you are no longer just you

Hello, readers.

Summer in London has ended. Everything is grey and wet and will probably stay that way forever.

Also.

The Wachowskis Awesome Fun Time Philosophy Show continues with their new Neflix series, Sense8. They’re collaborating with JMS, himself, J. Michael Straczynski, whose name I always have to look up and also he introduced me, before Whedon, even, to internet discussion of televison.

 

Bae Doona!
Sayeed!

Sense 8 premieres June 5. I’m in.

Also, also.

FACEBOOK launched this thing called Instant Articles yesterday which means that sometimes when you click on a New York Times story, for example, you will remain inside of Facebook. DARING FIREBALL described the deal with publishers thusly,

I can see why these news sites are tempted by the offer, but I think they’re going to regret it. It’s like Lando’s deal with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.

There’s a good rundown of the motivations behind the deal, for Facebook and publishers, at STRATECHERY. He also talks about the economics of advertising on the internet here. It’s surprisingly kind of awesome and interesting and I guess that’s because Ben Thompson write good.

Happy Thursday, readers.

ttfn.

well played, lions. well played.

Hello, readers.

Daredevil, on Netflix, hurts, but if you make it through, there is some catharsis. Also, Pavarotti.

Still, one wonders, and tires, with the torture. I would rather my plot move without feeling like, or depending on, torture, thank you. Is there a superhero show, besides Doctor Who, which moves without torture? Even Buffy had its fair share of pummeling for information. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Netflix renewed Daredevil for a second season. Doug Petrie will be running it, as DeKnight goes off DeKnighting. DeKnight, himself, took over for Drew Goddard. With Whedon doing Avengers, and Jed/Maurissa doing S.H.I.E.L.D., sometimes it feels as if Mutant Enemy is sitting in the secret volcano lair with Kevin Feige and Elon Musk.

Oh, yeah. Elon Musks is possibly getting himself a secret volcano lair if the Tesla battery launch goes as well as he hopes.

If, instead, as probably won’t happen, something goes horribly wrong, and it creates superheroes or, I don’t know, the end of the world, John Oliver is prepared.

Well played, lions. Well played.

ttfn.

p.s. I love John Oliver.

13 (early) thoughts on daredevil

Hello, readers.

Daredevil premiered on Netflix a bit ago. People have said things. Rotten tomatoes gives it a score of 97%. Which begs the question, when did Rotten Tomatoes begin doing television?

Here is a list of things I imagined saying before I wrote them down and made them no longer imaginary.

  1. When did ‘bald’ become synonymous with evil?            title
  2. I swear to all the flying kung-fu spaghetti monsters in all the multitudinous realities that if one more person screams their need of an unknown name, I will yell “MOONCHILD!” and expect luck dragons to fall out of my television.
  3. This thing where everything’s happening in real time is really kind of cool.
  4. I should be watching Agent Carter.
  5. There are a lot of different kinds of evil on this show. Heroic evil. Gentrified evil. Lazy evil. Ambitious evil. Cowardly evil. Aforementioned bald evil.
  6. I’m not sure trunks are all that different from fridges when it comes to women but, Rosario Dawson. She’s cool. Not always in the show. But, in general.
  7. I’m on episode seven, and there’s a thing I like in how much Matt Murdoch sucks at this superhero thing. Which makes sense. He doesn’t have any mentors. Magical or otherwise.
  8. The dialogue wavers between pulp awesome and pulp dumb with dashes of Foggy said a funny thing.
  9. Drew Goddard began running the show and left. Steven S. DeKnight took over. Both Buffy alums. From them comes a certain benefit of the doubt and so far it’s been rewarded.
  10. Real-estate may be the source of all evil in this show.
  11. Murdoch has had some backstory. Very little for everyone else. This show is told in PRESENT TENSE. Fascinating.
  12. That is all. For now.
  13. Except. Violence. There is that. Not any worse than OLD BOY and not any better, either, but there’s an exhausting fight at the end of episode two that’s so long I cringed with empathy.

