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Anne Elise Morrigan
11 April 2030 @ 01:55 pm

For those of you who have come here for the first time, welcome!

For those of you who are coming from the now closed blog Absolute Anne, welcome and feel free to add me on your LJ (if you have one).

If you are wondering why this is a semi-open journal, it's because there are some things that are not ready for public consumption. If you want to see the closed parts, you need an LJ, you need to add me, and you need me to add you back (but I will only add back people who I actually know).

If you are looking for places to follow Anne, you can find me on Twitter (@anne_elise) and, if you actually know me in real life, on Facebook. Of course, if you are TRULY awesome, you will come to Google+ and find me there.

Comment to this post if you want to be added. Comments are screened on this post.

If you have already been banned from this journal, do not comment anonymously and beg to be added back. Just lurk like the troll you are.
Feeling: contentcontent
Anne Elise Morrigan
09 November 2013 @ 02:07 pm
You saw my last substantive entry to this journal.

You will not see another. I do not hate LJ, I just don't find myself coming here any more. While a few dedicated people continue to make daily posts here, I find LJ's interface, community, and overall feel to no longer be what I am after.

Don't despair; I still hate Facebook. I haven't been sucked in to making big posts there or sharing pictures. I'm only there to follow people in my life who refuse to use anything else, i.e. people I actually know and have met in person. The only times I make a direct post to FB is to mock it for asking me to give it more information.

If you are looking for me online, I suggest Twitter (@anne_elise). I like it a lot more than I ever thought I would.

I have a blog that is coming soon - I will announce it here - but soon is a relative term. I have a few other things in the works, but LJ sadly is not one of them.

Having been here since December 2003, almost a decade, LJ was at one time the most important social aspect of my life, and the decline of it over the years and the loss of community that has changed with the change in who is running it, as well as the paid features of LJ, have caused it to lose a lot of its appeal. Like other platforms, I am sure there are many dedicated users, but it no longer serves my needs.

I'd like to say leaving LJ is bittersweet... it isn't... it's just bitter. Watching the decline of this site and the community of fandom, the LJ source code becoming more outdated as time goes by, and the usefulness of the medium dwindle, leaves nothing but a nasty taste in my mouth. To those of you still committed to being here, I wish you well, and I hope that you enjoy what you have. I have left LJ behind; LJ has left me behind; either way, I haven't been here over the past year, and I am unlikely to ever return.

My page will remain up, mostly intact. At some point, I will go back and edit or delete old posts (mostly the posts that would qualify as status updates), in order to preserve anything of value and to make those things easier to find. Feel free to say hi in other places, if you like, and if you don't, again, I wish you well.

Finally, this all coincides with the decline in my interest in blogging at all. I find that I have less to say here or in other places, as my life is constantly made richer by the people actually in it. I find that blogging is a less pleasurable activity then playing MMOs or streaming video/music. I find that blogging is hard when you are a teacher and you have to be very careful what you talk about.

Anywho, that's enough for now.,.. perhaps forever. Look for one more post in the future detailing my new activities elsewhere. You can find me in the following places:

Twitter: @anne_elise
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AnneEliseMorrigan
Facebook: Anne Elise Morrigan (just another way to read my Twitter and some articles I might link when I wanna comment on them with more than 140 characters).
Anne Elise Morrigan
07 November 2012 @ 02:05 pm
For those of you who do not know, part of my undergrad education was actually learning how to break down and analyze politics and deliver speeches on it every weekend, so I have actually been trained to do this. My opinions are not expert level, by any stretch of the imagination, but since everything I thought would happen did, and no TV or political personality anywhere did the same, I'm gonna say I have as much expertise as those who get paid to bloviate on cable news (which, by the way, no one should ever watch). I will tip my hat to RealClearPolitics.com and Nate Silver's Five-Thirty-Eight blog for the New York Times, which were useful aggregators for the information that was out there, and they were my go to sources for my thoughts and predictions. By the way, again, these sites had called the election and saw it as I did, based on the facts in evidence, the hard data available, and years of working with these numbers.

One more thing, before I get into this: I am suspending my "go for the funny" rule for this post because I'm not attempting to be overtly political, but rather explaining why things happened the way that they did when so many people felt or worried that things will go the other way. I would love nothing more than to take pot shots at idiots like Karl Rove, Victoria Jackson, Ted Nugent, everyone at Fox News and on right-wing talk radio, but there are enough people covering that field, and I'd probably just be doing a poor imitation of their humor.

So, here we go: 10 things to chew on after the 2012 electionCollapse )
Feeling: contentcontent
Anne Elise Morrigan
02 October 2012 @ 12:17 pm
Just a brief message: after years and years of LJ paid, I'm giving it up. The simple truth is that I'm not that interested in blogging much anymore, and while I love LJ and everything that this place has brought me since December 2003, I'm kinda tired of it. I don't even check up on my communities because I simply do not have the time to sit and read a friends page.

As much as I despise it, Facebook and sites like it have won. People just want to share things really quickly, toss out an idea here and there, and that's about all we really have time for any more. I'm not giving up my LJ (I will peek in here from time to time), but I have barely posted here in two years. Many of my friends have moved almost completely to Facebook or another site, and so, aside from scanlation communities and a few other fanish things, there is little point to remaining here and paying for it.

So, here's the deal: find me elsewhere.

Mostly, I tend to prefer Twitter because the conversations that happen there are wild as people quip back and forth, so I'm @anne_elise

If you want to add me to Facebook, go ahead (Anne Elise Morrigan).

If you want to add me to Google+ (the site I wish was winning, but isn't), go ahead (again, Anne Elise Morrigan).

I may post here from time to time; I may not. I may peek in; I may not. Thank you to all the people who have become a part of my life through this site.

This is not a good bye, it's just time for a change. To what, I do not know yet.
Anne Elise Morrigan
5. An apology for Voyager and Enterprise - I know that these shows have their fans, I even think that both shows have high points that make up for the shows mostly sucking, but let's face it - they suck. The reason why we only have original series and ST:TNG movies (aside from the reboot) is because none of the shows past TNG have been strong enough to carry non-trekkies into the theaters. People who are not Star Trek fans will watch and do know about the first two series. DS9 on, it's all fanish, and Voyager and Enterprise are so deeply fanish that they largely suck. Paramount needs to issue a serious apology for both shows so that we can all move on.

4. The official release of any gambling manga or anime - The non-otaku friends of mine (and some of my otaku friends) have no idea what I'm talking about, but gambling manga and anime are a genre that we really do not get to see outside of Japanese entertainment. Titles like Kaiji, Akagi and One Outs: Nobody wins but I are amazing stories, centered around crazy gambling main characters who are often putting their lives on the line for a bet, and winning in crazy, interesting and amazing ways. So why will these never come out? They are ugly. With the exception of One Outs, the character designs in these manga and anime are so ugly that many American fans just cannot stand them. It's because they are in a hard-core section of seinen, which is meant to be more realistic and very "un-pretty." Since kids and 20-somethings will have little to no interest, American companies will never bring these over.

