Shallow & Pedantic 9: Anime 101

The podcast feed player appears to be working again, but I’ll keep an eye on it and embed the YouTube Link if I need to. These episodes keep getting longer, but I enjoy making them more and more. Believe you me, I deleted an extended tangent off of it. Anime is something of a niche topic, but less niche for the younger generation. I am relatively unfamiliar with the genre, so it comes across as more of an interview.

Update: The podcast feed player derped out again. Here’s the Spotify:

“Tenet” is Bad, “Sound & Fury” is Good

Twitter impresario Mencius Moldbugman stomps on the Last Film in Theaters with both feet.

Apparently Nolan has been utterly corrupted by his early Hollywood success and is now incapable of directing something better than mediocre (which is kind of the vibe I got from Dunkirk). Apparently Tenet is two hours of rampaging nonsense. I don’t know if that is true or not. But I’m even less inclined to see it now.

This is part of a longer Thread of Worse 5 Movies of All Time, which are also somewhat interesting, and relatively obscure, so it’s worth reading, if only to absorb another human’s thoughts about Art. 50 First Dates, is on there, and who can resist Adam Sandler films getting savaged as they deserve?

But why lament Bad Art, when we can discuss Good Art? In the next Shallow & Pedantic podcast, we’re going to be chatting about the nexus of Samurai films and Westerns, and part of that is going to be spent on Sturgill Simpson’s 2019 film Sound and Fury, which is not really a “film” so much as it is, well, honestly, this YouTube commenter summed it up best:

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a respected alt-country star went into surgery and, in its aftermath, refused pain killing narcotics and instead just took a bunch of weed?

Imagine then, in his fugue state, he decides to take a departure from country and produce a crazy good synth rock album. Now imagine he decides to have the entire album animated, writes a vague anime screenplay, goes to Japan, and has some of the top anime artists compete to see who could be the nuttiest in producing his vision. He then puts it all together in a 45 min montage that can only be described the three way love child of Heavy Metal the movie, Akira, and The Wall.

I actually thought this level of unrestrained creative expression from a popular artists had died sometime in the 1980s. Maybe it did but, if so, Sturgill Simpson resurrected it here.

Jeffrey wyshynski 2 months ago

It’s my favorite thing I’ve seen all year, and it’s on Netflix. And I don’t even really like Anime. You should check it out.

Shallow & Pedantic Episode Six: Gieger Counter

Are you prepared for two solid hours of chatter about Anime? Get comfy as we set to discussing: What Anime is, When it started, What is good/bad Anime for noobs?, Why it looks like that, Why Cowboy Bebop is a really good show, and Various asides on tangential mattersShare and enjoy!
  1. Anime 101
  2. Moore Morrison, Please
  3. A Fistful of Samurai Pies
  4. Gieger Counter
  5. The Brust of the Lieber Fitz-Gerald

For this episode, we’re joined by Kyrin Krause, who’s been the graphic designer creating all the covers for Unnamed Journal. Generally speaking, the more the merrier with podcasts, and we definitely had fun in our rhetorical wanderings this time.

New Shallow & Pedantic Podcast: Brust & Leiber

Are you prepared for two solid hours of chatter about Anime? Get comfy as we set to discussing: What Anime is, When it started, What is good/bad Anime for noobs?, Why it looks like that, Why Cowboy Bebop is a really good show, and Various asides on tangential mattersShare and enjoy!
  1. Anime 101
  2. Moore Morrison, Please
  3. A Fistful of Samurai Pies
  4. Gieger Counter
  5. The Brust of the Lieber Fitz-Gerald

As you can see from the episode list, this is our longest episode to date. We ramble along quite nicely, thanks to some excellent porter, and give Stephen Brust and Fritz Leiber some shout-outs for being creative, witty worldbuilders and writers. We’re also up on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Deezer, and YouTube, with iHeartRadio pending.

Quick Review: Doctor Sleep

I had planned to try and view this prior to recording our most recent Shallow & Pedantic podcast, but didn’t get around to it. Nevertheless, with the absorption of all things Shining, it was bound to happen. So we grabbed it at the library and gave it a watch.

Sequels are a delicate business. In order to have any hope of being worthy of the original, it must have more story to tell (Empire Strikes Back), or at any rate build upon the universe without breaking the spirit of it (Back to the Future, Part 2). Unnecessary sequels transform a movie into a slog of repetition, slowly bleeding the point away (The Hangover).

