Monday, February 18, 2013

Random Thoughts and Links

:: If Series Set In the Modern Day Were Written Like Sci-Fi Series highlights one of my biggest gripes about the way Star Trek series are often written, and why I was so refreshed to see movie night on Enterprise: why, other than obvious copyright issues, is everyone in the 24th century so well-versed in 19th century culture. Did everything made after 1911 just disappear somehow? (And let's not even get to the question of why there seems to be no modern entertainment or popular culture in the 24th century... apparently no one makes movies, television, music or plays by then and everyone's content to just enjoy Shakespeare, Dickens, and Gilbert and Sullivan throughout history... which, I expect those works to still be around, but it's also kind of like everyone's hanging out with my great grandmother.)

:: Looking at my Tumblr feed, I have to ask: am I the only one who thinks Beyonce is just sort of okay? Everyone either hates her and wishes she was dead, or thinks she's the queen of the entire universe and some kind of divine being we should all aspire to and bask in the glow of, and it's really fucking annoying.

:: Pictures from the coldest inhabited place on Earth. This must be why it's always so hard to take Yakutsk while playing Risk.

:: John McCain should (and in all honesty probably is) be one of the most informed people in America about what went down at that consulate. Yet he claims some sort of cover up and, when pressed as to what exactly is being covered up, gives an answer pretty much equivalent to “bad stuff, OK?” The man clearly has nothing. The piece also describes McCain as having "some kind of old man tantrum," which is more than accurate. McCain is really unhinged these days, and it's just starting to remind me of when my Grandpa finally went into the hospital and didn't come back out.

:: The Five Most Overrated American Presidents

:: A judge ruled that the guy making custom Batmobiles was violating Warner Bros' copyright. How much longer before fanart and tattoos are finally illegal?

:: ABC moved Happy Endings to Friday nights. This after a brief period of airing it two days a week and basically taking it off the schedule for a month. Will you guys just admit it's canceled, please? Jeez, first Don't Trust the B-- in Apt. 23 and now this one. I'm not torn up about it, but I did like both of those shows. Oh, well; an hour less of my life devoted to ABC is probably not that bad.

:: Anyone else watching The Americans on FX? I'm really into it.

:: I've been reading a bit lately about Erik Larsen fighting with Mario Gully over Gully's character Ant. I don't really want to get into it, but I think Gully's (and others') accusations that Image has just become another censorship-happy comic book company are kind of interesting. Someone called out Larsen and basically said that the reason he and others left Marvel to form Image was that they were sick of editorial interference. I know that's the legend of Image Comics, but I've always rolled my eyes at that bullshit. The reason those guys left Marvel was that they wanted more money. That's really it. Yeah, yeah, they wanted to create their own characters, but most of them seem to have only wanted to so in order to not have to share the money they made with Marvel Comics or any other company.

Frankly, I sometimes think the creation of Image is what ruined comics. 90% of what they put out (when they could be bothered to actually put anything out) was garbage, but at least they started a big war in comics over artists' pay and exclusive contracts. Because of that, Marvel and DC were less willing to take a chance on anything that didn't look like Image Comics, and anyone who read comics in the 90s knows how that worked out. It made idiots like Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane important players in the comic book industry, and now Lee has a license to help ruin DC Comics by turning it into the 90s Image crap, so well done there. And McFarlane's treatment of Neil Gaiman pretty much shows how those independent creator-owned trailblazers felt about making money instead of being the champions of creators' rights that they claimed they were. I don't respect any of those guys, to be honest.

:: I've been thinking about this situation where Orson Scott Card is writing a Superman comic. I didn't want to do a big post about it, because so many others have thoughts on the issue that are already so thought out. I think Tom Foss probably came the closest to saying exactly what I wanted to say about it. Bottom line for me is that I don't want to get involved in these stupid debates where bigotry can be called "just an opinion" and Card sitting on the board of an organization actively working to deny people their civil rights can be called "freedom of speech." I refuse to engage with people who think either of those things are true. And I refuse to read a story about a character I love written by a man whose opinions on the origins of homosexuality are as insane as Orson Scott Card's, because a man who says those things is not a man whose imagination is healthy.

(image via)


Unknown said...

