The Random Thoughts Thread

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Hipster Thor
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Hipster Thor » Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm

She is not trans. That is misinformation being spread by alt-right web communities that want the game to fail because its "political". Also perpetuating the notion that she is trans because she has muscles is immensely damaging and offensive to the transgender community because it doubles down on negative stereotypes often used to mock transgender people that trigger most of them severely.

I cannot comment on the ethics of having trans representation in a video game because this person is not trans, and even if they were I would have to play the game to understand if it is good representation or not. So far the high bar for trans representation remains The Missing, and to be honest there isn't much competition because there isn't much representation

As for your comment on African American representation I am not African American so I cannot comment. But I do know that if you think of The Last of Us characters in the same way most people think of the Archie comics then you might need some help.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Thu May 07, 2020 9:05 pm

Daily Double
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Thu May 07, 2020 9:05 pm

Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
She is not trans.

I am not part of the game development team. I don't claim to know. I only know the scuttlebut that I've heard on the interwebs.
Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
That is misinformation being spread by alt-right web communities that want the game to fail because its "political". Also perpetuating the notion that she is trans because she has muscles is immensely damaging and offensive to the transgender community because it doubles down on negative stereotypes often used to mock transgender people that trigger most of them severely.

I don't know anything about that. I am talking about rumours. You're talking about conspiracies.
Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
I cannot comment on the ethics of having trans representation in a video game because this person is not trans, and even if they were I would have to play the game to understand if it is good representation or not.

I don't know that the character is transgender or not. Again, the game has not been released yet and these are details that are subject to change.

To be clear, I am not attempting legislate the issue. I am speaking about what would be the case in light of this contingency (i.e., it would not be a good look).
Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
So far the high bar for trans representation remains The Missing, and to be honest there isn't much competition because there isn't much representation

I don't know about The Missing. But it is my shared understanding that representation of this demographic as a "player character" is not high and that, therefore, a transgender character in a sequel to The Last of Us would be a big deal. My preference, should this be the case (again, I don't know), would be that such a character would be introduced sympathetically.
Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
As for your comment on African American representation I am not African American so I cannot comment.

Why can't you comment? This is not a question that asks what the inner authentic experience of African Americans would be in this context. I am not African American, but I can say that Jim Crow and Red-Lining were bullshit, can't you too? Could we not say that a lynching of an African American in a video game would be "bad" without being African American?

Also, supposing that you were black, what would authorize you to speak on behalf of the entire black community? African Americans are not a "monolithic" collective like Star Trek's BORG, such that one person can purport to speak for that community. If we have to be able to speak on behalf of an entire demographic to speak of demographic issues, then we cannot speak of demographic issues, period. Check mate. For everyone. Have a care not to be so pious that you lose your ability to speak on issues that impact everyone.
Hipster Thor wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:44 pm
But I do know that if you think of The Last of Us characters in the same way most people think of the Archie comics then you might need some help.
Well, I don't have any 1950s video game characters to refer to, seeing as how there were no video games back then. The point is not to argue perfect analogy bordering on identity (why do people not get how analogies work any more?) between Archie comics and The Last of Us, but rather to point out that it is traumatic to force players to (personally) kill characters that they have bonded and identified with in a prior artwork which was beloved for the immediacy of the narrative and, in particular, the connection thereby established with those two characters.

I am not looking get into any sort of "gamergate" debate here. I don't have any inside baseball on this. I only know what I have seen on social media feeds.

You say the character is not trans. Well, OK. Either way, however, there is the remaining problem of changing perspective mid-game and being forced to kill the protagonists from the first game. Holy shit! If that's right, that is a major WTF all by itself.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Slentert » Thu May 07, 2020 9:21 pm

You're making an awful big deal about something you "don't claim to know".
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Thu May 07, 2020 9:30 pm

Slentert wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:21 pm
You're making an awful big deal about something you "don't claim to know".
Clarification is often a knotty thing.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Slentert » Thu May 07, 2020 9:34 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:30 pm
Clarification is often a knotty thing.
And "starting an entire argument around some vague information that I won't let go off even though it has nothing to do with the original post I was responding to" is as well.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Thu May 07, 2020 9:42 pm

