Pixel Scroll 3/17/19 To Say Nothing Of The Cat

(1) DANK DAIRY. Nature gets into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day in its own idiocyncratic way with publication of this research: “Four millennia of dairy surplus and deposition revealed through compound-specific stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating of Irish bog butters”.

Bog butters are large, white to yellow waxy deposits regularly recovered from the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland, often found in wooden containers or wrapped in bark or animal membranes (Fig. 1). With recorded weights of up to 23?kg (and several examples that may be larger), bog butters were first documented in the 17th century; the total number recovered to date may approach 500 specimens1,2. Published radiocarbon determinations on Irish bog butters show activity spanning the Iron Age to the post-medieval period3,4 with folk accounts indicating survival into the 19th century5,6. While the reasons behind their deposition continue to be debated1,2, the remarkable preservative properties of peat bogs are well known7 and several post-medieval accounts mention the practice of storing butter in bogs to be consumed at a later date, whether by necessity or as a delicacy8,9,10. Early medieval Irish law tracts list butter as one of the products payable as food rents11, which may have needed to be stockpiled or stored. Parallels have also been drawn with the widespread deposition of metal and other objects in wetlands during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, often assumed to be votive or ritual acts….

(2) CLOSE GUESSES. The New York Times Book Review has two articles on world-building in speculative fiction this week:

“Ours is a world of laws—and given available evidence, so are all other worlds.

As they build their wild what ifs, the authors of speculative fiction draft legislation: They draw up regulations and establish cabinet agencies and sub-agencies, often employing a diction eerily reminiscent of real-life government and politics—the eeriness being very much the point.”

Maybe because we’re living in a dystopia, it feels as if we’ve become obsessed with prophecy as of late. Protest signs at the 2017 Women’s March read “Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!” and “Octavia Warned Us”…

In “The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World,” Thomas Disch calls this relay between fiction and reality “creative visualization.”

(3) FIRE IN THE WHOLE. Steven Zeitchik says in the Washington Post that tensions are rising between the Writers Guild of America (East) & Writers Guild of America (West) and the Association of Talent Agents because the writers think the agents are forming production companies and not being fair to the writers.  He says if the agents and writers don’t negotiate a new “artists manager basic agreement” about fee sharing by April 6, the result could be a mass firing by the 20,000 WGA members of their agents. “Hollywood agents and writers meet, but impasse remains”.

…The writers say they do not wish to renew the franchise agreement without significant revisions. They want new units that the agencies created to function as production companies to instead be formally carved out as separate entities. At present those units exist more as extensions of the agencies, which the writers say ups the possibility for conflicts of interest.

The also want to overhaul the main ways agents collect money on writers’ work. At the moment those revenue are dominated not by standard commissions from clients but by packaging fees, in which studios pay the agents for putting together the creative elements of a show. Those fees, the writers say, encourage agents to act against their own clients’ interests and also allow them to dip into a pool of revenue that should go to creators.

The agencies, particularly the Big Four — CAA, WME, UTA and ICM — that are leading the fight, say that the writers are working under false assumptions. Packaging fees and new entities offer riches to both parties, they say, especially as the media companies with which they are negotiating are growing larger and more vertical.

(4) FOR MEMORY CARE. The GoFundMe for Gahan Wilson has raised $52,175 of its $100,000 goal in the first 14 days. More than a thousand people have donated.

(5) NOT SAFE FOR WHATEVER. [Item by Dann.] Netflix recently released their series of sci-fi/fantasy/horror animated short files under the title Love, Death + Robots.  The collection features 10-20 minute long films based on genre stories.  Original story authors include John Scalzi, Marko Kloos, Joe Lansdale, and Ken Liu.

The collection is billed as an “NSFW anthology”.  It generally lives up to that appellation.  The films range from mildly questionable language to full-on body dismemberment to sexually explicit content (voluntary and otherwise).  The use of felines periodically borders on being questionable.

Tim Miller, director of Deadpool, leads the effort.  He is also an executive producer.  Miller and David Fincher have been credited with developing the anthology as a sort of modern version of Heavy Metal magazine.

