Flashback! To “X-Men III: The Last Stand…!”

And also, parenthetically but (doubtless) longwindedly, to John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, the V For Vendetta movie, and the Star Wars prequels.

Now, of course one of these things is not quite like the others: not only is Alpha Flight not a movie, but it also isn’t an adaptation or elaboration of pre-existing material like those others are. Or, is it? I think it’d be inaccurate to simply call it an X-Men spin-off, of course, notwithstanding that the characters all saw their debut as guest-stars in the Uncanny mag…but, neither did Alpha Flight spring into being overnight, since almost all the major characters enjoyed little one-shots or guest appearances in the years leading up their own #1. And, neither was Alpha Flight a very typical new Marvel series, for that time or any other: there’s a reason why I made the point in my last post, that Byrne’s run would be a good candidate for reprint in an oversized full-colour phone book format…because Alpha was far more meticulously designed than its southern cousins, with full character arcs and plots obviously planned out well ahead of time, and for the most part designed right in at the beginning. Also, Alpha was a far more “adult” series than Marvel’s usual fare at the time (even if Byrne’s definition of what “widely-read” means is a little, um…well, it’s…), which was arguably part-and-parcel with its elaborate design…until it almost seems, looking back on it, that Marvel’s Canada always had a tendency to produce a more “realistic” type of superhero than its U.S. did. So to say there was no adaptation or elaboration of pre-existing material in Byrne’s brainchild is not really true, because above all (as I’ll attempt to show in reasonably short order), Alpha Flight was a stylistic experiment within both the Marvel Universe and Byrne’s oeuvre: the summit of the Byrne-o-verse, if you will, that involved the delicate re-shaping of Marvel motifs so that they might better accord with Byrne’s own idea of nature, nurture, character, cosmology, craft, and even politics.

Oh…missed that, didja?

Well, I’m gonna come back to it in just a second. Hold tight.

First, we might as well get rolling on X3, especially since such fantastic stuff has been written about it by bloggers near and far across the web…yes, clearly there’s a matter of interest there beyond just “wonder how they dealt with the Dark Phoenix stuff”, otherwise why all the foofaraw, and what’s all the rannygazoo? (Welcome, Bully – did you enjoy your Google search?) As blogless wonder and friend of the show Thomas explained to Jim Roeg, way back when people were actually talking about this, part of what’s interesting about X3 is the way it so scrupulously fails to deliver what we want it to deliver. Now, I just watched some of X3 again, this time with the director’s commentary on, and I have to tell you it does not seem as though this “scrupulous failure” was at all a conscious strategy…but then again, it’s surely no accident that wherever X3 becomes at all arresting, it’s because it’s managed to intimate something interesting to us about its visual or character code, all in the middle of a bunch of crap that’s either pure Hollywood boilerplate, or incoherent struggling after tension or meaning, or both. Thomas identifies this, I think correctly for the most part, as style: specifically, the kind of style that concentrates on film’s sometimes subtle, sometimes garish emulation of the logic seen in dreams or nightmares…that is, the style that’s most interested in irruptions of irrationality into otherwise-predictable plot and character. Which would actually fit okay with the director’s commentary; I mean, style doesn’t have to be a conscious strategy, does it? No, not always…and besides, so much of X3 is so nearly right that it can’t be totally explained by sloppiness, although there’s far more sloppy bits in it than not…so some of it must be down to style. Right?

Well, yes, I think so.

But not all of it can be put down to this stylistic choice, by any means. Let’s face it, the attempt to fuse Phoenix and Cure isn’t exactly successful, no matter how the symbolism works…you get Millar-level anti-irony here, with Wolverine telling the other X-Men that once Magneto gets his hands on that cure he’ll be unstoppable…whah-huh? Sorry, folks, that’s a different movie, and a different dream; that’s not what we’re talking about, here. And it undercuts what’s really at stake: “it’s over, Jean.” Um, actually Wolverine…it really isn’t. Sorry. You’re not keeping your eye on the ball. But then the last half of this movie, especially from about the point where Xavier begins to smile right up ’til just before the mystifying Assault On Alcatraz, isn’t very notable for its ball-eye-keeping…and surely there’s a lot of cutting-and-pasting, here, from earlier iterations of the script? Jean calls to Wolverine, he goes and kills a whole bunch of other mutants in an extremely thoughtless manner in order to get to her…and I found that just a little jarring, but why?…only to find that she doesn’t want to talk to him, and then Magneto drives him off, and then he goes away, having found out nothing…and then the next thing you know he and Storm are doing another one of their quite-senseless pas de deux thingamajigs straight out of every bad Hollywood movie ever made, where one says something like “time to decide whose side you’re on” and the other says “I’m on my side”, and then they go back and forth like this for a while so the screenwriter can make sure all those boilerplated beats get properly covered. ‘Cause, y’know, people won’t understand what’s going on otherwise! And then they go off to Alcatraz, because Wolverine somehow knows that’s where Magneto’s headed…

