Shana's Halloween Watch-A-Thon: When Not Watching Twin Peaks

So, I disappeared into that k-hole (does that make me sound old yet) that is Twin Peaks for awhile and apparently that stopped my writing full stop. Things I have watched since we last talked, you can just imagine Twin Peaks is gettting watched in the background the majority of the time:

Oct 13: Robocop w/Kit
I know this doesn't really count as a Halloween movie but it's got all the makings of a great costume... or like dozens of great costumes. Go check out the show to hear what I have to say about Robocop. (Whenever Kit gets around to posting it, hint, hint.) Like literally, from beginning to end. Kit is far too kind and laughs at all the silly things I say but I understand how dear this satirical action hero is to Kit; with good reason.
Oct 14-15: Stranger Things TBD w/Kit
I rewatched Stranger Things, with new criticism in mind, and I quickly felll in love with it all over again. Kit and I plan to podcast this in the nearish future so I won't go into much detail so instead I'm writing a short ...

Meanings, Mirrors, and Modernism (a fragment)

Meaning, as distinct from information, is an entirely human creation. It does not exist ‘out there’. It is an emergent property of human existence, of animals which have consciousness, which is itself a system of reflections of reflections. The essence of conscious human awareness is the experience of looking at something or someone, and knowing that you are looking at them, and thus looking at your own looking. It is the awareness of a hall of mirrors inside your head. And then one becomes aware of the returned look of the other, and the implied hall of mirrors inside their heads. And then one imagines their mirrors mirroring your mirrors. Their infinite regression amplifies your own. And it is this multiplicity of reflections, and of reflections of reflections, that ignites the quest for meaning.

There is something in the very act of looking that entails or demands interpretation. The eye delegates a great deal of the task of looking and seeing to areas far further back inside the head. The interpretation of this inherently incomprehensible chaos of multiplying reflections is going to bring about an attempt at finding meaning, or at least a feeling that meaning must be possible, and ...

Comics Reviews (October 19th, 2016)

Rough week. Let's get started.

Black Panther #7

Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn't actually think that ending works, does he? I mean, everything else is the sort of thing he usually does, which is to say use an issue to advance each of his plotlines a few pages with no real thought to the issue's overall cohesion and often minimal thought to whether the events depicted form a satisfying chunk of story in their own right, but as I've been saying for, well, seven issues now, that's legitimately hard stuff that I'm willing to give him time to work out. But come on. Other than that, no new problems here and no new merits either.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #11

Another oddly organized issue - the cut away to Black Cat for the final cliffhanger scene is jarring and ends up feeling underweight just by dint of the lack of scene length and the fact that we skipped over Bailey actually getting captured. And it's not like the previous scene ends on a particularly good end-of-storyline-for-the-issue note either. As always some lovely bits in the middle, but the overall messiness detracts.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13 ...

Myriad Universes: Hearts and Minds Part 1: For the Glory of the Empire

Major Kira is holding down the fort in the Ops office, having a heated argument with a woman who demands she be allowed to open an establishment on the Promenade, even though there are no vacancies. It's Maura, but if you didn't read “Requiem” you wouldn't know that. Just as things are about to get ugly, Jadzia Dax pages the Major to tell her they have a little situation she might want to take a look at. The situation in question is a fleet of Klingon warships, who have Deep Space 9 surrounded.

Kira orders Commander Sisko to be brought up to Ops at once, forcing Ben to give Jake and his baseball game yet another rain check. While still in his baseball uniform, Sisko meets with Captain Kol, the commander of the fleet's flasghip, the 'Avwi. As a staunch ally of the Federation, Kol offers his support and protection to Deep Space 9, which he claims will be the most strategic location in the forthcoming war with the Cardassian Empire. This takes Sisko somewhat by surprise, as he had been unaware there was a war between the Klingons and the Cardassians. Kol recaps the events ...

Pex Lives 36: The Curse of Peladon, or, #imwithher

We're pleased to announce a new episode of Pex Lives. The description follows:

Look! Just when you thought we were down and out, we leap off the canvas and throw a few more hits.

We spend our first half catching up, then have an extended chat about Kevin's hero Mike Love of the Beach Boys before dropping into ever cheerful Current Events. After that, we talk about a western from 1951 called the Furies and then just a little sprinkling of your Doctor Who content with the topical Curse of Peladon.

You can download that here.


Cultural Marxism 5: Excession

Reflecting on the fact that his last book was going to turn out to be the relatively slender and small-scale The Quarry, Iain Banks made the observation that “the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel.” It’s difficult to imagine he didn’t mean Excession. Like The State of the Art before it, Excession is a novel about pushing the premise of the Culture to a breaking point. But where The State of the Art picked an approach to this that was fundamentally a dead end, Excession comes up with one that’s thrilling in its boundless possibilities. Ironically, it basically does this by taking the premise of The State of the Art and turning it on its ear. Where that novella asked “what if the Culture met us,” Excession asks “what if the Culture met a race even more advanced than itself?”

This leads to Excession’s - and arguably the Culture’s - most enduring contribution to the broader culture, namely the phrase Outside Context Problem. The passage where Banks describes this is very possibly the most-quoted paragraph of his career, and with obvious reason:

The usual example given to illustrate ...

Big Damn Shiny Heroes (The Reboot): Serenity

Shana has officially unceremoniously kicked me off of the Firefly podcast, mostly because listening to me kvetch about sci-fi westerns and the American Confederacy is way more fun for me than for her, but thankfully for all listeners she's replaced me with the wonderful Jessica from The Web of Queer, who will give the series the more sympathetic (or at least fannish) reading it (arguably) deserves. 

This episode introduces the podcast audience to Shana and Jessica's history with the series, then dives into a nice discussion of the kinds of themes surrounding gender we're going to be dealing with over the course of Firefly's run. Kaylee's love for strawberries, Inara's profession, and Captain Tightpants, er, tight pants are all subjects of discussion. Also, some spontaneous singing of the theme song?

This should be a monthly-ish addition to the Oi! Spaceman family, and don't worry, one of these days when I have the energy to write again I will come back to an examination of the Confederacy within the sci-fi Western in essay form. Maybe this will force me to watch the new Westworld series? 

Saturday Waffling (October 15th, 2016)

Long time no waffle. Let's see. First off, promotional considerations, which is to say that Jed Blue's got a Kickstarter for an essay collection of his writings on anime. Jed's a longtime friend of Eruditorum Press and a hell of a good critic, and if anime's your bag I have zero doubt his book will be phenomenal, so please check it out.

I should also probably mention, since we're a week away from the premiere, that Class reviews are still $13 from happening on the Patreon. But if we fail to meet that goal, I'll still write short reviews of every episode for $2+ Patrons, so if you back the Patreon at $2 a week you're guaranteed reviews either way. If you need to cap your pledges at <5 a month (the most I'll ever end up charging you for) then that's cool too - if you can avoid capping at just one pledge a month I'd appreciate it, but all support is always welcome.

As for where I'm at... Getting towards the end of "Theses on Trump," which may end up having a different title at the end, but ...

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