Easy Kudos for Hollywood

Hey Hollywood!  With Elliot Page out as trans, you’ve got a golden opportunity for cheap liberal kudos and award bait!  Cast Elliot as a man and treat him as a man, in a classy cool movie.  Like a Christopher Nolan joint, where he’s draped in GQ having man feels opposite a fellow gentle-looking man like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  It would be cool if you’d give him a romance plot, gay or straight, but if you wanna hedge your bets like the cowardy custards you are, you can leave that out – just have it be a bro show.

Just getting him up on the screen looking cool, doing film noir stuff, you’d have an instant cult classic for the kind of people who are horny for people like him but never get to see that in cinema – lots of blu-ray sales.  He’s sexy enough that you’d make millions of mildly transphobic cishet women uncomfortably atttracted in a way that would push controversy and attention.  You’d have all the right full-blown shitheads screaming about how you’re evil, making you look like saints to mainstream viewers.

It’s time, motherfuckers.  Do eet.

Horror Games by Small Children

Many babies love morbid content, like creepy pasta and spooky fairy tales.  I remember one time when I was wearing my Hellraiser t-shirt and a five year old in a restaurant bathroom praised me for it.  Thanks kid, I like cenobites too.

Someone I know once had the job of helping some very young children make video games, and they gravitated straight to horror.  This was some years ago, I’m sure the kids are young adults by now.  I hope they find this and turn beet red, and laugh too.  It’s charmingly over-the-top foolery.

Click the pictures to visit the works of Bloody Rose Studios, and if you’re on PC, take the several minutes to finish one of these games.  You will not regret it.  Well, Content Warning: Morbid Kid Imagination let off the Leash.  Some graphics provided by googling hamburger.

 

Bloody Scream was a classic point and click adventure game in the “dungeon escape” subgenre, made by kids who loved creepypasta and anime aesthetics.  It’s the first and goriest entry.

 

Sweet Nightmares was getting more cerebral.  If you can figure out how to get past the gnome traffic jam, it’ll really make you think, maaan.  The soundtrack and sound effects in this one all came from the mouth of one girl.  A master entertainer in the making.

 

Get Some Sleep or You’ll DIE!!! was an effort to make a serious, mature game in the vein of Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, to reflect the maturing sensibilities of these young creators.  Things did not necessarily run to plan.  See if you can collect the different bad endings.

Tempo in the Soundtrack of Our Lives

This morning as I was working, two songs rotated in my head:  Spy in the Cab by Bauhaus and Torn Between Two Lovers by Mary MacGregor.  It wasn’t about the lyrics – I’m not torn between lovers and Spy in the Cab is beyond meaningless.  But the tempo matched my mood.  Songs will sometimes pop into my head based on the speed I’m operating at.  If I’m trying to do something fast-paced, it might be Jesus Built My Hotrod by Ministry feat. Gibby Haynes or Birds by The Butthole Surfers.  Sometimes other qualities of the song will enter into it, like a song with lurching or broken rhythm or breathless vocals may pop into my mind if I’m tired or sick, like Going to a Go Go by The Miracles or LA Blues by The Stooges.

Do songs randomly pop into your mind?  How do they connect to how you’re feeling?

Whisper Dolls

I had a dream last night that The Whispers had 500 members, like a Neil deGrasse Tyson-themed version of The Pussycat Dolls, and they were trying to fund a reunion thing by fundraising at least a hundred dollars per member, which led to some mental math I was unable to manage in my unconscious state.  This wasn’t completely out of left field.  Of course, I’d been thinking about the band as I went to sleep, and had seen a video in my yewchewb recs that was a Klymaxx (Bernadette Cooper version) latter day performance.

I feel like I should photoshop these screencaps from their “Rock Steady” video to have more guys, but I just don’t have the time for it today.  Try to picture it, if you will.  Have a nice day.

Fanfic Prolixity – Why?

Fanfic is an old phenomenon by now.  As a child I found some fanfic my mother had written about The Osmonds.  I don’t remember much but I think it was about her and her sisters meeting the band, mild-mannered hijinks, and a frog in a toilet.  But from the late nineties on, as everybody and their moms went online, it changed, refined and distilled into an ultra high speed turbo form that is staggering to behold, from my place on the outside.  The wordier fanfics routinely exceed the length of original novels, including those they refer to.

