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About Mazzack

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  1. Mazzack

    Popular Book series you’ve tried and failed to get into:

    Full Admiral Ackbar voice on that one. I still haven't finished Unholy Consult myself, because I read quite a bit of the disappointment on the forum when it came out and could totally understand where people were coming from, which sapped at my enthusiasm until I moved on to something else.
  2. Mazzack

    By Everam’s will; a re-read of the Demon cycle:

    I'll eat my hat if they aren't being sarcastic! With the series itself, I really enjoyed the first book when I read it as a teenager, but the warning signs were already present in that book. I remember being weirded out by the really strange mixture of prudishness and prurience that characterised the everyone in the Leesha sections. And then, as Wert said, it went downhill from then on.
  3. Mazzack

    What is your Favorite Anime/Manga?

    My favourite anime is probably The Tatami Galaxy, though almost anything directed by Masaaki Yuasa is fantastic, and my favourite manga is probably Monster, though similarly anything written by Naoki Urusawa is incredible.
  4. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    That's a ridiculously pompous way of saying "I put foreshadowing in my books".
  5. Mazzack

    Thin Air by Richard Morgan

    It's been eight years since I read Black Man, but my memory of it follows larrytheimp's description, which is that the text itself suggests in a subterranean way that the Über-masculinity of the 13s was the result of a modern misinterpretation of the past and is a reification of an ahistorical and corrosive understanding of human nature, as in the kind of things that MRAs and incels spout. But I can understand the surface narrative of the book overpowering that critique, and it has been eight years, so maybe my memory is playing up on me.
  6. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    That's a conception of what "cause" entails that has allowed right-wing politicians in Australia to ignore climate change's effects on the occurrence of natural disasters. The climate scientists define causation as "could not have happened without this variable", which you can't really say is true for the relationship between climate change and natural disasters, since natural disasters occurred before man-made climate change was a thing. And the politicians jump on to this, declaring that you can't blame climate change for natural disasters. But we do know that climate change increases the risk of more frequent and more severe natural disasters, so it is always operating as a contributory cause. I interpreted Rothfuss' talking of numbers of deaths caused as a rhetorical flourish to illustrate his point, which I interpreted as being about a contributory rather than an "if-and-only-if"-type cause, but I do have to admit that my reasoning for that is more intuitive than based upon the actual arguments he is marshaling. I suspect that, on the smoking issue, he is taking his own experience and then generalising it to the wider population, which is a terrible way to make an argument. I never felt particularly enticed by the smoking in The Hobbit, but I don't take that to mean that no kid would be, and Rothfuss should not fall into the same trap.
  7. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    I definitely agree with you on that last point. I live in Australia and I truly enjoy my freedom to not be particularly afraid of guns and gun crime.
  8. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    The upside of the conniptions that occur around this topic is some interesting conversation. In all seriousness though, I think the couple of minutes of preamble before he discusses Tolkien is pretty illuminating as to where he's coming from. It is a discussion of art and its effects upon the culture at large, and an argument for writers to be conscious about this and use their greater power to promulgate information and meaning within our culture for good. The sticking point is the word "responsible", which I think he throws around a bit too lightly. But, as was stated earlier, these remarks were off the cuff, so I think a bit of semantic sloppiness is not particularly surprising. I mean, he ends it with the message that we should be critical in how we consume our media, which I feel is the ultimate point he is trying to make, and that's a valuable message full stop. Are we arguing we shouldn't be? I think re-watching the bit where he is talking about a responsibility to provide examples of girls being good maths or not being weak and that kind of stuff made me re-evaluate the problem with women in his books. There's always the possibility that he is going to reveal Kvothe to be way more of an unreliable narrator than I think will happen, which could somewhat salvage the problem with women, but would also probably do a lot of damage to the structural integrity of the series. But I think the more likely reason is that Rothfuss sees the way to provide good representation of women and interaction with feminist themes is to create characters who, by their biography, the description of who they are, refute such assumptions. We do see women who can fight and we do see women who are good at science-y stuff (I can't remember if maths gets a specific look-in). But he doesn't recognise or write with the recognition that the web of our interactions and the way we interact really serve define us. So, while we see women who are defined by the author describing who they are for us, we also see the same women defined by, for example, being attracted to Kvothe, or by less obvious but similarly problematic tropes, and that contradiction weakens their character and their representation, and thus any kind of feminist credentials.
  9. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    You're right that an individual piece of art or storytelling is unlikely to produce unhealthy or dangerous behaviour in an individual. However, I think it is valid to say that the breadth of media and storytelling that we consume could coalesce into a message or understanding of the world that could influence the individual. Such as, The Punisher by itself probably isn't causing harm, but a media landscape, particularly in America, that is made up of advertisements, books, movies, TV, games, etc. reinforces an aesthetic fetishisation of guns and a message that the utilisation of firearms empowers people and re-masculinises men, and that this message could contribute to someone with issues with anger or misogyny or other problems to employing them in a deadly fashion. And whilst The Punisher is not advocating such action and is probably not directly influencing anyone to such an extent, it is, like many other individual examples of art and storytelling, conveying a message to its audience through a combination of text, subtext and context. I am not certain how one should approach this as a problem. I love some violent video games and movies, etc., and I think they can often use violence and violent imagery to provide an anti-violent message, and sometimes I simply enjoy the cathartic thrill of well done violent spectacle, despite often finding the message that it conveys troubling. However, I don't think we should ridicule or condemn an author for reflecting upon the message or effect their work might produce, how it fits into a general ideological milieu or framework, or whether it is what they want to convey. Gandalf smoking did not kill people, but it likely contributed to and reinforced, for some people, an already extant understanding of smoking a pipe as a comforting habit that produced an appearance of sagacity and warmth, which possibly killed people. I would never criticise Tolkien's character for including smoking, nor accuse him personally of causing deaths. It would be ridiculous to do so. But I would certainly encourage author's reflect upon and be responsible in what they are writing.
  10. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    I'm curious how authors from the 1900s to the 1950s were against a term that was only coined in 1989. I'm open to criticism of Rothfuss, despite having enjoyed reading his books, but it just seems wrong to argue that Rothfuss' novels provide any kind of an overtly progressive (you'd probably call it leftist I'm guessing) paradise. Nor can I think of many instances that Rothfuss' writing does much to promote any such agenda beyond some crude "racism is bad" messages through the Edema Ruh and the inclusion of female characters, who are sometimes portrayed progressively, but also sometimes seem to convey a regressive attitude to gender relations. But, I mean, racism is bad and women do exist, so I don't think that is particularly revolutionary, particularly when it comes to the current zeitgeist.
  11. Mazzack

    The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

    Golden Fool was actually one of my absolute favourites in the series, because it feels like the book where Fitz really sits up and starts paying attention to his relationships and who the people in his life are. This is best represented by his relationship and interactions with Chade, where Fitz starts to realise that his every interaction with Chade is influenced by who Fitz and Chade were fifteen years previously, and their relationship then, and who they are now, and he starts to consider in what arenas he does and does not trust his judgement. That felt like a more epic and momentous reordering of a fantasy world when I read it than most cataclysmic events I have read in other series. Hell, it often felt more significant to me as a reader than the go to world-altering stuff in the Elderlings series generally.
  12. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    Look, I occasionally check in on the stuff he writes on the internet, usually prompted by people criticising him on this forum, and I'm often not particularly impressed by how he expresses himself. The metaphor about the neighbour who turned to stripping, or whatever it was, was particularly egregious. He definitely articulates himself in annoying cliches, such as the Narnia metaphor or the blog premise of drifting away from a friend. But I think that interpreting the Narnia bit as him arrogantly equating a relatively banal frustration with having a disability is wrongheaded. He is simply describing it as a bummer for him, something that is emblematic as to how he feels about his own mental space. He even suggests its banality when he says "it may seem a small thing to you". I'm not even necessarily disputing your account of his character (I would have to do a more thorough investigation to make up my own mind), but, as far as I can tell, in this instance you are merely being uncharitable.
  13. Mazzack

    Rothfuss XIV: The Slow Regard of Luna Lovegood

    Christ, this forum has made being uncharitable to Rothfuss an Olympic sport. As far I can tell in reading his blog post, there is no equation made between needing to wear glasses and having a disability. And in his response to the 4th comment he mentions he is indeed in therapy (AKA "professional help).