October 2015 news

created: 23 Sep 2015; modified: 13 Dec 2018; status: finished; confidence: log;

This is the October 2015 edition of the gwern.net newsletter; previous, September 2015. This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with Changelog & Google+ & LW media threads; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.

Media

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Film/TV

Live-action:

• The Martian (a faithful but very Hollywood depiction of the novel; it is exactly what one would expect upon hearing that The Martian was being turned into a big-budget film starring Matt Damon & Sigourney Weaver, glossy special effects and overwrought soundtrack and all. What is cut from the novel was of no importance.)
• The Great Gatsby (another glossy big-budget Hollywood adaptation; marred by the, thankfully brief, frame story in which Tobey Maguire ascends to heretofore unseen levels of schmarm and schmaltz as the narrator. The novel is so short that it’s almost a scene by scene adaptation, and the main directorial choice seems to be to put a heavy emphasis on it happening to be set during the Roaring Twenties, so every scene or party is punched up as much as feasible. The narrator doesn’t encounter Gatsby when the two are calmly sitting down at a party, but encounters him in the crush of a giant uproariously drunk crowd backlit by fireworks; the narrator cannot lunch with Gatsby at a dusty obscure roadside cafe, but they must lunch in a giant speakeasy with strippers/chorus-line dancers; in spending an afternoon with Tom’s mistress & friends, he does not get tipsy on whiskey but he gets falling-down drunk with the half-naked women & popping up champagne bottles to bath in; women are not properly 20’s flat-chested but all bare cleavage with pushup bras; Gatsby is not shot offscreen, but rather onscreen shortly after parting from the narrator while rushing to a phonecall he thinks is from Daisy; and so on. This damages the original atmosphere of the book, which conveys the sense of dusty dog days on rural LI in a way the movie does not at all, but I don’t think it’s a loss; the book is still the book, and it’s fine for a movie adaptation to make more of a spectacle of itself and revel in audiovisuals. The party scene makes full use of its latitude. What is more annoying, or perhaps amusing, is noting the hamfisted touches of modernity. For example, the movie chooses to keep the part of the dinner where Tom alludes to Lothrop Stoddard; Fitzgerald brings this up not for being racist, but as part of his character study showing Tom to be pitiable as his athletic career is over & he’s starting to realize his lack of worth, and the movie omits any hint of this in order to simplify things by casting Tom as The Bad Guy, since of course bad guys must be racist - an edit which reflects the crudity & narrowness of the writers and also really does do harm to the literary qualities of the movie. A less significant, but much more amusing, example would be the attempt to whitewash the Meyers Wolfsheim character; never mind that he is repeatedly identified as Jewish, and that Jews at the time were deeply involved in NY organized crime & the numbers racket and the Wolfsheim character pretty much has to be Jewish or Italian, no, the movie determinedly edits out all uses of the word Jewish from dialogue and goes so far as to cast Wolfsheim using an Indian actor! Because apparently there are no Jewish actors in Hollywood they could use.)
• Back to the Future II

Anime:

• Monogatari Second Season: Nekomonogatari+Kabukimongatari+Otorimonogatari+Onimonogatari+Koimonogatari (the long-awaited real followup to Bakemonogatari; the original sequel anime, Nisemonogatari, was more than a little disappointing in focusing too much on fanservice, fanservice which aside from the famous toothbrush scene was mostly a waste of time. Second Season, on the other hand, begins with followups on each of the main characters whose problems were solved in Bakemonogatari, but it turns out their problems were really only postponed to a more final reckoning. Beginning with Hanekawa, each sub-arc follows a fresh character’s crisis while slowly shedding light on the larger story they are part of, a lengthy war between a mysteriously destructive interloper and a clairvoyant self-proclaimed to know everything in which they successively manipulate the main characters to create and resolve crises, respectively, with each arc getting closer and closer to involving Kanbaru Suruga in some way. The return of Senjougahara & her dialogue in Nekomonogatari is most welcome to this long-time viewer, and the final Koimonogatari likewise returns the fan favorite con-man Kaiki Deshuu to not just appearances but as protagonist for several episodes, which I especially enjoyed as an antidote to Araragi. I wouldn’t say that it’s better than Bakemonogatari, if only because I don’t think any episode in Second Season has the same impact as episode 12, the overall plot can’t be fairly judged just on the basis of Second Season as it ends right before the Kanbaru arc which seems to be the final arc, and I find the character Nadeko Sengoku impossible to understand or sympathize with in the least so the Otorimonogatari arc was a pain to sit through.)
• A Letter To Momo (review)

Music

Touhou:

Kantai Collection:

Doujin:

• homephone TE (Asahi feat.emaru; homephone TE {2014}) [electronica]
• yume (Asahi feat.emaru; homephone TE {2014}) [electronica]
• tsuiraku (Asahi feat.emaru; homephone TE {2014}) [electronica]
• sinwave (Asahi feat.emaru; homephone TE {2014}) [electronica]
• handmade (宮沢もよよ; PLAY {C85}) [electronica]
• IVY (Fullkawa-P feat. Utau Kitchen; Girlfriend from Kyoto {2012}) [Jpop]
• Purl (ITM; Bayside Dreamer {C88}) [house]
• Fresh Air (Lumina; Bayside Dreamer {C88}) [house]

Vocaloid: