Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Just Noticed Something Regarding This Whole "News Of The World" Thing...

Separated at birth?
Tess Mercer, The Daily Planet; Rebekah Brooks, News Of The World

In other developments, while authorities note that the death of News of the World whistleblower/former entertainment reporter Sean Hoare is "unexplained," it is also "not being treated as suspicious." Which sounds about right.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harrison Ford Wanted To See Indiana Jones and Han Solo Killed Off

Harrison Ford told EW recently:

"I always want my characters to die...I thought Han Solo should have died at the end of the last Star Wars movie, just because it seemed right for the character."

And yet how realistic, in this world of corporate entertainment franchises, is the notion that an iconic character will simply be allowed to die?

Let's take the case of Indiana Jones. Ford can't keep making these films forever. There are rumors that Jones will bite the big one in the theoretical "last" Indiana Jones movie -- and that feels pretty plausible. But what will probably happen after that movie?


Imagine, if you will, an Indiana Jones reboot with, say, Jon Hamm in the title role. Or Bradley Cooper (assuming that his Crow reboot doesn't carry on the curse of that particular franchise). Or -- fuck it -- Ryan Reynolds.

That Indiana Jones reboot is guaranteed to make, before it is even released, tons and tons of money. There is no way that character is going to be allowed to die. ZERO POSSIBILITY.

But even without the (in my mind, extremely likely) chance of an Indy reboot -- there are tons of media options to carry on those stories with Ford's likeness. Video games, books, comics, even highly-realistic CGI movies.

I mean, isn't this the case with Han Solo? Regardless if Ford wanted to kill off Solo at the end of Return of the Jedi, that iconic character with his face has been very active in a whole host of different media for over 25 years.

Isn't that a weird feeling for an actor? I mean, in one sense it is cool, in another -- weird.

We are in the Post-Death Age of pop-culture and entertainment, I believe. A more in-depth exploration of this concept later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lady Gaga Pelted With Eggs, Unable To Move Because Of Mermaid Legs

There is something descriptive and delightfully surreal about this post's title -- stirring up visions of the unholy spawn of a Salvador Dali painting and Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World." This may be why I slightly suspect that the incident described by Rolling Stone as taking place in an Australian Lady Gaga concert might have been staged as yet another Gaga absurdist performance art piece:

"A group of angry fans threw eggs at Lady Gaga in response to her recent appearance on stage in Sydney, Australia rolling around in a wheelchair. Though the throwers missed Gaga herself, a few eggs hit members of her entourage. It is unclear why audience members had the eggs in the first place, however."
Gaga was portraying her mermaid alter-ego Lori Lemaris Yuyi at the time, and had her legs bound together in a fish tail -- preventing an easier escape from the eggs. She has reportedly been criticized by activists for making light of those who actually require wheelchairs.

Mermaid wheelchair flashback, Bette Midler back in the day:

Maybe the eggers were Delores DeLago fans.

Chris Colfer Finds Out He's Leaving GLEE on Twitter

It's always fun to find out you've been written out of a successful TV series via Twitter -- or by reading an exclusive magazine article that details your redundancy.

When I first skimmed this Hollywood Reporter article on cast changes to GLEE, I thought the actors involved -- Colfer, Lea Michelle, and Cory Monteith -- were already told that they were leaving at the end of Season 3 -- or that perhaps they all decided to leave to pursue successful solo careers. But not so for Colfer, who also just received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the show. He later told Access Hollywood:

"Yeah, I found out (on Twitter) that they made that announcement. I didn’t necessarily know that it was going to be our last season next year, I knew something like that was coming up eventually. I mean, we can’t be there forever...I don’t necessarily want to leave so soon, but I mean, it’s fine. It’s what it is. And all things come to an end."
While I get the idea that the actors are playing high-school students, and that at some point their characters must graduate -- it's interesting that the producers are going to cycle in a newer, younger cast. You know -- just like the Power Rangers or Menudo!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Russian Cigarette Ads Target Teenage Girls

They taste like burnt lollipops and ice cream!

