Right now the news is full of shocking revelations that are not actually all that surprising. Let’s go through the five most shocking (but not really) shocking disclosures.
1) M. Night Shyamalan ghostwrote the teen hit “She’s All That.” I am somewhat ashamed to say that for some reason I saw “She’s All That” twice in theaters and once on video (All three times had to do with trying to feel a girl’s boobs; crappy movies go hand-in-hand with high schoolers trying to cop feels). When “After Earth” director Shyamalan—fresh off a new crop of public ridicule for his latest awful movie—revealed he’d ghost-written the screenplay, it added a stunning new chapter to the story of a promising young filmmaker hiding his inner hack. The Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook vehicle actually embodies the Shyamalan hackery that followed his decent movies (“Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable”) so perfectly I almost can’t believe no one figured this out earlier. Bet he also penned “Gigli.”
2) The NSA’s surveillance program. Count me among those who desperately hope that this yanking back of the curtain on government surveillance will lead to a bi-partisan de-escalation of the national security state (yeah right). However, anybody who’s surprised by this clearly hasn’t been paying any attention to the surveillance state that grew up after 9/11. The Washington Post ran an article a few years back describing the sheer amount of money and resources being devoted to homeland security surveillance. The very real contradiction here is that Americans clearly expect the government to be able to pick a needle out of a haystack and stop even the most scattered and DIY of terrorist plots. That’s where all the political pressure has existed for over a decade and lawmakers will have little incentive to rain this behemoth in. Much like the military-industrial complex, private contractors (such as Edward Snowden’s employer Booz Allen Hamilton) will begin to lobby for an even more onerous security state and we will be off to the races. These things have their own political inertia, so don’t count on this particular scandal to derail the momentum. Oh, and if a Republican was in the White House, they would be calling Snowden a traitor, so let’s not pretend that conservative concern about privacy and civil liberties will last any longer than it can be used as a tool to give Obama a black eye.
3) Republicans don’t believe rape results in pregnancies. “The incidences of pregnancy resulting from rape are very low,” Arizona rep. Trent Franks told his colleagues during a debate on an abortion bill, channelling Todd "legitimate rape" Aiken and Erick "God wants you to have your rape baby" Murdouck. Logically, if such instances were so low, why wouldn’t you accept an amendment to a bill carving out an exception for victims of rape, one might ask? But this claim isn’t predicated on any particular science, just a typical conservative wish that anything casting logical or scientific doubt on a dearly held belief must not be true. It’s a really promising way to view the world: just ignore anything that conflicts with what you want to believe, and full f***ing steam ahead. A widely-cited 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found over 32,000 cases of pregnancies resulting from rape in one year in the United States (with incidences even higher in other countries). That’s about 88 rape pregnancies a day. But good point, Republican men. Can’t wait for the bill forcing rape victims to bear their attacker’s children (Oh, wait, Paul Ryan introduced that this year).
4) Colorado is on fire. Maybe you saw my “watch out for this summer” piece for RedEye, but it had barely been published a day before more tornadoes slammed Oklahoma, severe thunderstorms went tearing across the central plains, and wildfires raged in California. Now Colorado, which has barely had a chance to recover from the last wildfire season is again under a 24,000 acre threat that’s likely to grow. The American West is in for a seriously harsh future, and we’re only beginning to see how awful that will look.
5) The Vatican has a “gay lobby” according to Pope Francis. And in other news, the pope just shat in the woods.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun