beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
You know there's foods where if you don't process them right they're actually pretty poisonous?
But when you're used to them you just routinely throw out the stones or soak them or boil or whatever?
So there's people right next to you going 'poison!!!' but you haven't thought about it for so long because of course you just strip the poison out along the way.

That's what we do with a lot of stories.

We've got these interpretative filters that make it possible to watch or read or listen a story that doesn't centre or respect or acknowledge us, stories that try and shove us in boxes piece by piece, show us ugly where we know it not to be, hide the ugly we're well acquainted with.

And sometimes we swallow a little poison without thinking about it. Cultural studies spends a lot of time showing students where the poison is, and there's always some who think it's just making too much fuss about that bit, that bit's just normal.

But a lot of readers know perfectly well it's not pure goodness and light, they just filter so routinely, even if they're harvesting for scraps, they can get what they need and move on.

Different reading styles get very different things out of the same story.

And to those that heavily reprocess things? It don't much matter what the makers thought they were doing.

So when someone says something that could leave a whole lot of their work open to reinterpretation... yeah, that's probably all there. Or you can go through counting the ways it's not serving the good stuff. Valid criticism is always possible.

But we can still get what we want out of the stuff.

Whatever they spun the story with, we can respin it from fluff if we want.

And we frequently do want.

Hence fic.

Wanting better source text is important, but there ain't no pure product, so throwing it all out along with the stones? Gets boring.

I'd rather keep trying to find the good bits.

... and yelling into the echoing internet that we need more.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get kind of worried when every struggle is phrased in terms of a fight.
I mean, I get it, feeling endangered and attacked means fight.
But we kind of more need the after fight parts?

Like, it's struggle, but it's a work. Many together work. Build and grow and make sure everyone gets what is needed.
Necessary is the part with sitting down together and coming to agreement and making good law.

I mean, that's the bit the fight is manuevering for.
The getting on and living well bit.

So it bothers me, when everything is fight.

Like Star Trek being whoosh booms and not diplomacy, it seems to reflect problem, not solution.

But sometimes there is fight.

Still, I'm finding I'm more a build a wall person than build a jaeger
even knowing how that worked out.
You'd have nice walls still, after.

And this is definitely not me saying not to be angry, have all the feelings, but maybe like Granny Weatherwax, walled up except the stream that drives the turbines.

But I'm the D&D player who really looked forward to building a fortified abbey. All that adventurong all very well, but wanted food place to go home to and all the benefits of peace.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get cranky about stuff lately and it's pissing me off. Which obviously leads to a crankiness spiral. Which is unhelpful.

It's things where I can see systemic inequality and oppression in real life in the present day here and now, but everyone around me seems to be attributing things to individual causes and coincidence, or implying that it's not really bad because over there in the distant past or far off places, that's the real bad things.

So a novel that turns out to be about sci fi slavery kind of pisses me off because you don't need to literally reprogram and meat puppet people when you can keep them scrabbling for scraps while heavily in debt and trying to live on zero hour contracts somewhere the minimum wage isn't enough to get by on.

And novels about oppressed monotheists in a polytheist society would only not piss me off it they had kinda muslim trappings, but no, it's always secretly oppressed xtians.

And yesterday I got in a pub discussion about systemic inequalities in education and (though I didn't fully articulate this) how capitalism and economic pressures leads to the convergence of media companies into monopolies which control every level of production and distribution, all adding together to mislead voters even before you factor in how money is deliberately going back into the political process to systematically campaign on false premises. I stopped because we were there to talk about science fiction, but I started because someone made a joke about stupid Americans and then wouldn't let it drop. Apparent stupidity and ignorance has a whole lot to do with systems. You can't just call an individual stupid and make out like it's their individual problem with an individual solution. All the solutions cost money, resources, and time, and systems collude to make sure most people don't have those.

Access to information is a hugely political topic. People not knowing stuff is not just about the choices of that individual person.

Nothing is just about the choices of that individual person! People exist within systems and their actions contribute to those systems, whether they consciously will it or not!

And yeah, I go to media texts looking for things to be annoyed at. Eleven years of further and higher education have kind of got me in the habit. Because once you open your eyes to it, sexism, racism, and all the other ugly isms are sodding everywhere.

Someone yesterday was arguing the 'it's just the best person for that role' angle about Dead Bro Walking trope. Yeah all the black guys die but it's just because individually they were the best actor for the role of screaming dying person. How can anyone actually believe that and not see how it adds up?

Also, I feel it is derailing and irrelevant to start picking apart my pub level accuracy on quoting media creators, when I was trying to list dead lesbians in TV shows. The problem here isn't precisely what is said about dead lesbians, it is that all the fictional lesbians are in fact dead. I feel it reasonable to be annoyed about that. And again they argued the 'best character for the role' angle, that just coincidentally the TV show went and brought in these characters to kill them off and it has nothing to do with them being lesbians. Even if that's now 100% of the lesbians dead, that's just luck.

