Happy New Year’s. 2022 has been absolute dogshit for me. Which, I know everyone says about every year from 2016 on, but like, 2016 and 2020, the two canonical lowlights of that period, were actually quite nice for me personally. 2022, on the other hand—a year that was basically pleasant as far as the anthropocene extinction goes—was just absolute hell for a lot of people and things I love. Fucking hell.
Onwards to better things.
What I’m Up To
Well, I just published literally my favorite thing I’ve ever written to my criticism Patreon, which is the fifth part of Ithaca a Sága, my take on an Alan Moore-style spoken word performance piece. I hope you’ll decide to chip a couple bucks a month my way and check it out.
We also got a new set of colored pages back for Britain a Prophecy #5, which are up on the Britain a Prophecy Patreon for $10+ monthly Patrons. The first panel of this scene is pleasantly non-spoilerish, so enjoy Penn’s rendition of a 1980s British service station.
Past that, I’ve been trying to salvage some time for the novel, or any work at all. I said it’s been dogshit, right? Yeah.
I’m signing off on this newsletter back on Thursday. Then I’ll go get Last War in Albion queued up for Monday, and pack up to spend the weekend back in Newtown with Penn and Christine for my family’s traditional Second Christmas, in which all the cousins you’d expect an Italian-American family to have get together and do a Secret Santa. Last time I was at one of these was close to a decade ago, and I honestly have no idea if we still fall over each other like ravenous dogs the moment the pigs in a blanket (distinct from “pigs in blankets,” according to Wikipedia) hit the table.
I hope so. I fuckin’ love pigs in a blanket.
Recycled Tumblr Ask Theater Of The Mind
Got a Tumblr ask about “The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe” and whether my opinions about it had changed, and so found myself rereading that essay and writing this:
Haven’t seen it since I wrote the essay. Rereading my essay on it, I’m struck by how little any of the discourse that was still buzzing around it when I wrote that essay feels like it matters. I mean, good lord, has anything from the Moffat era aged as pathetically as discourse about the trope of persistent courtship? Talk about the worst excesses of Tumblr discourse.
The trans stuff obviously stands out a little more given Moffat’s continual TERF adjacency, but also, he’s repeatedly come out as broadly pro trans rights, and I think my read on it at the time was correct: it’s cisnormative, not transphobic, and yeah, the trans community really could use to spend more time creating a nuanced discourse for talking about trans representation and less time building murder drones. Again, I look at it and mostly just go “oh god, do I really have to care about that?”
Mostly, in hindsight, the story looks like just another part of the story of the quality glitch in the late Smith era. It’s firmly in the period where Smith’s Doctor had run out of road and become a caricature, the period where Moffat’s scripts all felt first drafty, the period where it just wasn’t working and you could tell he’d lost his mojo. Writing about it has many of the same challenges of writing about the Chibnall era, frankly: there’s just not much there.
An Updated Ranking of Rian Johnson Movies By Quality
1. Brothers Bloom
3. Knives Out
4. The Last Jedi
5. Glass Onion
An Updated Ranking of Rian Johnson Movies By How Inspired By Neoreaction a Basilisk They Are
1. Glass Onion
2. (Tie) Knives Out
2. (Tie) The Last Jedi
2. (Tie) Looper
2. (Tie) Brick
2. (Tie) Brothers Bloom
Live-Tweeting Nightmare in Silver Only Not On Twitter And Several Days Ago
This is the sort of thing I’d previously do on Twitter, but let’s try it here for once.
Gaiman draws stylishly on Robert Holmes shabbiness in the intro.
This is, at least, bad in strangely unique ways. The idiosyncrasies of Gaiman and of late Smith’s collapse into caricature at least make this distinctly odd in its failure.
Jenna Coleman is once again lacking a character, but still making interesting decisions, owning the screen every moment she’s given it.
Good lord Angie is terribly done on every level.
The problem with partially upgraded Cybermen as horror is just that, like, it’s 2013 and we’ve all seen Tetsuo the Iron Man.
Oh god this “child’s brain” stuff is just so… drab and cliche.
The real problem with this episode is that Mr. Clever is one of the most comprehensively misfiring concepts ever put to television. Everyone involved just… whiffs it,
Like, seriously, fucking chess?
Jenna Coleman, left to do generic hypercompetence, absolutely sparkles, playing the role with an absolutely manic sense of pose. You can see why Moffat looked at her and saw a star.
I legitimately can’t decide if the Poltergeist reference is cute or just annoying.
Gaiman reinventing The Curse of Fenric is kind of hilarious given Cartmel’s light pilfering of Alan Moore.
People who complain about the “skirt that’s a little too tight” line are boring.
That was fun. Might keep poking at Clara stories for a bit. Vibing with a Clara rewatch.
As Exhaustive a List of Essays I Starged Idly Imagining in the Past Week as my ADHD Allows
- A taxonomy of unethical consumption under capitalism
- In Jerusalem, Alma Warren as trans rep; the strange and non-fetishistic desire for brickishness
- The “where are you going with this” tension of Nona the Ninth and the vital importance of whether they fuck; essay would be very post-Catholic
- A passionate defense of nu-metal despite not actually liking the genre very much (would be a good pitch actually)
- A manifesto on blogs as modern zines. Very meta. Would never work.
- An extremely meta set of annotations to Neoreaction a Basilisk that serve to make it even more over the top and annoying.
- Annotations to a hypothetical playlist consisting of 90s female-fronted music that mattered to me as a teenager.
- Something on Penda’s Fen and Blake, though it’s probably forced.
- A TARDIS Eruditorum essay on Penda’s Fen, though obviously I won’t.
- The uselessness of idealism in social justice, given that society consists of people, who are decidedly non-ideal.
The Part Where She Leaves You With A Song
For New Year’s there can only be one option: Seeming’s barnstorming industrial rap banger “Where Were You (Parts 1 and 2).”
Have a good rest of 2022. See you Monday for Last War in Albion.