The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Screw Your Misery Over The Last Jedi

star wars last jedi

That’s it. I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more. I’m sick of these entitled crybabies whining about “The Last Jedi”. They’re making fan-edits to cater to their own “vision”, they’re making Change.org petitions to remove it from canon. And yet they can’t come up with one good objective reason for this hate. Complaining that’s not how the Force works? Go ahead, make that argument. You do realize that the Force does not exist, right? That it’s a construction of imagination and, therefore, it can do anything the writer wants? You’re all a bunch of fucking entitled, obsessive morons who had every opportunity to succeed in life but failed. Stories belong to their readers, but that doesn’t mean you can change what they are. 

But I want to talk about the biggest hot take–Luke isn’t acting like I want him to I think he should Luke.

I think these people complaining see too much of themselves in Luke. They’ve grown old and bitter, fatigued with how the creators treat their “mythology” as a business, too influenced by MST3K and South Park, like it’s cool to deconstruct everything to feel important. Finding the flaws in everything makes you feel superior. But like they say in Ratatouille, the critic who decries a work of art for being mediocre isn’t half as important as the creator who made it so.

I totally believe Luke would become jaded and bitter and cynical about Jedi. Maybe, after seeing everything that had happened, he believed the Jedi’s time had passed. Like Ian Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, the Jedi had their shot, and the universe evolved out of them. Let me give you three reasons why this makes perfect sense to me.

1. The Far Past

Let’s assume that Luke learned the history of the Jedi he didn’t have time for because he was fighting a war. A reasonable assumption, given that, as sole representative of all Jedi and teacher of the new generation, he’d want to know his legacy. There might not be many records left (authoritarian empires like to rewrite history) but the force ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin were all there. They could give him an oral history (Yoda’s certainly old enough). In other words, Luke watches the prequels.

And he learns the Jedi went from noble peacekeepers of the galaxy to a council of snooty politicians sitting in a room, handing out decisions about trade routes for places they had never seen. The High Council was more concerned about midichlorians, rules about marriage, and who gets into their little inner circle than actual philosophy. Maybe ten thousand years ago they were the galaxy’s guardians–noble warriors using might for right–but ten thousand years of peace makes people complacent.

That brings us to…

2. The Near Past

So in learning about the Jedi Council, you have to include their downfall, brought about by a small boy. He would have seen all of Anakin Skywalker’s history, what turned him to the Dark Side. Of course, Luke would want to know this–he’d want to know A) how a Jedi turned to the Dark Side, in order to prevent it from happening again and B) what the Jedi Council did in reaction, paranoid, hunting the Emperor down, the one guy who gave Anakin the time of day. Mace Windu viciously attacked Palpatine, causing the hatred that fuels Vader. Morally wrong, but justified in-character. I might do the same thing in his place.

Anakin Skywalker did everything he could to stop the thing he feared the most, the loss of his loved ones. But in the end, it happened all the same. The Jedi way forced him down the Dark Side to prevent it. So what else was there for him at the end but to embrace it totally. Especially since he’s living in constant pain from what Obi-Wan did to him.

And maybe Luke sees this and wonders, if the Jedi, ten thousand strong, could have been destroyed by one man, how great and powerful were they really?

3. The Immediate Past

Luke sees all the things Darth Vader did. All the horrible deaths, torture, genocide, child murder, planet devastation, done by a single wreck of a human. For nineteen years, he cut through anyone in his way with the fire of a thousand suns, like Sherman’s March. He came in like Aegon Targareyn the First, landing on Westeros and forcing the nine houses to bend the knee. He eliminated traitors with prejudice, tortured P.O.W.s, made deals with criminals. There was no moral code stopping him from victory.

But in its context, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker was one man. One aberrancy after eons of peace and prosperity. Like a mutation. A black plague. A fluke. He may have almost wiped everything out, but there’s that word–almost. It’s been tough times, but the war is over. Now is the time to rebuild. The threat of the empire is over. We’ve learned from our mistakes, instituted prevention. For another Darth Vader to come along would take ten thousand more years.

Enter Ben Solo.

