I Love You

If you spend more than an hour on Social media a day it will be impossible to ignore the stupidity around Fandom at any given moment. I follow a number of people for whom the observation of other people’s obsessive desires and interests is not only a lifestyle choice, but a full-time career. It is hard to escape the gravity of negativity in any aspect of current existence, but when it emanates from stuff that’s supposed to be enjoyment and relaxation?

Except, with the smallest of shifts of perception, one can see all of this as just another attempt not only for all of us feel we belong, but to self-promote in an increasingly open and understanding environment. Not every meme is toxic, or perhaps a flimsy disguise in which you’re prompted to share personal data that might also double as password information.  Just don’t get me started on potential facial recognition scams, okay?

We all want to belong, let’s be honest. That’s all of this online stuff’s about, when you get down to the details. If you don’t need the benefit of a massive virtual following not doing Social media‘s hardly a reach. I can look at many people for whom that desire simply never existed, or those who’ve shunned the practice because privacy means nope, you don’t get to know anything at all.

In the modern world, of course, it shouldn’t take much to find out everything about someone if you really want to, and if you’ve ever been unlucky enough to be stalked online, you’ll know just how hard it is to remain truly anonymous. That’s where fandom’s truly insidious underside can become not just frightening but life changing… but for every negative, you can offset the damage.

I remember that fan who married one of her idols…


You get to know over time the people to trust, then avoid. Someone from an old fandom haunt appeared out of the blue late last year, still hugely dedicated to his cause, still happily living the life they were decades previously… and this is why changes in orbit can end up so potentially damaging. The good people rationalise, are adult and move on. It’s the people who won’t change, can’t alter their outlooks that become the unknown quantities.

I’m in a particular fandom right now where people are split down the middle, thanks to the main protagonist in their fictional lives having assumed a new gender. There’s an indignity for some right now that a man they respected has become a highly attractive woman. There’s psychology at play that is difficult to reconcile, and this TV show is becoming an unexpected test bed for what happens when you stop giving all the best roles to white men.

Who knew so many people were that sensitive to change?

Let’s be honest, you’d need to be from another fucking planet not to grasp how some parts of society are woefully unprepared for what’s coming. We need more common sense, and far less stupidity, and if you resent actresses and people of colour in traditionally white male roles? You are part of the problem. Don’t worry, give it ten years and there’ll be no planet left for you to complain about… ^^

Maybe what needs to happen now is change, and not resistance.

Northern Star

I’ve loved the Philip Pullman books for a very long time, and The Golden Compass, despite all it’s flaws and shortcomings, did a better job of introducing Alternate Oxford than the BBC version managed last night. However, in everything else, the BBC/HBO series is light years ahead of anything I suspect could or would have been considered possible a decade ago.

These books have always been subversive and courted controversy, that’s what made them so very compelling. Alternate worlds, ruled by evil men, where normal people are used as pawns and cyphers. So what if your soul has an animal form? Those feelings and beliefs manifest regardless, and in the world of Lyra Belacqua it is the importance of innocence before corruption that makes the narrative so very seductive.

In that regard, last night, the pre-credits sequence mattered a very great deal.

The time and care that’s been taken to get this adaptation right is apparent in every single scene, particularly when we are introduced to the Gyptians for the first time. The pace and plotting of the episode is tight and cleverly ties together the abduction of Lyra’s only friend Roger with the growing crisis of missing Gyptian children. No, Gobblers aren’t just a children’s story in this world. Evil lives in plain sight.

What sold me in this first episode, without doubt, was the first time we see the Magisterium in London, which if it wasn’t imposing enough from the outside… well, within shows a truth that screams totalitarian regime. Men love to build massive monuments to their own perceived superiority, after all; we can tell immediately who is good and bad. Casting and adaptation really are both spot on.

I didn’t notice CGI at all in any of this, for the record. That’s how good it was.

Knowing how this story ends however is no issue: in fact, that only further increases my anticipation of what I know is already coming: Book Two’s being worked on. If this kind of narrative is being considered for TV adaptation, it gives me hope that other complex ideas like Iain Banks’ The Bridge or his Culture series might yet be considered for an airing. If something as massive as The Expanse series is worthy of airtime… who knows.

I also suspect I’ll see the BBC’s much-anticipated adaptation of The War of the Worlds soon in the 9pm Sunday spot and when that happens… I’m gonna need a comfier spot than the floor in which to watch TV back to back. There’ll probably be a second watch of the first episode on the iPlayer this week, because I need to learn how to make animated GIFs and, to be honest, His Dark Materials is a fantastic place to start.