Tuesday various

  • “The days of aliens spouting gibberish with no grammatical structure are over…” Creating a new language for A Game of Thrones
  • Along the same lines, 20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world. I particularly like

    Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start” [via]

  • Are we truly living in the age of fanfiction?

    What’s been truly bizarre, though, is the way the mainstream has slowly headed in the same direction, and without anyone noticing it, we seem to have handed over our entire industry to the creation of fanfiction on a corporate level, and at this point, I’m not sure how we’re expecting the pendulum to ever swing back. I know people love to blame Spielberg and Lucas for creating the modern blockbuster age, but at least when they decided to pay tribute to their inspirations, they did so in interesting ways. Spielberg has talked about how his frustrations at hearing that only English filmmakers could direct James Bond movies led to the creation of Indiana Jones, and Lucas was working out his love of Flash Gordon when he created “Star Wars.” Those are healthy ways to work through your love of something, and absolutely make sense as important pieces in the creative process. What’s scary is how these days, filmmakers wouldn’t bother with that last step, the part where you take your inspirations and run them through your own filter. Now, instead, we live in an age where we are simply doing the source material again and again and again, and where original creation seems to be almost frowned upon as a “risk.” [via]

  • See also: they’re re-making Starship Troopers. And The Munsters. As a “dramatic re-imagining.”
  • It’s so sad to see Monty Python members fight among themselves.
  • Blackwater is changing its name. This is like if the Devil started asking us to call him Gus.[via]
  • David Milch to adapt William Faulkner? I am so there.
  • They’re coming to crowd-fund you, Barbara… ‘Living Dead’ Fans Digging Up Funds to Keep Chapel from Going Under
  • Bruce Wayne’s medical records [via]
  • And finally, I haven’t seen the new Tintin movie, but this fan-made opening sequence is really quite wonderful. [via]

    The Adventures of Tintin from James Curran on Vimeo.

The week in podcastery

I’ve been enjoying Alec Baldwin’s new podcast, Here’s the Thing, although I don’t think he rehabilitated Kris Kardashian Jenner‘s image quite as much as he seems to think in his latest offering. I have no doubt they’re genuine (if unlikely) friends, and Jenner doesn’t come across as one of the world’s most horrible people — which is probably the image her family’s reality television ubiquity most presents. But nor does she come across as particularly interesting or worthy of attention. At best, Baldwin convinced that, for all their faults, the Kardashians themselves are probably not pure evil. High praise indeed. His earlier interview Michael Douglas is a lot more interesting.

Jordan Jesse Go! took a page from Golden Girls with their 200th episode and offered up a clip show. This might be a good place to dive in if you’re new to the show, though keep in mind that the pair and their guests work a little bluer than Alec Baldwin. (Even this Alec Baldwin.) But they’re genuinely funny, and JJGo is easily one of my favorite guys-just-talking-about-stuff weekly podcasts. (Along with its Canadian counterpart, Stop Podcasting Yourself.)

Although I think I preferred Community‘s “clip show” better.

And finally, there’s Studio 360, which I genuinely enjoy, although I was deeply disappointed in host Kurt Andersen’s recent interview with Robert Levine about the Stop Online Piracy Act. I tried posting this as a comment at their site, but even logged in I ran into problems. Perhaps the post is closed to comments now that the show’s a week or two old, I don’t know. At any rate, I thought the rest of episode was quite good, but the one segment left a lot to be desired:

Let me just add my resounding disappointment with the piece. It’s not that Robert Levine (or even Studio 360) has a particular point of view on this contentious issue, much less one that’s antithetical to my own. It’s that no dissenting view is heard except in passing, to be dismissed as fear-mongering, exaggeration, and/or spurred by questionable and monetary motives.

Levine makes a reasoned argument in favor of copyright and anti-piracy legislation, but sweeps aside justifiable concerns that SOPA and its Senate counterpart are absolutely terrible tools in this regard. They will do little to protect the copyright of artists (or the corporations who ostensibly represent them) — who are already protected by a bevy of existing law such as DMCA. Rather, they will almost certainly open the doors to many of the “chilling effects” that Levine is so quick to dismiss. The language of the bill is vague and wide-sweeping and dangerous — not to pirates, but law-abiding businesses and users on the internet.

But, regardless of whether or not Levine — and Studio 360 — agrees with that argument, to present only one side of a thorny, ongoing public policy debate is, at best, an oversight and, at worst, irresponsible journalism. I expect more from Studio 360 and was therefore deeply disappointed.

Monday various

Tuesday links

  • I’m with xkcd on this: fuck cancer.
  • The Prescription to Save Ailing Superheroes. I can’t say I agree with everything here, but it’s an interesting article, particularly the argument against having Thor and Captain America both do double-duty by setting their characters up for The Avengers.

    That said, I enjoyed both of them just fine as summer entertainment, and while I enjoyed X-Men: First Class no small amount either, I think it’s ultimately the least successful film of the three. (I haven’t seen Green Lantern.) Matthew Vaughn’s “auteur vision” seems cribbed from a few other places (like Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, and like Mad Men), and there’s some pretty iffy racial and gender issues at work in the film as well. But maybe that just underlines Pappademas’ main argument: at least the movie has some distinctive stamp to it, however flawed. [via]

  • NY motorcyclist dies on ride protesting helmet law [via]
  • Soap operas moving online. This will bear further watching. The news, not the shows. (God no.) [via]
  • And finally, Who owns the copyright on a photo taken by a monkey? [via]

Tuesday various

  • Zadie Smith’s rules for writers:

    When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would. [via]

  • “All these worlds are yours except Europa…and possibly Titan.” [via]
  • The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything:

    It’s sad, but it’s also … great, really. Imagine if you’d seen everything good, or if you knew about everything good. Imagine if you really got to all the recordings and books and movies you’re “supposed to see.” Imagine you got through everybody’s list, until everything you hadn’t read didn’t really need reading. That would imply that all the cultural value the world has managed to produce since a glob of primordial ooze first picked up a violin is so tiny and insignificant that a single human being can gobble all of it in one lifetime. That would make us failures, I think. [via]

  • So long and thanks for all the fish: Underwater Translator May Finally Let Us Talk to Dolphins. [via]
  • And finally, My Little 11th Doctor [via]: