Off the rails March 31, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

So what happens when the entire discussion in a FPP is a derail?
posted by dmd to Etiquette/Policy at 12:58 PM (157 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

When the entire discussion is a FPP is a derail, we come to the conclusion the post wasn't that good.
posted by falameufilho at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2012


IN a FPP
posted by falameufilho at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2012


The temptation to try to derail this in the first comment is almost overwhelming ...

I will respond on-topic, though. It happens. It seems to me if everybody is enjoying the discussion, that's the discussion that happens. I have only really seen a derail be an issue when somebody comes in with something fighty and the thread turns into a shouting match. But otherwise threads are sometimes like reading pages from the Talmud -- there are weird diversion where people talk about recipes, tell jokes, and talk about the penis size of various rabbis.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:02 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


I left a note that people can come here to start discussing the Oatmeal comic as if it were the subject of the FPP, which it was not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on March 31, 2012


I think if people don't want to derail a thread, the second comment probably shouldn't be "where can I pirate this?"
posted by Justinian at 1:07 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, thanks for the link to that thread as I didn't see it before. Now I can add my flag to all the other who don't think MeFi is the new TV Guide.
posted by DU at 1:13 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the type of thread that makes me really really really wish I was a German.
posted by bukvich at 1:14 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


People freaking out ever excessive metaness amuses me to no end. But I really do admire that conversations we have here that get down to brass tacks and talk about what really matters in an issue, which often times is the 0th order framing of an issue. Or the meaning of the words used to even have the discussion. So that the topic of discussion is only implicit in the post doesn't really bother me.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:15 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


We were just doing an homage to the books by dragging in irrelevant plot threads and characters and never actually getting anywhere.
posted by interplanetjanet at 1:20 PM on March 31, 2012 [28 favorites]


burn.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2012


Isn't an FPP like that thing you're supposed to love and let go? In this case, it wasn't yours as it never came back.
posted by infini at 1:30 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


It can't be a derail where there are no rails.

How can you have 'life lessons' in a fantasy land so divorced from reality that the cities rise mechanically from the landscape every werk?
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:31 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


That post was made while watching the first season of Boardwalk Empire.

The "where can I download this" didn't strike me as a derail, but whatever. My only wish is to have Tywin say, sometime in Season 2, "may the odds be ever in your favor". It'll never happen, but it would be perfect, somewhere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm just cranky because I just finished the most recent book and it was so long since I read the earlier ones I couldn't remember who anybody was.
posted by interplanetjanet at 1:40 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


so long since I read the earlier ones I couldn't remember who anybody was.

Seriously. I wonder how he's going to manage to finish the series before they reach the commeasurate season in the TV show.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:42 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought this was going to be about the nuclear divers fpp, which, last I checked, was full of people going on about how nuclear power sucks/no it doesn't. It seemed like it was going worse than either the abortion or the fraternity fpps. I guess this shouldn't surprise me.
posted by rtha at 1:42 PM on March 31, 2012


Or maybe the show will just stop and there will be a spinoff about the adventures of Brienne of Tarth and the whacky characters she meets along the way.
posted by Chekhovian at 1:43 PM on March 31, 2012


> Hey, thanks for the link to that thread as I didn't see it before. Now I can add my flag to all the other who don't think MeFi is the new TV Guide.

You realize that this is a general interest site where informed discussion can take place on a variety of subjects, TV shows included? Besides, it wasn't just "here's a TV show".
posted by Burhanistan at 1:46 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there was nothing whatsoever problematic about the post itself.
posted by Justinian at 1:54 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


rtha writes "I thought this was going to be about the nuclear divers fpp, which, last I checked, was full of people going on about how nuclear power sucks/no it doesn't."

That's something we really need to curb. The article about the nuclear divers was interesting and educational and I'd hate for that kind of content to become unavailable because anything that touches on nuclear energy becomes yet another tired debate about Fukushima. The list of topics metafilter doesn't do well is already too long.
posted by Mitheral at 1:59 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there was nothing whatsoever problematic about the post itself.

What would you say was the problem with the post? Or are we just to guess?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2012


I'm gonna guess nothing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:28 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


just because people don't have the kind of discussion you want them to have doesn't mean it's a "derail".
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


> What would you say was the problem with the post? Or are we just to guess?

Um, he was just saying that there was no problems.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2012


Were, dammit.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2012




I agree the post was fine and the torrent request was stupid.

so long since I read the earlier ones I couldn't remember who anybody was.
they are all new characters and they will all die as soon as you can remember who they are.
posted by shothotbot at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what happens when the entire discussion in a FPP is a derail?

I recently posted an FPP about a Hunter S. Thompson documentary to watch online which after a short time turned into 8 out of 12 comments being about Megan McCain and Republican bashing, none of which had anything to do with the content of my FPP.

I emailed the mods and asked them to delete it. They chose to drop a note into the comment stream asking people to stop and deleted the most recent comment in the derail.

So, what happens is, the mod team tries to get it back on track.

Sad part is, if something is derailed right out of the gate, sometimes that's the end of any possible discussion about the actual FPP topic.
posted by hippybear at 2:41 PM on March 31, 2012


I like how I'm a "champion" of piracy since I mentioned this thread there. I have HBO, for fuck's sake.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


they are all new characters and they will all die as soon as you can remember who they are

So the GoT universe is just a complicated version of Conway's Life? Huh.
posted by Iosephus at 2:46 PM on March 31, 2012


Burhanistan: I like how I'm a "champion" of piracy since I mentioned this thread there. I have HBO, for fuck's sake.

That's a very typical defence for Somalians to use as well.
posted by gman at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Only because they stole satellite gear from a cruise ship.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2012


You people are so weird.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:57 PM on March 31, 2012


I like how I'm a "champion" of piracy since I mentioned this thread there. I have HBO, for fuck's sake.

Oh, a-bloo-a-bloo-a-bloo-bloo-bloo. I was justifying my own continued activity in that thread by saying that people were still championing piracy there, not saying you were the one doing it. ...I don't think. The comment's gone now, so who can say for sure? Anyway, is it really posturing to suggest that people pay for things? I personally don't want the site beshitted with a bunch of comments about where to illegally download stuff. Not only is it tacky, but it's also just kind of illegal.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:57 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


My alliteration was sound and just. Chill the fuck out.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:02 PM on March 31, 2012


My alliteration was sound and just. Chill the fuck out.

No, no, why don't you chill the fuck out. Why don't you.

Your allite...wha the fuck?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:04 PM on March 31, 2012


What?
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

I personally don't want the site beshitted with a bunch of comments about where to illegally download stuff. Not only is it tacky, but it's also just kind of illegal.
Flag it and move on.
posted by kavasa at 3:12 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Bold idea.
posted by gman at 3:13 PM on March 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


a bunch of comments about where to illegally download stuff. Not only is it tacky, but it's also just kind of illegal.

