neadods: (disagree)
So I started to take a survey about Sherlock Holmes fans. By someone who claims to be in touch with the culture and who claims to be doing this under the aegis of a school for academic reasons.

I say "started" because halfway through, with no assurance that I'd get to speak my piece at any point, I quit in outrage. If there is any academic overlooking this project, they need to put down the crack pipe right this minute.

So. Sherlock Holmes survey. No distinguishing between versions of Sherlock Holmes, just "Sherlock Holmes." That's quite the range, considering the books, movies, TV adaptations, radio plays, cartoons, parodies, etc. No, I most certainly do not "feel what the characters are feeling" when I read the Victorian-era stories. In many cases, I feel several of the characters need a clue bat upside the head, is what I feel.

No distinguishing between passively consuming whatever media and fannish participation. I am not a different person because I read Sherlock Holmes or watch Doctor Who. I am a different person because I participate in fan culture overall and that's a MAJOR difference. The actual media drawing me into the culture is negligible and changeable.

No option for "I read the stories because they are entertaining." Seriously, not even an option. Nope, I was asked to choose between the stories making me think, making me meditate upon society, making me reflect on myself as a person and other gobsmacking bullshit. The. Man. Wrote. Potboilers. For. Money. In other bad news for the literary academic, Shakespeare *also* wrote for money and stuffed his work full of dick jokes. Including the tragedies.

When I reached the page that asked me how in touch I was with my feelings, how important I felt it was for me to be in touch with my feelings, whether I thought people in general would be better off in touch with their feelings... well, I thought it was long past time to bail on the bullshit and come vent my feelings instead.
neadods: (fandom_sane)
Engaging would be the world's most pointless use of my time, but I do have to come here to vent a little bit about having seen Molly Hooper dismissed as "we know little about her except ... she doesn't mind dead bodies" and that everything else came from Lou Brealey, not the script.

Doesn't. Mind. Dead. Bodies.

First off, she's a coroner, which is a tad above "doesn't mind" and heading well into "career." Second, she's not just "a" coroner, she gives every evidence of being THE coroner in those parts; she works directly with Scotland Yard, she never mentions a boss (her only citation of the people she works with is "the others"), and she apparently has the ability to set her own hours/reschedule "the others" because she waltzes into the morgue and takes over with no notice.

It's not hard to deduce that Molly's the damn department head, not from Lou, but from the scripts!

Not just the boss, but the boss who has the chops to search for a specific corpse and then make that body disappear, after having shoved it out a window. Molly may be jittery around Sherlock, but on her own turf, she's got clout.

And speaking of jittery around Sherlock - let's have that discussion. Let's talk about how it's sooooooooooo sexist to write that Molly puts on lipstick to attract Sherlock and then takes it off when he insults it... but sooooooooo twu wuv that John shaves his mustache off when Sherlock insults it. Let's talk about how pathetic it is that Molly dates a guy who looks just like Sherlock... but it's hilarious that John's last date before Mary was a dark-haired woman wearing a long coat and a scarf who has the line "Don't compare me to Sherlock Holmes." Let's talk about how wimpy Molly is because Sherlock drags her from meal plans with friends and wheedles her into anything... but how devoted and loyal John is to let Sherlock break up all but one of his attempts to have outside relationships and wheedles him into anything.

Do LET. US. have the conversation about how horrifically sexist Molly's character is for being female and lonely and liking cats when there's so little difference between her behavior towards Sherlock and John's... except, y'know, that Molly has a career of her own and Molly says a lot more to the point than "a bit not good" when Sherlock pushes his shit too far.

"Don't know anything except she doesn't mind dead bodies" my wide white ass.

Wow, I hope I can keep from ranting at Gridlock. I'm on the Women in Sherlock panel.
neadods: (disagree)
Yesterday was Scintillation of Scions. I would love to run in (tired) circles squeeing about how well the raffle did, or the wonderful wide diversity of panels/panelists, and the fun of the Basil Rathbone Birthday B&W dinner.

But there's one thing that I really, really need to vent about today and that's Herlock, the first episode of which was aired in its entirety.

Herlock is a web series with college aged gender-switched Sheridan and Jonny. It was conceived of and written by a cis (I think) man, who said that "I left Holmes fandom for a little bit and when I came back it was entirely made up of young lesbians. So I wrote a Sherlock for them."

...because the fact that they were already fans of Sherlock and Elementary and oh, yes, CANON means that they need niche marketing, I suppose...

Anyway, I can't speak to the lesbian part of it (although Cardi, who was staying at our place, did, at length and at volume). I sure as hell can speak to how women are portrayed and "pissed me off" is a fucking UNDERSTATEMENT.

Sheridan is young and chic and -- like Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Sherlock and Bones -- extremely emotionally disconnected and brusque and socially maladept while "not being autistic or anything."


Look, I *like* Big Bang most of the time and I adore me some Sherlock, this is still problematic as hell and offensive as hell and it needs to stop being a trope. (And at Scintillation? Seriously awkward as a presentation coming just a few hours after an advocate and consultant with autism herself spoke about the presentation of mental illness in Sherlock and the canon.)

But that doesn't begin to cover my problems with Jonny. Do let me vent in boldface all caps about Jonny. Every complaint I had about the presentation of Joan Watson in Elementary is magnified and intensified in Jonny. As M pointed out, Joan Watson may have given up her original career in Elementary, but she also *achieved* it. She had a career goal and she put in the hard work and time necessary to achieve that goal. Elementary itself is arguably less the story of Sherlock trying to unscrew his screwed up life as Joan realizing what it is she really wanted to do when she grew up, and again putting in the time and work necessary to achieve and live that goal.

I ranted at the time that watching Joan do this over the course of a couple of seasons, especially as we watched her toss her interim career as well was feeding into the stereotypes of women as irrational and impulsive, but I cannot deny that Joan is consistently portrayed as competent, consistent (when compared to Sherlock especially) and extremely capable.

