A friend of mine wrote to me the other day that one of her husband’s buddies had been flirting heavily with him, and she was… kinda okay with the idea. As was he. As was, after some investigation, the buddy.
“So what next?” she asked. And here, in a nutshell, is my advice on what to do when you’re a couple, opening up to poly.
(NOTE: This is written to the female partner of a male-female married couple, because that’s how I wrote the email, but really, the advice applies for all genders and sexualities.)
When you’ve got an untouchable couple at the center of things, I think it’s best to really set expectations as to what you want out of things. After all, your obvious goal is to keep you and your partner intact as a unit. If it comes down to you or her, at this stage, it’s almost certainly going to be you. So why hurt this friend (and your husband!) unnecessarily by being unclear about what’s cool with you?
The problem is, you don’t really know what’s okay yet. You’re not poly yet. Maybe you’ve read some books, but polyamory is like parenting in that you can read every book and still get whomped by unexpected emotions. Right now, you’re theoretically okay with your husband sleeping with some third party, and maybe even falling in love, but hypotheses are not data.
And so you’re going to have that uncomfortable conversation of, “Here’s what I think I’m comfortable with you guys doing, but it might be less than this if it really triggers me, or maybe a lot more if it turns out I’m unexpected awesome.”
You have to talk, really. It’s just not as super-helpful as you’d think, because realistically this is jumping into a pool to see how it feels.
But I’d definitely talk to him, to see what your husband wants. Is it romantic snuggles and candlelight? Single swinging? FWB? Or just the right to explore and find out what the hell it is he wants? Maybe you don’t even need to be poly, you just need to be swingers – which is easier. Less attachments generated.
Then, if that’s cool, probably let him go on a date or two with the buddy. Make it clear that these are no-sex dates (though maybe some smooching is cool, if your husband can restrain himself to your comfort zone). I mean, your husband and his buddy might not hit it off – maybe s/he smells funny – and there’s no sense in generating a Big Important Conversation if this is going to end up in a thanks-but-no-thanks situation.
Yet if all goes well, then, yeah, talk to the buddy with all of you at a sit-down dinner. Say, “Hey, we’re new at this, I’m totally cool with you sexing up my husband, but here are my concerns.”
Now, maybe, yeah, that sort of intense conversation may weird the buddy out. But my take is that if talking to you about what you guys need as a couple weirds them out that they skedaddly, then they really were NOT the right choice for you.
Because that sort of three-way communication is gonna come up. You’re married. And even if you weren’t married, the fact is that your husband’s known you for longer, and (assuming that you’re happily married) would more likely to weight your opinion even if there were no other mitigating factors. It’s an uneven relationship – and sure, that may not be fair, but the buddy needs to know that your emotions are part of this mixture. If that’s a dealbreaker, then it’s only fair to the buddy to give them this opportunity to move on.
(Which isn’t to say that you should use this as an excuse to be a monster – the buddy’s feelings should always be taken into account. If you’re the kind of person who’s going to take all of your insecurities out on the buddy, using them as a flashpoint to blame them for everything that’s currently wrong in your relationship with your husband, then… you probably shouldn’t try poly. Poly’s about getting your needs met, but it’s not about getting all your needs met.)
And then they start dating, and you hunker down for drama. I know you want the no-dramaness, but there’s rarely a time when you open up poly in an established relationship that at least a little drama is not generated. Maybe it’s not big drama, but you only really discover what makes your relationship unique to the two of you when you find someone nibbling at its edges. You’re probably going to find a couple of things that you thought were unique to your husband and you, and whoops, he doesn’t think that. And if you’re typical you’re going to fluctuate between “Wow, how bizarre, I feel no jealousy at all” and “I’m alone now, how sad,” and a newfound appreciation of your husband’s qualities now that other people are appreciating them and “Am I good enough?”
All that’s cool. It happens. And when you do that, you’ll be waist-deep in the poly pool and well on your way.
I was writing about the difficulties of communication over on FetLife, and I got a sniffy comment that was essentially, “This is not a difficult thing to work out between two sane, mature adults.”
No. It’s not difficult between two sane, consenting adults. It rarely is.
Unfortunately, we’re also rarely entirely sane.
