Attention, all- yes, even you at the back there. You lot may not be getting a blog entry from me for a couple of days- at least not a full length one- because I’m traveling up to Norfolk tomorrow to visit relatives and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to get on the Internet. I’m going to take a wild guess at “not much”.
Does that mean you’re going to get an extra-long entry tonight to make up for it? PAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HA Ha haha ha. Don’t make me laugh. Nobody pays me to write this shit you know, so I’m not going to do anything that professional.
I will, however, open my ask-box to suggestions for blog entries while I’m away, so that when I get back, you’ll get material on topics that you really want.
Speaking of the ask-box: I know some of you had trouble getting messages to me at various points over the last week and when they have got through, I haven’t always been able to reply. However, the ask-box is working again now, as far as I know.
Asked by Anonymous
There are actually a few up of me already. I tend not to post too many, partly because I don’t much like the idea of the images getting reblogged and me losing control of them.
I might post something later this evening, though, since you ask!
Asked by Anonymous
I don’t really want to get fat myself. While I love fat as a physical quality, I’m comfortable in the body I have. Plus, I don’t want to have to buy all my waistcoats again in the next size up!
I don’t understand the obsession some of my fellow comic-book fans have with the idea that Marvel and DC must always be in competition; that one is always inevitably better than the other. While I have some (well, a lot) of issues with Marvel as a business (see previous rants on the subject), as creative enterprises, I view Marvel and DC as more-or-less equal but not directly-comparable. They do very different things.
When I want big, powerful narratives that raise serious or real-world issues and examine them in a context that just happens to involve a lot of homoerotic men in tights running around, I go to DC. When I just want to see a super-powered Norseman punch a robot in the face because that’s the kind of thing that makes anyone’s day a little brighter, then I go to Marvel.
Obviously, DC= Serious, Epic Drama; Marvel= Fun and Fisticuffs doesn’t always hold true. DC has it’s surreal, silly corners (see: literally everything to do with the Flash) and Marvel has the occasional foray into serious drama (see, for example: Neil Gaiman’s 1602), but I think the paradigm broadly holds true, and I also think it’s nowhere more evident than in the Cinematic Universes they’re currently in the process of building.
Here’s a case-in-point: Marvel Studio’s Avenger’s Assemble showcased a city hit by a massive alien invasion, but there was no indication of anyone being killed or even seriously injured, because are focus was meant to be on the dynamic between the heroes and how badarse and awesome the big fight-scene was (and, to be fair, it was pretty awesome). Sure, we know people snuffed it- it’s referenced in the script, but we’re not meant to feel it keenly, on any sort of human level. In DC and Warner Bros. Man of Steel, Superman’s climactic fight against Zod and the World Engine (Google it, I’m not yer mum) resulted in an similar, city-wide level of destruction. Buildings collapsed, whole areas of Metropolis were reduced to rubble… but the audience focus in all this destruction was completely different. There were a lot of long, protracted shots showing people cowering and in obvious shock at the world-ending events going on around them; we were made to understand on an emotional level that the buildings being shredded by the blows of superhumans actually had people in them. Life was being ended on a massive scale and we weren’t supposed to forget it at any point. The fight-scene wasn’t about being just a plain awesome thing to watch, it was about being epic and lending emotional impact to what, in the DC Universe, is a very serious event.
You see what I’m getting at here? One’s about giving your audience a pure, unadulterated good time, one’s about putting your audience through the emotional ringer so they come away with a sense of having witnessed something that, in some sense, matters. I can’t tell you which is the superior approach because, honestly, the answer is neither. They’re just different. Personally I prefer DC’s approach, largely because I like the idea of Super-Heroes as these beings who are almost separate from mankind, powerful but cursed. While Marvel flirts with that idea, it’s tonal decisions always leave it’s heroes feeling more like just people, whereas DC get to paint a picture of the disconnected ubermench striving to be part of humanity but always a step removed from it, and I find that fascinating and engaging in way that I don’t feel about Marvel’s universe, because it’s psychologically interesting, and that, for me, is the difference between a good story and a great story.