The collection is part of Netflix’s effort to create unique content.  Many recently released titles feature genre based stories.  Not unlike Amazon’s influence on the increasing number of sub-novel length works, might this development be a signal of technology changing markets to allow a range of video productions other than long format movies or shorter format TV series?

Is there a Hugo worthy animated short in this anthology?  Only people living in 2020 know for certain.

(6) RYAN OBIT. In “Tom K. Ryan, R.I.P.”, Mark Evanier pays tribute to the Tumbleweeds cartoonist who died on March 7.

Cartoonist Tom K. Ryan, who gave us the syndicated strip Tumbleweeds has passed at the age of 92…actually, about 92.8. His popular western-themed comic made its debut in September of 1965 and lasted until the end of 2007 when Ryan decided he was getting too old to continue it. A run of 42+ years is pretty impressive in any industry. Like most cartoonists, Ryan was aided by occasional assistants, one of whom — a fellow named Jim Davis — did okay for himself when he struck out on his own and created Garfield.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 17, 1846 Kate Greenaway. Victorian artist and writer, largely known today for her children’s book illustrations. So popular was she and her work that the very popular Kate Greenaway Almanacks appeared every year from 1883 to 1895. Among her best-known works was her edition of Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Rosa Mulholland’s Puck and Blossom and Bret Harte’s Pirate Isle. (Died 1901.)
  • Born March 17, 1906 Brigitte Helm. German actress, Metropolis. Her first role a an actress, she played two roles, Maria and her double, the Maschinenmensch. Oddly enough I’ve not seen it, so do render your opinions on it please. She’s got some other genre credits including L’Atlantide (The Mistress of Atlantis) and Alraune (Unholy Love). Her later films would be strictly in keeping with the policies of the Nazis with all films being fiercely anti-capitalist and  in particular attacking Jewish financial speculators. (Died 1996.)
  • Born March 17, 1945 Tania Lemani, 74. She played Kara in the Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold”. She first met Shatner when she was offered her a role in the pilot for Alexander the Great, starring him in the title role (although the pilot failed to be picked up as a series). She had parts in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Bionic Woman and she shows up in the fanfic video Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. I assume as Kara, though IMDb lists her as herself. 
  • Born March 17, 1947 James K. Morrow, 72. I’m very fond of the Godhead trilogy in which God is Dead and very, very present. Shambling Towards Hiroshima is a lot of satisfying satirical fun as is The Madonna and the Starship which is also is a wonderful homage to pulp writers.
  • Born March 17, 1948 William Gibson, 71. I’ve read the Sprawl trilogy more times than I can remember and likewise the Bridge trilogy and The Difference Engine. The works I struggled with are Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History. I’ve tried all of them, none were appealing. Eh? 
  • Born March 17, 1949 Patrick Duffy, 70. Surely you’ve seen him on Man from Atlantis? No?  Oh, you missed a strange, short-lived show. His other genre credits are a delightfully mixed bag of such things as voicing a Goat on Alice in Wonderland, appearing on The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne as Duke Angelo Rimini  in the “Rockets of the Dead” episode and voicing  Steve Trevor in the incredibly excellent “The Savage Time” three-parter on Justice League. 
  • Born March 17, 1951 Kurt Russell, 68. I know I saw Escape from New York on a rainy summer night in a now century-old Art Deco theatre which wasn’t the one I later saw Blade Runner in. I think it’s much better than Escape from L.A. was. Of course there’s Big Trouble in Little China, my favorite film with him in it. And let’s not forget Tombstone. Not genre, you say. Maybe not, but it’s damn good. 
  • Born March 17, 1958 Christian Clemenson, 61. Though I’m reasonably sure his first genre appearance was on the Beauty and The Beast series, his first memorable appearance was on the BtVS episode “Bad Girls” as a obscenely obese demon named Balthazar. Lots of practical effects were used. His other significant genre role was on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. as fish way out of the water Eastern lawyer Socrates Poole. And yes, I loved that series! 
  • Born March 17, 1962 Clare Grogan, 57. On the Red Dwarf series as the first incarnation of Kristine Kochanski. Anyone here watch it? One truly weird series!  She really doesn’t have much of any acting career and her genre career is quite short otherwise, a stint in an episode on Sea of Souls, a Scots ghost chasing series, is it. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Tom the Dancing Bug finds humor in explaining why some time travelers hold no terrors for Americans of the 1950s.

