Random Friday: Star Wars and words and stuff.

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Random Assassin’s Creed: Origins pic.

Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is…

“Youthquake.”

Who the fuck has ever actually used the word “youthquake”?! Outside of the media, that is. If you want to read about it, you can take a gander at the write-ups, which will explain fascinating things to you… you know, like how the word comes from combining “youth” and “earthquake”. Because you totally couldn’t have figured that one out on your own, couldya?

Screw that noise. The word of the year is “sarchotic“. You’re welcome.

Speaking of words…

That just reminded me of something that happened a loooong time ago. Back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth (when I was in my 20s), I was hanging out at a Village Inn very late with my roommate. Couldn’t tell you what we were talking about — it was late, and we were at Village Inn, drinking coffee, so it could literally have been anything — but at some point in the conversation, I used the word “fastidious”.

He immediately stopped me and said, “What did you just say?”

I was like, “What? Huh? Whozzit?”

He said, “That word. I’ve never heard that word.”

After we determined which word he meant (I mean, the guy wasn’t dumb, but he wasn’t much of a reader, either), I defined it for him. He sat there, looking at me incredulously. Then he accused me of making it up. Rather dumbfounded and offended, I insisted that I hadn’t. (Note: This was before you could whip out your phone and Google things to prove a point. I know, right?!)

Just then, our waitress happened by, and he stopped her and said, “Have you ever heard of this word?” Then I had to say it again. And repeat it a few times.

She shook her head and said, “I’ve never heard of it. And I’m a journalism major!”

True story. I’ll leave you to imagine my reaction.

Bring the funny. I need some funny.

I binge-watched the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel last weekend. It was funny, engaging, and well worth the time. Tony Shalhoub is amazing, and watching him try to grimly, desperately impose order on everyone around him was hilarious. Rachel Brosnahan is a perfect Mrs. Maisel, and her final stage performance in the last episode was as amazing as her earlier failures were excruciating. I was so invested in her success that watching her bomb was beyond painful. The whole cast is great, and my only complaint was that I didn’t get to see more of Luke Kirby’s Lenny Bruce. Recommended, especially if you need a laugh as badly as I do these days.

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I didn’t mean THIS kind of funny. Dummies are bad.

Spam, amirite?

Yesterday, over the course of four hours or so, I saw this in my spam box (subject lines only):

  • Are you RivenSaint?
  • Are you RivenSaint?
  • Hey, are you RivenSaint?
  • Are you RivenSaint?
  • Are YOU RivenSaint?

Because if “Hey” didn’t get my attention, after seeing “YOU” in all caps, naturally I would suddenly sit up, fully awake and aware for the first time in years. “Oh my gosh! They’re talking to me! They really mean ME!”

Insert eyeball roll here.

And speaking of the interwebs…

It was a hard-fought race, but I think that Ajit Pai wins the “Smug Idiot Shitbag of the Year” award. Not only does he not seem to understand what net neutrality actually is, he’s treated the whole thing — and the protests against it — like a big joke. Now, because the internet didn’t literally change overnight, he’s smugly pronouncing everyone “wrong”.

Even IF the new rules had gone into effect immediately (spoiler alert: they didn’t), did he really think the changes would happen overnight? Of course not. Any corporate douchebag worth his salt would know to stay quiet for a bit and then sneak the changes out on the down low as much as possible. Like how Comcast/Xfinity sneaks data caps onto your service without telling you, and then, when you protest, says, “Hey, we said it might happen! Like, years ago, ‘member that?” Check out “ISPs won’t promise to treat all traffic equally after net neutrality“, the article that dares to ask the ridiculously obvious question: If ISPs are willing to voluntarily uphold net neutrality, then why did they want the rules rolled back in the first place?

Of course, everyone and their dog will be fighting to overturn the decision, so it’s not over ’til it’s over. One can only hope that these asshats have their asshats handed to them.

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Random L.A. Noire: From golden to gritty to gothic. It’s really not a bad game. I mean, I liked it. Then again, I also like Agents of Mayhem, so ymmv.

Why I’m not psyched about Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Ok, so, here’s the thing.

