[?1;2c Eric Rosenfield.com


ericr [at] ericrosenfield [dot] com
Mailing List

Tumblr Feed

Some thoughts on Harry Potter as a dystopia.:

tomewing:

screwrocknroll:

hellotailor:

Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?

I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.

Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn conflict. And I haven’t even gotten into how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.

As for Wizarding Britain at large:

  • There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
  • The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
  • Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
  • Azkaban,
  • We rarely see people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
  • Wizarding society is so isolated that purebloods find it strange if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
  • Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
  • There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races, particularly House Elf slavery.

I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.

We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.

Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.

There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.

(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)

Super into this person who has exactly the same wacky fan theory of Harry Potter that I do.

It’s almost as if the actual public school educated British Establishment is some kind of dystopian influence.

We were lied to. The women of my generation were told that we could ‘have it all’, as long as ‘it all’ was marriage, babies and a career in finance, a cupboard full of beautiful shoes and terminal exhaustion – and even that is only an option if we’re rich, white, straight and well behaved. These perfect lives would necessarily rely on an army of nannies and care-workers, and nobody has yet bothered to ask whether they can have it all.

We can have everything we want as long as what we want is a life spent searching for exhausting work that doesn’t pay enough, shopping for things we don’t need and sticking to a set of social and sexual rules that turn out, once you plough through the layers of trash and adverts, to be as rigid as ever.

As for young men, they were told they lived in a brave new world of economic and sexual opportunity, and if they felt angry or afraid, if they felt constrained or bewildered by contradictory expectations, by the pressure to act masculine, make money, demonstrate dominance and fuck a lot of pretty women while remaining a decent human being, then their distress was the fault of women and minorities. It was these grasping women, these homosexuals and people of colour who had taken away the power and satisfaction that was once their birthright as men. We were taught, all of us, that if we were dissatisfied, it was our fault, or the fault of those closest to us. We were built wrong, somehow. We had failed to adjust. If we showed any sort of distress, we probably needed to be medicated or incarcerated, depending on our social status. There are supposed to be no structural problems, just individual maladaption.



-

Mainstream feminism is tepid and cowardly: Work, sex, race, “having it all” and true liberation - Salon.com (via becauseiamawoman)

Trust me: You need to read this book; it is amazing.

(via amiwithani)





philsandifer:

froborr:

philsandifer:

boyvstheworld:

Wonder Woman is my everything.

I tend to feel that, when done right, Wonder Woman should be as inspirational and utopian as Superman, and about twice as ruthless as Batman.

(Seriously, I think the fact that she will, when she deems it necessary, kill people is one of the most interesting things about her as a character. I’m reminded of Garth Ennis’s claim about why Judge Dredd ruined American superheroes for him - because of that scene in The Apocalypse War where Dredd lets Mega-City One get nuked because it’s the better of the two options he has, and doesn’t fuss about it at all, and Ennis’s view that no American superhero would be that hardcore. Bullshit. Put Wonder Woman in the Apocalypse War, and she’d play it exactly like Dredd, only without being a fascist villain-as-hero.)

Well, except in the sense that all superheroes are fascist villains-as-heroes, because it’s inherently fascist in the same way that, say, space opera is inherently imperialist.

Which is to say, a fairly trivial sense that is usually not the most interesting thing to say about it. (Which is part of why I find more overt fascist villains-as-heroes such as Dredd or anything to come out of Image Comics in the 90s so boring.)

I mean, I don’t think Dredd is boring in the least, at least in the time period he actually emerged from, and in terms of the concerns he actually responds to. As I argued in Last War in Albion here and here, Dredd was a really intelligent, interesting response to a specific bunch of concerns.

What interests me about superheroes, and what I think legitimately is one of the most interesting things to say about them is not so much that they’re inherently fascist as that they’re inherently authoritarian fantasies. Which is distinct. Space opera is, I think, somewhat more inherently imperialist, inasmuch as it comes out of a very specific and dominant ideology. Superheroes are weirder, because they mostly come out of an anti-fascist ideology and then run into loads of problems because they share fascism’s love of authority.

But for all my anarchist sympathies, I tend to be unable to completely discard the idea of legitimate authority. In this regard I become a bit Hegelian, wanting to put the Master/Slave dialectic in exactly the same fundamental and formative part of the historical narrative that he does. There’s something about that dynamic of, shall we say, submission to loving authority that not only remains compelling, but often feels like it probably has to in some sense be necessary to social functioning. 

Which is what I like about Wonder Woman - she’s unabashedly an authoritarian fantasy, but it’s really a stretch to call her a fascist one, in part because hers is a sexualized authority that has manifested as physical/political authority, as opposed to fascism, which I would perhaps suggest is physical authority that has become sexualized.





"When anyone claims they aren’t a feminist, I assume they don’t know what they’re talking about."

comixology:

202 pages of indie comics examining the many facets of feminism can be yours for 50% off along with any other book from Alternative Comics when you use the code INDIE at checkout all this weekend. 

Because Moffat is often doing things that are meant to make the audience feel uncomfortable. And the big weakness of the “pick at culture’s scabs and try to reflect its ugliness back at the audience” is that sometimes you get mistaken for the very ugliness you’re critiquing.

See also the grand tragedy of how people responded to Rorschach’s seductive poisons in Watchmen.

Thank you for saying this.

I can promise you that I am very, very bad at giving up at these sorts of things.

All Fantagraphics titles at comiXology 50% off with offer code COMIX!:

fantagraphics:

Fanta fans, you’re not going to want to miss out on this one. Our pals over at comiXology are doing a Fantagraphics-wide sale—that is, all Fantagraphics titles are on sale—at a whopping 50% off with offer code COMIX.

With 90 digital releases to choose from, which ones will you grab this weekend?

Offer expires 9/14 at 11:59 PM EST.

Never say never, but I think the odds of another Beyond the Police are virtually nil.

The joke of “The Adventures of Ms. Smith and the Curator” is that it really is just a TARDIS Eruditorum entry about the end of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s another structural trick, of the sort that I’ve done a dozen times - an entry that pretends to be a short story. It uses the Alan Moore trick from Captain Britain and Swamp Thing and From Hell and shamelessly does a Steven Moffat-style finale for this imaginary show that teams up a post-SJA Sarah Jane with the Curator from Day of the Doctor in a story about dying of Alzheimer’s, in which every single character or reference comes from some obscure bit of Doctor Who continuity in the most obscenely fanwanky way imaginary. It’s just “Continuity Errors,” in other words. It’s practically bloody plagiarism. Of, you know, Swamp Thing and “Continuity Errors,” like you do. There’s no real trick to it, and the gag only works once.

(Actually, as I think about it, I shouldn’t have done the Ace and Benny reference. Ace and Benny fighting the Valeyard for the possibility of saving the future Doctor’s life is over-egging the pudding, although it is hilarious, in the exact same way that Two/Zoe shipping is, which is to say, that Jack Graham kinda hates me for it. I should have done Professor Candy, which is the super-literate obscure Virgin material reference. As if the Worldsphere at the start wasn’t enough. Hm. Ooh, no, I know. I should have dated the story completely to its time: Orson Pink. Though I already have Clara and “the Scottish one,” so really, how September 2014 can you get. Nah, I did it more or less right. You could tinker, and maybe improve it a bit, but I think that’s as good as that joke can go.)

And to be clear, I deliberately pushed the joke as far as it possibly could go. I mean, I gave Tom Baker Alzheimer’s to make a point about how sad it was that the past of Doctor Who disappears forever as the practical realities of aging and death eat away at the material world in which this phenomenal and beautiful art that is Doctor Who touches our lives. I went with the most unabashedly sentimental “you will cry now bitches here’s the Murray Gold score to make you” tripe I possibly could in the final paragraph, and while I didn’t check I bet I went into a Moorean iambic bit. Actually, let’s check:

She took a long, deep breath, smiled, and wiped away a tear.

“Where there’s life,” she murmured softly to herself, and laughed.

Yep. Basically iambic septameter, assuming I got the Greek root right, which I didn’t even bother to check, so I may well not have.

So yeah, I did the joke as far as it could go. I did all the big notes, I used all the ideas I think it has. Repeating it would be silly. 

Ooh, bugger, never closed that parenthesis, did I?)

So yeah. I think repeating it would be like redoing the Logopolis entry, you know? You’d be mad to revisit your greatest hits like that. That was as self-consciously a “big tentpole TARDIS Eruditorum" post as that particular idea can be. You want to move on and do something new, you know?

Speaking of entries that are dead and gone and entirely in the past, how about my Mind of Evil entry. I think that one was really underrated. I think the title is particularly good. 



comixology:

If you have a big goofy 11 sized hole in your heart, Titan Comics has you covered with New Adventures with the Eleventh Doctor!

This comic has been pretty great.

I Need A Bit of Help:

shabogangraffiti:

philsandifer:

A new update to my actual, like, writing of stuff blog, Philip Sandifer: Writer

Bank of America has arbitrarily taken loads of Phil’s money.  Any (actual) lawyers out there feeling helpful?

Paging lawyers…

















wackd:

This is an actual, real-life conversation I just had with someone I know offline. He’s a member of the school Doctor Who club of which I recently became vice-president and has an odd fixation on telling me, specifically, his views on art.

I call him the Miles worshipper when I discuss him at all, due to his tendency to regurgitate Lawrence Miles blogposts at me. (He has not, for the record, read any actual fiction Miles has written, but is confident that everything he says about art and more specifically about Doctor Who is absolute truth bordering on gospel.) And I do mean at me—he will rarely, if ever, strike up conversation with anyone else in the club. When he posts publicly on the club’s Facebook page he will tag me and only me. This is the first time he’s ever tried to contact me via Facebook messaging, which concerns me and makes me worried more is coming.

He will also, as his opening shot here indicates, occasionally lend this same treatment to shabogangraffiti, and—on rare occasions, and increasingly since he learned I read his blog—philsandifer.

That art should be violent and disconcerting, and that “violent and disconcerting” is at the very heart of the word’s definition, is not something he’s told me before (though he’s a fan of the Sixth Doctor era despite having not seen much of that either, so I should’ve suspected.) Here are some things he has told me before:

  • Plot and characterization are meaningless, and the less of them a show has the better.
  • Art should confuse the viewer.
  • Art should be focused on aesthetic value—cinematography, music, art design, and so forth.
  • Steven Moffat does all of these things, but is still terrible. (The Miles worshipper will often use these things as examples of why Moffat is terrible.)
  • The Celestial Toymaker (which he has seen) is one of the best Doctor Who stories ever. 

I am making this public not out of malice, but because it’s increasingly getting to a point where I have no idea how to respond to him, or if I should even be responding to him at all, and feel like I need to get other people’s opinions on this.

You can’t argue with crazy.



philsandifer:

freznosravingrants:

willgrahamsstagdo:

eggsuckinguttertrash:

anybody read this?

i didn’t pick it to read right now nah i totes had a change mind so yeah i am reading it, but some input would be kind of nice because, well, it seems a tad odd

the way it’s set up

it was mentioned quite a few times in my internet perusing, and a lot of people were talking about how long/hard (i’ve been reading for 7 months…) of a read it is so of course i had to buy it

and i mean, it’s a big book, gotta be at least 500 pages (i didn’t check) but

just

let me show you

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

so yeah

any input you can give me on what i’m getting myself into here would be cool

This is the best book i have ever read, it took months to read it and i couldnt even finish it the second time round, i seriously recomend it though

This is one of my favorite books. So good. I should also mention that the author’s sister is a musician who put out an entire album inspired by the book. Give it a listen.

Ah, House of Leaves. The book that launched a thousand Masters Theses.

I still feel like it falls apart in the middle when they go back to the house after it murders his brother. Why would you ever do that?

On "Robot of Sherwood" | Wet Asphalt:

New update to Wet Asphalt about the new Doctor Who episode and what it means to be from the land of fiction.









thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

tyleroakley:

THE ACCURACY IS OVERWHELMING.

The most perfect description of Sarah Palin I’ve ever seen O.O;

Now you just listen to me you nasty little man…

Aside from the fact that Anita Sarkeesian’s journalistic/critical ethics are completely beside the point when it comes to threats and abuse made against her, and also aside from the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that she has faked any threats (as if she needed to fake new ones!), I can safely say, as someone who knows next to fuck-nothing about video games (I occasionally play free online Tetris - that’s it) that you could watch her videos with the sound muted, and just look at the imagery she quotes via direct clips from games, and all her essential points would be proved. 

Unless someone wants to provide evidence that Sarkeesian has been manufacturing fake scenes featuring the beating up of prostitutes, secretly paying whoever animates computer games to animate her ersatz scenes for her, and then hypnotising people into not noticing that the clips don’t come from the games they play, then the “waaah waaah she takes things out of context waaah” brigade and the “waaaah waaah she’s not a real gamer waaah” posse can fuck off, come back, fuck off again, keep fucking off until they reach the outermost coastline of Fuckoffsville, then fuck off some more, and stay fucked off forever and a fucking day. 

You got that, you odious, pathetic, misogynistic, disingenuous, point-missing, MRA-talking-point-regurgitating, laughably entitled little manchild crybaby wankstain?

Do not bother responding to this.

This.

Correspondence.

Is.

Fucking.

CLOSED.



beatonna:

Here is a cartoon I did for the Guardian in back in 2012!  Somehow, it has not become irrelevant since that time. 

philsandifer:

shabogangraffiti:

Seems very odd to me that ‘Social Justice Warrior’ is used as an insult, because it sounds like a brilliant thing to be.

A good way of complimenting someone in a way you’ll know they’ll like is to discover what they consider an insult, invert it, and then apply it to them… which means gamers should be delighted to be described as ‘Asocial Injustice Wusses’.

I really need to start a “fuck yeah Jack Graham” tumblr.

Social justice!

Star Trek is Not Progressive | Wet Asphalt

In terms of damage to the character, certainly. I mean, there’s a sense in which I like the retconned rape of Sue Dibny, not because I think comics needed more rape (they needed, and still need, less sexual violence), but because of its odd status as a retcon, which in turn means there are decades of stories with Sue in which she’s a rape survivor, and this matters not a whit to anything she’s doing. I feel about that much like I do about Barbara Gordon as Oracle - the story that caused it to exist is awful, but there’s a neat effect, although, unlike with Oracle, in this case a neat effect that lacks anyone deliberately trying to create it. 

Second, Sue was killed over the course of one issue. It brought her story basically to its conclusion, though applause to the writers of 52 for fixing that up a bit. It’s an ugly end, but it’s an end - you stop looking after it. Ultimately, it was DC deciding this was an expendable character. I think there was more that could have been done with her, but ultimately, she was just violently erased from the books. Awful, but limited.

Whereas the evil dominatrix Mary Marvel was a slow motion car crash over the course of a year, and appeared to be a sincerely held view about how best to revamp the character and make her functional. 

Put another way, Sue Dibny showed what Dan Didio isn’t interested in within DC. Mary Marvel showed what he is.

Fiction

Reviews

Interviews

Criticism, Etc.