And I'm not arguing that content creators sit there all *evil laugh* and pick a minority to kill off this week. That's what's always being defended against, as if that's an invisible accusation, and it's entirely irrelevant. What they thought they were doing isn't the point. The point is there's a whole lot of dead bros and dead lesbians, and that is a problem. They're a bunch of individual choices of best for that five minutes that somehow coincidentally adds up to meaning black guys and lesbians are all killed off. Which is creepy and bad.

Also, if the problem is dead lesbians, pointing out how many strong women there are on a show is also irrelevant. Unless they're dating each other, they are not the current point.

And I am so wound up and frustrated about this stuff.

And it feels like it's all of a piece, like people are trained into thinking things one at a time, attributing things to individual one off choices, and not looking at the systems and aggregates and big picture.

And I know that sitting there telling them elsewise four at a time is very nearly no help at all but

I can see so many problems, I know there's more problems I don't see, and I can't see how to get other people to see it let alone solve it.

And this is without getting into the sort of real world problems with a real world body count. Those are just horrifying and terrifying and leave me somewhere between really angry and awful hollow.

Especially the science based stuff. It's really quite a large problem when science can spend my whole adult life pointing at something and saying with some authority 'unless we do the thing we are going to die' and yet we don't do the thing. Humans are actually killing the whole planet. We could well render it uninhabitable. We're causing a mass extinction event and the Earth, as a whole, may not survive it. This is a problem.

And my individual choices for doing anything about said problem are... limited.

I mean I'm sitting here somewhere all western educated industrialised rich developed, with all those years of degree behind me, in a position of in some respects massive privilege, in one of the countries eating the world. But I don't see how to stop just by changing my individual consumer choices. They're not enough of the problem to make much of the solution. I don't know how to get at the levers. So I'm benefiting from systems of power and oppression, but feel pretty powerless to stop them or get out of the train, so to speak.

... this is why I daydream about space colonies. new place, new systems. also, my author brain knows that the point of the story will turn out to be that even in a new place humans are still human so we'll have to deal with our shit or live with it longer, and the suddenly concentrated nature of society would highlight everything.

Plus of course I feel powerless to do anything because I'm disabled and have had no support for a year and a half and it is in fact bloody difficult to do anything. Including shopping. Or the house viewings that are part of the plan to get me somewhere I can cope with better.

And then I feel weird about what I am getting that other people don't, like I should be guilty about having plus stuff, except I'm kind of stuck with the bits i'm not getting, and then it's all problem and no solution.

Everything all problem no solution.

Massive collective action is only way to make changes.

Except I've seen massive actions, protests, all sorts, and it don't seem to do any good.

So then I hide under a blanket and play Sims a lot.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I saw a thing comparing diversity in different media adaptaions of the same basic superhero properties. As we know, movies are very, very, very white, male and straight. But comics, for all there is still plenty to complain about, do actually manage more diversity than that. And TV is somewhere in between.

Comics need much less investment up front, has a dozen or more tries per year even for a single title, and can charge much less per copy than movies. Movies are spectacularly expensive, employ somewhere between a village and a small town of people, and put all their bets on one product per year, even in a prolific series. TV is somewhere in between, again. Needs a lot of people, a lot of investment, but runs multiple stories in a season and can play various strengths in a row.

If you look at the different size audiences required to break even, the different strategies make a kind of sense. Movies need to make a lot of money from a lot of people; I can find dollar amounts, not viewer numbers, but still, many. Television depends on the channel and country and a bunch of other stuff like timeslot and audience demographics, because some slices of eyeballs are more valuable than others. But Being Human got several seasons based on about 1.5 million viewers, and Doctor Who gets 7 million most weeks and up to 13 million for specials. Movies and TV need millions of people to like them.

Comics? Like in the Shortpacked about Starfire in various media, there's a very big difference. I only looked at one month's sales figures, but comics measure audiences in the tens of thousands. There's characters I've heard of selling 20K or less. We're talking a multiple orders of magnitude difference.

TV: 1,500,000 for an underachiever
Comics: 150,000 at the top of the list
or 15,000 and still keeping going.

So comics can please a tiny slice of humanity and still be doing pretty well. TV and movies have to please millions. And they get really worried about how much they have riding on every creative roll of the dice, so they try and make it a safe bet. That seems to mean doing what everyone has already done and chasing the rich white male viewers, which to me makes zero sense, but what do I know, I'm not making movies.

Read more... )

TL, DR: I need a t-shirt, saying "I want to be a target audience." Most of the world could wear one. Yet somehow when the big audiences are being sought, their only target is the one they think already watches, their safe familiar feeling straight white men.

beccaelizabeth: Knight with sword out, defiant; word balloon says NO. (No)

Government to tell parents how to make their children "aspirational" and "ambitious for themselves".
Because clearly the solution to structural inequalities is to tell individuals they need to try harder.

I guess this may not be obvious to people who have achieved the sort of power that can make this stuff happen, but: sometimes, wanting is not getting.
Telling girls to want more... have we not been asking? Have we not been trying? I rather thought we were.

But no, not according to this bollocks. Apparently we hold ourselves back.

