Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Can we give True Detective season 2 a break?

It seems all the online commenters are in agreement that the unanimous consensus online is that True Detective season two sucked. But was it really that bad? There has been a lot of great insight in the recaps and reviews I’ve been reading as the series progressed (Vulture, Salon, The Atlantic, all the good ones), but I wonder if perhaps the disappointment from the second series stemmed in large part because expectations were so high. For example, season one of True Detective was criticised for being almost exclusively male focussed, with no substantial female characters. Season two seemed to take that criticism on board fully, and address it head it, giving us a compelling female protagonist, and variety of other women, with complex motivations, relevant to the plot. Yes, there are still things that could have been better in that respect, (there always are) but that was a huge step forward, and it’s not common for shows to so overtly attempt to address criticism directed at them. Surely season two deserves some kudos for that. Perhaps Ani’s character was too ‘male’, but I loved watching her – she was always complex and engaging, and that is more than can be said about a lot of portrayals of women on TV.

I also find it funny that so many reviewers found the story too complicated to follow, and needed to go back over it to keep up (I did too!), when there is probably a large section of the audience for whom this is the normal experience of watching these types of shows. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve watched thrillers/mysteries/dramas that I found perfectly simple to follow, yet vast numbers of people required constant explanation of what was going on – just look at half the audience for Game of Thrones! True Detective season 2, whether intentionally or not, gave this same viewing experience to a large group of people who are used to being smarter than the TV shows in front of them, and they hated it! I tried to let go my desire to understand everything that was going on at all times, and exist in the moment of the show, which made it far more enjoyable, and maybe gave me an insight into how the ‘other half’ of the audience experience a lot of TV.

I'm not trying to excuse all the flaws of the most recent True Detective, there are plenty of very valid criticisms, but maybe we should step back and give it some credit. I’d rather watch a show that was bad because it tried too hard to be different and break the mould, than an ok show that stuck to all the boring conventions religiously. True Detective season 2, whether because or in spite of itself, constantly kept we wondering what would happen next, or how it would play out, and that alone makes it decent television.   

Friday, 26 August 2011

Google Please

Oh Google, could you do me a little favour please? I know you have a lot on your plate, what with Google Plus and whatever company your probably planning on buying next, but I really think it would be worth your while. You see, I’m a fan of Android, I like that adults are allowed to use it, as opposed to the mollycoddling iOS, but there is an area it falls short on, and that’s music. You’ve been making all the right gestures, but unusually Google, you just don’t seem to be thinking in the right direction.

People have ranted before about how poor the standard Android music player is, and clearly you’ve listened. It really is quite pretty now (even if it does still occasionally just stop playing mid song), and functions pretty smoothly and intuitively. The big problem is, which you don’t seem to have noticed, is that I don’t want to just listen to music on my phone, I want to listen to it on my pc too – and that’s where Apple resoundingly trumps you. It might be a lot easier to create a playlist on my phone now, but it would be even easier if I could create it on my pc and transfer it, and vice versa. iTunes does all this and more, but is such a cumbersome, demanding piece of software. You write such neat, clean straight-forward software – couldn’t you make us a simple music player. That I can easily add album art to. And sync music and playlists with my Android phone. You know, it could even integrate with G+ so that you can share what you’re listening too with friends.

There’s one more feature that you really must get on there. I was disdainful when Apple introduced it, but it does make sense - Automatically generated playlists. When you have a lot of music, and don’t have the time (particularly if you can only do it on your phone) to make playlists, auto-generated ones save the day. And the Apple algorithm doesn’t even seem to be that good – surely you Google, king of the algorithms, should be able to do something amazing there.

So Google, please, PLEASE, get your music in order, you could do it so well and so easily. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Loving Lovecraft

HP Lovecraft has been on my 'to read' list for sometime, but it was only recently I picked up the lovely penguin paperback edition of the short story collection 'The Dunwich Horror' while browsing in Waterstones. The book is conducive to being read, and I quickly worked my way through the first story on a bus trip to Wales, the scenery of which perfectly mimicking the tale.