It's illegal to post a comment asking where to download a torrent? Going to need to see a cite for that. Please advise if you think it is a criminal offense or civil matter.
posted by mlis at 3:13 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


It isn't illegal just extremely tacky. Which makes it worse than a crime.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on March 31, 2012


Isn't extremely tacky just sticky?
posted by carsonb at 3:17 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Adhesive?
posted by carsonb at 3:18 PM on March 31, 2012


Coagulating?
posted by carsonb at 3:18 PM on March 31, 2012


Call it what you will, but here is my personal experience with the whole "piracy" business

1. I don't have HBO. In order to see HBO, I am required to pay a Cable Company for service, and I am unable to determine which services I will be funding. Cot cable? You're putting money in Fox News's pocket. It is not possible for me to pay HBO anything without paying someone ELSE as a precursor to paying HBO.

2. I wish to see Game of Thrones.

3. I would love to give HBO money to see it. They have contractual obligations that prevent me from getting their online streaming service as well without paying SOMEONE ELSE for the privilege of paying HBO money.

4. "Please HBO, the TV show came out nearly a year ago, can I give you money now?" "No, we will not take your money now."

5. Oh well. I torrent Season 1.

6. Cable Cartel and Pearl-clutchers: "WAAA Piracy"

7. HBO: "Hey remember that thing we were fished with 9 months ago but wouldn't release on DVD? Here's a DVD and Blu-Ray collection"

8. I go buy the Blu-Ray collection, because I would've bought it 6 months ago if it were available.

9. Someone will still say what I did was somehow unethical or immoral when the unethical and immoral artificial scarcity built into the system "I have to pay Roger Ailes for Fox News in order for the privilege of paying HBO for its content" and HBO's artificial scarcity "For marketing reasons we think we'll make more money if we wait to release this until 1 month before next season" are the only reasons I even torrented the damn things in the first place.

"I have the content and refuse to sell it to you," in my opinion, is adequate moral license to download a copy until such time as they will take my money.
posted by chimaera at 3:18 PM on March 31, 2012 [28 favorites]


Telling someone where to find torrents is illegal? Really? Or have you just bought that far into it? I've mentioned before in these spats, when HBO decides to actually make stuff available overseas, I'll gladly pay. You say DVDs are available? Those are region locked. God only knows when GoT will be broadcast here, if at all. As I've said before, a cable channel here just started broadcasting season one of How I Met Your Mother. Another cable channel showed only the last two seasons of The Wire years later. There is no option to legally watch shows like Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, or even Sons of Anarchy.

When there is some sane option that allows me to watch shows like these, or even see football and basketball games that I would actually like to watch, I'll pay. Until then, maybe you can stop white knighting for a business model predicated on the idea that physical borders should define cultural limits, ignoring that the Internet can, and does, do a better job of disseminating their product than they themselves do.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:21 PM on March 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


many comments about why consuming media via torrents and not through other "legal" means like cable or streaming or whatever, seem to have the tone of someone who realized they didn't bargain enough for something.

for example, the tone is that of someone who's friend just bought the same car that they did, but for $500 less. "how dare you pay less than the full amount, that's stealing!" you could make the same arguments against bargaining that you would against torrenting.

the bottom line is: if they make enough money off of them people will still get paid, and they'll still make more of them.
posted by cupcake1337 at 3:22 PM on March 31, 2012


"I have the content and refuse to sell it to you," in my opinion, is adequate moral license to download a copy until such time as they will take my money.

If HBO sold a subscription to their service, say over the internet or via an App of some sort, would you then bitch because you had to pay for all their content rather than only the specific things they offer that you want to see? Or would you happily pay up the $10-30/month they ask for you to get their full package of programming which includes a lot of things you'd probably never watch?
posted by hippybear at 3:24 PM on March 31, 2012


Telling someone where to find torrents is illegal? Really? Or have you just bought that far into it?

Stealing is illegal. I don't think there's a lot of Kool-Aid to swallow here. I don't think this is something that's incredibly outlandish. There are many extremely, increasingly complex rationales for not paying for this stuff, but the counterargument remains the same.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:31 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, probably yes, as it would be an available solution, and as of right now, there isn't one. Not ideal, but I'd be able to watch several shows I quite like, and it'd be a damn sight cheaper (at $10-30/month) than trying to buy the shows at low resolution from iTunes. Let me know when that option becomes available for people living overseas, and I'll sign up.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:31 PM on March 31, 2012


If HBO sold a subscription to their service, say over the internet or via an App of some sort, would you then bitch because you had to pay for all their content rather than only the specific things they offer that you want to see? Or would you happily pay up the $10-30/month they ask for you to get their full package of programming which includes a lot of things you'd probably never watch?

For the duration of the time I want to watch HBO's content, I would happily pay their normal subscription rate. In these specific terms, I'd pay their subscription rate for the months they're showing new episodes of GoT.

You make a curious parallel between not wanting to watch other HBO content and not wanting to pay a multitude of completely unrelated companies as a specific precursor for the privilege of giving HBO money. I do not consider your parallel viable.
posted by chimaera at 3:32 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was justifying my own continued activity in that thread by saying that people were still championing piracy there

"He started it!" doesn't do much to bolster your argument, especially once you've already been asked to take it elsewhere.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:34 PM on March 31, 2012


In preparation for the release of the final installment of the Harry Potter movies we rented them one a week for a couple months at $5 streaming in HD to the Apple TV. ($100) We thought watching these movies would be a great way to justify buying a $700 TV. We watched the first six movies. ($30.) Then when the 8th was finally available to download we went to rent the 7th. Not on Amazon. Not on Vudu of Hulu or Blockbuster streaming. Not on iTunes. Now, the part that pisses me off is it had been up there. We wouldn't have started renting them if this weren't the case.

So I waited a month. Two. Three. Fuck it. It was available for purchase on Amazon used for a couple bucks (if I had a DVD player). Rather than buy a DVD player I took a brand new iPad ($600), had a friend that bought the Blu-Ray DVD ($25) that came with a digital download, and he put it on said iPad for me.

This is the more or less true story of how it cost me 90 days and a couple of grand to watch the 7th Harry Potter movie in the manner I chose (at home) legally.

Or I could have tormented it the night I wanted to watch it for free.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:35 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If someone wants to draft a petition that HBO GO be made a service you can sign up for without having to subscribe to HBO's cable system, let me know. I'll be the first to sign it. I'd also like to sign a petition that they get their shit together and offer a Kindle Fire app. HBO GO is several orders of magnitude better than HBO's actual cable service, and frankly I think they're losing money by not making it more available to potential customers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:39 PM on March 31, 2012


You make a curious parallel between not wanting to watch other HBO content and not wanting to pay a multitude of completely unrelated companies as a specific precursor for the privilege of giving HBO money.

No, I don't make any such parallel. You draw that from my comment, but it wasn't at all behind my intent as I typed the words.

