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Jul. 7th, 2015


[sticky post] Just a note to say...

...I'm not dead. I still check this journal, and respond to comments.

However, because I am weak, even though the comment system and general community is better here on LJ, I've been lured by the instant feedback and outrage generation of tumblr (now linked in the sidebar).

This is still where my heart is as a blogger, but I wanted to let people know (if you do find this blog, know that I still love Buffy, Elementary, Sherlock Holmes, Star Wars, and most of the stuff I posted about here over there) where I am.

Sep. 17th, 2015


Because I'm Chicken

I'm not posting this on tumblr, where people who are active in comics fandom will find it. But I've been stewing on this all day, and it's been a rough one (for completely unrelated reasons) (and also completely petty ones - rough - eh, more just long, and annoying).

Recently, comics creator Alex de Campi posted a very illuminating and thought provoking essay on the comics industry: http://alexdecampi.tumblr.com/post/129003838049/you-can-only-find-the-best-version-of-wonder-woman

While, as a conservative, I do not find a lot of her post matches my own model of reality or values, I absolutely agree from what I've heard that there's a lot of harassement, office power games, and general wickedness in all comics publishers. People are people (and if you're a Calvanist Baptist like me, you think they're pretty darn bad).

Confirmation of de Campi's analysis of the industry, particularly of the major harasser in the Superman editorial office, has come from all sides in the industry, including some who are dimetrically opposed to de Campi politically. I am therefore inclined to believe that there is, indeed, something rotten in the state of Metropolis/Smallville.

While doing some googling to see what other people who love comics are saying about de Campi's essay, I found that Brian Wood had weighed in on the general situation in a newsletter (which he eventually reposted publically, with an additional essay at the top attempting to clarify) - http://tinyletter.com/brianwood/letters/funeral-at-sea-brian-wood-sep152015-1

I know of Brian Wood for two things: he wrote the last major Star Wars series for Dark Horse comics before the reboot and the reversion of Star Wars as a comics property to Marvel, and he was accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment in 2013.

I really disliked, if not outright hated, Wood's Star Wars comic. It ignored continuity, played around in the inter-trilogy era, and was incredibly mediocre in terms of writing, characterization, and worldbuilding.

At the time, because I disliked Wood's work, I was inclined to believe the accusers. Not a good reason for believing them, but it was mine.

However, this time around, I looked a bit more deeply into the issue, and found out that the accuser has a pattern of making these kinds of statements in other situations - situations in which the role of wrongdoer is reversed - http://tim-byrd.com/2013/12/29/tess-fowler-why-she-is-no-longer-the-artist-for-doc-wilde/

It's all he-said, she-said - but the patterns are there. My own current estimation of the 2013 situation is that Wood did harass the artist in question, but she chose to exaggerate his wrongdoing to garner sympathy.

In the current context, Wood talking about this subject without referencing his own past at all does kind of scream "It happened to me!"

However, I hate the way the comics fandom has jumped on the angle that Wood is justifying actual wrongdoing. No, Wood is saying that we should be reasonable people, and examine evidence, not hearsay and mudslinging. If someone is guilty of harming others, they should receive the just consequences of that wrong choice. If they are not, and instead or guilty of disagreeing with you, you should not jump to the conclusion that they are indeed guilty or as good as guilty of all you can think of hurling at them.

In the end, I still hate Wood's run on Star Wars. However, I think based on his newsletter that he is trying to become a better person. As a conservative, I appreciate a progressive who is willing to say, "I used to treat conservatives like dirt just because they disagreed with me, that was wrong, I'm trying not to do that, even though I still think conservatives are dead wrong."  Does that mean I think Wood's spotless or wise here? No. But I think he's saying things I don't hear enough from comics fandom.

Jul. 18th, 2015


Correct the million misconceptions...

So, I just came home from seeing Mr. Holmes.

I look side-eye at you, Mr. Holmes. Yes I do.

Generally, the film is beautifully shot and acted (though I also side-eye you, Mr. Condon, for all the 180 degree establishing shots that zoom in on the focal character. It's a nice trick, but felt a bit annoying the third or fourth time, especially since it's mostly there to be a nice trick, as far as I could tell, and had no thematic purpose).  I didn't love any of the characters, but I didn't hate them either.

