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Lit Apropos of Nothing - ACKBAR IN CAPITALS - The Lit Forum Social Thread, v2.0.15

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Master_Keralys, Jan 1, 2009.

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  1. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000

    that awkward moment when you get caught admiring her guns :p
    Contessa, jSarek, Zeta1127 and 2 others like this.
  2. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004

    Yeah Firefly it aint, [face_sigh]
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  3. The Loyal Imperial

    The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 19, 2007
    Do it. Do it. Do it.
  4. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 24, 2005
    I was (middle) named after the main character of that series and I still haven't read it. :p
  5. AdmiralWesJanson

    AdmiralWesJanson Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 23, 2005

    So New Jersey is a Togruta colony then?
    Gorefiend likes this.
  6. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Jul 8, 1999
    Don't tempt them; we'll end up with more hybrids.
    Barriss_Coffee and Gorefiend like this.
  7. The Loyal Imperial

    The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 19, 2007
    You read it, too. Everybody read it.
  8. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    So, I finished ACIV last night. Easily the best AC game since 2, and there's elements of it I prefer to 2.

    Though no assassin can replace Ezio in my heart.
    Gorefiend and Mia Mesharad like this.
  9. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 16, 2012
    Have to do a report on the trade and diplomacy between the Iroquois Confederacy and the European colonies for university, and I can not concentrate:(
  10. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    Step 1: Get off here. In fact, turn off your wireless (or wired, IDK) connection. You need sources? Read a book!

    Step 2: Write paper in a quiet, isolated location

    Step 3: Profit! Er, A+ [​IMG]
    Gamiel likes this.
  11. MercenaryAce

    MercenaryAce Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 10, 2005
    A spy so deep under cover that even he doesn't know it....I like it.

    Or maybe it is COMPNOR who framed Jello as a spy cause they were tired of him talking smack about them all the time.
  12. AdmiralNick22

    AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 28, 2003
    I think riding Star Tours together is still on our bucket list, right GrandAdmiralJello? :p

    --Adm. Nick
    jSarek and CooperTFN like this.
  13. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Jun 29, 2003
    Is this a history class, Gamiel? Is it just a class, or your area of expertise?
  14. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 22, 2010
    All the positive buzz about Person of Interest is making me think it should be the next thing I watch, after Mad Men. While it not being finished is a point of annoyance for me, I imagine it will be good enough for a rewatch whenever it decides to wrap up. Plus, I'd like to watch it before Watch Dogs comes out, as I hear that's essentially Person of Interest: The Game.

    I surprisingly have a lot I want to respond to, so monster post incoming.

    Well, I think a fairer point of comparison would be Dollhouse, as Agents of SHIELD is more of a Jed Whedon/Maurissa Tancharoen project. Still, even with that significantly less imposing benchmark, I don't think AOS measures up. I liked Dollhouse more than most- it was a hit-or-miss show, but when it hit, it hit very well- but Agents of SHIELD just comes off as a poor man's X-Files. I'm hoping that it will significantly improve eventually, as Dollhouse did. I actually haven't watched the last few episodes, and may just wait until the season is finished to decide if it's worth catching up.

    I'd say it depends on the person. If I followed Old Man Todd's advice, I know I'd never get anything done. For me, I'm significantly more productive with music on, regardless of whether it's classical or speed metal. Plus, I've been ridiculously energetic since I was a child, so there's always a lot of pacing going on when I'm thinking. There's a reason that I hated school so much; my method of working is just so incompatible with the school systems.

    I could do without the distraction of the internet, though. I think step 1 is pretty much universally good advice :p

    I'm not sure if this is an unpopular opinion or not, but so far, much as I loved Assassin's Creed II, I think I'm preferring Brotherhood. I'm not very far in it, but there's something enthralling about playing Ezio at his peak and at having to train other assassin's; so few games allow you to take the role of a teacher. Plus every great element from II feels very polished. I have to admit, I found the final confrontation of Assassin's Creed II sorely underwhelming- not sure a fist fight with the Pope was what I was looking for- so depending on how Brotherhood sticks its landing, it might be my favorite in the series so far.