Which I could’ve told him anyway, without even visiting Jean in the most ludicrously truncated infiltration scene I’ve ever witnessed in a movie…this would almost be like if the hero knocks out a guard and steals his uniform, then tries to pass through the gate but doesn’t know the password, and so he has to fight his way in anyway. In the stupid borrowed uniform. And as much as that’s probably exactly what’d happen to me if I was Indiana Jones or Captain Kirk, that’s not really what this is about, and it isn’t played that way, and it doesn’t make any sense to have it that way unless you’re just trying to follow the paint-by-numbers instructions…

So, yeah. It’s bad writing. Bad directing, too.

There, I said it. And it feels good. Because, I’m going to say some nicer things about X3 in a minute, but I just have to point out, did you see that really terrible message this movie put across by the time it ended? “What have I done?” says Magneto as the Phoenix starts to disintegrate Alcatraz, but truthfully he hasn’t done much…his symbolic representation of Pere Jouissance, the Father-Of-Enjoyment (in opposition to Xavier’s father-image as Name-Of-The-Law…those online analyses I linked to up above are really worth your time, I swear to God!) is indeed implicated in Phoenix’s ascension out of Jean, but he himself is not, and he hasn’t actually done anything no matter what the symbolism says, just like it isn’t “over, Jean” just because Wolverine stupidly can’t tell one kind of “it” from another. So symbolism and plot part company in the climax, but what’s worse is that all this dishonest conflation makes its way into the moral of the movie, too, as apparently all ends up sunny and peaceful in the perfect blended America of mutant and human…oh, except it totally doesn’t, because Magneto was right, and I think we can be pretty darn sure that not only is the weaponized Cure still out there in the hands of the U.S. military, but that they’re using it. Eh? Well, they are. And why wouldn’t they: a bunch of mutants just ripped the Golden Gate Bridge out of the water (but why? Oh well, ask the previous draft of the script, I guess, in which presumably all the evil mutants were being held on Alcatraz), killed a bunch of people pretty indiscriminately, threatened the government on TV…and besides that, who even knows the X-Men saved the day, at all? Who knows who the Phoenix was, or how she was stopped, or even that she was there? What in the world was this even a “Last Stand” against? Of course, the filmmakers have to be answerable for this: the “rain of frogs” method of trumping plot dynamics with symbolic ones is a choice, and it isn’t 100% automatically justified 100% of the time, and anyway it usually only works until someone opens their mouth to spoil it. “I think she killed Scott.” Well I guess she did, but now you’re making me think about it, Wolverine, and when I think about it I’m not too sure it impresses me that much. You say she killed Scott, and it makes me see the symbolism pushing a bit harder than it needs to: Cyclops awakens Jean by zapping the lake with his optic blasts, and perhaps that’s forgivable or even fine, but what about Angel breaking out of those restraints his father put him in? A director could back something like that up, if he chose to, as the “clue” of Scott’s glasses continuing to exist was backed up earlier in the Alkali Lake scene…so if it isn’t backed up, it’s because a particular effect was desired, out of not backing it up. But, you break me away from your purpose, there, X3: that kind of frog-rain seems cheap, to me. And it kind of makes me wonder why I bother buying into the logic of the external appearances of things in this movie at all. I mean, I don’t have to. But why sell them to me, then?

