Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Avoiding spoilers is a pretty tough job for a comics fan, particularly when you have a significant interest in the X-titles.  I've known about the basic idea for Schism -  this year's major X-event - for months now, at least in broad strokes: the embattled, besieged-every-other-Friday Utopia community splits in half over how to survive in the post-mutant world.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Boxing Stupid

Whilst I was at large in Eastern Europe, my old friend Rigor Mortified (a veterinary nurse) told me a story that was just too funny not to steal, especially given this blog's unflinching pro-dog standpoint.

On one fateful day, RM is late into her shift when a large Geordie man enters her field of vision carrying a shoe-box.
"Weeya tak a luke at me puppy, like?" he asks.
"What?" responds RM.
"Me puppy.  Weeya tak a luke?" says the man, holding out the box.
"Um... OK" RM says slowly, eyeing the box with suspicion.  "What's wrong with your puppy?"
"It dinna eat," the man says. "An' dinna play. Willna gan fer a walk.  Two hundred quid ah paid fer this puppy. Pure breed, ah gat told."
"Right", says RM.  "A pure breed what?"
"A pure breed puppy," the man insists. "Rottweiler."
By now RM is thoroughly doubtful.  "You have a rottweiler puppy?"
"That cost two hundred quid?"
"In that rather small shoebox?"
"Aye, pet."
This, needless to say, is not good news.  Whatever else might be wrong with this poor creature, the fact it can fit into such a small space is clearly cause for concern in itself.  Not entirely sure she wants to see what pathetic creature awaits her within, RM takes the box gingerly, and opens the lid.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Tale Of Cocktails #21

After Six


1 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz Creme de Menthe
1 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

Taste: 9
Look: 7
Cost: 7
Name: 4
Prep: 7
Alcohol: 5
Overall:  7.1
Preparation: Chill all ingredients.  Pour Creme de Menthe into shot glass. Pour in Kahlua over teaspoon to create separate layers.  Float Baileys on top.

General Comments: This is more commonly known as an After Five, but I'm not a big fan of peppermint Schnapps, so we've swapped it out and replaced it with Creme de Menthe.  This has obviously given this cocktail +1 awesome, hence the new name.

Having said that, I'm not at all happy about the name in the first place.  Sure, it's cheekily reminiscent of an After Eight, but it also implies that I can't drink this cocktail any earlier than late afternoon.  You're not the boss of me, cocktail mixers!

Taste-wise, this is absolutely lovely - it really is deeply reminiscent of an After Eight mint, and as much as I loved the milkshake iteration of that particular delight, this version definitely has it beat.  It looks pretty good, too, even if it's slightly reminiscent of a tiny Guinness with a splash of Fairy Liquid.

Let's Leave Hitler Alone


Thursday, 25 August 2011


So Steve Benen is grouchy because Ohio schools can't afford lawnmowers any more and have to borrow sheep instead.  He's all:
[N]othing says “21st century global superpower” like schools turning to sheep because they can’t afford lawnmowers. 
I say that's some damn short-sighted thinking!  It's only a few short steps from this:

to this:

or this:

or, if we're prepared to take the idea of replacing mechines with sheep to its logical conclusion, this:

If that isn't what the future looks like, then the future can fuck right off.

Caption Competition!

Because sometimes, even I run out of words.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Having talked at length both here and over at Geekplanet about the DSK arrest and the subsequent collapse of the case, and having done so entirely from the position that there was a horrible undercurrent of sexism and/or classism (if that's a word) about a lot of the so-called "defences" offered up for the man, I should note that one can go too far in the other direction.

To be clear, Hadley Freeman certainly has more than one very good point here. In terms of public opinion, there was a marked tendency to defend DSK by attacking Diallo, and whilst that might not necessarily be out of bounds per se, the nature of the attacks was frequently pretty awful. Moreover, Freeman is entirely correct to point out that anyone without expert experience who tries to argue that a woman is behaving in a way that is incompatible with the trauma suffered after a sexual abuse is a dangerous idiot.

