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Saturday, 3 February 2018

Readers Request - Fandoms, Self Care, Reviewers, and Gods of Egypt, Apparently

Well it's about that time again, folks. Every now and then I do like doing this reader-contribution blog, because you lot are funnier than I am, frankly.

But this time we've had a couple topics that demand a lot more attention, homework and space than others, so if it is an unbalanced read... hey, democracy at work.

Names removed to protect the innocent. Some suggestions trimmed down for sake of brevity.

*coughObligatoryboobiescough* - Thank you. I almost thought we'd have another Readers Request without boobies. You have put a smile on my face, mystery reply-merchant.

Which fandoms have you come across over the years that have left the best/worst impressions? - Problem is that every fandom has good people and bad people, and volume and metrics are fluid. But one of the fandoms I have been simultaneously disgusted and overjoyed with recently is Star Wars. So much of the fandom has showed such grace and welcome for changes and respected the spoiler warnings. And a small amount of it has turned into such loud and obnoxious man-babies... so I guess it is much like the human race.

If you could have have any animal adaptation like melded onto you what would you have? - Axolotl health regeneration. And maybe their little feeler things. They're awesome.

If you watched the trump state of the union address (really don't blame you if you didn't), how much of a train wreck did you find it to be? - I didn't, because the entire administration is a train wreck. And it just keeps ploughing on. Through the hospital. Through the nunnery. Through the school. It just isn't stopping, not for anything. It makes me sad, and angry, and tired, but the only way it all stops is if he ends up out, and if the people running him end up out. I saw a few highlights. You know the thing that really struck me? Him, applauding himself. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why even the Zodiac Killer was a better repub candidate.

New A.I sex dolls...So when it's a doll or toy it's not cheating but when you factor in AI and that they can have personalities this will make things tricky. - Oooh so this is kinda one of the topics I love - not the sex doll part specifically but what makes sentience, what divides entities between thinking and simulation of thought, what makes one have a self. To get down to the brass tacks of it, and this is probably a good rule for life - ask your partner/s about it. Talk to them about it. Whatever it is. If you DEFINITELY know that they will try and knock you out for even thinking it? Yeah, put that back in the box, sentient doll or not. The problem comes from attitude. If Person A thinks something is okay and Person B doesn't - and it isn't obviously TOTALLY NOT OKAY, like moralistically - that is something for them to solve. Whether or not we should be programming sex toys that can think and feel, well that is a different matter; but I would say that if a personality has sentience and can think, that it gets the option of if it goes into the DildoMatic 19000 sexdroid or into the observation module of the next ISS shipment. Consent is important. If we're not okay with our sex toy deciding it doesn't want to be a sex toy, we probably shouldn't give it any AI whatsoever.

All the reasons why the Magicians is the best tv show - So I watched the trailer... and... I... am... going to watch a couple of episodes... and withhold judgement until then. The trailer doesn't impress me but I am wary of trailers, they're not made for me. Requesting Reader should be aware, I'm only doing this cos she was insistent and I trust 98% of her judgement.

I put one on your page! - Yes you did! That page of course is << My Facebook page!

how full of shit people are when they say "oh you just need to do some self care" - People are often full of shit when they lack knowledge on a topic but wade into it anyway. I've been told that my depression / rheumatoid / pulmonary fibrosis would be a lot better if I just did these simple things, all of which are straight out of a BuzzFeed headline. I think the people giving the advice think these things will genuinely help, which is sad, because of course they won't.

As 'the better half' has just been in hospital, how about an 'oldie but goody' and give us your take on what can do to stave off the privatization of the NHS... - What WE can do as people? We protest, we push, we write letters, we protest some more, but ultimately - those responsible and those who will profit from its sell-off can push it through without our say-so, and are even doing so already. What WE need to do is get the bastards out of the halls of power, before they can hand over the keys.

Favourite cake of: You / Your favourite hero / Your favourite villain / Random character of yours - Red velvet cake / Probably coffee & walnut / I can't PICK a favourite villain / Crowbar's favourite cake is plum wine served in a glass and without cake.

The commissioner of the NHL has had his position for 25 years. - Wow. That's either a good or a bad thing. Having done a little research, Gary Bettman looks like the kind of guy who is a semi-villain in a kid's movie about a local ice rink that is being bought up to be turned into a SUPER ARENA that won't have any room for kids to just skate around in. You know? Increased turnover is great, but labour problems and kinda forgetting where the sport came from - hard sell. But hey. It's not like he's the only rich man interfering with sports.

Gin! The cultural re-branding - It's super-popular now, even I've noticed this, and I don't really go out a whole lot. Used to be the thing you drank when you wanted to be super-sad, everyone knew it as Mother's Ruin. Now I see a lot of similarities with the way a proportion of the beer market has changed. Market on its differences, the craft that goes into making it, small makers, different varieties and flavours. It's like a hipster miracle but for a thing that I don't innately hate. (I mean I don't LIKE gin, but that's a taste thing. I don't hate the IDEA of gin.)

The recent super blue blood moon. - It was fucking cool, wasn't it? Looked absolutely great. And yet it was in the few days after that everything seemed stressy and tense. Full Moon Fever and all.

Who are some critics/reviewers whose work you like (and optional why or particular links) - For cinema and film, I am very fond of Every Frame A Painting, Movies With Mikey, Lessons From The Screenplay and Belated Media - mostly because they all speak thoughtful sense, without being weirdly judgemental, which I know sounds weird from a bunch of reviewers and critics. The other reviews I tend to pay attention to are GunPla - which my man at Shoky Reviews covers really tidily - and Transformers, which are very aptly and entertainingly brought into my life by the very metal Thew and the eternally chipper Emgo. You can get a lot worse video game yak than Dunkey, too.

Spice Girls. In general or a thought on their cultural significance - A lot of people liked them a lot. I wasn't one of those people. Ferociously successful, even for a pop group in a time when pop groups were expected to be. Crossed the Atlantic with relative ease. Unabashedly positive pro-girl message, Inspirational for a swathe of society. The upsides certainly overshadow the downside. Which is. Um. Basically the songwriting equivalent of mad libs.

Your take on hunting in a modern day society, considering all forms of hunting. - Practicality. You hunting an animal that is already profligate to survive and resource-gather? For yourself? Sure. You hunting a dangerous creature that needs to be put down for a larger good than its own existence? Sure. You hunting for a trophy? Go eat yourself. You going to kill a fox because you feel like it? Choke on yourself. I'm not against the concept of hunting, but like in every arena, wastefulness and pointlessness for ego stroking and other bullshit irks me. And hunting shit that simply won't recover? Putting animal civilisations to the sword, knowing that they are going extinct? Worst kind of fucking scum.

In light of what happened to me last year, and what [redacted] has been going through last 2 days, crowd funding at it's best. - While I am desperately sad that the world is in a state wherein to support ourselves and achieve things we need to rely on the kindness of others, my heart swells to see that those others step up to the plate. None of us have much, but when we have enough, we share what we have. We want to see people - people like us, who are struggling - do better. We want people to be okay. And if we could actually make society work that way, rather than just us; well, we'd be in a better situation.

Penis envy.. - I don't think penis envy exists. I think a keen awareness of injustice does. And if that injustice was classically associated with those on top having dicks, well, it's obviously the thing those with dicks would think. "Those womenfolk can't possibly just want to be treated as our equals," they would say, waving their glasses of brandy about and gesturing with cigars. "They must be jealous over this naked mole rat looking thing that is attached to our groins. And why WOULDN'T they be? Our penises are so glorious that, in an age wherein we will own hand-held objects that can transmit messages and even - AND EVEN - our likenesses across great distance, we should endeavour to show as MANY women as possible our particular assemblage of flesh! Yes, even the detestable little scrotal blob beneath! All of it! And they shall be SO jealous!"

The importance of nuance and context? - Absolutely critical. Every situation must be viewed in the context it exists, for clarity, for a full understanding of why it happens and what can be done about it. After all, we all exist in the context of the human race. That's something that needs to be considered whenever we make a decision. Another thing to consider is one of my favourite lines from Star Trek Discovery, which neatly covers something I often point out regarding morality and legality not being the same thing. "Universal law is for lackeys - context is for kings."

