Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m out of town until January and off-line for the immediate future, but wish you and yours an awesome holiday. DC is picking up steam so there is so much to enjoy if you’re traveling or have some free time. Just some RRSSS until we meet again!
- Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Trailer #2 Reaction Mashup Epic | epictrailersonly
- Batwing prototype from Batman vs Superman by SOAP STUDIO | Budget Stark
- Supergirl | CBS
- Frank Miller Wants To Write A Superman Comic With Batman As The Bad Guy | BleedingCool
Appreciating Man of Steel through Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Film, etc.
- Why we should go to Mars | Robert Zubrin
- Let’s Not Use Mars As A Backup Planet | TED
- Overview | Planetary Collective
- HISTORY: Wabi-sabi | School of Life
- The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars – Patrick Lin | TED-Ed
- Is It Evil? Ep. 5: Decisive Machine | Codebreaker
- Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology | Kurzgesagt
- What if You Were Shoryukened? | Vsauce3
- Could You Rip Out A Spine? | Vsauce3
- What If The Earth Were Twice As Big? | Life Noggin
- What Pisses Scientists Off the Most When They Go to the Movies? | Completely Optional Knowledge
- Would You F**k An Alien? • Debatable | Buzzfeed
- Controversy under Neuroscience and Law w/ David Eagleman | Big Think
- The Way It Is? (Taste) | Where There’s Smoke
- Snyder Star Wars Tweets
- The Bible of Zack Snyder | Charles Gerian
- Human Intelligence: A Holiday Tale | Studio 360
- A Justice Christmas | The Black Cat
- Linus Christmas Monologue | Peanuts Christmas
Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Trailer #2 Reaction Mashup Epic | epictrailersonly
I generally don’t watch trailer reactions or mashups, but if you watch a few reactions to BvS Trailer 2, you’ll see how effective it was. People laughed when they were supposed to, their eyes widened in surprise, they gasped at the reveals, and celebrated at the end. It’s been well received by a broader audience and their delight is infectious. Regarding spoilers, the marketing and merchandising are going to kick into higher gear. Not to mention press screenings and advanced audience screenings. Disney has been aggressive about tightening the window on the release of The Force Awakens, but I’ve probably inadvertently learned more about the movie’s plot in the last three weeks than in the year of anticipation prior.
All of which is to say that it’s going to be tough to keep Batman v. Superman under wraps to nearly the same degree and I don’t think they ever intended to. Generally, unless you scored one of the advanced tickets, you’ll be watching the film about two weeks after critics and one week after those fortunate fans. So the risk of spoilers was always going to be present and better to diffuse the issue somewhat now than make people infuriated a week before the premiere. Knowing the broad strokes of the film or its primary villains is not really anything you hadn’t deduced from the title, the synopsis, or anything else.
Comic fans relentlessly cry for comic-book accurate adaptations of their favorite works, yet aren’t concerned about how adherence to that would spoil the entire plot of the film? The issue is a little overwrought. We routinely enjoy faithfully adapted works with complete jeopardy of spoilage from the source material: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Jurassic Park, etc. Often, those most familiar with the work are the most excited to see it play out on the silver screen. While having that in the trailer may deprive you of it in the film, I’m skeptical of that. First, I’m sure there will be plenty of other moments to wow the audience; and, second, maybe you’ve experienced this too, but often the best joke in the trailer still gets the biggest laugh in the theater despite the audience already knowing the punchline. We want to be transported away and a good film will do that regardless of the marketing campaign.
Bottom line, despite some initial criticism, by and large the trailer has been received positively and done its job.
Batwing prototype from Batman vs Superman by SOAP STUDIO | Budget Stark
Speaking of merchandise, Budget Stark gives us a look into the Bat Jet display and game.
Supergirl | CBS
If you haven’t been watching Supergirl on CBS, now is your chance to catch up on Season 1 up to the mid-season break. My favorite companion podcast for the show is Supergirl Radio; they do a wonderful job of breaking down each episode and have a really excellent Season Zero (leading up to the show’s premiere) exploring Kara Zor-El’s many incarnations and history.
A Supergirl Super Santa Story from DC Infinite Holiday Special (2007).
Frank Miller Wants To Write A Superman Comic With Batman As The Bad Guy | BleedingCool
It’s been a while since I’ve really enjoyed something by Miller, but I won’t deny his impact on the genre and the genius of some of his works. I consider Superman a robust entity that grows with every iteration. Miller taking his shot, for all we know, could produce a seminal work referenced for decades to come. I’m open to seeing his take. In an recent interview with Miller said:
I’ve been particularly brutal to Superman, but that’s not because I don’t like the character; it’s because the point-of-view has always been Batman’s. If I did a story where Superman was the lead character, Batman would be the antagonist. I adore Superman, it’s just that Batman does not, so when I’m writing Batman, I do not. It’s very much a writer’s job to take on a character’s point of view.
