Tom and Jerry Classic Reading Guide (V.2)

Over the summer, I posted a rough draft of what I called a “Reading Guide” for Tom and Jerry. You know. The cat and mouse cartoon. I've since rewatched the series and revised my picks and criteria, so here's “Version 2”.

(Also, apparently something happened with the latest DTV Tom and Jerry movie? Apparently it went mememtic this summer without me noticing?)

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I've been thinking a lot lately about the history of animation, particularly during the Golden Age, these past few months for a variety of reasons. I used to watch theatrical shorts all the time on Cartoon Network and I have a real affinity for that genre, but I think I've come to the conclusion now that Tom and Jerry is probably my favourite out of all the Golden Age series. Naturally, it's the most controversial one.

Some of the criticism I find perfectly understandable. Some of it I find utterly preposterous and born from media illiteracy. But to take the more valid complaints, while there are certainly some pretty appallingly racist shorts in the Tom and Jerry catalog I tend to find this disproportionately overemphasized in modern criticism, making it seem like racist ...

The Proverbs of Hell 20/39: Yakimono

YAKIMONO: A course of flame-grilled meat. There are a number of episodes this would be a sensible title for, none of which are this one. 

MIRIAM LASS: I remember a dream about drowning. Then being awake. And not awake. Being myself, and not myself. I remember I could smell salt air. We were by the sea. For weeks. Months. Longer. Days and evenings blurred, I'd wake up to the smell of fresh flowers and the sting of a needle. I wasn't afraid. Fear and pain were so far away, on the horizon, but not close. Never close.

Miriam’s description is loosely adapted from a description of Hannibal’s brainwashing of Clarice from Hannibal

ALANA BLOOM: They found a witness. A survivor. The only victim of the Chesapeake Ripper who lived to tell.

HANNIBAL: Is this witness watching me now?

ALANA BLOOM: Yes.

HANNIBAL: It seems I am the usual suspect.

ALANA BLOOM: I keep having angry, imaginary conversations with Jack Crawford about that. I wish I could tell you why this is happening.

Why are Alana’s conversations imaginary? She showed no hesitation in picking a fight with Jack in season one, nor at the beginning of season ...

Asylum, Love, & Slavery

I was just popping by to tell you lot about a brilliantly fun new entry in the Amicus podcast from myself and Lee Russell, which you'll find here http://pexlives.libsyn.com/city-of-the-dead-14-asylum and will offer you just the tonic. If you like old Doctor Who, this sort of stuff is right up your alley. And if you don't, you'll probably dig it too.

I was just going to do that and be on my way, but I noticed that there was no Friday post from that wine chugging layabout J. Graham, so I thought I'd be your subsitute leftist for the week and post this recent essay that had previously been exclusively available to those who support me on Patreon. Feel free to throw paper airplanes and leave tacks on my chair in the comments below.

 

All over the world, white supremacists are flexing their pale, flabby muscles in this new age of online organising. In America, an emboldened, far-right Republican party controls the government. The Southern Strategy has made the Republican Party as hard right, as racist, and as popular as it is now. The strategy was (and is) the winking and ever ...

Nintendo at Gamescom and QuakeCon, 2017

This is the first year I've paid serious attention to Gamescom, which basically amounts to Europe's E3. Perhaps it's because I've even less chance of getting to go it than I do to E3, but it's kind of a blank spot in my games journalism career, if you want to call it that. But with a suite of teases at this year's E3, not a lot of solid details and a whole slew of games all coming out in the next 2-4 months I'm actually interested in, I figured it was time to give the big game show on the other side of the Atlantic a try. With Bethesda saving most of its content for QuakeCon, which ran at the same time last week (which I'll get to later on), and me not being terribly happy with Sony and Microsoft it was naturally only Nintendo I cared about, so here's a rundown of what they did at Gamescom this year.
 
I'm not sure if companies do the big press conferences at Gamescom like they do at E3-If they did I didn't see anywhere to stream them, and either ...

The Proverbs of Hell 19/39: Futamono

FUTAMONO: A soup dish served in a lidded pot. Most obviously a reference to the final scene, in which Jack discovers Miriam in a covered hole.

