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I played all of God of War! Again!

Kratos was a Spartan captain, leading his army to victory after victory. He is brutal and brilliant, but his army is overmatched when they encounter a mass of barbarians. In a desperate plea to save his life and his reputation, Kratos offers his life to Ares, the God of War. Ares accepts the deal, defeating Kratos' enemies, and empowering the Spartan to further and further conquests. Kratos' bloodlust grows, and Ares manipulates him to be his perfect warrior, Ares' avatar on Earth. This culminates in Kratos killing his wife and daughter in a blind rage. That act causes Kratos to become the Ghost of Sparta, a warrior coated in the white ashes of his wife and daughter, a visible reminder to himself and all who encounter him of what this man has done. He breaks with Ares, instead serving other Olympian gods, especially Athena, as a sort of roving hero for hire. This service lasts 10 years before the first game begins. This is all backstory, told mainly in the first game, wit…
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Doctor Who & The Punch

CW: Homophobic slurs, discussions of violence

The following post is intended to be an examination of the moral dimensions of certain actions in Doctor Who, pursued in a rationalist style borrowing from Western theories of ethics. As such, it will likely strike many readers as a chilly analysis, but I hope not an insensitive one.

N.B. After several days, and a loss of several hours work, I have given up on doing linking footnotes in the interest in publishing this before the heat death of the universe. Everything is marked, though, so Control + F is your friend. I also had help editing and proofreading this post, but due to the great Save Fail of 2017, many of those edits have been lost. Management regrets the inconvenience.
A Thought Experiment Let's say I'm walking down the street, and a guy calls me a faggot as he walks past me. As a gay dude, this has definitely happened to me. I know what to do, which is to keep walking. But what if I were to turn around, tap him on the sh…

Some Thoughts on Into the Woods

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're aware of my...intense feelings for the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Into the Woods (original production here). While it's an exaggeration to say, as I often do, that it's my favorite anything ever, it's not that much of an exaggeration. You can imagine my delight, then, when it was announced that The Fiasco Theater production of IttW would take up residence at the Kennedy Center for a month. I was familiar with Fiasco's past work and I was curious to see what they would do with this masterpiece. I am not so precious about my love for the original staging and recording as to be unable to love any alternative version; between the film version, cast recordings of other major productions, and other stage versions, I felt confident going into the Fiasco production that, whatever changes they made--for there are always changes--I would be able to accept, and maybe even enjoy then. I gobbled up…

Holiday Giving 2016

Happy Impending Holidays!

I know the blog's been silent for a while, and we'll return to something like regular service soon, but this isn't that.

Let's talk about holiday giving! Ah, yes, holiday giving, where we all try to decide which of the hundreds of worthwhile causes and organizations deserve a few of our dollars. This year, in particular, has seen several high profile causes like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU receive an influx of donations as an almost primal outpouring of grief due to the election results. And I am not saying don't donate to them--please do! I did--in fact, I am now, literally, the thing conservatives hate most: a card-carrying member of the ACLU. So, if that's where you want to throw your holiday dollars, have at it.

However, there are all sorts of organizations that stand to lose funding or face a more difficult task in their work because of the incoming Trump administration: decreased foreign aid and a lesser profile for the US on…

Doctor Who Spring (In)sanity!

Special Post from Doctor Who: The Writers' Room podcast:

As you may have heard in our most recent episode (Episode 27), we (Kyle Anderson of Nerdist.com and your humble blogger) will be recording and releasing a special debate-based bracket special with Doctor Who podcasting luminaries Steven Schapansky (of Radio Free Skaro and The Memory Cheats), Erika Ensign (of Verity!), and Josh Zimon (of The Memory Cheats and The Mostly Harmless Cutaway). 
Below is the bracket we'll be working from, based on the top 64 episodes/stories from the Doctor Who Magazine poll this last summer. We'll explain how each seed was chosen in more detail in the special, but it boils down to the top 4 stories are #1 seeds, stories 5-8 are #2 seeds, and on and on like that through the #16 seeds.
Please feel free to fill out a bracket of your own and email it to us (erikandkyle@gmail.com) by midnight (Eastern) on March 31st. If anyone gets the bracket 100% matching with the show, we'll give you som…

New Year, New Podcasts!

A rare non-Austen post!
Now that 2015 is upon us, you may casting around for some new podcasts to keep you company at the gym, as you prepare healthier meals, or whatever it is you're resolving to do that might call for interesting audio accompaniment. Broadly speaking, podcasts fall into two categories: those done by people who are professional media types and are often affiliated with existing media enterprises, and those done by people who are not those things and do it out of their living rooms or similar. Because I feel a special kinship with the latter category, this lists consists entirely of people who podcast for the love of it.
The Flophouse My number one podcast find of 2014, The Flophouse is a podcast in which, as framed every two weeks by host Dan McCoy (writer for The Daily Show), some friends watch a (presumably) bad movie and then talk about it. This is not necessarily a unique format, but McCoy, along with co-hosts Eliott Kalan (also of The Daily Show) and Stuart W…

Austen 2014: Mansfield Park, Volume 2

In the novels we've already read this year, Austen frequently explores the very close relationships between sisters, perhaps unsurprisingly given her own very close connection with her sister Cassandra. Austen, however, also had a number of brothers, but, while she has featured brother/sister pairs previously, notably in Northanger Abbey, her closest look at the bonds that can form between them occurs in Mansfield Park. There are two prime examples here, both of which come to the fore in this section: William and Fanny Price and Henry and Mary Crawford. Notably, Austen estranges the Bertram brothers and sisters from each other, so that, while they interact with each other as a group--especially during Sir Thomas' long absence in Antigua--only Maria and Julia have a close one-on-one relationship, though that is strained much at times. Still, Tom seems to feel no special consideration for his two sisters, nor they him, and Edmund appears to be viewed by all as the dull, respecta…