It was a pleasure to find a story written in 1928 so enthralling and atmospheric in a distinctly contemporary way, and a delight to realise that the praise heaped on Lovecraft from various horror writers (there's a quote on the cover from Stephen King) is thoroughly justified. The modern sensibility of the horror is no doubt a reflection of the massive influence his stories have had on modern horror and fantasy. It's quite palpable.

Lovecraft is clearly writing at a time in the early 20thC when modern science as we understand it was coming to the fore, yet there still lingered a residual 19thC sense of the mysterious and ineffable, hidden corners of our world full of ancient magics. His skill lies in melding together these visions of the world, so that ancient sacrifices and demon creatures from other realms but up against scientific analysis of mysterious objects that reveals chemical elements with heavier atomic weights then thought possible. As such, Lovecraft's over 80 year old stories, provide us with a bridge between those two worlds and gloriously provoke the imagination. It's a chilling and satisfying experience.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Google plus circles and streams

I've been having fun with Google plus this last week, while getting my head around the hybrid Facebook/Twitter structure of it. I found a great post by John Tropea on the differences between Google+ and Facebook/Twitter, and he sums up my initial confusion on how sharing with circles works. Essentially, when you post something to a circle, that whole circle won't see it in their stream unless they are all following you back, which is necessarily the case. I agree with John that this isn't very intuitive.

So, @Google, here's my simple suggestion to make it a little more intuitive: the little grey circle graphic next to each of your circles could represent what percentage of that circle follow you back - like a little circle graph. So if only half the people in one of your given circles follows you back then, then the circle outline is half red, half green (or some other colours), if 90% follow you back, then 90% of the little circle would look green, while a little 10% sliver would be red. I think this would be a quick, simple way for the user to see roughly how much of their intended audience might actually see their post.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Chinese Soft Power and Australian Elections

Listening to an Economist podcast recently, I was interested to learn how China has been trying to develop its soft power on the international stage. They have been trying to promote Confuscianism, and values of hierarchy and authority. Basically, 'wow, look how good authoritarianism is!' and there definitely are some benefits - the govt can make quick and sweeping decisions in response to large problems, such as the gfc and the environment according to the Economist. It strikes me that when authoritarianism and popular consent (through democracy) are juxtaposed in the context of govt achievements, the former is better at getting things done, while the later is better at accountability, ie ensuring the right problems are addressed, in the right way, and that they are actually completed and successfully.

The reason China can interact successfully with countries that are supposedly diametrically opposed to their fundamental values, is that liberal democracies act as authoritarian govts, they simply do it for short periods between elections. Australian has appallingly short federal terms, and I wonder if it wouldn't be in the electoral mess it's in currently if the federal terms were longer. It's ludicrous to expect any govt so substantially solve problems like global warming or the gfc in just 3 years, or in fact to take an unpopular but necessary course of action so close to the constant threat of losing office. While Australia doesn't want a govt permanently in control like in China, I do think it needs to govts longer terms to more confidently exert their power.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

I need to rant about Prop 8

It was quite exciting to see the US federal court strike down Prop 8 the other day, even if that does feel a little premature given that it was going to be appealed to the Supreme Court and that could take a few years. What made it so exciting though was how emphatically Judge Walker struck down the ban, in his 138 page ruling - calling out all the nonsense spouted by the anti-gay marriage brigade.

What infuriates me is the level of response in the media from the loosing side. I want to scream every time I see another idiot claim that the will of 'seven million Californians' was ignored, it's the end of democracy, blah blah blah. Of course it was ignored, that was will was prejudiced and bigoted. Do people not understand why we set up political systems that protect all people's rights, and that we don't subject the rights of a minority to a popular vote. That is one of the reason the federal and supreme courts exist - I know this and I'm not even American. It seems all the right-wing pundits claiming Judge Walker is a left-wing "activist" judge don't even know what a trial is. He was presented with facts and evidence from both sides - if one side utterly failed to provide and facts or evidence to support their claims, then a judge ruling against them is not proof that he (or she) is biased, it just means you're wrong. To the anti-gay marriage bigots in the US out there, you had plenty of opportunity in a court of law to prove why you are right, and you absolutely and completely failed - you have no one to blame but yourselves.

