Put a sock in it, already

So World War Z exists as a movie now! And, predictably, it’s not very good. That’s not really a surprise to anyone that followed it at this point: it was, from the beginning a pretty transparent attempt to get Brad Pitt into the much-sought-after “not actually James Bond” action hero franchise market1. They launched on to a property that had a lot of very rabid fans and that existed in a theme (zombies) that was, at the time of its greenlighting, almost impossible not to make money on, especially after a string of very profitable and surprisingly worthwhile zombie movies.


And then they made a hash of the movie they’d shot, re-shot some ridiculous percentage of it, and released it in the middle of June. And then everyone was angry.

As one, the internet rose up and demanded that the reason that the movie was terrible was because it was a poor adaptation of the book, and that if they’d been more faithful to the book, they would have had a good movie. Because this is what that sort of people say every single time that a movie based on a book that they’ve read comes out. And it is, of course, complete and utter bullshit. Every time a book captures the consciousness of the sort of people who talk to other people about things on the internet2, the conversation immediately turns to it being a movie3. It seems like a good idea: it’s a cracking story that inspires vivid imagery in the mind of the reader, or that moves the reader in a way that makes it seem like it would also be possible to get real live human people out there to re-enact it. That’s basically never what happens.

Bear with me while I go through the basics. I understand that each and every one of you already knows all of this stuff, but I need to set up a frame here. I promise I’m not condescending, just laying out the beginning of the thing.

There are great movies that are adapted from books. There are even a lot of great movies that are adapted from books. Almost none of those are faithful adaptations of books. This is almost never to their detriment. For every The Exorcist or Psycho or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone there’s the Shining or The Silence of the Lambs or, lest we forget, The Fucking Godfather For Christ’s Sake. Films that were great not because they shot what was in the book, but because they turned the elements that were effective about the book into a movie with the same title. The Shining is about an alcoholic who is also kind of a bastard who – it turns out – was kind of a bastard not because of the alcohol but because he generally just picked up on the evil around him and turned into a monster4. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a circuitous tone-poem of a film about what it means to lose one’s mind, and how that happens.

But it’s not fair to compare apples to oranges, so let’s compare World War Z to another orange.

One of the greatest films ever made, unquestionably, is Jurassic Park5. The book is a meditation on science, and what happens when “can” interferes with “should” and corporate greed takes control of important science stuff. It’s about the hubris of man, and the inevitability of the world’s reassertion of its own natural order, ganging aglay even the best laid plans of men and other men. Especially if those men are greedy. It’s a good book – using its adventure plot to propel the characters through the philosophy of chaos theory via the in-world portal of Dr. Ian Malcom. The movie is about…well, dinosaurs. Who, y’know, chomp stuff. With their teeth. It’s kind of got all the science stuff in it, but the book’s villainy – which is the greed of John Hammond, which involves him keeping things proprietary and charging a lot of money to people, leaving the only decent people that want to work for him as the people who are interested in pure science (the vet, the groundskeeper, and even the head computer programmer guy) – is not the movie’s villainy, which is Seinfeld’s Newman, who wants desperately to make a lot of money off of someone else’s gain6.

But the movie works because, even though it’s no longer specifically about the philosophical and scientific implications in the book, those things are still there. The focus of the film is on the cinematic elements – it may not make any actual sense that the multi-ton tyrannosaurs rex is suddenly a goddamned ninja when he crashes through the wall at the end and eats the raptor, but it makes perfect cinematic sense: the dinosaurs, the creations of the father that cruelly left them to their own fate7, are not bad. They’re a neutral force. They make lack the sapient ability to decide their own course of action, but they’re not necessarily out to get the people, they’re just hungry. It’s a more elemental version of the same theme. Nevertheless, the film does not look like the book reads. It’s an entirely separate song played using the same notes as the book, and that’s fine. It works.

World War Z apparently8 adapted none of the things that made the book work – cinematic or otherwise. A book about the sociopolitical (and even geological) implications of a zombie war became a movie about Brad Pitt: CIA ninja and his search for the cure, which is not only a bad idea, but is also remarkably similar to what Paramount did to I Am Legend  for that utter failure of a movie.

And here we come to the problem: the complaints about the movie itself tend to focus less on how tone-deaf it is as a work using the source material, and more on how many things in the book weren’t specifically depicted in the movie. “Where,” they all demand, “is The Battle of Yonkers? Where is the film-maker guy? Where is the girl whose family flees to Canda9?” And this is why everyone needs to shut the hell up.

