Recommends: Teaspooning on Women's Day

I'm late to the party on this one, but I just want to note how much I loved this post by Will Wildman:

Note to everyone everywhere ever: 'bleeding heart' is a terrible insult that really only serves to highlight what a hilariously awful person you are. It’s like a wardrobe malfunction, but instead of a harmless nipple, your clothes slipped and everyone saw the gaping void where your soul should be.

This. Releatedly: Calling someone "politically correct" is an insult in the same way that "you try not to hurt people's feelings!" is an insult. Which is to say, it says more about the speaker than the subject. That is all.


What has everyone been writing and reading online lately?

36 comments:

chris the cynic said...

I read the article linked to in the main post, and I've been reading here and at Slacktivist, but apart from that I haven't been reading much.

Yesterday I went through what I've posted on sites with disqus comments (stuff said here and at Slacktivist, basically) and ended up posting a bunch of such things to stealing commas, but most of it is stuff people here probably already saw, and some of it is probably too dull to have justified being reposted.

For Snarky Twilight I wrote Jacob's exposition dump and then started going through the book from the start with the bible quote and the preface.

I also collected together things I said in various places about the concept of a Twilight-verse in which everyone in Forks other than the Swan family is nonhuman.

From the resurrected Percy Jackson thread I had two things, one on how the movie Salt got me thinking about swapping the gender of a character without changing much else and how that might apply to Firefly. The other on a possible rewrite that would have someone justified the constant inexplicable available of the love interest in Captain America.

From the zombie discussion in last week's Twilight thread I have a look at how things would be handled if all monster fiction were like zombie fiction, a proposal for a way that that the disease outbreak model of zombie infection could work even in world with a pop culture like our own, a bit of fiction following from that, what I feel the movie Quarantine should have been about based on the only previews, and what I feel the movie The Happening should have been about again based on only the previews.

Apart from that I also wrote about my thoughts on government regulation of business and how it relates to consumer freedom as looked at in light of salt shakers, and I wrote why wizards do not end up on youtube.

J_Enigma said...

Slightly Off-Topic: Just a suggestion, but I took a look at the publishing tab, and you may want to change "vanity press" to something different. A "vanity press" is a press that preys on the vanity of authors; it promises to make them the next J.K. Rowling, so long as they pay X amount of money (were "X" is usually four or more digits before the decimal point) while offering sub-par services, printing on crappy paper, crappy font sizes, etc.. To wit, almost all vanity presses are scams.

Re Political Correctness: I have a definition on my blog about what PC means. I've taken PC accusations to be a form of victim blaming; when someone says something "not politically correct," they know what they're saying is socially unacceptable (especially if they flag it before hand by saying "well, I know this isn't politically correct, but..."). The fact that they know what they're saying is wrong creates a degree of conflict with the rules they've been socialized by. This dissonance is then projected in accusations of victim blaming (it's not my fault for saying these hurtful things; it's their fault for finding them hurtful), and thus, the "politically correct" label gets thrown around as a way to deal with that dissonance and the silence people from bringing it back up again (obviously I'm right because I'm defying you, the language police, and anything you, the language police, can come back and say is ultimately meaningless because I've just labeled you politically correct). It's a complicated psychological mechanism, but ultimately, it's the bigot's best defense against self-introversion and cognitive dissonance created by them acting against what they know are social norms. As an actual word, with a real meaning, I've found that "political correctness" has none. If you examine/deconstruct the phrase, it's nonsense. It doesn't even have a meaning to deconstruct. If you go literally, a person being "politically incorrect" is someone voting against their own political agenda. Someone being "politically correct" is someone voting for their political agenda. But they're not being literal. The word is a whistle word and nothing more; used to silence opposition while allying cognitive dissonance.

Ana Mardoll said...

It's probably the closest existing term for what we do, but perhaps there is a better term I'm not aware of.

