The Pity of Okja

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:18 pm
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Posted by Anna Shechtman

When Netflix premiered Okja at the Cannes Film Festival in June, the audience booed. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, Okja was the first Netflix feature to screen at the festival in competition, and the boos were directed at Netflix’s logo—a red and white insignia no less imposing to French traditionalists than the advertisements for McDonalds that line Parisian metros. The jeers intensified when the screening began in the wrong aspect ratio, as if to prove Netflix’s iconoclastic indifference to the cinema and its gatekeeper, the cinémathèque.1 After its size had been corrected to fit the screen, Okja’s animal rights, anti-agribusiness satire concluded in a four-minute standing ovation. From hysterical jeers to applause no less emphatic, the film’s Cannes reception demonstrates the paradox of its global, techno-capitalist production and its anti-globalist, anti-capitalist narrative. Okja’s critical success depends on this impasse—on the audience’s ability to divorce the film’s narrative from its politics of production. But production and representation can’t be conscientiously uncoupled, as both are informed by profit. And in trying to tell its harrowing story about the sale of mass-produced pork, Okja tells a no less vicious story about what it means to sell mass-produced pathos.

1. The cinémathèque is now quite literally the gatekeeper to Cannes. After a dispute with Netflix about the premiere of Okja, which didn’t have a theatrical release, the festival is now requiring all feature-length competition entries to release their films in theaters.

The film operates at the convergence of computer-generated utopianism and globalist dystopia. Its titular character is a “Super Pig,” a genetically-modified megafauna. The size of an elephant, Okja has been bred as food supply under the auspices of an international competition to raise the world’s most super Super Pig. Set in 26 countries around the world, the contest is the brainchild of agribusiness CEO Lucy Mirando, played by the metamorphic Tilda Swinton. Early in the film, we learn that Okja has won the global Super Pig contest. Her victory is the result of her minimal mutations and, presumably, her free-range lifestyle in the mountains of South Korea, where she is cared for by 14-year-old Mija (An Seo Hyun) and her grandfather (Byun Hee-Bong).

When we first meet Okja, she is galloping through these pristine mountains in a Korean village apparently unmarred by information technology—except, that is, for the Super Pig herself. She is the only machine in sight. Indeed, she is doubly-synthetic: In the world of the film, she is the creation of genetic modification; in the world of the film’s production, she is the creation of digital compositing. Nonetheless, Okja appears as organic as the greenery around her: She farts, burps, shits, and bleeds. In these opening scenes, the pig achieves an organic wholeness that exceeds even the clean lines of Apple products. She achieves the Silicon Valley dream aesthetic: the total interpenetration of the Machine and the Garden. But this seamless, digitally composited biome is ultimately not the film’s most impressive computer-generated feat. After all, these are merely the futuristic effects that make us want to buy the product—the iPhone or Super Pig, as it were. They alone do not make us want to love it or fight for its humanity.

The most potent digital effects in the film play out in the realm of affect, where digital technology and animality are sublimated into a thick, posthumanist pathos. But in Bong Joon-ho’s vision, Okja’s posthumanism doesn’t offer emancipation from the body, as it does for some cyborg fantasists. Rather, the machine-animal is given a body in chains, a body that suffers at the hands of her human captors. With the notable exception of Mija, all of the film’s live-action characters present as cartoonish beasts, while Okja assumes a humanoid affect unrivaled by any Pixar creation. Okja’s relationship with Mija is the principal site of the film’s anthropomorphic energy: The hyper-sentient Super Pig saves Mija when she slips off a cliff; he spoons her to sleep as she massages him with a wooden backscratcher (a ritual usually performed by South Korean married couples); and he even seems to understand her as she whispers in his ear or talks to him over speaker phone.

