Pixel Scroll 2/11/18 ’The Scroll of Doctor Pixel And Other Stories’ And Other Stories

1) EXTENDING LIFE FOR ISS? TechCrunch says: “The Trump administration is reportedly moving to privatize the International Space Station”. (“I’m sorry, Dave, but it will cost you $2.5 million to open the pod bay doors.”)

The Trump administration is planning to privatize the international space station instead of simply decommissioning the orbiting international experiment in 2024, according to a report in The Washington Post

According to a document obtained by the Post, the current administration is mulling handing the International Space Station off to private industry instead of de-orbiting it as NASA “will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”

The Post also reported that the administration was looking to request $150 million in fiscal year 2019 “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.”

(2) PALEYFEST. PaleyFest LA puts fans in the same room with over a hundred TV stars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood from March 16-25. This almost throws Comic-Con in the shade. Deaadline reports: “PaleyFest LA Sets Talent From ‘Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Queen Sugar’, ‘Riverdale’ For TV Event”.

In addition to the previously announced opening night tribute to Barbra Streisand, the lineup at this year’s fest includes over 100 stars from some of the best shows making waves on television  including Seth MacFarlane, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Iain Armitage, Zoe Perry, Freddie Highmore, Rutina Wesley, Ava DuVernay, KJ Apa, and Lili Reinhart.

PaleyFest LA 2018 gives fans access to special screenings, exclusive conversations, and behind-the-scenes scoops and breaking news from the stars and creative minds behind their favorite shows. This years shows include The Orville, Will & Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale, Silicon Valley, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, The Good Doctor, Mom, Queen Sugar, Riverdale, and Stranger Things….

Click the link to see all the stars who will be appearing for these shows —

Friday, March 16: Opening Night Presentation: PaleyFest Icon: An Evening with Barbra Streisand (7:30 pm):

Saturday, March 17: FOX’s The Orville (2:00 pm):

Saturday, March 17: NBC’s Will & Grace (7:00 pm): 

Sunday, March 18: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2:00 pm):

Tuesday, March 20: CW’s Supernatural (6:45 pm):

Wednesday, March 21: CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon (7:30 pm) 

Thursday, March 22: ABC’s The Good Doctor (7:30 pm):

Saturday, March 24: CBS’s Mom (2:00 pm):

Saturday, March 24: OWN’s Queen Sugar (7:00 pm):

Sunday, March 25: CW’s Riverdale (2:00 pm):

Sunday, March 25: Netflix’s Stranger Things (7:00 pm):

(3) CHANGING THE CHANNEL. Abigail Nussbaum covers new TV shows in “Winter Crop, 2018 Edition”.

…I don’t know if I’m going to stay in love with all of these shows (three episodes in, I’m starting to lose patience with Counterpart, for example), but they have a hook that the fall’s carefully samey procedurals don’t even try for.

  • Black Lightning – There’s a scene about halfway through the premiere episode of the CW’s latest DC superhero show that really made me sit up, and think that maybe we were about to get a genuinely revolutionary take on this increasingly problematic concept.  Retired superhero turned school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) has just rescued his daughter from the clutches of a gang boss, in the process causing panic at a nightclub.  Wandering outside the club in a daze, he’s discovered by some cops, who immediately train their guns on him and order him to “get [his] black ass on the ground”.  Jefferson could comply–as he did earlier in the day when he was pulled over for “fitting the description” of a liquor store robber–and his powers mean that he isn’t in any immediate danger.  Nevertheless, a long litany of frustration, including from the earlier run-in with the police, takes its toll, and he clenches his fists and lets fly with his electric powers, leaving the cops alive but on the ground as he power-walks away.It’s a scene that feels important for two reasons.  First, because of how rarely black heroes–and black superheroes in particular–are allowed to express anger, much less allow themselves to be overcome by it.  Think, for example, of the MCU’s black heroes–Falcon, War Machine, Luke Cage, and Black Panther–and how often they’re positioned as the level-headed, or cheerful, counterpoint to a hotheaded or angsty white hero.  Even as heroes of their own stories, these characters are expected to proceed with calm deliberation, and are rarely allowed to express rage or frustration–in Civil War, T’challa is seeking justice for the recent murder of his father, and yet he spends the film acting cool and collected, while Captain America and Iron Man’s every temper tantrum is indulged and excused.  For Black Lightning to allow its titular hero to feel rage–to make that expression of rage our introduction to him as a person with powers–feels like a thesis statement, as well as a deliberate rebuke to the stereotype of the angry black man.

(4) LOST AND NOT FOUND. An interview with a student of manuscripts in The Guardian: “‘I really want to find it before I die’: why are we so fascinated by lost books? “

Does the Book of Kells lose any of its allure when a mass-produced paperback version is available to buy just feet away, in Trinity College Dublin’s gift shop? No, says de Hamel: “There are things you’ll see in an original manuscript that even a microfilm or digitised surrogate cannot convey – drypoint glosses, erasures, sewing holes, underdrawing, changes of parchment, subtleties of colour, loss of leaves, patina of handling – even smell and touch and sound, which can transform knowledge and understanding of the text when its scribes made it and first readers saw it.” So, when we mourn lost manuscripts, it’s not just over the disappearance of words, we are also losing an understanding of the process of their creation – the author’s scribbles, their hasty additions, their fraught deletions.

There are many lost books that de Hamel hopes to one day see: “The Book of Kells had more leaves in the 17th century than it does now. Are they somewhere in someone’s scrapbook? The 12th-century Winchester Bible, perhaps the greatest English medieval work of art, had a number of miniatures cut out, possibly as recently as the 20th century: some, at least, probably do exist. I really, really want to find one before I die.”

(5) HEFTY TOME. If you want a hardcover of Rosarium’s massive Sunspot Jungle, pledge the fundraiser – see details at “Sunspot Jungle: Kickstarter Exclusive Hardcover Edition”.

 On June 17, 2018, Rosarium Publishing will be turning five years old. So, we’ve decided to throw a little party. Since we like to say we “introduce the world to itself,” we just knew it had to be a global party!

Like any good party, we’ve invited some friends, acquaintances, associates, people we’ve heard good things about, and some complete strangers.

The end result is Sunspot Jungle!

A two-volume, spec fic anthology filled with stories from over 100 writers from around the world!!!

This campaign is for special hardcover editions of the anthology only available to you Kickstarter supporters.

(The paperback for Vol. 1 will be out in December while the one for Vol. 2 will be released in spring of 2019.)

(6) GAVIN OBIT. John Gavin (1931-2018): US actor who later became a diplomat, died February 9, aged 86. Screen appearances include the horror classic Psycho, the psychological drama Midnight Lace (both 1960), two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1963/65). Reportedly signed up to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever until Sean Connery agreed to return to the role, but this apparent setback allowed him to fulfil a lifelong dream to become the US ambassador to Mexico.

(7) CATHEY OBIT. Reg E Cathey (1958-2018): US actor, died February 9, aged 59. Genre appearances include Star Trek: The Next Generation (one episode, 1993), The Mask (1994), Tank Girl (1995), Grimm (three episodes, 2013), Banshee (two episodes, 2014), Banshee Origins (three episodes, 2014), Fantastic Four (2015). He also provided a voice for the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic – Rise of the Hutt Cartel (2013).

(8) JONES OBIT. Mickey Jones (1941-2018): US musician and actor, died February 7, aged 76. Genre appearances include The Incredible Hulk (three episodes, 1978-81), Galactica 1980 (one episode, 1980), Starman (1984), Misfits of Science (one episode, 1985), ALF (one episode, 1986), Probe (one episode, 1988), Something Is Out There (six episodes, 1988), Total Recall (1990), It Came From Outer Space II (1996), Penny Dreadful (2006), Necrosis (2009), Deadtime Stories (one episode, 2013).


(10) WOODEN YOU LIKE TO KNOW? Another case where a gang of facts dismantle a wonderful story: “Did Abraham Lincoln sleep here?”

Visitors to a small log cabin in Kentucky are right to ask: Is it true that Abraham Lincoln slept here? On the eve of Lincoln’s 209th birthday tomorrow, Brook Silva-Braga has the answer:

Professor Henri Grissino-Mayer has come to Hodgenville, Kentucky to solve a mystery almost as old as Abraham Lincoln himself.

