The Worst Filing System Known To Humans

-Punk (2) A Song of Ice and Fire (2) Affect (9) Alienating My Audience (30) Animation (18) Anime (5) Anonymous (3) Anything Salvaged (16) Art Crit (30) Avatar the Last Airbender (2) Black Lives Matter (1) Bonus Article (1) Children's Media (3) Close Reading (89) comics (24) Cyborg Feminism (2) Deconstruction (9) Devin Townsend (2) Evo Psych (1) Fandom Failstates (4) Fanfiction (21) Feminism (21) Fiction Experiments (14) Food (1) Fragments (14) Games (23) Geek Culture (26) Getting Kicked Off Of TV Tropes For This One (10) Gnostic (2) Guest Posts (8) Guest: Ian McDevitt (2) Guest: Jon Grasseschi (3) Guest: Leslie the Sleepless Film Producer (1) Guest: Sara the Hot Librarian (3) Guest: Timebaum (1) Guest: Yanmato (3) Harry Potter (8) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (3) Has DC Done Something Stupid Today (3) Homestuck (11) How Very Queer (29) hyperallthethings (8) hyperanimation (1) Hypercomics (8) I Didn't Ask For Your Life Story Sheesh (20) Illustrated (29) In The Shadow Of No Towers (2) It Just Keeps Tumblring Down Tumblring Down Tumblring Down (11) It's D&D (2) Judeo-Christian (13) Lady Gaga (5) Let's Read Theory (3) Lit Crit (18) Living In The Future Problems (8) Lord of the Rings (5) Mad Max (1) Madoka Magica (1) Magic The Gathering (3) Manos (3) Marvel Cinematic Universe (13) Marx My Words (12) Medium Specificity (12) Meme Hell (1) Metal (2) Movies (23) Music (24) Music Videos (20) Object Oriented Ontology (4) Occupy Wall Street (3) Pacific Rim (2) Paper Roundup Clambake Panic Attack (5) Paradise Lost (4) Parafiction (2) Patreon Announcements (12) Phenomenology (3) Poetry (11) Pokemon (3) Politics and Taxes and People Grinding Axes (14) PONIES (9) Raising My Pageranks Through Porn (5) Reload The Canons! (7) Remixes (8) Review Compilations (6) Science Fiction Double Feature (26) Self-Referential Bullshit (21) Sense8 (4) Sociology (11) Spooky Stuff (29) Star Wars (6) Steven Universe (2) Surrealism (9) The Net Is Vast (23) Transhumanism (6) Twilight (4) Using This Thing To Explain That Thing (109) Video Response (2) Watchmen (4) Who Killed The World? (2)

Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall

So here I am, sitting in your chair on New Year's Eve Eve with a pounding headache and a pounding set of anxieties to match. (It took me a few days to get all the images together for this article.) In the morning I'm going to be finalizing the list of Grad-level Media Studies programs I'll be applying to, and then starting as many applications as I can before I pass out once more. (Note from the future: it wasn't many.) Between seasonal depression, panic over the application process, and the always nightmarish portfolio composition process, I'm feeling like a bit of a basket case at the moment.

And in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Oh god, it's been weeks since I posted a StIT article."

You want to know something for absolutely free (as opposed to the subscription fee you need to pay to access the rest of the site)? I kinda hate that I can see my pageview information. Don't get me wrong, it's damn useful in some respects since I can figure out exactly who is reading what articles from what traffic sources, and it's forced me to up my quality and write for a general audience.

But that information is a ruler. It's a tool, an aide, a crutch. It's great for helping you draw straight lines, but it holds you back because you aren't forced to draw straight lines freehand. And you sure as hell aren't going to be able to draw nice fluid curves that match the quality of your other lines. What I'm saying, before this analogy that I'm outlining gets too smudgy, is that a ruler is just as much a curse as it is a blessing.

And I'm feeling pretty ruled these days.

Which is part of why I'm cutting loose here and composing this drawn-out metaphor that's full of sketchy puns. It's been a while since I wrote an article that was completely self indulgent, that really had the chance of making sense to myself and myself alone.

And hell, this is my 99th article, and it's coming right at the beginning of a new year, so I decided I might as well wander down memory lane and ponder aloud about my work so far. There's a bunch of articles that didn't get quite the same dramatic reaction as, say, my My Little Pony or Homestuck or Avatar pieces, and you know what? I had a lot more fun writing them than quite a few of my big blockbuster pieces. So what the hell, let's give them a spotlight, huh?

