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Podcasts > S&L Podcast - #320 - We are Sword (We are Laser)

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message 1: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1702 comments Mod
The March tournament was so much fun, and in the end we'll read We Are Legion (We Are Bob) which is an appropriately fun book. We also talk about other podcasts that are cool to listen to, plus our last thoughts on the beautiful complexity of An Unkindness of Ghosts.

http://swordandlaser.com/home/2018/3/...
https://soundcloud.com/swordandlaser/...
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17852837

Sorry for the late episode, work has been nuts today!


message 2: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1646 comments Veronica, you have to read Railsea. It is a great steampunky homage to Moby Dick. I am reading lots of Mieville books this year. The City and the City is pretty intriguing, not an easy book to read though. I am excited looking at the BBC adaptation.
Will continue with The Scar and Kraken soon.


message 3: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1702 comments Mod
Ok!! I will check it out.


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6892 comments Mod
For what it's worth, the number quoted on the podcast was 4700 (I think) but the total votes this year were 5,073, which equates to an average of 338 people participating in each poll.

That's a jump of 68 people from last year. Comparing that to 2016 to 2017 which was a jump of 57 people.

More stats here:

This year's Tournament stats

also I did:

The Year to year comparison


message 5: by Silvana (last edited Mar 30, 2018 03:26AM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1646 comments Rob's an early riser.

Veronica wrote: "Ok!! I will check it out."

Yay! Satisfaction guaranteed. 😊

I just finished listening to the episode and so excited that it was Brian McClellan who will be in the show. He will have his next book out in May, Wrath of Empire, one of my most awaited sequels this year. If you guys have not read the Powder Mage series, go do it now.


message 6: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3608 comments Mod
Wow. Brian McClellan back for a record 4th appearance on Sword and Laser. Already on Shows #168, #205 & #268

Good thing he's one of my favourite authors :-)


message 7: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2296 comments Veronica, should you ever find yourself in Minneapolis ...

https://glamdolldonuts.com/


message 8: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4190 comments Joseph wrote: "Veronica, should you ever find yourself in Minneapolis ...

https://glamdolldonuts.com/"


Oh hells yeah! I'm going back to Mayo clinic in early May, seems like I need to find this place!!!!

Tom, I was the one who didn't want two winners or a tie. Now that my life has gotten (slightly) less crazy, I still want to read all official picks and alt picks. Even if they're short, having 2 picks for a "winner take all" thing just seems wrong (I'm very competitive).

It was interesting to hear your thoughts on the book. At the end, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to take away other than racism/classism is bad. Which reminds me, I still need to mark it as read and write my review...


message 9: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale for the same reason as you, Veronica. There’s enough horror in the world without voluntarily adding more to mine. I read the book (shelved under “horror”) and that was more than enough for me. As a women of childbearing age making the conscious choice to not have children, I can’t watch that show. It’s my nightmare.


message 10: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3608 comments Mod
The Handmaid's Tale is a hard show to watch. I can understand why it's not for everybody. It's brutal.

I hold out hope that there is light at the end of the series.


message 11: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments I thought The Handmaid’s Tale was hilarious. Funniest comedy I’ve seen in a while. When Jack Black was channeling a teenage girl, I thought I would pee my pants.

What’s that? Oh, that was Jumanji 2? Oh...

So Handmaid’s Tale was the one based on Mike Pence’s wet dreams? Oh right. Yeah, that was brutal. And all too close to reality these days.


message 12: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 355 comments I think Tom was trying to ask the question "could it be whitewashed and be good enough to make up for that?" and while the answer might be yes for some, I think whitewashing is now an insurmountable hurdle for others.

I don't think properties need to stick to original character descriptions (we wouldn't have Samuel L Jackson or Idris Elba in the MCU if that was necessary), but I think it's good for everyone to increase diversity where possible. Whitewashing takes us backwards.


message 13: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1422 comments Caitlin wrote: "I think Tom was trying to ask the question "could it be whitewashed and be good enough to make up for that?" and while the answer might be yes for some, I think whitewashing is now an insurmountabl..."