See, I pay DISH for the full compliment of premium channels. And as such, I've decided not to pay for things like Netflix or Redbox or ever to rent any DVDs. I have umteen channels of streaming movies and such coming into my house 24 hours a day. Yes, it means that I don't see these things until long after they're available through other means, but it does mean that I'll get to see them eventually.

I pay for these things because it is important to me to get to see a lot of the series and other things which are available exclusively through these premium channels as they are released. It means that there's a lot of other things being shown that I have no interest in, but I pay to get it all because a specific subset of them are, I think, worthwhile.

I understand that the way HBO works is problematic for people who only want to see specific shows, and nothing else. But really, if HBO weren't sticking to their guns when it came to how they make their product available and when and at what price, there would be no GoT to watch. Because it is through subscription fees and such that projects like GoT are funded.
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


"He started it!" doesn't do much to bolster your argument, especially once you've already been asked to take it elsewhere.

Well, fortunately you were there to delete my comment and I'm not there now so I guess all's well that ends well?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or I could have tormented it the night I wanted to watch it for free.

If you're going to torment something, be sure to have a supply of chocolate on hand to help with recovery.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sometimes it seems the illegality of media piracy seems to draw faster and more detailed condemnation here than genocide. Pretty sure we're going to end up wasting more words on this bullshit than we did on the relative badness of Kim Jong Il.
posted by Jimbob at 3:42 PM on March 31, 2012


If you're going to torment something

This would have been funnier if I'd remembered at the time that they're called Dementors, not Tormentors.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]




Because it is through subscription fees and such that projects like GoT are funded.

And I would be more than happy to pay them a subscription fee. But they don't sell that either. And if a share of the Cable Company's normal subscription fee went to HBO (it doesn't, by the way, but if it did), I'd pay a premium above that to give them the same amount from me that they'd get from any other subscriber. But I can't. They won't sell it, or they can't sell it.

And so I torrent the content while I clutch cash in my hand that I would hand over *in a moment* but they won't take it..... and then when it came out, I got the Blu-Ray collection. They got their money, I got my show. We would've both been happier if that transaction could've happened sooner, but it was not my choice.
posted by chimaera at 3:45 PM on March 31, 2012


I pay for these things because it is important to me to get to see a lot of the series and other things which are available exclusively through these premium channels as they are released. It means that there's a lot of other things being shown that I have no interest in, but I pay to get it all because a specific subset of them are, I think, worthwhile.

Well, and chimaera doesn't want to pay for the bundle that includes HBO because they specifically do not want their money going to Roger Ailes. I think that's legit. I think it's okay to want to be able to pay HBO for just HBO shows.

chimaera is not objecting to paying for HBO content they might not watch in order to watch the HBO content they *do* want to see. They're fine with that part.
posted by rtha at 3:45 PM on March 31, 2012


Hope I got that right, chimaera.
posted by rtha at 3:46 PM on March 31, 2012


Believe me, if there were an option for DISH which didn't include FauxNews, I would have it. There isn't. It's part of even the most basic package.
posted by hippybear at 3:49 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep, that's pretty much the core of it.

I believe in paying content creators for their work. The only time I torrent content is when someone won't even let me give them money for it and there's no other means/media to find where I *can* pay them.
posted by chimaera at 3:50 PM on March 31, 2012


It's a pretty big jump from "Stealing is illegal." to telling someone where to find a torrent is illegal.

As for waiting to watch, sure, a couple of months (streaming films, like hippybear mentions) isnt insane. Waiting for up to a year for a movie to hit the theaters? If it shows up at all? Five or six years for a tv show? Especially if it's one that seemingly dominates discussions of popular culture? As chimaera is saying, I'm here, cash in hand, saying let me pay, and admittedly, when it comes to sorting out this shit, English speakers living in Japan are probably the least important target market. As it is, I do pay for cable. I pay over fifty bucks a month for roughly six channels I regularly watch, that have content broadcast days late (sports) to years late (most dramas), and for the most part, it's crap I don't particularly care for (we get all of the series that only last a single season, for some reason, and they like to keep running shows that even they finished broadcasting years ago).

In order to keep up with things back home, I torrent. To do otherwise, I'd pretty much have to give up hope of ever participating in roughly fifty percent of conversations with friends, family, and here. HBO and the other content companies are behind the times in which we live, and for the most part, intent on forcing us to live in the past with them.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:55 PM on March 31, 2012


HBO GO is several orders of magnitude better than HBO's actual cable service, and frankly I think they're losing money by not making it more available to potential customers.

I suspect HBO would be willing to accept direct, a la carte subscriptions for over-the-top service if it meant they'd get their same fee either way -- I'm sure they don't care whether they get it from comcast or directly from your credit card. But it's not a simple equation like that.

1) Many, possibly even a majority of their potential customers would get it via the same provider that resells HBO to them now: Comcast, AT&T U-Verse, etc. Those companies are going to come back to the negotiating table fighting mad if their premium channels started delivering services over their wires.

2) If Netflix is struggling when all they have to do is license movies, HBO with all their original content and a vastly smaller time-limited film selection is going to have an interesting time of it trying to play in the same space.

So I think they're not going to upset their applecart until the market does it for them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:09 PM on March 31, 2012


To be fair, I do torrent BBC and other UK shows with abandon. If they were available here any other way (similar to Ghidorah's situation) I would be happy to pay. But they aren't, so I do.
posted by hippybear at 4:09 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


To do otherwise, I'd pretty much have to give up hope of ever participating in roughly fifty percent of conversations with friends, family, and here.

I find it hard to believe that fifty percent of anyone's conversations with family and friends are about TV.
posted by jayder at 4:28 PM on March 31, 2012


As for waiting to watch, sure, a couple of months (streaming films, like hippybear mentions) isnt insane. Waiting for up to a year for a movie to hit the theaters? If it shows up at all? Five or six years for a tv show? Especially if it's one that seemingly dominates discussions of popular culture? As chimaera is saying, I'm here, cash in hand, saying let me pay, and admittedly, when it comes to sorting out this shit, English speakers living in Japan are probably the least important target market.

Yeah, honestly, I think that when you're talking about a market for which no legal alternative exists, and when in many cases there's no reasonable expectation that the films in question will ever be made available to your particular market at all, you're in more of a gray area. It's hard for me to argue that something is being stolen when there's no one actually trying to sell you that thing. I think there's a big (and clear) difference between that and someone trying to sell you a thing but just not trying to sell it to you in the form you'd like best, find most convenient at the moment, et cetera.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:33 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that fifty percent of anyone's conversations with family and friends are about TV.

Maybe fifty percent is a bit high, or maybe I'm just remembering how things were when the Wire was on. I mean, hell, how many references to that show alone are there on Metafilter? The GoT thread that spawned this has a link to a song that directly references it. And, for that matter, GoT. How many threads have we had about it? How many off hand comments on it?

