Saturday, December 7, 2018

It’s been a good day. Had some free time, so I communed with the front yard to come back inside and to write something. About two hours later, I communed with the front yard again to come back inside and write something else. It’s been lots of fun. I will put a jump with links to both, however you choose. In any event, this is going to be extremely short and sweet.

Actually, I think that’s it. This is an example of what I’m going to do when I change the new way of doing things. Not sure what to call it yet. Something catchy or something straightforward? For now, let’s take a nod from Umberto Eco and call it The Project. Hopefully I won’t attract anyone who thinks I should sacrificed or hounded to death or whatever gets done to the protagonists of Foucault’s Pendulum.

Anyhow, I’m crashing and it’s early yet. I wonder if I will play something. I was getting back into Neverwinter Nights 2, but I’ve come upon a part where I keep getting stomped in the dirt. I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I’ll get into one of those games I bought on the last Steam sale, Rebel Cops or American Fugitive. I returned Phantom Doctrine since it’s in next month’s Humble Bundle. I’d bought it on sale, but ten bucks is ten bucks. I’ve been getting a Pathfinder jones, and I see a big plot point dead ahead. Might as well sack up and see what happens.

I’ve been reading Punktown. It’s good but a slower lead that I prefer. The plot needs to be thick but it’s slowing the story down. A future detective noir space colonies thing with maybe a hint of Lovecraft coming. Finding terrifying things that don’t belong because of poking around the universe in a space ship that probably couldn’t exist anyway is a concept not played to as much in my liking in modern literature. Still and all, a fun book, but maybe too much a chaw right now.

I guess I’ll take a nap. Click below if you really need to. Otherwise, there ya go.

 Okay, then. The First Thing I wrote:

 “Satire requires a clarity of purpose and tartget les it be mistken for and contribute to that whit it intends to criticize.”

This has apparently been bouncing around the internet for at least a year, but I’m just now seeing it. Yeah, the t-shirt guy. It’s been attributed to the late Terry Pratchett, but for such a quotable (and quoted) guy there’s just no primary source.

I am not surprised, though, to see Sir Pterry reputation has solidified to a sort of “well, this guy said it so must be true” figure like George Carlin or Mark Twain. New Quotes are infesting the noosphere to the point where some wild stroke some random yay-hoo said at some point.

Since it isn’t completely stupid, we’ll attribute it to this dead guy who said a lot of clever phrases because it sounds like something he’d say. Or we’d think he’d say. Close enough.

Anyhow.

While the idea doesn’t fully accomplish the full array of what all is need to make effective and, indeed, entertaining satire, there is a measure of beauty in that thought. Satire has to have a purpose, and that purpose should have little to no ambiguity. Doesn’t have to be deep and it doesn’t have to be multi-layered – which is nice, but not essential – but it has to hit like a baseball bat.

Parody’s can be gentle, satire’s can’t. They have to cut. Even if it’s done out of love and respect, it still has to run the risk of completely alienating the person who’s art/behavior is being mocked. That’s probably why The King Of The Hill was so successful or why Airplane! is so funny. It’s why Blazing Saddles or Life Of Brian gets away with it like probably no one will ever achieve again. All the time, hoi palloi complain “you can’t do that funny thing they did, oh, let’s go with fifty years ago in this modern time, which is stupid.

Of course, “they” couldn’t make something like Blazing Saddles today because moist of those guys are dead and Mel Brooks has other interests. It doesn’t work with out the whole. That theme sung by Frankie Lane is vital. Without it, the movie lands with a thud and that means it wouldn’t work.

Satire has to be funny. In recent days, I pissed a libertarian off enough that he pulled the hoary “the Left has no sense of humor” as the reason I was making fun of whatever boneheaded nonsense he claimed as gospel. That’s given as axiomatic, but one never considers it not being that deep. Maybe the Right can’t tell a joke to save its life.

In mocking libertarian principles, it wasn’t satire. Just mockery. Muppet Treasure Island isn’t satire, it’s parody. Seltzer & Friedberg-type films aren’t satire, they’re… trying at lampooning, let’s go with that. And, actually, that’s a good example of how parody or lampooning can be not funny, almost painfully so.