The important thing we are trying to convey with the tongue-in-cheek "vanity press" (which is not always used as a pejorative) is the understanding here that the author owns their work, receives their royalties directly from the store (and is never filtered through the publisher) and that the publishing company is ultimately only providing the ISBN and not the comprehensive editing, proofing, marketing, distributing, etc.

Basically it's a conglomeration of self-publishers meant to help us pool together titles so that we can get into Overdrive and become available for libraries. I guess "conglomeration of self-publishers" would work.

chris the cynic said...

You could always just have a massive footnote explaining in detail what you mean by that term.

Knowing nothing about your venture, I'm not able to propose an actual footnote, but I provide the following as one possible example of how such a footnote might be written.

[1] "Vanity press" here used to mean a nontraditional publishing company whose services are ultimately limited to the providing of an ISBN. As a conglomeration of self publishers who have banded together in an effort to overthrow the shackles of the previous system of domination by major publishing houses ruin publishing forever by eliminating the traditional gatekeepers that provided quality control rule the world open a gateway to a world where the fictional coexists with the real so that we can meet our own characters get into Overdrive and become available for libraries, our scope is quite limited. On the positive side, there's no one standing between you and your audience, on the negative side there's no one standing between you and your audience. That "no one" includes editors, proofers, marketers, and distributors. Also, here there be dragons.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ha. That's not bad. Does this make any sense? (I'd already written it just now.)

Acacia Moon Publishing is a conglomeration of self-published indie authors dedicated to providing quality works. Our goal is to lessen the gap between readers and writers, and to disseminate our books through markets traditionally closed to self-publishers.

Authors under the Acacia Moon label handle their own marketing and sales through regular retail outlets (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), but can also pool their titles under the AMP catalog into lending outlets open only to larger publishers (NetGalley, Overdrive).

Readers are encouraged to check out our list of authors, and to visit our blog for details on new releases. Writers are welcome to contact us for collaboration ideas or if they are interested in self-publishing under our label.

Basically, if you're an indie author, you do X.

If you're an indie author under AMP, you do X. Except, AMP buys your ISBN for you and makes your book available through NetGalley (who distributes ARCs to reviewers for free) and Overdrive (who sells to libraries).

AMP does not want money from authors. Authors should handle their own money. AMP is 100% a catalog-building effort to get through the "You must be this tall to ride the ride" blocks. (NetGalley requires 5 titles; Overdrive isn't willing to tell me but I think it's less than 30 because they let JA Konrath in.)

chris the cynic said...

It seems fine to me, but then again I'm probably not your target audience. (I may have heard of Overdrive, I'm tending toward thinking that I have, I've definitely not heard of NetGallery.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Good point. I'll put links in and also do an AMP blog post on that end detailing it all a little better. And then a "read more" link to the post. Thank you both.

Will Wildman said...

zomg i am a recommends

I don't think I could point out other specific articles I've encountered lately (just whole websites, as in 'everyone should read Shakesville all day every day') but I do think that the world would be a richer place if everyone saw the Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch.

Gelliebean said...

I've been browsing through the archives of The Domino Project (http://www.thedominoproject.com/) and it's pretty interesting so far - the posts are short, just little bite-size topics to mull over about the intersection of publishing industry and technology.

Have also finished Guards, Guards and am about 1/2way through Men At Arms.... For some reason (having nothing at all to do with the Sims 3) I haven't been reading as quickly as usual this week.

I started writing a Twilight... thing? not really *fan*fic... about Leonard the vampire, who could teach the Cullens a few things about actually blending in. :-p I hope to continue the story later this week. (http://voiceslikemine.blogspot.com/2012/03/friday-fiction-new-look-at-twilight.html)

depizan said...

Haven't been doing much reading, beyond blogs. I am still working - rather slowly, at present - on my SW:TOR fanfics.

I do have a question for the authors in the house, though. Do you ever find your writing impaired by knowing that, in a later story, you will write something darker? (As my vagueness renders my question nearly indecipherable. Sigh.)

Will Wildman said...

