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Joker is what happens when Charles Bukowski Grabs a Gun

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Two police officers stood tensely near a movie theatre tucked away near a food court at the Palms in Las Vegas, where I risked being the victim of an “incel mass shooting” by watching what was described as the most dangerous film of the year. I sat down in my reclining chair for this moment. Joker.

Set in late 70’s / early 80’s New York, the scenes are grimey. Trash bags frame many of the early scenes. One gets a look at life pre-broken windows policing. The music is dark and draws out your emotions.

Joker is Arthur Fleck’s origin story, and Fleck’s relationship with his mother foreshadowed a film more Norman Bates than Patrick Bateman.

Fleck’s relationship with his mother was a central theme of the film that most critics have missed. The trope tossed out is that of loser men living at home in mom’s basement. How many of those men were manipulated as young boys into fawning over a dramatic and needy and sufficating mom?

Did Fleck live at home because he was a loser, or because his mom was? That’s a question one dare not ask in today’s society, and the meme was hidden from view until a psychologically devastating scene in Arkham later in the film.

While watching Joker I expected some critics to see a racial angle although the film wasn’t racial. Richard Brody of the New Yorker gave us the predictable hot take, noting Fleck’s encounter with many black characters. Brody sees race where others who don’t live with Brody’s all-white neighbors see class. Of course Fleck, the abused son of a mentally ill single mother, would live around other poor people in New York. Check the demographics as to who the working poor are.

Brody also sees race in the subway scene, although his understanding of violent crime is inverted. For all the annoyances Wall Street bros are guilty of, they aren’t playing the knockout game. The subway scene was counter-factual absurdity.

What Brody and others in his class don’t see, perhaps because it’s hard to see your own privilege, was Joker’s post-racial critique of capitalism.

Fleck, the poor white man, was told by the black social worker woman, “They don’t give a shit about people like you,” before recognizing that they don’t give a shit about people like her, either.

Stefan Molyneux didn’t enjoy Joker, which he called “agony, murder and horror with no redemption. The nihilism of a world without God or good.”

Molyneux and I have different aesthetic preferences. He prefers the shiny and optimistic. (My wife sent me a text with his Tweet, as Molyneux put into words her own sentiments after watching Joker.)

What Molyneux rejected in Joker is what made the film compelling. Joker wasn’t a film about beauty or hope or redemption. Joker was a film about the beginnings of a broken man.

“God is dead, long live the Joker?”

Arthur finds meaning and his character arc is complete as he transforms fully into Joker.

Joker is driven by its score, and as Fleck walks down the stairs, the music changes. He is full and complete in and of himself.

One may not approve of what he’s become, and one’s approval is irrelevant. Joker isn’t Sunday Service or a motivational speech.

Joker is despair. Charles Bukowski grabs a gun.

P.S. If you enjoyed this review of Joker, watch my own film, Hoaxed.

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The Patreon Lawsuit Involving Owen Benjamin Explained by a Lawyer

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Patreon, a platform popular with podcasts, journalists, and comedian faces significant legal peril due a fascinating quirk of California law that no one seemed to have noticed.

  • Summary: Patreon banned Owen Benjamin. Owen Benjamin’s backers moved for arbitration, alleging various causes of action. Under the arbitration procedures spelled out in Patreon’s Terms of Service, Patreon must pay the filing fees, which could total millions of dollars. Patreon cannot collect those fees back, even if Patreon wins the arbitrations.

Tech companies face almost total protection from lawsuits due to a law created by Congress to encourage freedom of speech on the web. Because of this, companies have gotten sloppy with the Terms of Service.

Patreon’s Terms of Service, like nearly every other tech companies, provide that anyone who wants to use Patreon must do so in arbitration. Patreon’s TOS also ban class actions or any joint actions.

Patreon’s TOS mandate arbitration and ban class actions because individual consumers who suffer small harms aren’t able to find a lawyer to take their case. Again, all tech companies do this. Let’s not single out Patreon. Here is Amazon:

  • Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify.

Here is PayPal:

  • By opening and using a PayPal account, you agree to comply with all of the terms and conditions in this user agreement. The terms include an agreement to resolve disputes by arbitration on an individual basis.

Owen Benjamin Gets Banned. Dozens of his backers individual claims for arbitration.

Patreon, by banning a Creator, disrupts the economic relationship between Creator and Backer. In legal terms this is called tortious interference with a business relationship.

Patreon, under California law, must pay the arbitration fees in advance. These fees can be upward of $10,000 per case.

If dozens of backers move for individual arbitration against Patreon, you can start doing the math.

Benjamins’ Backers Put Patreon on Notice; Patreon Unilaterally Amends its TOS to Bar the Claims the Parties were Going to Bring.

In early December, numerous defendants told Patreon that they intended to move for individual arbitration.

Patreon’s TOS suggest that contacting them before seeking arbitration is required, although this provision could be read as a request rather than a demand.

