“Is Your Villain Appropriate?”—Examining Character Construction in Different Media

A D Jameson:

This post came up today in conversation, and I thought, why not reblog it. Enjoy!

Originally posted on BIG OTHER:

Every Monday, I read Mark Rosewater’s weekly column “Making Magic,” partly because I have a casual interest in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering (I once played it, and some of my friends still play it), but mainly because Rosewater routinely offers great insights into aesthetics and game design. (He’s also a strong writer who regularly experiments with his column’s form.)

In an article published a few weeks back, Rosewater outlines why he thinks one of Magic’s villains, the Phyrexians, are that game’s best. As is typical with Rosewater, it boils down to a design principle—in this case, how the game operates narratively:

As a story-telling venue, Magic is best when it is telling what I call environmental stories. That is, the best thing Magic can show off creatively is an environment. The genre of a trading card game requires that you show lots of creatures and…

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Feature Friday: “My Name Is Albert Ayler” (2007)

albertanddonald

I’ve been wanting to watch this film since I read a review of it in Sight & Sound six years ago. I’m a huge fan of Albert Ayler! Alas, the film is not available on video. So imagine my pleasure when I stumbled across a copy on YouTube…

You can learn more about the film at the official website for the film.

You can watch the film by clicking past the jump.

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Feature Tuesday: “What Time Is It There?”

I think I’ve already featured this on Feature Friday, but this is Feature Tuesday. And in any case I’m sure that other copy is now down.

Tsai Ming-Liang is one of my favorite living filmmakers, and What Time Is It There? was the first work of his that I saw. I recommend everything he’s made, and think that, ultimately, it’s best to watch all of his films in order (since each new film is usually an oblique sequel to the last one). But What Time? made an excellent entry point for me, and it’s a beautiful, wonderful film in its own right, if you watch just it:

Enjoy!

* Some translate the title as What Time Is It Over There?, and maybe that’s preferable somehow, but I prefer the way the title sounds without the preposition.

The Big Other Contributors List

contributorsThe contributors list at Big Other recently changed and I’m wondering what the new organizing logic is. Before, the list recorded the order in which contributors joined the site. Now it’s something else. At first glance I thought it was now in alphabetical order, but it isn’t. Perhaps it’s arbitrary? But the names seem grouped according to initial letter: A D Jameson, Amber Sparks. But even that doesn’t work, because the list starts and ends with A’s. And not all the J’s are together, and later on there’s a P, then an N, then two P’s. Next I thought that it might be in order of total page views, but then Greg Gerke’s name would be higher up. It’s also not in order of who’s made the most recent post, because it isn’t, and if so it would always be changing. And that would also be redundant, since the posts themselves establish that order. So I just don’t get the list’s logic; I’m hoping this post provokes discussion of this issue, though I’ll concede it isn’t important. But I don’t like things I don’t understand, though I’ll also concede that there’s no real reason why I should understand anything. I’ll also admit that I haven’t been posting much as of late. I’ve been busy with school, but also been trying to figure out what I should post here. Below you can see a photo that I posted; I’ve long thought that it might be cool for this site to have more visual art. I spent most of last year posting links to movies, so I thought I might spend this year posting photos. But Edward is kinda already covering that with his Bluets posts. So I’m left wondering what the new list’s logic is, and what I should post. Perhaps I’ll put up posts like this, metatextual musings on the subject of Big Other? Well, I’ll first wait and see if anyone responds to this post. Thank you for reading.

from Philip K. Dick’s Galactic Pot-Healer

“[T]here are no small matters. Just as there is no small life. The life of an insect, a spider, his life is as large as yours, and yours is as large as mine. Life is life. You wish to live as much as I do; you have spent seven months of hell, waiting day after day for what you needed . . . the way a spider waits. Think about the spider, Joe Fernwright. He makes his web. Then he makes a little silk cave at the end of the web to sit in. He holds strands that lead to every part of the web, so that he will know when something to eat, something he must have to live, arrives. He waits. A day goes by. Two days. A week. He waits on; there is nothing he can do but wait. The little fisherman of the night . . . and perhaps something comes, and he lives, or nothing comes, and he waits and he thinks, ‘It won’t come in time. It is too late.’ And he is right, he dies still waiting.”