Shockingly, the Russian government want to pull the ads, and is now involved in a lawsuit with the company.

Steve Buscemi Dress

I feel a distinct need to wear this and go-go boots to San Diego Comic Con. I wonder if that online store can do a rush delivery?

How To Be Burned By An Internet "Reporter" -- And The Zooey Deschanel vs. Patt Morrison Case

Zooey Deschanel recently had her words twisted by a reporter to portray her in a negative light

This is just a short and sweet lesson in Internets "Journalism," kiddies.

To get a perspective on how everything I'm going to talk about operates in the larger world outside your window, read this piece about the recent smackdown Zooey Deschanel gave reporter Patt Morrison over her being misquoted and defamed in Morrison's column. Notice that even when corrected, Morrison still leaves the original imflammatory post up, posting a half-hearted follow-up as some sort of non-mea culpa.

Now, this is how a so-called impartial investigation into yours truly gets resolved by a "reporter" with a documented history of harassing me online. When someone goes on the comments section of her site to dispute the claims of her and her "eyewitness" -- citing his own eyewitness evidence -- she emails him for his side of the story. But when his information doesn't match her narrative, she lies on her site that he never responded to her:

However, he DID respond to her questions...because I have the forwarded email right here, reproduced below. That means that this blogger, posing as a serious reporter who only cares about bringing the truth to light, is apparently a liar. Johanna Draper Carlson lied on her blog about investigative "evidence."

From: Richard last name redacted email redacted
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 15:59
Subject: Re: Friends of Lulu discussion
To: Johanna Draper Carlson email redacted

Many of Kynn's statements are outright false, but short of forwarding email chains involving all parties I see no reason to deny his/her current and curious stab at attention.

I am also aware that you yourself and Valerie have quite a bit of history that seems to have nothing to do with FoL. That is between the two of you and nobody else. Regardless, the article is painfully obvious at trying to pin some imaginary blame on Val. If your concern for the charity matched your seething hatred for her, then what stopped you from picking up the mantle of president? This is kicking a dead horse, Johanna. Everyone knows the group ended last year, after pleading and pleading for assistance. If it wasn't for her efforts at guiding the group into some degree of closure then the entire organization would've been M.I.A. well over a year ago. She did not bail early. She announced her resignation for the end of that year, and as the fellow board members were all too incommunicado to so much as return calls or texts or email, she recruited the help needed to see through to the end of 2010. And we did it, despite efforts by you and certain others to muddy the tracks, creating sensationalist melodrama where none existed. Your innuendoes accomplish nothing positive. You attack the wrong people.

I tried to steer the comments into a direction of clarity, but I am unwilling to participate any longer.

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 07:58, Johanna Draper Carlson email redacted wrote:
Given your comments in the thread at my site, I was wondering if you'd care to provide your answers to the same questions I asked Kynn for a followup piece. Here they are, and thank you in advance for your help.
Q: So what happened?
Q: Do you have any of the group's records, or know where additional records are? What will happen to them? (Rephrased given additional information.)
Q: What do you think could have been done differently?
Q: Is there still a need for a “women in comics” organization?

What is the lesson we learn from this minor blip on the minor blip on the minor blip of a news item in the far corners of the journalism galaxy?

It is extremely easy to use selective information to libel somebody on the Internets. It's your blog. You control everything. You can say you're a journalist, but you truly have no oversight. You can create a whole narrative from scratch, with no back-up, with pure hearsay. You can easily wrangle a person or two to help destroy someone's reputation, if you need to. It's very very simple. And when elements come into play that contradict your story? Well, you ignore them.

So say I didn't like you. And I wanted to really ruin you. I could create a scandal on the Internet about you out of nothing. I could even make up a narrative that, say, you're a homophobe, or a thief, or a racist, or a sexist. I could do that easily, with no proof necessary. Or I can even just cut-up little bits and quotes you've made and twist them hopelessly out of context. I mean, who has time to read whole text, anyway? I've made it easy for my readers by just "just getting to the good stuff."

