Color Was a Mistake

Welcome to the Punch 2013The main thing I remember about Welcome to the Punch (2013) besides the incoherent message about guns is that it was blue. Extremely pointlessly blue all the time. This is a symptom of movies which try to be arty. They think it’s clever to give the film a one or two color palate.

Color in film has been around a long, long time. Some early films were actually hand colored but various color processes like Technicolor date back to the very early 1900s. Early technicolor films like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) appreciated that they had something more to work with. The older films had a tendency to use vibrant and contrasting colors. The black and white of Kansas against the violent colors of Oz. The green of Robin Hood with the red of Sir Guy.

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938

But then what happened? What did Hollywood do with color? Well, not much and that’s the problem. In most movies, color is just there. There’s absolutely nothing special about. It’s not used artistically at all. And when it is, we get stupid uses like Welcome to the Punch and its pointless blue filter.

Like the Hayes’ Code’s restrictions on content forcing filmmakers to be more creative, black and white’s limitations forced a very creative use of light and shadow. Not every B&W film is a masterpiece but even B films frequently had beautiful chiaroscuro lighting used to great effect. You’ll notice also the early color films held over some conventions especially in the use of shadows, something that almost never appears in film today.  The lessons learned with B&W were forgotten and laziness sets in.

Color was a mistake. Black and white is beautiful.

Richard Basehart in He Walked By Night

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2018 Reading List

This list is chronological rather any organization which would make sense. Anything that I have read before is marked with an asterisk.

Fiction:
The Man in the High Castle — Philip K Dick
The African Queen — CS Forester
Thunderball — Ian Fleming
The Island of Doctor Moreau — HG Wells
*Before Midnight — Rex Stout
Laura — Vera Caspary
A Bullet for Cinderella — John D MacDonald
The Big Clock — Kenneth Fearing
L.A. Confidential — James Ellroy
Casino Royale — Ian Fleming
The Black Echo — Micheal Connolly
Last Call — Tim Powers
I Am Legend — Richard Matheson
The Yellow Band — Maxwell Grant
The Red Blot — ”
The Voodoo Master — ”
The Whispering Skull — Jonathan Stroud
Turned Earth — David T Good
*The Black Arrow — Robert Louis Stevenson
Skinwalkers — Tony Hillerman
Listening Woman — ”
A Thief of Time — ”
The Hollow Boy — Jonathan Stroud
The Blessing Way — Tony Hillerman
Dance Hall of the Dead — ”

Nonfiction:
The Search for the Manchurian Candidate –John Marks
Conquering Gotham — Jill Jonnes
SJWs Always Double Down — Vox Day
The Last Battle — Stephen Harding
An Essay on the Restoration of Property — Hilaire Belloc
The Badge — Jack Webb
Prisoners of Fear — Ella Lingens-Reiner
One Summer: America, 1927 — Bill Bryson
Killers of the Flower Moon — David Gran
Black Mass — Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill

Last year I had seven books which were rereads.  This year it’s only two but they don’t really count.  I’d read them both so long ago that I barely remembered them.  In fact, in the case of Before Midnight, I was quite sure at first I hadn’t read it before thanks to the fact that the blurb on the back was written by someone who only had a vague and mostly incorrect idea of what it was about.

Having kept these lists for a couple years now, I’ve noticed a pattern in how I read things.  Try a new author?  If I like it, I will frequently go straight to two or three more of his books.  Obviously this will be affected by how easy it is to get another book.  For example, Ian Fleming, James Ellroy, Michael Connolly, and Tony Hillerman were all new to me.  Neither Connolly’s nor Ellroy’s books were such that I regretted reading them but they just weren’t my thing.  Fleming I read mostly out of curiosity (and because I found Thunderball at a thrift store).  I was actually not expecting to like it based on how I feel about the movies but was pleasantly surprised.

I had no set goals for number of books read so of course this year I easily hit my previous goal of 24 novels read without trying.  I had sort of intended to read more nonfiction and got four more than last year which still doesn’t seem that much.

Eight authors for fiction were ones I hadn’t read before, seven of the nonfiction.  No goals again this year but I’d like to maintain about this level in terms of numbers.

Out of 2018

The take away for 2018–in the realm of blogs anyhow–is that conflict drives traffic. My other blog Antelope Games surpassed it’s 2017 traffic back in March thanks to my kicking a hornets nest in the form of crazed feminists attacking a small Catholic College. Antelope Games ends the year with more than twice the page views despite having less than half the number of posts of the previous year. While there’s other people involved in it, the blog is mostly mine and Verity’s and neither of us were in a good place to be posting very much in the latter half of the year.

