media

anthology

Soooo…this happened.

Over the weekend UCD Dramsoc, the drama society where I spent some of my happiest days and avoided some of my must important college lectures, published an anthology of plays that were originally written and performed there. The plays are A Certain Romance by Stephen Jones, Sluts by Caitriona Daly, Stoop by Gillian Greer and The Hole by…

"Yo."

“Yo.”

Yeah. So. Published writer. How are you? And if you’re interested in checking out some early work by the absolute cream of young Irish playwriting talent right now (and me), the book is available on Amazon and is actually kinda gorgeous.

Links and stuff.

Howdy peeps! I hope it’s as beautiful a November day where you are as it is here in Ireland.

"Colours. Remember them?" "No."

“Colours. Remember them?”
“No.”

The fundraising for Joanna is progressing at a fair clip (we’re already at 16%) so I thought I’d drop a few links that might of interest.

Firstly, here’s our Facebook Page, where we’ll be updating with news on the production, interviews with cast and crew and all kinds of stuff.

And here is our Twitter page which you can follow. And because it’s Twitter it’s free to use. It won’t cost you a thing!

Flanders

And lastly, a very nice write up about us in the Sunday Business Post. (There’s a paywall but you can still read some of the article.)

Oh, and lastly I have a little bit of bad news for people reading the Devil’s Heir. It seems that some of the chapters have gone…missing. It’s possible that they got lost in the shuffle from moving from the wheezing asthmatic contraption that was my old computer to my new one so I’ll have to search there but there may be a hiatus on new chapters for a while. Sorry.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for all the support.

Mouse out.

Arena

MOVIE (AND TV SERIES) DEATHMATCH!!!

Before we get on to the fun part of unveiling which of the 123 (I’M SORRY I’LL REPEAT THAT AGAIN ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FRICKIN’ THREE) Movies and TV series that you nominated made the cut, let’s go through how this works again.

  1. Make a donation of $5 or $10 to the Joanna VR Kickstarter page.
  2. Leave a message on the Kickstarter page (or an email to unshavedmouse@gmail.com) telling me who gets your vote or votes ($5 counts as one vote, $10 counts as two).
  3. We’ll be running the Kickstarter for thirty-eight days. Every two weeks, the lowest scoring three movies/series will be eliminated in entertainingly gory ways.
  4. Highest scoring three movies/series at the end of the month get reviewed. Simple as.

Mouse? I’m rich, and I believe the rules do not apply to me.

Hades

How can I get you to review a movie or series I want and skip all this foolishness?

A $25 dollar donation and I’m yours for the night, baby. That automatically gets you a review of any movie or episode of a TV series your heart desires. Anything at all. Doesn’t even have to be animated or a comic book movie. Anything. I will review a damn sexual harassment training video if you want.

What’ll you do for $40?

Two reviews.

A hundred?

Anal.

WHAT?!

Oh what are you, a cop?

Ohhhhhkay… What if I buy a review for a movie or series that’s competing in the death match?

In the case of movies, if you give a $25 donation and request a movie that loses the deathmatch, you get the review anyway. If your movie wins the deathmatch then I will contact you and ask you for your second choice and you get two movies that you wanted reviewed instead of one. Fair enough?

In the case of a TV series  that wins the deathmatch, I’ll review an extra episode for every person that gave a $25 donation for that series.

 

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

So, without further ado…LET’S MEET OUR CONTESTANTS!

Darkwing_Duck_(animation)_title_card

Darkwing Duck

Age: 24 (Now don’t YOU feel old?)

Episodes: 91

AKA: “DW”, “The Killer Bill”, “Ol’ Motherducker”

A grim spectre of the night, Darkwing Duck brings peerless martial arts skills and cutting edge gagetry to the deathmatch arena. Coming face to face with DW, many fighters will turn tail and run when they hear three words: “Let’s. Get. Dangerous.” ELIMINATED

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Age: 18

Episodes: 78

AKA: “Dismemberer of the Night”

A savage and lethal combatant, Gargoyles swoops from the shadows, picking off unsuspecting opponents and tearing them to pieces before they have a chance to react. Temporarily allied with its Disney stablemates, how long can this fighter resist its own beastial nature before it turns on them? Not long. Not really…no, not long at all. Matter of minutes.

