I got to be one of the first author interviews at sethlestath.com
I talk about how I got into writing, my writing process, the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and my current works in progress. Go check it out!
More lost “gems” from my Myspace blog archive. It’s funny how ten years later nothing has really changed in the realm of TV crime shows. A few people used to think my reviews were funny, mostly because of my idiotic MS Paint drawings I guess.
It’s funny to read my old writing and see how I’ve changed. I’m definitely not the sack of piss and vinegar I was in my twenties, probably because when you hit thirty you stop giving a shit. And yet the structure of my reviews and articles haven’t changed much since I first posted this review blog back in the early 2000’s. This may or may not be the first time I wrote a structured snarky review, so I guess I’ll keep it up on the site for now, MS Paint doodles and all.
Pent Up Frustration: Bones is a Shitty Show
Current mood: Bruckheimer’d
Guy Who Played Angel hasn’t seen many noteworthy roles since Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were cancelled. He’s currently a lead player in the series Bones, yet another crime forensics drama using a specific gimmick to draw its audience in every week.
As you know, without a special gimmick, all these shows would literally be indiscernible from one-another. Jerry Bruckheimer kind of paved the way for this trend by having three CSI shows that take place in different cities. For example, CSI New York’s gimmick is that it takes place in New York, whereas CSI Miami takes place in Miami. A noble effort, but not quite enough to keep me interested or to convince me that switching casts randomly between these three shows would result in any noticeable difference.
Fortunately other producers and networks took the trend from there. Numbers features crime stories that are somehow always solved via mathematic algorithms. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrators are running around in a stolen ice cream truck selling black market Popcicles to kids, or if the FBI were on the trail of an elusive pair of shoplifters. The hero will find some kind of fucking algorithm that will somehow lead them to the criminals, like taking all the places they shoplifted on a map and plotting a curve and extrapolating where their next target will be, or studying the rhythm of the ice cream truck’s musical device to uncover their diabolical plot to rob a bank or something. It works without fail, and it’s usually ridiculous.
Then there’s Medium, which is about the exploits of an allegedly psychic woman who solves crimes by whining incessantly when people won’t let her read their minds. And of course there’s Cold Case, where the gimmick is that the heroes are investigating long closed cases nobody gives a shit about anymore. Hey, why don’t we make another show where the police investigate historical criminal cases where everybody involved has been dead for centuries? It could be called Why Not?
But I’m derailing myself. Bones has yet another gimmick to make it slightly unique from all these cookie cutter police forensics serials. In fact, it has several traits that make it stand out. And every one of them drives me nuts.
First, Guy Who Played Angel is in it, so you know it’s a winner off the bat.
Next, the main attraction. The heroine, Bones, is a boneologist or whatever the term is for someone who studies bones, and the crimes she faces all reach resolution through the analysis of a bone sample of some sort. It doesn’t matter what crime the asshole of the week pulled off, if this bitch gets her hands on his bone sample, he’s through. Arm bone with a slight scratch in it? Judging by the look of the scratch, this could only have been made by a serrated orcish battleaxe prop used in fantasy conventions. According to her skeletal structure, the victim also enjoyed playing tennis, was left handed, wore green apple lip gloss and had a big crush on Matthew Darling in her advanced biology class. The killer must have used his favorite prop to kill the girl after tennis practice because she liked Matthew more than him. Case kah-LOSED!
Another amazing ability the heroine has, other than being a more contemptuous bitch than Scully on X-Files, is that she apparently used to be an Olympian Amazonian princess like Wonder Woman, because it takes this scrawny twat zero effort to Steven Seagal a 500 pound thug through the floorboards. Aikido has taught me that you can be a scrawny princess and still subdue a giant beast of a man, but Bones’s martial arts prowess is never reinforced as part of her character except when it comes out of nowhere, so it’s cartoonish every time.
And lemme tell ya, the plot expositions aren’t that hot. I’ll give you an example of an episode I had the misfortune of watching.
Kid is found dead from a stab wound to the spine. Murder weapon nowhere to be found. Perfectly believable so far. The kid turns out to have been a comic writer, an employee at a bowling alley, and part of a band of role-playing geeks who like to pretend they’re super heroes. The kid’s comic features his own alter-ego as the hero. They question the nerds but get nowhere at first.
But then they find a chunk of bone. Hot damn, time to start fillin’ jail cells!
They try to match the bone sample to the kid’s own bone tissue and discover, lo and behold, he was suffering from a rare and highly lethal bone disease that he’d been keeping secret from his folks because he wanted to be a tough super hero. So they figure the fragment is from whoever killed the kid.
So now they start psychoanalyzing the comic the kid worked on. In it, his alter-ego keeps fighting this shadowy guy and trying to rescue a fair maiden who glows blue and whom he just can’t seem to have as his own. They figure all three characters are real people in his life, and start asking around again. While chatting with the bowling alley owner, Bones notices that his wife favors her left arm, a sign that she’s got broken ribs and is probably being slapped around by Hubby. Ah, but they can’t arrest someone on an assumption. They need proof. Just when they start wondering who to interrogate next, they make a shocking discovery.
