And I do mean random. Just stuff that’s crossed my mind in the last while, and in no particular order.
Dzokhar Tsarnaev on Rolling Stone. Really? This is some kind of issue? Okay, first, Rolling Stone, like them or not, can put whoever they like on the cover. None of us have to like it, or buy a copy, but they can do that. Second, putting a picture of someone, even a bad guy and alleged killer, does not equate to “glorifying” them or their crime. It’s been pointed out that the New York Times ran the same picture of Tsarnaev, and no one got their panties in a bunch then. Now, whether that’s because the NYT is a respected news organization as opposed to RS’ usual focus on celebrities, or because other pictures may not have been available at the time, I don’t know. Did RS get the same flak when they put Charles Manson on the cover? Again, I don’t know — I wasn’t there at the time.
But I just can’t get worked up one way or another over this. Like it or not, Tsarnaev is newsworthy — he is the story. While I have tremendous sympathy for the victims, and I know many of them are going to have a hard road ahead of them due to Tsarnaev’s alleged actions, it simply isn’t the same. And I am not that Tsarnaev should get any fame out of this, but let’s face it: people will demand information. If there is a trial, they will want it televised — will they want it televised without Tsarnaev being on camera? Much of the information they will demand will be about Tsarnaev. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand focus on the crime without having some focus on the criminal.
While it may seem unfair that the perpetrator gets the focus, it’s not new. Check out this Salon.com article about murder during the Victorian Age in England. The more things change, right?
Star Trek. My husband and I have been watching the original Star Trek. I know I’ve established my geek credentials before, but truth is I had never seen much of the original series (TOS). I had seen a couple of episodes, but most of my Trek knowledge comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) or Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (DS9). I haven’t even seen all of the movies. (Also, I saw some of but did not like either the Voyager or Enterprise series.)
Somewhat to my surprise, though, TOS is quite good. I don’t mean to say I expected otherwise. I suppose I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having seen only the odd scene or episode here and there. I knew the names: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu. I even knew some basic characteristics for each of them. It’s seeped into the pop culture hive mind; you don’t even know how you know, you just do. (I believe the same thing happens with Beatles’ songs, and possibly Elvis.)
Last night we saw an episode called “Spectre of the Gun” — from season three — and, well, wow. The Earps, in my experience usually shown as somewhat dour but good men, are the bad guys. The ersatz Clanton gang, composed of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chekov, are friendly and the townspeople are hoping they can put an end to the Earps’ hold over the town. Nice flipping expectations! (Also, so much better than the Wyatt Earp movie with Kevin Costner.)
Kate Middleton. People, it’s a woman having a baby. This happens all the time, all over the place. Let it go.
Marte Deborah Dalelv. This is the Norwegian woman who worked in Dubai, in the UAE, and reported being raped to the police. For which she was promptly charged with a few things, such as drinking alcohol and having sex outside of marriage, and sentenced to jail. She has been pardoned. As others have noted, tall buildings do not mean you have entirely entered the 21st century.
I really can’t say much about this except: *facepalm* It is so absolutely disheartening to know that this mindset doesn’t just exist, but is culturally ingrained in many places. And don’t think it’s just in places with lots of sand. Plenty of people in the more modern western world still blame the victim. How about we teach people to protect themselves, and also teach people not to assault or rape other people. I think that would go a long way.
Animated movies. I love ‘em. I just picked two up today – Rio and James and the Giant Peach (warning — this appears to be the whole movie; I was just looking for the trailer). Some of you probably know I’m a big Nightmare before Christmas fan. I can’t say what I like most about them, since like any other movie category, there is a wide spectrum of genres and styles. I can say that I’m partial to the stop-motion animation more than the CGI, but I also love the old 2-D animation of old Disney movies and Japanese features like My Neighbor Totoro.
Neil Gaiman. I’m looking forward to reading his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I have read a lot of Gaiman’s stuff, from the DC/Vertigo Sandman comics on through Anansi Boys and more. I highly recommend Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. Gaiman has a wonderful imagination, and seems to be able to write for adults and younger audiences both — I recently discovered another book he co-authored, Interworld, and it was a good YA book. I also would like to read his children’s book, Fortunately, the Milk, but I’m not sure it’s at the library yet.
Books. So now we read that the end is nigh for Barnes & Noble, one of the last large book-seller chains. Perhaps the last; I’m not sure where Books-A-Million, aka BAM!, rates. Once again people are out bemoaning the death of books, paper books and lord knows what else. Perhaps I should be a little more upset about it, but there are just too many thing that seem to warrant that kind of attention so I have to be picky about it.
For one thing, books are embedded in our culture and so I certainly don’t see the end of print books any time soon. How will we get those? Well some book stores are still around, and some stores like WalMart and even the grocery store at least offer a section of an aisle for best-sellers and new books. I actually hope that B&N figures out a way to stay in business, because like a library where you can wander and look, I think people need to be able to wander around and look at books and get recommendations from friends and knowledgable salespeople. I recently read an article that said one point against Amazon (the book behemoth, let’s be honest) is that people do not usually discover new books online (whether that’s Amazon or elsewhere). People find things by word of mouth, and perhaps by chance.
I also hope they stay in business because my son has a NookColor, as do a few other people I know, and I’d like him to be able to keep using it. He does read on it, and I encourage reading books whether it’s on screen or on paper.
Writing. I’m not doing enough of it but I’m working on it. I recently did post a story called “Lessons Learned” at all the usual sites, and am working on more. Sigh. Never enough time.