Ghost in the Shell and Japanese animation’s history of appropriating white culture

Interesting read, for anyone living under a rock where it comes to anime (which, if I’m being honest, isn’t *most* people I personally know, as I somehow manage to have a LOT of pop culture consuming friends).

EDIT: On a personal note: I think the history of anime and GITS itself is more interesting than this movie. Also, Batou’s eyes just don’t look right, compared to the anime. The movie looks amazing, sure. It has aesthetic going for it, and in the group I was with, I was the only one to pick out Doge, that old meme, in the business suit at the end. Could be the monologue was generic as hell and I tuned out and so that caught my eye when the rest of it didn’t. Could be I was just looking in the right part of the screen at the right time and everything else was pretty generic. Could be I’m detail-oriented, being autistic. Who knows, really.

Divergent Thinking



Something I got a lot of praise for in school was my creativity and my ability to write evocative stories, my ability to draw buildings and maps (people, forget it; animals, depends). I still have a vase I made and painted, in my mother’s lounge room. I still have a toolbox and table I made in woodwork class, I was bad at the manual labour, but I was a bloody legend with the poker burner and people actually offered money to get me to put their ideas on their woodwork (the Metallica logo for one). I still have the coffee table I made in 10th grade. I was inspired by Final Fantasy 8, among other things, and my designs reflected that.

Reading this blog post by my friend, I can see how homogenized typical thinking is, as we are taught to “grow up and fit in” and to think like everyone else to do so. Now, social skills are not a *bad* thing to have – in fact they’re critical in your ability to have a life worth living – but understanding how to fake it in order to fit in, and how to think creatively, outside the box, and relate how *you* think that way, is definitely a pro. You’re essentially conveying your ideas, which are something that resonates with you, to other people, which means explaining them like you would to a five year old (but also respecting the listener’s basic human understanding and ability to think for themselves).

At Uni, I wowed people with my script ideas, because they were so resonant and cool and I was so passionate about them, and for that reason I, and a couple of others from a writing degree background, went into Film and TV with an imagination.

I also had my video game level idea presented to the class as an example, which was also a proud moment for me. In that, you were chased by an ice monster from a portal, through the halls of (totally not my Tafe campus) before a nastier monster came out. There were obstacles and enemies to impede progress. What I had, though, was an idea. It was more than what most had. And I was happy to hear other people’s suggestions for levels too, of course, because I was the guy with the imagination.

Imagination, then, is… what is imagination? Well, here’s a few jobs where imagination *isn’t* a requirement: Lawyer. Copy writer. Accountant. Business admin. Tech support. Government. Mechanical trades. Warehousing. Shipping (unless it’s practical and solves a problem that would otherwise get people killed or injured). Security, although *some* understanding of the human psyche is a bare minimum. Zoology. Doctors. Nurses, well, if they are positive and are able to help patients through encouraging creativity, that’s good for the patient’s morale). Psychology, hard to say, but understanding creativity is key because you’d get a lot of creative types in your office). Teachers… the fun subjects like history and English and art are sought after by all and trust me, they’re never hiring.

I think I’ve lost the point I was trying to make, but basically, I think my writer friend Talitha is on the ball with this Divergent Thinking thing. Kids get it. Kids are looking for imagination, anything to keep them from being bored. They make shit up like it’s the most natural thing in the world. To them, unburdened by “adult responsibilities”, ie money, relationships, jobs, taxes, laws, growing up, growing older, health, life changes, injuries, disabilities, sex, entertainment, housing needs, social security… to kids who’ve yet to really experience the difficulties of life, playing in the sand pit or on the playground or with toy lightsabers or with dolls/action figures, life is such a wonderful thing. Then you’re forced to go to school and get Education shoved down your throat, told what to think, and how to behave, and lectured on White Guilt (ie my entire education in Australia) and that Video Games Are Bad For You (when Shakespeare was sword fights, dick jokes, sex and drugs, and the great works of art that stand the test of time are typically those that depict bloody battle, sex, drugs, or whatever is taboo at some point. Or a can of soup. Yeah. That’s Art, apparently. God bless you, Warhol.)

Somewhere between “play in the sand pit with light sabers and Power Rangers” and “I really have to study for this final or my dad will send me to military academy because I don’t live up to his anti-communist sentiment” we tend to lose the ability, the inclination, the power, to think TRULY creatively. That means, outside the box. Not another brick in the wall. Hence you get American Idiot blowing your fucking mind. Hence Idiocracy is actively fucked by the industry until it gets a measly DVD release with no exposure, and slowly plots its revenge and raises an army of followers and becomes a dystopian documentary/horror flick when all it wanted to be was a comedy. And how Terrorists capture our imagination and we have no ideas so we turn to movie makers to answer our questions about what to do. (Yes, I’m talking South Park’s Imaginationland). And how everything’s Batman. EVERYTHING.

Honestly, I lost the point I was only half interested in trying to make, somewhere in all that. But thinking “yeah, that’s tried and true, but what if you did it this way instead?” is a good practice. As long as you know what the reasons for doing it the standard way are, at least.

If you are some “misunderstood genius” who doesn’t even comprehend, let alone understand, the way people think, or how the industry, trade or business works in the first place, though, you’re going to fail. Because you’re an idiot. And being an arrogant prick about it will not do you any favours.

So understand WHY the system is in place, think about how the human mind works, understand why your ideas might or might not work out, and then think about how you might convince people to take a chance on your alternative way of doing these things. Do that, and who knows, you might become the next Steve Jobs. (but don’t count on it, you’re not that special, and if you are, SHOW IT through actions that gather traction to the effect of “that’s an awesome idea, you should get money for it!”).

When did you first realize you were heterosexual?

Some genius professor rustled some jimmies not long ago (and I only realised I hadn’t posted this until trying to figure some stuff out regarding this blog), and I cracked up at the sheer hilarity of it. Bravo for posting a lecture slide on the social double-standards that straight white people have towards everyone else (well, too often, anyway). This made the news, and I found it pretty enlightening on how badly humanity seems to have fallen in the way of acceptance, and how ingrained our attitudes to anything “Other” really are, sometimes, and how we often just assume we are faultless until someone shines a mirror up to us as a society.

So, for all the heterosexuals in the room: when did you first realize you were heterosexual?





Xmen movies

I saw Logan last week. Hugh Jackman is the first live-action Wolverine, he was a kinda strange choice, since the character is short and Jackman is Australian, while Logan is Canadian, though the two are practically the same in general, both live in extreme weather, both speak a version of English that confuses Americans, and both are friendly as all hell. Both also have reputations as badasses, because there’s so much that can kill you in both countries. Canada has wolves, stags, grizzly bears, all the things that *look* like they’ll fuck you up and it’d be an honour. Australia… hoo boy. Snakes and spiders, mostly, but Crocodiles, Sting Rays, Box Jellyfish, Sharks, Cassowaries (like mutant Emu’s on steroids and straight out of Hell) and boxer roos, the big, fuck-off kangaroos that are like, 8 feet tall and on steroids and can punch a hole clean through your chest if you don’t shoot them first with a shotgun, or, better yet, a double barrel .44 Magnum shotgun. And wild boars, you gotta use that, their skulls are that thick and they move that fast and that angry.

I illustrate these animals because A) they’re fucking savage and B) none of them have anything on Wolverine. I mean shit, he can regenerate, has metal from another planet in his bones, and retractable claws that can cut through ANYTHING. Okay, maybe not Juggernaut’s helmet. Nothing can cut through that. But anything else in that setting, forget it, basically. His claws are the fucking Colt from Supernatural.

So, he’s been in all of the Xmen movies. All 7 of them. (8 counting Deadpool?) So, let’s see if I recall much about those.

