How I Met Your Mother, Redux

HIMYM is over now. Last time I wrote about it, I was upset that Marshall’s career was steamrolling Lily’s yet again; since that time, of course, Marshall has been somewhat redeemed. He didn’t come to the conclusion that he should give Lily her turn logically; he just emotionally decided that he wanted to pay her back somehow for bearing his children. Not the greatest resolution (why does she have to be pregnant to deserve a full life?) but I guess I’ll take it.

The thing everyone’s talking about now, though, is the ending–and for the most part, what people have to say is how much they hated it. I have a slightly different perspective.

Spoilers follow.

About halfway through the final episode, I said, “I get the feeling they’re going to kill off the Mother and have Ted get with Robin. If that happens, I’m going to be pissed.” Oddly, though, as it actually unfolded, I did not find myself angry at all.

I never thought Barney and Robin were a good match. I have always believed they enabled each other’s immaturity, and to me it was perfectly natural that they would divorce after three years. If you think about it, the entire final season being about their wedding sort of underscores the characters’ own attempts to justify the relationship, to make it seem somehow meant to be. Cleverly, the writers slipped in just enough Robin and Ted stuff to cast doubt.

I’ve watched HIMYM all the way through at least three times, and each time I thought to myself, “They are going to have to find someone outstanding to play the Mother, because Ted and Robin’s chemistry is amazing.” They had something that I didn’t see with Ted’s other girlfriends, except on occasion Victoria and Stella. (If he’d married Zoey, it would have been another “divorced after three years” situation.) I never actually expected Ted to end up with Robin, but I wondered how on earth the show could top their relationship.

And I kept wondering about that when the Mother, Tracy, was finally introduced. In the beginning, her brief scenes with Ted did not have what I wanted to see. I felt like she had better chemistry with the other characters than she did with Ted. I think this may have been done on purpose, not to make us dislike her as his love interest but to start subtly chipping away at the notion of “the One” (that there is only one person for everyone). Toward the end, of course, that chemistry was there, and I loved Tracy and was glad to think that she and Ted would live happily ever after. But we got a little foreshadowing in the episode with Robin’s mom, just enough to prepare us for the possibility that things might not go perfectly after all.

When we finally got to the part where the kids reveal that their mother has been dead for years, I was surprised to find that not only was I prepared, but it made perfect sense. Of course Ted loved Robin–as his kids point out, the whole story has basically been about her. Unlike his stories of the Mother, in which Ted omits or glosses over any conflicts, Ted’s been completely honest about Robin, leaving out no detail that might make her look bad. Subconsciously, he’s trying to talk himself out of loving her. His kids see right through that and call him on it.

(I do wish that scene had been done a bit differently. The cuts were pretty awkward. I wouldn’t have shown Josh Radnor; I would have used Bob Saget’s voice.)

We know from the story that relationships aren’t easy, that there’s no perfect person. We don’t know that Ted and Robin will live happily ever after. But we do know they have a fighting chance, and plenty of history to build on.

Life is messy, and things don’t always go as we plan. I appreciate that HIMYM was willing to show the best and worst sides of its characters. Honestly, the reason I could get so passionate about the story was because on some level I felt like the characters were my friends, and it’s always painful to see friends hurting or making bad decisions.

I’ve seen Tracy described as a convenient, disposable wife, there just to make Robin finally realize she loves Ted and then getting out of the way so they could be together, but I don’t see it that way. Bad things happen. I think Ted and Tracy had a good relationship, but the story of HIMYM wasn’t actually about that relationship. I think ultimately that’s why I’m not mad. If Ted had talked about the Mother in each and every episode, if she’d featured prominently as a character throughout the series, it would have been much harder to swallow the kids’ argument that their dad was actually telling the story of his relationship with Robin.

I’m not even really bothered about the fact that Robin remained single (and she may have dated here and there; we don’t know). I can easily see her going back to her career-first mentality after Barney–she was already practically there anyway. With her job taking her around the world, she wouldn’t have much time for a serious relationship.

And so I may be in the minority, but I’m satisfied with how HIMYM ended. The pieces were all there, and they fit together. The resulting picture may not be perfect, but it is representative of life–something that we can’t control, something that’s not always fair. All we can do is our best, and that’s what these characters did.

