Category Archives: sf

le guin was for kerry

altercation / 2004-08-17

Name: Brian Thomas
Hometown: Portland, Oregon

I’ve been out on the streets of Portland, Oregon five days of every week registering progressive voters.

Today I met up with Portland’s most famous author and anarchist, Ursula K. LeGuin (The Dispossessed, The Left-Hand of Darkness, The Earth-Sea Trilogy, etc.) while she was buying movie tickets at our Fox Towers theatre complex.  I asked her the same question I’ve asked
thousands of our citizens:

“Do you want George Bush out of the White House?”

Ms. LeGuin flipped her purse around to reveal a Kerry/Edwards button.

“Wow, I’m thrilled to see an anarchist wearing a Kerry button.  All my best anarchist friends are voting for Kerry, but they’re not ready to wear buttons.”  And then Ursula smiled broadly as she became the first person I have ever heard utter these words:

“Anybody but Nader.”

Now, let’s get to the real point of this letter.  Whether you like it or not, some of these just mentioned Portland anarchists and assorted other activists (including this liberal) are coming to your town next week.  Don’t believe the lies you hear on Fox News.

Although we will not be looking for trouble, we will be looking for Central Park.  Here in Portland, Oregon when we have grievances to redress we gather in our central town square or in one of the central parks that run through our city as Central Park runs through New York City.  Our concerns about war becoming a first choice, not a last resort are central to what we are as a people and so we meet in the center of our city as we will be meeting in the center of yours.  Last Friday, in Portland’s Waterfront Park, 50,000 of us met to hear John Kerry.  Only a few score of policemen were on hand to direct traffic and keep the park from overflowing with people.  Another world is possible.

Your colleague at THE NATION, Naomi Klein’s article “Ditch the Distraction in Chief” was a big hit with my friends.  However, we missed your buddies Todd Gitlin and John Passacantado’s words of wisdom for us protesters as they appeared in the subscribers only portion of THE NATION.  Any words of wisdom or tips on cheap places to eat you wish to send my way will be shared with all the anarchists from Portland who will soon be descending on your city.


the x-files

“The X-Files” is the embodiment of a failed mythology show. Ambitiously, across a decade, creator Chris Carter threw thousands of provocative morsels at viewers hungry to understand his unique mind trip. But ultimately, he failed to assemble the pieces into a satisfying, sensible whole. He squandered his audience’s good faith. It was as though he’d extended the mythology beyond any possibility of cohesion in order to keep making money on it. Every sweeps period, it seemed, and with the theatrical release of the movie, “X-Files” ads were promising resolutions that never came. The series mythology began to feel relentlessly circular, like hearing a long game of “Dungeons & Dragons” on a tape loop.

— Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe, 2004-10-27, “Getting ‘Lost’: Show pursues TV’s most elusive genre — mythology. Or maybe that’s not it at all.” (emphasis added)

Almost but not quite. “The X-Files” was at its best posing questions, not answering them. The core value of “The X-Files” core value was its mystery, its window into the unknown, and the potentially unknowable. Solving the mysteries made them boring.

Unfortunately, the longer a story or mythology goes on, the more one feels the need to stitch it into a comprehensible whole. The show was popular & making money, so folks kept it going. And since it continued, Carter and the show’s fans wanted a cohesive universe. But of course, every “answer”, every piece that actually slotted into another piece of the puzzle, sketched a little more clearly the outlines of the universe.

The problem with “The X-Files” wasn’t that its universe was incomprehensible — the problem was that it was too comprehensible. After 10 years, we know that the core mystery of “The X-Files” was a big government plot to hide aliens and alien-related power grabs. Once the structure was laid out, everything had to fit into it, and the mysteries and inconsistencies — the x-files — had to resolve to that structure. “The X-Files” would have, should have, stayed incomprehensible, full of mysteries and hints and no answers. In the terms of the Gilbert article, “The X-Files” should have stayed in the realm of mythology.

Aaaaiiii! Aaaaiiii! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh …

shrillblog: It’s all about The Order of the Shrill.

The Order of the Shrill is limited to those who were once sane, fair, and balanced, but who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by one or more of the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, or simple disconnection from reality of the George W. Bush administration.

See Sept. 9 2004 entry for more information.

Aaaaiiii! Aaaaiiii! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Laura Quilter R’lyeh wagn’nagl fhtagn! Aaaaiiiiii!!!!