Friday, March 27, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

I have been neglecting the blog of late, "of late" being for about the last half year. But you'll be pleased to know this is because I am actually working hard on my writing project, having received a much-needed kick in the pants from one of our readers. Now remind me to fact-check my drafts before sending them to potential artists. Yeesh. I don't even want to count the embarrassing errors I've found too late over the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, John C. Wright also bemoans his lack of production over this last year, "lack of production" being the publication of six short stories, which isn't so hot if you're a dedicated short story writer, but for a novelist, that ain't bad. He also announces that his next novel will be entitled Lesbian Swedish Bikini Team of Gor, which inclines me to wonder, will I be able to get away with jokes like that on my blog when I'm famous? Probably not.

In the non-Wright-related news, we have Tor.com, which has a round table discussion featuring irate people attacking the conclusion to the Battlestar Galactica remake. I have not read this panel, and I will ask you not to spoil it, as I haven't finished watching the BSG remake, and by "haven't finished," I mean I stopped in the middle of Season 2.5 to watch the original series and the made-for-TV movie Razor, and I haven't seen any more of it, but I plan to, as I was enjoying it, in a masochistic sort of way.

(Okay, I peeked at the round table discussion, but I deeply regret it, so don't read it if you don't want spoilers. They do make it sound frakking awful, but I have a sneaking suspicion I might actually like it; at least a few of the comments sound like "It's frakking awful because it's not as nasty and cynical as we would have liked." And while I'm at it, it's spelled fracking, not frakking, because the original series roolz. And also while I'm at it, the discussion and the comments that follow satisfy me that the sf crowd is still full of smug elitists. "Barely self-aware subsistence of agrarian primitives," hmm? I'd like to see how long you last in the wild with only the tools and supplies you can make and procure yourself, and then try developing a complex culture, language, and religion in your off-hours, and if you survive, let's see how "barely self aware" you still think such an existence is. "Barely self aware" probably describes us better than any culture that has preceded us.)

Speaking of surviving in the jungle and all that, we have the recent...news...regarding Dora the Explorer, which I will file under "vaguely but not really all that disturbing." According to something that doesn't quite look like a news source, Nickelodeon has come up with the idea of creating an older version of Dora the Explorer, by which we will learn, dishearteningly, that the popular cartoon character has grown into a miniskirted teenybopper. I give this new version...hmm...half a season.

In an equally vaguely disturbing story about a similar boneheaded marketing move, New York Magazine informs that American Greetings is remaking the Strawberry Shortcake character, transforming her from a distinctive figure into a generic one. To try to reach the modern market, they've slimmed her down, made her look like a Bratz doll, and given her a cell phone.

Yuck. I have to say, it happens that I'm currently working on a cartoonish production about children (and like Battlestar Galactica, it's also about war and terrorism, so I've linked it to two items in this post), and one of the first things I decided while designing my creation is that it would take place in an alternate universe where technology has developed differently and there are no cell phones. Actually, I didn't really "decide" this, because it was a given, something I did automatically without thinking about it. Frack, but I hate cell phones. I dare to write a comic book about kids who run around, play sports, read books, and absolutely do not watch television, play video games, or chatter on their cell phones. And I will probably never be able to write legitimate futuristic sf because I will never be able to come up with a plausible explanation for why all the cell phones have mysteriously disappeared and everyone is using rotary dial and the apartment building full of eccentrics has only one phone or maybe a party line in order to create comedic situations. And Dick Tracy's watch! Does everyone remember Dick Tracy's watch? Screw your cell phone, I want a radio watch!

While I'm getting my rant on, let me note, too, that the people responsible for redesigning and marketing the new, hipper Strawberry Shortcake have apparently decided that preteens will be more interested in the character if the character is just like them. Really? When I was in grade school, I didn't have much interest in reading, mostly because the books pushed at me were books about grade-schoolers! I didn't want to read about grade-schoolers. I was a grade-schooler. I wanted to read about youthful yet manly war veterans who build fantastic jet planes and fly to floating islands to battle giant grasshoppers and rescue languishing maidens from murderous dwarfs, dammit, and it was just such a book, the beautiful, badly written City Beyond the Clouds, that finally turned me on to reading. Do modern children who talk on cell phones really want to watch a show about a modern child who talks on a cell phone? Somehow, I doubt it. At least if they're like me, I think they'd prefer something more fantastic and imaginative--like, say, the original Strawberry Shortcake.

And while I'm on the subject of Dick Tracy's watch--because I, at least, have been thinking about Dick Tracy's watch all this time--Lucky the Goldfish has just sent me an article from CBS News on a recently developed, actual communications watch similar to Tracy's...with a built-in cell phone. Sigh.

MegaTokyo is right. There are no more heroes.
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