Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

In the wake of Charles Koch’s WSJ op-ed (for commentary see here) I’ve seen a lot of agonistic reactions. In response both to the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision and the op-ed, I’d like to take note of Open Secrets’s analysis of the comparative political contributions of George Soros, who contributes almost exclusively to left-leaning political organizations, with those of the Koch brothers, who contribute equally exclusively to right-leaning ones. Here’s their conclusion:

Given the difficultly in tracking donations to nonprofits and charitable organizations, it’s almost impossible to quantify whether the Koch brothers or Soros dominate this political realm. That said, both the Kochs and Soros have spent incredible riches in this area with no sign of stopping.

I see all of this in a somewhat different light. I think that like most sharp traders both Mr. Soros and Mssrs. Koch know a bargain when they see one. Starting in the 1990s Mr. Soros saw a distressed property—the Democratic Party—with potential and he made moves to get a controlling interest. Over the last half dozen years the Koch brothers have been doing the same with respect to the Republican Party.

The really depressing part of the whole thing is how easily the parties can be bought.

25 comments… add one

  • PD Shaw

    The parties are weak by historic standards, easily exposed to take-over at least at statewide or local elections from candidates that prevent them from achieving majorities and can damage the brand. So, Missouri Republicans get stuck with Todd Akin; Illinois Democrats get stuck with Derrick Smith. In that context, I am not sure that influence from the top (Soros/Koch) to direct the party in a more successful direction aren’t necessary counterweights to influence from the bottom. Unless steps are taken to strengthen the parties, is its probably the best alternative.

  • I don’t think they’re directing the party in a more successful direction. Soros supports progressives. The Kochs support libertarians. I think they’re increasing the national polarization.

    I’m really not a good person to discuss either strengthening political parties or political corruption with. I think the patronage system was less corrupt than what we have now and was necessary for strong party organizations.

  • ...

    Dammit, I wanted a post about the new Godzilla movie! GRRRR.

  • I don’t really know anything about the new new Godzilla movie. I thought the old new Godzilla movie (the one with Matthew Broderick) was okay but it wasn’t a Godzilla movie. I think that attempts at rationalizing Godzilla are futile. You’ve got to embrace the absurdity.

    I actually thought my title was pretty clever. Enormous monsters fighting, one with three heads (there are actually three Koch brothers). Seemed appropriate.

  • ...

    Now I’ve read the post (but skipped the links, as they will no doubt be depressing), and I’m thinking reading about the new Godzilla film, or even the old ones (except for Godzilla versus the Smog Monster) would have been much better uses of my time. Increasingly, the rich have an overwhelming control of the political process, to the point that they can overwhelm the will of the people even on matters where the public has an overwhelmingly different opinion than the elites.

    And I’m willing to bet there is a fair amount of intersection of interests for the Kochs and Soros. Not the least of which will be fostering the view of conflict between the parties to obscure the underlying (and unpopular) consensus.

  • ...

    I don’t really know anything about the new new Godzilla movie.

    It looks extremely promising, because ….

    I thought the old new Godzilla movie (the one with Matthew Broderick) was okay but it wasn’t a Godzilla movie.

    This is exactly true, and the people behind the new one seem to understand the problems with the last American attempt. Really, the Broderick film wasn’t bad, unless you thought you were going to see a Godzilla movie, in which case the clever bits were no where near enough to cover the heaping mounds of crap burger that got served up at the end of the movie.

    I think that attempts at rationalizing Godzilla are futile. You’ve got to embrace the absurdity.

    Precisely. Godzilla is no mere beasty – he’s a force of nature. Or a cartoon character. Or both, depending on who’s making the movie. (Kurosawa and Honda, the director of many of the Godzilla films, were great friends and collaborated on Kurosawa’s last few films. Those epic battle sequences in Ran? The ones that put Peter Jackson’s stuff to shame, and with much less of a budget and no digital effects? That was all Honda. Kurosawa always wanted to make a Godzilla film, but the studio always shied away because of Kurosawa’s reputation for going long with the filming and blowing his budgets all to Hell.)

