David Thompson
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February 15, 2021

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Rafi

feel free to customise your own bar ambience.

Is there a setting to add sleaze?

David

Is there a setting to add sleaze?

Heh. It’s true, it all sounds fairly respectable. Clean, even. It needs an air of disrepute, with patrons belching and scratching themselves, and grumbling about the state of the toilets.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It needs an air of disrepute, with patrons belching and scratching themselves, and grumbling about the state of the toilets.

But enough about this establishment, what about the bar website ?

David

But enough about this establishment,

Er, I’ll have you know the toilets were given a once-over two Thursdays ago.

pst314

Is there a setting to add sleaze?

I think that's what the business next door to David's fine establishment was for. Funny that the girls never wandered in here to ask us to buy them drinks. [surveys grimy tables.]

David

In TV news, I’ve been re-watching Spaced, which is concentrated ‘90s and still amuses.

On the other hand, WandaVision has only three episodes left and is still not very good.

Nicholas

I’ll have you know the toilets were given a once-over two Thursdays ago.

Oh, I'm so behind on the current slang ... so that's a "once-over" now? We used to call it a "spray-and-pray"

Jen

WandaVision has only three episodes left and is still not very good.

Gave up on it after three episodes.

Adam

Back in the day a few decades ago, with friends I'd visit the Hopscotch Bar in Fort Pierre South Dakota. At the back were the pinball games we played. At the front were the strippers, under strict orders from management not to go fully nude, so of course they did. I always thought the strippers looked better from the distance of the pinball games. Proximity had the effect of putting years, miles and pounds on their faces and figures. The Hopscotch held a balance between safe sleaze and outright debauchery. If you really wanted rough-and-tumble, you could find it down the street.

The place is still in operation as the Hop Scotch Nite Club. It seems to have strayed little from its roots. Check out the single yelp review from a 'travel dancer'.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hop-scotch-club-fort-pierre?adjust_creative=mapquest&hrid=f_YVL-FEQ_WhRMDfQYog-A&utm_campaign=yelp_feed&utm_medium=feed_v2&utm_source=mapquest

David

Gave up on it after three episodes.

I’m sticking with it to see if there’s a payoff, some mind-shattering twist, but it’s not a series I’ve found compelling. It teases something more interesting ahead, more so after episode three, and it has engaging moments - and I like the idea of a cheesy sitcom world gradually crashing into a full-on horror story, with stolen corpses and such. (The security footage of Wanda stealing Vision’s disassembled remains was quite effective, as was her warning to Hayward - frankly, we need more of that.)

But events inside the Hex – the sitcom world, where we still spend most of our time - are the weakest part of the series, and frequently tiresome. When put on screen, the basic conceit – of imitating cheesy old sitcom formats – just doesn’t work particularly well. Some of it is clever, or at least clever-clever, but little of it is interesting, and the pacing is much too slow. It’s picking up a little, belatedly, as the two worlds start to collide, but it feels like the idea has been stretched out to fill a schedule.

semi retired conservative

WandaVision has only three episodes left and is still not very good.

I gave up on the cheese after only one episode. And I am a great admirer of Ms. Olsens... attributes.

On a relevant tangent, I would like to take the opportunity to poll your transatlantic audience (phrasing) and ask if anyone can help me find what I am looking for.

I too enjoy a dollop of the cinematic arts and old fashioned speculative fiction but whenever I go on the interwebs and try and read a relevant current culture website all I find are woke scolds, purple haired "scribes" and dolefully banal studio/publisher press releases reposted as "content"

I refer of course to the dreck found at websites such as AVClub, Den of Geek, IO9, etc.. where they offer such sh*te as "Was Ming the Merciless a prototype Orange Man Bad" or "Dr. Who defeats evil space BoJo"

Is there any website where one can find something akin to the ramblings of "The Critical Drinker" but in text form ? ie: conservative preferably but politically neutral at least

UK based is preferable to American (sorry Yanquis) but anything from the Anglosphere will do considering the cultural unicorn I am hunting for.

