So We Saw the New Ghostbusters Today

Short verdict: Haters to the rear. It’s a good movie.

It’s not just a good movie, it’s a good genderflip AU, in that it doesn’t just paste the guys’ names and roles onto some female bodies actors and call it a day, it actually asks itself things like, “If this basic character type had been born, raised, and socialized female, what would she be like?” and “What sort of public reception would these people doing these things get if they were four women and not four men?”

So the Venkman character as played by Melissa McCarthy is not the at-least-50%-charlatan that Bill Murray’s version was; and the four ghostbusters, instead of getting citywide acclaim after their initial successes, are treated in the media (with the connivance of City Hall and Homeland Security) as being either frauds or delusional or both.

An all-male remake would have just been putting a new coat of paint onto the chassis of an old classic; by going with a true genderflipped version, the creative minds involved managed to take their inspiration from the old classic and use it to say some new things. And the haters were right to be scared of it, because – in its lightshow-with-explosions kind of way – it’s pointing a mocking finger at the very sort of male privilege that they’re so obnoxiously, and anxiously, defending.

So yeah, go see it. And stay through the credits.

One of Those Summers

Summer is always a bad time for nasty stuff to go down . . . too much heat and too much humidity and nobody ever being quite comfortable enough. Long ago, I read a piece by Judith Martin – writing in propria persona, not as Miss Manners – opining that this was the real reason why so many holidays of national independence are in the middle of local summer: too many days in a row of heat, humidity, stinky streets, and flies, and all it takes is one more incident and the next thing you know they’re hanging the aristos from the lamp-posts again someplace.

And this is an election year in America, which always makes the summers worse even when we aren’t afflicted with as polarizing a pair of candidates as I think I’ve ever seen. (Though I’m amazed that the right-wing true believers haven’t given up on hoping to pin something on Hillary by now. You’d think that after over two decades of trying and failing, during which she’s been under almost constant investigation by a regular clown parade of different interest groups, they would wise up to the fact that either there’s nothing there for them to find, or that where leading a double life is concerned she’s got Batman, Superman, Daredevil, and the Amazing Spider-Man all beat to hell.)

This year, though, it isn’t just us here in the USA. The UK has got the results of the Brexit vote to contend with, and France has mass terror attacks, and Turkey has an attempted coup, and it’s generally difficult to put your finger down at random on a spinning globe and not hit someplace that’s having a hard time at the moment. And thanks to the wonder of immediacy that is the internet, we get to have everybody’s bad day in our faces all at once, instead of getting the news delivered to us in more manageable, staggered-by-distance chunks, so that we have time to process things in between.

(Overly serious people sometimes complain that the internet is too full of pictures of people’s cats. I maintain that the ability to go look at the pictures of cute cats in Japanese train stations, in New York City apartments, and in backyards all over is a necessity in a world where we are regularly slapped in the face with bad news from everywhere, whether we’ve asked for it or not.)

Maybe when the cool weather comes back around, things will calm down a little. Probably not, but one can hope.

Meanwhile, it’s back to the word mines for me.  If anybody out there has a manuscript that needs editing, they can always get in touch with me by way of the About or Contact Me links on this page.

Listen to Me, People.

“As” is not a co-ordinating conjunction.

It does not join two independent clauses of equal weight.

It does not link actions that happen in sequence.

It is a subordinating conjunction, and it links a primary action to a secondary action that takes place at the same time as the primary action.

So for Pete’s sake, don’t commit sentences like this one:

“I think this is the main road,” said Joe, as he surveyed the landscape around them, as he stood next to Jane.

Break it down into its components:

  • Joe said, “I think this is the main road.”
  • Joe surveyed the landscape around them.
  • Joe stood next to Jane.

Then decide which parts are primary and which are secondary, and rewrite your paragraph accordingly:

Joe stood next to Jane and surveyed the landscape around them.  “I think this is the main road,” he said.

Or, if you decide that the fact he’s standing next to Jane is more important in the overall scheme of things than the fact that he’s looking around, you could write it this way:

Joe stood next to Jane as he surveyed the landscape around them.  “I think this is the main road,” he said.

Don’t just string your clauses together any which way.  Think about their relative weight and importance first.  This will make your sentences a lot less monotonous; as a side benefit, it will also make your writing clearer and more effective.