The other point of this that I find so frustrating is that American conservatives are so insistent on not only being allowed to lie in the media, but by refusing to accept their outright lies, somehow that's oppressing them. I'm glad that the fact that they are just outright lying was finally pointed out, although not directly by the press, but by David Boies, one lawyers in the case, in a CBS article:

Perkins [from the Family Research Council] said the judge ignored "a lot of the social science" about the affects of same-sex couples on families ...

Boies disputed Perkins on the evidence: "It's easy to sit around and debate and throw around opinions that appeal to people's fear and prejudice, [and] cite studies that either don't exist or don't say what you say they do.

"In a court of law you've got to come in and you've got to support those opinions, you've got to stand up under oath and cross-examination," Boies said. "And what we saw at trial is that it's very easy for the people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens of the right to vote [sic] to make all sorts of statements and campaign literature, or in debates where they can't be cross-examined.

"But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross-examination, those opinions just melt away. And that's what happened here. There simply wasn't any evidence, there weren't any of those studies. There weren't any empirical studies. That's just made up. That's junk science. It's easy to say that on television. But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court you can't do that.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Behind every successful Feminist is a man

I was pleased to see Katrin Bennhold's 'Feminism of the Future Relies on Men' in the NY times, and I continue to be surprised the point of view she put forward isn't more common, as it has seemed damn obvious to me for sometime. It seems commonly acknowledged that previous feminist movements 'pushed women into the world of men' (as stated in the piece), which would seem to imply the logical question 'Where do the men go?'. If feminism has failed in achieving the equality it had hoped for, it is surely because it made the men's world very crowded, and didn't give the men there anywhere else to go. In her booked 'Stiffed', which I must admit I never finished reading, Susan Faludi interrogated the 'crisis' in modern masculinity, which is surely a result of the lack of progress in redefining the role of men in a society in the wake of attempts to redefine the role of women.

While for the mainstream of many liberal-democratic societies, it has become socially acceptable for a woman to be a bread-winner or a home-maker (to over simplify the dichotomy), in fact, she is empowered by having this choice of two equally valuable roles, men are still stuck with only bread-winner. If they aren't, they gain little respect or value in the mainstream perception. Is it any wonder some men still push back on women entering 'their' realm, when there is nowhere else they are legitimately allowed to go. While there is a desire for men to be better fathers, more nurturing, stay at home dads, those men are still perceived as novelties, as somehow exceptional, rather then being embraced as the norm, or standard that others should aspire too.

There is an episode of Sex and the City from a few years ago where Charlotte seems to find the perfect man, caring, intelligent, good-looking, sensitive and understanding, yet he squeals at a mouse, just like her, and reveals he doesn't like killing things. Charlotte had to dump him then, revealing that the only true value of a man is to be fearless, take charge, even brutal, and any other qualities are merely accessories. The essence of the problem of redefining and mutually valuing different ways of being a 'man' is highlighted perhaps best in that male dominated action genre. In the past the protagonist was usually a man, and in the end he got the girl, usually after saving her. In today's films, while there are still plenty of old school male leads (although the girls are perhaps a bit feistier), it seems men and women also enjoy watching female protagonists kick ass, but if she is going to get the guy in the end, she has to be really careful not to save him. Why? Because no-one, male or female, could possibly like a guy that needs to saved, that's just pathetic. How could a kick-ass woman be attracted to that? Until a mainstream audience can root for a non comedic male lead who is saved by a woman, feminism will sadly find it difficult to progress further.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Ignoring Your Conscience

[Inspired by long political debates in online forums]

Sometimes we want something, but to get it we have to endorse a group that does something bad. Like persecute a minority, one that you might even be part of. Say for example you want to vote Tory because it benefits you in some way, but you’re gay, and they have tendency to wish gays didn’t exist. Fear not! All you need to do is convince yourself you’re right, and that conscience will just have to shut up. There are tried and true methods for this, passed down through the ages to excuse all sorts of atrocities, and they are so simple anyone can use them! Even you!

