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rant

Apologies for the rant in advance, but I felt like I needed to share it.

I was really excited when I heard about Gaiman’s book coming to the small screen. It’s definitely not a movie material (although it could be adopted in a LOTR-like three part epic), but the TV looks like a better medium. So I thought.

Upon seeing the first part I realized I forgot most of the book, so I’ve read it before the next episode came up.

The second episode… well, I watched it with my fiancee who did not read the book, and knew nothing of the plot. A couple of observations.

First, the adaptation is needlessly obscene (do we really need the dick-picks and the rant about spitting semen on the unfaithful husband’s grave?) and violent. I know, Gaiman’s work is full of sex and violence, but they are not just there to be there. Here a lot of it seems to be pushed upon the viewer just for the shock value.

Second, the plot is absolutely missing. If you don’t know the book, you have no idea what is going on, even after the end of the second episode. And this is deal breaking. Why would you watch something that’s obscene, violent, and nothing much happens in it, if you don’t know what the main plot is? If you’re a Gaiman fan, you know the story; if you’re not a hard-core Gaiman follower, why would you waste your time on the third episode? I know for sure my fiancee is not going to- and she so furious about how little these first two episodes actually gave her, she lost all interest in the book itself. Not sure how general this sentiment is, but you just lost a potential reader there.

 

Third: nothing happens. There are some characters coming and going, some dialog going on, but unless you’re familiar with the book you don’t know who the characters are (they are, generally, old, forgotten gods, and it’s kind of cool reading up on them, by the way), and why these characters matter. You don’t understand who the guy with the hammer is, and why he likes his hammer so much; you also don’t get why it’s important that he joins with Mr Wednesday and Shadow, so it makes absolutely no sense for Shadow to risk his life for his support. I understand they wanted to stick to the book as much as possible, but the book made a much better job at implying what’s going on -at least-, and the TV series format kind of makes it necessary to cut up the plot, and create tight episodes with proper beginnings and endings. A seven episode cliffhanger is just not going to cut it.

 

Fourth: for the trickster spider god, Anansi, we get a pimp-Malcom X mixture who delivers an angry ham-fisted tirade about how screwed black people are, and then proceeds to get the slaves in the cargo hold of a slaver ship murder everyone, and commit suicide by burning down their ship out in the open sea. This is definitely not insolent, cheeky god who tricked the Tiger to give him his big, hairy Tiger-balls and then shifted the blame to the Monkeys.

 

Anyhow, I’m really disappointed. The camera work is fine, the cast is nice, but the whole thing just falls flat on the major issue: unless you know the book you will have no idea what is going on (something to do with gods, going by the title), and will not be interested to find out.

 

A shame, really.

 

I keep running into people who claim that the whole science of climatology is tainted by government funding: everyone has to say what the government’s agenda is, otherwise they lose their sweet grants. (Never you mind that the science did not change suddenly when W was in power.)

Apparently this argument makes sense for the (mostly) conservative mindset of people who have no clue how the scientific method (and how science in practice) works, and who like to forget the actual timeline of things. (This boggles my mind even more.)

It’s a staggeringly stupid statement. It’s usually followed by the argument that governments do it, because they want to limit your freedom even more. (I guess these fighters for individual freedoms were not much fazed by the whole Patriot Act, NSA, and all that jazz. I would even hazard that these are the very same people who call Snowden a traitor, but I’m getting distracted here.)

Anyhow, here’s the deal. Even if there was a gigantic, transnational conspiracy at work here to fake climate change, in order to allow the US government to add a “carbon tax” to your increasingly heavy tax burden (sorry, but I can hardly keep a straight face writing this), you only need one person who decides that the “sweet government money” is not enough for him, and he’d blow the whistle.

If you look at how much luxury scientists can afford (almost none), and how little they have to work (considerably more than most of the people with white collar jobs), and how much recognition they get (can you name the last recipient of any of the Nobel prices? Can you tell me who Bieber is?) you’d seriously have to question their sanity if they were NOT trying to expose the truth for oil industry money, and for fame en masse.

So that’s about the conspiracy part. As for the first premise –aka the government funding taints the science- let’s just take a look at a different case to see how idiotic it is.

Would you agree that the government funded research of the last 50 years demonstrating the ill effects of tobacco smoke to health were just an insidious method for the Government to impose itself upon you (and limit your freedoms), and to get more money by taxing the tobacco industry more? After all, the industry sponsored research has shown that tobacco is safe in the ‘60s and ‘70s; and most results proving otherwise are the results of research done at academic institutions and hospitals –all of which depend on Government funding.

So if you agree with the first premise (climate change is just a way for the Government to make you pay more, and be less free), you have to give credit to this theory, too. (And a million others.) In this case I know a Nigerian prince who would like to send you money urgently; he’ll just need your bank details.