My phone keeps shoving news about Steven Moffat’s new TV adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife at me, and...I’m not gonna watch it, but...
So much of what Moffat did with the companions during his years running Doctor Who makes so much more sense when you realize he was constantly stealing from--I mean, paying homage to--The Time Traveler’s Wife. I did not realize this because I haven’t read the novel. But let me share with you this piece from Vulture:
A Warning from the Future about The Time Traveler’s Wife
The writer imagines being visited by her one-week-from-today self, who has bad news for her about some of the things she’s worried about based on the first episode (spoiler alert: nothing gets better). But about halfway through they are joined by the writer’s 2010 era self:
“Kathryn from 2010: It’s me, Kathryn from 2010! I just heard you describing a show in which a mysterious older man shows up occasionally to guide and interact with a young redheaded girl who is wise beyond her years until eventually she’s an adult whose whole life has been shaped by this man. And I thought, They must be watching the new season of Doctor Who, now helmed by new showrunner Steven Moffat! Because that’s just how it starts!
Kathryn today: Uh, no, actually. This is The Time Traveler’s Wife, and in this show, the older man is a traumatized but very special person who is all alone in the universe and whose only real connection to humanity comes via his deep, meaningful relationship with … oh, wait. Wait. I see what you’re saying.”
Poor Kathryn of 2010 didn’t realize Moffat would be doing this plot AGAIN, much more creepily, with River Song, and then doing a less immediately recognizable and more gradual version of it with Clara. But we can all savor the ironies.
I know this country is still a dumpster fire, but I WILL take a moment to celebrate the ignominious defeat of one of the biggest assholes ever elected to the House of Representatives: Madison Cawthorn.
True, there are many other GOP representatives who are equally richly deserving of this fate. But for pure mendacity and cynicism, Cawthorn was hard to beat. Well, he overplayed his hand, and he’s not coming back in 2022.
Which just goes to show you that the ‘establishment’ GOP could primary-purge all of these insurrectionist assholes if they wanted to. But mostly, they don’t.
Brace yourselves, I’m going to be excited about this for a LONG time.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate to Return to Doctor Who in 2023
I am going to be very interested to see this.
There was this behind the scenes photo circulating of David Tennant sitting by the TARDIS and everyone was all oooh, David Tennant’s coming back, and I was like, that woman standing next to him with her back turned to the camera is definitely Catherine Tate as Donna Noble and WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS? But now they are!
Until certain events that took place in season 3 of Torchwood, the wrap-up of Donna Noble’s arc in “Journey’s End” was the worst thing Russel Davies had ever done to his fans. If you go through the #donna noble tag on this blog you will find a lot of very upset commentary on what Davies did to that character on her way out. I was so pissed off and unsettled I had to write a fix-it in which Donna is finally restored to her full awesomeness.
Because “Journey’s End” established pretty firmly that Donna could never go back to the TARDIS--at least, she couldn’t do it and survive--I never expected to see her brought back. But she’s coming back!
I mean, yes, I am excited about all the other changes and the first (OK, technically second as per “The Timeless Children”) Black doctor and new Rose and everything else. But the return of Donna Noble is a gift I did not expect the universe to ever give me.
OK, so, all of the above is true. But also.
This scene, in which Kirk does undeniably establish that the Federation is pro-contraception and which certainly does take aim at pro-life politics, occurs in the context of a conflict over how to solve the massive overpopulation problem that Gideon has created for itself. The plot of “The Mark of Gideon,” and this scene itself, arise from a whole complex of assumptions made by Americans about population growth in the “Third World” and its regulation that led to a whole different range of state-sponsored abuses, including forced and “incentivized” sterilization programs.
I mean go ahead and enjoy the GIFset and absolutely ST:TOS was completely infused with political content and utopian dreams and anyone who says different is lying or mistaken...but the context is important. The whole episode is...I mean technically it is not a great episode but it does raise a lot of really interesting questions.
Am I the only one that’s a just a tiny bit pissed off that this is still an issue?
The Original Series wasn’t even in the general VICINITY of fucking around yo
How many shows these days would do this, and do it this way? These days, it would be all, “Ohh, we have to be sensitive and show the nuances of each side” and try not to make either side seem wrong. It wouldn’t be clearly spelled out, “pro-choice is right, if you’re against it you’re the bad guys.”
Jim Kirk is not here for your anti-birth-control, anti-choice, pro-death-penalty BS
James Tiberius Kirk was written and portrayed as a feminist and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
Yep. That episode is exactly what you think it is: pro-birth control, pro-population control, pro-choice, and pro-women’s right to choose. And yes, Kirk, the supposed playboy of the spaceways, is in favor of all of the above.
It was written and aired in 1969.
It probably couldn’t air today.
THINK ABOUT THAT.
Also LMAO at all the sad whiny geek boys who are like “I miss the GOOD OLD DAYS of SCI-FI when it wasn’t all about SOCIAL ISSUES and instead it was just about MEN HAVING FUN IN SPACE. Like Star Trek! Star Trek wouldn’t put up with all this SOCIAL JUSTICE FEMINISM IN SCI FI bullshit!” And meanwhile I’m just over here like “…did you actually watch the show?”
It’s also important to bear in mind that the Original Series had a predominantly female fanbase, and during its initial run, was widely mocked and dismissed by mainstream (i.e., male) science fiction fans as being fake sci-fi for girls. It’s difficult to overstate the influence women had on the franchise in its early days; most of the early Star Trek conventions were organised by and for women, and indeed, those same organisers were primarily responsible for the massive letter-writing campaign that prevented the show from being cancelled after the 1968 season. Without that campaign, the episode pictured in this post would never have been made.
The popular image of James Kirk as a sleazy womaniser is part of a conscious effort to erase that history and render the franchise’s roots palatable to the misogynistic geekboys of the modern SF/F fandom.
For a summary of those points, see “Star Trek’s Underappreciated Feminist History” by Shannon Mizzi, which draws from Patricia Vettel-Becker’s “Space and the Single Girl: Star Trek, Aesthetics, and 1960s Femininity”.
And a gentle reminder that TOS was a Desilu production, which its board of directors voted to cancel after the second pilot due to cost concerns, a vote that Chairman Lucille Ball overruled. There is no Star Trek without Lucille Ball.
Originally posted by zidlersdiamonddogs
Basically you have women to thank for Star Trek. Go suck on that, JJ Abrams.
Bringing this back because I recently saw a post from a dudebro complaining about how Star Trek has become all “PC and has an agenda” unlike in the “good old days”
so here is a clip from the “good old days” of Star Trek not having an agenda.
so i just sent this to my brother who thinks he’s ‘all that’ about star trek and i’m just grinning at how annoyed he’s gonna be with it bc i keep sending him snippets of the reblogs ahahaha
I wrote up this whole thing about reproductive politics and then I felt so discouraged I deleted it. So here, have a post about paper plate awards.
This is a tradition started by one of the directors at our community theater, which she got from some other director, etc. etc. etc. I am sure it is a widespread practice. Anyway: at the cast party, the director makes paper plate awards to present to everyone in the cast and on the production team. It’s a paper plate with the title of the award and the name of the recipient written on it in black Sharpie. As far as either materials or labor goes, the paper plate award is intentionally valueless.
There are no predetermined categories for the paper plate awards. The awards are tailored for each individual recipient. Each award recognizes something very specific that the individual brought to the show; sometimes it’s related to acting but sometimes it’s not. But remarkably, every time, for every individual there is a perfect award, and your job as the director is to find out what it is. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it’s hard. But there’s always some unique contribution that person made, which can be condensed into a phrase, which can be written on the paper plate and then presented, usually with an explanatory narrative, which tells the story of how that person made the show the triumph that it was.
I’ve been thinking about how much these paper plate awards mean to people. The last time I distributed them, I presented one to a child who had had her first (small) part in one of our shows, and I could see her whole face lighting up as I handed it to her. The adults are less demonstrative...but it still matters to them. I was in the house of another member of that cast, a grown man with a family and a very important job, and I saw he had his paper plate award up on the family fridge with a magnet and everything.