The first three movies (which would be IV, V, and VI) were new and different at the time. Also, I was a kid. The next three were… ok. Uneven. I mean, Darth Maul and that whole fight scene was pretty awesome, but there’s always that sticky weird shit that turns you off. Like Ewoks. Or Jar Jar. For every Obi-Wan or Han Solo, there’s a Luke or Anakin Skywalker.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Mark Hamill. He’s great as the Joker. His return as the Trickster on Flash was nifty. But I hated… hated… HATED Luke Skywalker. That’s right. I said it. I watched — and mostly liked — a three-movie series with a protagonist I couldn’t stand. There was just so much whining. Even when he started “maturing”, I still wanted to punch him in the face.

Granted, I’m more into antiheroes, as a general rule. I also can’t stand Superman. As a character, I mean. (That’s right, I SAID IT.) Take Han Solo, for example. I mean, look at the reality of Han Solo. We know he was a smuggler, right, we get that. But the movies really winked at the reality, didn’t they? The guy wasn’t “just a smuggler”, he was a DRUG RUNNER. What the hell do you think that Kessel run business was all about? But the movies were meant to suck in kids, and he had to be lovable, so instead of a drug-running criminal, we get a barely-sketchy, totally redeemable rogue. D’aww.

Lots of people love Star Wars, and that’s ok. So do I. But a funny thing happened along the way: BioWare gave us Knights of the Old Republic, and that was the beginning of the  Star Wars disconnect. At least, as far as I was concerned.

There’s an intangible something that the Old Republic games have and the movies don’t. I’ve struggled to define it, and I think it comes down to a feeling that the movies are still largely targeted at kids, while the games really aren’t. The games feel more nuanced. There are more shades of grey. Sometimes the choice between dark and light seems crystal clear, other times it’s a lot harder to judge. The movies hint at torture (Leia on the Death Star) and later actually show it (Han and Chewbacca at Cloud City), but the Old Republic makes you actively CHOOSE. Maybe a companion is tortured as a result of your responses. Other times, you have to decide whether to torture someone yourself, or try another method of getting information. There’s no comfortable layer of protection between you and the awful bits. You make the awful bits happen (or not happen).

In the end, I think it just comes down to movies vs. games. We only watch movies, we don’t  participate in the action. Movies are also more limited, time-wise — you can only pack so much stuff into two hours. Games, on the other hand, are expected to give us many hours of content; gamers have been known to grouch if a game only has 20 hours or so on offer. When it comes to delivering rich, fully-realized worlds (or galaxies), games have the advantage, because they have the time to present it to us. Sure, Star Wars has a ton of lore out there, but how much time does the average movie-goer spend reading up on the lore? I’d wager that most people don’t know anything about Mandalorians that they didn’t learn from watching Boba and Jango Fett, which is a very limited viewpoint that amounts to “Mandalorians = bounty hunters”. That’s obviously not the whole truth.

Of course, “the whole truth” is an arguable concept if you get tangled up in canon vs. non-canon… what is, what isn’t… what was, and isn’t any more… ugg, my head.

Bottom line: after playing the games, the movies feel shallow. The Force Awakens was enjoyable, but it was like eating popcorn. I enjoy it, but when it’s over, I just don’t think about it much. The movies only take up head space while I’m watching them (or when I’m ranting about how Vadar and Sidious and their ilk weren’t real Sith… but that entire viewpoint is based on the games, so… ahem.) The games, on the other hand, grief my brain something fierce. I’m still struggling with that Theron Shan thing. Hell, it took me ages to stop feeling betrayed over the whole KOTOR-Revan thing, and I still remember how that felt.

I’m not saying the games are better. I mean, yes, they’re absolutely better… for me. I’m sure there are plenty of people who enjoy the movies, and that’s as far as their Star Wars involvement goes. And that’s fine. More power to ’em. But for me, the movies are popcorn, and the games are meat. Meat makes for a much more satisfying meal.

(Or veggies, if you’re vegetarian or vegan. I’m not trying to be pro-meat, here, it’s just a… never mind.)


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