But satire has to be funny. It has to show, at least, the acknowledgement of the subjects place in this universe, even if it’s merciless in it’s attack. If it’s a genre of movie or music or television, there has to be love of the subject unambiguously there. That’s why Murder Can Hurt You never even gets off the ground when Neal Simon’s Murder By Death, on the other hand, never stops being funny if you can get past Peter Sellers’ yellow face. Even that there is part of the joke.

I’m not as confident as I am with Frankie Lane and Blazing Saddles, but I don’t know if it would’ve worked quite as well if he was played by a person of Chinese descent. I’ll admit, I’m easier talking about cowboy movies and Western film scores than racism and representation in media, so I could be wrong.

I think we can all agree that Murder By Death is just godawful not funny, though. Not quite painful, but more just boring and rote, like everyone’s just drawing a check. Satire has to care, almost to the point that if they weren’t funny, they;d be mind-numbing and tedious about it. You know the type, the guy that never stops complaining about how all politicians are alike and it’s supposed to be taken as Received Wisdom or something.

Anyway.

Satire has to give a damn, it has to go for the throat, and it has to be funny. Now maybe –  just maybe – it’s not that your “satire” of Trump’s head on Sylvester Stallone’s body circa 1982 isn’t “satire”. It’s just weird  and silly. Maybe you’re just… not funny. Maybe what you wrote is not funny. Maybe it’s still not a funny subject so far.

Work harder, then. No one owes you a laugh, whether your a headlining act in Vegas or some random dope with too much time on their hands. So, get better. Get the laughs. Get to the deep down of the subject hand.

And be prepared to have the subject or it’s fanatics come after you with garden shears. So, stop your crying and make me laugh instead of pouting that I don’t. This is as good a place as any to stop.Tell me where I’m wrong.

And The Second Thing I wrote:

Warner Bros. and/or DC, however that works out, really should consider their animated stuff as where the money’s at rather than keep trying to make a cinematic universe like Marvel. They won that game, all right, deal. Just how the companies developed. Marvel’s been a connected universe almost from the get go while DC’s spent the last fifty years to bash everything they own into one and will keep doing so because it’s habit now, I think.

 But ever since Superman: The Animated Series debuted in 1996 – twenty-three years ago – DC has owned that. Marvel’s made a couple of good series but can’t help but snarl itself up because the Universe’s origin is, quite frankly, silly if that way only pulp media from the early ‘60s could be.

 DC has had over 50 years and at least four separate Universes to try to lash together into making sense, because “making sense” in this case equals “making money,” because that’s how the nerd rolls. The rest of the world will come if it’s a good time, no worries there.

 And at least twice they’ve gotten it right transplanting that into two other forms of media with astounding success. Justice League Unlimited brilliant and it seems this “Arrowverse” is moving along quite nicely. With the icons, the movies have to be iconic but even then, there’s 80s years of stuff to dig from, the basics are fine, if a little indifferent to the male ego in parts, but everyone’s more or less on board.

 Marvel’s made some good cartoons and some decent tv shows, just like DC has Wonder Woman and, I’m told, Shazam and Aquaman. And really their “bad” is just boring, and Superman, grim & gritty, just doesn’t work. I’m not even a fan of the character, and I’m a guy who prefers a Big Blue Boy Scout who inspires partly because he doesn’t try to run things or fix things, he’s just there to help and maybe get us to help, too.

 That’s why Superman IV didn’t work or, at least, Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The best part of that was the three-on-one battle with Doomsday because it was just icons being icons.It’s one of the reasons Avengers: Endgame was so successful. The last couple of years and movies have been leading up where you almost demand a posing showdown concerning the various characters.

 Marvel can still do personal, character building stuff, such as the philosophical differences between Iron Man and Captain America. It was integral to the development of the overall plot and both of them had a good point. But that sort of drama has been Marvel’s wheelhouse since Fantastic Four #1.

 Anyhow. I’ve lost the thread. Again, though, maybe DC the animated stuff and Marvel do the film stuff and everyone shuts the hell up as the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus recommends and we all have a good time. One of the reasons I don’t bother with these super hero movies and Star Wars reboots or Doctor Who revivals is how many people are making it so many people, them and others, really don’t have any fun, just because they insist on being pills about goddamn superhero movies, for cryin’ out loud, and that just bums me out.

 Okay. Good. Stop. Sheesh.

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