I could even populate my comments section and message boards with fake accounts backing up my story. But I wouldn't even need to get fake accounts -- I could simply use triggering words, incendiary language, to stir up a lynch mob instantaneously. And now people are after you; I can even send them to your site to fill your comments section with attacks and threats. And now, whenever people do Google searches on your name, you are connected with scandal -- even if you force me through a cease and desist to put in a piddly little retraction.

Best of all? I can then demand to have a public dialogue *with you* -- demand that you speak to me personally about the scandal I have created. And if you refuse, because you think I'm not a legitimate news source -- I can point to that as further proof of your assumed guilt.

As you can imagine, a lot about this scenario is not about actual journalism at all -- it's a question of asserting power.

It's been questioned why I took my original site offline. Part of that is because I decided I did not want writing that was personal and emotional in nature being construed as actual journalism -- which, in some circles, it was. It was because, after years of reflection, I did not want to see people hurt -- regardless as to how I might disagree with some of them. I evolved as a human being. But some people never do.

At any rate, if you have half-a-brain in your head, some degree of success, and a pocketful of opinions -- you're probably going to be targeted by someone at some point in the manner I have just described.  Here is my best advice:

1) Really accept that this is likely to happen at least once to you, and run through your head how you might deal with that. Don't wait until you're clobbered over the head with it. Accept that this is part of life on the Internets -- not that it's right, but that it's very easy for a person to do to you at any time.

2) The types of persons who do this sort of stuff really thrive off of your attention. I have to accept that even writing this now, catching this "reporter" in a lie, she on some level is thrilled that she's getting the attention. It's all about keeping the dialogue going. I'll write this, she'll go write something else that's 10x more extreme and then hope that the dialogue continues. At some point, you need to grit your teeth and shut the dialogue down -- even if that means enduring another day or days or weeks of one-sided attacks.

3) You know that saying, don't negotiate with terrorists? Extend that metaphor to this situation.

4) There's a certain point where things turn into libel. Educate yourself as to what is libelous on the Internet, and what can be prosecuted by law. Admittedly, it's hard to do -- but more and more cases are arriving in the courts, and the laws are evolving (albeit slowly) to protect you.

5) DON'T LINK BACK TO THE BLOGGER. It's like putting money in their hands through increased hits and ad revenue -- which is largely why they pull this sort of stuff in the first place.

6) In the end, realize -- especially in regards to "niche" media -- that all this does not matter in the end. You should stand up for yourself when appropriate -- but in the end, you have your family and circle of friends. Your circle of friends does not include all of the Internets -- though certainly Facebook, message boards, Twitter etc. can give you that illusion. You have a core of family and friends who love you and look out after you. If you keep focusing on them, you can weather the worst of any storm.

So that's it.

And thank you, Richard.

Postscript: while you will see plenty of play online for repeating scandalous claims with little backing and/or one fabricated out of thin air, you'll rarely see the opposite -- sites interested in running the retractions or correcting the truth. Regardless, the "reporter" -- such as Patt Morrison -- will win in the end as long as the item is discussed, regardless of those who take issue with her questionable reporting style. She or he might even be encouraged to continue such types of dubious journalism or vicious opinion pieces noting increased traffic to the site in question. A good deal of media is run in this fashion.

Rise above.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Dangerous Minds" Update #1 - Ditko and Dave Chappelle

I have creators interested in two biographical subjects for my "Dangerous Minds" webcomic project so far:

Steve Ditko: So much respect for him following his own philosophical convictions and producing so much self-published material

Dave Chappelle: A wickedly funny comedian and a really brave guy who isn't afraid to critique Hollywood

More updates as they develop, I have a lot of writing to do --

If you are a comic creator and are interested in contributing to this project, deets and potential bio candidates are listed here.

10 Ways To Restore One's Faith In Humanity

Who hasn't had those moments? Here are ten ways to get you back on the positive track.

