The Newest Short Treks Offer a Bright Hope for Star Trek’s Animated Future: “These two tales, on their own, may not be the grandest Star Trek stories ever told—but they don’t have to be. They prove there is space for Star Trek, on the precipice on an unprecedented level of saturation, to tell tales which are both reflective of nostalgic charms and push the boundaries of how the core themes of wanderlust, understanding, and exploration that define Star Trek’s heart can move into styles of storytelling that play with fantasy and comedy as much as they do science fiction and serious character drama.”
Sometime between October 2nd and November 9th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Michael Chabon, Aldis Hodge Interview [SPOILERS]: “I started thinking about The Odyssey and the story of Odysseus landing on the Isle of Calypso,” Chabon tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s been out wandering for a long time, and she takes him in and falls in love with him. He’s been traumatized and is now just trying to get home, but has this strange magical interlude on the way.”
- “In political terms, calling something a ‘distraction’ means it’s a distraction tactic, not that the issue itself isn’t important.”: “The Republican party has a very longstanding history of dropping hints of major policy changes right before big elections in the hopes of getting the ‘hot-headed liberals’ all fired up about it so we start bickering among ourselves.”
- What Makes ‘The Good Place’ So Good?: “NBC gave Michael Schur total freedom. So the TV impresario made a sitcom that’s also a profound work of philosophy.” This show is so very good. My dad would have loved it.
- “Fifty years later and this is still one of the most daring filmmaking decisions I’ve ever seen on TV”: Behind-the-scenes info on the shooting of the scene in Amok Time where Spock breaks down. One single shot, 1:45, no cuts — done in a single take, at Leonard Nimoy’s insistence.
- Woman awarded Nobel Prize in physics for first time in 55 years: “Donna Strickland, from Canada, is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963.”
Sometime between April 19th and April 30th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- John Scalzi: Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War (and Yes, There are Spoilers): "As impressively well put together as it is, and as enjoyable and exciting as the film is in the moment, the film suffers and for me is ultimately unsatisfying. Not for anything the film itself does or doesn’t do; it suffers not because of what it does, but because of what I know."
- Avengers: Infinity War ending: Incredibly bold — and a little cheap: SPOILERS: “…as I talked over the ending with friends, the less it sat well with me. I certainly admired the gutsiness of it, the big swing it took, but I also struggled to feel as emotionally invested in it as I was supposed to. For lack of a better word, none of it felt real.” I might not go quite so far as this analysis does, but I don’t argue with its core idea, and was having similar thoughts.
- “When people say ‘spinster’, they are trying to conjure up an image of a little old lady who is lonely and bitter.”: “What I HEAR are the smiles and laughter of a million women as they earned their own money in their own homes and controlled their own fortunes and lived life on their own terms, and damn what society expected of them.”
- When Toronto Suspect Said ‘Kill Me,’ an Officer Put Away His Gun: Look, I know that there are going to be situations where the use of deadly force is a necessary step. But it should be a last step, not a first step — something that seems all too mysterious to far too many people, not least many police here in the United States. De-escalation should be the default approach, rather than the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach seemingly favored by far too many people (both law enforcement officers and armchair analysts).
- What Does Invoking The 25th Amendment Actually Look Like?: "Let’s take a deeper look at the 25th Amendment and think about what each section of it has meant in the past — and what it might mean for Trump-era politics." I'm rather fascinated (and disappointed) that we're in a situation where this is even being seriously discussed. But it is, admittedly, and interesting discussion.
Sometime between February 27th and April 12th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- poor people deserve things they want, too.: "These tiny luxuries you give yourself are not sins as dictated from on high by some divine economist who decided you must earn your freedom through oppressive sorrow. These luxuries are the handholds you need to climb out of that pit, to have stamina, to keep focus, to remember that there is another type of life. It can be had, and by you too."
