Old theology joke:
Q: How do you make God Laugh?
A: Tell him your plans.
Significant Life Decisions have paused my publishing schedule. Nothing bad; no one’s dying or divorcing. Merely an adjustment in real property ownership requiring a core-dump-level Purge of personal property ownership.
That sentence made sense in my head.
Further bulletins as events warrant.
In RakeMag, a fascinating life of the man behind a poem I discovered and have read voraciously, The Wild Party.
If you were looking for a young man with a great literary life in front of him in 1928, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a better candidate than 29-year-old Joseph Moncure March. His narrative in verse The Wild Party, a tale of Manhattan hedonism and the tragic hipsters who indulge in it, had been published that spring in a limited edition, achieving an immediate following and brisk sales. (A musical adaptation will open this month at the Fitzgerald Theater). The book even got banned briefly in Boston, bringing March something every writer craves—a prominent but not damaging censorship battle.
Read the Whole Thing, as they say, but in a nutshell, after The Wild Party and a sequel, The Set-Up, he made the move to Hollywood and that did not turn out as planned. He ended up working in a shipyard, managing a sheet metal plant, and then writing and producing industrial films during WW2 (in the first war, he’d been an infantry private). That led to a second career making films for big firms that lasted through the 1960’s.
Many of these can be found in the Rick Prelinger archive of industrial films, and two inparticular— Design For Dreaming and A Touch of Magic , both Technicolor spots for the General Motors Motorama starring industrial films icon Thelma “Tad” Tadlock— have become favorites among the sort of ironists who think it’s the height of wit to mock the styles and affectations of a half-century ago. One couplet from Design, “Girls don’t go to Motoramas dressed in a pair of pink pajamas, ” has been picked up by fans as a tagline for all that was corny and square in the fifties. Do these sneering hipsters realize that the author of Design For Dreaming was once a sneering hipster like themselves?
The question is, if they did, would it stop them?
The Wild Party got a 1994 revamp with Art Spiegelman cartoons, but The Set Up is hard to come by. I’d like to read more, and I’d like to revive the concept of a narrative poem. Something to aspire to, anyway.
This is old, but if you’re sick of the way “nerd culture” has been inflated into a Seriously Important Thing, Red Letter Media is Awesome. NSFW for some crude language.
There’s a second episode:
You might not get this if you don’t hang around on YouTube, but they’ve been making fun of the hysterical dweebery surrounding Disney and Marvel’s Cinematic Universes for some time. And going by this recent Screen Junkies video, it’s already having the desired effect.
The best kind of satire is the kind that makes its targets reconsider things.
I had this long blog post about Statistical Clustering and Artists Die, but Art Survives written in response to Carrie Fisher’s demise called Why I Don’t Get Sad Over Dead Celebrities. I was letting it lie to give it an editorial once-over before I posted it. Here’s the part that got Overtaken By Events:
Is it sad? Of course it is. Not merely because she died, but because she predeceased her mother (that’s right, Debbie Reynolds is still alive), and that’s not a thing that should ever happen.
I still think some of those points are solid, but now Todd Fisher has to bury his mother and his sister in the same week. That is just sad, so I’m going to shut up about it. Starting … now.
That’s the polite version of this entertaining screed, by the self-declared SciBabe.
By the age of one, how many times had modern medicine saved your ass?
What about by the age twenty? How about now?
How many times has nature tried to kill you? Strep, staph, weather, tsunamis, all the vaccine preventable illnesses, tooth decay, allergies that range from life-threatening to “goddamnit, it’s spring and the trees are fucking,” and whatever the fuck Gwyneth Paltrow is getting stung by bees to cure.
And the goddamn flu.
Without modern medicine, how much worse off would your life be?
Read the whole thing.
In the midst of fisking the usual gang of idiots about raaaaaaacism, Larry Correia lets drop an interesting factoid:
For a long time entertainment tried to lump as many customers as possible into one big box to provide dumb bland mushy product to. To make a living at this stuff you needed to sell to everybody, including the easily offended. Now, you just need to appeal to one group of fans, and what appeals to them might not appeal to everybody, but screw those guys. You can make what you want. Technology has evolved so that you can get your product right in front of your target audience. It isn’t just books either. Stranger Things got rejected by something like 15 networks for being too weird, and now it is a hit on Netflix.
I double-checked to make sure that was true, and according to this article in Rolling Stone, Correia was low-balling it:
After they wrote the initial Stranger Things script, they never thought they’d have a chance at pitching Netflix; they thought it was only a place for established names like Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan and House of Cards producer, director David Fincher. Matt estimates the brothers were rejected 15 to 20 times by various networks, while other execs had balked at the idea that the show featured four kids as lead characters but that it wasn’t TV for children. “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town,” one told them. Matt recalls replying, “Then we lose everything interesting about the show.” Some other people they knew in the industry understood their vision and helped connect them with Netflix. “There was a week where we were like, ‘This isn’t going to work because people don’t get it,‘” Matt says.
That’s the thing about the entertainment/content industry: they have to have product to connect with an audience, but they can’t know ahead of time what will, and there’s a cost factor with every bet. So if they gate-keepers don’t get it, viscerally, instantly, they assume that the disinterested masses won’t bother. Because the entertainment industry isn’t about connecting audiences and content, it’s about connecting audiences and content in such away that maximizing profit and minimizes loss. Thus, people are going to pass on things because they’re not getting it.
This message has been brought to you by trendiness:
Yep. This happened.
Now, before we get all transphobic, and talking about how someone born biologically male can’t ever have babies, or some such hate-speech, (because biology is a patriarchal construct, okay?) we need to recognize that this is really about consciousness being elevated.
“I would say ultimately all advocacy begins with elevated consciousness and because of movements like Black Lives Matter where you have seen trans women at the fore of that, because of the public accommodations legislation, because of so many things that are happening at a policy level, our consciousness is being elevated,” Pressley said. “I do believe that as our consciousness is elevated we will be better informed, better educated, and we can mobilize around those issues.”
Somebody paid a lot of money to learn how to talk like that. A Lot. Of Money. Someone wrote college admission essays, filled out FAFSAs, and read reams upon reams of cretinous po-mo argle-bargle so that they could, with a straight face, reconstruct this scene from Life of Brian:
These people are making it very hard not to pull the lever for Trump. I don’t like the guy, and can’t imagine he would be better than mediocre, at best, ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania. But I kind of want to make these idiots suffer, and he’s up for that job.
Edit: Fixed. The lack of video embeddage was bothering me.