But all of that is a separate issue to the fact that, as Freeman mentions, the Manhattan DA decided to drop the case. The court of public opinion has reacted disgracefully in this situation. The legal system, so far as I can tell, has worked exactly as it's supposed to. Freeman's arguments that all the questions over the plaintiff's honesty and reliability can be reasonably explained is all very well (though I wish she'd given a link to Diallo’s lawyer's argument about the phone call to the friend, as that seemed pretty important at the time and this is the first time I've heard it's been debunked), but the legal system demands more than that. Freeman pours scorn on the idea that Diallo's history of lying should be considered more important than the nature of her vaginal bruising, whilst skipping over the fact that Diallo's injuries could be ten times more important than what she said to immigration officials, and it still wouldn't guarantee a conviction.

Besides, at the risk of being blunt, suggesting that being prepared to lie to authorities about being raped to gain access to the country should be considered entirely irrelevant to whether someone might lie to authorities about being raped to gain money seems to be an act of wilful intellectual blindness. Moreover, whilst "she isn't behaving like a rape victim" is a much more distasteful stance than "she isn't behaving like a competent blackmailer", I'm not sure it's a great deal less convincing as an argument - I'm pretty sure there's lots of people out there who commit crimes without realising just how awful they are at it. Hell, raping a woman in a room under your own name whilst in a foreign country and whilst knowing any hint of scandal would cost you your job and your chance to become President sounds like an amazingly stupid idea, but Freeman is perfectly happy to believe that that's what happened.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fill Your Boots!

Right.  Back from Poland, but I suspect my brain looks much like the pickled cabbage I've spent the weekend eating in between mouthfuls of vodka.  Whilst I attempt to regain my critical faculties, here's a Youtube video my brother sent me.  It's a (massively NSFW) review of Pedro, a truly baffling game we used to have on the ZX Spectrum that someone has apparently decided to "review" by simply playing it in real-time, sight unseen.  This has its problems, of course (our noble hero proved entirely unaware of his access to bricks and horse manure), but it does add a certain lunatic charm to the proceedings. 

Also, he's entirely right about Kempston Joysticks.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Linked Distractions: Part 2

I'm off on another jaunt this weekend - I'm headed to Poland to watch Mad Richard get married - but whilst I'm gone, here's the second part of the Linked Distractions music quiz for you to think about.

The same rules as last time: there are 33 song titles (from L to S, this time), each one of which is represented by two first lines from two different songs.  One point each for the name of the song, and for either of the two artists.  The 100th point goes to anyone who can name a third song with the same title, along with the artist who recorded it, that's currently in my collection.  This time round there are four such songs.