3. The Death of Terrestrial Radio - As much as we would like to think that in the day and age of the internet and music online, record companies, who still control the music industry and a lot of artists, are still trying to make radio relevant, and as long as they have the money, radio will determine what bands and artists get pushed and which ones get shelved and have to struggle to get anyone to hear them. Yes, iTunes and other online services have made radio less relevant, but in reality, the recording industry is still behind most of those legit online things, even if it is against their will. Eventually, terrestrial radio will die, but it won't happen in my life time.Airplay will remain one of the most important indicators for record companies and bands outside of the acceptable and ever narrowing mainstream who got duped into signing a contract will be stuck because of antiquated beliefs held by stupid old men.

2. An official DVD release of Song of the South - I have had the argument with people who think it's just fine that Disney has kept this locked up because it's racist. You know what? Song of the South, in many respects, is no more racist than Huckleberry Finn, and like Twain's classic, it is an important part of American cultural history that we should not be hiding from. James Baskett, who played Uncle Remus, won an Honorary Academy Award for his performance. Yes, the film has problems, but they are problems we should be willing to engage and discuss, and not ignore that technically speaking, this is one of the most important films ever made. Disney will use "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" to market their theme parks, but the movie that song is from will remain in their vaults because they are cowards.

1. An official release of Aoi Hana - And this is what I really wanted to get to. If you don't know Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers), it is a yuri manga and anime written by Takako Shimura, and it is one of the few depictions of lesbian relations in recent times that is more realistic than it is idealistic or melodramatic. Takako Shimura is one of the few authors out there who is writing LGBT stories in an honest or meaningful manner without trying to "cash in" on the growing acceptance of LGBT people in society at large. Her other big work, Wandering Son, which is about prepubescent transgender issues, actually has been released, but for reasons passing understanding, Aoi Hana remains shelved and currently only available in scans and illegal downloading forms. I cannot really blame American companies because it didn't do well in Japan (the anime, the manga seems to be doing fine), but someone, anyone needs to make this available.
Feeling: annoyedannoyed
Anne Elise Morrigan
I recently said on Twitter that I really don't want people to add to political commentary unless it is to make a joke. Frankly, it's August and I'm already sick of everything being covered to death and then to the point of absurdity, so from now until December, I give you my promise that I will make no political commentary that is not intended to be taken as a joke. Whether or not that joke is funny, well I cannot promise that. By my made up statistics, my jokes land about 37.8% of the time, so I am a very fail funny girl, but I do what I can.

Basically, it's so angry, so ugly and so awful, that my flamingo Ron and I got caught by a satirical newspaper story this morning, and frankly, we all need to loosen up. The country is not coming to an end. Stop claiming that it is. Vote in November and stop acting like your freedoms are being denied or that the candidate you don't support is some kind of Nazi-demon who hates America and or the American people. It's bullshit and it's starting to get to all of us, making us mean, unfunny, humorless bastards. Stop it. Stop it now. Find the funny.

So, with that, here's a list of things that Mitt Romney could say that would get my vote. Yes, everything on this list is a joke; it's meant to be funny; some of it is meant to be offensive funny; deal with it. If you are taking this too seriously, then you need to loosen up and learn to laugh again. Please, for the love of all that does not suck, laugh.

"I think the Dallas Cowboys would be better off in Salt Lake City."

"I watched Legend of the Overfiend and La Blue Girl for their amazing plots." (Both are notable hentai animes)

"If you love Anne [Romney], you are gonna love her sister-wives!"

"Secretary of State Bill Maher."

"You know John [Stewart of the Daily Show], I'm pleased that my church saved the souls of six million people killed in WWII."

"I'm going to open diplomatic relations with Planet Kolob to help us fight against the Galactic Emperor Xenu."

"Voulez vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?"

"We [Mormon's] perfected that gay book you know as the Queen James Bible."

"Mr. Obama, you have a very nice, toned and well defined ass."

"So Paul Ryan is backstage, smoking a cigarette. At least he stopped doing it in bed after we've..." *voice trails off*

"So I was talking to Ann Coulter, true story, she learned how to tuck from RuPaul."

"I laughed all the way through Tray Parker and Matt Stone's Book of Mormon."

"I just don't know what to do since I found Anne's [Romney] shrine to Michelle [Obama]."

"You have to admire Joseph Smith. That man really knew how to pull a fast one! Just like L. Ron Hubbard."

"Shut your fucking pill-popping mouth, Rush!"

"Paul Ryan has to decline being my VP pick, so here's my second choice, Stephen Colbert!"

"I like my coffee with a splash of whiskey."

"I have no interest in ordinary humans, however, if any of you are aliens, ESP users or Time Travelers, please talk to me. That is all." (A quote from Haruhi Suzumiya that the non-otaku friends of mine might miss).

"I am a Brony."

Now if any of this has offended you because you have lost your sense of humor and you can no longer find the funny, then you are too far gone. If you are buying into this being the most important election ever and if one person wins or one person loses we are all fucked, I remind you that after 8 years of Clinton, 8 years of Bush Jr, and 4 years of Obama, I have been hearing that bullshit for 20 straight years and it has never once been true. Lighten the fuck up, go vote, and stop contributing to the endless hate machine.
Feeling: amusedamused
Anne Elise Morrigan
This past May, House:MD came to an end, and it ended my affiliation with American serialized television. House was the last show made for American TV that I followed, bought the DVD boxsets, and that I actually enjoyed. Beginning in 2004, which should have been a promising year for TV with House and Boston Legal starting in the same year, and ending this May, House was a medical mystery drama that focused more on character development and relationships, featured great writing, acting and even though you could argue that the last season had lost something, the show never even really approached the shark to jump.

Side Note: Boston Legal, unlike House, went downhill after season three when there were major cast changes and David E. Kelly resorted to his gimmick bag that is responsible for ruining everything he has ever made, but that's another topic for another day.

What I thought I would do, to celebrate all the fun I had watching House for the last eight years, is just briefly, walk through each season and some of the themes in a mostly-fun and hopefully funny way. Thank you Brian Singer and Hugh Laurie for all you did in getting the show going and keeping it going, I still need to pick up the boxsets for seasons 7 and 8, and I will... eventually:

A lot of spoilers follow. A lot of comments about the crazy House/Wilson fans out there and the crazy slashy fics they write and their various mental problem. I'm with you, shippers, I agree it's there, but seriously, you take it WAY too far.

8 seasons of House and a ton of spoilersCollapse )

So that's it. Eight years of awesome. It looks like Grimm will have to be my House replacement. Are there other American TV shows I should be checking out? Let me know please. What are you watching?
Feeling: amusedamused
Anne Elise Morrigan
So over Christmas break, yes, eight months ago, I sat down and watched Air Master. I had just listened to the Anime World Order review of it, done by Clarissa, and the show intrigued me again, so I dialed up the fansubs I had from years ago when I had basically downloaded the internet, and I began to watch.

I want to echo what AWO said about this show without just plain stealing it: this is the best show about fighting that has come out in the last two decades, possibly more. Air Master has all of the action that a fan of fighting, MMA or pro wrestling could want without the constipated looks and ten episodes to cover five minutes of time that one might find in a lesser show like Dragonball Z. The plot of the show is that ex-gymnast and very tall 16 year old Aikawa Maki has decided to become a street fighter. Because of her gymnastic training, she has amazing levels of control of her body while in the air, thus she is dubbed the Air Master. Maki fights after the death of her mother to find a sense of wonder that she lost in gymnastics when her mother died. So, no boys to impress, no family to avenge, Maki fights just for herself because she loves to fight.

This is pretty much the basic plot. Maki likes to fight, she wants to fight stronger people, she fights stronger people, adventures sometimes happen, but to directly steal Clarissa's line (and I've been stealing this a lot) this show is about fucking up someone's Christmas because you kicked them in the face.

If this show were just about fighting, that would make it worth watching, but Air Master manages to one-up a fighting show by using Maki's friends as parodies of otaku fetish stereotypes. So, one of Maki's friends, Mina, is a fanservice parody, in that she has giant boobs and a lesbian crush on Maki. Normally, this would be really annoying, but instead, because it's a parody, it's hilarious. Mina's boobs are the size where it's not attractive, and if you think it's attractive, there might be something wrong with you. Mina's boobs are the size where you wonder how she can stand up and it's actually kinda gross. So instead of making all the fanboys happy, they watch expecting something to wank to, Mina is designed to mock their desires, which gets increasingly hilarious as the show goes on. Another character, Renge, is the parody of the petite childish high school girl, in the vein of Chiyo from Azumanga Diaoh, only instead of being cute, Renge is quite possibly the most annoying character in all of anime. If you are watching this and you do not know the trope and you don't know it's a parody, Renge can turn you off to the show, but when you realize that not only is it a parody, but the voice actress who voices Renge is the same as the voice of Chiyo from Azumanga Daioh, her annoyance just gets more hilarious and insane as the show progresses. The show is chalk full of these parodies and references to things otaku like, things about other fighting shows that are bad, and general knowledge about fighting, MMA and pro-wrestling. Do you have to get all of it to enjoy it? No, not really, but you do have to understand enough to be able to understand a bit of it, or all of these parodies will overwhelm and annoy you.

The big negative that Air Master has is that it is not pretty. The character designs are more realistic and much less in the vein of what most people consider to be "anime" style (even though there is no such thing as anime style, and if you think there is, you're an idiot). I suppose someone could find them attractive, but I don't know who. While the designs are not pretty, the animation is stunning. There isn't a lot in the way of reused cells or scenes, the fights are amazingly choreographed and superbly animated, so while the designs are not pretty, every thing moves as perfectly as possible and the show never drags. It's impossible to get bored with what you are watching in this show.

So, should you watch Air Master?

If you have any familiarity with fighting, martial arts, pro wrestling, or you have liked and enjoyed fighting anime in the past, then this show is something you will probably like and should watch at least the first two episodes.

If you know a lot about anime tropes and enjoy well-executed parodies, Air Master has a lot to offer.

If you are one of my friends who doesn't watch much in the way of anime and you have no interest in fighting, this show will never grab you. If you've never seen a preview for a Jet Li movie and thought "That looks awesome," then there is nothing in Air Master for you.

If you are a hardcore Dragonball Z fan and you actually like it when Goku or Vegeta spend five episodes powering up looking like they are about to shit their pants, you are a bad person and you will not like Air Master.

At 27 episodes, you can plow through Air Master in a week, and it's readily available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Funimation's site. The only problem is that the official subtitles are renowned for being horrible, so be wary of that. I watched this on fansubs, so I didn't have any problems with the subtitles.

The big reason why a lot of my friends should watch this show is if you know Emily, you know she went to China to be an English teacher for a while, or so she tells us. I believe that Air Master is the true story of what Emily actually did. She wasn't a teacher in China; she was a street fighter in Japan. I don't know... you watch and tell me... and let Emily know that it's time for the truth to come out.
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Feeling: amusedamused
Anne Elise Morrigan
I have really been avoiding this because the last time I made a post about religion, people got really mad at me and left. Well, they didn't get the George Carlin homage, and I cannot be blamed for that, so enough of me being gun-shy, let's talk about what Anne actually believes.

Yes, you read that right. I'm going to write about what I actually believe about religion. Now, some qualifiers: I am not, nor will I ever, ask or think that anyone should believe as I do. Believe whatever the fuck you want, I don't really care. I only care about religious beliefs when people try to make their beliefs public policy that the rest of us have to live by because that is the point at which it is no longer your First Amendment Right and it is now affecting me, but I'm going to leave most of that off.

In order to facilitate this, I will frame it in the form of questions and comments that often get lobbed at me, much the way that trans-issue questions get lobbed at me:

Anne's BeliefsCollapse )
Tags: ,
Feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Anne Elise Morrigan
First, none of my vegan friends have ever called me a "Blood Eater" or said anything insulting or shaming towards me for eating meat. Other vegans have, but that's why they aren't my friends. I do, however, kind of like the term blood eater, but more on that later.

My friend emmapoe has been pushing Meatless Mondays for a while, and even though I am a meat eater, I think that having at least one vegan/veggie meal a week is a good idea. In general, the meals are low fat, high nutrition, and they were an idea supported by my late grandfather, a man who loved meat. My only issue with Meatless Mondays is that it's not necessarily the best day for people to have or experiment with veggie meals. I would suggest that people pick a day to abstain from meat and make that a day where they can learn about their options, explore, and play around in the kitchen. There is nothing wrong with just buying some Morningstar burgers and making a salad, but you won't learn much about your food from doing that.

If you want a great vegan stir fry, check out my Tumblr later today.

Also, while I think that having one day of meals devoid of meat every week is a good thing, especially for those of us who eat a ton of meat, the problem is, we still eat a ton of meat. The daily recommended serving of meat is and has been two to three servings of 3oz to 4oz of meat per day. Just for your information, the only people who need to eat 12oz of meat a day are high level athletes and pregnant/nursing mothers. Everyone else should stick to 6oz to 8oz per day, which is at most, half a pound of meat. The problem here is that the average hamburger is 4oz. Many people eat too many hamburgers in a sitting, often topped with bacon, for more meaty goodness. If hamburgers were the only problem, we could handle it, but the smallest steak usually comes in the 6oz range, and more often steaks are around 12oz. The worst offender is the meat people tend to think of as the healthiest: chicken breasts. The average chicken breast can be 14oz, and many people will not think twice about eating a whole breast because they are low in fat and so they are considered to be healthy. While Meatless Monday is a great idea, it will have little importance or impact of we do not reduce the sizes of our average meat intake.

