For all of Sleepy Hollow’s plot-sleepiness, there’s one thing that’s always worked in its favor: the bond between its two Witnesses. “Incident at Stone Manor” delivers on this in spades. The plot continued to not move along, and yet I found this episode extremely enjoyable. Hit the jump to find out my thoughts, and beware of spoilers!
“It’s okay to enjoy problematic things!” This has become a rallying cry in fandom, and I’ve seen it crop up most recently amongst the Star Wars fans. Fandom wars have already flown into full swing shaming people who ship Kylo/Rey, and while it is admittedly a very problematic ship (and will be more so if they end up being related), it’s also people’s prerogative to ship what they want as long as they understand the canonical issues with their relationship. Each person who participates in a ship or a fandom has to weigh the good against the bad, and the final call—is this something I’m willing to accept with its flaws, or is this too much for me—is a deeply personal one.
Unfortunately, unlike fandom, where The Discourse rules all and people tend to err on the side of policing the problematic aspects of fanworks, the Powers That Be seem to have a mentality along the lines of “this sold well; people must want more of it” that precludes the possibility of refining the product in any meaningful way. Basically, when something problematic becomes popular, there’s such a rush to cash in on that popularity that, while fans are having discussions of how to improve the original work, those who create and propagate the media are popping out clone after issue-laden clone, replete with all the problems of the original. And nothing is quite as emblematic of this issue as the cultural phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey.
A couple years ago, I wrote about Big Bang Press, an indie publishing press operated by members of fandom that was dedicated to publishing original stories by other fanfic authors. The Kickstarter was successfully backed, and its first book, A Hero at the End of the World, had a couple problems but was extremely entertaining all the same. Now Big Bang Press is back with the last two books of its inaugural three. I got early copies of Savage Creatures and Juniper Lane as a Kickstarter backer and found them to be just as diverse as A Hero at the End of the World—and they do a better job with incorporating female characters, as well. However, they aren’t entirely slam-dunks.
If there’s one thing that’s been on the tongues of the gaming populace lately, it’s The Witness. After around seven years of waiting, gamers of the puzzle persuasion have finally been able to wrap their minds around the vibrant, and at times trying, world of The Witness. Created by Jonathan Blow of Braid fame (a 2-D puzzle game involving time control mechanics), the games takes the player through a setting rife with puzzles—around six hundred of them—which teaches them the mechanics along the way with no outright statement of “this is how you do this”. Both Blow and the game have been hailed as artisans who take an innovative approach to the genre while providing a game that is strangely compelling despite the seeming lack of story. However, not long after the game’s release, issues began popping up with the game’s accessibility, causing frustration for some of those who had been waiting for the game. Now, unintentionally, Blow finds himself in the middle of not only a conversation about molding gaming paradigms to fit an artistic vision, but a conversation about the adaptivity of inclusion in games as well. And for his part, Blow does little to add to the latter.
For a long time, game creators and fans alike had been arguing for the “outside world” to take games more seriously, to view it as an art form not unlike film or literature. By now, few are arguing that point anymore: games are as much art as anything else that can be considered art. However, certain subsets of game fans take up this strange spot where they don’t want allow games the same sort of criticism as any other form of art, not realizing that this is counterproductive to what they may have argued for in the first place and misunderstanding how most video games aren’t art for art’s sake. Still, critics and players have found themselves in this strange grey space concerning The Witness. The question concerning games—indie games, as compared to games for a larger audience—has shifted from “is it art?” to “should art be inclusive indefinitely?” And that’s a hard question to answer. A simpler concession is that if it’s not, then the artist has a duty to let their consumers know.
Dang, this movie came out seventeen years ago.
The return of The X-Files has had me reflecting more and more about the state of pop culture in the ’90s, and I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s impossible to understand the ’90s without watching The Matrix. Not only plot and character, but the very look and feel of the The Matrix heralded the arrival of the 21st century with a sharp critique of the past decade.
Yet another week and yet another Agent Carter episode has come and gone. “The Atomic Job” probably wasn’t my favorite episode, but it let us get to know a couple more reoccurring characters a little bit better, and they were super fun to watch. Hit the jump to find out my thoughts, and spoilers are up ahead.
When I was a child, I hated the color pink. In fact, I hated anything stereotypically “girly” because I didn’t want to be lumped in with “those girls” when most of my friends were boys. As I’ve grown, I’ve also come to re-embrace many of the girly things that I denied myself in the past, pink being one of them. And, readers, I don’t think there’s anything more pink, cute, and fluffy than the webcomic Princess Love♥Pon, and I love it.