tealin: (actually)
When I scanned the news headlines this morning, I saw something about Ted Cruz having bought 100 cans of soup. Why is this even a story I wondered, before turning my mind to the important matter of whether it was too early for breakfast.

This afternoon, this Tumblr post crossed my dashboard, and I realised that there were lots of people out there who didn't understand why this was a non-story – a hundred cans of Campbell's has some sort of inbuilt fascination, as Andy Warhol discovered, and it was a funny story, and we apparently needed some way to caricature Ted Cruz because Donald Trump sucks up all the available satire in the room. I am no fan of Cruz, but it bugged me that Tumblr, international HQ of outsiders aggrieved that no one makes the effort to understand people unlike themselves, should be pointing and laughing like this, so I wrote something. I don't expect its presence here to make any difference, but I know I'll lose it forever if it only stays on Tumblr, so here it is crossposted with very minor rewrites (I can't help picking at things).

Dear Internet,

I know you like a story about The Crazy, and doing down politicians you don’t like, but I think a lot of you are missing what might be important cultural context here.

Ted Cruz is Penetcostal (on the Evangelical fringe of the Evangelical Christians) and from Texas (if we’ve all agreed to forget that he was born in Canada). He is not Mormon from Utah, yet there is enough cultural crossover between right-wing Christian sects in the Western US that some of my experience living amongst Utah Mormons in Middle America might help make this story comprehensible.

In Mormonism, and in Utah especially, you’re strongly encouraged to have a large stock of food and survival supplies on hand because, as we all know, the End Times will shortly be upon us, and you will need to keep your large family fed and secure while the world outside your house falls to pieces.

It is also a fact that an inordinate number of recipes common to middle-class Utah Mormon families start with a can of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup.

As the Mormon expectation of an imminent Armageddon is shared by many other Evangelical Christian groups, and the suburban middle class in Utah shares many other characteristics with analogous populations throughout the West – not least the delight in loading one’s enormous vehicle with several months’ worth of supplies bought at wholesale distributors like Costco, which is considered completely normal behaviour – it is not in the least bit surprising that a newly married man should embark upon his new life by supplying the family home with a large quantity of a staple foodstuff. The story doesn’t specify the soup, but in spite of an aversion to gambling I’d happily put $10 on it having been Condensed Cream of Mushroom.

To be clear, I don’t like Ted Cruz. I don’t like his policies, I don’t like his rhetoric, I don’t like his style, and the little I’ve seen of him, this far away and without a television, rings all my bells for ‘phony.’ While it rankles to step into the shoes of a Cruz apologist, there’s a more important motivation here than politics: A lack of understanding of the other side – a lack of trying to understand the other side, or indeed even wanting to – is what has made the current political and cultural situation in the States so vitriolic and hazardous, and it’s a phenomenon that, having become standard on the internet, is spreading. 100 cans of soup may be inherently funny, but pointing and laughing is just deepening the divide that is causing so many problems. If you want others to understand your group and not point and laugh unthinkingly, then don’t do that yourself. Golden rule, Humanity 101.
tealin: (writing)
Dear National Public Radio member stations,

   Please stop pretending during your pledge drives that you know anything about how the BBC license fee works, because you clearly don't. Also, while I'm sure it's very affirming to have British expats call in and leave messages about how NPR mitigates their sorrow for loss of the BBC, that does not mean the two are equatable. Listen to Radio 4 for a week and show me any slate of NPR programming that approaches its breadth, depth, and intellectual prowess (and that's not even considering the brilliant comedy).
   I will forgive you for not phoning back your expats and informing them that they can access the radio iPlayer from overseas, because that's contrary to your interests, and because you don't know how the license fee works you probably don't know they can.

Dear National Weather Service,

   There has been a pattern established: on Monday morning you forecast that Monday will be 97º, Tuesday 91º, and Wednesday 88º; by Tuesday morning Monday's high was 101º, Tuesday's forecast is bumped up to 97º, Wednesday 91º, Thursday 88º; Tuesday turns out to have been 101º, etc. I understand that weather is a chaotic system and all forecasts contain an inherent amount of uncertainty, but after two weeks of this pattern, I have become better at predicting the weather than all your fancy math and equipment. At what point do you say "Hmm, we have been consistently wrong in exactly the same way; maybe there is a problem with our formulae"?
   Until then I will continue adding 4º to the day's forecast high and assuming it will be roughly the same until further notice.