This is not feminism. This is the same old same old in high heels.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
sometimes I get bored and try and find clothes for my characters.
this sometimes involves using the dollmaker sites, but other times I'll browse catalogues.
I have a whole folder full of things from goth websites that'll do for my dystopic futures, including some very sharp pseudo militaria that'll suit for uniforms for starfleets.

it'd be fun to do this sort of thing as a collaborative challenge, but DW isn't really the platform for pictures. I don't know where is because I'm rarely in a picture mood.

it's weird thinking about how much detail we can get out of small changes in costume. like today I'm looking at workwear websites, checking out tunics. The distinctions between a chef's tunic and a dentist's are small yet easily read. was where I was looking. they've got some tunics in the Beauty section that'll do lovely for SF uniforms. , particularly . The Gents versions don't have half the variety though, and you can't make them match. *sulks*

Other clothes it's more fun to wonder who exactly would wear those. Voluntarily. I do have a character who'd love the Unisex Harlequin pants but ze also wears a patchwork tale coat and makes a living out of being the centre of attention. There's matching hats and neckerchiefs. I have visions of rooms full of chefs wearing these things and just wonder what they'd be cooking.

I reckon I can make my post apocalyptic people wear this stuff because if it's polyester then it'll be around forever. Non-biodegradable. They'd have to grow their own cotton or wool or whatever, but some of these synthetics they could dig out of landfills in later centuries and just scrub up a bit. If it was a sudden apocalypse there'd be warehouses full of such things. Future people wearing a lot of cheap supermarket uniforms because those things will never rot isn't a vision I've read elsewhere, but really, it makes sense.

Really, what is it that makes a bold trim healthcare tunic visually distinct from the tunics of other disciplines? Or the other sorts that are less scifi on account of having collars. I don't understand collars. I mean, why? I know some of them are for ties, but we're back to why very swiftly. If they function as slings or garottes then that at least makes some sense but mostly they just sit there or possibly flash and sing christmas tunes. How many futures still wear ties? But if they don't wear ties, that's a whole source of subtle coding gone.

Humans. We make signals out of all sorts. Considering it's all basically variations on being the monkey with the brightest backside it's ridiculously complex.

The fun with the sci fi challenge is to retain as much of the complexity we've already learned to read as possible, whilst making it recognisably SF. Doing fancy design stuff that you'd have to get a costume department to sew up is one way to do that, but having to buy all the parts from high street stores would be another. I keep seeing stuff that strikes me as perfect for B7 cosplay without technically being something ever seen on B7. So the trick to SF costuming would be to take the easily available but combine it in a way you get a coherent look that is just unfamiliar enough.

And then preferably do it in a mix and match way that works for multiple extras, in a slightly more nuanced way for guest characters, and in ways with depth and range for the core characters.

Costume design is hard, and I don't think I'd get the hang of it even if I studied more.
Is fun though.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have seen a lot of argue about IM3 on a topic that didn't even ping me, despite being relevant to my interests
spoilers go under the cut
Read more... )

this is an important topic and I want to go over this and make it make proper sense.
but it's five in the morning, so this is the best sense available right now.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Okay, so it's nice that they're trying, but:

BBC writers room blog encourages writing more women, since at the moment stage, TV and film is 2:1 male:female.

While talking about how to make interesting characters:
"A way Hollywood tries to get around this is to turn female characters into men. Action films are full of literally ‘strong’ women, just as capable as blokes, with durable clothing and an AK47 to prove it. "

Their example is Ripley in Alien/s by the way.
Every time I see this argument the example is Ripley in Alien/s, or Sarah Connor.
I could name a third if I went to characters played by Angelina Jolie, who admittedly plays a lot of them.
But beyond that...?
They're not 'full'. They're certainly not 50/50.

Plus, 'turn female characters into men'? Because a woman with a gun is a man. It's clearly that simple.
I must have missed the memo on when guns literally became genitals.
(not that genitals are defining anyway, but that's the advanced course compared to this lot)

"getting rid of a female characters’ sexuality in order to make her less female and, presumably, less rubbish seems a rather convoluted and, in some ways, destructive way of making her ‘good’."

no I didn't skip a bit about women with no love life, they just used 'sexuality' to mean being female. And female to mean feminine. and feminine to mean rubbish. while attributing all this to other people, of course.

blah blah, good characters = flaws!, blah blah

"Back at Equal Writes, lots of impassioned people are talking about something called ‘gender parity’. Paul Macauley, the writer of Piece of Cake, later admits on his blog that he hasn’t a clue what this means. I doubt he’s alone." Parity: equality, as in amount
Gender parity = gender, equality, as in amount
FFS it's not rocket science, it's math!

I admit I got to the end of the article before realising it was a clueless woman writing. I'd made a different assumption. *facepalm*

On the topic of parity:
I've been counting a variety of SF shows, and I have noticed the ones from this decade fall down in two ways:

If the cast has an odd number of regulars, they will have one more man than women. Apparently it's Not Okay for the men to be outvoted? That initial setup then makes it harder for women to have as much of the plot, which means they get less developed in terms of outside friends etc, which means they have fewer chances to Bechdel pass. It's just the math of the initial setup. Solution seems obvious.

