A fearsome storm rages on Bajor. Vedek Bareil surveys the fury from a balcony outside his temple. An attendant acolyte (who looks a hell of a lot like Vedek Winn but isn't cited as being her) fears for his health, but Bareil only asks if everyone who has lost their homes due to the storm has been given sanctuary within, stressing that no-one must be turned away. The acolyte hopes the Prophets stop the storm, but Bareil hopes they grant them their wisdom on how to act.
On Deep Space 9, Kira, Worf and Odo confront the Cardassian saboteurs. One of the assailants tries to gas the security team, but Worf is a quicker shot, and Odo turns into a praying mantis tentacle monster to subdue them. Not to be outdone, Kira swings from the rafters and kicks some dudes in the fucking face. But before they can arrest them, the intruders activate an emergency transport. Jadzia Dax couldn't catch them in time, but Data has found some technobabble that allows him to nullify the cloaking device used on their ship. Unfirtunately, neither Dax nor Data is able to snare the ship in a tractor beam before it ...
Middle parts of trilogies are famously hard. Ironically, this fact largely benefits Attack of the Clones. Freed both from the obligation to try to be the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years and the obligation to portray long-mythologized events in a definitive way, it is allowed to simply reflect George Lucas’s vision in a fairly undiluted way. There are countless snarky sentences that follow well from that, but there’s enough that’s at least interesting in that vision to make Attack of the Clones a compelling experience. To praise with faint damnation, it’s a hot mess instead of merely a bad movie.
Where The Phantom Menace was structured around a single protagonist, Attack of the Clones splits its attention between two plots and protagonists. The first of these is relatively expected: The Phantom Menace fairly explicitly set up a progression from Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan such that, just on the basic sense of structure and the Jedi/padawan relationship, you’d expect the mantle to pass on to him. What’s less straightforwardly set up is the ascension of Anakin to the role of co-protagonist. Obi-Wan, after all, was firmly a supporting character, and given the estrangement in the way Anakin was presented ...
Bit of business to take care of...
Firstly, yes I’m the Friday guy now.
Secondly, I have a Patreon now, so if you like my stuff, and have some cash to spare, then you know what to do. Now. A few discerning people have already done it, or promised to, and you should copy them if you want to look cool and hard and clever. My patrons already have exclusive access to two pieces of my fiction-writing. Form an orderly queue, fans.
Thirdly, Episode 2 of Wrong With Authority is up. It’s a new(ish) podcast about movies that claim to be based on real history, and features myself, the laconic James Murphy, the leonine Kit Power, and Daniel Harper, who possesses no qualities beginning with ‘L’. We take it in turn to pick films and host episodes. This episode is Daniel’s, and it’s about two Oscarbait biopics of mathematicians, A Beautiful Mind and The Imitation Game.
Finally, ‘Xenomorph’s Paradox’ is a series about Alien and its various progenitors, progeny, parasites, predators, paratexts, para-phenomena, and paraphernalia. As some of you will know, I’ve been planning it for a long time. This post doesn’t necessarily mean the series is about ...
It is with great pleasure that I am joined again by Ben Knaak for the second part of our examination of The Elder Scrolls series of video games. You may want to check out part 1 first, if you haven't already heard it. In that podcast, we did a brief (ish) rundown of the history of the franchise from our own personal perspectives. But tonight, we're diving headfirst into the infamous Elder Scrolls lore, for some arguably the series' signature standout component.
Hey all - just a heads up that I've started a newsletter for the Ithaca Psychogeographic Liberation Front. It'll mail out eight times a year. You can sign up for it here. The first installment of it is below if you want to get a sense of what it'll be like.
Oh, and Jack's on Fridays now, so do check back tomorrow.
Hello. We are the Ithaca Psychogeographic Liberation Front. This is our cross-quarterly newsletter, coming out eight times a year to give you the latest news on the struggle to liberate Ithaca from a variety of nebulously defined forces. You're subscribed to it either because you asked to be or because you downloaded Articles of Secession, our debut release. If occasionally being treated to our deranged musings was not something you meant to sign up for, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom which you can use to depart our newly liberated Ithaca in favor of the frozen wastelands of reality. Careful though: there are wolves out there.
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Rom is grousing to himself about how underappreciated he is at the bar and how things would run much smoother if he was in charge when his pity party is interrupted by an irate customer. A Starfleet officer, on scheduled shore-leave, is upset that all the Dabo tables seem to be rigged to favour the house (well, more then gambling machines already are I suppose). Rom goes to fetch Quark, eager at the chance to buck responsibility higher up the managerial chain. This sort of thing would slip by most people unnoticed, but then again, most people aren't Geordi La Forge, who, thanks to his remarkable VISOR, can see things most people can't.
Geordi is joined by Doctor Beverly Crusher and Commander Deanna Troi, and all three question an evasive Quark. The barkeep denies all responsibility and threatens to call station security, “A close, personal friend” of his to escort the bothersome Starfleet officers out before Odo himself shows up and sternly asks Quark if “that Dabo table” was still “giving [him] trouble”. Geordi tries to thank Odo, but Odo actually agrees with Quark: He's not happy the commander and his two associates are here, claiming that ...
Fittingly, this project exists for three basic reasons. First, having subjected everybody to eight parts of Build High for Happiness, it felt like it was time for a nice populist project. Second, I was seized by a desire to watch all seven Star Wars movies and figured “why waste the research.” But third, I was struck by the fact that, as I put it on Twitter a while ago, the bulk of criticism of the Star Wars prequel trilogy is worse at being criticism than the prequels are at being movies. The most common type is of course the brutal and sneering takedown, an approach that usually ends up committing so totally to its brutality that it gives up on making actually interesting points in favor of preening snark. The second is the counter-tendency of contrarian apologias, which are generally better (I’m partial to Rian Johnson’s “the prequels are a 7 hour long kids movie about how fear of loss turns good people into fascists. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”) but still suffer from wanting to be in conversation with the Red Letter Media shit, and also from the fact that they’re taking a provocative position at the expense ...
A guest post from Sam Keeper, normally of Storming the Ivory Tower. Sam's great and worth supporting, and I'm totally not just saying that because she pitched me a guest post that's in part about my own work. Though speaking of Articles of Secession, the auction for the last physical zine copy ends today.