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 11:36 on 27-12-2011, valse de la lune
Re: A Game of Meh I saw it yesterday. It's, errr, I'd like to say okay if you turn off your brain but even provided that it wasn't much fun.

My eyebrows kept going up high and higher with the more or less writing out of all women except the Roma lady. On which note the whole Roma thing is kind of terrible.
at 00:12 on 27-12-2011, Ibmiller
Robinson L: Ah - that explains it. I'd be curious to know what you think of Snuff as well.

Interesting that you felt the action served the plot in the first film - actually, my reaction to the first film was half "I like where they're going with Holmes and Watson as characters and the dialogue" and half "Can we fast forward these incredibly dull and implausible and plot-static action sequences." But I think I would agree with the general sentiment that the general emphasis of the film shifted from any kind of intelligent plot to setpiece followed by setpiece, with whatever fussy idea of "events that have impacts on people and cause them to do things" disposed of in narrated flashbacks, like the bit where Holmes says that Mary and Lestrade have defeated Moriarty. Now THAT's a film I wouldn't have minded seeing. Instead we get "WWI TWENTY YEARS EARLY!"
at 22:30 on 26-12-2011, Robinson L
Ahh, the conversation has overtaken me again!

Ibmiller: That's a really cool anecdote - but yes, I am deeply puzzled about "The Three Gables." I'm curious, though - why start with The Yellow Face - isn't Silver Blaze first?

Yes, but as I said, we recently began reading it again. We finished Adventures of Sherlock Holmes over the summer and began reading Memoirs. However, we only just finished "Silver Blaze" before dropping my sister Ptolemaeus off at university (in fact, I'm pretty sure we finished reading it on the way to dropping her off). Thus, when she returned and we picked Sherlock Holmes back up again, we began with "The Yellow Face." (Although at the moment, we've been rather sidetracked from reading it by Snuff.)

We also saw Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Meh in theaters yesterday and ... I think the general consensus was "just kind of okay." We really liked the original(/shameless plug), and the sequel had enough that was similar for us to like it to, but as you say, it was pretty boring. I think the prize for most insightful comment on the movie once again goes to Ptolemaeus: "In the first movie, the action sequences served the plot. In the second movie, the plot seemed to be there primarily to set up the next action sequence."

And it's true, Jared Harris as Moriarty was spectacularly underwhelming. He came off more as a Bond villain than a devious master criminal.

@Andy: The sad thing is that considering we recently watched "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler" for the first time back-to-back the other day, that sounds like a significant improvement.
at 21:47 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
Speaking of terrible people, how about a compilation of spoiled brats whining about their presents?

...hasn't it occurred to them to save up and buy themselves iPhones? What's the furor over the white ones?

Finally, what the fuck is up with this comment:

You know what Mom and Dad should do? Gather together and ship these ungrateful, whiney, adolescent assholes off to some gruesome Southeast Asian sweatshop; where they'll be stripped of their posessions, beaten at the first sign of insolence and forced to live in cramped, ramshackle barracks where every other day they'll be paid half a bowl of rice seasoned with rotted fish-heads and water-bugs as they are forced to work hellish 18 hour shifts,….. assembling iPods, iPads and iPhones to sell to the West.

See, this is probably where I should trot out "fuck the west."
at 21:41 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
Oh, sorry about that. I saw the G and mentally misparsed it.

One's thing for sure: if you'd said that, I wouldn't be confused what perspective you're talking from :)

It'd also come out of nowhere! The article's about virginity, not so much "Muslims are, like, not people." (Some of which shows up in her novel, according to the reviews, but that's neither here nor there.)
at 21:22 on 26-12-2011, Arthur B permalink
at 20:46 on 26-12-2011, Andy G
One's thing for sure: if you'd said that, I wouldn't be confused what perspective you're talking from :)

Would just like to point out it was Guy, not me, who brought conservatives into it; I was responding to this: "If her parents are conservatives, it's probably a safe bet to call them shitty people in general"
at 20:12 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
But imagine what you'd have said if I had stated "the west is a cesspit, please go die in a fire yesterday."

but I don't think I understand why the distinction between "liberal(s)" and "conservative(s)" within imperalism or among imperialists would be relevant.

"Liberals" are caught out easier because they pretend to be morally superior. Thus, sometimes when they are caught being shitty, they will be more likely to rectify what they did (not out of any real moral obligation, but merely to save face) to keep up the pretense. Conservatives have no such pretensions and feel at liberty to be as shitty as possible, unapologetically and openly. Zero accountability.

Note, however, that I never brought up conservatives or liberals: I merely said that the girl's parents sounded really shitty--you proceeded to suggest they might be conservatives.
at 19:49 on 26-12-2011, Andy G
Sorry, I did not mean to offend or make assumptions about you.

However, I'm not objecting to the tone of your statement about conservatives probably being shitty people; I think the substance of this statement is problematic, because the implied contrast is with liberals. Singling out the awfulness of conservatives implicitly casts liberals as "the good guys" - but of course, as you say, the "liberal" varieties of US foreign policy aren't much less shitty than the "conservative" ones.

From the perspective of a country that suffers the effects of imperialism, I can understand why the distinction between imperialists and imperialism would be irrelevant; but I don't think I understand why the distinction between "liberal(s)" and "conservative(s)" within imperalism or among imperialists would be relevant.