   Irritated by the heat and incessant glare of the cruel daystar,

Dear Angelenos,

   Seriously, does anyone ever do anything in this town? Getting anyone to go anywhere besides work and home is like pulling teeth, and the majority of the time plans have been made, half the people flake out, and the other half don't want to go if the first half aren't going. I feel like I get out more than most of my friends and I am a homebody who doesn't have a car. I am increasingly coming to believe the only thing I can depend on is that I can't depend on anyone. FINE. I don't mind doing things by myself and it's your loss. I hope your television enriches your life as much as actual real-life experiences, but I have seen television, and I am extremely doubtful.

tealin: (actually)

Inspired by a comment on the last entry – the awesomeness was too much to deny.

When thinking up this series I didn't want just to feminise male characters, and I intend to stick to that for the most part, but this is a good excuse to bring up another topic I'd done some musing on:

People are People, so Write Them That Way (spoiler for Monstrous Regiment) )

That's my rant for the day – I think I've got it all out now. Anyway yes, female Enjolras, awesome or WAY awesome? I'd watch it.
tealin: (Default)
When I first started listening to Radio 4, there was a show running called The Department. It was written by Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver (who went on to team up with the Stewart/Colbert folks) and was ridiculous, cartoonish, and remarkably sharp.

I usually try to avoid political matters on this blog, but an item in the news lately reminded me of one of the clips of especial brilliance which I'd recorded off The Department back in the day. While at this moment I'm aiming it at the blockheads planning to burn copies of the Koran, this is relevant to so many situations that disseminating it might make the world a better place ... or at least slightly more bearable, through the power of comedy.

Look, there are two simple words that can solve terrorism and all its repercussive offshoots for good, and those words are: grow up. When you think about it, there's not a single social or political problem that those two little words couldn't instantly solve. All we need to do is install a wise old man to say them, in some robes, on a special plinth. And whenever anyone is considering doing anything of any importance, they should be forced to confront the codger, and receive his two-syllabled blast of clarity.

"Old man on a plinth! I am a politician, and I am seriously thinking about mortgaging the security of my nation and the future stability of the planet for short-term political gain!"

"GROW UP!" [applause]

"You're right, I've been acting like a thumbsucker!"

"Old man! I am a terrorist! I wish to impose my extremist take on the world on innocent third parties in the most violent manner available!"

"GROW UP!" [applause]

"Oh yeah! Fair call! Can I apologise to everyone concerned please?"

"Wise old man! I am a female tennis player! I'd like to be paid as much as the men!"

"GROW UP!" [applause]

"You're right! I don't play enough sets! I'm being completely unreasonable!"

"All of you, GROW UP!" [applause] "Don't applaud me, GROW UP!"

It's brilliant! Everything becomes so much clearer. If only we'd had this silver-haired panacea available before, we might have avoided some of the great mistakes that have made the world so dangerous today.
tealin: (catharsis)
I had threatened promised to write a thing about why you should see Scott Pilgrim to reward Universal for taking a chance and delivering original, intelligent, well-crafted entertainment, but someone's already done a much better job of it:

Go and Pay to See Scott Pilgrim Right Now

Even if you aren't interested in Scott Pilgrim personally, it does a good job of laying out the state of the industry at present, and how supporting it could mean better movies for everyone in the future.
tealin: (think)
I knew it was coming but it was still a bit of a shock to load the BBC News page this morning and see the new format. I don't know why they seem to think bigger images and more white space makes for a better webpage;* I am much more in favour of 'maximum information with a minimum of scrolling' so long as the presentation is clear, which it was. It made sense the last time they renovated because most people were now viewing it on monitors with a resolution higher than 800x600 – they kept roughly the same format but gave it room to breathe, and space was still used very efficiently. When they changed the format of the radio stations' homepages about a year ago they rendered them relatively useless for me** and I hardly visit them anymore ... I gotta get my news, though, so I guess I'll just have to get used to the Picture Book News. But I'm not going to pretend to be happy about it.

And they took away the 'Valued Exposure' daily vintage photo series on the In Pictures page ...

I'm going to go curl up in my little cubbyhole and sulk for a while. Call me out when the world stops fixing things that ain't broke.

*Maybe they're all viewing it on their iPhones ...
**I would go to the website to find information on radio shows, and stuff like what's coming up that I should look out for, and why, and what's all this about The ___ Season, etc. What I do not go for is a giant picture of a radio personality ... if I wanted pictures I would not be listening to the radio. But they seem to think that's the #1 priority for people visiting their page. What do they care what I think, though? I don't pay the license fee. (I would if I could!)

ETA: Well, at least there are plenty of other crotchety users out there ...
tealin: (manic)
I'm still nibbling away at my more in-depth review of Up, but in the meantime I was reminded of something I read back when I was in high school that made a lot of sense and has stayed with me ever since. Italics are the author's, bold text is mine.
Basil's character has many strengths in itself, but it has in addition an extra one which originates in the relationship between him and his audience. This is that, adult or child, we identify with him. If we are not Basil, we would like to be, and for an hour and a quarter we believe that we are.

[...] Many [Disney features] have a central character whose personality is two-dimensional. It is this character with whom we are intended to identify, and the two-dimensionality is deliberately created so that we can graft onto the character sufficient of our own attributes for the identification to be successful. In The Rescuers, Penny is 'everygirl;' in The Sword in the Stone, Wart is 'everyboy.' In The Great Mouse Detective, however, the character who might might have been expected to take on this role, Olivia, is far from two-dimensional, and it is Basil with whom we are intended to – and do – identify.

Basil is more than just a collection of behaviour patterns. One leaves the cinema feeling that one knows him as a personality – every characteristic rings true. When, for example, Ratigan escapes the palace in his bat-powered dirigible, we may be surprised at the nature of the Heath Robinsonish vehicle which Basil devises for the purposes of giving chase, but we are not surprised that Basil would have been capable of inventing it.

– John Grant, The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Characters

I wish Mr Grant would have written succinctly enough that I could print this out onto a poster that I could pin on the outside of my cube where people might actually read it, but that's what blogs are for!
tealin: (introspect)
Inherited from Fani:

Animation School, The Worst Journey in the World, Why I Do What I Do, Living in LA, and Crunch Time )

If you would like five questions of your own to answer, please comment ... be warned I am in the mood for asking silly questions though. :)
tealin: (catharsis)
I'm about to launch another 'What I Love About X' list/thesis/rave (already taken the notes, nothing's stopping me but time and cowardice) but remembered that I hadn't quite finished the Going Postal one I'd started last fall. When I moved, I found the folded up piece of paper that had been my notepad and carefully put it with my computer stuff, so now I am finally typing it up and calling it done. I don't remember most of the thinking behind the notes, now, and I'm coming at it with a bee in my bonnet about character development and audience involvement so it's a different list than it would have been a year ago but dangit, it is completed!

So, starting at pg. 342 (341 for context) of the Commonwealth edition ...

Needless to say, Spoiler City )

In case you missed the previous episodes in this series of insanity, here are some links:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
tealin: (Default)
Joe Gilland on the Animation Renaissance

I got to know Joe on my first animation job; he was a refugee from the collapse of Disney where he'd supervised effects on Lilo & Stitch. He's an amazingly talented guy,* he's really been there and seen everything, and he was a source of great encouragement for me. It's odd to think I probably know the young people he's talking about in his article, and I wonder how much of his tone has been coloured by where he's been working these last few years. Preach it, Joe! Hallelujah!

*And prolific: he almost single-handedly did all the effects on Chaotic, which together with BG painting practically saved the show, artistically, though there was no saving the scripts or concept and no one watched it anyway.


May. 14th, 2008 09:10 pm
tealin: (introspect)
Dear National Public Radio,

I think it's time for you and me to go our separate ways. )

With sincere regret,


P.S. KPCC: Did you not just have a pledge drive in March? What is up? You're still in my good books for playing As It Happens and seriously disrupting my sense of place but seriously...
tealin: (Default)
Impending Legislation Threatens to Revoke Artists' Right of Copyright

This page has running, up-to date information on the situation. Apparently it hasn't been introduced as a bill yet but They want it passed before the summer recess.

A moderating voice of reason - it's all conjecture anyway until a bill is officially drafted and brought before Congress.

Please read the above and make the appropriate ruckus when the time comes. If it passes I will not post any artwork online again ever. Or else move back to Canada* where I will be condemned to putter away doing rotations for crap TV shows for the rest of my life**, and post horrible emo blog entries with no art until I die of consumption and bad poetry.