Thanks in advance, your humble servant, etc.. ad nauseum.

David

websites such as AVClub, Den of Geek, IO9, etc.

All of which I used to read, at least occasionally, and all of which have doubled down on wokeness, with a subsequent, quite pronounced drop in quality. To say nothing of the uniformity. Now, more often than not, a project is enthused about because of the sex and pigmentation of the people involved in it, and so we get things like this.

If anyone can suggest less degraded alternatives, I’m all ears too.

Burnsie

Saw this at Insty this a.m.:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-take-the-penis-off-its-pedestal/

Haven't we been doing that for the past 40 years? Or is she talking about one particularly stubborn penis?

Squires

Is there any website where one can find something akin to the ramblings of "The Critical Drinker" but in text form ?

I have nothing in text form. However, for a channel that’s less comedy/personality oriented, you could check out deepfocuslens:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg7MJSwLTsa3gBy_k4Wu63A?app=desktop

Since her reviews are all discussion (no reliance on clips or visual cues) they still work even if you’re only listening to the audio.

semi retired conservative

one particularly stubborn penis

..but enough about Bill Clinton

pst314

Or is she talking about one particularly stubborn penis?

Like most female English majors, she finds meaning in hating men.

Governor Squid

I've completely fallen down the rabbit hole of sailing blogs on YouTube. When the temperatures outside get to a place where distinctions between Fahrenheit and Celsius lose their meaning, spending an hour sailing from Antigua to Guadeloupe with a couple of plucky thirtysomethings is a great escape.

On the plus side, I spent a few hours mending canvaswork for my sailboat while I was at it.

David

I’ve completely fallen down the rabbit hole of sailing blogs on YouTube.

I did not see that coming.

Jeff Wood

SRC above raises a point which reminds me of a little chore I set myself in December.

I set out to find and download a number of movies I remembered enjoying in the past, and others I have not seen but always meant to. Most of them are out of copyright, so no harm done. There are few films of the past 40 years which even intrigue me. The exception was The Death of Stalin, which I believe was panned by the "critics" and yes, I enjoyed it. If you have not seen it, you will discover that Zhukov was from rural Yorkshire, Stalin was an East End wide boy, Khrushchev was a New York Jew, and there was a Python on the Central Committee.

I started with Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, passing on the link to a delighted lady friend, found the original The Italian Job, and went on from there. Now I have about 40 films, which I will store on a backup drive, and send CDs/DVDs to grandsons who are not impressed by current HollyWeird offerings.

To find the movies, I use BitChute mainly, with occasional forays to the Tube, searching for films by name. To download, I have a program called ClipGrab, which does so well I made a donation.

If anyone knows where I can find a decent print of Bondarchuk's Waterloo, 1967 I think, I would be very grateful for a link.

I have a feeling that much of the older, good stuff is destined for the Memory Hole one day, but archiving it now keeps it alive.

Steve E

spending an hour sailing from Antigua to Guadeloupe with a couple of plucky thirtysomethings is a great escape.

Brings back wonderful memories. In 1993 my wife and I sailed from Antigua to Montserrat (pre-eruption) on our honeymoon before heading north to St. Kitts then St. Barts and St Martin. We sailed on the S/V Fantome which would go down in Hurricane Mitch 5-years later. Mitch also hit Guatemala which delayed our picking up our newly adopted son.

Adam

Not quite a limerick -

There was a young lass from Loch Innis
Whose fondness for sex ran to penis.
She took it in halls, flower beds, and horse stall,
But liked best to be mounted on pedestals.

Jeff Wood

I am sure that all here are interested in the preservation of Western Civilisation against the barbarians, who keep appearing in these pages. so, I would add, I suspect for the second time, that I found Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation" here:

https://archive.org/details/kccapv

The lady friend I mentioned above described Ken as "Odious". Given her professional background, she might know. However, he left us something grand.

