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In fic-related news I find it endlessly fascinating what I consider ATG/OOC in AUs (or even just UAs/canon divergences), versus what I’m prepared to go along with.

Like… I’ve read some totally wild and wacky AUs that still “clicked” for me as being Yes, That’s Definitely Still Them while others, even if they’re technically more adept, fall short because they’re missing The Things. What are The Things? We may never truly know! But they are!

This Hot Take brought to you by one-too-many interesting, well-written, very hot fics that seem to just… fall apart in the third act because they don’t address That Canon Thing (You Know The One) in a way that makes the whole thing retrospectively feel serials-filed-on-ish. Like, okay. You took Generic Romance Novella 2083, slapped some canon names on it, rewrote a few minor scenes… but couldn’t structurally alter the denouement enough to really bring things home.

And actually writing it out this way has made me realize that what I probably mean is that the AUs that work for me essentially adapt the canon’s A Plot into the fic’s B Plot (since the fic’s A Plot is usually a romance). But fics that don’t successfully manage this, even if their characterization is otherwise pretty good, just… (sad trombone sound)

2019-12-12T18:16:38+11:0030th March, 2020|Tags: fanfic, writing|

Endgame.

Yet another way to recognize power is the intentional foregoing of selling your product to customers in order to capture market power elsewhere, or what is known as vertical foreclosure. This is most apparent in the new service Disney is rolling out called Disney Plus, which will bundle all of Disney’s massive trove of content into a Netflix-like bundle. In some ways, this looks like [Disney CEO Bob] Iger’s end game in the strategy for global dominance. Disney can produce must-have branded content, force theaters to show all of its branded content, and then leverage that across its global network of theme parks and its dominant streaming service. It is vertically integrated from production lot to the end consumer.

Iger’s strategy is to do what Netflix is trying to do, except with more raw power. Netflix’s strategy is to produce so much content and sell it at a loss through subscriptions, in the hopes it can drive its competitors out of business. One it has a large base of subscribers and no competitors, it can then raise prices on its subscribers (as it is doing in the U.S.) and pay its talent less money. Where else are they going to go?

Matt Stoller on monopoly culture.

The whole article is worth reading and, yeah yeah, no ethical consumption under capitalism and all that, but

But.

2019-12-12T09:13:58+11:0028th March, 2020|Tags: economics, pop culture|

Cancelling cancel culture is cancelled.

But the problem with criticism of the “cancel culture” is it ignores that the ones doing most of the cancelling are conservatives.

Conservatives in this country have cancelled progressive taxation, have tried for 40 years to cancel public health and education, have cancelled any attempts to increase Newstart, been doing their best to cancel the NBN and have cancelled a price on carbon, any effective action on climate change, and tried in vain to cancel moves to allow gender equality.

Most recently we had conservatives in New South Wales trying with all their might to cancel legal abortion.

And of course the most egregious example of cancel culture in Australia was by the Australian newspaper, which used a short Facebook post by Yassmin Abdel-Magied as an excuse to hound her out of work and in the end the country.

On the other side, progressives get annoyed when Alan Jones uses the N word, Sky News and the ABC interview Nazis or far-right extremists, and political parties continue to mouth platitudes about climate change and then seek to foster growth in the coal industry.

Greg Jericho on cancelling.

I mean, look. I’m the first person who’d admit I have problems with cancel culture1 but, like. Jericho’s not wrong, so…

  1. Pretty much exclusively when it ignores existing power structures. “Cancelling” a teenage indie creator on Twitter because they drew an art you don’t like is… qui-ii-ii-ite a bit different to “cancelling” a millionaire media personality, or multi-billion dollar corporation, for supporting far-right extremism, for example. []
2019-12-18T09:52:59+11:0026th March, 2020|Tags: culture, politics|

Reading ahead.

One could easily conceive of a world in which most of the nation believes that America defeated COVID-19. Despite his many lapses, Trump’s approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.

One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.

In 2030, SARS-CoV-3 emerges from nowhere, and is brought to heel within a month.

Ed Yong on alternate endings.

2020-03-31T06:49:24+11:0026th March, 2020|Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19|

Public investment.

But the reality is that if we had a bigger public sector today, we would be better prepared to weather the health and economic crises triggered by the coronavirus. Hopefully, by the time we come through this, we will have learnt that lesson once and for all. Because nobody thinks “the market” is best placed to tackle the coronavirus. Nobody thinks governments should step back and let the private sector step in. One of the first casualties of Covid-19 in Australia is the neoliberal rhetoric about government spending being a “cost” to the economy.

As China has shown, if you are interventionist enough, and crush economic activity hard enough, you can stop the spread of Covid-19. As Italy has shown, if you are laissez-faire, you will overwhelm your hospitals. There is no avoiding this choice. Delay and dissembling will deliver the worst health and worst economic outcomes.

But neoliberalism is all about delay and dissembling. For decades, we have been told that if we cut spending on health and welfare today, we can grow the pie and all be better off in the future. Of course, in reality, if we had spent a lot more on the health system, we would be better off today and in the future.

Richard Denniss on government.

2020-03-25T08:50:14+11:0025th March, 2020|Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, economics, politics|