athelind: (hoard potato)
Everyone has their quirks and aesthetic preferences, and I always strive not to, as they say, "yuck someone else's yum" -- but I must admit to a recurrent artistic theme in fan art that unsettles me. This is not to assert that artists and fans should avoid this theme, but, rather, to excuse myself in advance if my absence, lack of response, or sudden, shrieking departure might demand explanation.

I must confess that as a small child, I was deeply disturbed by the creepy surrealism of old cartoons of the "rubber hose and black bean nose" era -- the Fleischer Brothers were notorious repeat offenders, but the studios of Messrs. Disney, Warner, Goldwyn, et al., were by no means innocent. That style of art and animation has never been "cute" in my eyes; in fact, it is indelibly associated with a queasy frisson of eldritch horror that even the works of Mr. Lovecraft only seldom elicit.

As a result, when Sonic the Hedgehog resurrected the "rubber hose and black bean nose" style in 1991, my stomach lurched.

Thus, when I am browsing the various art sites I frequent and see Sonic-based art ... I never click the thumbnail. When, in my wanderings around the tawdry wastelands of Second Life, I happen across some hapless individual wearing an avatar in the Sonic style ... I go the other way. Very quickly.

It is, I assert, no reflection on the quality of either the art or the individual. It is wholly the style itself.

It is not so much an "Uncanny Valley" as an Unholy Abyss.


Oddly, the faux-retro stylings of the Animaniacs and their ilk don't disturb me at all. Despite their superficial resemblance to the antediluvian antecedents of animation's Golden Age, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are proportioned, rigged, and animated in the modern fashion.
athelind: (hoard potato)
It's Saturday morning.

I am sitting in front of the television with a big bowl of cereal, watching cartoons.

It's not all that different from a Saturday morning 40 years ago, except ...

  • Coffee!
  • Laptop computer. I mean, seriously. This thing wasn't even a concept in 1972.
  • Coffee.
  • Vastly superior cartoons. Avatar: the Legend of Korra, the Thundercats reboot, Green Lantern and Young Justice vs. ... well, this.


All in all ... Yeah, to heck with nostalgia this morning. More like relaxed contentment.


Did I mention coffee?
athelind: (hoard potato)
I have no words.

"20% cooler" is an understatement.




athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
On a Google search of the phrase "Your Obedient Serpent", eight of the ten links on the first page are to my blogs, user profiles, or comments I've left elsewhere. Only one actually concerns the source I stole it from to which that phrase pays homage: Bob Clampett's Beany & Cecil cartoons of the '60s, in which Cecil caps off the end credits by declaring himself "Your Obedient Serpent".

I'm ... not entirely sure how I feel about that.

On the one claw, hooray! Trivial fame! A memorable phrase linked inextricably with me!

On the other ... where's the love for Unca Bob and his Seasick Sea Serpent?


athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Who was your favorite childhood superhero, and why?

Green Lantern.

Why?

  • The Ring That Does Anything You Can Imagine.
  • Being part of an interstellar community dedicated to saving lives, preventing disasters, helping people, and, oh, yes, maybe fighting crime here and there.
  • This:


... oh, and even though Hal was the Main Green Lantern throughout my '60s and '70s childhood, he was never my favorite Lantern. I encountered John Stewart early on, and Alan Scott later, and, of course, all of the myriad alien GLs.

"The one True Green Lantern" so beloved of the fanboys is my least favorite ringslinger.


athelind: (DRAGON!)
(Yeah, I'm posting a lot today. I'm thinky.)

Every few years, I come back to this question; for the first time, though, I've got a different answer.

When they make an animated movie of FurryMUCK / Second Life / The Internet / Your Favorite Tabletop RPG, who should voice your alter-ego?



For years, I wanted Kelsey Grammer for Athelind, but I think Your Obedient Serpent has finally moved past mere self-conscious pomposity.

Just as [livejournal.com profile] jirris_midvale wanted someone who could swing between the two poles of his personality, I've found someone who can capture the full binary range of Athelind's psyche:

Peter Cullen.



