Blade Runner’s Hong Kong (Or, How to Read Those Dull Academic Papers)

Blade-Runner-posterIt’s so frustrating to run across an academic paper about your favorite comic or movie or TV show. Academics always say one or two smart things and then spend the rest of a 20-page paper gabbling about incomprehensible theories we ordinary people don’t have time for.

It’s kind of cute, really. I picture a tenure-seeking associate professor of film or cultural studies (like the authors of 90% of these papers) tapping away on her trusty laptop — until she’s brought up short! She realizes she’s gone three whole paragraphs without citing Slavoj Žižek and she’s in danger of failing the intellectual Voight-Kampff test! TIME TO GET THEORY’D UP!!

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For a normal person, the only way to read one of these articles is according to the following rule:

If a paragraph has a lot of scholarly references, skip it.

Take this neat paper I found about how Blade Runner and other movies with a grunge-tech vibe (Ghost in the Shell, Johnny Mnemonic, Akira, Hackers) all used one particular area of Hong Kong as their template. What makes a scruffy Asian urban neighborhood more “futuristic” than a scruffy American urban neighborhood? Answers after the jump.

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Rowling Sucks Some More: An Anti-Potter Saturnalia

deathly-hallows-cover Just to sustain the unproductive negativity of the last post, here’s another round of J.K. Rowling-bashing for anti-Potterites or just people who enjoy being all “nonconformist” and stuff.

First, a couple of helpful links: To skip reading Deathly Hallows at all, go here. Also, you can watch Brad Neely’s Sorcerer’s Stone commentary soundtrack on YouTube.

But enough of that. Let’s get hurtful!

Infectious_Mononucleosis_3“I HATE HAVING MONO and having to work on Harry Potter night. I thought I was going to die. We had a line wrapped around for 4.5 hours. I had to step away a few times before I blew chunks in someone’s latte. I hope Harry dies.”LiveJournaler Kelly

“AMERICA, YOUR TASTE IN READING SUCKS, your reading comprehension is poor, and you wouldnt know the difference between a static and dynamic character if they both hit you.” — MySpacer Johnny Trash

“PATRONIZING, VERY CONSERVATIVE, HIGHLY DERIVATIVE … a pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style which has left me with a headache …” — Whitbread book award judge Anthony Holden

More after the jump…

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Rowling Sucks! An Antidote to Mass Hysteria

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Jo.

 Sick of J. K. Rowling? Me too. Whether you hate Harry Potter or just need a palate cleanser, here are a few choice anti-Potter rants for your misanthropic snuggle-time.

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Dot.

GOBLET OF FIRE WAS NOT a book to be put down lightly but, as Dorothy Parker once put it, to be hurled with some force to the corner of the room. Rowling’s prose is as flat (and as English) as old beer, while Harry himself is not a boy of depth or subtlety.” — Guardian (U.K.) literary editor Robert McCrum

“THE MAIN BAD GUY IS A TOTAL BITCH. He’s like a combination of the Penguin from the old Batman and Robin TV show and one of the bad guys from Scooby Doo, always getting punked by a kid. At this point, how threatening can he be?” — blogger Kevin Palmer (PointlessBanter.net)

“IF YOU CALL ME A MUGGLE I am going to rip out your larynx with my nephew’s Tonka truck backhoe.” — Kevin Palmer again (PointlessBanter.net)

MORE after the jump…

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I Told You That Bitch Was Crazy

Do you ever wonder how your fandom stacks up to others, craziness-wise?

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Like, say you’re a comic book guy. When it’s time to head for the Great Mental Institution In The Sky, are you and your friends going to be walking behind the Ren Faire people, or will the sound of lutes and fifes be filtering up from the rear as you set your Chuck T-clad foot upon the first great marble step? (Actually, you can probably feel pretty safe that it’ll be the former — for what that’s worth. Be ready to stare at a lot of fat butts in farthingales as you trudge past Normal People Heaven.)

(And yeah, once you pass the Pearly Gates, the Great Mental Institution In The Sky is actually farther back than Normal People Heaven. But that’s just because they built it first!)

Anyhoo, I now know without a doubt who the craziest fans are. It’s anime fangirls.

fullmetal-alchemist Li’l Tuffy has recently become addicted to certain obliquely homoerotic Japanese television shows. And I want to gab about them. But it’s impossible, because Every Single Anime Fan In America is a nerdy, high-strung 20-year-old college girl. Which means everyone on anime fan forums is, too. And yeesh, I never used to worry about the State Of America’s Youth, but I’m telling you … you would quail.