Mostly though, where it falls apart is that characters are only women when they need to be. A random character, say a taxi driver, builder, person serving tea, anyone with one or two lines, they're going to be a bloke. Default settings for the vast majority of roles = bloke. I can see why, if you're not putting much thought into it, things get stereotypical. But it's exactly those roles that are easiest to fix. Go through your finished script and count, then flip a few.

The last part of the problem is definitions of 'need to be' that lead to making someone a woman: That's why they end up being girlfriends and mothers. And another way women end up outnumbered, because the already smaller starting number of women tend to get boyfriends, not girlfriends.

My scripts lack... well, basically everything that would make them good, but I'll work on that. BUT, the math part is easy to fix. Make two columns, make sure they're equal. Grid off at least 10% of them to be people of colour. Give them names that are heavy hints, because it's not the scriptwriter that does the casting.

How this stuff ends up not getting on stage and screen, when everyone's sure it's being written? Demographics and marketing. And some assumptions I'm pretty sure are false about what men and women respectively are willing to watch. The 'common sense' that keeps coming up over and over, without citing a source, is that men will not watch female protagonists but women will watch men. That leaves the capitalist math really simple, and it doesn't come up parity.

*big sigh*

A lot of people have been studying this stuff, I've been reading up on it, and change is happening... but if the latest figures are still 2:1 that's pretty clearly still a problem.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
That essay I was highlighting this afternoon, where the myth reference nagged at me?
Had probably got Promethean and Protean mixed up.
The Doctor as Promethean figure actually kind of fits, but it was in a paragraph talking about the very changeable nature of both the character and the show, so probably it meant the other P.

also in this afternoon's reading: social moors. Probably means mores.
less amusing than the sexual morays I have previously read of.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am doing reading about Doctor Who. It's becoming frustrating because so many of these people weren't watching the same show I was. Also, they try and make general and sweeping statements that apply to all of Doctor Who. It's 50 years of canon now, there's very very little you can say that applies to all of Doctor Who. Any attempt to make such statements will erase something.

In many cases it manages to erase a whole gender, since I keep finding article after article that talks about the Doctor's companions as always being women.
Also, specifically, being miniskirt wearing screamers of no particular intellectual distinction or personal agency.
Furthermore, they're alleged to be got rid of by 'frequently' marrying them off.

The exact count of the Doctor's companions is disputed, not least because of arguments over how much of UNIT count and when. My list comes up 26 female, 15 male, and two male voiced robots. Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: animated: Oz from Buffy the vampire slayer, looking at a piece of paper, then up at viewer, puzzled. (studious)
I am cranky, coughing, and nauseous, and I had to go back to bed in the middle of trying to make notes because I felt too ill. This is highly inconvenient. I don't have the time for this. So then I get more cranky, and aim it at texts.

I have been reading

Garner, Beattie and Mc Cormack (2010) Impossible Worlds, Impossible Things : Cultural Perspectives on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures
Cambridge Scholars publishing.

The Regeneration Game: Doctor Who and the Changing Faces of Heroism
John Paul Green

This chapter focuses on the articulation and rearticulation of masculinity and British heroism through the use of 'regeneration' in the popular science fiction series Doctor Who.

I'm very glad to have got hold of this book because it gives me something to argue with, Read more... )

Each of the Doctor’s regenerations offers a performance of masculinity, although rarely does the Doctor fulfil (thankfully) dominant images of masculinity. It is still a case of intellect over might, although throughout the series the Doctor has aligned himself with male companions who have been, or are, in active military service.

This is the bit I want to poke quite a lot. Because at first glance I felt like agreeing, but then I had a think about it. Because by what definition is the Doctor's masculinity not the dominant model?
Read more... )

I feel, since the rise of the Detective, the triumph of intellect over might is the standard model. And the dominant model of masculinity, at least in a ton of the media.

Read more... )

So the flaw in this argument is once again the thing where women are also doing the same things. If and when they are. Women are being detectives, but are they being this kind of cranky intellect detective? I don't watch detectives (unless they're steampunk RDJr ) so I don't have a great deal to draw on.

but I'm going to bet they are, even if you need to watch the numbers carefully before making an argument about the 'rise of' or the 'era of'. Because most things, lately, women get to do. They even on occasion get to do them in networks of other women that talk to each other. Which is pretty cool.

Gender is a stupid game I don't wish to play, so it irritates me when so many things do. Read more... )

I'm not saying there's equality. Just counting and Bechdel consistently shows actually there's less women and they don't get to talk to each other about the same range of things. But the borders of possibility are nice and wide now, and I reckon numbers is most of the remaining difference.

plus how things get seen. where's my stereotypes icon... nope, doesn't seem to be here... well it wasn't very good anyway. But, stereotypes: People can see the exact same things done by a man and a woman and they'll read them differently through the filters of pre-existing stereotypes. Read more... )

... the cake jumping thing could not be called stereotypically masculine. And while both RDJr's Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor dress up as women that one time, that's not exactly part of the standard model either. So there's quirky bits.

