Here is my first article of the year for Heroes of Play. I haven’t written regularly for the site and I don’t know how frequent my contributions will be this year, but I’ll try to keep up where I can. I do have plenty of commitments this year which will get in the way.
Heroes Replay – Dark Souls
One thing that didn’t occur to me immediately after returning to Christianity was just how desensitised I have become to things that really should disgust me. This is with regard to basically everything including violent and sexual imagery and vulgar language. It isn’t that I don’t know whether or not something is wrong – I do. The problem is that I don’t feel the disgust I should and that would have been commonly felt not too long ago.
Quite a while ago I read an article by James Valentine belittling the idea of “Australian values”, I can’t remember whether I read it in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age or The Australian but it was probably the latter because I did buy that paper weekly at the time. I did make a little effort to find it but was unable to and I apologise if I have got any critical details wrong. This was an opinion piece from as long as a decade ago though and I’m really just looking at the “vibe” of the thing.
The main point as I recall was that the things we call “values” aren’t exactly unique to Australians. Things like believing people should have a “fair go” or the idea of “mateship”. As well as Australians liking to have a drink with our “mates”. These are not in any sense unique to Australia and Australian culture in general. I could see his point immediately though I still wanted to reject what he was saying instinctively out of a sense of national pride. But try as I might, I couldn’t escape the truth of what he was saying. This observation has only become more true as I’ve gotten older.
I recently read Fooled By Randomness which was the first book in what became Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Incerto. I am eagerly anticipating his new book which comes out next month and if you do actually read here, you will know I’m quite fond of him and his work. This is not a review of the book (which was great), but rather me drawing the main idea of the book and applying it to my own experiences.
I will attempt first to describe this before moving on.
As the title suggests, I’m back once again with an update on my progress from this year and my goals for the new year. As with last year, there has certainly been success but also a few failures. Overall though, it was certainly worth setting the goals and striving to achieve them even if I fell short.
So to start with I’m going to go through the goals I set for 2017, whether or not I accomplished them and a bit of commentary where I feel it is necessary.
It is normal or at least it was normal years ago to expect the worst of Hollywood treatments of popular comic books, children’s cartoons and video games. And with the exception of the latter, this is not as true as it used to be. Although I’m quite over them myself, many of the movies based on comic books and children’s cartoons have been well-made at the very least. And some have actually been excellent films with the Christopher Nolan Batman films prominent in mind as I write this.
A movie I was extremely excited to see when I was a child was the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film released when that franchise was dominating in pretty much every medium aimed at children. Like many young boys I watched the cartoon, owned the action figures, played the video games and even wore the shirt. So when the film came out I wanted to see it and living in the country made this an even more special event. I can’t remember how it was decided (I was 6 or 7 at the time), but I ended up heading to the closest town, watching the film in a cinema with my father and one or two of my four younger brothers along with me.
Now it is probably obvious from the title that this won’t be just a nostalgia trip. It most certainly is not. Watching the film again many years later, I noticed immediately that it has held up a lot better than any film like this deserves to. A film based on a comic book and made in order to bank off the franchises wild popularity is usually one you’d expect to be bad or at least one that will only be remembered as a product of that time. The idea that a film about four mutated turtles led by a mutated rat, who fight an ancient Japanese crime syndicate in modern New York would be worth writing about seems absurd. It really isn’t though.
I just finished reading this book last Thursday morning and I feel I should write something about it but I’m not sure quite what. As such I am just going to write a potpourri of my thoughts.
Both this and War & Peace were in my list of New Years Resolutions but neither were a chore to read. I began reading The Brothers Karamazov on October 9th and I finished it in less than two months even though most of my reading was during my short commute to and from work but there were a couple of days where I read 80-100 pages. That should give you a good indication of how much I enjoyed it.