Pixel Scroll 6/4/17 Like A Scroll Over Troubled Pixels, I Will Tick Me Now

(1) $100 MILLION WEEKEND. (Redundant word “dollars” omitted in keeping with our new style sheet…) Moviegoers showed up with cash in hand: “‘Wonder Woman’ Shatters Box Office With Biggest Female Director Opening. Ever.”

A box office wonder.

Wonder Woman” smashed records this weekend to become the biggest domestic opening for a female director ever. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot under Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, the film grossed an estimated $100.5 million at more than 4,000 theaters domestically, according to a statement from Warner Bros. Sunday. Thursday night’s pre-show raked in $11 million alone.

(2) WONDERFUL. Eileen L. Wittig declares “Yes, I’m a Feminist. Yes, I Enjoyed ‘Wonder Woman'” in a review for the Foundation for Economic Education.

I don’t care that she wore heels the entire time. They looked very supportive, and are probably better weapons for spin kicks than sneakers. And maybe she just likes wearing heels. Maybe they make her feel powerful. They have that effect on me.

Beyond Her Looks

I do care about how Diana managed to walk that thin, thin line between literally being a weapon, and having empathy.

I care that she saw an unknown life and saved it, because she could, and because she cared.

I care that she was moved to tears when she heard about the suffering of millions of people she’d never even met, and then took that sorrow and turned it into motivation to save the rest.

I care that she was willing to sacrifice her own future life of peace among her family to save strangers.

(3) SECRET ORIGINS. Jill Lepore’s “The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman” appeared in Smithsonian in 2014, but David K.M. Klaus is right in thinking it makes a timely item after this weekend. He comments, “Information about comics history and the people involved in the creation of Wonder Woman never published before so far as I know, as well as the reasoning behind her creation. Also, the first reveal of the deliberately vicious and jealous motives of Frederik Wertham in the censorship of comics: He didn’t give one damn about children, he was angry at a professional superior who didn’t share his anti-woman attitudes. Frederik Wertham was the true advocate of bondage for Wonder Woman, psychological, emotional, and political bondage.”

Here’s an excerpt from Lepore’s article:

Marston was a man of a thousand lives and a thousand lies. “Olive Richard” was the pen name of Olive Byrne, and she hadn’t gone to visit Marston’she lived with him. She was also the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the 20th century. In 1916, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, Olive Byrne’s mother, had opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. They were both arrested for the illegal distribution of contraception. In jail in 1917, Ethel Byrne went on a hunger strike and nearly died.

Olive Byrne met Marston in 1925, when she was a senior at Tufts; he was her psychology professor. Marston was already married, to a lawyer named Elizabeth Holloway. When Marston and Byrne fell in love, he gave Holloway a choice: either Byrne could live with them, or he would leave her. Byrne moved in. Between 1928 and 1933, each woman bore two children; they lived together as a family. Holloway went to work; Byrne stayed home and raised the children. They told census-takers and anyone else who asked that Byrne was Marston’s widowed sister-in-law. “Tolerant people are the happiest,” Marston wrote in a magazine essay in 1939, so “why not get rid of costly prejudices that hold you back?” He listed the “Six Most Common Types of Prejudice.” Eliminating prejudice number six “Prejudice against unconventional people and non-conformists” meant the most to him. Byrne’s sons didn’t find out that Marston was their father until 1963 — when Holloway finally admitted it’and only after she extracted a promise that no one would raise the subject ever again.

Gaines didn’t know any of this when he met Marston in 1940 or else he would never have hired him: He was looking to avoid controversy, not to court it. Marston and Wonder Woman were pivotal to the creation of what became DC Comics. (DC was short for Detective Comics, the comic book in which Batman debuted.) In 1940, Gaines decided to counter his critics by forming an editorial advisory board and appointing Marston to serve on it, and DC decided to stamp comic books in which Superman and Batman appeared with a logo, an assurance of quality, reading, “A DC Publication.” And, since “the comics’ worst offense was their blood-curdling masculinity,” Marston said, the best way to fend off critics would be to create a female superhero.

(4) PUT THE LID ON. Tales From the Crypt is not even being allowed to linger in development hell: “M. Night Shyamalan’s Tales From the Crypt Reboot Shelved Due to Rights Issues”.