It’s a pretty rich mixture, and it doesn’t always serve like it should. That’s what I’m saying, really: sometimes, inexplicably, you get scenes like the one where Magneto is sitting all alone in a park. Uh…whuh? But on the other hand sometimes it works, and it’s great. Bobby’s ice-form acquires an optimistic accent as we see that change can be the solution to pain as well as the cause of it; Beast and Wolverine pool their differences (what, I can’t coin phrases?) to defeat Magneto…um, in a highly-unethical way, of course…actually, Jesus Christ, what is wrong with these people! Even Magneto seems to have no problem about using the Cure on other mutants…and really Hank, if it comes to that, were all four syringes absolutely necessary? Bit of insult added to injury, there…

Besides, makes you wonder why they just couldn’t use the Cure on the kid

But oh yeah, pardon me, I was also saying: Beast and Wolverine. They don’t like each other, get it? If you missed it, well, I can’t exactly blame you: it’s barely there. Thomas will like this, I think: Hank McCoy’s Frasierish exterior is (in this movie; not that it’s a million miles away from X-Men #1 anyway) a hard-won compensation for his bestial nature. Okay? He was saved from his nature by civilization, basically: Xavier’s greatest success, if you think about it. But then there’s Wolverine, who’s our Man Of Feeling, pretty well not housebroken…but a man, anyway, whereas Beast is…well, still a beast, despite everything. So no wonder they’ve got a certain natural antipathy between them! Because they’re reflections, they’re under tension from each other, they’re part of each other’s arc. Which as I said we hardly see, but a clue to its action can be found in the climax anyway, as Beast and Wolverine each learn – Wolverine even says as much! – to work together. To evolve, maybe? Sure: this is the scene where Han Solo suddenly appears out of nowhere to zap Darth Vader’s ship and save Luke, don’t you see, it’s the same message only refined slightly through being acted out by two different kinds of animalistic mutants. And we can get a little Freud out of this, pretty easily, too: Wolverine as the pure responsiveness of Id, without a past, without even a physical record of the events of his life preserved in his body – hey, even Magneto was marked, once – always striving, first through Rogue and then through Stryker, for his selfhood, his humanity, his Ego…and never quite making it…but along the way becoming very much the perfect science-fictional “man out of time”, uniquely placed for bending the rules when the rules conflict with what’s right, and for representing the feelings and values and viewpoints of the audience. Aha, but then there’s Beast, the embodiment of how external social values and strictures are turned into the Superego that crushes the Id’s impulses out like a cigarette butt, who makes it to humanity in a way that Wolverine doesn’t, but pays the requisite price, too. As tamed as Jean told Wolverine that he was; and actually, worse even than that. A secretary. Lumbering around in an ill-fitting suit of civilized clothes. Beast plays the part of Wolverine’s self-loathing mirror-image far too well to ignore, I’m afraid…and I say that as a big Hank McCoy fan from way back, you see, so you know I’d rather it wasn’t so, but it is. Fortunately, to save the day Hank has to get back to his “nature” again, as Wolverine must (though in only a small way, perhaps) go counter to his own…

Some deep-ish stuff there, I guess. But we’ll return to this interesting conversation about how the difference between Xavier and Magneto is embodied in Jean and the Phoenix in a minute, huh?

Okay, then. Boy, am I tempted to run off here into the role of prophecy in film! It’s a pretty big topic, actually, but for our purposes the best example about how it can go simultaneously right, and wrong, is probably Ang Lee’s Hulk…butnomust resist!…because in a film (I’m sure you’ve noticed) every dream is always also a prophecy. Right? Well, that’s only natural, when every stick of furniture is also foreshadowing…but strangely we have no dreams in X3, and maybe that’s the point, as Thomas tells us, because the dream is outside…(except we do, at the end, have an awakening, which is kind of nice really)…just as the defeat of expectations that’s such a prime concern of (say) Batman Begins is missing here too, because X3 never defeats any expectations exactly, it just doesn’t fulfill them. Quite a different can of fish, there. X3 is filled with things that nearly happen, that maybe should’ve happened or shouldn’t’ve, but which only teeter on the lip of coming-to-be…Scott nearly has a death scene, Logan and Jean nearly have a sex scene, Bobby and Kitty nearly have a love scene, Rogue nearly has a pivotal decision scene…the Beast nearly represents an opposition capable of establishing this movie, too, as ultimately being about Wolverine’s character development…until, as I said before, somebody opens their mouth, and pulls the whole thing to the ground. Oh, and Storm is nearly an important character, I forgot to mention that…and say, where does she fit on the five-step scale of mutant power…?