Now, some disclosure. Twice, in my life, I have gone off of meat. The first time, I was a freshman in college, and the meat served in dining halls was wrong. I attempted to live off of the veggie options, which were many, and I went slowly insane. It lasted two weeks. The second time, I was in Arizona as a grad student, trying to save money in the summer by eating beans and rice and lots of veggies. Again, I went slowly insane. The issue with lifestyles is that they are not for everyone, so I cannot very well sit here and preach to people that they need to give up meat when I am completely incapable of doing it. And, truth be told, even if I were capable, I don't think that I would. Health concerns aside, to quote from Pulp Fiction "Bacon tastes good! Pork chops taste good!" And that's enough for me. But, if we want meat to be sustainable instead of factory farming being a huge environmental hazard, as it is now, we all have to reduce our intake to what we need, and replace our calories that we are losing from eating so much meat by eating more fruits and veg.

The last point here is the issue of protein, and it's one that has to be discussed. While we do eat far too much protein, as we reduce our meat intake, it is important to make sure that you are getting the 9 essential amino acids. Now, all nine of these are found in meat products, but only soy beans have complete proteins in the veggie kingdom. Lentils and chickpeas are close, but you need to augment them with seeds or nuts in order to get complete proteins. What many people do not understand is that hummus is a complete protein, when it is made with tahini, which comes from sesame seeds. My basic point here is that protein, like most other nutrients, is about quality and completeness, not quantity. As you make your selections, make sure you are balancing your proteins so you are getting the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot synthesize.

So, support Meatless Mondays, work on Meat Reduction, and think about what you eat instead of just shoving whatever into your mouth. Just some thoughts from a confirmed and proud Blood Eater. Sorry, I know that's supposed to be an insult, but it just sounds so cool...
Feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Anne Elise Morrigan
Around two years ago or so, emmapoe and I were watching an episode of K-ON! on her tiny blue netbook and fangirling all over it while her husband sat across the room looking at the strangeness of the two of us enjoying this show about a girls' high school music club. The songs were bad, but they are supposed to be bad. After all, these songs are supposed to be written and performed by 16-17 year old girls in high school, one of whom just learned to play guitar a month or so before their first performance. We enjoyed the relationships between the girls, we enjoyed the bad music, which at least reminded me of the crappy kinds of poetry and music I wrote in high school that will never see the light of day, and there was no creepy crap about it. It was and it is always nice to watch a show or a movie that focuses on female characters who are not constantly obsessed with getting boys or getting married, and none of that crap creeps it way into K-ON!.

Now, when I say that the music is bad, it's relatively bad. If I were to compare it to anything I actually listen to, it would rank pretty low, and when taken out of context, like this...

... it's really annoying and doesn't make a lot of sense (by the way, the video is flipped because that's what happens to openings on YouTube). So, you have to take it all with a grain of salt.

So why does this need a defense? Well, emmapoe and I might not have been aware, and we might not care to be aware, but we are not the target audience of K-ON! which is published in a Seinen magazine, which means, creepily, the manga and the anime is targeted at adult men, typically 16-30. We watched the show enjoying the interplay between the girls, the idealized girls' high school where everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves (which I never had), and the fact that this was a show devoid of boys who seem to take over any scene they find themselves in because that's just how it goes.

Now, the target audience isn't necessarily a problem, until you start looking into why men 16-30 are watching this show: to buy/make porn of it, dolls and figurines dressed in creepy fetish outfits, and fill out polls about which one of the girls in the show they would marry if it were legal to marry 2D characters. K-ON! and other shows like it, inspires and is meant to inspire this kind of crap in really creepy people. These men line up to buy the singles and made them the fastest selling singles in Japan pop music history, even though you cannot listen to these songs and think that they are objectively good. They buy tickets to huge idol events where the voice actresses lip sync to the songs in outfits, as seen here:

Now, admittedly, these people are still far better than hipsters in that they actually like something as opposed to liking something "ironically" (by the way, next time you run into a hipster, properly define irony for the douche bag), but come on! ... What, you expected me to not take a pot-shot at hipsters?

I am also not arguing that K-ON! is some how this pure show with pure intentions, because it isn't, and purity is part of the creepy aspects of moe anyway. I will also not deny that I see Mio/Ritsu, but to be fair, Mugi is shipping her friends in the show, and it's hard to deny Ritsu's crush on Mio, though it is not mutual at all, but whatever. The show is not porny or creepy, and not everything about a fandom has to be sexual. The extent to which male fans bring sex to a show (and to be fair, the extent to which female fans bring sex to a show) can end up changing the perception of the show in ways that are not necessary. For example, if I showed an episode of K-ON! to most non-anime fans, told them that it was a show for girls, and just let it play, they would probably never even guess that there was a throng of creepy moe fanboys out there with hug pillows perverting something that doesn't actually need any perversion. Sawako brings just enough perversion to the show in a way that is funny, not creepy.

The point of this is two-fold: 1) Just because a show is intended to inspire creepy fanboys to spend their time and money on their creepy pursuits, it should not taint the show as inherently bad. 2) The existence of such fans should not be allowed to hinder the enjoyment of the show that is felt by people who identify with the characters and chuckle bemused by the light-hearted comedy that occurs.

Is K-ON! some amazing ground breaking revolution in animation? No, of course not. But I would like to be able to have my memories of enjoying the show with a friend without having to defend a show, not for what is in the show, but for the creeps who like the show for completely different reasons than what inspired emmapoe and I to waste half an hour watching an episode on a tiny 10 inch screen.

If you cannot enjoy a show because other fans of the show suck, then there isn't something wrong with the show, there is something wrong with you.

And yes, my desktop wallpaper is K-ON! It has been for two years now, and every morning, it just makes me smile.
Feeling: hopefulhopeful
Anne Elise Morrigan
25 May 2012 @ 11:18 am
OK, this, unlike the previous list, has no criteria other than "What are the 10 animated movies I would want to watch right now?" There is a reason for doing these lists that I want to cover in this post:

We have to distinguish between favorite and best, and be honest about the things that we like. That may seem snotty and snobbish, but until we get to a point where we can say "I like that movie, but it is terrible, and here's why..." or "I do not like that at all, but here's why it's still good/important..." then any discussion about art and/or culture is useless. Yes, occasionally, we enjoy things that are actually "good" and not just "fun." We also need to remove the stigma of movies, TV shows and books that we go to purely for entertainment. People should be allowed to like what they like, and while we should engage in a useful discussion about whether or not it is good or bad which is separate from whether or not we like or do not like it.

My example for this is usually a show like Friends, which is a terrible show. The characters are as fake as it gets, those apartments are not affordable to people working those jobs in New York, and the writing and acting are horrible. All that being said, people are allowed to like it and many people do. Let's just not pretend that there is anything "good" about the show aside from its "entertainment value" (I find nothing entertaining about it, having seen 10 episodes of Friends and while watching them out of politeness to friends of mine, I worked very hard to not mutilate myself on their couch... by the way, I no longer associate with any of these people).

Truth be told, I do not do this all the time, and I know it. I will bag on shit people like because I do not understand how someone can defend somethings, like a Michael Bay movie. Still, I think that if we can distinguish between what we like and what's good, and admit that not everything we like is good, we can have better and less hostile discussions about these topics. I like Dodgeball, but it is a terrible movie.

The hard part about this list is that it isn't static. These are the 10 movies I would like to sit down and watch right now. I think each of these movies has some value, but you will notice that only one of them made my 10 best list. I'm gonna keep this short, but I have also included the directors, the same as last time. Too often, we associate animated movies with companies and not with the people who made them. We do not do this with live action films, and instead of paying attention to just the studio, it would help if we all started paying attention to directors as well.

My current 10 favorite animated filmsCollapse )

So, that's it. Done with that now. What are your favorite anime films? Which animated films do you think are "best" and what are your criteria?
Feeling: amusedamused
Anne Elise Morrigan
So, a few notes about this list. I have been trying to compile and explain this list for about five years now. For those of you who do not know, I am very passionate about animation as a medium and I think that it is largely under appreciated and misunderstood. I had a few rules going into this in order to make the list more useful. So, here they are:

First, no directors get more than one item in the top ten. Second, any animated film made in the last twenty years has to ground breaking and influential on the medium, not just on culture. In short, anything made recently has to be the absolute cream of the crop, otherwise, this list is easily populated by things made in only the last fifteen years. Third, the films listed must not only have stood the tests of time, they must continue to be looked at as examples of how animated narratives must be done, if they are to be done well. Fourth, the art and the story are weighed equally and they must be the valued highly by fans and critics alike.

Now, the real problem is that after a lot of research and compiling of this list, a few fantastic movies did not make the list, so here's why:

The entire Dreamworks animated catalog was left off for two reasons: 1) the films have not really been put to the test as far as time goes, and 2) nothing Dreamworks has done has actually been new or ground breaking. I love Shrek, a lot of people love Shrek, but when you look at it, it is Fractured Fairy Tales in a feature length form, and it doesn't really measure up to what did make this list.

The Iron Giant should have found a place on this list. It is an amazing movie and it is getting edged out by some other things for reasons that I will go into. Who knows? When I revisit this list down the road, it might have to come back.

The films of Hayao Miyazaki, particularly Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away could have all easily made this list, but only one Miyazaki film could be on the list because of the rules.

The films of the Disney revival of the late 80s and early 90s have been left off entirely. I do not think that we are judging or have judged these films accurately at all. Each of these films were universally praised and universally uncriticized, so until we have some distance from them and are able to revisit them with fresh eyes, I have a hard time placing them in a top 10 list, unless it's my favorites list.

The films of Makoto Shinkai are also not represented here, for much the same reason that I have for leaving off the films of Dreamworks. I think that they are amazing, but Shinkai uses the same trick over and over again, which is great and no one else makes movies like he does, but they are too new to really be included and not groundbreaking enough.

Finally, this is not a list of my favorites. That comes later. These are the 10 films I think can objectively be called the ten best animated features thus far, based on the criteria stated above. So, here we go

The List...Collapse )

So there it is, the current list of what I think are the 10 best animated films of all time, at least to this point. It is an incredibly hard statement to make, but I tried to keep personal taste out of it as much as I could. If you are wondering what my 10 favorite animated films are, well, you will just have to wait for tomorrow, now won't you?
Feeling: accomplishedaccomplished
Anne Elise Morrigan
I have been bouncing this idea around for some time about discussing the 10 or so best animated feature films, as distinct from my favorite animated feature films because they are very different lists. This list is in a little bit of flux because I cannot decide on the placement of certain films, but I think I'm pretty set on the 10 best as well as having reasons for why they are the 10 best. However, before I get to that, I want to talk about films, great or not, that would not be on any best animated films list and the reasons why:

1. Fantasia - It is not a feature film. It is a collection of animated shorts. If you want to include Fantasia, which I think is awesome, then you have to include Robot Carnival and the Animatrix, and of those collections, the Animatrix is the only one with a cohesive story (but not really).

2. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut - Another film I think is great, but one of the criteria of a great animated film is great animation, and less than six minutes into the movie, Trey and Matt make it clear that 1) they do not care about animation and 2) they are willing to poke fun at their own bad animation. Still, one of the great American movie musicals as well as some of the best commentary on censorship you will ever see.

3. The Simpsons Movie - OK, it looks great, but no. Just no. It's a long episode, and as episodes go, the Simpsons have done better. A lot better. Unlike the previous two films, I have no problem casting this one aside.

4. Toy Story - CGI fans, shut up. This movie, as well as other early Pixar movies may have laid the ground work for CGI animation as a medium, but this one does not hold up. Tack on the fact that they basically took a Muppet television Christmas special from the 80s and stretched it out into a feature length movie, and I am not impressed. The second and third movies, however, are significantly better, and while they could not have been made without this one, it still does not hold up.

5. The Little Mermaid - Had Disney not so drastically altered the story in so many ways, this could easily be on my favorite movie list as well as the best animated movie list, but this is the ultimate in style over substance. Too much effort was put into music and scenes, and the message of the original Hans Christian Andersen story ends up at the bottom of the sea. Had they simply not called it "The Little Mermaid," then I would have no problem with this movie at all, but they did. Also, people falsely credit this with the start of the Disney revival, but it isn't. That would be The Great Mouse Detective.

6. Puss in Boots - No, not the Shrek spin-off, rather the Toei animation classic from the 1960s that was actually dubbed and released in American theaters. Even though this is one of the most important animated films, and it is clearly the best animated film from 1968-1978 (otherwise known as the time in which animation almost died), it just doesn't hold up well. Still, if you haven't seen it, it is worth seeing for historical value. Also, the Shrek spin-off film wouldn't make my list either.

So... what is making the list and why? Tomorrow...
Feeling: amusedamused
Anne Elise Morrigan
And yes, I know it was the Ides of March in Julius Caesar, but I'm not a ruler of Rome and it's not March, now is it? Here's the deal.

This is not an "OMG I'm so sorry I'm not posting/paying attention to Livejournal," because I'm not. I've been busy. We have a lot going on right now, and I do not have the time to write and edit the kinds of posts I want to write and edit. However, this has meant that I am not writing or editing much of anything, aside from lesson plans and student work, and frankly, while I do get paid for that, it's no good.

My writing has stalled to shit. I look at blank Word documents and the work on my diss and my other projects and I cannot write. Not I don't know how or I don't know what to write; I try to force myself to write, and nothing good comes out, so I end up deleting it and all the time I spent writing, ah fuck it.

Then I think back to 2004-2005, when I was writing all the time, even at a time when I was working 80 hours a week, I still made the time to walk to the library and make a post to my blog (which is dead and deleted, you'll never find it, even those of you who were there in my Blogspot days) back when I still didn't have internet at home. The bottom line is I'm not writing, it is pulling me down emotionally and it is starting to impact me professionally. My best work, academically speaking, came when I was active in blogging and getting out posts on a daily or almost daily basis. I have to find that again.

Here's the problem: I'm gun shy.

I have a lot I want to write about politics - but there are a lot of people who already agree with me, so what's the point, and I don't want to anger my friends who disagree with me.

I want to write reviews - but who really cares? I am not an expert on the things that I am often reviewing, I have insight, but frankly, people will like what they like and no one should base what they watch, read or listen to based on what I watch, read or listen to. Do you really want your time to be spent reading 19th century French melodrama, Shakespeare, Melville, Russian novelists and Virginia Woolf? I doubt it. Only insane people like me choose that combination. As to anime and manga reviews, I want to do them, but my friends who are into anime and manga are watching/reading already more than they can handle, and those who aren't don't really have room to add another interest to their lives.

I want to write about issues - but I know I will turn into exactly what I hate about people who write on issues. Every time I see a post about what "feminists" think, I get the knee-jerk reaction that is "No, that is only what School X of feminism thinks! Schools A and Y actually think the opposite, and Schools B, Z, D, and Q have mixed and lively debates on what they should think about the issue you just over-simplified." The example of this is almost always porn, which Radical Feminists (Marxist/2nd wave, etc, see the level of definition this would take) are opposed to porn, and people will represent that is all feminists are opposed to porn, when in fact, Gender Feminists, Queer Feminists, 3rd and 4th wave feminists, and many other feminist schools on the fringes have opposite or more nuanced views that are not as simple as MacKinnon and Dworkin trying to claim that porn is the cause of 100% of societies problems (and see... I'm doing it right now: over-simplifying and over-generalizing a more complex issue and the view on that issue to explain why I avoid writing about issues). There is no way to have a blog post about any issue worth reading about that doesn't instantly devolve into "lowest common denominator" BS without being so narrow as to limit the audience drastically. I feel I should save those ideas for journal articles anyway.

Well, anyway, fuck all that because it doesn't matter. Starting tomorrow, and for the rest of May at the very least, there will be no fewer than 5 substantive posts on this journal a week (not counting this one). Bottom line, I need the practice. I have to write; it has to feel natural again. The time to be gun shy is over. It's time to start making regular posts again.

So, let me apologize in advance: I am sorry if what I write offends you. I'm sorry if you disagree. I welcome informed and well-written dissent. I do not welcome nit-picky bullshit because it will neither help me nor advance any kind of useful discussion. If you specialize in nit-picky bullshit like people who are perma-banned from this journal because you never read books because "reading is boring," leave now. In fact, if you don't read books, why the fuck are you pretending to be my friend in the first place?

Also, please, what do you want to see? What do you want to read? Some of you have been with me since 2004, so you've seen a lot of me already. What would you like to see now?

I hope you enjoy. If you don't enjoy, well then, no one made you come here or read, now did they?
Feeling: determineddetermined
Anne Elise Morrigan
OK, for those who do not know, every year, I sit down and intentionally watch an anime which is bad and I know it's bad. I want to make sure that I know what is out there so that when I get outraged by the moe-crap that exists, I can point to a recent example of it and I can call it out. Thankfully, between Cruchyroll and Funimation, there is no shortage of bad, moe, otaku-bait shows being released that are just recycled clinchés which are best ignored, so each year, it is pretty easy to find a show. This is my entry for 2011, and if you are curious, you can watch Haganai on Funimation.com and see it for yourself.

The show is 12 episodes long; it ran from October 7, 2011, to December 23, 2011. It is directed by Hisashi Saito who has a lot of credits as for key animation for shows like Gundam Seed and Code Geass, but his directing credits range from the very good (Bamboo Blade and Planetes) to utter SHIT (Sora no Otoshimono... a show no one should bother watching).

So, first thing: I do not know why Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is shortened to Haganai. And I don't care. The literal translation of the full title is "I don't have many friends," and that is basically what the show is about. The main character is Kodaka Hasegawa, who is half English and half Japanese, and because of this, he has natural dirty blond hair and light eyes that make it look like he's wearing contacts while keeping the facial features of his Japanese father. He looks like a typical Japanese delinquent known for dying their hair and wearing light colored contacts, and sadly for Kodaka, perception is reality, so everyone is afraid of him. As he enters his new school, he cannot make friends, and he settles into a very lonely life, until he stumbles across a girl, Yozora Mikazuki, and finds her talking to an imaginary friend she has named Tomo. After a brief exchange, they decide to do what happens in all high school animes: they start a club. The Neighbors Club is a club for people who want to make friends but they cannot. Once the club is open, the flood of otaku-fetish girls come in and the fanservice is complete. So, we have:

Sena Kashiwazaki: the daughter of the headmaster of the school, a blonde rich girl who is stuck up, treats men like servants, and who cannot seem to get any female friends, and is desperate for them. She gets hardcore into playing dating sims.

Rika Shiguma: a reclusive nerdy scientist, whom Kodaka saves from a lab explosion, and she joins because Kodaka saved her and she thinks she has to pay him back with sex. Her misguided beliefs about human relationships come from 1) being a geek and 2) reading way too much porn doujinshi (she favors gay-male robot sex... don't ask).

Yukimura Kusunoki: a "boy" (actually a girl pretending to be a boy), who follows around Kodaka because "he" idolizes the "delinquent" myth that has arisen around Kodaka and "he" wishes to become a "tough man." Everyone takes Yukimura for a boy, except for Yozora, who decides that "he" has to wear a maid outfit (so it's a girl, pretending to be a boy, who is cross dressing as a girl), which fuels Rika's yaoi beliefs about Kodaka and Yukimura. Confused yet? Good.

Maria Takayama: a 10-year old nun (I'm not making this up) who is a teacher at the school that Yozora bullies into being the club adviser and into getting the club room. Maria eats nothing but junk food until Kodaka starts making her healthy lunches, which of course, causes her to develop a crush on him and start referring to Kodaka as her "older brother" (onii-san).

Kobato Hasegawa: Kodaka's little sister, a middle school student, who is obsessed with the "show within a show" Full Metal Necromancer, and who dresses in gothic clothing and believes that she is an ancient vampire queen. She sees Maria as an enemy because she is an agent of the church (remember, Maria is a 10 year old nun) and because Maria is moving in on her older brother. So yes, she has a "brother complex" *repeated headdesking*...

So with a cast of otaku-bait checklists like this, you would expect this show to outright suck, and by all rights, it should. Here's the problem: it doesn't. Although this show is set up to be a creepy dating sim anime (even though it is based off of light novels and not a dating sim), it takes several steps to avoid being a horrible show:

1) Kodaka has absolutely no interest in ANY of the girls in the cast. He never looks lustfully at anyone, he never behaves in anything other than a gentlemanly manner, and he never succumbs to the crap that most moe-harem protagonists do which leads to them getting beat up. He is genuinely a nice person who just wants other people to see that he is nice.

2) This show spends a lot of time commenting on the complexity of gender. Not only through the character of Yukimura, who is struggling to find and understand "his" (and later, her) own identity, but Kodaka knew the other main character, Yozora as a child, in which she was presenting herself as a boy. On the day that Kodaka moved away, when they were kids, she planned to meet him wearing a skirt to reveal that she was a girl, but she got scared and never showed up. Kodaka does not realize that Yozora and his childhood friend, the boy he knew as "Taka" are the same person. This reveal is a large portion of what the show is building up to.