Besides, I hadn't met Jonny yet.

In the course of 45 minutes, we watch Jonny, a graduate student in veterinary school on a scholarship throw away everything she has ever worked for and throw away any CHANCE of achieving an independent career. Basically, Herlock is 45 minutes of Jonny researching a horse-based crime, becoming aware of Sheridan Hume, and becoming obsessed with Sheridan Hume - to the point of badly damaging, if not probably ending, her academic career to follow Sheridan Hume, who actively solicits her to leave school.

Wow, that totally doesn't portray women as impulsive, irrational, prone to emotional reasoning, unable to set and achieve self goals, and naturally being relegated to following after their love interest at all, now does it? Hey kids! Don't you want to imagine yourself throwing away everything you've worked towards for that person you just met? Isn't flushing your future for pussy instead of prick such an empowering feminist message?

Oh. Mah. Gawd. Just Oh. My. God. I. Can't. Even.
neadods: (sod_calm)
Total (current) cost of furlough to US taxpayers: $24 billion

Projected cost to taxpayers: unknown

Total (current) cost to me: $612.60 If my calculations are right, that's roughly how much my next paycheck should be short. (You know. The one I get on the first, when all the bills are due.)

Projected cost to me: another $612.60 and 5 month's delay on paying down the credit debt.

You see, I won't accrue leave in time for ChicagoTARDIS -- yes, I'm still going -- or much for Christmas, so the former will be entirely leave without pay and the latter partially so. And because right now the papers are full of Cruz and his buddies talking about how it was a "winnable fight" and still promising to "keep it up" I have every reason to expect another shut down when this bandaid of an agreement wears off in January and February. So, yeah, paying down the cards remains a luxury. I have to take every penny of that bonus (the one I hoped to plow into the economy) and everything I would have put on the cards to make sure that I have the requisite 3 month's survival cash. It won't cover three months of actual SALARY, but I can reach a quarter's worth of bare sustenance. And all I have to do to get it is to flush my hopes and stop paying down my credit debt.

This doesn't count having some cash on hand for ChicagoTARDIS or Christmas presents for family and friends. (And before you say "well, don't go to ChicagoTARDIS" realize then I'm out the $500 for the plane and the fancy membership, so that's hardly a savings.)

It sure as hell doesn't count what I'd planned on doing with that bonus, which was to plow quite a lot of it into the economy. I'd promised myself a new buffet for the kitchen. I'd promised myself either a pawn shop diamond ring or a Pieland ring (or both) for my birthday. I could have easily done all of that *and* still saved some *and* still made a major dent in the credit cards.

But that was when I could count on my own paycheck and rely on my own plans.

When politicians talk about how important it is to stop government spending at any cost, just remember that my cost was $1,225.20 yanked right out of my pocket.

Yes, I'm privileged; I can lose that without it crippling me. That doesn't fucking make it okay! I was robbed by Cruz et al just as much and just as directly as I was robbed by the guy who broke into my house.

Why yes, I'm still processing a lot of anger and wondering how I'm going to deal with the stress of a repeat hanging over me until mid February, why do you ask?
neadods: (sherlock)
I'm not waiting for the next link roundup to pass this one on because it articulates everything I hate about the Moriarty character, from canon onwards: I'd Prefer Less Moriarty.

It's hard to sample the article and not just copy the entire thing, but here is the meat of it:

"Moriarty is always portrayed as an End Boss, the ultimate mastermind behind whatever the sinister plot is. He’s the baddest badass the Holmes character ever meets, and when he shows up, boy is it on. You know the stakes have risen.

Except that’s not what’s appealing about Sherlock Holmes in the stories (emphasis added). ...

The thing that bothers me about Moriarty, and especially when it came to Sherlock and now Elementary is that not only does he come in as the big bad, he also brings with him the old personal vendetta. He’s not The Napoleon of Crime, he’s The Guy Who Really Effin Hates Sherlock Holmes, and he doesn’t just do crimes, he has it in for Holmes specifically. Once he walks on stage, Holmes stops solving crimes and starts a deadly game of cat and mouse where this time it’s personal. What we tuned in to see is cast aside: we know who the bad guy is (Moriarty) and what the endgame is (defeat Holmes)."

So. Much. This! I LOATHE Moriarty as a character in canon and moreso in spinoffs and pastiches. He warps far more interesting and smart canonical characters into minions, or they're ignored because we're all supposed to be more impressed by and afraid of The Big Badass.

Dave then goes on to nail the heart of the problem with turning detective stories into mano-a-mano thrillers:

"It also bugs me at this point because it turns the plot into exactly the kind of plot I hate, the one where the good guy and the bad guy just have a giant pissing contest around the city and usually a bunch of faceless innocent nobodies get caught in-between. I hate this story. I don’t like it when the hero is in a situation where, honestly, we’d be better off without him."

Moriarty is not only a fairly uninteresting character, he diminishes Holmes. We already KNOW what's going to happen, just like we already KNOW what's going to happen when Superman fights Lex Luthor, Batman fights the Joker, the Doctor fights the Daleks, etc., etc., etc.

This is not interesting storytelling because there is no actual tension in reaching a predetermined outcome!

Moriarty sucks. Moriarty sucks precisely because we already know what's going to happen the moment he shows up. And what's going to happen is not what we signed up for - no deductions, no "singular" cases, no twists. Just the overwhelming stench of ammonia and testosterone.

PS - This is also proof that I can read and rec a pro-Elementary, anti-Sherlock article without bursting into flame. Just in case anyone wondered.

PPS - Yes, I know that the "fic rec sherlock" tag really doesn't have a lot to do with fic these days.
neadods: (disgusted)
I have health insurance. I have fairly *good* health insurance. I have health insurance that saw me through emergency surgery last year and a mystery sore throat over the change of years and an emergency room run and even the therapy that I've needed for years. None of the companies have pulled skunky little games of "you filled that paper out wrong so we're dropping you" or "Pre-existing, so fuck off" or even "Surprise! Turns out that doctor was out of network!"

