Friday, September 23, 2011

Case for Revision: Breaking Bad

Some months back, right as I was finishing up Weeds, another tale of middle-class sensibilities colliding with the drug world came across my path: Breaking Bad, which I found so superior to Weeds, I instantly made it the counter-case with only a little more than a season under my belt. Now, with season 4 coming to a head, and a key role Breaking Bad will play in another piece I am preparing, it seemed right to revisit the nausea of Walter White, and give it the full treatment.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two Lamentations

Though the pushback is fierce every time you say so, misogyny in one form or another is deeply ingrained in the culture of nerds, and has been for a long, long time, particularly when it comes to fantasy. This is, of course, rooted deeply in the genre’s origins—not so much the seminal theme-establishing works of Wells, or the refining intricate world-building of Tolkien and Azimov (though certainly you can see forms of misogyny there to). No, I’m talking about the very obvious shapes that came more from the proto-genre’s dark, adolescent id—pulp magazine stories, the best of which survives in the stories of Robert E. Howard, and the art which his creation, Conan the Barbarian, inspired, particularly the dynamic and lurid work of Frank Frazetta. Frazetta’s work is as undeniably great and influential as it is problematic, and as nerds become bigger tent, there’s more and more of a push to get past his diaphanous slave rags and chainmail bikinis, and into things a woman on a battlefield is more likely to wear, found ‘round the internets in places like the Flickr, “Women in Reasonable Armor”. It’s also an undeniably good push, but I wish it felt, to me, an untarnished one, instead of one tinged with different misogynistic undercurrents.