I Totally Love It. I Do Not Recommend It

#1

I recently started re-reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and began mulling over how I feel about it: namely, I’m completely fascinated by it and latched onto it tight, and also I will never recommend to any other person. It’s dense and long and tangled, full of technical details and interwoven connections that I love, but I just don’t think anyone I’m friends with would be, and frankly I don’t know that anyone really should be into it the way I am.
There’s also the fact that I have some significant problems with it’s ideas and the worldview it represents. It does a whole lot of framing social sciences as a frivolous pursuit that’s up its own ass, but the main characters work in tech, a field that I would say is plenty prone to getting up an ass. Then there’s the part toward the end where a couple characters get into a whole lecture/dialogue about cultures as followers (metaphorically speaking) of Ares or Athena, and it just doesn’t feel like it fits or matters. I actually really liked the mythology deep dive parts in Snow Crash, but those felt integral where the Ares/Athena stuff feels superfluous.
Does anyone else have something like this? Something that you really connected to or found interest in, but you just don’t think others would connect to, or maybe that you feel others shouldn’t connect to (maybe even wish you didn’t connect to it)?

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#2

I had extremely similar feelings about that book! I absolutely loved it when I started, but stopped reading 3/4 through because I couldn’t stand the characters anymore. I was reading it right as the Google Memo scandal was happening and I had enough misogynist gamergatey tech bro bullshit in my life to have to read about it in my fiction too. I was annoyed enough to write a Goodreads review until I found that this woman covered all my bases for me http://smorgasbook.blogspot.com/2013/05/cryptonomicon-by-neal-stephenson.html. The worldview in the book felt very redpill-lite and by the end of the book had completely turned me off.

I would be trucking along, really getting into it, starting to get eager about turning the page and finding out what was going to happen next, and then…some reference to “hairy-legged academic feminists” or the “Ejaculation Control Commission” or “those things women always say to manipulate men” and my enjoyment would come to a screeching halt.

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#3

I was sucked into the premise of Seven Eyes by Stephenson and bounced off after about a hundred pages. He needs a ruthless editor at the very least.

#4

I have 2 very different kinds of this.

I think Twin Peaks is a very interesting and strange show, that a lot of people should try but few should stick with. It’s rough, messy and deals with some very problematic stuff (your mileage may vary on how good it does). But it overall lands very well for me, in a way that a lot of shows don’t even go for.

Heroes is one good series of superhero TV and then a spiralling mess of TV that collapses under the weight of its own mythos, suffering from a series of ill conceived twists and turns. Season 1 is a solid, well told story with some loose ends. Season 2 was (AFAIR) concurrent with a writers strike and suffered badly for it, leaving some plots underdevelopped, dropping some threads and hastily resolving others. Characters were sold out and others were stuck in cyclical development. And then each season gets worse. It’s fascinating to me, to watch the bad decisions pile up as the story reaches further and further for anything to engage with, serving only to convolute itself further. It’s car crash TV at its height and it was a wild ride no one should spend their time on.

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#5

I really loved the first two parts of Seveneves (and there’s a lot of very cool concepts in the third part). Through most of it the science all passes my sniff test as sounding legit, but at the end of part two there’s what seems like (at least to me, who admittedly has almost no knowledge of genetics) a vast overestimation of scientific ability to understand and manipulate genes, and uses that overestimation for a hard turn into The Most Extreme eugenics.

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#6

Maybe Pictures for Sad Children, it was very funny but I feel the absurdist humour plus it no longer existing means that it really is kinda lost. There was also the issue with the author using a kickstarter to publish but never completely delivered.

#7

He hated capitalism so much he couldn’t stand to be apart of the system any longer.

Anyways, you are all like little baby, watch this.

ahem

Deponia Doomsday.

Genuinely one of the best games I have ever played, a brilliant meta satire on society cycles, story telling, and the endless destructive power of denial, but it also requires you to experience the entirety of the previous Deponia trilogy and their extremely hit him and miss adult comedy that collapses in on itself in the third game with one of the single worst, most mean spirited sections in any piece of media ever, and even Doomsday still has a bit of that in it. There is so much shit in this mess of a franchise that crosses into racist or homophobic and even transphobic that I simply cannot recommend the series unless you have an extremely high tolerance for cis white guy bullshit.

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#8

Seveneves was also my first thought. The first two parts were a tawt thriller, that also happen to feature a Hillary Clinton analogue basically making the worst, most selfish decisions possible, single-handedly doing everything she can to doom the future of humanity. And part three is so bad. Soooooo baaaaad. Still, I was absolutely riveted by the first two-thirds of the novel.

#9

Honestly? I have a hard time identifying things that aren’t this. I tend to assume that I only like the things I do because they scratch a very particular itch for me and I can’t expect others to have that same itch. I’m always hesitant to recommend anything to anyone. Maybe it’s just anxiety (it’s definitely just anxiety). I’m in a book club and we conclude each meeting with everyone giving a recommendation of something they’ve enjoyed that they want other people to try, and I’m pretty much always empty-handed. So far I’ve recommended this YouTube channel and Sekiro, neither of which really stirred much in the group.

