Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Recap: The Best

Top 5 Fiction

The Hanging on Union Square
Violence is the air that Hanging has no choice but to breathe, and reading it makes needing revolution as easy as exhaling.
The Conservation of Shadows
The real critique of the political economy of science fiction, however, is not this deeply embedded symbolic joke at the expense of genre triumphalism, but the use of the substance that titles the story.
A Tale for the Time Being
Which leaves me to say that that is something I can respect but not really love, not in the ways that I love the lengthy passages about the power outage or the contrived silliness of the way it preempts Ruth's googling, or the shot of elation immediately dissolving into disappointment at the academic article and its paywall.
The People in the Trees
There is -- there has to be -- a better term than the sutures-showing "unreliable editor," though it seems to me not entirely inapt.
My Education
To focus, for instance, on the logistics of which fish would be the best decision to be the first to occupy Regina's new tank, and to decide, based on rational dialogue, as Dutra does, on a member of the class of Pioneer Fish, is never really a disengagement, and to see it as such is to deny the ways in which capitalism's movement between the universal and the particular is totalizing.

Top 5 Films

The Last Stand
I legitimately sat very stiffly upright and covered my mouth with a fist and said "OH SHIT" much, much louder than I thought I could talk without actually yelling.
Pain & Gain
Pain & Gain was Spring Breakers without the fucking thinkpiecey bullshit; a gaudy, glossy & cheap fuck you to America whose misanthropy coincidentally happened to reify structural oppressions.
You're Next
If the home invasion genre is better at performing the haunted house than those films whose generic identity is rooted in the trope, like last year's Silent House, then You're Next's invasion at a distance (as metonymized through the crossbow) ramps it up a notch; the house pops inwards with an objective cause that only ever announces itself after the fact, in wound of flesh or property
After Earth
That the film positions family as the site of trauma does not mean that the film positions family as the cause of trauma.
I was incredibly excited about the idea that we might be allowed to spend an hour and a half doing little more than following Vin Diesel, absolutely devoid of companionship, wrestle a planet into submission.

Top 5 Posts, Not Otherwise Represented

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
The Hawksian gesture is always a productive site of inquiry into the film's epistemology precisely because of its aggressive immanence, its entanglement with reductive homosociality, its negative formalism. It is necessarily a gesture at odds, a refusal of depth, an indication of aporia. It is an invitation to act disrespectfully, to criticism, to analysis, to a reaction absent humor or charity or sincerity, because it is a preemptive disarming, a smirk or a shrug or a swagger without content.
The Purge
Because vertically integrating class, which is maybe just my cute way of saying acknowledging class struggle without representing it, in the context of the constitutive hostility of private property by way of the justification of violence within it is necessarily an obscurantism by way of ethics of the abstraction of legality, also known as the threat of force.
But then I really do believe that much of the importance of the ghost as a figure in culture is a way of centering a becoming-conscious of the collective, of land as an abstraction, and particularly of its becoming-linguistic. Ghosts take the form, generally, of the individual, but almost always speak primarily of and as the history of a place. And their actions, while generally claimed to be some sort of revenge or guidance, are almost always more productively viewed as the linguistic relation of the land to itself, the way the theme park, for instances, fixes in time momentarily the meaning of a particular murder which occurred on its grounds, in order to enter into the discursive world, if only to attempt to articulate itself.
The Childhood of Jesus
They flee, finally constituting (with the anomalous and otherwise pointless appearance of a hitchhiker) an ideal nuclear family unit; a(n absent) father, a mother, two sons, and a potentially vicious Alsatian.
Hello Kitty's Fashion Music Wonderland & Hello Kitty: Here We Go!
Speaking of Kitty with the gendered pronoun obscures the point here significantly. That is: she herself is not a character. She precedes narrative. Kitty White is neither character nor stuff; she only exists as stuff, but on its periphery, or as a structuring force. Kitty is, that is to say, the way that stuff enters into the realm of representation, that it becomes-linguistic.

Top 6 Things I Wrote Elsewhen

WASD A Mile In Another Person's Shoes at the Bygone Bureau
When the world caters to the player’s schedule, exploration becomes one of the central categories of play; a world that only comes to life when you consciously choose to bring it there creates a compelling reason, and something like a moral imperative, to explore.
A/Functional Definition: 55 Theses on Final Fantasy VII
5) What might be considered the hallmark of jRPGs is the turn- and menu-based battle system. This can be seen most clearly in the way that any deviation from this mode is automatically and necessarily recognized as such.

6) Given (5), the defining mechanic (as opposed to thematic or aesthetic) of the jRPG as a genre can be said to be abstraction.
Structure Does Matter
The role of the dungeon master, as I see (and attempt to enact) it, is not the “storyteller,” but the “audience,” or the active interpreter of the text as posited by the players.
The Haunting at HKE
The lands of Hello Kitty Kawaii Town are fractured.
Cat Power at The New Inquiry
[K]awaii is an aesthetic that is born of, and develops as, a society-wide expression of desire for utopian socialism.
Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction reviewed in Strange Horizons
[Menial] is a rejection … of the narrative economy of science fiction. Once you start telling the story of the way systemic limits on access to capital affect groups for whom that oppression intersects with other, often more visible oppressions, the tall tale about the rugged individual begins to seem a little thin.

Top 5 Non-Writing Things

Curating the Hello Kitty Kawaii Hell Town tumblr as a whole. From mid-June to early October, I ran the blog with the help and contributions of a few friends. It was really exciting to me.

Unemotional Christmas by The pl. n. Single below.

Announcing A Truly Blonde Child's first release, set for January 7, 2014. Xena: Season 1.

The 4th of July single "West" by A Truly Blonde Child.

My birthday present to myself, "Not 23" by Uninterpretative: no!

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