The latest example: In the Livejournal community devoted to my favorite show, I posted a topic saying, “I think the movie version sucks. Let’s talk about why.” So, natch, all these people post reasons why it doesn’t suck. Including one person who asks why I have to be “so negative.”

But one brave soul begs to differ! She starts her post with, “I don’t want to offend anyone, but I actually agree with Tuffy.”

She doesn’t want to OFFEND ANYONE …

By criticizing a MOVIE.

It gets better! I posted a reply saying something like, “I think your opinions are heresy and you should be tarred and feathered.” Some over-the-top joke like that. And…

She DELETED HER POST

and

APOLOGIZED.

So, yeah. There it is. When I die, I’m finding a way to bring along some magazines. ‘Cause there’s gonna be a hell of a bottleneck at that intake desk.

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S.I.

Today, everyone’s favorite ’80s icon.

And I do mean everyone’s.
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Bat-ernational?

Oh brother, just as I was firmly resolving to stop paying so much attention to this blog, I run into a coincidence like this. Within a 24-hour period I see…

Putin visits the Batcave! Or at least his new hi-tech security HQ. Which inexplicably has a Batman symbol on the floor. (Also, four out of five political leaders and state administrators in Russia either have been or still are members of the security services, and stuff.)
But maybe the Batcave shouldn’t come as such a shock. After all, Putin has been known to talk about Cthulu.

AND AS IF THAT WEREN’T ENOUGH…

Melbourne, Australia not only has a Batman Park, but the city itself was almost named BATMANIA!

You have to kind of squint to see the words “Batman Park” on the sign. Visit the link (at Broken Glass Makes Me Laugh) for a bigger version.

Unreal.

I don’t even give a shit about Batman, but, really, unreal.

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Say it ain’t so, Spot

Ever since my post Furries in Space, I’ve been plagued by the nagging fear that not only was my attack on furries hackneyed, but that any sort of furry japery has become irrevocably passé. God, I hope that’s not true.

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Writing it, I was a little concerned that the 2001 Vanity Fair article had marked the high point in furry mockery, kind of like how Esquire’s 1997 “Cocktail Culture” cover story marked the end of cocktail culture. But I figured I’d go ahead and indulge. I didn’t know then that the guys in Something Awful‘s forums already had a long history of recreational anti-furry-ism.

Now I’m not sure whether I’ll ever feel comfortable mocking furries again. This is a terrible moment for me. How will I ever recover? Maybe with this. (NSFW) I like how the poster made sure to give it a ‘zoom’ feature. Also, is that really how you wear a cock ring? I don’t think that’s right.

Oh, and yeah, this post is partly an excuse to show the deformed plushie up there. It’s an “Aminal” by artist Catharine Lyons, who’s showing through Oct. 22 at Max Fish gallery in NYC. Thanks to Cityrag for the link.

Project Runway: Geekier Than You’d Imagine

As it clomps down to the wire, it’s becoming clear that there’s a diabolical link between Bravo’s Project Runway and fandom.

First there were the sleeves on designer Vincent’s pageant gown, which prompted guiding force Tim Gunn to say, “These ridiculous epaulette sleeves, talk about ‘Beam Me Up Scotty’! I mean, where were they going, to Judy Jetson’s birthday party?”

Then Phaolo of Project Yawnur compared the four designers remaining in the contest to the Fantastic Four.

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The Invisible Woman was Uli, who “went unnoticed for most of the season.” Jeffrey was The Thing because he “doesn’t care who he steamrolls over.” Laura was “Stretch” (I think he means Ms. Fantastic) because of her uniquely mobile facial expressions. Michael was the Human Torch because he’s … uh… hot and stuff. (3 out of 4 ain’t bad.)

Then the most recent episode prompted recapper Rich of fourfour to compare one designer to Gollum:

“Angela thinks fleurchons are preshhhhhhusssssss”

As well as comparing host Heidi Klum’s hair to the work of H.R. Giger.

Finally, a fourfour commenter posited a link between designer Jefferey’s neck tattoos and Trek:

“Don’t you think Jeffrey’s neck is channeling a member of the Cardassian empire? Gul-lejerk maybe? “

He even linked to that geekiest of sites, Star Trek Gaming Universe!

You know what this means? It’s only a matter of time before Peter Jackson and David Tennant start turning up on the cover of Vogue. In costume. (Jackson will simply choose a costume.)