Saturday Waffling (April 25th, 2015)


These Saturday Waffling posts are ostensibly sponsored by my >$5 a week patrons at Patreon, but only like five of them ever gave me links to what they'd like me to plug for them, so now I'm just unabashedly trying to shame the rest into giving me them so I don't just have to link Eric Rosenfield's site week after week after week.

First off, I'm pleased to announce that not only did we hit the $290 threshold for "High Sparrow," we've reached $300, which means I'll be reviewing all ten episodes of Game of Thrones Season Five. I'm intrigued by this "small milestones leading directly to extra content" idea, so if the Patreon makes it to $310, I'll bang up one of the essays that would otherwise wait for the Capaldi book (which in turn will wait for there to be an end in sight to Capaldi's tenure), namely "Outside the Government: Marcelo Camargo," a look at the leaked workprints and their implications for Doctor Who, television, and anything else that comes to mind.

Second off, thanks to everyone for the very generous response to my Hugos piece. I am especially flattered by the people who said they'd be nominating it in next year's Hugos. My current thinking, very much subject to change, is that I'll knock together a small book containing it, Recursive Occlusion, and some other short pieces and aim to get that out this year along with Eruditorum Volume 6. (I'll probably do this in lieu of a wide release of Recursive Occlusion's standalone "art book" version, which you can still buy here.)

And third off, since it seemed a popular aspect of "Guided By the Beauty of Their Weapons," I'm curious: who had heard of Janelle Monáe before that piece? Who has gone and looked at more than just one song? What songs of hers do people like? Why is she so awesome? And have you seen her latest video?


Reinder Dijkhuis 5 years, 9 months ago

I owned both her albums and the Metropolis EP, tried to stream her iTunes festival gig on my birthday in 2013 (but the gods of connectivity weren't with us that day), and missed her latest tour because I hadn't kept up with her touring info. So yeah, I had heard of her before.

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Frezno 5 years, 9 months ago

I've been listening to Janelle Monae since... I think the fall of 2012? I had a rather unique way of discovering her; an Internet reviewer who used a puppet of a rabbit as his review "character" included Violet Stars/Happy Hunting in the credits of a review for Predator 2. I was intrigued by the sound so I looked up the song, that led to the Metropolis Suite EP, and that led to the ArchAndroid... which I still think is one of the most eclectic musical albums I've ever blessed my ears with. I still don't know if I love ArchAndroid or The Electric Lady more. The latter has the songs I love more (Q.U.E.E.N., Electric Lady, Dance Apocalyptic, Can't Live Without Your Love) but the former has a more diverse soundscape and goes to stranger places. The only track I don't like on ArchAndroid is the one with Of Montreal, just because it feels like someone just snuck an Of Montreal song into an unrelated album.

But nah. Love Janelle Monae loads. She, along with Kate Bush and Jenny Lewis, have risen to the pantheon of songstresses who I adore.

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Kit 5 years, 9 months ago

First heard her on a pre-release CD of Got Purp? vol 2, so [googles]... probably about October 2005.

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Eric Rosenfield 5 years, 9 months ago

What's wrong with linking to my site every week? I don't see the problem.

I'd heard of Janelle Monáe but never really listened to her. Now I have and she's amazing. She's like an afrofuturistic David Bowie. I keep listening to ArchAndroid over and over.

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Mitch Postich 5 years, 9 months ago

I first heard her when The ArchAndroid got some buzz going in 2010. She's probably the most exciting of this whole crop of new R&B artists (Frank Ocean, Miguel, Jai Paul, Autre Ne Veut, etc., all of which are excellent anyway) Can't wait for her next studio album so I can hear all of the Metropolis Suite in one go.

If it sounds interesting to anyone who likes (or is willing to try) avant-garde jazz, one project I've always associated the Metropolis Suite with is Matana Roberts's also-ongoing Coin Coin project, which is supposed to be twelve (!) albums, of which three are out - it's nominally the story of a young slave girl, but hazily winds its way through all kinds of times and aspects of black culture.

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Bob Dillon 5 years, 9 months ago

This has reminded me that I haven't ordered Recursive occlusion, so I went to try again.

Again the interface will not let me order without giving my state/province despite selecting a non Canada/USA country. I tried lying and typing in Alberta both times, but it still rejected me

Has anyone in Europe had any success in using the site, and have any advice on what I am doing wrong?

Bob Dillon

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encyclops 5 years, 9 months ago

A friend of mine put "Many Moons" onto a mix for me and I was like "wtf is this manic Sesame Street thing?" I didn't warm to it at first (I like it more now) but I was intrigued enough to look her up. This can't have been long before The Archandroid came out, at which time I saw the record cover, put it together with what I'd heard, and thought "this has got to be good." And it was. I saw her live for The Electric Lady and it was the best concert I've seen to date. I don't know if even she could top it next time.

My favorites are probably the obvious ones: "Sincerely, Jane," "Dance or Die," "Cold War," "Givin Em What They Love," "Q.U.E.E.N.," "Dance Apocalyptic," "What An Experience," and maybe most especially "Wondaland." I like "Make the Bus," too, and the other Of Montreal collaboration "Enemy Gene," which has such a delirious melody and that moment when Kevin Barnes sings "black body radiation" and you hear a little "hmph" from Monáe. I even dig The Audition, which I've just noticed that iTunes thinks was recorded in 2026. That's interesting.