The adaptation of a property into a movie – that thing that everyone seems to need to clamor for as soon as they finish one of the four books they read in a year – has become less about wanting to see what moved them or excited them about the book, and more about cataloguing the minutiae that they recognize. And so The Lord of the Rings, a visually-impressive but story-bankrupt adaptation of a story-heavy but non-cinematic set of books are given a pass, because Peter Jackson paid a bunch of people to spend years of their life tirelessly fashioning things that are described visually in the books so that millions of fans can point and say “oh hey, it’s Grond!10V for Vendetta didn’t even have to get any of its story right – it was about a totes badass blowin-stuff-up dude who wore a mask! – because it looked like people thought it probably should11. Hell, Game of Thrones could throw in an entire pregnancy subplot that not only wasn’t in the book, but wouldn’t have made sense in the book, but it gets a pass, because the specific set of details that people decided long ago should be in there made it in there.

My point here is this: you’re welcome not to like World War Z. It sounds dreadful. But it’s probably not dreadful because you don’t get to see the tunnels under Paris, or the Russian decimations, or the Redekker plan. It’s dreadful because they bought a property and made a bad movie out of it. But the good news is that the book is still right there! You can go read it again! You can even picture Brad Pitt shoving microphones in people’s faces! And the pictures will line up exactly with what you think they should, because it’s your brain after all, and you can get around to disliking things not because they don’t scratch your weird little fanboy itch, but rather because they’re actually terrible.

Because whining about how it didn’t adapt the right things didn’t keep anyone from seeing it, which means now you idiots are going to get a sequel, which means that we’re all going to have to sit through all of this shit again.

1 the Bourne movies, or the Mission Impossible movies, or even Crank, although World War Z would probably be a much more interesting movie if it was more like Crank.
2 actually, letters-pages and fanzines, not to mention bookstores, basements and bars have always been full of this sort of thing. It’s just that now there’s a more-publicly-visible mostly-permanent record of this sort of thing, so it seems like it’s taking up more space.
3 or, increasingly often, a cable television series. I’m not going to address that much here except incidentally, but I will say that this is, I suppose, fine. Those things can be forever long, they’re allowed to end in a way that network television shows generally aren’t, and they increasingly have the budget flexibility to be able to keep up with sff-style storytelling. To wit: as much as I hate The Walking Dead for any number of reasons, it’s at least a relatively-faithful representation of the comic book, which I also hate, for basically the same reasons.
4 that description isn’t doing the book, which I actually like quite a lot, any favors, and for that I suppose I should apologize to Stephen King, but I do have to make a point, here. Eventually.
5 yes it is. Whatever your argument is, it’s stupid and you should feel bad.
6 this is not the part where I point out that everyone who, at any point, abandons the kids dies, that the hero quite pointedly doesn’t abandon the kids, that the problems on the island – where every animal is only potentially a mother, and there are no fathers anywhere – begin when some of the animals change sex, thereby becoming fathers who probably abandon their kids to do other stuff. Like chomp on lawyers who also abandon their kids. I’m not pointing this out because Jurassic Park is awesome, and Stephen Spielberg is a grown-ass man who can work out his own paternal abandonment issues.
7 dammit. I said I wasn’t going to do that.
8 I suppose twelve hundred words into this thing is probably as good a time as any to bury the confession that I haven’t seen it, and have no real plans to in a footnote.
9 editorial aside: if they had managed one sequence in the movie that was as good as the chapter about the girl whose family flees to Canada – a chapter that really could have framed the whole movie, as it more than any other single chapter actually spoke to a human, civilian condition during the plague – I would already have seen it twice.
10 that’s the battering ram that the orcs use at the battle of Helm’s Deep. It appears in the movie even while Elrond’s kids, the scouring of the Shire, most of Aragorn’s backstory, and any human (well, hobbit, I suppose) motivation for Frodo do not.
11 Which, really, should just make us feel bad for the people who made From Hell, who had decided a few years too soon that people would go see a movie if you chanted Alan Moore about it but didn’t make them read a dense, unsympathetic text with a stupid ending. Actually, this whole piece could have centered on Alan Moore adaptations, as the whole field of them covers one aspect or another of the problems with adaptation.


On Cycles

This week, the new Kanye West album Yeezus will be released to the highly-suspecting public. It will continue the basically-constant string of records that seem to have people talking about them incessantly. Well, moreso than usual.


The idea that there’s a single record that looms large in the public consciousness is not something that was invented in 2013. It does seem, however, that 2013 has brought with it a string of albums2 that have existed seemingly above the normal machinations of the music-writing cycle. Each of them has been talked about not just by the people that you’d expect to talk about them, but has, in fact, been written about by people who (sometimes explicitly) sent the message that writing about them was compulsory, perhaps even obligatory.

This is a new-ish cycle for the record-writing-about business. Generally there’s a couple of albums per quarter that appeal to the people that write about them, and the all-over hit, the record that people write about regardless of their chosen area, happens maybe once a year or so3. But now it seems the people that still read the things that the people who write things write for them to read (oh yes.) have undergone a shift in the way they grant their pageviews.

To wit: writing about music has become basically indistinguishable in form from writing about video games, at least in form.

It used to be that there was some entrenchment in the genre-aspect of music writing: the publication was devoted to a single genre4, or, alternately, the writing was a part of the still-vast “occasional review,” which would appear in Entertainment Weekly or whatever and was for people who had a passive interest.5 Part of this was because music-buyers represented a substantial enough market that it was tough to sell to broadly, so you had to specify your content so that you could specify your ads, and in so doing would also help codify just what it was that you were selling. Cleveland’s own AP, the venerable Spin magazine, The Source and dearly departed Blender (among literally dozens of others, these are just the ones that codified a reader “type” most actively) all made their name by writing about some minutely-different variation on things that one of the scores of other music magazines were also covering.

That’s not really the case anymore. These days, “people that buy records” are essentially a narrow demographic with a scattered set of tastes. And that’s a hard thing for any industry’s organs to compensate for, so it’s probaly a good thing that the music industry came late to the “how do we compensate for there being a ton of different people who actually have money to spend on a relatively-unparseable set of things” party.

Enter: the video game press. Much like with records, there are a lot of people who buy one or two video games a year (also much like with records, Steam has made it so that the bulk of the money needed to prop up the industry around it comes in through low-dollar-amount transactions via one source. Steam is,in just about every way that matters, a better idea than iTunes, but for the sake of getting their part of the argument on the table right now, they’re also fairly self-contained units that it’s hard to advertise with and, for different reasons that essentially amount to the same net effect, neither of them is considered the “serious” outlet for the output of the industry it supports – iTunes because it’s hard to mobilize any kind of writing around a single and even harder to justify an ad campaign for one, and Steam because indie games – the availability of which is one of Steam’s greatest gifts to the world – have still only become available to the general public.in any kind of widespread distribution model fairly recently, and that, historically makes it hard to mobilize the same kind of publicity action in support of them), and a number of obsessives (I bet you didn’t think I remembered that this sentence needed another dependent clause, did you?) who will pay for as many of them as they can, ideally out of a real interest for the medium and its works.

And every month or so, there’s a big release that, regardless of its genre or platform, has to be written about because the way the audience for it is split is such that it’s impossible to have a publication that consists of any portion of the audience over a certain size whose readership doesn’t touch some part of the group of people who are also going to buy the game in question.

And so, if I may be bold enough to make a prediction, we see the way forward for the engines of commerce attached to the music industry: be more like the video game industry. People spend more hours with videogames, but a video game costs about five times as much as any given album anyway, so I think it would come out in the wash. Luckily for people who are fairly happy with the way they acquire their music (this includes me again: I do not long for the days of protected or proprietary files, although I do miss the halcyon days of emusic).

And as with the video game press, the music press will come together around this one thing per month or per six weeks or whatever it ends up being and retreat to their separate corners for,well, the entire rest of the cycle. Now if only they can trade advice on how to “deal with” piracy, perhaps we can stop constantly being beaten over the head that the people who run the means of distribution for our respective pastimes are also barely-functional morons.

1 I would like to state up front and on the record: I am one of the people who got excited as hell about Yeezus. Considerable more excited than I was for Random Access Memories or the similarly-looked-forward to The 20/20 Experience.
2  to wit: Atoms for Peace’s Amok in February, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience in March, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Mosquito in April and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories in May. For the record: I have all of these albums and enjoy 75% to some extent.
3 and there was a big chunk of the early-oughts where it kind of didn’t happen at all
4 actually, in the late nineties most magazines were ostensibly dedicated to rock music, despite shifting that definition to include “whatever it is that moves ad sales this month, even if it’s goddamned Air, for christ’s sake.”
5 Actually, that last sort of thing still does pretty well, and is often my favorite kind of record review: if you have to actually convince someone why they should like something that fans of its genre take for granted, and you only have two hundred words to do it, you’re likely to put together a much better take on it


An Open Letter to Zack Snyder


Dear Zackary,


Can I call you Zackary? I feel it’s appropriate here to be formal. I’m going to call you Zackary.

Hello.

I am, believe it or not, a fan of your work. Oh, I’m not a fan of your movies. Your movies are generally not very good. The good movies (Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen) that you’ve made have been fairly-faithful adaptations carried by winning performances by former child actors1. The bad movies (300, Sucker Punch) have been well-intentioned, super-earnest attempts to make something good. In all cases, I know the problem.

You are not a good action movie director.

Oh, sure, there’s a lot of visually impressive material in those fight scenes. Visual impression is part of your skill set2. It’s just that they’re built as a series of images, and are, therefore, not very impressive. Think about all of those times you freeze the frame and spin the camera around like a failing-to-take-off helicopter so that we can see the image from every angle. See how well-staged that all is? Pat yourself on the back.

That’s some well done camera work. That’s a well-set scene. Now think about how much you wouldn’t have to literally stop the action to appreciate it if there wasn’t a fight happening in the middle of it.

Across your career, you have directed films that have had really effective sequences. Those sequences are, unilaterally, between people talking to each other in a room. Why is this? Because you put a lot of work into your sets, into creating atmosphere, into the little things that make the scene seem like it’s part of the world. I was going to link to clips here, but your contract is with Universal, so I can’t find Dawn of the Dead‘s Bus Scene, or the scene from Watchmen between Rorschach and the therapist, or the bit in Sucker Punch where Blue3 yells at the girls for their plan to escape. Maybe there was even a good scene in 300! It’s certainly possible, and it was almost definitely a scene between two people in a room, talking to each other.

As it happens, your next film is the Superman movie! That could work! Superman’s action sequences are hella boring! Superman, as a character, is hella boring! The only way to make a story with Superman in it at all interesting is to make it so that he can’t solve his problems with super powers! Unfortunately, if the trailer is anything to judge by, it looks like everyone loves him and he has no trouble being anything but a total mensch4, and gee-golly-gosh blah blah blah golden age blah. That’s not a good sign, Zackary. That’s not a good sign at all.

I have, once, been wrong. And the saying goes: “there’s a second time for everything.” So it’s completely possible that the trailer is lying, and that you made a fine and compelling film about a character that is, in and of himself, a snoozy trip to snoozeville on the snooze train. But I bet he also punches a bunch of stuff and also makes other things explode. I bet, at least once, one of those things is a person. But I bet there will be parts of it that work. And I bet those parts will be some of the parts where whoever that guy is is talking to whoever is playing Lana or Lois or whichever love interest is in there because oh my god I hate Superman.

Anyway.

The point is: you’re good at adapting things, and you’re not good at adapting things where things blow up. Especially since at a certain point, the things that blow up are people. So I’ve made a handy list of projects that you should be able to adapt with little trouble.

The Goat or: Who is Sylvia
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe is a classic piece of cinema that helped enshrine the relationship of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Hollywood legend. And rightfully so, I hear5! So why not adapt Edward Albee’s second-most-famous play! It’s got sex with a goat in it! You could cast Carla Gugino and Ty Burrell! This is at the top of the list because: seriously. That’s a gold mine. Adapt The Goat or: Who is Sylvia with Carla Gugino and Ty Burrell. This isn’t even a joke, and I know you’ve got their numbers.

Maus
“But,” I hear you saying, “plays are for fags! I only read comic books in which people die a lot and stuff.” Well, Zackary, it turns out that’s not outside the realm of possibility either. Maus is full of people talking to each other! And think about what you could do with all of that gritty, dirty World-War-II-era Eastern Europe scenery to play with! You could even cheesecake up Anja. It wouldn’t make anyone happy, but I understand that, as a creative professional, you’re allowed to let your creativity shine, and apparently that can only be done if at least one female character in ever movie is never allowed to cover her thighs.