It raises a lot of questions for me, as an outsider who has been forced into proximity with it.  I’m in a small writing community, and any given writing community these days is sharing space with ficcers, ranging from those who are shy and circumspect about it to those who talk about almost nothing else.  The ficcers in my little community do not seem amenable to analytical conversation about it.  The main questions today, which I can’t get answered there:  Why can fic be written so quickly, reach such outrageous word counts, and why can it be read quickly as well?

This has become an issue because we’re doing word count -based activities, things like NaNoWriMo, and it seems like anyone doing fanfic can write two to four times as fast as the rest of us.  When the same ficcers overcome the compulsion toward their comfort zone and do original writing they slow to a crawl.  Fic literally is much easier to write for them, and I’m not sure why.  They are willing to admit that.  A common refrain is that “I was going to do something original but life is stressing me out so I’m just going to do fic again.”  But they won’t discuss the why of it.

Ficcers also read fic faster than they read original writing – much faster.  This has also become an issue in that shared space.  Ask a ficcer to return a favor and read some original writing, they say “Oh yeah, I can read anything.  Just read a 100k fanfic in one night.”  Then they fail to read your 10K words of original fic and disappear in shame for seven months.  A little research has shown me people who admit they have trouble reading anything that is not fanfic.  Some say they can’t read something unless it’s tagged with every aspect of its content in a way that lets them feel comfortable before they start.  The more sexually fixated just don’t read anything without their specific fetish or ship involved.  But why can they consume this stuff as fast as its written, which is already outrageously fast?  This doesn’t work in reverse, by the way.  As a non-ficcer, I read fic the same pace as anything written to the same level.

Why all the words, guys?  Of course, you don’t have to do any world building or character development, at least not the foundational kind.  That surely helps, but it can’t be the whole picture, can it?  There are a few conventions of fanfic that might help.  A common issue is that any actions of a non-sexual nature are extremely glossed over.  Was there a big world-shattering event that happened?  It’s written almost in shorthand, like a news blurb.  The writers are less interested in events than in character’s reactions to them, which is kind of reasonable on its face but can be really odd in practice.

In writing original fiction, every writer is going to have strengths and weaknesses – things that can speed them up or slow them down.  It could just be they’re willing to lean into the easy stuff and freely skip doing anything difficult because that’s acceptable in their culture.  Like fanfic doesn’t have to be entertaining or understandable to anybody outside of the fandom, so they don’t bother crafting something that would stand without the foundations established there.

Dialog is one of those easy things for ficcers.  There’s a convention in fanfic of “ice cream shop” chapters.  Something happens in a short chapter, then the characters process it verbally for a much longer stretch afterwords – often in a safe location where there’s no threat or sense of danger that the writer would have to keep in mind.  Chapter One – Snape kills Dumbledore!  One hundred words.  Chapter Two – Everybody chills in a magically safe place eating candy and talking about chapter one.  Five thousand words.

Another possible contributor to easy word count:  porn.  I had some firsthand experience of this.  I was writing a story in a high fantasy setting where adventuring was associated with homosexuality to the extent adventurer was a euphemism for gay dude.  The main character had inspired a revenge plot by characters that were basically the fellowship of the ring.  I was lagging on word count and for a laugh I made the fellowship have a big orgy in a bathhouse.  Just describing several characters having sex required enough words that it became one of my most productive days ever.

TL;DR:  Why is fanfic written so fast and easy?  Why is it easy to read for its fans?

Another Thing

Night before last I dreamed I was doing lethal kung fu against Amazon PR assassin clones, like these 10 foot tall Bloodborne-looking dudes and some Ghost in the Shell ladies.  I could fly kinda badly.  It wasn’t a cakewalk but it made me feel like a badass in my lil scenario.  This morning I dreamed I was involved in a mob fight and when the dust cleared the room had been stripped to a concrete floor and random plastic sheets.  Muppets that had been partially embedded in the concrete stirred.  As Kermit stood up, plastic sheets stuck to his back and were dragged behind him, looking like angel wings.  It was very poetic.  Also I had a reason I was trying to make sandals out of string cheese.