Do you ever find your writing impaired by knowing that, in a later story, you will write something darker? (As my vagueness renders my question nearly indecipherable. Sigh.)

Impaired in what way? Like, it's difficult to write a neutral or happy event because you know it's all going to go wrong some day?

depizan said...

More or less. Maybe I should just write the dark part (of a completely different fic than the one I'm working on, silly me for having ideas for a series of stories *bangs head on desk*) and see if that helps. (Doesn't help that I always feel a bit...off about writing anything but complete fluff. The sad thing is, I'm still writing complete fluff. My version of, more or less, Reality Insues, is still pretty damn far from anything resembling reality.)

chris the cynic said...

I think I might have had that experience, though I'm not having an example really come to mind. I think it makes sense. If you're going to end in tragedy and despair, you probably don't want to open on lighthearted fluff that promises the reader with its tone to be a safe journey into happy places. The tone you use makes a promise, and if you know you'll break that promise it makes sense to shoot for a different tone.

Will Wildman said...

If you're going to end in tragedy and despair, you probably don't want to open on lighthearted fluff that promises the reader with its tone to be a safe journey into happy places. The tone you use makes a promise, and if you know you'll break that promise it makes sense to shoot for a different tone.

This is something I contemplate a lot. On the one hand, people often don't appreciate being ambushed and want some sense of what they're getting themselves into, fictionwise. (Trigger warnings are the extreme case.) On the other hand, some people really do want to be ambushed and feel that not knowing what happens next is an integral part of the storytelling experience. (Spoilers are a sort of corresponding extreme case.) I wonder sometimes if there's an elegant way to accomodate both, but the best that has come to mind so far is ciphered content notes.

chris the cynic said...

I don't think those two things are really at odds. Not being ambushed is about the bounds of a story. Not knowing what will happen next is about what goes on within those bounds.

With a handful of obvious exceptions, having a story end with Bugs Bunny walking onto the screen and striking up a conversation with the main character is simply not a legitimate ending. Even if someone feels that not knowing what happens next is an integral part of the storytelling experience, I don't think they'd take too kindly to, say, that being then end of a gritty live action vampire movie that strove to give a feel of hyper-realism. Because it doesn't fit the story. It's outside of the bounds.

Some stories have narrower bounds than others. There are some stories where "anything can happen", which should not be taken literally (see the above thing about Bugs), there are some where it's a lot more limited. Tangled seems to be on my mind, so that shall be my example. Even after watching it for but a short time you should be able to list off things that simply will not come to pass. (E.g. Pascal won't be eaten.) These things aren't physically impossible within the story, but the kind of story it is places them out of bounds.

depizan said...

No, no, I'm not the tragedy and despair sort. (Okay, maybe temporary despair.) I am all about happy endings and fiction being an improvement over real life (which really does end in tragedy and despair...or maybe that's just me). George R. R. Martin, I am not. I'm not even his next door neighbor.

To use a highly appropriate example, I'd assume that The Empire Strikes Back did not break any promises to people who'd seen Star Wars. But it was darker.*

I'm just suffering from writer angst. Or possibly wangst. Unless, of course, it did *points to above question*, in which case I have a legitimate problem.



*Even if, should one simply lay out the bad things that happen in both movies, Star Wars should win by a landslide, what with families being killed, an entire innocent planet (and everyone on it) being blown up, and the like.

chris the cynic said...

No, I don't think Empire broke any of the promises of Star Wars.

It is a good point you make about Star Wars having objectively more bad in it yet still remaining a lighter story.

Only vaguely related, I think Empire was the strongest film. For the longest time I did not feel that way at all because I watched the trilogy as a set and doing that really made Empire just not really click for me. It was just the bridge between Star Wars and Jedi, but then when I watched it on its own it really hit me that it's a really solid story, much more so than I would have thought.

depizan said...

Yeah, I'm just having writer wangst. Don't mind me. Things can be in bounds and out of my comfort zone, I guess. Or at least capable of hanging over my head like an ominious cloud.

