Warner Bros Blames Women

That’s right.  The reason their movies aren’t doing so hot?  Women leads.  I shit you not friends:

This comes to me from three different producers, so I know it’s real: Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead”. This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster’s The Brave One (even though she’s had big recent hits with Flightplan and Panic Room) and Nicole Kidman’s The Invasion (as if three different directors didn’t have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently.

Actually this gets even more interesting:

(Then again, Robinov’s poorly performing Superman Returns was criticized for its girlie-man portrayal of the superhero.)

Wow.  So anything feminine apparently equals box office failure to the big wigs over at Warner Brothers.  Nice.

Gloria Allred responds:

It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favor of macho males.

This is great PR for Warner Brothers and its parent company Time Warner.  From the Time Warner website:

Our Commitment to Diversity

Diversity is a major objective and core value at every stage of our business – from investments to casting films – diversity will give us a competitive advantage, because our success depends upon creating, producing, and distributing products and services that are of compelling interest to the broadest audiences and markets.

We believe that embracing diversity is the right thing to do, and it is good for our business. As company, we look at the key issue of diversity across multiple areas of our corporate citizenship.

Explore the site.  Count the number of times they use the word diversity.  Talk about corporate repetition.  Its everywhere.  This is a company that wants consumers to associate diversity with their brand, and they extend this to the movies they make.  And looking at their top ranks in the corporation, this approach to women is uniform:  at most they have a supporting role.  Funny how that commitment to diversity translates into reality.

But it kind of goes without saying Warner Brothers and Time Warner would get this so wrong.  If they think the problem with their box office performance is having a woman lead, its not like the company has a firm grasp of reality in the first place.

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Faith, Poor Logic and Health

ibadah writes:

To all the atheists out there – and I know that a few are reading this – studies have shown that religious individuals recover quicker, have longer lives, and are better able to cope with long-term illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.

So, don’t give up on faith just yet ;)

This argument cannot prove anything about the intrinsic merit of faith, merely its effect.  Does it matter what that faith is in?  Might there be other false beliefs that provide similar benefits?  For example, say I believe in Paul Bunyon and unicorns.  Might this help too?

Its a fun argument to make.  But let’s take a serious look at what is probably being measured here.  “Religious individuals”.  We are probably talking about stress reduction.  The increased social interaction afforded by organized worship and related activities, a sense of calm about questions of fate and the afterlife, and a sense of one’s place in the world all probably serve to de-stress individuals.

Given this, any activity that reduces stress would provide those same results.  Joining a yoga class, for example.  It also means that what you believe in doesn’t quite matter, so long as stress is reduced.

In fact, I’d argue that a purposely false organized religion could provide the same if not superior results.  Picture “Lord Fluff the Holy Squirrel”.  This religion would involve getting together twice a week to look at pictures of cute animals and have a laugh about life.  I bet, given the well documented effects of humor and cuteness on stress, that combined with the increased social interaction, we’d have a pretty good alternative.

Unless of course the benefit came from suspending logic over a lifetime.  In which case, as an alternative the Republican party is recruiting.

Mercenaries and Our Will To Fight

Lindsay over at Majikthise (emphasis mine):

The all volunteer military is an important democratic safeguard. We need to make would-be warmongers pay the political price for starting wars. It’s a lot easier to hire mercenaries than to call up the entire Army Reserve or bring back the draft.

A government’s willingness to go to war should not outstrip its people’s will to fight.
Mercenaries are dangerous because they make war just another line item in the budget, a turnkey solution, a product to be used at the consumer’s discretion. You don’t have to convince them that the struggle is worth dying for. All that matters is whether the check clears.

Fire the mercenaries and bring the troops home from Iraq.

Amen.  In all the talk about Blackwater (and all the attempts at defending it), this point is missed.  It should be the first statement to clear the gates when we talk about the problem with mercenaries.

But this war has always had a strong element of supporters with zero will to fight.  From the college Republicans who go to walter Reed to thank  soldiers wounded in a conflict they will never join, to Republican congress critters who send Americans to war confident their children will never have to fight.

And as an added insult all of this spending on mercenaries digs into the checkbooks of future generations because the Republican leadership is fiscally irresponsible.  They have become the party of tax cuts and war spending.  Not to mention its gotta be hard on moral for soldiers who receive less pay for the same job.  And hard on security too (NY Post):

THE problems with military outsourcing go far beyond last month’s massacre of civilians by Blackwater USA’s hired guns: Wartime profiteers are bleeding our military.

Astonishingly, contractors are free to approach those in uniform, offer them generous salaries to leave their service in wartime, then profit from the skills your tax dollars taught them.

America’s use of mercenaries is dangerous and unethical on many levels.  We need to stop.