Hell, one of the things I like about Metafilter was the move away from FPPs where the main content was Hulu. I like to be able to participate in threads, particularly pop-culture threads. I just have some hurdles to deal with.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:57 PM on March 31, 2012


I don't see a lot of movies because by the time I am able to do so legally I am no longer excited about it. It's hit the theaters, gotten bad reviews and I don't want to see it. Or it's hit the theaters and gotten good reviews and I can't wait for it to be released on streaming and it never is. Or when I am finally allowed to watch it legally it's in a window on my mac on a website in skippy flash (looking at you Fringe!)

I would watch bucket loads more movies if I could do so in a timely manner from my home.

I would also buy a shitload more DVDs if they sold them in the lobby of the theater I was currently watching the film. After I saw The Priest I thought that movie ruled, but by the time I got home (the drive was an hour) my opinion changed.

I gave up on whole channels because I decided a while back to no longer do cable. I have Hulu and Netflix. If it's not on there and I can't get it on one of my services it might as well not exist. I subscribe to the shows in iTunes I can that are released in a reasonable timeline after airing (but I resent the delay). The ones that take too long I don't bother with. I'm not going to try to find someone to discuss season three of a show that season four is just ending on.

The one that is currently burning me up is the NHL hock package. There's no reason that makes sense to blackout any show. They aren't going to force me to become a viewer of channels I don't want. The aren't going to get me to travel to some city minimum four hours away. I probably wouldn't pay them much more than I am, but the blackout dates are pissing me off enough that there's a good chance I won't pay them at all next year. $150 or zero dollars. Pretty much their choice.

There's enough content options out there now that I seldom feel compelled to see it now, but when I want to and can't I usually take the principled stand and don't.

I've really been thinking of paint for VPN service in GB so I can watch the few shows from there I care about. I'm not sure if that's legal though. I sometimes try to watch a trailer for Luther or Sherlock or Merlin and am told I can't because I am outside the area. Well, for $50 a year I can run my connection through there. This would also mean I could watch Downton Abby with the rest of the world!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:57 PM on March 31, 2012


Usually when something like this happens I either pour myself another scotch or masturbate until the pain goes away.
posted by Decani at 5:11 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


So is this thread long enough now to start drifting away from the topic of topic drift to some other topic?
posted by jfuller at 5:24 PM on March 31, 2012


I don't understand what people see in Mad Men, it's incredibly tedious and boring.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:25 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Plotlines that feature scotch and masturbation, it's kind of a demographic niche here I think.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:28 PM on March 31, 2012


Also, it's not an either or sort of thing.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:33 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think in future derails about torrenting should be regarded as acceptable as long as they're written entirely in pig latin.

PS opyrightcay ingementinfray say otnay ealingstay
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:36 PM on March 31, 2012


I don't understand what people see in Mad Men, it's incredibly tedious and boring.

This off-topic comment really belongs in your thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:47 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

So what happens when the entire discussion in a FPP is a derail?
Since we're adults and can talk about whatever we want, what happens is that we continue talking about what we want to.

On a weekend, that is. On a weekday, the mods would squash that shit before it got started.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:51 PM on March 31, 2012


Jesus it's really the weekend around here isn't it?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:26 PM on March 31, 2012


Copyright violation isn't stealing.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:34 PM on March 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's the freakin' weekend, shakes.

We about to have us some fun.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:34 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You shall not pass!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:37 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everybody rhumba!
posted by The Whelk at 6:37 PM on March 31, 2012


Oh hell yeah, It. Is. ON.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does it count as stealing if you torrent a circumcision?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:58 PM on March 31, 2012


You all should watch Ernst Moerman's Monsieur Fantômas. It has lots of nuns and a priest in women's underwear putting on make-up. And other kinds of stuff. It's a sort of early 20th century surrealist Nuns On The Run. Sister Act II meets Un Chien Andalou? Maybe! Anyway, today I found a copy of Mr. M's Oeuvre Poétique in a thrift store! Yes, I'm quite pleased with myself. Then I did some other stuff and then I ate some grilled some corn and portabellas and drank some beer and now I'm drinking another beer! All things considered, it's been a swell day, I'd say.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 PM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking of downloading free shit I am currently in the middle of a huge depression. They nuked library.nu right around the time the megaupload shit was going down. FUCK!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:13 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm watching Blank City. Those edgy film bandit rebels seem so quaint now.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:18 PM on March 31, 2012


They nuked library.nu

Yeah, that was Obama's fault. I have that on authority.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:22 PM on March 31, 2012


I don't understand why people are saying they can't pay for Game of Thrones. It's available on DVD, Blu-Ray and iTunes. That's reasonably available. They haven't locked it up in the vaults or anything.


2) If Netflix is struggling when all they have to do is license movies, HBO with all their original content and a vastly smaller time-limited film selection is going to have an interesting time of it trying to play in the same space.


But if you don't care about their film selections (and I certainly don't), HBO owns all their own original content, and to a much larger degree than most other networks. Creators of HBO content get paid pretty small potatoes compared to other networks and receive far fewer residuals.

Now, the telecommunications angle, I got nothing.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:25 PM on March 31, 2012


Yeah, that was Obama's fault. I have that on authority.

I have it on good authority that you are really annoyed people would dare challenge the actions of your leader, and also that you probably need a hug.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:45 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


One reason delays really suck is spoilers. It is really hard to avoid them for a popular show if you want to use any social media. I suppose you can avoid twitter and tumblr and so forth for a year while you wait for your show to be released, but it's unnecessary.
posted by desjardins at 7:56 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people are saying they can't pay for Game of Thrones. It's available on DVD, Blu-Ray and iTunes. That's reasonably available. They haven't locked it up in the vaults or anything.

Because when the episode airs tomorrow, if you don't have HBO you have to wait a year to get it legally.
posted by desjardins at 8:01 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


And you will be spoiled if you even go near any discussion of the show for that year. So you will avoid it, get spoiled anyway, lose interest in the show because a million other things are out there and you are avoiding going anywhere near this one to avoid more spoilers...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on March 31, 2012


Wow that was a terrible and stupid thread on the blue. I don't really care what you think about pirating or HBO but the post was about Game of Thrones, not how much you hate the network that produces it.
posted by octothorpe at 8:13 PM on March 31, 2012


It's available on DVD, Blu-Ray and iTunes.

As of like a week or three ago. Don't expect to see season two any time soon if you don't have HBO.

Me, while everyone else is watching season two I will be rewatching season one. Once that is over I will wait until people are excited about season three. About then is when I will be able to legally watch season two. Or, if people say it sucks I probably won't be able to be bothered.

There's lots of shows I was super excited about, but because people said it was shit I din't even watch it. Like season four of Deadwood. I heard that one sucked.

...but the post was about Game of Thrones...

Wasn't it about season two of Game of Thrones? What is there to be said at this point?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:16 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If memory serves, most popular big HBO shows like Game of Thrones and The Pacific don't go to DVD/streaming/download for a year. It's always personal when it's 'your show', but it's business. And yes, I understand the reasoning behind not wanting to subscribe to multiple layers of cable TV + a digital set top box to get to the one show for three months.

