talking with Magneto.

                Then Magneto revealed who he was and Magneto took the non-mutant’s dislike of him (Magneto) as meaning that the non-mutant was “lying about his tolerance toward mutants”.

                Of course, with Magneto’s history, disliking Magneto is the smart thing to do. 😦

                1. I don’t suppose they let the guy have the comeback, “I’m fine with mutants. You didn’t ask me about my tolerance for mass murderers.”

                    1. It depends on which variant is being used; for example, in the cartoon he’s shown to do things that directly kill more than 3 people at the same time (usually destroying buildings, sinking a ship, etc).

                      About the only standard is he doesn’t care so trying to directly mass eliminate humanity is only going to happen with something that would take out a significant chunk at once, like a disease.

                    2. It’s been a while but there was the time Magneto (in the comics) used Earth’s Magnetic Field to attack humanity by “disarming” the various Militaries.

                      I can’t remember if it was mentioned but I suspect such a Electromagnetic “pulse” would have caused civilian casualties (airliners falling from the sky, etc).

                    3. All of those examples constitute manslaughter or possibly homicide (not going to bother looking it up) because any deaths were incidental to his actions, not the goal of them.

                      Probably not going to reduce jail time, although under new, liberalized rules he would likely (in NY) be released without having to post bond.

                      At one time he had achieved mind control through manipulation of the iron in the hemoglobin in the brain so it is possible nobody would have testified against him, letting him beat the rap(s)

                      All of which proves the silliness of examining comic book actions according to real life standards..

                    4. Several years ago, I read a Superman Novel (not based on any specific Superman comic).

                      In it Superman decided that he needed Lex Luthor’s assistance (this was the Mad Scientist one) and visited Lex in prison with an already signed Presidential Pardon.

                      It was mentioned that Lex had never been charged with anything except Federal Charges. (Not sure how much sense there was in that statement.)

                      But going to the Marvel Universe, it is very unlikely that Magneto would be charged for any crimes in New York (city or state).

                      Heck, there might be arguments in the UN about which nation (or nations) would get first dibs at Magneto. 😈

            2. My wife has come up with an imaginary dialog between Magneto and a random mutant he’s trying to recruit:

              Magneto: “Are you sick of being hated just because you’re a mutant? Come join my organization. We’re fighting for mutant rights!”

              Random mutant: “Sounds great! What’s your organization called?”

              Magneto: “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”

              Random mutant: “Ummm…. sure… I’ll, uh, think about it.” (backs away slowly)

              1. LOL 😆

                The retro-con is now that it was always just the “Brotherhood Of Mutants” but members may have call it “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” ironically.

                Mind you, when Magneto formed it, he may have called it a “Brotherhood” but he was the absolute nasty ruler of the “Brotherhood”.

                1. Wayyyyyy back when, probably in the first twenty issues or so, there was a letter column question raised about that and the answer was something along the lines of adopting the name “Evil Mutants” for the same reasons America’s Colonials adopted “Yankee Doodle” — although the first has negative connotations absent from the latter. (I now feel ever so much older; thanks, guys.)

                  Subsequent editors obviously forgot that explanation or ultimately found it unconvincing.

                  1. The irony being that I can fully see Magneto calling it the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to declare in advance that he doesn’t CARE if they get called evil.

            1. I know a chemistry teacher who observed it was the sort of mindset she saw in a lot of her students. (And you know, the powers kick on when the mindset is typical. . . .)

              1. So do guys’ growth spurts.

                I still don’t have much tolerance for 25 year old men who complain about women recognizing that men can do violence. 😀

        2. Depends on the version – Smallville Lex had an encounter with evil Kryptonians end of Season 1 and became obsessed with planetary defense. Being a luthor, of course, he never worried much about the morality of the means he used for his necessary ends.

          1. Nod.

            But I still consider the comic books as more “canon” than Smallville. 😉

            Of I’m also mainly talking about the Lex of the comics when they “introduced” Businessman Lex not Supervillain Mad-Scientist Lex.

            IIRC DC changed Businessman Lex even in the comics.

            1. The main problem with open ended comics is that you either have to ignore the possibility of character development and aging or retcon fairly regularly. Option one works so long as you keep writing fairly simple stories, but that limits your audience.

              Superman has been around since 1938, and Batman since 1939. That’s a LOT of time to accumulate baggage. Anyone remember Beppo the Super Monkey? Or Superman crushing coal into diamonds? SO many gawdawful ideas!

              1. Nod.

                Some revamping was needed. First they separated the “Golden Age Superman who started in 1938” from the “current day” Superman, then after Crisis John Byrne lessened Superman’s powers & eliminated him as Superboy.

                But since then, it seems that every five years DC is revamping the DC universe.

                IMO It’s getting old.

                1. Has gotten.

                  Storylines have the bones in them of older, simpler Ur stories that go back to the dawn of the mind. Things that speak to the human condition (in a non-ironic sense). There are stories to be had there that have nothing to do with the same washed out versions being trotted out these days.

                  With the change in how folks consume entertainment, there’s a lot of room for improvement, that’s for sure.

                  1. The problem you have to wonder if changes to the DC universe are improvements or are changes for the sake of change or in at least one case to make the characters more “relevant”. 😦

                    It’s like some of the changes made in recent times to the Marvel characters. Like Thor being replaced by a Female Thor. (Leaving the male Thor nameless.)

                    1. Ye blobs and little fetishes (charms, not kink ya dig?). *shakes head*

                      The latter two seem to be eating the first’s lunch these days. I’ve all but given up on the comic universes I used to spend days in, back when they were new to me.

              2. I do recall the coal-into-diamonds in the comics. Might have been in the ’50s; my brothers and I all had plantar warts. (Shoes in summertime? Surely you jest!) Seems the pediatric podiatrist had a *great* selection of DC comics. Kept three rowdy boys entertained and willing to get the feet fixed.

                (Stopped reading DC in the mid ’60s. Picked up some of the Marvel comics in college in the early ’70s, but my only exposure to comics now are the web variety. Ka-click!)

      2. LexCorp is sorta like if Google were Musk’s baby.

        Anybody who is paranoid enough about Superman to want to do something, and intelligent enough to be worth doing something should be smart and paranoid enough to wonder if Lex Luther might also be a problem.

        But I may using a bad model for the intelligent/paranoid population.