A Goofy Movie poster.jpg

A Goofy Movie

Age: 20

Run Time: 78 minutes

AKA: “The Super Goofer Trouper”

In a very Disney-heavy field this perennially overlooked and disrespected film has nothing to lose and everything to prove. And that may just make him the most dangerous fighter of all. “You want to get nuts with Goofy!?” he yells through bloodied teeth “C’MON! LET’S GET NUTS!” ELIMINATED

Gravity_Falls_logo 

Gravity Falls

Age: 3

Episodes: 38 and counting

AKA: “The Inevitable G”

 No movie or series entered this contest with more hype. No other fighter has as much love from the crowd. And perhaps, no other fighter is as big a target or has as far to fall. Beloved though it may be, Gravity Falls should remember the fate of The Iron Giant, another highly popular fighter who was favoured to win and then got blown up by a nuke. Makes you think.

The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_II

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Age: 17

Run Time: 69 Minutes

AKA: “Ol’ Worse Than Cancer”

Guys, I’m just going to drop the schtick for a second. This movie can’t win. Do not let this movie win. Don’t be stupid now. This thing will be the death of us all.

Pacific_Rim_FilmPoster

Pacific Rim

Age: 3

Run Time: 132 minutes

AKA: “The very confused one”

“Help!” Pacific Rim yells, banging furiously on the bars of its cell “There’s been a terrible mistake! I’m not an animation or a comic book movie! I shouldn’t even be here! Let me out!”

“There is only one way out.” a wise old movie tells him “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.” ELIMINATED

swat-set

SWAT Kats

Age: 22

Episodes: 23

AKA: “The Hanna Barbarians”

SWAT Kats steps into the arena with cutting edge weaponry, EXTREME ATTITUDE and a total disrespect for spelling convention. It’s like the nineties never went away, baby. ELIMINATED

STTAS

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Age: 42

Episodes: 22

AKA: “The Terror From Beyond the Stars”

“Captain’s log, stardate…unknown. My crew and I have found ourselves transported to a strange alternate dimension where it appears we are to be made to fight for the amusement of beings of incredible power. Of course, the taking of sentient life in arena combat is barbaric and anathema to the code of any Starfleet officer but…well, that’s never stopped us before. Mr Spock, it’s time to choke a bitch.”

“Logical, Captain.”  ELIMINATED

Steven_Universe-all_characters

 

Steven Universe

Age: 3

Episodes: 73 and counting

AKA: “Cruisin’ for a Fusion”

Another highly favoured fighter, Steven Universe will stop at nothing to win the Deathmatch and return Earth to Homeworld Gem control.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Age: 6

Run time: 114 Minutes

AKA: “Most Righteous Death Edge of the East” 

Word of the Deathmatch has traveled even to the Far East. A lone warrior, masterless and taciturn, Summer Wars comes to test its skill against the mightiest warriors the West has to offer. Only then, will it finally be able to quell the rage that dwells within its heart.

The_Lego_Movie_poster

The Lego Movie

Age: 1

Run Time: 100 Minutes

AKA: “The Brick Shithouse”

The youngest of our fighters, The Lego Movie eschews speed and skill for pure, brute power. As anyone who’s stepped on a lego brick barefoot  in the dead of night can attest, Lego is lethal business.

Turtles_Forever_Poster 

Turtles Forever

Age: 6

Run Time: 73 Minutes

AKA: “Lean Green Machine”

Combining the techniques both old and new, Turtles Forever is an excellent all round fighter that just might have the skill and tenacity to come out on top. ELIMINATED

***

So there you have it. Head over to the Kickstarter page and let’s get some blood on the sand. Be sure to check in on 04 December to see who’s gone to their eternal reward.