Silva-Braga asked, “So, someone pulls off the highway, sees you guys drilling into this cabin and says, ‘What are you doing here?’ what do you say to them?”

“What we’re trying to do is authenticate when this cabin was made by using the tree rings in the logs,” he replied.

(11) VESTED INTERESTS. In the past five years Disneyland has experienced growth in these social groups, and now two are in court — “They’re Disneyland superfans. Why a lawsuit is alleging gangster-like tactics against one social club”.

They stroll through Disneyland in packs of 20 or more, motley crews that resemble a cross between the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and a grown-up Mickey Mouse Club with their Disney-themed tattoos and their matching denim vests strewn with trading pins and logos.

Disneyland social clubs, by most accounts, are harmless alliances of friends and family who meet up at the park to share a nerdy obsession for all things Disney. With club names such as Tigger Army and Neverland Mermaids, how threatening can they be?

… But a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court has revealed a dark undercurrent to the pastime. The head of one club has accused another of using gangster-like tactics to try to collect “protection” money for a charity fundraiser at the park.

The lawsuit reads like mob movie set in a theme park. The plot revolves around the Main Street Fire Station 55 Social Club, whose leaders claim they have been bullied and terrorized by the head of the White Rabbits Social Club.

(12) LOOKBACK. The British Science Fiction Association’s Vector does a science roundup in “Vector’s pick of science news in 2017”.

First of all, water. Two new inventions for increasing the supply of drinking water caught our eye:

In other exciting news regarding fluids, albeit less immediately applicable: scientists have made a fluid with negative mass. But then, the usefulness of inventions is often hard to judge….

(13) I’VE BEEN TO OKLAHOMA, BUT I’VE NEVER BEEN TO KLINGON. Even people in Tulsa have heard about it now — the Tulsa World ran a story about the Swedish production Hampus Eckerman brought to our attention last month — “Brush up on your Klingon for a new vacation hotspot”.

In search of a new and different vacation spot, with great food and cultural delights? Look no further.

A theater in Stockholm is playing host to a Klingon delegation seeking to promote tourism to Qo’nos (pronounced “Kronos”), the home planet of the ruthless yet honorable race of warriors from the cult TV franchise “Star Trek.”

(14) DOESN’T LEAVE MUCH TO WATCH. At Superversive SF, Anthony M tells about the unrewarding experience of trying to “retake the culture” — “The Problem of the Scold” [Internet Archive page].

Right now those of us on the cutting edge of the coming revolution in the entertainment field face a very thorny problem: We are scolds.

Brian Neimeier has – correctly, in my view – pointed out that we should simply be refusing to see films and shows written by people who hate us and that direct their hate at us.

So no Star Wars. No Star Trek. It is looking increasingly likely that Marvel movies are just about done. Television? Forget it, pretty much. Netflix, the exceptions are few and far between. Should we be supporting Netflix anyway?

… They get annoyed at me. I’m a killjoy. I’m a wet blanket. I see politics in everything. I’m ruining their fun. And of course, in a sense, they are exactly right. Nobody wants to hear me bash “Frozen”, because it will ruin the movie for them. And they like the movie!

I have turned myself into a scold. Many of us have. Nobody likes scolds. We’re negative and we annoy people. And scolding so far has not worked outside of getting people who already agree to clap their hands.

(15) PRECEDENT. NPR looks at influences on the world of the new movie — “Black Panther’s Mythical Home May Not Be So Mythical After All” – and finds a similarity to a historic African empire built on trade instead of military might.

There are different theories about the real-life inspiration for Wakanda. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who authored a reboot of the Black Panther comic series, explained his in this post for The Atlantic’s website. But the actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays Black Panther on screen, told The New York Times that Wakanda is a fictional version of “the Mutapa empire of 15th-century Zimbabwe.”

So how does the mythical Wakanda compare to the real-life Mutapa?

Stretching from modern-day South Africa into Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia, the kingdom of Mutapa thrived from the early 1400s to about 1760.

