Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I will requote something that I wrote after reading Bossypants: I love Tina Fey. And when I say "love", I mean in a way that's completely inappropriate, given our age difference, our respective marital statuses, our incompatible social circles, geographical separation, and a host of additional irreconcilable differences.

OK, not so much that I'll be watching her movie Sisters any time soon. But I watched this, and it's good. Unfortunately, it didn't do well in theaters. Ms. Fey shows that she can do more than smart/comic stuff. There are some snappy one-liners, and a couple funny scenes, but it's a realistic look at the war in Afghanistan, and you ain't gonna make a laff riot out of it.

She plays "Kim Baker" (the movie is based on the non-fiction memoir of Kim Barker), an off-air TV newsperson who decides to step up when her network looks for a volunteer to cover the war. She's brave, intelligent, and earns the Grudging Respect of the soldiers with which she's embedded. A Strained Relationship develops with her boyfriend. She has Interesting Interactions with her fellow pressmates, and the locals.

I found it watchable all the way through. And even moving at the end.

It is dedicated to her late father, Donald Fey, a Korea vet and a Goldwater Republican. This is what she wrote about him in Bossypants:

If you're Don Fey, you can't look at Joe Biden and be like, yes, I want to be led by this gentleman with the capped teeth. You're not going to listen to John Kerry pretending to empathize with you about the rising cost of your medications. You certainly aren't interested in the "unresolved father issues" that rendered Bill Clinton unable to keep his fly closed. Don Fey is a grown-ass man! Black people find him stylish!

I think Mr. Fey would be proud of his daughter for this movie. For everything else, too, of course. But also this movie.

URLs du Jour

2017-12-31

■ It had been a rough day of parenting for the Proverbialist when he sat down to write Proverbs 17:21:

21 To have a fool for a child brings grief;
    there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.

Fortunately, this doesn't apply to your humble blogger. My kids might not be as religious as some, but they are nobody's fools.

Or, as I wrote in response to a different tale of parenting woe:


■ Sad news about one of the authors I read, Sue Grafton, who passed away last Thursday.

“She was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows,” her daughter wrote, “and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”

That would be Y is for Yesterday, which I read earlier this year. I loved her private-eye hero, Kinsey Millhone, very much. Despite her wordy and sometimes pointless yammering about stuff that didn't matter. She was a fine detective.

It's a funny feeling to be wistful about not knowing how the lives of fictional characters transpired.


■ This is one of those things one does at the end of the year, even despite lack of popular demand. Here are 10 posts that you might have missed from 2017, ones I still kind of like:

It's been a fun year for me. Hope to keep going in 2018.


■ Patterico looks at a recent column by the NYT's "conservative" editorial columnist, Bret Stephens: Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper. Good point here:

As I get older, phrases like “I don’t know” and “I could be wrong” seem more important. When I review the list of Trump accomplishments in one year, I’m disappointed that we still have ObamaCare and a huge debt with no prospect of relief in sight. But I don’t know that Hillary Clinton would have been better, and the list Stephens cites strongly suggests she would not have been. And while I worry about the effect that Trump’s character will have on our culture, the fact remains: I could be wrong about that. Maybe we will bounce back the second he is out of office, and there will be no lasting dent in our culture.

I’d like to gently suggest to Trump supporters that the opposite just might be true. Do you know what damage is caused to the culture by having a serial liar and bully in the White House? Have you seen a normalization of mindless alpha-male silliness since Trump became a candidate? Are you sure that the damage to the Republican party and the country generally is worth the tradeoff for the above-named policy gains?

Could you be wrong?

Confession: I was wrong about Trump's electoral prospects, of course. I think I was also (arguably) wrong, or at least premature, when I accused him of backstabbing on the Export-Import Bank.

Patterico ends his post the way all bloggers should, at least implicitly: But I could be wrong. That's a good New Year Resolution to make.


■ Daniel J. Mitchell speaks truthfully, and I hope the wrong people aren't reading: The IRS Doesn’t Deserve Sympathy and It Doesn’t Deserve a Bigger Budget. Here's an interesting bit he quotes from an October Politico story:

The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week, even as lawmakers lash the embattled company about a massive security breach that exposed personal information of as many as 145.5 million Americans.

Um, Equifax?

No, if the IRS is throwing no-bid millions at Equifax, there is little doubt that its budget is too big.


■ Katja Grace wonders: Why did everything take so long?

One of the biggest intuitive mysteries to me is how humanity took so long to do anything.

Humans have been ‘behaviorally modern’ for about 50 thousand years. And apparently didn’t invent, for instance:

And free-market capitalism is only a few hundred years old.

Dumb luck, I suppose.


■ And, speaking of luck, Michael P. Ramriez wishes Good Luck to New Year 2018

Good Luck to New Year 2018

And good luck to you, readers, as well.