M. Night Shyamalan’s Tales From the Crypt reboot for TNT is currently no longer in the works due to rights issues, though the network may revisit the project in the future.

In an interview with Deadline, TNT and TBS president Kevin Reilly confirmed that, because of “a very complicated underlying rights structure,” Shyamalan’s reboot is no longer in development. The project faced legal issues since it was first announced back in 2016.

“That one got really caught up in a complete legal mess unfortunately with a very complicated underlying rights structure,” Reilly said. “We lost so much time, so I said, “Look, I’m not waiting around four years for this thing.'”

…The Tales From the Crypt reboot was set to use the original William Gaines-created Tales From the Crypt EC Comics from the 1950s for some episodes, mixed in with original stories, with one of the episodes directed by Shyamalan.

In lieu of the Tales From the Crypt reboot’s cancellation, Reilly revealed that TBS is currently working with Ridley Scott on an unannounced sci-fi series. The network is considering a straight series order and is aiming for a 2018 release, with Scott also potentially directing.

(5) HOW ALARMING. They’re here. “First Wave Of Twin Peaks Funko Pops And Action Figures Includes Dale Cooper, Killer BOB, And The Log Lady”.

Are you prepared for a tsunami of official Twin Peaks merchandise? The first wave of official Twin Peaks Funko Pops and Action Figures inspired by the original series is expected to hit the stores by April and May 2017 respectively.

The initial group of Pop! figures includes Dale Cooper, Audrey Horne, Killer BOB, the Giant, Laura in Plastic Wrap, the Log Lady, Leland Palmer, and the Giant.

(6) STILL SUPER. Carl Slaughter calls your attention to this 2013 edition — Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor.

Together again for the first time, here come the greatest comic book superheroes ever assembled between two covers: down from the heavens’Superman and the Mighty Thor’or swinging over rooftops’the Batman and Spider-Man; star-spangled, like Captain America and Wonder Woman, or clad in darkness, like the Shadow and Spawn; facing down super-villains on their own, like the Flash and the Punisher or gathered together in a team of champions, like the Avengers and the X-Men!

Based on the three-part PBS documentary series Superheroes, this companion volume chronicles the never-ending battle of the comic book industry, its greatest creators, and its greatest creations. Covering the effect of superheroes on American culture — in print, on film and television, and in digital media — and the effect of American culture on its superheroes, Superheroes: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture appeals to readers of all ages, from the casual observer of the phenomenon to the most exacting fan of the genre.

Drawing from more than 50 new interviews conducted expressly for Superheroes! creators from Stan Lee to Grant Morrison, commentators from Michael Chabon to Jules Feiffer, actors from Adam West to Lynda Carter, and filmmakers such as Zach Snyder — this is an up-to-the-minute narrative history of the superhero, from the comic strip adventurers of the Great Depression, up to the blockbuster CGI movie superstars of the 21st Century. Featuring more than 500 full-color comic book panels, covers, sketches, photographs of both essential and rare artwork, Superheroes is the definitive story of this powerful presence in pop culture.

Check out interviews from PBS Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle.


Did Sam Clemens get it wrong? “‘Tom Sawyer’ was NOT the first typewritten novel”


  • June 4, 1982 The Wrath of Khan debuted in theatres.
  • June 4, 1982 — Poltergeist premieres.

(9) MAJOR LEAGUE QUIDDITCH. The season has just begun: “There May Not Be Flying, But Quidditch Still Creates Magic”.

When Colby Palmer started his freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, some students approached him in his dorm and asked whether he wanted to play quidditch.

Palmer had read all of the Harry Potter books and knew about the sport but said he felt reluctant to try it out.

“My impressions of quidditch was just that it’s for nerds by nerds ‘ that they wouldn’t be like people who I would find things in common with,” Palmer says.

Despite his hesitations, Palmer did give it a try and found he loved it and the community. Now, he’s heading into his senior year at VCU and is spending the summer playing for the Washington Admirals, one of 16 Major League Quidditch teams. The season starts this weekend.

(10) I’M MELTING…. These are the jokes, folks.

(11) NOT YOUR NAME HERE. “Colossus Con Rebrands After ColossalCon files Trademark Complaint”Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn has the story.