“Mutapa operated on three basic levels: they had a capital city, provinces and little villages,” says Professor Angelo Nicolaides of the University of South Africa. Chiefs ruled at each of these levels under the supreme authority of the king, known as the Munhumutapa.

Like so many other kingdoms that believed in the divine right of kings, “the Mutapan people believed that their leaders were placed in positions of authority by the creator,” says Nicolaides. “The oral tradition tells us that they were involved in ancestral worship to a large extent, and the people believed that the kings had a very good relationship with the spirit world.”

(16) CONFERENCE OVERLOAD IN DC. T.M. Shine has a piece in Washington Post Magazine about how many conventions he could go to in Washington in a week.  Among the events he went to were Fortfest 2017, the International Fortean Organization convention, and Blerdcon, which started off as a con for “black nerds” and evolved into a con for people who like to wear superhero costumes — “Net neutrality, sex, falconry: In one week, I crashed as many D.C. conferences as possible”.

I’m romping around this convention, mingling with those dressed in costume, which is basically everybody. Blerdcon started as a celebration of black nerds, and then all minority nerds, but now it seems to be simply all of us — white, black, Hispanic, Asian. My costume is weak, I admit — just me with my various conference badges — but I begin to imagine everything from laser beams to android shrapnel bouncing off them. But what would my superhero name be? Evolution Man sounds too grand. I kind of like Symposium Man, but what would his powers be? Powerful personal anecdotes that freeze listeners in their tracks? The ability to spot a raised hand from 100 yards?

(17) WHAT DRONES CAN DO. The PyeongChang Olympics opened with 1218 drones filling the sky in the formation of the Olympic flag.

Good Morning America talks about how it was done.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Will R., Carl Slaughter, Jeffrey Smith, ULTRAGOTHA, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

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135 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/11/18 ’The Scroll of Doctor Pixel And Other Stories’ And Other Stories

  1. @Oneiros: (BL and bubbles)

    I agree to some extent that there’s an audience expectation there, but BL feels much less comic-bookish than the other four to me… just as iZombie (also a DC property, also on the CW) has yet another tone that clashes with both of them. I don’t expect to see Liv Moore show up in Star City anytime soon; if anything, I’d think her more likely to cross paths with Lucifer (another DC/Vertigo show, albeit on Fox).

    There’s also this: folding BL into the ArrowMultiverse establishes the presence of other superheroes on Black Lightning’s Earth. Canonically, without a doubt, no question. That guts the core premise of the show – that the main character has had to come out of retirement because his neighborhood’s gone to hell without him and there’s nobody else to step up. Add a friendly neighborhood Flash, and The 100 can be mopped up in an afternoon… which smells an awful lot like the White Savior trope gone really bad. Plus, BL’s producers don’t seem too keen on the idea.

    BL works very well as its own show. It doesn’t need to cross over into anything else. Neither do iZombie, Lucifer, or Gotham… and of the four, Gotham would be the closest tonal fit to the Arrowverse.

  2. @Niall: “50 Shades: Smut”

    But it’s extremely white smut, and you’ve gotta admit that a story about a rich white guy who uses the power granted by his wealth to stalk, control, and even inflict physical pain on a submissive woman who keeps forgiving him is extremely on-the-nose for the GOP “brand” these days.

    Especially considering the most recent White House firings.

  3. Well to be fair most of Oliver’s problems could be solved by the Flash too. I feel like Arrow, an actual strategist, would be better (or at least massively help Barry) versus the Thinker, too.

    Or just breach Supergirl in to superpunch everyone into prison.

    Marvel’s tv universe makes *way* less sense, given that they all live in the same city but barely bleed over at all, except via one specific character in each series.

  4. @Rev. Bob: “That guts the core premise of the show – that the main character has had to come out of retirement because his neighborhood’s gone to hell without him and there’s nobody else to step up.”

    I admit I’ve only seen a few BL eps and bits and pieces of the other shows, but this doesn’t make sense to me. The existence of superheroes in other cities – who I presume already don’t go around to every city in the country handling “local” problems like crime bosses, corruption, violence, etc. – doesn’t gut the premise of BL coming out of retirement because his neighborhood went to hell.