And. Yet.

After a hospital hit me up for an "unpaid" charge that I'd paid off five years ago complete with threats of collectors and ruined credit and I couldn't pull a receipt out for all that time later, I've been very particular about all the paperwork surrounding my insurance, filing it and (in the case of the surgery) cross-referencing it.

And. Yet.

I have, over the last couple of days, been billed for over $500 that I Do. Not. Owe. (And shortly cannot pay either; having the house painted will tap me out.) It has been up to me to pull out all the paperwork for one claim and call my insurance company and ask "WTF?" and be told "Damn, we don't know either. So you call them up tomorrow and give them this phone number and make sure they have the right client number for you because it looks like they've called the wrong branch of the same company and been turned down."

And then I pulled a whole lot of other paperwork and called the health insurance company back *again* and this time the answer was, "Oh, you see, even though you *hold in your hands* the paperwork saying this claim was filed and paid, it was paid under your old insurance number. So we can't find it in our records, so they can't find it in their records, so they turned around and dunned you for an overdue bill that was actually paid almost 4 months ago. Our bad! So now it's up to you to call them and say that we fucked up the paperwork and now they have to resubmit everything under the right number. And you totally won't have to pay. Well, except your remaining deductible. And the 10% we don't cover. And your copay. But other than that, we'll take care of it!

... Well, we will when they start over."

This shit is why I want national health care. This right here. But NOOOOOOOOO! That's socialism! And Fascism! And a total loss of our freedoms, as the awful, awful experiences in the People's Republic of the U.K. have so clearly shown. (Seriously, people point out horror stories of "this guy who totally died because the NIH didn't see him in time." These people tend to get really pissed off when I point out that here in free, morally superior America, the time lag between my saying "I need to see the doctor, please" and the doctor saying "Holy shit, you needed surgery, like, last year" was around three months. Those puppies were big, but they were benign; otherwise, Little Miss Surburbia Middle Class and her excellent insurance plan would have been the *exact same* horror story here on our shores.

And it makes heads explode to point out Canada has national health care, because as far as most Americans can figure out, Canada is just this place you get cheap drugs. Like Mexico, only with more reliable medications.

But even now there are people who want to live like this, who fight to live like this, who deal with the paperwork and the nonsense and the delays because Obamacare is just so fucking unthinkably awful that it's better to live in a country where a leading cause of bankruptcy is medical bills of the insured. And I should go through all the phone calls tomorrow saying "someone fucked up but that doesn't mean that I'm paying your bill" with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips because at least I know that it's BETTER to live like this than have universal health care and live in the unbearable creeping horror that a red cent of my taxes may go towards the health care of people I don't like. You know, instead of going towards blowing the shit out of them, because we can't be cutting taxes to the military! (And yet we don't pay soldiers a decent wage, and we won't even discuss the horrors of the VA health care...)
neadods: (worry_fandom)
With apologies to Austen, for what do we live but to make sport for our fellow fans and laugh at them in our turn? In the last two days, I’ve gone from being lukewarm about the concept of Elementary (CBS’ take on modern Holmes) to being 100% enthused about its premiere. Not because I’m expecting it to be brilliant, but because Holmes fandom – the Sherlock fringe in particular – is already being so entertaining in its indignation, and I’m expecting the schadenfanfreude to just get better over time like wine.

The break point was a blog I read last night. At first it annoyed the snot out of me because it was one of those “there is only one possible right way to think about this, which is the way I think about it, so I will handwave without logical rebuttal any arguments against me and try to humiliate the person making them.” And we all know how well I take the idea of someone issuing me an opinion. But then I realized two things. First: in order to rebut, the person had to quote the original argument, which was pretty strong even with a thick layer of disdain coated on top. Second: once I cooled down, I simply had to be amused by a counter argument that boiled down to “America hoses up adaptations of British media and it already has several popular modern-era TV shows about very observant men.” Both halves of that argument are correct, but you’ve got to admit that mating them into the single concept, “America can’t get it right, so it shouldn’t try and besides, America has already done it right more than once so it shouldn’t try” is impressive contortionism.

The speculation and even newspaper articles are hilarious in a “seriously, do you know NOTHING about show business?” way. I’m strongly reminded of when Freema Agyeman didn’t sign on for Torchwood: Children of Earth and some unnamed BBC minion was quoted as saying that “scripts are being thrown into shredders” several months before the first script would have been finished, much less printed. Yes, I’m sure that Moffat and Gatiss are watching this with a wary eye and if CBS steals one of their original ideas - Molly, Sally, Sarah, Anderson, Sherlock’s deductions rolling in text onscreen, etc. – then they can *and should* sue.

Does nobody realize that the execs at CBS already know this? Just as they already know that the names Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John H Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Inspector Lestrade, etc. are out of copyright and the concept of text messaging is not even copyrightable, nor are New York City, forensics, crime detection, and the modern era. There is plenty they can do without having to pay a royalty to Moffat and Gatiss, just as there is plenty they can do without paying royalties to the creators of House, Psych, CSI, Law and Order, etc.

Which leads to the next “you’re kidding me” argument: That Elementary will reduce the audience for Sherlock. Because there are so few TV viewers in America, and they totally won’t watch more than one show that is relevant to their interests. For that argument to work, we’d still only have three networks and they’d only show one crime drama, one sitcom, one medical drama, and one documentary. Ever. And Nielsen knows that now would be a horrible time to launch a new detective/forensics show, it’s not like CSI and NCIS have been trading off top of the ratings for *years* or anything like that.

(And by the way? When CBS came up with NCIS, everyone just KNEW it was a cheap knockoff of CSI and it would never last even if it wasn’t sued out of existence after the first episode. It's not at all like CBS has already danced this waltz or wants to capitalize on its current strengths, I’m just sayin’.)

But to be honest, to be really honest, the reason I want Elementary to premiere is that if people are going to go this nuts this early, then from the very bottom of my black heart I am looking forward to making popcorn and watching the Sherlock fringe of Holmes fandom to have canon!fail conniptions. “OMG! Inspector Gregson is so a ripoff of Lestrade’s first name!” “They totally stole the idea of a cabbie with an aneurism from Study in Pink!” “I can’t believe they even swiped the bit about Sherlock not knowing about the solar system!”
neadods: (orange_line)
Have you ever noticed when it comes to anti-abortion legislation and activism, it's phrased with lots of heartfelt appeals to "family" and "innocent life" but take a look at the actual *result.* Especially with the two latest go-rounds hitting the news. No matter how much discussion there is of babies and innocence, the actual point of the activism and legislation is "Sluts Have No Rights."

A pregnant woman can only get pregnant one way, after all, and rhetoric about the only choice they should be given was to have or not have sex is a ha'penny a dozen on the Internet and in the news. Once the woman is pregnant, well - she "chose" to have sex (let's all take the side comments about "... not if she was raped" as a given) and thus she has to "live with the consequences" ("... even if she did plan and the birth control failed" is also a given. Not the point of this post.)

Even the faintest whiff of someone potentially having sex is dirty, bad, and slutty - that is, you may have noticed, THE main argument against mandatory vaccination against genital warts, sex education beyond "keep your knees together" and dissemination of birth control. Give girls the idea they can have sex without pregnancy or diseases, and the little tarts might just go out and do it.

A pregnant woman has, very obviously, done it.


If you've been watching the news swirling around Lila Rose and her Planned Parenthood "sting" one thing leaps out. She's not jumping up and down screaming because PP offered abortions, even though that's supposed to be what she's most upset about. It's that she's howling that PP did something horribly illegal by offering pregnant girls and women the following services:
- doctor/patient confidentiality
- medically accurate advice
- facilitation with translation for non-English speakers

And oh yeah - in case you hadn't noticed, PP also provided legal protection to the nonexistent girls caught in a nonexistent sex ring, because no matter how much Lila denies it, it's on record that PP staff called the FBI immediately after the suspect visits.

At what point is it not morally and legally IMPERATIVE to provide those things? Oh, yeah: when it's a slutty slut slut who wants an abortion. It's just as illegal for podiatrists to break confidentiality, it's just as wrong for chiropractors to not have someone help translate, it's just as immoral to take a minor out to get a tooth extraction without parental knowledge. But nobody could possibly make sting videos out of any of that.

And now South Dakota's at it again. Leslie Unruh has been trying to outlaw all abortion for ages there, something that the electorate keeps stubbornly voting down. (I've seen someone straight-facedly ask how the women of South Dakota can be "trained to vote correctly" so the damn thing will finally go through.)

Since that keeps failing, it's up to Rep. Jensen to come up with House Bill 1171: "An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children."

Most people are calling it the "open season on abortion doctors bill," which Jensen finds utterly ridiculous. Not at all, he insists! It's for situations like "Say an ex-boyfriend who happens to be father of a baby doesn't want to pay child support for the next 18 years, and he beats on his ex-girfriend's abdomen in trying to abort her baby. If she did kill him, it would be justified. She is resisting an effort to murder her unborn child."

What Rep. Jensen slides right over (although the people in the comments to that article pick up pretty fast) is that the pregnancy status of a woman being beaten is pretty damned moot. She is being beaten with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. REGARDLESS OF THE REASON WHY OR WHERE THE BLOWS ARE AIMED, SHE IS BEING BEATEN. The case that prompted this (alas, there was one) involved a baseball bat, which is classified as a deadly weapon.

Which means that in America she has every right to defend herself with deadly force. It's even right there in the original wording of the South Dakota bill: Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person.

Unless, of course, the fucking bitch has been out fucking. Then, well - fuck her. Now only the baby has a right to self defense and she can only act to defend it.

Sluts have no rights.

(And this is before you factor in the "conscience" bill saying that nobody has to do anything that might tangentially be related to abortion if it's against their conscience... even if she might die. Like the woman in that Catholic hospital so in need of an abortion that even the Nun was like "yup, only one way to save that life, and she's too weak to be moved." That's right - it's possible to be *so* pro-life that you can let women die right in front of you! Sluts ain't got no rights, not even the right to their own life.)
neadods: (disagree)
It doesn't even exist yet, and I'm already pissed off at the number of guys who are blowing off the notion of a 7" iPad as stupid. And they're all guys so far, because it takes someone who doesn't carry a purse to bitch that something that's roughly 7 x 5 inches "is too big because it can't fit in a pocket." (As opposed to the current iPad, which at 9.7 x 7.5 is too big to fit into pockets and most purses. Bigger is not automatically better, gentlemen, no matter what they told you in the locker room.)

I've got a friend with an iPad, and it looks like a very nifty gadget, and I have to confess, I'd rather like one. But it's way too damned big and heavy to stick in my car to play music and podcasts while I drive or drop in a purse and schlep around while I travel. If I'm taking something that size, I'm taking my netbook.

On the other hand, I've got an iPod Touch, and while it's portable and convenient as hell, the screen's terribly small and the keyboard is ridiculously tiny. I could read my email and LJ and ebooks while I traveled, but it is a complete and utter bugger to type URLs, shopping lists, and blog entries. (C'mon, Apple, I had a fold-out full-sized keyboard for my palm pilot 10 years ago. I'm just sayin'.)

A 7 x 5 inch machine would be the perfect compromise of portability, adaptability, readability, and type-ability for a daily general-use and travel companion. It was what I started dreaming of the third time I corrected a typo because only 3-year-olds have fingers that will fit that Touch screen. And now I keep being blown off because what I want -- what I think is specifically tailored to my technical specs -- is "dumb."

But what do I know? I'm just a well-heeled customer willing to pay out hundreds for the right technotoy girl, after all. Naturally, only misogynistic morons think I won't buy anything that beeps unless it's pink and explained to me in Very Small Words, because it's not like Apple's all about the ease of use or I work in a technical field or anything.

