Archive for April, 2012

Sequelitis

April 30, 2012 - 8:57 pm Comments Off

Or, how Tank came to be all bloody. Part II; don’t you hate it when sequels replace established characters with “the next generation”?

Contextual information: Indy was occupying our guest room over the weekend.

~Prologue~
LabRat: *Rises weekendishly late, feeds dogs. Notes outside front windows, Indy balancing precariously on on two crates while Stingray does something purposeful with a hose. Considers. Decides all things duly considered, would be better off not being involved and walks away to water the plants.*

In background: *excitement involving the rain gutters*

~Much later that night~

All humans: *watching Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil* *decide to pause for bathroom, soda refill, popcorn, etc.*

LabRat: *goes to let the dogs in, where they have been camping most of the night due to its being unseasonably cool out* “Dogs! Inside! Tank! Kodos!”

Kang: *way too sleepy for this BS*

Kodos: *also too sleepy, glares mournfully from comfy spot outside*

Tank: *is clearly otherwise occupied but paying attention*

LabRat: *cheerleads for a bit*

Indy: *returns from bathroom, joins varsity dog cheerleading squad*

Tank: *runs to join his fans*, *is also covered in blood on his face and left shoulder*

Kodos: *moseys unenthusiastically to join his fans*

LabRat: “Oh good lord. Here, hang on to Kodos while I look him over.”

*examines bloody areas extensively* *finds no actual wounds*

Stingray: *joins conversation* “Check Kodos. He probably busted a nail and then they were playing or something.”

Indy: *hangs onto Kodos while I examine his legs and feet*

Kodos: *endures stoically, is horrified I might cut his nails*

LabRat: *finds intact nails, no wounds*

Stingray: “Well… neither of them seems hurt, and neither of them is spun up at all…”

Indy: “Maybe they caught something?”

Stingray: “And Tank rolled in it. The face-to-shoulder roll.”

All: *To the yard! With flashlights!* *search!*

Tank: *pines from behind back door*

Kodos: *without words* “Screw you guys, I’m going to bed.” *exits scene*

LabRat: “Ah. Found it.” *shines light on late rat*

Regular Rat: *is very emphatically late* *is also somewhat squashed, as though rolled upon by exuberant 100-pound puppy*

Indy: “Ah, guess we don’t have to worry about the rat that was in the gutter anymore.”

Stingray: “It’s a big rat. He might have got some licks in.”

LabRat: “He’s a big dog. I don’t think any of it was his own blood. Here, I’ll keep the light on it while you go get a plastic bag.”

Stingray: *withering look at me* *picks up rat by hind leg, starts in direction of outdoor trash*

LabRat: “Or… you can just… do that… whatever.”

All: *join trek to garbage can for rat disposal ceremony*

Stingray: “Here, catch!” *flings rat at friend, in fit of high spirits*

Indy: “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” *undignified scramble*

LabRat: “…OK, from this end, that IS hilarious.”

Kang: *has slept through ALL OF IT* *does not give even one single damn*

~Fin~

Situation Normal

April 28, 2012 - 11:43 pm Comments Off

Irritations The Next Generation May Never Know

April 26, 2012 - 3:59 pm Comments Off

Moderately heavy traffic whose speed fluctuates constantly between the upper end of where your car is happy in fourth gear and the lower end of where your car is happy in fifth gear.

Inadequately Expressive

April 24, 2012 - 3:57 pm Comments Off

Via commenter BH, an Atlantic article arguing that everyone has missed the point of Makode Linde’s “brilliant” golliwog cake.

The article does go into some detail missing from the original reporting on it, the important bits of which were a) The culture minister and her entourage had no clue what she’d be walking into other than that it was purportedly about female genital mutilation, and b) the minister had been under media fire previously for supposedly being pro-censorship of art, or at least heavily critical of “provocative” art. So yes, it was basically a setup meant to put a politician in a no-win scenario, which banked on her going along with it, which was a pretty good bet.

It also argues that it was actually a brilliant piece of art whose point was to demonstrate Sweden’s disconnect from the reality of Africa and Africans and illustrate the alienness of the experience of being black or African in Sweden. The article concludes:

There’s no doubt that Adelsohn-Liljeroth and the many Swedes involved in campaigning against FGM seem to be kind-hearted, noble-minded people who oppose racism and would like to help the victims of female genital mutilation. Linde, even if he has corralled them all into a disastrous photo op that could even cost Adelsohn-Liljeroth her job (it shouldn’t), probably doesn’t mean to embarrass them personally so much as draw attention to the subtle racial politics of Sweden’s popular conceptions of FGM and Africans generally. That’s not an easy thing to explain to people in words, but a screaming cake seems to have done it.

To which I would reply: no it didn’t. If it had, neither the Atlantic article nor the Africa Is A Country article explaining it would need to exist.

For one thing, that’s not what Linde said it was supposed to do at any point, and as the artist one presumes he would know. (His statements on the cake have been mostly semicoherent and range from LOL I TROLL U to “you’re just not sophisticated enough to understand”, and reinforce the “performance artist as unrepentant and undirected attention whore” impression.)