Sing it with me folks:

99 Bottles of Beer on a Tow'r
99 Bottles of Beer
Storm the wall
Guzzle 'em all
98 Bottles of Beer on a Tow'r

1. MODERN MUSIC, MODERNIST POETRY 

"H3Y TOM 1S TH1S YOU?"
So the basic premise of this article is that the early 20th century poet TS Eliot is a mix master, a sampling fiend, and a hell of a DJ. I still love this article. It might be my all time favorite, actually. The premise is so ludicrous (or... Ludacris maybe?) and yet I think it ultimately works really well as a comparison. The article for a while actually was among the most popular on the site, too, before the My Little Pony articles dethroned it. My only regret is that I wrote it before I started photoshopping goofy images to illustrate my articles.

And you know what? I think my argument still holds true. Check out DJ Earworm's compilation for 2012:



There's a clear throughline here, similar to the one I talked about in my Pop.Sci.Fi articles (which both also probably deserve a place on this list) where the reaction to the collapse of dreams and hope results in the speakers taking solace in pop culture. It's honestly weird to hear this coming from Earworm. In a way it seems like he's channeling Eliot in more than just methodology.

So hey, I'm going to go ahead and make a resolution for the new year: I'm going to do an article on Earworm's latest song and how it all fits together. And, in fact, I'm going to look at some of these older articles from my early days and see if they deserve to be dredged up and expanded upon. Sound good?

2. APPROACH


So, I wanted to write a poem that had sci fi subject matter. I think I succeeded, personally. This isn't what I would call perfect or fully polished but damn, there's some things here I still really enjoy. Like:

God does not suffer a Gene Witch to live. Not anymore. Only the Witchminds,
Bred from the vats of
Angels, live in the core of
God, closest to His light and heat.

Not to sound too full of myself but I still really enjoy that play on the "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" thing, with the implication that the genetic engineers that allowed the race of superhumans to conquer the world are now hiding in exile on the blasted surface of the abandoned Earth, having acquired a magical status among the downtrodden lowbloods.

Not that any of that is necessarily clear from the weird modernist cadence of the piece, but that's the idea, anyway.

And it's an idea I want to explore further. That's my second resolution: I want to write A. more weird experimental poetry like this and B. more stuff about this particular setting. This world is intriguing to me, and the idea of expressing a semi-cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic distopia through non-standard media appeals to me quite a bit. So expect to see some more experiments of this sort.

3. SOME FASCINATING HIGHLIGHTS FROM GOLDEN DUSK 

I'm still super proud of that cover, personally.
Some people actually believed that Golden Dusk, the spin off sequel to the Twilight series, was real, and was as awesome as I was making it out to be in this article. They were pissed when they got to the end of the article and found out I was yanking their proverbial chain.

I love doing this kind of thing. Not just because I'm a troll and I live to alienate my audience, either. There's something about a review of a fake work of art that tickles the same fancy that's tickled by cyberpunk poetry. There's something really great about plotting out a whole alternate trajectory for Art History. I mean, there's a whole field dedicated to alternate history full stop, and Steampunk and its spin offs are essentially alternate science, so why not alternate art history or alternate media studies?

Besides, I hear Randolf Giorgi Jaffe is hard at work on a sequel, despite the fandom's explosive reaction to the first one. And when that novel finally comes out, I'll be there to review it. That's resolution number 3.

4. THE PASSED OVER 

Yeah, I'm looking at engravings on my widescreen TV in a pub. This image makes sense on every conceivable level.
I keep forgetting that this story exists. The idea was essentially to look at what the final Biblical Plague would look like from the perspective of an ordinary Egyptian slave. Historical inaccuracies abound, I'm sure, but I really like the notion of using the whole thing as an allegory for how the vying of religious powers often ends up catching the dispossessed and downtrodden in the crossfire.

Honestly, part of me is disappointed that I didn't get more of a reaction to this. I mean, I'm basically calling out the whole "Kill the firstborn sons of Egypt" thing as a dick move on God's part, but maybe everyone already figured that out and the concept of an Old Testament God that is actually kind of an asshole is old news?

Anyway, I actually really like writing fiction. It's just interesting to take a break from the usual essay format and put together an argument in the form of a narrative. And I love the idea of writing fanfiction about traditionally unfanfictionable stories--the Bible certainly being at the top of the list.

So, I'm planning on doing a bit more of that in the new year. I don't think it'll get as much attention as my articles, particularly since some of the stuff I'll be posting will probably be material for the Magic: The Gathering Expanded Multiverse project and will therefore be totally inaccessible to most people.

But damn it, I enjoy doing it so I'm gonna do it anyway!

[smashes wine glass]

5. I DIG MY HOLE, YOU BUILD A WALL 

I AM A SOMEWHAT EMOTIONAL DRUNK
Oh my god I still have so many FEELINGS about the game Bastion. It's such an incredible piece of work, and I'm actually super pleased with how this analysis of it turned out.

