David Thompson
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January 05, 2020

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JuliaM

Superb!

Mags

This.

https://twitter.com/NSP55/status/1213757662833336320

Happy new year, David.

David

This.

Well, at least we know that the supply of fatuous preening bellendery isn’t likely to be exhausted any time soon.

And a happy one to you, madam.

David

If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me (top left) and I’ll rattle the spam filter, which is being overzealous again.

David

On crime and punishment, or the lack thereof.

Darleen

On crime and punishment, or the lack thereof.

It's one way to get your crime statistics down … just ignore the crime.

David

It’s one way to get your crime statistics down … just ignore the crime.

And hey, it’s only thievery.

Darleen

snort

giggle

guffaw

… and so many other gems. Genius.

pst314

On crime and punishment, or the lack thereof.

From the link:

The former senior Metropolitan police officers who run the My Local Bobby service blame cuts in police numbers which meant officers were reluctant to spend time and valuable resource investigating and prosecuting minor offences.

Several British police officers who blogged anonymously in the 1990's (Coppers Blog and David Copperfield, among others, if I recall correctly) wrote about changes in reporting rules which meant that every arrest required them to spend hours writing reports and filling out forms--thus greatly reducing the amount of time they could be on the street.

More recently we have seen how the UK police are spending more and more time monitoring online speech and visiting peaceful citizens to "warn" them and even arrest them.

Captain Nemo

The unbearable whiteness of Toy Story 4:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/whiteness-toy-story-4-1266176

It's not for black kids, apparently.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

The unbearable whiteness of Toy Story 4:

Nor is it just the near-absence of people of color that’s bothersome. It’s the absence of anything approximating life in America as most of us know it...Problems of prejudice, money and unemployment never seem to cross anyone’s mind.

Yeah, exploration of those last problems by animated characters is the reason most people, especially kids, want to go see cartoon movies.

Some people, like our incredibly woke writer, can only be happy when they are miserable.

Darleen

Maybe not the best thing to teach your parrot to say.

pst314

"Some people, like our incredibly woke writer, can only be happy when they we are miserable."

Hector Drummond

An amusing seasonal tale for fans of James Delingpole and Toby Young's podcasts:
https://danielcure.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-woke-christmas-carol.html

Fay

Ricky Gervais killing it at the Golden Globes.

I love that Brit comedians can still be irreverent.

Darleen

Ricky Gervais killing it at the Golden Globes

Did you see the rictus in the audience faces? Tim Cook looked especially pole-axed.

Fen Tiger

It's one way to get your crime statistics down … just ignore the crime.

Not that this is a new thing. In the late '90s I had a laptop stolen from my car in Bury St Edmunds: I'd refueled the car at Tesco and was in the kiosk paying. Suffolk Police refused to record this as a crime because I hadn't locked the car when I went to pay.

A month or so later I saw a front-page story in the local paper concerning the serious problem of theft in Tesco's car park and petrol station...

David

Did you see the rictus in the audience faces?

Ouch. Heh.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

2020 is off to a fabulous start, “I’m known as Ken but inside I’ve always felt like Barbie.”.

“Men look at me because they desire me. And women look at me because they want to copy what I’m wearing.

“It’s a totally different type of ­attention. Before, people looked at me because I looked very androgynous and weird for a man.

“Now I hope they are looking because they think I am a beautiful woman.”

No, no, no, yes, and hope in one hand...

David

Incidentally, did anyone else watch the BBC’s retelling of Dracula…?

David

“Men look at me because they desire me...”

Heh. Interesting theory.

In entirely unrelated news, I’m sure there must be a word for morbid curiosity tinged with pity and revulsion.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

In other late "body modification" news, it seems ear gauges are out, but ear conching is in.

It is all fun and games till you walk too close to a coat hook.

Jen

Incidentally, did anyone else watch the BBC’s retelling of Dracula…?

"From the people who created and then ruined 'Sherlock'..."

David

“From the people who created and then ruined ‘Sherlock’...”

Heh. It did, I think, suffer a little from the same clever-clever attitude.

Captain Nemo

Incidentally, did anyone else watch the BBC’s retelling of Dracula…?

I make a habit these days of avoiding most BBC dramas. Particularly those written by Mark Gatiss, Stephen Moffatt, and Sarah Phelps. I'd rather read the books they're based on.

David

“From the people who created and then ruined ‘Sherlock’...”

