Link Dump

I appear to be one of the lucky few to have power in the Philly area right now, but the past few days have been a doozy. If you’re local, stay safe (and keep warm). If you have power, here are some links for your enjoyment:

  • Destroy All Monsters: Stop J.J. Abrams – An interesting discussion on the upcoming Star Wars films centering around the conflict between what audiences want and what they need:

    What the audience wants is to see Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo again. The problem is, that’s impossible. Those characters are gone. They are a creation of celluloid well over thirty years ago. Without conducting the requisite thought experiments, though, the audience – and J.J. Abrams – will continue to “want” to see their heroes again, right up until the moment that they do. At which point, I think, a rather horrible collision between wants and needs will take place, right up there on the big screen.

    What the audience needs, above all, is to not have their abiding affection for the original trilogy tampered with.

    Amen to that. Lets hope that Abrams knows what he’s doing.

  • How to Correct People – An interesting perspective (from a reality TV show, no less) and something I wish more folks would engage in:

    The customer (called a “Skin” on this show, although it’s a “Human Canvas” on Ink Master) had spent four years in the Marine Corps and wanted a tattoo that related to his helicopter. In the brief conference about the direction of the tattoo, the tattoo artist said, “So you were part a helicopter crew.”

    Now, it turns out that it is not actually called a helicopter “crew.” And some people get really persnickety if you use the wrong word by accident. But this guy answered by nodding. And he said, “A helicopter squadron, yeah.”

    I’m just really impressed by this move, where he managed to squeeze in a correction while agreeing twice. And it worked!

    Seriously, if we all acted more like that, we wouldn’t have to endure the stuff this next link describes:

  • Don’t let movie social media get toxic – Another symptom of the seeming tendency in modern life to vilify those who aren’t like you. Twitter’s ease of entry and brevity of content only exacerbates the issue.

    There are still lots of worthwhile voices about film on social media. If you;re following the right people, you’ll see dynamic, thoughtful conversations from people looking to spread the love of cinema and foster a community of tech-savvy cinephiles. But from my subjective vantage point, there also seems to be more and more hostility on Twitter as well, and an increasing rush to judge those who don’t have the “right” opinion about a movie, whatever that may be at any given moment. Didn’t like 12 Years A Slave? Thought The Wolf Of Wall Street was just so-so? Loved The Lone Ranger and its crazy human-heart-eating villain? Sorry, no, you’re wrong.

    This is spot on, and it’s something I’ve been noticing a lot lately. I don’t think that social media is the cause, though. Outrage happens at the speed of Twitter, and that’s pretty much instantaneous. We either need to think before we tweet, or we need to recognize that we’re not thinking before we tweet and treat the content accordingly. I understand the impulse to complain and be snarky, especially on Twitter, but what I don’t understand is the notion that such sentiments be taken quite so seriously. This isn’t about movies, and it isn’t about Feminism (the article that really set this off was about how Feminists are under constant attack by other, self-righteous Feminists). It’s about discourse and speech, and for whatever reason, we seem to be hounding each other to shut up (even as we publish more than ever – clearly this hounding isn’t working). It’s fine to be offended or outraged, but that doesn’t entitle you to anything. We should all strive to be more like that guy who corrected the tatoo artist in the previous link. There’s a lot to chew on here, and it’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. Like I said, it’s not limited to the spheres discussed here. I’m sure this will pop up again on the blog at some point.

  • How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love – OkCupid is harder than it looks.

3 thoughts on “Link Dump”

  1. I keep thinking I really need to write a short essay on how to move forward with the Star Wars franchise from a classic fan’s perspective, but I keep reminding myself that it really wouldn’t be relevant. The prequels were made for a different demographic than mine and, while not as successful in the long term apparently, did quite while. The new-new movies are meant to be “next/new-generation” sequels rather than reboots as with Star Trek; in examining my feelings on the issue I find that either choice would have zero impact on me. The Bioware Old Republic stuff is still interesting, but I haven’t kept up with the movies or tv shows or videos or anything related to expanding the original storyline. I honestly have almost no interest in the new movies.

  2. Have you read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy? Definitely worth seeking out – Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. They were followed by a gazillion books (the ones I’ve read were pretty terrible), but those first three were solid. The best part about them was the emergence of a convincing and worthy villain in Grand Admiral Thrawn. They’re not amazing literature or anything, but they’re good, fun reads. Worth checking out.

  3. Oh, yes; most definitely. I agree; very few of the expanded universe novels were worth the money other than the Thrawn trilogy. I tend to believe that Lucas originally indicated in some way to Zahn that the three books were “canon” sequels to the movies, but even though they aren’t now, they probably should be.

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