Brimstone

[1.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A Mrs. Salad pick. I'm not sure if she knew what she was getting into, because this is one grim movie. And it's long, too. The R-rating from the MPAA is for "brutal bloody violence, strong sexual content including disturbing behavior, graphic nudity, and language." IMDB indicates that it made the rounds of numerous film festivals, but didn't seem to get a theatrical release before coming out on DVD. Yes, it's a little arty. And long. Did I mention long?

It consists of four "chapters", and (I said it was arty) they are not in chronological order. It is set on the American frontier in the days of semi-lawlessness. It follows the travails of a young woman, "Liz", who's initially semi-happily married, a tongueless mute, and also a midwife. But one day a new preacher shows up at their church, and Liz gets a very worried look on her face. With good reason, as it turns out.

I can't recommend this movie wholeheartedly, unless you enjoy being dragged through a lot of perverse sex, gruesome violence, and disturbing degradation. And there was one "Oh, man, they're not gonna go there, are they? … Oh, crap, they did." moment for me. Might be more for you.

Acting's good, though. And I stayed awake.

URLs du Jour

2017-11-17

■ We start a new Proverbial chapter today with Proverbs 18:1

18 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Yeah. It's not as if you weren't warned about Trump.


@kevinNR wonders whether We Were Young is really much of an excuse for progressives who just now realized that Bill Clinton is a pig.

Our progressive friends have discovered their consciences on the Clinton matter at the precise moment the Clintons ceased to be useful instruments of political power. The Clinton camp has been moribund for a while now, stale leftovers from the go-go 1990s, the political equivalents of one of those AOL discs that ironic tech bros save and use for coasters. Political necessity forced the faction that brought Barack Obama to power — call it the New New Left — to make common cause with the Clinton gang, but they’ve been eager to see them off since well before the emergence of the tangerine nightmare currently commanding their dreadful attention. Bernie Sanders wasn’t quite enough to get the job done, but the fact that a rotten old red with a surprising amount of rape porn on his CV — and no formal affiliation with the Democratic party — even laid a glove on Herself is an indicator of just how long the Clintons overstayed their welcome. You think Elizabeth Warren is happy in Mrs. Clinton’s shadow? She’s got problems of her own.

My best guess: people who feel a need to grasp at ever-increasing amounts of political power just might have psychological/sexual issues several sigma outside the mean?

It's not an infallible predictor, but I think it's time to assume guilty until proven innocent.


■ A good article from the latest dead-trees Reason, an interview with Emily Yoffe, has made it out to the web: Dear Prudence Meets Due Process. [Ms. Yoffe previously wrote an advice column, "Dear Prudence", for Slate.] Intro:

"There is no doubt that until recently, many women's claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded," journalist Emily Yoffe wrote in a three-part series published in September at The Atlantic. "But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence."

These problems, Yoffe explains, are rooted in a set of directives from the Obama-era Department of Education, which nudged college administrators to adopt new procedures for adjudicating sexual assault disputes under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in higher education. While the goal of such changes may have been to protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice, the rules have in practice made it vastly more difficult for the mistakenly or maliciously accused to clear their names, obtain legal assistance, confront their accusers, or even make sense of the specific charges against them. What's more, Yoffe shows, many of these efforts were predicated on junk statistics and misconceptions about how human beings cope with unpleasant experiences.

Yoffe's no knuckle-dragging troglodyte. [Unlike me.] She takes sexual assault seriously, though, unlike "feminists" who use it as a political weapon.


■ My state's senior senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, is a reliably partisan Democrat, but lets give her credit for taking on some crony capitalism: Senators Aim to Axe Program Giving Farmers Guaranteed Profits While Sticking Taxpayers With the Tab.

A popular federal crop insurance program—the Harvest Price Option, or HPO—will cost taxpayers an estimated $21 billion over the next decade in order to guarantee profits for farmers who experience crop failures.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are aiming to slash agricultural subsidies by eliminating the Option. The bill would keep traditional insurance crop programs in place.

So: yay, Jeanne. She's also good on sugar reform. Now if she'd only stop her silliness on biodiesel


■ At Cato, Vanessa Brown Calder, shakes her head in wonder at the lack of swamp-draining in one of the most useless Cabinet departments: This is What “Effective” Looks Like at HUD?

Yesterday HUD Secretary Ben Carson tweeted that “The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit [LIHTC] is one of the most effective tools we have to create affordable housing.” And Secretary Carson’s presidential advisor published an op-ed yesterday which lauded LIHTC as a prime example of “the most effective and efficient use of the government’s resources.”

That is high praise for a program known for expense, complexity, lack of oversight, and abuse. LIHTC is arguably one of the most inefficient housing subsidy programs that the federal government administers.

Why, Ben, why?


■ At the American Spectator, Jon Cassidy is a fan of neither Richard Cordray, nor apparently Ohio voters: Cordray Is the Sort of Nanny Ohio Loves.

An official who’s been in charge of a Democrat-created federal office for blame, scapegoating, and extortion announced Wednesday that he’d be stepping down at the end of the month from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

This was followed almost immediately by the news that the official, Richard Cordray, was expected to run for governor of the Ohioans, a people united by a belief that, whatever it is, it’s not their fault. The lassitude of the Ohio economy in one stat: no state spends a higher percentage of its GDP on unemployment insurance, workers compensation and government pensions than Ohio.

I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a five-time Jeopardy! winner, but … no, he's pretty bad.