Maybe We Shouldn't Have 'Heroes'

Why this business of personal heroes may well be a bad idea.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/18 08:00

Someone I know in another venue posted in disgust about how he can no longer call Terry Gilliam a personal hero, because of the contortions Gilliam put himself through in defense of Harvey Weinstein. (It's something along the lines of how artists always have to be envelope-pushers; it's every bit as dumb as it sounds.) Who to call a hero in this embattled age?

I'm going to make a radical suggestion, one that I don't expect anyone to follow, but here goes: don't have "heroes".

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Tags: David Lynch  Guillerimo del Toro  Roman Polanski  Woody Allen  celebrity  role models 

'I Burned It All'

Take your story. Rip it up and start again. What's left?

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/14 08:00

This is one of my favorite stories.

In mid-1865, Fyodor Dostoevsky was preparing to work on a novella he had tentatively titled The Drunkards, about the way alcoholism destroyed families. Then he happened across the case of the self-styled criminal intellectual Pierre François Lacenaire, and the center of the work shifted — seismically so, you might say — to this new character. What emerged was nothing less than Crime And Punishment.

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Tags: Fyodor Dostoevsky  The Fall Of The Hammer  writing 

But Will It Play For The Over-21 Set?

How different a standard should we have for works aimed at younger audiences vs. those aimed at "all" audiences?

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/13 17:00

Last weekend I saw the 2018 movie adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time with my wife and her mother. We all liked the film, although I'm pretty strongly of the opinion that it is aimed at, and will be best received by, younger viewers. Adults may well find it too hokey and illogical, but then again the original book was criticized on exactly those grounds as well. Which got me thinking: how different a standard should we have for works aimed at younger audiences vs. those aimed at "all" audiences?

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Tags: A Wrinkle In Time  Studio Ghibli  Whisper Of The Heart  audiences  movies  young-adult fiction 

Philosophizing With A Megaphone

On Twitter as a case study in technical non-solutions to social problems.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/12 17:00

I made the mistake of browsing my Twitter feed the other day.

By and large I don't read Twitter. I maintain a presence there mainly as a way to keep others from squatting my name, and I have posts on this blog summarized and fed automatically into my Twitter account. But other than that, I do my best to not get sucked into it.

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Tags: Twitter  social media  technology 

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Copyediting With A Machete

On avoiding the temptation to edit drastically, late in the game.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/12 08:00

A friend I trust is now in the process of reading Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned and providing me with last-stage feedback. This is on top of me doing one more slow-read pass on the text and catching a whole slew of little issues — grammar here, explanation there.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned  editing  writing 

When You Didn't Know You Wanted This

What to do when you find yourself saying, "I didn't know I wanted this."

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/08 17:00

A friend of mine and I got to talking the other day about Netflix's new version of Lost In Space, itself a sci-fi version of Swiss Family Robinson. We were both bowled over by the sheer amount of money splashed across the screen, but also by the general tone of the whole thing — the renewed emphasis on survival and understanding their strange new world, all things that got lost the last time they (re)made this material.

What stood out most, though, was my friend's comment: "I didn't know I wanted this."

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Tags: creativity 

Getting Better All The Time

Why Steven Pinker's encomium to an improving world falls so flat.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/03/06 08:00

Steven Pinker has been garnering attention for his book Enlightenment Now, in some sense a spiritual sequel to his earlier book The Better Angels Of Our Nature. In the latter, earlier work, Pinker asserted that life is on the whole becoming less violent and more generally livable, despite whatever in-the-moment bad news we might see. Pinker's right, but the way he makes his case is a study in self-sabotage.

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Tags: Steven Pinker  politics  society  sociology 

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