Okja’s anthropomorphized body—capable of hugs, if not resistance—is manufactured to receive the audience’s pity, while the film’s human agents (from farmers, to machine operators, to capitalists and consumers) warrant indifference or scorn. Swinton’s Mirando can’t seem to find connection—human or otherwise—with anyone. She is too busy crafting a new marketing scheme or signature with which to sign autographs for her carnivorous fans. The meat-eating capitalists, however, are not the only casualties of Okja’s heavy-handed satire. The film’s squad of animal rights activists are likewise presented in two-dimensions as amateurish and self-indulgent. They, too, reveal themselves to be unworthy of sympathy when they craft a scheme to bring down Mirando that requires sending Okja into the belly of the pork industry, haplessly abetting the Super Pig’s rape and near slaughter.

With these live-action buffoons as a backdrop, Okja and Mija’s relationship manufactures sentimentality to scale: The Super Pig serves up a Super Emotional audience response. The burden of this pathos is borne by Mija, whose love for the dirty digital pig is pure—a purity compounded by the bundle of stereotypes that she carries in her compact frame. Lucy Mirando articulates these for us when she plots Mija’s future role as the new face of the Mirando corporation: “She’s young, she’s pretty, she’s female, she’s eco-friendly, and she’s global. She’s a godsend!” The film critiques this corporate cynicism—ridiculing Mirando for exploiting Mija’s humanity—but it nonetheless relies on similar effects to market animal rights.

Indeed, the extreme pathos of the machine-animal is continually displaced onto the film’s East Asian subjects, as they are made witness, unknowing accomplice, or cause of Okja’s persecution. When, for example, the members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) place a chip in Okja’s ear to record and propagandize against her devastating treatment in Lucy Mirando’s pork laboratory, none of the white ALF members can bear to watch her be violently inseminated by a gargantuan, disfigured boar. The single non-white member of the brigade, however, keeps his eyes fixated on his computer monitor, patrolling the recorded scene like so many East and South Asian “content moderators,” who troll and clean the abject id of the internet.

In the context of Mirando’s lab, where mutant pigs appear as freak show spectacles, we don’t feel Okja’s own monstrosity. She seems more out of place among other GMOs than she did among her human companions. The scene confirms Okja’s transformation from Super Pig to Super Pet, but this transformation is no less instrumental to human needs than that of pig to pork. Despite Bong Joon-ho’s representation of human agents as grotesque, naïve, or marginal, Okja’s narrative reinforces a world order in which animals, machines, and animal-machines matter because they’re made by humans for humans. They even look, act, and feel like us.

Anthropomorphizing Okja is a collective labor, one in which the viewer—devastated by the pig’s plight—takes part. In this way, Okja’s position at the nexus of capitalist and posthumanist anxiety assumes the resonance of a 21st century Frankenstein. But where the parts that make up Dr. Frankenstein’s monster have been taken from the masses—ripped from mass graves and cobbled together in the scientist’s laboratory—Okja’s parts proliferate in the masses, in the mass-produced meat product that contains traces of her genes. Where Frankenstein’s monster is animated from dead bodies, Okja’s meat is made to animate living ones.

If Shelley’s monster concentrated an anxiety about the collective at the close of the 18th century, Bong Joon-ho’s monstrous pig focalizes a slightly different anxiety for contemporary viewers: not about the collective per se, but about collective labor. After all, collective labor is the machine that makes Okja run. It lays dormant in her computer-generated flesh, engineered by a team of graphics designers. It resides in the computer algorithms that recommend Okja to subscribers (“Because you watched Twin Peaks …”) and in the crowdsourced content provider that is Netflix Studios. We manifest it when we feel Okja’s CGI-pain. When we boo Netflix’s global capitalism but cheer Okja’s anti-globalist message, we miss the ways in which the film’s politics of production and its ethics of representation align: in a pathetic appeal to mass emotion to keep up the mass work.

#tbt: Moar space history (pre-2006)

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:12 pm
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
IMG_20170720_124419_753
[Image of a Cassini spacecraft model inside a black gimbal structure comprised of three concentric rings, mounted on a plexiglass stand and sitting on the corner of a desk.]