How would it feel if, after defeating the strongest dark lord, the most powerful Jedi ever seen, you find out your nephew is the same. He’s been putting up Sith posters, talking about how great the empire used to be (“at least they made the Star Destroyers run on time”). You sacrificed so much to defeat Darth Vader, and here you are raising another one. It’d be like if you were the one to kill Hitler, and then you find out your grandson is a Neo-Nazi.

It doesn’t matter whether Luke knew Snoke had already gotten to him or not, the damage was done. There’s another potential Sith Lord in your bunk bed. Wouldn’t you want to just chuck it all and say “what’s the point?” Wouldn’t you say “this Jedi stuff is bullshit, if it’s just going to keep creating Darth Vaders”. Luke may have begun to think that the force is too powerful for anyone to handle. If you have a powerful weapon, better to destroy it than let it fall into the wrong hands.

Conclusion

I think Luke is acting completely in character, just like how Anakin Skywalker would have been a whiny, self-centered brat, using arrogance to hide his fear that this could all go away. Your complaints didn’t change anything then, they won’t change anything now. Luke’s been living with failure for twenty years. The whole point of the movie is that failure is not bad. Failure should not be run away from. You learn from it, use it to teach others. Luke is this movie’s protagonist, not Rey. He’s the one that learns something. He’s the one that changed.

Besides, how seriously can I take you when “your kind” releases a fan edit that removes all people of a certain gender from a movie. Taking out Jar-Jar is one thing–he’s comic relief with no impact on plot. But you can’t digitally remove 50% of the cast. What are you expecting? Is this supposed to be a statement? Satire? That someone burnt calories on such a bad idea blows my mind.

MRAs are complaining that the events in Last Jedi are against canon. Where’s the evidence? I don’t see anything that contradicts established canon. There are things that establish new canon, but point out something that says “in Episode X, someone explicitly says they can’t do Y, but they do Y in this movie”. Show me where that happens, where it’s not conjecture or supposition.

And it can’t be a “well blah blah blah wouldn’t-” No! Character errors are not errors. You don’t know what Luke’s been through from the Battle of Yavin to now, so you can’t tell me what he would and wouldn’t do. People change. People’s minds change. Their motivations and beliefs change. So don’t tell me Luke is the same wide-eyed farm boy turned hero from Return of the Jedi, especially after having his father die in his arms. Tell me that wouldn’t change a person.

 

I think the people complaining are the ones who ate a steady diet of expanded universe novels between 1980 and 2015. Their Luke is the one that continued having adventures, fighting General Thrawn, falling in love with Mara Jade, established a New Jedi Order, ended several wars, including a second Civil War, etc. But this ain’t that universe. The novels were “the continuing adventures of Luke Skywalker”, like the legends of King Arthur or Greek myths. On-going stories, mixing and adding characters, all attuned to the time they were written.

This ain’t that world anymore. This is Star Wars: The Next Generation. This is a new set of characters with their own trials to get through, and the world of Episode 4/5/6 is in the past. The universe has moved on from that point. There is a new order. And since events have transpired in a different way than the EU, yeah, characters aren’t going to act the way you think they should. Because the fact is, those novels were written in a different time. Just think of the presidents that have passed through office since 1983. 

Don’t watch the movies to find the next clutch of settings and characters for fan art. It’s not a newsletter–Updates from a Fictional Galaxy. Don’t watch it to see the same thing that made you happy thirty years ago.

Anyway, when it doesn’t go the way you want, just tell yourself a wizard did it.

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Edgar (The Aristocats)

edgar butler aristocats
Origin: The Aristocats (1970)

Edgar Balthazar. I have not seen a worse Disney villain. I think he may be the worst. At least he won’t be making any AFI top ten lists. He’s pathetic, he’s incompetent, he’s dull. Someone like Maleficent or Ursula would have put a bullet in his head on day one. It doesn’t help that he’s in such a tedious movie, but part of the villain’s job is to spice things up. And is there anything more cliche than “the butler did it”?

Motivation: A little part jealousy and a little part greed. There’s no originality in a guy seeking vengeance or reclamation because he got cut out of the will. That’s a white people problem first world problem rich people problem irrelevant to me. Other than that, I’d probably trust Edgar to be my butler — I don’t have any pets and I never leave the intercom on.