Seriously... a paperback book is "too big" to be portable? Because dudes, that's the size you're bitching about!
neadods: (disgusted)
Cheezewhiz, I leave the Internet for a weekend and wank breaks out all over. I haven't got anything deeper to say about the latest failure of humanity on F-W aside from "transbashing is NOT COOL." Moral high ground != trashing gender identity.

I'd also like to seriously knock some Ianto fans heads together. Donating to charity in the name of a fictional character? Pretty cool, actually, especially when the numbers start climbing. (Ianto Wants a Pony is at 2,291 quid and change; Save Ianto is at a highly respectable 12,230.)

But hoovering up everything ever said on LJ and turning it into some incoherent, novel-sized screed that is sent to The Powers That Be in an attempt to make them change their minds is so many versions of fail that I am publicly saying "I'm out of Ianto fandom." I'll be adjusting my feeds accordingly as time permits.

One more time for the obviously slow class:
Stealing other folk's writing and co-opting it for your cause without permission is unacceptable for any reason. It's also the very definition of stupidass, because it turns your own allies into your worst enemies.

Producers base their decisions on ratings, and CoE's were quite high. That reality has not changed for Torchwood fandom. Doing something productive for the real world, like the charities, was about the only slim way to counterbalance that and it does so by showing by speaking to the same business bottom line as ratings.

Nagging producers like a dumped date who texts 4000 times an hour is an ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE that you will not get what you want because they don't want to deal with the batshit. TPTB for Beauty and the Beast eventually made it very clear that they would rather cut off their own fingers than deal with the wank flying at them. Even that full-page ad in Variety telling them they screwed up their own show somehow didn't convince them of the error of their ways.

So thanks, morons. You've permanently branded all of Ianto fandom and a good chunk of Torchwood fandom with "batshit, do not touch with 10-foot cattleprod" in the eyes of the producers AND you've made for damnsure that when you come crying back to the rest of fandom that you didn't make them give you what you wanted, half of it's going to be waiting with tar and the rest with feathers because of what you did to *them.*
neadods: (contemplative)
I've lost track of how long ago I promised a post about what it's like to live in a world full of security classifications and what TV (particularly RTD) gets wrong and right. Finally, I'm writing it.

Washington DC is the world's biggest company town. )

Ob disclaimer: my authority for writing this is just living in this town )

But you don't have to take it from me. A while back, the Post did an excellent article about training for the Secret Service (link should not require registration) that makes most of the points I'm about to make -- only with fewer TV references.

WHAT TV GETS RIGHT (It's not what you think)

UNIT: Unauthorized Personnel Keep Out )

Bloody Torchwood! )


In a nutshell, what Torchwood and UNIT get wrong are by having someone who thinks their own government is evil writing about government organizations. Think about it. In RTD's world, Torchwood 3 - incompetent, understaffed, without any oversight authority or respect for civil rights - are the good guys. I've got plenty of opinions about the choices my Government makes, but I sure as hell wouldn't be sleeping sounder if one of the citizen militias was in charge, enforcing their own idiosyncratic notion of interpretations of the laws.

And as for security procedures... )

But what I really want to rant about is how TV - not just RTD, but other shows - treat clearances. You don't need one of your own, just know someone who has one (much less live among thousands who do) to know how utterly ridiculously they're treated in entertainment.

First, they aren't mandatory - for SOME things )

Second, clearances aren't one size fits all )

Third, getting a clearance doesn't mean that you walk into the highest levels of power right away )

Fourth, clearances don't come quickly or casually )

Cleared access is not something you get handed to you because Captain Jack thinks your curiosity is cute (Gwen Cooper). It is also not something that you gang-press someone into (Liz Shaw) or hand out to keep a relative employed (Jo Grant). (No, it's not just modern Who that screws this up.) It's something you work to get a chance to have, then work more to get granted, and because of that, the people who go through this process don't do it lightly.

So why do it?

One of my cleared friends once told me that her orders were to answer any question about her work with the phrase "It saves American lives." If there's one attitude that I find everywhere, it's not that the people work for the government because they agree with the President or with Government policy or even that they took their work because they felt it was a great noble cause. It's that they believe *in the bone* that the work they do protects people (not necessarily just Americans) and that if it absolutely comes to it, they are honor-bound to keep their secrets NO MATTER WHAT.

That's not just rhetoric. The Secret Service article lays it bare in pretty graphic terms: Make a nice meat shield between the protectee and the problem. When the hammer hits the metal, you don't think about your hopes or your plans or your family or your loved ones. You take the damn bullet... and keep fighting while you're dying.

This is why I don't cut Tosh slack for allowing herself to be manipulated - twice! - into betraying her top-secret employers. RTD thinks it's reason enough that she was in love with Mary or that her mother was in danger. As if she was the first person in the history of ever to have fallen in love with someone who used that for their own ends, or someone who threatened her family. As if no cleared agency in the history of clearances had ever thought anyone could be manipulated like that and thus had no options or plans in place for those very eventualities.

As if no cleared agency in the world-wide history of ever had had corrupt employees and thus had double-checks and backup security to keep the bad apples from getting access to things outside their areas.

RTD doesn't just think that governments are corrupt. He thinks they're profoundly STUPID.

I've ranted about Fragments in particular before, but I'm going to say it again - by the very virtue of her getting cleared to work in UNIT, Tosh should have been aware of any help she could have had when her family was threatened and been aware that they would quickly know when she compromised their security. By the virtue of her having three brain cells to knock together, she should have known that if the terrorist pressure on her worked once, it would work again and thus they'd use it again.

And no matter now nasty RTD's Gitmo-fueled fantasies of UNIT security are, the fact still remains that Tosh literally built and handed over a working weapon of mass destruction and the first act of the terrorists was to turn it on and start destroying things.

I really wanted to like Tosh as a character, and for a while I did, but I utterly lost respect for her when it was made clear that her first and constant reaction to emotional manipulation would be to commit treason.... despite the fact that every time she did it, she put many lives in danger.