After running two events, California based Colossus Con has now been forced to rename their comic conventions. This has happened in the wake of a trademark complaint from Ohio based anime con ColossalCon. The Colossus Con events planned for Merced, CA and Campbell, CA have been renamed California Republic Comic Con and Campbell Con respectively.

As a 2018 Pleasanton, CA event hasn’t been announced yet, we don’t know what that event will be called if it happens again.

(12) GAME OVER. In “End-Times for Humanity”, Claire Colebrook, a Penn State English professor, looks at the recent spate of apocalpytic movies and asks what these films say about the fragility of our culture.

What contemporary post-apocalyptic culture fears isn’t the end of “the world” so much as the end of “a world” — the rich, white, leisured, affluent one. Western lifestyles are reliant on what the French philosopher Bruno Latour has referred to as a “slowly built set of irreversibilities –, requiring the rest of the world to live in conditions that “humanity” regards as unliveable. And nothing could be more precarious than a species that contracts itself to a small portion of the Earth, draws its resources from elsewhere, transfers its waste and violence, and then declares that its mode of existence is humanity as such.

To define humanity as such by this specific form of humanity is to see the end of that humanity as the end of the world. If everything that defines “us” relies upon such a complex, exploitative and appropriative mode of existence, then of course any diminution of this hyper-humanity is deemed to be an apocalyptic event. “We” have lost our world of security, we seem to be telling ourselves, and will soon be living like all those peoples on whom we have relied to bear the true cost of what it means for “us” to be “human’.

(13) LINGUINISTICS. It’s always news to someone…

(14) WALKING THE TALK. “World Bank Economist Demoted for Demanding Clear Prose”. Why? The explanation is simplicity itself.

This week, the financial press reported the downfall of a high-profile grammar pedant, Professor Paul Romer, the World Bank’s chief economist, who was hoist(ed) on his own pedantic petard.

He is being replaced as head of the bank’s research arm after he demanded that his colleagues write succinct, clear, direct emails, presentations and reports in the active voice with a low proportion of “and’s”. Romer will remain the bank’s chief economist.

In fact, he had threatened not to publish the bank’s central publication, World Development Report, “if the frequency of “and” exceeded 2.6 per cent€. He had also cancelled a regular publication that he believed had no clear purpose.

Why, you may ask, did the economists who work in the World Bank’s research department take exception to these strictures? Who wouldn’t want the corporate report that was a flagship publication of the bank to be narrow and “penetrate deeply like a knife”? Romer’s 600 colleagues, that’s who. But why?

It seems that, while he was encouraging his staff to avoid their customary convoluted “bankspeak”and consider their readers, he failed to follow his own advice. He was apparently curt, abrasive and combative. The troops refused to fall into line and he was ousted.

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus, Chip Hitchcock, Peer Sylvester, John King Tarpinian, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

81 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/4/17 Like A Scroll Over Troubled Pixels, I Will Tick Me Now

  1. (14) The fate of the language pedant is ever thus! Online, one is merely guaranteed to make the same error being pointed out in the text pointing it out. Some people take delight in combing through Strunk & White to evaluate how well the book follows it’s own prescriptions.

  2. (4) Hallelujah. (Honestly, M Night and no Cryptkeeper? Nuh-uh.)

    (5) I would totes buy a Log Lady.

    (10) Ha ha. Or, whatever the opposite of that is.

  3. [12] This is not the first time I’ve seen it suggested that the popularity of apocalyptic fiction, especially apocalyptic YA novels, is due to the inability of post-Reagan/Thatcher Westerners to imagine any end to neo-“liberal” globalized capitalism other than the entire collapse of civilization.

  4. @Aaron
    10. Just another puppy hanger-on hoping for publicity. I’ve occasionaly seen his name commenting on puppy blogs.

  5. (3) It’s a good article, but I’m not sure which information David K.M. Klaus is referring to as having been “never published before so far as I know.” I mean, I can believe there are some details there that weren’t widely known before, but if so, Lepore was mixing them in with lots and lots of stuff that has been widely discussed and written about in the field for decades, and framing the whole thing as “now the secret is finally revealed!”… which most casual readers are going to incorrectly assume means “now the secret of Marston being a polyamorous bondage enthusiast with a family connection to Margaret Sanger is finally revealed!”. There’s the suggestion that some new information has come to light about Frederic Wertham’s motives, but the only such information I see here is a single quote about Lauretta Bender, which seems an awfully thin thread considering how many people in the comics industry Wertham had it in for.

