I’m getting dizzy

Did I post this one? A Warren Ellis interview. Funny.

~ by Servetus on July 9, 2017.

27 Responses to “I’m getting dizzy”

  1. An extra thanks for your efforts to help us navigate this strange new world RA has introduced us to and I do mean strange 😂

    • you’re very welcome, and it’s been largely a pleasure, but I may be reaching satisfaction on the youtube game reviews. Although every now and then I see one that has yet a different context. Like I didn’t know that Konami was hostile to a lot of its audience until this morning …

      fandom is so educational.

  2. Always interesting to see insights from the writer. The link given to his production blog from when he was writing the script originally 10 years earlier is interesting too. How to go from synopsis to outline to script and constraints of various formats. And there’s even a snippet of original script with the goat farmer in the tavern.

    • I was fascinated by how long this property has been around. Makes our whining about the distribution for some of Armitage’s films look sort of trivial!

  3. Loved this one, thanks! Warren Ellis is good times, think I still have my copy of Transmetropolitan gathering dust somewhere. So happy he’s writing for this series.

    • If Mr. Armitage would still like to shave his head, he would like Spider Jerusalem.

    • I guess the anti-religion position is one of his trademarks? That was the only part of the writing that bothered me. Not that you can’t be anti-Church, many are, but it was sooooo clichéd.

      • I think that’s the franchise in this case, it does play with Catholic themes a lot. I don’t think it’s anti-religion, really (I mean, quite a number of gameplay mechanics involve faith-based items/actions), so can’t really say if that attracted Warren Ellis in a way or if he’s just working with the existing material, haha.

        • well — the “Church is anti-knowledge” thing goes on for several minutes. So it’s definitely anti-Church. (Obv this is a drum I’ve been beating lately anyway, it was one of the frustrating things about Pilgrimage as well; I have less issue with it in a cartoon since nothing about the entire story is realistic, but I did notice it). I think I read the “Warren Ellis hates organized religion” in the comments of one of the youtubes I saw. This is the only thing of his I’m aware of ever seeing, so.

          • I’m afraid I’m not much help, he has a huge body of work and I’ve only read Transmetro and some of his issues from Marvel, so no idea, sorry. 😦 But if I were to base it off of just Transmetropolitan (and my hazy recollections of it), then it’s pretty likely.

  4. Ellis seems anti-institutional corruption. Belmont wanted a properly ordained priest in the last episode to bless the water. The other ‘priests’ were hired thugs by comparison.

    • The belief that Belmont articulates there is called Donatism; it’s been a heresy since approximately the 8th century. So yeah. Anti-Church.

    • This is the thing (w/Pilgrimage, too) — it’s not like I expect everyone to be an expert on church history. But a lot of things can be very easily researched to make them at least accurate. If you’re going to criticize something, at least know accurately what it is you’re criticizing. IMO this piece makes Warren Ellis look ignorant. There are plenty of things to criticize the western Church for, going back millennia. This cartoon doesn’t even get close to what they are.

      • The line between being anti-church and acknowledging a thread of corruption is a thin one. As someone raised Roman Catholic and made an effort to study church history, one moment someone is a heretic, the next ahead of their time.

        • I think it’s complex (there’s a Venn diagram of overlap), but I don’t see how Donatism is in a grey area. If you’re a large institution, you can’t create a situation where only some baptisms are valid. The exact point is that no matter how corrupt an ordained priest is, his baptisms are valid. Someone insisting on having a morally clean priest isn’t being “ahead of his time,” it’s being actively destructive to an institution. I’ve never been a Catholic but condemning Donatism was a natural and intelligent move on the part of the church.

          If you articulate a Donatist viewpoint, you are a heretic and anathema. That’s within the Church. If you are outside the Church and you praise a Donatist viewpoint, you’re anti-Church.

        • I mean, you’re essentially saying the Church should have no power to determine its own membership. It’s a bizarre position.

          • I choose my bizarre position and will not justify it.

          • Plus I have a dentist appointment and don’t have time.

            • This story is a non-starter for historical analysis because it has a vampire as a main characters. I also accept that the story gets its parameters from the videogame and typically video games get along without detailed historical justification. And you can believe what you like. Here, however, are some facts for you.