    The BL type of superhero is just very local based and often tackles non-super local stuff, unlike the supers that frequently tackle super villains and save the world. It’s never been an issue before (in comics) having both types exist – sometimes even in the same city.

    So I don’t see why supers in other cities (who presumably would rarely cross over) on this show would ruin BL’s premise. I may be missing something or misunderstanding what you said, though.

  5. @Owlmirror

    It’s a bit sudden, but it’s all about the power of love.

    Yup. That’s the problem right there. No practice. No success won through effort, trial, and failure. Just emote and believe enough and it works.


    My comment wasn’t about you specifically.

    Fair enough. As I demonstrate from time to time, a broad brush sometimes hits too many targets. And of course, being a rare non-left leaning commenter, I sometimes will accept something as directed my way when it is not intended as such.

    @Lis Carey

    Trust me when I say you can enjoy tv and movies anyway, if you want to.

    And it’s okay not to want to, too.

    I generally enjoy the properties with which I engage. The Hobbit movies being a huge exception. That isn’t to say that the ones I enjoy are beyond criticism. As Matt Y suggests, one can enjoy a given piece of work and still be critical about flaws within it. I’m more engaged with Netflix and Amazon Prime when I do watch movies/shows.

    Hollywood has simply motivated me to care less about what it produces. And yes, I know Hollywood is involved with those movies/shows.

    I get what you mean about the lack of positive, non-SWM role models. I’m generally pleased with the progress on that front thus far. At the same time, I enjoy characters like Sean Probst from Seveneves. Joe Abercrombie’s Logen Ninefingers is a bit of a guilty pleasure. He’s flawed, but he’s working on it.

    @Shao Ping

    Others have pointed this out, but that’s inaccurate. Bumbling dads have long been a cultural staple. Nor am I sure has criticism of America increased. In particular, I feel we’re often a lot less critical of our military than we used to be.

    It’s hard to say if the bumbling dad trope is rising or not. Based on my exposure, it is…or at least it was for a time within the media that I was consuming.

    Given that the media was overly critical of the military in the 70s and 80s, perhaps the upwards trend that you perceive is just a return to a more balanced perspective?


    Thanks! Always glad to share good SF/F.

    Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. – Calvin Coolidge
    My random tagline generator.

  6. As for non-cis, non-white, non-male protagonists, consider this. If Hollywood were to do this in every movie for the next decade, we’d still have an overwhelming majority of cis-white-male protagonists in movies. It wouldn’t even scratch the surface! And, of course, that’s not going to happen, because Hollywood is, in very many ways, extremely conservative. (Even if they’re not Republican–the two terms are by no means synonymous.)

    I can certainly stand a period of higher-than-average not-like-me protagonists, given that people not-like-me have had to put up with a near-100% number of not-like-them protagonists for the entire century or so that films have existed.

    (And somewhere in here, I feel like I should add a reminder that “left/right” is a false dichotomy. Most people are much more complex than such stereotypes would suggest, and if we had ranked or instant-runoff voting, this would quickly become clear.)

  7. Xtifr,

    I’m really OK with non-SWM protagonists. I know that is an issue for others, but it isn’t my hobby horse and isn’t the direction I was driving my part of the discussion.

    I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. – Isaac Asimov

  8. @Dann:

    Thank you for the link to your tagline generator, which I regret is manually operated rather than being a plugin of some sort.

    I find it telling that you did not see fit to acknowledge anything else from the comment which contained that question. Shall I interpret this as a concession on your part?

  9. @Niall: (current movies)

    Now that I’ve had a chance to check…

    My closest theater has a substantially wider selection than your list, at seventeen movies. I stopped there, even though there are at least three other theaters in what I consider “driving distance,” because that felt like a good-sized sample without a huge investment of time and effort. Among them were not one, not two, but three different “true stories of war heroes” movies – and one of them was not only directed by Clint Eastwood, but stars the actual American passengers who stopped the terrorism attempt that the movie depicts. (The 15:17 to Paris.) Hard to see those as lefty hatred for middle America or its values…

    In addition to those and the contents of your list, my local selection includes a Western, a horror movie set at the actually-exists-and-rumored-to-be-haunted Winchester House, two more kids’ movies (but not Ferdinand, which I think is the only movie you listed that I lacked), a movie about a male country singer, a heist movie, the Oscar-contending story of a mute woman and her Gill Man, the alt-right-cursed The Last Jedi, and the third/concluding movie in a series of YA dystopian adaptations.