I thought the first episode was intriguing and I did like the sardonic Agatha Van Helsing - though for me, the intrigue sort of petered out somewhat during the second and third parts. There were some neat scenes and conceits – trying to figure out the ‘rules’ of Dracula’s paranormal talents, for instance, and I did like the house demolition and the ‘prison of daylight’ at the Harker Foundation. But overall, it was uneven, badly paced, and the plot twists didn’t always hit the landing. The denouement in particular felt rushed and rather glib. It came out of nowhere, pretty much, and didn’t feel earned. For Dracula to be swayed to [SPOILER: REDACTED] so quickly seemed unsatisfying and, despite his issues with mirrors, out of character.

David

I’d rather read the books they’re based on.

In this case, I think Stoker’s book is pretty awful as a novel. The structure’s terrible and the whole thing’s pretty tedious, at least to modern sensibilities. Though its themes and imagery have obviously endured quite well.

Darleen

No, no, no, yes, and hope in one hand...

He's nothing but cash machine for his surgeons (who should be ashamed if not having their licenses revoked).

[+]

Woke Doctor Who.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqiBwb8pZQM

Captain Nemo

I think Stoker’s book is pretty awful as a novel.

I haven't read Dracula, so I can't comment on how it works as a novel. However I have given myself the task of reading a set number of literary classics this year, and it's one of many on my list. Given what you've said about it, I'm now undecided as to whether I should read it early and get it out of the way, or put it off until later.

Steve E

...I'm now undecided as to whether I should read it early and get it out of the way, or put it off until later.

If you're a fan of Horror fiction or movies, it's worth a read just to get context of how the horror genre developed post Dracula. It's also fun to pick out the little homages to the original when you're watching a Dracula movie. If, however, you want to read it as a stand alone Gothic novel, you'll likely be disappointed.

I would agree with David's assessment. It just doesn't stand up to today's sensibilities. I think Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights are better reads in the Gothic genre, but I would never discourage anyone from reading the classics. Of course, YMMV.

David

Woke Doctor Who.

The basic premise of Doctor Who has always been better than its generally shabby execution, the thing that ends up on screen. But it’s remarkable just how badly it can be made.

JuliaM

I was quite impressed with the new ‘Dracula’ - yes, they Sherlockised him, but overall, it was a very fun romp.

And, truth be tell, there wasn’t much competition.., unless you’re a fan of game shows. Or have Netflix and Prime, which was mostly what I watched over the Christmas break.

David

I was quite impressed with the new ‘Dracula’ - yes, they Sherlockised him, but overall, it was a very fun romp.

It had moments of inspiration – especially the early exchanges between the two leads – I did enjoy Dolly Wells as the cynical nun - but the first part struck me as the best one.

By the way, I still haven’t figured out why the spam filter has taken against you.

Horace Dunn

It had moments of inspiration

Well perhaps. Its main failing was the resolutely unappealing actor in the name part. He delivered his lines like a facetious local radio phone-in host. And the standard of the quips that the writers put into his mouth matched the persona. I've often been baffled by the casting of Doctor Who - Ecclestone was quite good, but I stopped watching when the grating third-rater Tennant took over. From what little I've seen of subsequent episodes, the post-Tennant Doctors are even more tiresome. But this strenuously dreary Dracula was in a class of his own. I gave up after episode one.

WTP

Ha. Heh. Bwahahahahaha

Daniel Ream

In this case, I think Stoker’s book is pretty awful as a novel.

The epistlery is a format that's hard to do well. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters executes it far better.

It's also fun to pick out the little homages to the original

Fun fact: the first season of the teen horror TV drama The Vampire Diaries is an adaptation not of Twilight or the Anita Blake novels, but Stoker's Dracula. Every character maps directly to one in the original novel, as do all the story beats.

I've often been baffled by the casting of Doctor Who - Ecclestone was quite good

Eccleston was the only Doctor I've ever truly enjoyed watching, and I think it's because Eccleston's Doctor is cocky without being smug or twee. This was my problem with the BBC Sherlock - it was so in love with itself for being terribly clever that it forgot to be, you know, actually clever. Most of the amazing solutions to the cases were either trivial or outright wrong. If the writers can't be arsed to do some basic research I'm not giving them my eyeballs.

TimT

” In this case, I think Stoker’s book is pretty awful as a novel.”

Been a while since I read it - I was quite impressed at the time - but maybe it’s a case of over-familiarity ruining it. Almost every single character and scene in it is iconic, so on every page you’d find yourself thinking ‘oh, like in that film’ or ‘yeah, the 1990s telly production did it better...’

David

Morning, all.

He’s saving the planet, you know.

David

Ecclestone was quite good, but I stopped watching when the grating third-rater Tennant took over. From what little I’ve seen of subsequent episodes, the post-Tennant Doctors are even more tiresome.

I’ve never managed to like Doctor Who, not since I was six, anyway. And yes, the casting of Tennant made it clear that the default would be a kind of aggravating panto. I thought Peter Capaldi was a decent choice, in that his casting retained some nod to the character’s age and the intergenerational dynamic with the companions, but the writing during his stay was truly awful. (And as Steve 2 once pointed out, it’s odd how a centuries-old time-travelling alien, a witness to the cosmic and inconceivable, turns out to have the socio-political pretentions, and historical parochialism, of a middle-class BBC employee who votes Labour and lives in Islington.)

What I find telling is that the more the writers make the Doctor mouth earnest and clumsy speeches about helping and caring, doing the right thing, the more dissonant and unconvincing the series becomes. A couple of years ago, I watched two episodes out of morbid curiosity. In them, the Doctor basically abandons and knowingly dooms his two companions - the friends that he’s responsible for – in order to briefly delay the extinction of some random people he’s just met and will presumably never see again, and who are clearly destined to be Cybermen fodder regardless of what he does, or who he sacrifices. So he does it anyway. And this is something that we, the audience, are supposed to applaud as heroic.

One of the companions is eventually, magically, saved by a third party, but this is after the fact and unknown to our supposed hero, who’s chosen to abandon and needlessly doom the two people he’s supposed to care for, while lecturing everyone about the importance of altruism and compassion. It’s like an attempt at a moral fable written by someone with vaguely sociopathic leanings.

Trevor

He’s saving the planet, you know.

Virtue is its own reward, but to receive the approbation of Stella McCartney must be thrilling, intoxicating even.

pst314

I’ve never managed to like Doctor Who, not since I was six, anyway.

It never appealed to me but I would have liked to understand why some of the people I knew were so enthusiastic about it.

David

but I would have liked to understand why some of the people I knew were so enthusiastic about it.

It’s definitely not made for me.

Another episode that comes to mind, and which I’ve mentioned before, featured Matt Smith as the Doctor. He was rushing around a department store with a hapless chubby human guy and his baby - which, inevitably, led to the two men being mistaken for a gay couple. Cue faintly amusing situation and heavy signalling that THIS IS OKAY. THIS IS A GOOD THING. AW, BLESS. Then, just to make sure we, the audience, felt warm towards the idea of a mismatched gay couple with a baby, they did exactly the same joke again, and a third time, minutes later. Even when the social message is one you don’t object to, the writers manage to make you cringe or resent the attempt to manipulate. It’s that smug and ham-fisted.

pst314

It’s definitely not made for me....

I confess I haven't watched it since the 1980's when, if I recall, the latest Doctor was the one with the long multicolored scarf. I was very amused, though, when I watched All Creatures Great and Small and realized that the actor who played the feckless Tristan had also played the Doctor.

WTP

It never appealed to me but I would have liked to understand why some of the people I knew were so enthusiastic about it.

I confess I haven't watched it since the 1980's when, if I recall, the latest Doctor was the one with the long multicolored scarf

Same here. Because I was such a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, specifically the TV version that looked like it was done on the fly and Zaphod Beeblebrox's second head looked to have been fashioned from a Styrofoam women's wig holder, back in the early 80's I was told by many a fan of DW that "knowing you, it's something you would really enjoy". Watched one episode and had absolutely no interest in it. Maybe because the good Doctor seemed to be something of a know-it-all without a sense of irony. Or perhaps I missed the irony. Probably why Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie never appealed much to me but spy novels and Rockford Files and Columbo did. And of course HHGttG. Also, just my bigoted pig-ignorant observation, but the people that I know in meat space who are big DW fans tend to the hipster, techy-geek Linux-uber-alles (not that I dislike Linux...but real world) sub-species.

Henry

Ricky Gervais killing it at the Golden Globes

I can quite seriously say that watching the opening monologue - where he told those pretentious morons precisely what they needed to be told, and at some length, too - felt like a huge weight lifting from my shoulders. Finally, they're getting some! And the rictus smiles & forced laughter in the audience...but most of all the stony faces... Pure joy!

One can only hope the year contains more..much more of the same.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

WTP: Just one data point. I was a big fan of rebooted DW during the first couple of doctors (until Capaldi), but never liked the old show (when I was also watching -- puzzled but enthralled -- Monty Python on PBS). The sets looked too shoddy to be believed, like they were shot in someone's basement).

I'm too old for the hipster, techy-geek cohort, though my youth I played wargames, moved on to D&D, and alt-comics in the '80s, and thoroughly enjoyed the one computer programming course I took in college, and went on to making computer games at Avalon Hill.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

Dave launched into: "He was rushing around a department store with a hapless chubby human guy and his baby -"

I remember that episode. The chubby guy was James Cordon, who's now hosting a talk show in the U.S. Your reaction must have been to a low setting on the SJW lobster cooker, but I thought it was charming. It was only later, as they used bigger and bigger clubs, that it started hurting me, and I bailed.