You know, I don't play a whole lot of games, and I think it's time I changed that. I just picked up Minecraft from a friend and despite how glitchy it is I'm finding it to be an incredible artistic experience on a lot of levels. So, I might as well write about it, no? It's interesting to me that I've ended up kinda gravitating towards bitesized media for the most part--TV shows, music videos, shorter comics, poems--rather than these longer, open ended games that demand more time and are harder for me to pretend-multitask to. But really, games are an important emergent art form, and it's stupid of me to ignore them. Especially since, like, I enjoy playing them.

And I'm sure there's more games like Bastion out there, games that have such fantastic story arcs, such great synergy between gameplay and story, such beautiful art and music...

So, resolution number 5 is to find those games and write about them.

6. THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE TONIGHT 

Dammit, Melies gets all the strange semi-human girls.
I could talk about how I'm really happy with this argument, and I think this is another great way of exploring the esoteric with the popular, and really I'm hoping that you take note of that stuff if you go back and read the article now, but...

...Honestly, the main reason this is here is because I just love that image of Kanye with George Melies's big, goofy looking head photoshopped onto it.

That's my sixth resolution. No really, we're doing this. I hereby solemnly resolve to add in more silly photoshopped pictures to my articles. How's that for a resolution? NO ONE MAN SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER!

ALIEN SEX!

7. FERTILE GROUND 

AAAH SCARY DEMONICALLY POSSESSED FRENCHWOMAN
This article, that started out being about a weird video for an obscure sort-of-goth avant garde band, turned into an article about music video history and French music videos in particular. I kind of love how that happened, and again, I'm really pleased with the result even though not many people ended up reading it. (For the record, my sister is not among the people who ended up reading it. Dammit.)

I really love digging up this kind of thing. I do a lot of work with modern music videos but there's all kinds of old, great videos that have fallen by the wayside over the years, and I think I'm going to devote some time to digging those sorts of things up. So, my seventh resolution is to do some more digging around in the histories of things like webcomics, music videos, flash games, and so on--things that haven't had their history written just yet.

8. IS THE VIDEO FOR BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY MAKING FUN OF ITSELF?

I think I drank too much. Everything is a Blur. Haha. Blur. Geddit??
I really hate the title of this article. That said, it's another one of those articles that was just a blast to write. The premise is simply that the video for Bittersweet Symphony is an ironic parody of the song's lyrics. And once you see it you pretty much can't unsee it, judging by the reactions I got to the article. It's as pernicious as the song's string sample. Just try to get those violins out of your head.

I loved writing this because it was a quick article about a relatively small subject matter that I thought was fairly easy to explain but that had a high relative impact on the reader's understanding of the work. Call it minimal force, maximal output writing, maybe. It took less thought for me to put together but it was still something I could be proud of.

Either way, I want to do more pieces like this in the new year--short, sweet, to the point kinda pieces that are easy for me to write and edit but aren't really fluff. I actually don't think it'll be that hard, I just have to start willing myself to put those together rather than agonizing over the big blockbuster works.

9. SING IN THE NEW YEAR 

Happy New Year to you too, Ayatolla of Rock And Rolla.
I'm honestly not sure this article makes sense to anyone but me. Which is sort of the reason I like it so much. It's just such a bizarrely wandering metaphor that ties together way too many things, and I love it to death. And what's more, it's about this strange German band that sets medieval lyrics to electro-goth music. It's just a giant mass of inaccessibility.

And you know, I like big masses of inaccessibility, it turns out. Communication is important, of course, and clarity is kind of the name of the game when I'm explaining Liberal Arts concepts, but sometimes my tastes are, well, inaccessible. I truly do love strange works of art, but I've often chosen not to write about them because, well, less people care about Ingres and Goya and the contrasts between their style as reflective of their thematic preoccupations than they do about My Little Pony or Avatar. Unfortunately.

I suppose the final resolution I have is that I'm going to start writing about some more of the weirder things that I love. I mean, if I like this stuff, surely it's worth sharing, no? And perhaps if I build upon the ideas I've already established through other articles, I can get some other readers enthused about the weird stuff I watch and read and listen to. Then it won't be so inaccessible anymore.

Here's to a new year, full of the most ridiculous articles I can come up with. Here's to more tortured pub metaphors, more photoshop collages, more fawning adoration of Mad Max Road Warrior, more fake reviews and avant garde poetry.

Here's to the 99 articles on that ivory wall, and many, many more.


You can follow me on Google+ at gplus.to/SamKeeper or on Twitter @SamFateKeeper. As always, you can e-mail me at KeeperofManyNames@gmail.com. If you liked this piece please share it on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, Equestria Daily, Xanga, MySpace, or whathaveyou, and leave some thoughts in the comments below.

Incidentally, if you want to see my REAL artwork, through a sequence of events too idiotic to describe I now have a YouTube-based portfolio. Check it out here. In particular, check out that last piece. Does that look familiar?

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