How is it that everyone except Warner Brothers understands that DC Comics is being destroyed? Kingdom Come by Alex Ross portrayed beautifully the difference between DC and Image and now sadly the owners if Image are running the DC ship into the ground. It's incredibly sad to watch.

Kal said...

I am a big fan of The Americans. Good for Kerri Russel for waiting for the right role. It's like another of my favorites from the 90s doing something edgy like Claire Danes on Homeland which this can't help but be compared to. I like the way they at least try to replicate the 80s.

Loved and reblogged that cold weather stuff and your RISK joke.

William Mercado said...

RE: Star Trek TNG
Don't forget Riker played Dixieland jazz trombone, that's (early)20th century

SamuraiFrog said...

Unknown: The unfortunate thing is, for as much as people rail against it online, there's an audience for it. I was just reading an article late last night that comics sales were up in 2012. I don't know if the New 52 is necessarily part of the reason for that, but, well, comic book sales were up in the 90s, too... fuck.

Kal: It's funny how the 1980 setting raises some of the tension. Watching Matthew Rhys fiddling with that receiver a couple of weeks ago, which was just this huge box with those big plug-in wires, was kind of tense for me just because I'm so used to everything being done on tiny little chips or smartphones in espionage movies today. I like that the show sort of takes what we're used to seeing and uses it against us.

Keri Russell is fantastic on it.

William: That's true. It's still four centuries out of date, but it's true. I still wonder why there's no music in the future that isn't centuries old.

Nathan said...

There's always Klingon opera. And Wailing Fungus.

William Mercado said...

Almost forgot the 1940s gangster holodeck program where Picard assumes the role of Dixon Hill

One can also conjecture that do due the nuclear war a lot of 20th century entertainment let's assume electronic versions and those made of fragile materials like paper and vinyl were mostly lost. Leaving a few scatterings of mid to late 20th and early 21st century artifacts. Unfortunately one of the few things to survive is post Saturday Night Live Joe Piscopo

William Mercado said...


Before the war, some folks decided to preserve civilization so they saved Shakespeare, Gilbert & Sullivan, Dixon Hill books, someone's dixieland jazz collection
a lot of Irving Berlin not so much TV or heaven forbid rock n roll.
They rarely speak of Zephram Cochrane's love of rock music just like they don't mention his drinking

SamuraiFrog said...

Nathan: Love me love me shut up and love me.

William: Well, in other words, nothing copyrightable. Really, my problem with it is I just find it a little unrealistic and pseudo-intellectual. One of my friends growing up had parents whose tolerance for music ended with folk music up until about 1962 and really looked down on us submorons with our Batman movies and our rock music, and it always came across as condescendingly snobbish. It used to give me the weird impression that only that kind of person was allowed to be anyone important in the future because they thought only that kind of person should be allowed to be anyone important now.

Not that everyone has to be a gee whiz idiot like Tom Paris, but it was nice to eventually see people have interests that went all the way up to the early-to-mid 1950s... in the 2370s (just the way tons of people now are into stuff from the 16th century, so...).

Eh, it's really enough for me that Enterprise had movie night and T'Pol loved Bride of Frankenstein.

Your line about Joe Piscopo made me laugh embarrassingly loud first thing in the morning.

William Mercado said...

Oh yeah movie night on Enterprise but of course they weren't as civilized as the 23rf century crew.

Also remember Buck Rogers In The 25th Century where they were all a bunch of fuddy duddies until Buck taught them how to boogie down

William Mercado said...

PS glad I made you laugh

Vachon said...

Imagine my shock when in Babylon 5, Garibaldi was actually watching Daffy Duck cartoons. It was also refreshing to know that in the 2250s and 2260s that there were at least attempts at making original programming for their time.

A problem I specifically have with Star Trek (due to its many iterations) is their lack of commitment to their future history whether it turned out that way or not. If Khan existed, then the Eugenics Wars happened in 1996 even though they clearly did not for us. Yet when some of the Voyager crew ended up in the 1990s, not even a hint that genetic supermen were on the verge of taking over a sizable portion of the planet. :-)

Nathan said...

I'm sure the Duck Dodgers cartoons will gain renewed popularity when the actual twenty-fourth-and-a-half century rolls around. More seriously, I think the future history thing a problem every show set in the future has. Even if it takes place in the far future, there are going to be some references to a future that the makers of the show are likely to see themselves.