alias_sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Am trying very hard to not be a jerk about the “what if Jane Austen wrote Star Trek” post a few people have reblogged today on tumblr but godddd how can so many people take these canons that are WALL TO WALL social commentary and jokes and throw away everything except (to me) secondary aspects like character quirks and a distinctive use of semi colons.

Like...I have been rereading a bunch of Jane Austen’s character descriptions recently for a Thing, and I am pretty sure she was incapable of describing anyone for more than a sentence without insulting them, and then probably making some jab at the hypocrisy of whoever is observing them.

I was going to say this is like people in two hundred years writing about Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert and putting a lot of effort into making the language and fashion accurate but having the Daily Show just be a mainstream, earnest news show that never makes jokes but...people kind of do that now, and I GUESS it’s ok that they’re enjoying themselves, and that not everyone has fun the same way I do. I GUESS. MAYBE.

It mostly annoys me because it's not just a subset of fans doing this. There's room for all sorts. But the intellectually shallow nostalgia driven approach is the default across all of popular culture, and the more visible and well funded the adaptation the more likely it is to ignore the things that make the original unique and challenging. (I just had the mental image of Zach Snyder's Pride and Prejudice. That would be...something)

It's also possibly relevant that I am ok at matching Jane Austen's sarcasm but gave up on the semi colons entirely; this may affect my idea of the core traits of an Austen pastiche.
alias_sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
(Well, no more spoilery than the trailer)

This is a deft, entertaining retelling of "A Christmas Carol", with all the nuanced and modern gender roles, racial dynamics and social commentary of the original 1843 novel(*).

But my main reaction(**) is: SCREW YOU NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WRITERS SOME PEOPLE "ON EARTH" CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN SUMMER. OR HAVE NO WINTER AT ALL. Also midwinter here is a little gloomy but also a period of budding greenery and refreshing rain, while midsummer is an ordeal of sun, scorched earth and broken airconditioners.

(*)Admittedly a step up from many modern adaptations.
(**)Which has also been niggling at me with a lot of the general response to christmas about the place online, but none of it was as smugly annoying as this.
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
Are people familiar with the Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin? I grew up with translations of his books as a kid and adored them, and it's only recently it struck me that those whose mothers are not arty types of somewhat Eastern European extraction may be unfamiliar with him. So: look at his art! Isn't it the prettiest thing you have ever seen?

(Answers of "no" will not be accepted :P)

I was inspired to look him up after getting an idea for a fairy tale influenced piece, but now I feel a little intimidated by the awesome. Alas the books I had as a kid with their cool russian covers don't seem to be for sale any more, but I'm definitely going to try and find some way to buy a book of his pictures, because they are much richer in person. I can't remember if the text that came with them was any good, since we had a couple of versions of those folk tales.

(EDIT: here's some of the stories, ah such a nostalgia trip)
alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
I keep almost making comments to reply to people making the argument in the subject of this post but then stopping when I realise they've gotten tl;dr and personal. Thus, a post. Warning: tl;dr and personal!

Most people are talking about fanfic but since I mostly make comics, that's what I'm mostly talking about (EDIT: See also All things to everyone about how if the standards you set don't make sense for fanart you're not being very helpful). And this is most definitely a way of me venting my irrational defensiveness. There are some genuine criticisms mixed in there too, but at the moment I'm not feeling objective enough to ferret them out!

My problem with this argument:
Not everyone who make a work feels certain if it's a fanwork or not, or even necessarily cares that much until they have to ask themselves "Is it ok to post this to the AO3?" or whatever. I realise people don't mean it that way, and I'm not sure how much of this is irrational defensiveness, but whenever anyone says "Well, as long as it feels like fanfic and was made for a fannish community" I don't feel more included but less.

Really important point: I have no better way of deciding what goes into the archive, or what counts as fanfic or whatever. But like I said in my previous post, I don't like it when people act like they can make these generalisations and suddenly everything is simple and clear and noone is excluded or confused. Also: I do not mean to exclude the people who say "it's fanfic if you say it is and it feels like fanfic" because they feel excluded by other definitions (including the ones that suit my stuff better) Really what bugs me is the implication that "it's fanfic if and only if you say it is and it feels like fanfic".
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
I've been tutoring a Finance student in calculus recently before his exam on Wednesday. I warned him I didn't know any Finance stuff but he said it was straight maths. And afaict they were just taught plain calculus, he showed me the last few worksheets and chapters and the latter could have come straight out of any not-very-good first year calculus course.

