GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Radiolab’s Exploration on Why Homer Never Mentions the Color Blue:


Listen here.

‘Gladstone conducted an exhaustive study of every color reference in The Odyssey and The Iliad. And he found something startling: No blue! Tim pays a visit to the New York Public Library, where a book of German philosophy from the late 19th Century helps reveal a pattern: across all cultures, words for colors appear in stages. And blue always comes last.’

[Via]

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

BookTuber Tuesday – Edith Hamilton

Check out other book vlogs we’ve featured here.

Have a book vlog video you want us to check out? Submit a link below in the comments and it could make the CIRCO blog.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Link to a list of vegetarian characters who defy stereotypes

“It’s hard to believe that in 2016—15 years after Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and a decade since Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, knowing what we know about the ravages of carnivorousness on animals and the environment—so much stereotyping of vegetarianism remains.

Fiction can help us see beyond stereotypes by both reflecting our own lives back at us and inviting us to imagine ourselves in lives decidedly different from our own. I set out to take a look at portrayals of vegetarians in fiction for precisely that reason, and I was surprised by how difficult it was to recall and find notable veg characters. Food plays a defining role in our lives; in fiction, showcasing what characters eat is one way to reveal those characters’ traits to readers. Why there aren’t more memorable characters who follow a vegetarian diet is perplexing, but the books on this (by no means exhaustive) list offer a glance at some nuanced representations of vegetarianism in literature.”

[Via]

Hope to see Odissa Odelyn from The Automation on a list like this someday. But her vegetarianism isn’t really addressed until Volume 2.

Social Medea: Anti-Social Medea

{{Pitch this tent}}
socialmediawaves


GIF of the Week:

#TBT – A History of White People

That time Nell Irvin Painter myth-busted the idea of whiteness and Thomas Emerson made white history. 2010.

 

“Transcendentalism, the American version of German romanticism (a la Kant, Fichte, Goethe, and the Schlegel brothers), flourished in New England, particularly in eastern Massachusetts, from the mid-1830s to the 1840s. German transcendentalism offered an odd mixture, including even a hefty does of Indian mysticism inspired by Friedrich von Schlegel, which Mary Emerson hand also found congenial. In place of established Christian religion (particularly the then prevailing Unitarianism), transcendentalism offered a set of romantic notions about nature, intuition, genius, individualism, the workings of the Spirit, and, especially, the character of religious conviction…

Within this German-driven transcendental swirl, one man, an Englishman, stood tallest: he was Thomas Carlyle (1785-1881)…

Carlyle actually came to think of Goethe as “a kind of spiritual father,” and took upon himself the task of spreading the transcendental gospel. And spread it he did, writing the magazine articles Emerson was reading in the New England…

Emerson was thirty when he first saw Europe. By then he had left his pastorate and lost his beloved young wife to tuberculosis two years after their marriage. Now he poured energy into seeing for himself the luminaries of this new philosophy. Coleridge and Wordsworth came first, and both disappointed Emerson greatly…Even worse was Wordsworth who abused the beloved Goethe and Carlyle and nattered on as though reading aloud from his books…

Much younger than Coleridge and Wordsworth, Carlyle captivated Emerson through a day and night of passionate exchange chock full of fresh ideas ….

Emerson took Carlyle’s novel in hand, shepherding an American edition into print and contributing a preface. With his help, the thumping, clamorous, and obscure style of Sartor Resartus, electrified the Americans becoming known as transcendentalists…

John Ruskin’s estimation of Emerson wavered over time; at one point Ruskin, one of England’s leading intellectuals, considered Emerson ‘only a sort of cobweb over Carlyle.’

This image of Emerson as a watered-down Carlyle-Teutonist never entirely dissipated, just as critics of Carlyle, Emerson, and transcendentalists have harped on the Teutonic opacity of their style…

On the other hand, Americans adored Carlyle’s emphatic writing style and his apparent, if vague, sympathy for ordinary people and a disdain for the elite…

But while their halcyon days may have gone, their influence lived on. Tutored in German race theory reaching back to Winckelmann and Goethe, each had become his country’s national voice, eloquently equating Americans with Britons and Britons with Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon myth of racial superiority now permeated concepts of race in the United States and virtually throughout the English-speaking world. To be American was to be Saxon. ” – Nell Irvin Painter, “The Education of Ralph Waldo Emerson” in The History of White People.