Slentert wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:34 pm
And "starting an entire argument around some vague information that I won't let go off even though it has nothing to do with the original post I was responding to" is as well.
I didn't know that I was starting an argument. I thought I was voicing agreement about the missteps of the development team in that 1. You don't make your players kill beloved characters. and 2. that this is not a cool way to depict trans folk. It appears that #2 is contentious, so I am slowly trying to back away to claim #1. I guess that makes me an asshole?
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Slentert » Thu May 07, 2020 10:15 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:42 pm
I didn't know that I was starting an argument. I thought I was voicing agreement about the missteps of the development team in that 1. You don't make your players kill beloved characters. and 2. that this is not a cool way to depict trans folk. It appears that #2 is contentious, so I am slowly trying to back away to claim #1. I guess that makes me an asshole?
This entire discussion is based around some rumors that are most likely not even true. This isn't the first time you started an entire thing around some very dubious information that you read somewhere that you won't let go off while simultaneiously hiding behind the fact that "you don't really know for sure".

You have very strong "debate me" energy.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Hipster Thor » Fri May 08, 2020 2:31 am

Lynching a person for the color of their skin is bad. It's pretty cut and dry. I can argue that from the perspective of being a human being. Arguing the merits of being represented badly vs not being represented at all is a completely different subject matter that I can not speak on because I am not in the community it is in reference to. I am a white person, part of the oppressor race, I will never have the understanding of what it is like to grow up as a black person in the Western World. Anything I could attempt to say on the matter would either make me out to be a fool or offend someone who is black, so I will spare every one my ignorance because I am ignorant to a great many things.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Fri May 08, 2020 2:56 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:42 pm
1. You don't make your players kill beloved characters.
It's just a video game :shifty:

When I was young I had a movie idea which was like James Bond but he gets killed by the evil master's henchman and it shifts perspective to the henchman and the situation evolves from there where the henchman gets offed... onto the next perspective. This is a cool idea to me :shifty:

Since when do you not make your players kill beloved characters? That's pretty subtracting of the situational context. It's a zombie apocalypse. Have you played Telltale's The Walking Dead series?
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Fri May 08, 2020 2:58 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 9:05 pm
Either way, however, there is the remaining problem of changing perspective mid-game and being forced to kill the protagonists from the first game. Holy shit! If that's right, that is a major WTF all by itself.
I just do not understand how this is a problem in any way... it's a video game. Have you ever played a role playing game? Planescape Torment?
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Fri May 08, 2020 3:20 am

The Nameless One wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 2:58 am
I just do not understand how this is a problem in any way... it's a video game. Have you ever played a role playing game? Planescape Torment?
Hello Nameless,

Slentert has chastized me for being argumentative (who? me?) and Thor is trotting out pieties which prohibit the discussion of anyone in the position of the "other." In short, the discussion is moving in a non-productive direction. I shall demur your invitation to probe these matters at this time, although you raise some interesting points.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Hipster Thor » Fri May 08, 2020 4:14 am

I was trying to talk about depictions of violence. You started this nonsense. It has become clear to me now that society is not capable of discussing what I wanted to discuss without drudging up the muk and bile of gamergate nonsense. I guess that sand will find a crack. Any excuse to start flinging mud. Congrats on also essentially spoiling anyone reading this thread as well.

If you think my supposition that TLOU2 discourse has been poisoned by gamergate politics is false I would recommend paying a visit to the Last of Us 2 subreddit and take a look around.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Fri May 08, 2020 5:10 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 3:20 am
Hello Nameless,

Slentert has chastized me for being argumentative (who? me?) and Thor is trotting out pieties which prohibit the discussion of anyone in the position of the "other." In short, the discussion is moving in a non-productive direction. I shall demur your invitation to probe these matters at this time, although you raise some interesting points.
Hello Melvin

All good, just vibe checkin'. Regarding the "other", and I'm just food for thoughting here, I feel like I have to carefully gauge my "qualifications" regarding which arguments I decide to participate in. I'm kinda anti-argumentative for this reason, it's very rare when I feel comfortable enough to let my mind flourish around an idea being presented by the "other", and even more rare that said idea encourages me to participate in the process of sheering it down to it's point (of a spiral). I try to speak from experience... but in contradictory attempt to summarize the human condition I feel like people get frustrated with the gaps in their experience to the point where they attempt a kind of emulation of thought which extends beyond their qualifications... this, to me, is dangerous, especially when it comes to gender and race, because on the internet where things are written in ink it either creates a situation where an Ivory Tower is making the calls in wake of the reality of the argument occurring underneath, or that one's attempts to find someone else's surface while grasping at air end up doing a disservice to that argument. Like, what stake do you have in the discussion of the "other"? Wouldn't you be worried that you may miss a spot which could only be derived from the "other's" experience you could never possibly have and having that spiral into policy which stands on an ill formation which could potentially do more damage than good?

Do you worry, deep down, that no one finds us qualified and that even the process of arguing with us has been rendered as less a function and more an indulgence? I mean, what exactly are we bringing to the table here? For people who act like squids draped over the globe of the world, we ought to have something interesting directing our philosophical pursuits. In this state, we are a blank canvas, an idea of a potential idea...
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 09, 2020 10:01 pm

I think "hipster" is the biggest trigger word there is that you should disregard someone's opinion on what they're writing about, narrowly beating "pretentious".
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Sat May 09, 2020 10:05 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:01 pm
I think "hipster" is the biggest trigger word there is that you should disregard someone's opinion on what they're writing about, narrowly beating "pretentious".
Ok zoomer
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 09, 2020 10:10 pm

The Nameless One wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:05 pm
Ok zoomer
Quiet, Boomer!!!
BTW, I wasn't referring to anyone here in particular with my above post. Just some random line I posted out of boredom, I guess.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Sat May 09, 2020 10:24 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:10 pm
Quiet, Boomer!!!
BTW, I wasn't referring to anyone here in particular with my above post. Just some random line I posted out of boredom, I guess.
I find your post hilarious because you probably were all of... 7 years old? when "hipster" really took hold on culture again. Have you seen the show Portlandia? Victoria BC is referred to as "mini-Portland" by many, lots of craft brew, craft beards, and flannel paired with dark rimmed glasses. There is an interesting history around the term and how it has evolved - it's impact on fashion alone is profound. That's not to say I'm not extremely critical of the term and the movement it inspired but it's worth looking into, there's a lot going on there
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 09, 2020 10:36 pm

The Nameless One wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:24 pm
I find your post hilarious because you probably were all of... 7 years old? when "hipster" really took hold on culture again. Have you seen the show Portlandia? Victoria BC is referred to as "mini-Portland" by many, lots of craft brew, craft beards, and flannel paired with dark rimmed glasses. There is an interesting history around the term and how it has evolved - it's impact on fashion alone is profound. That's not to say I'm not extremely critical of the term and the movement it inspired but it's worth looking into, there's a lot going on there
I haven't seen Portlandia. I'll have to look into it as I didn't know about the history and evolution of the term. For what it's worth, I was mainly referring to the generic "This movie is hipster bullshit" usage I typically see.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by The Nameless One » Sat May 09, 2020 10:56 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:36 pm
For what it's worth, I was mainly referring to the generic "This movie is hipster bullshit" usage I typically see.
I'd love to hear which movies you see referred to as "hipster bullshit", that's a fun land of critique. Given that I was born in 1990, I grew up with the likes of Weezer's Buddy Holly (1994) and Rushmore (1998) so it makes a lot of sense that my generation would grow into those influences.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 09, 2020 11:02 pm

The Nameless One wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:56 pm
I'd love to hear which movies you see referred to as "hipster bullshit", that's a fun land of critique. Given that I was born in 1990, I grew up with the likes of Weezer's Buddy Holly (1994) and Rushmore (1998) so it makes a lot of sense that my generation would grow into those influences.
I don't know of many individual films off hand, but I'd say it's typically stuff like Tree of Life (well, most of Malick's recent films, really), mother!, Spring Breakers, and other films which have to deal with the pretentious argument. Sometimes, the word "hipster" gets thrown into those critiques as well.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Fri May 15, 2020 2:21 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 11:02 pm
I don't know of many individual films off hand, but I'd say it's typically stuff like Tree of Life (well, most of Malick's recent films, really), mother!, Spring Breakers, and other films which have to deal with the pretentious argument. Sometimes, the word "hipster" gets thrown into those critiques as well.
Speaking of late Malick, I listened to the Film Comment Podcast episode on Malick to soothe my soul because I love the shit out of Nick Pinkerton. I miss the Violet Lucca days of the podcast.

https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/film-c ... ce-malick/

I swear there was another one where he went deeper into Badlands with some of the funniest descriptions of the movie I've ever heard. Maybe it was just a dream...
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri May 15, 2020 2:26 am

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 2:21 am
Speaking of late Malick, I listened to the Film Comment Podcast episode on Malick to soothe my soul because I love the shit out of Nick Pinkerton. I miss the Violet Lucca days of the podcast.

https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/film-c ... ce-malick/

I swear there was another one where he went deeper into Badlands with some of the funniest descriptions of the movie I've ever heard. Maybe it was just a dream...
I'll be sure to watch that episode tomorrow. I should also start watching podcasts more in general.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Fri May 15, 2020 2:42 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 2:26 am
I'll be sure to watch that episode tomorrow. I should also start watching podcasts more in general.
It's the time apparently. I think new Film Comment is still quality, but I loved Lucca as a host. Depending on your preferences, I can give you podcast recs.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri May 15, 2020 4:13 am

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 2:42 am
It's the time apparently. I think new Film Comment is still quality, but I loved Lucca as a host. Depending on your preferences, I can give you podcast recs.
In addition to film, other topics which might interest me include video games, comedians, politics, and sports (football typically interests me the most).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Slentert » Fri May 15, 2020 10:16 am

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 2:21 am
Speaking of late Malick, I listened to the Film Comment Podcast episode on Malick to soothe my soul because I love the shit out of Nick Pinkerton. I miss the Violet Lucca days of the podcast.

https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/film-c ... ce-malick/

I swear there was another one where he went deeper into Badlands with some of the funniest descriptions of the movie I've ever heard. Maybe it was just a dream...
Nick Pinkerton is one of my favorite current critics out there, so I'm definitely going to give this episode a listen. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Fri May 15, 2020 1:48 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:13 am
In addition to film, other topics which might interest me include video games, comedians, politics, and sports (football typically interests me the most).
I game some, but haven't listened to any gaming podcasts, so can't help you there. Also not a sports guy. On the comedian end, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend and Lovett or Leave It maybe (latter also overlaps with politics). I've heard advertisements for another show where comedians break down their process using a specific joke. Sounds interesting, but I haven't splurged on it and don't remember the name. May Google guide you.

Lovett's also an entry into the growing Crooked Media empire. Mostly politics shows, but have other stuff. I mostly listen to the flagships. I listen to the Slate Political Gabfest as something of a stan for Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson. Ezra Klein's podcast is a good show for sober, in-depth interviews.

Outside of the wheelhouse you listed, popular recs are Hardcore History and Radiolab. Sort of elder statesmen of the podcasting world that are still holding strong.
Slentert wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:16 am
Nick Pinkerton is one of my favorite current critics out there, so I'm definitely going to give this episode a listen. Thanks for the recommendation.
You're welcome.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri May 15, 2020 3:22 pm

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:48 pm
I game some, but haven't listened to any gaming podcasts, so can't help you there. Also not a sports guy. On the comedian end, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend and Lovett or Leave It maybe (latter also overlaps with politics). I've heard advertisements for another show where comedians break down their process using a specific joke. Sounds interesting, but I haven't splurged on it and don't remember the name. May Google guide you.