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how orphan black is not a time vampire

Hello, readers.

If you’ve not see Orphan Black (season 3 premieres APRIL 18TH[woot!]), that’s too bad, because it has most defintely seen you.

Wait, no, that’s creepy and probably not true.

What is true is two things (well, probably there are more than two true things in this world, but, for the sake of this particular post, let’s focus on two).

1) I watched most of Orphan Black in a week or so long binge of all the episodes ever with my sister and eg. A great way to watch any series, really, but in particular, a great way to watch Orphan Black because it manages to be totally pulpy and intellectual at the same time. It’s sexy and thought provoking. It’s feminist and queer and possibly intersectional though I don’t know if the intersection between feminism and queerness and cloning is exactly what they had in mind with that. But, really. It has its own hashtag #cloneclub

2) The other day, I ran across THE MANY FACES OF TATIANA MASLANY by Lili (omg how awesome is my name) Loofbourow (@Millicentsomer) in the New York Times Magazine.

It’s a fantastic profile of a fantastic actress and her life and role in a fantastic series that manages to do all of the amazing things, including frame feminism and genre in interesting ways, and also avoid being about time vampires.

On feminism and genre:

In its subject matter, “Orphan Black” broods on the nature-nurture debate in human biology, but in its execution, the show cleverly extends the same question to matters of genre. What does the exact same woman look like if you grow her in the petri dish of “Desperate Housewives” or on a horror-film set in Eastern Europe? What about a police procedural? The result is a revelation: Instead of each archetype existing as the lone female character in her respective universe, these normally isolated tropes find one another, band together and seek to liberate themselves from the evil system that created them.

The question at the show’s heart is whether the clones have free will and the right to lead normal lives, or if they are valuable only as experimental subjects to be monitored, impregnated, sterilized and policed. “It’s so thematically connected to feminist issues,” Graeme Manson, one of the show’s creators, told me. “Who owns you, who owns your body, your biology? Who controls reproduction?”

On not being Time Vampire:

The secret code name for “Orphan Black” at Pinewood Toronto Studios is “Time Vampire.” It’s also the crew’s nickname for the Technodolly, a telescoping camera crane that memorizes and repeats complex movements exactly, enabling a multiple-­clone scene to be constructed in layers. Maslany does the scene as each clone twice — once using a double (or doubles) to get the blocking, timing and shadows right, and then once without. Because the camera movements are identical from take to take, they can be layered together in postproduction.

All joking aside, “Time Vampire” also encapsulates what “Orphan Black” could have been without Maslany’s nuanced performance: a show so bogged down in its technical ambition and so in love with the possibilities of its own technology that it seemed mechanical. Instead, the final product feels organic, natural, real. When one clone pours another clone a glass of wine, you’re so engrossed by the dynamic developing between them that you barely notice you’ve just witnessed an extraordinary feat of engineering.

There’s more brilliance where that came from. Go read it.

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stillness

Hello, readers.

The last ice storm I remember (other than those featuring a young, pre-ringbearing Elijah Wood), occurred in 1994. I was thirteen. We had a landline. Possibly a rotary phone. When you went for a walk everything was quiet except for the sound of everything slowly breaking, ice melting in the sun, refreezing at night, branches and wires unaccustomed to the weight bending, bending, and then, at last, falling. It was wise not to walk under things during this time.

School was cancelled for a week. I don’t remember doing anything much different than what my sister and I did a few weeks ago, sled and play video games. Sometimes kneel and look at frozen things. Leaves, blossoms, paint brushes. Stillness in unexpected places.

Something else that happened in 1994 was Friends.

I watched the pilot yesterday. It reminded me of that year and of being thirteen and of fearing stillness and sex and not always understanding what the people on tv meant when they said things but wanting and trying to understand the world through this box with the people. What’s amazing is how looking back sometimes feels like looking forward. I can see myself in episodes of Friends looking forward to who I am now. I can see myself wondering when I will date and when I will kiss and when I will fall in love in such a way as to warrant standing still in the pouring rain full of unexpected hope.