        1. All I’m going to say is that when the first Spiderman movie came out, it was widely noted in certain IT circles that the Green Goblin is what Larry Ellison of Oracle would have been like if he had gone into biotech instead of databases.

          There’s a reason there was an unauthorized biography titled “The difference between God and Larry Ellison…… is that God doesn’t think He’s Larry Ellison.”

          Larry had a falling out with one of his senior VPs, named Tom Siebel. Larry fired him. Tom founded his own software company, Siebel Systems. In 2006, Larry Ellison bought Siebel, paying a considerable premium, allegedly just so he could fire Tom Siebel AGAIN.

          It takes a certain level of ego and drive, not to say obsession, to function at that level of success. Corporate CEOs are far from the least believable villains.

      3. No, that was me.

        I thought it was a good scene: it showed The Question really does believe Superman will do the right thing, or try to. And killing Lex is a…shall we say…much smaller moral step than killing Question, so he had good reason to think he’s safe.

        It was only when Question feared Superman going evil might be inevitable that he tried to cut if off by killing Lex himself, which didn’t work out.

        And knowing Question, he’s probably got backup files ready to be release in the event of his death should Superman go over the edge.

        1. There’s also the practical side– if Superman killed the Question, in the middle of the watchtower, Batman would notice and stop him.

      4. >> “I think it was RES who posted the clip of Mr. Conspiracy Theory (seriously, that’s his super power)”

        You’ve got me curious now. How does being a conspiracy theorist qualify you to join a superhero team?

        Also, what’s the deal with his face (or rather, lack thereof)? It doesn’t seem to be a mask based on other clips I’ve seen, and being able to breath and talk like that would be more of a legit superpower.

        1. It’s a mask.

          And the reason why he’s useful is because he’s good at uncovering hidden plots. Sure, most of the stuff he “uncovers” is paranoid conspiracy nonsense.

          But not all of it is.

          They had an episode focusing on him and Huntress (who ended up getting together with him afterwards) that was about the two of them unraveling something he’d found.

          That same episode also revealed that he has terrible cleaning skills, and his apartment literally stinks.

          1. >> “Behold, his superpower:”

            It suddenly occurs to me that some superpowers might be more trouble than they’re worth. 😛

            So he’s basically a mundane – like Batman – but with access to some magical disguise gear? Fair enough. Bet he drives the rest of the League spare most of the time when he’s off-target with the conspiracy stuff, though.

              1. Not a Green Arrow fan, then? Or is it a “love to hate him” thing? I understand he’s got quite the ego…

                  1. In the comics, he’s a very rich guy with progressive politics. For a while way back, DC paired him up with Hal Jordan, who basically played the conservative intellectual punching bag to Oliver Queen’s lefty arguments.

                    Ironically, the most famous story from this particular series was the one in which Queen learned that his sudekick, Speedy, was a heroin addict.

                    1. The mental “snapshot” I have of the guy is him shooting off exploding arrows at guys building something he didn’t like, and getting pissed when they used guns against him.

                      I don’t know if it’s a complication of events or what, but whoof.

                    2. Because it’s TOTALLY okay to shoot bombs at people, but not cool for them to shoot back… ::eyeroll::

                      At least for the first couple of seasons of Arrow–before it got both ridiculously soap opera-y and unbearably woke (to the point that not even the lead’s abundance of very nice muscles and shirtless scenes could save it)–almost no one was trying to say it was totally okay for the nominal hero to go around murdering people with arrows. Yes, they WERE nearly always very bad people, but it was still technically murder.

          1. …who is that voice actor? I know I’ve heard him do other characters. I want to say he was on Deep Spade Nine… but I can’t bring to mind which characters they were.

            1. IMDb says … (drum roll, please) … Jeffrey Combs!!!!!
              [ ]

              A large number of voice credits, but also 32 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Weyoun (24), Brunt (8), Officer Mulkahey (1) & Tiron (1) — sometimes more than just one in an episode, as in Season 7, Episode 24 The Dogs of War in which he played both Weyoun & Brunt. You’ve a good ear!

              Checking the voice actors o the DC cartoons turns up some fun items, such as Green Lantern being played by Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights) and by David Boreanaz (Justice League: The New Frontier).

              1. Now THAT is a new impressive quirk– maybe your link got put into moderation– I came here this morning to see if anybody had answered Feather Blade, put in my comment, yours wasn’t here, and I just got yours in the email.


      5. All I could think of when watching this scene was Wearing the Cape explaining why people are scared of breakthroughs.

        1. Agree.

          We had this discussion here before.

          While the general comic book theme is “Superheroes Are Always Good And Do The Correct Thing”, humans with Super Powers are Still Human (even if they are Kryptonians or Martians) and Humans can go wrong.

          Governments and non-super humans could easily wonder “what if they go bad” especially with “good motives”.

          1. One of the most vital questions when world-building a superhero world is whether you can possibly police the supers without other supers. And if the answer is no, whether you have an adequate supply of supers so that you can reasonably find responsible cops in them.

      6. In the John Byrne reboot, when Batman and Superman met for the first time, Batman had Kryptonite, which he was keeping safe and secret. At the end, he gave Superman the lead-lined box — and then Superman found the Batcave and gave it back. He wanted someone he could trust to have the power to stop him. (And by trust, he meant not only that Batman would not use it unless needed, but also that he would when it was.)

      1. Actually, I have known any number of people who behaved that way, in discrete episodes, spaced out between periods of relative sanity.

        OTOH, I have liked relatively few Sitcoms. Barney Miller, Night Court, a few others.

        1. Those had (for the recurring cast) characters who were characters, not monodimensional subshadows of characters. And no outright “idiot ball” involved. That makes for watchability.

              1. If your cable provider offers AntennaTV I believe it’s showing on there. Along with Barney Miller, Burns & Allen and numerous other classic TV series … as well as many which ought have been burned and buried.

                I worry about what viewers in Nigeria make of Night Court — although it might explain some of those emails.

                N.B. — not the video I was looking for but too good to not pass along.

      2. With the possible exception of some of the cast of the Jack Benny show. Dennis Day and the band decidedly excepted from much chance of being considered sane.

        1. Dennis Day: Tenors are traditionally supposed to have resonance where their brains are supposed to be. DD just a little more than most. The band, of course, are just stereotypical Hollywood freelance musicians. 🙂

      3. I like soaps a lot more than I like sitcoms. Soaps can be dramatic fun. When I watch sitcoms, I’m always just embarrassed for these people because apparently they lack the self-awareness to be embarrassed for themselves.