10. Kitteh (how does a cat restore fath in humans? I dunno, it just does)

9. Classic Star Trek

8. Ice Cream (the sugar has narcotic effect)

7. Tom Hanks (might have to ignore a couple of random political statements here and there)

6. Watching little children play (protip: avoid watching evil little children play)

5. Listen to the Beatles (but not that later crazy drug stuff)

4. Watch movies where the underdog triumphantly wins (Rocky, Miracle On Ice, John Carpenter's The Thing)

3. More kittehs

2. Spending quality time with Significant Other (repeat as needed)

1. Create fantastic steampunk alternate world for oneself where one is amazing and deadly samurai schoolgirl (won't necessarily restore faith in humanity, but you have a bitchin' sword so who cares?)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Webcomic Proposal: "Dangerous Minds"

I've always been fascinated by those with unpopular -- and yet quite sincere -- opinions. Some, obviously, are simply kooks, others introduce genuinely innovative ideas to an unwilling populace, and many often are a combination of the two.

I wish to create a webcomic series of short bios (probably 3 pages each) on such individuals, called "Dangerous Minds," encompassing everyone from:

  • Bill Hicks
  • Nikola Tesla
  • William Burroughs
  • Alan Moore
  • Camille Paglia
  • Dave Chappelle
  • Alex Jones
  • Harvey Pekar
  • Timothy Leary
  • Charles Fort
  • Aleister Crowley
  • Harold Camping
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Howard Stern
  • George Carlin
  • Steve Ditko
  • David Icke
  • Henry Darger
  • Rod Serling
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • and beyond...
Though I wouldn't necessarily agree with the opinions of all the subjects of "Dangerous Minds," I would celebrate their right to explore the outer reaches of philosophy, religion, politics, art, etc. without being de facto blacklisted/censored (often, especially these days, by otherwise "enlightened" and progressive individuals).

Part of the reason I feel so passionate about this project is because I firmly believe that humans cannot evolve without the "kooks" being allowed to inject their outre and unpopular views and theories. Yes, many of these views remain, essentially, "kooksville." Others lay the foundations of what will be eventually accepted as "tommorrow's truth" -- do your homework as to how many currently accepted theories and philosophies were yesterday's "rubbish." Or how many artists in their day were deemed talentless hacks at best, deranged lunatics at worst -- and are now considered geniuses before their time.

On a personal note, I've been publicly called "a dangerous mind" for both my opinions and my comic writing. I have had someone once write that my hands should be "cut off" to prevent me from writing anymore. You know, the usual. And yet I have not accomplished one scintilla of the work many of the persons I want to write about have accomplished, or risked one scintilla of the livelihood/freedom/personal wellbeing many of them have. I have no concept what it is like to have your entire life's work stolen and burned by the government, or being sued by the FCC for millions of dollars, or to have other members of your academic discipline rally to have your writings discredited and silenced.

"Dangerous Minds" is meant to be an inspiration to those who think outside the box, who might be on the fence between surrendering to the status quo and taking a chance. I want to create this series of webcomics -- to be read on as many digital platforms as possible -- to truly communicate to a mass audience ideas (which they are free to accept or reject) that they may never have encountered in their usual media consumption. It won't pull punches. I warn you in advance: there will be some persons covered in "Dangerous Minds" who you do not like -- personal exceptions on your list of "live and let live."

But this is the carnival of the extreme and the outspoken that I have set out to write. If you wish to be a part of this project -- and perhaps, if so inclined, want to put possible "dibs" on a particular historical personage -- please contact me using the button on the upper left sidebar. Please pass this post on to your more free-thinking friends. This project starts immediately.

Thank you, and have a good day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday SDCC Programming Info Just Posted!

EDIT: GOOD GOD, William Shatner and Adam West/Burt Ward in the same day!