Empire is a lot of people's favorite Star Wars film (Mine included, despite my aformentioned leanings toward fluff. Which it still is, but you know what I mean. I hope.).

Will Wildman said...

I don't think those two things are really at odds. Not being ambushed is about the bounds of a story. Not knowing what will happen next is about what goes on within those bounds.

This is true in many cases, but there are some events - death, horror, any type of abuse - that may neither explicitly be in or outside the bounds and can substantially change the overall nature of a story. Bridge to Terabithia and Million-Dollar Baby leap to mind of examples of stories which were extremely controversial because people went in expecting one kind of story and were abruptly presented with another, but in both of those cases the creators were pretty intentional about keeping those events secret. That's the kind of scenario that I'm conceptually stuck upon.

For the longest time I did not feel that way at all because I watched the trilogy as a set and doing that really made Empire just not really click for me. It was just the bridge between Star Wars and Jedi, but then when I watched it on its own it really hit me that it's a really solid story, much more so than I would have thought.

Almost exactly the same for me - for a long time I kind of dismissed it, or actively disliked it because it had the good guys losing so much and that was Not Acceptable to a younger me. But I can't remember a time when I didn't know that Darth Vader was Luke's father; the Star Wars movies have always been part of my consciousness. So when much older, I made an actual effort to watch them as movies instead of as people acting out sequences of events simply because that is the way it is done, and ESB gained a lot of ground. (I think that RotJ had a lot to offer, and was within a few retakes/minor rewrites of being the superior film, but it is hampered repeatedly by little things.)

No, no, I'm not the tragedy and despair sort. (Okay, maybe temporary despair.) I am all about happy endings and fiction being an improvement over real life

I like the temporary despair, myself. I can do without a downer ending, but a writer can win a lot of my regard by truly convincing me they're going for a downer and then salvaging it at the last minute. (Brandon Sanderson managed this four consecutive times before I realised that he was never actually going to go for the downer.

On the subject of TOR, I'm thinking I need to get a whatever-kind-of-account will actually let me comment on your blog, since I need more people to geek out with about how awesome/awful some of the characters are. (In a lot of games, I end up playing female characters because the males are just brain-hurting messes, but I cannot properly verbalise my adoration for my bounty hunter dude.)

hapax said...

people went in expecting one kind of story and were abruptly presented with another, but in both of those cases the creators were pretty intentional about keeping those events secret.

Well, the current WIP sorta does that -- but the "secret" is given away in the title (THE DECONSTRUCTED DRAGON) if you know anything about literary theory.

Since this is meant to be a light hearted romp through the effects of critical analysis upon your bog-standard fairy tale world, the most fun part is writing the "inwhiches" (Y'now -- Chapter One: In which the Engineer clears a trap and plugs a leak) that must be literally true but give away nothing.

hapax said...

So when much older, I made an actual effort to watch them as movies instead of as people acting out sequences of events simply because that is the way it is done, and ESB gained a lot of ground. (I think that RotJ had a lot to offer, and was within a few retakes/minor rewrites of being the superior film, but it is hampered repeatedly by little things.)

I forget where I read it, but I have been convinced that the best way to view the movies is in this order: Ep. IV, Ep. V, Ep. II, Ep. III, Ep. VI.

This gives you the lovely arc of Setup, minor Triumph, follow-up, Disaster + Shocking! Twist!, flashback with Setup, minor Triumph, followup, Disaster + Explanation of Twist, Resolution of both Disasters with Major Triumph.

(You can watch Ep I later as a "prequel" afterthought, if you must, but there is NOTHING in that film that you need to know for the main sequence to work, and much that is thematically jarring or put in only to be dropped completely)

depizan said...

A Dreamwidth account is certainly possible - I have invite codes somewhere. But openID works as long as you've got some kind of account openID is familiar with. Wordpress may be one. If not, let me knw, and I'll give you a Dreamwidth code.

depizan said...