  • We encourage you to contact us if you have an issue. If a dispute does arise out of these terms or related to your use of Patreon, and it cannot be resolved after you talk with us, then it must be resolved by arbitration.

Because Patreon wrote the TOS, the terms will be resolved against Patreon. In law this is known as contra proferentem. Any ambiguous language will be read in favor of the party who did not draft it.

The TOS, to me and many others, looks like a pre-filing demand. Others may claim the terms read otherwise. Contra proferentem applies.

Two or three weeks later, Patreon unilaterally altered the Terms of Service by adding this clause:

  • You may not bring a claim against us for suspending or terminating another person’s account, and you agree you will not bring such a claim. If you try to bring such a claim, you are responsible for the damages caused, including attorneys fees and costs. These terms remain in effect even if you no longer have an account.

Patreon claimed that its unilateral change to the TOS “remain in effect even if you no longer have an account.”

Yes, Patreon literally changed its TOS after it was contacted by arbitration claimants, who were required to contact Patreon before moving for arbitration.

Patreon filed a Mass Action against the Arbitration Claimants.

Patreon lost several procedural motions before arbitrations. After losing these motions, they sued the arbitration claimants in California State Court.

Realizing that the arbitration fees would be in the millions of dollars range, Patreon filed a group action against all 72 arbitration claimants. Patreon sought an injunction, that is, they want the Court to order the arbitrations to be stopped.

Here is what Patreon’s TOS says about group actions:

  • Arbitrations may only take place on an individual basis. No class arbitrations or other grouping of parties is allowed. By agreeing to these terms you are waiving your right to trial by jury or to participate in a class action or representative proceeding; we are also waiving these rights.

To drop my lawyer’s latin again, contra proferentem. Patreon can’t claim that when they said that “other groupings of parties is allowed,” applies only to arbitrations. That provision is subject to an ambiguous reading at best.

How can Patreon file a group action against 72 defendants when Patreon barred group actions? They can’t.

The Patreon Hearing.

The 72 defendants were represented by well-known First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza.

The Court issued a tentative (not final) order denying the injunctions.

During the hearing, Patreon’s counsel brought up additional cases that it claimed applied to the lawsuit.

The Court suggested that Randazza file a supplemental motion addressing those new cases Patreon’s counsel cited.

Patreon will probably lose, and should lose, its State Court action.

Patreon’s TOS required parties to use arbitration. Group actions were banned. The parties complied with the TOS, first by putting Patreon on notice as to their claims.

Once the parties put Patreon on notice of their claim, Patreon was barred by well-established law from amending the TOS in a way that would foreclose those claims.

The Implications?

If a popular creator were banned from PayPal, could he or she have her backers move for arbitration as well?

That’s a specific question that many lawyers are looking at now.

Patreon, like Door Dash before it, banned class actions before decision that group actions are in fact an inefficient way of resolving cases.

Here is what a federal judge told one tech company who complained about a “loophole” being used by the parties:

DoorDash Ordered to Pay $9.5M to Arbitrate 5,000 Labor Disputes:

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Rejecting claims that the legal process it forced on workers is unfair, a federal judge Monday ordered food-delivery service DoorDash to pay $9.5 million in arbitration fees for 5,010 delivery drivers’ labor demands against the company.

“You’re going to pay that money,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in court. “You don’t want to pay millions of dollars, but that’s what you bargained to do and you’re going to do it.”

Of course anything can happen in a court of law, and the judge will be issuing a final ruling in a few weeks from now.

Read my prior coverage here:

Patreon Faces New Legal Peril Under California Law

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CNN’s Brian Stelter Apologizes for Mistake (Good Man)

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UPDATE:

CNN’s Brian Stelter falsely accused a woman of spreading disinformation tonight, in a Tweet Stelte deleted without apology after it was revealed that Stelter lying.

The lie concerned a fire started by rioters in Washington D.C. Katrina B. Haydon reported that St. John’s church near the White House was on fire.

 

 

 

Stelter attacked the woman, baselessly accusing her of lying.

 

Brian Stelter has yet to apologize to spreading disinformation.

Did Brian Stelter lie to protect violent protesters?

Why did Stelter lie?

Is he trying to provide propaganda for violent protesters and domestic terrorists?

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“Burn It Down,” ESPN Writer Encourages Arson of Low Income Housing

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ESPN sportswriter Chris Palmer Martin Tweeted, “Burn that shit down. Burn it all down.” The burning building was a low-income housing area in Minneapolis. (Minneapolis vandalism targets include 189-unit affordable housing development.)

When rioters neared Martin’s home, he called them “animals.”

 

The media has a history of supporting ANTIFA.

 

 

Hoaxed Movie Uncovers the Media’s Relationship with ANTIFA

Watch the Hoaxed Movie Trailer

Where to Watch Hoaxed Movie

iTunes here

Vimeo here

YouTube here

VuDu here

DVDs here

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