How I Met Your Mother

It took me awhile to get into How I Met Your Mother–the first episode is so dumb that for a long time I resisted watching the show–but eventually it became my new Friends. I love all the in-jokes and watching the characters grow and change. I’m enjoying the final season; I feel like things are getting wrapped up well.

There are a few things that bother me, though. For one, I’m not a huge Robin and Barney fan. I liked Robin and Don. I liked how much they had in common (even to the point that when faced with huge life-changing career decisions, neither of them thought of the obvious: talk to the other!) and I liked how they made each other better people (when they weren’t avoiding actually talking to each other). I really feel like if they had just communicated a little more, they would have been fine. Robin and Barney, on the other hand, just seem to enable each other’s immaturity.

I also liked Barney and Nora. Nora inspired Barney to grow. The episode in which Barney decided to run away instead of rising to the challenge devastated me. He was so close!

I’ve noticed that in season nine the writers have been retconning in a bunch of backstory to make Robin and Barney work better, and I definitely think that helps…but I still don’t feel like their relationship has much substance. It seems to be based more on grand gestures and “how I feel right now” than actual commitment and mutual respect.

My biggest problem with season nine, though, is the apparent resolution of Marshall and Lily’s Italy issue. Based on the episode in which Marshall has a discussion with versions of Lily in his head, it looks like they will be staying in New York City so that Marshall can be a judge. Imaginary Lily even says “Of course we’re not going to Italy. We have a baby.”

This is total BS, and it quite frankly pisses me off. Having a baby does not make you incapable of living in another country; just ask all the military families and military contractor families living abroad right now. That’s a cop-out reason to stay in the States. What’s really happening here is this: Lily, once again, is being asked to sacrifice her career for Marshall’s.

Lily became a kindergarten teacher after graduating so she could put Marshall through law school. That was time she could have been using building up experience in her own field, but she put her career on hold. This is what you sometimes have to do in a relationship, and it’s a decision she made, and that’s fine.

When Marshall finally became a lawyer and they started making money, it might have been a good time for Lily to focus on a career in art. Unfortunately, she had racked up a ton of credit card debt. This irresponsibility shouldn’t be ignored; that’s clearly her own fault. I do wonder if that behavior wasn’t her way of subconsciously rebelling against not working in her chosen field.

By the time Lily got around to trying to change her career, she had no direction, no idea where to go. She tried a bunch of ridiculous jobs before ultimately going back to the safe choice of teaching kindergarten. At the time it felt like she had developed a passion for it, and maybe she had. But notice that she didn’t try to do anything fine art-related during that time.

She does start a side project selling her artwork online, and this seems to make her happy, although it’s disappointing that her work appeals to animals rather than people. It makes her degree sort of seem like a joke.

But then she is discovered as an excellent appraiser of art. Suddenly her expertise is valued and she has a real opportunity to do fulfilling, meaningful work in her chosen field. Where Marshall always had the luxury of an obvious path in front of him, Lily had to stumble through the dark to find her way to something that spoke to her and could also support her family. She finally found it at the end of season eight.

And then what happens? Marshall gets offered a judgeship, and so once again Lily’s needs must go right out the window.

There’s a reason Lily fled to San Francisco years and years ago. She’s grown responsible in the interim, and I can’t imagine she’ll run away to Italy without Marshall. But he needs to start reading the signs. One person can’t always be the one making the sacrifices in a relationship. In the conversation with Lily in his head, he learned that he needs to stop thinking of relationship discussions as something to either win or lose. While that realization has merit, he also needs to think about what it means that he has been able to pursue his dreams for the entire length of their relationship, while Lily hasn’t had much of an opportunity to do anything about hers. No, you can’t make a relationship totally fair, but this situation is egregiously unfair. There’s got to be a better balance.

Ultimately, I would like to see Marshall get his head out of his ass and realize that Lily’s dreams are just as important as his. And I’d like to see them move to Italy.

It’s just us

Last night, Sean and I decided not to try to have a kid.

The decision has taken nearly 15 years. It all started in 1999 when, after cancer treatments, I was told that the likelihood of becoming naturally pregnant was extraordinarily low.

I spent five or maybe even ten years trying to recover from that news. During that time, Sean and I met, fell in love, and got married. In the beginning, my lack of fertility wasn’t an issue; Sean didn’t want children at all, though he said it would be okay if it happened.

