oxfordtweed: (Prostitute Robot from the Future - Manny)
Why is it that if you say something horrible about religion/race/sexuality/et cetera and present it in a humourous manner, everyone laughs, but if you ask a serious question about these same subjects, then you're just deliberately trying to be offensive?

Has anyone else ever noticed that?
oxfordtweed: (I hear ya got religion - Residents)
Ryan will occasionally leave articles and web pages up for me to find when I wake up. Sometimes, I think he does it just to annoy me, but for the most part, it's because he knows it's something I'll like.

This is what I woke up to today.

If you've known me for a while, you've probably heard me go on about how Adam and Eve were monkeys. If you haven't heard this little story, I'll tell it now.

I've always maintained that the bible, specifically the book of Genesis, talks of evolution. God creates Adam and Eve, and they live a simple, vegetarian (vegan?) life in the Garden of Eden. God tells them they can eat anything they want in this garden, except from one specific fruit. Okay, fine. Figs and papayas will be just fine. After all, they're tasty, and who doesn't like having an apple with breakfast?

One day, Eve is quietly chowing down when a serpent wiggles up to Eve and says, "Hey, you know that fruit God told you not to eat? I think you should eat it." Because Eve apparently lacked the capacity to resist peer pressure, she ate the fruit. Then she took it to Adam, who also lacked the capacity to resist peer pressure, and then all of a sudden, they realised they were naked.

That's a lovely, simplified Sunday School version, but our teachers always forget to mention the fact that Adam and Eve were monkeys. These monkeys are sitting happy up in the trees, scarfing down papayas and figs and generally spending all day eating, because that's what herbivores do. One day, Eve's sitting under a tree, eating a bunch of fallen fruit when along comes a strange wiggling little critter. It's in amongst the fruit, and may even be a similar colour. Eve, ever curious, picks up this new wiggling fruit and takes a big old bite out of it. It doesn't taste like any fruit she's ever eaten, but it's juicy like one. Whatever it is, she decides that she likes it. Furthermore, she takes it to Adam to show her what she's found. And wouldn't you know, he likes it too.

So now, Adam and Eve are still eating easily-accessible fruit, but now they're starting to go out of their way to find these little wiggly things to eat. Because little wiggly things will hide and bite, they have to start actually thinking about how they're going to go about catch them. Suddenly, they've become predators. As they move on to larger prey, they have to again adapt their hunting techniques. The smarter they get, the bigger the prey they're able to catch. The bigger the prey, the less they have to hunt. But if they want big prey, they have to leave the trees in favour of the plains, where they'll find gazelles and buffalo. Now, they're able to feed their entire family all at once, and for several days at a time. Eventually, they learn how to preserve the meat to make it last weeks or months at a time. This means they can spend a few days hunting, and spend months after that focusing on other things like shelter and warmth -- those things that God had provided in Eden, but which they gave up when they left.
oxfordtweed: (I hear ya got religion - Residents)
Earlier today, there was a rather disturbing instance of a pastor calling the Jews "Satan worshippers." I do wish that I was kidding.

This sparked discussion in at least one other community around LiveJournal, and some of it wound up being rather... enlightening, for want of a better word.

And it also got me thinking. Every religion, non-religion, and theology has its evangelists. Christianity is, of course, the one that jumps to mind first and foremost, but everybody does it. Even the atheists will bang on until they're blue in the face. Insults can and do get thrown around, and people are accused of being ignorant and told that they're going to hell, and it just gets insane.

But when was the last time you ever heard an Agnostic evangelise? When was the last time someone knocked on your door and said, "Hi. I'd like to talk to you about how god may or may not exist?" They just don't do it.

I don't know. I had a point somewhere in this that was eventually going to turn into an essay, but I have a headache and I lost it somewhere. So I'll just leave you to draw up your own conclusions.
oxfordtweed: (Fuck God - Penn)
Found this here. Yep, I'm brining out my Bible icon again. It's oddly appropriate.

Do you condone people trying to push religion onto others, or shoving it down their throat? If so, why is it ok if you're emotionally and/or physically hurting the person you're doing it to? If not, why is it not ok that someone is trying to save someone else's soul?

Beliefs are a very personal thing; they define everything about who a person is. Unlike ideas, which a person can change within a fraction of a second, a belief by its very nature implies that something is all but engraved in stone.

I don't believe in a whole lot of anything, really. If really hard-pressed, I might give you a very solid idea which has been gouged into sandstone, but even that can be changed with a bit of persuasion and effort. But they are my ideas. While I don't believe that some all-powerful god created the universe in six days, I do agree with the theories expansion and a cosmic foam.

