The Coalition of Chaos

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

8 Comments

  1. arcbeatle
    October 23, 2023 @ 12:37 pm

    Well, at least I enjoyed reading this essay about how bad this book is. And perhaps worse than being bad, it sounds… boring. Anyway thanks for taking one for the team on this one.

    Reply

  2. Rebecca
    October 23, 2023 @ 2:47 pm

    Black Books was massively popular, wasn’t it? But maybe he talked it down because it’s much more Dylan Moran than Graham Linehan, and Dylan Moran has stood up for trans people repeatedly against his former friend

    Reply

    • Andrew Hickey
      October 23, 2023 @ 3:13 pm

      It was very popular — more so in its day than The IT Crowd — but it doesn’t seem to have had the same kind of cultural footprint, possibly partly because it finished before social media was really a thing.
      It was also the best thing Linehan has ever been involved with other than Father Ted, but it’s very notable that seasons two and three, which Moran wrote solo or with other collaborators and without any input from Linehan, show no notable change in quality or style. My understanding is that Linehan was brought in to help structure Moran’s ideas and act almost as an editor rather than being an equal partner, after Moran’s initial solo-written pilot had some problems — his skills seem always to have been in structure rather than creation (note that the characters of Father Ted and Count Arthur Strong were also created by his collaborators before he got involved).
      Indeed, I suspect a big part of why the complaints about The IT Crowd’s transphobia got to him so much is that it’s literally the only thing he’s ever done in his life that anyone liked where he created it himself, rather than helping with someone else’s idea. I imagine that made it seem more personal than it otherwise might.

      Reply

      • David Gerard
        October 23, 2023 @ 3:31 pm

        Interesting thing about The IT Crowd was that someone there worked quite hard to get the hardcore open source nerds interested. I remember discussions on the Open Rights Group* list about what stickers they’d put in the geek basement in the latest episode, including an ORG one. I very much doubt Glinner was aware of any of it.

        a bit like the British version of the EFF

        Reply

        • Iain Coleman
          October 23, 2023 @ 3:57 pm

          Linehan also directed most of the episodes. He may have been well aware of what he was doing with the set decoration. Or he may have just told a designer “fill it with nerd shit”, it’s hard to say.

          Reply

        • TheWrittenTevs
          October 24, 2023 @ 6:13 am

          According to the DVD commentaries for the IT Crowd, Linehan was very into those type of online cultures and groups like the Open Rights Group at the time (he wrote the show because he didn’t believe anyone had accurately captured tech culture on television yet) and filled the basement set with obscure nerd stuff from his own collection. (Though he did this in collaboration with a wider production team and there are plenty of times he mentioned something that a set designer had brought in that he didn’t recognise.)

          Reply

  3. Dylan Athena Bradfield
    October 24, 2023 @ 1:06 pm

    Something Elizabeth noticed wrote reminded me of a thought I’d had once about Graham. When I read this part of the essay – “[his] constant strand for self-loathing and self-sabotage, even in the sitcom half of the book. His first sitcom is “miserable” and “a stinker,” and he proceeds to eviscerate his own failures as a writer.”

    On a YouTube video, Graham once said something like he trusted or believed in nothing he said that happened before about 2019, before he became vocally anti-trans. It made me pause because it was such a remarkable confession, to negate your entire history so readily. It felt like something you’d find a qanon person or a cultist say, and chimes with his recent anti-vax, climate denial, incel output, like the world wasn’t real before he saw the truth. It feels like a sort of nihilism, or inability to ground himself, like he’s disassociated and the cause has become the answer to his feelings of self-loathing and distance. I remember when I saw him before he did his first standup set. He was alone and looked totally blank, like the world around him wasn’t registering and he was entirely distant from anything around him.

    OK, that’s enough amateur analysing the mind of Graham, Elizabeth does a much better job. Great article

    Reply

  4. David Young
    November 3, 2023 @ 3:56 pm

    Well at least you approached this review with an open mind, that’s the main thing.

    Reply

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