Joanna

BIG IMPORTANT POST

This is, as the title should indicate, a big important post. Don’t worry. It’s not a “we need to talk” post, or an “I just spoke to the Doctor” post. It’s a cool one. An exciting one. It’s also one that is a little difficult to know where to begin. Firstly, you need to know about a person and you need to know about a thing. The person is this guy:

abey

That guy is Doctor Abraham Campbell (Abey to his friends). Abey is a computer scientist currently lecturing in University College Dublin’s Chinese school in Beijing (UCD has a big campus) and probably Ireland’s foremost mind in the field of virtual reality. He’s also a buddy of mine. That’s the person. The thing is this:

oculus-rift-dk2

In case you haven’t heard of it, that’s the Oculus Rift, the first real, high-quality, no-fooling, virtual-reality headset that is going to be commercially available for sale in early 2016. Now, there’s no way of knowing whether Virtual Reality is going to be just a weird little technological gimmick or a game changer like the smartphone. But we’re going to find out. Soon. This is happening. Abey, who incidentally is the smartest human I know by a significant margin, is betting on the latter. His goal, as he’s told me before, is that one day he’ll be able to hand a headset to someone in Sub-Saharan Africa that will contain an entire third level education. He’s also working on a holographic version of himself that he can broadcast to China so that he doesn’t have to leave home to teach his classes and yeah, I’m just going to play the music now.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, because there’s no point in buying a SNES if there’s no Super Mario to play on it. The platform needs media.

Last year, the readers of this blog helped to fund Joanna, my play about a vigilante who savagely murders rapists as an avatar of the breakdown of civilized society caused by the betrayal of the social contract inherent in the justice system’s complete impotence in dealing with the crime of rape (It’s a comedy). One of the people who saw that play was Abey, and he approached me with an extremely exciting idea. Short version:

We’re turning Joanna into the world’s first full-length, mature virtual reality film.

This is potentially historic. This could, quite literally, be The Jazz Singer of the Virtual Reality era.

Yikes. Maybe "Steamboat Willy" would have been a better analogy?

This could, quite literally, be the Steamboat Willy of the Virtual Reality era.

Much better.

Much better.

Throughout the summer Abey, myself, our extremely talented cast and crew and our director Jeda De Brí have been shooting tests scenes and experimenting with how this whole thing works. I’ll be doing follow up posts where I talk about the challenges of filming in 360 degrees and what we’ve learnt but the short version is this; we are now ready to create something that is thrilling, terrifying, and totally unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. And what’s more, you won’t need an Oculus Rift to view it (although that will certainly give you the best experience). With a decent smartphone and headset you will be able to experience Joanna for yourself. How do you get a headset? I’m getting to it (told you this was a long post). Below you can see our Kickstarter video. The Kickstarter page hasn’t gone live yet so you guys are actually the first outside of the production to see this. (Oh, and there’s some guy we hired to stand in for me because Abey thought that anti-rodent prejudice might affect our ability to raise money and like a coward I listened).

Abey, Jeda, myself and our associated henchpersons have set up a Kickstarter page so that you can give us your money to fund this exciting endeavour. For as the Bible says, is money not the root of all evil? Better off without it, I say, we’ll take care of it for ya. And, as is customary, we will be offering rewards for donations. These are cumulative, with a new reward added to each level which I’ve put in bold. They are as follows:

$1– A thank you, sincere and genuinely felt.
$5– Your name in the credits.
$10- Now we’re talkin’. You get to download your own copy of the movie. (FYI you’ll need a smartphone with a four inch display that can play mp4s.) Plus your name in the credits.
$25- All of the above plus a limited edition Joanna Google Cardboard viewer for a better viewing experience.
DSC_0010 (1)

Summit like this.

$40- A digital download of the movie, the Google Cardboard viewer, your name in the credits and a movie poster signed by the cast, director and author.
$60- A digital download of the movie, the Google Cardboard viewer, your name in the credits and a movie poster signed by the cast, director and author and a signed Joanna screenplay.
$75- Now we start getting fancy. You get the movie, your name in the credits and a movie poster signed by the cast, director and author and a signed Joanna screenplay. And you get a snazzy as bejaysus plastic limited edition Joanna VR viewer.
http://www.antvr.com/static/img/product-taw.png

Snazzy. As. Bejaysus.