Thing is, sanity is a percentage. We all have weak spots where if you poke us, we melt down. We all have embarrassing hotspots that we reflexively conceal, whether we should or not. You can be perfectly sane about 99% of things, but everyone has some crazy spot that triggers them into overreacting. And everyone has some emotional issue that, when raised, makes them word not so good that communicates are mall workingfail.
And when someone skips across your insane zones – you have them – then you react in bizarre ways, and God forbid your bizarre reactions trample on your partner’s insane zone. If you’re lucky, eventually you deal with it. But that doesn’t make it magically “not hard” to do, especially when your monkey-brain wants to bite their face off for leaving toothpaste on the sink again.
If I only wrote essays aimed at sane, mature adults interacting with other sane, mature adults, the entirety of my output would consist of “Trust your instincts.” But no. I’m writing essays aimed at people who are, say, 86% sane (which is actually a pretty good sanity ratio), and dealing with someone who, up until now, has appeared to been sane 100% of the time (but we both know that’s not true). And we’re asking what happens when either you’re walking into the minefield of your 14% craziness, or are unsure what proportion of crazy your partner has or even where their crazy-zones are.
Of course this issue is not difficult to work out for two sane, consenting adults. No issue is. Might as well say that “Being married is not a difficult thing to work out between two sane, mature adults” or “Raising a child is not a difficult thing to work out between two sane, mature adults,” or any other number of other flabbily unhelpful things, mainly because the definition of “a sane, mature adult” usually lines up darned closely to “someone who never has problems with common issues.”
But as for the rest of us, we’re navigating a list of unspoken assumptions with people we don’t know quite as well as we’d like (which is, actually, everybody we love), trying to see whether the insanity lies within them, or within us, or within both.
And making the blanket assumption that everyone will be as sane as you on this topic tells us that a) this place is somewhere that you are perfectly sane, and b) one of your insanities may lie in the field of empathy.
As a Numenera GM, I have a love-hate relationship with the game. I love the setting; there’s just not enough of it.
Which is to say that by the time I got to Planescape, there were fifteen sourcebooks detailing the setting, and I did not have to make anything up. Now, I’m not opposed to making things up; hell, “generating worlds” is what I do in my fiction.
But when I’m GMing, I want to play with my characters like Barbie dolls, making them walk through the big Barbie Dream House. I don’t want to make up a town myself; no, I want to fall in love with a town that someone else has made up, and then bring it to life for my PCs! And so Numenera, which currently has no detailed sourcebooks, makes me a sad GM; I have to take the three paragraphs detailing, say, Eldan Firth, and make it all up.
And what if future sourcebooks contradict my ideas? What if some day, Monte and Shanna write the Eldan Firth sourcebook, and it’s not at all what I envisioned? I’m a canon freak, I like playing in other people’s sandboxes, so the idea that they could shatter the concept of what my town is unnerves me. I want to be faithful to Numenera’s setting, not create some home brew!
And yet Numenera is so awesome as a game that I must make things up, or else I cannot play it. And so I present to you, my take on one of the classic Numenera cities:
Shallamas, City Of Echoes. (P. 139 in the sourcebook.)
Shallamas is a city twisted by love of assassination. Those who murder in the dark here are celebrated folk heroes – even the ordinary citizens cheer when a stranger is abducted and never heard from again, for assassins were all that drove those Draolish bastards from their beloved city.
The history is simple: years back, the Draolish made a push from down South and captured Shallamas. They garrisoned the town, filling it with their best guards, as Shallamas was one of Navarene’s most prized trading posts – and having captured it in a hard-won campaign, they were determined to keep a grip on it. The city, which had relied on Queen Armalu’s troops for protection, found itself helpless.
So they did what smaller forces always did: they struck where they could, striking in the dark, chipping away at the edges of the Draolish power. But Shallamas had a unique issue that made it harder on the locals -
- the echoes.
Without warning, residents of Shallamas will see and hear “echoes” of recent events, so accurate a picture of the past that viewing an echo is accepted as evidence in court. Knife a man in a back alley at night, there’s a good chance that three days later your crime may be replayed at noon. And so any criminal activity is extremely dangerous in Shallamar, as the people in power have a decent chance of stumbling across replayed evidence.
The Shallamarians took this as a challenge.