        1. I don’t watch either. I think it’s the ADD? I don’t do well at sitting in front of something. Reading is more engaging, because I have to decode, I guess?
          I watched a lot sitcoms for a few months after 9/11 because I was SO depressed I just sat there….
          Anyway that’s when I formed that opinion

          1. Stupe-coms will rot your brain at Warp Factor 11.

            You know how I spent the days after 11 Sep 01? Trying to get in on a deployment! On 12 Sep 01, the RQ-4 Global Hawk test team at Edwards got THE phone call…forget further testing, we’re holding a war and you’ve got the Very Special Invitation. I’d left the program less than a year earlier. Tried to get in… 😦

        2. We watched How I Met Your Mother before we decided it got too raunchy.

          We *were* watching the Fox version of Last Man Standing, but the local station owner (Apollo) has locked out Dish Network for the indefinite future. Not a football fan, so didn’t miss the Super Bowl, but their local news was usually worth watching, says $SPOUSE.

          I like the fact that they allow the characters to grow a bit. Well, most of them. Jay Leno’s character ain’t gonna grow fast, nohow. 🙂

      4. Unless you’re at, say a college freshman orientation and end up in a situation where someone is “translating ” from Canadian to American English, and you start thinking, “The sitcoms were right, people like that really do exist!”

        He never stopped being quite that weird, either.

      5. My mother used them as a guide to how to act. That is, family life was a complete dumpster fire 24/7.

        There were lots of reasons I envied the kids in foster homes.

  8. But is it American soap operas only where a child goes upstairs one day and the next month or year comes downstairs a teenager? Maybe Vicki, Nikki and Victor Newman’s daughter didn’t on “The Young and the Restless,” but most of writers weren’t patient enough to wait for the kids to grow up, and elementary school troubles are left to sitcoms. The actress who formerly played Victoria Newman (Heather Tom) also did voice over work on one or more of the animated Batman movies. And Wikipedia says she was also rapidly aged. The actor who plays Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) was on “The Rat Patrol.”

  9. What I learned from telenovelas (Mexican soap operas).

    1. I don’t need to learn Spanish to understand them.
    2. Think of the worst possible thing, and that is what happens next. For example, you give your beautiful cousin a hug to comfort her, that is when your insanely jealous girlfriend will burst in.
    3. Bad guys are always the best dressers and usually have good mustaches.
    4. Bad guys are generally the smartest guys in the room.
    5. Don’t PO mama.

    I learned to anticipate what happens next in most TV shows and movies and some books.
    There is some show we are watching that I have never seen before, Locke and Key. I am able to anticpate every plot twist well before it happens. It is kind of annoying to me and definitely to my wife. I hate stupid, gooey brained heroes.

    1. It was jarring tocome in halfway through or more of some 1950’s detective/mystery radio show and in a couple minutes figure, “Yeah, that character did it.” — and be confirmed right. Hearing the beginning of that very episode a few days later (once was satellite radio, the other was a different source of old time radio stuff.) was just weird.

      1. I usually assume that part of the obviousness is the very, very short time format. (If I recall right, half an hour was LONG–that being, the show itself as half an hour, not including ads. Most of the old Shadow episodes I’ve listened to run from 15-20 minutes–and that usually includes an ad of some kind at the beginning and again in the middle.)

          1. Hey, man, those were also seriously overworked writers having to come up with stuff EVERY WEEK–or sometimes every day. :p Also, it was trendy!

              1. And radio did it all on a highly limited nearly non-existent budget:

                Sigh, we’re suffering the loss of that kid of imagination.

        1. We watch Midsomer Murders, and generally the red herrings are thick enough that the guilty party is quite hard to guess. Half the time, the obvious villain is Dead Body #2 a few minutes later.

          (We’re a couple years into the John Barnaby/DS Jones era. The local PBS used to do both halves on one night, but now they’re doing one half per week. They’re complex enough that even reruns can stump us.)

    2. 3. Bad guys are always the best dressers and usually have good mustaches.

      Well of course. How could I laugh Mwaa haa haa haa while twirling my mustache if I didn’t have a good mustache?

      But perhaps I’ve said too much.

  10. You forgot “Pushing a woman down the stairs is a sure-fire way to cause a miscarriage.”

    And there’s another one that’s a bit more positive: “You’ll never get away with it. Lies will ALWAYS be found out, usually at the most inconvenient moment. The consequences of what you do will ALWAYS catch up to you.”

    I’ll admit to liking soap operas more than most people here. If nothing else, they’re better than most of what traditional publishing puts out. There’s action and drama, even if it’s over drama. My main problem with American soaps is their long-running format which means that couples go through the same thing over and over again; I can only watch Sonny and Carly get together and break up again so many times before I want to force them to move to opposite sides of the globe.

    1. The long form serial format with incredibly repetitive plots that I like? Chinese webnovels, most strongly in the Xianxia format.

      It is not back and forth with romance, it is back and forth with violence, murder, and depending, massacres.

      Okay, sometimes there is romance. But the main plot and subplot is a lot of bickering, revenge, and ‘getting stronger’ in a sometimes outright LitRPG sense. Bunch of homicidal lunatics who only ever fold to confrontation if they are going to hold a grudge, and murder the guy when they next have an advantage.

      Okay, some of them have more sympathetic situations than that, but our discussion of mainstream soaps is hardly the most charitable description.

      1. Hear, hear! Although, honorable mention for both fun and repetitiveness should go to Korean webnovels, too.

    2. If you’re actor and your character rapes the good girls on the series (especially if the actress is daughter of the producers), don’t bother with a long-term lease, much less buying property to be near work. (I saw that on “As the World Turns.” Bad guy who raped Cricket (played by the producer’s daughter) fell out a window. (Wait, Cricket, wasn’t she on “The Young and the Restless?”)

      American soap operas are dying off. When I was a child there were four hours of them in the afternoon, now it’s one or 1-1/2. Some of those soaps (“The Edge of Night,” for example) went back to radio.