BookTuber Tuesday – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Check out other book vlogs we’ve featured here.

Have a book vlog video you want us to check out? Submit a link below in the comments and it could make the CIRCO blog.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

On the sacrifice of the scapegoat:

“But the scapegoat was not always reviled. As noted above, the sacrificial victim sometimes came to be revered after the event – even to the point of becoming over time a founding hero for the community. The Greeks celebrated Prometheus as a sacred pharmakos (scapegoat) after he had met with his sacrificial fate, and we witness a similarly retrospective apotheosis of scapegoats across a variety of foundational myths – Osiris, Romulus, Christ, Orpheus, Socrates, Cuchulian. Such figures, though invariably ostracized for excoriated by their contemporaries, became hallowed over the ages until they were eventually remembered as  savior gods ho restored their community from chaos to order. They re-emerge out of the mists of time as miraculous deities who managed to transmute conflict into law. But this alteration of sacrificed ‘aliens’ into sacred ‘other is, of course, predicated upon a strategic forgetfulness of their initial stigmatization, that is, the fact that they were originally victims of ritual bloodletting…

A genuinely peaceful community would be one which, Girard contends, exposes its own strategies of sacrificial alienation and enters the light of ‘true fraternity.’ It would be a society without need of scapegoats…such a community would commit itself instead to principles of ‘transcendence’ beyond time and history. It would take its lead from the exemplary action of Christ, who underwent death on the Cross in order to expose the sacrificial lie for once and for all by revealing the innocence of the victim. The sacrifice to end all sacrifice.

In short, peace requires nothing less than the decoupling of the stranger and the scapegoat. And this means acknowledging that the genuine ‘other’ is always guaranteed by a radically divine Other – an asymmetrical, vertical alterity irreducible to the envious ploys of mimetic desire. Girard, like Levinas, calls this ethical alterity – even if it addresses us through the face of the other – God.” – Richard Kearney,  “Strangers and Scapegoats” in Strangers, Gods and Monsters. 

 

Social Medea: Family Reunion

{{Juggle this, motherf*ckers}}
socialmedeaglobe

 

 

 

 

Gif of the week:

#TBT – Potter Puppet Pals

That one time Neil Cicierega uploaded a version of Harry Potter the world will never forget. 2007.

Also, talk about a “cursed child”:

#BLAThoughtOfTheDay – If paying for someone to do your homework is wrong, isn’t it wrong for a ghost writer to write novels for other people?

Where does artistic and academic integrity differ? How to do we define integrity; if we’re making money off something does it become irrelevant? Has anyone asked James Patterson or the Big 5 these questions?

a1

“There is another problem with calling on academics alone to tackle plagiarism. Research suggests that many may themselves be guilty of the same [offense] or may ignore their students’ dishonesty because they feel investigating plagiarism takes too much time.

It has also been proved that cheating behaviour thrives in environments where there are few or no consequences. But perhaps herein lies a solution that could help in addressing the problem of plagiarism and paper mills.”

[Via]

See also: Why Literature Is No Longer Art & On Book Packagers & Art & Honesty

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: BLA’s Twitter Rant about The Cursed Child

b1

b1

Indeed, why did J.K. Rowling not think that her screenplay for Fantastic Beasts would be enough to delight readers? We’ve waited this many years for something for her that is “Harry Potter” — that would have been enough. Why would she give up more of her rights and her story to a play that was so sub-par? Did Jack Thorne and John Tiffany blackmail her? Is she trying to prove to us that she isn’t perfect and makes mistakes? That the fanfiction community is her bitch? What?

Also:

Indeed, where is Remus and Tonk’s child? Clearly there were some characters Rowling didn’t allow Jack Thorne to touch.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Social Medea: Enchantress of Hecate

{{The Flying Trapeze with Ease}}

SocialMedeawarp

#BLAThoughtOfTheDay – Suicide Squad wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be

The pacing was good. The story line was tightly written and the best thing going for it. But the way that story and pacing played out was often too jerky or off-key. Punchlines weren’t delivered as expertly as they were in the trailer, and then there was the soundtrack (which must have been expensive, for all the classic songs they used; it seems like they bought all the songs on the director’s playlist and, after filming, were like “Welp, we already paid for them. Find somewhere to stick ’em!”). The soundtrack would play as if building up to something, only to end abruptly for no reason–as if trying to win us over with a few of our favorite lyrics here and there. At times it turned into a music video.

