redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 So there's a YouTuber called Film Theory who did a video on how Christian Grey treats Ana the same way cult leaders treat their victims. It's quite interesting.

Warning: Abuse, rape, etc. (obviously) )
redwoodalchan: Artwork lifted from Pokemon wiki; character belongs to Pokemon (pic#4865891)
 This is something that's been on my mind for a little while now, and has been on my mind even more since I watched this video (warning: "Family Guy" spoilers, blood content). The video makes a good point about the growing trend of fans apparently thinking it's okay to kill off a character just because they're annoying or not particularly liked, and how troubling this trend is. What's even more troubling to me is that people say the same sorts of things about real people some of the time. I'm sure we've all seen examples of this. "This fan wrote a bad story whose message I don't approve of, therefore they should die." "This celebrity was mean to another celebrity I like, therefore they should die." "This person killed someone, therefore the death penalty is the only way justice could possibly be served." And whether the people saying these things mean it literally is not the point; the point is it's considered perfectly acceptable to wish death on pretty much anyone who does something unpopular or morally wrong. I wouldn't necessarily say our entertainment (with its focus on standing up to, beating up, and/or killing physically-stronger opponents) is entirely to blame for this, but I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg problem, and I don't think it's an accident that there's so many parallels between what people say about characters that aren't particularly liked and what people say about real people who aren't particularly liked.

Admittedly you do get into more of a gray area when you're talking about people who do morally-reprehensible things. This is why people can sustain debates about the morality and efficacy of the death penalty. But it's one thing to have a death penalty, and quite another to justify or glorify the mere act of killing "bad" people, even in fiction or throwaway conversations. One of the things that most impressed me about the anime "Birdy the Mighty: Decode" is that it went out of its way, particularly in the second season, to point out that there is NO such thing as a justifiable murder, EVEN IF THE TARGETS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE.

But some people don't even stop there. There was an article on LiveJournal a few weeks ago about how the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon had been tried and sentenced to death for killing so many people. Now, I'm not someone who has any sort of objections to this per se (though some people seem to), but what troubled me the most was that there were at least one or two comments on the article about how these men ought to be tortured to death. I repeat: these men had already been sentenced to die at the time. That was not up for negotiation or debate. Yet you still had users essentially making the case that, oh, merely killing them isn't good enough, we had to make sure they suffered horribly before they died. But why?! Torturing these men before killing them won't bring their victims back to life. And if the argument is that it will enable them to feel the pain of their victims, or the victims' families, well, here's the thing. Back when I was sporking some of the paratext about that book-which-must-not-be-named I expressed glee at a picture of the main character being tied up and abused, because I hated him so much. But one of the comments pointed out that what would be better revenge would be to dispose of him quickly and quietly, denying him the flashy, torturous deaths he was so fond of dishing out. And that's kind-of how I feel about these guys. The best thing to do would be to simply kill them with no fanfare, and have everyone get on with their lives. If they actually were tortured to death it would cast them as victims of America's criminal justice system on the one hand, and make it acceptable to descend to their level in the name of "justice" on the other.

It feels vaguely "Black Lagoon," actually. Everyone kills, so killing an opponent is to be expected, and the only way to show someone as particularly awful, or punish said person, is to make the death extra torturous, humiliating, or widespread. But is "Black Lagoon" really the world we want to live in?
redwoodalchan: (pic#7834867)
 So apparently there exists in the Pit a fanfic crossover of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and "Xam'd: Lost Memories." Oh, yeah! Why anyone would think it would be a good idea to combine a series for six-year-old girls about ponies and an adult anime series that prominently features such delights as a teenage boy eating his own head and parents lamenting the disappearance of their children, I have no idea. I've briefly read through the three chapters or so of the fic, and...it seems that it basically follows the storyline and even the script of "Xam'd" pretty much line by line, only the "Xam'd" characters are replaced by characters from "My Little Pony." Did the author even watch "Xam'd" past the first two or three episodes? Did they just assume that friendship was as important in "Xam'd" as it was in "My Little Pony" (which isn't true, BTW, or at least not in the simplistic "Friendship can do anything!!" way I commonly see it touted in children's entertainment)?

In short, what the fuck?!
redwoodalchan: (pic#4920144)
 I just realized the other day, that Billy Joel's "The Entertainer" kind of comes across as an ancient version of the "What others think I do/What I really do" meme. It takes a job that everyone thinks of as really glamorous, and points out that it's a job like any other and that musicians, whatever fame and success they may enjoy, still have to eat and pay bills, and their success is entirely contingent upon their ability to please their fans and the music industry in general.
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 Disclaimer: I’m talking about Satyajit Shyamalan, the villain from the first season of the anime “Birdy the Mighty: Decode” here; I am not talking about the filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. I’m just saying this to make doubly sure no one gets the wrong idea.