Obviously in my case it wasn’t going to just “happen”. I approached an endocrinologist fairly early in our marriage (we were still living in our first apartment, which was destroyed by fire in 2005) and started on hormone treatments, but all this did was allow me to have normal periods. We were in our mid-20s then. As time passed, more health issues cropped up for me, and I also started finding my career path. The fertility problem was put on the back burner.

Sean’s mind started to change around the year we turned 30. He started looking at kids with the sort of indulgent expression you see on daddies, and we’d talk about names we liked and how we’d raise a child. Eventually we decided that once my health issues were taken care of, we’d see if anything could be done fertility-wise.

That time is now. I’ve had surgery to help me lose weight, taking me out of obesity and ending my sleep apnea and pseudotumor cerebri. At this point I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years. I was all set to talk to my weight loss doctor on Friday about what I needed to know about trying to conceive.

Then, yesterday, I read a CNN article that reminded me of exactly what position I’m in. The article, entitled The ‘Big Lie’ in putting off pregnancy, discusses how fertility decreases as we age:

Forty may be the new 30, but our ovaries have not gotten the same makeover. Even with all the advances in reproductive technology, our eggs have a finite shelf life and the odds of having a child over 40 years old are shockingly slim.

According to the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, a woman in her 20s has a 20-25% chance of conceiving naturally per menstrual cycle. In her early 30s, the chance of pregnancy is 15% per cycle. After 35, the odds of pregnancy without medical intervention are at 10%. After 40, that number falls to 5%, and women over 45 have a 1% chance of conception.

[...]

A 2009 report on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or ARTs, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the single most important factor affecting the chances of a successful pregnancy through ARTs is a woman’s age. Selvaratnam reports that at age 40, the chance is 18.7%; at 42, it’s 10%; at 44, it’s only 2.9%.

Sean and I have been married since January of 2003, and from then until September 2011, when I had weight loss surgery, we never used any form of birth control whatsoever. Obviously conceiving naturally was never going to happen.

I’m now 35 years old, the age at which the chances of conceiving naturally have dropped by 10 to 15% in a normal person, someone who hasn’t had their ovaries damaged by chemotherapy.

We always knew that given my situation, there was a chance I had no viable eggs left. There’s a test that gives you an idea of that situation. When I was taking hormone replacement therapy in 2005 and 2006, my doctor said the hormones were meant to essentially jump-start my ovaries, but my ovaries never started working properly on their own. Without hormone therapy or birth control, I only have a random period every several months to a year. This doesn’t bode well for my eggs.

I honestly don’t know what other options there are beyond hormone therapy. I’ve heard of people getting shots, and of course there’s IVF. What I do know is that hardcore fertility treatments are expensive. The first time I approached an actual fertility doctor, maybe 2008 or 2009, I was told to prepare at least $10,000. (At the time I didn’t have that, so the issue was back-burnered again.)

While we are in the best possible place right now, both health-wise and financially, the other factors are huge: my age and dwindling fertility (if there was ever even any left), the cost, and the potential danger to the child. At this point, we would be putting ourselves through years of distress and heartbreak, and realistically we would probably just be throwing money away.

And so last night I told Sean that I didn’t think it made sense to even try.

As he always does when I discuss my body or health with him, Sean said, “Okay,” agreeing to my decision. But I pressed him on it. I said that the decision whether or not to have children wasn’t just mine. I asked him how he felt about it, if he would be unhappy or disappointed.

He responded that he would love to see me able to have a baby like I’ve always wanted. Hearing that meant a lot to me. He’s watched me struggle with this for the length of our marriage. It makes me so happy (and a little sorry) to have him empathize.

He also said that he likes the idea of having and raising a child, and that we are in a good position to offer a child a stable life. But he also concurred that chances are low and there are a lot of risks to the child’s health.

“It’s not something I’m set on having,” he concluded. And then he said, “It’ll just be us.”

I almost started crying at that point. It wasn’t sorrow, though. There was an aspect of mourning to it, but the flood of emotion was also an acknowledgement of everything we’ve gone through, everything we’ve thought about, and the fact that now we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

It’s decided. There’s no “maybe,” there’s no “you never know.” We know now. We’re not having kids.

There’s something amazingly freeing in finally being sure.

The death of Joss Carter

I haven’t watched Person of Interest since the writers’ decision to kill Joss Carter. Here I’ll explain why that decision continues to upset me.

