No unifying theme this time, so I thought I’d just hit up a few random things.
1. Rachael and I watched the series finale of Parks and Recreation over the weekend. It was quite good, and as longtime fans of the show, we were very satisfied with how everyone went out. We’ve had multiple conversations about just what makes Parks and Rec so special as a show, and the thing we keep coming back to is that it’s a genuine utopian vision where people with differing opinions and values are able to disagree respectfully while trying to work together towards a common good (also, the show is remarkably egalitarian in its treatment of women). I don’t know what show we might latch onto next as must-watch TV, but we’re in agreement that Parks and Recreation was something special. If you’ve not been following the show for some reason, then most of it is on Netflix. Do yourself a favor and start with Season 3 then backtrack to the earlier seasons once you’ve gotten attached to everyone (Season 1 is a pretty bad Office clone, and nearly kept us from sticking with the show; Season 2 is better, but doesn’t really start to shine until towards the end when Ben and Chris are introduced as characters).
2. I’ve gotten into a new podcast this week called Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men. I discovered the podcast on Saturday, and now on Tuesday as I’m writing this post I’ve listened to fourteen forty-five minute episodes. My only regret is that at this rate I’ll be caught up in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll have to wait a week between episodes. As someone who actually did go through the trouble of reading through the entire backlog of X-Men comics beginning with Giant-Size X-Men #1 (the Silver Age X-Men comics just never appealed to me; I’ve never been a big fan of the narrative style of Silver Age stories), I find the podcast delightful because the hosts will pick a topic to discuss, and I can’t stop grinning because I keep thinking to myself, “Oh, I remember reading that. It was pretty awesome.” The podcast has scratched an itch I barely ever get to entertain, because the fact that I’ve been playing catch up on so much history means that by the time I read something, it’s old news within the community so there’s no one to actually discuss it with. Rachel and Miles’s giddy joy at talking about that one issue where Kitty Pryde reenacts Alien with a purple demon on Christmas Eve gives me warm fuzzies.
3. I read this article on the idea of fictional canon the other day, and the thing that most struck me about it was the similarity the central point had with fundamentalist ideology (yeah, I’m harping on fundamentalism a lot lately, but have you seen how many problems fundamentalists create?). Here’s the part that really drove home this idea for me:
The reason this is such a compelling thing, despite the surface madness of it, is that love sends us crazy. When we love a world, we want to exist and revel in it. We want it to be true. And that truth is disrupted by inconsistency and contradiction. We need that integrity – our belief requires it. Canon is about neatness, and appreciation, and the urge to know and absorb everything about something you love. It’s about ownership and protectiveness. And it can also be unexpectedly damaging.
That’s just as much about faith as it is about fandom, and it highlights our tendency to diminish things into certain terms. For evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, the need for the narrative of the Bible to be internally consistent is a huge priority, and this can have very unfortunate repercussions on how those same Christians interact with the rest of the world that acknowledges inconsistencies in the text not only in itself but also with other observable facts about our world. It’s a sobering connection, and I think it’s a good reminder not to let ourselves get so bent out of shape over canon at the expense of building relationships with one another and sharing what we love about the things that we love.
4. Because this is always something that I feel like I have to mention when it happens, I’m working on a new bit of fiction. It’s still extremely short, and the science is all kinds of dubious, but I think the premise has some potential. Here’s hoping I get a draft together in the next couple weeks.