Category: ‘Entertainment’

Wreck-it Ralph The Victim Of Eminent Domain Abuse

May 20, 2013 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Wreck-it RalphThis weekend, I finally got around to watching Wreck-it Ralph. Great movie. I enjoyed watching it and the kids loved it too. However, something troubles me about it that I think gets glossed over by a lot of viewers. I would like to say something about the game Fix-it Felix Jr, that is the home of Ralph.

Fix-it Felix Jr opens up with Ralph climbing into his stump (which he lives in/on). Next a bulldozer drives by and pushes Ralph and his stump into a dump. Then construction cranes come in and build a high rise condominium on the spot where Ralph’s stump used to be. Ralph then responds by trashing the building. You can view a video of this sequence over at Youtube.

The game and the movie go to great lengths in order to paint Ralph as the bad guy, although misunderstood and sympathetic. However, it never once tries to address the source of Ralph’s frustration and his motivation to be a bad guy. That motivation being that Ralph is the victim of Eminent Domain Abuse.

You see, Ralph had a low budget home. One that suited his needs, but did not bring in enough tax revenue for the city in which ¬†it was located. Based on city zoning laws, his home was essentially taxed as an empty lot. That is not very profitable to the city. So the city used eminent domain to take Ralph’s home and property and give it to a condominium developer which resulted in a more tax rich property development for the city.

Is it any wonder that Ralph holds a grudge against the building and those who built it? Wouldn’t you feel the same way if your home was taken from you and the property given to a bunch of snooty rich people? Wouldn’t you want to trash that building and send all those people packing?

Sadly, eminent domain abuse is a very real thing. Something that the US Supreme Court allows to happen thanks to its notorious Kelo decision. Cities and states are free to take the property of anyone and give it to anyone else for any reason. There is virtually no limit to the potential for abuse. Because of this, victims of eminent domain often feel powerless to fight the taking of their property. They often want to respond in much the same way that Ralph responds in his game.

It is a shame that Disney didn’t focus more on that issue, but it better explains the relationship between Ralph and the Newlanders. They feel that Ralph is not worthy to be a part of them, not just because he wrecks their building but ¬†because he is of a lower class not fit to live in the high rise condos.

New Fall Season: What I Want to Watch This Week

September 19, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Since I don’t subscribe to cable or satellite, I watch what is available network television and occasionally what is available online.

These are the shows that I am looking forward to this week:

Monday 9/19

9PM Castle – Castle returns after an awesome season ender last time. The TitanTV description states: Plagued by guilt over his role in the situation, Castle struggles to determine who is behind the brutal shooting of Detective Beckett; Ryan and Esposito attempt to adjust to Victoria “Iron” Gates, the precinct’s new uncompromising Captain.

Tuesday 9/20

7PM NCIS – I look forward to getting back into the show. Last year had some scheduling conflicts and I missed most of the season, but I still love the show. From TitanTV: After spending months tracking down his target from the secret assignment given to him by the Secretary of the Navy, Tony is left with a dead NCIS agent, and it’s up to him and Gibbs to find all of the pieces to the puzzle.

Wednesday 9/21

I am always out on Wednesdays and never really follow anything here.

Thursday 9/22

9PM Mentalist – Last season ended with Patrick Jane killing Red John. Now he has to prove it. From TitanTV: In prison for killing his nemesis, Patrick Jane must prove beyond a doubt that the man shot and killed was really Red John; Lisbon urges Van Pelt to seek counseling in the aftermath of the death of her fiance, Detective O’Laughlin.

Friday 9/23

8PM Fringe – Incredible science fiction show. Last year ended with a time/universe melding season ender. Hard to follow up on that. They will try though. From Titan TV: A shapeshifter case that is personal to Lincoln Lee must be investigated, and he joins the Fringe team as the truce between the two sides remains intact just one week after Peter Bishop saved the day and was then wiped from existence.

Saturday 9/24

Does anything good ever air on Saturday?

Sunday 9/25

7PM Simpsons – Always a fan even after they started stinking. Kind of like 100 year old eggs. From TitanTV: Homer befriends a reserved security guard, Wayne, recently hired by a nuclear power plant who is plagued by violent flashbacks from his CIA past; Marge fantasizes about being on “Top Chef”; the future of Nedna will be revealed after months of voting.

I wasn’t aware that Ned and Edna were dating. That should be interesting.

Hopefully, I will have time to watch all this great stuff. It may be time to invest in a tv tuner card for my PC so that I can start recording stuff I am too busy to watch when it airs.

Note: TitanTV is a free online television guide. I find it very useful. Give it a try.

Don’t Hate Your Fans

August 6, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

It has come to my attention, in a rather unsettling way, that content producers are more and more often turning to an adversarial relationship with their fans. I have seen this over the last year in the games industry as more and more game companies are turning to always on DRM (Ubisoft, Blizzard) or are turning to forcing fans to pay extra for online play if they get the game second hand (EA, THQ among others). This type of adversarial behavior is not even confined to games. It happens in film, music and television. Just recently, I had an encounter with SyFy over the policy of punishing fans of their shows who choose to watch online.

In everyone of these cases, the content producers are somehow “surprised” that their decisions are met with backlash from their fans. I don’t really understand why anyone can be surprised by that reaction. When you treat someone well for many years and then, for seemingly no reason, decide to slap them across their face, it should be no surprise that your fans will react poorly. (more…)

[Updated] With No Legal Options, The Only Options Are Illegal

August 2, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Sanctuary LogoTwo years ago, my wife and I found the Syfy series Sanctuary on Netflix. The first 2 seasons were available and we watched all of it. We loved the show. We were really excited about catching the third season this past year. However, we do not subscribe to cable or satellite television and were unable to catch the new episodes as they aired. So we turned to Hulu.com. This was great because Sanctuary season two ended on quite a cliff hanger.

Sadly, we were very disappointed with the news that after episode 2, new episodes would have to wait a full month before they would be available for streaming either on Hulu or Syfy’s own website. We ended up forgetting about the show and missing several episodes before we remembered. This is where another poor policy stepped in. Syfy only allows the last 5 episodes to stream. By the time we remembered to start watching, 2 or 3 episodes were already knocked off the internet. This made us upset and we just stopped watching.

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