It strikes me that HBO is more or less Netflix with fewer but better movie licensing deals and way more money to spend on new programming. HBO without the cable company extras is still kind of a dinosaur.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:47 PM on March 31, 2012


(I just want to see what my word is.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:17 PM on March 31, 2012


My choices to watch season 2 of Game of Thrones:

a) pay $70 a month more than I'm currently paying for internet (which gives me way more entertainment than I could ever possibly have time for when combined with my cool local video store and, you know, books) for a bunch of shit I don't want in my home so I don't miss those oh-so-urgently-culturally-relevant watercooler conversations about the $10 worth of HBO I'd watch each month

or

b) say "Fuck it" to HBO until it gets its head out of its ass and commits to the obvious future where cable companies are no longer the necessary intermediate step between HBO content and me.

*shrug*

I'll wait, thanks. I much prefer binging on seasons over a few days, anyway. You people who watch 10-hour movies in weekly installments instead of 3 curl-up-and-be-transported sessions crack me up sometimes. The less I do it your way, the less I understand why you do it your way. Hopefully the mods will continue to take complaints about unnecessary spoilers on the front page seriously so I can continue to enjoy series television the way God intended it to be enjoyed: in huge, enormously satisfying gulps instead of tiny, unnecessarily rationed teaspoons.
posted by mediareport at 9:17 PM on March 31, 2012


(Aww, it changes.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:17 PM on March 31, 2012


I like how I'm a "champion" of piracy since I mentioned this thread there. I have HBO, for fuck's sake.

I tried had to be a champion of piracy, but I could never manage better than 6th place. Rum and sodomy were no problem, but I just never did get a handle on the lash.
posted by themanwho at 9:31 PM on March 31, 2012


Yeah, most of us are Runners-up of Piracy, but I was once a Semi-Finalist of Larceny.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:35 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


in huge, enormously satisfying gulps instead of tiny, unnecessarily rationed teaspoons.

I have no idea how people wait an entire week between episodes of cliffhanger stuff like The Killing. I watched Season 1 in three days.
posted by desjardins at 9:47 PM on March 31, 2012


FIAMO
posted by hermitosis at 9:50 PM on March 31, 2012


Like season four of Deadwood. I heard that one sucked.

That one didn't exist. Season three was pretty bad.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:56 PM on March 31, 2012


Stealing is illegal.

Is that the same as copyright infringement / unlicensed copying of digital media? Because I remember a big campaign a while back that tried to make everybody think this was the case.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:16 PM on March 31, 2012


What the fuck? I'm not running any scripts.....

Oh, happy April 1st!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 PM on March 31, 2012


What
posted by tehloki at 10:19 PM on March 31, 2012


Where's my star?
posted by arcticseal at 10:35 PM on March 31, 2012


ha ha! It's funny because it's true.
posted by arcticseal at 10:36 PM on March 31, 2012


in huge, enormously satisfying gulps instead of tiny, unnecessarily rationed teaspoons.

I have no idea how people wait an entire week between episodes of cliffhanger stuff like The Killing. I watched Season 1 in three days.


One answer to the multiple comments wondering this is - community. It's fun to watch an episode, then get online and talk with a couple of thousand other people all excitedly theorising, joking and chatting about it. It gives a show an entirely new sheen when you participate in its community simultaneous to watching it.

That's something that's also lost when you are barred by regional restrictions from watching the episode premieres alongside everyone else.

And that part, that's why I torrent some TV shows - living in Australia, I can wait and watch them in 6 months, maybe a year, maybe two. But I lose entirely the fun and joy of experiencing and participating in the respective communities.

I'm aware that will read as entitled to some people here, but that social component of shows is pretty important to my enjoyment of them and thus I torrent at the time and pay/buy dvd's when they're finally available here. Ethically, I feel okay with that.
posted by pseudonymph at 11:37 PM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


(The part where it's almost impossible to remain unspoiled about a popular show for that long is also a pretty big consideration.

Even determinedly avoiding things about the show in question won't help, people throw in asides all over the place, so you can do your best and still wind up knowing major and minor plot points before you get to see it. Thus how I can sit here having never seen an episode of Mad Man, but still have a decent working knowledge of the plot the last few seasons, despite trying to avoid it.)
posted by pseudonymph at 11:40 PM on March 31, 2012


God dammit why can't I get the star trek tag!?! Hell I'd settle for a star wars one at this rate.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:42 PM on March 31, 2012


Tag check?
posted by Sebmojo at 1:32 AM on April 1, 2012


Huh.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:33 AM on April 1, 2012


AElfwine Evenstar: God dammit why can't I get the star trek tag!?! Hell I'd settle for a star wars one at this rate.

Actually, the tags change each time you reload the page. Amusingly, your name was tagged as "star trek" for that post.
posted by JiBB at 2:04 AM on April 1, 2012


in huge, enormously satisfying gulps instead of tiny, unnecessarily rationed teaspoons...
I have no idea how people wait an entire week between episodes of cliffhanger stuff


Something like Babylon 5 is way better when you have time to ponder between eps eg "what was that giant spider thing that appeared from nowhere and blew everything up then vanished?". You don't get that wonderful tension of not knowing.

It's like playing records at different speeds. You can notice things differently, and themes that are meant to build slowly, they sort of pileup and become much more obvious.
posted by Chekhovian at 6:23 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have it on good authority that you are really annoyed people would dare challenge the actions of your leader

That's Beloved and Respected Comrade Leader to you!

and also that you probably need a hug.

When you put it that way, doesn't everyone? C'mere, you big lug.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll wait, thanks. I much prefer binging on seasons over a few days, anyway. You people who watch 10-hour movies in weekly installments instead of 3 curl-up-and-be-transported sessions crack me up sometimes.

I can only ever watch a maximum of two hours of TV in one sitting so even if I have the DVD, I can only take in one or two episodes at a time. I get too antsy and anxious about other stuff I should be doing after two hours of screen watching to be able to pay attention.
posted by octothorpe at 8:04 AM on April 1, 2012


My method of ingesting blocks of television programming is superior to yours.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because when the episode airs tomorrow, if you don't have HBO you have to wait a year to get it legally.

I am so baffled by the total absence of logical business model here. Why don't they just call the series PLEASE TORRENT ME IMMEDIATELY? FFS, I have HBO and watch it as it airs and I still torrent it so I don't have to wait a ridiculous amount of time before I can watch it again at my leisure.

On the other hand, if stupid worthless TWC would sort out their HBOGo issues... no, fuck it, I'd still torrent it anyway.
posted by elizardbits at 8:58 AM on April 1, 2012


I assume that HBO is too afraid of the cable companies to offer HBOGo to non-cable subscribers. HBO is one of the main reasons for getting cable and you'd see a lot people bailing if they could get it without having to deal with Comcast and friends.
posted by octothorpe at 9:21 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem in NYC is that even if you subscribe to Time Warner Cable's HBO package in-home, you still can't get HBOGo online because TWC is a giant bag of dicks.
posted by elizardbits at 9:33 AM on April 1, 2012


I am so baffled by the total absence of logical business model here.