Read more... )
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 So now that there’s a story on Das Sporking that’s got people talking about Iron Maiden, I figured it’d be helpful if I made something explaining them to those still not in the know. I recently spent a stint in England studying abroad, and while I arrived in the UK a casual fan of Maiden, I returned to the States an absolutely adoring fan.

See what I have to say... )

And…that’s about it for my own experience of Maiden. Rock on! \m/

redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
Read more... )

Iron Maiden, everyone!!

redwoodalchan: Artwork lifted from Pokemon wiki; character belongs to Pokemon (pic#4865891)
 As any metalhead will tell you, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is about as good as a metal song gets. But what is it about this song, really, that makes it so special? Obviously that’s a matter of opinion. Some people like its complex melodies, some people like its philosophical lyrics, some people like its immersiveness, and so forth. To me, though, it goes beyond that. Plenty of Iron Maiden songs, and just metal songs in general, have gorgeous, complex melodies and philosophical lyrics. Yet, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” still stands as one of heavy metal’s crowned jewels. It’s different from your average metal song, and is a big aspect of what sets Iron Maiden apart from most other metal bands.

My two cents... )

So…yeah. That’s my long-winded explanation as to why “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is so special.

redwoodalchan: (pic#7810517)
 Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day! I think I’ll celebrate by reaffirming my love of Iron Maiden and being rude about the Decemberists!

Warning: suicide, death, and talk of rape and abuse )
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
 The website SongMeanings.com is an open-access site where you can create an account and write analyses and interpretations of your favorite songs, and read what others have written.

Bear in mind that it is open-access, which means a lot of garbage gets onto it, but a lot of gold gets onto it as well.
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898514)
 So I've decided I won't visit the dining hall at all this upcoming week, but will cook as many of my meals as possible in my house. I probably won't do this every week because I want to make my meal plan count, but I just want to see if I can do it this one week. Mostly because I've noticed several times now that my housemates will look into what appears to me to be a well-stocked refrigerator and insist we're running low on food. So, I decided to see if I can keep myself fed for a week on nothing but the food that the house buys, just to see if we really ARE running out of food, or if they're just being uncreative and whiny.

I miss my UK flat....
redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Baccano!" (pic#5236477)
 So just last week, I finally realized, definitively, just how much I hate dead baby comedy. It just hit me. I don't know if it was all the soul searching I'd been doing, or the time I'd spent in sporking circles, or watching internet reviews; but finally I found myself confronted with it. I'd seen plenty of examples of dead baby comedy before, and I remember finding them uncomfortable; but I'd mostly just assumed that I was overreacting, or lacked a sense of humor, or something of that nature. But just this past week, I came across some of it courtesy of a few friends, and was finally forced to acknowledge just how very, very much I hate dead baby comedy.

Contains discussion of extreme violence and disturbing concepts (not depicted) )
redwoodalchan: (pic#7810517)
 So far I've composed a document that contains every chapter up thru 18. Ordinarily I'd read through it once, then go back, close-read, and compose the spork (or, as I've been doing more regularly, close-read and spork as I go). Since I'm only sporking two chapters, though, I may have to reevaluate.

I've already read the two chapters I'm supposed to spork, just to get a feel for what's in them. I've since gone back and begun reading from the beginning, and I'll read up to my assigned chapters. Once that's done, I think I'll go back and close-read two chapters at a time, until I once again get back to my assigned chapters, at which point I'll compose the sporking itself. I don't see any reason to read any more, though, unless I decide I love it so much I simply must spork another chapter.

I've also been reading the Divine Comedy in all its gory glory! No big surprise, this author's gotten the title wrong. There's so much of an emphasis on Beatrice in this book yet Beatrice isn't even a character in the Inferno, except insofar as she's the reason Dante goes on his quest in the first place. She plays a bigger role in later sections, but here's the thing: this book's not called The Divine Comedy As Reimagined by Twihards, or even Gabriel's Paradise or something; it's Gabriel's Inferno! Yet it has virtually nothing to do with the Inferno! When I think of the Inferno I think of the vivid descriptions of Hell and sinners and punishments and monsters, yet that never comes up!
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 I get Chapters 17 and 18. It looks like they're the chapters where we learn about the heroine's dark, tortured past. Also she and her man are domestic together and this author spends way too much time describing what they wear and eat, and has them come up with eye-bleedingly awful nicknames (Angelfucker?! REALLY?!). And her man sounds like my mom, on days when I'm recovering from some great physical or psychological ordeal. 

In fact, I'm reminded of nothing so much as Cori Falls.
redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Shiki" (pic#5113210)
I know this wasn't intentional, but once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it.

Read my thoughts on the matter )

I'm impressed--Meyer's done a pretty good job of writing a story about a woman tempted by sin. If only we weren't supposed to view her and her little friends as the good guys....
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
 This past Christmas I listened to tons of Iron Maiden. Then I watched This is Spinal Tap with my family. On Christmas Eve my family and I went to see a play called, well, "The Play That Goes Wrong," which is probably the funniest play I've seen since "Spamalot" or "The Drowsy Chaperone" and is basically what it sounds like.

