Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
- Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon, being fine pieces of villainous ass.
- The inclusion of Emma Frost, my favorite Marvel lady.
- It's a goddamn X-Men film. I saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand at midnight opening night and it was a steaming pile of garbage and I didn't particularly care because it was a goddamn X-Men film.
- The Sixties setting is intriguing.
- I'm into self-abuse (the literal kind, and sometimes the metaphoric kind if I'm looking at Michael Fassbender), and I neeeeeed to know if this film is going to suck, based on its jacked-to-shit lack of continuity, even movie continuity, and its bizarro lineup.
Matthew Vaughn, Matthew Vaughn. Sir. Get real! There will be PLENTY of women seeing your film! Have you not been following the recent ridiculous conversation about female nerds? WE EXIST. And we don't need a fucking love theme to get us into the theatre. Jesus fucking Christ.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
- Downing pints of butterbeer at said theme park; searching fruitlessly for firewhiskey
- Laughing and carrying on about STAR WARS and Doctor Who and the new pic of Tom Hardy as Bane from Dark Knight Rises
- lavishing DR SHE BLOGGO with birthday gifts
- eating overpriced food and buying overpriced Ravenclaw scarves
- possibly whipping out my kung fu skills to put Jesus on ice should he show up looking for a fight
Things I will not be doing during Rapture '11:
- Being raptured
Note: Shelby Kendall, the queen bitch of Hey!, will be played by Tamara Feldman. However, since Blogger's new fiddly-woo with images blows monkeys, you'll have to hit the Google Images to see what she looks like.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
See, the tattoo is not EXACTLY what I would have wanted. While trying to decide on its placement and size, I realized that I thought the "Believe" looked better by itself, without the exclamation point. But as you can see, the exclamation point is there. I decided to include it in the tattoo as a reminder of a couple of things.
First, that although I really, really admire Gaiman as a person and I love his writing, he IS a person and not everything he produces is solid gold and rainbows. Some of it is imperfect. More on that in a moment.
Second, that my beliefs are always going to be changing and that I am probably going to be dissatisfied with them and with myself at various points in my life.
So that first note really needs expanding upon. By all accounts (these accounts being Twitter, blogs and LiveJournals, interviews, and the body of work Gaiman has produced and is producing), Gaiman is a pretty fantastic person: a good dad, a good husband, a good artist, a good activist for comic book creators and libraries and literacy initiatives. But I'm old enough now that I have to see the warts on my heroes, as much as I'd like to stay in the safe realm of ZOMGURAWESOME. One of these warts is a portion of American Gods--a segment which did not strike me odd the first time I read the book, but which now I find difficult to countenance. This passage is below:
'"Eh? Excuse me, miss?" This to their waitress.
She said, "You need another espresso?"
"No, my dear. I was just wondering if you could solve a little argument we were having over here. My friend and I were disagreeing over what the word "Easter" means. Would you happen to know?"
The girl stared at him as though green toads had begun to push their way between his lips. Then she said, "I don't know about any of that Christian stuff. I'm a pagan."
[...] "And tell me, as a pagan, who do you worship?"
"That's right. I imagine you must have a pretty wide-open field. So to whom do you set up your household altar? To whom do you bow down? To whom do you pray at dawn and at dusk?"
Her lips described several shapes without saying anything before she said, 'The female principle. It's an empowerment thing. You know?"
"Indeed. And this female principle of yours. Does she have a name?"
"She's the goddess within us all," said the girl with the eyebrow ring, color rising to her cheek. "She doesn't need a name."
"Ah," said Wednesday, with a wide monkey grin, "so do you have mighty bacchanals in her honor? Do you drink blood wine under the full moon while scarlet candles burn in silver candleholders? Do you step naked into the seafoam, chanting ecstatically to your nameless goddess while the waves lick at your legs, lapping your thighs like the tongues of a thousand leopards?"
"You're making fun of me," she said. "We don't do any of that stuff you were saying." She took a deep breath. Shadow suspected she was counting to ten. "Any more coffees here? Another mochaccino for you, ma'am?" Her smile was a lot like the one she had greeted them with when they had entered.
They shook their heads, and the waitress turned to greet another customer.
"There," said Wednesday, "is one who does not have the faith and will not have the fun,' Chesterton. Pagan indeed. [...]"'
Yeah. That passage hurts to read, now. My beliefs have changed enough over the past few years that I can no longer read it detachedly. In a book about gods in America, Gaiman's premise ignores the million-odd people in the country who worship an old god--whether the Lord and Lady of Wicca, the Aesir and Vanir of heathenism, the orishas of Vodou, the animikiig of Anishinaabe religion, any of the panoply of Greek, Irish, Indian, Gaulish, Egyptian, and Babylonian deities, or yes, the "feminine principle." And though many of these gods appear themselves in American Gods, the only inkling of modern pagan religion that the book shows is the above passage. Another of Gaiman's books, Anansi Boys, utilizes vodou and other African diaspora spiritualities, and most of his writing incorporates otherworldly characters and ideas, but American Gods--given its title--is notable for what it lacks.