      1. Does this mean we can hope for the return of Ma Perkins or Just Plain Bill? Probably not. 😦

  11. I don’t really understand the soaps, but I suspect the people who watch soaps would be equally mystified by the things I watch (say, Project Binky, or The Chieftians Hatch) that its probably not worth getting to bothered by it. They’re both funny though 🙂

    That said, I sort of suspect the soaps are more analogous to things like Battlestar Galactica, while Project Binky is more the counterpart to Julia Child, just with more grinders…

    1. I mean…there’s soaps, and then there’s soaps. I avoided BSG because it’s dark scifi soap opera, and I don’t want to be depressed.

      And then there’s stuff like Downton Abbey, which is–in its nuts and bolts–an unabashed soap opera, just with mildly-more-believable plots and characters. And also gorgeous costuming and “history”, which I suspect is what a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t admit to watching soaps used as an excuse: it was a historical drama! No, really! 😀 But Downton Abbey was also basically fun, despite the expected soapy angst and tragedy. Most of the characters, even the ‘villains’, had at least one or two redeeming qualities (see Thomas the Footman: a nice example of a gay character who is NOT a saint, and spends most of the series being an utter a**hole to everyone around…and yet well-written enough and well-acted enough that despite it all you couldn’t help but feel rather sorry for him, even as you were rooting for him to get a well-deserved comeuppance in some scheme or other. Which usually happened. Though everyone else was so damn nice he still usually ended up on his feet.)

      1. I sort considered Downton Abbey to be Upstairs, Downstairs for the new century. Both could be considered prime time soap operas. Nothing wrong with that, of course. YMMV

        1. Right, Downton Abbey is Upstairs,Downstairs in the country with WAY more money. But yes when Downton Abbey was first in vogue I pointed my daughters at Upstairs, Downstairs that I remember my mother loving dearly. and being VERY similar in both theme and time period.

          1. UPstairs, Downstairs is on my to-watch list…and I did watch the first couple of episodes.

            I struggled, though, because I had a very hard time with the fact that the head housemaid was QUEEN BAVMORDA.

            After you’ve seen her chewing up all the scenery as the most evil queen EVER, it’s hard to accept her as “just” a housemaid. 😀

            1. She also played Morgan Le Fay in a late Classic Doctor Who (Battlefield, which also featured the last return of the Brig). Oddly Jean Marsh was married to Jon Pertwee, very early on, before either of them were associated with the Doctor (she also had a brilliant early run as a security officer who gets caught up in a plot against the Daleks, with her brother being played by, um Nicholas Courtney before he was cast as the Brig). Anyway, watching her in Upstairs Downstairs is always exactly as odd as you say. But I love it anyway.

              1. For some reason, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was always my favorite character in the whole canon.

                From time to time the Beeb tried to recast the character as a bonehead military type, but Courtney mostly managed to play it as “yes, there are time-traveling aliens, invaders from space or whatever, but there’s *really* important stuff I’m dealing with offstage…”

                Apparently I wasn’t the only AGL-S fan; there’s a substantial amount of fan fiction, and even some non-Who but canon BBC stories with him as well.

                1. He played the role straight, and was believable. And didn’t strangle any of the incarnations of the Doctor that he ended up dealing with (a small miracle in itself 🙂 ) He was one of my favorites, too. I have the audio-book of “Old Soldiers” on my laptop. AGL-S is the main character, and very, very sympathetic as well as competent.

                  1. The episode of Doctor Who that introduced the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) also featured Lethbridge-Stewart who had met the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton).

                    Lethbridge-Stewart recognized the TARDIS but didn’t believe at first that this “person” was the Doctor that he had met earlier. (Oh, IIRC he knew that this “person” wasn’t human because of the two heart beats and might have accepted that he was a Time Lord like the Doctor he had met.)

                    That was an interesting episode mainly because of watching Lethbridge-Stewart and the Third Doctor “spar” with each other until they came to a truce to solve the problem they both faced.

                  2. My only quibble was how UNIT always seemed to be equipped only with rifles. A mortar or two would have ruined the Autons’ day on a number of occasions.

                    1. As I recall, that was one of the Brig’s frequently-voiced complaints as well. “Oh, ANOTHER BULLETPROOF ALIEN, that’s just peachy.”

                      And he ignored the Doctor’s attempts to lecture him on how he shouldn’t shoot things, too, which I appreciated. (Though earlier Doctor wasn’t QUITE as big a howling hypocrite on the subject of violence as some of the nuWho Doctors–particularly Ten, much as I love him–have been.

                    2. Well, for once shooting the threat did work. 😀

                      “Get off my world!”
                      “Pitiful. Can this world do no better than you as it’s champion?”
                      “Probably. I just do the best I can.”
                      *three rounds rapid*

                    3. Sylvester McCoy and Ace. Too bad the Beeb was putting forth minimal effort for the series by then. I still like the Tom Baker and Sarah Jane Smith episodes better, but McCoy had *style*. And Ace was an expert with improvised explosives…

                      McCoy just acted like he was having so much *fun* in his role, it was hard not to grin along with it.

                  3. I loved the Brig. Because Courteny played him, pretty much from the start so far as I can tell (and that was Second Doctor era!) as 1000% done with the universe’s s**t. Especially the Doctor’s. He was a great foil to the more usual overawed human in the Doctor’s orbit–he genuinely liked the Doctor, and was fond of him, but was exasperated because it also meant that HIS planet somehow became Grand Central Station for alien shenanigans.

                    I wish they had managed to get him one last cameo in the new series before the actor died, but they didn’t. I sort of like the character of his daughter (but she’s not nearly as awesome as the Brig was) that they’ve brought in, and they gave his character a somewhat touching sendoff at the end of the 12th Doctor’s first season, so at least there’s that. But. Still one of the best characters Who has ever created.

                    1. He did get one last appearance in the spin-off Sarah Jane Adventures series before passing, but you are right, he really deserved a look-in on the Nu-Who. Jo Grant got an appearance on that show as well, unfortunately not alongside the Brig.

              2. Oh! And Jean Marsh was also apparently a character in one of the lost Second Doctor serials as well! Her name was Sarah, and I gather she died heroically, and was a badass.

                1. That’s the one I was talking about. She’s Sara Kingdom and Courtney played her brother Bret Vyon. There are only 3 episodes of the 11 or 12 part serial extant, but all of the audios survived. I just listened to them last month as they have been releasing all the lost episode audios on Audible.

            2. I had forgotten Jean Marsh had played Bavmorda. She Also hosted Masterpiece Theatre for a while after Alastair Cooke died. which is of course where Upstairs Downstairs originally showed on PBS

              1. Bavmorda was the first thing I ever saw her play, so she is eternally that for me. I mean, she was REALLY memorable in that role (and clearly hugely enjoying herself).

