Wednesday, April 8, 2009

all righty then

so, in the interests of not sitting here and angsting for the rest of the night over the 3-page paper my preservation professor desires me to rewrite (seriously, man -- 3 freakin' pages -- couldn't you at least have given it to me earlier or waited 'til i was off the decongestant and stopped seeing swirls?), i have a couple of amusing links for your evening.

the first is something that anna passed on to me from city journal. never heard of it? me neither. heard of it? you're ahead of me. i had to do some poking around on the website to reassure myself it was real. i think it is. 

anyway, the thing is this article called how science fiction found religion ('cause apparently it was lost. or sci-fi was lost. or, as the scifi channel would have us believe, syfy was lost. i wonder if they thought they could do that and keep the geek contingent. anyway. not the point.)

please, do go ahead and click on in and enjoy the insanity. far be it from me to ruin the fun for you, although i do just have to say that he presents the messianic plot of the matrix as though he, benjamin a. plotinsky, had just discovered it fresh and new on his shelf in 2009. sir? i think most of us noticed it back in 1999 about...oh, say...20 minutes in? maybe 30? if you were really blown away by all the latex and the guns and lost track of things for a few minutes.

he manages to dismiss c.s. lewis and tolkien -- both as authors and as film adaptations -- in one paragraph -- well done. nicely put. not that he missed the point at all there.

and then, inevitably, unavoidably, and, oh, so wrongly, we get to star wars because, well, we had to. we can ignore pretty much everything he has to say about the new trilogy because i realise it's a matter of taste. i happen to like the new movies; i don't particularly want hayden christensen or jake lloyd or george lucas, for that matter, burned at the stake over them; and, really, jar jar binks didn't annoy me all that much. but i have to take issue with two things in mr. plotinsky's ever-so-skilful dissection of the original trilogy: his characterization of luke as "gifted" and his dismissal of obi-wan in empire and jedi.

describing luke as "gifted" is both really complimentary and staggeringly wrong. if he were honestly, actually gifted -- as in overtly talented, immediately skilled at anything he tries to do, if he picked up a lightsabre and knew exactly how the whole thing worked absolutely perfectly, etc., etc. -- what would be the point of the story? you wouldn't have a campbell-style "hero's journey" where he has to learn the odd thing or two -- you'd have something more like "wander around after the irritatingly 'good at everything' kid and see what happens." much less gripping. a big part of the original trilogy is the learning curve -- and what happens when you fall off it or try to rush it.

and the whole obi-wan thing. plotinsky clearly just misses the boat on the ghost idea: "After his death, Obi-Wan does nothing more than appear as a ghost from time to time." (or words to that effect) true -- i imagine he wouldn't be a whole lot of use if, say, your car was stuck in the mud or you needed to move a couch but, if i remember correctly, minus the timely appearance of obi-wan, luke would be dead in the first fifteen minutes of empire and we'd just follow han around for awhile 'til he ends up as a wall decoration and leia gets carted off to some fairly imaginable and probably dreadful fate. end of story. thank you and good night. to say nothing of numerous other interventions at what we might describe as the "critical moment" -- my personal favorite being his last discussion with luke on dagobah in jedi, since i've always pictured part of the unspoken conversation in luke's head being something like, "god, i wish i'd hit him with a brick when i had the chance."

mr. plotinsky (and the more i write that name, the more i have a feeling i'm getting taken for a ride but there are lots of other columns under that name and they mostly seem to be serious) also manages to nail star trek to a wall, too, but i really have no more rant left for that. i just happen to think that, y'know, categorizing the entirety of next generation as "boring" might be a tad bit harsh. keeping in mind small details like inner light and best of both worlds. just, y'know, small things like that.

there is also this from io9.com: why sci-fi tv dies at the 7th season. apart from some too-easy slaps at doctor who (don't get bitchy just 'cause it's successful, guys), it's an interesting article. i don't know if we necessarily want f/sf shows that wander on for a year and a day, but an awful lot of them do seem to have sadly short lifespans. they miss some shows which i might've thrown up for comparison, like the sarah connor chronicles which seem to be struggling along gamely; torchwood, which has seasons 3 and 4 bought, if i remember right; sanctuary, which just got renewed for season 2 which is remarkable given that it's a "sci-fi channel original"; reaper. i'm sure there are others i'm missing in the fog of otc medicaments. personally, i think i might just be happier with tighter plotting and more confidence that the screenwriting team knows what's going to happen more than a week or two in advance. quality, not quantity.

the other little fun link i have to toss up here is from the guardian books website and may amuse those of you who read my recent rant about david starkey: and this is what his writing room looks like! look! even his writing room was fitted out by a guy! ;)

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