It's not just RTD, though. I heard (admittedly second-hand) that Numb3rs had a plot [ETA: which I got wrong and was correctly cited in comments, but still boiled down to putting loyalty to friends over direct orders to Knock Something Off; it's making people unsafe.]

I'm sure that somewhere out there someone nodded because family loyalty was more important than anything.

But in this town, the politest reaction was "..." (I don't know anyone in the FBI, but I'm willing to bet that their reactions were a lot louder and a lot more profane.)

TV producers write what they think will give an emotional bang.

But the worldview is different in the company town founded by men who weren't kidding when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to their work. Where there are memorial stars in some places because even the names can't be unclassified long enough to be remembered. Where one of the base job qualifications is to be willing to take a bullet - sometimes for someone you cannot personally stand and don't agree with.

There are loyalties more important than family. In some branches of the Government, there are loyalties more important than life. That, in a nutshell, is what TV gets wrong.
neadods: (do_not_want)
One of my buttons got pushed at Writercon - the reputed Whedon quote (now apparently echoed by RTD) that he doesn't give the audience what it wants, he gives it what it needs.

Dear Mr. Whedon, Mr. Davies, and any other purveyor of entertainment who thinks it's clever to quote the Rolling Stones:

You aren't qualified to make that decision.

You're qualified to make decisions about *your* work - what you want to write, what's saleable, what will best deal with the shifting requirements of television, and anything else on your end of creation. You're not only qualified but required to tell your story your way. That's pretty much the point of YOUR telling it.

But you simply do not have the right - much less the ability - to dictate what I "need" to entertain me. That's what *I* tell you.

There's a long list of things that I (and everyone else in the viewing/reading audience) needs. Food. Shelter. Employment. Civil Rights. Entertainment in general, even. But needing one given work of fiction? Not so much. And being told that I need some offensive or upsetting plot wrinkle is as patronizing as being told by some outside party how I need to eat, live, support myself, speak, act... fuck, in the end, you're telling me how I need to think.

Because that phrasing isn't defending your own work (and funny how it's only ever trotted out when said producer is on the defensive). It's never the producer standing up for his own vision - "I wanted to go x place with this story," or "I needed y to happen to support my theme" or even "this is the story I wanted to write, period."

No, this is flipping back to (and flipping off) the audience. It isn't just that the story is sufficient to itself, it's that the audience is somehow defective in being unappreciative. That the audience members have, en masse, some deficiency of character, temperament, or taste needing desperately to be corrected by this outside person, and the only appropriate response is loyalty and appreciation for pointing it out.

That may be a defensible notion in documentaries, news stories, and other works of journalism, but to sit quietly and be patronized and offended by escapist entertainment?

Nobody needs that.
neadods: (Default)
Most of rant cut and possibly triggering: You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. )

Announcing to the world that your "artistic integrity" outweighs the faintest shred of respect for portions of your audience only shows that you have no particular right to any audience.... and can expect your entire potential audience to discuss that, react to it, and advertise that your shining artwork should be passed right by in favor of the work of someone who doesn't erase them and their concerns.
neadods: (Default)
Urged on by a conversation at [ profile] tempestsarekind's, I present my meta on why Bridget Jones is possibly the nastiest insult to Elizabeth Bennet - and the readership - that could ever have been foisted on the public.

Pride and Prejudice's heroine was charismatic, opinionated, proper, and - more importantly - fiercely intelligent and self-controlled. She did not suffer fools gladly or quietly, making her one of literature's first snarky heroines. Even when Elizabeth was completely wrong - say, about Wickham's character - she wasn't just reacting to what was said, she was working off of all the available evidence.

She was almost never impulsive. Certainly never about important things. She *always* weighed her options and took the one that would let her keep both her dignity and her long-term self-respect. That's why she could turn down the humiliating proposals of Collins and Darcy despite knowing that a yes answer would mean security for her family.

Most importantly for this argument, the things that were out of Elizabeth's control were truly out of her control. It wasn't in her power to break the entail on the house or to make her mother or Mr. Collins less clueless. The one thing she put her foot down on - Lydia going off with the soldiers - was overridden. Only for the entire family to find out that she had been oh, so right.

Several centuries later, enter Bridget Jones. Even her author says she's based on Elizabeth Bennet... except that if you look at her, she's as far from the smart, restrained, dignified Elizabeth as you can get. Bridget cannot think further ahead than about 24 hours. Her life is a constant mess of what she wants, what she's denied herself, what she thinks she deserves.

But the things that she keeps claiming she can't control are all in her power. It's up to her to regulate her diet, stop smoking, exercise, manage her career, and yet for some reason all of those elude her. Even her biggest humiliations don't come from someone else acting upon her (in direct contravention of her advice), it's because SHE was stupid enough to speak out of turn, leave her diary out, etc.

As [ profile] tempestsarekind points out, Bridget Jones' Diary takes a heroine, in Elizabeth Bennet, with whom we get to see an intellectual and emotional inner life, and replaced her with someone who was all about cataloguing the external: how much Milk Tray, how many cigarettes, how many pounds.

No matter what Helen Fielding says, Bridget cannot possibly be based on Elizabeth.

Not when her emotional and maturity levels are such a match with Lydia's.

But by making Lydia, wild, reckless, clueless Lydia into the heroine, Fielding did a lot of women a huge disservice, because Bridget ushered in the era of "neurotic is the new cute." It was the enormous success of Bridget that led to a massive upswing in heroines who are jealous, shallow, obsessed with the external, show exasperation instead of empathy to everyone around them, and completely incapable of turning down the momentary temptation. Laura Levine's Jaine Austen mysteries (not to be confused with Stephanie Barron's lame attempts to cash in on a much better author) are all about a modern girl who just can't say no to anybody or anything and then bats her eyes in pretty confusion wondering why her life is completely out of her control. (I finally got so disgusted with the character that in the last book I reviewed, I snapped The book is such a tribute to the choices [Jaine] didn't make that it ought to be dedicated to Robert Frost.)