Fundamentally, though, this film and the book it is adapted from are written by people who think Sherlock Holmes is a destructive fantasy.  A friend of mine has said that Sherlock Holmes is an Enlightenment, rationalist fantasy. He is the dream that man, by his reason, can understand, control, and perhaps better the world he lives in.

Mr. Holmes looks at that vision and finds it terrible.

As a Christian, I believe that this world ultimately doesn't make complete sense, because it's broken. I love detective fiction because it pries at that fact - a crime has been committed, a murder, a theft, something is out of harmony, and the detective's whole reason to exist is to attempt to restore that harmony. Because the world itself is broken, full restoration is impossible - but I believe a good detective novel should end with a measure of harmony restored.

This film looks at the entire construction of Sherlock Holmes, man of reason, science, passion for justice, loyal friend - and finds him insufficiently interesting to write a story about. Instead, they construct a semi-realistic world in which Holmes has to react to his friend's fictionalization of him (an interesting conceit that isn't fully realized, sadly). He smilingly contradicts the "million misconceptions" about himself - the deerstalker, the pipe (digression - I think McKellan's anti-smoking views might have influenced the film here, as Holmes doesn't smoke once in the entire film), even the deductions are all revealed to be fantasy.

In the end, the film decides that fiction is better than reality if it lets people connect with each other rather than be alone.  Sadly, I do not believe connection can be based upon a lie, so it falls flat for me.  So, despite lovely performances from McKellan and Linney, a fine child acting performance, and the always radiant Hattie Morahan as the woman who shapes the last three decades of Holmes's life despite only speaking to him for a quarter of an hour, the film will not make a very significant dent in the Holmesian legend.  It rejects the elements that make Sherlock Holmes popular without telling a particularly compelling story to take their places. The fine character work doesn't make up for the many missed thematic opportunities, and the general air of the production is handsome, but distant. There's no true love for the source material or the community which loves it here, and I think that will tell against it in the shadow it will fail to cast.

Jul. 10th, 2015

Emma 1996

In which I take an internet comedy video way too seriously

So, I was watching some videos on the internet the other day, and happened across this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iJdimomLTQ

As a huge fan of Girl Meets World (yes, I'm 28. And male. And never watched the original Boy Meets World. So?), I was more than a bit irritated by the lousy argumentation that went on in the video.

First of all, the title is clearly lazy clickbait. Apparently, "Why Netflix Needs to Stop Listening to the Internet" is a better title than "Why nostalgia is creating a climate of silliness on TV."

Second, I have no idea what they are parodying. I've never seen a Netflix ad with a guy who looks or acts remotely like this Cracked contributor.

Third, for a video about Netflix, they spend a disproportionate time attacking a Disney Channel show. (I'm mostly just continuing point one on the lazy, terrible title here.)

Fourth, the clip they showed of Boy Meets World seemed thoughtful and interesting , instead of the crap you used for comparison.

Fifth, they raised an interesting question about the show's intended audience. But as a 28 year old man who never watched Boy Meets World as a kid, I adore the show because I think it's a great show, not for nostalgic reasons, so I have no idea what they're talking about.

Sixth, when they move on to the actual problem with Netflix they have - Fuller House - I have zero skin in this game, so I don't care. And Netflix does not make shows just for the heck of it - I'm pretty sure it's making Fuller House because similar projects are doing well.

Seventh - Originality? House of Cards? Orange is the New Black I'll grant you. And House of Cards was from...1991. What...

Eighth - Cracked is fairly loudly center-left in its political views, with many of their videos and articles talking about the need for more diversity in representation in television. Should Netflix not listen to that? On the internet?

The outro actually indicates the video is exaggerated for comic effect. But I am taking it too seriously. Because someone on the internet is wrong!