$100- A digital download of the movie, your name in the credits, signed movie poster, signed Joanna screenplay,  snazzy as bejaysus plastic limited edition Joanna VR viewer and a Joanna T-Shirt.
$150- A digital download of the movie, your name in the credits, signed movie poster, signed Joanna screenplay,  snazzy as bejaysus plastic limited edition Joanna VR viewer, Joanna T-Shirt and an assessment of your script by our director Jeda DeBrí and our author Neil Sharpson (currently under contract with the Abbey Theatre, Dublin). They’re very constructive and super nice (usually).
$250– Everything on the $150 level plus get out your fanciest duds ‘cos you’re comin’ to the wrap party in Dublin!
$300- Get those fancy duds out a second time because you’re coming to the premiere! Plus, digital download of the movie, your name in the credits, signed movie poster, signed Joanna screenplay,  snazzy as bejaysus plastic limited edition Joanna VR viewer, Joanna T-Shirt, an assessment of your script by our director Jeda DeBrí and our author Neil Sharpson and you’re coming to the wrap party.
$500You get to be part of the Beta, testing footage on Oculus Rift. You’ll get behind the scenes footage and see the film two weeks before it’s released to the public. Plus, you get   everything at the $300 level.
$1000- As you are clearly someone we want to be pals with, how about you come on set and watch us film? Filming will take place in late January/Early February. Come, meet the cast and crew and let us answer any of your questions about VR technology and filming. And of course, you will also get to be part of the Beta, an invite to the wrap party, an invite to the premiere, a digital download of the movie, your name in the credits (probably in big flashing lights), a signed movie poster, a signed screenplay, snazzy as bejaysus plastic limited edition Joanna VR viewer, Joanna T-Shirt , an assessment of your script by our director Jeda DeBrí and our author Neil Sharpson and a partridge in a pear tree*
*Subject to very limited availability.

***

So yes. I’m asking you for money. And as usual, that can only mean one thing:

MOVIE DEATHMATCH!

On November 23 when the Kickstarter page goes up, I will post the 12 movies and TV series that have been selected to compete this year, along with a guide as to how voting will work this year so be sure to check in for that.

So. Yeah. I know it’s all a lot to take in. Also, please share this far and wide. Know somebody who’s interested in VR? This is a really inexpensive way to get their hands on some cutting edge tech, so let them know. Know someone who’s big into gritty female-led drama? This might be for them. Please help us get the word out make this as big as it can be. Any questions, let me know.

Thanks guys, Mouse out.

 

Children

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Denis O’Brien but were too busy being sued to ask.

Welcome comrades, to the glorious resistance! If you’re just tuning in and missed my last post about Denis O’Brien’s ongoing assault on Irish democracy…

Inigo

Ireland’s richest man has apparently gone crazy and is suing or threatening to sue everyone who publicly mentions his shady business practices, including, at the time of writing, Waterford Whispers News, Broadsheet.ie and members of the Irish parliament. Not that you’d read about this in almost any Irish newspaper because he owns most of them.

independent_logo

So I have taken the decision to make Unshaved Mouse the Huffington Post of Denis O’Brien news, a place where anything you would ever want to know about this…person, is just a click away. This will be updated as needs be, and feel free to link to stuff I’ve missed in the comments.

So, let’s start with the obvious. His Wikipedia page, which gives an excellent overview of the man.

From Broadsheet.ie:

Their reposting of the Waterford Whispers article that got WWN sued.

Which then got Broadsheet sued.

An excellent guide to all the people Denis O’Brien is suing, and God knows we need the help.

From the Irish Times (which, interestingly, Denis O’Brien does not own).

‘Misplaced’ IBRC minutes confirm Siteserv writedown was €119 million

“Denis O’Brien lawyers demand removal of broadsheet.ie article”

“Denis O’Brien legal challenge a ‘threat to democracy’”

Some practical advice.

Boycott

What needs to change.

From The Journal.ie:

In which the Dáil hears claims about Denis O’Brien’s dealings with disgraced bank Anglo Irish.

In which a committee ruled that these claims were NOT an abuse of parliamentary privilege.

In which Denis O’Brien sues the entire parliament…

…and the committee that made that ruling.

Julien Mercille’s excellent overview of how the Irish media and political system have been complicit in granting Denis O’Brien such a dangerous amount of power and influence over this nation.