So. I watch. And I wave to myself. Hello, I say.

Nice to see you after all this time, I say.

Dear god, my past self says, this parachute is a knapsack.

Chandler was an early role model.

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folks, if this is you’re first time tuning in

Hello, readers.

This one time, in French, I had to write a poem. The poem I wrote was about the ant and the grasshopper. Do you know the story of the ant and the grasshopper? In the story, the ant stores up food for winter. Grasshopper does not. Grasshopper, in the story, dies. In my poem, this did not happen. In my poem, ant collected the food. And told Grasshopper he would be sorry. And then, though, a storm came, and washed away the ant hill, and killed all the ants, and the Grasshopper collected the food from the wreckage. Possibly, I said something like, “Sometimes things happen. They usually do.”

I don’t remember. What I remember is working really hard to think and write in French and enjoying writing something absurdist in French. When my professor handed the poem back to me, he wrote, in red pen, something along these lines:

Ceci comme le Colbert.

Which blew my mind. My French professor watched the Colbert Report! And he thought of it while reading a poem in French!

Which is all to say, Colbert said goodbye last night, and I thought of this poem, and that class, and the people around me at the time, that aren’t around me anymore. This is what always happens at the end of things. You start thinking about the beginning. And the middle. And everything in between. And you begin missing everything. It’s very Catcher in the Rye. Except with less pretending you got shot, or ducks. Really, very much, far fewer ducks.

Here’s a link because links.

Also. Well.

NIne years. That’s what we got. Where does the time go? Nowhere. Time stays still. We move through space. It’s science. Somewhere out there, this boy with a blog is, was, will be, twenty-five; in love; writing poems in French; and sitting on a living room futon, watching a very silly man be very silly. It was a blast.

On se reverra, je ne sais pas où, je ne sais pas quand,
Mais je sais qu’on se reverra, un jour ensoleillé.

See you in the future, readers.

goodnight.

well-intentioned poorly informed high status idiot

Hello, readers.

In the UK, they start there weeks on Monday, as opposed to the more traditional, equally made-up, tradition in the U.S. of beginning our weeks on Sunday. At least in the calendrical sense. In any case, today is neither Sunday, nor Monday, but Wednesday. Which more or less comes in the middle whatever way you count your days.

Here are some things to see you through the middle. All of them about Stephen Colbert. Because I am sad he is going away, and so happy that he is only just arriving. He once described the character of Stephen Colbert as a ’well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot.” Over the years, the reason I kept watching the show, though, while in part for his absurdist proof-by-contradiction style, was as much for Colbert the role-playing geek, the star wars geek, and the lotr geek.

Thing one:

“It has been an amazing high-wire act, every night, watching one of the greatest live performers of our time create an intricate meta-upon-meta joke we can all feel in on.”

Will Leitch, writing for Bloomberg, on Colbert as one of the best improv performers of all time. Includes Colbert’s great interview with Maurice Sendak

Thing two:
Here’s Colbert’s last musical guest, Kendrick Lamar.

Thing three:

“At first, it was unsettling to see him without his invisible mask, but he was such a sweet guy that, ultimately, the brief pre-show chat stayed with me longer than anything he did on the show. I’ll miss ‘Colbert.’ But I’m really excited about Colbert.”

Hadley Freeman writing in the Guardian on Colbert’s persona and interview skills

Thing four:

’‘“Yeah,” said Colbert, “but no one’s going to pay me to watch him anymore, so fuck that noise.”’

Colbert on never having to watch Bill O’Reilly again.

Thing five:

“I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books,” Colbert boasted during his very first show in October 2005. “They are elitist, constantly telling us what is or isn’t true, or what did or didn’t happen…I don’t trust books. They’re all fact, no heart.”

EW has a list of wonderful things Colbert has done for us.

Happy truthiness, readers.

ttfn.