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Pointed out to me in email, this terrific review (sadly behind a paywall) in TLS ("Too spirited for the spooks," Jon Barnes, 7 January 2005) of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, edited by the frankly "affirmational" fan Leslie S. Klinger, who plays "the parlour game of Sherlockian scholarship":

Initiated in 1911 by a Catholic priest who intended it as a spoof of scriptural exegesis, the game assumes that Sherlock Holmes actually existed, that the stories really were written by John Watson MD, and that Doyle acted only as the doctor’s agent. The supposed fun lies in ensuring that the canon’s numerous mistakes, implausibilities and inconsistencies are coherently explained away, no matter how tortured the logic required. Klinger fills page after page with the kind of wilfully pedantic literary mischief-making which John Sutherland has turned into an art form. How many wives had Doctor Watson? Did Holmes love the only woman ever to have outwitted him? What colour was the Baker Street dressing gown? And what really happened at the Reichenbach Falls? The whimsy of this conceit swiftly becomes grating and, in relegating the author to the role of mere go-between and front man, also seems faintly insulting to Doyle himself.

From what I can gather, his fans' affirmational "mischief-making" (a parlor game I would totally play if I had all the frigging world and time) stands in interestingly educational contrast to the transformational game many scholars of fandom-queering are doing. Just found this fascinating wiki, which annotates slashily: apparently, this moment in A Scandal in Bohemia is "the only instance in canon of Holmes and Watson walking with linked arms," a detail I find quite touching:

Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street, and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend's arm in mine, and to get away from the scene of uproar.

Was rejoiced to find. It has a helpless, knowing fondness for the impossibility of some kind of sexual relationship, of it forever remaining a "bromance," that I find faintly Barthesian.

Discovered via this equally fascinating post in [community profile] queering_holmes, which recounts members' experiences of Holmes slash over time and what impact the 09 movie has had. I want so much to read the slash/crackfic mentioned in this comment:

Pre-movie Holmes (online, fanfic-as-fanfic producing) fandom struck me, based on a tiny and probably unrepresentative sample, as being full of queerness. FTM Holmes. Gay subculture-involved Watson. Crossdressing bisexual actresses. Explorations of 19thC sexual identities clearly written by bored students in the same English-for-perverts classes I was taking. A lot of this stuff also struck me as being either more book based or based on a mishmash of many different versions--the expected level of both historical knowledge and Holmes geekery was really quite high. There were footnotes!

Footnotes! All of which to say that Queer Sherlockistan is as interested in uncovering/reworking/noodling over the history and politics of sexuality over time and in many different context as it is the thrill of writing Holmes as a lesbian. Poor Doyle. He would so not approve.
cut for picspam )
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Earlier tonight, as I was looking for an Ursula Le Guin short story whose name I can't remember (in which a girl performs her coming-of-age ritual: to lie awake on top of a hill all night long under a clear sky and watch the stars in their rounds***), I came across this translation of Rilke's 8th Duino Elegy. I've never been a Rilke booster (oy is he dramatical and affected and twee and NOT IN A GOOD WAY), but this translation suits me. Her treatment of the Tao Te Ching has always been a favorite - she goes flatfootedly, and it never veers too far into kitsch or the folksy. I love how she breaks into prose after the second stanza. cos it's long )

***Not from Earthsea, but maybe one of the Hainish stories? Help a girl out, dear reader of science fiction.
all_unnecessary: (DW - Bad Wolf)
"Please tell me we can tell the difference between wool and sidearms."

Narnia go Bragh

Hooray for the DW Christmas Special, which, to my great pleasure, only briefly and incidentally involves an alien attack on Planet Earth )
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Please go here for a handy-dandy guide to unfucking-up your eljay.

Especially pay attn to whether or not automatic payments have been (re)enabled. Apparently there's been some instances of this happening without a user's knowledge.

I've set up a Dreamwidth account (same name) and am in the (ridiculously long) queue to import my eljay. I'm not sure if I'm going to give up on LJ entirely, but who knows what the hell the Russian PTB will do next? I'll be cross-posting at the very least.

ETA: [ profile] megamagicpower left this beautiful comment on Worst Person of the Year [ profile] igrick's condescending post:

Livejournal's effective use of Subjects in its comment system has been one of the few things that sets it apart from the majority of other blogs, forums, social networking sites and pretty much any website facilitating communication between more than two people that you could name.


News, blogs and social networking sites presume conversations to be a passing whimsy, that you will not want to follow a discussion after you have said your piece. There's nothing to follow! The comments will be lost to the void within hours! Forums, on the other hand, know the value of a discussion, but presume that these discussions are a single stream of conversation, rather than different streams branching in different directions from a common source. To navigate a particular sub-stream of the conversation, you have to scroll through and find where the next person quoted the last person who spoke.

LJ falls victim to neither of these design fallacies, and thus has developed what is, in my opinion, one of the most effective comments systems on the web.
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Om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yó naḥ pracodayāt

Marvelous rising sun
I bask in your light
May you inspire me*

Happy Solstice, people! Browsing a little popular physics this morning, thinking of the sun god and why I have to get over my annoyance at god-botherers.