WILL GRAHAM: You're moving smoothly and slowly, Jack, carrying your concentration like a brimming cup.

Another case of using one of Thomas Harris’s characteristically vivid similes in an unexpected context - originally it is Francis Dolarhyde who thusly carries his concentration as he sets up to peruse home movies and decide on his next victim.

JACK CRAWFORD: And then you told him to kill Hannibal Lecter.

WILL GRAHAM: Nothing I said made that happen, Jack. It just happened.

JACK CRAWFORD: Don't seem too broken up about it.

WILL GRAHAM: There is a common emotion we all recognize and have not yet named. The happy anticipation of being able to feel contempt.

Two Thomas Harris lines in rapid succession. This one comes from Hannibal, where the emotion play across the face of Margot Verger as she’s preparing to introduce Clarice to her brother. Its poetry comes from the fact that we do not, in fact, quite recognize the emotion, as the act of recognizing an emotion is in a large part coextensive with the ...

radical, gamebreaking politics for a group that’s struggling with the basic right to fucking exist

Being aro/ace is queer.  End of story!  To say that anyone who’s not cishet normative doesn’t belong at the queer “table” (as if being queer were some kind of banquet, Hannibal?) doesn’t really understand what it is to be queer at all.  So let’s pick up the harp and let’s dance.

“radical”: late 14c., in a medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis "of or having roots," from Latin radix (genitive radicis) "root" (see radish ). Meaning "going to the origin, essential" is from 1650s.

Here’s what being queer, in any sense, often entails:

  • corrective rape
  • pedagogical erasure
  • unacceptance of one’s non-normative relationships
  • othering in mainstream media
  • medical stigmatization, discrimination, even “conversion”
  • unsafe to “come out” to partners, families, community and colleagues and so forth, and yet “coming out” is essential to being authentic

In other words, nothing nice.

These are all things that ace people have experienced.  These are all things that gays and lesbians have experienced.  These are all things that bisexuals have experienced.  These are all things that trans people have experienced.  These are all things that intersexed people have experienced.  Why?  Because we’re all queer.  Because ...

Egomania

Rarely has a work of fiction been so aptly named.
 
Sonic Mania released this past week on consoles, with the PC version delayed a few weeks for additional tweaks and optimization. This is one half of SEGA's 25th Anniversary celebration for Sonic the Hedgehog (the actual anniversary was last year, but that's just how SEGA rolls), a game made by a team of former Sonic fangame developers led by Christian Whitehead, famous for his HD remake of Sonic CD and his extremely high-quality conversions of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic Mania, as you might expect, is thus a game self-consciously indebted to the style of the earliest Sonic game releases and plays out as a kind of fan's version of Sonic Generations: A bunch of “reimagined” classic stages with the occasional crop of new material, but this time done in a manner that slavishly attempts to recreate the style of the original games on a new platform.
 
This is not a review of Sonic Mania. I don't even have the game as of the time of this writing, though I do have the Nintendo Switch version of the special collector ...

The Proverbs of Hell 18/39: Mukōzuke

Sorry about the slow posting schedule of late - Jack's on a brief holiday while he finishes up the Austrian School essay for Neoreaction a Basilisk, and I'm really bad at remembering to queue these on Game of Peaks night. Normal service should resume soon, and your patience is appreciated.

MUKŌZUKE: Literally “set to the far side,” which refers to the dish’s placement on the tray, a small dish of seasonal sashimi. The key detail for our purposes is that the dish is sliced.

FREDDIE LOUNDS: Send someone else, Jack. She's one of yours.

Freddie is entirely sincere here, offering a genuine concern for Jack. This is not part of some larger heel turn on her part, a fact emphasized by her photographing Beverly’s body and, subsequently, Will in his face mask. Rather, it is out of a sense of genuine horror and, more broadly, a sense of clear morality - the same one that fuels her consistent loyalty to Abigail Hobbs, even after death. The grounds on which Freddie will take actual moral stands are few, but the resulting stands are a key part of her character.

As the saying goes, there’s always doubt until you see ...

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