numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
So, in three weeks I am already 100% Undertale trash. And just after I vowed to leave Tumblr, too.

Again, I know my argument from about a month ago...we need to be the content we want to see here on the DW. I am still working on that. I am not sure if I should make a community or seems pretentious now, where ten years ago I would have just made a comm and not thought twice about it. It really says something about how people left the LJ/DW format en masse that there isn't even an Undertale community here, with Undertale being as huge as it is.

I'm going to make a community. Also a ton of icons.

EDIT: Imma do more shit to it later, this is just the placeholder now.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
As per a conversation I had elsewhere - yeah, fuck Tumblr.

I left a flounce post letting people know I've pretty much fucked off back to an actual blogging site. (Also Ao3, Twitter, and Facebook. BTW I am currently Yves Adele Harlowe on FB until they make me change it again.)

And I've pretty much come to the conclusion that if DreamWidth is to take off and have the success that LiveJournal did, we kind of need to be the content we want to see until other people start coming over. Yeah, it's a lot of work and can be a pain in the ass, but that's how it began 2001-2002 during the Great Migration from Yahoogroups, and that's how it can happen again.

It also tends to follow specific fandoms. LOTR and Harry Potter are the fandoms that really precipitated the move from Yahoogroups to LiveJournal. If a franchise goes viral and its fans who are major content creators start trickling over here, others will follow them.

I know that DreamWidth's image hosting/sharing features are where LiveJournal's were in 2008-2010, but you know what fixes that? Money. And how does DreamWidth get money? New subscribers.

I think one of the main attractions to Tumblr 2010-2011 was the fact that it could be used as a content dump area, because around the time it was created, LJ's image hosting/sharing features were still not ready for prime time (Photobucket/Tinypic, anyone?) but I've been using Imgur for that over the past year or so, anyway.

But really, Tumblr was created as an image-sharing service. You know those image macros that were popular in the late augties, the ones with text of some sort of platitude about life, or a dark personal secret, superimposed over a picture of something like a sepia-toned swingset, or a sunset, or a clothesline, or a picture of flowers? THAT was what Tumblr was created to be - a "hipster secrets" macro aggregator. It was also trying to be Instagram before Instagram was a thing. Well, Instagram *is* a thing (and I'm also over there, but to follow very specific people - and I'm not giving out my contact info over there just yet.)

Tumblr's format is conducive to conflict instead of discussion and debate, ("le discourse" my ass) to context getting lost, and communication breaking down. Its primary use now is to perpetuate "callout culture." It's been that way since 2012, six months or so after I started using it (I joined at the end of 2010 and then just let it sit for a long time.) But it's not getting better. It's never going to get any better. The way the platform and the site and service itself are set up are part of the problem.

I started using it to follow the Tron and Homestuck fandoms. Not to get into 24/7 shouting matches or "discourse," or callout posts over the internet - or to see other people's shouting matches and callout posts played out so much that they drown out the content that I actually came there to see - like a film I was enjoying suddenly cut to one of those David Attenborough shows where a hapless gazelle is being ripped apart by lions at a watering hole (which is exactly the thing that led to this decision, today.) I went there originally to consume fan created content for Tron and Homestuck and other fandoms I like, PERIOD END OF SENTENCE.

Fuck Tumblr. I honestly hope people go back to actual blogging sites - or that The Next Big Thing comes along and squashes it, and people abandon it en masse like they did with Yahoogroups starting around 2002. You hear about people going back to LJ and DW from Tumblr...but you never hear about people going back to Yahoogroups. That's the fate I wish upon Tumblr.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
Last week, I re-examined X Files, and the unintentionally toxic effect that I believe it had on pop culture - a hypothesis which was reinforced by the soft reboot miniseries from last year, and will most likely be reinforced again when the new season begins.

I've already posted at length about the impact that The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai had on my life, here and here. But while those posts touched on the history of my involvement with it, and became an examination of the story's more problematic aspects, there is a side to it that I haven't addressed yet - my perception of it as a part of my growth as a fan.

When I was sixteen and seeing the film for the first time, I was very attracted to the random, offbeat humor that permeated the whole film. I was, at that point, in the orbit of several people who professed to be "Subgeniuses," one of them being a math teacher at my High School, and I was participating in the antics of a loose collective of social misfits who engaged in acts of Dadaist and absurdist humor (to give you an idea: we saw the description of Chaotic Neutral in the AD&D 2nd Edition Player's Handbook and were like "this is us.")

So when our computer science teacher gave me a bootleg VHS copy of The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension, it was right up my alley. I immediately went out and showed it to as many of my friends as would take the time to watch it with me.

But underneath it all, there was an idea that we were "signal jamming" something very sinister and malignant in nature. As this was the early 1990s, the pop culture conspiracy theory engine was just getting warmed up. One of my friends at the time (who, somewhat ironically, ended up working for the US Government in the defense industry) confessed to us that he was the agent of a Extraterrestrial force which was working to safeguard humanity against "The Other Side." "The Other Side" was a rigid, hierarchical, mechanized intelligence of fascistic order, which could only be defeated by random, chaotic white noise.

It was a narrative borrowed directly from John C Lilly's writings, and the conspiracy theories about "Influencing Machines." We glommed onto this narrative, because it gave us an excuse to behave in the "LOL, WE'RE SO RANDOM" manner in which we already had been up to that point, and feel like we were saving the world. It also gave me a ready-made explanation for my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, since I was diagnosed with the primarily obsessional, or "Pure O" type. No, I wasn't mentally ill - I was the focus of a concentrated attack from sinister, sentient machines. Because we were onto them.

And when my best friend snapped and suddenly went weird and hostile, and was controlling. and physically and sexually and psychologically abusive towards her then-girlfriend, it gave me a ready-made explanation for that, too. The Solid State. Influencing Machines. Project Stargate. We were a threat, so we were being neutralized. It was damnably effective. They didn't even have to kill us for it to work.

And Buckaroo Banzai worked its way into this mythos. We really believed that Hanoi Xan (the original Big Bad of the Buckaroo Banzai mythos above and beyond John Lithgow's character, who was referenced in the Across The 8th Dimension script and the novelization, and the fanfic we had access to at the time) was a real, evil force and behind it all. I even linked Nostradamus's prophesy of The Third Antichrist to Xan.

The fandom itself encouraged this. Writer Earl Mac Rauch, who wrote the original screenplay, has always insisted that Buckaroo Banzai is a real person and that the stories written about him are "docudramas, based on real events."

We were a bunch of crazy kids whose grip on reality was already tenuous at best, and it fed right into what we were already caught up in.

Because I didn't get my hands on the Buckaroo Banzai novelization until much later, we had this idea of Xan as a paramilitary Colonel Kurtz-like figure with psychic powers; the obvious resemblance to Fu Manchu, and the racist/problematic Yellow Peril connotations didn't even occur to us at the time.

I didn't even learn until recently that Earl Mac Rauch had borrowed Xan from another author, H Ashton-Wolfe. Hanoi Xan first appeared in his 1918  novel Warped In The Making - Crimes Of Love And Hate - which again, was professed by the author to have been based on true events.

The "loose collective of social misfits" dissolved as we tried to put as much distance between ourselves and my crazy, abusive ex-best friend as possible. We graduated. We drifted apart, and into other circles. We went to college and got jobs. We integrated into "normal adult life." One of our previous associates is now a conservative Evangelical. Another, as I mentioned before, now works in the defense industry.

Years later, I tried showing Buckaroo Banzai to a new group of friends, and the random, offbeat jokes in the film just fell flat. They all just watched in silence. I could feel a part of myself wither and die as I saw it as if for the first time through their eyes. I believe one of them even asked me, "So why is this your favorite movie, again?"

I've recovered since then, obviously. 

I look at things now and see how the polarities have shifted: Neo Nazis and the "Alt -Right" have appropriated the chaotic "white noise" of symbol jamming and culture jamming, claiming to be harmless memesters. Merry pranksters poking fun at ("triggering") too-serious liberals, all while churning out dangerously toxic symbols of hate, violence, and genocidal oppression towards their usual targets: Jews, women, Muslims, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Black community.

I remember what Buckaroo Banzai and the other absurdist heroes of our shared mythos meant to us once upon a time, and wonder if there is a way we can fight fire with fire.

