Not actually grapefruit flavoured but it did have a fruity taste.
Not actually grapefruit flavoured but it did have a fruity taste.
I do like an over elaborate fantasy magic system where powers (and the characters of the people deploying them) are tied to some other phenomenon or system of classification. Of course elements and colours and everything has been done but what about…potato crisp (aka chip) flavours? No, I thought not.
I’ve found many articles on crisps and crisp flavours but not a good one that is simple timeline of the classic UK flavours of potato crisps specifically (i.e. not including flavours of other related snack foods like pickled onion monster munch). The emphasis is either the early history or on novelty flavours.
In the UK the colour coding of packet to flavour is an issue also. There are canonical colours but infamously one of the biggest manufacturers of crisps in the UK, Walkers, use non-standard colours. The colours in Australia are different as well and in some cases I can no longer remember.
So I’m going off my shaky recall of what I think is canon circa late 1970s England.
Salted (or to be precise “Ready Salted”) is the ur-flavour and the basis of all other variants. Historically, the flavour approach had an immediate schism. Cheese & Onion was devised by Taytos in Ireland and Smiths responded with Salt & Vinegar. The names indicate the two approaches to crisp flavours (and related snacks in general:
Beef flavour and BBQ flavour represent a subset of flavours that include other variants such as “Oxo” and “Bovril” flavours. The core flavour is pretty much the same but it crosses the condiment/meal boundary and hence is more ecumenical in this scheme.
What powers go with which?
As can be seen from reality, the system allows for infinite variation without ever actually doing anything very different…just like lots of fantasy magic systems!
I had been keen to see this film since the first review I’d read of it but if it ever had an Australian release I never saw it advertised. Written and directed by Boots Riley, the film follows it’s own pace and heads off in its own direction with all the confidence of a disturbing nightmare…but funny. It’s hard to describe the film without revealing aspects of the plot, which won’t spoil the film exactly but may undermine the impact.
The initial premise of the film is not a great help in getting a sense of what the film is like but it is a start. Cassius Green (played by an increasingly bewildered LaKieth Stanfield) is looking for a job. Unemployed and living in the garage of his uncle (Terry Crews), he fakes his CV for a job with a telemarketing company. The manager at the company sees through the deception but gives Cassius the job anyway.
Initially Cassius finds the work dispiriting, partly because of the low pay but also because of the intrusive nature of the work — shown visually by having him appear at his desk in people’s living rooms while they are trying to eat breakfast, mourn or have sex. However, his ability to sell things over the phone is transformed when an older man (Danny Glover) teaches him how to use his “white voice”. This isn’t a mere change in register but a whole new voice (provided by David Cross). With this new voice, Cassius’s life changes utterly, eventually leading him into the fabulously wealthy Wolf-of-Wall Street like world of the “power sellers” on the floor above.
Meanwhile, a fellow telemarketer at RegalView called Squeeze (Steven Yeun) is attempting to unionise the workforce and organise a strike, Cassius’s girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) is attempting to launch her art exhibition, and obnoxious TechBro Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) has plans to change the very concept of work and employment.
Set in a world that isn’t quite ours, the film rests on slow humour and visual gags to weave a disturbing social satire. Everything is off balance, including the script and the story directions. Familiar images and settings only add to the constant unsettled feeling. On television the only show is “I Got the Shit Kicked Out of Me” and the adverts are all for “WorryFree”, Steve Lift’s modern day version of indentured servitude ‘disrupting’ the job market.
There are few laugh out loud gags and many surreal moments. The more science fictional elements become overt towards the end. The whole is something that has elements of Metropolis, Chaplin’s Modern Times, Peele’s Get Out with a dash of Philip K Dick paranoia. The ‘message’ is a simple observation that modern capitalism and the modern work place is dehumanizing us all and stripping people of their identities.
This isn’t a subtle film, except that the off kilter, spiraling plot carefully matches the central character’s own emotional journey. On the way the alienation from impostor syndrome, sudden wealth or viral-video notoriety are all touched on as the increasingly bloodied and disheveled Cassius discovers the world makes even less sense than he ever thought it did.
No major twists this week but the episode takes a similar pace as last week’s episode. This steadier pacing of episode is letting the actors play to the their strengths. Sonequa Martin-Green has always been one of the strongest assets of the show and has coped brilliantly with some of the absurd situations the script writers have thrown at Michael Burnham. This week she gets to deal with even more emotional trauma and less than stellar parenting when she meets her time-traveling mother. Even Spock appears moved and at least looks like he might think about shouldering some of the emotional labour that Michael’s two sets of parents have managed to dump upon her.