1.   "Hung up here on your web of comfort"
      "You're only 29"
2.   "Heart bleeds for now it's temporary"
      "Since your mother cast her spell"
3.   "In many ways they'll miss the good old days"
      "Don't hold me like that"
4.    Oh My Heart (Jamie)
      "The kids have a new take" R.E.M. (SpaceSquid (d'oh!))
      "I adore this life, there is no guarantee" (Jamie)
5.   "So here you are, my friend"
      "You don't know what's going on"
6.   Suspicion (Jamie)
      "Ain't it light the sun to never shine"
      "Now my suspicion's on the rise" R.E.M. (Jamie)
7.    Surprise (Jamie)
      "I feel the day's arriving soon"
      "So you thought we were over?" James (Jamie)
8.   "This is the sound, the here and the now"
      "This may be the last thing that I write for long"
9.   "I was eight years old"
      "On back down in my home town"
10.  Shame (Midget_Yoda)
      "You're gonna walk on home"
      "What did we learn here - it's that love tastes bitter when it's
       gone" Matchbox 20 (Midget_Yoda)
11. "If you need a friend, don't look to a stranger"
      "How time will heal, make me forget"
12. Stay (BigHead)
      "Stay, oh oh oh stay"
      "People stay just a little bit longer"
13. "I tell you I didn't do it, 'cos I wasn't there"
      "'Shut the fuck up' she said"
14. Mother (Jamie)
      "This war's a mother-fucker" James (Jamie)
      "Well the telephone is ringing"
15. "It's too late for remorse"
      "Lately I've been livin' in my head"
16.  Superman (Jamie)
      "I am, I am, I am Superman" R.E.M. (Jamie)
      "You don't know what it's been like"
17.  (The) Miracle (Midget_Yoda)
       "Every drop of rain that falls" Queen (Midget_Yoda)
       "Crazy but I believe this time"
18. "This is the first song for your mix tape"
      "Maybe we could put your tape back on"
19. "Restless little one"
      "'Over and out', she said"
20. "Settle down, don't settle down without me"
      "Brimming with useless information"
21.  Smoke (Jamie)
      "Leaf by leaf and page by page" Ben Folds Five (Jamie)
      "Over and out of it for one more plane ride out"
22.  Soma (Jamie)
      "Soma is what they will take when hard times open their
      eyes" The Strokes (Jamie)
      "Nothing left to say, and all I've left to do"
23. "Dusk has dawned this day: where did it go?"
      "Hey you, are you in there?"
24. "No I won't do it again"
      "Why should you leave your home when the TV's on"
25. "Say the west is a story we made up to erase"
      "How long, how long will I slide?"
26. "I've informed you to leave"
      "The night is falling, thank God"
27. Stop (Jamie)
      "Yes it's true that I believe" Matchbox 20 (Jamie)
      "Don't have to be the prettiest"
28. "This is the first (thing I remember)"
       "What's the matter, why don't you answer"
29.  Know Your Enemy (Chuck)
       "Do you know the enemy?" Green Day (Chuck)
       "Huh! Yeah we're comin' back then with another bombtrack"
        Rage Against The Machine (Chuck)
30. "Where you're hiding, the shine off the wall"
        "If you want to be free then I want you be"
31. "On a Sunday I'll think it through"
       "Heavy night, it was a heavy night"
32. "The credits roll, the camera pans"
      "I beg to differ, to break the chain"
33.  The Road (Jamie)
      "Highways and dancehall, a good song takes you far"
      "The road is fucking hard, the road is fucking tough"
      Tenacious D (Jamie)

Last time round y'all managed 40%.  Let's smash that bitch!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Serious Business

My latest paper (a short one for the ISIPTA conference that I'm busy fleshing out) is available for anyone who's interested in what I get up to all day.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Vulcans Do Not Feel Schadenfreude

The chances of the US economy being so bad Obama gets the boot next year are a little too high for me to enjoy this completely, but even so, watching conservatives from Karl "no lie too ugly" Rove all the way to Ross "no vicious wingnut position too intellectually indefensible" Douthat spluttering with horror regarding the current GOP presidential line-up is absolutely hilarious.  Apparently it's only just occurred to them that years of demonising all non-conservatives as traitors and generating disingenuous arguments to give cover to their friends rabid psychoses (respectively) has led the GOP to the point where the only people that have any chance of being elected are a spineless, fawning coward, a lunatic Dominionist, and a secessionist who fired the committee investigating the almost certainly innocent man he had executed.

Good work, guys!  You don't want this shower of fools and grifters to have a shot at the Oval?  Well Captain Spock has a message for you:


Monday, 15 August 2011

Spoiler Alert: This Article Is Wrong

"No!  I am your father!  Or your brother!  Or your cousin! 
Or some, all or none of the above!"
Whilst eating lunch on main campus one of the monitors informed me of a new study suggesting spoilers might actually improve people's enjoyment of stories, rather than adversely affecting them.  A quick sniff around the Guardian's website confirmed the story, and offered a short article as well.

The phenomenon of spoilers, spoiling and spoilerphobes (and their rarer cousins, the spoilerphiles) is something that I find endlessly fascinating.  Everyone has their own definition of what constitutes a spoiler, and how spoilers should be ranked in terms of their severity.  That's already interesting enough, partially as a study in human nature, but also because of the element of deductive reasoning involved.  I've known more than one person to mention something they thought was completely innocuous only to enrage people with sufficient faculties of logic to discern what else the information implies.