Both a belief and an idea fall into the category of defining a person, but there's a very small difference, and let's take Russell's Teapot (a totally safe non-diety) to illustrate it. I'm pretty almost certainly positive that there's no teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars. Certain to the point that I'll even say that, "No. There's no teapot." But, if Phil Plait posted to his blog tomorrow a NASA photograph with a teapot visible, I would change my mind, no questions, and gladly admit that I was wrong.

Believing that there's no teapot would, in theory, be a bit more tricky. If that photo showed up on Bad Astronomy tomorrow, and you 100% BELIEVED that there is no teapot, you might be quick to point out that it could be any amount of space junk that looks like a teapot, or maybe insist that the photo had been doctored.

See what I'm getting at?

So, with the long exposition out of the way, no. It is not okay to shove a belief onto someone. If someone really believes in something, no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise. But if someone has ideas about the universe, then they'd (in theory) be more open to hearing other ideas. I always feel like I should lose points on my atheist licence for this, but two of my favourite Residents albums are God in 3 Persons and the live Wormwood recording. The first one isn't too terribly religious -- at least, not on the surface. It's about a crooked faith healer; an idea which I find delightful in its irony. The second one, Wormwood, is subtitled Curious Stories from the Bible. And it's exactly what it says on the tin: performance art pieces about biblical stories. Of course, being the Residents, it's a collection of the bloodiest, most fucked-up stories the old testament has to offer, and is as a result very powerful. I'm pretty sure they don't buy into religion, but I don't really know, since I have no idea who the people behind the masks are.

But, that's sort of my point. They released this album, knowing it wouldn't appeal to atheists or Christians. It's targeted at a group somewhere in between -- people who can listen to stories about barbecuing children without being offended or feeling like they're having the bible being crammed down their throats. If a person doesn't want to listen to you wax evangelical, then no amount of preaching will change their mind. You're just wasting your time and theirs, and neither of you will be happy.

If you really must preach to somebody, find a person who's on the fence. They're the ones who really want to listen.
oxfordtweed: (Default)
Tonight while I was clearing out some of my stuff to make room for the rest of my stuff, I found something I'd forgotten I even had -- Ralph Records' 10th Anniversary Special. Finding it sparked a small and unexpected twinge of nostalgia, so I decided to put that on while I fiddled around with stuff. I credit this odd little gem for my discovery of a fair number of some of my favourite artists, so there's really not any part of this recording that I don't enjoy.

Listening to Penn Jillette lose his mind made me realise something, though. It's been a very long time since I've just put in an album and done nothing but listen to it all the way through. I'm always doing something else, as I am now, using music as something instead to drown out the noise from the AC or the car park outside. In California, I used to do that a lot; go out to the front room with a stack of old records after Ryan had gone to bed, and do nothing but sit in very dim light whilst just listening to the music. Not just hearing it, as one does when they listen to something while doing something else -- really listening to it.

It's quarter after one, and my sleep schedule is so massively fucked up that I won't be getting to sleep any time soon. I can't listen to my records, because alas, I have no turntable, but I've got loads of stuff on my iTunes. I really want to get one of those nifty USB turntables, because I've got so many records that I'm not able to do anything with, other than look at them (okay, one of them is actually framed and on my wall, but it's a collector's item).

I think that's what I'm going to do tonight, though. I'm not sure what I want to listen to, but I'm sure I'll find something.

(No, they are neither in the KKK, nor are they neo-nazis. They're just really odd.)

ETA: I accidentally deleted this. So, uhm... I suck. This was originally posted last night.
oxfordtweed: (Fuck God - Penn)
I was raised with religion -- my family is Lutheran, to be exact, only most of my family is Lutheran in the sort of way where if you really look, you might find a bible in the house, and church was something that was reserved for weddings and funerals.

Though, for reasons I can't quite fathom, my brothers and I were sent to church for most of our youths. We'd go to youth group (read: church for kids), Sunday School, and during the summers, we were sent off to Vacation Bible School. As a kid, it never occurred to me to ask why no one else in the family went to church, and yet we were sent off every week, Sunday, and summer. This was just normal (looking back, however, I can't help but wonder if the family problems started much earlier than we'd realised, since it seems as though our parents were so keen to get us out of the house).

