Ready Player One

Maddd Science

Okay, I was going to make this issue about spoilers, but that's before I remembered that the best thinkpiece-spawning film since Last Jedi came out the other week. And interestingly enough, both Ready Player One and Last Jedi are so much fun to talk about because of white guy nerd anger.

Here's an explainer that gives the book a little more grace than any articles I've been sharing recently, while also explaining why everyone loves to hate on it.

The Ready Player One backlash, explained
Constance Grady, Vox

But the main thing Ready Player One is doing is telling those ’80s-boy-culture-obsessed gamers that they matter, that in fact they are the most important people in the universe. That knowing every single goddamn word of Monty Python and the Holy Grail can have life-or-death stakes, because why shouldn’t it? (Yes, that is a crucial step in Wade’s battle to save the OASIS.)

This one expands on the implications of the Ready Player One zeitgeist, tying it to tech culture. I just wrote something about tech culture's problem areas myself, so I'm jelly.

If You Want To Know How We Ended Up In A Cyber Dystopia, Read Ready Player One
Laura Hudson, The Verge

[T]he book is a document worth reexamining in 2018; not because this novel-length blind spot has anything to say about where we are today, but because the ignorance and misguided optimism embedded in its pages is precisely how we got here. It is instructive now, as a road map for how we arrived at our present cyber-dystopia, and the dangers of building a world for “everyone” on the concerns and fantasies of the few.

This next article is like catnip for me: The long history of horror movies reflecting fears of ecological mistreatment. The most obvious case: 1971's 'Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster.' I mean, come on.

Also, fun fact: John was the first author to tweet their story to me and get in this newsletter. Congrats! Everyone else, feel free to tweet any stories you think would fit this newsletter to @AdamRRowe.

Killer frogs and the crazy rise of animal rebellion eco-horror movies
John Petkovic, The Plain Dealer

Eco-terror and animal revenge flicks came into their own by the 1970s, decades before “An Inconvenient Truth” warned of global warming.

The decade was a turning point in the environmental movement. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in 1970, after a series of government hearings and studies on pollution. One of the sparks for its creation was the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969, which was the focus of a Time magazine cover story.

Speaking of horror movies:

A Quiet Pace: How horror movies like ‘A Quiet Place’ became the best bet in Hollywood
Sean Fennessey, The Ringer

As other genres have fallen into disfavor by producers and studio chiefs—adult drama, teen comedy, heist movies—horror continues apace, not only growing in scope, but volume. A Quiet Place is a fierce testimony to the power of the in-theater experience and one of the only original stories to hypnotize audiences in recent times.

I have long believed television writer and comedian Demi Adejuyigbe to be the second coming of Weird Al Yankovic, despite Al still being around and the fact that Demi mostly does original songs. My only point here is, Demi's amazing if you love funny songs. Here's a long-deserved interview with him on his best work, a Lando theme song in the style of Childish Gambino.

The Story Behind The Funniest 'Star Wars' Rap Parody Of All Time
Dan Jackson, The Thrillest

Q: Was there anything you wrote that was just too ridiculous to put in the song?

Adejuyigbe: I essentially started writing these in a Word Doc, but I think that document is deleted now. I think every joke I wrote made it in. The Les Mis line where I'm like "I'm in a castle on a Cloud City, I don’t know what les mis" was one of the first ones I wrote too. I thought that was such a stretch that I was like, "If I can figure out how to pull this line off, then I have to do this song." So that was another big one for me.

Hold Up, They Don’t Love You Like I Love You
Fran Hoepfner, Bright Wall/Dark Room

There’s an effortlessness that permeates Soderbergh’s films, the Ocean’s movies being the prime examples, where everything feels so fully formed and lived in (especially remarkable the less and less coherent this franchise becomes). It’s as if Danny and Rusty and all of their friends walked into frame by happenstance.

Also, yeah, I did take an impromptu two weeks off this newsletter... took my first ever international business trip, and I'm just getting back into the swing of my extracurriculars now.

Next Week on Maddd Science: Spoilers = good?

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Header image: "dream or die trying," by Daniel Williams.

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