#WTFU Watch: In the defense of Youtube

There is a saying in my country that goes: The rope always snaps at it's thinnest. It is meant to say that, those that are least empowered are always the most likely to feel the negative effects in any situation. I'll come back to that.

Doug "Nostalgia Critic" Walker has apparently set the online world on fire with his simple request that Youtube handle reinvent the system by which it judges copyrighted content  and fair use, which is to say it doesn't, and it's rife with abuse and completely lacking a human component.

And I agree with it. All of it. Youtube needs to reform it's system. They've got the money for it. But let's be fair to Youtube.

Copyright laws as they are, thanks to the Digital Millenium  Copyright Act, make Youtube responsible for it's user submitted content. It was designed to prod hosting websites to police copyrighted content on their sites, or face steep, steep fines.

Copyright is supposed to produce innovation, but lot's of elements of  current copyright are doing the opposite, trampling the innovations and formats of the internet to serve old models and those with a stake on them. That's not just ME saying that.

The American government commissioned a Task Force to investigate how to make copyright do more what it's supposed to. It took them 3 years and millions of dollars to make a series of recommendations that I could have told you for the meager ad revenue it would bring me: that steep fines encourage copyright trolling and chill innovation. That Remix culture need to be let breath.

However, that's not the recommendations they are planning to act on. They know their copyright system is broken, and the only way to fix it is FORCE EVERY NATION ON THE EARTH TO ADOPT THE SAME BROKEN SYSTEM. So we can all be even in our wrongness.

Youtube needs to revise the ways it handles  copyrighted material on it's site, yes. I completely agree with that. For one, the algorithm that detects the content should  take into consideration amount, and there should be penalties for fake and malicious claims, and Youtube should request that only the owner of the content, verified, can make a claim. It should definitively not be telling me a public domain movie belongs to someone else. But it is not a coincidence that Youtube's system is broken, when they are also under a very broken copyright law system.

I mean, let's face it, Youtube isn't the only  website with user submitted content out there. Practically all social networks work like that, and while it is entirely possible someone could upload illegal content, or just content they wouldn't have on their site at all, you don't see THEM going to this level.

Somebody once flagged me for pornography on Facebook. It was a drawing of Lady Deathstrike fighting Tiffany Lords.

It got looked at pretty fast, it was determined it was NOT pornography, and we all moved on.  Is it any harder for YT? I would think the user base of Facebook is even larger (1.19 billion) and much more likely to put unwanted content than in Youtube (1 billion ), were many users aren't even uploading anything, just watching.  But they don't sweat it. You don't see takedowns like in Youtube. There's people in there.

I'm not trying to let Youtube off the hook. But this bigger than  Doug Walker not getting payed, or me not being able to show my stupid video in Germany. This is bigger than that. This is the very reason we need to reform our copyright system in a way that makes sense for everyone in the now, not just  big entertainment companies in the mid 70's. I made Limited Times , this very blog, precisely to address this kind of issue and to bring it to light.

The rope always does break at the thinnest. Big Entertainment wants laws that make other people (I.E. Government and  Web Hosting sites)carry out a defense of IT'S copyrighted work, when that's clearly their own responsibility. Youtube isn't gonna take the exaggerated cost of carrying out a copyright defense of Doug Walker's video's on court. Rope's gotta break somewhere.

So yes, I support #WTFU . But I also support #Copyrightreform, which is something we desperately need, and we've needed for a long time. It's something I've been championing on a blog for a while.

I look forward to how this turns out. But regardless, remember that this didn't start now. This didn't start when Google bought Youtube. This is the results of years of wrongheaded  mishandling of the very idea of copyright. It needs to be dealt with at it's core, as a nation.

Obscure Spotlight: Paladin El Cacique

There are some some heroes  out there that don't need to be discussed anymore. Superman's had so many takes on him in all media, that once they finish the new TV show Krypton about life before Baby Kal El got sent on that rocket, you'll be able to watch his whole life from  then, on through his youth through Superboy/Smallville, on to him as a grown man on Lois and Clark.

But alternatively there are some heroes you probably don't know about. Heroes that either failed to garner such fame as Superman or, just whern't MEANT to reach that. These obscure  heroes, I think, deserve discussion EVEN MORE than the latest Batman Reboot, BECAUSE they are unknown. And that's why I'm making this series: Hero Spotlight.

The year was 1992. Crime was rampant in the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with control of the distribution of drugs as the main source of it. It got so bad, the local government implemented a progam called "La Mano Dura" or "The Hard Hand", doubling down on efforts to subdue the criminal activity through sheer brute force.

But I didn't know all that. I was just a boy, no older than 10. I wasn't into the news. I was into Pop culture stuff, like, I assume most kids where back then. The comics boom was still in full effect, and my parents thought if we preserved random Mighty Mutanimals Comics, one day we'd be rich. 

The interest in  Superheroes was at an alltime high. With the Batman movies still fresh in memory(and due to be shown on TV at soon.) our local, young TV stations started running any Super Hero content  they could get their hands on, such as the then recent Flash TV series and the old(OLD BY THEN)  WOnder Woman and Batman TV shows, to Ultraman.