It wasn't even until I was in high school that I'd become aware that there was even any other way of thinking. Specifically, it was a freshman biology class. While I was aware of the concept of evolution, I didn't quite understand it (what 14 year old really does, though?). I do remember being quite fascinated by the very concept, though. I've always been very curious about the way things work, and as a result, I came to really love and look forward to my science classes. I recall, when our teacher brought up the idea of evolution, there was another girl in the class who seriously freaked out. She would not listen to our teacher tell us LIES, and after practically screaming that even listening to the lecture was a sin, she walked out of the classroom.

This all got rather longer than I'd intended )
oxfordtweed: Manny Bianco holding a sign that reads 'Oh no!' (Manny - oh no)
It seems like everybody has a slightly different idea of what "Fandom" actually is. And why not? With the internet being huge as it is, there are everything from alt.fan groups to ONTD_ comms. Virtual fanzines, chat rooms, icon contests, art, fic, discussion... It goes on.

But at which point does one crossover from being "a fan of the show" to "in the fandom"? Are you in the fandom if you have the DVD box set and a few icons? Do you have to write fic to be in the fandom? Do you have to be a member of a certain group? And what about ONTD_ comms? I, myself, watch [livejournal.com profile] ontd_startrek (as well as check [livejournal.com profile] ohnotheydidnt on a daily basis), but does that really mean anything? I've posted there a few times, but I don't really engage in any of the discussion that goes on over there. I have a few icons, but I've not written any fic (well, I did one tiny little cracky ficlet, but that doesn't really count, does it?), so am I in the Star Trek fandom, or am I just a fan?

I've been watching Heroes for the last two days, and the husband has given me an idea for a crackfic of doom involving Heroes and Friends. If I write and post that fic, am I in the fandom? And speaking of Friends, I've written fic for it, but I only know two other people on the whole of the internet who have seen every episode, and those two people don't even know one another. Sure, there are a dozen or so icon communities and a FF.net section for fic, but if no one actually talks to one another outside of, "Great fic! Write more!" is it still a fandom?

The only fandom I belong to that I can positively say is actually a fandom is Hot Fuzz. Quiet as that's been lately, it still qualifies no matter how you look at it. It has creative posts, general ONTD_ style squee posts, discussion about the film and characters, and many of the people in the community talk outside of [livejournal.com profile] sandfordpolice. I know Life on Mars fandom is very similar, but I've always sort of existed on the outskirts of that one, which is how I would define my role in many of the mainstream fandoms I'm more or less into. Doctor Who and Top Gear fandoms scare me, so I only read posts that are news/informational, and anything else that I'm into doesn't really have a fandom by my standards of "people actually communicating and doing more than just occasionally posting icons."

I mean, I like the icons. And for the most part, I like the fic that's out there. But what I really want is discussion.
oxfordtweed: (Default)
A secret showed up on [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets today that instantly caused wank. Knowing full well that I was feeding the troll, I commented out of boredom,and it got me thinking a little bit.

The secret posits that most of fandom is slash. I'm not entirely sure how true that is, but okay. It is for the sake of this.

Now, I'm not denying that I enjoy the slash aspect. I've been known to don the slash goggles at times, and there are a few pairings out there that are just so goddamn blatantly obvious that it's practically canon (*coughNicholas/Dannycough*). It's right there on the screen; you don't even have to try to see it. But the more time I've spent in fandom, the more I've realised that somehow, all of my OTPs and ships are... well, het. Even my crack pairings are het.
  • I've got Nicholas/Janine, whom I adore to pieces, even if they are just angst bait.

  • Nicholas/Rose Tyler, and I've really no idea where the hell this one came from, but they amuse me so greatly.

  • Bernard Black/Marsha Klein. Come on, think about it!

  • Monica/Chandler, which is also canon, and wonderful.

  • Shaun/Liz, who are also canon and wonderful.

  • Sam/Annie, who are just amazingly weird.

  • Chris/Shaz, who are canon and fucking amazing (and my Sam/Annie surrogate, and the ONLY reason I watched through the second series of A2A. Yes, I've read the spoilers).

  • Tim/Daisy, who are my OTP of never getting it on.

  • And The Doctor/TARDIS, because let's face it; she was there first, and ain't no companion EVER going to replace her.

