Then Again, Uncanny Parallels

The Past is the Present is the Past.  .  .
The Past is the Present is the Past. . .

Reading through current events, it is quite easy to spot interesting parallels between happenings past and present; let’s dissect a few of them, out of morbid curiosity if for no other reason.  .  .


Then: In 1989, the Material Girl divorced her husband, actor and sometimes director Sean Penn, after starring together in the horrible film Shanghai Surprise.

The Penns, Circa 1986
The Penns, Circa 1986

Now: Madonna divorces her husband, director and sometimes actor Guy Ritchie, after starring in his career-destroying movie Swept Away.

The Ritchies, in Happier Times
The Ritchies, in Happier Times

Madonna supposedly had to pay the new ex-husband over $76 million to be free and clear, a testament to her three decades of financial acumen, and just how devastating Swept Away is to Guy Ritchie’s future earnings potential.

Islamic Shoes.

Then: In December 2001, devout, confused British-born Muslim Richard Reid, furious at American policies in the Middle East, attempted to detonate his explosive-packed shoe on an American Airlines flight in a display of hatred towards the United States; fellow passengers detected him as he tried to light the fuse,  his attempt failed, and he was captured.

Shoe Bomber
Shoe Bomber

Now. In December 2008, strident Shiite journalist Muntathar al Zaidi, furious at American policies in the Middle East, threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. Both shoes missed the mark,  his attempt  to beam the American President with size tens failed, and he was captured.

Shoe Thrower
Shoe Thrower

Overall, the Islamic world’s use of shoes has improved dramatically in seven years; no longer a weapon of mass destruction, al Zaidi has transformed shoes instead into an (im)potent political protest symbol. Even Code Pink, a thus far dramatically ineffective peace group, has adopted the shoe to symbolize their rabid dislike of America’s presence in Iraq during largely ignored protests in Washington, D.C. At this rate, the world’s Muslims in a few years hence may abandon the shoe as a weapon or political symbol altogether, and simply wear them, like many other people around the world do right now.

Tom Cruise.

Then. In December 1996, Cruise stars in the box office and critical success Jerry Maguire, a feel-good holiday movie about the value of personal relationships and love over financial success.

Show Me the Money!
Show Me the Money!

Now. Tom Cruise stars in Valkyrie, a movie about a bunch of Nazis and a plot to kill Hitler, which will be released on Christmas day 2008 in the United States.

Show Me der Fuhrer!
Show Me der Fuhrer!

Earlier, I criticized the seemingly insane decision to make a film about Nazis, starring Tom Cruise, and release it on Christmas day, but since then I’ve had time to re-think  the whole situation. In all honesty, I have never written a screenplay, nor have I ever tried to produce or direct a movie, let alone a Nazi Christmas film with Tom Cruise in it,  so maybe I am not qualified to condemn this whole Valkyrie thing as the disaster it seems to be. So if you aren’t that busy on Christmas day, take your whole family to check Valkyrie out,  and let me know what you think.


Then. In 2001, Microsoft releases Windows XP, which is installed on hundreds of millions of systems and dramatically increases network productivity and user output.

XP, Not So Bad

Now. Microsoft unleashes Windows Vista upon the world. Banks fail, the global economy lies in ruins, and people question if the end of times is upon us.

The Destroyer of Worlds!
The Destroyer of Worlds!

(Note: Props to Mickey Kaus, who originally pondered whether or not the Vista launch caused much of the contemporary world’s ills).


Then: “There was no inappropriate contact whatsoever.”

No Contact!
No Contact!

Now: “There was no inappropriate contact whatsoever.”

No Contact!
No Contact!