I’m inclined to believe the man. Probably my single favorite Frank Miller work is The Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot, drawn by the obsessively intricate Geof Darrow, which had strains of that noble singular hero, laced with irony and satire. The animated series was more sincere but struck a tone readily adaptable to a rendition of Superman.
Why we should go to Mars | Robert Zubrin
An interesting argument for aspiring to go to Mars because: it will drive science (scientifically addressing questions about origins and nature of life), challenge humanity (intellectual capital from such an ambitious program), and the future (new frontiers rewrite history more than politics). Dr. Zubrin is persuasive and passionate but imagine if he survived the events of Man of Steel. In one fell swoop, imagine how Kryptonians on Earth might undermine those beliefs and passion, acting as definitive answers rather than systematic science, handing humanity advances well beyond what our ethics or society was ready to receive, and supplanting the need for human achievement. That’s been one traditional justification for Lex Luthor’s characterization but I think it sells the spirit of the scientist short.
Frankenstein was about scientists going too far with playing with the fire of the gods… in fact, Mary Shelley’s novel had the lesser-known title The Modern Prometheus. In BvS, it seems that Luthor hasn’t shunned these Promethean gifts, but has ambitions to wield them first. To me, a scientist would absolutely light-up at the bounty not necessarily resent it immediately. This might mean a fresh, but thematically truthful and compelling, imagining of Luthor.
Let’s Not Use Mars As A Backup Planet | TED
Dr. Zubrin advocates strongly for Mars as an ambitious goal, but Lucianne Walkowicz (who works on NASA’s Kepler mission) wants such ambition to be coupled by maturity and stewardship. She points out that until we can render Earth’s harshest environments habitable, we shouldn’t imagine Mars as a place to move to when we’ve messed up Earth. She cautions that planetary exploration and preservation of the Earth are two sides of the same goal. “The more you look for planets like Earth, the more you appreciate our own planet.”
Applied to Man of Steel, it raises an societal reason why Krypton’s age of exploration might have failed and why the fruits of that effort would not necessarily translate into being able to save their home. Indeed, Walkowicz uses this interpretation as an answer to the Fermi Paradox and why exploration and expansion must be tempered by the ability to be good stewards of what you’ve already been blessed with. General audiences may be quick to ridicule the Kryptonians for being unable to survive after becoming a space-faring species, yet here we have a NASA scientist whose very expertise is searching for habitable planets explaining how aliens could befall this Great Filter if they don’t respect and care for their home planet. The situation this expert in the field models Krypton’s downfall in Man of Steel as predicted.
Overview | Planetary Collective
Speaking of stewardship, some are quick to condemn the destruction of Krypton without seeing the beam in their own eye. Foreseeable yet not avoided disaster is hardly implausible or novel to Krypton. We routinely experience financial crises, political fallout, wars, diseases, extinction, and other preventable human suffering even with forecasting. The fall of civilizations and crumbling of empires is built into our history, our stories, and our religions. Ragnarok, Armageddon, Doomsday.
Overview is a short film that can help you appreciate how transformative seeing Earth from space can be for Clark. Once gifted flight and that planetary perspective, Clark would have a whole new appreciation for his responsibilities, the value of life, and the need to protect it. The filmmakers were brilliant and deliberate in delaying Clark’s gift-of-flight because with that power comes perspective, enlightenment, and hope… but also responsibilities too big to address or contain in Man of Steel. If Clark had flight in 2001, Americans might ask where was he on 9/11? The film did not need such a thematic derailment and those kinds of issues were elegantly written around. Further, by establishing a Superman with limits and who doesn’t and can’t literally save everyone, it creates space for the rest of the DCCU and preemptively addresses his absence from every trauma we suffer on the world stage.
The creators of Overview now have a full-length feature film available on Vimeo On-Demand now: Planetary… and the Oscar Award winning director of The Cove has an incredible documentary Racing Extinction available now on iTunes and Amazon. These films remind us that Man of Steel‘s ecological message isn’t just a fable for a galaxy far far away, but an extinction event happening right under our noses just as it did for their calcified and unresponsive world. I admire that Man of Steel took something from the mythos that often felt like a formality (“Krypton’s exists only to explode”) and layer it with something salient and plausible.
HISTORY: Wabi-sabi | School of Life
In MOSAIC 32, I raised the art and theme of Kintsugi, which stems from the larger philosophy of Wabi-sabi described in this video. Although MOSAIC 34 advised a level of optimism (“rose-tinted glasses”), one must avoid outright self-deception (“you still see the on-coming train”) and that can mean healing and embracing, rather than hiding your brokenness. The holidays can be tough for some, but know that you’re not alone, people want to help, and want to see you whole and healthy.