Anyhow, that's all I have to say on the matter!
at 19:00 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
The assumptions you are making associate me, in some capacity, with "sneering rich liberals": generally people who aren't especially affected by the worst of conservative policies due to the privileges they enjoy.

Taken a look at the kind of foreign policies conservatives espouse lately? It's not that I trust "liberals" any better--whatever the administration or pretensions of moral superiority being peddled, the west will always act like bullying little shits to the developing world, but marginally lesser degrees of shittiness is about the best you can expect from the west.

I'm from a developing country. That has been strong-armed politically and economically, and is suffering from acute cultural imperialism. Insisting that I should denounce shitty belief systems rather than the people who support it (as though shitty belief systems can exist independently of people who buy into them, because they're magical like that) cleaves a little close to tone argument, don't you think?
at 18:42 on 26-12-2011, Andy G
I don't know one way or the other! I realise I should be clearer: I'm not saying you *have* fallen into the tendency of rich American liberals. I'm saying there's a danger of going in that direction from certain starting points.
at 18:30 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
Are you, like, under the impression that I'm either American or a rich liberal?
at 18:07 on 26-12-2011, Andy G
"If her parents are conservatives, it's probably a safe bet to call them shitty people in general; if they pass such shitty views to their child, they are doubly shitty"

I don't entirely disagree with you, but I think it's rather problematic - certainly, simplifying - to utterly dismiss large swathes of people, as opposed to denouncing shitty systems of political views. That way lies US-style culture wars, with rich liberals sneering at "the bad guys" without regard for the complexity of people's political identities (or the fact that nothing brings people together like being sneered at by self-congratulatory rich liberals).
at 16:19 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
If her parents are conservatives, it's probably a safe bet to call them shitty people in general; if they pass such shitty views to their child, they are doubly shitty (and, apparently, the book brings offensive views to the table re: race and the Middle East too, on top of the usual misogyny you'd expect of Christian fundies).

I'm also not really into trying to argue with a teenager.
at 15:46 on 26-12-2011, Guy
Merry Christmas Ferretbrainers!

re: guarding your virginity, seems like a typical teenager echoing the views of her parents, who are probably conservatives given that she doesn't preface her admiration of Tony Abbott's views with any kind of disclaimer. But... while I'd cheerfully argue the point with her, I don't know that I'd feel too comfortable calling her parents shitty; parenting can be a lot worse.
at 13:46 on 26-12-2011, valse de la lune
Has anyone heard of Halo, a YA novel by a seventeen-year-old wunderkind?

Same author: Guard Your Virginity: Once Lost It's Gone Forever. What kind of shitty parents raise a child to spew all that?
at 01:44 on 26-12-2011, Andy G
Hope Ferretbrainers had a nice day!

In sci-fi news, the Doctor Who Christmas special
was really really dull and even managed to squander a Bill Bailey cameo
at 08:45 on 25-12-2011, Ibmiller
Robinson - That's a really cool anecdote - but yes, I am deeply puzzled about "The Three Gables." I'm curious, though - why start with The Yellow Face - isn't Silver Blaze first?

Kyra - I think there's something deeply wrong with trying to cast your audience as the Capitol - but at the same time, it's completely in keeping with the books' take on today's culture of celebrity and entertainment. Doesn't make it less horrific. Bleh.
at 18:56 on 24-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Mr. Plinkett has returned from...wherever it is he dwells to discuss Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A bit shorter and not quite as vicious as the Star Wars ones, but well-argued nonetheless. Made some excellent points on how Indiana Jones is more enjoyable as an idealized archetype than as an actual character, and how sanding the edges off the film to make it more family-friendly did hurt it.

Oh, and I only speak as a layman, but I'm relatively sure that one thing is physiologically impossible. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but you'll know it when you see it.
at 18:25 on 24-12-2011, Wardog
Errr... Hunger Games NAILPOLISH?

Is that deliberately ironic tie-in marketing?
at 18:00 on 24-12-2011, Robinson L
Cammalot: I'd heard about The Yellow Face, which I think is a very sweet tale. I actually plan to read it for myself -- I'm surprised that it's an *earlier* story, though. What happened there!?

Coming in late to the discussion, and more to confuse than to clarify, I fear. As it happens, my family recently began reading the Memoirs of Sherlock Homes again (beginning, coincidentally enough, with "The Yellow Face"). Our book comes with a short introduction by Kyle Freeman, who says that Conan Doyle had what sounds like a life-changing encounter with Henry Highland Garnet, whom Freeman describes as "a black antislavery leader" in 1882. Freeman asserts "Conan Doyle remained deeply committed to racial justice for the rest of his life." If so, then what the feck happened with "The Adventure of the Three Gables"?
at 00:05 on 23-12-2011, Ibmiller
Mark Strong is awesome - but his character was so moronic in Holmes (well, truthfully, everyone's character was mornonic). Plus, he's not in the sequel, so there's that against it too. Sorry, Jared whatisface doesn't compare in charisma or coolness.
at 20:54 on 22-12-2011, Jamie Johnston
Sorry to come to it late, but I couldn't let the 'what is there to like about the Sherlock Holmes film' conversation come to an end without saying:

Mark Strong!

I mean...

Mark Strong!!!!1!!

(I like Mark Strong. I'm not entirely sure whether he's a good actor but I just like him.) (Although his name does get a bit silly after you type it a few times.)
at 15:19 on 22-12-2011, Arthur B
How did you find this site, Arthur?

Christmas with the B family involves lots of fake goats and electrocution.