However, far across the sea, one was aware of both of these, seemingly unrelated  dynamics.  One Nick Innone.  Situated in New York, The Neuyorican artist and his wife, (I am bad at names), decided that Puerto Rico needed a local hero. Teaming up with Newspaper EL Nuevo Dia, they began a comic strip series that lasted so and so years. These, are the adventures of Paladin El Cacique.

Paladin el Cacique, or "Paladin The Chieftain".

Ramon Castillo was a well to do man, with a beloved wife, and a sprawling old Hacienda house. Until one day, crime took away his beloved wife. Swearing revenge on all crime, Ramon by serendipity found under his house a sprawling citadel built under his house, built by his Spaniard ancestor who used an unusual armor to fight for the local taino tribes during Spanish Colonial days. Retrofiting this place and this armor with modern supertechnology, he became Paladin The Chieftain.

So basically right from the start this guy's Bat-Punisher. His armor was pretty cool, though, with all sorts of improbable gadgets like helicopter blades and...robotic spy lizards. Does Batman have robotic spy lizards? NO.

It was also a pretty original design. You probably can´t tie this color scheme and helmet design to any other heroes from then, or since.

Running during the Sunday funnies enabled Paladin to have a whole , colored page to itself every Week, and I don't know how the success of a Sunday strip is actually measured, but it lasted  years, so I'm guessing it was pretty successful.

Paladin did not for long have to trudge alone through the life of the hero. He was eventually joined by some anciliary characters, which formed a team known as "Los Campeadores Boricuas" or "The Boricua Champions". 

A young man  called Pepe Ramirez, saw his grandmother badly wounded by the same criminals that killed Castillo's wife. This eventually lead him to seek revenge and finds himself on the Citadel, which leads him to fashion himself a costume, and call himself Gavilan.

In typical sidekick fashion, his first act it to immediately  get beat up by a robot and have to be saved. You see, this guy gets it.
Puedes volaaaar...leejoooos!

There was also a mute giant who worked for the local crime lord, until he gave up his life of crime, and became a hero. He was known as Titan, because, well, you know.

But my favorite  has got to be Reinita.

A local reinita bird, or Bananaquit , as they're known, found itself captured by an evil witch. The evil witch turned this tiny bird into a flight capable, egg laying human, whom she kept in a cage until she freed herself and moved on to enviromental vandalism,  After a bit of a civil case to determine whether a bird transformed into a bird by a witch has human rights(!!!) she became Reinita.

But she had, up to that point, been mostly just naked. So they launched a contest to decide what her costume was going to be. While I was dissapointed that the winner was NOTHING colored like the actual bird, this character immediately became my favorite in the series.
To be fair.  thick white eyebrows are a hard look to pull...
There where various arcs throughout, and tonally it was all over the place. For example, the first arc follows Ramon´s attempt to get revenge on his enemy, Number 1. It ends the arc with the Number 1 dead, but also with Paladin having sunk to the bottom of the ocean, dead.
For full effect...

And he was considered dead for two weeks, instory. But suddenly, he shows up, beamed down from a manta ray space ship. It turns out while he was dead as a doornail, Pleasure Goblins from Pleasure Planet revived him and took him to their planet to have crazy adventures. Like, you´re not even gonna ease us into the Pleasure Planet Saga, man? Just like that?

And yes, the little fuckers would show up again to ruin a saga about weapons escalation. A series of events, starting with children accidentally shooting each other snowballs for eight weeks into "weird death cult tries to blow up the island with a nuke." Tries my ass, they do it! While our hero tries his best to disarm the bomb, it blows up in his face, as a splash page describes to us all the beautiful things that where just ended because MAN HATES.
Bad End.
But then the explosion turns into flowers. Surprise, omnipotent aliens at work! And they're like, "Oh, you silly humans. Stop being a violent species, m'kay?"

If you can turn nuclear fall out into flowers, why the hell did you need a hero?

There where shorter arcs, like the witch saga, in which Paladin is mourning his wife in his spiffy new cape, when suddenly, a fucking skeleton witch shows up and starts putting the moves on him and trying to kill him with a rock monster. It took him the entire 4 October issues to rid himself of that random ass witch.

The final arc,  possibly unfinished, involves Gavilan being  paralized by a bullet(No help came from the Joy Goblins that day. I mean, they where there, but paralisis was beyond them. Yes, turning a nuclear blast into flowers is one thing, but fixing  a spine? They're not MAGIC, you  know?), and the other sidekicks leaving with him, Paladin going it alone and facing a twisted tinkerer, type, and his own dark duplicate, called something along the lines of Doom.

So the strip was cancelled after this time, and it's heroes faded into obscurity. Or, um, even FURTHER into obscurity. The only way to enjoy  their adventures was to either have collected them while they where out(and trust me, that even with my dad's fascination with  collecting newspapers, this was not a realistic solution) or to go to the newspaper's actual headquarters to borrow a copy, which again, you'd have to REALLY be into this strip to consider.

You'd think the Internet would have made things immediately easier, but as far back as 7 years only about the first couple of months where made available, only ocassionally alternating to NONE.  Thankfully most of them have been made available, some in English and most in Spanish, by the people behind the originals...I'm mostly sure. 