(9) FRANSON AWARDS. National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) President George Phillies has picked three recipients for this year’s Franson Awards, named for the late Donald Franson, and given as a show of appreciation:

As your President, it is my privilege and honor to bestow the N3F President’s Award on our three art-ists, who have been doing so much to beautify our N3F zines. Please join me in thanking Angela K Scott, Jose Sanchez, and Cedar Sanderson for what they have done for our Federation.

(10) BEEP BEEP. MovieWeb is there when “Revenge of the Sith Deleted Scene of Anakin Speaking Droid Goes Viral”.

An old deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith where Anakin speaks droid has started to gain popularity online. Some Star Wars fans are having a hard time believing that the scene is real, which makes sense in an age where deleted scenes are practically a thing of the past. Over the years, the prequels have been looked at in a better light by a younger generation that grew up with those three installments being the first Star Wars movies that they saw.

…While it is a bit of a silly scene, it does probably point Obi-Wan in the direction to learn droid. In A New Hope, he can understand R2D2, so the scene could have served a purpose had it been left in. But it’s a little on the silly side because these are powerful Jedi that we’re talking about here. They should, at the very least, know how to talk to a droid before levitating rocks and using Jedi mind tricks. Whatever the case may be, the scene was left on the cutting room floor and thrown on the DVD.

(11) NOW, VOYAGER. Slate tells why “It Was a Big Week in Politics for Star Trek: Voyager Fans”.

When it comes to ‘90s-era Star Trek series, Voyager doesn’t always get its due, maybe because it couldn’t quite live up to the high standard set by The Next Generation or because it lacked the gravitas and daring of Deep Space Nine. (Or maybe it’s just because we’re all trying to avoid thinking too hard about the events of “Threshold.”) Still, Voyager stayed true to Star Trek’s overarching spirit of exploration and cooperation, forcing two very different groups of people to work together to survive and testing the characters’ utopian ideals by stranding them far from the safety of the Federation. Plus, the series was the first in the franchise to be led by a female captain, Kathryn Janeway, played by the dynamic Kate Mulgrew.

The show’s lasting influence can be felt in two stories from this week about prominent Democratic politicians, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Stacey Abrams, both of whom are fans of Voyager and, in particular, its lead character. The first surprise nod to Trek in the political sphere came from the Daily Mail’s unexpectedly wholesome interview with Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, who described how Voyager became a portent of her daughter’s future success.

[…] The other Voyager shoutout appeared in the New York Times on Thursday in a story with the headline “Stacey Abrams, Star Trek Nerd, Is Traveling at Warp Speed.” In quotes from a previously unpublished interview from last summer, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate says that while The Next Generation is her favorite series, she “reveres Admiral Janeway.” She also shows off her good taste in Trek by picking a Voyager episode, “Shattered,” as a favorite. […]

(12) A LORD AND LADY. PopSugar already knows our answer is “Yes!” — “Tell Me Something, Droid . . . Are You Ready For a Star Wars “Shallow” Parody?”

A Star Wars Is Born . . . How did I not see this coming? The Star Wars and A Star Is Born universes finally collided to pay tribute to two fan-favorite ships in a Nerdist parody music video. If Ally and Jackson were transported to a galaxy far, far, away, perhaps their version of “Shallow” would’ve ended up a little like Kylo Ren and Rey’s. 

(13) HARLEY QUINN. SYFY Wire eavesdrops as “Kaley Cuoco shares new glimpse of Harley Quinn animated series”.

When DC first announced its new service, it treated fans with an influx of announcements. Not only would they be able to stream classics like Batman: The Animated Series, but they received a plethora of original programming. […] Coming soon to the network will be Harley Quinn, an animated series featuring the voices of Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) as Harley and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as the Joker

Other than the trailer released at NYCC, we’ve haven’t seen much else in regard to everyone’s favorite psychopath with a heart of gold. That is until Cuoco took to Instagram and posted some shots from her voice sessions.