Plus the times gender as a discourse gets raised within the text it's all about how bad the Doctor is at performing it. Trying to be a 'normal bloke' with Craig in The Lodger? Hilarity ensues. But what you really see there is the masculine version of how gender performance is always class specific. Read more... )

So what I've been arguing I guess is that the Doctor is a particular stereotype of masculinity, and a socially and culturally dominant type. Not even getting into the 'Time Lord' / Lords Temporal House of Lords hence aristocracy connection, he's a knowledge professional of independent means who never has to worry where the next meal is coming from. He assumes the right to talk to Monarchs, is friends with Prime Ministers, and his best mate is a Brigadier (not a Sergeant he also spent time with). He acts like he owns the place and backs up that authority by knowing more than you do. His intellect is the boss of, well, everyone. And that's a kind of masculinity. Compared to the Sherlockian detective, it's a very common kind of masculinity that is the boss of all it surveys. And he's friends with people in military service because he's being the kind of person who traditionally aims them.

Thoughts? Discussion? Telling me I'm wrongity wrong wrong?

I'm likely to get in an argue with myself later anyway.

... quite a lot later. I'd rather like to go back to bed again. Or at least get another paracetamol.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Explore the significance of Dr Caligari’s glasses.

Germany had entered the First World War as a conservative country dominated by military, aristocratic and bureaucratic elites. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles involved Germany admitting 'war guilt' and making financially ruinous reparations. The Weimar Republic was established as a liberal, democratic, constitutional state, but the time was characterised by social unrest and political divisions. [Aitken, 2001, pp50-51] In 1920 Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari was written by Janowitz and Mayer, and directed by Wiene. The story of a psychiatrist obsessed with a mythical doctor, directing a somnambulist to do murder, it was filmed using a highly stylised Expressionist mise en scene, and became a classic of German Expressionist film. Later Kracauer saw in the film symptoms of the German national soul, tendencies that led to the rise of Hitler and the Second World War. His 1947 book From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film made Caligari part of an explanatory myth about a people torn between tyranny and chaos. Elsaesser (2000) calls it a historical imaginary, an explanation for German history woven from symbols. Kracauer saw in one early horror film a collection of themes that reflected all the tensions of the time. He also believed that the potentially revolutionary message of the film, revealing and overthrowing the tyrant, was defused and contained by the frame story that portrayed the narrator as insane. But a more ambiguous reading is possible, especially if you focus on Dr Caligari’s glasses.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: Captain Jack Harkness smiles after Ianto propositions him (Jack stopwatch smile)
M1058 (1112) National Cinema 10 Credits
Essay (Essay): 80% Pass (Provisional)


(The grade boundary to get a First is 70%. A 2:1 is 60%, etc etc. So I'm doing quite a lot well to get 80%.)

My essay on the significance of Dr Caligari's glasses was a resounding success.

In a semester that also saw my worst mark ever, both for a single assignment and a unit, this is somewhat of a relief. Have not lost brain. *phew*

(I have had this window open half an hour while I poke the page with my grades on just to be sure it hasn't changed.)

okays, happy dance time, :-D


May. 20th, 2012 05:43 am
beccaelizabeth: When you say words a lot they don't mean anything.  Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway and we just think they do. (literature)
I have done almost all the reading.
There are 5 sides of A4 left to read, plus skimming the references for anything actually interesting. and I cannot make my brain stick to the page for even one more page. I have been trying, and I think the last page took me an hour. :-pppppppppppppp to these pages.
I have read the Kracauer, Eisner, and Elsaesser stuff talking about Caligari, and a couple chapters in each that weren't just Caligari. I have read enough to have a rough idea what each is talking about. Except instead my brain has turned to mush and all I can say for sure is they all talk rubbish about rubbish.
Also, there is far too much oedipal all over the place.
Seriously, if I ever get a time machine, Freud is history.
It doesn't make sense, it doesn't add anything to anything, and the whole of the multi page argue is based on the idea the film doesn't make enough sense without inventing extra motives for people, which is bollocks.
Caligari felt like killing some dudes because the writing in the air told him to. He runs an asylum. He be crazy dude. And then dudes start getting dead and other dudes investigate it. It's not hard!

I need to watch the film again and pick a couple of frames and do the print screen thing and stick them in a document and then start writing an essay.

... how much do I not want to start writing an essay.

I mean, right now, I look at my vague plans to go do an MA after this BA, and I think that maybe I'll just slam my head against the wall repeatedly, because that will be just as much fun.

It's one of those moments when I look at the entire subject I have chosen to study and think, really, when you get right down to it, 99% of it is balls.
And the other 1% is really obvious.

*big sigh*

Oh, also, I was reading something about the Hand of Orlac and alienated labour and recognising the other in oneself, and I went off on a brain tangent about Angel and Lindsey. So I have been trying to study while trying to not think about pretty, pretty tattooed lawyer dudes. That could work better. But I had an idea, only it was several chapters ago, so I'll get back to it if I think of it again.