Fun fact: Samuel L Jackson was the model for Marvel's Ultimate Universe fury (who has now been transferred to the standard universe after.... never mind ... ) so Marvel built in the diversity here before the movie.

Changing the ethnicity of a white character is not a big deal as almost all characters on western screens are white, it does not remove white faces from our view. Removing one of the few diverse faces from our screens is a huge problem.

Tom's question is pernicious. Studio execs, who are largely male, pale, and stale, believe that you can only make money in the US with largely white casts. Good is not a primary goal.

This is why films like Black Panther and Wonder Woman are so important. Profit from diversity will do more to change minds than any amount of good (unfortunately).


message 14: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 355 comments Iain wrote: "Caitlin wrote: "I think Tom was trying to ask the question "could it be whitewashed and be good enough to make up for that?" and while the answer might be yes for some, I think whitewashing is now ..."

Oh that's cool about the Ultimate Universe. And yes, I agree with the rest of your comment.


message 15: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Iain wrote: "Changing the ethnicity of a white character is not a big deal as almost all characters on western screens are white, it does not remove white faces from our view. Removing one of the few diverse faces from our screens is a huge problem.

Tom's question is pernicious. Studio execs, who are largely male, pale, and stale, believe that you can only make money in the US with largely white casts. Good is not a primary goal. "


Agreed. For me, the answer to Tom’s question is a solid “no”. Nothing can be so well done to overcome whitewashing. You can’t sub in white characters into Boyz N the Hood and have the same impact. Making those characters white fundamentally changes the theme of the story, because there aren’t any equivalent white populations in America who have been systematically oppressed for generations.

By the same token (no pun intended), you can’t plausibly turn some characters black without undercutting the story. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark aren’t as believable if they’re black men, because there aren’t any old school billionaire families of color in America. It also undercuts the message of runaway white privilege underpinning those stories.

Superman, on the other hand, could readily be any race. His whiteness is not germane. Some goes for Spider-man, which is why the black/Hispanic Miles Morales of the Marvel Ultimate Universe was a superb Spider-man. (And for people following the comics, Miles’ uncle was in Spider-man: Homecoming, played by Donald Glover, which means Marvel is already laying the groundwork for a black Spider-man in future MCU films.)

Representation matters, and I think anywhere one can plausibly change a character from “default white male” into anything else, it should be done.

An excellent example is the post-apocalyptic martial arts action show on AMC (and now Netflix) Into the Badlands. It takes place in a future where America has collapsed into a collection of feudal states with a lot of political machinations within and between ruling families. The lead character is Asian-American and the rest of the cast is racially diverse. The women are not merely “men with boobs” but fully-realized complex characters, and they even have a character who is wheelchair bound yet is a complete martial arts badass. Which sounds impossible, but they make it work. Nick Frost became a regular character in season 2 and his overweight warrior-monk transcends stereotypes. 20 years ago this show would’ve been all white guys duking it out with an occasional POC for flavor, and the fat guy would’ve been there solely as comic relief.


message 16: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1594 comments Since my quick burn spawned some of this conversation, I figured I'd join back in.

I did couch my description a bit in the news feed, I didn't hide my opinion, but as I think Tom pointed out, I did not fully engage with the underlying political point either. This is for the most part my nature (even though I still do rant from time to time). I think Tom's anvil of a question was a good one to refine how I actually do think on the issue. But, I'm not always in favor of going that route with how American society feels these day. Every issue seems to be boiled down to for or against, and no grey. And if you are for this and that, you are pigeonholed into being for this other thing as well. That's part of the reason I tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to not present it as an issue where you sound like an ass to be on the other side of. And to answer that question for this particular piece of art, I do think it is more important that it is culturally accurate, then that is good, but I do have high hopes that it is both.

