The Wonder of Aaron Rodgers

I have a confession to make: Initially, I hated Aaron Rodgers.

Perhaps hate is too strong of a word. But in 2008, after Brett Favre unretired and the Packers refused to give him his old job back, what other emotion was I supposed to feel? Brett Favre was my guy—a gunslinger if there ever was one, whose unadulterated joy in playing the game of football was infectious. Oh yeah, he was also a three-time MVP who led the Pack to their only non-Lombardi Super Bowl title.

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My favorite movies of the year

If you had not noticed, I like lists. That’s just how my mind works. I make lists for all kinds of things, especially at the end/beginning of a year: a list of books I want to read, a list of goals for the next year, a list of potential careers, a list of different subjects I’d like to teach… It can get a little out of hand. But I know no other way.

In this spirit, I thought I would write a list of the ten movies that I saw this year that I liked the most. Here are the ground rules: I must have seen it for the first time this year; the list includes not which movies I thought were the best cinematically, script-wise, acting-wise, or overall, it includes simply those movies that were my favorite; and, really, that’s about it.

Without further ado, here are my ten favorite movies I saw this year. (Critique away!)

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33. George W. Bush

The funny thing about a list like this is that you can’t just compare each man to each man, each person’s character to the next person’s character, or leadership ability, or political philosophy, and so on. It all depends on context. James Buchanan was perhaps the most prepared person to ever become a U.S. president. He certainly had the most decorated C.V. And yet, due to the collapse of the Union and the onset of the Civil War under his administration, he is universally seen as a failure (and rightfully so). Though this was partly his own doing, it also has much to do with context—in many ways, the Civil War, or something like it, was coming, whatever the president decided to do. Bill Clinton often and publicly bemoaned the fact that he never got to lead the country during a major crisis, and thus missed out on becoming a “great” president. Yet I would argue he is held in higher esteem based on factors largely outside his control, like the booming economy of the 1990s.

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34. Richard Nixon

There is perhaps not a more incongruous scene in the history of American politics than the one that took place on August 9, 1974. Overlooking a crowd of somber-looking White House staffers, the outgoing president, Richard Milhous Nixon, waved goodbye. Amid distant applause, Nixon gave a booming smile and thrust both hands upward, raising his index and middle fingers and parting them — the “V” sign, meaning victory. To watch Nixon without any context is to see what seems to be a triumphant leader. The pained and melancholic looks of everyone else say something else entirely.

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Donald Trump is unfit for the Office of President of the United States

Another day, another outrageous thing done by Donald Trump come to light. Off the top of my head: He said Mexican immigrants are criminals, drug dealers, and rapists; he tried to delegitimize the first black president of the United States by questioning where he was born (even after Barack Obama produced his birth certificate); he wanted to use eminent domain to bulldoze a woman’s house so that he could build a parking lot; he is a serial adulterer who has boasted about his adultery; he pressured his second wife to pose nude for Playboy; he makes sex jokes about his daughter; he is a “billionaire” who donates almost no money to charity; he started a fake university that left students with worthless degrees and Trump with their money; when the Florida attorney general started sniffing out this controversy, Trump paid her $25,000 from his charitable foundation to get her to back off (sadly, it worked); he lies like other people breathe oxygen; he lost nearly $1 billion in 1995 and his hotels and casinos way underperformed the rest of the stock market throughout the 1990s (spare me the “at least he is a good businessman” nonsense); he was sued by the government for refusing to rent his houses to black people; there are many, many other scandals and I just cannot list all of them.

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