Mostly, if you poke a text to see what it says about gender, class, ethnicity, disability and maybe religion, and tie it to contexts of production and reception, that's pretty much the interesting bits.
There's also stuff about Brechtian defamiliarisation techniques and some things about Bakhtin and the carnivalesque and maybe some Foucault and discourses and panopticon and then getting into weird stuff that's kind of like the Matrix about simulacra and how things are always already the story of a thing and not the thing itself, because language.
and I may have studied other stuff in the course of the last six years but that's the bits that stuck.

omg how did I spent six years on this stuff?


PS am going to fail at diss prep and poss at dissertation because writing about Doctor Who seemed like a really good idea but there is really a lot of Doctor Who and now I don't know what I should write about anything ever. And I'm sure I put hours in to the prep part but I don't know where they went. And also bugger.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The BBC are moving all their children's TV to the children's channels after digital switchover is complete.

Read more... )

Now all the Children's content will be on the Children's channels that ratings say are what all the children are watching anyway.

There will still be children's tv and it'll get the same amount of money.

This is non news in a news wrapper.

The really interesting, newsworthy, squawk now stuff is all hidden much further down the page, where all the things that will get their budgets cut, be reduced by such and so percents, broadcast fewer hours, or simply cease to exist, are all bundled together.

So why is the headline children's TV?

*stage magic hands*

I'd go poke the details but I should be doing my essay right this minute. Also I spent those minutes comparing the bits about children's tv to see what they actually meant. Clever.
beccaelizabeth: animated: Oz from Buffy the vampire slayer, looking at a piece of paper, then up at viewer, puzzled. (studious)
I have read the stupid Kracauer book, including the 2004 introduction that explains all the ways it is stupid, up through the chapter on Caligari. Which is the film I'm writing about. So I've read the important bits. Except it will keep on referring to it after that, so there's probably more bits I should read, but still. I read it. I win at study.

... now I have a headache. *sigh*

Also, I put little post it flags on the bits with useful or interesting quotes, and basically every page has three of them, so they're not massively helpful now. I just doubled the width of the book or something. Sticky notes of doom.

I don't know what I'm going to say about Caligari. Read more... )

... okay, actually, I seem to know what I'm going to say in my essay about Caligari.

Now I just need to make it fit the learning outcomes, refer to other sorts of art (Expressionism, pretty easy with Caligari), and draw on bits from other modules (not so much easy, will have to poke more carefully). Oh, and decide on the exact phrasing. Something like "Explore the significance of Dr Caligari's glasses" maybe.

... and I have a bunch of weeks to make it say it. Essay hand in is a couple of weeks away even without the usual extensions.

On the other hand, I still need to make a coherent presentation tomorrow and whenever I practice in my head it keeps changing. Also I am supposed to have done a critical commentary of my own short story, and I haven't, and due to the headache I'm pretty sure I won't tonight.

And I have less than 8 hours to get 8 hours sleep, but since I only woke up six hours ago that's really not going to happen.


Feb. 6th, 2012 03:19 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have finally watched the last ten minutes of Vertigo, when he figures it out and reacts.
bit awesome, bit shiny, bit make you jump
I liked how there were a whole bunch of possible endings right up until the last second, and then once the ending happened, click, it was The ending, the only inevitable one.
I must watch again, maybe with a commentary on or something.

Now I am watching The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
Read more... )
That was quite fun. Now we get to study it in class until it's not fun at all.

Today I did the laundry, did the dishwashering, hung up the laundry, let the cleaner in and out, remembered the bins, and ate soup for lunch.
I feel this makes up for yesterday, where I messed around on the internet, slept between 7am and 7pm, stayed awake until 0300 mixing a bit of the college reading with the internet some more, and then slept from 0300 to 0900.
Now I have to stay awake until 2100 because that's the last minute my food can arrive.
... am hoping it arrives at 1900 instead. Sleepy now.

I still have a bazillion pages of reading.
And all the lessons are on the same day so it's hard to prioritise.
There's a gap before the cinema lesson though. I should do short story first and risk last minute library use for the cinema stuff.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Have decided to go through new series Doctor Who counting it like I did Torchwood.

Epic project is epic.
completely blank yet daunting table below the cut. Well, blank except for episode names and count headings.
ETA: And the numbers on the first and second season, though not the death counts.
I copied over the Bechdel results from [ profile] lefaym from

Read more... )

Okay, so, that might look a teensy obsessive, but really, it just means watching the whole thing over again. It's not like I don't do that at regular intervals anyway.

... if anyone else wants to fill in a line, feel free to comment.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading about the disabled people protesting in London today.
I keep wanting to tell campaigns, not is a very weak word.
If you say Becca is not a cow then what image do you have in mind? Becca and cow, right there together. You have linked the very things you are denying.
This lets you manage some very elegantly polite insults - 'the right honorable opponent is not stupid' is a nice starter.
But if you're doing a campaign? Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it.

So: "We're not scroungers or fakers"
true, but it's letting the Tories and the tabloids steer the discourse.
You have still positioned disability, scrounging, and faking, right there next to each other.

Saying what you're not isn't going to work.
Read more... )

Okay, so I can point out the problem but not really formulate a solution.