- Charities/organisations to avoid (with links to reasons):: PETA, FCKH8, Autism Speaks, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The Salvation Army, Wounded Warrior (I knew all of these already, but it's good to have a handy reference)
- ‘The Simpsons’ To ‘The Problem With Apu’: Drop Dead: "In other words: We have heard how we have hurt people, and we honestly don't care."
- Molly Ringwald Revisits “The Breakfast Club” in the Age of #MeToo: “Erasing history is a dangerous road when it comes to art—change is essential, but so, too, is remembering the past, in all of its transgression and barbarism, so that we may properly gauge how far we have come, and also how far we still need to go.”
- Gun injuries go down by 20% during NRA conventions: “When the NRA holds its annual convention, the national rate of gun injuries goes down temporarily by 20%."
- If You Want To Be An Effective Ally, Be Quiet And Know Your Place: "The lesson of 'Black Panther' for white allies is this: They must learn to be the sidekick, to be at the fringe, to give up power, to have people of color in their ears directing them on how to be useful in fighting for the cause of justice." [SPOILERS]
Sometime between December 27th and January 8th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Why So Many Men Hate the Last Jedi But Can’t Agree on Why: SPOILERS: "I don’t think every human who disliked The Last Jedi is an evil, evil misogynist. I do think that we have so deeply internalized sexist narrative tropes that we see them as 'correct' and 'good filmmaking' while seeing their absence as 'flaws.'"
- My Hero, Luke Skywalker: SPOILERS: “It is a beautiful fantasy and, I thought, a particularly resonant message for the anxious and depressed about what you can be capable of, the kind of peace you may be able to find if you dig down deep enough and push yourself emotionally.”
- Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read: "Literally, all you need to do: Type in web addresses. Use autofill! Or even: Google the website you want to go to, and go to it. Then bookmark it. Then go back every now and again."
- List: Alternatives to Platonic Love: "Newtonian Love – There’s a strong attraction between your bodies."
- This is not going to go the way you think: The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues: SPOILERS: “Happy endings are always undone because ‘endings’ don’t really exist. Time doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your ‘destiny’ can and will be slowly eroded away by the many small, cumulative abrasions of life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and it’s disillusioning, and it can fill you with righteous anger at the unjustness of it all.”
Sometime between December 20th and December 26th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Star Wars’ Vice-Admiral Holdo and Our Expectations for Female Military Power: SPOILERS: “What The Last Jedi does—amongst many other things—is present its audience with more than one mode of female power.”
- The Last Jedi Is Subversive AF, and I Am Here for It: “Those who wanted a safe and comforting Star Wars movie are understandably upset. The Last Jedi is anything but safe. It’s as subversive as it gets, and I am here for it.”
- From C-3PO’s perspective, ‘Star Wars’ is a prolonged nightmare – The Washington Post: "Your master goes into a bar, where they refuse to serve you. Instead of leaving the bar in solidarity, he makes you wait outside."
- Love Actually’s Workplace Harassment Feels Especially Egregious at the End of 2017:
- Star Wars “fans” should remember being a fan doesn’t mean unequivocal love (or hate): SPOILERS: “This is the problem with these loudest of ‘fans’: They’ve forgotten that a big part of fandom is the ability to hold multiple opinions on the same material all at once. That all-or-nothing mentality does a disservice to fans and films alike, by reductively lumping pluses and minuses into one indiscernible stew of love or loathing.”
Sometime between November 12th and December 19th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Toxic Masculinity Is the True Villain of Star Wars: The Last Jedi: SPOILERS: “Poe's character, while not one of the main protagonists, has even more to do in The Last Jedi. However, while he may be filling the role of the dashing pilot that Han did in the Original Trilogy, director Rian Johnson is using the archetype to say something completely different about heroism, leadership, and—perhaps most importantly—masculinity.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017: SPOILERS: “Any female boss in 2017 or American still nursing the hangover of the 2016 presidential election can tell you that even nice guys often have trouble taking orders from women.”