We get older and the people around us take the things that we can do for granted. Nobody congratulates you for getting up for work in the morning or for cooking dinner. But we still want to be acknowledged and recognized. We still want people to feel the love and dedication with which we do All The Things. The paper plate awards provide these little moments--moments at which the person realizes that they have been seen, that they have been appreciated, that they are unique and irreplaceable.
We don’t outgrow our need for that. People just stop giving it to us.
Anyway. So this is a nice thing that because of community theater I get to do once in a while: give people paper plate awards. But you can actually do this for any reason, not just at the end of a show. Surprise your loved one with a stupid paper plate award today!
I love how you guys are discovering spicy Hungarian paprika, and yes it is super good! But as a Hungarian I feel like it's my duty to mention that paprika hendl is simply german for our national dish paprikás csirke and it is Not made with spicy paprika. It's got sweet paprika. Jonathan Harker is unfortunately just british.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: it’s more important to know and understand fully why something is harmful than it is to drop everything deemed problematic. It’s performative and does nothing. People wonder why nobody has critical thinking skills and this is part of it because no one knows how to simousltansly critique and consume media. You need to use discernment.
This is ultimately why propaganda is going to work on you. Because you never learned how to think for yourself and the actual ideology behind things. You simply rely on group think and the bare minimum explanations to tell you what’s good and bad.
Saw this article linked on twitter yesterday and…. yeah. YEAH.
I often wish that everyone on tumblr would read the Eve Sedgwick essay cited by the post just above this one. Here is the full bibliographical information:
Sedgwick, Eve Kokofsky. “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading: Or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You.” In Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham: Duke U P, 2003.
I have more to say about this but it got long, so have a read more break.
So @shdwsilk asks about the news that Sinn Fein is now the party with the largest number of seats in Northern Ireland’s Parliament.
I’ve only read one article about this, and it was by NPR, so I am not fully informed. The NPR piece points out that although Sinn Fein now has the most seats, it does not actually have a majority, because unlike the US there are more than two viable political parties in Ireland. So it is not as if unification is going to happen tomorrow. To form a functioning government, Sinn Fein will have to ally itself with other parties; and there are other complications created bythe 1998 power-sharing agreement. All of that is discussed in that NPR piece.
I do have some thoughts:
* Northern Ireland as a political entity was created for the express purpose of carving out a space where Protestant/Unionists could be the majority. The goal was to perpetuate Protestant/Unionist dominance in the region with the highest concentration of Protestant/Unionists. This latest development suggests that regardless of these original intentions and the corruptions and violence that have propped up Protestant/Unionist dominance in Northern Ireland since 1922, things have shifted to the point where that dominance can no longer be maintained.
* We knew that Brexit was going to have a major influence on politics in Northern Ireland but I”m not sure anyone was predicting this (again, the NPR piece quotes some analysts arguing that this happened because the Protestant/Unionist vote was split because of disagreements over Brexit).
* This sends a message to the Protestant/Unionist parties that their political dominance in Northern Ireland is, if not forever over, at least significantly threatened. Marching season starts in July. It would not surprise me if it is extra-provocative this year.
* So overall: this is in the long run a positive development but I expect first there will be acute backlash.
Tasks & Asks Is Back
The long boring task has returned to claim me. I have reached the eyeball-sporking phase, and yet there is so much task to go.
Ask me things. It’ll be fun.
The long boring task has returned to claim me. I have reached the eyeball-sporking phase, and yet there is so much task to go.
Ask me things. It’ll be fun.
If you suddenly got a massive grant to open and run a school, what would it look like? Who would it admit? What would its educational philosophy be? Assume you could configure it to your liking but then had enough money to handpick people to run it and teach at it thereafter.
What an interesting ask, and how hard it is to answer!
Constant readers will not be surprised to learn that I have already thought about this in some detail. Education has been very important in my own life, and a lot of my writing depicts education in both its institutional and informal forms. I have also, off and on, been thinking of one day writing a utopian novel based on the nineteenth century Garden City idea, and one of the central draws of these communities would be a utopian educational system.