                1. As I saw Upstairs, Downstairs first in the mid 70;s (willow is like 1988) I saw Rose Buck playing Bavmorda :-). Jean Marsh did seem to enjoy the Bavmorda role, its probably a lot of fun to play an all out scene stealing, scenery chewing villain. One thing I didn’t realize is Jean Marsh is one of the 2 original writers/creators for Upstairs,Downstairs. She also had several earlier roles including one playing Octavia (Mark Anthony’s Wife) in the 1963 Cleopatra ( with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton).

                  1. She also featured in the sadly under-rated >Return to Oz, playing the dual role of Nurse Wilson / Mombi.

                    If you watch such Brit Classics as The Persuaders and Danger Man you will find early performances of hers there, as well as in a 1959 Twilight Zone episode playing opposite Jack Warden (“The Lonely”).

                    IMDb can be a wonderful time suck.

                    1. She also passed through a youthful favorite of mine UFO. Don’t remember her there. And yes IMDb is nearly as bad a time sink as wikipedia…

                  2. She was also delightful as Edward’s mum in the 2008 BBC version of Sense and Sensibility. She was also clearly enjoying herself there, even though the scenery chewing had to be a lot more understated. My mother and I still cackled over Queen Bavmorda being the snobby mother of a wannabe pastor…

                    Honestly, she should have gotten sooooo many evil queen type roles, she’s so great at it.

          2. But they consume so much more money too; and the Earl put all his eggs in one basket and lost it all on Canadian railroads. Towards the end, Lady Mary was looking to expand the Yorkshire hog production; sure enough, they were showing white hogs. Most US hogs (to the best of my observation and small-scale experience) are white; the buyers in the 70s wanted 200 to 220 pounds and the producers wanted length for larger litters. Now the pork buyers want hogs that are pushing 300 pounds. I’m not sure why; maybe more fat equals more flavor? Now, I’m sure the Yorkshire hog breed dates back to the 1920s or further; I guess I could check, but I gotta leave something for later.

            1. Fat is indeed flavor. Interestingly enough, it is also temperament. Leaner hogs were meaner hogs, not a good combo, so the fat is being bred back in for safety as well as flavor.

              1. I also gather that pig fat used to be used a LOT in industrial applications, as well as lard for cooking, and so the more fat on the pig, the more valuable it was. Then other sorts of industrial lubricants, etc came into widespread use, the diet fads declared “fat is bad” and lean pigs came back in.

                (How did I learn this? Doing research into making soap at home, and why it is often difficult to find lard in a lot places nowadays. There’s a big enough Latino population in the town where I work that I was able to find lard–I don’t recommend it for pie crusts, it’s too crumbly–but my favorite soap recipe works best with super cheap olive oil anyway. Still, the factoid about pig fat stuck with me…)

    2. Nah, they’re analogous to the later mythological plays in Greece. Incest, characters die and come back to life, or were hiding all the time, or have secret twins. (Rolls eyes.)

      1. When you’ve written yourself into a corner, it’s time for amnesia or evil twin. What was the movie with Dustin Hoffman where they had a rare live show so he got himself out of doing drag every day with a dramatic reveal? (Checks IMDB…”Tootsie;” yeah, that’s it.)

      2. The thing is that the plays would end. Soaps suffer from a fault so important that Aristotle noted it: to work as a work of art, something must be small enough that you can take it in.

  12. So I spent 2 years working on Satellite TV boxes for a company doing business in Brazil. We are not under the footprint of their satellites so what we got was essentially a live recording of 72 hours of about a dozen of the channels from the satellite that you could play back with some special hardware (and a 4 Tb disk to hold it). Some large portion of their TV was soaps/Telenovellas. The rest was 1-2 year old US TV dubbed or captioned in Portugese, NCIS dubbed in Portugese is odd. Two things I noticed
    1) the Soaps had very distinctive looking women. US/UK actresses tend to be usually in the slim mildly curved mold, Not so the Brazilian actresses, MUCH curvier more like US actresses of the 50’s. And you could tell who the good girls were vs the bad girls.
    Good girls tended to be blonde (or strawberry blonde) and slightly more demure and less, well, sexy. Their dress was also less revealing and less exotic.The bad girls were almost invariably dark haired and brown eyed and what E.E. Doc Smith would have called a seven sector callout thionite dream. And clothing was spray painted on as far as I could tell
    2) The paid advertisments that you’d see in off hours were also odd. Lots of domestic stuff. However lots of exercise hardware, Ab Rockers, rowers, cheesy treadmill like things. And then lots of Shape wear for women Some of it unusual to American eyes. For example a girdle that enhanced your posterior. Though to my eyes in many cases the ladies that were using them were gilding the lily so to speak.

    And of course because we only had 72 hours it looped. It was a bit like living in Ground Hog Day with a Portuguese sound track.

    1. The bad girls were almost invariably dark haired and brown eyed and what E.E. Doc Smith would have called a seven sector callout thionite dream. And clothing was spray painted on as far as I could tell

      A short while back Instapundit linked to a study claiming (IIRC) that women’s dress is (to a degree) defense against other women: turn down the sex signals to avoid perception as a threat. Thus it seems consistent that sexually aggressive women would read as threat to the female viewers who presumably comprise the primary audience. It is signalling as obvious as a cowboy in a black hat.

      1. Except, some good-guy cowboys wore black hats; e.g., Hopalong Cassidy and Lash Larue. IIRC, Johnny Mack Brown sometime wore a black hat, too.

          1. I’m not sure ANY of the Magnificent Seven were good guys per se. They’re mostly a bunch of rascally SOBs who do the right thing because they have hearts of gold or very strong honor.

      2. *musing* Maybe more like having a really big, nasty looking knife– or a six-shooter with notches on it. Announcing an intention.

      3. Right these ladies outfits scream threat in that case. Definitely signalling they’re availability to the male characters. Most of the males were what I would call ruggedly handsome, good or bad (though with extremely limited Portuguese knowledge who can tell). There was an exception of a few nebbish types who seemed to be comic relief.