There's a bit in Highlander when a teacher says "Choose your ground, choose your weapon, and face what is to come."

The way politics chooses its ground is to choose the terms its using, the discourse it will engage in.
Read more... )

And I have absolutely no idea how to choose solid ground of our own.

We need pretty simple things. Being clean, fed, safe. Getting to places and communicating with people.
Already there were tests and definitions. I can't understand how they can tighten them and then look at the people who won't fit the new boxes and actually believe they'll now magically be able to do all the things.

I do know that the arguments from cost and from fairness are absolutely poisonous.
Need remains.
beccaelizabeth: Captain Jack Harkness smiles after Ianto propositions him (Jack stopwatch smile)
I got my (provisional) marks back for Contemporary Narrative:

'excellent essay'
*happy dance*

That's well into being a First.
And brings my current final marks up to 72.25%

I still have at least 60 credits left to do that'll count towards that final total, including 40 from my dissertation, but that's still doing pretty well.

My highest mark so far was 77 in the Renaissance, so this is now my second highest.

Not bad for a unit I kind of hated every minute of.
Now I never have to think about it again!
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Lots of headlines about the 24 hour strike today. On the BBC at the moment there's a curious thing happening to the numbers. The My Yahoo news feed says Thousands on strike over pensions, though the headline on the webpage is "Tens of thousands in England on strike", but the very first line says it's about "More than one million public sector workers in England". Another Yahoo page link says Up to two million set to strike, though again the on page headline is different, "Public sector strike set to be largest for a generation", which is sort of noncommital as to absolute size since at least a generation presumably don't know how big that strike was.

Okay, so, it's big. But the headlines appear to be having an order of magnitude problem.

And it seems to me that the more people are likely to see a version, the less people it says are involved in the strike.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So in class at the moment we're studying the Victorian period, and specifically the shift from colonialism to imperialism, from business going out there to get stuff for Britain to Britain going out there and saying it's all ours. Last lesson was about legitimation and the stories the white guys told themselves that made them think it was the right thing to do. Mostly, they reckoned they were the only civilized and rational beings on the planet, so it was their responsibility to go out and educate the rest of the world. Read more... )

So from the not-the-boss point of view you could just keep doing what you were doing, keep trying to ignore boss culture as worthless, get punished and get held up as an example of why people need to be stomped on for their own good; or you could try and copy and know that the boss people would never, ever, ever admit the mimicry was successful, because then the boss justification goes boom.

From the boss point of view, of course everyone is trying to copy the boss, it's the only worthwhile way. They just need instructing on how they're doing it wrong.

Reading about the Occupy protests lately, I've read a lot of people saying they should get organised, get a message, get a leader. Basically saying they should play the game the way everyone already in charge is playing it. Mimic. Read more... )

I've read a few cultural studies types trying to read Occupy, or just read the Guy Fawkes masks, with insufficient context. It's all ink blots. You learn a lot about the writer, maybe nothing about Occupy or Anonymous. I think there's a problem with a discipline that bangs on about the death of the author and how the reader makes the meaning, that makes it irrelevant what the author was trying to do. Sure, applied to books by dead dudes, you can get at some possible reasons why people are still reading them, what people get out of them. But applied to a bunch of people doing politics? Problem. They're busy trying to write themselves, not be read. Can maybe say something about the media writing about the protesters, but is on much shakier ground talking about what the protesters are communicating, let alone what they mean.

... and now I'm one step away from trying to do cultural studies stuff on the cultural studies dudes, and then we have a tail eating competition...

What I mean is though, I don't know what Occupy is doing, I know only that this is the stuff I thought up having read some newspapers, some critics, some blogs, and some postcolonial theorists in lit lessons on Friday. So I write it down and go play computer games.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There's a basic built in problem with the Arthur story, the way its been told lately. It's about a good king and a wicked witch. And it worries me greatly that this remains popular. Two different tellings lately focus on Arthur and Morgana both claiming the throne through their father. Both of them have Arthur be The Good One and Morgana be The Bad One. Arthur has his supporting cast of knights, and Merlin, and Gaius, and Gwen who has very few lines lately but pouts and worries very prettily in low cut dresses. Which is pissing me off. Morgana had women on her side once, but this season she killed them and there's more men everywhere. Does that make it better or worse? That she can't claim power on her own, she just messes around with a man doing all the doings? Worse, I think. It's all about how her claim to power isn't legitimate and Arthur's is. Why? It keeps on being gendered. With Merlin there's a whole theme of oppressed magic going on, and Uther was plain evil, and freeing the magic users would seem like a good idea if there wasn't a new and different deadly magical threat every week. Then it just looks like he had a point. Stupidly messed up telling, that. But this week Read more... ) No, it pretty much looks like one side is all blokes, and they're rejecting this uppity woman.

I don't know what story they're trying to tell, but with the structure of the setup, that's the story they're telling. Woman trying to claim power? Eeeeeevil! Stop her! Go work for the bloke, even when they're oppressing people, because hey, still got the important qualification for the job.

