In No Particular Order

Random thoughts. For irony I was gonna use the ordered list function, but that'd be annoying.
  • So the people over at Big Hollywood have been doing a series about why they love Pixar. It's fine and all, though as an aginner I tend to lash out at anything I see praised too much. But apparently they think there's nothing to dislike about Pixar. Aren't they cute? I've got one: everything in Pixar is obsessed with the immediate post-war era, from about 1946 to c. 1972 or so.

    Think about it. Woody's a 50s toy. Bug's Life is based on a Kurosawa film from 1954. The eponymous firm in Monsters, Inc might as well be Big Blue. The Incredibles, or Cars? I shouldn't even have to say it. All the music in WALL-E? Guess when it's from. Meet the Robinsons is Pixar, I don't care whose name is on it, and does anyone else notice a distinctive aesthetic? Admittedly that's in the book too, but gee, why'd they feel drawn to that particular book? Hell, they sorta worship the early days of Disneyland.

    Now, there's nothing really wrong with that, and there's a lot to be said for that era. Its technological optimism was a bit more mature than that of the 19th century, society wasn't self-immolating yet, and I dig the diners/drive-ins/Googie (Populuxe, whatever)/Route 66 vibe, also on display in Feasting on Asphalt.

    But I can't shake the feeling Lasseter and co. actually think that time was marked by some sort of "family values", and that is simply not the case. Contrary to popular belief, the Flintstones (or the Honeymooners), or I Love Lucy, were much more typical of those times' view of marriage and family than Leave It to Beaver was (personally I'd say Bewitched was actually better, RE:values—Sam and Darren are a pretty believable happy couple). The family fell apart so quickly a the end of the post-war era because so many of its cultural supports had already been eroded.

  • More generally, the fact that so much of men's culture in our society seems to be geared toward Al Bundy makes it very difficult to critique feminism without seeming to endorse those attitudes. It'd be like if you couldn't critique Communism without sounding like you favored using Pinkerton's to massacre strikers...which was how things were in the early 20th century, that's how the commies made so many gains in this country in that era.

    It is actually possible to criticize capitalism without being Communist, and it's also possible to hate both male chauvinists and feminists. What's really funny is, I don't even hate feminists for their misandry—I hate them because most of their actual policy positions benefit men and not women.

    Solidarity was a labor union. Just saying.

  • So, Rosario+Vampire is an amusing ball of fluff-nothing. But it's got an interesting reason for the harem-lead everyman to get all the chicks: he's the only nice person in a place where most people not only hate each other, but eat each other.

    Also, I like how the outcast hybrid monsters all look like the monsters from tokusatsu series. It amused me.

  • Kaibutsu Ôjo (Princess Resurrection) is a better take on a world of movie-type monsters, but I gotta ask, do Japanese teenagers really dream about being utterly dominated by high-class ladies? 'Cause it's in everything. I mean, as fantasies go it's a hell of a lot better than the maid thing or the nurse thing or the schoolgirl thing (the second the red vinyl backpack enters the equation, you can get the hell away from me), but it's still kinda weird.

    Also, the ending from the Kaibutsu Ôjo anime, by ALI PROJECT. Uh, the vaguely bondage-y subtext present in their opening to Rozen Maiden has just become the text—the song's name is "Kneeling Down, Lick My Feet". I'm not really complaining, it's just an observation.

  • And yes, it's "Kneeling Down, Lick My Feet," not "Kneel Down and Lick My Feet". It's Hizamazuite Ashi wo Oname, not Hizamazue Soshite Ashi wo Oname. Yes I'm anal, so sue me.

  • I realized what I don't like about Marilyn Manson, other than that his music sounds like rat vomit. He is to Alice Cooper what Lady Gaga is to Madonna: a child ripping off someone else's gimmick, with no understanding of how that gimmick even works. It's like a Western manga.

    Alice himself said it best, as is so often the case:
    A male singer, a woman's name, lots of theatrics. Boy, I wish I'd thought of that.

  • I'm pretty sure the apostrophes before consonants, in Covenant names, mean you pause between the words. So the Arbiter is Thel. Vadam (Thel 'Vadam) and the Ship-master is Rtas. Vadum (Rtas 'Vadum). And if you think Rtas is hard to pronounce, you must not be Slavic.

    Also, anyone else think Vadum and Vadam are so similar because their voice actors are Davi and David?

  • Thought of Halo reminds me, why are American conservatives so ra-ra for Spartans, while hating Rome? Not only is America just a bootleg of the Roman Empire (as are all European attempts to govern more than one people), Spartans were a bunch of lousy commies. Read up on the Spartan system: gee, Davy, do you think it might be Stalinism?

  • So you know what's freaky? The Chinese said Emperors ruled based on the Mandate of Heaven. The Latin word for "Mandate" (in the political sense) is "Imperium".

    I can actually go line by line over East Asian and European history, and give you a list of parallels as long as my arm. For instance, the rise of Neo-Confucianism on the mainland undid a lot of reform by Buddhist regimes, in the name of conforming to ancient models—for instance, the Goryeo Kingdom had abolished slavery, the Joseon Kingdom brought it back. It was like the Renaissance, where blind copying of Rome and Greece undid a lot of medieval progress (which was fostered by Christianity, of course). I've already compared Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea to the Hundred Years War—an island country brutally invading the country that taught them to read (and make floors out of something other than dirt).

    Joseon Korea is post-Philip the Fair France. Edo Japan was a prolonged version of the Tudor/Stuart dynasty. Does that make the Sengoku era a longer version of the War of the Roses? Maybe; obviously the parallels aren't exact, unless maybe just the last part, culminating in Sekigahara, is the War of the Roses.

  • I can also give you parallels of different kinds of Buddhism with Christianity—Shingon's Orthodox, Tibetan's Catholic, Mahayana is Evangelical, Zen is...okay Zen doesn't work, it'd be a weird amalgamation of Evangelicalism with Pelagianism, and those are mutually exclusive. But Theravada is Calvinism—it even believes only some will ever be saved ("limited atonement", anyone?).

  • Boy, I hate music ringtones. I believe a phone ought to make a ringing noise (though, okay, my phone makes a sonar ping when my sister calls it), it's one of the very few things I agree with the reductive ass who writes xkcd on. Though I admit I laughed at his "compromise position" with 9/11 truthers, that one of the towers was destroyed by terrorists, and the other by the government.

    I have one exception to my ringtone rule: appropriate ones for fictional characters. The exorcist in my dark fantasy book (he's a specialist with the vampire-hunting order, they call him in when things bigger than ghosts or goblins are involved) has, as his ringtone, Tubular Bells. Because dammit, what else is an exorcist gonna use?

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