When Athelind is up, he's impassioned, sincere, and inspiring, much like Cullen's most famous role.

And when he's not ... Cullen has that covered, too. You can just hear him say stuff like "any day where you don't have brain damage is a victory", "so far, so good", and other, similar gems from my Argot entries, can't you? Really, some of those only really carry their full weight as Athespeak when said in that voice.

As always, comments are open -- who's your voice?


Edit 05 June 2010: You know, when I think about it, Argot entries tend to be in Eeyore's voice, while Feed Your Head entries lean toward Prime.
athelind: (hoard potato)
I'm watching Justice League Unlimited again, a disc or two each week.

Man, Superman is really surly in this show. He comes off as snarky, sarcastic, and irritable—while Batman seems relaxed and comfortable and cracks a genuine smile now and then.

It's surreal.

Amanda Waller, however, remains the scariest person in the DCU.

athelind: (AAAAAA)
Your Obedient Serpent has no idea what he's gonna do to relax in the near future, because all the things he's frittered away his spare-and-not-so-spare time on over the years actively piss him off right now.

This is, in part, because he's frittered away so much of his life on them, and in part because, well, Busman's Holiday. One of his sources of stress is his low-paying retail job, selling all those time-consuming distractions.


athelind: (Default)
Your Obedient Serpent has no idea what he's gonna do to relax in the near future, because all the things he's frittered away his spare-and-not-so-spare time on over the years actively piss him off right now.

This is, in part, because he's frittered away so much of his life on them, and in part because, well, Busman's Holiday. One of his sources of stress is his low-paying retail job, selling all those time-consuming distractions.


athelind: (hoard potato)
From a conversation on FurryMUCK, with someone grumbling about the new movie "mixing up the characters":

I can't really take "G.I. Joe Canon" seriously.

I mean... where are the facial scars? In
my day, all the Joes had identical facial scars. It was like a gang sign or something.



athelind: (Default)
From a conversation on FurryMUCK, with someone grumbling about the new movie "mixing up the characters":

I can't really take "G.I. Joe Canon" seriously.

I mean... where are the facial scars? In
my day, all the Joes had identical facial scars. It was like a gang sign or something.



athelind: (His Master's Voice)
You know, in my last post, I linked to last year's tirade about Alvin and the Chipmunks. I should have gone ahead and quoted the best insight from the comments on that older post, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four, since it really gets to the heart of the matter:

"A lot of this pop-culture purism is just people clinging to their own generation's nostalgia -- and I'm not really comfortable, myself, with how much of that nostalgia was hand-chosen for us by commercial interests."


Amen.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to order my tickets for Star Trek.
athelind: (Default)
You know, in my last post, I linked to last year's tirade about Alvin and the Chipmunks. I should have gone ahead and quoted the best insight from the comments on that older post, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four, since it really gets to the heart of the matter:

"A lot of this pop-culture purism is just people clinging to their own generation's nostalgia -- and I'm not really comfortable, myself, with how much of that nostalgia was hand-chosen for us by commercial interests."


Amen.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to order my tickets for Star Trek.
athelind: (hoard potato)
There's a G.I. Joe movie coming out this summer.

Most of the buzz from the trailers has been positive, so far, but we're inevitably going to get a lot of bitching from the crowd who grew up on the '80s cartoon.

Considering that I had -- and still have -- a 1966-vintage Mercury Astronaut G.I. Joe, and was nearly 20 wheh your precious cartoon assaulted my fond childhood memories, there's not a whole lot I can say that is essentially different than what I said a year and a half ago when people were bitching about Alvin & The Chipmunks.


Come to think of it, I'm not really interested in your positive reactions, either.
athelind: (Default)
There's a G.I. Joe movie coming out this summer.

Most of the buzz from the trailers has been positive, so far, but we're inevitably going to get a lot of bitching from the crowd who grew up on the '80s cartoon.

Considering that I had -- and still have -- a 1966-vintage Mercury Astronaut G.I. Joe, and was nearly 20 wheh your precious cartoon assaulted my fond childhood memories, there's not a whole lot I can say that is essentially different than what I said a year and a half ago when people were bitching about Alvin & The Chipmunks.


Come to think of it, I'm not really interested in your positive reactions, either.
athelind: (Ommm)

Dreamworks is Really Tyrell Corporation: Kung Fu Panda More China Than China



Excerpt:
Chinese animated films tend to be more educational in nature and heavy with significance, but short on entertaining detail, "Kung Fu Panda" viewers say. Local directors would not have had the imagination to make Po's father a duck. Nor would they dare to portray a panda -- a cultural icon in China -- as lazy and fat as Po when "Kung Fu Panda" begins.
ad_icon

Foreigners who make cultural missteps are often accused of hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.

"If you asked a Chinese to make this movie, the panda needs to be lovable but in a perfect sense," said Sun Lijun, a professor of animation at the Beijing Movie Institute, in the July 10 issue of Oriental Outlook magazine. "In the end, he would be so perfect he would be unlovable."


This intritgues me. I was wondering how the movie would play in China -- if it would be dismissed as just a big ball of stereotypes. The best-case response I foresaw was amused tolerance.

I did not expect waves of enthusiasm combined with a shocked awareness that barbarian outsiders had made a better movie about China than China could.

This is, incidentally, one of those movies that could only work because it's furry. Yes, the Cute Talking Animals genre has been overplayed in CGI -- but that doesn't mean it's anywhere near tapped.

athelind: (Default)

Dreamworks is Really Tyrell Corporation: Kung Fu Panda More China Than China



Excerpt:
Chinese animated films tend to be more educational in nature and heavy with significance, but short on entertaining detail, "Kung Fu Panda" viewers say. Local directors would not have had the imagination to make Po's father a duck. Nor would they dare to portray a panda -- a cultural icon in China -- as lazy and fat as Po when "Kung Fu Panda" begins.
ad_icon

Foreigners who make cultural missteps are often accused of hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.

"If you asked a Chinese to make this movie, the panda needs to be lovable but in a perfect sense," said Sun Lijun, a professor of animation at the Beijing Movie Institute, in the July 10 issue of Oriental Outlook magazine. "In the end, he would be so perfect he would be unlovable."


This intritgues me. I was wondering how the movie would play in China -- if it would be dismissed as just a big ball of stereotypes. The best-case response I foresaw was amused tolerance.

I did not expect waves of enthusiasm combined with a shocked awareness that barbarian outsiders had made a better movie about China than China could.

This is, incidentally, one of those movies that could only work because it's furry. Yes, the Cute Talking Animals genre has been overplayed in CGI -- but that doesn't mean it's anywhere near tapped.

athelind: (Default)
Whilst looking for an old post, I found one from about three years ago that might do with revisiting:

When they make an animated movie of FurryMUCK / Second Life / The Internet / Your Favorite Tabletop RPG, who should voice your character?



Think of this as one of those "Writer's Block" questions they put up on the LJ Home Page.

I may make it part of the character creation process in my future tabletop games.

I'm still sticking with Kelsey Grammer for Athelind.


athelind: (Default)
Whilst looking for an old post, I found one from about three years ago that might do with revisiting:

When they make an animated movie of FurryMUCK / Second Life / The Internet / Your Favorite Tabletop RPG, who should voice your character?



Think of this as one of those "Writer's Block" questions they put up on the LJ Home Page.

I may make it part of the character creation process in my future tabletop games.

I'm still sticking with Kelsey Grammer for Athelind.


athelind: (hoard potato)
Of the previews currently showing in the theaters, the one that fills me with the most looming dread is the one for Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Oh, I don't dread the movie itself. It looks kinda cute.

I dread the inevitable parade of bitching and moaning from twenty- and thirty-somethings who grew up with the 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon. People grouse about how the Baby Boomers think the entire 20th Century was All About Us, but my little stars and garters, it's Gen X and Gen Y who treat their childhood mass-market pop-culture as sacred writ.