3) This show, while it could glorify otaku bullshit, basically comes right out and says that the reason why otaku have no friends is because they act like fucking otaku. They are reclusive and anti-social, and if they want to have friends, they have to get a life. I love that this is setting up the intended audience for a much needed slap in the face.

4) The show is an interesting look at race in Japan. Kodaka and Kobato are half English and half Japanese. Kodaka seems to have gotten the worst of the genes (at least from his perspective) while he states that his little sister is the spitting image of his mother. Kodaka could solve the problems of his appearance by dying his hair black, but he refuses to do so because it is the one trait he really got from his mother, who is now passed away. I wish the series had spent more time on this issue, but the fact that the novels and the show think this needs to be addressed is interesting.

So, the show has some redeeming commentary, but does that save it? Well, almost...

Technically, the animation of the show is fantastic. This has high production values, and that makes it pretty easy to watch. The show is also funny. Most of the jokes hit home and operate to make the intended audience laugh while hopefully making them realize that they are a joke themselves. The character designs are much more "realistic" than most moe crap, and I was struck by the attention to detail in make-up as it seemed to be shown more realistically than most shows which do not pay attention to how girls put make up on. That said, the music is not memorable; the opening song is made for the show, and the ending song is forgettable. To top it all off, the show ends with Yozora's reveal, and the meat of the story with the commenting on gender never really takes off as much as it could.

But the real problem with this show is that, in the end, it is still a fanservice harem show for a moe-obsessed otaku crowd, and while the show does slap that crowd in the face somewhat, it's not nearly hard enough. I wish the show had taken more time to deal with the issues of race, gender, and gender identity that it wants to handle, but it doesn't. And, because this show is based on a series of light novels, which will never be translated, I have no idea whether or not the source material is really going to go there at all.

Is the show horrible? No. It's middle of the road. Is it worth watching? No. Maybe if you are not too far gone into the otaku lifestyle, this show could wake you up and help you realize that you need to get a life, but it also just might push you further in. If you have not watched a lot of anime, steer clear of this, and if you are looking for more as a veteran anime fan, I wouldn't recommend it either. The show seems to exist to be an advertisement for the novel series and to provide fodder for people who will be making doujins off of this.

I did enjoy aspects of this show, but really, is that a surprise? If a show deals with gender play at all, I'll probably watch it. That said, you can safely skip Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, aka Haganai, in favor of many shows that are far, far better.

So, any one have a suggestion for the crappy show I should watch for 2012?
Tags: ,
Feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Anne Elise Morrigan
I have been meaning to do this post for a long time, and it's going to be very trite and fangirlish, but what-the-fuck-ever... stop reading or don't click if you are not in the mood for trite, fangirlish bullshit... seriously... don't read... no one is making you...

Anne rants about bad English versions of anime openings... cut for length and tons of videoCollapse )
Feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Anne Elise Morrigan
As the RIAA and the MPAA, again, fight against technological developments - for the record, they have fought every new technology that has ever come out for film/music/television, and lost - what is missing in the argument is that our copyright system is a broken system. The point of copyright was originally to 1) allow creators to make money from their works and 2) to encourage new works to be made. Now, with recent changes in copyright law, spearheaded by Disney (who was in danger of losing their copyright to Mickey Mouse), copyrights are completely out of control and content publishers, not creators, are holding works hostage.

Now, I am not going to make an argument that you are entitled to download what you want if it is not available to purchase, because you are not. It's illegal. I'm going to argue that it should be legal to download any created work that is not available, commercially in some form, in your region/market. I also think that we need to drastically overhaul copyright so that the system encourages innovation rather than what we have now: tepid, predictable media that does not surprise or challenge its audience in any way. Avatar, I'm looking at you.

Also, I am not a legal expert and I'm likely to get some things wrong, but that said, if every part of my plan were implemented, our problems would be fixed 99%, piracy would dwindle, and content creators would be forced to come up with new ideas.

1. Return copyright to its original term of 14 years - currently, copyright lasts for 105 years. It's insane. You get 14 years to make money off of your work, after that: it's public domain.

2. So long as a work remains in circulation, you can keep the copyright - this means we have to be able to buy it, rent it, download it for pay, or stream it for pay/subscription. If you lapse on this at all and 14 years have passed, you lose your copyright claims, no-take-backs.

3. The current public domain gets moved up to 1945. Everything made before 1945 is in the public domain and may be distributed for free. Currently, the public domain is stuck in the mid-1920s - thank you Sonny Bono.

4. Copyright holders have five years, no extensions, to get everything from 1945-present available to the market at a reasonable market price. This is already the case with music and various streaming outlets, so the MPAA needs to get their shit together with Netflix, Amazon, hulu, etc. and make this happen. This is the only way we can force Disney to rerelease Song of the South.

5. Parody and criticism protections remain in place for using copyrighted materials and are extended to background instances. In other words, they cannot come after you because your YouTube video about you ranting about the latest meme happened to pick up someone's radio in the background.

6. Once you buy it, you can download it forever, regardless of who you paid and whether or not you switch services for your content. This is a must. It also applies to physical media.

7. If the content holders do not make it available in your region/market, then it is public domain for your region/market. If an internet start-up like Crunchyroll and simulcast 20+ shows a week, getting translations done as the shows are produced, you cannot tell me that major movie/tv studios cannot do this. This will encourage companies to realize that we live in a global entertainment world and there is literally no excuse for not having simulcasts for all things.

8. In theater movies can be streamed from a secure site for the same price as a movie ticket. Let's face it, going to the theater fucking sucks. So charge us the premium to see it in the comfort of our homes the week it comes out. The movie theater lovers will still go see it on the big screen, and we can close the megaplexes and turn them into something useful... like the best laser tag arenas ever.

9. DRM is illegal. You buy it, you can do what you want with it, but you are subject to copyright violations if you get caught.

The bottom line of this is that if piracy is a problem, then we have to look at the causes of why people pirate. People pirate media because it costs too much, it's not readily available, and it's not reasonably available. The MPAA and the RIAA have to either make these changes now (or changes like them), and the copyright law must change, or these organizations will lose this fight, no matter how many congress people they buy, no matter if they get the ISPs to go along with their new "Three Strikes" plan, no matter what they do. If the MPAA and the RIAA were actually serious about fixing this system, they would work with the new technology instead of constantly fighting against it.