Not only is it insulting as hell to assume that a normal modern woman is by nature a complete and utter mess, books in the vein of Diary also assume that women cannot take control. That they NEED a man to save them.

Go reread P&P again. Someone in the family had to make a good marriage or they'd *starve* when Mr. Bennet died. But at no point did Elizabeth actually need a man to save her from the consequences of her own actions. Never. Who did? Lydia. Lydia, the character Austen herself used as a horrible warning, not a shining example.

And that's why I'd rather reread P&P than most of the modern romances. I certainly find more of myself and what I want to emulate in Elizabeth, not Bridget and her daughters.
neadods: (Default)
The good news - Dad is off the cane already! He only takes it for when he'll be on his feet for a while, but otherwise he can walk unassisted and can drive again. (That last being particularly important to him.)

ETA: My review for The Prosecution Rests is up on Reviewing the Evidence.

ETA 2: Thank you to whoever nominated "Naughty or Nice" for a CoT award. However, I've declined it as ineligible - although posted to Teaspoon in '08, it actually dates to '06 in my journal.

And finally, the rant. Part of this is aimed at myself, because I only have myself to blame for picking review books in genres I don't like. But I have GOT to ask, even the people who like this stuff - is it really remotely realistic that the government is going to find all kinds of money and technology to "enhance" soldiers and nobody, nobody at all is going to spend a moment thinking about a failsafe? And just to ice the cake, they're going to give all these fighting enhancements not to loyal soldiers who volunteer, but to soup up the abilities of psychotic criminals, because they aren't "missing anything" if it doesn't work... but if it does work, you've just made your own enemy stronger, faster, deadlier, and given them a reason to hate you? And, as I just pointed out, forgotten the damned off switch.

I'm sorry, in what planet does this make sense?*

That hurdle over, I've got to deal with a publisher and author who don't know what "psychological horror" is. Psychological != physiological. Psychological horror messes with your head. It doesn't have to rely on blood and guts and gore because it is *messing with your head.* The minute you have to crack open a copy of Grey's Anatomy to figure out what's dripping off the ceiling, you have gone to physiological horror, dealing mainly in the surprise of what body part is going to go flying next.

And that's not horrible. It's scary, but it's not actually horror; it's just gross.

That the author has actually gone on Amazon and said "Don't buy this book, it's just too scary" is the final hubristic straw. Let me just say that I agree that he's half right.

*Presumably the same world in which an Important Hidden Secret lays dormant for century upon century until Mary Sue/Marty Stu comes along to liberate what has been unknown by all... except for the huge underground cabal that protects it, the other huge underground cabal that is trying to wipe it out, and the huge collection of artists who are working it into the architecture, murals, paintings, music, and crossword clues all through those centuries.
neadods: (facepalm)
For the 3 people on the flist that haven't already seen the gathering wank, some bint with the not-at-all-pretentious penname of "Lady Sybilla" has decided to write an unauthorized sequel to the Twilight series called Russet Moon. Which would be fine if she kept it on the net or underground. But no! She's found a publisher (herself) and appears to think that Stephanie Meyer won't turn her burgeoning authorial/printing career into a radioactive chalk outline.

Her basic justification, as quoted on the "publisher's: website, under factual information about copyrights:
When fictional characters become such an intricate part of the popular psyche, as is the case with the Twilight Saga, legal boundaries become blurred, and copyright laws become increasingly difficult to define. [Not really, no. Copyright laws are becoming more and more defined as moronic fanfic authors think they can get away with making money from someone else's work. Old style print fandom was underground for damned good reason, and *they* were just recouping printing costs. You might want to have a word with Ms. Rowling.] [A]ctual cities like Forks and Volterra are used as the novel's settings. Such settings are not copyrightable [True.] I'm going to skip over the bit about vampire and werewolf legends not being copyrightable - debatable depending on use of myth or someone else's copyrighted fictional work, and hit the really "What were you SMOKING?" portion of the proceedings: Copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying. Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them.

This is so far off reality, I can't imagine what chemical cocktail her source is. It certainly isn't the United States Copyright Office, which covers both Twilight and this LA-based "publisher." That office blows that bullshit right out of the water with the second answer in their Frequently Asked Questions.

Y'know, if you want to plagiarize, you've got to hide it better than that, as Kaavya Viswanathan could tell you.

Apparently "Lady Sybille" thinks no publicity is bad publicity, and "controversy is the mother of popularity." I wonder how cheerful and popular she's going to feel when Meyer swats her like the gnat she is.
neadods: (fandom_sane)
When you've typed the same comment half a dozen times, it's time to top post.

So many people are irritated, angry, and/or hurt from something or other that was said on the anon meme ([ profile] box_in_the_box has an unlocked post on the subject). And all I can think of, every time it comes up, is "of course an anon meme is throwing up nastiness; what's going to stop wankers when not even a sock puppet will have to take the consequences?"

But I am also making an open wager to every reader right now that at some point either this troll or some other one is going to be outed as the sockpuppet of some fan who is ostensibly the opposite of whatever has been posted. It couldn't be easier to post in mouse mode something that hits all the hot buttons of your group or just smacks down the victim du jour. So I'm not going to be surprised on the almost inevitable day we find out that the anti-old-school troll is an old school fan, or that person Y swung publicly to the rescue of person X after having anonymously trashed them in order to get the chance to be a hero/ine.

Nigh onto 30 years ago, when the Internet was played by newsletters, there were two competing newsletters for each side of the Beauty and the Beast war. And even when real names and addresses were used, there were still people who joined the opposition's newsletter so they could report what was said there to "their" side, who used false identification to join, and who posted one thing in one newsletter while arguing the exact opposite in the other. Sound familiar? Technology hasn't changed human nature. NOTHING changes human nature.