Step 1 – MINIMISE what it is that your conscience objects to. For hundreds of years people have justified doing bad things by minimising their assessment of its impact or meaning. You don’t even want to do something bad, you just want to ignore something bad someone else did, so it’s even easier! Just take the awful thing that was done (such as passing homophobic legislation) and minimise it to the point where you can claim it was irrelevant and should be dismissed. The rookie mistake is to deny it ever happened – but you wouldn’t do that!

Step 2 – NEVER use any facts or figures or logic. When reason isn’t on your side, don’t use it. Of course, you should never state this explicitly, because everyone knows facts, figures and logic are good things. That’s ok, all you need is a veneer of reason, just steer well clear of the substance.

Step 3 – ALWAYS sound absolutely certain of your authority on the subject. People often enter into debate to get at the truth of a subject, and in doing so will often concede points on which they may have made an error. However, we’re not after truth, are we – that’s just going to fuel the conscience. Don’t be drawn into actually admitting you might have got a point wrong, it’s just a downward spiral to admitting you might actually be wrong all together. So never ever let up on the certainty that you are always utterly correct on everything. Most people don’t have time for facts and reasoning anyway, they tend to defer to the most authoritive sounding person, presuming they know what they are talking about. So all you need to do is ALWAYS sound authoritive, and people will eventually believe you.

Step 4 – DON’T answer any direct questions for evidence, proof or reasoning. It’s tricky, but stick to just making statements you want to be true. Say these over and over again. Remember the statements you want to be true are: A) The original thing is irrelevant. B) You are right. Try to think of as many different ways you can say these things, because this will give the impression of substance (after all substance just means lots of something, it doesn’t necessarily require variety).

Step 5 – PRETEND you’ve already explained yourself and given evidence and reasoning. This is the big gun in your arsenal. You can also do this by pretending the evidence for your point of view is so obvious, you don’t need to go into explaining it. This works best when you are also doing step 3. Remember, never actually give any evidence or reasoning for your point of view, because you will likely be called on it, just pretend that you already have. Act patronising to anyone that claims you haven’t, and tell them they just aren’t smart enough to understand the evidence and reasoning (that you’ve pretended to give).

Step 6 – ATTACK the irrelevancies. This is the fun part you’ve been waiting for. If you’ve been patient with the previous steps, you should have built up a reasonable amount of response, which will inevitably boil over in frustration at your use of steps 2, 4 and 5. Typically, you will start to get personal attacks on you for being stupid, or some variation thereof. This is the perfect opportunity for you to take the ‘high-ground’, and attack other’s responses for being ‘immature and puerile’. You can also twist this into further evidence of why you are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’, without actually referring to the subject at hand, because you are on the ‘high ground’ and they have made ‘low blows’. See, you’re starting to feel better about that conscience already!

Step 7 – ONLY respond to comments you can take out of context, mis-interpret or obfuscate. By now you should have lots of responses to choose from, and it is important to ignore any clear, well reasoned criticisms that ask for a direct and specific answer. If need be, you can take a small part of a well reasoned comment, not relevant to the main point and attack that, but if they insist on bringing it back to the main point and asking for direct answers to their questions, put them back in the ignore box. You can have some real fun here, and really start to convince yourself you’re right. Some tips for this: Use examples not related to your main point. This will allow you to take the argument off in a different direction, somewhere you have a better grounding of evidence; Let them provide the evidence for your argument – remember how you claimed to have given evidence or examples without doing so? Well eventually your detractors will point to examples used by others with similar views to yours, hoping that is what you meant when you implied ‘everyone knows’ and that your evidence is ‘obvious’. Don’t endorse these examples directly, then when they are criticised as poor evidence, you can use the ‘I never said that’ defence, claim your were misinterpreted, and use it as further evidence of why other’s are incapable of understanding you; Only ever make direct statements that are opinions, ie ‘I’m right, you’re wrong. It is good, it’s not homophobic’. When you feel compelled to back-up these statements, only use implications, which will allow you to confuse meanings, particularly of abstract concepts, even ‘implication’ itself. If a detractor says ‘You implied X’, you can respond, ‘I never defined X like that’ or ‘I never said X’. Or ‘Just because I implied it was pro-straight, doesn’t mean I said it was anti-gay’. The old ‘Pro-white, not anti-black’ false dichotomy can be very useful.

