Monday, September 10, 2012

Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est

Trivia is Serious Business.

Northwest High is a normal school in a normal Illinois town. It has a perfectly typical student body with a standard high school hierarchy. The cool kids are on top, the weird kids are on the bottom, and never the twain shall meet.

Except, that is, for two weeks in autumn, during the school's annual Trivia Master competition. For those two weeks, everything changes. The nerds inherit the earth. Knowledge itself becomes power. And with all that on the line, the knives come out.

That's a problem for some people. Paul Liston never intended to fight a war - just play a game with his peers. But as the king of the whiz kids, he's a target for everyone in contention. His friends want to use him. His rivals want to destroy him. And with his enemies multiplying daily, his only hope might be to sink into the gutter with them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Project Is Complete

It's a bad start to one's career: Alone in a foreign country, broke, homeless, living on borrowed time with an expired visa. That was just the start of one teacher's sojourn through the People's Republic of China. It started in an enclave of the social elite, winding through isolated farming villages before concluding in a burgeoning financial center. And at each stop, a sea of friendly, smiling faces - the smile of a predator longing to tear off a piece for himself. This is the Middle Kingdom, a place where business is savage and nothing is free of its influence - not even education.

KINGDOM OF SHARKS is an account of the Chinese education system, as experienced by one of the thousands of people who travel abroad to teach English as a Second Language every year. It is divided into two parts - one in the northern city of Changchun, the other in the southern city of Suzhou - and follows the author as he moves between various companies, chronicling the corruption and abuse he witnessed as he moved across the country.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Schedule Update

While I will still be doing the podcast, I can't promise a regular schedule. Keep the suggestions coming, and I'll put out new episodes as frequently as I can. Thanks for your support.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Flashback - Dramatis Personae #6

Lee Siegel v. The Daily Show was the most popular episode of Dramatis Personae I produced (not that that's saying much). It features a rather long dramatic reading of a column written by cultural scold Lee Siegel shortly before Jon Stewart's appearance at the academy awards. This episode has one of my favorite reads - I think I captured the spirit of a self-important snob pretty well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dramatis Interruptus Special #2 - Fan Dumb


Sometimes in life, a person, product or service you like will be mocked. Part of maturity is having enough perspective and self-control to handle that appropriately. Those that can't manage that are doomed to the ranks of the Fan Dumb.


Amusingly enough, the RP video that followed the one I discussed has been pulled down on a copyvio claim (Update: It's been uploaded to So much for "the video creators tend to take it well."

From a legal perspective, both LPs and RPs are derivative works. Derivative works can only be copyrighted if they display some degree of originality. The law in this area is murky - even more so than with copyright law in general - but if the LP is deemed sufficiently original to have a copyright, I'd have to assume that a commentary on it would also pass muster. Retupurae has an additional defense - as a commentary, it is legally considered parody, and parody gets a wider berth (something Seamus mentioned in response to the fans who wanted him to file a copyright claim). There's just not much of a case here.

Of course, Matthew Needler - the user who issued the claim - knows this. The copyright standards for Retsupurae were settled after YouTube reinstated the original account. People like him are relying on YouTube's slow copyvio claims process and notoriously gun-shy attitude towards anything that even smells of copyright.

Oh, and just so I can end this on a positive note: Retsupurae fanfiction with "implied slash." You're welcome.