Monday, June 1, 2015
Trevor Noah is taking the reins of The Daily Show, not the "reigns"
After I watch any movie, whether on Netflix or in the theater, I like to read the reviews it received or the think pieces it spawned, if it's a movie that has left or is leaving an impact on the zeitgeist. Since its release, Avengers: Age of Ultron has been the subject of many think pieces about either robot sci-fi; the ways innocent bystanders are portrayed in superhero movies; the fear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will lead to the infantilization of cinema; the lack of female leads in MCU movies (which shows how badly the MCU--the film division, that is, not the TV division behind Agent Carter and A.K.A. Jessica Jones, both projects anchored by female leads and spearheaded by female showrunners--is lagging behind the progressiveness and diversity of current Marvel superheroine comic books like Ms. Marvel, the Marvel Now! revamp of X-Men, the gender-swapped Thor, Spider-Gwen, Silk and A-Force); feminism on social media; or the fact that people on social media really need to take a breath and siddown, relax, have a sandwich, drink a glass of milk, do some fuckin' thing, will ya?
Age of Ultron's connection to the last two items is due to female Marvel geeks' Twitter rants about their frustrations with the film and Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon's departure from Twitter after he encountered so much Twitter vitriol from a not-so-civil segment of those female geeks. I planned to watch this blockbuster that caused these lapsed Whedon fans to Hulk out on Twitter--and broke Whedon's spirit "a little bit" while he worked on it--about three or four weeks after its crowded opening weekend, which is when the crowds for these tentpole blockbusters usually dwindle completely, as does the possibility of having your morning or afternoon movie screening be ruined by an imbecile who brings his tablet to the theater and keeps switching on his tablet during the feature presentation (that, by the way, happened during Kingsman: The Secret Service). Trying not to click to any of the Age of Ultron think pieces during those three weeks before I saw the movie was quite a challenge. I was interested in what the writers of these pieces were talking about, but at the same time, these pieces gave away much of the movie, and I hadn't watched it yet. So it was a relief to finally be able to read them after watching Age of Ultron.
For Age of Ultron and other summer blockbusters, YOMYOMF likes to take several of their writers and have them give roundtable discussions of those blockbusters. I'm often interested in what YOMYOMF has to say in these discussions, even if it results in an inane moment like one of their writers giving director Bong Joon-ho's terrific Snowpiercer--a Chris Evans-led comic book adaptation that, as a movie, is superior to even any of the MCU comic book adaptations that either feature Evans or don't--only one out of four stars (actually, YOMYOMF uses bananas instead of stars for their movie rating system). So I went over to YOMYOMF's discussion of Age of Ultron, and the most interesting part of the discussion has to be the spelling of "take over the reins" as "take over the reigns." Yeah, that's not how you spell it.
It's a common mistake. "Reigns" and "reins" are both homonyms related to control and dominance, so they can be easily mixed up. I don't want to single out YOMYOMF because everyone does it. Even newspapers like the New York Observer misspell "reins" as "reigns" too, like when the Observer brought up South African stand-up comic Trevor Noah's controversial--and, of course, just like in the case of Age of Ultron, led-to-an-outcry-on-Twitter--promotion from Daily Show correspondent to Daily Show host.
It should be "Mr. Noah will officially take the reins on September 28," not "Mr. Noah will officially take the reigns on September 28." The reign of "reigns" over "reins" continues elsewhere.
Like Ann Peebles said, I can't stand the "reigns" against my window. Here's how I differentiate "reigns" from "reins" and avoid misspelling one or the other: yes, both words are related to control and dominance, but "reign," when used as a noun, means the time period when someone--or a team like the Golden State Warriors--is in charge or is dominant. "Rein," as a noun, means either a restraint, as in Tobey Maguire pulling on Seabiscuit's reins to slow the horse down, or a metaphorical steering wheel ("Mr. Noah will officially take the reins").
In verb form, to "reign" means to rule as a king or to conquer like one ("Marvel may currently reign supreme at the box office"), and to "rein" means to restrain, but unlike "reign," "rein" must always be accompanied by "in" or "back" (two such sentences are two of the above sentences with circled typos, which should be spelled as "It reined in character development!" and "The Wild Wild West reined itself in with Season 3"). Another difference between "reign" and "rein" when they're verbs is that "reign" is an intransitive verb, which means it doesn't take an object, while "rein" is more often a transitive verb, which means it needs an object ("character development," "itself"). Here's a fun way to remember how to differentiate "reign" from "rein": "reign" is the verb that prefers to be alone at the top, while "rein" is the verb that doesn't like being alone. It's the Al Green of verbs.
So on August 6, Jon Stewart will cause Daily Show fans' living rooms to get dusty when he vamooses his exhausted dad-bod out of Comedy Central and hands over the reins of his show to Noah, not the "reigns." Meanwhile, at the end of Age of Ultron, Danny Elfman temporarily takes over the musical reins from the film's other composer, Brian Tyler, and restates for the last time in the film his "New Avengers" theme, a straight-out-of-vintage-Elfman-circa-1990 update of Alan Silvestri's main theme from the first Avengers. Also at the end of Age of Ultron, Joss lets the Russo brothers take the reins of the Avengers movie franchise and is now probably giggling to himself the following: "They are gonna be so exhausted halfway through the making of Infinity War Part I."