Step 8 – PERSISTENCE will pay off. Stay on the attack, and never explain yourself. Demand that others make explanations for you, then discard them when they crumble. Just keep going, even if your rebuttal is just as simple as outright denying things you said before – after all, they just didn’t understand you. Turn everything into evidence as to why you are right, even exasperation at you can be implied as weakness, which must mean they are wrong. Remember, even if you have to change your opinion over the course of the discussion, the important thing is to feel right at the end. That will mean you were right all along, and hence your original position is also correct! There’s nothing like feeling that your opinion is being stifled or oppressed to make you feel certain it’s right! You will never win the argument in the traditional way of people agreeing with you, but if you stay persistent then eventually everyone else will give up out of exhaustion. This is your conceded victory, proof that you were always right!

Isn’t it wonderful to have proved to yourself you’re right! That warm glow of smugness will definitely keep the conscience at bay. Just think, with these techniques, you don’t just have to justify the actions of a person or group you support, why you could justify anything you wanted to do at all! The world is your oyster! 

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Rufus Wainwright Irritates Me

I've never really liked Rufus Wainwright much. I know he is one of the celebrity darlings of the gay community because he is so out, but I've always found him a bit of a twat. That opinion was only helped by his rather stupid opinion that gays don't need marriage, or at least he doesn't want one, so you can go marry your dog for all he cares. I'm always a bit flabbergasted when out celebrities claim they are against gay marriage, like Karl Lagerfeld. Do they really mean it, or are they only saying it for the attention, to be perceived as edgy and rebellious? Either way it stinks. You can be an anti-bourgeoisie, heteronormative capitalist system disrupting rebel gay if you want, but don't try to force you're way of being gay on others by removing their choices, or you're just as bad as the christian right.

Now Rufus has changed his mind and decided that he does want to get married after all, so suddenly he thinks that the bans on it are unfair. How utterly devoid of integrity. Guess what Rufus, it wasn't that hard to figure out the bans were unfair before you wanted to get married, but I guess you've just effectively demonstrated an inability to look past yourself. If it doesn't directly affect you, then it doesn't matter. Let's just hope the rest of our society is better then you at determining if injustice ought to be righted, because for the majority of people, the straights, don't want a gay marriage, just like you didn't, but you're going to need their help if you want one. What a twat.

Friday, 19 February 2010


Ah, what LOLZ. So glad that I follow @mariekehardy on Twitter, that's how I stumbled upon the conversation between her and @MyfWarhurst discussing the disturbing but enthralling Chatroulette. Basically it's a random webcam chat program - you login in are and randomly connected to someone else somewhere in the world, usually via webcam. If you get bored, just click next and go to the next person. It has already sprung up an amusing blog called ChatrouletteLOLZ. The speed with which an internet meme takes off is amazing. In this case I think it's due to the simplicity of the concept, although perhaps that is always the case. While it is still just an interesting gimmick at this stage, I'll be interested to see what uses people come up with for Chatroulette... it's never what you expect. I guess if nothing useful emerges from it, then it will likely die pretty quickly after the gimmick wears off. I wonder how long it will last....