The wider plot is mainly a bunch of stuff that happens. I see in some other reviews (e.g. the Mary Sue review) that some saw this episode as a return to Season 1’s bad habits. I didn’t find that, if anything it looked more like an episode of a show that has a much better understanding of what it is: a set of flawed but deep people dealing with space nonsense played by a set of actors who really know how to convincingly carry that off.
Ash and Georgiou get their own side action as they get caught up in Section 31’s compromised situation with sinister future AI Control. Everything, of course, goes very badly for everybody but really, given the legitimate excuse of a time-travel plot, events actually had fewer holes than usual.
Only one substantial twist, and it’s not much of a spoiler, Red Angel/Michael’s Mum has no idea what the mysterious red signals are. So that particular plot mystery is re-instated.
Today I throw my body in the front of impending danger and take all the damage that would otherwise have inflected on you dear readers by eating thinly sliced starch covered in fats and salt. Specifically Smith’s Spag Bol flavoured “chips” (as they are uncouthly referred to in Australia*)
Disappointing really. I was hoping for a really strong tomato flavour but it was bit more generic smoky taste. I note that the packet says “contains milk or milk products” so at any moment I might be assaulted by one of the many gangs of roaming vegan vigilantes (or vegalantes as they are known) funded by shadowy sources (or perhaps shadowy sauces). Also the packet notes “contains soybeans of soybean products” which might enrage right wingers – thus putting these snacks in the radical centre. Gluten free though, so I’m not likely to angry any celiac street gangs.
The big story in Australia currently is the undercover video of senior members of the far right anti-immigration party One Nation attempting to gain money from pro-gun lobbyists. In a distinctly Australian twist, their defense has been that they were drunk at the time: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/26/one-nations-james-ashby-says-he-was-on-the-sauce-when-seeking-20m-from-nra
I was a bit wary of the story initially, as it was presented as a kind of video ‘sting’ operation. That sounded too reminiscent of the antics of James O’Keefe in the US whose MO is to create highly edited video of meetings with people form organisations that the right is targeting. However, there’s a lot more to the story.
An Australian journalist working for Al Jazeera spent three years undercover within the world of pro-gun campaigners. Rodger Muller established a fake Australian gun rights group and with little more than videos and a website became seen as a minor but important broker between US gun organisations and Australia. The full Al Jazeera story is here: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/sell-massacre-nra-playbook-revealed-190325111828105.html
Australian TV has been running the in-depth investigation over two nights on the ABC and it has been fascinating (part two is tonight). The political fallout is not large currently — One Nation didn’t receive any money and it appears that as far as their attempt at a deal with the NRA went it wasn’t sufficient to break electoral law. The scandal is unlikely to lose One Nation any votes but it is helping to denormalise the extremist party and it makes it harder for the Liberal Party to be seen to be co-operating with them. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/27/pauline-hanson-to-take-action-over-james-ashby-and-steve-dickson-but-not-yet
Pauline Hanson herself, the unlikely personality at the heart of One Nation’s cult of personality, was also captured spreading conspiracy mongering about the infamous Port Arthur massacre — the 1996 mass shooting that led to Australia adopting stricter gun laws: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pauline-hanson-appears-to-question-port-arthur-massacre-in-video-20190327-p518a6.html
In the wake of the Christchurch murders, the issues of both guns and anti-immigrant extremism and Islamophobia have become more prominent in Australian politics. People are very aware that the shooter was an Australian but also that he could only access the weapons he used in New Zealand. The gun lobby in Australia is not high profile but they spend large amounts of money attempting to influence politicians to soften gun laws:
“Australians may be surprised to discover the gun lobby in Australia rivals the NRA in size and spending, according to Australia Institute research commissioned by Gun Control Australia.”https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-s-gun-lobby-and-its-political-donations-laid-bare-20190327-p5184g.html
A key strategy is access to right wing minor parties who lack both cash and ethics. Such parties are unlikely to ever form government at either state or federal level but they often have a few seats in upper senate-like chambers of parliament (either state or federally) to either hold the balance of power or be influential in helping controversial legislation through.
Lastly, doubling back to question of journalist ethics, there’s a longer discussion about that aspect here: https://theconversation.com/did-al-jazeeras-undercover-investigation-into-one-nation-overstep-the-mark-114288