Unfortunately, the worksheets couldn't, and contained finance terms I had never seen before and which the notes didn't mention. And there's no textbook.

One question said "what is the marginal production?" but once google revealed that "marginal product" was a quantity I'd already calculated in a previous question I was ok.

But another said something like "Use the Mean Variance Portfolio Method to calculate the optimal value of L". I have never heard of the Mean Variance Portfolio Method. And what the hell was L? Google was no help until I realised the lecturer might be using a slightly off phrasing again, at which point I found Modern portfolio theory. The student paled at all the equations, I paled at the stats and finance, and even with the answers to the worksheet question in front of me I only managed to reverse engineer about half of it before he said "You know what, I'm never going to learn that by Wednesday. I'll just concentrate on the stuff I almost have the hang of."

I've encountered this sort of thing a lot, where students are made to feel stupid for not being able to answer questions they haven't been given the tools to solve. This combines badly with the common misconception that maths is hard and makes no sense, and that if you don't get it immediately you must just be too dumb to ever understand.

Grr!
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
So first, a month or two ago, I broke Cam's laptop (I spilled water on it in just the right way so that it looked like none had gotten into it but it was actually totally screwed). I felt REALLY bad about it, and thus reacted as I do to feeling really bad about something eg by talking and thinking about it as little as possible.

Cam got himself a new cheap small Eee PC laptop and an iPhone (he needed a new phone anyway)

And then Cam lost his iPhone. Which (unlike the laptop) was covered by insurance but he's still waiting on the replacement.

And just now? MY laptop has broken. It's been slowly dying for a while but it's gone from "a bit flakey" to "refusing to start for hours on end" so during a brief up-time I transfered across any files I wanted to keep and am now on my desktop machine in a rather unstable position on two chairs (Kira is not impressed. When I'm on the couch she gets a lap! My icon is no longer accurate :( )

ARGH. And of course with me not working any more our finances are WAY tighter than they were, so we can't just go out and buy a new one. Current plan is to buy a large-screen windows laptop (Cam sometimes gets sick of the teeny screen and processing on his Eee, and if I look at a small screen for more than about a minute I get a headache) and share it. But not for a while :(

Oh, and I had insomnia last night so feel all wierd AND a pigeon crapped on my bedsocks. Which I had been watching dryig on the line for a day or two with cold toesies. Luckily I manged to find two clean ones even if they don't match.

Anyway, as previously mentioned, I don't actually want to talk or think about it, I just needed to vent. Supportive comments will probably make me feel worse rather than better because I am odd like that, but if you really want to say something cheering give me a link to something happyfying.

To start you off: Dude watching with the Brontes.
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Following on from What annoys me about fanfic meta about itself, the OTHER thing that annoys me about "fanfic" meta about itself is the assumption by people in the american dominated english speaking scifi-con-culture-associated mostly-inspired-by-mainstream-tv-and-movies LJ-based metafandom-reading part of fanfic-and-other-related-fannish-creations fandom (also known in some circles as Ponies) is that that's either ALL there is to fanfic-and-other-related-fannish-creations fandom, or that they/we are at least the central or most important part.

I was reminded of this by [livejournal.com profile] hlbr(*), who pointed out that I was making EXACTLY the same assumption myself. Oops.

Anyway, to counteract that, some meta about another part of fanfic-and-other-related-fannish-creations fandom:In which I talk about Jane Austen fandom )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Oops, posted this to the wrong journal, it's now at my Dreamwidth.
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
(separated out as a tangent from Old school fandom: Can we fix it?)

There's a difference between "here are some flaws in X group"/"Here are some awesome things about my group" (both of which are valid) and "Let's think about the differences between X and my group. Well.. X has all these flaws. And my group is awesome. Because we are awesome people, and they are flawed people (apart from the ones who eventually realise how awesome we are and change sides)."
Read more... )
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So I think it doesn't count as a spoiler to say: Wolverine doesn't have his adamantium skeleton at the start of the movie, then partway through he gets it and becomes more baddass.

The thing is, we never actually see any really negative explicit downsides to his regular skeleton, apart from a generally being less unstoppable. His claws break once but it doesn't actually change the outcome of the fight, and none of his other bones are ever shown breaking. The opening credits show him being shot but cut away quickly.

Now I realise they were trying for a lower rating so couldn't show gore. But in my perfect version of this movie you see his arm break and hang wrongly and he's incapacitated for a few seconds(*) until it heals, or his head is half blown off when it gets shot and it's a major inconvenience. Then the way bullets just bounce off once he gets the adamnatium would actually mean something.