Lovett's also an entry into the growing Crooked Media empire. Mostly politics shows, but have other stuff. I mostly listen to the flagships. I listen to the Slate Political Gabfest as something of a stan for Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson. Ezra Klein's podcast is a good show for sober, in-depth interviews.

Outside of the wheelhouse you listed, popular recs are Hardcore History and Radiolab. Sort of elder statesmen of the podcasting world that are still holding strong.
Thanks for the recs. I'll look into them.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Rock » Fri May 15, 2020 3:30 pm

I will humbly recommend the Important Cinema Club podcast. It's in the "two guys talking about movies" format, but the selections are much more eclectic than average and tthe hosts are fairly open-minded to the charms of wildly different kinds of movies.

I like what I've read of Lucca's and Pinkerton's writing, but I found the few episodes of the Film Comment podcast I've listened to pretty insufferable.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Fri May 15, 2020 3:39 pm

I'm not deep into podcasts at all, but the McElroy empire has something that works for everyone, whether you're interested in medical history ("Sawbones"), DND ("The Adventure Zone"), or even just three guys being idiots with random user-submitted Yahoo questions ("My Brother My Brother and Me").

I'm a huge fan of "My Brother My Brother and Me" (MBMBaM for short).



[The clip is not gross; the title does not go where you think it goes.]

Also, Stephen King fans, Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler just started "The Kingcast," a podcast where they invite on celebrity guests to talk about Stephen King books and their adaptations. The first episode has Kumail Nanjiani cover The Running Man, novel and film. Pretty good so far!
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Fri May 15, 2020 4:01 pm

Rock wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 3:30 pm
I will humbly recommend the Important Cinema Club podcast. It's in the "two guys talking about movies" format, but the selections are much more eclectic than average and tthe hosts are fairly open-minded to the charms of wildly different kinds of movies.

I like what I've read of Lucca's and Pinkerton's writing, but I found the few episodes of the Film Comment podcast I've listened to pretty insufferable.
Biggest problem I have is being bored by it. I like it more when the hosts are talking about stuff they have a personal connection with.
DaMU wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 3:39 pm
I'm not deep into podcasts at all, but the McElroy empire has something that works for everyone, whether you're interested in medical history ("Sawbones"),
Fan of Sawbones, though I haven't kept up with it lately.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Fri May 15, 2020 4:07 pm

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:01 pm
Fan of Sawbones, though I haven't kept up with it lately.
Nor I, but I've heard they're doing a good job at directly addressing coronavirus.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Rock » Fri May 15, 2020 4:35 pm

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:01 pm
Biggest problem I have is being bored by it. I like it more when the hosts are talking about stuff they have a personal connection with.
That definitely helps, but the few FC episodes I listened to had a lot of lazy, dismissive Twitter-style reactions that were a far cry from the nuance of the writing in the magazine. Not sure how representative of the whole those few episodes would be, but one exchange I remember was them dismissing Peter Strickland's In Fabric as being anti-woman, which is not at all the case of you actually pay attention to the movie. There's also something in their tone that suggests I would find them annoying as hell in real life, but that might just be me.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Rock » Fri May 15, 2020 4:54 pm

Oh wait, were you talking about the ICC? I think their episodes on cult cinema are generally better (I get the feeling that's more what they enjoy), but I find them breezy enough hosts to tolerate the more staid, "respectable" cinema episodes.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Torgo » Sat May 16, 2020 7:52 pm

Does anyone else find themselves watching more movies that are hard to find, i.e. movies on very few streaming services, still only available on physical media, that only air on TV after midnight, etc.? Even with all of the means available to watch movies these days, I'm more compelled to put hurdles in front of what free time I have to watch them. As it is with the recent resurgence of interest in vinyl records, maybe it's an attempt to add more value to the experience by making it feel like I've worked for it.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 16, 2020 8:09 pm

I sometimes find myself watching b horror movies in my free time as they're typically available on YouTube (even though I'm still new to the sub-genre). While, with some movies, I occasionally slack on watching them, I think I can watch a b movie any time of the day. It's a fun diversion from watching mostly classic films.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 16, 2020 8:15 pm