Xmen: decent action movie, one of the two properties that Fox did well on, for the most part, the other being Spiderman. The visuals were a grey and black colour palette, the costumes were obsessed with “not yellow spandex” to the point they were all black, the computer thing was grey moving blocks and I thought Cerebrum looked best in First Class, honestly. Some of the dialogue was alright, most was kinda stupid though. For a comparison: I liked “Not everyone can shrug off bullets, Logan.” And when Cyclops later tested Wolverine’s identity because Mystique was present, Logan simply said, “Dick.” I think that was where he gave him the middle claw. Cyclops was convinced. On the other end of the spectrum was Storm’s line about toads and lightning storms. Ugh. Fuck no, writers, have her JUST ZAP HIM! Still, Xmen 1 was good, not great, and it was revolutionary at the time for LGBT issues.

Xmen 2: a perfectly good sequel. Soldiers tried to capture mutants, mutants ran around the house and wouldn’t go to bed like good little children. And Iceman chilled Logan’s beer. And the cat licked Logan’s claws. I didn’t even remember until now the lake bit, though. Or the facility. Or some hot-ish, but forgettable, Asian… Wolverina? (shut up)

Xmen 3: The Last Stand. Sigh. It was pretty bad. Magneto busted out with a single paper clip, though. The soldiers learned to use fully plastic weapons. The team work displayed in the bridge fight was great. The line “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” was the stuff of one-liner legend. Magneto ripping the San Francisco Bridge out of the supports and putting it down where he wanted it was the stuff of visual legend. (at least until the submarine in First Class went one better)

Most of that movie didn’t do much for anyone, but the climatic final battle did deliver the goods. The girl from Game of Thrones was, I think, was a better Phoenix, though. Not a better Jean Grey, but then I can barely recall that much about Xmen 3, so yeah. No confidence there.

Then you have First Class, which was just amazing, and is the inspiration for Adrian in Children of Fire (with some Hans Gruber for good measure).

Days of Future Past was… good in concept, but where Rogue got the new powers from is a mystery that was never explained. The way the human guy in charge of the Sentinels was merely wrong, that was a nice change of tone. Peter Dinklage can’t really do anything but Tyrion, though, from what I’ve seen and heard so far. He did alright here, but that character was overshadowed by the legendary Tyrion Lannister. As any role he’s in would be.

Apocalyse was just… ugh. Kill me, please. Rehashing Magneto’s origin in a lazy, uninspired way (though his wanting to be left alone by the soldiers and being forced to use his powers at the steel mill was an inspired moment). The murder of his wife and child was just too on the nose. Apocalypse himself was boring. The power upgrades were… what again? Xavier losing his hair that way was just stupid and undid the gag in First Class. The Wolverine cameo was on the nose too. So was the “third movie in a trilogy sucks” comment. Mystique’s arc was repeated pretty much the same way but a much lesser quality.

The only good thing was that final battle, and how Magneto pulled the two beams together to form the X.

And then Logan was the R-rated gore-fest with death and rage and suffering right until the end that a series like this needed as a capstone, at least as far as Logan’s story goes. Cinematically, it’s the perfect ending to a series of movies about mutants fighting. The series starts of good, goes downhill, and rises right back up after two Wolverine solo movies. (The first I’ve seen, a few times, it’s stupid good fun in my opinion, I think everyone just focuses on how bad they treated Deadpool, but Wade Wilson was at least cool as shit; it’s right at home in the 80s, and that war montage with the two brothers is amazing. “He fought and died in two world wars” comes to mind as a phrase from an “adult” cartoon I loved as a late teen, see if you can guess it from that quote).

So okay, he’s in 9 movies, I think. Two were cameos, three were solo outings, and this has more than cemented Hugh Jackman as THE Wolverine. He was pretty much born to play the role, like Reynolds in Deadpool. (Cable sounds fucking amazing, and I kinda remember him from the cartoon, mostly only while it was playing on the TVs at the Step Inn in the Valley back in like 2009 (now Netherworld)). They played metal there. Seems appropriate, really.

That’s my retrospective on the series. In Marvel’s hands again, any Wolverine they have will have BIG shoes to fill. And I think they can safely just not have him around and it won’t be an issue, he does kinda go off on his own a lot.

Wow, I’ve heard of man caves, I’ve heard of she-caves, I think this just totals both of those for coolness. Plus, I could probably grab some business cards from the barber and bottle shop down the road and display those. Absolutely BYO, otherwise we’d have stubbies in the esky for $5 each, and chicks would have to be cool with beards and man-glitter, I mean sawdust.

