An extremely mixed bag, today:
Of the recent attempts at suppressing discussions of racism that I'm aware of, I think literally and repeatedly ripping down an entire protest display takes the cake. The poison-filled cake of racism, privilege, and oppression, that is. (This was a student protest at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities Dance Program, ripped down by other students, and the university administration's response was to call the destruction "the changes made by another group of individuals." And . . . nothing else. That would be the icing on this particular cake.)
(Edit: okay, my metaphor got away from me. The protest is actually about pervasive institutional problems, in which context the administration's non-response is more than just icing. But the ripping down (because it will help the discussion! Um, wtf, over?) just infuriates me.)
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This is a complicated question, but I think part of the answer is Tolkien's use of deep time. Things that happened thousands of years ago have direct consequences that the characters need to deal with, and there are people around who were actually alive back then, mixing with the mortals. Furthermore, we (and the hobbits) are told much less than everything about the ancient people and events - the critical bits, of course, and there are allusions to many other things, but one ends up feeling there are many other stories that could be told, which I think helps make the ones that are told feel more real. (I haven't read the Silmarillion or any of the other posthumous volumes, I should note.)
(Underlined emphasis mine.)
For me, I suspect this may be a matter of the golden age being twelve: it's certainly de rigueur these days for epic fantasies to build or at least suggest elaborate historical and mythological backstories for their worlds, and I mostly feel like they're, well, there because they're de rigueur, and I'm not sure the underlined detail of the execution is enough to make the difference. But I'm also not very interested in epic fantasies now, so my reactions might have been different, back in the day.
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There's a reboot of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime and you can watch it free and legally, with official subtitles, at Funimation. (I recommend a downloader like Orbit, because the streaming is very rocky.) I've been watching but don't really have an opinion yet; it's based closely on the manga which I've been reading, so it's familiar enough that I don't know how it'd look to a new person or in comparison to the first anime. Well, okay, the first episode was filler and kinda dumb, but the manga rocks so I have hopes.
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Songs that make me happy lately: "Toe Jam," by the BPA
featuring Dizzee Rascal & David Byrne (ETA: YouTube video of version we actually like; NSFW (but rather clever) for happy dancing naked people with black bars over women's breasts & people's pubic areas); and "Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti and Spearhead (choose song title in sidebar).
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I've also watched the pilot of Leverage and enjoyed it. I am morally certain that it was pitched as "Ocean's Eleven meets Robin Hood," and indeed the wish-fulfillment is blatant, but my love for capers is fierce, and I suspect that these lawless elites aren't going to be violent, which makes it easier for me to take. Note that the aired order is not the intended order; see this blog post from the creator for the proper order ('ware spoilers after that in the post).
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Two Dreamwidth invite codes; comment if you want one; if necessary, will pick at random and ask for e-mail.
(Decided against crossposting (and asking people to comment only there) until a few more wrinkles are ironed out. Am filtering out people here who are fully cross-posting, and have adjusted LJ "friends" list to try and match DW access/subscribe lists. Now going to look for missing subject pronouns. Goodnight, everybody.)