Character Strengths: I don’t think he has any character strengths. I suppose he’s a competent at his job — he helps that doddering old man up the stairs, and can get a cuppa on time — but he can’t wait a few years for the cats to die so he can get the inheritance. Even if he didn’t wait, what does he expect the cats to do with the money? Someone’s going to have to use it. Someone’s going to have to feed the cats. Just skim some cream off the top until you can get the whole bowl.

Not to mention when he does make his criminal move, it devolves into three-stooge-like buffonery with redneck dogs, sight gags, and rubberface mugging. All it does his show is ineptitude. He can’t even drown a bag of sleeping kittens. Not to mention he doesn’t have the foresight to simply shoot them in the face. And then he leaves all kinds of evidence behind, and doesn’t even make sure the cats are dead.

Evilness: As aforementioned, he doesn’t make the smart move of killing the cats outright. Of course, if he does that, there would be no movie (hallelujah) but in the climax when he has the chance to correct his mistakes, he screws it up. A few cats attack him (fat, stray cats, mind you) and they send him to Abu Dhabi a la Animal Farm.

Tools and Powers: He has two natural abilities. Jack and shit. And Jack left town.

Complement to the Hero: Like Bambi, this movie is all about twee animals being twee. The wikipedia page lists O’Malley as the deuteragonist rather than the protagonist, but I think O’Malley’s the one that changes the most in this story. Fact is, it’s hard to find material for this area, because the hero is just as badly written. He has nothing he wants, no back story, he gets nothing by helping Duchess — he doesn’t even want a little tail (these are the jokes, people). He just pops up like an guardian angel, and accomplishes anything he tries. He even has no problem shedding his stray lifestyle. At least the Tramp had to think about it.

Fatal Flaw: I dunno. Maybe hubris, since for some reason he feels it necessary to tell the horse what he did, which sets off “the rescue”. Look, I know animals can’t talk, but if I had just committed a plan to betray my employer — my wealthy employer — I’d still keep my trap shut just in case someone’s hiding behind the barn.

Maybe it’s lack of killer instinct, since he doesn’t have the balls to take out a few fluffy pets (the stray, however, he tries to stab with a pitchfork… and MISSES!) Maybe his fatal flaw was that he should have learned how to use a gun.

Method of Defeat/Death: While he’s attempting to seal the trunk, a bunch of alley cats scamper to the rescue, latching onto his arms and legs, until he falls into the trunk he intended to lock the cats in. I’m surprised I didn’t see a ripped out pant seat with heart underwear.

Final Rating: (Need I say it?) One star

Rhinos

rambi donkey kong country

Hey, all you rhino poachers.  You know how you keep killing rhinos to get their horns so you can sell them on the black market?  You know, you don’t have to actually kill any rhinos.  Just fake some white powder and leave the rhinos alone.

It’s not like your consumers are going to know — they didn’t actually see you kill the rhino.  And it’s not like you believe that rhino horn is a real thing — you just want the money.

And there’s no test to find out whether what you’ve got is pure unadulterated rhino horn.  It’s not like you can test its pH balance with a little strip of lemon juice paper.  It’s not like a drug deal where you take a little of it first to see how pure it is.  And if there is, rhino horn is just keratin — same thing your fingernails are made out of.  Just use that.  It’s a placebo anyway — fake or not, it’s effectiveness is based on psychology.  So leave the rhinos alone, ‘kay?

I just thought of this this morning.  And this was before I saw this article.

Froggy’s Baby Sister Sucks

froggy's baby sister

You know, I am really sick of men/boys/males condescending to girls for… really, no reason. The reason I’m cheesed off is that there’s this book I’m often reading to my two girls — Froggy’s Baby Sister by Jonathan London. You can hear the full-text read aloud here. It bothers me because its got some stereotypical lines where the male lead does not like his baby sister for the sole reason that she’s a girl. That wouldn’t be so bad if the story showed she was just as awesome because she’s a girl, but it never does. Even if it did redeem that, I’d still have a problem.

I don’t know how to feel when Froggy learns the new baby is a girl, and I have to read to them “A girl? Yuck!” When Froggy teaches her to catch flies, he says “Not bad… for a girl.”

Yeah, at the end, Froggy learns to love her, but not because she’s a girl. Yeah, the book is aimed at young boys, but that means nothing really. Aren’t we beyond this immature gender bashing? All the kids outside my neighborhood play with each other regardless of if they’re girls or boys. This is the sort of thing that gives girls personality disorders and low self-esteem.

