kaigou: have some tea with your round cake (3 tea and cake)
Over on Dribble of Ink, there's an essay that had me pondering the way we write fantasy, in the modern world. “Broader Fantasy Foundations Pt IV: The Tale of Genji, and Building the World of the Shining Prince”, in which Gladstone comments:
[Demonic possession and ghosts in Tale of Genji] are unexplained, but they’re not treated as explicitly supernatural within the narrative, since we’re talking about a time before Enlightenment nature-supernature distinctions arose. Ghosts and demons and gods are edge cases of Genji’s reality, but they’re not any less real than the people he encounters on a day to day basis.

[The] fantastical does not seem fantastical to locals. Genji’s reaction to a ghost, or to a demonic possession, is not the Lovecraftian narrator’s “THAT IS UNPOSSIBLE” followed by a prolonged paragraph on circles of firelight, mad dancing beyond the edges of reality, etc., so much as “HOLY SHIT, GHOST!” He—and the other people in his world—are afraid of ghosts because they are dangerous and terrifying, not because they represent a hole in a world system that does not incorporate them.
I didn't even need to add that emphasis; Gladstone did it already for me.

In a sidebar, Gladstone also notes:
Notably, the reaction to a hole in one’s world system varies widely even within the modern age. Folks who just live in the modern world system tend to have the Lovecraft reaction to the holes they discover; scientists, though—and philosophers—respond, or should respond, by examining the edges of the hole and trying to peer through. I can think of two great examples of this in modern fantasy: in Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky novels, the wizards of Tsarepeth are presented as scientists and scholars with a near-modern understanding of the spread of disease. When they discover a demon plague that spreads through miasma, they’re initially flummoxed—since they’ve long known miasma theory to be false. Facts force them to revise their theory, in proper fashion. The Myth of the Man-Mother in Pat Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear is another example, played for humor—hyper-rational Kvothe fails to convince a friend of his that men have any role in the conception of children, since his arguments all devolve to an appeal to authority. The best part about this: it’s entirely possible that pregnancy just works differently in the Four Corners universe—or works differently among different peoples there.
A day or so later, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) wrote The Emperor and the Scullery Boy: Quests and Coming-of-Age Stories, in which she remarked that
...there are female protagonists in fantasy who quest. Mary Brown’s The Unlikely Ones, to pick a random example, is as straightforward a plot coupon fantasy quest as you can ask for (and it still ends in marriage). But they’re swimming valiantly against an undertow, which is the great preponderance of young men who come of age in fantasy by questing. I’m thinking particularly of the trope of the Scullery Boy Who Would Be King, and I can reel off examples by the cartload, from Lloyd Alexander’s Taran to Robert Jordan’s Rand Al’Thor. (Scullery Girls Who Would Be Queen are so rare as to be nearly nonexistent.) Fairy tales, too, are full of these young men, scullery boys or woodcutters’ youngest sons or vagrants, and there’s even a version of the motif in The Lord of the Rings: although Aragorn is not a child, his path through the trilogy is very distinctly from undervalued outsider to King of Gondor. All of them are the protagonists of bildungsromans, of quests, and the pattern they trace inexorably has shaped and continues to shape the way we think about fantasy as a genre and what we think it can do.

I don’t want to argue against bildungsromans in fantasy—far from it. I don’t want to argue against quests, or even against scullery boys. But I want to argue for awareness of the patterns that we have inherited—the grooves in the record of the genre, if you don’t mind a pun—and for awareness that patterns are all that they are. There’s no reason that scullery boys have to turn out to be kings. There’s no reason that women’s bildungsromans have to end in marriage. There’s no reason that fantasy novels have to be quests. It’s just the pattern, and it’s always easier to follow the pattern than to disrupt it.
Both essays are (obviously) worth reading, but that single line -- "Scullery Girls Who Would Be Queen are so rare as to be nearly nonexistent" -- started me thinking. There must be at least one out there, somewhere. Isn't there?

