Nightmares, mostly academic

From the aptly-named “Overthinking It,” an analysis of the political economy of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:

But the strong feminist themes of the series are built on a foundation of political contradictions. The most fantastic element of the show is not that ponies can talk or that dragons exist; it is the illusion that an egalitarian society can be maintained among groups with massive biologically inherent gaps in ability and economic utility. By even the most cursory of sociological and economic analyses, the society in MLP: FiM should be highly stratified along class and racial lines. And there are clear signs of that stratification, except they are obscured by a propagandistic focus on the power of “friendship”.

*****

“Unoriginal,” yes; “genius,” no:

… Goldsmith describes a course he teaches entitled “Uncreative Writing.” In this course, “students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity,” and rewarded for “plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering, and stealing.” The course also involves such misadventures as modifying Wikipedia pages by inserting additional spaces between words and holding classes within the online game Second Life. The final exam consists of purchasing a paper from a paper mill and presenting it to the class as one’s own, on the basis of answering the question, “Is it possible to defend something you didn’t write?”

See also Professor Mondo’s note on Pierre Menard.

*****

I ain’t no damn academic and never will be, thank God.

“Gene, your writing style is very clear and concise. Very muscular. But it is not academic writing. It is popular writing. If you persist in writing clear prose, you will never get far in academic writing. Academic writing must be turgid and convoluted. You must force your reader to read your sentences four and five times before she can understand what you are trying to say. You must obscure the concepts that just anyone can understand. You must, as literally as possible, grab your reader by the throat and pull her face into the text, holding her captive until she can escape by understanding the essay in full after struggling and wrestling with your words.”

*****

Announcing the Société des Bozars:

We grant that television is a tragic addiction, and we yield to no one in our sympathy for its unfortunate victims. But why must the rest of us be prisoners of other people’s filthy habits?
Join the Société des Bozars today and raise your standard against aesthetic pollution. Make a pledge to patronize only establishments with no visible television sets.

One bonus of joining is that you need never set foot in an airport concourse or a McDonald’s again.

Winfield notes

Guitarist Akihiro Tanaka and flutist Toshio Kishimoto
Guitarist Akihiro Tanaka and flutist Toshio Kishimoto

When the international market for anime collapses, Japan can export fingerpickers. Akihiro Tanaka took second place in the International Fingerstyle Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival two years ago, first place last year, and was a featured performer this year. Meanwhile, Tomoake Kawabata placed second in this year’s contest Thursday.

Tomoaki Kawabata
Tomoaki Kawabata

Continue reading “Winfield notes”

In the pink

This has been a brutal year (-17°F in February, 110°+ repeatedly this summer) and it shows in gardens. Yews and arbor vitae are badly damaged if not dead, hostas are shriveled and sugar maples have few intact leaves left for their fall display. However, the naked ladies, a.k.a. Lycoris sqamigera, spent the worst of the heat undeground and look just dandy right now.

*****

I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days. While I’m gone, you can study the saxophone solo in “Tank!”

Odds and ends

Steven on fansubs:

Even disregarding the price, the sad fact is that the product delivered by the fansub groups via torrents is better than what we can buy. It’s more timely, and the quality is higher, and the resolution is better, and it’s more comprehensive.

I wish it weren’t so. I would rather buy than steal. But two years ago it reached the point where it didn’t feel like virtue to be honest. It felt like being a sucker.

Even as big as the anime market was in North America three years ago before everything fell apart, we were still being treated as second class citizens. Usually there was a delay of between 1 and 3 years before titles got released here, if they were. And what we got was 480p, which these days looks like a postage stamp to me. (Especially on my 1920*1080 computer display.)

Continue reading “Odds and ends”

Name that tune

Steven wonders if the background music in this scene from Dog Days is Mozart, perhaps from one of his opera overtures. I don’t recognize it, but my knowledge of Mozart and opera is not encyclopedic. Can you identify it?

[audio:http://shuffly.net/audio/Dog Days mystery tune.mp3]

One of the companies that worked on Dog Days is called “Studio Arkansas.” I wonder if they actually are from there.

Update: If the player above doesn’t work for you, try this.

Mystery tune

The wrong place

Yu Muroga was a Japanese delivery man. He was doing his round when the earthquake occurred on March 11th 2011. Like most people in the area, he did not feel under the threat of the tsunami as he was driving far from the coast. That’s why he kept on driving and doing his job.
The HD video camera on his dashboard did not only film the tremors but also the moments after the earthquake when several drivers were trapped by the tsunami waters.
The video camera was recently found by the police next to the passenger’s body.

Click on the quote above to see the video.

(Via a comment at Eruptions.)

Testing …

If I have the feeds set up right, this post should appear at Anime Nano but not at Facebook. (Yeah, I am on Facebook, and no, I’m not very friendly. I’m there mainly to keep tabs on friends and family. If you want to know what’s on my mind, my weblog is the source to consult.)

Good news, bad news

The good news: There’s more Marie & Gali translated. Wasurenai is up to episode 27. That leaves 13 episodes to go of the first series, plus the 30 of Version 2.0.

Marika, a magenta-haired middle school student who favors EGL fashions and has no interest in science, finds herself marooned in Galihabara, an isolated town populated by famous scientists. They’re a little different there than they are in history books. Galileo is a buffoonish gonk, Newton is a snooty bishounen who only has eyes for his apple, Darwin is a robot, (John Ambrose) Fleming says “Yo!” a lot, etc. Fortunately for Marika, Madame Curie is relatively sane and provides her a place to stay.

Each of the five-minute episodes illustrates, sorta, a scientific principle. In the episode from which the screen captures above come, Archimedes, Hertz and Galileo compete in a fishing tournament. Through various ridiculous strategies, they catch enough fish and other aquatic creatures to capsize their boat, leaving them up lost at sea in a lifeboat with Marika. The episode ends with a brief lecture on bouyancy from Archimedes.

How much of the science kids watching the show will retain, I can’t say. It doesn’t really matter that much, though. Marie & Gali subordinates didacticism to broad, goofy humor, to its benefit.

The bad news: Captain Planet, the live-action movie. Please excuse me while I throw up.