Now that I'm back at work, I present another of my Rare Objects from Space History for #tbt. This is a model of the Cassini spacecraft, mounted in the centre of what I can only think to describe as a gimbal. The high gain antenna is pointed toward the bottom of the photo. The model was distributed to instrument teams to aid them with pointing design. It can be rotated around three axes within the gimbal. Each circle of rotation is marked in degrees, so that from a set of numbers indicating its orientation (eg "RA & dec"), an instrument engineer can work out which way the spacecraft is pointing.

I have no idea when it was originally given to our team but it predates me joining the Cassini project (ca 2006).
needsmoreresearch: (Default)
[personal profile] needsmoreresearch posting in [community profile] ways_back_room
The third play in the set that my guy William comes from is pretty much James III saying "Everyone in Europe is having a Renaissance and I want one too," and his wife saying "That's lovely dear but we can't afford a Renaissance."

So today's DE is: What would your characters splash out a fortune on, if only they had a fortune to splash around? For the fabulously wealthy characters, what's a big expenditure that they feel genuinely satisfied with?

Catching up

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:30 pm
bluespirit: (Supernatural ~ Dean anim good morning)
[personal profile] bluespirit
It's been a while since I've posted. LJ (& DW) don't have the same vibrancy as they used to for me - which isn't helped by me not posting either, I know. I can hardly complain about my sense of loss of community when I'm not posting much myself!
Anyhoo - a little update on things at Chez Buddy.

Bud's doing really well. He's living with severe IBD, but his latest meds seem to have really helped & he's gained back all of the weight that he lost. He's so well that some of his other meds have been reduced or removed completely. This time last year, he was such a poorly boy & we didn't think that he'd make it, but he's such a fighter. He's on a prescription diet, but his appetite has come back & he's really enjoying life. Although he is a bit of an old man now - he's 11 & 1/2 - & so he does snooze quite a bit! ♥

Here he is on one of our favourite walks. It's a National Trust hill range & woodland that's 5 minutes walk from our door.




I'm doing really well, too. I saw my oncologist a few weeks ago & he's very happy with my scans & blood tests. I have to go back in the autumn for some more extensive scans, but so far things are looking very good. *fc*

Mr B, Bud & myself are off on our holibobs in a week or so. We've hired a cottage in Northumberland that overlooks the sea & you can see Dunstanburgh Castle (a gorgeous ruin) along the coast. So, it's going to be lovely morning walks on the beach & lots of other exploring - Hadrian's Wall & castles galore! Yay!

I hope that everyone is doing well. I do try & keep an eye on my flist & reading circle, even if I don't always comment.
*hugs*
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Posted by esther_a

Joss got them the job rather than Ox, even though Ox was the one with book-learning about giant lizards...
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Posted by esther_a

"No offense meant, but I'm not up for games, Pepper - what do you want?"

Pepper startles Maria by being just as blunt - not that Pepper plays around much, but she's usually one for observing basic social niceties and putting the kind of lead-up to a conversation that means you more or less know where things are going. Apparently not right now. She just takes her cue from Maria instead.

"I want you to sign this," she says, as Eva takes a folder out of her bag and leans over to place the SI-stationery file she takes out of that in front of Maria on the table, "I want you to take the job I'm offering you, and I want you to sort out the absolute fucking rats'-nest of a mess in the security and personnel end of my company. I want to make goddamn sure that nobody ever manages to do what they did on Insight Day again."
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Posted by christycorr

DS Peter Grant, seconded to Organised Crime, is sent to keep an eye on two persons of interest. Questions are asked. Answers are mostly ignored.
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Posted by templemarker

"Jerry says you've been down here for too long." Ginny turned away from her practice to give Mike a half-smile. "Jerry says, huh?" "Well, you know, you can't…
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Posted by runpunkrun

“That kid’s going to be the death of me,” is all Chris can say, because there’s the thunder of footsteps on the stairs behind them that means Jim’s finally done trying to get his hair into the kind of artful gelled up looked he’s been going for these days and is ready to come down and eat like a normal person. Kid swings in like a thunderstorm, eighteen and grinning even though it’s barely seven o’clock, and Chris feels his chest constrict so tightly with pride at the sight of the little shit in his red cadet’s uniform he almost can’t breathe. Number One relieves him of the spatula when he’s not looking, wedging herself between him and the stove with a curling smile she, for once, doesn’t try to hide.

