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Mindhunter is overrated artsy psychobabble designed to impress the pseudo-intellectual

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Mindhunter

When reviews came in for Mindhunter, the Netflix crime drama set in the 1970s, I was extremely excited. I’ve been impressed with pretty much everything Netflix has put out (my favorites have been Stranger Things and Longmire), and as a lover of crime dramas I had high expectations following the rave reviews.

I was disappointed. There’s not much here other than an interesting premise.

No spoilers, but the premise surrounds a small team of FBI agents and a consultant who are compiling data by interviewing serial killers. The start is brilliant and edgy. The character development is creepy but enthralling. The technical aspects like cinematography and editing are spot-on.

What’s the problem? It has no true drive. It’s artsy without the art. It’s suspenseful without the anxiety. It confuses criminality with motivations and leaves the viewer wandering around waiting for the real juice to boil over. Then, it never does.

I can understand why it’s so nicely reviewed. It’s attractive from many angles, but there seems to be confusion over how to piece it together properly and build up the suspense without getting too cheesy. They avoid the cheese so well that there’s not enough suspense. Because they err on the side of caution, reviewers find very little to dislike. What they don’t realize is that they don’t find much to like, either, other than the grimy feeling it leaves on our psyches after the season ends.

Perhaps the best way to explain it is through art itself. It’s easy to duplicate the style of Jackson Pollock and most people couldn’t tell the difference between a Pollock and a junior high art project. That’s what we have here. It has the components but refuses to deliver the payoff. They are moving through slowly to prolong the series, but this should have been made with the intention of two or three seasons, max. Instead, they’re setting it up for the standard five+ seasons that make it financially prime.

I’d love to have seen it designed to be shorter. Then, they would have been forced to pack more into it rather than focus on too many nuances.

Okay, one minor spoiler just to give you an example. To develop one character, the put a cat in her laundry room. We never see the cat. But we hear it (it’s apparently a kitten) and we have evidence that it’s there because the tuna can she leaves it every night is empty the next morning. One morning, she goes down and finds bugs in the full can.

That’s it. This is character development designed to express her loneliness. It’s creepy because it’s in a dimly lit public laundry room. There’s suspense because we want to know if there’s anything to the kitten story, whether it has something to do with the cat itself or if her nightly trip is being monitored by a dangerous element. So far, there’s nothing. After one season, there was just a cat that she fed a few times.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing scenes in this show. The elevator scene from the image above was nothing short of outstanding.

Perhaps I’m the pseudo-intellectual who just doesn’t get it. Maybe the critics are all at the right level and I’m just too dull to grasp what the emperor really does have clothes. After season 1, I’m sticking with my perspective.

+Jesseb Shiloh is not-so-new to blogging. He enjoys things that most don't and doesn't mind and occasional nap. And he's never ambiguous nor contradictory most of the time. Find him on Twitter.

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2 Comments

  1. Norman Doyle

    February 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    If anything, Mindhunter is fodder for the crowd of ID, Oxygen and TruTv “re-enactment crime” shows. Most of those are cheap, gratuitous, exploitative trash that either place a no-name pseud above the title or the killer as a kind of mythologized figure.

    The latter is the main problem with Mindhunter. Rather than strip away the mystique around a group of people that has been romanticized ever since Douglas and Ressler identified them AS a group, the program adds another layer of ‘boogeyman’, re-igniting a fire around people who were sliding away from the public consciousness.

  2. Monday Loner

    February 10, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Many years ago I read an interview with writer James Ellroy, can’t remember where. Discussing his appreciation for Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, Ellroy indicated that fictionalizing serial killers and the people who hunt them was a literary cul-de-sac, so to speak. Harris had hit the mark so well, according to Ellroy, that the sub-genre of serial murderer in crime fiction was perfected, therefore played, so he turned his attention to the filthy underbelly of post-WW2 LA.

    Ellroy’s Black Dahlia shares an aspect with Joe Penhall’s Mindhunter: real victims, fictitious investigators. Of course, Mindhunter has real killers too, which sadly, from a non-fiction standpoint, The Black Dahlia does not have.

    But there I think the similarities end. It may be that in the late teens of the 21st Century, with serial killers (or their body counts, at least) on the decline, a new dramatic light could be shone on the crimes in the last third of the 20th.