As a sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep largely succeeds in this. It helps that, as with Trainspotting 2, a sequel novel existed to draw from. Exploring how grown-up Dan Torrance deals with the legacy of his traumatic childhood isn’t boring (and as with Trainspotting 2, Ewan McGregor is good in the lead role. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen him do recently). The world of Doctor Sleep builds on that of the first story without repeating it.

Until it does repeat it. Because the Kubrick film of The Shining veered so hard away from the King novel (do check out our aforementioned podcast for a discussion of how hard), a movie attempting as it must to be a sequel to both has to take us back to the Overlook Hotel. We have to have Tub Lady and Grady and “Come Play With Us Danny”. We have to have the Hedge Maze. We have to see Danny sitting at the bar, just like Jack did.

And because of that, we’re forced into an ending that was borrowed from the first novel, which frankly misses the point. I won’t spoil it for you, but it commits the Prime Sequel Sin of Undercutting the First Story. In movie logic, the ending makes sense. But I would have preferred something different, even if that violated what has become convention.

It’s a shame, because there’s a good movie in here, that had it stuck the landing, could have deservedly gone on to cult status. As it stands, though, all work and no play makes Dan a cliche.

Shallow & Pedantic 4: We All Shine On

This went up on the Patreon last week for subscribers, and went up on iTunes and Spotify not long after. It a podcast in theme of earlier episodes: exploring the gulf between a novel and its film adapation (in this case, The Shining) and what it is that Horror does. There’s some loud mike action in the early part of the episode: we were recording through masks and Mike brought his a little too close. But that evens out after the first stinger.

Now would be a good time to repost that Patreon link. There’s a new issue of Unnamed Journal out this month, and the way to get it is to be a subscriber ($1 a month) or buy it direct from our Gumroad. More on this in the coming days.

Managing the Flow

Currently, I’m trying to launch a brand. I dislike that phrase but there it is. I’ve set up the following things:

  • A Patreon
  • A Podcast
  • A YouTube Channel
  • A Twitter
  • A Gumroad (soon)

Additionally, I’m producing content for the next issue of UJ (out next month), and I’m trying to grease the creative wheels on a novel I’ve started. This is a lot for one man to do, when he has a household to manage.

On top of this, I’m doing it with minimal support. We have our fans, and even Patrons, but we don’t have a publishing house or an agency or even a website. We are a fart in a hurricane attempting, at this point, to be a louder fart.

This cannot but cause frustration. That feeling of shouting into a void. So the other thing I must manage is the black dog, which comes sniffing around the barn at odd hours and making a pest of himself. The struggle to be heard in the internet age is a real struggle.

There’s a book I’m reading related to this, called Deep Work, which I’ve started but put down so I could finish The Shining (more on that in another blog). It’s only tangentially about the internet and more about the way one needs to manage one’s time and inputs in order to do truly ground-breaking work. It has given me insight. While I’ve enjoyed reading the stuff that’s been created for the UJ Singles Collection (coming soon!), I can’t help but feel the wish to get to the next level. As my post about critics argued, art must come from artists, so the art can only reflect the artist. If the artist is distracted, what happens?

Unnamed Journal Singles Collection

I’ve started doing the layout work.

One of the things we’ve used UJ for is world-building. I’ve created some shorts in a fantasy world, Cevalon, that I conceived long ago. I’ve sketched out a space opera universe as well, under the tentative title “Gods of the Sky”. And there’s the Drunk Vampire Hunter stories, and Catakuri, and various serial novels, such as the recently finished Ulysses and the Fugitive.

Each of these are going to get their own books on Gumroad going forward. The Singles Collection is the omnibus for everything else: all the tragedies, dystopias, monsters, metaphysics, and screeds we’ve published in the last few years.

Details on this space, further details (such as upcoming podcast episodes) on the Patreon for subscribers. You know you want to.

Shallow & Pedantic Podcast.

We’re three episodes in on this endavour now. Below is the most recent episode, recorded in March. We planned to do it monthly, but circumstances have gotten in our way.

Recently via Skype we planned out our next set of episodes, so we should be able to turn them out at a regular clip once Normality 2.0 is fully downloaded. YouTube channel link here, that you may mash that subscribe button. It’s also available on iTunes.

Of course, the best way to keep up with all our Shallow & Pedantic doings is to subscribe to our Patreon.