“Tada,” Jim declares, spreading his arms as he comes skidding to a stop in the doorway. He’s missing his boots, wearing a pair of mismatched black socks, one of them going partway up his calf and one of them barely reaching his ankle. The sight makes Chris roll his eyes to the ceiling, which is probably the reaction Jim was going for when he pulled them on, if his grin is anything to go by.

“You did that last week when we got you fitted for the damn thing,” Chris reminds him, lumbering over to haul himself up on the stool at the counter to finish off his wife’s coffee. Tastes like shit without sugar in it, but she twitches when he picks up the mug to slurp it down, and he’d missed that about her when she’d been gone. “You look good, Jim. Stop fishing for compliments and come eat.”

Breathe It In, by DistractibleDingo

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:02 am
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Posted by settiai

Gen. "Maui’s not sure he remembers the last time he felt like he was actually part of society, rather than something to be revered from afar or commanded from above. Moana’s not sure she ever let it sink in that her best friend is also a legendary demigod that some people might actually pray to. Together they stumble around trying to navigate these Feelings.

Alternatively, Moana and Maui’s First Hongi, Followed by Their Second, More Awkward Hongi."
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Posted by shadowkeeper

"An invitation!" Etta said. "For me?" She shook her head, unable to remember the last time anyone had invited her anywhere. To be fair, that was mostly her own fault, as she'd perhaps turned down a few too many offers in the first weeks after the armistice. She hadn't the heart to be out celebrating, though, and that was the truth.

"It is a little... complicated," Diana said. "And a little private."

"Well, then," Etta answered. "We should take ourselves off for a proper tea."

choppingboard.recipes

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:02 am
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Posted by artish

The API can convert any marked-up recipe web page into easily consumable JSON data.

Stupidity never dies

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:59 am
supergee: (horse's ass)
[personal profile] supergee
Beer for Her is the latest gendered idiocy.

The Great Repeal Bill...

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:24 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
 ...seems to be an attempt to weaken most of Britain's human rights protection. There's a petition against it here:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/save-our-rights

spread the word.

gacked from [personal profile] history_monk 


Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

QotD

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Everybody knows, a humungous thing happened on Sunday, July 20th, 1969 at exactly 4:17E.D.T. The 'Eagle' has landed. Bingo. Just like that. Man became an alien." -- Janet Turpin Myers, Nightswimming

Miscellaneous

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:01 am
highlyeccentric: Me (portrait by Scarlet Bennet) (Not impressed)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
1. I deserve points, because I just made a doctor's appointment for a non-urgent matter.

2. Midnight Oil concert was totally worth it. The anxiety I worked myself up into in advance of going to Paléo was not, really. There *were* big crowds coming in by 8, 9 pm - but not at 5pm for the opening gigs! It was super chill when I got there. I ended up leaving at about 8.15 - I'd moved on to a smaller stage featuring tiny british boys known as Temples, but the mix of cigarette smoke and pot in the air was making my eyes stream and my head hurt. I feel a bit... a bit useless because I went to a thing and LEFT as everyone else was arriving. But actually, who cares? I saw what I wanted.
2.i. I have to say though, some of the tracks off Diesel and Dust which if you think about them too hard are Not Cool, well. They are really uncomfortable when you're all standing on European soil. the Dead Heart, particularly: it's pretty close to musical blackface to begin with, and the cultural dislocation just makes it more obvious.
2.ii. Garrett chose to do his contextualising around 'imagine if the French government had got their act together and had made it to the east coast of Aus before the British, I'd be singing all this in French'. Which. Okay. He didn't try to suggest this would be better, or worse, colonialism-wise, but I was still not happy with the way it felt. And at some point he referenced 'our dear first peoples, the indigenous australians', and just. Nope. How patronising can you GET?
3.iii Rob Hirst remains crazy talented oh my goodness. I somehow forget to notice the complexity of the percussion if I'm just listening, but as soon as you see him in action: wow. Also, the percussion kit included an honest-to-goodness rusty corrugated iron water tank, which I can only assume they physically transported from Aus for use during 'Power and the Passion'. Hell yes.