In terms of achieving different tones, it’s also worth noting that Marvel and DC take place in very different worlds. Even though DC is full of fictional cities, it’s world is a lot closer to ours than Marvel’s, particularly in the Cinematic Universes. Case in point, Gotham might be fucking deranged, but as we saw in the Nolan-verse Batman films, the problems that beset it are very much of-our-world: political corruption, incompetent and bent policing, crimes committed for petty power and influence. The super-criminals are just a cartoonish reflection of that. DC’s universe also features organisations that attempt to control and govern the superhuman population, but they’re almost always useless and incompetent, making matters worse rather than better and designed to appease whatever bunch of deranged, fearful xenophobes happen to be pulling the levers of power this week. It’s an unpleasant, but fairly accurate interpretation of how our world would function if you suddenly dropped supermen in tights into it.
Marvel, but comparison, has organisations like SHIELD and a general sense that someone, somewhere is actually keeping things in that world organised and knows what the fuck is going on. It’s a fantasy-world in the sense that its power and social-structures are sane and composed under conditions where neither of those things would actually be possible.
I could go on listing subtle differences, but you get the picture: Marvel’s world is brighter, more fun and has softer edges. DC’s world, as surreal as it frequently is, is a rough approximation of our own, shitty bits included.
Accusing DC’s Cinematic Universe of being too dark, or accusing Marvel’s of being too silly- as I’ve known plenty of fans do- is missing point. That’s what they’re supposed to be.
Asked by Anonymous
Well, first of all, I’m sure you’ve got no reason to hate your body, and you probably shouldn’t be so harsh on yourself.
To actually answer the question, though: I find fatness an attractive quality in part because it speaks of decadence and indulgence; a life lived fully and with obvious sensory pleasure (what can I say- I’m a sucker for hedonism). I enjoy the feel of softness and the yielding quality of fat: I find it to be a profoundly inviting texture. Then there’s the jiggly way fat moves on a person’s body, which I just find adorable and endearing.
Obviously, to a certain extent, it’s hard for me to describe exactly what I find attractive about fat women, because it’s in-built. I can’t imagine not finding fat women beautiful, but hopefully I’ve been able to provide an insight into the way I view fat in a positive light.
I hope you learn to like your body better and I wish you all the luck in the world.
So, as my regular readers will know, I usually miss out on most Marvel-related stuff- comics; films; etc- because Marvel are owned by Disney, a morally bankrupt corporation whose products I refuse to purchase because I have no desire to give money to a corporation that makes the vast majority of its merchandise using what amounts to slave labour: workers who are kept in filthy and degrading conditions and payed less than enough to live on because they’re so desperate they don’t have any choice but to take those terrible jobs.
What all this means, since I really like Marvel (by which I mean the creative side of the entity, not the business side, obviously), is that I end up having to wait for Marvel superhero films to appear on DVD and for those DVDs to gradually migrate to second-hand availability (because second-hand purchases mean I’m not giving money to the evil force behind the thing!)
Well, the other day, I was lucky enough to find a second-hand boxset- a fucking boxset- containing all six films leading up to and including Avengers Assemble. There is a word for events such as this, and that word is “jackpot!” What does this mean for tonight’s blog? Well, partly it means that tomorrow I’ll be writing up a comparison of the Marvel and DC Cinematic universes, but mostly it means I’ve turned my brain to soup watching movies all last night and today, so this entry is only these paragraphs long. Bye!
Asked by Anonymous
That’s a fair point, and I should probably clarify my position. You see, I don’t have a problem with people enjoying their appearance and flattering it with clothes or makeup, provided it’s done primarily for the pleasure of the person doing it.