              1. Witch-hunts were uncommon in Wallachia (Brian Levack, The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe, p. 230. I’m citing this b/c I had to look it up to verify; it’s not general knowledge, although it is easily available and my college students knew it).
              2. 1455 is very early for witch-burning, as the major document that justified witch-burning, the Malleus Maleficarum, had only been published in 1452/3. Burnings of witches had been relatively rare before that, and that document itself departed very heavily from the tradition of Church belief / teaching about witch hunts following Canon Episcopi, which taught that witches were not real in the sense that their beliefs about the devil or magic actually materialized. Until the 1450s, the Church had taught that belief in popular magic was a delusion, not a really occurring thing or a threat. The “witch” was to be counseled, asked to confess, given penance, etc.
              3. The major period for the kind of burning(s) represented in the cartoon in Europe was 1540-1650 (approximately), beginning a century after this story plays.
              4. The Church was not and is not anti-knowledge. After 1215, it was its canonical position that divine revelation and truth revealed through perception were unified; if this did not seem obvious at the time, the Church taught, it would become so in the fullness of time. It’s the Church that pays for natural philosophy instruction in the universities; it’s the Church that trains medical doctors, well into 1700s. Until 1600, 90% of anything that might be called “experimental science” was conducted by churchmen.
              5. Lisa Tepec is represented as interested in science or medicine. It was not the custom of the fifteenth-century church to burn either scientists or medical doctors.
              6. The frequent citation of “remember Galileo” as a reason to believe this kind of story or find it realistic is a red herring. Not only did it happen two centuries after this story, that incident is well known to be anomalous in the history of the church. It never even articulated a coherent position against evolutionary theory.
              7. Some of the most well-known examples of people engaging in magic in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were churchmen; most of the magical manuscripts in this period were created by men with associations of some kind to the church and they were preserved in monasteries and university libraries.
              8. The Catholic Church had a slight edge over the Protestant Church in witchburnings in some areas (Switzerland, e.g.), but in fact, every church in the period prosecuted so-called witches, including the Russian church, etc.

              Only on one level is the story plausible: there were corrupt bishops. But their corruption did not lie in the burning of witches (when bishops were responsible for them). The Church had always eliminated its enemies; in this sense the burning of witches is not that different from any other prosecution of heretics and was milder than some.

              I get it — I don’t like witch-burning, either. Even if I understand the rationale for it, I wish they’d not done it or found some way around it. However, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion when one sees a narrative like this, constructed almost exclusively of falsehood and prejudices, that the author is anti-Church (and/or anti-religion, as I said above). This is history on the level of something the man learned in fourth grade. My typical response to narratives like this is frankly to roll my eyes at the under-information of the people who construct them and frustration at those who nod their heads because the story fulfills their prejudices. I could speculate as to why some authors have a need to believe in a pristine notion of religion that gets along without institutions, but my disdain for that position is probably already obvious.

  5. re: Warren Ellis’ own position on religion, from his own mouth:


  6. My 2¢, I am not sure Warren cares one way or another about the accuracy of the historical timeline for this particular story. In some stories, like Crécy (The Battle of Crécy) he writes the story from a fictional character’s point of view, but I was told by those who professed to know, that it was decently historically accurate. But I don’t know that for a fact myself as it was never that important for me to seek out more details. I believe Warren Ellis is writing for maximum entertainment value. He is clearly a hired gun on this project with limitations and parameters. To his credit, it is fun and entertaining. I’m not into the game, nor know anything about the characters, (well other than Dracula) but it has a whole lot of Ellis’ idiosyncratic styles of phrases and speech that I thought familiar from reading his previous workS. Ultimately it is all fiction; if it successfully garners new and repeat readers, he accomplished his goal. His reputation as a clever writer is pretty solid. I’ve enjoyed most of his work, some of which is exceptional by my own personal jaded standards in the genres I favour most such as crime, horror, mystery. I remember reading once as a child (obviously paraphrasing here) that no story is original, but it is how the story is told that makes it good, great or whatever. Sorry, don’t remember the exact wording. For me the strength of Ellis is the way he tells his stories. Some of it is cliche, some brilliant and some of it is in the middle. So yeah, he probs did not do research on the timeline the story too place and he probs banged it out really fast. Still, I enjoyed it and while it is no where near as dark, gritty, humorous or horrifying as some of his work that I really favor, (Fell, Strange Kiss, Stranger Kisses, Nextwave) I’m glad I watched it.

    Someone mentioned RA as Spider Jerusalem, the main character in Ellis’ Transmetropolitian. That would be freakin’ mind blowing, and so far off the path of anything anyone has ever done. That is Warren’s baby tho, so it will always be his call on whatever gets done with that property. It is a great read for anyone interested in trying it out. Will probs be in most city libraries if you want to test the waters. For most, it will not be disappoint.

    • After I wrote this, I read a few more reviews that suggested that the position of the Church as enemy/villain is something he added to the story — it’s not part of the original games. As I said, historical analysis for accuracy is a non-starter in a story where a vampire is the main character (so I agree with you, the point wasn’t a historically accurate picture of fifteenth-century Wallachia). But the way the story is told in this case is definitely aniti-religion / anti-Church. But anti-Catholicism is considered an acceptable prejudice in the US and in much of the Anglophone world; I run into it all the time.

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