On top of that, though, and in keeping with various other aspects of human interaction, there's a common tendency for people to draw their own subjective lines across the spoiler scale, representing their personal tolerance limit, and then to lash out at anyone who crosses that line with staggering vitriol, whilst concurrently arguing that anyone who objects to their own pronouncements are hyper-sensitive children who should never leave the house lest such delicate constitutions as theirs become bruised or strained.

The subject is probably worth a longer article (and is liable to get one, when I have the time), but I thought I'd make a few comments on the Guardian piece and the one it links to.

First of all, I think it's unwise to have a discussion about spoilers that goes on to encompass re-watches.  The fact that our favourite films clearly stand up to multiple viewings (note that that might not necessarily true of what we might consider the greatest films) is, I think, entirely irrelevant to the matter in hand, in the same way that a child still wants to play with their new toys come Boxing Day has nothing to do with a discussion as to whether wrapping paper is pointless.  Anticipation isn't worthless simply because it isn't sustainable.  Besides which, one can only watch a film unspoiled once.  I'd rather have that one experience and risk it being less satisfying than guarantee I can never have it at all.  I can always have the "spoiled" experience at a later date if I choose to. Or, as my Other Half said a little while ago, why assume people who rewatch films are happy to know everything that's going to happen, as oppose to simply trying to recapture what they experienced during that first unspoiled viewing.

Furthermore, it's interesting that the five writers mentioned - so far as I can tell - all had their most critically acclaimed period (whether or not that acclaim was contemporaneous) before the 1990s (or the 1890s, in the case of Chekhov).  That means that other prose works, along with films and TV shows, have had over twenty years to absorb those stories.  Whilst the people who participated in this study had never read the specific stories they scored [1], I don't feel it's assuming too much that they've probably read something with a similar form on previous occasions.  The article points out that people don't lose pleasure when they already know someone who "escaped" during a killing spree was the actual killer, or that the supposed upcoming death of a character will prove to be a dream, but what exactly does that prove?  Regarding the former, the lack of added value of the "twist" could quite easily come from the fact that decades of use has rendered it fairly unsurprising, or even cliche. 

The second ending is even more problematic - I have no doubt whatsoever that people who suddenly discover "But it was all a dream!" might enjoy a story more than the people who know its coming, but one should be careful indeed about arguing spoilers are helpful based on the fact they can in some sense innoculate us against the virus of bad writing.

Oh, and this line: "We intrinsically understand that by choosing to watch a film from a particular genre – say a romcom, western or sci-fi – we know where the film is going to take us," strikes me as pretty stupid.  We know where a sci-fi film will take us?  That's bollocks and chips, pure and simple.  Same with Westerns, I think.  The landscape might be a bit more limited, but anyone who thinks Rio Bravo will prepare them for The Unforgiven has been drinking more than their fair share of sippin' whiskey.

I can see the case for a romcom, maybe; you can pretty much bet the boy is going to get the girl.  But then in all my years, I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about spoilers for a romcom.  The spoiler issue is only relevant in circumstances where you don't know what to expect, or at least you're not entirely sure.  I don't want to get too far into speculating how other people's minds work, but you could at least argue that romcom fans are attracted to the genre precisely because one knows what to expect from it (if there is way to spoil such films, it's digging out the one in a hundred where things don't actually work out - try letting people know about that ahead of time and see how much they enjoy the film).  There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, of course.  But it makes it a bad case study during a conversation about avoiding ruining surprises.

Still, a lot of this might be biased by my personal preference. I've mentioned before that I take great pleasure in viewing stories as mysteries to be solved - that's a part of why I love horror so much as a genre, since so much of it boils down to mysteries that just involve different rules to the ones we're used to.  Maybe that's why I'm so unconvinced by this idea.  Anyway, it's food for thought.

