athelind: (Default)
Every so often, there are grumbles about why it is, in the furry fandom, that art gets a lot of attention, while prose is largely overlooked.

It's pretty straightforward to me.

You can glance at a piece of art -- or even a thumbnail -- and tell whether or not it's worth a closer look.

On the other claw, you can't tell if a story is going be worth your time until you've already spent a significant portion of that time.

The "entry fee" is much lower for art.

This isn't just the furry fandom, either. It's part of internet culture. People make careers out of web comics, and become fairly well-known; prose fiction on the web doesn't get the same audience.

athelind: (Default)
As Salon reminded me this morning, 2008 marks the 100th Anniversary of The Wind in the Willows. This is not merely a classic of children's literature; it is, quite possibly, the furriest book of all time.

Read it online, or pick up a copy for the holidays -- it's public domain, so you can find any number of inexpensive editions.

I first read it at the age of 38, and found that, despite being undeniably a book about Youth, it also has much to say to Adulthood and Middle Age.
athelind: (Default)

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

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.

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)
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)
A recently-popular thread over on has been dedicated to making game-related parodies of those corny motivational posters that workplaces hang on the walls to encourage us all to be good little cogs.

With the assistance of The Motivator, I offered this:

Ironclaw Motivational Poster Based On Disney's Robin Hood Poster

(Note that "Game X: It's Kinda Like That" is somewhere between "running joke" and "overused cliche" on this thread. It's also how at least two of us Sanguine freelancers have actually described the game to non-furry gamers: "Have you seen Disney's Robin Hood? It's kinda like that.")
athelind: (Default)
Charlotte Weaver (a.k.a. [ 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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