    The new film is going for force of nature and they’ve got Bryan Cranston chewing the scenery in Shakespearean fashion. (Sci-fi and fantasy movies should usually cast at least a few actors who have cut their chops on Skakespeare – they know how to chew the scenery better than anyone.) It looks like I might finally get the movie I’ve wanted to see since I was a small boy and saw my first Godzilla film.

    I actually thought my title was pretty clever. Enormous monsters fighting, one with three heads (there are actually three Koch brothers). Seemed appropriate.

    It is pretty clever. I just didn’t want to read about the goddamned Koch brothers or goddamned George Soros when I could have been doing something fun.

  • ...

    Sample dialog from the second full trailed for the new Godzilla:

    All those nuclear tests in the Pacific…Not tests. They were trying to kill it.

    THAT’S what I’m talking about!

  • Jimbino

    It’s a major error to label libertarians like Koch with contributing to “right-leaning” causes.

    Libertarians generally disagree with “right-leaning” folks, like Paul Ryan, in many areas, including: drug legalization, gay rights, women as priests, censorship, nationalism, foreign aggression, immigration policy, flag-desecration, gummint prayer, and many other things.

    Please stop confusing the issues.

  • Jimbino

    Furthermore, Schuler, you complain that Soros and Koch are serving to increase polarization.

    What’s wrong with polarization? Polarization is what hobbles Congress, keeping it from limiting our freedoms more than it already has. Polarization saved Europe from pan-Roman Catholicism in 1522. Polarization is what might save Ukraine from being swallowed by the Russian monster. Polarization led France and Britain challenge the Nazis on September 1, 1939. Polarization keeps us Atheists from tolerating religious prayer and crucifixes on public land.

    Polarization is what doesn’t happen on the Supreme Court, where there are 3 Jews, 6 Roman Catholics and no Protestants.

    Do you prefer accommodation to evil over polarization?

  • PD Shaw

    I thought Pacific Rim was pretty good; and it was dedicated to Ray Harryhausen and Ishirō Honda. Never saw the entire Broderick flick; I think I’ve started watching it a few times and was too bored to wait for Godzilla to appear.

  • ...

    Oh, and I have no idea if Cranston has any background with Shakespeare, but he’s got the scene chewing DOWN. See the scene in Breaking Bad where Walt has the breakdown in the crawl space. Epic stuff, and a great reaction shot from Anna Gunn playing his wife.

    Moira Walley-Beckett did NOT write the episode (creatively entitled “Crawl Space”), though it seems like she should have. (She generally wrote the best interactions between Walt and Skyler.)

  • ...

    I thought Pacific Rim was pretty good; and it was dedicated to Ray Harryhausen and Ishirō Honda.

    My understanding was that del Toro was hoping to helm a new Godzilla film, but got tired of waiting and went ahead with his own kaijū eiga story. I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    Never saw the entire Broderick flick; I think I’ve started watching it a few times and was too bored to wait for Godzilla to appear.

    It really isn’t bad, but it starts very slowly. (And it has Matthew Broderick.) It had some clever bits. Hank Azaria plays a news photographer nicknamed “Animal” (because in the movies and TV every news paper photographer not named Peter Parker or Jimmy Olsen is nicknamed “Animal”) who has a great moment with “Godzilla”‘s foot. The creature really was well done, especially the underwater action. This creature was just a big animal, though. They did get a funny moment in with fire breathing, but ultimately the animal is killed by a couple of big missiles. Bleah. Those missiles would have barely annoyed the REAL Godzilla! If they had called it “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” instead it would have been much more favorably received by the fans.

    The movie also blatantly ripped off stuff from the Jurassic Park movies, so some of the scenes (in Madison Square Garden in particular) just seemed like we had already seen them before.

  • Shakespeare really hones an actor’s skills (I recommend watching the Canadian dramedy Slings and Arrows). There’s a great range of emotions and subjects to work with within the strict confines of a formal structure. Unless you can improvise good iambic pentameter (many Shakespearean actors can).