Link to the Friday Panel Info

At first I was like:

...and now that it's posted, I'm all like this:

Dazzler Was Originally To Be Played By Bo Derek

Two icons of my late 1970s childhood smushed together in an unexpected connection, courtesy of the Jim Shooter blog:

"On the basis of my treatment, Bo agreed to become attached to the project. She wanted to play Dazzler."
Alas, too many cooks in the kitchen, the dish spoiled, and all that -- with allegedly Jim cut out of writing the screenplay, Derek's husband John insisting on directing or no Bo, and Dazzler's powers being changed from light abilities to making people tell the truth.

This last point particularly irks me, as it seems to be a common thread with a number of this female superhero solo movies, such as Catwoman and Elektra. If it ain't broke, why fix it or add to it? Why the need to "soften" the powers of these characters with New Agey and/or emotion-based aspects to their abilities?

Of course, given that this was, as I said before, the late 1970s (era of Xanadu, Thank God It's Friday, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), the issue of the cinematic Dazzler's powers would have been the least of the concerns, from a true-blue fan's perspective. It is probably best for all of us that there were so few big-budget superhero films being made at that time, because they probably would have been more Flash Gordon than Superman.

Anyway, anxiously awaiting Paul Levitz to discover Blogspot.

A New Hope For Friends Of Lulu!

Friends of Lulu is in the midst of officially closing, with remaining funds to be donated equally to the other major comic book non-profits. Kynn Bartlett -- who declined to help keep the non-profit running when offered -- has the original art and archives. Former Treasurer Randi Mason has the financial records, which, after more than two years, she has still not returned despite numerous requests for her to do so by many people -- the major reason proper filings could not be made and why the organization could not continue.

Friends of Lulu is also closing because, in the course of nearly two years, nobody else has offered or has been willing to take the responsibility of running this organization. A non-profit is not a hobby. It is more like a business, and requires that amount of effort and commitment.

But I applaud Johanna Draper Carlson's tireless efforts on behalf of Friends Of Lulu, and her consistent support of women in comics. It was really great, after coming off of such horrific personal tragedy in my own life, to have someone like Carlson publicly in my court. It's comforting to know that when the chips are down, we women at least have each other.

Carlson's recent offer to help retrieve the lost archival Friends of Lulu materials really just gave me an inspirational boost that was lacking for so long. If anybody deserves to be president of Friends of Lulu, it is definitely Johanna Draper Carlson. So Johanna, if you'd like to take this baby on, you know where to contact me. Maybe we can work together to put on the Lulu Awards this year.

Casey Anthony Etsy Merchandise

Wow, it's too early in the morning for me to deal with this...

Via the blog regretsy is a gallery of etsy dealers trying to cash in on the whole Casey Anthony verdict.

The winner: Bella Vita's set of 4 felt-tip marker Casey portraits, including one of her as a "pixie/elf/nymph" -

Runner-up: Miniature Casey Anthony magazines for dollhouses:

Isn't that awesome? "1 mag has color pages!"

Ah, people.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why I Think Adam West Should Cameo In The Dark Knight Rises

Arg, this one has been puzzling me for several days now. First, an Adam West sighting around the same place in England they're shooting the movie. Now this Tweet from Floss Magazine's Twitter that "Hollywood big wigs" have confirmed that West will appear in the movie. The Floss tweet aside, I don't see a lot of other info backing this up at present -- and WB execs are apparently not commenting.

I totally think West deserves a cameo in a major Batman movie by this point. He's been campaigning for one since 1989's Batman. While the old argument against such as cameo goes "well, then it would turn the whole thing into a campy Batman movie," I think the films have gone metaphorically "to hell and back" in terms of campiness -- witness the late 1990 sequels -- and even Inception's Christopher Nolan could appreciate the meta quality of having West make a quick appearance. I mean, if Grant Morrison can incorporate the cornier side of Batman and Superman's stories from the 50s and 60s into critically-acclaimed comics, I see no reason to leave West out of The Dark Knight Rises.