- Star Wars, the Generations: SPOILERS: “Great movies reflect an era through the eyes of artists who embody that era. George Lucas embodied the era of Baby Boom ‘destiny’ and self-conceit. Rian Johnson embodies our era of diminished heroism, cynicism and near despair– tempered by the hope, if we can but learn from our heroes’ mistakes, that somehow, some way, some day, we may yet restore balance to the Force.”
- Rian Johnson Confirms The Dorkiest Reference In ‘The Last Jedi’: SPOILERS: “There is a dorky reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that even director Rian Johnson admits that you may have to be of a certain age to get – thanks to a narrow window where you might have been watching premium cable in the very early ‘80s when this bizarre little short film would air in-between feature-length films.”
- Rian Johnson Says There Are No Twists, Only Honest Choices: SPOILERS: “It seemed completely honest to me. It seems like the most dramatic version of that. And that’s what you’re supposed to do. Find what the honest moment would be, and then find the most dramatic version of it. So, in terms of the big ‘twists’ in the movie, they sprung from a process of trying to follow where these characters would go as honestly as possible.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi humanizes the Force: SPOILERS: This was one of my favorite things about The Last Jedi. To my mind, a very smart direction to take things.
- Did You Catch the Brazil Reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?:
- ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Redeems the Prequels: SPOILERS: “One of the many reasons I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it redeems the prequels. … It recontextualizes the prequels and reinforces what I loved about them.”
- Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II: Interesting argument that the likely change to ISP regulations — the 'net neutrality' debate — may not be quite the horrid thing it appears to be. Worth thinking over. "The question at hand, though, is what is the best way to achieve net neutrality? To believe that Chairman Pai is right is not to be against net neutrality; rather, it is to believe that the FCC’s 2015 approach was mistaken."
- Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4: Work Faster with Macros for macOS: Saving for me to remember and look into when I have more time.
- The Amazons’ New Clothes: “The Wonder Woman designs received acclaim from fans and costume fanatics alike. They were clearly inspired by the Amazon’s origins in the Mediterranean and were feminine but very functional. Why mess with perfection? Oh, right. The all-male team of directors and executive directors wanted women to fight in bikinis.”
I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (man, that full title is clunky) last night, and really enjoyed it. Here’s the brief mini-review I posted to Facebook:
Brief spoiler-free review of Rogue One: as many have already said, it’s good, and well worth seeing in the theater. Manages to be very much a part of the established Star Wars universe while also being very different from every other Star Wars film made to date — and, yes, part of that is that it’s darker than the rest, and parents might not want to assume that young ones will be fine with this one just because it’s part of the Star Wars universe. Very effectively sits just before A New Hope while also being a very modern film; I was particularly impressed with how well they pulled this off, especially as so many of the costumes and hairstyles had to be consistent with the very ’70s aesthetic of ANH. Lots of little (and some not so little) touches, Easter eggs, and in-jokes for long-time fans to enjoy (one conversation between a couple stormtroopers made me laugh out loud, and I didn’t hear anyone else react to it; it didn’t seem that obscure to me, but maybe this Trekkie has a bit more Star Wars cred than I’d have thought). I’ll enjoy watching this one again down the line.
In another discussion, a friend asked where Rogue One should go in a Star Wars binge based on the Machete Order (which omits Ep. I, and puts Eps. II and III between V and VI, for a final viewing order of IV-V-II-III-VI). My initial thought was to just drop RO in at the beginning, since chronologically it comes just before ANH. When combined with The Force Awakens, this would make a full Machete viewing of RO-IV-V-II-III-VI-VII).
On further reflection, though, I actually think that RO (and, most likely, the rest of the forthcoming standalone films) should be omitted from the lineup, and that Machete Order should be restricted to the “primary” films (those with formal episode numbers).
(Keep in mind, the following is from the theoretical perspective of subjecting someone to a Star Wars immersion course under the assumption that they’ve never seen the films and are so divorced from popular culture that they don’t know the characters, beats, or revelations. So, basically, this is a fun little bit of geekery not very related to the real world at all.)
Spoilers for various films in the Star Wars saga up to and including Rogue One follow, so I’ll just drop the rest of this post behind a cut…