OK, so I keep reading the comments about President Bush deliberately putting his father and Bill Clinton in situations which in slashfic are cliched set-ups for confessions of love or rampant sex, and I'm trying to identify them all for my own satisfaction. The one I have so far:
On Thursday night in Houston, Mr. Bush boarded an official blue-and-white Boeing 757 jet with "United States of America" on its side in Houston and flew to Los Angeles to pick up former President Bill Clinton.

By 10 o'clock, the two were headed toward Phuket, Thailand, to make their first appearance to help raise money for tsunami victims on Saturday afternoon local time.

From there, the former presidents were scheduled to visit Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Sunday and Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Monday.

Neither of their wives, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton nor Barbara Bush, were on the trip.

"It's just the two guys," Jean Becker, Mr. Bush's chief of staff, said.

Ms. Becker said before leaving on Thursday that she did not know where Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton would sit on the plane, or whether they would have separate compartments, but that both would be up front.

"I know there are couches and beds, and they'll figure out the sleeping arrangements when they get on the plane," she said.
(Honkin' big apologies to [livejournal.com profile] londonkds. And to everyone else, too, really.)
Rufus (occasionally -- very occasionally -- known as [livejournal.com profile] hankat) gets linked by Gary Farber, shrinking my online world just a smidge. He makes light of the skill of the transcriber (who is not actually Rufus -- though, having seen Mr. Rufus, I can see why Mr. Punctuation might keep his distance), though I don't see Farber trying to take dictation for 42 straight minutes. It's an awful, thankless task, though not nearly as awful and thankless as coding the board's archives.

Also from Gary Farber's Amygdala:
FAVORITE SEARCH HIT OF THE DAY: "thomas+jefferson+alexander+hamilton+slash+fiction"
I believe that's a drabble assignment; [livejournal.com profile] mefistopheles, I expect one hundred words by midnight.
I have had little to say about [livejournal.com profile] fandom_scruples, largely because under Niemöllerian principles, you can wake me up when they come for the Communists. I don't leave links to NC-17 fanfic lying around where children can get them, so I don't meet their standards of anathema. This despite the fact that I haven't used my "adult" filter since I decided that the battle to ensure the purity of [livejournal.com profile] graffitiswall had already been lost. Frankly, I'm feeling a little left out. It's a shame that no one seems to feel that they need to impose a blacklist to prevent people from reading my journal; market forces have so far been quite sufficient.

I have decided to rectify this situation. I don't really understand the concept of rating prose, though -- there's a reason graphic sex and violence is "graphic," and a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, I will link those who are interested to pictures of graphic, unsimulated sex! Aerial sex! Giant engorged penises! Exotic, difficult positions you shouldn't try at home! Enjoy!!


(Link via Amity Wilczek via Crooked Timber.)
And 50:45 in the Acrostic. I hate the Acrostic.

Keep an eye on [livejournal.com profile] dripperquills.

American Movie Classics, having long ago ceded the title of the cineaste's cable channel to Turner Movie Classics, and not even pretending anymore to live up to its name, showed Army of Darkness Friday night. I caught it about 40 minutes before the end (because AMC now shows commercials this means there was maybe 25 minutes left of actual movie), and because I'm a sucker for Bruce Campbell, I stuck around. I was surprised by how deeply it influenced Peter Jackson's presentation of the siege of Helm's Deep: the massing hordes of inhuman attackers; the patient archers waiting for the command to fire; the storming of the barricades and the retreat to the keep. The rush to shore up the gate of the keep against the ram was lifted by Jackson almost directly, as was the arrival of mounted reinforcements (the men of Henry the Red in Army of Darkness, Eomer's Rohirrim in The Two Towers). Not to mention the siege ladders and the steam-powered Oldsmobile death machine. Ok, some bits Jackson left lying where they were.

I admit that there are only so many ways to besiege a castle, but I suspect direct homage. Jackson and Sam Raimi have had similar career trajectories, moving from cheap, quirky, funny B-movie horror to big-budget productions, and they shared some actors along the way (though this is mostly due to the restricted size of the pool of actors in New Zealand). It's probably good that the homage didn't run too deep: had Campbell played Aragorn, Cassandra Claire's Secret Diaries would not have been parody. Still, I can't help but wonder how much better the trilogy would have been. "Hail to the King, baby!"
[livejournal.com profile] ajhalluk has proposed a round-robin based on the idea that after the end of the series, Neville and Draco are at loose ends in Walthamstow. In need of cash, Draco writes a spec script of Buffy.

I couldn't resist. Probably should have, but couldn't.
I don't care as much about fandom as I do about fans. Therefore: the ATPoBtVS 'shipping meme! )
Ahhh, the joy of the Friends' Friends list. I have discovered Homicide/Harry Potter crossover fic!! It makes me happy. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] hwmitzy!!
Over at ATPo, there's a discussion about a possible season 5 scenario wherein Connor retains the powers he has as the product of a mystical union between two vampires, but not his memories of his time in LA, and then returns to AI seeking his true identity. Vash the Stampeder and Masq have independently arrived at the same basic plot (I'm claiming that I thought of a similar plot, but because I never wrote up my thoughts on "Home" like an interesting LJer and instead blathered witlessly about my icon, I can't prove this and you can safely ignore my bandwagon-jumping). While I was typing up a different scenario, one that is unfortunately more final, Vash posted another idea (wherein Connor just replaced another young man, who is going to want to get back to his family and out this imposter). I don't wish to discuss this scenario, or, really, the body of the post or anything about the earlier thread. I want to concentrate on one tiny little parenthetical. Vash writes, "Also, if Connor still possesses his powers (which I believe he does) [ . . . ]"

Less than 48 hours since we got a glimpse of new Connor in which his actions were basically passing the biscuits, and already people had beliefs as to what his powers are? It's not as if we've seen him leap over tall buildings in a single bound; there is not only no evidence with which to assess Connor's current powers, there haven't been any hints! And yet people are starting to believe things about him? I find this hard to comprehend.

Vash seems like a reasonable person, so I doubt he holds this belief so dearly as to declare a crusade against the infidels, but I have seen on the board at least several vicious debates between posters who knew in their hearts with absolute conviction that after Spike had been vamped, he went back to the party shown in "Fool For Love" and killed the people who had made fun of him (these posters swore he did it with a railroad spike, those providing the story Giles repeats in "School Hard"), posters who firmly believed that it was all part of Spike's blustery self-created mythos, and posters who repeated again and again that no evidence existed either way.

Ok, two points don't provide a stable foundation for a structured argument, but I wonder about this sort of belief. I think what Vash is saying is that he would, for dramatic reasons, prefer that Connor retain his powers (insofar as it would mean Kartheiser would return to the show, I share this preference). It makes for an interesting story, it brings a charismatic character back, and it dulls the knife that "Home" stuck in our hearts. By extension, I guess, this means that the people who argued that Spike went back and slaughtered the partygoers would somehow prefer the gruesome deaths of a whole bunch of innocent people to their survival. (In their defense, it should be pointed out that the partygoers were upper-class British twits, so those who believe Spike killed them can be excused. Ok, I should add that they were fictional upper-class British twits, so it's not like bad boy Spike fans are all deeply disturbed bloodthirsty homicidal maniacs. On a related note, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome [livejournal.com profile] deadsoul820 to my friends list!) Indeed this sort of strongly held preference supports a hell of a lot of LiveJournals, as it is (as Masq is discovering) the root of fanfickery. I am sure that there exist fanfics in which Spike does go back and cold-bloodedly exact revenge on the people who belittled his poetry. (I am also sure that there exist fanfics in which Spike engages each and every one of them in hot sex, but that's another discussion.)

How much does preference affect belief? Many people of the Book, at least on paper, seem to prefer a world with some sort of ultimate meaning, or where mercy is the ruling consideration, to one without meaning, without mercy; I can't blame them. I, on the other hand, call myself a skeptic, an agnostic, and an atheist. (These are overlapping but not identical categories: I am a skeptic because I do not like to accept notions until I believe that someone trustworthy has empirically investigated and verified them; I am an agnostic because I believe that the existence of God is not verifiable through empirical investigation; I am an atheist because, when you come down to it, I just don't believe in higher powers.) I suppose I do prefer a universe where humans have to accept all responsibility for their actions. I wonder about Gnostics and their spiritual relatives, though. Do they really prefer to live in a world that has been corrupted, to live among a poor, deluded mass of humanity? I suppose they prefer to be the few specially enlightened ones. I can understand that -- it is admittedly similar to why I call myself a skeptic; it gives me a vantage point from which to look down on the poor deluded mass of humanity. Still, I wonder if while I'm sneering at those faces I'm really just looking into a mirror.

I don't suppose a fanfic theory of religious studies will get anywhere, but what is Talmudic scholarship but fanwanking the Torah? And some Biblical fanfics are of Halo award-quality. There's been Jesus/Mary Magdalen het; for those who like their 'ships twisted and angsty, like Wes/Lilah and CLex, Jesus/Judas has to be the greatest slash ever told.

[My sincere apologies to Vash, Masq, dead soul, Spike fans, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Gnostics, anyone who has ever believed anything, anyone who enjoys good writing and serious thought, and my mother.]



April 2009

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