What are my girls thinking when I read “A girl? Yuck!” Are they learning that girls aren’t as good as boys? Are they going to grow up with fundamental knowledge that they’re disgusting? Am I planting a seed? Are they going to think that, whatever they do, they’re just a subset of humanity. Even if they’re the best at what they do, it’s only going to reach the “good enough for a girl” ceiling.

Why is this even still an issue? Women are breadwinners and men don’t mind doing the work My wife’s playgroup has two men who are the stay-at-home dads. One has a wife who’s a doctor. Out of all my friends, neighbors, and relatives, there are more girls than boys, and almost all the girls are the eldest. Despite their superior numbers and age, are you going to tell them that they’re second-class citizens?

I’m sick of it. My girls are not going to grow up with this idea that men validate their existence. My wife validates my existence, and I validate hers, not because we’re a boy and a girl, but because we’re right for each other. Boys and girls are different, definitely. Girls are more talkative and sensitive. Boys have more upper-body strength and less inhibition. There are differences, but that doesn’t mean one’s better than the other. And neither are “yucky”.

Second Old Man Rant in a Row

verizon logo

I hate to make two crochety old man rants in a row, but half an hour of my life was taken away yesterday by an incompetent “customer service representative” who sounded all of a disaffected female teenager.

Listen up all you big companies: we can tell when you’re not being sincere. All this, “I definitely understand your problem.” “I can totally sympathize with your problem.” “I understand your frustration.”

We know you don’t give a rip about us. We’re just another customer to you. We know that because WE have jobs too and WE deal with faceless customer units all the time too. Customer aren’t people, they’re customers. They have no history, they have no personal feelings. Oh, they do, but we don’t care. We only care about how they interact with our product or service, and then we let them go on their merry way.

But when you try and fake interest in our problem, when you try and pretend that you sincerely understand, we know that you’re reading from a script. You’re not an actor, you’re an employee. So quit trying to be something you’re not. We can tell, and it’s worse when you try because WE KNOW YOU’RE LYING.

It’s like breast implants. Women, don’t fool yourselves. Men KNOW when they’re implants. Some of us don’t care, but we know. You think you need breasts to increase attractiveness, but you’re missing the fact that men like breasts of all sizes. Or more specifically, each man likes a different breast size, or various sizes, or doesn’t care. Otherwise women with flat chests would never get married, and they’d have phased out by now.

Just an excuse to show boobs

Corporations, please take a hint. Quit telling your CSR’s to act like counselors, and tell them to give customers what they want instead. It’s like a relationship. My wife wouldn’t be happy if I keep telling her “oh, I understand your problem that the children drew on the carpet”, and “yes, I see that you’re frustrated that I’ve left the dishes on the counter again.” It’s meaningless if I do nothing about it, and you can’t hide behind policies.

Another Crying Writer

crying baby mario

Waah, waah

What’s that sound?

Waah, waah

Why, it’s the sound of another writer that can’t take criticism.

The vast majority of writers, ones who are serious about their craft never say boo anytime they receive a critique, no matter what sort of language is used. If every sentence comes with “I feel” or “Most sources say that you should…” it doesn’t matter. If they’re smart, and they are, they know not to look for how it’s phrased, but what was phrased. That’s why I do at least.  I’m looking for the things that more than one persons says.

But there are those trolls out there who believe that their shit doesn’t stink. It’s not that they believe their work is great, but they react badly when someone tells them in a manner they don’t agree with. I’m sure they’d like some fluffy mom telling them “that’s okay, honey, you tried, you’ll do better next time,” when in fact, that’s not reality. There’s a reason we’re not all pirates and astronauts and presidents. Only the best of the best of the best get past that 98% rejection rate. And you’re going to have to endure some harsh trials to get there.