Jan. 14th, 2014

Emma 1996

10 Things I Wish Were Part of the Conversation About Elementary and Sherlock

1) I really enjoy parts of both
The either/or dynamic of the two makes it very difficult to remember this. Because of how thoughtless the reviews and bubbling enthusiasm about Sherlock season 3 have been, I've been really frustrated with the show. I was frustrated with season 1 in similar ways, but back then it wasn't the cultural phenomenon it is now, and I'm frustrated with myself that I find myself more negative about the show as a result of its popularity.
2) I really hate parts of both
Sherlock's lazy handwaving of stuff for cool effect. Elementary's sometimes predictable cases. Sherlock's "sociopathy." Elementary's presentation of Sherlock Holmes as a lecher.
3) Neither is as unique or new as they think
Sherlock Holmes was not a period piece when it was first written. The Basil Rathbone films were modern thrillers, just as obsessed with spy-fi tech and gadgets as Sherlock is (and to their credit, Moffat and Gatiss do acknowledge this fact in their interviews). Having Watson as a woman is the central point of a fascinating, moving (if deeply flawed and dated) film focused on a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes, They Might Be Giants. It's been done before. Yes, Elementary and Sherlock bring amazing things to the Holmesian table. But they aren't the only ones, and we won't know if they're the best for quite some time (though I will say it's a great time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan).
4) I hate the Sherlock fandom's cruelty and thoughtlessness (exceptions: the people who write interesting stuff about sociopathy/autism)
There are some really wonderful Sherlock fans I've had the honor of knowing and conversing with. But every time I look at a post about Elementary, or about something that gets in the way of John being in love with Sherlock, there is a consistent presence of Sherlock fans who threaten, denigrate, hate, and abuse anyone who doesn't hold Sherlock as the best and only Sherlock Holmes and show and mystery and everything. It would be one thing if it were a consistent but minor thing - but it's absurdly loud and nasty. From ridiculous death threats to actors and people who are part of the show to mass-downvoting of anything that is even slightly negative about their show (or even tries to have a slightly different perspective), Sherlock fans are persistently thoughtless and cruel to those who disagree with them.
5) I hate the Elementary fandom's liberal self righteousness
I am a very conservative person, both personally and politically. As a semi-minority, I do understand the joy of seeing Lucy Liu as a non-stereotypical, awesome character. But that does not make the show or character morally superior to Martin Freeman's amazing Watson. I am thrilled that when I see both Freeman and Liu's faces, I now jump up and down and say "Watson!"  I do not like the way Elementary fans seem to embrace the show's choices of diversity and representation as an artistic, rather than a political virtue. And I really resent the fact that even though the Sherlock fandom has rightly earned their place in my mind as the absolute worst fandom I've ever had the displeasure of engaging with, the Elementary fans are more interested in scoring social justice points than anything else.
6) I desperately want the conversation to be in the context of the canon
I'm tired of England vs. America, or social justice and representation, or mental health, or creators and their antics online. I want people to delve into whether the choice to have Watson leave medicine because of failure in the surgery instead of a war injury makes sense in the context of creating a new Watson. I want people to cheer at the blending of The Man With The Twisted Lip and Charles Augustus Milverton in His Last Vow. I want people to notice Charles Augustus Milverton in Dead Man's Switch. I want people to scratch their heads at the three separate instances of the Thor Bridge case in Elementary. I want excitement over the updates of "I am lost without my Boswell." I want people to weep at Sherlock's desire to have been born earlier, believing he might not have been a drug addict if he'd lived in a time less distracting - because we know he would still have succumbed. Most of all, I want people to talk to each other in joy at the shared source, instead of competing for power and influence.
7) I am so pleased when people read the books because of any version of Holmes
People reading and loving the books is what I want most of all. I met a lady on the plane the other day who was reading the books because of the Robert Downey Jr. films.  I have been known to wax nearly apoplectic about these films - but I'm still grateful to them for inspiring this one person (and I imagine many more) to read the stories that shaped my ideas of what a great detective should be.
8) Jeremy Brett, Clive Merrison, and radio Basil Rathbone need more love
Sherlock Holmes is the most adapted literary character. Some of these other adaptations are very enjoyable, intelligent, and influential.  Some of them should be better known. It would be great to see Sherlock and Elementary bringing a revival of interest in them as well as in the original stories.
9) Irene Adler and Moriarty are ridiculously overplayed
I think this is more of a problem in Sherlock, where I hated the way Irene was both a prostitute and actively wicked (though that's not to say there aren't interesting things about her or Lara Pulver's portrayal, just that it's on balance much more frustrating than interesting), and Moriarty simply doesn't work at all for me with his giggling. I actually quite like Irene and Moriarty in Elementary, but I'm very glad that it's likely that Moriarty won't be appearing very often at all. Sherlock's obsession with making Moriarty a part of every single episode really annoys, especially since there are other fantastic villains from the canon that would be just as interesting - I'm still waiting for a great Abe Slaney or Dr. Grimesby Roylott.
10) Sidney Paget, not William Gillette
I feel like I'm the only one who points out that Jonny Lee Miller looks like the Holmes of my childhood - very lean, excruciatingly sharp chin, balding, and occasionally blue-chinned (though Miller is exclusively so). I've never been a fan of the Gillette-influence look for Holmes, with the very square jaw, and much as I love Brett and Cumberbatch, they do not look like my Holmes (even though I still hold Brett as my ideal Holmes).

