The other day I got into a debate on twitter about the morality of sharing ebooks. Someone was posting free copies of Roger Zelazny’s books on kindle, and I replied that I was entitled to ebooks of the printed books I own. This writer challenged that assertion and asked for an argument. I refused to engage in his Empire-inflected moralizing, that the writer owned the medium his story is printed on, and used the Ship of Theseus example to deconstruct the notion of ownership.
Smoke clove cigarettes? Wear ironic trucker hats? Skinny jeans? Horn-rimmed glasses with bug-eyed lenses? Graduated with a liberal arts major? Carry a shoulder-strap messenger bag? Soi disant exceptionally cultured, with at least one pop vice? Have at least one Republican friend, and describe him/her as your “one Republican friend?” Unwashed hair, but position said head on pillow at night to maximize cowlick? Yes, you’re a hipster. Continue reading
Educated Americans tend to confuse morality and art, and morality for them tends to mean social consciousness which usually equals bad art.
— Bret Easton Ellis (@BretEastonEllis) November 4, 2011
This quote illustrates the problem with criticism and art today, especially when it comes to pop culture critics.
The comic book critic Kelly Thompson dropped Wonder Woman after issue #7, and explained herself in her article “Is the Destruction of the Amazons The Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics?” Basically, the writer of Wonder Woman, Brian Azzarello, has returned the titular character Wonder Woman to ancient Greek mythological roots. However, Greek mythology is much more bloodthirsty and savage than their previous incarnations, notably expressed by George Perez in the mid 80s. The Olympians of Perez seemed closer to the stoic figures of Roman mythology: certainly noble but mostly detached from the affairs of mortals. Continue reading
Utopias had been the dominant literary form rather than dystopias in the past: Plato & Thomas Moore invented and re-invented the utopian society in order to present their political & economic views that did not extend further than coarse socialism. Once communism became a fact in the early 20th century, socialism switched from utopian fantasies to dystopian horror. Once we figured out how horrible socialism could be in reality, the utopian genre was extinct due to the death of the socialist dream. Zamyatin published We in 1921, not long after the Bolshevik coup d’etat, and ended up as the first book to be banned by the Soviets. Continue reading
Before I get into the list, I think a distinction between dystopian and post-apocalyptic films is necessary. Both classifications have been run together too often in recent years to the point that they’re nearly indistinguishable. However, a good understanding of cinema requires clear and distinct earmarks of each genre, and that will lead to a rich & robust discourse. Continue reading
Admittedly, this was a tough year, since there weren’t as many quality shows as there were in the last two years. It probably did not help matters that the best two shows actually began during the 2012 fall season. Last year, I tried to pick the best two series of each season, but that won’t work this year, because there aren’t enough to qualify. Continue reading
As a trope in science fiction, time travel allows for virtually any possibility and therefore, it’s the most abused plot gimmick ever. Luckily for us, a few diamonds have turned up in the rough. There are thousands of great time travel stories in science fiction, including comic books and television, but only a smattering of films qualify for this high honor. The great time travel film is not necessarily a scientific one, a logically consistent one, or even a time travel type for morons. They are the ones that succeed in presenting a brand new view of our times, or confessing profound truths about human nature. Continue reading
Some years ago, Alan Moore, the acclaimed author of Watchmen and Miracleman, claimed that all comics after the 1960s were fan fiction, largely for several reasons related to the massive replacement of the original writers with a younger generation.
I will argue why he is right… and why he’s wrong. Continue reading
This blog focuses on the relationship between Gnosticism and antinatalism, and whether the philosopher E.M. Cioran endorses either one in his works. Thanks to ControversialPhilosophy from the Anti-Natalist and Anti-Antinatalist Debate blog, I was motivated to present a case that looked beyond cherry-picking quotes and guilt of association rhetoric, towards the historical and theological context of the writings. Continue reading
I’m quite interested in the possible avenues of philosophizing out of the mood of insomnia — how it shreds the so-called default state of the self — and whether insomnia can show us a more acute state of consciousness that is no longer slave to the conventional understanding of the world. Speaking from experience, insomnia helps me understand the darker aspects of existence (anxiety, angst, dread, despair, etc) and relate to writers like Beckett, Cioran. Continue reading