I most especially dread yet another screeching chorus of "Hollywood is Raping My Childhood!" Let's, just for a moment, set aside how obscenely inappropriate it is to trivialize the verb "rape" for something as puerile as a remake of mediocre cartoon. Instead, let's look at just why specifically inappropriate in this instance.

  1. That '80s cartoon you all remember so fondly? That was the inferior copy, compromised and sold out to better push sugar cereal and crappy toys to the kids of the day. And yeah, that's you, Mister and Ms. Rape-My-Childhood. It was clear to all of us baby boomers who cared to tune in that the '80s version was a schmaltzy, dumbed-down version of the anarchic brilliance of the original 1962 Alvin Show. They turned one of the great trickster characters into the insipid centerpiece of yet another Get Along Gang, just like every other '80s cartoon that wasn't explicitly action-adventure.*

    We were, of course, full of crap. The '60s show wasn't that great, and the '80s show wasn't that bad.

    So shut up.


  2. The new movie is being produced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., who is also providing the voices of Alvin and Simon -- just as he has in every recording of the characters since 1972, when his father, the creator of The Chipmunks, died. Ross, Jr. is responsible for the late '70s revival of the characters -- and for that late '80s cartoon that brought them to the attention of Generation Rape-My-Childhood.

    This guy literally grew up with these characters: "The Chipmunk Song" was recorded when he was 9. Personally, I think the reason they continue to be a steady presence in the market is because, in addition to his marketing savvy, he has a genuine and sincere affection for them, and it shows. Unlike the heirs of, say, Jim Henson, Badgasarian has a keen insight into the essence of his father's creations, and what made them successful in the first place -- in this case, a clever recording gimmick and a knack for making a buck with it.

    In other words, these characters aren't your childhood. They're his.  

    So shut up.


  3. Yes, there's scatological humor in the trailer. It's brief, perfectly in character, and surprisingly tasteful. See my note about "anarchic brilliance", above; if the cultural climate had allowed the senior Mr. Bagdasarian to include poop jokes, I suspect he might have succumbed to the temptation.

    So shut up.


  4. (Addendum, 13:52) Most importantly: you're not the target audience.

    So shut up, and let the kids enjoy their movie.



Now, I'm hardly the Chipmunks' biggest fan. Hearing the original Chipmunk Christmas Song once a year is about as much of their music as I can endure. The highest praise I can dole on either version of the cartoon is that they don't immediately force me to scream and leap for the remote if I happen to encounter them on one of the 500-odd channels the cable pumps into my living room. I almost certainly won't see this movie on the big screen, and if if I watch it on DVD, it'll be because my stepdaughter rented it for the grandspawn.

While I do respect Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. for his handling of his father's creations, and for keeping them from becoming yet another lost property of some faceless entertainment megacorp, I am not, in short, defending The Chipmunks, the upcoming movie, or Hollywood in general.

I'm just telling you Rape-My-Childhood assholes to Shut. Up.


*'80s cartoons that were explicitly action-adventure were never as good as Jonny Quest, because nobody ever got shot or threw a barrel.
athelind: (Default)
Of the previews currently showing in the theaters, the one that fills me with the most looming dread is the one for Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Oh, I don't dread the movie itself. It looks kinda cute.

I dread the inevitable parade of bitching and moaning from twenty- and thirty-somethings who grew up with the 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon. People grouse about how the Baby Boomers think the entire 20th Century was All About Us, but my little stars and garters, it's Gen X and Gen Y who treat their childhood mass-market pop-culture as sacred writ.

I most especially dread yet another screeching chorus of "Hollywood is Raping My Childhood!" Let's, just for a moment, set aside how obscenely inappropriate it is to trivialize the verb "rape" for something as puerile as a remake of mediocre cartoon. Instead, let's look at just why specifically inappropriate in this instance.

  1. That '80s cartoon you all remember so fondly? That was the inferior copy, compromised and sold out to better push sugar cereal and crappy toys to the kids of the day. And yeah, that's you, Mister and Ms. Rape-My-Childhood. It was clear to all of us baby boomers who cared to tune in that the '80s version was a schmaltzy, dumbed-down version of the anarchic brilliance of the original 1962 Alvin Show. They turned one of the great trickster characters into the insipid centerpiece of yet another Get Along Gang, just like every other '80s cartoon that wasn't explicitly action-adventure.*

    We were, of course, full of crap. The '60s show wasn't that great, and the '80s show wasn't that bad.

    So shut up.


  2. The new movie is being produced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., who is also providing the voices of Alvin and Simon -- just as he has in every recording of the characters since 1972, when his father, the creator of The Chipmunks, died. Ross, Jr. is responsible for the late '70s revival of the characters -- and for that late '80s cartoon that brought them to the attention of Generation Rape-My-Childhood.

    This guy literally grew up with these characters: "The Chipmunk Song" was recorded when he was 9. Personally, I think the reason they continue to be a steady presence in the market is because, in addition to his marketing savvy, he has a genuine and sincere affection for them, and it shows. Unlike the heirs of, say, Jim Henson, Badgasarian has a keen insight into the essence of his father's creations, and what made them successful in the first place -- in this case, a clever recording gimmick and a knack for making a buck with it.

    In other words, these characters aren't your childhood. They're his.  

    So shut up.


  3. Yes, there's scatological humor in the trailer. It's brief, perfectly in character, and surprisingly tasteful. See my note about "anarchic brilliance", above; if the cultural climate had allowed the senior Mr. Bagdasarian to include poop jokes, I suspect he might have succumbed to the temptation.

    So shut up.


  4. (Addendum, 13:52) Most importantly: you're not the target audience.

    So shut up, and let the kids enjoy their movie.



Now, I'm hardly the Chipmunks' biggest fan. Hearing the original Chipmunk Christmas Song once a year is about as much of their music as I can endure. The highest praise I can dole on either version of the cartoon is that they don't immediately force me to scream and leap for the remote if I happen to encounter them on one of the 500-odd channels the cable pumps into my living room. I almost certainly won't see this movie on the big screen, and if if I watch it on DVD, it'll be because my stepdaughter rented it for the grandspawn.

While I do respect Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. for his handling of his father's creations, and for keeping them from becoming yet another lost property of some faceless entertainment megacorp, I am not, in short, defending The Chipmunks, the upcoming movie, or Hollywood in general.

I'm just telling you Rape-My-Childhood assholes to Shut. Up.


*'80s cartoons that were explicitly action-adventure were never as good as Jonny Quest, because nobody ever got shot or threw a barrel.
athelind: (DRAGON!)
Charlotte Weaver (a.k.a. [livejournal.com profile] silkspider) noted in her last entry that Julia Roberts was going to voice her namesake in the upcoming live action/CGI remake of Charlotte's Web. Strangely, I can see -- or hear -- Ms. Roberts providing the voice of FurryMUCK's Charlotte even more than I can the literary Charlotte.

Which brings to mind Ms. Weaver's favorite question from her days of playing "Truth or Dare" on the MUCK:

When they make FurryMUCK: The Motion Picture, who should provide the voice for your character? )

(For those of you who don't frequent FurryMUCK, please substitute your alter-ego's preferred habitat.)
athelind: (Default)
Charlotte Weaver (a.k.a. [livejournal.com profile] silkspider) noted in her last entry that Julia Roberts was going to voice her namesake in the upcoming live action/CGI remake of Charlotte's Web. Strangely, I can see -- or hear -- Ms. Roberts providing the voice of FurryMUCK's Charlotte even more than I can the literary Charlotte.

Which brings to mind Ms. Weaver's favorite question from her days of playing "Truth or Dare" on the MUCK:

When they make FurryMUCK: The Motion Picture, who should provide the voice for your character? )

(For those of you who don't frequent FurryMUCK, please substitute your alter-ego's preferred habitat.)

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