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 02:16 on 01-09-2011, Guy
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
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at 00:49 on 01-09-2011, Arthur B
Oh for fuck's sake, George Lucas. Someone at LucasFilm needs to hide the key to the editing room until George faces up to this horrible addiction which is robbing him of his dignity bit by bit.

At least we got a fairly funny Chainsaw Suit comic out of the news.
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at 00:41 on 01-09-2011, Arthur B
I'm sure Moffatt will find some other character to be insufferable about once River Song is out of the picture. Probably the Doctor, at which point it'd be like RTD never left.
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at 00:36 on 01-09-2011, Robinson L
I was annoyed by River Song right from the get-go. Ptolemaeus and at least one other sister took an instant hate to her which has only grown more virulent with each succeeding appearance. (She'd be so happy to see other people expressing dislike for River Song.)

I suppose she might've been better in "Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone," but she still had that More Awesome Than Thou vibe going full strength. That's the one where she shows up the Doctor flying his own goddamn TARDIS better than he can.

I wouldn't say she's at the nexus of all Moffat's worst problems as a writer. He seems to share with Davies and Joss Whedon (and Rowling, come to that) a delusion that he's writing something really deep and meaningful and so on when he's only delivering tiresome melodrama. I will agree though, that this problem has grown worse simultaneously with River Song growing more central to the narrative.
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at 19:58 on 31-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
That's true. In A Time of Angels she was competent, but somehow plausibly, but somehow it has been overdone after that and perhaps overdone in execution, that her action-hero aura seems cartoony or more of a juvenile sort of badassery. Dr. Who is cartoony and childish at times too, but perhaps in different tone. But I might be reading things in my own way. The thing lacks a certain subtlety in my opinion.
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at 18:54 on 31-08-2011, Orion
I actually liked River best in A Time of Angels, one of her only appearances where she was just another competent character interacting with the episode's plot rather BEING the plot in her own right. That's the moment when I agreed to believe she's as cool as Moffat wants her to be, not that she's been demonstrating it lately.
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at 17:48 on 31-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
I thought River Song was good in that first episode she was in, the library thingie. But now it's gotten a bit annoying. In principle, the idea of a realtionship where people move in different directions temporally is a clever idea, but I don't know if it works here. The badassery of Song needs to be asserted too strongly and I don't see how the result could be anything else than an anti-climax.

I'm disappointed that the doctor's daughter is nowhere to be seen. That episode was I think one of the most fun episodes of the new series and the character could have potential as a minor character. I'd like to see more Time Lords and this New series thing about them being all dead is geting a bit old anyways.
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at 17:43 on 31-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
That milliard billion thing is really confusing. It's one thousand million in finnish and swedish too. And I think milliard is a proper word in english, so um, could all of you english speaking folks start using the word milliard?

English is a fun language in that it has so many variations from indian english to jamaican, which are all as far as I know valid dialects and ways of using it. But this british-american thing is of course the thing, because I guess the british and the americans are the only ones who can even claim to be doing it properly(if anyone can or if that is even relevant). Fun to see from the outside and I think my own english is a horrible mix of contemporary american and british and everything I've read. I have noticed that in creative writing writing dialogue is a bit hard when most of my common use of english is literary rather than spoken. My dialogue resembles P. G. Wodehouse say some, except it is neither smart or funny.

I do think that in future sounds a bit vague. The definite adds some backbone there, but does the future need to be more solid or more vague? The whole give it me back sounds a bit suspicious to me, but I suppose you people know what you're doing. One thing that is always funny about english, is that there are always people getting excited about bad language, where in some cases the excitement has been going on for many hundreds of years. You'd think people would just assimilate the most common usage. I don't know if the same is true to this degree in other languages, I mean they do vilify bad language in Finland, but I haven't seen a similar thing, where certain usage of terms or words cause such a ruckus. I guess the french might be that way too...
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at 17:22 on 31-08-2011, Andy G
Oh I see, same in German. But nobody actually uses billion to mean a million million do they?

Of course, the rot sets in much earlier. 1000 should blatantly be ten hundred not one thousand.
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at 16:24 on 31-08-2011, Cammalot
I didn't know about German. It's the unit between million and billion in French, I think. "One thousand million."

Basically I'm afraid all this discrepancy is going to cause a HORRIFIC international finance crisis at some point. :-) (If it hasn't already and I was jut unaware...)
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at 16:03 on 31-08-2011, Andy G
But milliard is the German for billion! That's just going to get confusing.
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at 15:36 on 31-08-2011, Cammalot
Moffat really does think that all women do is get married, doesn't he. I hadn't realized this was so insidious. Well I had, but it only just recently started pissing me off.
Rami: My most recent "oh that's right it's a different word over here" moment was offering a friend a "ride" to their destination and then hastily correcting myself...

Ah yes, the proper term in Britain would be, um ... "lift," right?

This is an odd one. I think of "lift" as the more natural-to-say term, (although I don't see "ride" as incorrect at all), but my dad and all his buddies were Anglophone Caribbeans, so who knows what I've picked up.
Andy G: And apparently you can't use "means that" in a sentence like e.g. "He stole all my money, which means that I can't afford to go out tonight".

Definitely a style question, not a grammar one. It's not at all incorrect, it's just not considered that tight, pithy, Raymond Carver influenced style that Lit academics are still finding trendy. Style is very subjective.
@Cammalot: code-switching between UK and US is mostly a matter of practice IME, and of being in both places for long enough to encounter the odd edge case.