When I heard that Kevin Smith was going to reboot Buckaroo Banzai into a new series for Amazon, I was cautiously optimistic. The initiative fell through because MGM didn't ask permission from Earl Mac Rauch, the original writer and creator of the Banzai universe (never mind what he claims to the contrary, and the fact that the Big Bad was borrowed from an earlier work) and "Mac" has always maintained that he still holds the rights to any new material. A legal battle has ensued between Earl Mac Rauch and MGM, and who knows if a sequel, or a new series, will ever see the light of day.
numb3r_5ev3n: jc and needlegun (needlegun)
 One of the reason I keep returning to the same fandoms over and over is that my interaction/consumption/fanfic creation around said fandom is like a snapshot of where I was, mentally and emotionally speaking, at that point in my life when they first became important to me - especially before I started blogging.

I used to journal in spirals, but the ones from my late teens/early twenties are mostly either in storage, or lost or gone. And I've gotten to a point in my life when I realize that stuff from my "memory palace" (as it is called in the Silence Of The Lambs/Hannibal mythos) is also getting lost or missing or altered.

Also, it was helping me get through stuff. There were periods of terrible loss in my late teens and early twenties in which I was never able to get back even a semblance of the well-being I had before, ever. I would have the epiphany of, "you know you're still allowed to exist in the way you wanted to, right?" and then I never would. 

There are mental snapshots and impressions of the way things were before everything went to hell. Sometimes, I see an edge or an outline of what might have been had things been allowed to proceed in the way I had wanted them to. Part of the problem of being in a co-dependent relationship with a person with borderline personality disorder is that they get to define who you are - and the moment you try and grow or change out of that role, you've suddenly mutated into this frightening thing they don't know, or have become a horrible, evil impostor - someone who is a fair-game target for any vengeance they feel like taking.

And I think back upon my old Buckaroo Banzai fic, for example, and realize how much of that was influenced by the narrative of being someone on the receiving end of that kind of blowout. Because I was, IRL.

So much of it was because I'd been happy for the first time in my life - for the first time in my life - and then I wasn't, again. My childhood was a haze of confusion, humiliation, rage and depression. So when the perfect situation seemingly popped up, and then it all went south, it was like the Universe making a correction. "Oh, excuse me - you weren't supposed to have that. We're taking that back. See here, in the contract? It says right here that you're supposed to be an emotionally isolated, obsessive compulsive rage monster living a life of quiet desperation and self-loathing. So sorry for the mix-up! My bad."

And I still have mental snapshots of the longest period of happiness in my entire life - which I managed to capture, along with the eventual collapse, in my fic at the time.

And I keep going back to those fandoms because I can feel even those snapshots starting to fade.

And I know it probably seems selfish and regressive. "Why do you spend so much time dwelling in the past? Why don't you make new friends and new good memories?" Well, partially because I kept getting pulled back into the same types of cycles with the same types of people for nearly fifteen years after that. I'm in a good place *now*, with good people *now*, but it took twenty years or so. Also, because stuff happened last summer to cause me to re examine a lot of those events and see them in a new light. And because I need a template, a basis for comparison of what "happiness" feels like opposed to the depression that I'm used to. And for most of the other reasons you don't go up to a mentally ill person and go "Why don't you just xxxx?! See, all better!~~~ :D:D:D:D"

But the thing was, I needed to find out how to find my way back on my own, without getting back into the cycle of co-dependency. And my life has been full of people trying to force me into the other half of their co-dependent binary system (or one of several nodes to feed upon.)

It's gotten to the point when I can generally recognize if someone is genuinely interested in me as a person, or as just a bolster for their own ego, playing a role in their own film that they have running in the back of their imaginations - or as a resource that they can drain dry, and string along until I've recovered enough to be useful to them again.

I didn't really mean to go into all of this. I meant to talk about fandom. And how it's gotten me through so much.

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
In the past, I've had a bad habit of getting involved with a new fandom, only to be derailed when something else grabs my attention. I've recently found myself in a situation where I am juggling three different fandoms (Watchmen, Hellraiser, and Moonwalker) and it's been kind of awkward. But that's not the reason that my enthusiasm kind of trailed off. The real reason is, I kind of got dogpiled in a couple of comms (LJ and elsewhere) with folks who seemed convinced that Alan Moore is misogynist, any depiction of Laurie is misogynist by default because she's a "caricature of womanhood as Alan Moore sees it that can never be redeemed" or some shit like that - and basically made me feel like misogynist for writing her.

Long Rant Is Long. )


numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

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