As many of you will know, our very own Daniel Harper has been researching the so-called 'alt-right' (really the far-right) for more tha two years now, listening to their podcasts and YouTube shows, documenting what they say to each other in their own spaces.
This new podcast series - entitled (very cleverly, I think) I Don't Speak German - will be me in conversation with Daniel, giving him an opportunity to tell us what he heard.
We're discussing fascism and racism, so this podcast comes with big warnings.
Here's the first episode, on perhaps the best-known representative of the 'alt-right', Richard Spencer, his career, style, and ideology. The episode also touches on the origins of the term 'alt-right', the infamous 'heilgate' occurance after Trump's election, etc.
Our episodes will cover one 'topic' per show. We plan to keep the episodes as short as possible, and crank them out regularly (in direct defiance of our usual operating methods).
The next episode will be on a more old-school fascist, David Duke, former Klan 'Grand Wizard' who spoke at Charlottesville.
Please consider spreading the news about this new show.
In other news, I'm going to be taking a bit ...
After an eight year furlough, Iain M. Banks returned to the Culture series in 2008 with Matter, the longest Culture novel to date. The problem is that it’s not entirely clear why he did this. Matter, to put it bluntly, is a mess. Were it not for Consider Phlebas’s intense lack of quite knowing what it wanted to do with this “Culture” idea, Matter would straightforwardly be the weakest novel in the series to date. The problem, from what I gather, is not that Banks has run out of ideas. I’ve not read Surface Detail or The Hydrogen Sonata yet, but they are apparently perfectly good books. It’s just that Matter… isn’t.
This is not a hugely controversial opinion about Matter. Most of the diagnoses center on the ending, which amounts to basically every major character in the book dying in rapid succession, starting when an ancient planet-killing machine wakes up with very little setup and eliminates the entirety of one of the three plot lines that had been occupying the book thus far, and culminating when everyone else dies stopping it. This has led to suggestions that Banks’s heart simply wasn’t in the book, or that he ...
I'm joined for our first and last Doctor Who podcast of the year by the delightful Miranda, whose DeviantArt is well worth checking out if you're into My Little Pony.
Back Wednesday with a new Cultural Marxism, and on Monday with Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Blackstar.
I mean, it was fine in the sense that this is clearly as good as we’re going to get within Chibnall’s bold five year plan of “what if Doctor Who, only bad.” This is him firing on all cylinders, making a confident piece of self-consciously major Doctor Who that struts around like it knows it’s in its imperial phase. It’s the best script he’s written all year. And it’s perfectly entertaining, in a sort of straightforward junkfood television way. There are even a couple of bits—most obviously the parallelism between the Dalek making its shell and the Doctor crafting her sonic—that are actually intelligent, subtle, and interesting. As the Chibnall era goes, this is a triumph worth celebrating.
It’s still fucking crap TV Movie-tier television. I mean, you can see this from its basic conception. There’s no idea here other than “what if we brought back the Daleks with a real make them scary again vibe?” And so we get the bog standard tricks for that: one Dalek, its identity revealed fifteen minutes in, and we don’t actually see it in its case until fifteen from the end. There’s no larger concern here. This is just a ...
I don't have anything for you today, though I am currently tinkering with a couple of things that might end up being postable.
But neither of those are ready yet, so or today I'll have to just point you towards a new episode of Consider the Ray Gun, the strand of WWA in which Daniel chats with someone about a book.
This week it's Kit rejoining Daniel for a conversation about the early Richard Bachman (Stephen King) novel The Long Walk. Listen/download here.
It's every bit as good as their recent episode on Ender's Game.
CtRG started as part of Oi! Spaceman, so previous episodes can be found here.
Happy New Year all.
Still poking the Resolution review, so expect that Friday. For now, have the audio of Jack and I answering all manner of ridiculous questions on Discord.
Jack and I will be doing a live Q&A on the Eruditorum Press Discord server on December 30th at 6pm UK time, 1pm eastern US time, and a variety of other times. It'll be a pretty open-ended AMA format with us chatting and talking about whatever you lot can drag us into. Sobriety is not guaranteed. We'll release a reording of the mayhem as a podcast at some point. If you won't be able to make it, there's a channel in the Discord where you can leave questions in advance. Otherwise, we'll see you tomorrow.
Thoughts on Series 1 of Legion
(NB - I haven't seen Series 2 yet, and was distressed to see El saying it had become disqualifyingly "rapey". Why do they ruin everything?)
Legion might be the first show since Hannibal to genuinely achieve substance through style. Of course, I haven’t seen every show since Hannibal, but I know Westworld didn’t manage it.
Legion takes place in a corner of the X-Men universe, in which (as per the concept) some humans are being born as ‘mutants’ with special powers. In line with how these things usually go, the most powerful mutant so far discovered turns out to be David, a mediocre white guy with a Harry Potter-esque backstory. He and his fellow mutants are, naturally, being hunted by a sinister government agency.
So far, so clichéd. But Legion does some genuinely interesting things with these concepts.
It is deeply divergent from almost all TV/movie genre SF/Fantasy now, especially the Marvelverse, with which it is obviously most likely to be compared. Its style is light years away from the Marvel shows (Daredevil, etc) and from the movies. The nearest Marvel movie to Legion in terms of style ...