Led by One-Eyed Argrash Provani, the rebellion created a vast set of tunnels and traps underneath the city, to this day proudly called The Murder Holes, where unwitting guards could be tricked, dragged, or abducted. They wore identical hoods to ensure that if they were seen, no one would notice. They struck from places no one would think to look in, so even the murder was replayed, who would be watching the rafters? The Provani used poisons, cyphers, never using the same approach twice, filling the Draolish with fear…
…and eventually, after a celebrated coup known as the Night of the Black Knives that took out three Draolish captains in one night, the Draolish retreated.
Years later, the Provani still rule the town, and assassination is seen as the reason no one else has invaded. Only servants and peasants wear bright clothing, purposely given to them to mark them as targets; those in power wear loose-fitting robes of black and silver, seemingly identical from a distance. (Nobles in Shallamas quickly come to mark distinctions in fabric and weave to see which robes are the most expensive.)
The Provani, a large and loosely-bonded family, pride themselves on their ability to still kill quietly. From a young age, the Provani children are taught that stealing isn’t a crime, getting caught is. A nobleman who can’t climb a rain-slickened wall or sneak past his own servants is considered a fool – though such noblemen often hire younger assassins to look out for them, a tactic that sometimes backfires. The weakest of the Provani are assigned to bureaucratic positions, the lowest level of which are the tax collectors; it’s considered a deep shame to have to walk into someone’s house and take money by force.
The Provani are clannish but bored. They’ve shredded the power of all the competing families, and so have begun to play elaborate power games among themselves. The prosperity of the town is working against them, as the quiet peace leaves a family of killers little to do, and so the Provani are beginning to fragment as infighting and boredom take their toll. Only the constant machinations of the current head of the family, Argust Provani, keeps the Provani in line, earning him the name Lord of Intrigues.
As for the people of Shallamas, they harbor the deep suspicion that if an assassin has killed someone, then that person must have deserved it. They’re still horrified by death – the ideal is someone who vanishes without a trace, never being seen again. (Clever merchants have discovered that if they can slip out of town unnoticed, they can often abandon some great debts under the pretense of being “assassinated,” so long as they commit to never returning to Shallamas.) Finding a body in the street has a double horror for the people of Shallamas – at seeing a friend killed, and knowing that they were killed clumsily, doubtlessly by some outsider ruffian.
As such, Argust Provani uses his Shadowlings (secretly family members who he trusts) to stamp out “crime” – which is defined loosely as “Anything that interferes with the goals of the Provani family.” The Provani, despite their infighting, want the town to prosper through merchant trade, and so merchants find it to be a very safe space. Anyone who steals from a merchant is likely to find a short and violent retribution awaiting them. Unless they steal in a surpassingly clever way, in which case the thief might find a highly-placed Provani willing to bring them in as a new “cousin.”
There are four marketplaces in Shallamas – one at each of the three Great Gates that allow entrance to the city, and one in the center. Visitors note that the walls of Shallamas appear to be stone from a distance, but up close are made of some granular material that shifts slightly when no one is looking, and seems to expand and contract slightly as the day goes on.
The three marketplaces at the gates are split up by what merchandise they sell. There’s Devour, where all the foodstuffs are sold – a mucky market filled with blood from the slaughterhouses. There’s The Bleed, where weapons, armor, and training are sold. And then there’s the Turned Eye, the fashion district.
All three gates are guarded by an affable man called Tryp, a man who used to Exist Partially Out of Phase before a cypher accident caused him to split into three equidistant blurs. Now he exists in three places; as you talk to him at the Devour gate, he’ll often pause and mutter an aside to thin air as he answers a question posed to him at the Turned Eye gate. Tryp can no longer be touched or interact with the physical world, a fact he laments, but a squadron of guards at each gate serves him loyally and without question.
The real jewel of Shallamas is The Culvert, the central market surrounding the Provani palace where “all the interesting things wash up.” That’s where merchants ply the most intriguing wares – almost any numenera can be found here, if you look long enough. Getting a slot in The Culvert is a highly political thing; many a provider of exotic armor or bizarre foodstuffs has petitioned the Provanis to be put in The Culvert, only to be stuck in the Turned Eye or the Bleed. In particular, there is a decanted merchant named Liquil who sells exotic animals, condemned to work in the slaughterhouse of the Devour even though he’d be horrified if anyone ate his singing pigs or the brown-winged wagonhauler.