[1] Actually, if I'm reading the link correctly, they just gave all the stories to a bunch of people and only let them score the ones they hadn't read, which strikes me as a fairly bad method, statistically speaking.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

SpaceSquid Fashion Parade

I have to say, I'm in two minds about this story.  On the one hand, every Euro a Neo-Nazi spends on prank t-shirts is one less he has to buy his Playmobil Pogromnacht Playset, or whatever.  On the other, I'm not sure we're going to make the world a better place by discouraging ultra-right lunatics from washing their clothes.  Or I we hoping the stench would function as some kind of early warning system?

Either way, if you're going to put all that effort into making T-shirts that change after the first wash, you should try to be a little bit more imaginative about it.  How about:


Or even:

That last one might be a bit tricky to get to work, actually...

Dead Man Walking

This is deeply disappointing. Obviously without seeing Season 2 it's far too early to start declaring this to have been a idiotic decison by AMC, but as I noted at the time, you could divide each episode of the first year of Walking Dead into two mutually exclusive groups: "spectacularly fucking awesome" and "not written by Frank Darabont".

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

When Life Gives Other People Lemons...

I'm so glad our capital's civil unrest can help out American conservatives wanting to smear President Obama.  I tend not to head over to The Corner, since it has a pretty poor reputation, but curiosity got the better of me on this occasion.

Turns out, that reputation was very much deserved.  The progression of this article is as follows:
  1. Some people are comparing the London riots to the LA riots.  Let's assume the comparison is a reasonable one;
  2. President Obama may or not agree that the original flash-point of the two riots can be considered similar.  Let's assume he does;
  3. Obama wrote something about the LA riots almost twenty years ago, which he may or may not still stand by.  Let's assume he does;
  4. What he said was that the riot demonstrated deep distrust and dissatisfaction in the current system of power.  Of course, someone who actually wanted to use the proletariat to destroy capitalism would say the same thing.  Let's assume Obama is one of those people.
If all that's true, then Obama is clearly a terrifying threat to the American way of life!  You know, unless acquitting cops who were proved to have lied after beating a black guy to within an inch of his life is different from a drug-dealer getting shot, or Obama's positions have changed have changed in two decades, or there's a logical fallacy in arguing Obama is anti-capitalist because of a quote I've assumed he meant as anti-capitalist, because of how anti-capitalist he is! [1] 

A couple of days ago two of my friends were staying in London, and had to barricade themselves in the bedroom because they heard a looter trying to break into the house downstairs (mercifully, said miscreant was unsuccessful).  I'm sure they'd have gathered up their belongings and handed them over immediately if they knew it would help Stanley Kurtz pretend Obama is plotting to destroy America, or money, or whatever.

Oh, and for the record, whilst its using the current crisis to fuel his lunatic agenda that's making me despise Kurtz right now, he can fuck off for co-opting the LA riots as well.  A jury (which was five-sixths white and contained no black people) exonerated four cops of blame for a vicious assault which had been captured on camera [2].  Pretending Obama was out of line for suggesting the resulting riots had nothing to do with a mistrust of power is quite simply historical revisionism, and its historical revisionism at the expense of black people in an attempt to smear the first black US president.

[1] Bighead would want me to point out that this is what the phrase "begging the question" actually refers to.

[2] The cops claimed their actions were justified because King was tripping on PCP and tried to resist arrest.  The video shows him crawling along the ground during a beating that lasted over a minute.  A drugs test for PCP came back negative.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

1.6 Matriculation, Part 3: Q & A

Ooh!  Can... of... worms.  Torqual better watch out; those Watercarvers can really hold a grudge!

 1.7                                                                      1.5

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Captain America

In general, I don't have a great to add to MGK's take on this: it's basically somewhere between an updated Boy's Own adventure and a militarised Indiana Jones film, with the bonus of some very strong acting.

One thing I did want to say though was how pleasantly surprised as to how little America mattered in the film.  It mattered a great deal as a place, of course, and only-just-post-Depression New York made for a very effective and atmospheric backdrop.  Moreover, Colonel Phillips, Senator Brandt, and Howard Hughes Stark all positively drip '40s America in their own different ways.  Finally, the stage routine Steve ends up being dumped into is a brilliant rendition of US WWII propaganda.