I would like to see your thoughtful and critical review of Gods of Egypt. (Tell you what, you write it and I’ll write one about everything I would do to fix it and make it better.) - ...I will begin this with a Fuck You for making me do this. That said. What follows is my thoughtful and critical review of Gods of Egypt.

Let it be known for the record that during the watching of this movie I didn't look anything up whatsoever. I think that to do some actual research into the aforementioned Gods of aforementioned Egypt would actually ruin the experience, as it is clearly not meant for anyone with even an amateur beginner's level grasp of Egypt as a historical and mythological entity. 
Right. So. 
Going into this film I expected very little, and yet, was disappointed by how precious little I was actually given. 
To address the very obvious elephant in the room, precisely two non-background people in this film actually looked like they could have been from Egypt. Neither of them were mortal. If we handwave the gods as getting a magic pass and being (mostly) white folks, then surely the mortals should reflect the actual ethnicity of the region, historically. Luckily, nobody who worked on this film has ever read a book, so we didn't have to see any of THAT awful forced diversity. 
On the topic of character, this film has no protagonist. We spend the entire movie hating everyone we are meant to like, or even the people we're meant to be indifferent to. The only person in this film I didn't want to see dead was Anubis. He was just doing his damn job, and kept getting interrupted by these gods who don't know how to behave. They keep talking about the rules of the Underworld, but those rules keep changing, for no apparent reason. Like Superman's strength, they change to suit the plot, moment to moment. 
The plot is as poorly written tripe as you can imagine. I'm fairly sure I read more complicated stories in primary school. Stories with character development. Characters that learn things, and learn not to do things. And if the overarching plot is bad, the actual script is lamentable. Even when delivered competently - which Gerard Butler seems to manage, no real competition mind - it is a sludge of cliche and bungled bullshit. When in the verbal grasp of the film's apparent mortal protagonist? Bek, I think his name was? Awful. Viscerally awful. It made me flinch, let alone cringe. 
But it's a fantasy action film, yes? So it's not meant to have a great story, or even a good script. It's meant to look great, exciting. It's meant to have feats of exceptional bravery and skill. It's meant to have stunning vistas and impressive backdrops with life-or-death struggle in centre stage. 
Whatever world this was set on, it was very, very varied. Full mangrove swamps. A city swathed in a fecundity of trees. A large grassy plain. A mountain with a forty-foot tall rock ring on top of it. An inky darkness with hard-to-see geographic features. Another inky darkness. Another inky darkness. And through it all, stunts and combat that seem to lack the basic understanding of how physics and motion works. 
The gimmick - each of the gods apparently being some kind of transformer that can turn into their classically-envisaged beast-head form - is...wasted. The design of each of them is competent, looking visceral, powerful. So when they go into battle with each other, we get some combat choreography and camera work that actually makes my head hurt. One cut per hit. Snapping from shot to shot, blink and you'll miss it. No sense of impact. No sense of harm done. No sense that this fight means anything at all. 
The message of the movie is that love is super important, and so is not killing your brother and trying to eat the entire world. 
This doesn't answer questions like - why is Set's slavery in making a huge monolith bad, while the slavery needed to build an ENTIRE METROPOLIS with RAISED STREETS FIFTY FEET ACROSS is okay? Why are the women in this film apparently just there to die or suffer for the benefit of the men or the plot? Why is the only black main character a literal Mystical Negro? Why was everyone in this movie aside from Anubis and Bek's poor girlfriend an irredeemable asshole? Why is Set a less believable bad guy than Don John from Much Ado? How do any of the cinematographers sleep at night knowing that at least a dozen shots in this film are basically travesties against the art? Why is Geoffrey Rush Ra? Why is any of this happening? HOW is any of this happening? 
We will never know. 
It still broke even at the box office.

That's it for this time, folks. Thank you for your input. Thank you for reading. And remember:

Don't watch Gods of Egypt.

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