Given the enormity of HBO's success I am inclined to think they have a logical business model and simply have to take more things into account than you or I do.
posted by Justinian at 9:51 AM on April 1, 2012


Looks like another Game of Thrones post just went up on the front page. Maybe someone in that thread will know where I can get a torrent of it?
posted by Trochanter at 10:06 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should ask as soon as possible - best to get these potential derails over and done with when the new thread is still fresh.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


We nixed it. People can talk about GoT in the open thread or in this thread but the combination of Salon's weird clickbaitish articles plus Fizz's well-meaning but really terrible title [and no gameofthrones tag] made that post a non-starter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:16 AM on April 1, 2012


derailed on the suspension bridge over deep gorge
posted by infini at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2012


btw, do you have to be logged in to see these funky tags and will they dissapear tomorrow? i.e. should I do some screen caps for posterity and memories?
posted by infini at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2012


Can we just give some props here to AMC for the absolutely stellar way they handled The Walking Dead? Someone over there really knows their stuff.

Season I of TWD was re-released in time for everyone to watch all the episodes before Season II started, either on air, through Netflix or by buying it on video. Even my parents, who actually do wait a year to see movies if they have to, were able to get up to date.

During the season, AMC would show the most-recent previous episode immediately prior to the new one, in case you missed it last week.

Local theaters in my town aired new episodes of TWD free, on the big screen, live as they aired. I have to think that they negotiated this somehow with AMC, which is very, very cool.

AMC set up an interactive site, running in real time, available to anyone watching the show. This included a range of options from silly quizzes and real-time chat to fascinating background info, like why the directors took X approach when filming pivotal scene Y.

They followed up each episode with a bonus segment of "The Talking Dead", an "aftershow" with roundtable discussions on the episode that had just aired (and other TWD topics) with some amazing guests.

Even now, after Season 2 has ended, AMC is running videos featuring Q&A from the fans about what's already happened on the show and what's coming up next.
posted by misha at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2012


OMG TAGS
posted by odinsdream at 11:27 AM on April 1, 2012


Just here for the tags, so awesome
posted by shothotbot at 11:40 AM on April 1, 2012


Stoat? Is that a word? :(
posted by shothotbot at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2012


Yeah, I want a tag. Stagger Lee me, please.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:43 AM on April 1, 2012


I think the plan is to keep the tags in the one 4/1 thread and revert everything to normal elsewhere. We probably need a 4/1 MeFi Retrospective list/thread somewhere.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:45 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


We probably need a 4/1 MeFi Retrospective list/thread somewhere.
posted by jessamyn (starship trooper)


'nuff said.
posted by infini at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2012



OMG TAGS
posted by odinsdream (stoooooooooooooned)



eponysterical


ok, I'll go back to the report writing now
posted by infini at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2012


Salon's weird clickbaitish articles

Amen to that. Glenn Greenwald is a sterling and important social critic, but the rest of the site looks like it keeps trying to find new ways so appear tawdry.

Was it ever good though? So hard to remember.
posted by Trochanter at 12:03 PM on April 1, 2012


shothotbot writes "Stoat? Is that a word?"

A Stoat is a type of Mustelid.
posted by Mitheral at 12:19 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


A Stoat is a type of Mustelid.Honeybadger.
posted by Trochanter at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2012


I can only ever watch a maximum of two hours of TV in one sitting

Yeah, 2-3 episodes is the normal chunk size, any more and I feel overstuffed. I guess I exaggerated the binge-ingness a little. Still, finishing a season over a few nights during the course of a week feels much more thoughtful and interesting - to me - than sticking to the artificially extended "seasons" the networks use. It's been great to watch the traditional TV season dissolve over the past decade or so; I hope the boundaries between TV series and movies continue to get blurrier.

You can notice things differently, and themes that are meant to build slowly, they sort of pileup and become much more obvious.

It doesn't feel rushed or obvious to me; there's plenty of time to see themes unfold, to think about the writing, to feel that wonderful tension of not knowing....and then watch the next couple of episodes a day or two later, when things are still fresh. I've tried both ways, and honestly get much more artistic enjoyment out of watching on my own schedule rather than the networks'.

My method of ingesting blocks of television programming is superior to yours.

Sorry, didn't mean to sound so fighty.* It's a de gustibus thing, I know.

*In my defense, we'd just finished episode 7 in the second season of Downton Abbey and were shocked at how much worse the writing has been than it was in season one. Sadness leads to anger and all that...
posted by mediareport at 2:23 PM on April 1, 2012


"Yeah, 2-3 episodes is the normal chunk size, any more and I feel overstuffed. I guess I exaggerated the binge-ingness a little. Still, finishing a season over a few nights during the course of a week feels much more thoughtful and interesting - to me - than sticking to the artificially extended 'seasons' the networks use."

One of my most favorite things is watching a very serialized show in one big marathon. In my opinion, the true virtue of television is the ability to tell long, serialized stories that couldn't fit into the two-hour movie format. I wish everything was a "miniseries".

I've sort of scraped the bottom of the barrel of good serialized series in the last few years, so lately I've been watching some stuff that's not-so-good and not-so-serialized. For example, just now I'm watching all of ST:Voyager because it's the one ST series I never really watched — I was very disappointed in its quality when it premiered and just gave up on it. Well, I attempted to watch it last year sometime and got only as far as the beginning of the third season. But ten days ago, or so, I picked up where I left off and am up to the beginning of the final season (7) as of today (that's about 78 hours of TV at 45 minutes per episode). (The show really did get better with the addition of Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine. I didn't realize that she's quite a good actress. Though the downside is that she sort of takes over the show.)

Anyway, this concentrated intake of Star Trek has messed with my head. Not unlike when I've done the same thing with a big fantasy series (I recall reading all six Thomas Covenant books in six days when I was eighteen and I found myself thinking in their context). It's annoying in this case, though, as this universe is so anodyne and mostly boring. Plus, I found myself on an extended internal rant against the pseudoscience of ST. It's not just that their futuristic technobabble stuff is dumb, it's that they can't be bothered to get stuff we already know about even remotely correct. (But then I recalled how, for example, in TOS the ship ran into the "barrier at the edge of the galaxy".)

When I watch something very serialized in concentrated form like this, and it's a quality show (like GoT), then I find that not only do I enjoy it a great deal, I don't feel guilty about it. It feels worthwhile. When I do it with something like ST:Voyager, not so much.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:36 PM on April 1, 2012


Wow, you're made of stronger stuff than I am, Ivan. I gave up on Voyager within the first season and never went back.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried.

