Archive for May 2011

Sandman Re-Blog: Issue #14 The Collectors

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At last, the long-rumored episode that readers never forget, and probably never expect, for that matter.

I think this issue clearly demonstrates how the series has finally found the balance between horror and more subtle commentary. Gaiman understands that psychologically speaking, there is literally nothing more terrifying than a convention of serial killers, and he lets that speak for itself. He portrays them as characters one might see at a nerdy sci-fi convention (and lets be honest, at a certain point in the 80's/90's, and probably until this decade to be honest, admitting to being a sci-fi nerd was just as socially off-putting as admitting to being a serial killer).

But I digress. Back to the horror vs. subtle-goings-on thread. On first read, Gilbert's recounting of the Red Riding Hood story seems very much balanced to the former. But of course it's foreshadowing: like the fairytale girl, Rose is looking to visit a family member, only to find said person kidnapped by a killer. The link is further strengthened by their names: Rose and Red.

I'm pretty sure this is the first issue to be entirely contained within one setting, namely the Empire Hotel (please correct me if I'm wrong, but at the very least, there are usually scenes of Dream zipping about through dreams). So when Morpheus finally appears, he enters the scene like electricity; his presence is immediately felt. Even the Corinthian can't maintain his punny facade for long.

And of course, by revealing the truth of their actions to themselves, Morpheus deprives the killers of the only thing that justifies their actions: their delusions. He proves, yet again, that the worst punishment is neither incarceration nor death: it's the absence of things to look forward to, the absence of hope, the very absence of dreams [delusions in this case].

Next week: Things become very, very strange.

Music Video Cuteness Wars: Jon Hamm v. Kristen Bell

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Last fall Yeasayer released the rather marvellous video for "Madder Red." And now Herman Dune takes Yeasayer's horrible moppet and raises it a cute blue yeti and Don Draper! If this be a new music video trend, I accept! So let's look at our two challengers:

In the Southern corner we have Jon Hamm, driving around Austin with a rather adorable young date:

Herman Dune - Tell Me Something I Don't Know (official video, long version) from City Slang on Vimeo.


And in the Northern corner we have Kristen Bell, acting her heart out in defense of a horrific monsterpet:

Now I know which side I stand on in this particular war (though I occasionally vacillate due to ____ _____'s _____), but this is an opportunity to hear from you, dear reader! Which video do you prefer and why? Come back tomorrow for the results.


Parsing the Media: "The IMF: Violating Women Since 1945"

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For the record, I am ignoring the extremely silly headline for the article, as headlines by their very nature are overstated and manipulative.

As I was reading an article about the IMF's historical complicity with women's rights violations, one sentence struck me like a baseball between the eyes:

For many in the developing world, the IMF and its draconian policies of structural adjustment have systematically “raped” the earth and the poor and violated the human rights of women.

I could go on about grammatical incorrectness and general object-verb failures (and oh, how I want to!) but I'll forgo my grammar nazi reflexes. ("Get to the point, miss oncoming hope, perilously lodged in your glass house!")

It's that word, that word that stands in the middle of the sentence, visually punctuated with quotation marks to guarantee that you don't miss it (there's no other reason for the quotation marks to be there, unless it's a word quoted directly from original speech made by 'many in the developing world', the 'earth' or 'the poor').

Now I read the rest of article because it was recommended by someone I trust, and because I am generally interested in the tyranny of IMF structural adjustment policy. And of course I am interested in international organizations and the systemic oppression of women.

But I couldn't get that "raped" out of my head. No matter how salient the rest of the points in the article might be, that one word has primed me to read the whole thing as overblown and exaggerated. That word tells me this article is written by an activist not an informer. It tells me that every sentence is colored with pre-conceived notions rather than respect for fact.

I accept that hyperbole is the bread and butter of internet commentary. But in most cases, especially as regards to political economy, the facts and the statistics are outrageous enough. The policies that have made the sex trade the only available occupation for thousands of women are deplorable on their own. But poorly formed policies that have been proven not to work do not directly equate to "violations of women's bodies."

Sunday Meditations: For the Writers Among You

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Hi everyone, and welcome to my latest (and first) issue of Sunday meditations, a chance for us to discuss fun, random things in the comments.

Today's question: what is your #1 writerly device? Meaning, some trope, image, theme or figure of speech that keeps showing up in your work, unbidden, unknown to you until the editing stage? And would you give it up if you had to?

I'll get the ball rolling: mine is the humble semicolon. I've yet to meet two sentences that can't be truncated and rejoined.

Sandman Re-Blog: Men of Good Fortune



"I still do not see what purpose this will serve...[but] It might be interesting." Morpheus is obsessed with purposes and reasons and rules and regulations and power and all sorts of Type A obsessions, at least as presented so far, so this bit of dialogue lets us know that the story will be a wee bit different. I myself don't understand the point of Death's exercise, except to get Dream to go out and meet his minions.

And as for Death, what do we learn of her? When Hob basically insults her very being, her very reason, and her occupation, her reaction is not anger or vengefulness. She is amused! And as a result of her amusement, she chooses to make his belief come true; he will live on.

I am pettily amused by the first panel, and how pub grumblings back then are basically on the same lines as pub grumblings today. Things do not change with time; how well this sets up the story of the man who will not change with time (not physically at any rate!).

And so we ride through time in this oddly standalone interlude in the book (though pieces are placed for future stories, i.e. Dream's deal with Shakespeare), where Dream meets with Hob once every 100 years.

I could never put my finger on exactly why I liked this story so much the first time, and still do now: it reminds me of the original Time Machine movie, with Rod Taylor (the hotness!). To me, it's an extended version of one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, where George sits in his time machine, absolutely still, watching the shop window dressings change as time goes by, variously amusing George, titillating him, exciting him. The mannequin sequence leads into a longer, more disturbing sequence, where his home is transformed, the city is transformed, and even nature herself is transformed.

But still, "The years roll by, everything unfamiliar. Except the smile of my never-aging friend." So is Dream Hob's mannequin? Or is Hob Dream's constant? As they both barrel through their respective immortalities, who is more in need of a reminder that la plus ca change, la plus le meme chose?

Other notes:

-Fun Chaucer cameo!

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