*Provided US companies don't act as if this bit of US LEGISLATION is international law, which would be drastically out of character.
**I will have access to better food and less aggrevating media, but I like working at Disney. There are fantastically talented people here for me to idolize learn from. Unless I could convince them to up stakes and move there ... which would, really, be better for everyone ...
tealin: (Default)
Night Watch, Part 5

That's all, nothing more to see here, folks, get along home...

Unless you're a radio play director (or Jim Dale), in which case I have a question for you. )

I wonder how directly descended from Carcer Moist is. Charming criminal who can smile his way out of anything? You just have to make him not a murdering psychopath and you're on your way to a great character. Hmmm...
tealin: (Default)
Just saw it.

That theyer ... that's a lawta shootin'.

No Country For Plot Structure Old Men: A Rant, and Small Spoilers )
tealin: (nerd)
I'm halfway through my last pre-Making Money re-read of Going Postal so now seems as good a time as any to transcribe my list, so far. It's just a jumble but it's in roughly chronological order. I strongly recommend anyone who has not read the book to turn away now as I give away all the cool stuff without letting you enjoy the story at all.

Obsessiveness Ahead )
tealin: (Default)
I try to refrain from posting contents of email on here, but I need this intro.
Can you believe there's a leak for the 7th out there? Someone took photos of the actual book and posted them online. People, eh? You should rant about it in your LJ, once you look into it.

Well, correspondent, I will rant about it, but not in the way you would like.

If someone has come up to you and, without warning, yelled crucial book details in your ear, then yes, you are a victim. If you get a page of simple illustrations tacked to your bedroom door that are impossible not to instantly comprehend, you are a victim. But if you see a link that says 'Deathly Hallows pages here!' and click on it and read them, you are merely a victim of your lack of self-control.

People are going to post stuff online. That's what people do. Anyone who thinks humanity in general is naturally accommodating, compassionate, and level-headed has either been living under their bed all their life or completely unobservant of the world at large. The internet is rife with people who are a)maniacally obsessive, b)gleefully provocative, or c)both. What could possibly give anyone the impression that if someone had access to the object of so much frenzy they would not post it online? And what's the good of posting something online if you don't distribute the links to it? Surely the failure to do so would result in the loss of significant prestige as a fan/nerd/internet spy/provocateur/badass/etc.

So, you know these things are out there. If you are so afraid of having anything spoiled, take precautions. Don't Google search 'Harry Potter Deathly Hallows,' or for that matter, don't search for anything Potter at all because you don't know what might be in the blurb or even the link title. Don't hang around fan sites or forums. Don't go Potter browsing on YouTube.* The important thing I'm trying to say is that unless you have something implanted in your brain by which anything posted anywhere in the internet gets transferred directly to your head, at some point it will be up to you to click on something that will take you to where the spoilers are. You have to not click on that thing. If it takes this to make you realise you have no self-control, at least it was something that, in the long run, is fairly inconsequential, so be grateful. If you don't know how much self-control you have, err on the side of precaution and avoid circumstances where it may be tested. If you know you have no self-control, lock yourself in your room until you have finished the book, and as a side note: never look at a member of the opposite sex, walk near any vertical drops, go near a fast-food restaurant, pick up a video game, walk past a casino, look at a cigarette, even think about learning to drive, keep any toxic chemicals in your house, or come within two miles of alcohol, because you will probably end up dead, pregnant, or severely embarrassed in some way.

Discipline is a muscle and if you haven't exercised it enough to resist the temptation, then find a way not to be tempted. If you don't want spoilers, don't click the link, or don't put yourself in a situation where there may be a link to click. It's as simple as that. And don't get angry at the person who posted it if it was marked as having spoilers or was obvious that it would.**

As for me, I'm going to a party tonight with a few people who have not gotten the book yet, and I shall be excusing myself from the internet this weekend and until I finish it, because I will undoubtedly have plot points emailed to me by people asking for illustrations and details will be impossible to avoid once everyone else has read it.

And by the way, I posted this without having 'looked into it' because that is an excellent way of having things spoiled for me.

*I really hope someone has written a song containing all the DH spoilers and videotaped themselves singing it with their guitar and posted it on YouTube. I want to watch it when I finish the book.
**If someone got a hold of the book, do you seriously think they'd post photos of the most innocuous pages?


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