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76  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of the Previous Poster's Signature: The Wrath of Khan on: January 25, 2015, 11:26:14 am
You seem to confident for your own good. You might regret it one year from now.

Haha, I highly doubt that. It's not exactly going out on a limb saying the person ahead 50 points is going to win. However, the people who have continued to preach Hillary's supposed vulnerability over the past 2 years will look very silly a year from now.

US primaries are the most unpredictable thing ever. Things almost never go as they seemed to be going a year from them. You have been warned.

77  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Harder state for Democrats? on: January 25, 2015, 10:47:40 am
Louisiana has the most solid Democratic base, but I also feel like it's become really inelastic and it's going to be really hard for a Democrat to reach 50%. I feel like Arkansas is still more open to "the right kind" of Democrat.
78  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Digimon thread (Top 11 favorite Adventure episodes) on: January 25, 2015, 10:43:55 am
#8 - The Ultimate Clash

This is another pick I expect most people to disagree with. Perhaps like many other episodes, this is one where most of what happens isn't that interesting, but one little element stands out and turns it into something special. Neither the fight between WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon (which gives this episode its title), nor the big infodump flashback scene are really top-11 material. I do like the latter quite a bit - I wish they had found a way to distill that information into something more gradual, but it does add a welcome layer to the overarching plot (which was badly, badly needed), trying to hint to something far more grand and epic than what we had seen so far. Still, it's probably not one of the highlights of the show - especially since it doesn't really deliver on its promise after that.

What I love about this episode is the way we see the group both literally and figuratively break up under the weight of their stress, frustration, anxiety, and conflicting philosophies. If you ask me what is the darkest hour, the lowest point hit by the Digidestined, my immediate answer would probably be the time when Tai is away and the group splits, but after some reflection I'd have to go with this episode. The reason I think this works much better in my view is because, in the former case, the group is in disarray because they lack a leader. They go their separate way only in order to find Tai. That's a fairly interesting and believable situation, but it's not nearly as complex as what we see with the Ultimate Clash.

Here, we see the group split up because, quite simply, they begin lashing out at each other (and this is actually built up really well throughout the previous two episodes), find themselves in a position where they can't agree on the right course to follow, and are unable to overcome their divergences. Not only is that a believable situation (hell, try to put a group of adults with clashing personalities through the same stress and see how long they last!), but it also really heightens the drama. It's just a great plot point to add complexity to the setup. We have just spent 45 episodes being used to the DigiDestined being an unbreakable team, capable of surmounting any difficulty through their combined abilities and mutual support. And suddenly, all this falls apart, and we actually see the children having to deal with a totally new situation.

The character dynamic between Tai and Matt is just pitch-perfect. Although I think the way Cherrymon manipulated him in the previous episode is a bit forced out, Matt really manages to convey the full extent of his internal conflict and emotional torment (and I say that as someone who has never liked Matt's character one bit). Tai really proves himself a genuine friend and a competent leader - all he's been trying to do is getting the group going, trying to focus their energy on something productive - but he can only take so much of Matt's bullsh*t and eventually tries his best to snap him out of this confusion with a good punch. But in the end, despite his best efforts, he doesn't succeed, because Matt still needs to figure things out on his own. I think it's a really clever way of showing that sometimes, even if you do everything as best as you can, things can go wrong. And even if your friend is well-meaning and you do your best to try and avoid conflict, sometimes conflict is bound to happen nonetheless.

I also like that they tried to give Mimi some depth beyond being a whiny little brat. I don't necessarily like the outcome (I hate pacifism in shows where fighting is obviously the only solution) but it makes things a bit more interesting, and it makes the clash within the group multidimensional instead of binary. The scene where they each go their separate way in the end is one of my favorite in the whole show, it's really poignant. So, in short, it's a great episode for character dynamics and drama, less so for advancing the plot - overall, it still deserves the 8th position in my view.