It seems likely that Gaiman simply didn't have time or space to delve into modern American pagan paths. It also seems likely that Wednesday is not a mouthpiece for the author, since (SPOILERS) he's the villain, a villain who uses his words as weapons to goad, trick, deceive, coerce, and con: He is an extremely not-nice person. And the book as an organic whole is fully deserving of the moniker "masterpiece." It is my favorite of Gaiman's offerings, yes, I even like it better than Sandman (which has its own set of issues with old gods and modern worshippers), and the gaps as I perceive them do not detract--for me--from it being a very powerful, important book. There ARE "glitterwitches," as one of my friends calls them; there ARE people only interested with the trappings of Wicca or Thelema or whatever path they find interesting; there ARE people who, as Chesterton has it (hateful man), do not have the faith and will not have the fun. But there are also people who do hold mighty bacchanals, who do carry out magic rituals to their gods and ancestors, who do walk between the worlds, who do gather and dance under the moon.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Oh well. Music fans are supposed to be selfish, right? Very High Fidelity. At any rate, Warp Riders IS utterly righteous--a concept album centered around an original science fiction story written by the man himself, J.D. Cronise (featured in my hot dudes of heavy metal post). The story is that of Ereth, an archer banished from his homeworld of Acheron, a planet which has been divided into two sides of eternal light and darkness due to tidal locking, of all things. Yeah, the band are a bunch of dorks. Excellent! According to Cronise, the bent of the story is more science fiction overall, what with spaceships, moving through time, and the like, but there are fantasy elements as well--Ereth is an archer, after all, and his movements mimic those of the hero on the quest. Overall I found that the story felt like Campbell written by Clarke, which is to say, perfect. Musically the sound varies a bit from previous albums; though none of The Sword's records really have an overarching style, the predecessors of Warp Riders were on the doomier side. Noted by Cronise himself, Warp Riders is a rock'n'roll album. At its height it's totally '70s ("Lawless Lands" has one of the sweetest guitar riffs I've ever heard, though the title track sounds like thrash metal composed by Bene Gesserit sisters), chunky and danceable and very hairy. Even the album art is right on point, harking back to the pulpy sci-fi book covers of the '60s and '70s.
The first is of warp and weft on a loom, the second of what space theoretically looks like when it is warped to allow for faster-than-light travel. As you can see, the spaceship travels on a horizontal line--the weft--with the vertical lines of the warp twisting and distorting to allow its passage, but remaining intact otherwise.
Does there exist a more perfect metaphor for human history? I mean really. For one thing, the image of woman as weaver is as old as mythology (often coming in threes, as in the case of the Moirae and the Zoryas), and it's clear that the sisterhood and the tres brujas are weavers--of space and time, of possibility. The arcane sacrifice which the sisterhood makes for the warp riders is never stated explicitly, but we can imagine--not that we need to. Women have always made every sacrifice necessary for the sake of men's ambition. Even in Dune, which I find to be shockingly feminist for the time period in which it was written, the Bene Gesserit--awesomely powerful, intelligent, and significant female characters--are waiting for their Ereth, though to Frank Herbert's credit they are extremely active in their waiting. The "shining angel" of Warp Riders, the spaceship destined to save Ereth's life and then to be used by him, the living womb traveling across through the ether to meet her fate; the mysterious "Lady" referenced in the final track, who keeps her promises; the sisterhood who seemingly exist only to make space travel possible: these are the functions of women. Notably, the functions of men--to move at liberty, to fight, to explore, to learn--are also present in the forms of Ereth the voyager (and his phallic weaponry), the pirates of "Night City", and the Chronomancer (a magician of esoterica and strange lore). The male characters space-hop, chill at bars on the Night Side of Acheron, gather armadas, ferret out ancient knowledge from caves and tombs, and generally do the explorer-warrior-sage thang.
If I sound bitter, apologies. I'm not--really! This is really an awesome album. I love the band who created it, I love sci-fi and fantasy stories, I love concept albums. It's totally solid and definitely worth listening to, and it's still on constant rotation in my car. But my appetite for deconstruction is difficult to slake and a story like this is hard to resist, but thankfully, this is one case in which my awareness of certain gaps in the story does not detract from my enjoyment. The ratio of awesome to eh is heavy on the awesome side. Cheers, Swordspeople. And have no fear! I'll get around to Thor eventually.
Friday, May 06, 2011
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
June 14, 21, 28: LORD OF THE RINGS: EXTENDED EDITIONS SHOW IN AMC THEATRES. No words, dudes. No. Words.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Dirt-worshippers, tree-huggers, Asatruar, Goddess women, faeries, voudouisants, Wiccans, crystal-gazers, shamans, merry apatheists, UUs, hedgewalkers, witches, animists, and Others unite! There is power in names, as any fantasy fan knows: if you can, and you feel you ought, name yourself. Don't let anyone else do it for you. I am an atheist; I am a pagan. I get to say who I am. My voice is mine.