Friday, October 21, 2005

TGINAPAMBIJCFIRN

That is, Thank God It's Not Another Post About Me Because I Just Can't Face It Right Now. I'm going to hold off on posting the last bit of the Alphabet o' Me for a couple of days, because I'm sick of talking about myself. Also, I can't decide what the "T" entry should be. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, some things:

One-Star Amazon Reviews of Time's 100 Best Novels; via Maud Newton. This is a genius idea. I am particularly fond of the dismissal of LOTR: "The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs."

Matt Cheney gives out the First Annual Mumpsimus "Cup of Coffee for a Genius" Award to Rudi Dornemann. The earth shakes.

My pal Lynda (I mentioned her under "O" below. "O" for Lynda. Also, she's on the sidebar) wrote a review of a creepy Korean flick called "A Tale of Two Sisters" for Strange Horizons. Check it out.

Two views on Serenity. One is from much-beloved Buffista Nilly, who writes a long, heartfelt, slightly scattered :-) but madly insightful post about her reactions to seeing it screened at a con in Israel. I remember asking for beta-readers for my Goblin Market manuscript, and being flattered and flabbergasted by Nilly's comments in return; she'd picked up on all the subtleties of the text, even some I didn't know I'd put in there. The other view is from Abigail Nussbaum, whom I suspect saw the film at the same screening; her focus is on Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and she has some interesting thoughts. Abigail makes some very thoughtful posts over there (even if she does believe that Dunsany's The Kind of Elfland's Daughter "falls short of perfection by a small yet significant margin." Blasphemy! One thing I haven't really seen anyone address about "Firefly" and "Serenity" is the Mal/Inara relationship, the gender politics of which have been snagging at me since a certain conversation this past weekend (thanks for putting that particular bug in my ear, Ms. Link).

Old news:

Apparently Marlene Dietrich hated sex. I find this unutterably depressing.

Ba Jin has died. I read his book Family for a course on the influence of Ibsen on Chinese writers around the time of the end of empires there. It's quite a good portrayal of a society in transition.

A gorilla in a Congo sanctuary is using tools. Well, he's using rocks to extract oil from palm nuts, but this is "considered among the most complex tool-use behaviors." Next thing you know they'll be saying "No."

Finally: Iceman!

5 Comments:

Blogger David Moles said...

T for tychopotamia? T for tachyphrasia? T for teleophobia?

5:50 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

P.S.: One thing I haven't really seen anyone address about "Serenity" is the Mal/Inara relationship -- well, I didn't address it because there was so little of it in the film (and so little of Inara's character in general) that there seemed to be no point in forming a judgment about it.

I do find the I'm not a prostitute, I'm a courtesan line of discourse -- though I don't know if it actually is put that way in the show, or only in some Wikipedia pages I was browsing the other day -- to be kinda sketchy. In an "I want to have my virgin/whore dichotomy and eat it, too" kind of way.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

True, it wasn't in the film, so I shouldn't have framed it that way. I'll have to go back and edit. But taking the series and film together, his attitude towards Inara problematizes Mal's character in particular. Although the construction of the Companion lifestyle raises lots of questions in the first place, as you point out.

The gender issues in Whedon's work tend to be a bit head-scratchy. Buffy was, for the most part, a very feminist show, but Angel the series undercut that in many ways. Although I've seen it argued that this was more a result of the other producers' (Greenwalt & Minear in particular) influence.

It occurs to me that I'm sort of talking to myself, since you haven't seen the shows. Ah well :-)

6:24 PM  
Blogger Abigail Nussbaum said...

You're right, Dave, I did watch Serenity at the ICon showing (the only game in town until mid-November, apparently), and I agree with Nilly that doing so enhanced the viewing experience.

As for Mal and Inara, Serenity is the first time I've really been able to formulate any thoughts on the Firefly universe, and as David points out there wasn't a lot of interaction between these two in the film - although what there was was meaty. My general feelings about these two is that they're a fusion explosion waiting to happen and they both know it. It's why Inara leaves, and I have to admit that her decision to stay on the ship at the end of Serenity doesn't quite sit right with me. I can justify it somewhat (there's evidence in the show that Inara is a bit tired of the Companion lifestyle and wants to run away with the circus, and that her feelings for the ship are almost as strong as Mal's), but ultimately nothing's changed between these two. Perhaps I'm meant to read Inara's "I don't know" as a sign that she sees some change in Mal, something that will allow him to open up to the possibility of love, but I don't see that change myself.

As for Mal's virgin/whore complex, it never sat quite right with me. He had no problem respecting other whores - he was very fond and respectful of Nandy in "Heart of Gold", and that relationship encompassed a sexual component. I rather suspect that Mal is using Inara's status as a Companion as a shield, a way of making sure he can't connect with her, just as she is using it as a shield against him. Which is all to the good because, as I said, fusion explosion.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Trent said...

Sultry actress Marlene Dietrich, one of the 20th century's most iconic figures, hated sex and had a schizophrenic personality, according to her daughter Maria Riva.

Why is it that the schizophrenic girls who hated sex I dated looked nothing like Marlene Dietrich?

9:20 AM  

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