The Murder of Old Versions

Anthony over at Superversive looks at the horror that is a live action remake of Cowboy Bebop:

But we shouldn’t be okay with this, any more than we should be okay with remaking Casablanca. The spin is already beginning. “If it’ll introduce the show to people who wouldn’t pay attention otherwise, what’s the harm?” Well first, who cares if people don’t want to pay attention, and second, the problem is that time and attention is being given to THIS and not original works…or at LEAST some sort of story that could actually justify a remake.

People are so strange that they think that a new version someone expands the audience for a work.  When you remake a movie or TV show, it doesn’t introduce a new audience to the work, it destroys the work and replaces it.  Time and time again if you talk to other people, you will find that they have not seen the original version nor in most cases even know there is an original.  The original ceases to exist in a society which has the cultural memory of a goldfish.

This is not to say that all remakes must necessarily be bad.  The Maltese Falcon (1941) is a remake.  The 1931 version is okay but does not come close to quality of the classic.  The Glass Key (1942) is also a remake.  While I personally am torn about which I like better, you can’t say that the ’42 version is bad.  In both those cases, however, these movies are adaptations of books.  Remakes become different adaptations and often have scenes left out of or changed in previous iterations to work with.  That only works if a book doesn’t get adapted a thousand times.  After the nine hundredth, there is nothing to justify another version of a work which has been done over and over again.  Perhaps why they’ve resorted to such idiocy as adding zombies to things or the always attempted “edgy” remake.  But that’s just a less subtle way that the destruction presents itself.  Something must be changed and the soul of the original snuffed out


The Last Blasphemy

I’m glad I didn’t see this article prior to watching The Last Jedi because it might have tricked me into thinking that the movie wasn’t going to be absolute garbage.

Until The Last Jedi, Johnson had never overseen a picture with a budget above $30 million. But the director betrayed no sign of being overwhelmed. He is a gifted filmmaker whose previous movies, especially Brick (his 2005 debut) and Looper, are visually distinctive and intricately plotted, the assured work of a cinema-drunk U.S.C. film-school grad who, in preparation for Episode VIII, steeped himself in World War II movies like Henry King’s Twelve O’Clock High and “funky 60s samurai stuff” like Kihachi Okamoto’s Kill! and Hideo Gosha’s Three Outlaw Samurai.

Mentioning any of these three movies in the same paragraph as Johnson as if he took inspiration from them is blasphemy.  The Last Jedi is the opposite of any of them.  Action? Humor?  Characters?  Plot?  None of these things is comparable.  Lucas stole so beautifully for the original trilogy; Johnson seems to have watched these films and decided that he would do the absolute opposite of them.

We should take a lesson from this.  Do what Johnson did and watch movies like these. Then never watch anything else from Johnson as long as you live.


Generally I’d rather not talk about purchases or crowd funding backing for a couple different reasons but this makes me furious:

Your transaction to ALT-HERO:Q on Indiegogo has been refunded!

Indiegogo’s Trust and Safety Team determined this campaign didn’t comply with our Terms of Use. You’ll no longer receive any perks associated with this transaction. Please visit our help center for further information on how Indiegogo protects users.

Oh, you know better than I do how to spend my money, do you Indiegogo?  Oh course it’s SJW shenanigans but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted Vox Day to turn something in a smoldering crater quite so much.

But beyond simply the annoyance of having an innocent comic order cancelled for no reason, this transactions and money business is very, very worrisome.

People talk about regulating big social but this kind of stuff is where it really needs to happen. VD has talked a lot in the past about getting yourself “antifragile” but doing so is near impossible if at any moment all your money and all your sources of income can be snatched from you in an instant. There’s no point at which you can exist economically without some input from an institution. I’d love to keep all my money in mason jars in the backyard but it’s not easy to exist without a bank and a credit or debit card of some sort. My last three jobs didn’t even offer paper checks as an option anymore. It was either direct deposit or here have a card with your money loaded on it.

The internet offered a wonderful expanse of other possibilities for people make a living. It’s more than clear at this point that those options are all drying up for those of us who don’t toe a certain ideological line. Established platforms kick off the undesirable and new platforms are killed by payment processors before they even have a chance.

It’s not “censorship” if the government doesn’t do it, stupid people claim.  But you can’t have bad opinions if the man who holds the money won’t let you.

Smuggler’s Blues

Miami Vice Don Johnson Glen Frey Smuggler's Blues

Season 1 of Miami Vice had an episode based around Glen Frey’s song “Smuggler’s Blues.”  It’s not the best episode; the plot needed a longer run time and they were trying a little too hard to shoehorn in lines from the song.  The funny thing is the music video for it is practically a tiny Miami Vice episode sans Crockett and Tubbs but complete with a wonderfully bleak ending.

Anti-Pulp Snobbery

I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 and was rather enjoying it right up until he wrote this:

None, however [of the forgotten writers of the time period] could begin to compare with the success of two other American authors whose books sold and sold for decades.  They were Zane Gray and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and they were almost certainly the two most popular authors on the planet in the twentieth century.

They had a good deal in common … and both were by almost any measure pretty terrible writers.  The wonder is not that they are no longer widely read, but that they ever were.

Bryson is kind enough to say ERB is “no hack” but then says idiotically, “He used pulp fiction plots but wrote with a certain panache, as if he didn’t quite understand the genre.”  Somebody doesn’t understand the “genre” but it sure wasn’t ERB.

He goes on to attack ERB for supporting eugenics, being repetitive and “slapdash,” and sometimes descending into “drivel.”  The funny thing is the passage that he uses to illustrate driveliness happens to be from the very first page of Thuvia, Maid of Mars and he states the speaker is a “warrior named Jeddak.”  Ah, so he just flipped open the book and skimmed the first couple paragraphs while clearly having never read any of the Barsoom books at all because he thinks Jeddak is a name.  Clearly Mr. Bryson is an authority we can trust on the merits of pulp fiction.  (I haven’t even read Thuvia and I knew instantly that he hadn’t either.  That kind of a mistake actually makes me doubt Bryson’s accuracy in anything else he’s written in the book.)

It would be one thing if Bryson had read the work he’s trashing instead of simply following along with a snotty, narrow minded ignorance.  If you wonder that anyone ever read such garbage, then the question isn’t when did they wise up and stop but why the hell are stacks of ERB books still on main aisle tables in chain bookstores in towns that aren’t full of huge populations of people obsessed with old, dead, obscure writers?

This wasn’t the only Tarzan book on the table. Nor was it the only bookstore in town with nice, pretty looking editions of Tarzan.

Tarzan Edgar Rice Burroughs book