Auto-Allegory, or how Starfire is a Terrible Mother

I don’t like to give publicity to garbage like this, but it’s such an instructive moment for writing and understanding people I can’t help myself: Basically, this is about DC superhero Starfire’s daughter (Raven, I think), who is an angsty 90s-2000s goth girl who is also obese and a lesbian, and of course resents her beautiful mother. The surface level complain is obvious – this is bad fan fiction and denigrates established characters, pushes a gratuitous woke agenda at the expense of a good story, and is generally low-quality writing and art. Add to that the fact that it will…

Continue reading

Adaptations

It’s not hard, or at least, it shouldn’t be when you have 100 million + dollars to fling around. So why so much failure? Because “Hollywood,” as the collection of producers etc. that run the business, doesn’t care a lick about the stories that they adapt. They adapt things like books and movies for two reasons: There is already a built-in fanbase (in other words, some guarantee on a return on investment). The key elements of the story have already been filtered in the free market to have wide appeal. In other words, the book was already successful, so a…

Continue reading

The Millennial Obsession with Harry Potter

It’s a curious case – Millenials, particularly in the “literary” and “writing” (I use those terms as ironically as possible) community are constantly referencing Harry Potter, particularly when it comes to some of the basic parts of the moral play, such as Lord Voldemort, who represents whatever current-year evil they happen to be personally obsessed with (usually just orange man bad). Why? Why so much obsession with a children’s book series, to the point where people put their Hogwarts house in their twitter bio? Yes, you are so Gryffindor, Miss Keyboard Warrior! Here’s my basic explanation: Mythological vacuum Social reinforcement…

Continue reading

ICONOCLASM

I recently talked about iconoclasm in Magic the Gathering, and while that is topical, it is just part of the greater iconoclasm of our day. Expect all images of white males, even Christ, to be under attack from now on: Let me be clear that I am using this term broadly – statues and art are not necessarily “icons” that must be purged for religious reasons. The removal of images inherited from the past does represent a similar motive in that is, in a sense, religious, but it is done for different reasons. Icons in the church have been removed…

Continue reading

Contemporary Christian Music

I had some recent discussions with some fellow authors, and the subject of “Contemporary Christian Music” (CCM) came up. It’s a kind of music that I am intimately familiar with, having grown up in a protestant church that, like most evangelical churches of middle America in the 1990s, foisted upon both young and old the idea of “modern” worship music as an alternative to “secular” music. This took different forms depending on the target demographic – for the general congregation, it was bland rock music driven by acoustic guitars that featured “Jesus is my Boyfriend” lyrics repeated dozens of times.…

Continue reading

The Book is Better

How many times have you seen a movie and though, “Man, the book was so much better,” or had a friend who read the book say the same to you? I can definitely say that the cases where the movie is better than the book are far outweighed by the reverse – probably in the range of 20:1. In fact, the only writer whose work seems to function better on screen than on paper is Stephen King, and even then there are plenty of books in his exceptionally large canon that are much better than their cinema counterpart (anyone remember…

Continue reading

Color: The Key to Impact and Emotion

Time for something different – some tips on choosing the right colors for art, ad copy, and things like book covers. Let’s start with some examples of great fantasy art by Kerem Beyit: Kerem’s proficiencies are many, but one of the reasons his art has such a vivid “pop” and stands out so much is his use of color, specifically limited color range centered on two different (but rarely complementary) colors. Rather than attempting to go for some “realistic” approach to color representation, he distills things down to a few charged areas. The result is really eye catching. Notice in…

Continue reading

Apolitical™

Sorry, folks, the Apolitical™ brand is just that – a brand. I get it – you don’t like the politics being forced into your favorite franchises at the expense of story, gameplay, aesthetics, and the general effect of the medium itself. I get that female Thor is lame and super-buff She-Hulk is an eyesore. I know that it’s not fun to be lectured about global warming in the middle of a space-opera game, or to be forced to play a game as an uggo who’s bent on killing your favorite franchise characters – and will succeed. I know it’s annoying…

Continue reading

Why forced diversity doesn’t work

There is a divide that the greater culture of the center/right has a hard time explaining, but an easy time recognizing: The difference between “forced diversity” and diversity which is incidental to a story. The surface definition should be pretty easy to work with: Forced diversity is the inclusion of characters in media that are members of social/ethnic/sexual groups for no discernible story reason. Obviously, a story about a transwoman struggling to fit in will include trans characters. “Forced diversity” is having a character that is trans for no reason related to the plot. It’s a character that is put…

Continue reading

The Left Can’t Meme

It’s an old meme at this point that the left can’t meme. I had a great discussion last week with Brian Niemeier about his book, Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You, and in it the subject of memeology of the left came up: I mentioned a former friend that had an image of her turned into a meme, so she started trying to make her own memes of herself as some sort of gatcha. The results were as you would expect – a wall of text trying to explain something crowding out (and thus reducing the impact of)…

Continue reading