(Sorry if this is too off-topic :\ )

#10

Thanks now I’m going to spend the whole day watching this YouTube channel. This is scratching my “live off the land in a tiny village in the woods” itch as hard as anything ever has omg

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#11

I really like the visual novel Wonderful Everyday, more commonly known as Subahibi.

The structure of the story is fascinating. It builds upon itself in a really unusual way, with twists where you actually have all the information required to understand them beforehand as opposed to explaining how this sudden thing can possibly be true afterwards. I know this mostly sounds like foreshadowing, but it’s more fundamental than that. It’s playing with the standard visual novel structure while making it look like it isn’t.

Part of why I’m so impressed by it is because I noticed it early on and the ending proved me to be completely right. There’s a solid reason for the weirdness.

However, the reason why I would never recommend it to anyone is because the actual content, what actually happens in the story, is repulsive. It might as well be a snuff film at points.

So, while I think the structure is really compelling and innovative, they just used it as an excuse to have really awful things happen and then walk them back with the ending.

#12

There’s a Let’s Play of Sonic 2006 that I absolutely love, love to death, I’ve watched it about fifty times now probably over the last decade. However it was also made in 2007 or 2008 by SomethingAwful dudes and there is so much random anti-LGBT language, like once every half hour at least. All the memes and shit they reference is so old now that it’s basically incomprehensible Dadaist nonsense, even I don’t know what they’re talking about. “All the bacon in the world couldn’t save you now” and “dinosaur times”. (They also call eagles “owls” for no reason.) I even quote them while I’m playing games without thinking. So this series is pretty core to me, sadly, even if so much of this is shitty white guy internet culture that was already toxic at the time.

But really the anti-LGBT shit is real bad and I won’t even link to what LP I’m talking about. Even at the time this was bad, and it was always bad I could just pretend it wasn’t, it’s unforgivable now.

#13

Yeah there are things i’ve become attached to but are also problematic as shit, it happens.
Specific example, the anime Shigurui which really grabbed me because of its poetic beauty and unconventional take on the samurai narrative. But it’s a also a story of extreme cruelty and violence to the point of reveling in it.

#14

Having a Twitter account?

But for real, one of my big conflicts is there are so many board games I love, but wouldn’t recommend to most people… but I need people to play with. Example, Vital Lacerda’s Vinhos is an beautiful incredible game, but is so dense and needlessly complex that the only people I recommend the game to… are those sitting around my dining room table during a game night :grimacing:

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#15

Some of my favourite films are Under the Skin, Mother! and Susperia, and I also watched A Serbian Film. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

#16

It’s not quite as hard a feeling as a lot of the examples people are giving, I’d definitely still reccomend it with a buttload of caveats, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is one of my fave games of all time despite being a bit difficult to reccomend. Between the not-particularly-generous in-game gatcha mechanics and a few questionable anime tropes, plus more boring stuff like it being long as hell and not having enough in-game information about stuff like crafting materials and enemy locations. Like, if I’m gonna reccomend it I feel like I gotta give the full rundown ofall the potential sticking points. But a lot of those points are often things I actually like about it! It’s just a tricky one to point to unequivocally.

Thankfully, the standalone expansion has literally none of those problems, so I can pretty easily point to that and be like, “here’s the best version, get on that”. (Play Torna: The Golden Country)

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#17

This one strikes a chord with me, especially since I still have a copy of the first PFSC book that got Kickstarted. It was a fun comic that equally made me hopeful and crushingly depressed, but it’s hard to even recommend it to anyone on the basis of it only existing in small chunks on image hosting forums, or in physical form.

This is definitely true, considering the 5000 word essay she wrote, and there was a whole article about how she’s not even interested in having the work displayed publically anymore. Campbell’s expressed an interest in not being referred to as a man in that same article.

In terms of a sort of broad category of something, I generally cannot reccomend anime to anyone in broad strokes. I have a handful I can recommend in good conscience (e.g. Fullmetal Alchemist, Little Witch Academia), but there’s so much that I cannot in good conscience recommend to people.

In terms of specific pieces of media, probably my biggest one is House of Leaves which is both physically and mentally tedious to read due to formatting and concurrent stories.

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#18

Everything I love is trash and I will not subject anyone I know to any of it.

If we’re getting specific though…

For manga, like, Gantz is super messy and I keep the volumes I own hidden away in a closet like they’re illegal lmao.

In terms of film, Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days. I think it’s a really good film but I can’t recommend it without content warnings because it is ROUGH. So… mostly I just don’t tell people it exists.

Nier: Automata quickly became one of these things for me too due to the butt discourse. So I just enjoy all things Nier on my own terms, don’t participate in any discussion of it, and don’t bother recommending it.

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#19

Bakemonogatari / Kizumonogatari are probably the two most singularly incredible directing feats in all of anime (tatsuya oishi is criminally underrated as a director) and yet literally everyone I know who loves it (me included) says they cant recommend it specifically because of how horrible and grossly horny Araragi is. The bastard.

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#20

Yeah I tried to read the first light novel and watch the anime recently. I’d go so far as to warn people that araragi is a pedophile. Kizumonogatari is gorgeously animated though.

God. Why is anime such garbage!?