Batwoman Biff Pow

Whammo!  I’m not exactly a media influencer, but I must add my dos centavos to the ruckus about the new season of Batwoman because there’s a lot of toxic waste out there that needs a balance.  Here it be:  The replacement batwoman is great and this show deserves a second shot, for anyone who actually cares about batpeeps in general.

One:  Do you not care about batpersons?  Do you not care for superheroes?  Do you balk at media that reinforces cultural ideas about how crime is the result of personal villainy rather than systemic issues and should be addressed with violence?  Then don’t bother with this show, or any other super-hero show.

Two:  Are you the kind of anti-SJW chode that ripped on the first season of Batwoman but is now suddenly acting like replacing the lesbian superhero played by a bisexual actor with a lesbian superhero played by a bisexual black actor is somehow ruining something you didn’t like in the first place?  Don’t bother.  Also, figure out what went wrong with your life, or fuck off and die for all I care.

Three:  Javicia Leslie has charisma and a good screen presence.  She can be dignified, cute, funny, intimidating, whatever she needs to be for the part – at least from what I’ve seen in the few episodes that have aired.  The ratings suck, which means the show is probably doomed, but that’s a real shame.

New lady is great.  Anyone who is hating on her was either too invested in the story the first season set up (shake it off bud – it’s over), or is racist sexist homophobic or some combo of the three.  The show had a corporate-fascist mercenary police force shown far too sympathetically as a baked-in feature of its storyline, and changing the main character gives an opportunity to back off that fundamentally bad idea.

Best of luck to everyone involved in the show as it now stands.  You deserve it, and you’ll need it.

What About Pillowfort?

Pillowfort was conceived, whatever else they say, as a tumblr knockoff that was supposed to be distinguished by having effective blocking to prevent people from having to catch nazi URLs on their dash every day.  They finally opened the gates – you don’t need an invite to get a Pillowfort account now.

But who’s using this?  Let alone the thing which it was meant to replace.  Tumblr has withered on the vine.  It’s still my only social media because sweet hell FB and Twitter are you kidding?  But there’s literally one tenth the traffic on my dash that there used to be.  Everyone is off to Instagram or Pinterest or who knows.

I tried to find something to follow on Pillowfort and it’s been a total waste of time so far.  Good for the tumblr sex worker accounts to have a new platform I guess, but that’s not what I’m on social media for.  Where are people hanging out now?  What’s happenin’ with the kids these days?

Quickie Thoughts on Recent CW

I have a few thoughts on recent happenings on the CW, like, CBS/Warner Television, not Content Warning, though usually my reviews include some of those.  I just don’t have the time to do it up like I used to in Media Reviews, so this is going to be real brief.

Legends of Tomorrow:  Has been renewed, will have its new season sometime this year.  I feel like it should have ended in 2020.  Of the CW slate getting crippled by COVID, they did the best job of having a satisfying season.  In fact,  I feel it was their best season ever, and ended with a cliffhanger one could easily write off without ever seeing the conclusion to (something out of a Big Lebowski daydream).  I have a lot more specific thoughts about Legends if anyone’s curious in the comments, but I’ll leave it off with this for the post: It’s nice the remaining cast members have a job, but artistically speaking last season should have been the end of it.  I’ll be very impressed if the show proves me wrong.

Black Lightning and Supergirl are cancelled:  But they have one more season left, here in 2021.  Black Lightning in 2020 had the second best season of the CW shows I watched, and had far and away the best “Crisis on Infinite Earths” tie-in episode.  Actually, if you take superheroes seriously, it was far better than Legends.  I don’t, so I preferred the lighthearted show.  But the drama and intrigue of superhumans on Black Lightning?  Better than anything on the CW slate.  Plus whoever did fashion design for the show should get more gigs in a hurry – they’re great.  2021 will see an episode of BL serving as a “soft pilot” for a Painkiller spinoff series.  I doubt it will get picked up, but the guy playing Khalil is a very worthy action hero.  He’s hella built, has sick moves, and is a good actor.  I hope he gets movies.  Everyone else is great too, honestly, from “ABC After-school Special” Mom to “Jean Grey with Self Esteem” daughter.  Good luck in your careers.

Meanwhile Supergirl was one of the shows hard hit by COVID (Flash and Arrow were the worst).  Did they finish their plot arc last season?  I don’t even remember by now.  The X-Files’s Mitch “Sexy Bald Daddy Type” Pileggi and Cara “Appears in IMDb on a Movie with Yours Truly Great American Satan” Buono were going to exterminate humanity or something?  Jesse Rath, who plays Brainiac on the show, has done some great work there.  Again, I hope he gets some good jobs after the show is gone.

As for the rest of the show, really, everybody did as good a job as they could, given how cutthroat and difficult TV is, and I’m sorry to see them shitcanned.  In the awkward lurching foolery of the show you could sense behind-the-scenes problems were on display.  It’s especially a shame that Superman is coming to the CW exactly as Supergirl is cancelled, sending the message that “nobody wants woman-centered entertainment, men sell.”  C’est lavie.

The show was ridiculous, but they tried.  Katie McGrath was Queen of the World as Lena Luthor, but in movies she’s just a babysitter that gets triple-murdered by dinosaurs.  It’s a fuckin’ shame.  Supergirl’s human sister played by Chyler Leigh was a fun character for me.  She drinks embarrassing quantities of wine and lesbian processes like a big dog.

Goodbye, ladies.  It really was nice knowing you.

Spoiler Warning  for Something that aired a Year Ago, who cares?

Stephen Amell’s sendoff in Arrow was fucking hilarious.  He was fighting a bunch of 1-HP ghosts until they “got him” somehow, leaving him with barbecue sauce on his face and just enough life to say goodbye to all his homies.  Then he was undead for a minute and went to heaven with his wife.  The end.  He did a good job on that show, but TV is a mess.  As show creators, unless you know for a fact you have a set limited run, you’re just incredibly unlikely to make a satisfying story arc for a series.  Meanwhile Flash just literally could not finish their season at all.  Big mess.

There’s artistic intentions in these shows, but they are quickly lost in the business of making them happen.  But effort is made, and I do enjoy watching the little successes and failures of individual episodes and seasons.  I feel this is a case of “no ethical consumption under late capitalism” because you know these actors are paid shit and thrown away at a moment’s notice, and 99% of people on the other side of the camera are even more disposable and exploited.  All entertainment industries are rotten as hell.

The good news:  You want content that centers indigenous people?  You miss Cleverman?  I don’t know if it’s being aired on CW or just on their streaming service, but there’s a Canadian show called Trickster that’s looking pretty good two episodes in.  (Actually the whole first season is probably available from the Canadian source in some way.)  My fave character is the MC’s mom played by Crystle Lightning.  She’s an adorable fucked up badass.  I also like the show’s treatment of alcoholism and drug use as just part of everyday life, sad but inevitable.  It doesn’t waste time with all the usual shit and feels more like real life, if maybe a bit fantastic in some ways.  I don’t know how y’all feel about shows playing with the line between being schizophrenic and being a shaman, so tread carefully if that’s a problem for you.

Also, BATWOMAN.  If you’re up on superhero TV, this is probably the one you were wondering about.  The premiere season was OK, had some plus and minus.  The constrained cast and generally depauperate universe gave the impression of a very limited budget, the show has the same fashy ideas about crime control that Arrow had, but…  The actress playing Batwoman literally quit!  The villains and side characters and story were all tied to her, they’d have to recast or cancel, right?  Maybe make some excuse why her face is different, like surgery from getting blown up?

No!  They decided to let the character get mysteriously disappeared and have a new lady take up the batmantle.  The decision seems absurd and you’ve probably seen people hating on it, but one episode in, I can say – it’s looking good!  She’s good.  Particularly if you feel the sting of Black Lightning’s black lesbian superhero being lost to cancellation, pick this one up.  I have no doubt she’s going to do this well.  She jokes, she brawls, she has her dramatic feels.  I’ll be interested to see how she does when she has a chance to do romance.

That’s about all for now.  Not as brief as I expected, but far from a comprehensive look at the shows themselves or my full thoughts on them.  Discuss in the comments, if you like or have questions.