Also there's various plot holes and Feminist issues (not a wide variety or significance of roles or dialogue for women in this world..) but I went in expecting that. I decided to try to enjoy it purely as brainless action and thus those are the grounds I criticise it on :) Mostly I liked it well enough though, even if it doesn't hold up well against actually good comic book movies.

(*)Or whatever, the speed of his regeneration being "at the speed of plot" :) And thinking about it, why does his body regenerate the adamantium after being blown to dust in X3? Wait, I'm thinking about X3 *blanks it out again*
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
So people with chronic fatigue syndrome are a minority in society. People with vaguely similar chronic illnesses and disabilities are less of a minority, I have no idea how much less.

But I still get very annoyed when people assume that anyone who does *blah thing to save energy* must be lazy. Yes, in the old days we didn't have labour saving devices etc. And in the old days, being chronically ill or disabled really sucked. (It still does, but not as much)

Pre-prepared food, remotes, scooters, whatever.

I mean I can understand saying "Surely not EVERYONE who uses this actually needs it, so the overall popular trend is bad even if some uses are valid" but you can't judge any given person without knowing their circumstances.

Even if they're overweight, especially since mobility issues tend, oddly enough, to lead to weight gain. Sometimes people's ill health is either unrelated to, or the cause of their weight issues, and we have just as much right to do unhealthy things like eating junk food as anyone else. Sick and disabled people do not fit into neat little boxes of "lovable perfect victim who never complains" and "entitled whiner who brought it on themselves".

Not aimed at anyone in particular, inspired by hearing about examples of overweight people with similar symptoms to mine (shortness of breath, low blood sugar meaning I need to eat often, slow ungainly gait etc) being judged for "making themselves sick by not losing weight", and thinking dark thoughts about my future since I can't see how I can not gain weight with my current level of immobility. Also this post, which has the added fibre of classism!

Oh, and that woman at the station who said to the man awkwardly carrying his crutch off the train before putting it back on "You obviously don't need that, haha"

Phew! I feel better now.
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First off, the title is deliberately misleading, this is definitely about why I like femslash. But hey, I think that's a problem with most of these sorts of essays :)

Every time I've seen femslash and yuri brought up in discussions/meta, it's generally quite quickly dismissed as not that interesting (or is theoretically interesting but the author knows nothing about it and isn't going to research), and the assumption is that the only people who read it are (a)Lesbian or bisexual women or (b) Straight men. (I've never heard anyone bring up bisexual male femslashers but they would presumably be explained the same way)

Since I am neither of those things (which is to say, I'm a straight woman, not a gay man. The thoughts of a gay male femslasher would be interesting too :)) and there has recently been angst over the lack of femslash meta I thought I'd think about why I like it, and what being a straight-girl girlslasher means. VERY much about my personal experiences since I don't know enough to generalise!

I should say first: I am VERY new to femslash fandom, so this may all be bunk. I've liked the idea since I first encountered the idea of fanfic but had real trouble finding any I liked. Some time last year I was pushed in the direction of comms like [livejournal.com profile] ffslashrecs and got more into it, and late last year started writing my first fanfic, which turned out to be femslash (still working on it, 9th chapter is on it's way :)) Also I do read slash, gen, and het as well, but have a special soft spot for femslash.

And of course not all people fit into any of the gay/straight/lesbian/bi boxes, and I haven't seen any related femslash meta on that score beyond questions about genderswap fic.
Why I like femslash )
Issues around being a straight-girl girlslasher )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Something I realised I left out of Various axioms of my anti-(racism sexism etc) (this extended conversation is definitely making me express a bunch of interconnected ideas I hadn't properly articulated before :))

EDIT: This is not a self evident truth, it's an axiom of the way I think. This does not mean it's right, but you'll have to work pretty hard to convince me otherwise :) (But one of my other axioms is question everything)

As I said there, if there is a society wide inequality which puts one group in a position of less power with regards to another, then the group with more power cannot be trusted to judge how best to fix that inequality. No matter how good their intentions(*).

Feminism and the fight against sexism needs to be mostly run by women.

Anti-racism needs to be mostly run by POC.

The left needs significant input from the poor and lower class. (Unfortunately once you have the power to change things you generally aren't lower class any more so this gets a bit catch 22ish)

etc.