Joss’s role as one of the three main characters was to bring the show back down to earth, to add believability. The idea of a guy with genius programming abilities and virtually limitless funds joining forces with a guy with action hero powers to fight crime might almost be silly if not tempered by real-world considerations. And as an audience, we can’t truly identify with the superhero. Like Bones needs Booth, like Holmes needs Watson, like Superman needs Clark Kent’s relationships with regular people, the John-and-Howard superteam needs Joss. And so Joss was there from the beginning, balancing John and Howard out.

At first, Joss was something of an antagonist, then she became a protector, and then she struck out on her own. After Fusco’s story arc, Joss’ may have been the richest of all the characters’. We see it as it happens, whereas John and Howard’s character development has largely been flashback.

Beyond being a necessary counterpoint to John and Howard, Joss was the only relatable female character in the show. Root is fascinating, and Shaw is a lot of fun, but neither of them is a person the audience can really identify with. Root and Shaw are also lithe; Joss’ full figure was a welcome change from the Hollywood stereotype. Joss was also the only person of color in the main cast.

In one fell swoop, the writers have transformed Person of Interest into a show about a bunch of larger-than-life white people. Yawn.

The decision to kill Joss was bad enough, but then they had to do it so badly. Don’t get me wrong, the suspense and twist at the end were well done. But there was a completely unnecessary element: Joss and John’s supposed love story.

I have never picked up on a romantic relationship between Joss and John. Retconning it in at the last minute cheapens her death. It seems to say that the reason her life meant something is because she was John’s love interest. That she had no worth beyond that. That John wouldn’t have found her death as tragic if not for that element. (And they’ve already done a star-crossed lovers story for John. No need to do another one!)

Downgrading Joss from main character status to love interest status also reinforces the fallacious notion that men and women can’t have relationships without romantic love eventually coming up. If this were true in the real world, we’d never get anything done.

Joss and John were comrades. Buddies. Friends. Yes, of course they cared about each other, but I would argue that it was in the same way John and Howard care about each other. I highly doubt the writers would shoehorn a love story into an episode about Howard’s death.

I also highly doubt the writers will kill Howard, or John. I don’t feel that Joss’ death has suddenly made the show more “dangerous”, in which “anything can happen”, as the producers seem to be claiming. The writers were able to kill Joss because she was a she and a person of color, therefore traditionally expendable. Her death relegates her to “token black character”. It doesn’t matter that removing her character from the show changes the concept. Audiences have plenty of precedent for minority characters being offed regardless of their importance. We understand it, and unfortunately we accept it.

I have no doubt in my mind that the writers consider killing off John or Howard much more difficult–that such a thing would break the show. Yes, it would change the concept. Joss’ death also changes the concept. But unlike Joss, John and Howard are two white guys, and therefore their stories are “essential”. The producers joke about killing John, but if they do, I imagine it won’t be until the last episode of the series.

Want to know another way in which the show isn’t “dangerous”? They very carefully made it clear that the kids would be okay. First they retconned in Joss’ ex and showed that he had changed, so we know her son will be taken care of. And then they saved Fusco’s son. If this show’s concept was actually changing into a Game of Thrones-style story (ugh), no one would be safe, not even children. No, this show isn’t “dangerous”. Killing the solitary minority character is not a groundbreaking move that changes the paradigm. It is simply a weak decision that follows decades, perhaps centuries, of lazy storytelling tradition.

Feel free to prove me wrong, writers. I never wanted any of the characters to die. I love them all. But now that you’ve killed the “expendable” minority, how about you put your money where your mouth is and make a truly dangerous decision about who to off next?

Creating female characters who are people

Over Thanksgiving, I watched a direct-to-video Disney movie called Super Buddies with my nephew Logan. The main characters are five puppies from the same litter, and in the movie they get temporary super powers from alien technology. It was a cute movie, but despite some obvious efforts to insert “girl power”, it largely falls into the same pattern of minimizing and oversimplifying female characters that we see in so many of our modern stories.

The pivotal characters in the movie are largely male. Four of the puppies are boys; just one is a girl. The kids who own the puppies are the same, and the girl kid owns the girl puppy. The top-billed kid, a boy named Bartleby, and his puppy Budderball are the two main characters.

