Print Story Some men just want to watch the world burn
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:06:58 AM EST) Reading, Watching, Listening, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Dead Souls". "History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts". Watching: "Dark Knight", Wall-E". Web.

What I'm Reading
Dead Souls was the tenth Inspector Rebus book. After a good run, the quality seemed to slip a bit here. Some of it seemed a bit repetitive. You'd think that after being menaced and attacked so many times, Rebus's loved ones and own flat would have pretty state of the art security systems by now.

Has several linked plots, two of which deal with former offenders released from prison. Plot elements pretty carefully worked out. For once even I managed to spot something in advance.

This was the first novel in a 3-novel omnibus, so will give at least the next two goes sometime.

What I'm Listening To
Latest TTC course was History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts by Robert Bucholz (48 lectures)

Seemed like an odd period to select at first, going from Henry IV right through to Queen Anne, including the Civil War and Commonwealth period in the middle; usually the Tudors, Stuarts and Civil War are treated separately. Actually makes sense though, basically telling the story of how the medieval age became the modern.

Very well presented course, clear and interesting. Covers mostly the stuff that happened, but also has long digressions on the condition of the common people, culture and so on. Quite a few character studies and interesting quotes too. Bucholz manages to keep an overall theme going through the disparate periods by considering how they tried to solve the continuing problems of sovereignty, foreign policy, finance and religion

Found quite a lot that was new here: fortunately I turned out to be much more ignorant of the periods than I thought.

Overall, an excellent course, well worth a listen.

Coming Soon
Still grinding through Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad's Green Zone but it's a bit depressing. Will finish it eventually.

Not sure on the next TTC course: maybe Rome and the Barbarians but haven't completely decided.

What I'm Watching
Saw Dark Knight at the cinema. Pretty good movie: decent action scenes and poor old Heath Ledger did a good job as the anarchic joker, some pretty good lines, mostly from him.

Not much comedy value: tried pretty hard to go for the angst-ridden post-Eighties Batman. Not sure that really works for me: I may just be too old and cynical, but the whole dressing up as a rodent to fight a clown seems a bit too fundamentally silly for it to work. The original Bob Kane Batman always seemed a little big camp, and the whole dead-parents thing was a bit of an afterthought, only appearing in a couple of pages several months in as a half-hearted explanation.

Also went on a bit long: damn these kids today and their enormous attention span.

Still, worth a look, and benefits from the big screen. Just managed to resist the urge to yell out GORDON'S ALIVE! at the appropriate moment.

What I'm Watching 2
Also saw Wall-E. Thought it was brilliant the way they managed with so little dialogue, which kept it from getting too cloying sentimental like some of the other Pixar movies. Funny, nice visuals of the brown and rusted future Earth, quite touching at times too. Go and see it.

Pretty busy at work. Getting freaked out by things that ought not to be freaking me out.

Waiter rant comes out.

The Presto short from before Wall-E, in case anyone turned up late.

Dark Knight and the choppy fight scene.

Gyrojet rocket pistol and the nuclear rifle. (MeFi).

Dare: is Google giving it's Knol precedence in search results?

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Some men just want to watch the world burn | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
Rebus by hulver (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:01:03 AM EST
I'm Rebus'd out. My Dad's started doing shift work again, and the night shifts are boring so he gets through a lot of books.

He bought a job lot of Rebus books, read them and gave them to me. I read so many so close together that they all sort of merged together and I can't bring myself to read any more for now.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

I might need to pace myself more by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 12:13:22 PM EST
But apparently the series has a definite end, and I've got 10 down and only 7 to go. Unless Rebus ends up falling into Reichenbach Falls...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
not quite post-eighties bat man by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 12:13:35 PM EST
Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns was published in the mid-eighties and ushered in a metric truck load of grim, dingy Batman tales (e.g. The Cult). In many ways, these grim story lines were actually a return to the original conception of Batman back in the 30s. The camp didn't creep in until a bit later in the mid-forties under pressure from an array of different groups urging comic book publishers to make their stories more wholesome.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
That's kind of what I meant by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 12:26:17 PM EST
But I think the party line about angsty-batman is overblown. I read some reprinted old ones and they seemed pretty cheesy from the start.

Both Frank Miller and Alan Moore did angsty Eighties batmen. But after that became a cliché they both turned away from it. Frank Miller's sequel "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" is pretty cheerful. Don't think Alan Moore has done any more with the character, but his newer superheroes like Tom Strong are more rounded. And in his Supreme he has various incarnations of Supreme from different eras: these include Grim Eighties Supreme who mocks the style mercilessly.

I think Lore Sjoberg did a thing lately where he pointed out Batman's tremendous nerd appeal: dresses strangely, lives in his parents' basement, obsessed with gadgets and spends much of his time on a computer looking for excuses to get into fights...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I would distinguish between camp and cheese by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 04:34:17 PM EST
Early Batman was certainly written in the style of the cheesy pulp fiction of the era. But I'd hesitate to call it camp.

Wiki says Dark Knight Strikes again was published in the 21st century, so I don't think it has much relevance on an angsty Batman of the eighties. Admittedly, I have to say that during the eighties, I only read the darker Batman stories out there. But there were quite a few, the Moore stories like Killing Joke like you mention.  Gotham by Gaslight was pretty dark IIRC. Then there was the aforementioned The Cult story line and The Dark Knight Returns in addition to Arkham Asylum and Batman: Year One all published in the mid to late eighties. These dark story lines all contributed to Tim Burton's rather darkly toned film version of Batman released in 1989.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Hey, I didn't delete it by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 12:29:01 PM EST
Grim Eighties Supreme
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
That Bucholz guy by johnny (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Jul 31, 2008 at 06:41:37 PM EST
is really rather impressive.
Buy my books, dammit!
Some men just want to watch the world burn | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)