Kid Miracleman
You had some pretty good luck with Alan Moore, and his story for Kid Miracleman is one of the only unreservedly-great actual stories he’s ever written6. It would even be a good way to ease from Superman into your new career as a director of compelling parlor dramas: you could direct the occasional bloody action sequence, but since the whole point is that when Miracleman is around, bad things happen, it would mainly be about Johnny Bates trying not to let Miracleman do his thing. The only downside here is that nobody knows who Miracleman is, and also that he’s the fucking villain, so it would be tough to market. Oh, that and its one of the most gut-wrenchingly depressing things on the planet.

The Paladin of the Lost Hour
I’m not a man that demands that things I like be adapted. In fact, generally I think discouragingly of it, not because I’m against adaptation, but because I hate listening to people whine about it. Nevertheless, this is exactly the sort of thing I think would benefit from heavy atmosphere and an interest in metareality. Plus, I’ve always sort of thought of the old guy in the story as being Scott Glen anyway.

Spy vs. Spy
Or prove me wrong entirely! Adapt Spy vs. Spy as the second part of your “characters created by guys from Cleveland” series! Direct a movie in which the entire point is that shit blows up real good! You could make it a spiritual successor to Sucker Punch, in that instead of being about how people watching a movie full of hot girls are…people that watch movies about hot girls, it could be about how a director who likes to make everything blow up should just double down on what he wants and blow. up. everything. You could also cast Carla Gugino and Ty Burrell in this one. I think it would be a winner.

I offer you these things because I like you, Zackary. I wouldn’t even ask for monetary payment. All I would want in exchange is the following two things: first, round up and destroy every single surviving copy of 300. On DVD, on Blu-Ray, on HD DVD (I think it came out during the format wars, right?), film stock, whatever. You can keep one copy for yourself, and I won’t make you take things down from YouTube (although Universal probably will) so that people can argue about whether or not something is madness to their heart’s content. The other thing I would want is Jena Malone’s phone number. I don’t need a guarantee. Just give me the number. I’ll do the rest.

And finally, no matter in what direction you choose to go, it will help to remember: human beings do not, when punched, explode like blood-filled pinatas. I hope this helps.

Signed,
– A Fan. Really. I promise.

1 Sarah Polley was Ramona, guys. Don’t act like you didn’t remember that.

2 As much as it’s dull and stupid to keep mentioning that he was a music video director, it is, nevertheless, worth noting that the two most effective sequences: the opening scene of Dawn of the Dead and the credits sequence of Watchmen are, basically, music videos for “When the Man Comes Around” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” respectively.

3 I want to like Sucker Punch. I want you to have been right about having made a film that offers some sort of referendum on the nature of movie fandom and people in darkened rooms and all sorts of other things. I really wish I could go on this trip with you, and I’ve tried, with as much goodwill as possible. I just thought you should know someone tried.

4 Well, I mean, I suppose technically he is the uber-mensch, what with that being his name and all.

5 I’ve never seen it, but I’m sure you have. Everyone but me has.

6 It’s actually the greatest, in terms of story itself. Watchmen is a better book, and Swamp Thing is a better idea, but Kid Miracleman is the one time Al sat down with a story and got it right from beginning to end. Honorable mention to V for Vendetta, which is good for about ¾ of its length, and then proves that a Scooby-Doo ending is never a good idea.