    2. > essentially a live recording of 72 hours of about a dozen of the channels from the satellite that you could play back

      Well, as long as it wasn’t a sleazy Toronto TV station rebroadcasting signals it got off some unsecured satellite transmission, I guess you’re okay…

  13. I saw a couple of telanovelas on Univision, and assumed it was over-dramatized. Then I was doing research in an archive, and a Hispanic professor/ social activist came in, burst into hysterics and tears, and all because some pictures in her donated collection had been used without her express permission (which had not been a usage stipulation.) No, the article was quite flattering about her and her work, but ohh, the waterworks, running mascara, “Madre de Dios ayuda me,” . . . A Hispanic archivist was able to sooth her a little.

    No, not overdone on TV. Not. At. All.

      1. I tend to wonder if that’s either a holdover or a callback to earlier dramas. It was most definitely A Thing in the land that time forgot (behind the dustbin, of course) where I grew up.

    1. To be honest, I would suspect that was more the activist culture than the Spanish, Mexican or other South American cultures.

      I’ve seen non-activist Mexicans melt down, and it doesn’t really reach soap opera levels. I have, however, seen North American activists engage in some incredible spectacular public meltdowns, that would make the average soap star a little bit embarrassed.

      There just seems to be something about being *For The Children!* that brings that out in people.

  14. La Rosa de Guadalupe. OMG.

    At first I thought it was a dramatized version of true religious miracle stories thing. But nooooo. It’s a dramatized version of totally made up miracle stories, as an anthology show, as written by people who have no theology but lots of enthusiasm — and with fewer moral scruples than Touched by an Angel. You get a complete telenovela worth of story in a single hour of episode, and then everything gets solved by Our Lady of Guadelupe sending down a rose.

    (Yes, probably stolen from Ste. Therese, but the motif goes back to St. Dorothy and before, so I’m not complaining about that. It’s the sparkly sparkly Touched by a Rose thing that worries me….)

    I have to be in the mood to watch it, and there’s no English translation that I know of; but they show reruns on one of the Spanish channels on Pluto TV.

    Oh, yeah, and Spanish-language shows seem to alternate between being no holds barred pro-Catholic and savagely anti-Catholic. Sometimes savagely anti-all religion, too. I’m sure there’s some kind of correlation by country or network or production company, but I don’t know what it is. (Saint shows are the ones with sharp criticism of particular people in the Church, because usually saints do run into some baddies.)

    1. I think that tends to be a thing wherever the Catholic church has been dominant for a few centuries or so, mostly because the Church: A. tended to become a massive landowner, one that never died, so it kept accruing more and more land and hence more and more power, and since it’s made up of people, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy kicked in; and B. tends to overcorrect in the other direction when it wakes up and realizes that it’s become the rich young ruler.

      1. That’s why Philip IV of France outlawed the Knights Templar. The Church, mostly through the Knights, felt they owned a huge percentage of French real estate outright instead of in feoff, and felt their Heavenly authority outranked that of a mere king. And they were condescending while giving him their official point of view.

        Bad move…

        1. Oh, please.
          No. It was a plot by the knights of the hospital and the king of france to get their hands on what the Templars had. (Note the templars were NOT the church. NOTE that it had nothing to do with how much the church had/didn’t have. it had to do with the king wanting money. PERIOD.)

          1. Those overbearing, self-righteous Templars probably thought you should actually pay back money you borrowed from them, even when you’re ROYALTY!


            1. What an utterly ridiculous idea. Kings don’t pay money back. That’s for commoners. Once the money is in the king’s hands, it was was gift, no matter what opinion the lender might have had…

              You start acknowledging debts, and pretty soon you’re just a figurehead, some parliament has control of your treasury, and you’re a laughingstock among your peers.

            2. Considering the history of those who try to collect debts from Royalty the results are about as bad as those who refuse to lend to Royalty.

              Happily, we’ve solved that problem by permitting the government to coin money as desired necessary. That allows them to spread the borrowing far more widely (and without the awkwardness of having to ask lenders whether they’re willing to make the loans.)

            3. “Those overbearing, self-righteous Templars probably thought you should actually pay back money you borrowed from them, even when you’re ROYALTY!”

              That was the mistake the Jews in England made. Pro-tip: loaning money to a king who’s very name says he’s a dead beat (I mean, John Lackland? That’s a flare-lit tipoff.) never turns out well.

          2. Yup. It’s interesting to compare the fate of the Templars in France (very bad) with Templars elsewhere (who wound up retiring, joining other chivalric orders, etc.).

          3. Rereading this, I had a thought regarding pseudo-medieval RPGs (in the style of old-fashioned Dungeons and Dragons, in other words): When player characters seize fortunes from monsters, to the tune of hundreds of pounds of gold (or hundreds of thousands of gold coins in the AD&D paradigm, where gold is worth ~.1% what it ought to be), they should have tax collectors hunting them down as assiduously as they hunt down monsters. Something about that treasure being stolen from the kingdom in the first place, perhaps. (Even if it was lost from another kingdom, or before the current realms came to be.)

            How much do ‘law and order’ characters feel like supporting the law when the thieves’ guild money laundering is less voracious than the authorities? (Who, after all, have wars to wage and kingly lifestyles to support.)

            It should probably be systematized to the point where PCs can try to social-fu their way into paying less, or at least getting more benefits than a vague ‘gratitude of the king’ that won’t even pay for a cup of tea.

            I need to do some thinking on the tensions between larger-than-life folk heroes (which adventuring PCs quickly become, assuming they survive) and entrenched privileged classes. Which I need a generic term for, since if I call them ‘nobles’ that’ll carry certain assumptions, when ‘party member’, ‘bureaucrat’, and/or ‘revolutionary’ can come to mean much the same, hereditary gentry/aristocracy that’s above the common law.


            1. Could be entertaining, if done right.

              Of course, you probably should also address the logistical issues of trying to *physically* haul that much treasure around… 😀

              (Eh, that’s what hiding it away is for, right?)

              1. Right in Smaug’s discourse with Bilbo he brings up that carting 1/14 share of the hoard would require huge loads of wagons and armies to protect it. It briefly has Bilbo wondering if he’d been duped by the dwarves. Ultimately he grabs only a little (although they do scoop the stuff up at the troll den) and even that lasts him over 80 years of essentially generous/extravagant living.

                1. In large part because the Shire was self-governing. If Sharkey had been in charge when Bilbo returned, those two chests and that bag from the troll-cave would have been confiscated immediately.


