Book twenty-six of 2019: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📚 1954 Retro Hugo Best Novel
Wow, does this one ever hold up. Incredibly (and possibly sadly) as relevant now as…wow, 65 years ago. Impressively prescient in many ways, as well.
While I didn’t know how little support Florida gave its less privileged residents, the common themes in all these stories really are glaringly obvious once pointed out.
“Another tedious, liberal, PC scold,” you may think as you read the headline for this piece. “Why can’t we just have fun and enjoy a hilarious meme in peace?” Well, you can enjoy “Florida man” all you want, but by any objective metric, it’s worth noting that “Florida man” memes—just like all “dumb criminal” or “weird crime” stories—are little more than a socially acceptable way of gawking at and belittling the dispossessed and indigent.
The reason Florida seems to have more “bizarre news” stories is because it leaves tens of thousands of people with financial, mental health and drug problems to fend for themselves, and then, under the banner of transparency, hands over the inevitable result of this lack of support to a click-hungry press. To paraphrase another viral tweet, it monetizes the rot.
“Florida man” isn’t an accident. It’s the logical byproduct of a state whose politics have been defined by cruel, racist indifference to the poor for decades.
🖖 #StarTrekDiscovery S02E10 Much better to end on a note of “okay, wasn’t expecting that” instead of last week’s, “oh, come on….” Laughed at Tilly’s comment about knocking on Trek doors being kind of pointless. Continue to be impressed by Peck’s Spock. Not a bad week.
Just one month to Norwescon 42!
(For me, at least, since I show up on Wednesday. Other staff members show up earlier, the con itself formally starts on Thursday. But for me, just four weeks to go!)
I watched all of Love Death + Robots on Saturday, and while much of the animation was impressive and parts of it were interesting, and I enjoyed a few of the episodes, as a whole, it was rather “meh”. They definitely weren’t kidding about the NSFW warnings, though: bloody, gory violence, language, and lots of nudity with a definite “male gaze” issue throughout many of the entries.
Speaking about the Netflix animated anthology series in a press release, Miller made it clear that viewers should expect mature content.
“I’m so f**king excited that the creative landscape has finally changed enough for adult-themed animation to become part of a larger cultural conversation,” he said.
While some of that excitement is justified – the vast majority of LDR looks great and many of its 18 short episodes are amusing, clever and shocking in the best possible way – gratuitous female nudity once again sticks the male and female characters on an entirely unbalanced playing field. Nudity on screen is fine – we’re all for it, in fact. But this is something different.
My personal rough rankings of the various pieces, from most to least enjoyable (if you’re cherry-picking episodes, for me, 1-8 are worth watching, 9-12 are not terribly objectionable, 13-18 are the most skippable):
A collection I’ve wanted for a long time, and finally completed: All of Terry Gilliam’s films (except for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which isn’t out yet) are on my Plex server in HD. He’s just the sort of gloriously weird that works well for me.
It’s funny, though, thinking about it. I tend to think of myself as not being a big fan of dystopian fiction*, and yet that’s a large part of his work. But even in his darker films that don’t always end on happy notes, there’s often a definite line of optimism, hope, and the characters fighting against that dystopia — I think there’s a good argument to be made that there’s a hopepunk element to much of his work, which is why it resonates with me.
* I’m certainly less so now than I was in my youth when I first discovered Gilliam. Something about being aware of the dystopia we live in makes it a lot less escapist, doesn’t it? And, unfortunately, there’s definitely evidence that Gilliam doesn’t always recognize his own racial and sexual privilege, with his unfortunate comments about the #metoo movement and diversity in media programming, which could also partially explain his draw towards dystopian fiction: He can view it from what he perceives to be a “safe” distance, just as I did when I first discovered it. Meanwhile, there are lots of people (who, as I think about it, I really don’t think I can remember much representation of in his films) who are far more intimately, immediately familiar with the realities of living in dystopian worlds.
Huh. Well, that went astray from my original intention of “hey, I’ve got all the movies I can from one of my favorite directors!”
Celebrating π Day by eating a square piece of lasagne for dinner, soon to be followed by a shapeless mass of ice cream. But the ice cream is out of a round container, so that counts, right?
🖖 #StarTrekDiscovery S02E09 Goddammit, DSC. So much potential here, so many good moments, but also a lot of pieces that don’t make sense, and an ending that just annoyed me. Overall, uneven but mostly good until the end, which wasn’t truly earned and just came off as exasperating.