    Glad to see ACIV is getting such positive reception. Assassin's Creed is such an inspired series, and I'm glad to see that hasn't been diluted by oversaturation yet.

    Now for the Mad Men talk.

    I admit, I haven't really picked up on much self-loathing from the first season, though I imagine it's there in the sense that he is not a bad person at his core, and is more than capable of empathizing with the people he hurts, yet can't bring himself to prioritize them over his own agendas. He clearly didn't want to drag Don's name through the mud, for instance, and I can certainly see some self-loathing in attempting what he did, but I also think that he truly believes he deserves respect, whether its from Don or from his father.

    Going back to the short story scene, for instance, I didn't really get the initial impression that he was trying to convince himself that the story was good, but rather, knew he was capable of writing a story worthy of the New Yorker if some other guy he works with can get one in (I think it was) Reader's Digest, and was more than a little annoyed that his wife just didn't get it. Another scene that I'd argue is one displaying arrogance would be the scene where he "defends Betty's honor". And I put that in quotes because I don't believe that's what he was doing at all, as he seems to spend the rest of his time trying to convince Don that Betty isn't worthy of his attention. He was defending himself. His "I don't like you like this line", to me, translates to "I like you as an object, not a person." When Aaron Staton (I believe it was Staton, who wikipedia tells me was also Cole Phelps in LA Noire; I knew he looked familiar. Mind officially blown) insults Betty's appearance, I don't think Pete punches him because he insulted Betty, but because he insulted him; he cheated on his wife for her, and any insinuation that it wasn't worth it is a direct insult to Pete.

    I'll have to watch more of the show soon, though I'll definitely pay closer attention to Pete this time around, to see if I can spot the self-loathing.

    Hmm, I'm not sure I'd agree that Don is a figure of utter self-confidence. I've mentioned that the purple heart scene is my favorite in the series so far. Part of that is because it's such a fantastic subversion of the "man with a dark, mysterious past" trope. I'm not entirely sure what the audience is conditioned to expect, but whatever it is, it's not getting a man killed because he pissed himself. I think if there's a character that's truly self-loathing, it's Don Draper; you can see it in his face, when he wakes up in the hospital bed, that he knows that he should be dead, and changes his identity in shame. You see it again when Adam hangs himself, and when he dozes off in the train and see's what he knows he should do, what he would like to do, but doesn't. That final shot of the season is definitely not of a man who is sure of himself; it's of a man who is disgusted with himself. Again, though, I'll have to see how he progresses in the second season to see if I believe that sticks.

    Don is a tragic figure in that he seems to know the things he does are wrong, yet can't bring himself to stop. He knows his flaws, but doesn't know how to fix them (a good example would be the chain smoking; his smoking got a man killed, yet he still smokes in just about every scene), He walks into his son's room, and tells him that he will "never, ever lie to him", not as a statement of fact, but as a man begging for approval, because even then he is lying to him. He clearly loves his wife, clearly wants to make her happy, even as he makes her unhappy.

    All that said, I think I can see the utter self-confidence when it comes to the work place. One thing that I absolutely love about the show is that it very realistically depicts something about people: they act entirely different depending on where they are, and who they're talking to. Don is The Boss at work, entirely confident in projecting himself as above the people he works for. Outside of work, he's a self-loathing mess, though still quick to look down on people (as he does with the beatniks, though to be fair, they do it first). I feel like Don is so quick to look down on other people because it makes him feel better about himself.

    It was a great scene. I didn't really think much of Cooper before that- the fascination with Ayn Rand is an instant turn off- but that cemented him as one of my favorite characters.

    My initial response to Betty is a very positive one. I imagine that if Mad Men was a novel series, than Betty would be the dominant point of view character. She serves as the lens the viewers use to get acquainted with this world, and for at least the first few episodes, she has a less distinguished personality than many of the other characters. This makes sense in the context of the show, because as Saffron Joan says, they're looking for "something between a mother and a waitress" in a secretary. She really can't afford to let much of her real personality slip through, and that leaves her as something of a blank slate for awhile. I think that disappears, however, once we begin to see the ambition underneath that mask. Like any man in that office, she wants to be recognized for the quality of her work, and like them, she's not above hurting or offending other people to do it. I really loved that scene where Betty drove that actress to tears; it was the first time we really see a domineering Betty. The scene was made all the more funny to me because she could have just as easily had her record multiple takes instead of insisting that the first take be perfect. Classic type-A personality trait, insisting every last detail be perfect when it's often far more practical to make a few mistakes along the way and then fix them.

    One somewhat negative trait that I find I can identify with is Betty looking down on where she came from. "So, you drive a truck?" is just a wonderfully snobbish line, and probably isn't even intended to be. I'm certainly not proud of sharing that trait, but I don't pretend it isn't there. That it comes out so passive aggressively in Betty really does ring with truth.

    Like pretty much all major Mad Men characters, we do get to see a particularly ugly side of Betty before the season is done: of course, her reaction to her child. It's an understandable, very human reaction, yet it's difficult not to feel somewhat repulsed at the look of pure hatred she gives it. I'm very interested to see how Betty progresses in the second season.

    On this note... I'm not a woman, and to my knowledge I have never been pregnant, so I don't exactly speak from a position of authority here... but I didn't even know it would be possible to not know that you're pregnant right up until the day that you give birth. I mean, surely the constant vomiting, cramps, and lack of menstruating would serve as some kind of tip? Plus, while it was clear Betty was gaining weight, obviously the weight you gain from being pregnant is very distinctive. Surely she would have noticed the bulge in her belly did not come from lack of exercise? Then again, I also realize that I am speaking as someone in the digital age, where this kind of information is a click away. For a girl growing up in a small, rural town, for all I know she could have no idea what pregnancy is like.

    Though she's as flawed as anyone else on the show, I find that Betty is probably the character I come closest to "rooting for", as I imagine was intended. I was very glad for her when Don decided to promote her, to the point that this actually raised my opinion of Don as well. All the while, much of my dislike of Pete comes from his interactions with Betty, and perhaps especially the way he talks about her when she's not around, using any opportunity to devalue her. She's this shows Jesse Pinkman; secondary to the main character, but the closest thing the show has to an avatar.[/quote]
  15. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 2, 2012
    I finally got to see the mid-season finale of Person of Interest which I missed last week, and even with choppy playback due to using an older computer, it was one of the best things I have ever seen.
  16. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I rate Brotherhood the highest. It's got the best balance of story/setting/gameplay in the series.

    But if a fistfight with the Pope wasn't what you were looking for . . . what the hell, man? Is there no pleasing you?

    Like half of Mad Men is in L.A. Noire. The incredible realism of L.A. Noire's facial models means that playing spot-the-actor with that game is great fun. Multiple times, I have recognized an actor on some other show from his in-game face model. It's a whole new level of cognitive dissonance when you realize that you're recognizing someone whose face you've never actually seen before.

    Anyway, Pete does harbor some arrogance, for sure -- but it's always difficult to talk about complex characters in a simple way. What I mean is that Pete is a character who I think is more defined by affirmation-seeking and uncertainty than by arrogance and overweening self-confidence, and should be read more as a pathetic figure, with a sort of repulsed sympathy, than pure repulsion and condemnation as a spoiled jerk.

    And Ken was published in The Atlantic Monthly (Tapping a Maple on a Cold Vermont Morning). Keep an eye on Ken; he's kind of a stealth star for the series. Rarely foregrounded, but always interesting and with a fascinating character arc going on in the background. As for Pete's reaction, I think the core of it is competition. Ken is Pete's competition as an account man. And now he's getting acclaim and attention and Pete can't stand that Ken is getting attention he isn't and thinks he deserves. Part of that is arrogance -- Pete doesn't think much of Ken and holds a high opinion of himself and his potential -- but that high opinion is constantly undermined by the crippling insecurity that comes from never, ever getting any affirmation that he isn't completely deluding himself. And this is yet another event saying to Pete, "You have no worth, you are being outshined by everyone around you." And so he becomes desperate to compete, to get affirmation and notice and not let Ken outshine him. Look at how disappointed he is when Trudy fails to give him the affirmation he seeks after reading his story. He gets the rote "you're great!" puffery but clearly not the actual affirmation of greatness. Look at how pathetically eager he is for Peggy's genuine affirmation of the story (I love, by the way, that you are doing exactly the same thing I did my first week or two of my watch-through and confusing Peggy and Betty's names for absolutely no reason). It's a complex mix of arrogance and diffidence, but I guess the thing I'm trying to get at is that it isn't a malevolent sort of arrogance -- an "I am the greatest" swagger -- as much as it's the sort of arrogance of a smart kid who always skated by easy and gets into college and thinks he's going to be some great intellectual and the whole world is ahead of him, and has that inflated self-image, and then finds out that actually being great is really hard work and the world isn't cooperating with his self-image and the image he's been fed by those around him and he sort of becomes just another B student but he's still trying to figure out how he's going to achieve this great destiny he was promised by life and why isn't it happening. It's a sort of empty, naive egotism that's being continually popped but is really hard to let go.

    I'd also point to his relationship with Peggy as not being about arrogance so much as selfishness and blindness. I wouldn't say arrogance is the right word; it's not coming out of a place of "I do what I want" playerism. It's just that Pete is so wrapped up in himself, in his problems, and he's bad at engaging with other people. He's not seeing Peggy's personhood because he's too wrapped up in his own concerns. There's an element of egotism in the way he picks up the naive, worshipful bumpkin secretary initially to make himself feel powerful on the eve of a marriage that isn't giving him the feelings of confidence and security he wanted, but what makes the blind selfishness clear is the way he just kind of picks up and drops her without a lot of consideration of her feelings. When he needs the feelings he gets from Peggy, he goes to her; when he doesn't feel the need, she's just another secretary. And he's probably not even considering her feelings at all because he's stuck inside his own world. But I think the punch does come from more than just his self-image. Part of it, of course, is that if she's undesirable it reflects on him, but I think it's also reflective of the fact that Pete sort of has idle feelings for her. It's almost entirely in the form of a fantasy -- she's just standing in for "not the relationship I'm in -- something magically better" -- but she does mean more to him than just a booty call. It's not just about a transitive insult to him, but about the fact that she is "his girl" whom he cares about -- sort of, sometimes, when he wants to. As an object rather than a person, as you point out, but there's definitely an emotional attachment at the root of it.

    Sharp pick-up; the show does increasingly explore the uncertainty behind the facade that Don projects. Again, I was having to simplify there, but the thing about Don is that, as conflicted and uncertain and torn-up and introspective and self-loathing as Don can be inside, he's still an alpha-male personality. He can walk into a room and command it. He can be absolutely confident that he can sell any product to anyone anywhere. He can lie to his wife with assurance that he's in control. He can be confident in his ability to remake himself, to remake his reality, to remake others' reality. If you want to draw another dichotomy between Don and Pete, Don's response to his inner turmoil is to believe in himself and his ability to remake his reality, to get what he's after, to find happiness. He buries his diffidence by assuring himself of his own ability and thus creating confidence over the top of his uncertainty, dismissing it. Pete's response to his inner confidence, his attempts to assure himself, is inner turmoil and diffidence burying that self-belief.

    Thus Don doubts himself, but he also has the self-confidence that comes of success to combat that; Pete doesn't, and that eats away at him.

