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Happy Ent

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About Happy Ent

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    Godfather of the Weirwoods
  • Birthday 07/01/1968

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  1. Happy Ent

    Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of the Expanse) - SPOILERS

    Amen. And people keep wondering why there are so few arboreal authors.
  2. Happy Ent

    Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of the Expanse) - SPOILERS

    Mixed bag. Two good chapters, but a lot of filler. Chapter 23 sees Drummer in the arboretum of People’s Home. The description seems to disregard the effects of various gravity schemes on plant physiology – hormone production under coriolis, in particular for auxins, ethylene, gibberellins, and cytokinins. This is a huge blunder in an otherwise well-researched series. Maybe it can be rationalised because Drummer refers to the trees as “experimental”. My theory is that the Trade Federation does have protomolecule access, and has used it to construct plant-based superwarriors in the void cities, to finally take on Laconia. Extremely intriguing. Chapter 26 pays some more attention to the forgotten voices of Medina, when we see a park with trees. Pollination is mentioned, but only with Victorian embarrassment. Clearly, Space Opera is still not ready for some explicit descriptions of insect pollination – half a generation after a lesbian kiss on Deep Space 9. Some lazy plant violence imagery remains (“like an arrow shot into a tree”, “cut the rot out of the tree”, …), which will probably forever haunt this genre. In the final chapter (52: Naomi) there is finally payoff after all this buildup, when we get some poetic imagery of anemophily on Freehold. Thank you for this, I cried.
  3. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    I cannot but again refer everybody to the (hilarious) cryptic crossword that I constructed for Last Jedi. The clue for 28 across reads It really doesn’t get funnier or cleverer than that. https://thorehusfeldt.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/useless-side-plot-with-rose-and-finn-both-acting-weird-55/
  4. The trajectory is probably the other way around: The entertainment of older generations seems obscene and morally corrupt to younger generations. Sexism, racism, xenophobia, utter lack of empathy with the Other, — if you’re a millennial, try to watch an old Bond movie and not get offended. Try to watch sitcoms from just 20 years ago, with laissez-fair attitudes to teacher-pupil sex, sexual predation, etc. In a few years, we will be horrified by people eating meat on TV. Culture goes towards an ever more sanitised and pure depiction of accepted social relations between good people. New generations are horrified of old entertainment.
  5. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    … and just to put some useful analogies into that explanation: The oxygen problem is clear, it’s the same as if I submerged Leia into water, ensuring death by asphyxiation. But Leia can be exposed to space for short periods, just as she (or I) can be submerged. The pressure differential corresponds, roughly speaking, to quickly moving from 10 meters below water to the water’s surface. This leads to bubbles forming in your bloodstream. Again, this is not pleasant and potentially lethal, known as diver’s sickness or decompression, but perfectly survivable even by non-Force users. — I thought the scene was fine, and a good use of well-established, canonical Force skills (telekinesis) used by a lvl 70 Force user with non-aggressive outcome, completely in character with Leia.
  6. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    And, famously, in 2001. Just remember to close you eyes (because the water will boil, damaging your retina.) I may be misremembering, but isn’t that actually a plot point? Whathisname needs to keep his eyes closed, so he fumbles with some kind of bulkhead?
  7. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    Hm… not bad. Thank you. I’ve never been able to square the “do or do not” idea with the rest of Jedidom. (Trying and failing ought to be an important part of their ethics. And, indeed, it is Luke’s reluctance to even try that make Yoda say that.)
  8. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    I hadn’t seen the Bechdel discussion upthread. That is an extremely good point that I hadn’t considered. Thank you for pointing this out. I don’t think TFA is anything near a cultural milestone like TLJ is. The former is just a failed film. The latter is a masterpiece that will transform our cultural heritage. For the record, I enjoyed R1 very much. These observations again would point to director RJ (instead of franchise boss and x-producer KK) as the mastermind behind this, counterevidence to my above contribution.
  9. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    I don’t have much insight into that kind of thinking. My (uniformed) speculation is that Johnsson does not have an agenda (which is an unnecessarily value-laden word). All story details, I assume, are approved by Kathleen Kennedy. She does not care about story or plot or consistency. She cares about if there is a long sequence where a female character learns (or worse, is seen to doubt or fail), and she certainly cares about a long sequence (or story arc) where a female character learns from a male or otherwise is dominated by a male. Because such things are important. On the other hand, if Johnsson wants to imbue “his” movie with a plot, or consistency, or internally-motivated characters, or good space tactics, I’m sure Kennedy would not prevent that. She simply does not care. (It’s like “which colour should the spaceships have?” – it’s a non-issue for her. Window dressing. It should look good, but it’s not important.) The dynamics is probably this (again, I’m speculating). Kennedy focusses on cultural relevance, moral clarity, common decency, etc. Everything filmmaking has been very guilty of ignoring (like having 4 male Hobbits in Lord of the Rings). These are culturally, morally, politically important issues (way more important than whether a particular movie has good storytelling), and she should be applauded for the ruthlessness with which she applies her considerable power over the franchise for the Greater Good. The merchandising department is interested in updating several iconic scenes or tropes from the Star Wars canon (AT-AT walkers on white stuff, throne room confrontation, big space ships) to solidify these images in our common cultural baggage and unite the “new, progressive” Star Wars with the “old, regressive” Star Wars. Whoever is willing to cobble together a movie that navigates these constraints is welcome to it. (Five minutes of googling inform me that there have been severa(l issues of “creative differences” during the production of the new, progressive Star Wars, which may highlight some conflicts. But it may also be par for the course for such a large project. I simply am out of my depth here. I understand postmodern thought. I don’t understand the movie business.) This explanation is parsimonious and fits the evidence. It may be wrong, but it’s a better explanation that assuming incompetence. Also, note that I know next to nothing about the people involved, but the director does not strike me as somebody with an agenda (or any kind of intellectual gravitas to pull of the masterpiece that I view Last Jedi as.) ETA: For the record: I really am out of my depth here. I know nothing about the film people involved here. I’m happy to be corrected on the details. ETA 2: Here http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-star-wars-last-jedi-rian-johnson-20171217-story.html is a link that give evidence for the opposite of my speculation. (Namely, that the director, not the executive producer, is the political mastermind behind Last Jedi. If so, fine. I assume their visions are somewhat aligned.)
  10. Happy Ent

    The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

    At the danger of beating a dead horse: We cannot have a movie in which a female heroine learns something, and much less from a man. Such scenes need to be minimised, and preferably completely excised. Anything else would be a moral mistake. The Last Jedi has transcended the requirements of traditional (“modern”, if you want) storytelling. I wants to be, and should be, evaluated on the grounds of making important cultural progress and speaking with moral clarity. We should no more evaluate Last Jedi on the traditional grounds of storytelling (plot, character motivation, world-building, sensible spaceship battle tactics, suspension of disbelief with respect to physics and technology) than we should evaluate Doctor Who as an analysis of the mechanics of time travel. Or Das Kapital as a cooking recipe. It’s a different genre. Last Jedi inserts itself into the conversation about Star Wars by fixing all the moral and cultural problems with the original trilogy. That’s a huge deal, and it solves this problem perfectly. This works both ways: the cultural critique of the original trilogy was never based on plot holes or bad character development or inconsistent physics. Instead, that critique examines issues related to power structures embodied in the choice of narrative tropes, cultural appropriation, essentialist characteristics, conservative values, etc. The critique of OT does not care about storytelling. Hence, the critique of Last Jedi shouldn’t, either. The films are masterpieces exactly because they deliberately eschew “pre-postmodern” ideas of storytelling. Pre-postmodern ideas of storytelling are for white males.
  11. A good way to continue the educational trajectory that Disney is on would be to acquire the rights to Lord of the Rings and reboot those. I don’t think society is currently well served with a narrative universe in which a good part of popular culture is enamoured by a cast of characters that is so far removed from the political sentiments of any decent and progressive person. In fact, given the dangers posed by the Trump administration, it would be a moral mistake of the highest order to not update Tolkien’s beloved work and make it accessible to a new generation of movie-goers, freed from the sentiments of a darker time. It is time… for the Fellowship… to end.
  12. Here’s a cryptic crossword for this episode, to some extent inspired by this thread: https://thorehusfeldt.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/useless-side-plot-with-rose-and-finn-both-acting-weird-55/ Across 1 Blaster Solo mostly nudged by mistake. (7) 5 Just in time, pervading magical force comes back, allowing clear dialogue. (7) 9 Glaring farce, bad editing without direction. (9) 10 Part of film containing origin of Ben Solo. (5) 11 Watch cyborg’s central turret structure. (6) 12 Kick oneself for taking side—postmodern garbage. (7) 14 Current leaders of rebellion investigate Sarlacc’s orifice. (4) 15 In retrospect, volcano remade operatic Star Wars charac- ter. (3,7) 19 Useless side plot with Rose and Finn both acting weird! (5,5) 20 Maybe white males immediately understand agenda. (4) 22 Expand General Grievous. (7) 25 Want Vader to embrace right side of Force. (6) 27 Acid dissolves badly-written minion without explanation, ultimately. (5) 28 Gender-bending ruined tale. Which function did Threepio serve? (9) 29 At the end of the day, Jedi virtues were misunderstood. (7) 30 Hostile alien’s stones. (7) Down 1 Obi-Wan looks like one who boldy shows it. (4) 2 First off, contrarian lambasted storytelling. (9) 3 Perceptive newspaper journalist supports infuriating, unsubstantial