There are a few incidental female farm animals: two horses, a group of hens and one cow. I only mention them because they talk, but they’re not particularly important. There’s a female TV reporter who gets a few minutes onscreen. And there’s one female alien named Jorala who makes brief appearances at the beginning and end. Otherwise, all the characters are male: Gramps (played by the fabulous John Ratzenberger), Bartleby, the candy shop owner, Sheriff Dan, the sheriff’s deputy dog Sniffer, comic writer/superhero Jack, Captain Canine, the bull who inspires Budderball, the “good” alien Megasis, the “bad” alien Drex, Drex’s assistant Monk-E, and plenty of incidental characters.

Other than the super powered girl puppy, none of the female characters is integral to the plot. Further, all the female characters are either defined by their relationships to male characters or simply by the fact that they are female. The female alien’s purpose is to be the love interest of the “good” alien. (Sure, she’s a princess, but you don’t see her making any decisions that impact the action.) The female puppy, Rosebud, and the female cows continually call each other “girlfriend” and talk about how girls can do anything they want. This may sound empowering on the surface, but ultimately the message it’s sending is that female characters have to prove they are worthwhile by talking about how worthwhile they are. No male character goes around talking about how boys can do anything they want.

While the boy puppies could be considered cheesy archetypes, each one has unique characteristics that define him beyond the fact that he is male. Budderball is the sports puppy; he’s into football. B-Dawg is the cool puppy who speaks in slang and and is into hip hop. Buddha is the spiritual puppy who loves yoga and meditation. Mudbud is the hippie; he’s relaxed and loves to roll around in mud. Meanwhile, Rosebud’s stereotype is “female”: she’s into fashion, she’s “feisty”, and she cares deeply for and is protective of her family. (Her owner is also into fashion. Is fashion the only interest girls can have?)

Rosebud is so defined by the fact that she is female (rather than actually having a personality, even a stereotypical one) that her character profile on Disney.com reads thus: “Rosebud’s mission in life is girl power. Never one to slow down, Rosebud loves that her Power Ring kicks it up a gazillion notches.” Note that her super power is related to the female stereotype of being “gabby”. She talks fast and a lot; her power is moving at super speed.

The most recent Tropes vs. Women in Video Games from Feminist Frequency, Ms. Male Character, discusses the phenomenon of characters being defined solely by their gender. I definitely recommend it; not only does it explain the issue well, but it includes some examples of how to avoid it when creating characters. I also recommend Parts 1 and 2 of Damsel in Distress for examples of female characters used solely as plot devices for male characters.

I’d like for girls and boys to have some female characters they could want to be like. When I was a kid, there were plenty of male characters I wanted to emulate: Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marty from Back to the Future, Lance from Voltron, Cyclops from X-Men. I doubt many boys grew up wishing they could be April O’Neil, Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer or mom Lorraine, Princess Allura, or perpetual love interest Jean Grey. When I was younger especially, I often felt that the female characters were annoying and that people only kept them around because they had to, or because there was some appeal to them I didn’t understand. (As I got older, good female characters started popping up here and there, like Gosalyn in Darkwing Duck and Dot in ReBoot. Gosalyn was such a breath of fresh air after DuckTales’ Webby.)

Ultimately, I would like to see movies and TV shows have a 50/50 male/female split in cast. I’d like the female characters to be just as important to the plot as the male characters. I’d like the female characters to have personalities and interests that go beyond female stereotypes. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a good example of how to do it right. I hope more shows and movies go down that path.

The Braves at Cumberland

The Atlanta Braves have announced a move to the Cumberland area just north of I-285 and west of I-75. They’ll have Cobb Galleria, Cumberland Mall, and me as their new neighbors.

Yes, that’s right; I live practically up the road from the Braves’ proposed stadium site. Not only that, but the site is right smack in the middle of my commute.

The Braves released a sketch of their proposed development. Here I’ve overlaid that sketch onto a map of the area.

Sketch of the proposed Braves development placed in a Google Maps contextIt looks like from the direction of Cobb Parkway, they will extend Windy Ridge straight into the stadium to serve as the main entrance, and they will have a secondary entrance at Windy Ridge and Circle 75 (the top right of the sketch).

Here’s the area in a slightly larger context:

Sketch of the proposed Braves development placed in a Google Maps contextAnd a little further out:

A pulled-back map view of the proposed Braves stadium siteHere’s a Google Map I made showing the proposed area and some of its neighbors. I’m hoping to add potential traffic routes to it when I have time.