3. I started making a weekly habit tracker thing. Like a sticker chart for kids - you set a number of chores or self-care activities and colour in when they're done. I think I've set 49 possible things over a week, but not all of them are daily so I have targets. If i met every target I'd be at 41 things; so far I'm rewarding myself if I get to 25. And it's... working? The first few weeks I had days with only one or two squares; now normal is 3 or 4.

And on that note I'd better go and address today's tasks, starting with 'walk to work' (i missed 'get up by 8')
alisfranklin: Lain by neogeen. (lain.navy)
[personal profile] alisfranklin

You know how occasionally you read something and you think, “Man. I bet that was written by a white dude!” Well, say hello to this article on Vox about partisan thinking. It’s basically saying–and citing research that’s saying–people who are particularly politically partisan are generally uninterested in understanding the viewpoints of whomever they see as “the other side”, and that this is “ruining politics”.

While I agree there’s some merit to this–basing political opinions on facts you yourself have discovered is always a good idea–I think it severely underplays the fact that it’s not both sides of politics who equally play the dehumanization game. Are members of the QUILTBAG community uninterested in knowing the exact reason conservatives think they’re Satan-possessed monsters? Are women uninterested in hearing a point-by-point breakdown on why people want them to talk less and breed more? Are people of color uninterested in reading pseudo-scientific dissertations on why people consider them to be subhuman? I’m gonna guess yes. Yes, they probably are. And I would certainly not blame anyone for preferring to get a tooth pulled than to endure that level of dehumanization. Because, like, I’ve had teeth pulled, and while the experience wasn’t great, it was at least medically beneficial and performed with diligent care by a professional. I’d much rather sit through that than Racist Relative Revival Hour any day.

Because, let’s be real. This kind of intellectually lazy “both sides are as bad as each other!” centrism? If you wanna talk about what’s “ruining politics”, I’d suggest starting with that right there.

Mirrored from alisfranklin.com.

Lovely team!

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:34 am
wildeabandon: Champage bottle and flutes (champagne)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Today is my last day at work before my holiday, and rather unexpectedly my team just came in and gave me an early birthday present (and sang at me). They got me a very goth card, a bread & cakes recipe book, and theatre tokens. Considering that I'm a temp and I've only been here for three months, I'm awfully pleased and surprised that they bothered at all, but especially that they seem to have got the measure of me quite so spot on. Lovely team :)

Just One Thing (20 July 2017)

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:04 am
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

Poem of the week

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:09 am
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 Sometimes a poem is just so bad that it is absolutely wonderful.

This is other half's favourite McGonagall poem :o)



The Funeral of the German Emperor

YE sons of Germany, your noble Emperor William now is dead.
Who oft great armies to battle hath led;
He was a man beloved by his subjects all,
Because he never tried them to enthral.

The people of Germany have cause now to mourn,
The loss of their hero, who to them will ne’er return;
But his soul I hope to Heaven has fled away,
To the realms of endless bliss for ever and aye.

He was much respected throughout Europe by the high and the low,
And all over Germany people’s hearts are full of woe;
For in the battlefield he was a hero bold,
Nevertheless, a lover of peace, to his credit be it told.

’Twas in the year of 1888, and on March the 16th day,
That the peaceful William’s remains were conveyed away
To the royal mausoleum of Charlottenburg, their last resting-place,
The God-fearing man that never did his country disgrace.

The funeral service was conducted in the cathedral by the court chaplain, Dr. Kogel,
Which touched the hearts of his hearers, as from his lips it fell,
And in conclusion he recited the Lord’s Prayer
In the presence of kings, princes, dukes, and counts assembled there.