    There’s nothing like getting thrown a bad cue, forgetting your lines, or standing alone on a stage because another actor missed his entrance in a Shakespeare play. Really tests the composure.

    When I faced that last situation I once filled the time with a speech made by a similar character from a different play. I don’t think that anyone noticed.

  • ...

    My impression is that an actor has to have a bit more on the ball mentally to do Shakespeare. Not all actors even seem to have a ball upon which to put things.

    Also, nice use of the 1991 poster in the post. Good stuff.

  • steve

    My test for Shakespeare done well is to take a kid or two to a performance, especially to a comedy. If the kids are laughing, the actors are communicating the gist of the play well enough to get past the language issues. We did that with our son when we took him to Stratford. We have been members ever since.

    Steve

  • PD Shaw

    Ellipses, Pacific Rim runs a bit afoul of the Godzilla universe for some fans. The Kaiju are not created by nuclear radiation, and there is no underlying pessimism about science or the folly of man.

    Del Toro’s main ambition is to adapt HP Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” and he agreed to direct “Pacific Rim” immediately after his dream project was stopped. The Studio refused to give him the budget he wanted without a commitment to not having an R-rating, and del Toro doesn’t trust the rating system because he’s previously gotten an R-rating on a movie for intensity, not violence or sex. He might have always wanted to do Godzilla, but he would love to do “Madness,” and just about everything he does now seems to relate back to it. I think Pacific Rim was intended to show what he could do on a larger stage to attract more investors.

  • PD Shaw

    If only the Koch Brothers or Soros valued Lovecraft’s views on immigration . . .

    (See it all relates back)

  • ...

    He might have always wanted to do Godzilla, but he would love to do “Madness,” and just about everything he does now seems to relate back to it.

    It’s good to have an obsession.

    If only the Koch Brothers or Soros valued Lovecraft’s views on immigration . . .

    Lovecraft was a nativist then? At least as pertains to not letting anyone from another plane of existence into this one?

  • ...

    The Kaiju are not created by nuclear radiation, and there is no underlying pessimism about science or the folly of man.

    Meh. My concern is: Does it work as a story and a movie? Especially, does it work for me?

  • PD Shaw

    Just read the OTB link. I assumed that the “collectivist” language is in response to Justice Breyer’s dissent in yesterday’s decision, in which he claimed:

    “Accordingly, the First Amendment advances not only the
    individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the
    public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which
    collective speech matters.”

    Its an odd re-framing that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Traditionally, individual speech is valued not solely in the needs of the speaker, but also in the listener in the hearing. A word spoken in the forest where nobody is around is of no interest. The First Amendment is written as a limitation on government laws, not authority for the government to create a system of “ordered liberties” (better wording than “collective speech”) in which the government has a role in composing a medley of speech that represents the totality of America. Liberals used to not trust government that much.

  • Andy

    I really liked Pacific Rim. It’s a bit like Transformers vs Godzilla but it’s better than the Transformers movie and better than Broderick’s Godzilla. I’m looking forward to the new Godzilla – the trailers look pretty impressive.

  • PD Shaw

    Lovecraft was a pessimist. When he moved to Brooklyn, and had his apartment broken into, he wrote a politically incorrect horror story (Red Hook) that denigrated illegal immigrants and their alien and dangerous values. But he also wrote stories about ancient evils that persisted from his Puritan forefathers. And nobody today seems to care about the overused trope of inbred Southern hillbillies with chainsaws, etc.

  • When I was stranded in Providence one weekend (a story which, if I haven’t already told, I should tell some time), I walked around town in the environs of its Hill neighborhood and RISD. On one of my walks I stumbled, quite by accident, on the house in which Lovecraft had lived. It’s pretty grim but, then, a lot of old Providence is pretty grim.

  • the overused trope of inbred Southern hillbillies with chainsaws, etc.

    It’s easy to think of characterizations of West Virginia as parodies. Until you actually visit West Virginia, that is. Think of a Cairo, Illinois that extends over an entire state.

  • Andy

    West Virginia is quite nice. On surprising feature is a Krishna temple, built on hilltop, that serves quite nice vegetarian food.

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