Looking at all this, it appears to me that the area of Windy Ridge Parkway between the proposed extension at what seems to be the main gate and the North Gate at Circle 75 may very well be shut down for stadium-exclusive use, and regular traffic will have to take Circle 75 to get around. I’m not sure if this would be a permanent traffic flow change or only happen on game days, and of course this is just speculation.

Interesting reading:

Effective feminist criticism

Often when people attempt a feminist critique of a story, they’ll focus on characteristics of the women in the story. For example, Pacific Rim‘s Mako Mori was criticized for not having much of a speaking role. This sort of criticism does no favors to feminism and actually perpetuates one of the worst aspects of patriarchy: the determination of who a woman is “supposed to be” by someone who isn’t that woman.

Just as we reject that all women must be submissive, passive, good with children, helpful to a fault, etc., we must also reject that all women must be anything. Some women are loudmouths. Some women are quiet. Some women are great with kids. Some women hate kids. Some women want to be lawyers. Some women want to be designers. Some women find nothing as fulfilling as being a homemaker. And men are the same. People have different beliefs, backgrounds, interests, and skills, and they make different decisions.

An effective feminist critique of a text, then, is not one that judges how “badass” or outspoken a female character is. Instead, it focuses on how the film portrays her life. Does she make choices? Are her choices realistically effective? She doesn’t have to be right or successful all the time. She does have to receive the same story treatment as a male character. Does she serve a purpose in the plot beyond furthering a male character’s story? Does she have her own story? Does her story make a difference in the world of the text? Is she essential, or could she be lifted right out? These are the questions to ask, not whether a female character fits some sort of template for the “modern woman”.

We are people, we are different, and we deserve to be portrayed in myriad ways. There is no catch-all character who can speak for “womankind”.

Let’s stop applauding irresponsible government

A government shutdown should never be used as a bargaining chip. Politicians who create scenarios that will shut down the government unless their demands are met are not heroes. They’re blackmailers. They’re playing with the lives of the American people as though we are worth nothing.

Who does a shutdown hurt? The people. Obviously, people who work directly for the government are directly affected. But so are all the businesses that rely on government contracts, and the people who work for those businesses. The government-funded services that are cut back, and the people who depend on them. The improvement projects that are put on hold or canceled, and the people who live in communities that are going downhill.

Cutting off funding to governmental organizations or organizations that depend on government money also means that those organizations can’t plan their budgets, which means they can’t add jobs or purchase in bulk. This means they waste money purchasing at full price while their organization actually shrinks.

Is “the government” an enemy that is hurt by this loss of funding, that we can feel proud to punish? No. The government is not an entity that we have to fight. The government is how we, the people, manage the things we all need: safety, roads, schools, mail, other services. At least, it’s supposed to be. When we view “the government” as an enemy, we not only oversimplify the issue, we excuse our own culpability in the nation’s problems.

So who, other than the people, is a shutdown punishing? Does it really hurt our members of Congress for the government to shut down? No, of course not. Not only are they paid handsomely, many of them are independently wealthy. That’s why it’s easy for them to not worry about passing a proper budget for years and years.

Does a shutdown hurt the president? Assuming he’s the enemy (and not the publicly-elected “CEO” of our country), will the shutdown hit him where it hurts? Well, it might make him look bad, but that’s about it. That “win” is nothing compared to the effect the shutdown has on the American people.

Government shutdown tactics are a political maneuver taken by cowards and bullies who can’t accept not getting their way. These legislators don’t care about the people. If they did, they would stop worrying about passing federal mandates on social issues or fighting losing battles and instead work on improving quality of life for the average American. A real representative of the people would focus on incentivizing better jobs and wages, on improving public spaces, on making sure budgets are planned and balanced and funded like clockwork.

But all these people care about is keeping their own jobs. If they do something “boring” like simply keeping the government running, it might not be exciting enough. And if they change something and it doesn’t work, they might get voted out of office. So they try to get us fired up on issues they know can never be resolved. They cast themselves as heroes in ideological wars. They make it look like they’re accomplishing something, when really they’re doing absolutely nothing.

This behavior from people who are supposed to represent the needs of everyone, and not just themselves, is inexcusable. We need to stop excusing it.

Idea: Shared experience movie theater

How about a movie theater where talking and texting during the movie is encouraged? Where you know that’ll happen going in, so you enjoy the experience in a different way?

The theater could also have its own app for “live tweeting” movies, and it would quarantine the tweets so people wouldn’t see spoilers unless they wanted to.