The Culvert bumps up against the batwing-shaped curve of Inviola, the large and mazelike warren-castle that the Provani inhabit. Made of an unknown black material that makes an unnerving chiming noise whenever rain falls on it, it’s rumored the Inviola was here when Shallamas was created, and the town elders built around it. What is known is that the warrens seem distinctly unfit for human habitation, with some hallways small enough that even tiny men must crouch, opening up into huge cavernous rooms with alcoves that could not be possibly reached unless you flew or were pulled up.
Some claim the Inviola is the source of Shallamar’s infamous Echoes. Others claim that’s ridiculous, if that’s the case then why don’t the Provani simply turn them off? And a third faction claims that the Provani know what would happen if they shut down the Echoes, and the ramifications were too terrible for them to consider.
Many in the sci-fi community are horrified by the way their fan-reaction to Jonathan Ross’s aborted emceeing of the Hugos is being presented, now that it’s making national newspaper stories in Britain. “They’re missing vital context!” people are crying. “They’re omitting vital facts! They’re taking a biased view, and skewing things!”
Apply that same criterion to every story that has ever gotten you upset, and ponder how that distortion may also apply before you rush to an easy judgment.
I’ve been at the center of some internet controversy-storms before, and I can tell you: facts always get omitted, contexts always get slurred, opinions always override actual content. Maybe there is a skeleton of truth, teetering around the center of the storm somewhere, but wherever there’s blog-frenzies of reactions, there’s inevitably a lot of cherry-picking. Things get distorted, and villains get made because people love villains.
And people love to feel superior. That’s what the villains are for.
If this is your first time at the rodeo and you’re all like, “…but these people are making judgments upon people I admire without having all the facts!”, then ponder all the times you read a single article from a single person, decided that their story was the full truth of it, and decided to blast it out into the world with the air of “this is what happened” as opposed to “this is one person’s take on events, what I hear disturbs me, and I’m wondering what happened here.”
Because this distortion field is what happens. It’s what always happens. And if you’re offended by the skewed way your community is being presented right now, then remember it the next time you see someone else’s foibles being picked apart, and think, maybe this isn’t the full truth. Maybe I’m missing something.
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t post that link. Sometimes, people acting badly are… actually acting badly. Just aim that cannon of your personal PR with the recognition that things are usually more complex than presented, and things tend to congeal very quickly into camps of right and wrong, and the truth is usually floating somewhere in the middle – close enough for both sides to brush fingers against but not quite tight enough for either to hug.
Monkey-brains love simplicity. Despite millions of years of evolution, we have monkey-brains. And simplicity is often the enemy.
(And yes, the same critique could be applied to both the reaction to Jonathan Ross himself, and the reaction to the reaction to Jonathan Ross. That’s rather my point.)
(And yes, I’ve been guilty of this in the past as well. I try not to be. But even trying, I often fail. That is also rather my point.)
I’m a man who goes through a lot of depressive states, and, like most depressives, I don’t announce them.
The problem with depression is that it’s tedious, and actually anti-story. Tales are about people having bold breakthroughs, shedding old habits, transforming into newer and more dazzling people. Depression, however, is like the weather. Some days things are good, some days it’s raining out, and other days there’s a cold winter storm and all you can do is hunker down and hope you survive it.
There’s no beating the weather. There’s no vanquishing the stormclouds. You just learn to buy an umbrella, and hope you have the cash for the heating bills.
I’m undergoing a profound depression right now that’s fluttering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I’m actually loath to call it “depression,” since depression as I have defined it personally has been a chemical thing, this pall of sadness that comes from nowhere for no good reason. It’s like I’ve been drugged to be unhappy – no, actually, that’s precisely what it is, except the drugging is of an organic and accidental nature. This depression, however, is based on a series of career setbacks I’ve had, and I’m struggling to regain my footing, but I’m barely able to function.
I am functioning. This, I am proud of. But it’s at a vastly reduced level, where I’m not responding to things I should, and overreacting to things I shouldn’t, and am in general crawling instead of walking. All my skin has been stripped off, and I am glistening tenderness everywhere.
But I may be very erratic for the next few weeks. I’m very bad at dealing with actual sorrow; chemical depressions I can go, “You’re lying,” and wave them away, but sadness created by genuine events leave me wondering what to do. I will figure it out.
For now, I’m significantly aching that I feel it’s worthy of a blog post to warn people who interact with me. I don’t want any rah-rah you’re wonderful Ferrett speeches, as they’ll slide right off, and there’s a better-than-even chance I may take your head off in the doing. I am not wonderful, not right now. I am crawling back, one step at a time, towards something a little more functional, and maybe I’ll even be stronger, but right now I am so tired of crawling, of needing cheerleaders, of needing to try, that I’m very down.