#7 - Flower Power

No, I'm not exactly blow away by Togemon digivolving to Lillymon. As most things involving Mimi, it's unfortunately pretty lame and rushed in. Actually, it's almost funny to realize how her character-revealing moment that triggers the crest's activation basically consists in her whining again! I mean come on guys, do you really have nothing else for her to do? Yeah, I get that it's supposed to know she's a sweet innocent kid who can't stand the sight of violence and suffering (and that comes across a bit better in the Dark Masters Arc), but it still does nothing for me. Lillymon is alright, I guess (certainly a huge improvement over her champion form!). The way she prevails without having to fight is pretty clever, if also pretty cheesy. Still, that's far from the highlight of this episode.

No, what I really love and enjoy in this episode is the atmosphere and setup. You have Myotismon finally coming out of the shadows, surrounding Odaiba into an impenetrable fog, and mobilizing the full strength of his monster army in the city to find the 8th child. This episode feels big - it feels grand, epic. It feels like what's going on is much more serious than everything we've seen so far. The Digimon invasion plays out like a real invasion, it has a decidedly militaryish feel to it. The part when the Bakemon go around each house in the neighborhood and kidnap parents and children alike is just breathtaking. I guess one of the nice things about these events is that it breaks the routine of "monsters are everywhere but nobody seems to notice them" which had been so overused in the previous episodes. Now, monsters are there and they can't be ignored.

I like how the Digimon aren't just the children's problem anymore, but that everybody has to deal with them in some way. Especially since it turns out the adults can be surprisingly competent in adapting to this new mind-boggling reality. Matt's father is pretty damn cool, and Sora's mother proves surprisingly badass too. I also like how (with a few exceptions) each kid is in a different location and has to deal with the situation in different ways. Most of them hold their own pretty well, they are able to think fast and react to unforeseen situations with basic but still clever ideas. Sora using the recorded Sutra against the Bakemon is a nice continuity nod and works well, the scene where Tai finds Matt is really good, and even Mimi does fine, everything considered.

To be frank, this seventh spot should belong almost as much to the following one, "City Under Siege", which has the exact same feel and continues most of the storylines. Episodes 34 to 37 should really count as a single, four-part episode, considering how well they flow together. While I don't agree with JesuOtaku's claim that the Myotismon Arc is far superior to anything that precedes or follows, I have to admit that these episodes are unquestionably the show's peak in terms of storytelling. They just make you hold your breath waiting for the continuation, never giving you a rest. If I was ranking the story arcs, then this one would win the first spot comfortably. Thus, as an individual episode "Flower Power" is still awesome, though it obviously lacks a real climax.

#6 - Out on the Town

To remain in the Myotismon arc (just two episodes before, actually), here is another obvious one. I have to say, for me, Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon's death is the friggin' saddest moment of the entire show. Yeah, I know most people feel that Wizardmon's fate is even more heartbreaking. But Wizardmon (as well as Whamon, Leomon and most of those who are offed in the Dark Masters arc) at least died for a purpose: he sacrificed himself to save Kari and allow Gatomon to fulfill her destiny. There is nothing more tragic (or, in the true sense of the word, pathetic) than dying for nothing, and that's exactly what happened to these two guys.

What's especially stunning is that we're not even made to particularly care for Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon before their death. We just see them spreading chaos and doing all sorts of goofy stuff that are more annoying than actually funny. You do begin to wonder "what the heck are these two doing in Myotismon's army?", but that doesn't make them particularly sympathetic. The shock really comes from the contrast between their benign and carefree attitude and Myotismon's cold-blooded cruelty. The scene where he confronts them and eventually kills them is so damn dark (both visually and emotionally) that it gets pretty daring for a kid's show. They're just punished for the crime of wanting to have fun. Christ, that's f**ked up.

