Saturday, March 13, 2010

Know the store. Know about more than the store.

I've mentioned the names of many films on here, but I've neglected one crucial thing, how to find them and how to understand the whole of animation history. It seems that most people are either uninterested or incapable of looking at animation from the scope of all its history, and I'm addressing this urgent problem right here now. It's time to push back against these neverending cults of personality.

1. Anticipate and understand that there's more than just what you see in front of you. There's always good films which you haven't seen, even if nobody you know is aware of them. Avoid exaggerative use of the word 'everything'.
2. If you want to discover more films, features especially, start with a timeline of the history of animation and a world political map and work your way down. Break out from what's presented in front of you and heavily advertised. Just start by going over to Wikipedia, and looking at their list of feature length films which you can reach by following this link:
3. Don't just wait for a copy of the film to be given a legitimate release, because odds are it won't happen. Fans come before distributors if the distributors come at all.
4. Do not under any circumstances declare one medium to be the only legitimate form of animation nor any philosophy to be the whole of all worthwhile animation. Do not use the term 'traditional animation' except to apply to animated work which was mostly or entirely produced outside of a computer. Understand that even if animation is traditional, that a computer or computer animation may likely have contributed to its existence in some other way.
5. Be the person with the answers even when they aren't pleasant, and give your best advice to where the answers may be found if you do not have them.
6. When you're introducing the person to the films on Wikipedia, expect indifference and plan accordingly. Mention the article, and then give them a second source, a place where they can watch a large number of films that they never heard of for free.

Phrase it cleverly like this, with the important parts first, :
Did you know that all you have to do is think in terms of the timeline of animation's history and the countries that have been around since? You can look up nearly any film on Wikipedia and find something good to watch elsewhere on the internet. Here's a website with some free movies from ___ to get you started.

If somebody says just something simple like "Thanks!" as so often happens, they reaffirm the first two statements while they're almost certainly, truly interested in the third. Then they've got the first two statements sealed with the third in their head, and somebody might confuse their decision and look for their self, and they can always come back to it later if they remember.

7. Please stop assuming that mentioning a few token names like Sylvain Chomet and Yuri Norstein makes you literate about worldwide animation. It does not.

And finally, here's the basic info, the maps with the timeline and websites to find all the films.

Most convenient, films that are mostly available
Most Adequate, but too dry for newbies

Look a bit further on the Animated Divots site, and you'll find even further information, like sites where you can buy more films and all sorts of things. The European animation site will take you to further information on new releases.

The rest you can find on video sites, web stores, and such, which you'll likely arrive at through a simple web search. Here's search engines for nearly every country. This should help get you started if you're not familiar, and I hope you benefit from having all these things in one place. At some point in the future I hope to have a post card or something to pass around, just to disseminate the information quicker.

Actual Post Date April 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


If you look at the label for this post, you might accuse me of being postmodern, but that's not what I'm going to write about. I'm going to write about a very disturbing truth of our society that's proven by the evolution of women's swimwear. I'll write about women's swimwear since I'm not interested in talking too much about mankinis.

At the turn of the 20th century, women wore long swimwear and it was the social norm. If you'd asked a person then they would have told you that wearing anything less long was indecent. Nudity is a bit of an anomaly here, since inconvenient swimwear surely convinced more people to swim nude, but people swimming nude probably didn't have much of an impact on the course of swimwear. As for things like swimwear that allows for partial or whole nudity, those are anomalies that are made to drive overanalyzers like me nuts. Not a word on monokinis.

Nowadays, though, swimsuits are much shorter on average, and the smallest, bikinis, are far shorter than that swimwear, a radical polarization from those attitudes. What once wouldn't have even been construed as sufficient clothing is now normal.

Here's why I believe this happened. There wasn't anything left to do but shorten the swimsuit. If you wanted to try a different set of materials, but they were expensive, you had to make a smaller swimsuit. If you wanted to be more creative with its design, you were guided towards creating a smaller swimsuit. The shortage of materials during wartime helped contribute towards smaller women's clothing in general, but this was a hard trend to avoid and such shortages could likely have come from somewhere else.

And let's face it, men liked seeing women wear shorter swimsuits. And that's what our culture is all about right now, getting more for less, or at least, letting the people who desire to do little do it. Nowadays you can wear any size of swimsuit and it's considered if not desirable, acceptable. Now we get to let people wear what they like, the way it should have been all along, right? But it won't last. The game's gotten old and there needs to be a new game to sucker people along, so we've got surfing suits and diving suits. Sure they don't mean much now, but wait until they become a little bit cheaper.

Headline from tomorrow! If you aren't diving 20 feet under the water, then you aren't swimming and we've got a fast maglev train to get you there to the beach quicker than before. Aren't you tired of all the people showing off skin and doing the same old strokes? Meet more people like you who are athletic but like to have fun and help us help you set the sharks on beach bums.

This doesn't mean that a catastrophe can't happen and keep people out of the water or that the people making swimsuits and diving suits aren't talented. You can still bring progress to a halt even in the most mainstream of activities. I'm also not saying that this is the only way to be progressive. But what I am saying is that if nobody's playing this game, there can be no progression at all.

People aren't all that different on the whole, so we have to keep dressing up in new ways to maintain our interest in each other. That way political figures can throw out the word unity without making us all feel cheap. If your neighbors keep dressing up in new outfits you won't have to meet anybody new, and right now we've got a general idea of how many neighbors there are in the world. All we can do if we don't like having so many neighbors is to like less neighbors and hope that the neighbors we don't like are somewhere else. I'm convinced that if every person in the world could stand in a place where they could see each other nude, that would be the end of the world.

All there's left to do is to put on the mask that hasn't been put on yet and keep the costume party going. Find some people who are pretending different things, then keep looking and see where the party game's falling short. No nudity and a name just helps to play the game and helps to spread the blame and all to keep alive the flame that brings us here and lets us call ourselves ourselves and keep us all the same.

It's the material truth that matters, our best guess of what things truly are, what they've been and what they're going to be.