Posts Tagged ‘Transformers’
After a Death
Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.
The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Takara-Tomy, creator of the Transformers. I think I have that right.
The Army’s cross-promotional deal with X-Men: First Class lays bare the military’s increasing reliance on the science fiction genre as the prime narrative medium through which to sell itself. The new recruitment films are not the critically acclaimed Restrepo or even The Hurt Locker(whose DoD support was revoked at the last minute), but rather Battle: Los Angeles (a conventional combat film—with aliens!) andTransformers 2, promoted as the “largest joint-military movie ever made.” Unlike recent films about Iraq and Afghanistan, contemporary science fiction films show our armed forces heroically fighting the good fight against intergalactic enemies, killer cars, or nuclear-toting mutants. More importantly, perhaps, science fiction reintroduces wonder and spectacle to typical recruitment strategies that media-savvy young audiences distrust, tune out, or scoff at.
Via Twitter: How X-Men markets the military.
* Dollhouse tease: Joss will write and direct the premiere.
* Transformers FAQ. Spoiler alert:
I am already incredibly sick of this movie, and I’m just typing questions about it. Sam resurrects Optimus, Optimus kills the Fallen, end of story, right?
Pretty close. Sam dies, though.
Yeah, for a little while. But then the Transformers in heaven send him back because he still has work to do.
Fuck you. There’s no way.
It’s true. The 6-7 Primes are there in the clouds like Mufasa’s head in The Lion King, and tell Sam he’s awesome and he needs to live again so he can bring Optimus back to life.
* MMORGS and sociology: “City of Heroes character ‘Twixt’ becomes game’s most hated outcast courtesy of Loyola professor.” Via MeFi.
* “Judgment Day,” famous anti-racist EC comic from 1953, controversial in its day, at Comics Should Be Good:
Monday procrastination sensations.
* The Burnt-out Adjunct has some advice at Inside Higher Ed about the difference between adjuncts, add-junks, and instructors.
* 3 Quarks Daily has some thoughts from Timothy Fongon on building a viable American left:
Only about 25 percent of US citizens hold a passport. (See 2007 population data here and number of Americans with passports here.) A majority of Americans have never travelled overseas. Thus, any movement which makes appeals primarily on the basis of universalist/internationalist rhetoric is likely to have an audience significantly smaller than the majority of the US population.
The whole essay strongly echoes a proclamation from the C.L.R. James I was reading just last night: “To Bolshevize America it is necessary to Americanize Bolshevism.”
* A Feministe guestblogger describes the difficulties in filling out forms when one is transgender. The thread also introduces me to a term I’ve missed up to now, cisgender, denoting someone whose gender identity is aligned with their biological sex—which means I can now describe the forms Queen Emily discusses as cisnormative (which they are—no need for little boxes with prescribed answers when you could just have a blank line).
* Nate Silver gets a little more pragmatic with a close look at how a climate bill can get 60 votes in the Senate. He’s also got a post on Sarah Palin’s appeal that, for my money, misses what’s so terrifying about Palin: (1) the clear sense that the right is building itself a second George W. Bush out of identitarian resestment, sloganeering, faux folksy charm, and hero worship, and (2) that it already worked once.
* Steve Benen has your bogus Obama scandal roundup.
Walpin was all the rage in conservative circles, right up until the “controversy” appeared baseless, and White House detractors were forced to move on.
But notice how this has happened quite a bit in the very young Obama administration. Remember when conservatives were convinced that the White House was closing car dealerships based on owners’ political contributions? Or how about the not-so-scandalous Department of Homeland Security report about potentially violent extremists, which prompted some conservatives to call for Napolitano’s resignation? Or about the EPA economist whose bizarre memo on global cooling was “suppressed”?
All of these caused widespread apoplexy among rabid anti-Obama activists. And all of these quickly fell apart after minimal scrutiny.
* And Michael Chabon has a nice essay in The New York Review of Books about the wilderness of childhood set against both adult nostalgia for the freedom of youth and contemporary overparenting and child endangerment hysteria. But the headline (“Manhood for Amateurs”) is wrong under the article’s own terms:
This is a mistaken notion, in my view. People read stories of adventure—and write them—because they have themselves been adventurers. Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity. For the most part the young adventurer sets forth equipped only with the fragmentary map—marked here there be tygers and mean kid with air rifle—that he or she has been able to construct out of a patchwork of personal misfortune, bedtime reading, and the accumulated local lore of the neighborhood children.
Sloppy work from the editor there.
* My North Carolinian readers should consider sending a letter expressing their displeasure to the offices of our senator, Kay Hagan, who as Facing South reports is currently one of the major stumbling blocks for health care reform.
Sen. Kay Hagan
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
You can contact her via email at her web site, but a snail mail letter is still best.
* Climate Progress analyzes the concessions made to Collin Peterson to get Waxman-Markey to the floor this week. Kevin Drum and Yglesias has more, as well as a teaser for how much worse the Senate version will be.
* Also from Yglesias: (1) a post on Asimov’s novel The Gods Themselves that intrigued me enough to drop everything and read the book and (2) a report that the Iranian soccer players who wore green in solidarity with the protesters have been banned from the sport for life. The Gods Themselves, I can report, is a great read: in addition to the environmental allegory Yglesias highlights there’s also some really intriguing queer sexuality stuff in the “how aliens have sex” section—very rare for Asimov—and a nice Star Maker-style cosmology regarding the origin of the universe and the fates of planets that don’t solve their energy crises. I think Asimov’s probably right that it’s his best book.
* Squaring off on the suckiness of Transformers II. In this corner, Roger Ebert:
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.
And in this corner, Walter Chaw:
The worst summer in recent memory continues as Michael Bay brings his slow push-ins and Lazy Susan dolly shots back to the cineplex with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (hereafter Transformers 2), the ugliest, most hateful, most simple-minded and incomprehensible assault on art and decency since the last Michael Bay movie.
* And your webcomic of the day: Warbot in Accounting.
Friday night links of variable goofiness.
* Ze Frank has your optical illusion of the night.
You have two jars, 50 red marbles and 50 blue marbles. A jar will be picked at random, and then a marble will be picked from the jar. Placing all of the marbles in the jars, how can you maximize the chances of a red marble being picked? What are the exact odds of getting a red marble using your scheme?
* My friend Jay explains the story behind his possession of the world’s most badass scar.
* Who ate all the Neanderthals? Oops.
* Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own children and grandchildren by appalled by?
* Jacob directs our attention to the growing threat of Transforminators.