Daniel Ream

Some of it is clever, or at least clever-clever, but little of it is interesting

Supernatural had an episode in which the brothers are tossed into a succession of television show knockoffs by a malevolent spirit in order to teach them a lesson. It also goes from cheesy comedy to horror very quickly, and it works very well. Probably because it only lasts for 45 minutes.

Am I going to ruin anyone's day if I spoil The Big Reveal in WandaVision? Anyone who's ever read an X-Men comic knows what's coming, and I'm surprised they're dragging it out this long.

NTSOG

Academics at the Australian National University, i.e. those highly paid people who know lots about little that is real, have ordained that the word 'mother' be replaced with 'gestational parent' and 'father' with 'non birthing parent' in a 'bid for gender inclusive education'.

Well they can 'include' all they want but all the inclusion in the world won't lead to men being able to be women and actually carry a baby. I presume that this is because some want-to-be-a-woman blokes get all upset because they can't produce. However it's alright to offend all natural women/mothers to further the 'progress' of a tiny and very selfish few.

pst314

Journo: "Did you realize there's a lockdown?"

semi retired conservative

If anyone knows where I can find a decent print of Bondarchuk's Waterloo, 1967 I think, I would be very grateful for a link.

It is widely available as a torrent. I use this site: https: // www . torrentdownload . info/ but of course many others are available. It shows 298 seeds for a couple of different copies.

Search Waterloo (1970)

One claims to be 720p Blue Ray... sigh

Darleen

websites such as AVClub, Den of Geek, IO9, etc

Just one fantasy author - but highly entertaining (both his books and blog).

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Continuing with the previous white devil post, for all you ofays out there which of the 8 yte identities are you ?

pst314

Fighting the White Devil with breakfast cereal: Get ready for Proud Puffs, a chocolate-flavored, vegan cereal formed in the shape of a Black fist.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

OK, can we get a pool going to pick when this gets changed to an attack on a yte devil hunter ?

Darleen

More from Chris Rufo.

In practical terms, it is unclear how these “antiracist” programs will translate into academic outcomes. The gap between rhetoric and reality at schools such as William Kelley is almost beyond comprehension: the vast majority of the ten- and eleven-year-olds marching for the utopia of “black communism” can barely read and write. Rather than come to terms with the pedagogical failure of Philadelphia public schools, however, educators have shifted the blame to “systemic racism” and promises of “revolution.”

NTSOG

Lion attacks Arab riding camel?

What ever happened to the spirit of the Masai whose young warriors routinely tested their manhood by tackling lions with only a shield and assegai? Perhaps the Masai were too tough for the old slavers to capture and send to the New World, so only wimps became slaves? Perhaps that's why there's a certain element amongst Black Americans who dare only attack elderly Asians who can't fight back?

pst314

The desired academic outcome is an ever growing army of unemployed, deranged people ready to kill whoever leftists designate as the enemy? As a famous communist said, “the worse, the better”.

Russtovich

If anyone knows where I can find a decent print of Bondarchuk's Waterloo, 1967 I think, I would be very grateful for a link.

If ClipGrab works on Youtube try either here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DcWJrzK0wU

or here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F5zEHVl3tE&t=7448s

Cheers

WTP

This is just occurring to Scott Adams? This is something that has bugged me about science reporting since I was in college, if not before. Not that I've seen much discussion of it in all these years...

https://mobile.twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1361317499673866245

anon a mouse

Or is she talking about one particularly stubborn penis?

Zardoz?

David

It also goes from cheesy comedy to horror very quickly, and it works very well. Probably because it only lasts for 45 minutes.

Yes, the slow pacing and overplayed central conceit really doesn’t help WandaVision. They’ve stretched the sitcom idea beyond its tolerance. Or beyond mine, anyway. For the first three or four episodes, you sit through a flat, unfunny recreation of flat, unfunny sitcoms, complete with flat, unfunny jokes. It’s almost grating. Only when this sitcom world is disturbed or glitching in some way is there a brief respite, a brief sense of drama. And by the time the wider situation – events outside of the Hex – become clear, a large chunk of the audience will have tuned out.

