Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 10:02 on 14-08-2013, Robinson L
Chiming in even later to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement - although I'm not a brony, the My Little Pony article sounds promising (and I think my sisters might get a kick out of it), and I'd be really interested to get someone else's perspective on Nine Worlds.
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at 20:24 on 13-08-2013, Alice
Popping in slightly after the fact to say "yes, please!" to both article suggestions, with MLP slightly edging out Nine Worlds for "article I'd read first if both were put in front of me" (though I'd also like to hear about NW, and I'm glad you had such a good time).
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at 17:12 on 13-08-2013, Bryn
Alright then! I hope I can do the subject justice.
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at 15:57 on 13-08-2013, Daniel F
The MLP article would be particularly interesting, I think. From my perspective as someone who liked the show but has been deliberately staying away from the adult fandom, it would be interesting to have a look at it.

I also find an MLP/Less Wrong comparison to be a somewhat terrifying prospect.
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at 15:05 on 13-08-2013, FelicityGS
Oh man, I would adore an MLP article. I've stopped engaging a lot with the community outside of fellow ladies who are into it, and I like hearing other people's experiences/views on that.

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at 11:01 on 13-08-2013, Arthur B
I say "go for it". Would be especially interested in the MLP article because although I've little interest in the show itself I'm kind of annoyed about how a show which was made for young girls and seems to have made a conscious effort to provide as non-toxic a message as you can get from a cartoon joined at the hip to a toy franchise seems to have been hijacked by dudes in their twenty-somethings. (I don't have anything against dudes in their twenty-somethings enjoying stuff produced for kids, but I do have a problem with adults swiping kid's toys from them and acting like they and not the kids in question are the audience who should be catered to.)
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at 10:50 on 13-08-2013, Bryn
I'm considering writing a couple of articles for FerretBrain, but I wanted to check that the premises would be of interest to you lot :) (the alternative being Tumblr or Facebook or just not writing them).

One would be an article about Nine Worlds (which was kind of the best thing ever - the Queer Fandom track (organised by Tori Truslow) especially; I don't think I've been in such a wonderful queer and trans*-accepting space well... ever, except maybe Pride and even then...) which I've half-written, which (I warn you) would to a fair extent consist of gushing and enthusiasm but I hope would have enough actual content and comments to be interesting...

The other I've been meaning to write for a while about the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom, a sort of wide-ranging tour of the fandom, discussing both how I got involved (spoilers: MLPFIM is a good diversion during periods of depression) and what I'm still willing to grant is good about it as well as the many unpleasant and harmful aspects, too often glossed over by self-identifying bronies, that led to my eventual disillusionment and withdrawal from the community. I'll discuss the downright weird bits like the Fallout: Equestria subfandom but also try to take a look at the sort of thinking that arises during over-identification with a fandom from a perspective of someone who has experienced the appeal of it. Also draw comparison to other communities with similar problems to the Bronies such as LessWrong.

So uh do those sound really boring to people who aren't me? My thoughts seem to be bouncing all over the place in the wake of the con and I don't think I can tell what people like anymore.
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at 18:02 on 12-08-2013, Robinson L
Okay, and now we know what that comment about watching six films from a while ago was about. (Not read the article yet, but I'm guessing you even threw in the two Alien vs. Predator movies - now that's dedication.)


In other news, I quite enjoyed Nine Worlds on Saturday. The organizers were even good enough to provide a free fantasy book with registration, in my case The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S. Kemp. Yes, that Paul S. Kemp.

On the one hand, it seems churlish to complain about free books, gift horses and all that. On the other, if you have reason to believe there's a non-zero chance said gift horse's mouth contains a stick of dynamite ...
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at 03:39 on 11-08-2013, Michal
The soundtrack is indeed pretty damn awesome.
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at 20:54 on 10-08-2013, Bookwyrm
If "giant robots beat up giant monsters" doesn't move you to the theatre, then not really, no.

Yeah, I agree. If you have no interest in the premise then you're probably not going to enjoy it.

I haven't really looked into other people's reactions but personally I loved this movie. That's not a hyberbole. I mean that sincerely. I'm not entirely sure why that is. Maybe it's because of the unity and friendship theme. Maybe it's because it doesn't have an annoying romantic subplot. (A movie where two leads of the opposite sex develop a friendship instead of just being paired up. Thank you!) Maybe it's because I saw it right after Man of Steel . I know it's not perfect but something about it makes me smile whenever I think about it. Or listen to the soundtrack. : )
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at 17:11 on 10-08-2013, Alice
(I will say that it feels incredibly churlish of me to not like a film that does so many things that are good and feminist and -- sadly -- unusual in Hollywood, but such is life, I suppose.)
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at 16:02 on 10-08-2013, Alice
Yes, it gets a lot of stuff right. I just wish that stuff were, well, in a better movie than this one.

Thanks, Michal, that's the concise version of what I was trying to say. ;)
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at 04:01 on 10-08-2013, Michal
Okay guys, need a question answered here: is there any compelling reason for me to go see Pacific Rim?

If "giant robots beat up giant monsters" doesn't move you to the theatre, then not really, no. I saw it a few weeks ago, and am pretty much baffled by the fanatical devotion the film has generated on the internet. Yes, it gets a lot of stuff right. I just wish that stuff were, well, in a better movie than this one.