If you’re a fan of Superman, you know the character stands for the potential everyone has even after calamity, to experience and share kindness, generosity, and altruism. It’s fitting that we were recently informed that Snyder commissioned Superman’s BvS suit to be laced with the Joseph Campbell quote, “Where we thought to stand alone, we will be with all the world.” You are not alone. If you need it, ask for help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars – Patrick Lin | TED-Ed
This video beautifully illustrates two applicable things: 1) Why we forgive moral dilemma decisions made in the heat of the moment; 2) Why moral dilemmas aren’t readily resolved programmatically.
This is applicable to the many moral dilemmas presented to Clark in Man of Steel and why Jonathan and Martha were wise to raise him to handle, “Maybe.” He had to have strong principles but learn how to weigh and understand them and rather than just blindly follow them as absolutes. That process itself allows him to act even when there is no easy or right answer. Interestingly, MOS potentially sets Superman up to try and be programmatic about lethal-force… to bind himself to a code. That’s the presumption of many, I don’t know if he will have something so simplistic or if the gravity of it refines his principles… but if it is a code, we’ll see how that approach can be problematic, versus relying on judgment and discretion.
On that note:
Is It Evil? Ep. 5: Decisive Machine | Codebreaker
Additional troubles with trying to reduce decision-making to discrete programs and the requirements of reducing ethics into machine language. Interestingly, that paper includes a command decision checklist which can be used to evaluate Clark’s moral decisions in Man of Steel which is favorable and really mechanical when you really parse what’s necessary to make any given decision. Maybe a future blog post.
Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology | Kurzgesagt
Continuing on the theme of what discrete programming can do, a video explaining quantum computing and some of its potential. This has some relevance that I’ve forgotten… maybe about technological singularity?
What if You Were Shoryukened? | Vsauce3
You can apply these videos two ways: 1) What Superman could do to Batman; and 2) How difficult beating Zod was.
Could You Rip Out A Spine? | Vsauce3
What If The Earth Were Twice As Big? | Life Noggin
One of the reasons I’m prejudiced against Krypton having gravity magnitudes greater than Earth is the fact it barely “works” if Krypton has only twice the gravity of Earth. My “head canon” is that Krypton’s gravity is greater (to make the line in the script true), but imperceptibly so, which is why we don’t see any of its collateral effects throughout the film.
It kind of drives me nuts that people don’t fully grasp that gravity is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe! It entangles, affects, and visibly impacts everything around us in measurable ways. If you intuit that, it’s utter bollocks to use a gravity differential as justification for strength because there would be a cascade of collateral effects which upend your story far more than that stat enables your story. To me, it’s like feeling a little chilly and “solving” that problem by setting fire to your house. Yes, you’ve warmed things up and beat the chill, but you’ve also messed up a whole lot more!
This is the kind of thing that makes me think of:
What Pisses Scientists Off the Most When They Go to the Movies? | Completely Optional Knowledge
Would You F**k An Alien? • Debatable | Buzzfeed
[Language and subject advisory] I can’t say the positions are sincere but they show a range of views. Tenuous relevance? Some have raised whether the “sensuality” in the MPAA rating for BvS refers to the relationship between Clark and Lois.
Controversy under Neuroscience and Law w/ David Eagleman | Big Think
Eagleman is not staking out an explicit position here (I’m not personally aware of what, if anything, his position is), but highlighting why positions can be divisive as well as clarifying terminology like “psycho” which may be apt given the “psychopath” exchange in the recent trailer. On the subject of divisive opinions, I recommend the following podcast episode:
The Way It Is? (Taste) | Where There’s Smoke
Taste. What’s good? What’s bad? People often come guns blazing with their opinions on things – whether it be music, movies, art, food, or drink. But where do these ideas come from and why are they so deeply ingrained?
This week on Where There’s Smoke we talk taste. Producer Nick Jaworski joins Brett as co-host this week and shares a story involving Canada’s top selling recording artist, the United States Air Force… and soap.
And after exploring many influences and interactions of taste, we talk to Dr. Robert Woody from the University of Nebraska. He expands on taste as it relates to fandom, and teaches us about “burging” and “corfing”.
Guest: Dr. Robert Woody
Snyder Star Wars Tweets
— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) December 15, 2015
— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) December 15, 2015
A cinematic event!
The Bible of Zack Snyder | Charles Gerian
Back with new regular content!
Human Intelligence: A Holiday Tale | Studio 360
Fun short audio scifi holiday story.