    Unfortunately, Mindhunter fails in this regard. Instead of a more clinical, detached approach, Penhall, David Fincher etc. have reclined in the perverse romance and mythology around serial murderers, with the killers as stars. All Mindhunter does is remind us that the victims are footnotes. I’ve started to notice once again the comments from people who call themselves fans of murderers, which I just don’t understand. Moreover, these people look at depictions of Ed Kemper and Richard Speck as uncannily accurate, when nothing could be further from the truth.

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Entertainment and Sports

History repeats itself: Once again the National media praises a Socialist Dictatorship.

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Being like-minded is the only reasonable explanation for this behaviour.

The occasion was the Olympic games with the national media falling all over itself to heap praise upon the a leadership of a socialist regime. But instead of a murderous socialist regime in North Korea, it was a murderous socialist regime in Germany just before WWII:

“Foreigners who know Germany only from what they have seen during this pleasant fortnight can carry home only one impression: it is that this is a nation happy and prosperous beyond belief, that Hitler is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, political leaders in the world today, and the Germans themselves are a much-maligned, hospitable, holy, peaceful people who deserve the best the world can give them.” New York Times, editorial August 16, 1936

Presumably this was before the nonsensical ‘Godwin’s law’ made the mentioning of Socialist monsters of the past verboten. Curiously enough, this is primarily used by Leftists in trying to suppress discussions of their blood soaked history. ‘Never forget’ is extremely difficult when one can ‘Never Mention’ the murderous past and present of the collectivist ideology.

Back then the New York Times had a bit more balance in it’s coverage with these headlines:

100,000 Hail Hitler; U.S. Athletes Avoid Nazi Salute To Him;

U.S. Welcome Is Mixed, Whistling Interpreted as ‘Bronx Cheer’ Is Heard as Team Gives Its Own Salute.

So why are we witness to a somewhat similar display from the national media reporting on the representatives from another Socialist nation, one that hails from North Korea instead of Germany?

Could it be they are merely ignorant that they are helping that authoritarian regime and do not understand it’s true nature? A government that starves, tortures imprisons and publicly executes it’s own people?
Was it as some have suggested in these cases, cheering for the rebel or the underdog?
Perhaps it is their way somehow going after the Trump administration?

Or could it just be that they are of the same ideological mindset?

We can dispense with giving them the benefit of the doubt. These are people of allegedly high intelligence, as is most of the Socialist-Left – Just ask them. With few exceptions – namely Buzzfeed of all places – it is hard to believe they do not understand the role they are playing with the woman who heads the ‘Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Nor can they be excused of not knowing the horrors taking place in what is essentially an open air concentration camp. Again, these are people who fashion themselves as the intellectual elite of the nation, the crème de la crème of the Left, standing up for the downtrodden everywhere, except North Korea.

It’s also hard to believe that the National media is really cheering for the underdog, given that description hardly extends a Germany under the iron fist of the Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei or the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik. It should also be clear that the national media has a history of this kind of advocacy that existed long before Trump ascended the public stage.

So, the obvious conclusions is that they are of the same collectivist mindset. No doubt if pressed, they would offer the same excuses for the starvation, oppression and mass murder used for other collectivist nations as ‘not really socialism.’ Or that the Socialism they advocate (were they truly honest about who they are) would be ‘done correctly’ in their case.

No, these were merely people cheering for their ideological brethren, and we’ll just leave it at that.

 

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Entertainment and Sports

Don’t mock us for what we believe

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Dont mock us for what we believe

What if, during the Grammy awards ceremony, celebrities used their spotlight to mock someone because she was a woman? What if actors stood on the stage and made jokes about someone specifically because he was black? And on top of that, the audience laughed and laughed because he’s black and they’re not! Or homosexual? Or Jewish? Make no mistake, that’s exactly what happens when they stand on stage and mock conservatives.

It is no different to trash someone who believes differently than to trash someone for what they look like. Why is it okay to mock someone for their beliefs, but not okay to mock someone for what they are? Isn’t what you believe more a part of who you are than what you look like? For example: If I tell a joke in which I mock a man for being Hispanic, is that worse than if I tell a joke in which I mock that same man for believing in God, for believing that cows are sacred, or believing he should eat only vegetables?