(14) ORCISH LAWYERS. “Fearing a trademark lawsuit, Bucksport’s ‘Hobbit Hill’ farm agrees to change name” – the Bangor Daily News has the story.

When Kevin and Mandy Wheaton opened their farm off Ledgewood Drive last April, they couldn’t see anybody having a problem with the name they gave it:

Hobbit Hill Homestead.

“I thought a Hobbit was a small, woodland creature with giant hairy feet, and they were fun-loving and liked to smoke their little pipes,” Mandy Wheaton said, “like a gnome or a leprechaun.”

Well, it turns out that somebody did have a problem with the Wheatons using the name Hobbit — Middle-earth Enterprises.

That’s the California company that owns worldwide rights to trademarked terms within British author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” It’s an arm of The Saul Zaentz Co., which produced the animated 1978 “Lord of the Rings” film.

(15) NO BADGES HERE. Not even B. Traven could save this issue? Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus pans the latest (in 1964) issue of F&SF, which includes a story by the writer:“[March 17, 1964] It’s all Downhill(April 1964 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”. (Traven wrote the novel that The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is based on.)

A friend of mine inquired about an obscure science fiction story the other day.  She expressed surprise that I had, in fact, read it, and wondered what my criteria were for choosing my reading material.  I had to explain that I didn’t have any: I read everything published as science fiction and/or fantasy. 

My friend found this refrain from judgment admirable.  I think it’s just a form of insanity, particularly as it subjects me to frequent painful slogs.  For instance, this month’s Fantasy and Science Fiction continues the magazine’s (occasionally abated) slide into the kaka.  With the exception of a couple of pieces, it’s bad.  Beyond bad — dull….

FLING THAT THING. Comic Books vs The World calls them “giant death frisbees” in “Every MCU Captain America Shield Explained.”

He may not have been in action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe all that much, but Captain America’s had a bunch of different shields over the years. Let’s look over the timeline of the MCU and see what all he’s used so far!

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern, who just saw Captain Marvel.]

51 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/17/19 To Say Nothing Of The Cat

  1. What I remember most from “Man from Atlantis” was the supercomputer’s analysis of the mysterious gilled guy discovered in the first episode; after all the information about Patrick Duffy is entered, the computer suggests “Last Citizen of Atlantis ? ? ?”

  2. @7: I have seen the standard, massively-cut Metropolis that has been in circulation for decades; I’ve also seen a version that was claimed to be mostly-restored, with cue cards summarizing the bits that are known to have been in the original but can’t be found. I do not think it has aged well; equating encouraging the lowest classes to try for their rights with dangerous agitation (and assuming those classes will do nothing without such a dangerous agitator) is beyond quaint. The restored parts did seem to make the film hold together better.

  3. 7) The great Brigitte Helm was born in 1906, not 1960.

    Regarding Metropolis, I have seen what was considered then (1990s) the most complete restored version in the theatre complete with live music, which is as it should be seen. And yes, it was glorious, even if my seat back broke down halfway through, landing me on the lap of the gentleman behind me and squashing his gyros sandwich.

    I have also seen the current most complete restored version (though it’s still missing approx. 5 minutes of footage), which ads a lot of context to Rotwang’s beef with the Fredersens and also gives Fritz Rasp (who specialized in playing villains and still played villains forty years later) a lot more to do.

    The class battle plot and the hoary “hand and head are united by the heart” message (which even Lang thought was hoary, though his view was probably coloured by his estrangement from Thea von Harbou) haven’t aged all that well, but they made perfect sense in the context of 1920s Germany, which was constantly rocked by constant unrest and local uprisings, complete with shooting in the streets, from both left and right and where large parts of the working class lived in horrible conditions and abject poverty, while the wealthy partied in the sort of cabarets that are now a cliché. Metropolis is a reflection of Weimar Republic Germany and that’s the context in which it must be viewed.

    Besides, no one watches Metropolis for the plot anyway, but for the visuals. And the visuals are still amazing 92 years later. As the friend with whom I watched it in the theatre whispered to me, “Oh! So that’s where all those American science fiction movies stole their ideas from.”