    While I’ll certainly agree that some of those are hardly conservative darlings, I find it difficult to believe that the presence of three war/terrorism pro-West movies in the same theater at the same time is compatible with the thesis that “Hollywood” hates conservatives.

    Of the seventeen on my list, I estimate that no less than ten (likely more) are popular with and/or directly aimed at “middle America” as a demographic. This does not count the Star Wars movie, due to the alt-outrage, but I do count the Fifty Shades flick. It adapts a series which sold huge numbers of copies to somebody, and the consensus opinion of liberals appears to be that it’s utter dreck. The series has a distinct reputation as “smut for soccer moms,” and if they ain’t middle America, who is?

  10. Another data point – from at least the mid-00s until now, many TV shows include heavy military propaganda. I recall CSI: Miami (yes, a terrible show, I know) being particularly egregious. The sheer amount of military propaganda within popular entertainment and sports is disturbing to anyone who doesn’t approve of perpetual war.

  11. @Rev. Bob
    I haven’t seen Black Lightning, since it hasn’t reached my side of the pond yet. However, we get all the other DC superhero shows, so I hope we will eventually get Black Lightning, too.

    In general, I like it if parents’ concerns about their teen children are treated realistically rather than having a controlling dad or (less common) mom fly off the handle because their teen daughter was wearing lipstick and talking to a boy. In an episode of Hawaii Five-O, the Danny character literally had a freakout, because his approx. ten-year-old daughter was talking to a boy at a public pool and laughing. A preteen girl talking to a preteen boy and laughing – oh, the horror.

    There is a lot of heavy pro-US-military propaganda in US TV show, particularly network crime dramas (my Mom watches a lot of those) though it goes back to 2000 at least, if not into the late 1990s. IMO the various NCIS shows are even worse about military propaganda than the CSIs. Hawaii Five-O also lays the pro-military pathos on thick, though they also had an “Japanese internment was wrong” episode, which was a pleasant surprise. Bones also was very pro-military and I found it grating that the writers were always on the side of the Booth character, whereas I and most other viewers sided with Bones. And Law and Order used to be known in this house as “That bloody pro-death penalty propaganda show”, though recent episodes of Law and Order SVU were more watchable.

    One trend I also find very disturbing is that many of those US TV shows are also normalising torture, because these days you frequently get scenes, where suspects are tortured for information, whereas such scenes were very rare before 2000/2001.

  12. I laughed to see the top comment on the ‘boycott all the things’ blog was someone admitting that he liked TLJ enough to go find it and download an illegal copy. Clearly it isn’t *that* offensive.

  13. Cora, re torture, yes! That is so offensive. I also stopped watching Law and Order: SVU because Stabler kept beating up suspects, and it was presented sympathetically. To be fair, they would then sometimes show that the person beaten was innocent, but I still hated it for normalizing cop beatings.

  14. World Weary:

    What’s wrong with Frozen? Does anyone understand their objections so I can avoid their website?

    Besides what everyone else has mentioned, John Wright has also condemned it for violating the God-given tropes all true fairy tales must follow: When a prediction talks about love, it must be heterosexual love between a man and a woman. Tricking the audience by having it become love between sisters is a violation of the trust of the audience or something. (This is also part of his hatred of Maleficent.)

    This was in one of his essays in that book of his essays on SF that was a finalist for a Hugo. This objection to Frozen and Maleficent was mentioned somewhat in passing, with the implication he’d discussed it at length on his blog; I did a brief search on Frozen there to find more, but it didn’t cough anything up and I didn’t feel like digging any deeper.

  15. (4)

    Does the Book of Kells lose any of its allure when a mass-produced paperback version is available to buy just feet away, in Trinity College Dublin’s gift shop? No, says de Hamel: “There are things you’ll see in an original manuscript that even a microfilm or digitised surrogate cannot convey – drypoint glosses, erasures, sewing holes, underdrawing, changes of parchment, subtleties of colour, loss of leaves, patina of handling – even smell and touch and sound, which can transform knowledge and understanding of the text when its scribes made it and first readers saw it.”

    Or, there are things you might see if the cattle-car atmosphere of the exhibit of the Book of Kells didn’t require outright rudeness to get close enough to see any of those things. I went through the Book of Kells exhibit and never got within a meter of the edge of the case with the manuscripts because to do so would hare require physically elbowing people out of the way.

  16. Ferret Bueller: This was in one of his essays in that book of his essays on SF that  was a finalist for a Hugo  got cheated onto the Hugo ballot.

    There, Fixed That For You.

  17. I didn’t like Frozen myself and the reason was cuteness overload. I really hated that snowman and wanted him melted the minute he appeared.

  18. JJ:

    There, Fixed That For You.

    Thanks, quite right.


    While I enjoyed (and still enjoy from time to time) “Frozen” quite a bit, some of the criticism is valid. Elsa never really learns to control her power. She is told to keep it under wraps (not good) or she “lets it go” (also not good). We never see her learning moderation within the context of the movie.

    You know, you’re right. I never thought of that, but yes, it’s clear to me now that what the movie needed was training in learning moderation. As this is a long, hard process, it would have to consist of a training montage set to a 90s power ballad, with a trainer voiced, of course, by Anthony Stewart Head.

  19. Ferret Bueller: what the movie needed was training in learning moderation. As this is a long, hard process, it would have to consist of a training montage set to a 90s power ballad, with a trainer voiced, of course, by Anthony Stewart Head.


    What it needs is a personal growth montage opening with “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project, segueing into “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, and of course,”Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. 😀

  20. @Ferret Bueller

    Alternatively, they could have had her practicing under the stern direction of an old and wizened mentor whose age and appearance belies an underlying strength and capability. They could have gone with an “ice-on, ice-off” kind of thing or perhaps had her stack snowballs.

    Or an Eye of the Tiger montage. Either one works better.

    Coolidge is dead – “How could they tell? – Dorothy Parker

  21. Well, I’m going to shock everyone by admitting that I haven’t seen Frozen, but somehow, I’m still glad they didn’t go with “the poor woman needs professional help to learn to keep her emotions powers under control.” Guys in movies learn to control their powers (and emotions) without outside help all the time. As often as not, it’s not even an issue. Guys are tough–they can manage. Not like those hysterical, untrustworthy women with their crazy-making uteri. 🙂

    Far better, IMO, to have shown that fixing her relationship with her sister helped her develop the emotional strength to control her powers on her own. (I obviously don’t know if that’s what the movie did, but if they didn’t, they should have.)

    The worst option would have been to have some old guy come along to teach her control. Because, y’know, women can’t possibly achieve things without help from a man. :rolleyes:

  22. Personally, of the things that Frozen skipped over or weirded, the speed of Elsa using her love for her sister to thaw the world always struck me as less of an issue than how little of that shared love/time we get to see on the other side. Skip over the stupid trolls trying to Marry Kristoff and Anna for no reason, and give us some moments besides a weird playtime where they connect/reconnect. Because I have less difficulty with “love will thaw” if I believe the love in the first place, but “Well, back when she was seven or something I used to play with her” is… not the same.

    And, as noted, she started to learn one kind of control when she started building a precise flawless staircase and castle, although no she didn’t finish and will probably be practicing for years. She learned *another* kind, though, when she figured out that stifling her affection along with her bad feelings was creating the worst not only of the winter, but of ALL her outbursts.

  23. @Xtifr

    Alternatively, we could focus on my purposeful choice of a gender neutral description of the proposed mentor.

    Alternatively, they could have had her practicing under the stern direction of an old and wizened mentor whose age and appearance belies an underlying strength and capability.

    * <- After the Hair Club for Tribbles . <- Before hair club

  24. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: what no “Sirus” only ever segues into “Eye in the Sky” I WILL FIGHT YOU

    Ha ha, YOU ARE SO RIGHT. 😀

  25. If Elsa were to learn her skills from a wizened old mentor, it would really follow the cliche to have the wizened old mentor kick the bucket so as to inspire her to do what needs to be done/prevail/win one for the gipper/coach/ballet teacher/professor/wizard/Jedi/etc. TV Tropes calls it Mentor Occupational Hazard or Obi Wan’s Disease.

