Friday, August 24, 2012

Song of the Week: mc chris - omc

I never could manage a true affection for nerdcore rap.  I've got nothing against it and a lot of it can be quite good, but in general it's just never something that grabbed me and said "Listen to me, you idiot!"...though admittedly being called an idiot probably wouldn't be the best way of getting someone to try something new anyway. 

Still, regardless of my feelings on nerdcore, mc chris (a legend in nerdcore and a veteran in hip-hop, period) is a cat capable of putting together a musically solid record when he wants to, like here with omc.  I don't think this is one of his favorite songs amongst his target audience, but this was a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it.  That addicting beat matching with the guitar, and how confident he sounds on the track made me pretty much an instant fan.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Fans: Calm. The Fuck. Down.

I'm going to try and be as brief as possible with this, but I'm making no promises.   It's been a long time since I had a genuine, angry rant so I apologize in advance for the extra profanity and if I seem a bit rusty, but it needs to be said.

Dear Fans,

Calm.  The Fuck. Down.

I know you're thinking "fans of what", and the real answer is fans of every fucking thing, ever.  Because the internet is quite simply running out of room for the incredulous levels of stupidity that you idiots drag onto it day in and day out.

What kick-started this was an article written a couple days ago that was meant to be a sort of "good bye" piece about the recent passing of artist Joe Kubert.  Joe Kubert was a pretty famous fellow in the comic world: a talented artist who'd been around for decades (since the late 30's/early 40's), he was responsible for classic takes on some famous characters (Sgt. Rock and Hawkman), founded The Kubert School of art, and I'm told was generally an all-around nice guy.   He passed away on Sunday, and the passing of someone so talented and so prolific deserved every bit of attention it got--because it's sad when someone like that leaves this world.  What he DIDN'T deserve, however, was to be compared to Joe fucking Paterno for his role on Before Watchmen, a motherfucking comic book.

Now to be clear, I don't support Before Watchmen or what it represents: a sad call back to the days when creator's didn't have anywhere near the rights, nevermind the options, they do now.  But then, I don't like Watchmen either.  And that's well within my rights because it's a fucking comic book.  Ink on a damn page.  That's all it ever was, and that's all Before Watchmen will ever be.  You may not agree with its creation, but to drag a dead man's name through the mud for working on the project with his son?   I get that the internet era has caused people to use hyperbole to make their points, but there's a line, and you jettisoned across it at the speed of sound when you did this.

Don't feel bad though, you're not alone.  You stand alongside the jerk-offs who created a game where you got to beat up a real woman's face just because she had the nerve to create a video series about the portrayal of women in video games.  Given that in a given triple-A title these days it's rare to see a female character without a pair of double D's, I'd say it's a valid fucking endeavor.  But you know, that's just me.

You've also got a friend in this guy:

A sixteen year old idiot who's eventually going to get his jaw cracked because he thinks when someone doesn't like the same artist or kind of music you like, it's acceptable to attack them physically.

But, both this guy and the people responsible for that game seem like they'd be a RIOT at parties, so there's that.  (I'm always trying to find the bright side.)

Still and all, I feel like I have to come back to my initial statement, where I tell all of you to Calm. The Fuck. Down.

 I'd like to say that on some level I understand, but I don't.  I get the passion, but not the unjustified levels of outrage or self-righteousness.  Art can educate us, and it can uplift us.  It can inspire us and grant us courage that we didn't think we had.  But most importantly, art is about expression, and the hope that we can share just a little bit of our own, personal human experience with other people and that out of all the people that might see it, maybe one of them understands both the work *and* the person behind it, just a little.

I think about the movie Stranger than Fiction, where this one guy's life was inexplicably being told by another human being, a writer whose written narration he could hear in his own head.  He saw a psychiatrist about it, and after convincing the writer that he wasn't imagining things, the psyciatrist asked him to write the story down as he was hearing it in his head.  Eventually, the psychiatrist read the story and claimed that it was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever read, and that his patient shouldn't try to convince the author to let him live because that would ruin the ending. 

But that's backwards. I have more respect for comic books, for music--for any medium capable of telling a story--than you could ever imagine.  And don't get me wrong, if it's an argument about sensibilities and the necessity of censorship I'll fight it all the way.  But art exists for people, the people don't exist for the art, and the second you put it above another human being's well-being or their self-respect, or their reputation, you've made an error.

So from a sane fan, to all the insane fans, I come back to this very simple message: Calm. The Fuck. Down.

Yours truly,

Sage Ashford

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just When I Thought I Was Out...

You know the rest.  Honestly, I've been finding myself slowly making my way out of video games.  J-RPGs don't exactly thrill me these days, but I don't much care for the West's dystopian-fueled fantasies or obsession with first-person shooters either.   I visit video game blogs more out of habit than anything else, and even my gamer friends mock me about always being online on my PS3 but never playing a game.

For the entire year I've bought exactly three video games: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions which came out like two years ago and I just finally got around to buying it (it's amazing though), Soul Calibur V which was just disappointing in terms of being anything other than an arcade port brought to consoles without ANY extra features, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and we ALL know how that turned out.  I finished Shattered Dimensions the month I bought it (to get me back in a gaming mood for Amalur), there was nothing in Soul Calibur to finish, and be honest, I was so hyped about an actual fantasy universe I could be invested in that the idea that this is the first and only game I'll get from that universe makes it sting too much to go back and finish that game.

Combine all of that with the fact that E3 was kind of dull as fuck and I was seriously pondering whether my promise to buy a PS4 would be worth it for me financially.   And then along came all of THESE in the same fucking day.

I have the most hope for Injustice, the DC Comics fighting game coming from Nether Realms Studios since they already have a somewhat solid track record thanks to MK9.   After that is Star Wars 1313, which has just created a more visually appealing world than Star Trek's so far.   Still, while I'm not exactly back to being a REAL gamer yet, these three games (combined with this August's Transformers: Fall of Cybertron) is steering me back in that direction. 

So, loyal readers (all three of you), which of these games has you the most excited?