That makes so much sense. And, if I remember right, Episode I is the biggest mess (and has one of the biggest WTF Jedi, aren't you supposed to be good? moments), so ditching it is pretty much all win.

Will Wildman said...

I forget where I read it, but I have been convinced that the best way to view the movies is in this order: Ep. IV, Ep. V, Ep. II, Ep. III, Ep. VI.

This is a very compelling case. We see where we are, have everything go wrong, leap back in time to see how it got so wrong, then see it resolved. It does have the issues of dropping two whole movies between the tightly-related Ep5 and Ep6, and of following the flashiest entry (Ep3) with a great leap backwards in special effects technology. And I think it's possible to argue that the dialogue would get progressively worse with every movie, although Ep6 acting would largely be a step up at the end.

It also makes me sad because it highlights just how unnecessary Ep1 was, and Ep1 is a movie that deserved to be much better than it ended up.

chris the cynic said...

(I think that RotJ had a lot to offer, and was within a few retakes/minor rewrites of being the superior film, but it is hampered repeatedly by little things.)

I've been going back and forth on whether I should ask this, and it seems that as time goes on I still want to know.

What changes, exactly, would you make? What would the Wildman version of Return of the Jedi be like?

Will Wildman said...

What changes, exactly, would you make? What would the Wildman version of Return of the Jedi be like?

Ah, chris, you always know how to make me feel justified in talking forever about things I wouldn't have expected anyone to care about. It's a good feeling.

RotJ had both minor and thematic flaws. The minor ones are bits of dialogue that ring hollow and add nothing to the story - Leia responding to being told Luke is her brother with "Somehow, I've always known" is a copout that lets them get away without writing a substantial reaction from her, and a little bit creepy in the light of their previous and often-flirty interactions. Han's jealousy at their closeness is played up at the level of high school immaturity rather than the kind of biting attitude that would befit a grizzled smuggler, even if he has spent a couple of years being a heroic outlaw instead of a greedy one.

Thematically, while I think there are a handful of implicit indications that Luke isn't as powerful as he presents himself, his ineptitude as a Jedi could stand to get played-up more. If he's learned anything from the events of RotJ, he should be much less sure of himself when confronting Jabba, not just being smug from under his seriously questionable hair. He can try to present a brave face, but his well-founded concerns should be visible too.

Additionally, what's with him apparently learning how to be a Jedi in a couple of weeks (shown during Ep5), then spending a year between movies doing unspecified non-training things before going back to Dagobah to fulfill his promise to Yoda? It's always been mocked, and rightly so - instead, let's say he has spent the last year on Dagobah continuing his training, and that's the reason it's taken them an entire year to get around to saving Han. Considering that it used to take decades to train a Jedi, getting Luke functional in just a year or two is pretty impressive on its own.

Then there are the Ewoks. I don't hate them, but they were mishandled for sure - ignoring Jar Jar Binks, nothing else in Star Wars combines so much comic relief with so many vital plot points. They additionally play straight into the whole 'noble but stupid savages led by civilised heroes overthrow evil empire'. I'm not sure what the best way is of mitigating that without cutting them entirely, but I think it should be possible to have non-tech-using people living on Endor* and assisting the protagonists - make them voluntary non-techies who have met galactic society and want nothing to do with it, for example. Possibly more articulated and less like teddybears. And, most importantly, make their choice to assist the heroes a more obvious point of tension and plot development, rather than a given after Luke abuses their naivete to convince them that 3P0 is a god, because seriously WTF heroes.

Does that cover all the important points? Maybe. Nothing else is leaping right to mind.

Will Wildman said...

Oh, right, footnote.

*It is Endor, dagnabbit. The line is "the forest moon of Endor", which some people use to argue that the gas giant is Endor, not the forest moon, but this is silly; if someone refers to 'the ancient city of Paris' we don't assume that it's a unnamed city that belongs to some other entity called Paris. Language works in multiple ways!

Ana Mardoll said...