It’s not entirely bad – there are good moments, and it keeps teasing something fairly wild to come. It isn’t without ambition. But the structure and pacing, and the weekly release format, haven’t done the actual drama, the core of it, any favours. I’m rather puzzled by the seemingly unanimous praise the thing has received.

David

Darleen and Mr Muldoon, thanks for those. See today’s post.

We’re terribly interactive round here, you know.

Fred

Do you torrent? Waterloo, decent resolution, readily available. https://www1.thepiratebay3.to/s/?q=waterloo

Sam Duncan

“Er, I’ll have you know the toilets were given a once-over two Thursdays ago.”

I wondered what the faintly chemical smell was in there. I thought you'd spilled a batch of, er... “gin”.

“I’ve been re-watching Spaced, which is concentrated ‘90s and still amuses.”

It can't be that old. It just can't be.

Yes, I probably mean “I”. [sobs quietly]

(Wikipedia: “Pegg and Stevenson pitched the show to LWT as 'a cross between The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure.'" Heh. The first two are kind of obvious, but the Northern Exposure influence had never occurred to me before. And the thought strikes me that if Northern Exposure were running today, Janine Turner would probably end up being fired.)

David

It can’t be that old. It just can’t be.

I was tickled by the rave courier whose fits of having-it-large are triggered by the beep of a pedestrian crossing.

Robin

From the IMDB comments of WandaVision...

it acts as a bizarrely amusing scenario of two fantastical superheroes living the quiet suburban life of 1950s picket fence America, while also implying that something off, and potentially sinister, is going on behind the scenes ... I will say it's probably not for everyone, as younger fans unfamiliar with classic TV tropes unlikely to understand the parody

What is there to parody or to spend three episodes developing? It's been the convention for decades now to depict the 1950's as picket fence noir. Audiences would be surprised if harmonious suburban communities (compulsory aside: which never existed) didn't have dark forebodings.

Recommended for comparision, The Strange World of Gurney Slade, from 1960, where Anthony Newley plays a soap opera character who develops self-awareness and walks off the set into the real world. The soap opera part was over and done with in the first episode, the understanding being that half a dozen lines of the script are sufficient to get across the general idea.

David

What is there to parody or to spend three episodes developing?

That’s the thing. As an idea, on paper, it’s not entirely unamusing, and there’s clearly been some thought put into the recreations, lots of detail. But that, in itself, isn’t particularly interesting. It isn’t compelling or much of a reason to keep watching, week after week. Just as the ironic nods to comics lore and continuity – which I’m guessing we’re supposed to find clever and terribly funny - aren’t in themselves particularly interesting. Whatever its cleverness, or imagined cleverness, the thing still has to work dramatically, with pace and tension, and a sense of narrative momentum. Which, so far, it doesn’t. At least, nowhere near enough.

Xas7wcrg9e

Apparently it can still be called lesbian sex, even if both women still have their penises...

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/how-do-lesbians-have-sex

Usually, people use the term “lesbian sex” to mean sex between two women.

...

Remember, also, that “lesbian sex” isn’t limited to cisgender couples.

Jeff Wood

Thank you, Fred, I will have a go.

Jeff Wood

And also thanks to Russtovich - I was reading the comments from the bottom up.

Daniel Ream

I’m rather puzzled by the seemingly unanimous praise the thing has received

There's a sizable contingent of people that are so happy to see their favorite geek fetishes produced with a large budget and real actors that they'll forgive mediocre writing. And really, WandaVision's slow pacing is minor compared to what passes for the standard fans are used to. On a spectrum that has Titans at one end and Mutant X at the other, WandaVision is closer to the former than the latter, and farther along than, say, Inhumans.

the ironic nods to comics lore and continuity – which I’m guessing we’re supposed to find clever and terribly funny

The mark of a good genre show - like, say, Smallville or season one of The Mandalorian - is whether you can inject all the easter eggs and clever references and have the episode still work for someone who has no idea what you're talking about. Ideally they shouldn't even notice that you've made a reference.