Just to geek out a bit more, can I talk about this scale a little for a minute? It seems a bit short, although I can’t complain about how “Class Five” rolls off the tongue, nor about the wish to conflate destructive mutant powers with destructive forces of nature…would’ve been nice if it went to Seven, though. However. It seems like a bit of a silly note anyway, doesn’t it? A little bit of cheating, a transparent attempt to imbue the patently ludicrous with business-as-usual shorthand, false importance conveyed through the jargonistic speech of those in the know: “I’ll tell you how serious this is, this is a Class Five!

But, not at all. It isn’t silly. It’s perfect. In fact this is exactly the sort of dreamlike flourish Thomas was talking about (although somehow I doubt if he was thinking of just this), in that it’s evidence of an underlying design, a shifty pattern beyond the nonsense. Because, what in the heck are these “Classes”, anyway, you know? What’s the metric that’s at work, here? Xavier and Magneto, I think we can safely assume, are both Class Four mutants – Tropical Storm Mutants, if you like – and, if only just for fun, can we say that they’re the only Class Four mutants, that there are? At least that anyone knows about. Yes, that would be nice…because they’re the two most powerful mutants, obviously, but hold on, what does that mean? Magneto can move uncounted tons of metal around with his – I guess it’s his mind – and Xavier can…what, possess Sabretooth? Hmm…not exactly easy to tape out these differences, I think. And yet Xavier is almost surely a tad more powerful than Magneto, even though Magneto’s power is unbelievably more versatile in the physical sphere…

And, now, where have I heard this before, I wonder? Because it seems to me that this is kind of a familiar distinction…

…Well, there is one way to measure what kind of power a Class Four mutant has, I guess, which is to set it against a Class Five. And Magneto may be confused about why Xavier bothers to bring him to the Grey home, but I’m not: he’s there in case something goes horribly wrong. In a word, he’s protection. Jean may be more powerful, but at somewhere in his early forties or so Magneto is seasoned, confident, knowledgeable, capable…look at him there in his big black coat and his stylish chapeau, his amused and quirky smile, his piercing eyes and quick tongue…there is a time, of course, where the Father has Become as well, has turned from youth to man to Master, and fully seized the pen with which the story of his life is written…and look at Xavier, too: in open-necked shirt and calm, beatific smile…no amused quirking here! Bareheaded and serene, dressed down, he exits the old staff officer’s car, steps out from the structure of the past along with his twin…a Father, too, and just as free. Nice to know that God and the Devil made such a good team once, isn’t it? As they wandered around through Creation ironing out its wrinkles…or at least, trying to…

There’s some acting here, actually. That’s where movies really shine, you know: in the acting.

But, back to the Classes. As I said, what’s the metric here? What is the “power” that it measures? When Jean is levitating Xavier, and pieces of his body are flaking away, being disassembled (and why wasn’t Scott disassembled the same way?), he doesn’t go all at once. Jean pushes his wheelchair back, and then it stops – Xavier can resist her power, a little. This is actually how it worked in early issues of the original X-Men comic, too; Xavier’s power of the mind sometimes affected the physical, though there was no justification for it doing so, just as Magneto had, for one issue anyway, an “astral form”. Of course neither character was quite as they are here, but that’s not really that important, except that it’s better…because in a way it’s the dream of power that’s what the Classes are all about, and each gradation of them is just a more limited form of the total power that Jean has, which is simply the power to manipulate reality…and, you know, Storm looks like she might be pushing Class Four too, because what does “weather control” actually mean? What’s she doing, when she controls the weather? Back at Alkali Lake, she has her only really excellent scene, with Wolverine. He complains about the unnatural upward-drifting fog that Jean’s wrapped herself in, and Storm matter-of-factly says “I can do something about that”, and rolls it away. Though Halle Berry has a higher profile in this movie than she’s had in its predecessors, nothing her character does is quite as good as this: she as much as tells us straight out about what it means to be a mutant, here. A “weather-witch”, as they used to call her in the comics, or a goddess – in any case she makes it plain that this is her true identity, these talents and affinities of hers, that her name just floats on top of. It’s a great scene! Very “Tomorrow People”! And my only regret it that it wasn’t in the first movie…