Sunday, 5 July 2009

10 Reasons to love Chelsea Handler

1. She's hot, intelligent, quick witted and a hilarious bitch.

2. The way she treats Chuy.

3. Ketel One vodka.

4. The way she gives the comedians on her panel shit.

5. The way she gives the celebrities on her show shit.

6. My Horizontal Life.

7. Her silver fox.

8. She loves arcade games and has a Ms Pacman in her living room.

9. Kaslapis and pink tacos.

10. Gay Comedien: "OMG, can you imagine if you got to have lunch with Star Jones and Rosie O'Donnell, it would be amazing. They said you can ask them anything!"

Chelsea: "What, like 'Why are you eating all my fries?'

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Shock! Hollywood Studios might have to actually make good movies!

This article in the LA Times is a great reminder of just how stupid Hollywood studios are. They are shocked to learn that DVD sales, one of their main sources of income is declining, and the more terrifying is that its the poor quality titles that are the ones with the steepest drop off in sales. You know despite the media blitz trying to flog crap, people seem to have better information from other sources about said crap and are refusing to buy it.
"...alarming, especially for studios that have thrived on seducing moviegoers into seeing mediocre product, is the realization that audiences are becoming more quality conscious. In the past, if a forgettable action film hit pay dirt at the box office, it would perform correspondingly well in DVD, allowing studios in greenlight meetings to provide a conversion rate -- i.e. that if a movie of a certain genre made $100 million in the theaters, that would equal X millions of units in DVD. But judging from recent DVD sales figures, films that had poor word-of-mouth were underperforming in DVD, even if they had enjoyed lofty box-office numbers."
What's a poor multi-billion dollar studio supposed to do? Change it's business model and actually make decent films? Don't be silly, let's blame the internet. Damn that word of mouth! They should prosecute their customers for telling each other that films are schlock. Clearly that's the solution.

Once again Hollywood, wake up and get a clue!

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Problem of Meta-News

Newspapers are dying apparently. There is various analysis and commentary floating around on the webs to suggest so: Wall Street Journal about to go bankrupt, Chicago Tribune times, etc. The fear from this, to summarise from what I've read elsewhere, is that it will mean the death of quality in depth journalism. The traditional business model provided the resources, through classifieds, advertising, entertainment info, etc to fund the expensive but socially necessary investigative journalism. Of course, the content that supplied the income had little relationship to the important political, social and cultural content of papers, which was in a sense free. We've only tweaked to this since new technology has broken apart that model, striping out the revenue sources and providing them cheaper and better through other means (ie eBay, Craigslist, online personals, entertainment directories, etc). So who pays for the good journalism now? Only governments and corporations have the money to subsidise such an endeavour, but given that they are often the target of such journalism, it's hardly a sensible solution.

I want to jump to a separate concern relating to modern 'news', something of a non-sequitur. That's the beauty of blogging, you can just explore ideas and see if they connect, you don't have to make an argument. I've found myself disliking the tone of mainstream news, in print and on TV for sometime now, though I didn't realise it so distinctly until I asked myself, 'Why do I prefer blogs, and comedy news, like Jon Stewart or even Good News Week (in the good old days) to regular news?' All reporting is inherently biased, influenced by the personal experiences and cultural contexts of those who produce it. To be considered a 'public good' though, news needs to impartial, balanced and fair. Journalists strive to be unbiased, but they can never really be. The pundits, comedians and blogs however make no such claim to the 'public good', and wear their bias on their sleeve. Yet in doing so they have inadvertently become the more valuable source of information. My distaste for mainstream news is that it has devolved into, for want of a better term, 'Meta-news'. That is news that just describes the surface of things and doesn't describe anything deeper for fear that it requires making a value judgment and hence not being seen as impartial. Consider political commentary, particularly around elections. Rather then report on the merits and implications of the speeches, ideas and proposals of the politicians, what we get instead, in order to preserve 'impartiality' is reports of how popular this or that speech is, how this or that idea is playing out in the media or who is getting the most air time. Pundits spend more time discussing the perceptions of politicians (what does the latest poll say, what does that mean) rather then the actual ideas the politicians stand for. So frequently journalists hosting panels and debates never actually engage the arguments made, follow them through, rather they simply act as moderators, ensuring the 'right' topics are covered and proportioning 'equal' air-time to opposing voices. This format allows equal coverage of nonsensical, irrational, factually-incorrect hyperbole as it does well-grounded, considered opinions. After all, a reporter wouldn't want to seem 'biased'.

Anderson Cooper seems like a pretty intelligent guy, likable and charming, but watching some of his Youtube discussions on same-sex marriage for example, you have to sit through people making sensible arguments and then people spouting utter non-sense. (That's not to say there aren't some potentially valid arguments against same-sex marriage, just that all that is heard is the fear-mongering lies) They can disagree with each other, but as host all Cooper does is allocate time, and doesn't demand that his guests, you know, actually make sense. (Cooper is not the only one to do this, in fact he is better then most) In contrast, when Jon Stewart has guests on his show, it's known he has an opinion, and this gives him license to actually challenge what his guests say, force them to follow through on their logic. It doesn't always make good sound-bites but its always entertaining. In a sense, Stewart is popular for the same reason O'Reilly on Fox is, they both are willing to challenge their guests from a set point of values. Stewart uses patience, logic and wit to highlight the flaws of what they are saying, whereas O'Reilly postures 'openness' then just yells people down until he takes their silence for agreement. The same qualities are true of the blogosphere. Blogs, by their nature personal accounts, take the news of the day and slant it to the personal tastes and values of the individuals blogging. It's what makes them more enjoyable and relevant then traditional news sources.

Newspapers and other media outlets need to learn that today's audiences don't need to spoon-feed a notion on impartiality. That's not say that reporting shouldn't still strive to be unbiased, just that it needs to accept the bias too. Newspapers need to leverage the personal 'brands' of their reporters, presenting the news from their well understood value standpoint. I suspect it would vastly improve the popularity of their content, which can be translated into advertising revenue to fund the type of quality journalism that contemporary culture will continue to need.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

S. Darko - The hack-job

So I, err, 'obtained' a copy of S. Darko, and now aren't you glad that I did, because you don't have to wait your turn. I mistakenly presumed that Richard Kelly, written/director of the original Donnie Darko was involved somehow, I imagined that perhaps given the less then stellar performance of Southland Tales (neither a critical or box office success), that he had returned to the Darko universe for a little comfort. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I actually thought Southland Tales was good.
Believing that when watching the film made for a strange experience above and beyond the self-consciously contrived actual strangeness of it. All of these 'Kelly-esque' were there, but it was like the film-maker didn't know how to put them together. Which would have been odd if Kelly actually had a hand in it, but he didn't. Not even some vague EP credit, nothing. He basically disavowed the thing that was created by the studio that owns the rights to Donnie. Many of the Kelly-esque elements were copied exactly from the original. Scary rabbit mask? Check. Shocking car accidents? check? Rewinding footage to reverse time? Double check. Floating, wobbly tubes in front of people? Check. (there was no need to even explain them, somehow the characters just accepted them). Things falling out the sky and killing people? Check. 
Once again its fascinating in an amusing/irritating/disappointing way to see big movie studios completely miss the point and not get what makes a film good. The Blair Witch was not popular because it featured shaky, hand-held footage from the characters POV. Donnie Darko was not the brilliant movie it was because it included a rising hollywood (Ed Westwick can't hold a candle to Jake anyway), or retro-chic period music, or strange-ghost characters, or scary rabbits. It was the beautifully intricate narractive, constructed with delicacy to line up like a rubix-cube at the end, around a core of superbly performed characters we care about. None of the humour, which gave the orginal depth and made the pathos more affecting, made its way into this hack-job of a sequel. The only positive of this film is, in taking all the superfical qualities of the original and turning them into something completely insubstatial, it has inadvertantly laid bare where the true depth and mastery of Donnie Darko is. 

On, a side note, I feel sorry for the cute but misguided Jackson Rathbone who was in it... He's quoted as trying to tell us to give it time, that Donnie wasn't appreciated at first, and neither was this. Sorry Jack, only quality gets discovered after time, not crap, and you might be better off to admit that you are a struggling actor and you did the film because you thought it might be popular, and not because you thought it was such an 'amazing' character. It wasn't and you sound like a tool. Save that drivel for if you actually get famous.  

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

I Hate Gordon Ramsey

Aah, Tuesday night television. First there is Two and a Half 'men'. What crap. It disturbs me that this show is popular, and it's just ruined Holland Taylor for me now, I used to like her in The Practice and Ally McBeal. Then there is the absurdly awful 10 Years Younger in Ten Days. Why do I feel that the show was made in Sydney. Maybe because the goal seems to be to make real people look plastic and fake, and possibly make the yuppy aging producers feel better about themselves. One of the few make-over shows that makes me want to vomit when they do the reveal at the end. Perhaps I just don't watch enough of them. Turning people into alien latex heads might be amusing, if it wasn't so depressing that they are so willing submit themselves to such hideous humiliation.

So are the contestants on Hell's Kitchen, which is somehow supposed to justify Ramsey's behaviour. Oh, they chose to be treated like shit, so it's ok. Never mind the fact that he is a fucking awful human being. There is no logic or consistency to what he says, it's just pure arrogant vitriol and abuse intended soley as a power game, to psychologically destroy his victims. There are two possibilities, he either plays up how horrible he is for the cameras, or he is actually like that, but either way it is loathsome. Does no one notice the hypocrisy, after screaming obscenities at people, when one person dares reply curtly, he yells 'How dare you be rude. I won't stand for rudeness!'... moments after having called someone a fat, useless sack of shit. Or when he yells hysterically at everyone, then tells them to fucking calm down.
He doesn't know how to complement or encourage anyone, the few times vaguely positive comments filter through his insane nasty hyperbole, they are patronising back-handed compliments to himself. The argument that this 'training' is somehow necessary to be able to work in an elite kitchen it complete and utter bullshit, espoused by people trying to justify appalling behaviour. It's just food for god sake. Yes, you can be a perfectionist about it, but the end doesn't justify the means. Nor does the supposed 'high pressure' environment. Do they train teams of surgeons by screaming hysterically at them? It's nothing but complete ego indulgence for a puffed-up, arrogant asshole. Ramsey ought to realise that not giving a shit what people say about you doesn't actually make you right, it just makes you a narcissist. I hope Gordon Ramsey gets tongue cancer and drowns in his own bile.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

I'm Sorry Blog....

Dear my Blog...
I'm sorry. I've neglected you this past six months, and I want to apologise. You deserve more attention. There are so many things I want to share with you. So much has happened since I was last here... There is a global financial crisis. I was clumsy and broke my heart. I finally finished reading 'Red Harvest'. America is going to have a black President for goodness sake!
I promise I will make a better effort to keep you up to date from now on!

love Me. :)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

When the World is Crazy, Jokes are Easy

Given how stupid the world is these days, is it any wonder SNL is so funny. Gotta love Amy...

Friday, 10 October 2008


Ikea lights, the presets, vodka specials... What more could I want? Well, actually... In the dim lights, strange girls who think I'm "cute" gyrating near me, I'm lost in the sultry voice on the speaker, and there is only one thing on my mind. It is futile. No number of vodka specials will make it go away... I just have to be here, now, and let everything else fall away. One more drink, one more song.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

VGL Gay Boys are so Funny

I've been meaning to post a few of these vids from Jeffery Self on YoutTube ever since I came across them. They are hilarious and adorable. It's the sort of humour that is only funny because they deliver it so well. They have a small show in New York now, wish I would love to see, you can find a brief clip of in on YouTube, where you should check out the rest of Jeffery's clips.

That's right 5 videos in one post... deal with it! :P