The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Zip. Zilch. Nada. (The Late Show)

This would ordinarily be the date I start re-posting the chapter(s) from SILVER BROWN I tweeted two months previously on Facebook, at a rate of one page a day. But I’ve decided not to do that this time around. For a couple of reasons. The first reason is I think a major societal backlash against Facebook is just around the corner. Social media in general, but especially Facebook. My Spidey-sense is tingling, and it’s telling me conditions are ripe for the Old Zuckerverse to be reduced to something akin to the hair metal of mass communication within a few years.

For all the young folks in the audience who thought that last sentence was written in Martian, a brief history lesson. In ancient times, when a completely different racist old coot with a background in show business was leader of the free world (a coot who was at least somewhat respectable on account of being a World War II veteran, unlike the soon-to-be-ex-guy), hair metal was all the rage. It was a time when being in a band gave a dude a legitimate excuse to wear spandex and lipstick. Sweet memories. Alas, that era came to an end when the aforementioned old coot (gracefully) left office, and a new decade dawned. In the rays of that new sun, hair metal evaporated in a gust of cultural irrelevance. It was seen as a hackneyed relic of the decade that was, so it was tossed aside and forgotten like a used condom. Today, millions of children will likely live their entire lives having never learned there was ever a band called Quiet Riot… 

There are evidently limits to how much “noize” the public is willing to feel.

We now see a new sun about to rise, reminiscent of the one that rose all those many years ago. When I think of cultural phenomena of the last decade that could end up going the way of hair metal in the new decade, Facebook almost always tops the list. I foresee it will become another tobacco industry. There used to be a time (long before I was born) when smoking cigarettes was considered sexy. They were actually advertised as being good for your health. Now, just about every national government slaps some kind of warning label on cigarette packages, actively discouraging their citizenry from taking up the habit.

Another reason why I’ve decided to forgo posting another chapter on Facebook is because I think Twitter is overall a better medium for this sort of thing. SILVER BROWN is still very much so a work in progress. Posting excerpts of my writings on social media is one of the means I employ to drink the vibes of my audience. Not everything I write is going to be brilliant. But if I tweet something that sucks ass today, I can at least rest assured the world will forget about it tomorrow, if not later on today (unless I run for political office, and like hell I’d ever do that). Facebook’s modus operandi is very different. In some ways, the complete opposite. They love to regurgitate posts from the distant past, your actual desire to revisit them be damned. If the Zuckerverse is privy to something I posted that sucks ass, it will suck ass for many years to come.

Henceforth, my Facebook page will be little more than a token presence, until the inevitable arrival of the Nevermind that kills off the whole platform. It’ll have my blog posts on it, but not much else. More chapters are due to be unveiled in the new year, but those chapters shall only be tweeted.

I did toy with the idea of establishing more of a presence on Instagram, but decided against it. The Gram has the social dynamic of a neverending virtual high school prom, methinks. Literature of any sort is seemingly not something that would interest that particular crowd. They like shiny things. The handful of authors’ Instagram feeds I have seen feature the same old barrage of selfies, vacation pictures and foodporn that everybody and their grandma posts. What in the Sam Hill is the point of that? Do you really want to see a hundred pictures of my face?


The Green Grass of SILVER BROWN

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

I was eight years old when the feature film The Dark Crystal was released in theatres way back in 1982 (and from there you can calculate how old I am, if you must). Easily one of the movies that defined my childhood. Certain aspects of the premise were confusing as all shit, and it was both criticized and praised for being noticeably darker than the rest of Jim Henson’s body of work up until that point. But the movie’s visuals were striking for the time and continue to be so, especially considering it came out well before Tinseltown began its love affair with CGI.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Dark Crystal, the story is set on another planet. One whose name is curiously never mentioned in the screenplay or credits of the film itself; we only know what the planet is called from the derivative works that were released after the movie. Thra orbits a triple star system, and is home to a host of delightfully strange creatures. Among them are jet-black murderous crabs the size of rhinoceroses. A Lhasa Apso-like mammal that curls itself into a ball and rolls along like tumbleweed as its primary means of locomotion. An old woman with bighorn sheep-like protrusions growing out of her head who has the ability to pull her own eye out of its socket and use it like a periscope. A beast that looks like a cross between a colossal moth (sans wings and compound eyes) and one of the elephants depicted in Salvador Dalí’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony which is astonishingly easy to tame and can be ridden on like a horse. This doesn’t even touch upon the plant life, which is interesting in itself. It’s a world that has stuck with me over the years since I first visited it as a wee lad. But I couldn’t stay on that planet for long. No sequel was ever made. The movie only pulled in modest returns at the box office during its initial theatrical run.

Thirty-seven years later (gadzooks, has it been that long?!), just when I had all but forgotten about the planet Thra, it aligns with Earth once again. This time on a medium whose very existence was unimaginable to the common folk of 1982 – Netflix.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is not a sequel to the original movie, but a prequel. In the feature film, the heroic Gelfling race were portrayed as a hair’s breadth away from extinction, having been all but wiped out in a genocidal campaign embarked upon by Thra’s villainous ruling class, the Skeksis. Age of Resistance takes place at a time well before that, when Gelfling society was thriving. Across the ten episodes, we get a slew of insights into Gelfling politics and social customs that were largely absent from the movie. A living goddess by the name of Sigourney Weaver narrates their history to us, which by itself adds several layers of kickass to the whole production.


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Filmmaking technology has obviously advanced considerably since the day Mr. Henson drew his last breath – a factoid that has not gone unacknowledged in the series. The Skeksis dining scene in the original film struck a prepubescent version of yours truly as amusingly disgusting. But Age of Resistance takes the disgusting to a whole new level, to such an extent that it makes the Skeksis of the movie look like proper gentlemen with impeccable table manners. The striking and fantastic of the movie is also taken to new levels as well as the disgusting. Hypothetical life forms that would be next to impossible to capture on celluloid with even the most sophisticated Hensonian puppetry are very possible with 3-D modelling software. We see quite a few digitally rendered creations in the series. Impressive ones, too. Ones that would come pretty damn close to making James Cameron blush.

Even more impressive if you watch the entire series after a couple of bong rips. Which I did. Twice.

Riding that enchanted canoe through the innards of outer space, I elected to live-tweet my first impressions of Age of Resistance, as a nostalgic throwback to that quainter period of human history when people regularly used Twitter for something other than douchey political ranting.