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Paperm’n

The wife-o-tron and I went to see Wreck-It Ralph last night and the experience has stuck with me. It was a wonderful date night filled with film and food. But it’s not the feature itself that really resonated with me. Albeit Wreck-It Ralph is an incredibly good movie, carefully handled and lovingly crafted, it’s more the short film that preceded the movie that I can’t get out of my head.

The name of the short is “Paperman”, you can probably find stuff about it on Google or any of the other menagerie of search engines out there. But if you can’t, here’s a small taste of it:

Here’s a video of the director of the short, John Kahrs describing the look, which basically pares down to hand-drawn characters interacting with pre-rendered three dimensional backgrounds.  And you’re probably like, “Yeah?  So what?  It’s been done, who cares?”  Yes, it has, but it’s never been done quite this well, at least not that I can remember.  Usually when studios try that kind of integration, they do some cheap cel-shaded look which, in my opinion, looks absolutely godawful and kludgy a majority of the time.  But here it looks like the characters fit with everything.  There’s some subtlety to the way that the characters are animated, they’re fluid, they’re not stuck in some weird axial movement like CG rendered characters.

In this article Mr. Kahrs describes the expressiveness of the drawn line.  How just a few strokes of a pen here or there can change something so incredibly.  A shift from a zenith to a nadir can mean that the character is happy as opposed to sad, and yes, this is obvious.  But it’s not so much what’s relegated to the paper, but also the feelings of the person behind the tool.  A hard line might mean that the artist was upset with something, or it could mean that he was trying to convey that the thing he was jotting down was an impressive or imposing figure.  You can’t easily get that kind of nuance with CG animated characters at this juncture in technology.

Wreck-It Ralph does look incredible, fluid and wonderful.  It’s incredibly polished as a film, but why couldn’t it have been drawn in this style instead?  Ease of use?  Probably not, it still takes one and a half to two years to finish one of these productions with the same amount of manpower.  It probably has to do with the industry standard, Pixar and their ilk, much to their credit, has made it so that it’s incredibly hard to market a traditionally animated film, which I think stanches the overall output of animation, which I hold in incredibly high esteem.  In fact, I regularly wanted to do something in animation, though I never cared enough about my art to begin even trying.

I love cartoons, and anime, and 3D CGI stuff, but there’s room for all of these things in the marketplace.  I remember watching Kung-Fu Panda years ago and being really disappointed that more of the movie wasn’t done in the very fluid, traditionally drawn style of the opening sequence.  I thought it looked gorgeous, and I think there’s just something soulless to everything just being rendered out from a giant server farm in polygons, as opposed to done in some sort of Photoshop equivalent on a handful of drawing tablets.  We have the technology.  Let’s start doing something like that.

Let’s change the paradigm so that all forms of animation are openly accepted and released in the consumer space.  I’m game to start something if anyone else is.  It’s not like I do anything else.

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I’m going to preface this post by writing that a lot of people, some I know, some I might not know, will probably disagree with this post, perhaps even vociferously.  Just remember to keep it civil.

I recently received a letter from Senator Rand Paul that infuriated me.  Maybe you have, too.  And maybe it pissed you off as much as it did me.  This letter, this mass communique, this junk mail, this solicitation, whichever category you feel it fits into,  is about repealing Roe v Wade.  Clearly I disagree with this idea, mostly because I’m a liberal baby-killing monster, but also because I enjoy giving people, like, you know, women, options.  At least I do when it comes to my peers, not specifically on this topic, but any topic.

But the part I don’t understand about this is why abortion is so demonized.  Because we’re killing things that may or may not be alive yet depending on the study you choose to site based on which point you’re trying to make?  Or is it because you read in a book somewhere that every life is sacred (after God told people to crusade like crazy, fucked with Job and spake to Abraham that he should kill his son Isaac, even though he was joking on that last one ’cause Big G is a cut up) and you can’t make your own decisions?  Though I understand it, the thought of killing another person is a weighty beast no matter what their age, but I’d rather someone just terminate someone than have the little creature suffer for a lifetime.

There are many people I know that have worked in homes for troubled children and have had to hear their stories, like the child that had a mother who allowed grown men to rape him so she could score drugs, and sometimes I wonder if that’s the reality that some of these people are trying to create for these chilluns.  I don’t see abortion so much as a solution to a problem as I see it as a preventative measure to avoid having children be brought up in hellish conditions or neglected or abused and then causing more problems in society because people raised in broken homes ofttimes don’t turn out to be the most well-adjusted adults.  It happens, but it’s not a great shot.

I think back to the wonderful Greg Proops who often says that people denying abortions are pro-life but also anti-woman.  There’s a contingency of these pro-lifers who don’t care if a woman was raped or if a pregnancy is caused by incest because it’s an unborn fetus and it should have a right to life.  I get the last part, but why should we care so much for the unborn and not the person who will have to live with the fact that their child was created from rape and the memories of that situation, but let’s say that someone took out part of your liver and then mounted it on your wall, it might open up some mental wounds of when some jerk barged into your life and tore an organ out of your body every time you see it.  But you’re not allowed to take your removed, desiccated organ off the wall because that’s against what someone interpreted in, like, The Tripod Series by John Christopher.  Wouldn’t that get a little overwhelming and nerve wracking?

That’s what you have to think about.  That child is going to be a memory of that moment, no matter what they turn out to be.  And there might be that unconditional love for some people, but more often than not there’s going to be resentment, and do you really want someone to be put through that?  Thanks, people that aren’t the child bearer of that tiny human!

It doesn’t surprise me that it’s mostly men that harp on this stuff, but it honestly surprises me when women don’t want the choice to even be available.  That they want to be locked into a decision that’s being made for them by some dude they don’t know.  But then shit like this happens, where a woman says that rape babies are blessings and I just totally lose my mind.  I don’t understand the kind of mental state someone has to be in, except for total ignorance, to even state something that heinously wrong and horrible.  Like their mind has been twisted by what someone told them when they were growing up so much that they lose all grasp of reality.  I don’t think religion is an awful thing, it can be useful and there are people who practice it that are genuinely good people and they should be respected.  But it’s the nutballs like Sharon Barnes that give spiritual people a bad name who should be ashamed of themselves for doing such a thing.

And then this mess that I came across while doing research for this entry.  Yes, the children in that picture look identical.  Who gives a shit?  It’s not the end, it’s the means of the situation that matters.  What caused the result matters more to some women than the parasitic entity that is growing inside them.  That’s all there is to it and that’s my opinion, but don’t worry, I’m not going to gin up numbers or try to conjure facts to stand by my beliefs to get others to agree with me, either you do or you don’t.  That’s your business.  From what I can see, this whole thing is just an agenda against women that has been going on forever, and trying to shock me or put me into a guilt trip isn’t going to work, pro-lifers, because I’m from the internet and there isn’t a damn thing you can show me that I can’t best with a quick Google search.

I didn’t even get into the insanity where pro-life fundamentalists go out and kill doctors that offer late term abortions, picket family planning clinics and defame, debase or destroy anyone with any power that disagrees with them, because that’s ground tread far too often.  The duality of some people’s morals is just baffling to me.  You can’t kill a baby but killing someone who does a service for the people that are just looking for the option being drawn and quartered is A-OK!  That notion doesn’t make any sense, no matter how you slice it.

Look, I’m not saying that abortion is always the best option, hell, it shouldn’t even be at the top of the list when you don’t think you can provide for the child, at least seriously consider adoption first, and then consider it again and again.  But if the mother cannot bring this child to term or there are medical complications that will lead to the mother dying, then abortion should always be a choice.  It’s a last resort, and that’s all it is.  Don’t let these politicians, zealots, or anyone else take away your choices, because that’s what it is, another attempt to put a clamp on the collective genitals of the American people.