And if you're in the more powerful group then you cannot rely on the opinions of other people in the same group.
Read more... )
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I've decided to do a bit of a summary to get my thoughts re the last couple of posts in order since I was confusing myself in the comments.

In summary, I think my argument boils down to the answers to these questions:

  • Q: Does art sometimes have a negative social effect?
    A: Yes. Certainly I don't think anyone would disagree that it can sometimes have a negative effect on an individual person.
  • Q: Can the artist predict this effect in advance?
    A: Not perfectly, but to some extent.
  • Can the artist fix this by just working on making the piece better?
    A: No. At least not unless they make the piece perfect, which they never will. So this approach isn't very effective. Also not all artists hold themselves to very high standards, which is fine as an artistic choice, but that doesn't let them off the hook consequences wise. (That argument comes up a lot with fanfic. It's just a hobby!)
  • Q: Should the artist worry about these consequences if it means the art will suffer?
    A: Worry? Yes, at least a little bit. It's part of every person's responsibility to worry about the consequences of any of their actions. Let it stop them making or sharing that piece of art? That depends, and is a personal decision. Be censored by outside forces beyond negative peer pressure? No.

Some more thinky thoughts )A note about the context )
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(This is a tangent I got into while writing Good writing doesn't solve all problems and decided needed it's own post. EDIT: Disclaimer 4a applies *sighs at self*

Something I find annoying in these sorts of discussions is that people act like there's either there's a single objective "goodness" that all works are judged by, or the perception of a work is almost random and completely out of the authors hands.
Read more... )
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Off [livejournal.com profile] metafandom, a very good post : I Didn’t Dream of Dragons. An indian fan (and possibly writer?), [livejournal.com profile] deepad, talks about her experience reading sff in english about european people in an european world, and how a lot of the arguments white american etc authors make about "Writing the Other" are flawed. EDIT: She responds to some common criticisms here.

EDIT: Disclaimer 4a applies *sighs at self*

Something she said which touches on a topic I've been thinking about for a while is "I have spent a lifetime reading well-written books with nuanced characters that hurt me by erasing or misrepresenting me".

One of the axioms a lot of creative types seem to work from is that their only priority should be The Art. Great Art broadens the soul and civilises society etc, so an Artist should not let themselves be swayed by worries about social responsibility/hurting people's feelings etc. Any times questions like this come up they are either dismissed as making false assumptions (which is often true: playing violent video games does not in fact make you a murderer, and it is very hard to predict what effect if any a work will have on the population as a whole etc) or it's argued that these consequences only happen as a result of bad art, and the solution is to work even harder at making True Art. Which is what the artists were doing anyway, how convenient.
Read more... )
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[livejournal.com profile] ithiliana made a locked post(*) asking her flist what GLBT people wish was better known by their peers at uni, and what straight people wish they'd known at uni. I found this a really interesting question, since by uni most people have gotten past the basic "Gay people exist and aren't evil" stage. EDIT: I haven't included stuff on non-monogamous relationships and other misunderstood aspects of sexuality like S&M etc since that wasn't part of the original post. Feel free to discuss them in the comments anyway :)

So, this is my answer, including stuff I've seen other people get consistently wrong:
Read more... )
So what do you guys think?
EDIT: I'm not going to correct this post since I'd be rewriting it forever and I think it acts an interesting snapshot into the brain of a well meaning but somewhat clueless straight person. But it's definitely flawed, and there's lots of important additions and discussion in the comments.

(*)to keep answers private, she said it was ok to mention it existed
(**)Well, not for straight people, anyway :)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
So, we have group X. They have a cause (sexism, racism, the environment etc). You support this cause in principle, but don't like the way they pursue it. That's fine, but there are certain arguments which result from this situation which come up again and again and I thought I'd address them here. I've been pondering it for a while but this was a big "inspiration" :/

Note that if you do have a problem with that cause then that's a different thing, though then you still have to be careful not to conflate the medium with the message so the arguments below are still problematic. In fact a lot of the time I think people use these arguments (especially the last) to mask the fact that they don't want to support group X, but aren't willing to say that due to peer pressure or not having any rational argument beyond "It's hard" or "it makes me uncomfortable".

They're just not nice )
It's in their own best interests to be nice )
They have a moral obligation to be nice )
If they're not nice I'm justified in ignoring their cause, maybe even actively opposing it )
Links )
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(This grew from a comment I made on this entry of [livejournal.com profile] shineys_are_us's, and then today I got all inspired to post it by the american election)
Various ponderings on nations and togetherness )

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