The more I've played around in the Fuzz, and the more I toyed with the slash pairings, the more I realised that no matter how well the characters worked together, and no matter how much they made sense, I just don't feel it. I've written a huge amount of Nicholas/Danny fic, and a decent amount of Nicholas/Deskjob (and even that one particularly weird Nicholas/Tony fic), but I always really get the feeling with them that those pairings work best on a "friends first; lovers second" sort of basis. Otherwise? Pure liquid angst. Seriously. Look at... everything I've ever written with either of those pairings. I've got a bit of a reputation in the Fuzz fandom for being something of... someone who only writes angst. Which, yeah, I have written a lot of. And even my het pairing over there is nothing but constant arguments and ceramic mugs being thrown across the room (the fact that they were broken up BEFORE THE MOVIE EVEN STARTED doesn't really help their case at all, if we're honest).

But the true ridiculous part of it, at least from where I'm standing, is that I have all these ships, and I've written... three of them. Four if you count not writing Tim/Daisy. And yet, I've written seriously dozens of pairings that interest or amuse me, but I would never really consider an OTP. And most of my OTPs are either utter crack, or exist in fandoms that scare the hell out of me (or I'm the only shipper of said ship).

Another weird one I've noticed. I've only ever written NC-17 fic for one of the pairings on my list. One of them. And it was for a prompt community, so I'm not sure how much that actually counts. With these pairings, I'm far more interested in the people and the relationships that they have with one another. I want to know why they love each other, or why they can't stand one another. I don't care about what they do in the bedroom, because there's so much else going on to focus on. This is especially true in my canon ships. Monica/Chandler was created by the writers specifically to show that happy, healthy (even if slightly odd) marriages do exist. Chris/Shaz were both so adorably unsure about what the hell was going on at first, and watching them grow as a couple was quite literally squee-worthy. And how many times have we seen the Doctor lovingly stroke the TARDIS after a stressful day?

Nicholas/Danny, or Nicholas/Deskjob is... well, it's kinda hot. And that's the point. There's not really a lot of history behind them; especially Nicholas and Danny. In almost all of the fic out there with those two, they're still in that hot couple phase, when they can't keep their hands off one another (or they're having an epic row over something). Nicholas/Deskjob is... a minefield. Everyone who writes these two approaches them differently. This probably has something to do with Deskjob's role being so small that Edgar and Simon never even gave the poor bastard a name. If you ship those two, you have to create an entire history for them. And that's a lot of work.

So, I have my OTPs, and I have my preferred pairings for porn. At no point do they ever overlap. While you may see me doing more insightful fic for my preferred porn pairings, you will never (except for the one prompt fic) see porn of my OTPs. Sort of funny how that works out, really. But I think it's for the best.
oxfordtweed: (Default)
No, I’m not talking about Star Trek. Well, not directly, anyway. I’m talking specifically of a sort of bizarre genre of fic that focuses on the “next generation,” as it were. The canon characters are all old and grey, and their kids are now running the show.

This seems to be a popular genre in fandoms where canon couples have canon children. It runs rampant in Friends, though I’ve not seen any in Hot Fuzz (or any of the Pegg/Wright/Frost fandoms), Life on Mars (though, I may just not be looking hard enough), or oddly enough, not even in Hitchhiker’s Guide. I’ve seen, and even written my share of kid!fic for Fuzz, and even though Arthur does have a daughter, both of those fandoms are very slash-centric, so having kids... well, it shouldn’t be possible, but hey. This is fan fiction (can open; worms everywhere).

I do like the occasional kid!fic, for the same reason I like the occasional pet!fic; it’s nice to see a character that usually comes off as a bit of a prick have a genuine pet the dog moment. There are some characters who do tend to have more surprise, illegitimate children show up on their door steps than others (Bernard Black and Joey Tribbiani, I’m looking at you both), so I am right there with everyone else who thinks that the genre can get real old real fast.

But next-gen!fic is an entirely different beast. Often times, you don’t get the canon characters to root the story to a familiar setting, and if you do, they’re typically very minor and in the background.

I think I can see the appeal, here. Yeah, it might be fun to explore where these characters who were once children with maybe three canon lines have gone in their lives; what they’ve become and where their lives are heading. But to me, that seems like it’s getting a bit close to “original fiction” territory. More often than not, next-gen!fic seems like an excuse for the writer to play with certain quirks of the parents, but not have to deal with people calling them out on writing them OOC. After all, it’s 15 years out of canon, and the kid only ever had three lines. How can they possibly manage to be out of character in this situation?