    I’m not sure if Metropolis is the best film Fritz Lang ever made, since M and the three Mabuse films are very strong contenders (and if pressed, I’d probably go with the Mabuses). The Nibelungs, which predates Metropolis, hasn’t aged well IMO and is mainly of historical interest. I also admit a certain soft spot for The Tiger of Eshnapur and The Indian Tomb, especially since Lang’s version at least attempts to interrogate the colonialist assumptions behind the whole “exotic adventure” genre.

  4. 6) *SIGH* Though I’ve reached an age where most of the artists I cut my teeth on are either already dead or are dying, certain of them hurt more than others. Tumbleweeds was my second-favorite strip after Peanuts when I was a kid. I’m particularly fond of Lotsa Luck. 92 is certainly a good age to reach, but this one still hurts-a lot.

    (Hands out a card reading Requiescat In Pace)

  5. @Cora Buhlert: “Besides, no one watches Metropolis for the plot anyway, but for the visuals.”

    And for, as the kids say, the feels. Watching the ending always warms me a tiny bit.

  6. (14) ORCISH LAWYERS “It’s an arm of The Saul Zaentz Co.[…]”

    Worth noting that Saul Zaentz is the guy who once sued John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival for sounding too much like…himself!

  7. @ Xtifr

    In contrast, Geffen Records sued Neil Young in 1983 for not sounding like Neil Young!

  8. If nothing else, Metropolis contains the genesis of pretty much every science fiction city in film, from Blade Runner’s Los Angeles to Star Wars’ Corsucant.

  9. 15) I went to look at the review of the old F&SF, because we’re getting to where I started reading it, and I was thinking of the “Into the Shop” issue, and sure enough, there was the Jack Gaughan cover for that Ron Goulart story. It wasn’t liked by our reviewer, but I’ve reread that story often and laughed each time. I guess I’m just a sucker for obvious humor.

    It was made into a mediocre episode of the tv show Welcome to Paradox, which I did not laugh at at all.

  10. In re #16: Someone on Usenet once asked Kurt whether Captain America’s shield had a name. (Thor’s hammer is Mjolnir; Captain America’s shield is…?) He replied, “Flingy.” For some reason that name hasn’t caught on with the general public.

  11. @Rob Thornton: That is an amusing contrast–though at least Geffen ended up apologizing for their suit.

    I’ve watched the first few episodes of Love, Death + Robots, and it’s a very mixed series. I really liked the Scalzi episode “Three Robots” (which also features some credentials) and Liu’s “Good Hunting”. The others have varied in quality from decent to “why would they bother making this crap?” But there’s enough good there that I plan to keep watching, even if it’s not all I’d hoped going in.

  12. 7) Not genre maybe, but Kurt Russell was also prominent in a somewhat intense nature documentary called The Thing.

  13. 4) Given how much Gahan Wilson’s work has entertained and inspired me over the years I wish I had money to help him now when he really needs it. I hope they reach the goal soon.

    7) [quoting Eli] “Not genre maybe, but Kurt Russell was also prominent in a somewhat intense nature documentary called The Thing.”

    Heheheh. Yeah, while I love many of Russel’s films, including the ones mentioned in the OP, The Thing is usually the first one that comes to my mind when I think the best of Kurt Russell… and even scifi (albeit horror). Two other notable genre films he did were Stargate (which made a pretty big impact) and the rather under-rated Soldier. That last one was also notable for having very few speaking lines (if any) despite his being the lead character.

    And of course there was the recent Guardians of the Galaxy 2 where he played a planet(-sized Ego).

    12) I was seriously worried how that would turn out… but was pleasantly surprised. The singing/music was well done.

  14. Kurt Russell also portrayed Ego, the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, winner of the 2017 Darth Vader Parenthood Award for outstandingly horrible fictional parents.

  15. Hm, looks like #16 is currently #NaN (“not a number”). Not sure if it is a free scroll, though.

  16. Kurt Russell, after years of movies of not talking much , got a whole monologue in the forgotten genre movie INTERSTATE 60. I understand from the director’s commentary that he wanted one and he got one. (Kinda like Al Pacino and Devil’s Advocate).