Actually, though, it was during the Capaldi / Jenna Coleman shows that I finally cut the cord. Certain episodes were blindingly stupid ("Kill the Moon"), and Coleman's character was a thorough-going annoying bee-yotch to everyone. I adored the previous companions for their feistiness and smart talk, regardless of their toothsomeness (or lack thereof).

We'd watch the shows through the DVDs, my wife and I, and with each bad episode, we'd turn to each other and ask, "Want to watch another one?" It was like we were locked into a perverse Milgram experiment. I can't remember if we finished the box set, it was that bad.

David

with each bad episode, we’d turn to each other and ask, “Want to watch another one?” It was like we were locked into a perverse Milgram experiment.

On one occasion, while bored, the Other Half and I flicked through the TV listings, found nothing of promise, then agreed to lower our standards and started on the listing again. It can work, provided you don’t mind watching things ironically. Like some trash about UFOs on the History Channel.

pst314

SJW lobster cooker

Endorsed by Jordan Peterson?

Alex DeWynter

I’ve read Stoker’s Dracula. I recommend doing so only if you follow it with Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula Tape.

TimT

We got the Tom Baker Doctor in Oz when I was growing up - the show has really been in decline ever since. But the original Doctors were able to lay claim to something the new Doctors have never been able to - an unbroken lineage from the golden age SF of the 50s, and the New Wave SF of the ‘60s - they brought to the screen many of the compelling SF ideas in the literature of the time. The new Doctors have been merely repeating this ever since.

Ed Snack

Recall Doctor Who from the very original shows, and only Hartnell and Pertwee really made iconic doctors for me. I recall the original Daleks episode being very frightening for a then young person such as I was. Even though we all agreed that they looked just like a decorated upside down rubbish bin with a plumbers plunger attached.

Never bothered with the later series let alone the new start series.

Interesting unknown titbit, the very first episode screened in the UK (23 November 1963 apparently) some 80 seconds later than the advertised time, the delay being attributed to news coverage of the JFK assassination that had occurred the previous day.

TimT

”I recall the original Daleks episode being very frightening for a then young person such as I was. Even though we all agreed that they looked just like a decorated upside down rubbish bin with a plumbers plunger attached.”

Like in Buffy: the sets and costumes may have been junk but they largely pulled it off: the characters and plots were compelling.

Flashback to an amusing conversation with my youngest brother, bit Aspergery, something of a Dr Who junky:

“...Anyway, if the Daleks are so good, how come they can’t go up stairs?”
“Tim!”
“The Doctor said so himself!”
“That was a joke! The Daleks use rockets!”

That last sentence is a paraphrase - I can’t actually remember the stupid anti-grav technology they use.

PiperPaul

"James Cordon, who's now hosting a talk show"

I believe he took over The Late Late Show on CBS from Craig Ferguson. That show was worth watching when Craig was hosting it.

Sam Duncan

Oops. Somebody should probably have said something when they put them up. Still, it's only taxpayers' money, right?

“Incidentally, did anyone else watch the BBC’s retelling of Dracula…?”

I shouldn't think so.

“The basic premise of Doctor Who has always been better than its generally shabby execution, the thing that ends up on screen. But it’s remarkable just how badly it can be made.”

Very true. I thought it couldn't get any worse than the late '80s. Remember the one with Bertie Bassett? That was where I threw in the towel first time around. Choice quote from the Wikipedia article: “In 2010, Sylvester McCoy told the Sunday Times: 'Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered'”. So this sh*t isn't new.

To think I spent years hoping, praying, that the show would return. The fact is the black-and-white era and the late '70s were the exceptions, not the rule. Through most of its existence, it's been a pile of old cack. (Ditto Star Trek. Runs and hides, yelling over shoulder, “I like TOS and DS9!”)

David

Ditto Star Trek. Runs and hides,

In all the iterations, over decades, there are maybe a dozen or so good episodes, twenty tops. Not a great batting average. And again, it’s not just bad writing or cheesy effects or whatever. The moral sermonising is often the most perverse and grating aspect, especially in the later iterations. There’s a tiresome, at times demented, moral unrealism.

We’ve touched on this before, of course.

At some length.

Worth revisiting, I think. If only for Dicentra’s reference to Star Trek’s “pernicious ideal.”

Governor Squid

Back in my D&D days, one of our players had a priest character with a magic mace which he christened "Roddenberry's Club of Subtlety." He delighted in whacking monsters over the head with it, while lecturing them about the evils of greed or racism or whatnot.

Screamingly funny for about 20 minutes, that was.

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