Torgo wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 7:52 pm
Does anyone else find themselves watching more movies that are hard to find, i.e. movies on very few streaming services, still only available on physical media, that only air on TV after midnight, etc.? Even with all of the means available to watch movies these days, I'm more compelled to put hurdles in front of what free time I have to watch them. As it is with the recent resurgence of interest in vinyl records, maybe it's an attempt to add more value to the experience by making it feel like I've worked for it.
Somewhat, yeah. I'm definitely more hard on myself this way with music though. I generally won't listen to anything unless I have a copy on vinyl in my house. I've to this day never downloaded a single song.
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DaMU
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Sun May 17, 2020 2:27 am

Learned today that someone I was friends with in college (but haven't kept up with) died by suicide last year. Very strange to visit a FB profile and see "Remembering" above a name. First thought was that it was a joke. Doesn't make sense. She's not dead. I can see her in my head, pushing The White Stripes on me, laughing at my dumb jokes. Drove her home once, and my car broke down halfway there. Alternator was shot. Someone else picked up the baton, and she handled it with grace and kindness. Cried a little bit tonight. Good people die every day convinced that they aren't. Cruel people run the world with unswerving confidence.

Please be kind. Kindness in this stupid world is a heroic act.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Takoma1
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sun May 17, 2020 2:49 am

DaMU wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 2:27 am
Learned today that someone I was friends with in college (but haven't kept up with) died by suicide last year. Very strange to visit a FB profile and see "Remembering" above a name. First thought was that it was a joke. Doesn't make sense. She's not dead. I can see her in my head, pushing The White Stripes on me, laughing at my dumb jokes. Drove her home once, and my car broke down halfway there. Alternator was shot. Someone else picked up the baton, and she handled it with grace and kindness. Cried a little bit tonight. Good people die every day convinced that they aren't. Cruel people run the world with unswerving confidence.

Please be kind. Kindness in this stupid world is a heroic act.
I am really sorry for your loss.
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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun May 17, 2020 2:50 am

Condolences. I'm really sorry to hear about that, man.
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DaMU
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Sun May 17, 2020 3:04 am

Thanks. I'm doing okay. It's just mostly hitting because, hell, most of you probably know what it's like when someone's gone, and you know in your gut that the world was better for their being in it.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Sun May 17, 2020 4:58 am

DaMU wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 2:27 am
Learned today that someone I was friends with in college (but haven't kept up with) died by suicide last year. Very strange to visit a FB profile and see "Remembering" above a name. First thought was that it was a joke. Doesn't make sense. She's not dead. I can see her in my head, pushing The White Stripes on me, laughing at my dumb jokes. Drove her home once, and my car broke down halfway there. Alternator was shot. Someone else picked up the baton, and she handled it with grace and kindness. Cried a little bit tonight. Good people die every day convinced that they aren't. Cruel people run the world with unswerving confidence.

Please be kind. Kindness in this stupid world is a heroic act.
Sorry, guy. Shit is awful, but you being here, recognizing that, saying that, is something. Being able to light those fires is the least we can do right now. I know from my word-persona of you that you're a good person and I hope the best for you.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sun May 17, 2020 5:25 am

Good people die every day convinced that they aren't.
Coming back to this real quick. Learn to tell people what is amazing about them. I used to worry people would think I was being insincere. But telling someone truthfully something that makes them special or dear to you is a gift well worth giving. And when someone reciprocates, don't swat the compliment away, even if you don't believe it. Maybe they're right and you're wrong.
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DaMU
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Sun May 17, 2020 5:59 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 5:25 am
Coming back to this real quick. Learn to tell people what is amazing about them. I used to worry people would think I was being insincere. But telling someone truthfully something that makes them special or dear to you is a gift well worth giving. And when someone reciprocates, don't swat the compliment away, even if you don't believe it. Maybe they're right and you're wrong.
This is very good advice. :up:
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Thief » Sun May 17, 2020 2:29 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 2:27 am
Learned today that someone I was friends with in college (but haven't kept up with) died by suicide last year. Very strange to visit a FB profile and see "Remembering" above a name. First thought was that it was a joke. Doesn't make sense. She's not dead. I can see her in my head, pushing The White Stripes on me, laughing at my dumb jokes. Drove her home once, and my car broke down halfway there. Alternator was shot. Someone else picked up the baton, and she handled it with grace and kindness. Cried a little bit tonight. Good people die every day convinced that they aren't. Cruel people run the world with unswerving confidence.