review. (6) 4 They are filled with lifeless actors, like first prequel or clone wars. (9) 5 Cassian conjunctions. (5) 6 Boring writing without emotion ultimately sucks. (8) 7 Made snide remark about dumb Last Jedi. (5) 8 Period of mother-in-law’s hestitation after supreme leader finally confused two characters. (10) 13 Terrible direction without point or taste. (10) 16 Remove classic monster? (9) 17 Alt-right teen stuck in tirade; not salient. (9) 18 Problem for armored Stormtrooper: stop odor eruption. (8) 21 Pilot mostly followed by the Spanish fictional sibling. (6) 23 Dishonest apprentice girl embodies passive female principle. (5) 24 Return of Jedi’s second space endeavour. (5) 26 Wagers Count Snoke’s head. (4)
  13. I don’t think Abrams has anything to do with TLJ. (But I don’t know.) TFA and TLJ are very different movies to me. The first is just a failure, the second is a political triumph. (Both suck.)
  14. Isn’t it about the politics of movie reviewing? Those critics who panned the old movies panned them for their conservatism. “was made for those (particularly males) who carry a portable shrine within them of their adolescence, a chalice of a Self that was Better Then, before the world's affairs or—in any complex way—sex intruded.” ANH was male and conservative. That was a politically bad thing, already in the 70s. Banality, back then, was also seen as a bad thing. But everybody agreed ANH was solid filmmaking and entertaining. ANH was internally motivated, and about storytelling. The new movies are loved by critics exactly because they align with the desired values of the mainstream. The new movies are female and politically progressive. The movies make no attempts at telling a good story; instead, they are externally motivated: it’s about deconstructing a narrative that exists in The Real World, about deliberate choice casting were made based on essentialist characteristics of the actors (sex, haplogroup). These are very visible signals: you need to embrace these movies for the their exogenous ambitions; the endogenous traits (story, plot, wordbuilding, etc.) are a sideshow. Every critic understands this. And a critic would make a moral blunder by not aligning themselves with progressive values. You can see the same dynamic even in this thread. We cannot resist taking sides based on the political signal we’re sending. Criticising these movies makes you a bad person. People who dislike TLJ are misogynous, male, white, racist conservatives, stuck in Jungian archetypes, masturbating to Jordan Peterson youtube clips. Worse, they are Jedi. TLJ has finally freed ourselves from the political oppression inherent in the original trilogy. We can now enjoy the ATAT scene and the throne room scene and the Death Star being blown up without the wrongthink. For this we are grateful.
  15. Very good. (Lucas is an intellectual failure and just not very competent. The people behind TLJ know exactly what they’re doing. They are deliberate, intelligent, and politically schooled.) I’d go one step further: The New Force is neither heritable (aristocracy, old Right) nor meritocratic (liberal democracy, old-school Left). It is compensatory (modern Left). TLJ’s Force is about balance and equality. Not values or principles. That is the intellectual breakthrough. There are no values. TLJ are politically ambitious, and represent is a triumph of postmodernism by intellectual titans. The Prequels had political ambition as well, but were a failure of modernism and meritocracy by an intellectual dimwit. The original trilogy were lazy conservative, Jungian archetypes enshrined in nobilty and established narrative tropes, but without any explicit political ambition.