However, I have been blocked from starting this novel by the fact that I can't really come up with a utopian educational system. I have, at least, learned what some of the major barriers to creating one would be.
There is no educational approach that works for every student. Every student has different ways of learning, and discovering them can be a slow process. If you just choose a single educational philosophy and apply it to the whole school, it will fail a significant number of students--especially if, as it would have to be in a utopian society, your school was open to everyone and could not select for a specific type of learner. (Private schools, by the way--and many of the "good" public schools that are highly desirable to middle-class parents--maintain their desirability precisely through this kind of selection, and not just at the admissions stage. Students who turn out to be the "wrong" kind of learner are often forced out, though usually not through anything as definitive as expulsion.)
2. Recognizing #1, many alternative pedagogical approaches (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.) seek to create a flexible, rich classroom environment where students have a lot of physical freedom and a lot of choice about what to do and learn intuitively through hands-on experience, etc. This model is very attractive and appeals strongly to parents, who are all tired of institutional settings and being told what to do 8+ hours a day. The problem with it, in my experience, is that what is apparently freedom from structure is often merely disguised structure--there is a set of expectations and there are consequences for not meeting them, but instructors don't *tell* the students what the expectations are until after said students have failed to meet them. Another problem with this approach is that it creates a classroom full of distractions which can make it more difficult for some kids to learn.
3. Then there is the question of how you know whether learning is happening or not, and how you might assess that without creating a panoptical surveillance system or a Kafkaesque bureaucracy or a Hunger Games-style incentive structure or...you get the idea. Some instructors are going to teach well and some will teach less well and some, you will eventually discover, really should not be teaching at all. It's important to be able to get rid of people who have no business teaching; but it's difficult to create policies that allow you to do that which don't *also* diminish the autonomy, morale, and effectiveness of the people who are teaching well.
4. Also: What should people be learning? That's a whole other can of worms I don't have time to open.
So...this is why this question is hard to answer. I do have some bullet points about individual things that I think schools could do that would make life better for everyone concerned:
More contact with outdoor, non-engineered environments. I mean I don't want to say "nature," that has a lot of baggage I reject...but incorporate it into the curriculum that kids are going to go outside and mess around in unbuilt places (obviously, with adult supervision, but from afar-ish). Have no quantifiable pedagogical goal for this part of the school day.
Unwire school, at least at the elementary level. Integrate learning with bodily/sensory experience--including tactile, olfactory, etc. and not just visual/audible.
Make the arts part of the curriculum. Fund them at the same level you fund math and science.
Reduce class size.
But all this falls short of a real re-imagining, like: what if there is no "school"? What if from the beginning learning is just integrated into daily life activities, with instructors who go around from family to family or community to community? What if, for people who have learned the basics and want more, there's an opportunity to join communities that have dedicated themselves to the practice of whatever it is you want to learn?
Which sounds nice...but what about the kids whose family situation is incompatible with learning or really well-being? What about all the kids who found in school both learning and a refuge from the self-absorption/ unresolved trauma/ abuse/ indifference of their own parents? So you would you need to start by creating a utopian society? But then how do you do that?
Dystopia is easy, utopia is hard. It's easy to see how things have gone wrong and harder to imagine a credible way to put them right. C'est la vie.
Just wondering how you feel about the idea of Mofftiss' next project, a Dracula TV series. Now that they've ruined Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde and Sherlock.
Oh man. You know not what fury this question has unleashed.
So, first of all, there’s never really been a good film adaptation of Dracula. Throughout the twentieth century, most films purporting to be based on Dracula were basically just taking the title character and the basic premise and then doing whatever they wanted with them. In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola decided that he would sweep all this litter aside with an authentic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, and produced Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It met with a mixed reception, and people complained that it still wasn’t faithful to the novel.
Do you know why all these Dracula horror films wind up being unfaithful to the novel? Because Dracula is really a detective novel.