I've noticed that Iron Maiden seems to be taking the place in my heart that has for the longest time been occupied by anime. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Hopefully I'll keep being into anime for at least the remainder of the school year, especially since I hope to give more panel presentations at cons (I had some good, long thoughts about Masao Murasako and Clair Leonelli earlier today, so there's some hope). I'm not sure what I'll do with my Iron Maiden CD's when I get back to the States. I might play some of them when I get wistful about England, and my favorite one, "The Number of the Beast," I might play more regularly. I might keep "Somewhere in Time" in my car to play for my friends, since that's the only one I feel comfortable sharing. I think I may end up putting "Dance of Death" and AMOLAD into cold storage until my next trip to England, though, as they're just so heavy I don't know how much more of them I can take.

Today my dad, my sister and I went on the London Eye, and then I spent the next few hours exploring a carnival nearby until it came time to go see the third Hobbit movie in IMAX 3D. Super cool. I was interested in how they basically made Thorin a tragic character, something I remember him not at all being in the books.

(And now I'm wondering what Cori Falls's reaction would be. Did she ever comment on The Hobbit, or only LOTR?)

Tomorrow we're going to see a Shakespeare play, and it'll be an all-day thing. I'm so excited.
redwoodalchan: (pic#7834867)
So upon further consideration, a large chunk of that rant is her going "Making my favorite characters die is bad bad bad! Oh but I don't have a problem with these OTHER deaths because X Y and Z!" Like that time she talked about how it was okay for Goku to die because it feeds into Japanese spiritual beliefs--something that could be said to apply to Jessie and James as well, were one so inclined. It makes me wonder if that rant might have been more sensible and acceptable if she'd simply spelled out, "Look, my favorite characters are super precious to me, so just don't kill any of them in any stories you send me, plzkthnx," and left it at that. But that would require a level of self-awareness that she didn't seem to possess at the time.

It also makes me really glad that I haven't been a Cori-esque fan for years, if I ever was. If I reacted the way Cori did every time one of my favorite characters died in a show I wouldn't be able to watch at least half of my beloved anime shows. If I tried to watch "Xam'd" with her mentality I'd be throwing a fit every episode from the quarter-way mark on!
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
 Mayamada is a London-based clothing and comic company for nerds, which is based around anthro characters the designers have come up with. I first got acquainted with them at the Hyper Japan Christmas market I went to in London last weekend, when I bought a copy of their graphic novel for a secret Santa present. If you're like me and you enjoy anthro characters but never really got into the sexual aspects of the furry fandom this is the website for you (we see all manner of furry and not-so-furry creatures but virtually none of them are sexualized in any obvious ways).

The only comic they have that seems to be available on the market is called "Samurai Chef," which is a pretty clever little twist on the Iron Chef concept, with two teams preparing dishes--but the object is not to eat them but to see how well they stand up to being attacked by the judge, the Samurai Chef in question! Obviously this isn't a comic that provokes thought or makes bold artistic statements, but it's cute and wildly entertaining. Pretty much all the anime AND all the chef archetypes you care to name are in this comic and are all instantly recognizable: the strong, silent type; the motor-mouthed, overeager announcer and his meeker assistant; and so on. I'd say it was light-years better than Twisted! but that would be damning it by faint praise. What I will say is that it pretty much ended up being everything I had hoped Twisted! would be--a tale of wacky anthro creatures having fun, creative adventures that you could just relax and enjoy.

If you want to buy these people's stuff, I wouldn't know how easy that is because I haven't actually tried ordering British things from America. You're welcome to give it a try if you want to get something, though. And if you ever do happen to be in England and at one of the events they attend, I would recommend checking them out.
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 It's obvious that whoever wrote those pages is a completely obsessed fan (or most likely fans) who worships the ground they walk on and probably thinks beautiful white chrysanthemums and monkshoods grow from between their toes. Pretty much every other thing that finds its way onto those pages somehow leads back to how totally awesome and special Iron Maiden are, and how they pretty much define CMOA, and how everything they do is amazing and wonderful and perfect--to the point of absurdities like praising a band member for striking a guy with his car because he was running late to a concert as an "Awesome Moment," despite the fact that a moment's logic and reason would tell you that striking someone with a car for any reason is bad, no matter who's doing it!

Look, I make no secret of the fact that I adore Iron Maiden. I think they're a great band and in some respects a very admirable one--but there is a limit to the amount of praise even they are entitled to! I'm just worried about what'll happen if someone tries to mount an honest, reasonable criticism of them or anything they've done on TVTropes. Will Iron Maiden become the next Harry Potter, with people making excuses for EVERYTHING they've ever done wrong, and expecting the worst of anyone who disagrees like they currently do for people who find Snape more sympathetic than Harry and his ilk?

Before anyone asks, yes I've edited those pages. But I haven't been responsible for the more insane bits like the aforementioned car thing.

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redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
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