Like I’m enduring now. I get so tired of having to defend myself all the time. It’s not that I need people to accept who I am. It’s beyond that. People need to not tell me how to behave. I am my own person. My way is a valid way. It works. And it’s the blending of all these ways that make America great. But no, there’s always that one guy that no one likes who makes enough of a stink to be heard.  And the leaders listen to him because, diplomatically, they have to.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

I’m just not feeling the love these days. Roll the Bones screws up my story. I haven’t sold anything since September, and the one before that was in March. I’m not even getting rejections from agents these days for Black Hole Son. The Penny Arcade debacle has got people from all sides ripping on two of my favorite guys, talking and not solving anything. I can’t get my video games working. I finished my short stories, and now I’m back to rough draft composition, which is always the hardest part of writing. I get the flu. The kids won’t stop crying (they’re 1 and 3). People are all in my ass.

Sometimes I wish that I could live on a boat. A houseboat somewhere in the Atlantic, all by myself, writing, playing video games, and eating. And not being around people. Of course, I’d have satellite Internet and television. But the centerpiece would be my “room”. I was about to call it the “writing room” or “office” and then the “media room”, but basically, it’s “my room”. It would like one of those 19th century parlors with lots of brown/sepia stuff and everything in oak, and all the walls are bookshelves. Books, books, books (although I wouldn’t have any rare or expensive books, in case of water damage).

It would look something like this, but more books and more couches

I could get a cup of gourmet coffee, go down to my study, put on some classic jazz or soft rock, enjoy reading my book on my couch while the waves bob me up and down. Then I could play a video game, do some writing, some fishing, watch a movie, drink a glass of port, watch porn. You know, typical stuff. I could just meld into a different world.

And of course, I need one of these

It would be the perfect escape–nothing to do but my own thing. And I would be completely isolated from everything–traffic, taxes, crime–just a storm here and there. Also scurvy. I could play all the games I could never get involved in — World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy. I could create an online persona, where no one really knows where he is, but he’s mysterious… very mysterious.

But I live in the real world. A real world that I don’t fit into.

Code =/= A Story

Computer code is not a story.

When it comes to written text in the King’s English (or other spoken language) there are certain rules about plagiarizing. These are set in place to make sure that creative works are not claimed by someone else or using them for some reason that was not given permission. But computer code is not a creative work. They are not the same thing.

Sure, there are issues regarding copyright and piracy, but that’s really only for software packages. Generally, you pay for those, and by claiming them as your own or pirating them, you are depriving someone of funds they would have otherwise received for their work. And even if they’re free or open-source packages, it is wrong to pretend you wrote them.

But just like music and movies, people use other people’s code and incorporate it into their own ALL THE TIME. You can’t compare someone passing off a story as their own as someone passing off code as their own. Because it’s not a story, it’s instructions for a computer to do something. It’s a recipe. And no one cares about who made a recipe unless it’s the very best at what it does. And at that point, you probably are selling it, either in a restaurant or on a CD. Code does what it does behind the scenes. It’s the effect that the code has what makes the difference. There’s lots of ways to make the computer say “hello world”. There’s lots of ways to make macaroni and cheese.

There’s a difference between a short story and a page worth of code. And there’s also issues of fair use. Most code snippets are no more than a page in length. You have to have 25 pages of code before you can apply for a patent for it. A macro is not software, it’s not something you have to pay for. So if you post something on your website, you have to expect people are going to take it and improve it, and make it their own. You must accept the consequences of that action.

For example, I wrote this, and one day, while googling myself, I found it on this web page. Now, granted, it gives me credit, but when I first published it many many years ago on AOL, I stated that it could be distributed, provided that no alterations to the file are made. Clearly, there were alterations to the file. Do I care? No, not a whit.

And that’s my pledge to you. The whole point of providing the writing macros was so that you could take and use them to improve your own writing. To do that inevitably means you have to copy and paste the code in a way that it can be edited. In fact, I encourage the use of editing–adding your own words to the exclusions or inclusions lists.

And furthermore, you can take the code and alter it anyway you want, anyway that suits your needs. I don’t need credit, I just need improved writing. My only request is that you tell me how you improved the code so I can add a corrected version on my site. I’m not a VB programmer, so I’m sure my code is junky in lots of places. If I had wanted credit, I would have put my name at the top of the file, along with all sorts of garbage about copyrights, rights reserved, patent pending, and so on.

I really don’t care about that. I want this information to be free. And I know the hivemind out there is much better at improving what I wrote than myself alone. Credit just gets in the way, people’s pride is what hinders civilization. Everyone’s swelled head is what gets in the way. Did you see “And The Band Played On” where a vaccine for the AIDS virus was held up because two scientists created it at the same time and both wanted credit? How about these stories? Or the Hitler meme takedown that occurred about a year too late and was totally ineffectual? There’s a lawsuit between a guy who wrote a song called “five minutes of silence”–which is just that–who’s being sued for plagiarism by a guy who claims to have wrote the same thing on a previous album. It’s silence! Get over it.

So take the macros and make them your own. Please. Use them in the spirit their intended. They are a gift. And gifts have no no strings attached.

Dumb Forum Posters

I’m just about done with this “I Should vs. I Want to” thread I’ve got going on SFFWorld.com.

For one thing, it still seems the users are so steeped in their “How dare you insult the classics by implying it’s may not be necessary to read them if you’re a writer.” There’s only one guy that’s arguing with me, and he’s always misinterpreting my response. I’m now arguing things that have nothing to do with my point just so that I won’t be written off as some n00b that’s pissing in the wind compared to Mr. 1,000 Posts who has no idea what I’m or he’s talking about. He’s talking about writing as if it’s something that you can just hole up in a room for, for 20 years, and then come out with Moby Dick.

The others are going off-topic about Henry Rollins and Dr. Strangelove. None of which help me by answering my question. They’re all talking to themselves, posting YouTube clips and inside-jokes, as if I wasn’t at the podium slamming my gavel down.

I say I’m done with the topic, but I’m probably going to keep arguing. It’s fun to argue, at least until we start running in circles.

Kaiju story is going well, although it’s changed starting point a few times, and I still don’t have an ending. It seems that all my stories either have really good endings and bad beginnings (usually the novels) or really good beginnings and bad endings (usually the short stories).

Next time – more video games, I promise.

So Much For Civility

The new results are in – 100% of dicks are dicks. And that’s counting the hanging chads.

The one guy who actually apologized rescinded once he found all the new stuff on my blog to criticize and use as evidence to tell me I’m a bad person who eats gruel and sauerkraut juice.

What is it with people needling and needling, trying to provoke a reaction. Does he think he’s actually going to change me? Does he think I’m going to lose my cool and get all flustered. What’s he trying to prove? What does he hope to accomplish? He’s not going to kick me off. If he even tries that I can bring him and two other people down. All it does his amuse me and let me hone my argument skills. All it does for him is make him angry and cry into his pillow at night.

I must have damaged his ego so bad, he needs to get the last word in, and try and salvage the scraps. That’s the only logical reason I can figure for him continuing this. Him and the other guy who keeps e-mailing me.

So far, Frank (not his real name) has read all my critiques and now all my blog entries. At this point he should start a fan club. He certainly knows enough about my writing. If he stopped sucking ABurt’s dick long enough he’d see that all he’s doing is amusing me and giving me blog material.

And I know he’s reading this blog so nyeah, nyeah, na-nyeah, nyeah.

There are some edits that are considered to be… unnatural

One more thing about yesterday’s topic. The editor/not-editor in question said at the end of his e-mail that writing means having to do homework every day for the rest of your life.

Now this is a trend I’ve found in some advice-givers, that they try to discourage you for no apparent reason by preventing some bleak view of the task. In this case, he’s trying to discourage me from writing by saying that it involves doing a negative activity… FOR ALL ETERNITY (ominous thunder). Why would he say such a thing if he didn’t want to turn me away from the position? It’s reverse psychology, like army training. “If you can’t swim, you don’t deserve to be at the beach”. No one wants to do homework for the rest of your life. He never says that writing means creating fascinating universes and characters, and making people happy and entertained.

I think this is the result of a man who’s become bitter and hateful, having made a job of reading crap for a living. I have no love for those people, because they chose their profession. If you choose to do something, even though you knew about its consequences when you made the decision, and then complain about those exact consequences, it makes me stabby. I hope that this guy isn’t representative of editors as a whole.

It’s plenty of fun to be evil, I’ll admit. Nothing would please me more than telling the girl I just critiqued that her story is awful – it fits a standard cliche perfectly, the characters are propped up on popsicle sticks, and my unborn child gives me more fear than the ‘nameless evil’. But that’s the dark side of the force. That doesn’t help anyone become a writer.