That one moment is what really sticks out, but - contrary to what I've said about a few of the previous one - the entire episode is consistently good in all its aspects. The first part of the episode develops the relationship between Matt and TK in a really well-crafted way, it's really one of those moments that makes the characters come to life. And the fight scene that occupies most of the final segment is actually one of the best fight scenes in the entire show (though obviously that's not saying much). What finally nails it for me is one of the last scenes, when we see Matt and TK looking at the store where Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon use to play and they imagine them being there. That scene is really heartbreaking, and really captures the meaning of death in a simple yet clever way.

So yeah, that episode was carefully crafted to convey emotion and establish Myotismon as a sadistic monster - and boy, did it work! It didn't do much to advance the plot (apart from getting Angemon back, which is nice) but it creates an atmosphere of darkness that wasn't really there in the beginning of the Myotismon arc, and that, from then on, would endure until the diabolical vampire is finally defeated.
79  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Harder state for Republicans? on: January 25, 2015, 09:33:22 am
New York is harder in statewide races but Massachusetts is harder to find winnable local or (especially) congressional races in. Voted New York because of the way the poll question is worded.

Well, it's easy to have more winnable congressional races when you have four times as many congressional districts. Tongue Still, it's undeniable that New York Republican have done a good job at preserving their strength in the State Legislature, while the MAGOP is in permanent minority status.
80  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Ministry of Purity Crimes Self-Reporting Thread on: January 25, 2015, 09:29:53 am
Why has nobody ever proposed using "it" as a neutral pronoun? I mean, that's exactly what it is, the singular neutral pronoun! English is lucky enough to actually have it, so why not use it when you're referring to an unspecified person? I guess the reason is that "it" is usually used to refer to inanimate objects and that it has assumed a bit of a negative connotation, but I still think it's preferable to contrived alternatives like "(s)he", or "they".
81  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Lief Reservoir of Simple Truths and Smart One-Liners on: January 25, 2015, 07:42:15 am
Yes, eventually, as well as it can work anywhere. The idea that there are Certain Cultures where folks Just Can't Rule Themselves, as something that renders democracy somehow permanently unworkable always and forever rather than just making it difficult to get off the ground, strikes me as inherently racist.
82  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Do you think democracy can actually work in China? on: January 25, 2015, 07:41:45 am
Yes, eventually, as well as it can work anywhere. The idea that there are Certain Cultures where folks Just Can't Rule Themselves, as something that renders democracy somehow permanently unworkable always and forever rather than just making it difficult to get off the ground, strikes me as inherently racist.

I would have made the exact same point, except in a more hyperbolic and dismissive tone.
83  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Digimon thread (Top 11 favorite Adventure episodes) on: January 25, 2015, 05:54:26 am
You mean episode 22... 12 is the one when TK and Patamon bounce around and cuddle baby Digimon in the Primary Village. Tongue

Anyway, I'm very interested in knowing your rating of each episode. Confronting opinions is always a fascinating experience. Smiley

I did say it's been a long time.

As for Episode 24 and WHY I don't like it in better detail, that can summed up  here: http://digimon.firstagent.net/2011/08/adventure-episode-24-no-questions.html

He was slightly less bothered than I as he gave it a D, I gave it an F.

Excellent summaries and analyses of all the Digimon episodes up to Fusion

Yeah, these are all good points. As I said I think there's something about this episode that makes me overlook these problems, but it's definitely very subjective.

This site seems very interesting btw, I'll check it out!
84  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Harder state for Republicans? on: January 25, 2015, 05:45:15 am
Indisputably New York.
85  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Will Snowstalker and TNF start denouncing SYRIZA after they win? on: January 25, 2015, 05:44:23 am
Yes, I give it six weeks tops before Tsipras becomes some sort of neoliberal imperialist stooge.

Of course they will.
86  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of the Previous Poster's Signature: The Wrath of Khan on: January 25, 2015, 05:39:00 am
You seem to confident for your own good. You might regret it one year from now.
87  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Lief Reservoir of Simple Truths and Smart One-Liners on: January 25, 2015, 05:34:09 am
100% because Vermont is a Republican state at heart.