  17. 7) Oh, also to say that yes, I like Red Dwarf quite a bit. And while nothing will ever be as good as the original runs, the most recent few seasons were a marked improvement over the first few ” revival” seasons.

    (It’s one of those BBC series where they did the original run, then came back 10-15 years later and started producing new episodes with … mixed results.)

  18. My Kurt Russel love goes to all the movies mentioned above, but also to the sweet superhero movie Sky High, where he acts as a supherhero whose sun is delegated to the sidekick school for lacking super powers.

  19. Eli says Not genre maybe, but Kurt Russell was also prominent in a somewhat intense nature documentary called The Thing.

    Oops, I missed that one.thanks for catching it.

    About to get a catheter as my bladder muscle has decided to shut down. No idea why.

  20. Yesterday, as we all know, was St Gertrude’s day.

    She’s the patron saint of cats. Which ought to go over well here. And I see OGH has selected a most appropriate Pixel Scroll title.

    Also, Thank you so much Cat for continuing the Birthdays from hospital! I hope you get very much better very, very soon.

  21. @Cora Buhlert: I see the connection to the time/place when the film was made — but ISTM that even then the idea of stirring the masses to revolt so they could be put down or would burn themselves down was … corrupt. The notion of an outside agitator carries additional freight for those of us old enough to remember when that epithet was applied to civil rights workers in the US South, which claimed that black people were incapable of behaving without firm guidance and were content when not mistakenly roused, but that’s hardly the only time/place when the ruling falsehood was spread. Metropolis may not be as consciously vile as Birth of a Nation, but I’m not sure it was balanced even at the time. I also remember noticing on my first viewing (~40 years ago) the opposition of the virginal woman preaching peace and the lusty woman stirring up useless violence; compare that to the South’s claim of protecting the purity of white women, or the frequent libel of lewdness made against female political activists, or even the double standard in itself. (No, this is not clearly laid out; I’m short enough of sleep that I can’t organize coherently, but I remember seeing this issues a long time ago.) The restored version I saw did have a small live band, the Alloy “Orchestra”, which was at least more daring and varied than typical silent-movie appended soundtracks and has a history dating back to the 1991 restoration. The theater where I saw this has also been collaborating with the Berklee Conservatory’s composition program to bring much larger groups for other silents: The Freshman and The Man Who Laughs (which has a genre connection: the Joker was modeled after Veidt’s makeup).

  22. Serious Meredith Moment: An ebook omnibus of all four of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth novels (“Tales of the Dying Earth”) is available at Amazon, Apple, and possibly elsewhere for $2.99.

  23. Joe H: The more recent Red Dwarf episodes were produced not by the BBC, but a UK cable channel, Dave. The initial run was rather shaky, but they’ve certainly got their act together since.

    (7) Kurt Russell was also in the Tarantino half of Grindhouse, as a psychopathic ex-stunt driver, and the extremely gory Bone Tomahawk. His genre career stretches back to playing a juvenile alien in a 1966 episode of Lost in Space, followed by such “family fare” as The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him, Now You Don’t, The Strongest Man in the World and Search for the Gods.

  24. @Steve Green — Thanks! I hadn’t grokked that the new seasons were from a different producer. Yes, they’ve certainly gotten better in the last few seasons.

  25. not by the BBC, but a UK cable channel, Dave

    Although Dave is part of UKTV which is 50% owned by the BBC, and a lot of the content is from BBC archives.

  26. Chip Hitchcock: “No, this is not clearly laid out; I’m short enough of sleep that I can’t organize coherently.”

    Ah, perhaps that explains why you misremembered the film. The “virginal” Maria is kidnapped by city leader Jon Fredersen, who asks his chief scientist Rotwang to replace her with a lookalike robot and so defuse the growing revolution. Rotwang (who secretly hates his boss for marrying the object of his own affections) decides to make the robot Maria a reckless agitator (the “lusty woman” you mentioned) and bring about the city’s destruction. Horrified at the apparent death of their children amongst the chaos, the workers immolate their prophet, revealing the robot beneath. Freder, son of Fredersen and admirer of the true Maria, kills Rotwang and forces his father into arbitration with Grot, leader of the remaining workers.