    I have seen Frozen and I’m fine with Elsa figuring out her skill set and what to do with it all by herself, in her own time, as long as she doesn’t have a cliche mentor who kicks the bucket. I hate it when that happens.

    I don’t really have any particular opinion as to why so many children are drawn to Elsa as a role model (or at least a Halloween costume) but it may be because she is alienated and cranky as so many of us feel so often, she gets the best song, has great hair, and has mighty powers.

  26. @Xtifr: I haven’t seen “Frozen,” either. Double shock!

    – – – – –

    (leaving tab open to hear one of @JJ’s songs, even though I own almost all of them)

    (carefully not mentioning I don’t own “Sirius”)

    (realizing I can’t post this till the song finishes)

    ::shakes fist at @JJ::

  27. @Dann: I’m late to the discussion, but I’d argue that the bumbling dad in commercials is probably a reflection of who is actually buying the product (i.e., women). I suspect women probably respond better to a commercial where the woman knows better than the man. Are you longing for the days of the old Whisk commercials, where someone would publicly note a guy’s ring-around-the-collar, and he would give his wife a look of “you’ve failed me” and she withers in shame? I’m sure there are better ways of selling product without denigrating men or women, but I don’t write ad copy, or test to see what sells.

    Unrelated, I saw The Maze Runner: Death Cure last night, and I found it interesting that if you look at it correctly, you could almost argue that there seem to be several additional love triangles besides the main one (ones that would offend JCW and others, of course), but it’s probably just that Thomas wants to save everyone. Of course, like most of the post-apocalyptic teen dystopias, the economics doesn’t make sense. How does a large city survive for 10-15 years when the infrastructure has been devastated by an immense solar flare and a fast-zombie in all but name infestation? How do the Cranks(zombies) stay alive all that time? The rats in the tunnel scene tries to explain it, I guess, but not adequately, IMHO. I also question the deterioration of the buildings in the devastated cities in only 10 years or so. It was an OK movie, but I saw the first two movies on TV over the last couple days, and it more or less met my expectations based on the first two movies. I don’t expect to want to watch it again any time soon, but then, I’m not the target audience.

    One of the previews was for Alita: Battle Angel, which stars Rosa Salazar, who is also part of the for sure, intentional, love triangle in Maze Runner. I must say, the slightly larger than normal eyes Alita has triggered the uncanny valley for me just a bit, but since she’s a cyborg, I’m sure it’s intentional. I intend to go see it, and I’m hoping that it will be better than Spielberg’s AI, which would have been a much better movie if it hadn’t had the final scene.

  28. @Dann, ouch, looking back, I can totally see how you might have thought my last couple of comments were aimed at you. That is absolutely not the case. Your comments inspired my thoughts in certain negative directions, but that was all me, not you. I did not intend criticism, but I can see why you thought I did. I apologize for the lack of clarity in my disjointed rambling. Yes, I saw you didn’t specify a gender for the mentor–I jumped to male mentor because…Hollywood. 🙂

  29. @Bruce A

    Are you longing for the days of the old Whisk commercials, where someone would publicly note a guy’s ring-around-the-collar, and he would give his wife a look of “you’ve failed me” and she withers in shame?

    I’ve said nothing to justify that conclusion.



    Of course, as a self-designated proud nail, I sometimes see hammers where none exist. I apologize for seeing something you didn’t intend.

    I knew when writing my response that it was limited based on Hollywood’s past history of leaning towards male mentors. 🙂

    A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright. – The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

    (ETA – well darn…that HTML smiley worked in the preview)

  30. @Dann: Sorry, I worded that poorly, I was just trying to point out that advertising has had a long history of “women making poor choices” too, not that I thought you in particular approved of it.

  31. @Bruce A

    No worries. Thanks very much.

    Advertising has a long history of a lot of really bad ideas. Sometimes they retire the old ones and adopt new ones. Sometimes the old ones come out of retirement after being given a paint job.

    I’ve loved reading all my life. – John Wayne

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