The new (non) inappropriate contact is a big improvement, especially since the latter’s denials are (so far) much more believable than the former’s. Still, the Clinton imbroglio provided so much titillating content that traditional media was not able to keep up with it, and the internet, with sites like Drudge, came into its own; these days, Politico can pretty much cover the whole Blagojevich thing by itself, it’s so old hat. Overall though, this mini-scandal has thus far kept us out of the salacious quagmire of cigars, dresses in need of dry cleaning, and meaning of the word “is” this time around, a fact everyone save for the folks at Gawker (and the RNC) should be happy about. The Lewinsky/Blagojevich big hair is an eerie parallel though, don’t you think?

Riddle inside an Enigma

Then. In 1995 Jim Carrey starred as the Riddler in Batman Forever. The movie was a box office success, though it deviated substantially from the darker comic source material and holds little appeal now to anyone who did not actually work on the film, or their immediate family members. Most filmgoers do not remember this film, or at least do not remember it being so terrible, because George Clooney’s franchise-destroying Batman and Robin immediately followed it.

Forever Forgotten
Forever Forgotten

Now (or Soon!) Eddie Murphy is tapped to play Edward Nygma, the Riddler, in the third Batman film by Timothy Nolan. Most fans, myself included, hope this is some sort of red herring smokescreen to protect the development of the third film. Don’t jump the shark yet, gents, there’s still plenty of character and plot to flesh out in the universe you’ve brought so expertly to the silver screen. Eddie Murphy as Edward Nygma? I just don’t see it working out that well, to be honest. . .

A Riddle from Timothy Nolan?
A Riddle from Timothy Nolan?

People around the world, and Americans in particular, crave change; the 2008 Presidential primaries and election ultimately rested on that one word. And yet, the more things change.     .     .

Don’t worry, no clichés here at AOI!


7 thoughts on “Then Again, Uncanny Parallels

  1. Then: Oprah skinny, Kirsty Alley skinny
    Then: Oprah fat, Kirsty Alley skinny
    Then: Oprah skinny, Kirsty Alley skinny
    Then: Oprah fat, Kirsty Alley fat
    Then: Oprah skinny, Kirsty Alley skinny
    Now: Oprah fat, Kirstey Alley skinny

  2. These comparisons are scary and hilarious all at once.

    As far as Eddie Murphy starring as the Riddler, it’s just another in a very long line of false rumors regarding a third Nolan-helmed Batman film. Chris Nolan and David Goyer have both stated emphatically that any casting rumors are “100% bullshit.”

    So far we’ve had Angelina Jolie as Catwoman, Johnny Depp as The Joker AND/OR Riddler, Doctor Who star David Tennant as the Riddler and Philip Seymore Hoffman as the Penguin. All have had some semblance of sanity to to them and all have been debunked. This one about Murphy is just insane.

    The studio is still trying to woo Nolan back for a third outing but the director to date is not convinced that three hits in a row is possible or even worth trying. As much as I’d love to see a third Nolan Batman movie, I have to agree.

    I highly doubt we will see a third film that matches the power and impact of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight and given how good they are, that could really be okay. After all, given how much ground was covered in the first two films, there’s little else to do but introduce more villains and open up studio interference due to the success of Dark Knight (possibly the reason why Nolan is doubting a rematch).

  3. Daily P:

    As always, you are the voice of sanity, I would rather ponder what a third Nolan film would be like, rather than watch him destroy the franchise like the clooney monstrosity did (although, as a batman fan, I thoroughly disliked and was disappointed by ALL of the original Batman franchise films).

    And so I wait with great hope for March, and the premiere of the Watchmen!!!

  4. On the forth of July I’ll be making an announcement. The place will be in front of the former Minneapolis Armory.This structure was built by the WPA. It will become a showcase of what help build Minneapolis and what will bring US all together. Music is the universal language. In The Sharing Garden portion WE will show case the many talents of the city. Life ,Liberty and the pursuit of happiness Will overcome the city. Independence LOVE & PEACE Tim Nolan

  5. I would’ve put up every single pic as well Mandi cause they’re all AMAZING and he’s SO CUTE.I love the theme. Perfect.You’re so tatlened Mandi.We miss you guys.Happy birthday to Alex.

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