Hyrule Haeresis 5

Patriarchy is built on epic time. Learned male history requires exhaustive documentation of political kingdoms and dynastic successions. The Chosen Warrior-Hero God-King must come of age, become anointed, take a throne and lead his people to victory in battle before retiring and passing his crown on to the next generation. Rise, fall and rise. In our language, we call this canon, and the canon of the aristocratic literate patriarchy stands in stark contrast to the cyclical deep time of the feminine and feminine understanding. This is, in fact, the true first war in the world, and its battle scars have played out across the visage of our ideaspace since the start of all time.

And so, deeply fraught and conflicted is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Like the Celtic mythology from which it draws its inspiration, the tune this Ocarina plays is a melancholy one, a lament for a world that was lost before history began. Its story opens as if a folk tale (perhaps a fairy tale). The narrator speaks in the voice of a storyteller relating events to an enraptured audience, presumably comprised of children. Ironically, or maybe inevitably, this is a story about having childhood ...

Build High for Happiness 6: A Field in England (2013)

Wandering in open country is naturally depressing

A Field in England is a precise antipode to High-Rise, a fact acknowledged by Ben Wheatley, who has spoken about the way in which he is inclined to make one project a reaction against the previous one. But the thing about the alchemical union of opposites is that it works largely because of the similarities. Just as “up” and “down” presuppose movement in three-dimensional space and “left” and “right” presuppose neoliberal democracy, High-Rise and A Field in England presuppose a director doing sci-fi/fantasy inflected period pieces rooted in the psychogeographies of English spaces. In some understandings of conceptual space this is how the hypercubic prison works - through the systematic construction of axes bounded by opposites that, when multiplied sufficiently, create a territory that is at once infinite and contained.

This is in essence the problem that faces Whitehead, who winds his way through a recurrent series of at best gradual enlightenments in pursuit of no obvious goal or trajectory for escape. More to the point, his problem is heavily location-dependent, in both spatial and temporal senses. Spatially he is confined to the eponymous field, a setting we’ll unpick momentarily. Temporally, however, he ...

The Lying Detective Review

Well, this was certainly better than The Six Thatchers, though a season of Sherlock (or indeed anything) in which the Moffat episode is not better than the Gatiss episode is difficult to imagine. In comparison with the three other straight Moffat scripts for Sherlock, which is to say to the three best episodes of the series this is… possibly not actually in fourth place overall for the show. Nah, I’ll go with definitely not - I’m comfortable putting The Sign of Three ahead of it.

Let’s start with Mary, since she’s certainly the biggest issue inherited from last week. First the good: we’re not done with Amanda Abbington yet! In fact, she’s credibly the best thing going for much of the episode, with her snarky side-comments routinely being the best gags in it. On the other hand, the narrative reasons for her death are by and large still inscrutable. The most obvious choice - that Moffat wanted to tell a story about grief and fatherhood - is clearly not where things are going, what with Rosamund not actually appearing in this episode. Nor does anything particularly follow from Mary’s death, or at least, nothing that couldn’t have been done anyway. Sure, the specific ...

Faeces on Trump 5

Dedicated, with all awareness of the impudence and absurdity of doing so, but also with sincere love and respect, to the memory of John Berger.


In the new Preface he wrote in 2010 for a reprint of his 1975 book A Seventh Man, John Berger explained why, in some respects, the book was outmoded.  It is a book of words and photographs - by Jean Mohr - about migrants.  It was written, as Berger says, before a great many things happened which would profoundly alter the world’s political landscape.  One of these things is, as Berger puts it, “the establishment of the global economic order, known as neoliberalism - or, more accurately, economic fascism”.

Not even in the remote vicinity of fucking about, was Berger, despite his customary elegance.

But it’s true, in very essential ways.  Fascism is marked by one of the treasured tactics of the liberal or the reformist leftist.  It is a ‘mixed economy’.  One of the first things the Nazis did, when they were handed power by German bourgeois politicians, was to privatise lots of key manufacturing industries.  Much as did Thatcher as part of the neoliberal counter revolution in Britain.  This isn’t to equate Thatcher and Hitler ...

Myriad Universes: The Deceivers Part 3: The Truth Elusive

I don't think any of the characters on the cover here actually appear in the issue. Certainly not that lady Romulan Commander: Davoros is male, I think.

So there's recap. About a page and a half of it, but that's to be expected. What's not to be expected, or at least Team Beardy didn't expect it, is that Geordi and the crew knew all about their betrayal ahead of time, which allowed them to alter the frequency of their own phasers so they wouldn't be affected when the alternate universe crew reversed the polarity or whatever. This allows our heroes to subdue their counterparts and curtail their little hijacking attempt. How did they know this? Quite simply, and naturally, we underestimated Deanna Troi. Being empathic, she could immediately sense when Team Beardy started to plot against the crew, and spied on them to learn the details of their plan. However, as Bearded Geordi points out, this still leaves them with the dilemma of what to do about the rogue sun threatening the Beta Argotha system in his universe, or indeed how to tell which universe everyone is in. We get some more recap about ...

Build High for Happiness 5: Crash (1973/1996)

a fixed spatial field entails establishing bases and calculating directions of penetration

Within the biotemporal omnipresence of the hypercube escape must be understood as an exit wound. In practice, this would manifest itself as an area towards which the natural flows towards annihilation congregate - the eddies along the surface where narrative tracks converge, scar tissue forming anticipatorily around the site of injury. Counterintuitively, then, a weak point is going to appear as the thickest part of the skin.

Crash, then - first of Ballard’s three attempts at sci-fi without futurity, the book is a famously scandalous meditation on the eroticism of the car crash. Its film adaptation, in 1996, is suspended neatly at the halfway point between the twin towers of the Ballard and Wheatley/Jump High-Rises, and circles neatly around other touchstones. It’s directed by David Cronenberg, for instance, whose 1975 film Shivers saw him independently arriving at the concept of a modernist apartment complex descending into madness, albeit because of genetically engineered parasites who drive their hosts mad with lust as opposed to because of some inherent property of modernity. Its opening sequence - a slow tracking shot through an aircraft hanger, across the sleek bodies of airplanes, fragmented ...

The Six Thatchers Review

Not sure these will always be on Sundays - they might migrate to Tuesdays, which this week will be Build High for Happiness 5. Anyway, Sherlock's back as the Year of Moffat continues, albeit, you know, with Gatiss. Speaking of whom, and in a rare concession to spoilerphobes, let's start by saying has written what's almost certainly the best script of his career here, a position admittedly previously held by The Empty Hearse and The Hounds of Baskerville. It’s not labyrinthine; Gatiss has never done that, and that, as opposed to his usual problem of stultifying unoriginality, has generally been his weakness on Sherlock. But it moves in unexpected ways. The substitution of Mary for the expected Moriarty plot is in many regards just the same trolling as “eh, we’re not going to tell you how he actually survived,” but the last twenty minutes felt extraordinarily inventive, moving in genuinely unexpected directions. The revelation of John’s near-affair is unlike anything Gatiss has ever done, small and human and actually like a writer who exists in a post-Russell T Davies world. The end, particularly with the injunction to save John, is unmistakably also the season-plotting influence of Moffat ...

New Year's Eve Waffling

I realized I didn't mention the end-date for the Boxing Day sale on ebooks. That's January 2nd, so you've got two more days if you're interested in picking up any of our books for cheap.

I posted something to this effect on Twitter a few weeks ago, but didn't get that many responses, so figured I'd make it a New Year's Eve waffling topic, as I'm genuinely interested in how people respond to it. My suggestion was answering these two questions in lieu of New Year's resolutions. Certainly I think they're important questions to have answers to right now.

1) What would your government have to do to lose its legitimacy in your eyes? (Define roughly as "you would consider its overthrow outside the normal democratic procceses to be a good thing.")

2) At what point does violence become an acceptable tactic for resistance? (Please note that unless you are an outright pacifist the answer "never" is cowardice.)

Happy New Year, everybody. This isn't going to be easy, but we're all in it together.

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