Hello? Hello? Don't tell me those are crickets I'm hearing.
kaigou: Skeptical Mike is skeptical. (1 skeptical mike)
Followup post for [personal profile] whatistigerbalm, but anyone else interested, here's the entire sad list. Maybe a quarter of these are available on the web; the rest are from Jstor. Check your local city library. You might have a free Jstor account. If not, and you're as whacked as I am about research, I have the pdfs. I can email zipped version. Just don't ask for all of them because that's just lazy, and besides, there's 895 of them. (and these don't include images and other non-pdf formats).

kaigou: (1 Toph)

Longer post coming soon, but this has been on near-constant repeat since I got the album.
kaigou: Roy Mustang, pondering mid-read. (1 pondering)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks did a review of The National Uncanny: Indian Ghosts and American Subjects by Renée L. Bergland. I am so getting a copy of this, but in the meantime, if you have any interest in pop culture, ghosts, cross-culture ghosts, American History vs Indigenous peoples, and so on (and I daresay the metaphor could easily be extended to the centuries of being haunted by our past as a slave-owning country, as well), at the very least, read the review.

From the Amazon description:
Although spectral Indians appear with startling frequency in US literary works, until now the implications of describing them as ghosts have not been thoroughly investigated. In the first years of nationhood, Philip Freneau and Sarah Wentworth Morton peopled their works with Indian phantoms, as did Charles Brocken Brown, Washington Irving, Samuel Woodworth, Lydia Maria Child, James Fenimore Cooper, William Apess, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others who followed. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Native American ghosts figured prominently in speeches attributed to Chief Seattle, Black Elk, and Kicking Bear. Today, Stephen King and Leslie Marmon Silko plot best-selling novels around ghostly Indians and haunted Indian burial grounds.

Renee L. Bergland argues that representing Indians as ghosts internalizes them as ghostly figures within the white imagination. Spectralization allows white Americans to construct a concept of American nationhood haunted by Native Americans, in which Indians become sharers in an idealized national imagination. However, the problems of spectralization are clear, since the discourse questions the very nationalism it constructs. Indians who are transformed into ghosts cannot be buried or evaded, and the specter of their forced disappearance haunts the American imagination. Indian ghosts personify national guilt and horror, as well as national pride and pleasure. Bergland tells the story of a terrifying and triumphant American aesthetic that repeatedly transforms horror into glory, national dishonor into national pride.

And a bit of quote from Rushthatspeaks:

Why the change in the American ghost [from the European ghost]? Well, partly because of the rise of the modern scientific method, and the development of ways to test the empirical validity of the supernatural. And partly because colonists in the Americas could not take their ancestors with them, moving from a built-up landscape full of folklore and traditions they understood to a landscape they could not see as fully settled, full of folklore and traditions they did not know. And partly because of the rise of interiority and subjectivity as useful societal concepts, and the intersection of interiority and subjectivity with the newly-minted American Dream. Bergland is literally the first writer I have seen mention that the United States began as a colonized country and became a colonial power, and that the second required systematic repression of the knowledge of what it had been like to be the first.

In short, ghosts represent that which has been forgotten/ignored (ie a crime), and call out for justice -- and the American history is one long history of injustices, so it's no surprise we'd have a ton of ghosts. The crux lays in the fact that a lot of our ghosts are still also very much alive, too, where the crime lies in actively repressing a past (and ongoing injustice).

I can't explain it all that well, but there's much food for thought. So first go read the review and then go buy the book.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
A friend passed this along, and now it's all ya'lls turn. Watch. It's amazing, powerful, heart-breaking, and yet hopeful. It's been a long time since the internets have shown me something that really, truly, spoke like this spoken-word poem.

A hosted link with notations: Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This.

kaigou: life would be easier if I had the source code. (3 source code)
Almost done with second part of the series, so figured I'd take a break and straighten some things up on the conlang generator. Now you can set up word-patterns for up to four languages at a time, if you want to track which languages get certain vowels, consonants, and word-patterns (to avoid duplication or to make sure you're keeping things pretty distinct). Do one to four, and each one will produce a link. Copy & paste that into your browser, and you'll get the conlang generator with everything entered, and all you have to do is click on GENERATE to get results.


I figured for the random SFF RPG that wanted consistent conlang vocabulary, it'd work for people passing along the link so others can generate additional words under the same rules. Besides, Firefox keeps crashing on me and I keep losing the rules I'd laid out for each conlang, so I needed a way to save them. Bleah.


Yes, I really am such a dork.

ETA: whoops, sorry, got the testsite confused with the live site. URL fixed now.
kaigou: (2 play naked)
There's a joke in this house about Scorpios (of which I am not one), but it'd take like a paragraph and a half to give backstory. Instead I'll just say that walking into a women-developer's meetup was one of the most awesome experiences I've had in months. Granted, as mostly a front-end person, I was sitting in the category of lightweight compared to the Java and Python women I met, but still. No one dissed me for being web-focused. The one time someone made (very slight) fun of me and one other person using PHP, all I had to do was point out that we could be using dot-net instead, and suddenly PHP wasn't the worst choice.