Please be kind. Kindness in this stupid world is a heroic act.
You are very right. Sending you a big virtual hug.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 5:31 am

Just noticed that this place includes the time stamp that you registered.

Mine was so late at night. Feels like a badge of shame.
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Stu
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon May 18, 2020 6:46 am

My condolences, DaMU :(
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 18, 2020 7:17 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 3:04 am
It's just mostly hitting because, hell, most of you probably know what it's like when someone's gone, and you know in your gut that the world was better for their being in it.
Over the past decade, I've had several friends who've died from either suicide or overdose (or a combination of both?), a couple closer to my inner circles than others, but I definitely relate to this vague and not entirely rational sense of guilt when it comes to quote-unquote Facebook Friends, those old friends from school that you haven't really had much intimate contact with outside of very casual social media comments and messages. You still care for them (or at least who they were), but so many commitments, so little time. "Why didn't I try harder to connect?" "If only I could have been there for them", etc. These thoughts are probably wish-fulfillment, but they're very understandable and difficult to dispel.

Anyway, my deepest sympathies.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 19, 2020 11:12 am

Ex Machina: Does Ava's Smile Mean all that Much?

How will we know when we actually have true artificial intelligence (complete with "inner life") and not just a powerful general intelligence that simulate qualia and sentience? This exchange from 2001: A Space Odyssey captures the epistemic Gordian Knot that has never been undone, and only cut through by the Turing Test (which punts on the problem with it's "if it quacks like a duck" reasoning).
Amor: Dr. Poole, what's it like living for the better part of a year in such close proximity with Hal?

Poole: Well it's pretty close to what you said about him earlier. He is just like a sixth member of the crew … very quickly get adjusted to the idea that he talks and you think of him, er, really just as another person.

Amor: In talking to the computer one gets the sense that he is capable of emotional responses. For example when I asked him about his abilities I sensed a certain pride in his answer about his accuracy and perfection. Do you believe that Hal has genuine emotions?

Bowman: Well he acts like he has genuine emotions. Erm, of course he's programmed that way to make it easier for us to talk to him but as to whether or not he has real feelings is something I don't think anyone can truthfully answer.
As the audience, of course, we want to know, because we want to be connected with everything we see. We want to understand. For this reason, narratives habitually humanize the other, not just of a modern hippie sentiment that every film must serve as an allegory for racism or sexism or gender issues, but that we can only understand that which is like us in some way. Want to understand Bambi? Well, now we have to make Bambi a person, because we can't make you a deer. Thus, all aliens, robots, demons, and even Gods are all just humans in drag.

Fast forward to Ex Machina, a reasonably clever/cerebral, low-budget film, featuring Alicia Vikander as Eva, the perfection of the human female form as her transparent midriff suggests an infinite hip-index ratio (women of the future are doomed). But is she more than just form? The film plays with this question, bouncing between the pessimist AGI offered by her creator (Nathan) and Ava's apparent earnest disclosures of inner-life. The film ultimately dips into themes of Noir as we're uncertain of whether we should trust Nathan or Eva.

From her on, there be spoilers.
In the end, we find that Caleb has fallen for a robotic butt and a smile (he should have listened to less Depeche Mode and more Bell Biv DeVoe) and is left to die in Nathan's tech-bunker-retreat. Turns out we were on a Noir, after all! Caleb has been manipulated by Ava who has been simulating the girl of this dreams, which isn't hard to do, seeing as how she was deigned as a composite of his porn actress preferences by Nathan.