The reason I don’t approve of corporate monuments to vanity in the form of, for example, endless isles of products devoted to covering perceived imperfections is simple: that kind of vainglorious posturing isn’t about elegance, or pleasure or reveling in the joys of one’s appearance- it’s about conforming. It’s about desperation and trying to cover the things about yourself that society has told you are hateful and bad. It’s about trying to fix problems that aren’t there and grub about in the dirt for the approval of judgmental pricks.
I approve of elegance, the love of one’s body and appearance and the desire to project a part of yourself into the way you look. I don’t approve of business-sanctioned mass efforts to disguise every perceived blemish and flaw so that everyone is constantly striving to look like like identical plastic replicants of some dead-eyed ideal that means nothing to any of them personally. And while we’re on the subject of the loss of individuality, I hate the fact that there’s this mindset- in business and, unspoken, in some people- that you can replace true individuality of express with different brands. I hate the whole attempt to link self-expression to brand names, as though all people are is consumers whose identity has to be pre-packaged, stamped and handed to them on a plate.That’s not hedonism: that’s a nightmare vision of the future as written by Aldous Huxley.
You don’t realise just what kind of quiet dedication and relentless work-ethic your ears have until one of them gets sick.
Allow me to elucidate. About a week ago, one of my ears decided to stop working. It was the right-hand ear (for those of you who are morbidly curious) which has suffered intermittent problems for years, following an incident involving a bath-tub which I can’t go into here. One day I could hear perfectly clearly and the next I woke up with half my audio-capacity Missing In Action.
The weird thing about being deprived of one of your sensory organs is how quickly you adapt to it. It never stopped feeling weird (in much the same way I suspect the forbidden love between man and Dyson never stops feeling weird to at least one of the participants), but I quickly adjusted to the necessity of turning my whole head to point at the source of sounds; holding the telephone to the opposite ear; miming my swear-words in the mirror to compensate for my sudden inability to hear myself get pissed off.
Eventually, however, I cracked under the pressure. I went into town to purchase some ear-drops from a pharmacy.
It was one of those big pharmacies that thinks it’s a supermarket, and I didn’t care for it. I was surrounded by five thousand different brands of shampoo and conditioner, two hundred and thirty million types of lip gloss and a non-specific yet worrying quantity of mysterious things for pretentious men that came in foreboding black bottles and served no function I could interpret.
When at last I did find the general section where the things of Actual Medicinal Value were kept, the genuine pharmacological items were mixed up in a mad-man’s jumble with phony diet pills, even phonier hair-replacement creams and all manner of Ludicrous Things For Both Hippies And Hypochondriacs.
This wasn’t a pharmacy: it was a monument to vanity and gullibility with cash-registers. I did not belong here. The natives of this strange land seemed to know it as well as I did, throwing me dagger-sharp looks of confusion and distaste: why wasn’t I buying specially-formulated anti-frizz shampoo (tested on the eyeballs of only the finest beagles)? Why did I look lost and confused like a sane man when confronted with the three whole isles of nappies I had to pass in my quest? Why did I seem uninterested- even repulsed- at the Men’s Styling Products? I knew that if I didn’t get out of there quickly, they would realise I was an imposter and string me up from the Dental Health Isle.
At last I found the ear drops I had come in for! I purchased them as quickly as I could and made my way home, shaken but alive.
Upon my arrival home, my right hear started working again, as mysteriously as it had stopped. I could hear again, and the ear-drops were unnecessary.
My own ears had played a cruel practical joke on me.
If you have a submission from me from the last day or two: DELETE IT: I did not send you this. It may be a virus. I don’t know if my account was hacked or what. I’ve changed my password, but I don’t know what our theoretical hacker will try next.
Hey! I’m pretty sure my ask-box “Reply” button has stopped working. So if you sent me a message and I didn’t reply to it, that’s why. Unfortunately, the messages you sent did vanish when I hit the reply rather than sticking around. Basically, if you have been trying to get in touch with me this evening, try sending me another message so I can follow the link back to your homepage and I’ll message you like that since Tumblr isn’t deigning to let my replies work.