Or is it more than that? Is there something in this sub-genre that I’m missing? Has anybody out there written this sort of thing in the past? Is it a genre that appeals to you? Or is it all just exactly what I suspect?
oxfordtweed: (Default)
WARNING: I write fic spanning various subjects and post them in public, unfiltered forums such as here on LJ, AO3, FF.net, and several other places. Please note that some topics may be a tad touchy, and for the sake of not offending anybody, here is a list of warnings for things you can expect to find in my fics:

rape, murder, torture, major character death, minor character death, incest, no respect for personal boundaries, drugs, alcohol, profanity, indecency, pornography, graphic depictions of violent acts, verbal abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, BDSM, dub-con, adoption issues, conception issues, words that were offensive 200 years ago but are common usage in today's vernacular, jabs at the English, jabs at Americans, jabs at the Welsh, jabs at most of Europe in fact, fluff, crack, smut, angst, uniforms, dogs, jokes that didn't work as well on paper as they had in my head, painfully unfunny puns, sodomy, slash, happily married couples that don't get violently torn apart over stupid petty fights, couples breaking up over stupid petty fights, divorce, insecurity, parents not knowing how to raise children, people doing the right things for wrong reasons, people doing wrong things for the right reasons, stereotypes, betrayal, zombies, derogatory words against zombies, brutal zombie death, badly-represented regional dialect, generally bad writing, het, children, kid!fic, pets, pet!fic, deliberate censorship, gratuitous strings of profanity, characters insulting other characters, sports injuries, cars, people driving cars, people not knowing how to drive cars, first-time!fic, slutty characters, bad characterisation, possible mary sues, RPF, fan fiction, moments of OOC, men crying, women crying, transvestites crying, children crying, pregnancy, childbirth, children getting sick, children dying, smoking, men behaving badly, women behaving badly, children behaving badly, cats, political remarks, remarks against the republican party, remarks against the democratic party, remarks against the green party, remarks against the labour party, jabs against he monster raving loony party, remarks against any other party I can't think of right now, crossovers, derogatory remarks against alien species, ignoring parts of canon, ignoring parts of extended canon, ignoring parts of "it takes place in the same universe but isn't really canon at all," including bits of extended canon, including bits of "it takes place in the same universe but isn't really canon at all," fanon, bad research, making shit up as I go along, completely bullshitting details, overly researching other details, bad grammar in dialogue, and occasional instances of "I didn't think this all the way through" -- Just to name a few.

In short, I apologise if I offend anyone, but you have been appropriately warned for any and all content contained in my fics. The opinions and views expressed in these fics do not necessarily reflect those of the author. Read at your own risk.
oxfordtweed: (Fuzz - Crusty Jugglers)
As a child of the 80s, I'm unfortunately far too young to been around for, let alone remember, a lot of really great things on their first run. Some things, our parents show us, because they loved it, and it's to my parents that I owe my fondness toward Star Wars, the Beatles, the Stooges, Gilligan's Island, and Doctor Who. In the case of Doctor Who, many young people owe their new-found fandom obsession to the BBC and Christopher Eccleston and the NuWho reboot (or remake, or whatever the hell you want to call it). Star Trek is currently undergoing the same fandom divide with new fans pouring in thanks to JJ Abrams and his cast of merry GQMFs. I don't think this ever happened with Star Wars, however, because it's a universal truth that the new three films were a load of rubbish, but for some reason, we all still saw them anyway.

But that brings me to my point. Most people tend to regard remakes as lazy, and a generally bad idea, and for good reason with a great many of them. We hear that the American market is remaking Spaced or Life on Mars and revolt. News comes round that Tim Burton's remade Planet of the Apes, or any other thing he's remade, and you want to be ill. But as horrid as some of these things turn out to be (and let's face it; the end of US!LoM was just downright insulting), they are good things. Whenever I hear that a film is a remake, I do two things when it comes out: I read reviews, and I watch the original. The Wicker Man was no exception. If a remake comes out and I haven't seen the original, reading reviews is a great way to gauge the quality of the original. When people were actually angry at Nicholas Cage for this remake, it only made me want to see the British version even more. And do you know? It wasn't really much of a surprise when the film ended and I'd enjoyed myself. I still haven't seen the Nicholas Cage version, actually. And I'm not sure I ever will.

I haven't seen much else that Edward Woodward's (Why's Edward Woodward got so many D's in his name? Otherwise he'd be called Ewar Woowar) done, but having seen the Wicker Man, it was nice to watch Hot Fuzz and get that small little joke that's buried in under so many other layers. It was definitely one of those jokes that was written for the older viewers, which I wouldn't have understood if not for a supposedly shitty remake the year before. So thank you Nicholas Cage and Neil LaBute for giving me the opportunity to appreciate such a fine actor. At least you were good for something.


oxfordtweed: (Default)
Richard Book is Innocent

November 2012

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