    You've also mentioned one of the key differences, in that Don knows what he does is wrong. One of the key differences between Don and Pete is that, for all the concerns and inner turmoil they share, Don is a more introspective and perceptive character than Pete. Far from perfectly so, but Pete is empty and doesn't know why and doesn't know what he wants and doesn't understand what he's doing wrong. Don is better at seeing his own problems, and he has some grasp on why he's unhappy and what he wants, even if it's imperfect.

    Betty, not Peggy.

    But for Peggy, she has a fantastic arc. You'll definitely be interested to see it. One of the really interesting things, I think, is how she's suited to the job without really knowing it. You talk of "ambition under the mask," but what I love is that she doesn't even know that ambition is there until the job is stoking it. She's clearly a pretty simple girl from a simple family, rather naive, who goes to secretarial school because that's what the world has told her to do. Be a secretary for a few years, then get married. And that's what she'll do because that's what she's supposed to do and what else is she going to do? But then she gets into this business world and discovers, after she gets used to it, that she's got an aptitude for it. She's excited by it. And she displays a little bit of talent, and gets a chance to display more, and she finds out that she loves it and she's good at it. But she never would have had any idea until she was given the opportunity to do it that she would be good at it, or enjoy it, because it wouldn't even occur to her as a possibility. It's really fascinating seeing this person blossom and find the ability to exercise talents and abilities that she could have never even known she had.

    Like Don, Roger, and Pete reflect each other, Betty, Peggy, and Joan reflect each other in really interesting ways, too.
    instantdeath likes this.
  17. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 16, 2012
    History class
  18. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Jul 8, 1999
    I'm something like 2/3 of the way through Brotherhood, and I'm enjoying having minions way more than I expected to. Even hiring random groups of mercenaries and courtesans is way more natural and useful than I thought it would be--normally I hate being responsible for other people in video games.
    Mia Mesharad and Gorefiend like this.
  19. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    First day of work today. Reading these monster posts on my phone at lunch is something else.

    This whole productive member of society thing is gonna majorly put a cramp on my posting

    ID: I also like brohood the best -- for scale, introducing assassin recruits, and the obvious reason. Also the best looking robes of the lot.

    Yes. Somehow we have to manage to both be there at the same time. Of course, you'll be thrilled when the ride has us both join the Rebellion. :(
  20. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    I'm not far from completing AC2, and will probably move on to Brotherhood afterward. Seriously, 2 is such a great game. [face_love]
    You young whippersnappers and your CDs!. :p

    But naw, when I say quiet I mean without other people making noise. TVs are also a huge distraction. But I'm always listening to music when on the computer, whether it's writing a paper, browsing the web, etc. And I always listen to music when I'm reading.

    And lol at mixing Peggy and Betty up. They get a lot more distinct as the show progresses.
    Mia Mesharad likes this.
  21. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 7

    Jul 19, 1999
    Get back to work slave, you live for the company now, not your Emperor!
    CooperTFN likes this.
  22. Lugija

    Lugija Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 3, 2009

    I spent the last seven years doing most of my homework in the bus station and the bus, but I don't think that counts because people don't talk in those (except that one old man or woman who speaks with everyone, every place has one). And I had music coming from headphones all the time, that really helps even if I keep muttering lyrics to the Disney songs. The Mozart's 40th will always be connected to history finals.

    During my time in university I have found out that my productivity has gone down because of two reasons:
    1) Not being able to do homework in the bus, I go by bike now
    2) More and more stuff that has to be done with computer, that really stops all productivity. In high school I could do an hour or so homework and then open the computer and waste my time on it.
  23. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    (edit: ID, appropriately enough, I'm finally getting around to playing LA Noire, and I have the exact opposite reaction: I see him as Cosgrove :p But it's equally mind-blowing)

    ...actually, not quite. :)
  24. tjace

    tjace Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 11, 2008
    Anyone else hear about the announcement for the new Shadow of Mordor game? I haven't been this excited for a game since swtor was announced. Here's hoping it's not as big of a disappointment.
  25. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Jul 8, 1999
    It will never be as good as Luke Skywalker and the Shadow of Mordor.
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