If anything, it should be more offensive to mock someone for their beliefs, as it’s more of a reflection of who they are than their looks. Isn’t that what MLK tried to teach us? We don’t have streets named after him because he cared what people look like. His message was, it’s the content beneath the skin that matters most. Look at who a person is, not what he is. Mocking someone for believing in conservatism is mocking who he is. In my opinion that’s worse than mocking what he is.

Detractors might say that you can’t change what you are (although Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner might disagree). But if you believe in your gut, through and through, that abortion is wrong, for example, then that’s not something you can change either. If you believe in Christianity, then you base your life around it. It’s who you are and as unchangeable as what you are.

One more thing, if the Grammy awards are going to allow celebrities to bash right wingers, they should allow celebrities to bash left wingers too. We’re all about equality, right? So let’s have equal bashing time for both sides. James Woods and Tim Allen can stand up there and do their thing, then Alec Baldwin and Sarah Silverman can do theirs. Or, as an act of true tolerance and inclusion, they could allow neither, and show respect for beliefs of all kinds.

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Entertainment and Sports

XFL: The free market response to the NFL

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The NFL’s issues are numerous and mounting. Perhaps this has inspired WWE’s Vince McMahon to reform the XFL for the first time since 2001. But McMahon has learned lessons from his previous venture and wants to create a multi-platform, fan-first football league to compete that could not have existed in 2001. From the video below, the new XFL will embrace both fantasy football and gambling, something the NFL distances itself from. The XFL also seeks to be safer and have fewer penalties than NFL rules, another criticism of the NFL.

“We’re going to give the game of football back to fans,” Vince McMahon in his opening.

Beginning in 2020, the XFL will have 8 inaugural teams and a four-team playoff. The official rules have yet to be established but McMahon believes that football can be reimagined to make the game simpler, easier to learn and understand, and still fun. One of the biggest distinctions the XFL is making from the NFL is focusing on the quality of the player both on and off the field. Vince McMahon assures the XFL will have no politics or social issues, just football. The NFL has scandal after scandal and crime after crime including Marlon Humphrey strongarm robing the phone charger worth $15 most recently. Other details include a winter season. and a range of large and mid-sized markets to put teams in.

If you have any ideas for reimagining football, let the XFL know because they will be listening.


Perspective

Clay Travis Outkick The Coverage: Bring Back The XFL With These New Rules In Play

2. Draft freshmen and sophomores from college football and offer them contracts to play in the XFL.

Do you want to get immediate attention for your league? Try to entice star college freshmen and sophomores to enter your league. Remember, those players aren’t eligible to play in the NFL until three years after they graduate from high school.

How many college football players might prefer to play in the XFL for decent money over staying in college and risking injury for no financial compensation? Can you imagine the amount of interest the XFL would get from sports fans if, say, a star player on a top college team had to decide whether to sign for a decent amount of money or return to play in college for free?

Hell, if you really want to take the attention to the next level, try and sign five-star high school players and persuade them to come train for football with you full time rather than go to college at all.  Would some high school kids take a guaranteed million dollars for a three-year contract instead of going to college at all? They might. Plus, they could still consider the NFL after three years if they’ve developed into good players.

6. Put eight teams in cities that don’t have NFL franchises now.

Including several cities that have recently lost NFL franchises to relocation and are otherwise proven football markets.

My top suggestions for cities: Portland, San Diego, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Louisville, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Raleigh-Durham, Memphis, Orlando, Oakland, and Birmingham. I’m probably missing some other cities, but all of these places are good size cities with a substantial interest in football.

Make concessions cheap and play in stadiums, when possible, that are smaller and only fit around 25-30k fans at most.

9. Embrace gambling. 

Don’t tiptoe up to it, regularly talk about the line and the impact of decisions made during the game on the line during the game broadcasts.


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My Take

The NFL is imploding and has no sense of damage control. In the past, I’ve recommended solutions to the NFL that the XFL now embraces, among them are streaming and forcing players to stand for the anthem. As Roger Goodell is messing up a good product, the free market is offering a privately funded alternative that could pose a serious threat. No other league has such contempt for what the fans want as the NFL. NHL, MLB, UFC, and NBA are all better with regards to the fans. I’d love to watch a sport I grew up loving in, so McMahon is completely meeting my needs here in the free marketplace. I’m sold on the product conditionally as long as its not gimmicky. Also I’d prefer two feet in bounds rule as well as you must be touched to be down. This could be a real game changer in not just football, but sports and entertainment as well.

Football is good. Capitalism is great.

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