I love this comment so much. I've never liked Han/Leia in the later half of RoTJ and I wasn't sure why. Now I understand: her "I've always known" creeps me out, and Han acts childishly out of character (which is quite a feat, given that he was always a little childish).

Thank you.

chris the cynic said...

Don't be absurd. When people say, "The planet of Earth," they are clearly indicating that earth is the star around which the planet orbits. When people say, "The field of biology," they are referring to a grassy area that belongs to a nice old lady named "Biology."

--

This is seriously a thing? People think that Endor is the planet?

Your points seem good.

"Somehow I've always known," is such a horrible line. It's not even necessary in terms of having here not have a big reaction. If they'd avoided writing anything of value and gone with, "I believe you, I just... uh..." and then be at a loss for words it still would have been better. (Implication, the force has let her in on the truth of it, but she had no idea how to process it just yet.)

A lot of the problematic things with the Ewoks probably could have been dealt with by simply avoiding the whole sacrifice thing. If they don't much like the imperials, and they seem friendly enough with outsiders in general (witness Leia being treated nicely) then once they know they have a common enemy they can team up. The Ewoks have troops and knowledge, the rebels have explosives and R2 (who can open doors.) It's a natural alliance.

The Luke training thing could have been dealt with in about a line,
Luke: I've come back to complete my training.
Yoda: No more training do you require.
Luke: But I only trained for a year.
Yoda: Already know you, that which you need.

I think you're right about it basically being minor tweaks.

depizan said...

Your changes to dialogue there would also firmly cement how long it was. Fans argue about it. A lot.

depizan said...

And, yes, dropping the sacrifice/fooling the natives stuff would be a vast improvement. If you want tension, figure out a way to have them captured under circumstances in which the Ewoks aren't sure they're _not_ Imperials. Sorting out the mistake could work just as well, without being icky.

Rikalous said...

I thought Endor was the gas giant, because the "the sulfuric moon Io" or "the sulfuric moon of Jupiter" (as distinct from Jupiter's other moons) sounds more natural to me than "the sulfuric moon of Io." Actually, for a while Ackbar's accent made me think it was the farthest of Endor's moons.

chris the cynic said...

If you want tension, figure out a way to have them captured under circumstances in which the Ewoks aren't sure they're _not_ Imperials.

I was thinking that as well.

Laiima said...

Very late to this conversation, but perhaps this is the place to mention that my cousin, Kendra Wall, was an Ewok. She even does something identifiable -- she grabs Han Solo's gun. I think that happens when he's in the net. Not sure, it's been a while since I've rewatched it.

I always found the Luke and Leia thing creepy too. And why doesn't Darth Vader have any interest in Leia? Try to convert her to the dark side of the force? That whole thing with Darth Vader being the father of Luke, but glossing over how that also means he's Leia's father, bugged me.

Spouse and I listened to the version where the director and other people are talking during the movie -- what's that called? -- and I was amazed at how dumb George Lucas's comments were. It's like he doesn't know anything about mythology, or what his own movies are about! I felt dumber listening to him!

Beroli said...

I always found the Luke and Leia thing creepy too. And why doesn't Darth Vader have any interest in Leia? Try to convert her to the dark side of the force? That whole thing with Darth Vader being the father of Luke, but glossing over how that also means he's Leia's father, bugged me.
Wait, what? The whole point of keeping Luke and Leia's relationship secret was so that Vader wouldn't know Leia was his daughter. When he found out, his immediate reaction, the one that made Luke angry enough to channel the Dark Side, was that he was going to try to convert her.

Ana Mardoll said...

Very late to this conversation, but perhaps this is the place to mention that my cousin, Kendra Wall, was an Ewok. She even does something identifiable -- she grabs Han Solo's gun. I think that happens when he's in the net. Not sure, it's been a while since I've rewatched it.

I don't even like the Ewoks (for the reasons mentioned up-thread), so it's amusing to me that this revelation gave me a little jolt of joy. I KNOW SOMEONE WHOSE COUSIN WAS IN STAR WARS. YEAH!

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