And you should know, if you plan to interact with me. That is all.
Today’s attempt to analyze what makes for a compelling opening chapter is a mashup that totally shouldn’t work – Jane Austen and dragons.
Yes, Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw is a book where genteel, cannibalistic dragons sit in English countrysides and worry about being married properly. And that is one hell of a thing to sell. It’s a concept so absurd that as an author, you’d have to work overtime to get past the initial silliness of the material – because Jane Austen is actually quite serious stuff.
So the question is, how does Jo Walton signal that these are both dragons and English-style gentlemen?
Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton (Feel free to download the sample to your Kindle, if you’d like to play along.)
Opening Sentence: “Bon Agorin writhed on his deathbed, his wings beating as though he would fly to his new life in his old body.”
I talked in my analysis of Old Man’s War about the need to signal the presence of a non-standard protagonist right away – if you’ve got someone who’s not white, relatively young, and male, you need to jar the reader out of that default analysis before they get too firmly set in their visualization. (Which isn’t to say that it’s necessarily right that people default to zomgcisheterowhitedude, but it is a tendency you need to fight.)
And here, Jo is smart enough to recognize that if you’re gonna write about dragons, you’ve gotta start with a bold signal that these people aren’t human. So: beating wings. But also a deathbed, which hints at a more civilized society – a deathbed implies a long slow death, usually of the elderly, in a comfortable place – so yes. Goal achieved. Both the Austeny components and the dragonish components signaled up front before we’ve exited the first quarter of the first paragraph. (The rest of that paragraph hammers on this double-duty as well – discussing “doctors” leaving the “draughty undercave” where he’s sitting on his “scant gold.”)
When Do We Find Out What Motivates Our Protagonist? Usually, it’s in or before the third paragraph, and here it arguably is in paragraph #3: Bon’s son Penn approaches his father on his deathbed to ask what’s wrong. (The next paragraph fleshes this motivation out, where he wonders what’s troubling his father so.)
What Happens In The First Chapter? Bon dies, but not before settling his affairs (dispensing his gold and his body, which his family will eat and grow strong from), and making a shocking confession – that he ate his brother and sister alone to grow large enough to avoid being eaten by his adopted parents. His son, a priest, grants him absolution regardless, but immediately regrets the decision.
There’s some wonderful justified worldbuilding here – and several first-chapter analyses later, one of the keys of “good worldbuilding” seems to be “justified.” In this case, the son attempts to reassure his father by saying this:
“Beginning with more than a gentle name, you have grown to be seventy feet long, with wings and flame, a splendid accomplishment and the respect of all the district. Five of your children survive to this day. I am in the Church, therefore safe…. Berend is well married and has children, her husband is a powerful and industrious Lord. Avan is making his way in Irieth. His is perhaps the most perilous course, but he has strong friends thus far, as you did before him.”
The dialogue rings a little of “As you know, Bob” – but in this case, the son does have some urge to go over his family, to let his father slip into death without guilt. But note what gets accomplished there – we’re told in that first line of dialogue that dragons measure success in foot-growth, that wings and flame are something to be aspired to in this world. And then, in the next sentences, it’s made blatantly clear that being killed is a distinct possibility, one that other dragons have to maneuver to be protected against. All before we’re to the end of paragraph #5.
This is a short chapter, less than five pages, but it is also highly political. Bon is concerned with dispensing gold, splitting up his body; Penn considers himself lucky to have gotten into the Church, and is worried about losing his position as parson. Should it come out that he has given absolution for such a great sin, he could lose his position.
The thing is, the danger presented in the plot is slight. The only person who knows about Bon Agornin’s terrible crime is his son Penn, and no one else. Penn is shaken by the revelation, but it’s doubtful this will affect the plot as of the end of this first chapter. What draws us in is the depth and complexity of this world – we’re not so much fascinated by Penn, who is at this point a rather unprepossessing minister, but rather the idea of a world full of dragons eating dragons, and how does a thinking being maneuver in such a society?
We’re drawn in by the promise of a bigger world. Character is secondary; we want to know the society. And given that the only rule in first chapters is that they have to make you want to read the second, that’s different, but it’s perfect.
