Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Register to vote/Check your voter status

It seems every four years the political talking heads come out and say that “This election is the most important election of the modern era.” And you know what, for 2020, they might actually be right.  Because if you think everything is hunky-dory, or you think that the best description of the country is a dumpster fire, whoever wins this November will have major repercussions.

Now you could just sit back and say, “Why bother voting when the system is broken?” Well, one aspect of why the system is broken is because too many people don’t bother to be a part.  The only way to have a government that reflects the country is if the majority of the people participated in choosing that government.  Our government is not perfect – it’s very far from perfect – but not voting is you saying you’ll just take whatever happens.  And if you don’t like what you’re given, well, you can’t complain because you had the chance to make your voice heard and chose not to.

The way to make your voice heard is to register to vote.  Registering to vote should be laid out on your state website.  But even if you’ve already registered, you should take the time to check your registration status, this should also be on your state website.  (You may also wish to double check on your polling place.)  An important reason to do this now, is that there are several reasons why your status could be wrong: you moved and forgot to update it, a clerical error, or maybe you were caught up in an overly enthusiastic purge.  Whatever the reason, if you check now and find a problem you can get it all worked out before Election Day.  Election Day is hectic enough without people waiting in line only to find out there’s an issue. 

So register to vote, or check your status, so everything will be in order come November 3rd and you can make sure your voice will be heard, in this, the most important election of the modern era.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Let’s talk about fan service

The idea behind fan service is to put something into a work – say a movie – that would please the fans.  However, lately it seems the term “fan service” is applied to any stupid shit that clueless, corporate stooges cram into a movie even though nobody wants it.  My opinion, is that – broadly speaking – there is good fan service and bad fan service.  The problem is that good fan service requires thought to be put into it, whereas any clueless, corporate stooge can cram in bad fan service.  This is something that’s been in the back of my mind for some time now, but it really came to the head recently with The Rise of Skywalker, so I’ll use examples from Star Wars. 

An example of good fan service – again, in my opinion – is the crumpled AT-AT where Rey lives in The Force Awakens.  There’s the nostalgic “I remember those” which seems to be the foundation of modern fan service, but it’s also an element of world building.  We had already seen a crashed Star Destroyer, but Rey’s AT-AT drives home that the galaxy is littered with the wreckage from the fall of the Empire.  If they had better scripts – and a plan – that might have built to something, other than a McGuffin in the wreck of Death Star II.

While I could use the wreckage of the Death Star II as an example of bad fan service – “I remember that” – I’ll go to the Prequels instead.  My example is Anakin building C-3PO.  Why?  To be perfectly honest, R2-D2 could have just shown up in Episode III in a cameo and that would have been fine, and would have fit in with that one line in A New Hope.  There is no reason for C-3PO to be in the Prequels, let alone having been built by Anakin.  Oh, it could have been fun to see how the two droids met if the giant shoehorn cramming them into the plot wasn’t so distracting.  And that is the problem with bad fan service: the eye-rolling distraction of them outweigh any benefit to the story of having them there.  Now, I remember at the time a friend going on about how R2-D2 and C-3PO were the only characters in all the movies, but there doesn’t seem to be a point to that.  Especially with the latest trilogy.  But the Prequels needed some nostalgia, since that’s easier to do than compelling stories.

I used to be a Star Wars fan.  I gave it up in the Prequel days, but this latest trilogy didn’t do anything to change that.  As a former Star Wars fan, I wanted good movies.  That might have brought me back.  But that requires actually writing good movies.  I didn’t want just any random shit to remind me of the good movies thrown on screen as “fan service.” But what can we expect from clueless, corporate stooges who are more interested in making a quick buck than lasting art.