If it is the case that "basic properties of our universe are accidental and uncalculable" and that "we must believe in the existence of many other universes" even though "we have no conceivable way of observing these other universes and cannot prove their existence," and that finally "to explain what we see in the world and in our mental deductions, we must believe in what we cannot prove," then I can't get bent out of shape when humans fall prey to that most essential human instinct — to go ahead and explain anyway.

To wonder what if this or that law of our universe were different, to posit an otherwise and find that otherwise completely inimical to life, is to, well, to wonder. To be in awe of the very fact of our existence to wonder about anything anyway. It's all very slippery and you can see why intelligent design physicists (and Ronald D Moore) might be forgiven for looking for an Other to explain it all.

“To get our universe, with all of its potential for complexities or any kind of potential for any kind of life-form, everything has to be precisely defined on this knife edge of improbability…. [Y]ou have to see the hands of a creator who set the parameters to be just so because the creator was interested in something a little more complicated than random particles.”

I'm still enough of an atheist to say that the necessity of belief doesn't entail the necessity of a particular belief, though. How about we just sit back and praise the state of it. That there is light, water, food, friendship, kindness. Call it Savitr or accident or the Multiverse or grace. But let's just agree on the wonder of it.

That Mallarmé quote! “Yes, I know, we’re nothing but vain forms of matter – but sublime enough to have invented God and our souls! So sublime, my friend, that I want to give myself over to this spectacle of matter, fully aware of it and nevertheless maniacally dashing forward into the Dream matter knows it isn’t, singing the Soul and all the other divine impressions built up in us since the first ages, and proclaiming, before the Nothingness that is the truth, these glorious lies!”

*I like this translation too (from Wiki): "Whoever produced me and the one [who] recites this mantra, let Him save both of us from sinning against each other." Wonderful confusion and profusion of speakers in the structure of that enunciation.
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YAH SORRY I'm going to talk about Deep Space Nine. )
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A friend of mine recently returned from summer vacation and brought back with him a mighty, mighty recommendation: watch Misfits, and now. As some of you may know, my Anglophilia knows only the slightest of bounds – Misfits turns out to have been one of them. Or rather, I don't know why I never got around to watching it, after it having been recced to me more than once (waggish? Was that you?), since it's basically designed for my adoration.

  • Fantastic sci-fi premise adroitly plotted and executed? Check.

  • Insightful and well-considered characterizations of its heroes? Check.

  • Freakishly talented actors? Check.

  • Cracking soundtrack? Check.

  • Perfect balance of genre-jamming and fanservice? Check.

  • Urgently needed and timely social commentary? Fucking Check.

Five ASBO kids start their community service on the day a super-power-dispensing storm passes directly over their estate. Way too many people are affected (that is, given characterologically consistent superpowers), including their Probation Worker, whose basic contempt for the kids with whom he works turns homicidal (HULK SMASH CHAVS!).

And thus it begins: cultural stereotypes are literalized and we are all enjoined to sit back, grab some popcorn, and marvel at it. Cos it really is marvelous.

And it hasn't been cancelled! New series on the way this fall!

Warning: this show is so very entertaining you really won’t want to be spoiled. Go watch the first episode (or even the whole frigging two seasons) and come back.I'll wait. )
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YAH SORRY I'm going to talk about Caprica )
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are on a play date. I knew this was going to be fun.

just wasn't sure how. )


Here's how it went in my head:

where do I know that actor from
he's kinda hot
srsly where ftw
wait starbuck's dad
*vague shame*

And of course the question is: is Tory a cylon or not? ha-biddybiddy-ha. It's going to be fun because the temperature is set to FLORID.... The warehouse was at 4400 Blah de blah Street, people. Oh and let's not forget Inara's little eyelid flutter at the very end there.
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D and I had a great time last night watching the finale. Chocolate pudding and full-on fangirl squeeing. So very satisfying. Turns out I may have been pronouncing reification incorrectly, though (RAY ification). I’m sure I have much more to say, but this’ll do for now.

“Autant d'astres, autant d'humanités étranges.” Victor Hugo, Abîmes

“Men of the nineteenth century, the hour of our apparitions is fixed forever, and always brings us back the very same ones, or at most with a prospect of felicitous variants. There is nothing here that will much gratify the yearning for improvement.” August Blanqui, Eternity Via the Stars

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Only indirectly here on LJ, but earlier tonight, I REALLY CALLED IT (before watching tonight's ep, that is) while waiting for the ep to load and watching last week's again, I SAID TO MY FRIEND: THE BLACK HOLE, they're referencing Disney's The Black Hole in the design of the colony, and the scene w/ Kara in the room with Sammy The Hybrid right before she tries to shoot him DIRECTLY REFERENCES a scene at the end of said film. There's more to come with that, I said. ! AND I WAS RIGHT. huh! YAH SORRY )
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