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?


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.

Idiocracy thoughts

Idiocracy is one of those scrappy underdog success stories that made a resurgence leading up to the US election of 2016, and thus became so relevant it’s scary.

In the lead-up to the election itself, I read a Cracked article on fictional presidents better than Trump, and one of them was the guy from Idiocracy, played by Terry Crews. Anyway, rewatching it on November 5 or 6 (I was going to watch V for Vendetta, but I decided I was more in the mood for Idiocracy since A) it was more topical and B) it was funny and I needed some funny after the shit I went through last year.

Anyway, a couple days later, I thought about the “Time Masheen” and how the Nazis had dinosaurs and the UN came and UNNED Hitler, and I realised something. It’s never even brought up, at all, what happened to the rest of the world.

Did they look on in horror as the US went downhill? Did they smarten the fuck up and unite in world peace? Or did they get wiped off the world map entirely? And is it a post-nuclear wasteland, Mad Max style, everywhere else with national leaders hidden underground? The movie’s specifically about America at that time, and it’s taken on a legendary status over time, up there with Team America: World Police, but it does beg the question of the rest of the world’s fate.

Yeah. Comedy becomes horror, by the power of what it represents: an idea.

You know, kinda like V. But with less NSA and masked vigilantes and more dildos and Gatorade.

Reading Between The Lines (Silence as a Literary Device)

Reposting because I’ve been reminded recently of things people omit or don’t explain or can’t spit it out.


I’ve learned a very interesting technique in my Style and Poetics class, recently.  It’s called Silence, and a google search turned up next to nothing on it (there was a bit of info, but not much, and certainly no suite101 articles) so I’m posting my understanding of it here so that there’s just a little more on it out ‘there’ in web land.  Please be aware that this is only my interpretation from my lecturer’s teachings, so it is a bit ‘third party’.  Hopefully though, I’ve interpreted the info correctly and this hear is accurate and effective.


Reading between the lines, or when authors write one thing but mean another.

If you were to ask me what I thought of The Rules of Attraction, I’d probably say to you “It has a strongly designed cover…”  What do I mean by that? The answer: I dislike the book itself, so I’m focusing on the cover instead.  I said one thing, but it was a cover-up (pun not intended) for something else – by stating one thing, I avoided saying another.  Silence, therefore, is all about interpretation, hidden meaning, and indirectly stating something, usually unpleasant or a guilty pleasure that others would frown upon.  Or, you could also use what my lecturer calls ‘foggy signifiers’, that is, instead of describing a woman as tall, black hair, blue eyes, blah blah blah, you may write ‘she burst in looking like sex and desperation’.  Which is more effective?  The answer is the second one, obviously, because it’s more vivid and uses stronger words to describe the character without actually describing them at all – just what they ‘ooze’ (in this case, ‘oozing’ sex and desperation).

Because ‘misery lit’ is so popular right now, let’s use an example along those lines.  Say a girl has been beaten by her father.  She has a black eye.  When her friend at school asks her what happened to her eye, she can respond a few ways.  One, she could say nothing.  That’s silence in a literal, no-creativity kind of way.  Actually, saying there’s no creativity, no artistic merit, in a lengthy pause isn’t really fair; there could be any number of character or plot-driven reasons for the pause, namely fear, indecisiveness, whatever.  Point is, a lengthy pause, while illustrating silence, is a literal understanding of the power of not saying something.  Her silence would speak volumes, but it’s not all that could happen.

Now, to go beyond the obvious approach, the girl with the swollen, bruised eye could answer with words.  She could say “My father beat me.”  Or, she could say “I slipped and hit my head on the door knob.”  Which says more?  The second one, clearly.  She would be hiding the fact of what happened behind words, and you would have to read between the lines to understand the meaning behind her words.  She’s avoiding telling her friend that her father beat her, and this has more impact with the reader because of what she’s not saying.  In this case it’s what she’s not saying within the dialogue.  This is the kind of silence I like to call innuendo.  A great example I can think of is in the first episode of The Sopranos, where the Tony is at the psychologist’s and he relates to her that he and a guy who owes him money “had coffee”.  He says they had coffee, but in actual fact, the guy drops his coffee and runs, to which Tony gives chase and then beats him up.  Coffee, indeed.  That is what I mean by not saying something – ie: Tony doesn’t say “I showed up, the guy dropped his coffee and ran, so I chased him, beat him in front of everyone, and taught him a lesson about owing me money.”  Tony says “We… had coffee.”  Funny, and effective.

Finally, there is a type of silence that I call ‘omission grade silence’.  This, simply, is a type of silencing where something is completely left out of the text.  The example given in class is where a wife says something the husband hates, and it pisses him off and tips him over the edge.  You don’t actually see the murder happen, but the very next line, he’s cleaning up the blood with a sock.  How did he kill her?  That’s what the detective will have to piece together.  By omitting, or leaving out, the murder itself, you play with the reader’s head and their expectations, and this can be a truly powerful technique if handled correctly.

So to summarise, there are a few different ways you can use what isn’t said to resonate more strongly what is.  You can do this with ‘foggy signifiers at key moment which describe what a person or thing radiates instead of a bland, wanted poster description of their appearance.  You can do this with pauses, but to really get a strong effect, you can make the reader read between the lines to get your true meaning, by doing something crazy like saying one thing but meaning another.  Or, you can simply omit a key detail or scene from the text, and make the reader have to piece together in their mind what just happened.  This can also apply to dialogue.

Any of these can make a bland part of your writing into something else, something that is packed with hidden meaning.



2016: Man, The Name of the Wind is GREAT at this. SO many fan theories I’m learning about now that I have people to talk with on this one (I only know two people who’ve read it, and only after pestering from lots of people did they cave in and they were glad they did it).