Kevin Feige knew what he was doing, and I get the feeling he saw the train wreck coming and stepped away from the MCU before he could be tainted with the inevitable decline.

pst314

There's a sizable contingent of people that are so happy to see their favorite geek fetishes produced with a large budget and real actors that they'll forgive mediocre writing.

Sadly true. What's worse, many will not even notice the mediocrity.

The mark of a good genre show - like, say, Smallville or season one of The Mandalorian - is whether you can inject all the easter eggs and clever references and have the episode still work for someone who has no idea what you're talking about.

Exactly.

pst314

Bill Gates is making more pronouncements about how we commoners must give up all the good things in life while he continues to live a life of extreme luxury.

I used to joke that Bill Gates was a better person than Steve Jobs because although Bill wanted all our money Steve wanted our souls too. I was very wrong about Bill.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

There's a sizable contingent of people that are so happy to see their favorite geek fetishes produced with a large budget and real actors that they'll forgive mediocre writing.

Sadly true. What's worse, many will not even notice the mediocrity.

Not true. (Note: Link not to Alex Cranz of io9 Gizmodo but a YTer commenting on it)

They're not even hiding it anymore. They're a bunch of Bertold Brechts, without the talent.

Whitney

I used to joke that Bill Gates was a better person than Steve Jobs because although Bill wanted all our money Steve wanted our souls too. I was very wrong about Bill.

If Revenge of the Nerds dystopian style. Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg

pst314

Not true... They're not even hiding it anymore.

Interesting. Although I was thinking of the random fans that I know personally, who will squee! for mediocrity.

Sam Duncan

“It's been the convention for decades now to depict the 1950's as picket fence noir. Audiences would be surprised if harmonious suburban communities (compulsory aside: which never existed) didn't have dark forebodings.”

One of the oddities of the “culturally sensitive“ crowd is their strange inability (or perhaps “outright refusal” might be closer to the mark) to display any sensitivity at all to the culture of their own parents and grandparents.

Daniel Ream

who will squee! for mediocrity

I was very surprised in my late teens and twenties, when I first encountered other geeks, to discover that nearly all of them simply did not consume any media outside their particular geek fetish. They didn't read any books that weren't mass market fantasy/SF, or watch any movies or shows that weren't at least adjacent to their particular niche. As a result, their standards for quality were badly miscalibrated.

Audiences would be surprised if harmonious suburban communities [...] didn't have dark forebodings

That's not what's going on in WandaVision. Exactly the opposite, in fact. More than that I can't say without spoilers.

pst314

They didn't read any books that weren't mass market fantasy/SF, or watch any movies or shows that weren't at least adjacent to their particular niche. As a result, their standards for quality were badly miscalibrated.

That is a very good insight. Thank you! (That might explain how A E Van Vogt's popularity declined so precipitously after the sixties: when fans began to encounter better-written stories they finally lost interest in him and other poor stylists.)

We might be able to make a long thread on this topic, pondering other factors. For instance, I have met fans who love the Starship Troopers movie as a straight adventure of entirely admirable people: they cannot see the Nazi elements that Paul Verhoeven inserted into it, and I find it astonishing that this could be the case. They might be lying, but I have encountered this blindness in other circumstances too. I have postulated that they tend to be geeks who are capable of deep perception only of engineering/scientific matters but this remains merely speculation.

WTP

I have met fans who love the Starship Troopers movie as a straight adventure of entirely admirable people: they cannot see the Nazi elements that Paul Verhoeven inserted into it, and I find it astonishing that this could be the case.

Wait a minute...the bugs were the bad guys, correct? Or did I get that wrong? I saw ST having never read Heinlein, so without the expectations one would get from the book/author, and being unaware who wrote the original source, I certainly didn't get the Nazi thing. I only saw the movie in bits and pieces 20 years or so ago, but IIRC the movie is pretty much completely told in the context of a war going on between people and bugs. Any military organization, hell even most sports organizations, in the context of battle certainly has fascist parallels. And if you're not especially conscious of the subject being used, I'm not sure that one could call it a blindness. It just seemed like a campy/silly romp of a military-ish movie. Again, when approached with the ignorance of Heinlein having anything to do with it or having any knowledge of Heinlein.

So on the subject of Heinlein...When y'all discuss SF books and such, I rarely have any commonality on authors so I kind of have forgotten that I was even a fan of the genre as a youth. However just thinking about this, I took an elective English literature course in high school on Science Fiction/Science Fantasy. In that course we read Dracula, Star Wars, We, Harrison Bergeron, The Hobbit, I Robot, R.U.R, just off the top of my head. But I don't recall any Heinlein, H.P Lovecraft, or other authors frequently discussed in conservative circles. I read a lot on my own into my early 20's but that was mostly H.G. Wells, George Orwell, along with more Vonnegut, Asimov, etc. That said...and back to Heinlein, I was curious to read something by him recently. The only thing in my local library was a large print version of Rocket Ship Galileo. Three chapters in and I'm not very impressed. Looking it up I now see it was written as part of a juvenile-oriented series so perhaps I should try something else. What threw me off is this is the only book by him in our local library and only two others exist in the whole library system. The other two (forget the titles) were not available. What with it being a large print edition, I presumed it was for old people with bad eyes. Seems like an odd thing to have in large print, especially given the very small number of books available. The LP section was only one row of shelves long and some of that wasn't even LP.

Daniel Ream

I find it astonishing that this could be the case

"Fans are Slans" analogizes SF fans to secret mutants that were intended to be a metaphor for pre-WWII Jewry. Because being mocked for reading SF is totally like being a Jew in Nazi Germany.

Self-awareness is not fandom's strong suit.

Up to a certain point in the 20th century, F/SF authors were generally people who had done other things in their lives, and had turned to F/SF either as a way to pay the bills or a side gig or a retirement hobby. Robert E. Howard mostly wrote cowboy and boxing novels, for instance. Leaving aside quality for a moment, this meant that authors were bringing real-world experiences into the stories they wrote.

Around the early 80's, we saw the first crop of F/SF writers who went straight from college into writing, and whose only life experiences were college and reading other F/SF lit. The result is a genre that's been steadily shrinking in on itself and getting increasingly unmoored from any real-world relevance. Most of the best-selling fantasy book series and at least three TV shows of the last twenty years have been novelizations of the author's college D&D campaign. I don't think there's an author out there any more who could write even a Hammer's Slammers or a Chronicles of Amber, much less Dune or Lord of the Rings.

Three chapters in and I'm not very impressed

Heinlein was an atheist and a conservative libertarian, which meant neither the left nor the right liked him very much. It's also been noted - fairly - that Heinlein doesn't write characters; every character is just Heinlein, spouting Heinlein's sociopolitical opinions in Heinlein's voice. The extent to which you like Heinlein tends to depend on how much you agree with him.

It just seemed like a campy/silly romp of a military-ish movie

When I saw it in high school none of us had read the original and we all just chalked it up to SF films being cheesy, low-budget and badly written. The TV series Space: Above and Beyond is basically Starship Troopers without the political subversion, which is to say a campy/silly romp of a military-ish show.

Directrix Gazer

Rocket Ship Galileo was Heinlein's first published novel, wasn't it? I agree it's not very good. De Gustibus non est disputandum of course, but I'd say the juveniles Red Planet and Farmer in the Sky hold up well. I think Heinlein's "middle period" is probably where he did his best work, though - I only recently got around to reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and greatly enjoyed it, and quite a few of his short stories of the '50s and '60s are worthwhile. I mostly agree with the lectures in Starship Troopers so they don't bother me, but I can see how they would irk those of contrary perspectives. That said, I thought the world wrapped around the lectures was sufficiently interesting in its own right to keep me going. I wonder if Heinlein suffers from trope-founder syndrome when it comes to modern readers, though.