Jul. 26th, 2013

Emma 2009

Angel book comparisons!

So, even though it’s not remotely close to as good as The Queen of Attolia (but then, how many books not written by Jane Austen are?), Daughter of Smoke and Bone and its sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, it does do well in comparison to another book series I read last year: the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. Both Daughter and Fallen play on the War in Heaven classical angels and demons scenario. Both dream of peace. Both have “angel in love with a demon" at their center.

But while Fallen rests firmly in the “reskinned Twilight" territory, Daughter is clearly a much more powerful creation. (Note Well: I quite enjoy Twilight, so my problem with reskinning it has more to do with the lack of vim and vigor than the concept in itself.) Luce, the heroine of Fallen, fits all the worst criticisms of Bella Swan, and if you thought Bella’s mumblings about Edward’s sparkling was annoying, Luce’s ramblings about Daniel’s wings drove me up the wall. While Karou and her hilariously tiny con fuoco Czech friend Zuzana are happy to see a pretty guy, their relationships are based around character, rather than abs, and they both have a lot more than “mope" in their emotional repertoire.

Like Fallen, a lot of the fun of the Daughter series is the supporting angel and demon characters. I kept wishing Luce would go somewhere else and let Arriane be the focus of the story (sadly, when she did in a short story, it was just about as drippy as Luce’s). Even though Karou never tries my patience in the same way, Liraz, Ziri, and Issa hint at stories that could be told, and delight when they show up.

Also, I will definitely read Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Not looking forward to it quite as much as Princess Academy: Dragonfly Sisters or the fifth Queen’s Thief book, but I will happily read it, hoping for a happy ending for the chimera girl and the angel she loves and their dream of peace spread across all worlds.
Tags: ,

Jul. 16th, 2013

Emma 2009

Princess Academy!

I find that I did not post a review of Princess Academy: Palace of Stone. I shall have to rectify that error (though possibly requiring a reread, which I may not get to, especially since I also find I have not posted a review of The Queen of Attolia, which I love just as much as the Princess Academy series).

That omission being noted, I am thrilled to find that there's going to be a third Princess Academy book!


Current title is The Dragonfly Sisters - I have no idea what will happen! Given that I was completely unprepared for Palace of Stone, but still loved it dearly, I am confident that Dragonfly Sisters will be wonderful and lovely and quiet and loud and everything I've come to adore about Miri's stories.

May. 12th, 2013

Emma 2009

Some Silliness: "Consulting Chase: Inspired by Macavity"

“Defy the laws of gravity, my foot,”
The fiery young detective spoke
A cat so lean you might expect
His form to vanish like a speck

Brave was he, and chase he did
That cat whose misdeeds fed
The depravity of his appetites
And strove for all to smite
That awful cat, Macavity.

Though dogs are foes
And nightly grows
The legend of Macavity
Still the cat opposes
And his friend supposes
That nothing will shake
Though heaven should break
The desperate chase of Macavity

And when all is done
Fights lost and won
The cat’s name will stand
A beacon, a brand,
And who could have known that
He was Sherlock, the world’s only consulting cat!

May. 3rd, 2013

Emma 2009

Re: Sherlock and Elementary

Some commentary in reaction to this link

The original poster does a great job of breaking down the good and bad of these two shows. As a fan primarily of the original stories by Conan Doyle (and the Jeremy Brett television series from 1984-1994, and the Clive Merrison BBD radio series from the 90s), I engage a bit differently from what I have observed of the “typical” Sherlock of Elementary fan. So, here’s the original points, and my responses.
Ridiculously long commentary hereCollapse )

Apr. 24th, 2013

Emma 2009

Article response (re: men, women, and gender essentialism)

Tonight, a friend sent me a link to an article.  This article rather upset me, and thus I've written a post as a response.  Said response, though defiantly opposed to several points of the article, also contains much which opposes current political, cultural, moral, and social trends.

Original article link
My response, written as I read it:
Warning: non-internet-friendly opinionsCollapse )

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