A gentleman’s agreement

Thursday last week I spent some time with my best friend from Uni, playing Terminator at Netherworld, a new bar in Fortitude Valley, where they have arcade games and your

I went to Netherworld with my best (and one of maybe 3 remaining) friends from Uni, someone I can not see for years and never have to question the friendship, and I played some Terminator and kicked a tonne of robot ass. Like, seriously, several levels worth. On about $8 credit, just so many retries, and I got to Skynet level 2 security and those bloody snake bots were confusing because I shot everything I could think of and nothing worked. Still, I got through a LOT of levels on $8, so, definitely a good thing going, this place.

Good times anyway, because of who I spent my time with. Then we talked WW2, and Voltron (shut up, I *am so* an adult!), and all kinds of fun stuff. Then went for Burritos (haven’t had lunch with a friend in forever) and went to Finn McCool’s for a few (read: like, 10) pints and it was just the best. We talked Vikings, and books, and what friendship *really* means, and bad-mouthed some people (real and fictional alike), and I had one of the best afternoons/early evenings out in forever. And I will be reading The Fifth Season and she’ll be reading The Name of the Wind and we shooks hands and parted with that promise. Is how I remember, anyway. We had a “few” beers, after all.

Sarcastic Writer Tag

From ShaelinWrites 


1. Where does your writing inspiration come from?

The same place your questions come from: my brain. Yes, your questions come from MY brain, and there’s something lost in translation, because I’m on a whole other plane of existence to you. And it’s a realm of strippers and icecream and you’re not invited.

2. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?

Video games and porn.
3. What is your greatest fear as a writer?

That you’ll steal my 10000% original ideas and do them better than I ever could.
4. What is your number one writing tip?

Don’t. Describe. Shit. Let the reader read you mind, it’s what they do.
5. How do you feel about editing?

That’s the editor’s job. I’m a special little snowflake and I will simply email it out to the first publisher I meet over beers at one of my weekly parties and they’ll take care of everything for me and they won’t have to do shit because I’m just that amazing and then I can party it up with a half-naked Kathryn Winnick on the beaches of Greece.


6. Where do you do your best writing?

At your mom’s place. You should call her.
7. Where do you see your writing career in ten years?

Career? Pfft, I just write one book, it debuts at #1 for a year straight, and I never have to worry about bills again because royalties are perpetual and I will always been rich and famous and never have to work again the rest of my life. That’s the publisher’s problem. Me, I just get to feed grapes to a topless model of some kind (wasn’t I talking about someone earlier? I’m too drunk to remember who, but she’s pretty).

Update for January

Phew, I’ve had a busy couple days. I published the new and final version of my book, because, well, come on, I hated the last two versions, and I know I’ve done a good job when I publish on Monday and have made $5 by Tuesday. It’s now also in Smashwords premium catalogue, meaning I am now going to be automatically distributed to all of Amazon’s competitors, just about. On top of that, I’ll be doing POD from Ingram Spark, since they have a branch in Victoria, which means I don’t have to get them in from the states, meaning MUCH cheaper delivery costs and shorter times, and so much less hassle ‘translating’ between print and digital PLUS between US and AU stores, like I had with Amazon (Kindle vs Createspace). Still going to do POD with that, but for Australian readers, it’ll be Ingram or something to that effect.

I’ve had a haircut, so I don’t feel like a hobo anymore.

I’ve run a really fun, interesting D&D adventure I found online with my closest group.

I’ve ordered business cards.

I’ve written a new story or rather finished one, and I’ve been able to go to parties again too.

I’m also going to the gym from Friday. Gonna work out some of this anger and frustration and sleep better too.

My Twitter and Instagram tend to have new followers each time I log in.

I can go to the movies again.

And I haven’t decided where to go tomorrow, but most likely either Eatons Hill or Newmarket, if I do decide to go out (who am I kidding, I need air con!)

I’m kinda exhausted, but a good exhausted. And I’m going to see my remaining dog tonight when I go to mum and dad’s. She’ll be glad to see me too.