I just want to be good enough at it to keep doing my fallback job, which is copyediting (although you might not be able to tell, as I am lazy on the Internet ^^). But a great of that is just having an inherent feel for prepositions, which are evil, shiftless, inconsistent, lawless little creatures in every language and dialect I've ever encountered. They have no proper *rules* -- they're always correct "just because."

(What I'd like to know is how on earth we managed to get different meanings out of "million"! I'd like more people to use "milliard." It sounds jaunty.)
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at 13:17 on 31-08-2011, Andy G
Crucially, I think they both have a tendency to become fanboys of their *own* mythology.
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at 12:23 on 31-08-2011, Arthur B
Nor was he the one who established a complex overarching plot that horribly punishes you if you miss a few episodes...

To be honest, having given it some thought, my problem with RTD's writing wasn't that it was like soap opera so much as it was like fanboyism. RTD seemed so absolutely in love with the fact that he was writing Doctor Who that most of his episodes (and especially his finales) seemed to geared towards saying "Isn't Doctor Who a marvellous show?" rather than just rolling up his shirtsleeves and getting on with the business of making Doctor Who. Unfortunately, Moffatt's taken up the exact same habits.
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at 12:04 on 31-08-2011, Andy G
Oh no really? People said Davies' seasons were like soap opera, but he wasn't the one who always makes big events coincide with weddings.
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at 07:52 on 31-08-2011, Arthur B
... And the final episode of the series is "The Wedding of River Song." What. Fun.

Oh, FFS. I don't know why it is but River Song always seems to be a nexus of all of Moffatt's worst habits as a Who writer, and the more and more prominent she gets the worse Moffatt's output becomes.

I guess the thing that bugs me is that Moffatt seems absolutely 100% convinced that she's really, really cool and awesome but has done exactly nothing to convince me that that is the case.
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at 06:05 on 31-08-2011, Michal

China Mieville on "anal-penetration panic"

"I found it fairly page-turny, but I found it much too long..."

Hmm, sounds like my reaction to The Scar.
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at 03:56 on 31-08-2011, Orion
Robinson,

Take heart. The episode *is* fairly bad, but I still found it to be great fun for about the first 60%.
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at 03:00 on 31-08-2011, Robinson L
Andy G: And apparently you can't use "means that" in a sentence like e.g. "He stole all my money, which means that I can't afford to go out tonight".

We can and do in conversation, and when writing informally. However, my creative writing teacher did emphasize that we should remove instances of the word "that" in cases such as you describe. She didn't specify "means that," but the word "that" in general, e.g. "They said that I got it wrong," "I understand that we've lost our way," "It seems that I've irked yonder orc," etc.

I believe you're right about not pluralizing terms in apposition.

Cammalot: I say "in future" all the time! Mainly when the context is more formal, or when it starts the sentence. I would definitely stet it in the vast majority of cases. This might be a regional thing.

The region, apparently, being (or at least including) New York State, because I use it all the time, too, especially when I'm using it to lead off a sentence. Haven't thought about formal vs. informal, but I wouldn't be surprised if I did it then, too.

Rami: My most recent "oh that's right it's a different word over here" moment was offering a friend a "ride" to their destination and then hastily correcting myself...

Ah yes, the proper term in Britain would be, um ... "lift," right?

Re: Doctor Who
Poot! I haven't seen this one yet, and won't get to till somewhere around New Year's, so I can't really join the discussion (I'm avoiding spoilers). Sounds like it was pretty bad, which given a) the recent trajectory of Moffat's writing and b) the goddamn episode title surprises me not one bit.

... And the final episode of the series is "The Wedding of River Song." What. Fun.
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at 01:39 on 31-08-2011, Rami
I have to say, all this eye-rolling about UK/US English has made me smile :-) especially as I'm currently trying to hack together an academic document and several people have already called me on my inconsistent spelling.

@Cammalot: code-switching between UK and US is mostly a matter of practice IME, and of being in both places for long enough to encounter the odd edge case. (My most recent "oh that's right it's a different word over here" moment was offering a friend a "ride" to their destination and then hastily correcting myself...)
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at 20:31 on 30-08-2011, valse de la lune
If anyone's interested, I found out why someone would search for "china mieville anal."

China Mieville on "anal-penetration panic"

Well!
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at 18:53 on 30-08-2011, Shim
Possibly northern?

My impression is you're right, and also I seem to remember this coming up in my dialectology classes. There's a bit of a complication, because while I think "give it me" is fairly common in the north in general, Merseysiders tend to say "give it us", "give us it" or indeed "giz it" so that's mostly what I'm used to.

@Cammalot: also remember the old "It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him".
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at 18:33 on 30-08-2011, Melissa G.
(Which Doctor was it, by the way?)


It was the Christopher Eccleston Doctor.
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at 18:02 on 30-08-2011, Cammalot
Interesting ... maybe our Californian colleague was imposing his regional dialect as US English!

It might have just been "house style," which can be pure editorial whim. Sometimes I think you can find a style book to back up just about anything. Associated Press style contradicts Chicago style, The New York Times has its own, "Words Into Type" is a guide that's older than me but people still insist on using...MLA is for academics...

"Give me it" reminds me of small children.
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