For another, if your art needs to come with a lengthy explanation of what exactly it’s supposed to express, it has essentially failed as art. Guernica doesn’t need to come with a “war is horrible” pamphlet in order to understand the painting, although if you’re unschooled in art history you’ll probably wonder what the point of having everyone’s features squashed on one half of their face is*. Even if you don’t know it was painted during the Spanish Civil War in the aftermath of a bombing, the idea that it’s about senseless suffering and chaos comes through just fine on its own. It’s not standard representational art, but it’s not enigmatic either.

Not all art is even meant to express something other than “pretty!”, or for that matter “ugly!”. It doesn’t necessarily need to. But when it IS meant to express a particular thing, it’s on the artist to make sure their point is even possible to take from the result, much as it’s on the writer to communicate their ideas efficiently and not on the reader to possess advanced detective skills to find it. Dumb audience members who aren’t going to get it and probably don’t want it exist, but when almost the entire world can’t find the expressed idea, that’s not on the audience as a failure, it’s on the artist.

It’s entirely possible that all that’s being expressed is that it’s possible to make really racist images and have people go along with them as long as you manipulate them in the correct ways, and then deduce that what makes this possible to accomplish is a meeting in Swedish culture of norms of avoiding conflict with the abstractedness of Africa and Africans to most Swedes. But I really do not think that makes the cake, or the artist, brilliant. Upsetting people by being blantly offensive not a high-order skill, and sadly neither is manipulating politicians who are feeling public opinion pressure.

At the end of the day it’s still just a really offensive cake.

*The point of cubism is to show all perspectives from one point of view. That’s pretty much the entirety of it.

FUCK AND YES.

April 23, 2012 - 8:36 pm Comments Off

Dear Federal Government,
Lick the private sector’s taint.
Sincerely,
Everybody who wants off this asshole-choked rock (and the less misanthropic group who just think space exploration is really really cool)

Private space-mining possible by 2025? I could drive railroad spikes with this erection.

Today Encapsulated

April 23, 2012 - 4:21 pm Comments Off

Horror Gibbon

April 19, 2012 - 4:23 pm Comments Off

It helps to know that gibbons* are extraordinarily strong for their size (that makes sense when you contemplate how they get around), like most primates prone to go for the face, eyes, hands, and testicles when attacking, and as we see here, bright enough to be bloody-minded.

Sleep tight.

*Because I am an insufferable pedant: It’s an Agile Gibbon, not a monkey. They’re apes. They don’t have alpha males- gibbon groups don’t have individual leadership. They are, however, VERY territorial, and it is the males that do the actual tearing and biting for the most part when groups meet.

Kaboom

April 19, 2012 - 1:29 pm Comments Off

Ten minutes ago out of pretty much nowhere lightning struck close enough to rattle the windows and make me jump out of my chair.

Tank: Leaped up from his nap, barked, hackled, went charging through the house looking for the responsible party. Finding none, trudged crankily back to his nap spot and went back to sleep.

Kang: Perked her ears briefly. Went back to sleep. It’s only thunder, you hysterics.

Kodos: is still pacing around the office peering outside and then returning to breathe nervously on me. He’s upset because Kang is sleeping behind me and thus he can’t tuck himself in and breathe nervously there.

Same breed, same breeder, same upbringing… I’d like to change the settings on one of them if that could be arranged.

Cabin In The Woods Capsule Review

April 18, 2012 - 8:12 pm Comments Off

All the reviews I read prior to deciding it was worth theater price to check out said that it was basically impossible to talk much about the movie itself without spoiling it to hell and gone, but that it was awesome. This turns out to be because this is the truth.

I am 100x more hopeful about Avengers now that I have seen evidence that Joss Whedon can do a new project without indulging all or even any of his bad habits and well-worn ruts.

That’s right up there with Behind The Mask as one of my favorite genre-exploring horror movies. Maybe even above. We’ll see how the rewatches go after the DVD comes out.

Best movie ticket payoff since… *thinks*… Iron Man.

Plus Also It Almost Bleeds!

April 17, 2012 - 9:18 pm Comments Off

So, I saw this link mentioning a racist cake, and went “It’s a cake, it cannot be THAT bad”, and then I clicked on the link, and I scrolled down to the picture, and I went “HOLY FUCK!”

Now, there’s a debate in the comments over whether the cake can really be racist, since the artist is black (that’s his head serving as the cake’s head). I feel ill equipped to decide the question, beyond noting

a)It’s in such incredibly bad taste that “is it racist” is kind of a semantic decision when it comes to accurately describing its overall wrongness

b)Given that all other examples of the artist’s artwork I can find are of various permutations of old, incredibly racist blackface parody, it’s safe to say he has Issues and a bunch of them are old National Geographics with naked Africans…

I want to know how many people looked at this idea before it was implemented, and thought it was a good idea to carry though. How many people had to sign off on “Yes, let’s have an appearance by the Minister of Culture in which she cuts into a cake that is a representation of every single hideous European stereotype of Africans ever, plus also it will be screaming and crying and begging for mercy. Let’s also make sure we get a nice photograph of her winning smile as she cuts into it and feeds a bit of itself back to it.”, and go “yes, this will be hip, edgy, artistic, and above all cultural“. Bonus points if someone caught the Hottentot Venus reference and thought THAT was a really good idea.

I’m sure at this point the Swedish Minister of Culture is muttering to herself something along the lines of “God damn, my country had an African colony for about fifteen minutes in the seventeenth century, why am *I* getting this shit”, but… given the sheer self-evidentness of the bad idea, I don’t have a ton of sympathy.