Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

Related Post Roulette

28 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Maybe it’s something where stories are only considered good when they’re of their time.

    Like, if we mined into Go Set A Watchman today, we’d write a completely different 2018 book than the one that they mined out in 1960.

    And the 2060 book that they might mine out of that would be a completely different book again.

    And in the same way that we look at Pale Rider and see that there’s a good movie in there, at the time, it came out to *HUGE* acclaim. Like, in its moment, it was the story that Eastwood finally figured out that he wanted to tell. Mining it today would give us a different film than Unforgiven.Report

  2. Avatar Fish says:

    “Content warning…machismo” 🙂 🙂

    Pale Rider was a good Western despite being derivative of Shane, but that’s probably unfair to Pale Rider since the whole “lone mysterious stranger rides into town, defeats the bad guys, and rides away” is a trope all unto it’s own. And anyway, every other Western is playing for second place behind The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

    I can’t get on board with Thunderdome being a masterpiece, but if you asked me to name the reasons why Road Warrior was better, I don’t know that I could, other than pointing out that Max had his V8 Interceptor in one but not the other…?

    Over the past two-ish years, I’ve been working my way through Terry Brooks’ Shannarah books. I read the original Shannarah series back in junior high and I confess to not remembering much about them. A short time ago MTV (?) produced The Shannarah Chronicles which started out well enough, but by the end I was watching just to see how bad it could get (pretty bad, as it turns out). Anyway, that regrettable MTV series got me curious about the books, and that’s when I discovered that Brooks had written somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-ish more Shannarah books! The series are all independent-of-but-related-to each other and begin way back in our time as the world is beginning to fall into darkness, and they’re surprisingly good. I’m looking forward to rereading the original Shannarah triology to uncover what my junior high-self missed in the first reading.Report

      • Avatar Fish says:

        Lord Humungus’ speech is an appeal to the Outback that is gone–a civilization wherein those holding the refinery might actually have been able to walk away with their lives. Humungus knows that leaving them to the Wasteland is a death sentence, and it’s likely that his reavers are going to hunt them all down later anyway, regardless. What Humungus is saying is, “Look, you can either die quickly right now or die slowly later. Either way, we’re taking that refinery, so why don’t you just make this easier on all of us?”

        Dr. Dealgood’s (I had to look that up) speech acknowledges the toothiness and clawiness of post-apocalypse Outback society and recognizes that these instincts need an outlet or their tenuous civilization will eat itself. Dealgood is saying, “Look, because of this dispute, somebody is going to end up dead, so we might as well use this conflict as an opportunity to burnish the thin veneer of civilization we’ve got here and enjoy a show while we’re at it.” Dr. Dealgood and Don King, I think, would have a lot to talk about.

        Between the two, I find Humungus’ Neutral Evil more appealing than Dealgood’s Lawful Evil.Report

  3. John Varley just published the long-awaited third “metal” book:

    Steel Beach (1992)
    The Golden Globe (1998)
    Irontown Blues (2018)

    so, rereading the first two. He’s a brilliant short-story writer and an OK novelist, but it’s fun to revisit the Eight Worlds.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Towards the end of my anime watching days, I tended to think that many of the series would improve if they could cut down on the anime tropes and fan service. There would be this decent plot and scene that would get ruined by the need to put in fan service or some light anime trope comedy. I kept wanting the creators not to pander to the audience with these things so the final show would be more solid.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      My bet is that in a lot of cases there’s good material in the manga. It’s kind of the flipside of what Jaybird’s talking about. There used to be something great, but they cut the best parts out. Hey, let’s take this 10-year, 1000-page masterpiece and get rid of everything but the cute school uniforms!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Even manga tends to pander and over rely on tropes. The real problem is that they believe they need to give the fans what they want too many times.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    The only reason we don’t think that Pale Rider is a great movie any more is that Clint made Unforgiven after it. Unforgiven has the line, “It’s a hell of a thing to kill a man, you not only take everything he has, but everything he’s ever gonna have”.

    Unforgiven categorically rejects the machismo that Pale Rider both embraces and questions.

    Here’s an essay question: Unforgiven is Pale Rider plus feminism. True or false. Discuss.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      I don’t know if I was in the wrong mood when I saw it, but I found Unforgiven to be really dull. Maybe it was just over-hyped.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I’ve been thinking about this.

      Have there been significant advancements in storytelling theory/technology?

      Like, in the Pale Rider clip, there’s some… let’s call it “cheesiness”… in the fight scene. We don’t do that anymore. Do we? Maybe we do. Maybe the cheesiness is different now.Report

      • Not sure it fits your definition but much of the over-the-top CGI of today, even if technically well made, comes off to me as “cheesy”. Granted that’s opinion and preference, but gratuitous CGI and overacting from older movies are similarly distracting to me.Report

      • Have you seen the original Star Wars recently? Cheesy as all hell.

        Cheese is what we used to be impressed by that we now see through as artifice.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          It was a deliberate attempt to homage the republic serials of the 30’s and 40’s.

          Cheesy is kinda baked in. Like Cheez-its.

          But, like, the Pale Rider clip at 2:53. (Or any number of contemporary films from the era.) It feels like we now know to not let stuff like that in the movie.Report

      • Avatar Fish says:

        I didn’t much care for Unforgiven the first time I saw it, either, and I think the reason was because I went into the theater expecting Pale Rider or Hang ‘Em High or Fist Full of Dollars. Unforgiven jumped right past anti-hero and started asking questions like, “Who gets to decide which of these people is the villain here?” and “Can people change who they really are?” and “Are some people just not capable of redemption?”Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Unforgiven is the final chapter in the Man With No Name, facing the horrific consequences of his life.

      If the spaghetti westerns were a comic book imagining of the anti-hero myth, Unforgiven is the story told by an older, wiser mind, informed by a lifetime of complexity and sorrow.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

        IIRC, and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, Clint Eastwood’s character gets drunk before the shootout scene at the end. It’s the only way he can do what he needs to do.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          The innocent people all suffer horribly, and pointlessly. The deaths are random, taking the good and bad equally, and the vicious killer rides off to prosper in dry goods.

          The entire episode, from opening slashing of the girl’s face, to the end narration telling the heartbreaking tale of the mother in law who endured a long difficult journey only to find her daughter in a grave, is pointless tragedy.

          No justice prevails, nothing is set right, and the violence only spirals ever upward into madness and slaughter.Report

          • Deserve has nothing to do with it.

            It’s not a new thought — it’s in Ecclesiastes and Job, to name a couple. But it’s against the mythology of the Western, where good guys win, or at least meet notably tragic ends. Here being good is irrelevant — you can die as suddenly or meaninglessly as anyone else, just like in Westeros.Report

    • Avatar rexknobus says:

      My fave line from that scene is: “We all got it coming, kid.”Report

  6. Avatar aaron david says:

    I haven’t seen Pale Rider come since it came out, but it has GOT to be better than Unforgiven. OK, maybe it doesn’t have to be better, but Unforgiven is not a good movie. Why, it fails its premise of non-heroes by having Munny walk into the saloon at the end and getting complete ownage of Little Bill and his men, just because… something.

    I think I am the only one who feels this way sometimes. But it is what it is.

    Still wading through 1Q84, but as it is broken up into three books (not too surprising at 900 odd pages) I have been reading British mysteries from the ’30’s. I do recommend 1Q84 though, it is deceptively good.

    Watching the BBC series Edwardian Farm and its various secondary series, Victorian Farm, War Farm, Tudor Farm and finally Full Steam Ahead. It is a pair of archeologists and a food historian spending a year living and working in that milieu. The Full Steam Ahead is about the rise of the british steam railways, at how it changed every part of British society. I had learned most of the farming bits in Dorothea Hartly’s books Lost Engish Country Life and Food in England, but it is nice to see much of it implemented.Report

  7. Avatar Zac Black says:

    I’m not sure I can even talk about Unforgiven because I love it so much that I almost can’t be rational about it; it’s in my desert island five, without question. I’ve seen it probably around a hundred times and I honestly like it more and more every time. The fact that there are people who dislike it is something I can’t even wrap my brain around. In fact, just writing these words makes me want to go watch it again right now.

    As for what I’m reading: I recently acquired an absolutely gorgeous copy of Tom Holland’s Rubicon from the Folio Society, so I’m re-reading that for the first time in many years. If you’re a Roman history fan, you’re doing yourself a real disservice if you haven’t read this yet.Report


    Hi, I’m late to the game and I’m not even sure if Jaybird takes note of when I leave comments here or when I leave voicemails. My insecurity makes me think I’m still a moped.

    Right now I’m reading five blog posts. For the Love of Science Fiction and People Like You More Than You Know, both at Scientific American. An article about an over-luminous brown dwarf at Astrobites. NPR’s coverage of the re-opening of the solar observatory in Sunspot, NM and an editorial upon that situation from the Albuquerque Journal.

    I should be reading my friend’s book Time Loops (by Eric Wargo, from Anomalist Books) about the peer-reviewed science supporting phenomena like retrocausation and precognition.

    Also I’m going through Changeling: The Lost again because I’m part of a nascent NWoD game that’s going to go from being mortals into playing changelings.

    For what it’s worth, Changeling is the freshest thing put out by White Wolf in ages. Yes, it came out in 2007 and I bought a copy in 2011. Vampires are cliche kaj tro gejeco, Werewolf is just about combat monsters, Mage draws upon adolescent power fantasies, Promethian could have promise but it’s so dark and hopeless requiring a special kind of storyteller and a special group of players. It’d be a discussion, or a single post, to describe why Changeling and Promethean’s core goal of regaining one’s humanity is so poignant.

    Next to me I have Eudora Welty’s “One Writer’s Beginnings” and oughta read that book.

    On the other hand, I need to be writing a short story I’ve been cooking in the old noggin for a few months.Report