    Quite what any of this has to do with “the [US] South’s claim of protecting the purity of white women” escapes me, and it probably never entered the mind of either Fritz Lang or his wife and co-writer, Thea von Harbou, who was likely more concerned with which of the young actresses his roaming eye had affixed itself to.

    Anthony: Thanks for the background info. This blows rather a large hole in the BBC’s stance against making money from tv ads (Dave carries ads), part of its justification for the Television Licence.

  27. @Steve Green

    Umm, you’d better not look up BBC Worldwide then, if you think the Beeb ought not to get money from other sources.

  28. ULTRAGOTHA says Also, Thank you so much Cat for continuing the Birthdays from hospital! I hope you get very much better very, very soon.

    You’re welcome. It’s actually a perfect thing to do while in%-hospital. The Attending Doctor figures another three to five days here if the bladder condition isn’t serious.

  29. David Goldfarb on March 17, 2019 at 10:39 pm said:

    In re #16: Someone on Usenet once asked Kurt whether Captain America’s shield had a name.

    Meanwhile, during Mike Allred’s fun run on Silver Surfer (~2013-2016), Dawn Greenwood determined what his board’s name was — “Toomi” (or perhaps “Toomey”), based on that’s what SSurf was always saying, “To me, my board!” (which doesn’t explain why Professor Xavier and his successors was calling on the X-people by the same name, as it were…)

  30. @Xtifr

    I’ve watched the first few episodes of Love, Death + Robots, and it’s a very mixed series.

    I’m finding for that exact reason why it is Fincher’s attempt to bring Heavy Metal to the screen. The magazine was always a mix of really smart stuff, great or intriguing art, and just terrible tosh. Overall, I enjoyed it, even finding a few moments in the weakest ones to enjoy. The format of 8-20 minute shorts really helps keep even the worst ones from being a grind.

    However, it also has the terrible tone of the 90s HM issues that ‘edgy’ is about relying on sex, rape, and female nudity way too hard. I’m hoping that, if the format continues, they will feature significantly more women writers in their source material.

  31. @Rob:

    Thanks. Andy is a major Vance fan, and just said “sure, I’ll get that.”

  32. (which doesn’t explain why Professor Xavier and his successors was calling on the X-people by the same name, as it were…)

    Clearly he was telling them the Surfer’s board was going past.

  33. The thing I adore about Kurt Russell was his willingness to fully throw himself into his roles and play his characters absolutely straight in the camp extravaganzas Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance where he phoned it in.

  34. Mark: Umm, you’d better not look up BBC Worldwide then, if you think the Beeb ought not to get money from other sources.

    Oh, I’m well aware of the BBC’s other money-making operations (including BritBox), but I was specifically referring to its stance on advertising. Mandatory licensing is a blunt instrument which underwrites the corporation’s inefficiency and profligacy; an analogy would be being forced to pay for a CBS All Access subscription when you only use Netflix, which is why I allowed my own licence to lapse last year and haven’t watched any BBC programming at home since.

  35. @Dex: “However, it also has the terrible tone of the 90s HM issues that ‘edgy’ is about relying on sex, rape, and female nudity way too hard”

    I started reading Heavy Metal somewhat earlier (when I was not old enough), and I can confirm that it was that way well before the ’90s. There was a lot of other interesting stuff mixed in, but… yeah.

  36. I’m a lot more familiar with the French original Metal Hurlant than with the US version and Metal Hurlant wasn’t even around in the 1990s. And yes, it always had that fascination with sex, violence and female nudity that was much more in your face than with other Franco-Belgian-Dutch comic of the era.

    @Chip Hitchcock
    Well, stirring up revolt is not considered a good thing in Metropolis at all, since the workers revolt destroys the machine and floods the workers’ subterranean homes, endangering their families. Instead, the (somewhat naive) solution is the capitalists becoming more benevolent and granting the workers more rights and better living conditions.

