The Shabogans are the invisible underclass on Gallifrey. The plebs. The nobodies. The skivvies. They're not the posh drop-outs. They're not the soup-making rustics. They're the unseen guttersnipes trapped inside the Capitol. They always leave the room just before you enter it. They're the vandals who shoot stasers at the Seal of Rassilon. And maybe, sometimes, they do more than that. Maybe they riot. Maybe they erect barricades. Maybe they throw stones. Maybe they daub things like "GALLIFREY WILL NEVER BE HAPPY UNTIL THE LAST CASTELLAN HAS BEEN HANGED WITH THE GUTS OF THE LAST CARDINAL" on the walls of the Time Toilets. Because if there is hope, it lies in the Shabogans.
I'm Jack Graham. Gothic Marxist. Advocate of the struggle in terms of the strange. Shakespearean villain. Doctor Who fan. Less an organic intellectual than a one-man morbid symptom.
And I did this:
Happy Friday, all. Notices first:
There’s a new episode of Wrong With Authority up for you to download, here. WWA is a podcast about movies about historical events, created and starring myself, Kit Power, Daniel Harper, and James Murphy. We take it in turns to host. This time, James is hosting, and we’re talking about Shadow of the Vampire and Gods and Monsters, two movies about the lives of genius directors of classic horror cinema. So far, the show is getting better with every episode, so check it out. I believe podcasts in which white guys talk about movies are a real rarity online, so tell all your friends.
Sam Keeper is still being really interesting about Rogue One at the moment… and I’m not just saying that because Sam is saying nice things about me and Phil (though that obviously shows excellent taste).
I myself do have more to say about Rogue One and Star Wars generally, but I’m taking a bit of a break for now. Instead, here’s the first of a new occasional series about another obscure, niche fantasy franchise you probably haven’t heard of.
The Shabcast is back.
Shana guests again, to talk about 80s fantasy cinema classics Return to Oz and The Neverending Story.
Orson Krennic, director of the Death Star project, is a middle manager type who has achieved a position of authority above his abilities, possibly owing to his pre-existing relationship with engineer Galen Erso. He climbed the greasy pole owing to his association with a brilliant technician, and their partnership working on a prestige project. He’s ambitious and unscrupulous, but also essentially inadequate. He spends the entire film playing catch-up, being bounced between various superiors, looking for recognition, taking his frustrations out on others, and generally failing.
Tarkin’s attempted usurpation of Krennic’s control over the completed Death Star looks like a cynical power-grab, but could as easily be seen as a sensible management move. As Tarkin correctly notices, Krennic is not suited to a command role. In any case, Krennic’s shocked outrage is ludicrous given that this is just how the Empire works. His own successes come from appropriating the work of others, yet he has the temerity to feel aggrieved when his own work is appropriated. Moreover, the usual way you rise in the Empire is by showing more ruthless unscrupulousness than the other ambitious drones. You ‘work towards the Emperor’, and fuck over any competitors as ...
Yes, yet more Star Wars.
Note: This isn’t a ‘review’.
As noted previously, Rogue One is a Second World War spy movie. This is probably why the Empire in Rogue One looks more explicitly Axis than ever before. And it was always pretty specifically Axis, with its Stormtroopers and its officers’ togs reminiscent of WW2 Japanese uniforms. But in Rogue One the Empire is placed specifically in the role of the baddies in a WW2 movie. I talked a bit about this last week, and Jane showed up in the comments to observe that Rogue One is also a Pacific Theatre movie, with its showdown in a beachy, tropical location, and its nukes.
The irony of the carefully scaled-down deployments of the Death Star is that their very comparatively small scale makes them spectacular in a way the destruction of Alderaan wasn’t. Alderaan just blows up. The city in Jedha, and the base on Scarif, are both destroyed locally, which means that the blasts can be observed from ...
Welcome back to Eruditorum Press: A Star Wars Blog (apparently).
Some notes before we start.
Firstly, I still have a Patreon, and I send life-changing good vibrations through the ether to all those people who contribute to it.
Secondly, episode 2 of Wrong With Authority is still downloadable, here.
Thirdly, this post coincides (purely accidentally) with an excellent piece about Rogue One posted yesterday at Storming the Ivory Tower by Sam Keeper. Here. I strongly recommend it.
Fourthly, I may be dishing up something more substantial about Rogue One myself soon. It's an interesting movie.
Finally, please forgive me if what follows is a bit sub-par. I'm really quite ill at the moment.
Oh, and SPOILERS
The alt-Right and MRAs and MGTOWs etc have a point about Star Wars these days. They say all the new Star Wars films are part of the cultural Marxist/white genocide/misandrist conspiracy against straight white men and the Right. They’re wrong about that, of course… though it certainly is nice of them to admit - in the manner of Fox News labelling some wallscrawl reading “NO FASCIST USA” as ‘anti-Trump graffiti’ - that they, and the version ...
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 ...
This is the final part of ‘Faeces on Trump’... which now seems a peculiarly poor title for this series… all the worse for being so nearly right. Still, I daresay I shall have more to say about Trump and related issues in the years to come (if I’m spared). But this first line of thought draws to a close. This post is, as a result, a kind of ‘summing up’. (God, I sound pompous, don’t I?) Further thoughts, or lines of thought, will have to stand alone from now on - and so I’ll be able to retitle for more relevance when I arrogantly shit them all over the internet, as if my opinion matters. But anyway, this is the last squirt of diarrhea from the bellyache that Trump’s victory gave me. Further dyspepsia will doubtless cause more and different effluvia to rain down upon you, because clearly I can’t help myself. (And you’re not even paying me!) Watch this space, you poor doomed motherfuckers.
Fuck it, let’s not bother with any more piss jokes. Let’s have some Lenin. We might as well, in a world in which making a Ghostbusters film with a female main cast is ...
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 ...