Linkblogging for 08/09/09

Well, the ‘one a day’ plan hasn’t gone very well with the hyperposts, has it? In my defence, I’m so ill that I’ve been to the doctor today, for only the third time in my adult life. I’ve got 680 words written on Jack Kirby so far, but it’s all prelude to the main point – I need to write about the same amount again – and writing is just like pulling teeth for me today. That’ll *definitely* be up tomorrow, along with – I hope – the Beatles post (which will be much easier to write) and with a bit of luck I should be back on schedule to get these finished by the end of the week.

In the meantime, read some stuff what other people have writ:

A Bayesian method for evaluating counterfactuals – this actually ties in with the sciencey part of the Hyperpost stuff…

Costigan Quist states the incredibly obvious by talking about how social networking and online campaigning won’t really make any difference to the election.

Fred Clark on how banks are evil.

Via Lew Stringer, The Guardian are giving away free copies of old 80s kids’ comics every day from Saturday.

Laurie Penny on hypocrisy and the death of the welfare state .

And Matthew Rossi says that Captain America: Rebirth is so fucking boring it makes him sad.

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9 Responses to Linkblogging for 08/09/09

  1. Zom says:

    As much as I’ve enjoyed the content over at See Below, that piece belongs to a strain of criticism that really gets on my nerves. Who cares what’s been done with Norman Osborn in the past, surely what matters is what’s being done with him now? Does it work? Do we want to see more of it?

    Take the Red Hood, for example, assuming Morrison is planning on having JT behind the mask, am I really going to let Judd Winick and Paul Dini’s legacy ruin what Morrison’s planning? Of course I’m bloody not. I’m going to take the character as I find him.

    In case it isn’t immediately obvious, this isn’t intended as a defence of Reborn or Dark Reign, by the way.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Oh, I agree to an extent – Matt Rossi has more invested in the idea of consistent continuity than I do, and so he cares more than I do about how the characters have been in the past. But I thought it was a well-written example of that kind of thing…

  2. Zom says:

    But… but… He’d rather see a perfectly serviceable character consigned to the bin of history because some pillock has done something pillockish with him in the past? Would Matt advocate that Osborn be in some way rehabilitated as a character before anyone touch him – should someone really waste their time doing that? Is that necessary or would it just be a waste of paper?

    Also, even the most continuity minded should have had enough time to get over the creative missteps made with the character, as he’s been well enough written for years now. If anything Ellis *did* rehabilitate him, in that he showed how the character could be used to good effect. All this brings to mind another point: no matter what we’re led to believe by the publishers and creatives, continuity is always partially subjective, always, in part, the product of editing by the individuals invested in it. When I say that x wouldn’t do y, or I can’t take z seriously, I’m often (not always) simply saying that y or z don’t fit with my own private reading of x. What’s astonishing to me is that despite all the arguments amongst continuity obsessives about continuity, all the different readings in evidence, all the internal fan fiction created to plug the holes, they fail to notice the fact that their subjectivities are deeply bound up in continuity’s manufacture.

    It’s very particular reading that makes the Green Goblin unusable, and it’s one that I reject.

  3. Zom says:

    they fail to notice the fact that their subjectivities are deeply bound up in continuity’s manufacture.

    This is perhaps slightly uncharitable. I’m sure some people are well aware of their own involvement but just can’t help themselves. Maybe Matt wants to like Norman Osborn, or want to be open to liking Norman Osborn, but just can’t bring himself to.

  4. pillock says:

    Good Lord, I thought you were talking about me for a minute there, Zom!

    That said, I didn’t take that as big continuity-based criticism — love the economy of “subjectivities are bound up in continuity’s manufacture” though! — rather just frustration with the way the Green Goblin character (does anybody remember that’s who he is?) has become so plastic that a better name for him now might be, simply, “Big Bad”. I think the subjectivities cut both ways in this case: Gerry Conway writes a story twenty-five years ago, and now we’re treated to a “legendary” Green Goblin whose importance is the wholly the result of subjectivity reinforming the continuity that birthed it.

    Which, I guess. But my problem with Norman Osborn is still that as far as I know he’s supposed to be dead. Does anybody remember how or when he came back from the dead, or did it just sort of “happen”? I almost feel a bit silly mentioning it at this point, and how extremely silly is that? Did he die, or what? Did that “still” happen?

    In a way I feel like the question “is the character being used well” is overly abstract; after all, it could be any character doing this-or-that in a story, couldn’t it? And in a way, it seems like it is…so somehow the name “Norman Osborn” is supposed to mean something arbitrarily exciting, and every year that excitement gets more and more arbitrary, and has to be propped up more and more arbitrarily.

    Well, that’s kind of what I took from that. But then again, I’ve got my own biases: I’m sick of every Spider-Man story being about freakin’ Norman Osborn, and I’m sick of Bendis painting his interests on only the blankest walls he can find.

  5. Zom says:

    Hmmm… think you’re being over generous. As I see it the criticism on offer revolves around not being able to take the character seriously because of various dumb things that happened years ago.

    rather just frustration with the way the Green Goblin character (does anybody remember that’s who he is?) has become so plastic that a better name for him now might be, simply, “Big Bad”.

    I’m not sure if he is. Like I say, Ellis established a strong benchmark and restablised the character in terms of concept if not in terms of continuity. The Dark Reign incarnation is simply an extension of that character concept, although how successful Dark reign has been in extending it is open to debate. Whatever, I think we can all forget what happened with those twins, twas years ago.

    But, but, but I totally get that Matt was dashing off frustrations, and I feel a little guilty going on like I have.

  6. pillock says:

    Not at all! I thought my comment actually sounded a little snippy — I haven’t read Ellis’ Thunderbolts, so I’m a bit out of touch to be saying “what good is this character”. Maybe he is now very good, and I just don’t know it.

    Although obviously Dark Reign is just a big steaming pile in any case.

  7. Zom says:

    I quite like Dark Avengers.. sshhhhh!

  8. pillock says:

    Your secret’s safe with me.

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