              2. In D&D, the standard unit of value was the gold coin, at 1/10th of a pound. Plate ‘mail’ was worth more than its weight in gold, because gold was that worthless. A single vial of holy water cost 2 1/2 pounds of gold. Even with bags of holding, trying to collect silver or copper just wasn’t worth it.

                My plan there is to set the equivalent value to a silver penny, 20 pence to the shilling, 12 shillings to the pound, and gold 10-20 times the value of silver. (Unless the players do something silly like dump a ton of treasure into the local economy, inflating prices massively!) So there’s that. Although for the struggling/striving tiers of adventuring, fungible trade goods like nails, salt, and spices could end up being a lot more common than silver or gold, especially in areas with monster problems. Players will need to learn to navigate the barter and favor economies at least as much as the cash and exotics economies.

                I came up with a list of IIRC eight different kinds of perilous ventures fit for preindustrial/fantasy derring-do. (I should probably read through Spice and Wolf again, to see if they’ve got stuff in the later volumes that I’m forgetting to consider.) Hopefully that’ll help with developing tools for DMs to let player choice be meaningful.


                1. I do admit that when I run a D&D game, I don’t hassle with it, by and large. It annoys everyone, and no one likes getting THAT realistic, and so the unspoken agreement has always been “this translates to “you have this much available to you, probably via letters of credit.”

                  Like I said, something like that has to be done entertainingly–as part of the story–or people get bored and annoyed by it.

                  I do like your idea of a tax collector pursuing the party, so possibly–if ever I get my Ravenloft campaign off the ground–I will have one as something of comic relief. (And maybe he will even end up undead in some fashion, it IS Ravenloft, after all…) But otherwise probably not, it’s not worth the hassle. 😀

                  1. The tools for handling complex logistics _never_ got developed by TSR or Hasbro. I’m hoping I can, but my brain does math easier than some, so I’m going to need lots of external testing once I get to the point of having something coherent on paper.

                    Getting everything handed off to a major company in exchange for letters of credit _is_ going to be one of the obvious ‘your treasure has been converted into fungible cash’ goals, once a party is at the point of finding that much treasure. Although I’m hoping it proves feasible to delay making that level of wealth a normal kind of reward. (Which, yes, means that I’m having to ditch ‘xp for gold’ as a progression mechanic. I’ve got ideas there, hopefully they work.) People with privileged positions made serious bank by gatekeeping access to various resources, so one kind of reward might be to grant the PCs access to something useful without having to go through the fellow who’d normally charge for that access. Heck, being allowed inside the town walls might require getting a town notable to vouch for you; otherwise plan on camping in the fairgrounds and needing middlemen to purchase anything that hawkers don’t bring out during the daytime to overcharge the party for.

                    There’s a reason I’m calling the lowest two tiers of play ‘sinking’ and ‘struggling’, albeit that the ‘sinking’ tier should be fairly avoidable, and good play should move a party out of ‘struggling’ to ‘striving’ PDQ.


                    1. Seems wise.

                      I usually tell my players “Look, I know how much effort and thought you put into making your character, and I am NOT one of those DMs who kill characters for fun. Unless you choose to do something truly stupid, or unless the dice goes really, *really* bad, you probably won’t have to re-roll a character.”

                      I’ve even fudged dice rolls against players from time to time, because the point is NOT to kill the characters, lol.

                      (There was a friend of mine who was going to run a Shadowrun campaign. I was delighted–I really, REALLY want to play Shadowrun. But then he whipped out a giant, rather full binder and proudly announced that this held all the player characters he’d killed off over the years. My enthusiasm was rather dampened after that–I think everyone’s was, because the campaign never got off the ground. Telling your players you’re actively going to be trying to kill them off is…not the sign of a good DM in my book…)

                    2. The only time older son played, he spent weeks rolling his character, including a little sculpture of him, and his life story.
                      And then it was killed in the first half hour of the game.
                      Yeah. No. He’s never played again.

                    3. Yeah, that’s a DM who wasn’t being a good DM there, because that is the kind of thing that ABSOLUTELY will turn a new player off.

                      (Though I did like the one I read about a kid in a similar situation who sat there a moment, then carefully wrote “Jr.” on his character’s name and declared he was the SON of dead character come to avenge his father.)

                    4. Amen.

                      Elf was my first more-than-two-games DM, and part of the character creation rolled that my character was going to be a werewolf.

                      In that setting, mandatory evil.

                      I can’t do evil. I just…can’t.

                      So he shifted it to were-fox, which is chaotic neutral to evil. (I can’t remember if I was neutral or evil, I played as chaotic impulsive)

                      Loved that character. She was a dangerous idiot, but so fun– not just for me, but for the rest of the group. (I could wiggle around that if I liked someone, I wanted “good” for them, so I was nice to them.)

                    5. #TrueFacts

                      If you’ve got a lawful good rules lawyer (even one in denial) on your side, it can be alright, even with minor cheating on the DM’s side, but definitely tiring.


                      Helpful tip for DMs that don’t want to kill PCs but don’t want to save them– have some chaotic crazy characters who like them well enough to not let them die, at least the first time or two, but then drag them into even more complicated situations.

                    6. One of the things D&D lacked was a set of failure states that could be recovered from. On this, I for once _blame_ the wargaming background of Gygax rather than praise it: In wargaming, very often one successful ‘hit’ is enough to kill a unit; in fact ‘hit dice’ as a measure of health descends from the idea that one needed to do X many successful attacks to defeat a particularly tough unit. Also, Gygax wanted hero units to have fights that resembled the fencing in Errol Flynn movies and other of that era, quick exchanges with little actual damage done, until suddenly someone gets in a decisive blow that ends the fight.

                      Since they were just hero units from a wargaming perspective, able to be rolled up in a couple of minutes, dying and rolling up a new one was how the game was played.

                      Heck, Gygax eventually decided to have player characters start at level 3, so they’d be more likely to survive their first adventure. Although that was long after he’d been kicked out of TSR by that sneering hack who then ran the company into the ground as she tried to fleece the gamer geeks she despised.

                      I’m hoping that I can have a smaller number of hit points, which get used mostly for damage avoidance, and that recover quickly. Then muscle stress for mighty exertions or over-use, which can take up to a few days to recover from, which accumulate to inflict a minor penalty but don’t necessarily mean ‘turn back now before we all die’. Something similar for bruises, where blows don’t get through armor hard enough to do worse.