If there were an equal number of stories about a queen trying to hold on to a righteous land while her evil brother plotted against her, it wouldn't be a Thing. But are there even ANY stories like that? Not so much. Not on TV. Not in popular culture.

And it remains so popular.

I know, I watched it, why watch when I always end up complaining? I watched this season of Merlin because it was on the recorder box and I wanted to wash my brain out. Well, it didn't do that. This isn't a story of good vs evil. It just pretends to be. And who gets painted as evil? Every bloody time?

I need things to watch where women get to be strong and not be punished for it. Where women get to be strong and its a legitimate and valid occupation. Where women get to be strong and get celebrated for it in their own culture.

It would really really help if right now I could think of any.

PS: there's a secondary rant about black people, invisibility of, reduction to serve story of angsty white dude, etc etc et bloody c. One of the knights is black, yaays. Is that the knight that gets all the stories? Is that the knight that gets any of the story? Is it heck. And it's not like there's a shortage of bits with knights in them. I could go on at length, but, you know, second verse, same as the first. It's always the same.
beccaelizabeth: When you say words a lot they don't mean anything.  Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway and we just think they do. (literature)
I'm trying to read something set for homework for Contemporary Narrative, a big long essay on Jimmy Corrigan. So far it is utter and complete rubbish. It is the kind of review of a graphic novel that obviously hasn't read any other graphic novels, at least in the last thirty years. It talks about the dominance of the superhero comic, except it adds 'perceived', so whenever you point out it's talking utter rubbish it can argue it's talking about how people 'perceive' superhero comics, and since this one person doing the writing perceives them that way, it is clearly talking accurately about perception. Drives me nuts. It's arguing based on rubbish. Its quote about comics is from Umberto Eco in 1979. Now if Corrigan was written around that time, that would work. But no. It's from (1995 to) 2000. And comics have changed just a teensy bit since 1979. Its talking about 'the frozen temporality of many superhero narratives' a 'timeless state' where 'what has happened before and what has happened after appear extremely hazy'. Do you recognise that as comics since Crisis? It's not comics the way I read them. 'characters like Superman and Batman never age and always eventually return to a kind of fundamental narrative stasis no matter what happens in a given story'. Well, no, Batman and Superman rarely change, but everyone around them does. Actually even Batman changes, in ways you can chart vs costume colors and ear length. Lone! Dark! Vengeance! ... or having fun with Robins. Whatever. 'Histories of change, development, and evolution are thereby suppressed, contributing to the image of the superhero genre - and its readers - as trapped in perpetual adolescence.' How much is wrong with that? And you see again 'image', which allows them to talk bollocks and not back it up, because if somebody somewhere sees it that way, tada, the statement is true. *grrr* Okay, so, there's a cycle of depower/repower/re-establish/waver/depower. That's a true thing. Lots of characters do that. But that doesn't mean they stay still. Batman? Look at the Robins. If the man is in stasis, how does he have a, what, ten year old biological son conceived after he became the Batman? He's at least ten years older than when he started. Characters around him are on sliding ageing scales but they do age. Robins grow up to be Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, Batgirl. Batgirl grows up to be Oracle. Everybody grows and changes. Batman the least, but, comics change.

... if it had stuck with Superman it would have been more relevant to its point (since there's a Superman reference in Corrigan) and I would have been less able to poke big holes in it, because I don't read Superman. Does he change? Is he changeless?

am I just annoyed because of the reader perpetual adolescence bit? no, I own that. I'm still in college, surrounded by teenagers, and left to myself I watch U rated kids television. I'm not a model of maturity, here.

It's just this stupid thing we're meant to be reading is talking rubbish like it never reads the things it's crit about, and really, what's the point?

And then it goes on to talk about 'primal scene' and 'mirror stage' and name check Lacan, and honestly, my expectations of the thing could not get lower. I'm double checking all the quotes to see if it's accurate, that's how much I'm expecting from it. (It's adding words in [brackets] that are from different pages when other characters speak. Is that accurate? *sigh*)

So we're reading this stupid rubbish graphic novel and then reading these essays that are all about how it's real serious bizness yo, proper big thinking!!! and not like them other graphic novels what are really kid stuff.

Could we not study Batman? Surely something that has remained popular, a cultural icon, for this length of time, could reward a little study? Or if you want to go classier, try Sandman, everyone likes Sandman. And it's of finite length, which is less intimidating than trying to get an overview or context for any Batman reading. But noooo, we have to read stuff nobody outside of lit lessons ever bothers with. I am so tired of that. It's like saying nothing's smart unless it's calling everyone else stupid. :-p to that. :-p to the lot of it.

... damn, I've still got 6 A4 pages of this one and a whole other one to read.

I could try just failing instead. But there's the outside chance I could get a first in this degree, right now, which would be a nice reward for ten years of study, so I should probably actually try doing quite well.

*uses Delirium icon*
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
You know, I think calling the money we get from the government for the safety net 'benefits' is unhelpful, maybe misleading. Does that say 'bare minimum to live on' to you? Because that's all it's meant to be, enough to survive on. If they called it 'minimum survival money' and then talked about cutting it by a third to pay criminal fines, there'd be a whole different debate.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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