1) We had seven guests for our Oscar party last night. There were nine films up for Best Picture.
Not a one of the guests had seen one of the Best Picture nominees.
That’s a problem, because why the hell would you watch the Oscars when you don’t care? Now, clearly people do – seven folks showed up – but that’s like the Superbowl in that there’s such a big social event that it barely matters who’s on the field.
But the Oscars know that ratings rise when people have seen the films (the year when Avatar was up for it was a big spike), and drop when it’s unexciting. That’s why they doubled the number of nominees, one suspects, to give people more of a shot.
Yet Oscar is still Oscar, and likes dreary depressing movies. (12 Years A Slave is a very Large and Important Film that provides a history lesson, but it’s also precisely the opposite of fun.) Oscar doesn’t like action films, or comedies, which means what you get left are a lot of dramas. And dramas are increasingly moving to TV.
(Though we did get a bumper crop of pretty awesome and humorous dramas this year in the form of American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, and Captain Phillips – which one suspects accounts for the decent ratings this year. My guests didn’t watch it, but with four $100 million+ box office blockbusters in the mix, it wasn’t as bad as the year where The Artist was the frontrunner.)
So what’s that mean for the Academy Awards? Tough choice. You can’t just start saying, “Oh, the Avengers!” without really sapping the dignity of the Oscars, but considering the Oscars harp on an increasingly-smaller piece of the movie pie – dramas aimed at grown-ups – then less and less people will be invested as time goes on. People have no one to root for but the dresses. And those are dresses worn by actors and actresses who largely appeal to older people.
Like I said. Tough gig.
2) Ellen Degeneres was a perfectly safe host who played it perfectly safe. You knew what you were going to get with Ellen Degeneres. She is keyed to offend nobody.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I find it hard to get really keyed up about Ellen. She goofs around, makes a couple of good shots, and I kind of forget she’s the host. And again, some people are going to be all “Oh, I love Ellen!” and that’s great, she’s lovable, but as an Oscar host Ellen is pretty dispensable.
Maybe that’s what you want, really: a host who just shoves the people on-stage as quickly as possible and gets the hell off. But again, that makes it harder to get people invested in the Oscars, because you’re basically saying, “The host doesn’t matter. The films do.” And, as previously noted, the films are increasingly less exciting. So what’s anchoring the Oscars?
My Twitter feed hated hated hated Seth McFarlane last year, but the ratings spiked in a relatively low-key year. He got a lot of buzz, and the Oscars did what they inevitably do after a controversial host, which is to go back to an oldie like Billy Crystal (groan) or Ellen Degeneres. Which just gets back to the eternal problem of the Oscars being increasingly irrelevant for the coverted 18-34 demographic, and say what you will about Seth McFarlane, that Family Guy audience tuned in. They generally don’t watch Oscars.
What percentage of them stayed? Who knows? This year’s decent (though not blockbuster) Oscar ratings could be explained by a) a decent amount of blockbusters on the Best Picture block, b) Ellen Degeneres being more popular as an Oscar host than I thought, c) Seth McFarlane revitalizing the format to some small extent, or d) Reply Hazy, Try Again Later.
Yet that’s your problem. The films the Oscars champions are dwindling, going to more long-term positions on television. The hosts can’t be too controversial or they’ll piss people off, but if they’re lame then people get bored (*cough* James Franco *cough*) or don’t get excited. The host is a pretty thankless task, and I’m not even certain they could make a difference, since if they make the kinds of jokes that are really honestly funny, then they’re actually shitting on the people who came to get awards. I thought Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais were great entertainment as hosts (Gervais at the Golden Globes), but they did that by reminding the audience what shallow jerks they were – and while that’s funny to me, I get how it’s inappropriate to take someone who’s gotten their lifetime achievement and yank their pants down around their ankles at the same time.
So can you have an interesting hosts? Billy Crystal’s about as good as it gets. And I’m not really a fan of his cornpone, but people seem to like it.
3) Matthew McConaughey? Best Oscar speech ever. Yeah, he creeped people out by talking about God; as a Christian, I say good for him. And I loved his enthusiasm and articulate nature as he discussed his philosophy. That wasn’t an Oscar speech, which is usually a mumbled list of names through tears, it was a speech. And go him.
(Also, he totally deserved that win, even as I felt bad; in any other year, Chiwetel could have gotten it, as his performance was also sterling.)