  6. An eventful weekend for me. Finished Hugo reading and voted. Also finished watching Person of Interest. Loved the beginning and the end, there were some painful episodes in season 4. Also, while there were several conversations about ethics in the series, none were about citizens right to privacy or government secrecy. I’m a little puzzled about that.

  7. @Cora: Thanks. I thought there was something that had brought him to Filer attention in the recent past that I had missed. I generally avoid Puppy-ish blogs, so I miss out on guys like him.

  8. (8) Man, that was a great summer for movies. IIRC, we went to KHAAAAAN that night b/c we’d seen a sneak of “Poltergeist” shortly before.

  9. @bookworm1398 – Seeing as the entire series was possible only due to stomping on privacy, I’m not sure how much of a discussion could be had without PoI disappearing up its own backside.

  10. I think 10 would be funnier if the Hugo would be hanging from a tree, too high for the Fox-dragon to reach.

    (It is a foxdragon, right?)

  11. Personally, I greatly enjoy the many takedowns of Strunk and White on Language Log.

    I have also had enough with the complaints about passive voice by people who don’t know what it is. I once had a long argument in the office with an accounting manager who wanted my help rewriting his speech for some event and thought “we have had a wonderful time” was passive. If you don’t like the phrase, fine, but it’s not passive voice. “A wonderful time was had by all” is passive voice.

  12. Not being able to accurately identify the passive voice is a common symptom of those who have been infected/inflicted with Strunk & White. Three of the four examples White provides aren’t even the passive voice!

  13. Apparently, I have lurkers from MikeGlyer’s Fille770. Here’s a little something for you. I call it: Why the Dragon is superior to the Hugo.

    Because of lame image-editing skills? Is it true source of men’s power? For I posses lame image-editing skills too. Should I unleash them? Imagine: all treasures of the world could be mine with a few uses of Photoshop but… Will humanity be able withstand the might of my lame image-editing skills? Is the price too high? Do I dare to pay it?

  14. As analogies go it doesn’t make much sense. Yes, a dragon breathes out fire, but a rocket ship is, a rocket. If you aim a rocket’s exhaust at a dragon then:
    1. You will upset Meredith
    2. The dragon might not catch fire (I assume they are flame resistant) but they will be hit with sufficient force to move a large spacecraft into orbit (except in the opposite direction)
    3. You will be causing a great deal of genre confusion

  15. The dragon and the rocket should be friends.
    Oh, the dragon and the rocket should be friends.
    One entity likes to push a pup, the other likes to blow stuff up,
    But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends.
    Weird story folks should stick together,
    Weird story folks should all be pals.
    Rockets dance with invadin’ Martians,
    Dragons dance with GRR Martin,
    Oh the dragon and the rocket should be friends.

  16. based on the original association of the wilted Hugo rocket, I presume the image is informing us that this particular dragon is incapable of reproduction….

  17. @Camestros: that can mean only one thing [warning: bad paraphrasing ahead]

    There’s only one rule… There are no rules!

  18. I find it amusing that in #10 the Dragon is melting a tinfoil fake Hugo. It’s flat. No wonder it’s melting; it’s not real….

    (And I really, really liked Camestros’ first point. Whoever would want to upset Meredith?)

  19. @7: Fascinating, but hardly surprising that recollections were wrong decades later. I was just rereading the arguments that Gilbert’s explanations for the genesis of The Mikado were ~retcons.

    @12: I think I’m finding contradictions in this paper, but I’d have to reread it a couple of times to lay them out and I’m not sure I can do that.
    @Orange Mike: but how does that theory account for Left apocalyptic novels, like those of Bacigalupi? Is he mistakenly buying into the mythos, or pandering in the hope of sliding politics in below the horizon, or not writing true apocalypses? Is there a distinction between downward-slide novels like The Water Knife and after-the-final-crash novels like Lucifer’s Hammer? (Sorry, can’t think of a more-recent right-wing non-supernatural post-apocalypse novel off the top of my head — it’s not a sub-sub-genre I pay much attention to.)

  20. @Camestros: Aren’t rocket ships also flame resistant? They have to withstand not only their own engine heat, but that created by the friction with the atmosphere.

    (We really are the type of people who take questions like this seriously.)

  21. I don’t see a lot of difference between right wing apocalyptarians and left wing, to be honest. Well, one side is wedded to the idea our current climate models are wrong while the other side is not but along other axes, they’re very similar. Granted, Jerry Pournelle is likely to present Muslims in a more positive light than, say, KSR but otherwise, lots of nonsensolium married to extremely dodgy social and racial models.

    One thing I noticed with the older Tiptree winners before I stalled out on that series of reviews is that 30 years years ago, it wasn’t unusual for SF authors to imagine (non-feudal) political-economic systems edging out neo-liberalism.

    It’s a rare SF author whose disaster novel betrays having read A Paradise Built in Hell…

  22. 10) “For you, the day File 770 graced your blog was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Monday. ”

    1.) Wonder Woman is well worth all the accolades-I thought it was well written for a blockbuster, and Gal Gadot gal owns the character- she’s really my favorite Wonder Woman at this point.

  23. 9 – Nope still don’t get the appeal. But hey they look like they’re having a blast playing it and that’s all that matters.

    10 – With those MS Paint skills he is now qualified to be a cover artist for the Mad Genius Club.

  24. Twin Peaks (tangentially related to #5): Is anyone watching Twin Peaks? I saw about an hour yesterday and was decidedly underwhelmed. Does it get better?

  25. @ Lisa Goldstein

    I think Twin Peaks starts to move in hour 2 but really gets going in hours 3 and 4. Without going into rot13 land, weirdness is nigh and the players are now in motion.

  26. 10. It fits with the Puppies overall beliefs that the imaginary things they think are real (conspiracies, vote blocks, conservative writers being victimized, etc) are stronger than the real things that can be factually examined in front of them.

  27. Just finished “Every heart a doorway” and was first happy to see a sequel on Amazon and then sad because its not yet out on kindle here. Yes, I enjoyed the first, even if it was too short. Its nice to read something fresh…

    Hugos and Dragons and Cambells, oh my

  28. I prefer the zombie test for passive sentences, personally.

    “Puff the Pixel Dragon, lived by the Scroll”

  29. @Peer: “Down Among the Sticks and Stones” (out next week) is a prequel (featuring Jack and Jill) to “Every Heart a Doorway.” But “Beneath a Sugar Sky” (out next January) *does* appear to be a sequel.

  30. @David: Thanks! I didnt really expect a straight sequel, but a prequel abou the twins sounds interesting!
    Anyone has read her other series? I usually dont like to commit to long series, but since I enjoyed both doorway and From dusk till dawn to dark to day (both too short for my tastes though), I might be willoing to give it a go, if anyone can recommend…

  31. We were somewhere around ROT13 land on the edge of the scroll when the pixels began to take hold.

    ETA: @Camestros, that’s sad news about Sallis.

  32. Andrew: “I’m just a Filer who can’t say Scroll”

    You’re in a terrible fix!

  33. 1) And yet there are still male reviewers complaining that the Amazons weren’t sexy and there wasn’t any kinky stuff in it. You get all kinds, I suppose.

    3) Interesting.

    13) Okay, that’s funny. Or at least, my immediate reaction to it was a chuckle rather than an eyeroll.

    @ Aaron: He was referenced briefly in the May 11 Scroll, as item #19, spouting the same shit but against someone on his own team. If he’s got “lurkers” of late, that’s probably where they came from.

    @ Nigel: Applause!

    @ Peer: Well, since her October Daye series is up for the Series Award this year and most (all?) of it is in the Hugo packet, you can check that one out easily. Obligatory warning: the series doesn’t really hit its stride until book 3, so don’t be discouraged after the first two. And you really do need to read book 1 for the setup and character background. It’s going to be either #1 or #2 on my ballot in that category.

  34. When I find myself in times of puppies,
    Mother Pixel watches me
    Scrolling words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee!

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