Still, I know there are plenty of issues with PHP, but it's not something I'd say I program in, per se. I use it per its original intention (pre-processing) and rarely do any kind of major work with it. I think the only time I've even bothered with instantiating classes was in writing WP plugins, and let's not even get into how kludgey WP really is. Which means most of the issues with PHP just aren't a concern to me. I use it functionally (as opposed to OOP) to do what I want, to talk to the sql db, and I haven't had need or interest in doing more.

Jquery, on the other hand... hunh, once you start writing functions, it's like the damn rabbithole. It's worse than the shortcut-functions I write for PHP, which I do solely so I can save time on the front end. (Easier by far to write get_story_name($id) or even multi_select_box($table, $group) than writing it out over and over.) Now that I've finally figured out (this) and how to make a var of (this) name (not just value), I have turned into a function-writing fool. I feel like I need to practice my maniacal laugh.
kaigou: life would be easier if I had the source code. (3 source code)
Alrighty. Now the conlang generator will incorporate first/last vowels or consonants that you pick.


ETA: ah, anything's better than dealing with the madness out there on the roads, so I went ahead & figured out the logic to allow different choices in start/end vowels and consonants. Now you can designate whether you want ending vowels to be single or multiple, same for consonants.

Frex, if you pick "only ends in certain consonants", you'll get a choice of single consonants and doubled consonants, which repeat from your original selections from each. If you want to narrow it down, edit/add as needed. If you only want to limit the options on one, say single consonants, just edit that one, and leave the other field (for doubled consonants) intact. Then carry on.

Note that for some reason it's not pulling over the single vowels for ending options. I don't know why. For now, guess you'll just have to refer to the previous tab to see those & copy them over.

Next up: a way to save all selections so you can come back to the same just by clicking on (a really long and complex) link. Hrm!
kaigou: you are no longer in control of your life (2 no longer in control)
Since clearly I needed a break from several days of furious coding... I went and coded to relax. Yeah, I'd say this is starting to get to be troublesome. But regardless!

conlang generator v1.2 is up!

Now with the ability to set what you want, generate, then tweak how you like and re-generate without losing your previous options. The glory of a left-side bar and some judicious jquery.

Still working out the logic of how to do limited options on start/end vowels or consonants (ie "words can only ever start with G, H, J, K, or L" or "words can only end in "a, u, i, or y"). That's going to take some fiddling, so it's just a placeholder question for now.

btw -- I haven't actually tested in anything but Firefox and Chrome. It's possible the little site would work just fine in IE. It's equally possible that it'll just explode in your face. If you're on IE, you're using it at your own risk. Just so you know.
kaigou: Internet! says the excited scribble (2 Internet!)
looking for something else... and I found this. I've been quoted! Or referenced. Or just bibiolographied. (Several times, apparently, but it's only a partial preview so idk.)

from The Wind Is Never Gone: Sequels, Parodies and Rewritings of Gone with the Wind by M. Carmen Gómez-Galisteo
kaigou: fangirling so hard right now (3 fangirling so hard)
I have seen the HD trailer for the new Avatar series (here).

The icon says it all.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 break out of prison)
I was going to say that this reads like an essay that should be handed out for mandatory reading in Freshman college classes -- but it's also one I should probably print out and put on my own wall, just to remind myself about my own fur.

On the difference between Good Dogs and Dogs That Need a Newspaper Smack.

ETA: No, the metaphor is not perfect. Every metaphor will break down at some point, and they do so faster if you try and go literal on them. Yes, there are essays out there that explore more, question more, push more. But as essays go, I think this is one I'd pick for a Freshman Intro, one of several, before moving deeper.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (1 Jiji surprised)
Speaking of cholera, [personal profile] starlady posted a link to Murder in the Time of Cholera from the Philadelphia Weekly, about a century-old mass murder. Verrrry interesting, with a touch of the paranormal to boot.

If you're watching a historical drama, is it considered spoiling yourself for the ending if you google the real-historical characters who make cameos, to find out when, how, and why they die?

After cholera and the massive awesomeness of the replies on that post, yesterday and today I've been reading about syphillis, tuberculosis, and the invention of the petri dish, alongside a biography of Sakamoto Ryouma (who sounds like a guy who would've been a lot of fun whether drinking together or fighting together). Back and forth to wiki every five minutes, it seems, and there onto academic articles with more info.

I need an icon that says: learning ALL the things!


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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