Not to say the Cure stuff isn’t still dumb, because it is (also, check the parallel to X-Men 1, with the innocent mutant child being ruthlessly considered not as a person but as a mere “state-changer” in the human/mutant mix…Jesus, where is Wolverine in this movie, anyway? Or at least, Hank McCoy), as the big souffle of Jean/blocks, everybody else/Cure (apart from Patrick Stewart’s quite decent handling of Xavier’s ambivalent rebuke to Wolverine) is simply unable to hold much of a shape…but Thomas is right: there’s a lot of dream/reality stuff here, too, and when it pokes through the mess it’s really rather intriguing. The opposition of Kitty and Juggernaut is particularly well-drawn, one slipping immaterially through the hard world while to the other the world might as well be immaterial…ooooh, love it! Thomas’ remarks about Juggernaut are excruciatingly apt, and I can’t better them, except to add: Juggernaut’s helmet is to Magneto’s own, as Ratner’s superhero moviemaking style is to Singer’s…and which one, when it comes down to it, looks more ridiculous? So, a well-earned point to Thomas. Juggernaut truly is a beautiful concept in X3, as well-handled as the post-Cure Mystique is not, and (with Kitty, of course) he invites an interesting conversation about energy and fluidity…notice how he practically bounces around? Gee, and it’s a real shame Rogue isn’t in the picture here to balance things out on the other side, you know? Because she is the immovable object, the unbreachable boundary…the reality, in this dream sandwich. Yes, I really believe she is. And maybe that’s why she’s just too hot for this movie to handle…I think her final scene would’ve been hard to believe in, no matter which way she jumped. The thing is just impossible: sure, if you or I had her problems we’d be down to the Cure clinic like a shot, but that’s not the point here, because this choice so conditions Rogue’s character that one way or another it has to mean something, that the movie’s not ready to look square in the eye. Somewhere around here there’s an essay about Angel, and what teenagers do behind locked doors…and I see Rogue implicated in that idea as well, when she makes her choice, so it’s pretty heavy stuff when you get down to it. Not only does Xavier out-and-out talk about the power controlling the person, but there’s certainly some subliminal traffic with the idea of the identity-storm going on as well, mad whirls of events and impulses that become real and then are instantly, futilely regretted…before finally one must attempt to sift personhood from the wreckage. From the debris, Jim, if you like…

But again, as with the Rogue/Kitty/Juggernaut triptych, the heaviest stuff isn’t in the instability of reality at all, but in its impregnable solidity. Here’s another quick-as-lightning meditation on it, that pokes its snout out of the fog for just a second and then flees back inside: Magneto’s camp tattoo. Now, this is a biggie, in my book, because though it seems to have been taken by some to be the sign that all oppressed peoples are the same, that’s not what I get from it, and I think I have McKellan’s acting to thank for that. Throw the camp tattoo into the fantasy setting, any fantasy setting, and suddenly what you have is the confrontation with a reality so immovable that there’s barely a thing that can be done except to look at it…and so the fantasy around it must then either decohere, or just become cheaply blasphemous, and it’s difficult to say which is worse as far as a viewing or reading experience goes. Touch not the cat but a glove, all you would-be thickeners of symbolism! Because this stuff is really not for you to just play with, you see; it’s really quite serious business. And that’s what’s going on in Ian McKellan’s brief speech about “marking”, not some attempt by the character Magneto to secure loyalties by equating mutants with Holocaust victims. Hey, who says these mutants even care about the Holocaust at all, eh? That’s all just so much human stuff to them, possibly…but to Magneto it obviously cannot be, so that rolling-up of his sleeve isn’t Ideology 101 at all, but an introduction to reality – to the authenticity of the fact – that’s barely even about anything in the movie, at all. McKellan’s tone is gentle, chiding, a little mournful, as he says that this is the only mark, the last mark, of identity that he’ll ever permit to be put on himself…and appearances to the contrary, this is a real moment, a moment of truth beyond the fog of illusion and dreams, because to mark the body is to mark the person, and to mark the person is always to reinscribe their identity…and to reinscribe is also always to write over. Permanently. And that’s a thought that dwells far outside superhero movies, as it should; McKellan lets us have a glimpse of it, as the mention of the Nazi needle briefly aligns with the needle of the Cure, and the veil of fantasy is briefly parted: the Cure-needle is for taking away identity, as the numbering of people in the concentration camps was to take away identity…but there’s something else going on here too, because the mutant’s self-chosen marks are not the marks of Cure, and yet at the same time, are they so different? And yet they are, because this is all just a story about people in funny costumes; and there’s no such thing as being a Holocaust survivor first and a mutant second, because there is no “second” of that kind, even in this movie, and there’s nothing in the reinscription/erasure symbolism of the Cure to compare with the real fact of identities eliminated through inscription…and then painfully bought back, reappropriated, kept, remembered. So here’s the drop of terrible sadness and sacrifice and fact that was instilled into Pere Jouissance, and dramatically it’s a very compelling truth, but it’s also not just a truth inside the fictional frame, and so it can’t really be used by what’s around it as other interpreters have claimed…it uses those things, instead, for its purpose. Which purpose (hopefully) is our own edification.

But then one second later it all sinks below the level of the waves anyway, and general plot-incoherence takes over. Mystique is rescued by Magneto as she once rescued him, but then loses her “marks” and is abandoned by him for Callisto, who has ’em…no, not all parallelism is productive of meaning, actually, and some of these beats aren’t all that musical…but oh, well. At least we have these few suggestive moments, that memory can dwell on. Both the persistent sadness and the jolly chapeau of the Father-Of-Enjoyment, who pursues the ends of freedom because he can’t have any others…next to the Father Of Law in whose confinement the values of love and hope can be nurtured…

Oh, and then even worse: that damned Department of Mutant Affairs. Wow, how much does that sound like Department of Indian Affairs? That is some nasty, nasty stuff, in all truthfulness it is. And Hank McCoy is in charge of it? Mercy. No, please…show mercy. Because did all this dreamy stuff really have to be covered up with crap, instead of something else? That it really is pretty bad is what keeps me from chiming in with Thomas wholeheartedly, because I can’t shake the feeling that the distinction between intentional failure and accidental success is still worth making, here. And for me the tip-off is really as simple as this, when it comes down to it: if you start thinking about how you could have done it better, fixed it in the editing suite perhaps, and you’re thinking that while you’re watching it…then someone has, well, blundered. Pretty badly.

And never has there been a better segue into a discussion of Attack Of The Clones, I guess, but it’s late now, and I’m tired, and so are you. So come back tomorrow, and we’ll talk about it some more.

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7 responses to “Flashback! To “X-Men III: The Last Stand…!”

  1. Can you believe that X3 was THREE superhero movies ago? We’ve had Superman Returns, Ghost Rider, and Spider-man 3 since then. And do you think we will be talking (or writing) in-depth about ANY of those movies three MORE superhero movies from now? I doubt it. I mean, what is there really to say about X3’s rival, Superman?

    I think the continuing discussion surrounding X3 speaks to something elusive and interesting about the film. Perhaps we’re all trying to grab hold of those moments, those scenes, which are “nearly” there (as you articulate) and yet completely absent.

    If nothing else, X3 resulted in “Magneto Was Right!” buttons at Strange Adventures in Halifax, so you gotta love it.

  2. tl;dr is a bitchy acronym that I immediately regretted posting.

    It stands for “Too long; didn’t read.”

    A far politer way to say it would have been, “I think you veer a bit off-thesis several times, and ramble somewhat in other places, so overall my eyes started to glaze over by about the tenth paragraph. Lacking suitable white space, I glossed over the rest of it to the end, found no real closing argument at the bottom, and moved on to the next blog in my queue.”

    So I apologize for being hurtful.

  3. Pingback: Flasback! To "Alpha Flight...!" « A Trout In The Milk·

  4. Two things I didn’t mention, which I should’ve: one, that of course Wolverine really is thoroughly housebroken, whatever the symbolism exchanged between him and Hank McCoy might strive to get across…I mean, he might as easily not have been, but the movie’s relentless “almost-ness” never allows him that, except for the brief moment between him and Jean on the medical pallet…

    And two…isn’t that Golden Gate scene well-executed? The way the cables hang suspended in Magneto’s magnetic field…for a moment, it’s a glimpse of the sublime. Almost. But then — tellingly — one second later the suspension has fallen apart, and come crashing to the ground.

    Oh, and just in case anyone reading this at some later date doesn’t see my reply to Erin in the post immediately following: it’s cool, I just thought you were being clever actually (of course you weren’t, but no matter), so I took no offence. And I don’t now, either: like it, don’t like it, it’s all A-OK, ceci n’est pas my ego.

    Well…except I though my “emoticon” comment was clever too, but I seem to be the only one who does…

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