88  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Your top of the ballot W/L record on: January 25, 2015, 05:33:25 am
2010 - Jack Conway
2011 - Gatewood Galbraith
2012 - Barack Obama
2013 - N/A
2014 - Did not vote

1/5 Tongue

I wasn't aware Obama lost reelection.
89  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Sick Privilege on: January 25, 2015, 05:15:36 am
Oh come on Snowstalker, this is dumb even by your standards.
90  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Good Left Wing Books on Middle Class Decline? on: January 24, 2015, 05:34:50 pm
Michael Lind's works especially Next American Nation and Up From Conservatism are pretty good in this regards-you should like it in particular since it addresses too promiscuous immigration as one of the potential causes for middle-class decline.

Dr. Krugman's Conscience of a Liberal is probably the most basic centre-left statement on this issue and since he's free-trader I don't think he would complain about offshoring as a cause of middle-class stagnation/decline.

To be fair though, The Conscience of a Liberal addresses the issue from a political angle more than it does from an economic one. I'm not saying that as a criticism (in fact, it's one of my favorite if not my favorite essay), but that might not be what DC is looking for.
91  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Digimon thread (Top 11 favorite Adventure episodes) on: January 24, 2015, 05:25:20 pm
You mean episode 22... 12 is the one when TK and Patamon bounce around and cuddle baby Digimon in the Primary Village. Tongue

Anyway, I'm very interested in knowing your rating of each episode. Confronting opinions is always a fascinating experience. Smiley
92  Questions and Answers / The Atlas / Re: Let's talk about Polls_PuffPass on: January 24, 2015, 03:22:20 pm
And of course you choose to take a cheap shot at me right before I leave, even though I never interacted with you or had any kind of beef with you.

Then you ignore a PM from me which basically said, "here's my reason for doing what I did, none of which violated forum rules or even offended anyone."

So I have no idea why you posted this, or why I should be banned. And of course, according to the "real FFs", I have no reason to be mad, or to try and defend myself, while people post "Who", which adds nothing to to the discussion whatsoever.

Nice thread.

You're digging yourself deeper.
93  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Are you a virgo? on: January 24, 2015, 03:18:40 pm
94  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Digimon thread (Top 11 favorite Adventure episodes) on: January 24, 2015, 01:55:15 pm
As you can see I have a lot to say about each episode, so I'll probably take a couple days to finish it. Any comment or disagreement is very welcome. Smiley And you can also make your own lists, that would be cool!
95  Questions and Answers / The Atlas / Re: I would just like to say (New data table functionality) on: January 24, 2015, 01:52:41 pm
This looks wonderful Dave, thank you so much!
96  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Dilemma of French Muslims on: January 24, 2015, 01:51:19 pm
In my view, a "feminist act" refers to an act that either constitutes a symbolic challenge to patriarchy (which implies active rejection of the patriarchal system rather than merely coping with it) or actively contributes to undermine patriarchy's material or ideological foundations.

I do have a lot of sympathy for the notion that the general principle of using sartorial choices to offend male sensibilities or male entitlement and to deflect or confuse the male gaze can, in fact, constitute just such a symbolic challenge. I'm just not sure that this is in fact a case of that for most people. (I know anecdotally that for at least a few women it is but the plural of anecdote is not et cetera.)

That's an idea I personally have a hard time to swallow, considering my understanding of how patriarchy works. In my understanding, the objectification of women goes hand in hand with the obsession with "modesty", they are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there's the idea that women are sexual commodity for men to use, and on the opposite side, the idea that women should stay chaste and preserve themselves from men. I think that is roughly what is meant with the "madonna/whore complex". The genius of patriarchy, so to speak, is that it invented both a thesis and an antithesis, that it has framed the debate in such a way that i can draw strength from both sides of it. Adhering to one side of it to counter the other one strikes me as a futile attempt, at least at the symbolic and ideological level (again, I'm not claiming that it cannot work in certain practical situations).

I've been making a conscious effort to become more praxis-oriented in my understanding of feminism lately, so maybe that's where our difference of opinion on this comes from.