The comic is written by the victim, but drawn by one of his friends.
Well, fuck me running, they’ve been on this case for a couple days now and looking in this self-published comic book for clues from the beginning and they never ONCE noticed the “Written By” and “Art By” section on the cover page? I hate this show already, but let’s see how it turns out.
So Bones and her pal, Guy Who Played Angel, question the artist as if he was being sneaky about it from the start — like it’s some kind of Scooby Doo plot twist that the writer and artist for a comic book weren’t the same person, unlike just about every other comic book ever put to print. With his insight they determine that the owner of the bowling alley was the shadowy guy, and his wife, whom he constantly abused, was the blue chick. Apparently, the victim saw an instance of abuse and tried to defend her with the weird triangular shank commonly used to clean bowling balls, jabbing the husband in the arm and chipping the bone (aha! our fragment!), but the kid was sick and weak and got pwned by the huge abusive pro-wrestler-looking asshole. So they go to the bowling alley and find the murder weapon, and hubby gets mad and throws a fit and gets Steven Seagal’d by Bones like he’s the size and weight of a toddler.
Bones could totally ruin Godzilla’s shit.
The epilogue would have been remotely touching had it any plausibility. Bones’s sketch artist makes a comic detailing the climactic struggle between the dead kid and the shadowy guy, and both of them vanquish each other, and the blue lady floats away to freedom saying “Thank you”. She gives this to the battered wife at the kid’s funeral, and had this miserable woman actually read any of his shit and understood the meaning behind his comics in the first place, which they never convey at any point in the episode, this might have had some kind of impact on her and on the audience.
I think in closing I’ll be brief and just state that television sucks. Go outside and do something productive.
It is now 2017 and it’s time to stop assaulting your peers with your “superior” moral values. You’re not doing it to save the world, you’re doing it to make yourselves feel important at the expense of others.
There’s a difference between stopping powerful people from doing bad things, and bullying people you disagree with. You are not saving the world when you spray an unarmed political rival with mace, or ruin a man’s life over a t-shirt he wore, or harass a game designer for not adhering to your personal views. You cannot improve society through fear, arrogance, or irrationality, no matter how righteous you believe you are. You cannot call yourself progressive, then justify unfair treatment of others when it happens to a demographic you have beef with — that is called hypocrisy. You cannot champion free speech while trying to suppress your enemies.
It doesn’t matter what youve been through, or what you THINK you’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are. When you go around preemptively weaponizing your grief or your politics against others, you have officially become the bad guy. You aren’t saving the world, you’re throwing it further into chaos.
Just treat people how you wanna be treated, and listen to what they say instead of just reacting to it. It’s not that goddamn hard.
Another Regressive Idiot
I just stumbled upon this petition and had a good laugh. The petition has been closed for 3 years apparently, but it still serves as a monument to everything that’s wrong with fanfiction authors in general. The best part is this line:
Fanfiction.net has always been a place for us writers to ‘Unleash our imagination’ as the tagline states, and now we are having that right to freedom of speech and expression taken away from us. Since when are they allowed to dictate what goes into our stories? They are OUR pieces of work. What if the violence or sexual content is part of the plotline? This whole situation is absurd.
I agree that it’s absurd, because the fact that they are a PRIVATELY OWNED WEBSITE gives them the right, you child. The owners of such sites decide what gets uploaded, and what gets taken down. In essence, they decide what speech is free, and what speech gets blocked. It’s their site, it’s their right. You agree to this when you join. Does the phrase “terms of service” ring any bells? It’s the name of that document with the “I Agree” checkbox whenever you join a website with a forum and a hosting service. Somewhere in there are the terms stating that they decide what kind of content is appropriate, and also that they can change the ToS whenever they feel like it. I can only imagine that this particular author already voiced her disdain over FF.net’s “civil rights violations” on the website, got shot down, and rather than realize she was being silly, started a pointless petition to empower herself. I see this kind of crap on indie game sites, too.
While we’re on the topic of fanfiction, fanfics are not, in fact, your stories: they’re the property of the original rights holders, referred to as “derivative works”. You are (basically illegally) creating new content on behalf of someone else, regardless of how much original content goes into the product. You own precisely nothing in any fanfic, so making a petition to voice complaints is pointless, especially when those very complaints prove you didn’t read the terms of service of your host of choice.
I can see why less than 50k signatures made it onto this petition: the other millions of authors probably knew better (or were busy with their own foolish petitions). Here’s a great idea: don’t write fanfiction for serious. Use it as a writing exercise, but eventually graduate to original content that you actually have legal control over. Then FF.net’s policies won’t even be an issue for you (assuming you even read them in the first place).