The other solution: Google, Apple, and Microsoft have enough money to buy the entire movie/tv/music industry 11 or 12 times. The could pool their resources, do it, and put it all online tomorrow...
Feeling: hopefulhopeful
Anne Elise Morrigan
In the past, I had no problems posting my thoughts about the political process in America. I had a lot to say, Bush was quite possibly the worst president in history for starting two wars and not paying for them or reinstating the military draft (gonna get hate for thinking there should be a draft), and I was generally an angrier person. I got over all of that when Bush left office, and after eight years of dumbass in the White House, I realized that our government was set up so no matter who gets elected, things will actually continue to function. Now, I'm sure that statement is going to draw even more heat from people who will either 1) claim Bush ruined us forever or 2) Obama is ruining us forever... all of you shut the fuck up and stop that hyperbole, or I'm going to smack you! /hyperbole

Is everything fine? No it is not, but it never is. In fact, at any given point in world history, there is far more wrong with the world than there is right. A lot of people are nostalgic for the 1950s, believing that everything was right with the world, except for all those pesky anti-Black Jim Crow laws, lack of women's rights, Native Americans couldn't vote, Irish couldn't apply for jobs, all Italians were considered criminals, and if you were gay, you could be thrown in jail for the rest of your life. I'm picking too easy of a time? Well, you try it. Pick any point in time in history and argue for sunshine and roses. You can't. It's never happened.

So why, for the last twelve years, have so many people been losing their collective shit repeatedly?

Because people are stupid and they all failed American Government in high school, in spirit if not in letter.

I used to be one of them. I'm not any more.

Now, I just sit back and laugh. I make snarky 140 character quips on Twitter that are not meant to be taken seriously. I even move past caring about The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because it's the same shit on a different day, and it's not helping.

What I realized is that I was a small part of the problem. I was one of the people who got up in arms and angry about everything I saw as an injustice, and like most people still do now, I went off half-cocked (insert your own tranny joke at my expense), and got angry and pissy and wrote a post.

I still get angry when things happen. I just stopped posting about it. I will link to an article if I think it's really important (so follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Google+), and I may make a snarky fun comment, but I'm not going to devote my time to it. Why? Well, because:

1. What I write reaches a very small audience of mostly like-minded people.
2. I don't have anything new to say given what has already been said, most of the time.
3. I cannot necessarily say it any better than it has already been said.
4. I am sensitive to my friends who may hold well-meaning disagreements with my views, and I choose to not piss them off.

I have, in the past months, started a whole bunch of posts on the following issues: 2012 election, contraception, gay rights, religion, Fox News (fake news), etc. Basically, pick a politically charged topic in the last year, and there has been something I felt I wanted to write about it. That said, each and every time, I let it go for one of the four listed reasons.

We have an overly cluttered discourse. Everyone is talking, and when everyone is talking, no one is listening to anyone. And when no one is listening, everyone just starts shouting louder and louder, and one side calls the other socialist; one side calls the other Nazis; everyone is only concerned for their own point of view, their own beliefs, and their own well-being, and the discourse has shut down.

Endless debates without real discussion. Everyone who doesn't agree with you is wrong and your enemy. Fox News and MSNBC stir the pot on TV; The National Review and The Nation stir the pot on the news stand, and never do we get to a point of any common ground.

And that's why I stopped being a political commentator on my journal. It's also part of why I'm having a hard time coming up with entries to write about.

Now, I am not going to say that we have to stop talking about politics altogether. We cannot. Politics is too important to be left up to the politicians. However, if we could do the following, I think that we could have a more productive discussion and actually get things done:

1. Tone it down. Bush did not destroy the country. Obama isn't destroying it. No one was taking over government. No one is taking over government. We are not enemies. Tone it down.
2. Stop talking and listen to those who disagree with you. Having an opposing view does not make them wrong.
3. Set aside the small issues. Unless it is actually a life and death issue or a really bad law about to pass, we don't need to get up in arms. Choose your battles.
4. Stop blaming people. Everyone is willing to point the finger at someone else, and completely unwilling to accept any responsibility.

Will everything ever be perfect? Are you fucking kidding? The world will always be more fucked up than it is good. History is pretty clear on that. The percentages are not set in stone though, and if we want any gains of good in the world, we need to change the way we are discussing our political discourse, and it actually needs to be a discussion, not a shouting match.

I'm sure someone is going to accuse me of having an agenda here, and I do. My agenda is I'm tired of having a constant headache from everyone yelling and shouting and attacking each other. Stop it, or I will pull this internet over and smack the shit out of you! /hyperbole

One thing more -- I'm likely to fuck up and break a lot of what I said here. I'm likely to loose my shit over something. It will happen. It happens to everyone. The point of this post is, I am choosing to do it as little as possible. We are going to continue to make mistakes and get angry because it's all part of the package. Let's just start thinking before we hit send.
Tags: ,
Feeling: optimisticoptimistic
Anne Elise Morrigan
16 February 2012 @ 10:08 pm
I know some months ago, I promised never to make a "I'm sorry I haven't been posting" post... blah blah blah... and that's not what this is. Not one little bit.

My paid subscription to Livejournal ends in about a month. I have had a paid Livejournal since about 2004. I know this seems a little odd in the days of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc, but paid services keep my site alive, I don't have to see adds, and I get to use more icons than just a single avatar. These are all things that I like.

The problem is, why am I paying? Do not get me wrong; I still love my Livejournal and the few people who read my here (btw... @anne_elise on Twitter is the best place to follow me these days), but I don't post here often, and truth be told, I have been pretty gun-shy recently, worried that my posts would offend people. Why? Well, I have some strong disagreements with people and I have opinions I want to share, but I am afraid that my opinions will piss them off and they will run away, blah blah blah, repeat of the Katsu/Stormy bullshit from a few years ago, where two people I had been very kind to turned on me because I wrote a polemic about worshiping Freddie Mercury (Freddie be with you!). I feel that if I were to make my arguments on current issues, many people might be very upset with me and these are people I wish to not upset, so I have decided to do what so few people do these days: hold my tongue and let it go.

If that wasn't enough, I have two blogs out there, both inactive, a Facebook, which I hate, a Google+ which almost no one posts on (pretty much just Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day), and a Tumblr.

I have put a lot of hours into making this journal. From the layout, to the icons (all of which are mine, and which you are free to use so long as you credit me), to posting, commenting, etc, and it seems like most everyone, even people who claim to hate Facebook, have just migrated to Facebook. So why am I still on LJ? Why am I still paying for it each and every year? It's around $50 a year to keep LJ looking this fabulous.

Now, I have been taking a semi-retired position from blogging, mostly because I really feel burned out by the way social networking is being used. Not the way that it is being used by my friends and other like-minded people who just want to easily share cool things, but the way it is being used to market to us (ads and promoted things on Twitter and Facebook) and the ways in which people are using it to pretend that their horribly bigoted ideas actually have traction in the world (see the 1 Million Moms Facebook page).

Is my LJ worth $50 a year? Should I just let it laps? In reality, it's only around $4 a month.

Some other ideas I have been kicking around: moving to one of the other Journal sites some of my friends have moved to, focusing on Blogger or Wordpress, and really working on Tumblr.

I'm really looking for thoughts and suggestions. I do want to break out of this "slump" in my writing where I'm writing almost nothing and what I do write feels forced and bad. My writing was at its best when I was doing this every day. So some help and feedback would be greatly appreciated.