I respect that, and I think that it's a fair criticism on me that I tend to think of issues (not only this one) in too abstract terms. Still, I think one should never underestimate the extent to which ideas end up shaping reality. The strength of patriarchy, in particular, strikes me as being based almost exclusively on ideology. If we are to eradicate it, we must actively seek out and destroy all the sorts of attitudes and beliefs that nourish it.
97  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Ministry of Purity Crimes Self-Reporting Thread on: January 24, 2015, 01:38:51 pm
Wow, so apparently it's a normal thing to get full score on the Math part? Sad I only got in the top 15% (top 5% in verbal), so it looks like I'm far behind.
98  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Ministry of Purity Crimes Self-Reporting Thread on: January 24, 2015, 12:56:15 pm
Did you already take the GRE Simfan? How much did you get?

No, not yet. I was talking about my plans to take it and preparing.

Well good luck on that! I fear that when I'll know your results it will be another punch in the guts for my ego. I know Foucaulf got an insanely good one (something like 168/170) which made me feel like sh*t, I've no doubt you can do as well. Wink

Well I've taken tips from him so let's hope so. If I can replicate my SAT results everything should be fine.

I took the GRE a few years ago. I think the key is to not make mistakes while still being fast. The math isn't particularly hard in itself but  the time pressure can get to you if you let it.

May I ask you how much you got? I don't want to look like a hypercompetitive asshole, but the issue is that I'd like to know if the kind of score that I have can give me a shot at the universities I'd like to attend. Tongue
99  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Americans Only: Who Would You Vote For (2015, Northern Ireland edition) on: January 24, 2015, 12:54:14 pm
F**k the fleg (normal)
100  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Any other Digimon fan out here? on: January 24, 2015, 12:50:49 pm
OK, two people who care is enough for me, let's do it! Wink

So, these are my top 11 favorite Digimon Adventure episodes. Why top 11? Because I like to steal other people's catchphrases! Tongue

#11 - Forget About It!

Quite ironically, this is an episode that most people probably have forgotten about. Tongue It's right after Tai comes back from his brief escape in the real world, only to find the team in complete disarray. He first comes across TK and Tokomon, who explain to him what has been going on when he wasn't there (the team splitting up etc.). We are introduced to DemiDevimon, who has already begun playing his dirty tricks and succeeded in pulling TK away from Tokomon and convincing him that his brother Matt, who had left a few days before and never come back, doesn't love him.

This episode has no new digivolution, no high-stakes battle (the best we get is Patamon vs. DemiDevimon Tongue), and doesn't really advance the plot apart from providing some exposition and introducing DemiDevimon. So what the hell is this doing in my top 11 list? There's one simple reason: this episode contains some of the most powerfully emotional scenes that I've seen in the entire series. This might sound really weird considering how the second half of the series is filled with profoundly moving moments, but still, there is something special that this episode does for me.

The setup isn't even that terrible, it's just TK missing his brother - nothing compared to the mourning for the loss of a Digimon friend that we'll see so often later in the show. But TK is a 6-year-old kid who has recently seen all his friends leave him, and now even his brother, and what would have been an inconvenience for someone else can become a genuine tragedy. It just feels real. The scene where Tokomon is narrating TK's waiting for his older brother - where we see his usual carefree attitude slowly turn into impatience, his impatience into concern, his concern into anxiety, and his anxiety into despair - was frigging heartbreaking even when I saw it as an adult.

Beyond that one scene, the psychology of the drama is really well-crafted. For one thing, even though DemiDevimon becomes a pain in the ass once we get used to his routine, he makes for a pretty interesting antagonist in his introductory episode. Again, the way he manipulates TK (though slightly forced out) still makes a lot of sense. He takes advantage of TK's traumatic emotional state to undermine his faith in his brother (which really is the pillar of his psychology), and, once he's gained a sway in him, he uses it to pull TK away from his only remaining friend, his Digimon partner. Sure, it might not look as impressive as when a villain tries to kill the heroes, but it's actually a pretty diabolical plan if you ask me. And it would have worked weren't it for Tai (who is probably the only one aside from Matt who could have snapped TK out of this confusion).