on things with a runch

Occasionally in the world, things happen that haven’t happened to billions of people and been picked apart to death. There are spaces devoted to remembering shitty movies no one else watched, television shows that were cancelled before you thought they should be, terrible solo records by singers of bands that people only remember in passing because of some commercial their song was used in.
What there’s very little of is being able to reminisce about websites of yore. It seems that when it comes to eulogizing minutiae, the internet has an absolutely bottomless ability, except for when it comes to the things that come out of their own brain. Perhaps it’s because the idea of internetainment is still fairly geared toward fast-moving disposability: it’s all easily-accessible, it’s mostly free (actually, it’s all free if you’re not particularly scrupulous) , it’s generally come across by accident or as the result of boredom, or as the result of someone else’s boredom. And those are basically the antithesis of the things that we tend to value: having to remember when a tv show is on1, or having to pay money for an album, or finding out about some weird movie by ourselves. Obviously the shared element of the experience for some of these things is also part of it, but that still leads to websites being in this weird bit of the memory hole.
Nevertheless, one of the things that’s made me feel old here, a bare few months away from my thirtieth birthday, is the fact that the Brunching Shuttlecocks shut their doors ten years ago.
Running for six years, from 1997-2003, they were, reliably, the funniest pair2 of people on the planet. Or at least the funniest in that context.
The spine of the site was the Self-Made Critic, who rated movies on a system of Babylons (which number 1-5 and which he insisted had nothing to do with Babylon 5, and with 5 only attainable for movies with a talking pig or a jedi in them). He was a reasonably-ok critic who was a much better writer, and the actual criticism of the movie was rather beside the point – it was mostly like watching someone who was slightly drunk tell you about a movie that he had just seen and wanted you to feel the same way as he did about, so everything came through the lense of trying to describe something you hadn’t seen, and also that wasn’t particularly-well-remembered. I mean this to be a compliment. I understand why it might not seem that way, but trust me when I say: they were funny.
There were one-offs (Billy and God), recurring weirdness (Good or Bad, The Complete and Utter Idiot’s Guide, Ed’s World, and occasional advice from Satan), and lots of flash doodlings. Oh, also there were things that people do generally remember, if only kind of, in the form of the Cyborg Name Decoder (now its own site) and the Geek Hierarchy.
But all of that, really, was a set of tasty appetizers and amuse bouches (or, in the case of the Self-Made-Critics, salads and soups and stuff. More substanital, I mean. But still not the tasty cheeseburger we’re about to get to3) for the thing that kept people coming back: the book of ratings. Eventually published as an actual, physical book with pages and stuff, it was, legitimately, a new and funny thing that probably couldn’t have existed outside of the internet4. Some of it was some of the funniest material that anyone could come up with.
I don’t remember exactly at what point I discovered the Shuttlecocks. I remember it was shortly after there was serious internet access in my house, so it was probably around 1999 or so (it could have been a little later). I do remember that they would form the backbone of jokes I would steal or adapt5 for the next five or so years. In the grand cosmology of “things that make yr crsp,” it ranks pretty high up there, in fact.
I would say “allow me to be the first to sing the praises of the influentiality of a now-defunct website,” but it turns out that even that impulse was probably implanted many years ago by the benevolent Mr. Sjoberg. So I steal his idea, probably not for the last time, and absolutely not the first, and I leave you with this: take a minute and read Things I Found at the Dollar Store (Parts I, II, III and IV), and imagine (and I realize that there’s a non-zero chance that you might actually remember yourselves) what it was like to wait a whole week between installments.
You don’t have to actually imagine the disappointment at it suddenly not updating any more sometime in March of 2003, but it might help. 

It’s been a decade, Shuttlecocks. May your lives remain, as they once were, as pure and simple as a hammer to the forebrain.

1 ultimately, one of the things that will make the recently-passed “golden age” of television (where seemingly everything on the air had at least a chance at being good, something that happens every twenty years or so) interesting is that it really did coincide with a series of technological shifts that led not only to tv shows not only never going away, but also never being tethered to times. This is kind of a facile observation, and has been warmed-over to death, but nevertheless, it’s worth this aside to say, in this context: Firefly gets to remain the perfect sound forever, and that necessarily changes the way it’s looked back upon in a way that makes people nostalgic for what wasn’t despite the reality of what was*, whereas something that doesn’t have that continued existence (St. Elsewhere, say) has to be remembered nostalgically for what did happen, and most of the actual vagaries of same are forgotten. Since there’s always going to be a backward-looking element of the popular discourse, and television – one of the first things we’re able to seek out and enjoy for ourselves – forms a huge part of that, it’s probably a bigger shift than people think.


*believe it or not, this is not another dig at Firefly, it’s just the best example of something that’s spoken of almost exclusively in terms of what didn’t get to happen. Except the weird Summer Glau fetishists, but I try not to talk to them.

2 actually, lead-Shuttlecock Lore Sjoberg’s then-girlfriend Collette Zelwer was always spoken of as a full member, and may have done more than the handful of article suggested (who am I to pretend to know), but, for reasons that will be apparent, never really came off that way outwardly. Oh, and the “Editor” of David Nielsen’s Self-Made Critic pieces once vehemently insisted he wasn’t Lore Sjoberg, but nobody believed that. Maybe the Editor was Collette Zelwer.
3 ok so you usually don’t eat cheeseburgers as part of multi-course meals but I’m trying to get to the point here, don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean
4 except, obviously, in the form of the aforementioned book, which probably wouldn’t have existed were it not for the web presence in the first place.
5 I took a jaunt down memory lane to write this article and found, embedded in the articles themselves, examples of jokes that I had stolen or adapted so early and so often that I forgot – legitimately forgot – that some else had written them.