IIRC, the Starship Troopers film started out as a completely unrelated project called Bug Hunt until someone pointed out the superficial similarities to Verhoeven, who seems doomed to forever make films that he thinks viciously lampoon his political opposites (us, put broadly) but are enthusiastically adopted by them.

Despite reading huge amounts of the literature, I haven't had much contact with the SF/F fan communities, certainly not the pre-internet scene (before my time), but I've read enough about it that Daniel's observations of its shortcomings ring true. Against that, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven have written about its praiseworthy aspects in ways that make me wish I'd been around to experience it. I expect it was a mixed bag, as with most such social phenomena.

I agree completely with Daniel's comments about the increasingly insular and incestuous nature of the creatives involved, though. We don't have nearly as many scientists, engineers, naval officers, and linguists writing SF and F as in the past. Neither creators nor fans seem to be widely read in fiction or non-fiction. In conversation with friends I've used the phrase "creative human centipede" for the situation where tropes or ideas go through multiple successive stages of ingestion and excretion with more and more distance from their original inspiration. It's frustrating, and a big part of the reason why I don't read much recent speculative fiction, but also seems to affect other artistic scenes. Much of Hollywood seems to suffer from it, for instance.

Daniel Ream

Verhoeven, who seems doomed to forever make films that he thinks viciously lampoon his political opposites

I'm still reeling from the revelation that Robocop was intended as a Christ allegory.

I haven't had much contact with the SF/F fan communities

There are two groups of fans - the ones that just read and enjoy F/SF works as a favoured genre of literature, and the ones that self-identify as fans, and make up clever names for themselves and go to cons and so on. That second group has become increasingly more visibly disturbing over time as the genres have been mainstreamed. It's truly unfortunate that Harlan Ellison refused to allow Xenogenesis to be reprinted because its depiction of the more disturbed fan-type-2 might, if promulgated more widely, have led to some self-reflection on the part of the community.

And then there's the recent revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley and other older lions of the field.

I've used the phrase "creative human centipede"

I've used the phrase "like an ourobouros consuming its own tail, getting smaller and smaller all the time" but I'm stealing yours because it's more punchy.

TVTropes has a lot to answer for. Being curated almost entirely by millennials who think they're media-savvy but have no knowledge of anything prior to 1995 or so, it's full of these kind of "I can tell this is a trope but I don't know where it comes from or why it exists" entries. The other thing I see is that as F/SF goes mainstream, its primary media has become film, TV and video games. Many, possibly even most people who call themselves F/SF fans now have never read a F/SF book. And the writing for film/TV/video games is by necessity simpler and of poorer quality than a full-sized novel, and relies heavily on communicating via tropes.

pst314

WTP: I saw ST having never read Heinlein... I certainly didn't get the Nazi thing. I only saw the movie in bits and pieces 20 years or so ago...

Maybe you didn't catch the Nazi allusions because you saw it in bits and pieces. The original novel was not at all fascist, but leftists denounced it as such--and so Paul Verhoeven inserted Nazi allusions into the film. It certainly was a campy/silly movie, in many ways.

When y'all discuss SF books and such, I rarely have any commonality on authors...

You comment here about things that I know much less about, and for that I am grateful.

Rocket Ship Galileo... I'm not very impressed... juvenile-oriented series...

It was his first published novel. I tried rereading it recently and agree. Some of his later juveniles were good enough for adults to enjoy. As a matter of fact, I recently read comments by physicist Gregory Benford that he wrote Against Infinity as an homage to Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky.

In that course we read Dracula, Star Wars, We, Harrison Bergeron, The Hobbit, I Robot, R.U.R, just off the top of my head.

Not a bad list.

Hey wait--at the top of this post David said "share ye links and bicker" and I haven't done any bickering yet. Oh dear...

pst314

Daniel Ream: "Fans are Slans" analogizes SF fans to secret mutants that were intended to be a metaphor for pre-WWII Jewry.

And A. E. Van Vogt's novel Slan was published in the late 40's so it seems likely that he had that in mind at least to some extent.

Self-awareness is not fandom's strong suit.

Sadly true.

Around the early 80's, we saw the first crop of F/SF writers who went straight from college into writing, and whose only life experiences were college and reading other F/SF lit. The result is a genre that's been steadily shrinking in on itself...

Does that explain Delany's later fiction? :-)

Let's see: Gregory Benford is a physicist, Gene Wolfe was an engineer, Joe Haldeman was a combat engineer, Asimov was a phd Chemist at Boston, Pratchett was a newspaper man, Pournelle was many things, but I seem to be talking only about old guys like myself which supports your point. :-(

I don't think there's an author out there any more who could write even a Hammer's Slammers

By David Drake, Vietnam War veteran.

How about Michael Z. Williamson who is a more recent veteran and who maintains parallel careers in making/repairing firearms and edged weapons and in related consulting for Hollywood? I've only read one of his novels so far, so I am not in a position to say one way or the other.

pst314

Directrix Gazer: Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven have written about its praiseworthy aspects

Pournelle is one of the few public figures that I would have had liked to have as neighbors.

In conversation with friends I've used the phrase "creative human centipede"...

That was an odd metaphor so I had to look it up. Disgusting. But very apt. Come to think of it, John Varley used a form of that in the opening scenes of Demon to viciously lampoon Hollywood.

One writer lamented in the 70's that it seemed as if most of the great ideas had all been explored, leaving little new ground for the next generation of writers. I suppose he had a point, but I do see original ideas now and then, and anyone can bring an original style and mood and perspective to an old trope. Hollywood seems almost dead, a bunch of zombies eating each other.

pst314

Daniel Ream: There are two groups of fans - the ones that just read and enjoy F/SF works as a favoured genre of literature, and the ones that self-identify as fans, and make up clever names for themselves and go to cons and so on.

There are some who fall in between: They are primarily readers. They occasionally go to cons but do not wear costumes, give themselves clever names, or speak Klingon. :-) I occasionally have gone to cons, when the announced program had numerous items that seemed worth attending--one can see highly knowledgable people discussing interesting things, and ask questions. But slowly the internet replaced that as a more convenient source, and the chief reason to attend was to meet old friends: I have had many wonderful lunches and dinners (at which sf was rarely discussed) with one highly respected writer who was one of the most intelligent and humane people I have known.

Many, possibly even most people who call themselves F/SF fans now have never read a F/SF book.

As exemplified, perhaps, by the fact that those media-oriented Comic Cons get tens of thousands of guests while the typical old style con gets hundreds. I have tried to interest media fans in related written fiction but with very limited success. In part it seems as if some people just stop reading.

pst314

It's truly unfortunate that Harlan Ellison refused to allow Xenogenesis to be reprinted

He did eventually do so, in Edgeworks Vol 1. (Also in The Essential Ellison. If you have a copy of that, it may be worth $100-$600.)

ComputerLabRat

In part it seems as if some people just stop reading.

People nowadays "consume" media.

Teaching does not take place in schools, "programming" does.

The mind has been decoupled from the activity. You need to be able to think to learn concepts, to read books.

I love finding some pulpy old paperback of speculative SF from the 50s or thereabouts in a used bookstore, for a couple bucks. It's amazing what they thought the future held. Interplanetary travel, no, but other tech, and social changes - they were surprisingly prescient.

Daniel Ream

they were surprisingly prescient

I've been re-reading Andre Norton's juveniles, starting with Sargasso of Space, and I was amused by how very Harry Potter in SPAAAAACE it felt.

ComputerLabRat

I've been re-reading Andre Norton's juveniles, starting with Sargasso of Space

I have a couple Andre Norton paperbacks in my collection, but I don't know if they were juveniles or not.

I've always been a fan of a good adventure story, whether space-based or fantasy-based. I can tolerate some social commentary in my fictional escapes, as long as it isn't too preachy and beat me about the head. I think that is why I tend to prefer the older stuff - either there was less preachiness, or it was just much better-disguised in a rollicking good tale.

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