                      Then, around the point where in D&D you’d run out of hit points and die, characters would suffer actual wounds, which inflict significant penalties until they heal. And because minor healing magic would be about recovering hit points right now or helping sore muscles/tissue recover overnight, no amount of ‘cure light wounds’ would fix them right there in the dungeon. Hopefully someone has experience with bandaging so that the walking wounded have a chance to keep up until they get hurt enough more, eh?

                      And if the party can’t find enough loot to pay for everything, when they flee the dungeon before it can kill them? While their comrades heal up they might need to subsist on day labor or whatnot to survive, instead of getting to work on upgrading equipment for the next delve. Like I said, failure states that can be recovered from.


                    1. Heh.

                      Actually, I can see raising undead as a preferred way to get minions for the tax collector. Won’t try to pilfer, has perfect morale, won’t defect to the side of the folk heroes, can be made out of the corpses of convicts worked to death in the mines . . .

                      With that latter, you can even sell it as making sure that lawbreakers pay their debts to society, as not even death will permit them to escape their punishment.


                2. Somewhere around here I’ve got a practical figuring of a Fantasy Economy– if I remember right, my first change was making “gold coins” the size of a dime. That’s about .25grams, or about $7.50 if it’s 14k gold.

                  That’s about 450 coins to the pound.

                  It fixed a LOT of the problems.

                3. D&D explained that all the prices were, in fact, vastly inflated — the influx of adventurer gold working like a gold rush — because otherwise, the treasure found would have to be vastly less.

            2. Well, when you consider that something like 99% of adventurers either die or retire by level 5, and that the level of loot you are talking about comes in somewhere around level 15 or so, it’d take a helluva brave king to try to collect the tax from what is effectively a high end spec ops team with its own organic heavy weapons/artillery, intel, and infiltration capabilities.

              The traditional response in most of these settings is “Excellent, work adventurers! I will now point you towards the next quest point so that you can deal with something it would take me a huge army to handle, if I could do it at all.” Eating the tax loss is *way* cheaper than funding the military needed to take on, say, a major beholder nest.

              1. I’m hoping that my take on ‘hit points’ will strike a happy medium between ‘Name Level adventurers are physical gods, placate them but don’t provoke them _at all_’ and the ‘every adventurer is one fumble away from dying horribly, no matter how experienced’ state that results with systems that don’t have a hit point mechanic or functional substitute.

                That said, in Gygax-era D&D, NPC nobles tended to be leveled themselves, so it wasn’t meant to be the curbstomp that Hasbro D&D fostered.


              2. Reminds me of an awesome bit in Log Horizon where a character realizes that the adventurers* are basically super-powered zombies– from the normal people POV, even when said “normal person” is one of the super secret powerful magical house guys who ISN’T an adventurer, it’s like having the Justice League zerg you.

                *Gamers. They get to respawn.

                1. Yeah, Log Horizon was built on Asian MMORPG logic, so getting through high-level content involved dying a _lot_, until strategies for that content were developed. (In something like World of Warcraft, you _can_ make it to endgame content without dying, as long as you’re reasonably cautious.) The People of the Land effectively had no chance of surviving to reach the heights of experience that Shiroe and his peers had achieved.


            3. I got as far as “pseudo-medieval RPGs” and my mid went wandering off about how pseudo-medieval Rocket Propelled Grenades might function …

              Not terribly well, I suspect, material refining being what it was back then.

            4. We usually figured that there were essentially two economies, the “adventurer” economy where they paid through the nose for having the requirements for adventuring “available”, and then what everyone else lived on. Getting things like major magical magical healing, resurrections, magical goodies, etc. were things adventurers spent money on that the average person had no need or wish for.

              When the characters got to high level and “retired”, they were either involved in court politics (again, an almost separate economy basically sustained by the fruits of the adventures that got them there) or they were given a land grant out on the edge of civilization and had to use those fruits bringing it under civilization. You saw some of that second option in the Paksenarrion books, where Duke Phelan basically kept his domain mostly in the black off of what it produced, and any shortfalls were what he was basically running his mercenary company to cover.

              1. Somebody posted a cartoon about what happens when a team of adventurers enter a town.

                Basically, the townspeople “jack up” the prices. 😈

              2. And that is assuming that the economic model is steady state.

                There are decent reasons to presume that book prices instead reflected boom town economics, like a gold rush. Yeah, the recent editions may get away from that a bit, but while I was first exposed to 3.x, I’ve found the older stuff since, and I’m not quite sold on the addition of the thief.

            5. I’ve been working on a linked set of exercises. a) trying to contrive together a bunch of leveling systems for the LitRPG portion of whatever it becomes. b) ibid, except with adventuring bureaucracies c) maybe doing the same things with items.

              So, I added ‘taxes’ to list two the first time I read your comment. Coming back to the exercises now, I’ve just realized that this is a place with arms control. Which partly explains one of the bureaucracies, but is not exactly something I like in my escapist fantasy.

              All your fault. (In fact, that practice isekai you’ve been talking about at COQ’s led to me figuring out how to get a medieval guild and a trade union covering very nearly the same business.)

          4. Yeah. Going by the book I just got done listening to about the Templars, apparently that particular king of France’s preferred method for dealing with people he either didn’t like (like a couple of daughters in law) or people who had stuff he wanted (the Templars, specifically their money) was to accuse them of heresy, witchcraft, sexual deviance, etc etc. Phillip was, to put it mildly, an a*hole of the first degree. And possibly bonkers. (Correction: Probably.)

              1. Yeah, but the Baphomet/Mohammad thingy is a bit too potentially useful to discard as a fictional worldbuilding ingredient merely because the accusations were probably fraud.

  15. Anyway, it looks like Amazon Prime does carry several telenovelas and movies from several Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. A lot of the ones Amazon picks are analogous to US shows, like a “Sex in the City” type series set in Barcelona and called “Infieles”. Don’t know anything about quality.

    1. “A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it. A well constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at haphazard, but conform to these principles.” Aristotle

  16. Hmmmmmm …
    Listen, especially, to the last eight to ten minutes (starts about 36:50) when Victor Davis Hanson not only explains how California has become what it is but, more importantly, the growing frustration of the ascendant Hispanic middle-class. Readers of Thomas Sowell will recognize the pattern of second- and third-generation Americans not enjoying the new-comers.

    The rest of it is pretty good, too.

    1. “the growing frustration of the ascendant Hispanic middle-class.”

      Also a Texas phenomenon.

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