To be sure, it is a paranormal detective novel. But despite all the roaming around in graveyards and ramming stakes through people’s hearts and using the consecrated host as caulking and wreaths of garlic blossom and exsanguinated babies and allegories for many types of sexual assault and all the other horrifying and unholy aspects of Dracula, the book devotes actually more attention to the process whereby Mina and Jonathan Harker, Van Helsing, Quincy, Dr. Seward, and Lord Arthur Holmwood first figure out what’s actually happening and then track Dracula down in his Transylvanian lair. A significant amount of time is spent describing how Mina, who knows shorthand and is really the boss of the operation until Dracula’s vamping of her makes her too compromised to lead it, collates the accounts of events kept by each individual–Jonathan Harker’s travel journal, Dr. Seward’s dictated phonograph records, Mina’s letters back and forth with Lucy–into a complete and coherent narrative which allows everyone to start mapping and then predicting Dracula’s movements. Stoker was clearly concerned to make his vampire hunt behave–as much as possible–like a rational investigation conducted according to the principles of the science of deduction so recently popularized in Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. You know, until they actually find Dracula and then at that point all hell breaks loose. Everyone is very struck by how modern and rational and nineteenth-century they are being about this Terror from the Dark Ages.
Moffat’s approach to Sherlock proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t care about any of that. He took THE quintessential rational universe and turned it into his own Grand Guignol playground. He didn’t ‘get’ the Sherlock Holmes universe. There is no way he ‘gets’ the detective fiction aspect of Dracula.
Even worse, Dracula is built around two compelling female characters who Moffat will feel a need to ‘rescue’ from their Victorian bondage and turn into ‘strong women.’ In the process, he will undoubtedly destroy everything that made them compelling characters, overwriting it all with his Sexy Ninja Assassin template. As much as I might occasionally argue with it, Stoker’s approach to female characterization is actually more complex and interesting than Moffat’s is; but Moffat will not understand that. He will turn Mina Harker into River Song/Tasha Lem/AGRA Mary Morstan and God knows what he’ll do with Lucy Westenra.
So basically, I think this is a terrible idea and that what will come out of this project is something that looks great and captures none of what makes the novel interesting. And there is a 100% chance that if I watch any of it, I will yell at the screen. A lot.
Went through the Dracula tag today and honestly I think this is my favorite.
I’d forgotten that Van Helsing makes his own anti-Undead tomb sealant by kneading crushed consecrated host into putty and then rolling it into strips and sticking it into the door cracks like caulking. I hope someone’s out there now working on some kind of paranormal DIY faux reality show featuring VanHelsing’s Premium Anti-Vamp Sealant, with real communion wafers, now available as sprayable foam.
'What sort of place had I come to, and among what kind of people? What sort of grim adventure was it on which I had embarked? Was this a customary incident in the life of a solicitor's clerk sent out to explain the purchase of a London estate to a foreigner?'
Ask me stuff! About whatever! Let entertaining you be part of my motivational structure!
For the writing ask:
32. Do you have a word/expression that you always use in your writing?
13. Rate your worldbuilding skills from 1 to 10.
(I was going to ask #4 (Do you have any OCs? Do you have a story for them?) but that seemed unfair LOL)
For #32: They change with time. I mean when I was going through WOF for revisions at some point I realized that every time someone sat down or sat in the chair, Theamh was using the word "plumped." I went through and took all of those out. These short cuts tend to creep in during the "shoe leather" parts where I'm not greatly interested in exactly HOW someone walks down a corridor or gets onto a horse and I just use the formula, for all the world as if I were a pre-Homeric bard composing orally. There are others...like I use understatement a lot, and sometimes I use the same understatements to describe people's reactions. I don't do it on purpose and I try to stamp it out where I see it.
For #13: I would say about a nine.
I mean it is probably the thing I am best at, and I have built a LOT of world. Even with the Sherlock stuff, there's a lot of world-building in some of them, especially "Prior Engagements." But there are authors out there who are better at it than I am. In particular I've always been dissatisfied with my descriptions of the natural landscape. It's an important part of world building, especially if your world is preindustrial or alien...and I'm always like, trees, grass, rocks, sun is shining, let's go. I don't think I would be successful with sci-fi for that reason. C. S. Lewis, for all his other problems, is very good at helping you vizualize Perelandra. But as far as building a magical system goes, I will take a back seat to none, including and especially JKR.