I've mentioned on here a few other times how I'm for cultural diversity and in this particular instance, I really think this Chinese book deserves not only a Chinese cast, but to be built with a Chinese audience in mind, like the book was. And make us westerer's deal with it. It may not reach as big an audience, but f@&$ it those it does reach will be better served, and if it is able to do both, even better.

I'm also pretty sure I stated that although I liked the story, the audio book narration was rough, and hard at times to get through. In hindsight I think that is a good thing. A big part of my enjoyment of that story was how it made me realize and research on what the Chinese cultural revolution was. I had heard of it, but I really didn't understand it, and in today's world political climate I think that is a very important lesson to learn. I'm not sure it would have come across as impactfull if it had been written for a western audience, instead of for what the author knew, a Chinese one.

I'm going make this long post even longer, with a bit of an analogy. Let's switch the topic to food. I'm 40 years old and by now know what types of food I enjoy. I've grown up on American cuisine, and while I'm willing to experiment with different cultures tastes, I also know that if I stray to far (non westernized versions) I'm often not going to be able to fully appreciate it as much as a native eater of that food might. We all want good food, but what is good to an Ethiopian may not be something I can enjoy (or maybe not since I've had some that does still hit my pallet right). But that doesn't mean it isn't good, and that I shouldn't try and understand what tastes and textures make it good that person. I should be able to learn from that as well. To me this cultural art of a novel/ potential series is the same. Let's try and digest it raw and not water it down so it better suits are western pallet.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1916 comments This episode reminded me of why I am in this book group. I absolutely loved An Unkindness of Ghosts, and even though there was nothing off-putting about it for me - I loved the cover and the blurb was fine if not overly expressive of the content - I doubt I would have stumbled across this one on my own. I have already started reading Soulless since it's been on my mental 'to read' list for years and I was going to give Bob a miss, but after listening to this episode I changed my mind and picked up the audiobook, even though I really really super hate the title (and yes I know its a dumb reason to hate on a book - there's no logic to it - it just bugs me!) So, I decided to listen to the first chapter before typing this, and ended up listening to the second one as well. So far, its rather good (damn you Bob). The voice reminds me a little of Dresden. I think I am going to like it. So I guess I am reading both after all. Thanks for that. :P


message 18: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3608 comments Mod
Ruth (tilltab) wrote: "I really really super hate the title (and yes I know its a dumb reason to hate on a book - there's no logic to it - it just bugs me!"

It should make sense by the end of the book.

I thought it was a silly title too, but now I think it is spot on.


message 19: by Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth (last edited Apr 01, 2018 02:21PM) (new)

Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1916 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Ruth (tilltab) wrote: "I really really super hate the title (and yes I know its a dumb reason to hate on a book - there's no logic to it - it just bugs me!"

It should make sense by the end of the book..."


To be clear, I meant my strong hatred is illogical. But, yeah, I wonder how I'll feel about it by the end.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 404 comments Has it been revealed yet what the May read is? Just in case I want to run out and buy it?


message 21: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) They don't usually announce the next month's pick early, so we probably won't know for a few weeks.


message 22: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3608 comments Mod
I think it would be safe to assume it's going to be a Sword pick.

We've had 3 Laser picks and 1 that was a mix (mainly Sword) so far this year.


message 23: by Sean Lookielook (new)

Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 432 comments I think the deal was that if a Laser won the polls, they would swap months and make the next book a Sword.


message 24: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 1157 comments Mod
May read will be V's pick since Laser won the tourney. Then V's pick again in June then back to me. I should probably tell V that...


message 25: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6892 comments Mod
Tom wrote: "May read will be V's pick since Laser won the tourney. Then V's pick again in June then back to me. I should probably tell V that..."

lol.


message 26: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2296 comments Tom wrote: "May read will be V's pick since Laser won the tourney. Then V's pick again in June then back to me. I should probably tell V that..."

Spring it to her on the podcast.


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