Friday, July 21, 2017

Everyone Seems to be Asleep

Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails - The Background World.

I--

Not to channel my inner uggs-wearing, Frap-buying, blonde-hair-tossing white girl, but I can't even with this new Nine Inch Nails EP.

I loved Not the Actual Events but hadn't even thought to consider it a concept album until Add Violence released at midnight. The threads on the subreddit for Nine Inch Nails discussing the concept--how it seems to point to a narrative about a man awakening from a simulation and the conflict arising against a machine--it's been so fucking cool.

And the more I listen to it, the more I love The Background World, loops and all. No less when someone said those loops happen 52 times. If there are 52 weeks in a year, does that mean the simulation/machine of the narrative is taking a year to disintegrate?

I DON'T KNOW BUT I LOVE IT--

Someone else commented on the YouTube release for This Isn't the Place and said it's like "The Fragile" and "Year Zero" are having slow, passionate sex.

Ho-ly shit, YES. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE.

WHICH MAKES THIS THE BEST THING EVER.

EPAIHRAPW'ERA'PWEHRAWR I LOVE THIS BAND.

I wonder if it is the "Bleedthrough" concept album Trent Reznor talked about, back before the actual concept album that was "Year Zero" released.

And I wonder if the theory that the narrative is being told end to beginning is true.

AND I WONDER WHAT THE FINAL EP WILL HOLD FOR US.

*bounces*

I've spent all morning writing to both of the EPs, and I'm soclosetotheend I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED AND READY TO END THIS DRAFT WITH A BATTLE AXE.

***

07/23/2017 - EDIT: Lolz, I just saw this post by Black__lotus on the NIN subreddit, and I had to quote it:
I'm addicted to the loop, each one is my last. I say to myself, "just one more" and "this is the last one. Then I'll listen to something else" but I can't turn it off. The urge to hear just one more loop, to follow it until completion. It's irresistible. And then, finally, you hit rock bottom, and everything is in disarray. 
This song is something else guys. I feel like a white girl who "just can't even."

Ditto, my friend.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nine Inch Nails – LESS THAN

All I've done since this video dropped is think WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

Seriously. Thank all that is good about this world for Nine Inch Nails. They make the rest of my existence and the general state of the universe totally worth it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

An Actual Event

I stole that title from one of the comments on the video, BUTOHMYGOD if this isn't the coolest NIN has ever looked and they sound as amazing as usual. "She's Gone Away" is already my favorite song on Not the Actual Events and here's Trent in a leather jacket and sunglasses with Mariqueen and Atticus flanking him, all of them in subdued blue and violet lights and shadows.

IT'S MY DREAM AESTHETIC. It's like they walked out of a cyberpunk movie.



I already kinda wanted to watch Twin Peaks for a while now. I might actually do that now just to get to the episode featuring them.

I read on the /r/nin subreddit that Trent had sent an email about orders related to NTAE, and at the end he'd slipped in a "yeah btw you're getting more music,"

I CAN'T FUCKING WAIT.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

American Bitch

Now Playing: Michael O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - Perchance to Dream

So this is a topic I keep coming back to: change. Impact. Blah.

See, my problem with Lena Dunham's Girls comes down to Hannah and Marnie. While Shoshanna and Jessa made mistakes, felt guilt, felt anger, and were forced to change, Hannah and Marnie are the same throughout the entirety of season 6 as they were in season 1. If anything, Marnie used to be the Straight Man of the four girls and she went on a complete downward spiral.

It's also frustrating to hear Dunham talk about the episodes. On the HBO site, every time an episode finishes, it automatically plays an "Inside the Episode" segment where she and sometimes other creators talk about the events in the show. Half the time, I have no idea what the fuck she's talking about. It's like her actual characters have depth and intentions that are interesting to analyse and figure out, but as soon as I hear her opinions, I want to be like, "uhm. No. That's stupid. I don't think you get it." (And she's the creator).

It's condescending, but the quickest way to explain how I feel it harms her writing is how she's forced a lot of the relationships in the show. More than a few times, she's been like, "there's this girl and this guy and I always knew something sexual/romantic would happen between them." It makes me think not only does she not understand her own characters, she also doesn't seem to understand a man and a woman don't necessarily have to have a sexual  encounter just because they're a man and a woman. (Not even gay characters are safe from this treatment. Or side characters).

I have trouble with the way she develops dialogue and character arcs. It's like I start to see it go in the right direction--a progression that feels both earned and organic. Then she either goes too far or veers off the rails completely.

So when American Bitch aired, I not only did not trust the show to be able to handle the complicated nature of sexual assault and power dynamics, I also made sure not to listen to the Behind the Episode segment. 

It surprised me how much I liked the episode. And I adored a lot of the think pieces that came from it. But as the series continued, I realized that it hadn't been an episode at all. It'd been an essay. Nothing that happened in American Bitch ever affected a single aspect of the show. Not in terms of impacting the plot, not in terms of how it could have affected the characters, and definitely not in terms of themes or issues. 

So I finally watched the Behind the Episode and sure enough, the creator discussion is so vapid that I regret even clicking on it.

(And yet its YouTube comments are a lot more profound. Go figure).

But I try to give Dunham the benefit of the doubt sometimes. It's not like she's a bad writer, after all. Maybe the lack of lingering impact is supposed to be the point. Maybe it's supposed to comment on how the events that transpire in American Bitch are relatable to a lot of women, and no matter how odd, troubling, or even traumatic those can be, they're just snippets of our lives we don't know how to address. So we don't dwell on them--if only because we don't know how or because they're so commonplace--and life goes on.

I hadn't even thought much about the episode until the other day--the day I referenced in my last post, when I talked with one of Flip's friend about the bizarre phrasings we use surrounding sex and virginity. I spoke up about that, and later I wondered if I did it purely because it bothered me or because I had the slight hope he might think critically about the strange ideas we hold of "virginity" in our society.

But if I truly believed I was trying to steer this person into any kind of critical discussion or (and I'm being widely optimistic here) lasting change, I would have addressed the one thing that always bothers me about him: he cannot refer to women as anything except "bitches." 

It's driving me nuts. To the point where I actively avoid being in the same room as him. I stay civil and I'll make small talk when prompted, but it's like as soon as I forget about that habit of his and I decide to be friendly, I immediately regret it when he rambles on about, "if I did X, I'd get all kinds of bitches." (That's a somewhat-direct quote. If I went word for word, you'd think I was making shit up). 

It's such a ridiculous way of talking that it should be cartoonish and therefore easy to dismiss. But it's infuriating because I know he's one in a million who think the same things and say the same things and have it influence so much of what how they perceive and treat other people--especially women.

So why didn't I say anything?

In the moment, I simply forgot. But maybe I don't think we can have any lasting effect on one another. It's one of those things about life that exist and I don't dwell on it for long because I don't know how to address it.

(Although that still makes for shitty fiction. So I guess Girls isn't any more profound for being as crap as real life is).
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.