Why is she so awesome? Well, my most complete answer to date is here: but here's a concise pull quote, talking about "Dance Apocalyptic":

It’s Monáe in microcosm: intelligent, compassionate social commentary set to irresistible melodies. It’s the end of the world, awash in carcinogens and economic disaster. Still, dance — because you have to.

I keep forgetting videos are still a thing. I should really go and watch all of hers. This one was a lot of fun and sets off my bidar as urgently as ever.

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TheWatersOfMars 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm an undergrad writing an essay on Doctor Who and international relations (which covers things like war, "the other", real-world politics and history, etc.), and I was wondering if anyone had any advice on stories and events to cover. This is mostly about the Classic Series, since I want to cover the show's interesting relationship with being popular while also being part of marginal culture.

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Nyq Only 5 years, 9 months ago

The Third Doctor (Pertwee) would provide a rich seam of material I'd think. Not only because of his contact with the military and the tension between military and non-military solutions to problems (e.g. the Silurians) but also because diplomacy is a recurring theme (e.g. the Curse of Peladon and its weaker sequel the Monster of Peladon).

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TheWatersOfMars 5 years, 9 months ago

Great idea! I completely forgot about Curse of Peladon for some reason. I think I'll definitely focus on the Pertwee era. Letts' Buddhism and Hulke's disapproval of the whole UNIT thing would make for an interesting point about Doctor Who's impact on popular culture at the time. (I'm also thinking of briefly covering either The Silurians or Ambassadors of Death, but this isn't all that long of an essay, and I don't want the focus to stray towards literary criticism as opposed to IR.)

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storiteller 5 years, 9 months ago

Janelle Monáe was one of those people who was on my radar but I hadn't really listened to. I had seen photos of her and was really intrigued because of the whole techo/SF look, but didn't get around to looking her up. She's a little less rock than I usually like, but I'll definitely do so now.

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John 5 years, 9 months ago

Continuing with the Pertwee era -- The Mind of Evil and Day of the Daleks both have some diplomacy going on - lots of worries about Red China. Frontier in Space, with its plot of diplomatic misunderstandings between the humans and the Draconians, is another obvious one. The Time Warrior, too.

For the Fourth Doctor, Genesis of the Daleks definitely has some worthwhile stuff.

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Chris Gonzalez 5 years, 9 months ago

I first heard of Janelle Monáe when she did backing vocals on that song where Nate Ruess apologizes for beating his girlfriend. Never much looked into her before your Hugo's post, but I will definitely be checking her out because your use of her music there intrigued me.

As for a site for you to feature, I'm working on it. I can't say it'll be worth the slot, but all in good time, sir.

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elvwood 5 years, 9 months ago

As a side helping, perhaps you could look at the cooperative international feel of the future presented in the Innes Lloyd era, particularly The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase, featuring strongly multinational (but Western) crews?

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TheWatersOfMars 5 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the advice, guys! Frontier in Space and Genesis are definitely ones I'll cover. The Red China stuff might get a mention; it slipped my mind.

Elvwood - I like that idea. Might be interesting to briefly juxtapose that with the base under siege mentality. I'm trying to figure out how to weave in the Troughton era—especially Phil's excellent analysis of The War Games—without dumbing it down to "icky aliens are naturally bad". But I suppose that's why Curse of Peladon is so interesting.

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elvwood 5 years, 9 months ago

I'd never heard of Janelle Monáe before, and having watched the two videos I can say that she is a talented performer of music that doesn't appeal to me. Which is fine - not everything has to!

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Jenda 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm a Prince fanatic so I've been a Monae fan since before the first album - you getting really into her music is a "worlds colliding" moment for me in terms of my personal fandoms!

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Scurra 5 years, 9 months ago

My reaction exactly.
It's a good job we all like different things or otherwise the world would be, well, the sort of place Vox Day imagines. (Sorry about that.)

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Elizabeth Sandifer 5 years, 9 months ago

That's really weird. I know people outside of the US/Canada have ordered successfully, but I couldn't tell you how. Send me an e-mail at snowspinner at gmail and let me know what country you're in - I'll figure out shipping, and we can set it up via Paypal.

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Sean Case 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't remember who it was that linked me to Janelle Monáe singing Tightrope on Letterman, but that was what got me in.

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Matt Marshall 5 years, 8 months ago

Happiness Patrol is very political, but more about British politics rather than international. Warriors of the Deep is about the cold war and MAD, albeit with a slightly hamfisted attempt at a moral. Rob Shearman's reading of The Two Doctors that Phil alludes to is an excellent exploration of 'The Other' (ie treating the Androgums as typical monsters in the usual way of the Troughton era but they look human).

People have covered Pertwee a lot here already, but Claws of Axos and Day of the Daleks both have a big focus on international affairs, for different reasons.

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David Anderson 5 years, 8 months ago

The Invasion has the day saved by Russian nuclear weapons, which given that it was the height of the cold war, and only six or seven years after the Cuban missile crisis, seems worth commenting on.

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Daru 5 years, 8 months ago

I'd never heard of Janelle Monáe until the Beauty of Their Weapons essay. I will be going and hunting out more of her music to see what I think - always up for discovering new stuff!

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