After Tai arrives, what happens next is rather predictable. DemiDevimon is unmasked, Patamon fights him and eventually defeats him, forcing him to retreat. So OK, this isn't a fantastic episode, but I really have a soft spot for the kind of psychological drama that it offers - especially since it allows us to see TK in a different light, and to realize that, as good as he might be at adapting to hostile conditions, he's still a little kid who needs the presence of his loved ones for his emotional stability. That's not really the typical Digimon awesomeness, but still something that's worth checking out.

#10 - The Piximon Cometh

Now, that's an episode everybody keeps in mind - so I will spare you the summary. What do I like about this episode? Well, there's the fact that Piximon is a lot of fun. He's a good-guy but can be rather mean-spirited, likes to teach hard lessons in even harder ways, looks cute but is also pretty clever, and provides for some good comedy when needed. But obviously this alone doesn't make an episode worthwhile.

The big thing about this episode is that it introduces what might be the single most important concept of the series (a few hints were dropped in the previous episodes, but this is when it gets real): in order to make their Digimon stronger and defeat the bad guys, the children need to improve themselves, to develop their qualities and become better persons. This point is really hammered in by this episode, in a way that's neither too subtle nor too anvilicious. It's obviously the cornerstone of Tai's experience in the cave (was it an hallucination or a sort of holodeck-like virtual reality? we'll never know), where he meets his younger self and understands the importance of not giving up and learning from mistakes. But it's also explicitly stated by Matt when he goes out with Izzy to search for their crests, in a rather poignant way (this is also a big defining moment for Matt's character, hinting to his low self-esteem that's going to play a big role later).

So what is there apart from that? Probably not that much. We see more of Etemon's antics, which are very much a love-it-or-hate-it affair (personally, I found him hilarious as a kid and still like it OK as an adult). We have a little fight scene at the end, which is fine. And we see the kids being essentially enslaved and toyed with by Piximon, which is funny initially but grows boring pretty fast. Still, the self-improvement aspect of it plays a critical role in my opinion, and really makes this episode stand out.

#9 - No Questions, Please

I'm really sorry MormDem, but that's where I'd rank that weird alien / pocket dimension / zombie / MegaKabuterimon episode. Tongue I honestly think this is a great idea, and while it's not always executed very well, it still gives us some memorable scenes and moments. I might be biased by the fact that I really like and agree with the "moral" of the story: it's an important message that I feel isn't often found in kid's shows. But that's exactly the sort of things we need to tell our kids! We need to tell them that it's great to be curious, that you shouldn't always opt for the comfort of your certainties but rather try to question the word around you. That's the sort of excellent (yet not Captain Obvious-y) morals that fit very well with the animation media.

So yeah, some moments are forced ("BOOM! Here's a giant dark pit! Wanna get out of it? Give up your curiosity!"). That's a shame, and they could easily have done it better if they cut the useless scatological interactions between Vademon and DemiDevimon. But the scenes that follow, when we see what Izzy looks like without his curiosity, do work really well. It really creeped me out as a child and still partly does. I especially like the bullsh*t lecture Vademon gives to Izzy about "finding your inner peace" and stuff like that. It almost sounds like a veiled critique of religious indoctrination. I have no idea if that's what the authors wanted to mean, but I really sensed some undertones about the dangers of getting caught up in a belief system that prohibits any sort of questioning. And finally, I love the scene where Pabumon blows bubbles with memories of Izzy in them. It might be pretty cheesy, but it worked on me.

Everything that happens after is also pretty forced and oddly paced, and the final digivolution/fight scene is largely forgettable. Maybe the writers tried to put too much emphasis on the morals that they forgot to tell an engaging story: I guess that's a fair criticism. Still, again, the fact that I'm completely on board with the morals made me enjoy this episode a lot.
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