    As for the outside agitator (who, as Steve Green points out, is not the real Maria, but a robot double designed by Rotwang, the villainous scientists), agents provocateurs who stirred up trouble during protests were definitely a thing in Weimar era Germany, as were infiltrators who pretended to be communists, figured out when meetings and protests would take place and then turned around to tip off the police or sometimes political rivals. When caught, such informers and agents provocateurs did not fare much better than robot Maria.

    And yes, there is a madonna/whore dichotomy with Maria/robot Maria in Metropolis. Not sure if this was due to Fritz Lang or Thea von Harbou, though it also shows up in other Fritz Lang films, often the ones he made together with Thea von Harbou. It’s pretty heavy in The Tiger of Eshnapur/The Indian Tomb (which was based on a script by Thea von Harbou), also concentrated in a single woman.

  37. @Cora Buhlert: I’m not sure how to read your pair of comments about Maria/robot; the first denies my pointing out the dichotomy, the second acknowledges it. I did not say that the US South (or, more pointedly, the US battle for female suffrage) was in the minds of the writer and/or director, simply that they were playing the same tired trope that has commonly been played against women who speak out vigorously rather than meekly.

    You also keep misreading/misquoting my statements about the agitation; the point is that any agitation is slandered as destructive. That some actually was in that time does not mean that making the sole example destructive is not biased even then, and badly dated now.

  38. Chip Hitchcock: the point is that any agitation is slandered as destructive

    No, Chip, it isn’t. As both Cora Buhlert and I pointed out, the real Maria preaches peace and reconciliation, but Frederson still perceives her as a threat to the social order which places him at its apex (not a viewpoint shared by his son, of course). He decides she should be discredited, but Rotwang takes it further and plunges the city into chaos — not as a political act, but petty vengeance upon the man who “stole” the woman he loved. If you’ve managed to catch up on your sleep, perhaps you should try watching the film again, rather than shoehorning vague memories of it into a misogynist mindframe it was never part of.

  39. @Steve Green
    .
    Well, you do you and all that. You do seem to be arguing with a version of the Beeb that doesn’t exist though – they sell their wares to ad-supported networks and that’s not a new thing.
    You can disagree with the licence fee – and you obviously do – but making money from other avenues to keep it as low as possible is a good thing IMO.

  40. Mark: You do seem to be arguing with a version of the Beeb that doesn’t exist

    Actually, Mark, you seem to be arguing with a version of me that doesn’t exist, the one where I’m unaware the BBC sells DVDs and Blu-rays of its library, and lets other channels screen its shows. My point earlier, which still stands, is that the BBC has historically claimed having to sell advertising instead of relying upon the annual licence fee would fundamentally change its ethos, yet it holds a 50% stake in a channel doing just that. Its argument that he current system couldn’t be replaced by a choice-driven subscription service will also be undermined by the UK launch of BritBox.

    Forcing people to pay a levy to one company (with massive fines if you do not) when you only watch another company’s shows is intrinsically immoral. There are certain parts of the BBC which is worthy of national support, such as the core news service, but that should be funded via central taxation, rather than a scheme whereby the poorest households pay as much as the richest, and those who cannot afford this blind charge live under threat of legal sanction.

  41. We did change to a taxation model for our public television last year. The reason wasn’t because poor people paid the same license fee as rich people. It was because a lot of people stopped paying the license fee at all when they skipped out on having a TV, instead viewing public service through their computer.

    I do think public service needs to offer a good service in both entertainment, news, sports and more if they want to be a viable channel that people actually watch. Not having all those parts would slowly turn it to a fringe entity for a small and selected group.

  42. @Steve Green

    I think I’m just going to leave you to ride that hobbyhorse on your own.

  43. Dex on March 18, 2019 at 1:04 pm said:

    However, it also has the terrible tone of the 90s HM issues that ‘edgy’ is about relying on sex, rape, and female nudity way too hard. I’m hoping that, if the format continues, they will feature significantly more women writers in their source material.

    I thought that after the first several episodes, but they seem to have front-loaded the sex-and-female-nudity, and by the end of the series, I didn’t really feel that way any more. At least, not as strongly. The last half of the series has more male nudity than female, I’m pretty sure. And more episodes that don’t bother with either.

    I still strongly agree with your last point, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.