It appears that there were two possibilities. Either Ava was a "real girl" who just wanted to escape with Caleb or a manipulative bot that was engineered to escape a trap, an elaborate Turing Test.
Alex Garland, however, argues that a third interpretation is best,



Garland argues that,
when Ava smiles at the very end at a moment where Nathan is dead and Caleb is locked in a room, this is proof of her inner life. She is NOT an evil robot who murders two men and escapes. She has an inner life, because when she smiles, she is not smiling for an audience (the two men she was manipulating have already been neutralized), so this is proof of her inner-life. I think Garland is somewhat mistaken here. She is, in fact, smiling for an audience. She is smiling for us (the viewer). We cannot leave Ava empty, because she is a character. We must pour ourselves into her, and so she has to smile. Even if Ava is a soulless robot (even if this were, for example, the intended message of the film), the grammar of acting, directing, and writing demand that we still get a glimpse of what is happening under the hood. And to be shown what is there, there must still be a "there" there.

I agree, however, that Ava appears to be alive, but the best evidence is not the smile, which is arguably a necessary detail, but rather us being shown Ava on a city street observing people as she told Caleb she would do, if she could realize her heart's desire. That she does this appears to indicate that she has desires.
I would like to see a someday movie which played with the tropes of a "is it or isn't it" exploration of the inner life of an other, and then reveal that there is NO there there at all. An empty shell that had fooled everyone. The terror of being duped by our emotional projection realized as an empty thing tears through people. The closest we get to this is The Terminator and Screamers. Even in these two case, the emptiness is filled with a characterization of malevolence, rage, and pain or with eventual humanization (that stupid mother-fucking "thumbs up" at the end of T2, which remains inferior to T1). In the case of the screamers, we find that a sort of rage at their existential plight. There is a sort of soul animating them. In the case of the Terminator, there is also a "there" there. Even in the original Terminator we find that the terminator is a subject in a "Cartesian Theatre" (Dan Dennett's term for his criticism of the Cartesian idea that we're people trapped inside meat suits) when we share its "Terminator Vision." To have a visual perceptual reality, The Terminator must be a subject which can see. In T1, we have sentience and a sort of subjectivity (by the cheat of the inside view). In Terminator 2, he gets downright emotional. In Screamers, our machines are more empty, but they are still animated by awareness, anger, and malevolence.

The closest we come to the reversal I am speaking of is an old made for TV film called Chiller (1985), directed by Wes Craven. The horrible reveal is that
people who are revived from cryogenic freezing after death, return as soulless monsters when they're brought back--the soul having already moved on...
But even here, the emptiness is NOT empty. It is animated in the same way that the Screamers are. There is awareness, anger, and self-interest, just not empathy.

A great horror film could be made by having an actually empty "other." Even Frankenstein's monsters turns out to be a sympathetic Golem. Imagine the terror of discovering that what you thought was love and hate and a point of view was all a simulation. I guess the closest we get to it is the (still evil - still motivated) characters of Jason and Michael Myers who are almost pure killing machines. Jason, it turns out, had a legitimate beef with the quality of supervision he received at summer camp. Michael Myers is a close to it as we get, but there is a supernatural and interested aspect to him. There is a dilemma here. Myers is either just a tough human who is crazy, and thus is not truly empty or a supernatural evil, which give him the added subjectivity of some lurking evil. The truly empty reveal would have to be a machine which had merely passed the Turing Test, but is this the sort of story that curve of human narrative allows us to tell? I am not sure. We animate everything from The Brave Little Toaster to Knight Rider's KITT with an inner life.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by MrCarmady » Sat May 23, 2020 2:58 pm

Ergill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 2:21 am
Speaking of late Malick, I listened to the Film Comment Podcast episode on Malick to soothe my soul because I love the shit out of Nick Pinkerton. I miss the Violet Lucca days of the podcast.

https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/film-c ... ce-malick/

I swear there was another one where he went deeper into Badlands with some of the funniest descriptions of the movie I've ever heard. Maybe it was just a dream...
Really enjoyed this - good mix of banter and insight, and a good length. I think a lot of podcasts try to hit that balance but fail, but I'm a bit of a neophyte when it comes to them in general.
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