Product Placement Being Digitally Added To Television Reruns

Eagle-eyed Reddit and Flickr users have stumbled upon what I suppose is the newest trend in advertising: digitally inserting product placement in television reruns.

Shout-outs to current movies The Zookeeper and Country Strong were found in older episodes of How I Met Your Mother:

While some see this as a conspiracy of sorts to convince our fragile subconscious minds that The Zookeeper always existed throughout the history of the modern world as some sort of seminal humor meditation along the lines of Horse Feathers, I opt for a more obvious explanation. Namely, a mischevious time-traveller.


The Similarities Between Arrested Development and The Godfather

Hmmm, I've never realized this before...

via Reddit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The New Face Of Movies For The Over-50 Crowd

Remember when movies for the older set were things like...well, I don't know, "On Golden Pond" or something?

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Universal knew that Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts’ new summer movie Larry Crowne would play best to adults, but no one expected a full 71% of the audience to be over the age of 50.

“My goodness, there are bristlecone pines younger than this movie,” one rival studio exec said.
Of course, I remember both Hanks and Roberts as scrappy up-and-comers (Splash and Mystic Pizza, anyone?) so that must mean I'm quickly becoming ancient, myself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blogger RIP?

Google "retires" Blogger and Picasa brands:

Hel-loooo, Google Blogs And Google Photos!

"The move is part of a larger effort to unify its brand for the public launch of Google+, the search giant’s social initiative. Blogger and Picasa aren’t going away, of course — they’re two of Google’s most popular products. Instead, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Google intends to rename Picasa “Google Photos” and Blogger will become “Google Blogs.” Several other Google brands are likely to be affected, though our sources made it clear that YouTube would not be rebranded."
In other news, Orkut will be renamed "Otisburg"

Original 1967 Batgirl Costume Now On Auction...

I suppose this is the Holy Grail of Batman cosplayers...you can bid on this original Batgirl costume from the Batman TV show at icollector right now! Bidding starts at $500, and the costume's estimated worth is between $9,000.00 and $12,000.00. Includes letters of authentication from TV's Batgirl, Yvonne Craig.

via Bat-Blog

Hugh Laurie New L'Oreal Spokesperson

So what do you think, is this a sell out? Or...a $ell-out (if you know what I mean wink wink yay capitalism). The Daily Mail is reporting that House's Hugh Laurie will be the new spokesperson for L'Oreal's line of cosmetics for men:

"At first I thought it was a mistake, but then I realised that L'Oreal wasn't looking for models but for people with strong personalities, who are worth it...and who aren't afraid to proclaim that using cosmetics can be a very masculine decision after all."
I'll admit it, when I think male-makeup pitchmen, Hiugh Grant comes much more quickly to mind than Hugh Laurie. But then again, remember that Laurie was quite a dapper dude back in the day:

Lest you think this is all some Onion article that I happened to stumble upon and mistook for God's honest truth, here's a promotional video Laurie recently made for L'Oreal:

What Could Have Been: Nicolas Cage Almost Cast As Aragorn In "LOTR"

There isn't enough space on the Google cloud to store the amount of writing I could dedicate to the phenomenon known as Nic Cage. I am both utterly fascinated and faintly nauseated by Cage -- his idiosyncratic acting style, his undefeatable drive to portray comic book superheroes who aren't quite appropriate for him, and, of course, his epic hair. I don't just want the Nicolas Cage movies I pay good money to see to be awesome...I want them to be sort of comfortingly mediocre. (note to self: get on that "Season of the Witch" review post)

So one can only imagine what Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings saga might have been like had Cage played the role of Aragorn as originally intended. According to Wikipedia, the actor had to turn down the role because of "family obligations." The same article lists other potential Aragorns as Vin Diesel, Stuart Townsend, and Russell Crowe. You have to wonder if there is a Fringe universe out there in which Vin Diesel was Aragorn, and if that was the deciding factor that split it off from its origin world.

Anyway, in case you wanted to continue imagining Cage as Aragorn, I've helpfully included some pics from him in costume (albeit from another movie):