Annnnd the acting–oh man, the acting–was melodramatic/overacted and chaotically delivered–just like those punchlines. I’m not going to mention names or characters (cough, cough, Joker), because they ALL did it to some degree. Maybe they were throwing back to earlier, cheesier adaptations.  But it didn’t give as much of an off-putting vibe as I think they wanted.

And why the heck didn’t Katana get a better backstory? Compared to the others she just appears. I was really confused as to her part in the whole thing, other than the token Asian. They didn’t explain her origins well enough–not to a degree where I felt I could relate to her. Same with Killer Croc. No one seemed to care about him. It was like he wasn’t even there half the time.

But the diversity of the cast was definitely something the film had going for it. Lots of women. And the color scheme. And the attempts at stunning imagery (re: music video).

Will Smith as Deadshot was the most surprising thing about the film–how much I ended up liking his character and portrayal. Going off the trailer, I didn’t have much faith in his relevancy and thought Smith was just the BIG NAME meant to draw more people in. But he ended up being the character with the most believable backstory and motivations in the film.

Viola Davis as Amanda Waller was also a great choice. I just wish they had put in a little more effort to smooth things over in the film. Otherwise, it’s almost like they let Leto’s Joker edit it at first and then tried to fix it.

See also Suicide Squad Kinda Sucks, But Hey, So Does 2016.

#TBT – True Detective Season 1

That time a TV show led us to believe it was actually going somewhere with an antinatalist hero. 2014.

But at least we got a cool song out of it.

On “I Am Providence”

“Mamatas isn’t trolling, exactly — in his admittedly merciless way, he’s laying bare the dysfunction, arrogance, and entitlement of Lovecraft fandom, and geek culture at large, with the finesse of a sociologist. A cruel sociologist, but still. At the same time, the plot involves arcane tomes bound in flesh and other such Cthulhu-tastic tropes; Mamatas celebrates the weirdness and wonder of Lovecraft even as he subverts the writer and his followers.

But does it all make for a good mystery? Mostly yes. Colleen is both an intrepid investigator and a funny, wise, charismatic protagonist, and the plot unwinds breezily at an Agatha Christie-esque pace. And Panossian, for all his beyond-the-grave crankiness, is an absorbing narrator, even though it becomes clear that he’s basically a mouthpiece for Mamatas himself.

The biggest problem with I Am Providence is its insularity. As deep as the book gets, it’s equally narrow, and no matter how accessible Mamatas makes his mystery, it’s still mired in the in-fighting and minutia of a subculture that few can relate to. But he does play with some universal themes, up to and including our fascination with fantasy and horror in general, and why that sometimes crosses over into pathology, hatred, and fanaticism. In that sense, I Am Providence is pointed social commentary wrapped in a bilious in-joke — but one that’s more than worth getting in on.”

[Via]

 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: On ‘The Cursed Child’ as fanfiction, and where the problem really lies by Michal Schick

“This kind of self-awareness is, to varying degrees, inherent in fanfiction. Transformative works are necessarily built on the platform of canon, expanding above it in countless ways. Fanfiction has to be aware of its source, but for a source to be aware of itself requires a very specific (and usually comical) type of art. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, it goes without saying, is not that kind of art.

But of course, it is neither format nor self-reference that fundamentally fill The Cursed Child with That Fanfiction Feeling. Most prominently responsible are the controversial story decisions in The Cursed Child, all of which come about because the play propels itself on the energy of the wrong type of question. Over and over again, with wide-eyed enthusiasm, the play asks “What if?”

What if Harry’s son had polyjuice potion miraculously to hand? What if Voldemort had a child? What if Time-Turner?

“What if” questions are not bad questions, but they are almost always the domain of fanfiction, and for good reason. Within the bounds of an established, canonical tale, storytellers must be judicious in their application of “what if,” because “what if” is not governed by theme, history, or character. “What if” can lead anywhere, and stories that bear the weight of canon cannot afford to go anywhere.