And at the end of the service the infantry outside fired volley after volley,
While the people inside the cathedral felt melancholy,
As the sound of the musketry smote upon the ear,
In honour of the illustrous William. whom they loved most dear.

Then there was a solemn pause as the kings and princes took their places,
Whilst the hot tears are trickling down their faces,
And the mourners from shedding tears couldn’t refrain;
And in respect of the good man, above the gateway glared a bituminous flame.

Then the coffin was placed on the funeral car,
By the kings and princes that came from afar;
And the Crown Prince William heads the procession alone,
While behind him are the four heirs-apparent to the throne.

Then followed the three Kings of Saxony, and the King of the Belgians also,
Together with the Prince of Wales, with their hearts full of woe,
Besides the Prince of Naples and Prince Rudolph of Austria were there,
Also the Czarevitch, and other princes in their order I do declare.

And as the procession passes the palace the blinds are drawn completely,
And every house is half hidden with the sable drapery;
And along the line of march expansive arches were erected,
While the spectators standing by seemed very dejected.

And through the Central Avenue, to make the decorations complete,
There were pedestals erected, rising fourteen to fifteen feet,
And at the foot and top of each pedestal were hung decorations of green bay,
Also beautiful wreaths and evergreen festoons all in grand array.

And there were torches fastened on pieces of wood stuck in the ground;
And as the people gazed on the weird-like scene, their silence was profound;
And the shopkeepers closed their shops, and hotel-keepers closed in the doorways,
And with torchlight and gaslight, Berlin for once was all ablaze.

The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin,
To decorate with crape the beautiful city of Berlin;
Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crape,
Because few buildings crape decoration did escape.

First in the procession was the Emperor’s bodyguard,
And his great love for them nothing could it retard;
Then followed a squadron of the hussars with their band,
Playing “Jesus, Thou my Comfort,” most solemn and grand.

And to see the procession passing the sightseers tried their best,
Especially when the cavalry hove in sight, riding four abreast;
Men and officers with their swords drawn, a magnificent sight to see
In the dim sun’s rays, their burnished swords glinting dimly.

Then followed the footguards with slow and solemn tread,
Playing the “Dead March in Saul,” most appropriate for the dead;
And behind them followed the artillery, with four guns abreast,
Also the ministers and court officials dressed in their best.

The whole distance to the grave was covered over with laurel and bay,
So that the body should be borne along smoothly all the way;
And the thousands of banners in the procession were beautiful to view,
Because they were composed of cream-coloured silk and light blue.

There were thousands of thousands of men and women gathered there,
And standing ankle deep in snow, and seemingly didn’t care
So as they got a glimpse of the funeral car,
Especially the poor souls that came from afar.

And when the funeral car appeared there was a general hush,
And the spectators in their anxiety to see began to crush;
And when they saw the funeral car by the Emperor’s charger led,
Every hat and cap was lifted reverently from off each head.

And as the procession moved on to the royal mausoleum,
The spectators remained bareheaded and seemingly quite dumb;
And as the coffin was borne into its last resting-place,
Sorrow seemed depicted in each one’s face.

And after the burial service the mourners took a last farewell
Of the noble-hearted William they loved so well;
Then rich and poor dispersed quietly that were assembled there,
While two batteries of field-guns fired a salute which did rend the air
In honour of the immortal hero they loved so dear,
The founder of the Fatherland Germany, that he did revere.












fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
As promised, some books I've read:

Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
★★★★

Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.

I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. read more )

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. read more )

Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. read more )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. read more )

The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★

Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. read more )

A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★

I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. read more )

There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.

What I got was so much more. read more )

Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★

A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.

I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. read more )
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
One of the benefits of the new mood-stabilizer is that I'm reading again. After reading my way through a shit-ton of fanfic, I'm now switching between fanfic and pro novels.

I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.

I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.

A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.

Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.

I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.

It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.

Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).

The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.

If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.

No good very bad day

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:19 pm
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
[personal profile] gwyn
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.

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