Fair is fair, I’ll let the man himself justify his actions.

Obrien

And this from the Daily Beast, an excellent overview of all his shady motherfuckery:

“Why is the Irish government scared of billionaire Denis O’Brien?”

And this is all getting very depressing so, here’s every Denis O’Brien related post from the Waterford Whispers that hasn’t been taken down yet:

Government to discuss what to give Denis O’Brien this time

Denis O’Brien to build moat around evil lair after recent publicity.

“Denis O’Brien renews Illuminati membership.”

Maltese Tax Exile Briefs Government On What To Say Next

“Nation: “We’ve Never Experienced An Assault On Democracy Of This Level””

Possibly the most sarcastic apology in the history of the world.

Denis O’Brien to sue everyone (I don’t get it, that’s supposed to be satire?)

Only the start folks, check back in for more updates and by all means, contribute you own.

Mouse out.

denis

One letter away from “Penis”…

Waterford Whispers News is Ireland’s answer to The Onion, a parody news website that frequently produces satire that is often as brilliant and biting as it is poorly proof-read.

Denis O’Brien is Ireland’s answer to Rupert Murdoch. He is the wealthiest man in Ireland (or whatever tax shelter he currently rests his head). He is the owner of Communicorp which owns a total of fifty one radio stations across Europe and the Middle East, and basically every Irish radio station not run by the State. He has also substantial interests in energy and telecommunications. In 1995, he was awarded the Irish GSM mobile phone licence, as a result of his corrupt payments to now disgraced energy and communications minister Michael Lowry. He also controls Independent News and Media, an Irish media conglomerate that owns newspapers across 22 countries and owns many Irish newspapers including the Irish Independent (oh why am I not surprised?). He has used this position to quash reporting of his financial affairs in the Irish media, in one case even forcing the Sunday Independent to stop mid-press to remove a single sentence that remove a single sentence identifying him as the controlling shareholder of INM.* He has also threatened to sue media outlets who reported on remarks made in Dáil Éireann (the Irish parliament) regarding his dealings with disgraced bank Anglo Irish which were made under Dáil privilege.
So why am I even writing about him? He’s a filthy rich asshat who looks like his mother cuts his hair. World’s full of them. One even looks more and more likely to become president of the United States with every passing day.
Okay America. Stop. It's not funny anymore.

Okay America. Stop. It was funny in the beginning, but you’re taking this too far.

Well because WWN published a satirical article entitled “Denis O’Brien Receives 20 Year Jail Sentence For Mobile Phone Licence Bribe in Parallel Universe”. O’Brien’s lawyers responded thought this was so hi-larious that they threatened WWN with legal action, forcing the site to remove the post.

Clearly, this can only mean one thing.

Denis O’Brien has won. That article, the last feeble gasp of defiance against his stranglehold on the Irish media has been quashed. That article shall never be seen by anyone again, and Denis O’Brien can rest easy knowing that he has triumphed totally and utterly and oh look here’s the entire thing courtesy of Imgur…

Oh well. I’m sure that was just a once off. A glitch it the system. Surely that article will never again resurface on the internet oh lord amercy there it is again…

(more…)

I am in all places. I am everywhere.

I love TV Tropes. I love it so much. And now I am TV Tropes! Unshaved Mouse has it’s own page (thanks to Rubber Lotus) so head over there and check it out, and be sure to add any tropes you can think of.

I don’t know what Tumblr is. I do not understand it. It frightens and confuses me. But thanks to the missus I am now apparently on it so if any of you are also on it, follow me and we shall be on it together. Together on the Tumblr. Doing…whatever people do on Tumblr. It’s a good chance to catch up on old reviews (complete with my notes on how my opinions on certain movies might have changed, and noting the first appearences of once beloved but now largely forgotten characters like Caveman Pangea and Anarchist Libertarian Haddock.) So…Tumblr, Tv Tropes. Am I forgetting anything?
"Ahem?"

“Ahem?”

“Yes, Satan?”

“Yes, Satan?”

“Oh. Um. Never mind. #heartbroken.

“Oh. Um. Never mind.” #heartbroken

All the reviews and some of the larger posts will be going up over the next weeks where they shall be Tumbld to meet the demands of the new media landscape.
I am old.
Lion-Force

Random posts combine!

Every so often a collection of things I need to say, otherwise too bitty to put in individual posts, will combine together to form a Voltron-esque combined post. This is such a day.
Okay, first order of business…
The Hangman’s Daughter
As many of you know, I finished serialising my novel, The Hangman’s Daughter last month. Big thanks to all of you who read, commented and gave advice and encouragement. I especially want to give a shout out to Sr. Honkengoose and maxy44 who I’m pretty sure commented on every single chapter and gave me tons of good notes. Legends both. Many of you have been asking when you might be seeing more and after giving it a lot of thought I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting chapters of the second novel in the series, The Devil’s Heir.
However, there is a catch.
As I’ve already mentioned before, The Devil’s Heir is not actually finished yet. Worse, it’s still the sequel to an older draft of The Hangman’s Daughter (one where, amongst other things, Mariana was a dude). This means each chapter will have to be revised and edited so that it’s consistent with the most recent draft of HD, and I don’t have time to do that right now because my life has become an endless looping reel that goes worktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeepworktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeeep. So my brother Eamonn has very, very kindly agreed to edit the Devil’s Heir to get it more in line with the story so far and occasionally make changes that he feels improve the material.
“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

So, starting soonish, there will be a new chapter of the Devil’s Heir going up every month. Yes. Month.
“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

Moving on!
Age of Ultron
So Avengers 2 is being released in Europe around a week earlier than it is in the States due to…I dunno, the collapse of American hegemony or whatever. Being the massive nerds we are, my wife and I will be at the midnight screening on 23 April and I’ll be posting a review later in the day. This won’t be a full length Unshaved Mouse style review, obviously. Just a few paragraphs about my thoughts on the film and whether I thought it was any cop or not. You know…a review like actual critics do.
And lastly, revenge 
So regular readers will know that I recently learned my entire life has been a charade orchestrated by the diabolical warlock known to the world as Walter Elias Disney. You may recall I swore a blood oath of vengeance against Disney, promising to review the very, very worst movie that bears his name. And I need your help to do it. Sound off in the comments, what is the very, very, worst Disney movie that has ever been released and help me stick it to Walt but good.
See you all on the 14th of May for How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Train my Dragon. Mouse out.
Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-Film-t_720x1080

The fault in our shades

I have this idea for a non-fiction book that I may write sometime, tentatively called Everything I know about God I learned from Comic Books. It would be a look at how the history of superhero comics so often parallels that of the major world religions, like how issues of canonicity are decided (The First Council of Nicaea/Crisis on Infinite Earths), how older belief systems get incorporated into newer ones (Celtic deities becoming saints in Gaelic Christianity/ Captain Marvel becoming part of DC continuity), the violent schisms that can erupt between adherents of different sects (the Crusades/Cassandra Cain versus Stephanie Browne) and how they deal with the Problem of Evil/Frank Millar. I bring this up because, oddly, one of the best and simplest pieces of moral advice I ever received was from a comic book. It was an issue of X-Men where Bishop, a mutant cop from the future, almost kills the man who murdered his sister before realising that he can’t cross that line and simply arrests him. Bishop is tormented by guilt over what he almost did and Charles Xavier gives him this line (as near as I can remember it, it’s been years): “It is not our thoughts that mark us, but our deeds.”
This, I think, is a very important moral. We cannot control our thoughts, our desires, our prejudices or our emotions. And, take it from the guy with the Catholic upbringing, trying to is a real good way to go nuts. In fact, if you ever find yourself in the trenches and want to be invalided back to Blighty, don’t bother sticking underpants over your head, just try to not think about something for ten minutes and that should do the trick.  Having bad thoughts does not make you a bad person. Acting on them does.
Speaking of bad people, I hardly ever read other people’s blogs, which I feel incredibly guilty about because I always want people to read mine and that makes me a rather massive hypocrite. Honestly, it’s just a question of time. Between work, family, blogging, watching movies to review and trying to keep on top of other writing projects (not to mention a rather serious gaming habit) I normally just don’t have the hours. Recently however, I made an exception and plowed through all of author Jenny Armintrout’s extensive re-cap of Fifty Shades of Grey over on Trout Nation. It’s hilarious, excellently written and I heartily endorse it.
"I am Unshaved Mouse, and I approve this blog. All my readers should check it out!"