Disclaimer: However, I think I would have enjoyed the film significantly more if the Russian jaeger and its pilots were the main focus. So I might have just been annoyed that they weren't.
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at 03:46 on 10-08-2013, Alice
It's probably a case of it not living up to the (in my neck of the internet: HUGE) hype, but I've found the feminist analyses of Pacific Rim (and the fanart and gifsets and commentary-found-in-tags and so on) on Tumblr to be more radical and interesting and exciting -- and dare I say it? More enjoyable -- than the film itself.

I read the discussions (like the one Cheriola just linked to) and find myself nodding along and going "uh huh, yep, that was in the film, that's pretty cool and unusual and yes, wouldn't it be nice if it were the norm", but I didn't see it happening on the screen when I saw it in the cinema.

Or maybe it's that it's so unusual that I didn't pick up on it/it went over my head? I don't know.

I'm not sorry I went to see it, if only because I'm happy to cast my dollar vote towards films that include women and people of colour and people with disabilities as par for the course, and hope to see more films that do so. But I came out of the cinema with an otherwise distinct feeling of "meh".

Interestingly, both my (male, probably not self-defined feminist) film-going companions loved it to pieces. Make of that what you will...
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at 02:01 on 10-08-2013, Cheriola
Re: Pacific Rim: I haven't watched the movie, but from what I gather from feminist media Tumblr blogs, it gets a lot of things right, so it deserves the money even if its just to encourage more movies like it.

Example: http://raptorific.tumblr.com/post/57184329007/pacific-rim-is-a-proof-of-concept
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at 01:51 on 10-08-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Okay guys, need a question answered here: is there any compelling reason for me to go see Pacific Rim? (N.B. When formulating your answers, please keep in mind that I am the one who hates fun.)

Also, on the subject of movies, film scholar Steve Shaviro has one of the best takes I've seen on Zero Dark Thirty. To paraphrase, his argument is that the discussion over the film's depiction of torture was a bit of a red herring, and that the movie argued that the War on Terror has much deeper structural problems.
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at 20:12 on 09-08-2013, Cheriola
PS: For the latter, the extensive comment section is quite interesting too. (The owner of the blog is very thorough about deleting offensive comments, so it's safe to read without losing your faith in humanity completely.)
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at 20:06 on 09-08-2013, Cheriola
Okay, not that I think the gentleman ferrets around here need it, but just in case you haven't read it yet, I thought everyone here might enjoy it, and perhaps use it as a teaching tool with some of your male friends:

http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/psa-dear-street-harassers/
http://chrisbrecheen.blogspot.de/2013/07/changing-creepy-guy-narrative.html
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at 20:36 on 08-08-2013, Robinson L
I could tell. So I still don't know for sure what the guys running the podcast thought about the review, but it sounds like from the point of view of the person they were interviewing at least, what you said was fair enough.
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at 20:20 on 08-08-2013, Arthur B
Going by clues in the podcast, I'd guess it was a more recent review (say, within the last year) of a single book, one which was heavily critical, and probably made a bit of a splash. So if I had to guess, I'd tap Arthur's review of The Waters Rising as the likeliest candidate.

The interviewee's response, for what it's worth, was that he thought any level of criticism - short of outright abuse, of course - is valid if that's how the reviewer genuinely felt about the piece.

Oh, trust me, I felt every word of that.
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at 20:00 on 08-08-2013, Robinson L
@Bryn: I have one-day ticket for Saturday, as a sort of compromise with the reality of my looming dissertation deadline and of my bank account. I also have most of the afternoon blocked out the time from about 1:30 to 8 doing this writing workshop I volunteered up for (I may not be in both slots, I haven't figured that out yet). And I'll be in the Renaissance, which I believe is the other hotel.

... So, if you want to meet up sometime Saturday morning or around noon, I can probably just about make that work (it sounds like a good idea); otherwise I'm afraid we're going to have to give it a miss.


On an unrelated note, and reaching back a little bit, I had a listen to that podcast Michal mentioned about a month ago where they mentioned the site. The question was about whether the interviewee (an online book reviewer) thought some reviews can be too harsh, and brought up the (unnamed) article just as an example of a review at the extreme end of the spectrum with no explicit value judgments.

Going by clues in the podcast, I'd guess it was a more recent review (say, within the last year) of a single book, one which was heavily critical, and probably made a bit of a splash. So if I had to guess, I'd tap Arthur's review of The Waters Rising as the likeliest candidate.

The interviewee's response, for what it's worth, was that he thought any level of criticism - short of outright abuse, of course - is valid if that's how the reviewer genuinely felt about the piece.
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at 17:05 on 08-08-2013, Alice
@Bryn: I'm the wrong country, so, alas: no. :( But it sounds like it could be a really fun time - let us know how it went?
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at 13:28 on 08-08-2013, Bryn
(Are any ferretneurons/ferretglialcells going to be at Nine Worlds this weekend? Any chance of meeting up? I'm probably going to spend most of my time with indie RPGs and the Queer Fandom track.

I admit I'm not sure why anyone would want to meet up with me-who-posts-almost-never, but it would be nice all the same :) )
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at 11:10 on 08-08-2013, Kit
I heard about that, yes. But apparently they recently tried to justify that by reminding us that the role was once offered to an unrelated person (a shop assistant at Sainbury's, iirc) who, for reasons unknown, turned it down. So there you go!
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