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thudd

Most discussions of Tomb Raider, released earlier this month, return doggedly to a supposed disconnect between Lara’s initial squeamishness re: violence and, later on, the frequent, creative acts of murder you commit as her.

They argue the extremity of violence takes away from her character development. She should retain her respect for humanity and whisper a heartfelt, “oh god i’m so sorry” into the ear of every man she bludgeons, I guess? Even as dozens of cultists bum rush her, she’s supposed to maintain a veneer of delicacy, maybe?

Rubbish.

Lara’s skill development perfectly parallels her attitude toward violence/murder over the course of the game. Initially, she’s incapable. She has no answer for up-close physical force. You’re forced to rely on distance, on inefficient killing.

As she moves deeper into the game’s story line, hardened against a persistently hostile environment, doesn’t it make sense her hesitancy disappears? She learns to kill, even if it still leaves a bad taste in her mouth. And if she retains an aversion to violence, wouldn’t she want to finish off her attackers as quickly and efficiently as possible? It’s more humane.

In a place like that, she would be forced to adapt. She would change quickly. If she didn’t, the game would be over after two hours when she hesitated with her finger on the trigger.

My thoughts have softened after the finish, but I hated the first 2/3. It might be that I’m reading too subjectively, letting my opinions of the characters as people affect my comprehension of the work, but I don’t really think it has a whole lot to say.

Two characters, both insufferable. They live secret, internal lives and seem totally blind to the possibility that others within their world might be doing the same thing. They elevate art above humanity and abase themselves before it. At times the prose is so flowery, so philosophically saccharine, mostly just from one character. The other is more tempered but, still, exhausting in her pursuit of the “profound.”

This opinion stems, probably, from my almost total impatience for all things philosophy.

About 2/3 in it improves. Our two intellectuals finally come into contact and affect the other’s outlook for the better. The end is pretty stupid.

It might mean more to me if I knew more about French culture.

It wrenched me forward from the first chapters and only lost momentum in the last. A little bit The Unwritten, a little bit everyman. Some fun diversions with the text and typography themes. Unpredictable in themes and concepts, if not in plot and character progression.

They’re sitting at home on the kitchen table. They haven’t been there for long, but already their taunts follow me out the door and set their pummeling, metaphorical fists against my poor brain stem.

Over the weekend, my two prep books for the GRE arrived. Yes, it’s time: time to go forth into grad school in a further attempt to avoid committing to any clear course in life. I’ll be safe in the soft, warm blanket of academia.

If I study for 2-3 months I should be set to take the test around June. And then, if the results don’t get me sent to a home, I’ll spend some serious time researching options and sending in applications. I have to be in the house ’til August 2013 anyway, so any distant schools (the only ones I’d consider, really) have a built-in delay.

In a bid to fight the encroaching borders of seasonal affective disorder, my digital retail therapy has taken on a hideous, wallet-sucking life of its own. I might actually like opening packages more than playing with the things inside.

I buy records and I don’t have a record player. I buy used books off Amazon—when the product pages has that yellow box on the side with a used price inside, and that used price is under ten dollars, I will black out for a second and when I come to I will have purchased that book and its two sequels. I bought organic hot chocolate from Mexico yesterday. I don’t care about organic things, nor do I care about Mexico (okay, beaches are nice. and tequila). Also: I haven’t even felt the desire for boiling liquid cocoa in years.

But when it’s online, and it’s on sale, and I haven’t let my credit card out to play for, like, ten minutes—it’s bought.

And this is the season of sales, of course, so my inbox is littered with the leavings of Black Friday and its thousandfold online offspring. Heavily discounted comic books?! Well, I haven’t heard anything about the author, or the series, but it’s eight dollars.

So for the next month my browser will be dedicated to the tabs of my masters—ebay, Amazon, Thwipster, Fab, Woot, oh god, oh god, there’s more—and I will remove the link to check my Chase balance from my bookmarks.

I want to try and submit a short story of piece of flash every Friday. This way I’ll always have at least something in circulation, and hell, submitting is the only way to get anything published. Tonight’s submission went in to DSF again—I think it would make a good fit—but I’m planning next week’s for Brain Harvest, one of the first online publications I started reading regularly.

Hopefully I can stick to this schedule for productivity’s sake.