So Party at the Last Tomorrow has had its moment. I got some good feedback on it, and I’m pleased that it picked up as much interest as it did. A Kindle Countdown deal suggested to me that I’m pricing these novellas too high. I’ve already dropped the price on The Devil Left Him to $3.99, I may drop Last Tomorrow as well, and price Void accordingly when it comes out.
In other news, I’ve shuffled something of my Medium profile around, removed some publications that weren’t doing anything, and created a new one: Pop Culture is Filth, to review and discuss the various arts. The title is ironic, I think.
This is a more relevant story that it might seem at first glance: the film doesn’t just cut into the difficulties of being a missionary in a foreign land, or in the clanging misunderstandings of East and West. It cuts right into the question of how far a culture can go to defend itself. Japan in the 16th century attacked Christianity largely because it judged Christianity as too foreign to gel with its existing conception of itself. Japan would not be Japan if it was Christian, the Tokugawa shoguns determined, and those that felt otherwise were brutally suppressed. The film highlights the sufferings of poor Japanese Christians who suffered for the sake of a vision of a deity that lifted them up.
In the process, however, it rather failed to give its heroes the strength of their best possible argument, and so somewhat undercut itself.
There’s some significant changes happening to Unnamed Journal, too. More on that later.
I don’t just write and Dad (and Play Crusader Kings) all day, I also work for a living. And the end of summer means the resumption of the daily sweat to earn my bread. Which is fine, because it doesn’t put a halt to writing.
Specifically, it doesn’t put a halt to editing Last Tomorrow. I’m aiming for the end of this month as a release date. As I have for Void, which comes next.
And of course, The Sword, which will be drafted, hopefully by EOY. It’s going to be the next big thing after Void comes out, and the one I’m going to put the biggest push on.
In the meantime, here’s a perversely relevant historical argument I pose on Medium: Yes, the Civil War was About Slavery.
A lot of people seem to think otherwise, but they’re wrong. And I have the historical documentation to prove it. Plus, some rad Shakespeare quotes.
More posting will happen later.
While most blogs weren’t deathless examples of great writing, there was the opportunity for individualism, and you don’t get that from a Pinterest page. You don’t get it from a feed of things snipped and reblogged and pinned and shoveled into The Feed. The web turns into bushels of confetti shoveled into a jet engine, and while something does emerge out the other end, it’s usually made impressive by its velocity and volume, not the shape it makes.
All web sites are becoming the same web site. They look the same, they swipe the same, they beg you for subscriptions the same. The noise has become so great that I took February off of social media and I haven’t missed Facebook once. Not. Even. Once.
Content is King, we are told. But the rat at which the content is consumed seems to make the consumption the point rather than the content itself. I can read a thousand articles on Medium in a day; how many of them will really stick with me?
The same can be true of blogs, of course, but whenever I found a blog I liked, I almost always wanted to read everything that they had. Whereas I couldn’t remember the name of anyone who’s “written” any Buzzfeed listicle I’ve gif’ed through if you paid me.
The medium is becoming the message. Which bodes not well, now that the FCC has made it a public utility.
Sound the bugle.
This is actually old content, a short story I burped out one cold dark afternoon and self-published in a notebook-collection called World’s Apart (by which I mean, I had the damn things printed at Kinko’s. This was before I had ever heard of Createspace).
Since I started a new collection on Medium, I was scouring my hard drive for stuff to put in it. I read this one, and decided that it was really pretty good. I mean, dark and creepy, sure, but when your collection’s called The Edge of the Void, that’s about right.
Over on Medium, a fellow referring to himself as “Lucky Shirt” (twitter handle, I’m assuming), just penned (it just sounds better than “typed”) an amusing rant about his poorly made burrito.
It’s funny in that over-the-top-rage way that the Internet loves to love; most of the joke is in how ridiculous it is to summon this much dudgeon over a burrito, while acknowledging that we all get hacked off from time to time at lousy customer service. The rest of the joke is in how wittily he does all that.
But the part that interests me is the appendix, added later:
Angry about the tone of this post?
It was a joke. The tone of it is most of that joke. I would never actually get this angry about anything. I hope nobody would. And it makes me sad that I even have to explain this.
Ah, but you do, good sir. You do.
Because working yourself into a towering rage over something unimportant: people do that. People take to the internet to issue jeremiads over how poorly mixed their smoothies were. It is an assumption to think otherwise.
And the worst of all assumptions is that everyone shares yours.
Irony – and indeed, all humor – is based on shared assumptions of what is rational and what is absurd. None of them are global. All of them are contextual. This is why we say “you had to be there.” This is why gags that tickled your parents’ collective ribs seem utterly tired and lame to you. And it is why the Beastie Boys spent the rest of their career denying that they were anything like the guys in “Fight for Your Right to Party”, to no avail.
This doesn’t mean that people who don’t “get it” are stupid, mind. It just means they aren’t in on the gag. Either because they haven’t been introduced to it, or they are confused by the assumptions inherent therein. So, the more over-the-top your irony, the more obvious it is to you that no one could take this seriously, the more it needs a disclaimer warning against exactly that.
Because IRONY DOES NOT TRANSLATE TO MASS MEDIA. Irony is a wink. Mass media is a bullhorn.