Over here at Nixon Now, I got about a third of the page views that AG got, which is better than last year, but visitors were significantly less. That means, actually, that views in generally are much less. The only reason that they’re as high as they are stems from a couple weird spikes in traffic which made no sense–a couple visitors accounting for several hundred views over a week’s time back in September. Then all my top posts are the ones related to the stupid Brian Neimeier spat. So Nixon Now’s views are most likely illegitimate or people that hate me.

Last January I talked about how 2017 was such a weird, mixed bag with something good for ever bad thing that happened. This year? I honestly don’t remember. My brain turns into a sieve when I’m depressed. The first half of the year I was sick. Then July was back problems. Then it’s just depression. Stuff happened but I need someone to remind me.

I wrote practically no fiction (or I don’t remember writing any). Wrote more blog posts than I thought I did but I didn’t write even more. I’ve got twenty-five in various stages of completion which will probably never be finished because I don’t remember what I was going to say. Well, nobody but Verity reads in anyway.

I went into 2018 thinking it would be what it would be. I’m not going to treat 2019 the same way. 2019 is going to be better because I’m going to make it better if only in a small way. Back in 2016, I decided that I was sick of being a flabby little nerd.  While there was very little to be done about little or nerd, I could certainly do something about flabby.  The effort wasn’t exactly organized or well thought out and I didn’t need to lose weight, more like gain muscle.  By the end of the year, I’d accidentally lost five pounds and felt great. Then I got sick and that put an end to it.

It’s going to be significantly more difficult this time but I did it before, I can do it again even if it kills me.  I’m certainly not making anything better by sitting around and doing nothing feeling bad.

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

NoMoneygogo

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.

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

Unreasonable Discourse

Richard Paolinelli has what I think is a very bad characterization of the current spat going on about ComicsGate and of the Sad vs Rabid Puppies divide of the past.  There’s no point in picking it apart but in it he says this:

There will be no discussion, just doubling and tripling down on positions. Vox, no doubt, may see this as a way to cripple Marvel and DC like he did the Hugos. He may even think this is the way to have the indie books take over dominance in the field.

Personally, I think it was a dumb thing to do. And now, instead of trying to change the hearts and minds of those on the fence with reasoned debate, this will just devolve into the same kind of name-calling and virtue signaling we saw the SJW-crowd pull in the Hugos.

There is no such thing as “reasoned debate” on the internet.  Oh, sure, we can have a little bit here and there, by accident or between friends.  You can’t expect anything reasonable from an SJW. You can’t even be sure that someone who appears to be on a similar ideological plain won’t freak out and attack you because you used the wrong idiom.

Part of the reason reasoned isn’t possible is that even people who might marginally agree don’t necessarily have the same perception of the same events.  When I read Paolinelli’s description of the Sad Puppies, my first thought was “is he smoking Mad Genius Club crack?”  Because his version doesn’t fit the version of what I saw happen at all.  Even if he isn’t in the MGC crowd, clearly, wherever he was on the ride offered a very different vantage point from where I was watching.  I could easily see someone reading his post and jumping to the conclusion that he’s being a dishonest cuck. Then again I also see the possibility of Paolinelli reading this post, assuming that I was attacking him, and flipping out as if I’d called his mother a Shanghai whore.  I mean, other people have at less.

Perceptions aside, people are simply not reasonable.  Even if Paolinelli’s version of the events is correct, and VD is a money-grubbing bandwagon-jumper leaving a trail of wrecked movements in his wake, the ComicsGate response to the ComicsGate Comics announcement was hysterical.  It was ridiculous.  But they don’t think they were being ridiculous, they were reasonable and justified.  If you were to go to them and try to explain that VD is not a Nazi and maybe this is all a little silly, you would get screeched at and called a Nazi.

Moderates go about insisting that if we could all just be reasonable we could fix it all, we could show people that they are wrong, and then they’ll stop being wrong.  But in their very insistence on reasonableness, they are being unreasonable.  If facts and recent history are all pointing towards the conclusion that attempts at being reasonable lead only to failure then it doesn’t make much sense to keep insisting on doing something that doesn’t work and then getting mad when someone else doesn’t keep doing something that doesn’t work.

Edit: Oddly enough the post is now gone and I was dumb and forgot to archive it.