When online fandom was mostly bulletin boards, chats, and mail lists, a friend of mine was caught up in the Rat Patrol sockstorm, wherein one really dedicated individual was a one-woman maillist, creating over 600 sockpuppets. Harry Potter had "Misscribe." (Make popcorn before you google; it's a lot of reading.) Lord of the Rings fandom had sock puppeteers ruining fandom in the name of charity.

Who fandom is not a special snowflake that is exempt from people pulling that crap on it. ESPECIALLY when they don't even have to pause to come up with fake names. Multiple posts on a subject doesn't correlate to multiple people holding that opinion.

While I'm making myself unpopular, I'm going to list a bunch of other opinions on fandom that have made doused me in eau du skunk over the years and yet I have changed none of them, so there won't be any surprises when I restate them again in the future:

- It's just a TV show. There is no onscreen/on page ship that is as important as real human beings. (I once sent a letter to that effect to Starlog. Not only was I pushed, pinched, and hissed at at the next dozen conventions I went to, someone held a grudge about it for fifteen years, trying to get me thrown off a panel for it. Ironically, it was a panel about fandom wars.)

- Show business is a business. The producer is going to do what makes the most amount of money (read: gets the largest audience participation), not what makes the fans happy. The actor is going to take the role that offers the most work/challenge/exposure and is not obligated to stick with a show just because the fans like the character. The writers get paid even if their work is cut to ribbons... and they sell the script in full knowledge that if they're lucky, maybe one word of theirs will make it to the final show. That each of these happens on a regular basis shocks nobody on that side of the business, so it shouldn't shock the fans either.

- No fandom has ever been fiscally strong enough to keep its show afloat all on its own. (Conversely, the crappier the ratings, the more likely there's going to be a dedicated fandom.)

- Dealing with fans is not in an actor's contract. While it's wonderful when they do pay attention to the fans, they don't actually *owe* us anything until they sign a convention contract. That goes double when they're actually at work.

- ETA: No fandom is unique. Oh, there may be *aspects* that are unique, but the basic lifecycle, the general makeup of the fans, and the fandom activities are not. The first participatory fandom was Sherlock Holmes, and you'd be surprised how little has changed since outraged readers started a "save our series!" letter-writing campaign to The Strand. I am convinced there is a fandom gene.

And to get fandom-specific, I remain convinced that Torchsong is abusively priced and a blatant attempt to make as much money as possible from a fandom.
neadods: (disagree)
WD: lj user="neadods"> has a href="">Racism in Who post #4,735,009

Top-posted half because I have readers [ profile] lizbee doesn't and half because I'm laying the groundwork for the "Isms" panel at ChicagoTARDIS.

So. [ profile] lizbee posts a bingo card that sums up the staggeringly disgusting arguments against leading contender Paterson Joseph for Doctor 11. (ETA: Not the "I prefer actor X" or "I'm not sure of him specifically because" arguments, which are a different concept, the knee-jerk "I'm not a racist but I won't tolerate a black Doctor" arguments, which are legion.) All of the bingo squares are apparently exact quotes from the fandom and one particularly knots my shorts:

"America would never cope with a black leading man."

Overlooking our President elect because he's not an actor, leaving Whoopi Goldberg and Nichelle Nichols out of this because they're "just girls," and somehow totally ignoring Sammy Davis Jr., Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Gary Dourdan, and Samuel Jackson, I've got two words for y'all bigots:

Bill. Cosby.
neadods: (disagree)
The number of people who are absolutely convinced that "there will only be three more Doctors" are making me crazy.

No, the BBC is not obligated to cancel a show because of a 20-year-old plot point. Anybody who thinks that they would even consider the concept for a nanosecond is delusional at best.

No, it won't be "uncanonical" to blow that plot point away because it itself contradicts 40-year-old canon. (Like Who has ever followed its own internal canon anyway.) For sanity's sake, kindly do not flaunt your old school credentials if all you know about regenerations came from Trial of a Time Lord. Or even Mawdryn Undead. The Doctor discussed Time Lord lifespans all the way back in War Games (back when he was claiming to be over twice as old as he admits to now) - and it's quite a different view when they weren't looking for new plot points to hang cliffhangers on.

No, the BBC won't just "ignore" it either, because if you look, the official FAQ addresses the issue and its solution and has ever since there was a website for the new show. THAT'S the part that's making me craziest of all - all the people spinning their wheels about how the BBC will or won't "deal with the issue" when they dealt with it *in writing* five freakin' years ago!

And the part that's the brain-damaged icing on a cake of fail is that I already know all these people will become hysterical when the BBC does move onto Doctor #14 while bleeping right over how old school itself found about two dozen ways to handwave the whole issue for the sake of the Master anyway. He's on body, what, #39,256,099 by now?

Yet big business must strictly force their schedule into limits that old school dodged for rating's sake all the time.

neadods: (do_not_want)
In which Nea gets a few things off her chest, having read them a few times too often.

1) There have been 10 actors playing the Doctor over 44 years. Old Who had a regeneration 3 years in and kept running; New Who had a regeneration 13 episodes in and has kept running.

Take the clue regarding the cosmic importance of any actor vs. the franchise, especially now that the show has literally outlived the first three Doctors.

2) For everyone mourning "we never got to see Moffat write the Doctor" please to be remembering who's been winning Hugos every year for writing what again? More would be good, I admit that. But it is not like there's nothing. (Especially as the scriptwriters for all four specials have not been announced. I sincerely doubt that Moffat would not have any input into the special that will lead into his 2010 takeover.)

3) The new Who Doctor has not had one companion. He has not had three companions. Even if you don't go Old School and say 1 trip = 1 companion, the new Who Doctor has specifically invited aboard and traveled with six companions (Rose, Adam, Jack, Mickey, Martha, Donna) and extended explicit invitations to four others with whom he has shared at least one adventure (Lynda, Sarah Jane, Reinette, Astrid). Cutting out the Christopher Eccleston episodes only drops that total down a mere two people.


neadods: (Default)

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