But all of this is about how America was.  It's just set dressing.  What I was worried about was how the film would make Steve Rogers Captain America, as oppose to, say, Captain Britain or Captain France, or even Super-Soldier I.  If there was ever an opportunity to show numerous interminable Independence Day-style speeches about the indomitable nature of Americans, this was it, after all.

Captain America doesn't do that.  Indeed, by giving Rogers his nickname as part of a corny fundraising tour/USO show, the film flirts with the idea that calling him "Captain America" is really kind of silly.  This isn't a film about why America needs Captain America, it's about why America needs Steve Rogers - the legend of Captain America is just a by-product.

This refusal to use Cap as a metaphor for the States is a welcome idea.  One of the film's best moments comes when Doctor Erskine tells Steve that Erskine originally hailed from Germany, and asks whether that's a problem.  From Steve's reaction, I'm not sure that question had ever occurred to him before.   Steve has no interest in a war between Americans and Germans.  He's desperate to join a war between bullies and those who won't let bullies get away with it.

Obviously, that's a very simplistic view to take, even if the film sidesteps issues of moral grey areas by  introducing a group of fascists that even Hitler thinks are kind of dickish, but the point here is that Erskine isn't looking for an American, he's looking for a good man; the fact that Steve is American is entirely irrelevant.

This is what I loved about this film.  It's pro-America not because their namesake super-hero defeats Hydra and punches out fascists left, right and centre.  It's pro-America because the man smart enough and good-hearted enough to become the symbol of hope and goodness was born and raised there.  Erskine created the super-soldier serum, but America created Steve Rogers.

One could fashion this into a larger point, actually, regarding the horrible tendency of American nationalists to believe that their claims of superiority justifies their actions, rather than realising that their actions will be used to justify (or not) their claims of superiority.  I'll save that for another post, though.  For now, though, we should just note that this film is clear in its message: it is Captain America that lends weight to his homeland, not the other way around.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Slaves Of The Womb Cave

There's a lot of stuff that Republicans in Congress say that, whilst it's obvious bullshit, I can at least understand what might be going through their heads. "We need to end employment benefits so as to dissuade leeching" is a vile sympathy-wasteland of a statement, but I can at least comprehend what is making the people who espouse it tick.

At other times, though, parts of my brain just shut down in confusion.  Take this, for instance; the video, not the article.  King makes three points here, which I'll introduce in order of how much they made my head hurt. Note that the quotes below are my paraphrases.

"Contraception should not be called a medicine."  In the narrowest sense, this at least is arguable.  Of course, plenty of women do take contraception medicinally, and preventing oneself from acquiring a sexually transmitted disease seems like a process for which "preventative medicine" fits perfectly.  I think King could actually phrase this better and at least approach what I think his main point is; that contraception cannot be automatically considered a medicine, preventative or otherwise, and he doesn't want to have to pay for what we'll call for the purposes of this post "exclusively recreational use".

Of course, if such use was covered by US health insurers, I'd be pretty surprised, and if it did, that would be where to aim the argument, rather than attempting blanket bans.  At least arguably, though, on this he's not crazy, merely wrong.

"Some people don't or can't have sex, but are being asked to fund contraception anyway".  This is crazy, though.  Show me where I can get the NHS form where I can tick a box labelled "Give none of my taxes to smokers with lung cancer.  If some idiot goes skiing and breaks his leg, I won't have a penny of my money spent on setting the bone.  Because these fuckers chose to be at risk."

The NHS is not the American system, of course.  But either a private US insurer will offer coverage for smokers, and for skiers, and for those who offer reasons why they need access to contraception, or they won't.  The idea that the government should get to stick its nose in and decide certain offers cannot be allowed seems... well, as hypocritical as anything else these supposed lovers of freedom spout off about every few hours.

This, though, is my favourite.

"Contraception can't be medicine, because if we used it too much, we'd die out as a civilisation."

Arrrgh!  Brain... dying! Starved... of... logic!

What does Steve King think will happen if we used too much paracetamol?  Or insulin?  Hell, I hear Viagra isn't something you want to mess around with.

Second, how could we ever get to a point where King's argument is of relevance?  Sure, if humanity gets itself bitch-slapped by the Cylons and we end up with less people than show up to the average Boro away game, then we might want to think about easing back on the dick-sheaths.  But can we at least all agree that whatever else the US is having problems with right now, it has no need to worry about only surviving because they're above a critical number of unwanted babies being born each year?

Because that would be a start, at least.  Once we've gotten that out of the way, we could move onto, ooh, basic arithmetic, or something.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Proof Of Purchase

Just in case people thought I'd taken 1200 squids from my department and spent it all on booze, here's a selection of photographs from Austria.  First, some general scene setting:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Get Lost. Also, Fuck Off

Kevin Drum points out a small section of the Guardian's interview with JJ Abrams yesterday:
Do woebegone Losties give Abrams an earful about the finale?
"Oh my God, yes," he groans. "For years, I had people praising Lost to death, and now they say: 'I'm so pissed at you for the end of Lost.' I think a lot of people who were upset with the ending, were just upset that it ended. And I've not yet heard the pitch of what the ending should have been. I've just heard: 'That sucked.'"
 Drum's response is pretty good:
We weren't demanding that the whole series be wrapped up in a nice, neat bow, but we were hoping for at least most of the major plotlines to be resolved. We were hoping for at least most of the major mysteries to be explained. We were hoping that at least the whole thing didn't turn out to be a St. Elsewhere style fantasy world. And we were sure as hell annoyed when they pretended they had run out of time to tie this stuff up after wasting the entire first half of the final season with a brand new plotline that came out of nowhere, went nowhere, never got resolved, and had no purpose at all.
For the record, I thought the last season was poor rather than disastrous, and that there was a lot in the finale that was quite nice, or at least not actively terrible.

Still, though, there's no question in my mind that the show dropped the ball in the final year, for all the reasons Drum cites, and also because after five years of telling us thinking the show was set in Purgatory was "silly", the show finishes with fully fifty percent of its final season being set in fucking Purgatory

I despise practical jokes, as a rule, because the people who play them have no interest on their victim enjoying the joke.  And that's what the sixth year of Lost reads as to me: a joke played on a massive and faithful audience by writers who had painted themselves into a corner.

And if there's anything worse than someone who's idea of humour is to make someone else become uncomfortable, angry, upset or massively disappointed, it's that guy who then turns around and says "I don't know what your problem is, it was only a joke".

That, right there, is JJ Abrams.  I don't actually know how much input he had in the storyline of the final season, in fairness, but even if he didn't do a damn thing on it, he's still telling people that the colossal contempt his friends showed for the people who had invested enormous time (and frequently non-trivial amounts of money, given how much the DVD sets went for when they first came out) is somehow their fault.

Oh, and bonus twat points for implying that it's somehow the job of the viewer to explain to the writers how they should have done their own job better.  Does Abrams think this should be applied to other occupations?  If my defense lawyer fails to get me off charges of which I am innocent, do I have to point to the specific legal tactic they should have used to exonerate me, or can I just flat out tell him (I can say "him", because it would be my Dad) that he's a bad lawyer.  Do I get to send an undercooked steak back in a restaurant if I can't operate my own grill at home?

This isn't a way of addressing criticism, is my point.  It's a way of dismissing it [1].  The fact that Abram's argument that no-one has suggested how the final season could have been improved is transparently, laughably false, makes it all the worse.

(Oh, also: "Just upset that it ended"? There is no limit how much Abrams needs to pull his own head out of his arse, and not just so he can count his massive piles of money and cackle evilly.)

[1] If Abrams point was that no-one is able to pin down what it was they disliked, that would be different.  "It sucks and shut up!" isn't too helpful as a critical appraisal.  Again, though, I've read or skimmed dozens of online articles that pin down what people saw as the precise problems.  Abrams doesn't experience thoughtful criticism of his show entirely because he doesn't care to listen to it.