To be fair, if I were a mod (and I am today), I would have closed that shit too!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:55 PM on April 1, 2012


"Wow, you're made of stronger stuff than I am, Ivan. I gave up on Voyager within the first season and never went back."

I was motivated after watching Shatner's documentary (linked here, I think) and then, after that, also watching the ten years-old interview/discussion of Shatner and Nimoy. I recall watching TOS live when I was a kid, then of course later I grew up with it in syndication. I guess I really am a bit of a Trekkie. So, ST:V was the only thing I'd not seen all of (although maybe I missed one of the later, crappy movies).

My disappointment in ST:V was more than it otherwise would have been because back when they announced that they were doing a new series, I posted on USENET that I thought that a) the show needed to go back to exploration, maybe a smaller exploratory ship; b) it was time for a female captain; c) we needed to have a Vulcan again; and d) an AI character would be good, maybe an avatar of the ship. When the details of the show were announced, it was pretty amazing that I had come so close to the reality of it. So I was more excited about it than I would have been. Then, when I started watching and it wasn't very good, I was especially disappointed. I vividly recall, though, that it was an alien introducing his entirely earth-like dog to an away team that just annoyed the hell out of me and I stopped watching then and there. (And, good grief, after watching all these episodes, I am heartily sick of the very-slightly-varied-forehead-bump conception of aliens.)

All that said, seasons four and five are pretty good — not up to the best of TNG and and certainly not DS9, but I'd say they are above-average for the entire franchise as a whole. Six isn't as good, but it's not awful. Seasons one and two were pretty bad and it's no surprise that most people give up on the series if they try to watch it from the beginning.

I had the same problem when I attempted to watch B5 a few years ago. I watched it on-air after it got good; but never had seen the first season. After all these years, I wanted to experience the show again, especially when it became very serialized and generally good, but I just couldn't get past the first part of the first season. I gave up.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:18 PM on April 1, 2012


One of my most favorite things is watching a very serialized show in one big marathon.

I watched the first season of 24 in essentially one long sitting. I don't think I'd ever do something like that again but it sure made it seem intense. I dunno how it turned into the crap we got later, that first season wasn't too shabby.
posted by Justinian at 9:15 PM on April 1, 2012


The shows first season was actually shown as a three day marathon on German free tv last weekend. Showing two episodes of a series a week/day is not unheared off but three-four-three was kind of bold. Really payed off though. They got around 7% (10% focusgroup) viewership which is pretty good. Got me hook line and sinker too.

What the hell is Boromir doing there? What's with all the foul language and tits? Isn't this a US production, that's unpossible (totally forgot that you folks have extra TV for that)! Wow, this is like Dynasty in the middleages with tits and dragons. And how awesome is tha dwarf? I love it!
posted by ZeroAmbition at 3:21 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I recall reading all six Thomas Covenant books in six days when I was eighteen and I found myself thinking in their context).

You might be interesting to know that there are 3 more TC books already published and the fourth is in the editing stage. This will end the series once and for all. They're quite good; Donaldson has obviously learned a lot about writing in the past decades, and he's writing very detailed actions scenes and his plotting is very intense and complicated but is all making perfect sense so far.

Quite looking forward to The Last Dark. It's tough waiting for Donaldson to publish his series works, because he takes so long working on them between each volume. But I've yet to read anything by him that hasn't been worth the wait and effort.
posted by hippybear at 6:47 PM on April 2, 2012


I gave up on Voyager within the first season and never went back.

I have a lot of fond memories of Voyager because a friend and I used to prepare for every episode by stocking up on beer and Chinese food from a little local Mom-and-Pop. Then we'd rush back home in time to drink, eat, and watch it. Truthfully, I don't remember many episodes, but the Moo Goo Gai Pan remains memorable.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:20 PM on April 2, 2012


If someone wants to draft a petition that HBO GO be made a service you can sign up for without having to subscribe to HBO's cable system, let me know. I'll be the first to sign it.

I'll be the second. I saw "HBO GO" on Roku and I nearly wet myself with delight. I would have happily shoveled my money their way. Here is my money! Take it from me!

But no. NOOOOOOO.

And I can't personally torrent anything because my husband is a paranoid wacko nutcase who insists that everything that touches our computers be purchased legally in case the Powers That Be swoop in, invade, sue him for a squijillion dollars (approximately) and steal his data. I suppose it's not an unreasonable fear, but it does mean that if it's not available on iTunes or Amazon streaming, it's not available to me. Fortunately, paying $2 per episode for something isn't a problem and I'm only a day behind on the current season of Mad Men. Other things though... like Dexter wasn't available anywhere until the season ended. See also, GoT. It's irritating in a world where everyone else is torrenting it (and I know most of my friends torrent rather than pay for cable since they've said as much) to be a whole year behind because my husband has stupid ETHICS.

Thankfully, in terms of GoT, I've read all the books so discussions of the show aren't spoiler-y for me. It's harder with other things - most notably Dexter because G-DDAMNIT SHOWTIME.

(I? No ethics. I'd be blissfully torrenting. I also have no money and no data worth stealing, unless the RIAA wants to take several gigs of baby photos hostage.)
posted by sonika at 7:05 AM on April 3, 2012


"You might be interesting to know that there are 3 more TC books already published and the fourth is in the editing stage. "

Yeah, I've got the three which are published (and have read the first two of them). I think the first one is autographed — my grandmother and both my maternal aunts play(ed) duplicate bridge with Donaldson regularly. (I think I've told the story before; but I first discovered this when my grandmother gave me The Mirror of Her Dreams for Christmas in '86. This was Donaldson's first post-TC book and I'd been looking forward to it. I was starting to effusively thank my grandmother for the book and ask her how she knew that Donaldson was one of my favorite writers and that I'd wanted the book, when she interrupted me and said, "I don't know if you've heard of this author, but he's a very nice young man I play bridge with every week.")

You can't really throw a rock anywhere in the ABQ/Santa Fe/Taos area without hitting a SF/F writer. It's weird.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:07 PM on April 3, 2012


Yeah, Mordant's Need is such a strange series. The first book is all setup and moves REALLY slow and I always feel like it's a total slog to get through, and then the second book is when everything suddenly happens and I end up reading it in a single sitting. I've read it probably a dozen times now and that is always the pattern that reading takes with me.

I still think The Gap is his crowning achievement. It's just so hard to get people to read it because what happens to Morn in the first volume is so horrible.
posted by hippybear at 10:13 PM on April 3, 2012


"I still think The Gap is his crowning achievement."

I agree. I've only read the books once, but they impressed me at the time and I still think about them occasionally. I should read them again.

I've only read the Mordant's Need books once, when they were released, and I was very disappointed then.

In my opinion, Donaldson and Cook jointly deserve the credit (in very different respects) for breaking the ground in both subverting epic fantasy tropes and adding psychological realism that is often mentioned these days in conjunction with Martin. Martin himself always mentions Abercrombie (very much an heir of Cook). He doesn't mention Erikson, which I suspect must be because he thinks the combination of high-magic and realism don't mix. Or maybe, like some others, he started Gardens of the Moon and saw all the high-magic, and was turned-off. He does read other fantasy writers, so I know that's not the reason. But Erikson is very much the other heir of Cook. Martin also often mentions Abraham, who is another New Mexican and a friend of his, which probably influences him. Even so, I agree that Abraham is doing some exciting and new stuff in fantasy (as well as in UF, where he is writing under a pseudonym). Martin also mentions Rothfus; and while I think his series is among the best fantasy series written in the last fifteen years, I don't see it as being that ground-breaking. Interestingly, Martin has never mentioned Donaldson, although he's a fellow New Mexican.

But although my grandmother and my aunts liked him quite a bit (I've never met him), I've heard some things around town that he's, um, hard to like. He may not associate with other SF/F writers in the area.

Anyway, I read the Covenant books my senior year of high school and the year after (when the last two books were published, I think). I'd not actually read that much fantasy aside from Tolkien — at that time there wasn't quite as much an overlap between SF and F as there is now, and I grew up reading SF. But the Covenant books were a revelation to me, as Donaldson made Covenant a true anti-hero. Covenant was impossible to like — his first action upon entering the Land is to rape a woman, after all. He's heinous. You want to make excuses for him because of his illness and that he thinks this is an hallucination (and I'm sure that a lot of people who read the books did excuse him); but I think the point of the books is to examine self-hate and despair and the battle that happens inside people consumed with self-hate and despair to find their better natures, and courage, and all related. Donaldson is very clever, in my opinion, in making the Land a metaphor for Covenant's inner struggle and to not provide Covenant or the reader any easy answers. The Land is full-blown morally black-and-white epic fantasy, and IMO quite successful at it. It's derivative, of course, like all epic fantasy had been (as Martin critiques), of Tolkien, but I think that's intentional. All the moral ambiguity lies within the protagonist, not his/her circumstances.

I think those books are quite challenging, as all good literature is challenging. As I think Martin's ASOIAF is challenging. I think the Gap series is challenging, too.

Which is why I've not finished the new Covenant book that I have. I've not found the new chronicles challenging. Avery is frustrating and flawed, but not in anything other than the most mundane and easily excusable ways. She's also a bit of caricature of a protective mother. Donaldson doesn't write female characters well; at this point I think there's some truth to the feminist critique that his writing is at least a little misogynist. These new books read to me more like traditional epic fantasy, much less psychologically and morally interesting than the older books. I agree that he's improved as a writer. The books are more dense and a lot of the details of his world-building are more nuanced. But I think the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Donaldson very much had something he needed to say when he wrote the first Covenant books. He had something he needed to say about despair and self-hate and feeling powerless and what it means to be in that state and yet have people around you insisting that you are not powerless and shouldn't hate yourself. He had something critical he needed to say about Tolkienesque fantasy as escapist literature. But he said those things and, apparently, he doesn't have anything he needs to add to what he said before. So the new books exist without all the animating authorial passion the old books had. Frankly, they read, to me, as being market-driven. He's supplying something that people have asked for, and he's probably doing it for the money and perhaps because he wanted to be on the bestseller lists again. But I see little evidence that these books were written because he felt he must write them. Or, indeed, even that he wrote them with anything like authorial love of them. They're passionless.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:05 PM on April 3, 2012


Huh. Interesting take on it. I didn't get that at all by following his gradual interview on his website, in which he answered questions submitted to him by people on any number of topics. He had these books in mind when he was writing the Second Chronicles (in fact, he planted seeds in there so he COULD write this final series if he ever felt interested in doing so).

I think honestly, that he came back and wrote this final series because it was something he planned decades ago and he knows he's getting older and he wanted to get the ideas out of his head before he dies rather than not doing it. I don't read them as passionless, but rather as the product of a writer who has spent a very long time mulling over what he might eventually create if he ever had the chance.

Honestly, I don't know where the series is headed. He's truly mastered (IMO) writing action sequences with exquisite detail, sometimes taking a zillion pages to describe only a very short time passing in the action, but giving the reader such an in-depth look into exactly what is going on that it's the literary equivalent of The Matrix's bullet time. He did this in The Gap, too, the first time I noticed 100+ pages being devoted to what has to be only 20 minutes or so of real-world time.

But what his intended end-point is and what he's hoping to achieve by writing this story, I couldn't tell you.

I do know that he writes from the end backward -- that is, he knows how he wants his stories to end and then he extrapolates backward from there to a beginning point and begins writing toward his envisioned end. I know this because he said so many times in that gradual interview.

I couldn't possibly tell you how well he writes female characters. I know he's been writing them more and more since The One Tree, and that he seems to be getting better at communicating something through that writing, although what that is, I have no idea. I'm not female, and my best guesses at what being a protective mother might be like from the inside fall far short of anything I've ever read on a page or seen in a movie.

I think the main difference with the new series is that, with Linden Avery as the protagonist, she never experiences any of the doubt or questioning that Covenant engaged in constantly during the first two series. She takes what she is experiencing as being what she is presented with, and as such she is a very different sort of main character than Covenant. The entire episode with Covenant when he first appears in this final series and how that plays out is an excellent example of this -- I (as a reader) realized MUCH earlier than she did (as a character) what was possibly going on, and spent a good portion of the second book mentally shouting at her (a useless exercise in a novel) to wake up and see the truth.

But then, perhaps part of that experience for me as a reader is what Donaldson is intending. He planted the seeds of doubt and questioning so deeply into his readers in the first series, and then extended and broke those branches as they grew in the second series, so now he's playing on those expectations by presenting the reader as an active participant in the story, placing them in the role of being the Questioner and Unbeliever. That he continues (in the third book) to put forward ideas which are either backed up or refuted or even realized despite the reader's desire for them NOT to be true... That could be the long game he is playing overall with this final series.

If that is indeed true (and I base that observation on nothing more than my own experience reading them -- he never addressed this in his gradual interview), then he's captured genius in a way which I had never really grokked before right now, as I write this.

I guess I'll find out in 2013 when the final novel is published. I plan on doing a full read-through the entire 10-book series hopefully timed to allow me to continue with the final volume arriving at the right time. I'm not at all the person I was when I first encountered TC as a young teen, and if he achieves the right kind of "grown-up" ending to the series that I think he's aiming toward, I'll be Well And Right Fully Impressed.
posted by hippybear at 12:11 AM on April 4, 2012


I still think The Gap is his crowning achievement. It's just so hard to get people to read it because what happens to Morn in the first volume is so horrible.

Yeah, I feel so bad telling people "look, this is an amazing fucking series and you should really read it" for precisely that reason. It's hard to explain how a series that begins with graphic rape can actually be worthwhile and redemptive and empowering for everyone in the end.
posted by elizardbits at 10:26 AM on April 4, 2012


« Older determining doomed and deleted discussion dates   |   April Frist! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments