Saturday, May 25, 2019

What Makes a Villain?

Excellent post by Declan Finn over at Superversive.

Hey, just because the character slashes someone’s throat and watches their lifeblood coming out of them in spurts, chuckling manically, doesn’t necessarily make them a bad guy. Though it could make them a fairly scary good guy? (If you ever get the chance, look up the first Mr. Moto film with Peter Lorrie. He plays a Japanese man in the 1930s, just as everything goes to Hell in the Pacific.  You seem him kill people in what looks like cold blood.  He always wears black gloves, black coats, and he always looks sinister. You have no idea what side he’s on until the very end.)
On the other end of the equation, there are people who try to tell me that MacBeth was a tragic hero … Really? That’s like saying that all of the murderers caught by Columbo were heroes, as opposed to a murder mystery told from the killer’s point of view. Here’s a lesson to being a writer: if you’re trying to make your hero tragic, don’t give him a body count in the triple-digits that includes innocent women and children.
My point: you don’t need a bad guy to be crazy for him to be evil. Nor do you need a sadist, a rapist, a pervert, sex-fiend, or Jack the Ripper.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Cataline on Game of Thrones

Cataline Sergius has an excellent observation on fantasy vs horror.

But heroic fantasy is all about the action. It’s about battle and the being in the now that comes from knowing you are on a three day roller coaster ride and it has no tracks. The feeling of triumph from looking at the body of a guy who was doing every fucking thing in his power to end your life and you made him fail that...
...But here is the thing about horror. It’s all powerlessness. Whatever is after you has all the power. It’s all about the build up and your protagonist’s coming dread as he realizes there is nothing he can do to defeat the thing that is coming for them all. It’s all about fear and powerlessness. 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Social Media Witch Hunt

Jon Del Arroz points out how "inclusive" and "diverse" are actually code words for "conform...or else" as the usual suspects launch into the typical mob witch hunt.  This time, against a 14 year old YouTuber, for badthink and wrongspeech.

She’s 14.
She’s a child.
With opinions she posted.
The internet hasn’t been around all that long. I started posting when I was about 14-15 to various websites, and even though there were strange adults who might stalk around then, there wasn’t a danger due to big social media of these mob echo chamber coming after me to try to ruin my life at such an age.
Now there is.
And they’ll get the police involved. It won’t surprise me either if they “find something”, in order to put a stop to what Soph is saying.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Is the Media Neutral?

Absolutely dynamite article by Brian Cates.

The Associated Press’s Washington Bureau chief, Ron Fournier, introduced the concept of “accountability journalism” publicly back in 2008, which gives reporters a license to go beyond just reporting the facts of a news story in a neutral and objective manner to instead begin putting their thumbs on the scale and start pressing down—hard—to ensure a desired politicized outcome is clearly seen in the reporting. It gives them a “duty” to shape the story toward political outcomes.

Fournier basically endorsed the idea that journalists need to stop seeing themselves as neutral relaters of facts and begin shaping narratives for the public in order to hold the powerful accountable.

Personal opinion?  I think this "thumb on the scale" imbalance has been there for a really long time, but Ron Fournier just went public with it in 2008.  Opinions?


Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday the 13th!

Yes, it's Friday the Thirteenth!  You know what that means!

No.  Not that.

Or that.

Sheesh, some people...

No, every Friday the Thirteenth, I knock the price on Perchance to Scream down to 99 cents!

Get it while it's hot!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Awesome gun control essay by Ivan Throne

Ivan Throne:  How School Shootings are Destroying the Left "I tell you that if you bear love for your children, and for the people of the United States and their future, it is a foul and putrid repudiation of that love to prevent their schools and churches being hardened by armed men willing to defend them with lethal force."

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Star Wars that Should Have Been

The incomparable John C. Wright pens a review of the Star Wars sequel the fans wish had been made...

The twin errors any sequel in any genre must avoid are these: first, the sequel must not violate or overturn anything established in the original, including taking care to continue with themes, story elements, characters and backdrops the audience expects; second, the sequel must not cling too closely to the original, nor be content merely to repeat story elements.
You cannot simply have the rebels still fighting the selfsame Empire they defeated in the last movie blowing up yet another iteration of the Death Star. That would be ridiculous! 
...It is something of a paradox, since the audience wants the same story that they liked the first time, but not done in the same way.
The cleverest and most satisfying way I have ever seen a writer answer this paradox was E.E. Doc Smith, when he opened GRAY LENSMAN with the startling revelation that the villainous space pirate king, Helmuth, slain in climactic combat at the end of GALACTIC PATROL, was himself merely an agent of a larger, deeper, darker group.
Now, of course, this tradition is not new to EE Smith. Beowulf, after slaying Grendel in the golden hall of Hereot, is permitted no long rest, but must descend into an accursed swamp to fight Grendel’s Mother, a monstrous hag tougher than the first monster.
In this way, the hero, or the hero’s heirs or disciples, is, in effect, fighting for the same cause and against the same foe, but the significance of the first victory is not diminished. Instead, the scope is larger, and the battlefield gets bigger.