“I am Unshaved Mouse, and I approve this blog. All my readers should check it out!”

"Huh. My stats just went up by a barely perceptible ammount. As if theyd been kicked by a tiny, tiny ant."

“Huh. My stats just went up by a barely perceptible amount. As if theyd been kicked by a tiny, tiny ant.”

Now, even though I know damn well that every last one of you knows what Fifty Shades of Grey is, blogging law stipulates that I give some background on what I’m talking about on the off chance that one of you has awoken from a coma so here we go. Fifty Shades of Grey is E.L. James’ re-purposed  Twilight fanfiction where mousey milquetoast Anastasia Steele (Yes. Yes, really.) becomes involved with chiselled blonde billionaire Christian Grey and they have lots of badly punctuated sex. It was famously described by Salman Rushdie as the worst-written novel to ever be released by a major publishing house and so naturally became a huge commercial success.
"Welp, I guess they proved ME wrong."

“Welp, I guess they proved ME wrong.”

It is also porn.
And that’s not a criticism. It’s simply a statement of fact. It’s a piece of fiction written to get the reader off. Simple as. Now, during the course of the book Christian Grey does a lot of incredibly awful things. He emotionally manipulates Ana, plies her with alcohol, coerces her into sexual acts that she really does not want, beats her, threatens her, demeans her, isolates her from her friends and family and literally checks every item on the list for being an abusive partner (not hyperbole, Jenny actually did that very thing).

(more…)

Famine

You’re making a sitcom about what now?

When it comes to comedy, I always feel that “You can’t make jokes about X.” is a non-starter. As long as X is a part of our shared experience as human beings it’s something that humour can and should be drawn from.
Even if X is something awful?
No, not even.
Especially.
Our ability to mock and make light of life’s many horrors is often all we have to keep us from going insane. Now, that’s not to say that some jokes can’t be cruel, tasteless, despicable or flat out evil. Of course they can. But if you look at the reasons why those jokes are offensive it’s never the subject matter in and of itself. It’s a question of presentation, delivery, target (are we laughing at the Nazis or the people they killed?) and most importantly of all, whether or not the joke is funny. A comedian who makes a joke about shocking subject matter because it’s genuinely funny is doing his job. A comedian who makes a joke about shocking subject matter because it’s shocking is a hack.
I firmly believe this, that it’s not what you’re writing about but how you write about it that matters most in comedy.
You can make good comedy about anything…is a principle that I have never had reason to doubt until now.
Ohhhhhhhh Lord.

Ohhhhhhhh Lord.

So there’s been a storm brewing here since the Irish Times interviewed Dublin writer Hugh Travers who casually let slip that he is working on a new sitcom called Hungry with British broadcaster Channel 4 set during the Irish Famine of 1845. My Facebook feed right now is half people calling for petitions and boycotts and the forcible retaking of the six counties and the other half calling for everyone to lighten up or at least wait until the damn thing has aired before getting in a lather. Now normally, I would absolutely be in the lather/latter camp. Don’t judge the work until you’ve actually had a chance to see it, and I suppose I still am in that camp. But on the other hand, I absolutely get why people are angry or at least, very, very worried about this.
Okay, so a little background.
By the middle of the nineteenth century around two thirds of Irish people were farmers, most of them tending tiny plots of land that were barely large enough to feed them and their families (whole host of political and historical reasons for this, no time to go into here). As a result, the vast majority of the peasantry lived almost exclusively on potatoes because you get more calories per acre from them than just about any other crop that was available at the time. So everything was fine (barring the crippling poverty, awful living standards, cultural erasure, and brutally incompetent foreign rule) as long as the potato crop didn’t fail.
Who, apart from 175 ignored governmental inquiries, could have foreseen this!?

Who, apart from 175 ignored governmental inquiries, could have foreseen this!?

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