Showing posts from October, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Rape Culture

I think that I need to take out a subscription to the London Review of Books .  I had a year's free subscription up until a few months ago, courtesy of Dan Hartland , but I neglected to renew it.  At the time it didn't feel as if the fact that 95% of the magazine's content is smart, erudite, and well written was quite enough to justify spending the money, especially when there's so much else to read for free, but today I'm reminded of the, perversely enough, more appealing fact that the other 5% of LRB articles are just as smart, just as erudite, and just as well-written, but also batshit insane.  Previous standouts include pieces like Judith Butler's "Who Owns Kafka?" (March 3rd, 2011), in which Butler piles one unconvincing, flawed argument over another for why Israel shouldn't take possession of the papers of Franz Kafka, instead of just coming out and saying that it's because of the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and Jenny Turn

The Strange Horizons Fund Drive

For the last month, Strange Horizons has been running its annual fund drive, during which we raise money to keep the magazine running and its contributors paid.  Strange Horizons is run by a volunteer staff (including yours truly), and pays professional rates to its contributors.  With one week to go, the drive is now at just over $5,000 out of an $8,000 goal, though there are also "stretch goals" all the way to $11,000, which will allow us to increase the pay rates for poetry and reviews, and to add weekly podcasts of the magazine's fiction.  The fund drive page--with information about prizes being raffled off to donors, and Kickstarter-style rewards for various donation levels (including, for $100, the option to select a book to be reviewed by the reviews department)--can be found here , and at the Strange Horizons blog editor-in-chief Niall Harrison has been keeping a tally of testimonials about the magazine from authors and reviewers (including Genevieve Valentine

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2012 Edition, Part 3

We're coming near to the end of what has been a singularly unimpressive pilot season.  Progress report on the shows I've stuck with: Revolution has so far failed to ignite and if it doesn't within the next few weeks I'll probably ditch it.  Vegas 's second episode bored me, so it's been dropped.  Elementary , on the other hand, had a strong second episode that deepened the two main characters, but the show still doesn't feel much like Holmes.  Last Resort is maintaining the intensity of its pilot but still not giving the impression that it has an idea of where to take its premise.  There are still a few stragglers left, and they'll be trickling on screen over the next month, but right now I'm willing to pronounce the 2012 fall pilot season a bust.  Better luck next year. The Paradise - The BBC's prospective answer to Downton Abbey draws loosely from the novel Au Bonheur des Dames ( The Ladies' Paradise ) by Émile Zola, moving its actio

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2012 Edition, Part 2

Well, that was a long week and a half of new TV, and with not much to show for it in the end.  These write-ups represent a small minority of the new shows to premiere this fall--I haven't said anything about the season's new comedies, which run the gamut from terrible ( Partners ), to underwhelming ( Ben and Kate , The Mindy Project ), to competent but uninspiring ( Go On , Animal Practice ) , to bizarre Alf retreads ( The Neighbors ).  There are some more new shows premiering later this month, but so far I'm not very enthusiastic about this new crop of shows. Vegas - The premise of this show, which follows the (presumably fictionalized) exploits of legendary Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) in the early 60s, marks it as yet another attempt, after the failure of last year's Pan Am and The Playboy Club , to crack the Mad Men code for a network audience (only this time without pesky women running around all over the place--there is only one woman in the


I watched Looper two nights ago, and since coming out of the movie theater I've been trying to work out just why this film left me feeling so unimpressed.  It's not that there's anything wrong with Looper , which in fact wears the crown of intelligent, thought-provoking SF filmmaking better than almost any other claimant to that title in the last few years.  It's well-made, intelligent, and handles its time travel premise in brave and interesting ways.  But it's also an almost airless work, one whose pieces never managed to engage me enough to make me care about its whole. A lot of this comes down to the kind of filmmaker Rian Johnson is.  Johnson's breakout film Brick was a pastiche that drew its power from a gimmick--that its high school age characters spoke like characters out of classic noir--but it elevated itself above a mere mash-up through its dedication to its style, and with the help of a magnetic, soulful central performance by Joseph Gordon-Levit