packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
I mentioned picking up the complete first season of The Wire - finished that today.

I'll say this much: I wasn't disappointed. Glad I paid for that one.


May. 21st, 2009 12:32 pm
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
Stolen from [ profile] active_apathy, who swiped it from [ profile] laurenmitchell:

  1. Choose an episode of anime or television series you have on your computer. Make sure you're certain you want that one, you cannot change your mind once you skip this step. DO NOT TELL YOUR FLIST WHAT YOU CHOSE.

  2. Make note of how long the episode is here: 59:59

  3. Ask your flist to choose a time between 00:00 and whatever the length of your episode is. Be specific - e.g. 21:09, 02:42, 36:50. (No guarantees that times more precisely than the second will be respected, but feel free to try!)

  4. Make them an icon using THAT FRAME ONLY no matter what it is. And remember, you can only use that ONE episode you chose previous, even if the person posting isn't familiar with it.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Yesterday, me bro walked into our room and asked me if I had hard disk space. Then he handed me a jump drive* and told me to copy two video files - to wit, two old episodes of Top Gear. (The one with the caravanning and the one with the vans.)

Loved it. It was terrific. I'm officially a fan.

So, what's new with you?
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
In the comments on my artist-QOTD post, [ profile] jfs gave a good definition of art: art occurs whenever a person creates something whilst trying to evoke an emotional reaction. I was just thinking about the specifics of that - why "emotional" reaction, what kinds of reactions can/does art make, what kind of moral value should we ascribe to the methods and contexts of these reactions ... I don't know if this will be coherent, but it might be interesting interest.

I guess I'll start with Dan Brown and Myst. No - I'll start with Agatha Christie and Myst; it's wrong to snipe at works you haven't perused.

Wait - no, the point doesn't really work with Agatha Christie. I'd better just start somewhere, and let the chips fall as they may.

One purported property of Dan Brown's writing is that it makes the reader feel clever. Specifically, The Da Vinci Code is accused of making its readers feel clever by showing them stupid puzzles. Assuming "feeling clever" is an emotional reaction (not much of a stretch, I think), I point out the following:

  • Assuming it was on purpose, The Da Vinci Code is art.

  • In addition, The Da Vinci Code is successful art in the evocative1 sense, not merely in the financial sense.

  • It is being criticized for the way it evokes these feelings - its critics say it should not make the reader feel clever in this way, presumably because the reader does not earn feeling clever.

"Hey," my brain said. "What about Myst? It does take a little cleverness to solve those puzzles - isn't feeling clever justified there?"

I'm not going to divert to the obvious moral, here. (I was tempted, mind - any excuse to plug Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit is welcome.) Instead, I think we should consider where this idea of justification of art, in this earned-emotion sense, leads. Is the emotional climax of Terminator 2 justified? What about the excitement and satisfaction of a good game of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City? Or of a good performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor? Or, on a more abstract note: are we justified in evaluating these works and the reactions they evoke? Or, higher still: are we justified in rejecting such evaluations as unworthy, or unnecessary, or inappropriate?

Comments are open.

1. "Evocative of emotional reactions". Hey, I wanted something short and snappy. ^
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
This is a truly incredible movie. Pure suspense.

I could provide more detail, but just ... wow.

Anyway - on to the TV!

The penultimate 'Who Wants to Be a Superhero?' episode, and it's the final three! )

Edit: A poll!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Aw-right! Let's get this moving!

Read more... )

P.S. I forgot to check the site before I bought it, and this week the show is online free. Catch it quick, before it vanishes!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (chess)
Somehow I missed that this episode was out. Next airs tonight, so you might be seeing the followup very soon.

Can we all agree that including the Esurance product placement was kinda lame? Okay, let's put that aside, then. )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Sadly, no more free ride. This one I spent the $2 on iTunes. It was a whopper, though. )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
ETA: I think will get you to the latest episode without the spoiler for who was eliminated. Excelsior!

ETA 2: Yes, this is the same link I had in the previous "...Superhero" post. Durr.

Analysis and odds-making )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
[ profile] glitchphil just alerted me to the second season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? The second episode airs on August 2nd – I think you can watch the premier until then.

Now, [ profile] glitchphil's post was mainly analysis of this year's cast (contains spoilers). And that stuff is interesting. But I got to thinking about the superheroic qualities Stan Lee is testing for. (After all, like Eric Burns said last season, the truly great thing about this reality show is that success isn't about gaming the system to win the competitions, it's about character.)

Well, I'm not going to pretend that I've secretly cracked Stan Lee's playbook, but I think I see four paramount virtues among those he praises, and absent from those he criticizes. I even think I have them in (mostly) priority order. If I may put words to them ("The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way" and all that), the four virtues are Compassion, Dedication, Humility, and Honor.

Spoilers for Season One below.

Compassion: Stan Lee emphasized this in the very first challenge of the first season of the show – given the choice between completing an arbitrary task as fast as possible and helping someone in need, help the person. Linked to this is being aware of your environment, although the superheroes who merely failed to notice the bystander in need were criticized less than those who noticed and failed to act.

Dedication: I can only point to the second episode of Season One, where Monkey Woman spent nine minutes and forty-three seconds struggling against a pair of attack dogs to finish a challenge, and Cell Phone Girl cried 'Uncle' after four seconds. Though three other contestants finished the challenge (all in under a minute) and four others failed (all in under a minute), it is the former who earns the kudos, and the latter the boot.

Humility: This was at the center of what I consider the worst test of the first season – the "who would you eliminate" challenge. The test stinks because any fool can see what answer you're supposed to give, especially because you have to do so publicly, leaving two of the only contestants brave enough to answer the question honestly – Ty'Veculus and Fat Momma – to face the ax. Still, the importance of humility to Stan Lee is unquestionable – thus the challenge.

(But a point – egregious though the test was, I do believe that Feedback, seemingly the most guileless person on the show, was honest in nominating himself. Then again, it's practically a truism that you can't really tell when someone is lying just by observation.)

Honor: Saying 'honor' is very nearly a copout, but I think it appropriate nevertheless. It says that a superheroes words must be their bonds (something which caught Ty'Veculus in the costume challenge, for example). It says that superheroes must support the traditions of heroism (this caught everyone but Feedback and Fat Momma at the cafe – that superheroes protect their secret identities is all but a dogma of the genre). And it says that superheroes must live up to the ideals of the society (thus Stan Lee's repeated ribbing of Major Victory for doffing parts of his costume, and his stripper past). It is the conservative honor of centuries past, and it's value has only been increased by tempering it with humility and compassion.

Some show, I gotta say.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (swing dismount)
I'm sure all of you have heard of the recent bomb scare in Boston following an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing campaign. Making Light has been doing fantastic coverage of this crisis; in addition to the post linked above, they have provided some analysis of the continuing actions of the Boston police department that is well worth reading. However, a source has alerted me to an important press conference by the two men indicted in this matter.

As a proud afro-wearer, I approve this message.


Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:44 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
A few weeks ago – right after Goshen '06, actually – I walked in on my mother watching an old black-and-white TV show. Dragnet. I, whose closest previous encounter with police procedurals was the 1987 Dragnet movie, was entranced.

Then, today, I found you can download the radio episodes.


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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