None of these ideas are inherently bad, and none of the audacious ideas in The Cursed Child are inherently bad outside the context of canon. What they are, however, is fundamentally light, unmoored from cannnical responsibility. That’s a beautiful, inspiring thing, but it can also be less than satisfying.

Readers like rules. Modern stock in the concept of “canon” may be riding unnecessarily high, but it appeals to us for a reason. We want our stories to have weight and boundaries; we don’t actually want them to fly off in any direction when we feel safe within the walls of canon. Fanfiction scratches a different itch than official stories do, and when those lines cross, we often feel damned uncomfortable.

That’s certainly how I felt, reading of Voldemort’s unexpected progeny in The Cursed Child. It’s how I felt every time someone yanked out that ridiculous Time-Turner. It’s how I feel now, imagining new characters tramping over a world that had been so definitively bounded by the words “All was well” back in 2007.

I think this is more than the growing pains of change, the mild discomfort we all felt while digesting the latest Harry Potter novel. I believe That Fanfiction Feeling represents a fundamental difference between Rowling’s approach in her novels, and the tact taken by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. Rowling’s series was constantly inventive and powerfully imaginative, but also deeply consistent. It was not self-aware; it was loyal to the pulse of themes and characters pounding through a remarkable body of work.

The Cursed Child, however, beats to the drum of “What if?” questions, spinning off into a kaleidoscope of surprising (and to be honest, bizarre) answers. To that end, the story feels like fanfiction; this is not a measure of quality, but a measure of intent. Author-approved or not, The Cursed Child shares the fundamental sensibilities of fanfiction — not of canon.

It is a lesson of The Cursed Child that both good and bad can come from unexpected places. This is just as true of literature. Canon can awe or disappoint, while fan-works can make us groan or move us to tears. As a story hatched from the worlds of canon and fanfiction, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child also does both — and it’s up to each of us to decide if that’s our cup of Polyjuice or not.”

[Via]

 

Social Medea: Jason

{Step right up}

socialmedeaoldphoto

 

 

 

#TBT – Can we bring the Greek Gods back, Please?

That time Rob Bricken wanted to bring back the gods as if they ever left. 2013.

a1

“Has anyone else noticed modern organized religion is kind of a bummer? Even if your divine belief system isn’t violently persecuting another, it seems like you’re still trapped in a church singing dirges all Sunday. Modern religion doesn’t have any flair. This is why I’d like to offer a modest proposal: Let’s bring back the ancient Greek gods. Yes, I mean Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares, the whole shebang — and here’s why I think they’d make a significant improvement over our current options.

Greek gods will have sex with you. That’s pretty awesome. Just knowing you have a chance to score with a god or goddess adds a certain zest to life. Now admittedly, some time the Greek gods got a little… er, rape-y, and that’s not cool. On the other hand, Law & Order: SVU would become super exciting.

They make at least as much sense as the other guys. One of the biggest problems with the Judeo-Christian God that Christian scholars have tried to rationalize over the centuries is how a good and loving god could allow evil to exist; while they’ve come up with plenty of answer, none of them are particularly satisfying. This isn’t an issue for the Greek gods, because they aren’t pretending to be omnipotent and loving. Like humans, they can be good and evil themselves. You don’t have to wonder why the Greek gods let bad things happen to good people, because the Greek gods can simply be assholes. They care about you as long as you’re caring/genuflecting/sacrificing bulls to them. Tit for tat. Honestly, just take a look around. Does it seem like the universe is currently being run by one omniscient guy who completely loves everybody or by a bunch of over-emotional, self-centered jerks? I rest my case.

They’re so much more fun. Here’s a short list of things we could do if we brought back the Greek gods:
• Go to oracles.
• Go on quests.
• Fight monsters.
• Challenge gods to contests.
• Go to Hades and try to rescue dead loved ones.
• Dip babies in magic rivers, making them invulnerable.
Now, not all of those are good ideas — most of them are insanely dangerous — but man, they’re still a hell of a lot more exciting than sitting in church for an hour every Sunday.”

[Via]

BookTuber Tuesday – Monthly Reading Wrap-ups

 

Have a book vlog video you want us to check out? Submit a link below in the comments and it could make the CIRCO blog.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.