The strip is not perfect. The art is a little crude. While a lot of love and care went into any images of Paladin  going Hrrraaaargh! human faces would often look a little weird. The whole thing is stylized less like a traditional adventure comic of the time, and more like a mural.The spanish is written by a man who obviously had spanish as a second language, and the  Strips would alternate between somewhat morbid and dark subject matter, like crime, grandmothers  getting their necks cut, and Satan, with  somewhat goofy concepts like little pleasure goblins and lovelorn witches and...robot spy lizards.. This strip might be a bit hard to love.
Did I mention I love this design?
But for me, it's easy to love, because I saw it as a child, and it stood with me. It hits me in that part of a nerd's heart  that loves something rare and hard to find. It's something that was a part of my life for years, and even though it must have been part of at least hundreds of other people's lives, it remains a truly rare subject. And as awkward as it may seem, reading them back now, some touches such as the author thanking the hospital that took care of his daughter several times, and celebrating Halloween or one of our beauty queens...It doesn't feel like this was just going through the motions, making  a comic strip to make a quick buck. It seems like people pouring their heart into a work of art.

It also may have set , perhaps in a small way, a spark in me, that making superheros wasn't just something people outside of my island could do. To understand at such a young age that doing such a cool thing was possible to me might have guided a lot of directions in my life. I spent years refining my own set of puerto rican heroes, rifining their stories. I knew that if Nick Innone could do it, so could I.

So that's the story of Paladin El Cacique...SO FAR. Could it come back? I'd hope so.
Maybe one day...it will.

This was where the article ended originally. And it wasn't an article, it was a script for a video. But something wonderful has happened. Paladin El Cacique is now going to be available as annuals through Amazon. I have been contacted through Deviant Art and spent the morning crying like a fucking baby.

For the longest time, It felt like I was the only person in the planet that remembered this guy.  If you've read this blog in any capacity you know how I appreciate obscure stuff. Hell, I was contacted through the fanarts I did on Deviantart, the only fanarts of this character that I know to exist on that site and practically any others.

Support it if you can. I don't care if you buy the reprints to fan your belly with them, just buy them and support. We always talk about representation. Here's a Puerto Rican Superhero. Don't just talk.

Game Kata: Batman Forever


When I started on this Innernet shet, I was under the understanding that, whatever I could come up with, somebody had probably already done it, but harder and faster than me, you know? I mean,  you got thousands of people out there obsessing over the same stuff as you: invariably somebody's bound to have had the same idea.

That's why this blog is focused on obscure stuff and not spur of the moment "Disney just announce SOMETHING" type news regurgitation. You can't out-Io9 Io9, you know?

But I guess I was wrong. You see, I am doing research on fighitng game special moves for a project. The project is a fighting game and the research is ripping off  every cool special move out there.

So naturally I set out to look for compilations of special moves. I mean, surely there has to be a lot of those.

Except there aren't. There's  quite a bit hyper or super move compilations for the games that do have those, sometimes confusingly calling those special moves, because I don't know.

I want to look at Shaq Fu's and Time Killer's special moves without, you know, playing those awful games. That so hard?

And so, Batzarro brings YOU...Game Kata. Where I show you all the special moves in a fighting game. For research and archival purposes.

In our first episode...not a fighting game. Batman Forever certainly felt like a fighting game, specifically Mortal Kombat. However, there IS  a training/vs mode that let's players duke it out not only as Batman and Robin, but also as most enemies from the game. I want to thank Vortexspin for putting the guide online, although some of the moves were wrong and others were missing. Be sure to let me know about how I "forgot" about them and playing as Sugar, too. I also "forgot" about Riddler, be sure to let me know! How forgetful I can be.

As for Batman and Robin, their video will be separate. They had their pick of gadgets, which were used with special move motions.  I probably need a whole video just to trying out the different gatgets.

So when it comes to ripping off moves, I think Riddler Thug's delayed acid drip and Thug 2's spikes version are pretty original and interesting, and seem good to set up a trap for a player.  And RThug's black hole attack seems pretty neat, although in this game it doesn't seem to be as deadly as it could be.

On the other end of things Spice's flying kick is damn near useless because of collission issues, and an opponent would need to be damn well stationary to get hit by it. Thug 1's pin move probably can't help if you aren't playing co-op.

The idea of 2 Face having different moves depending on which side he's facing seems interesting. But the moves are so dissimilar that it's more confusing than anything.  And the way Thug 1 uses  a chainsaw as a motorcycle and a gun is only slightly less hilarious than the way he uses it to castrate his opponent.

Overall, this mode of play in this game is an interesting addition, as the adventure parts of the game are pretty terrible. However, it is not fleshed out enough, and such an afterthought that it's practically hidden from players. Player 1 can't play as Robin or Sugar, and similarly P2 can't play as Batman or Spice. If it had been treated as a fully fledged multiplayer vs mode, and not as training  for the awful single player experience, it might me more noteworthy. These guys obviously wanted to make a fighting game, I don't see why didn't just do that, instead of making a half-hearted precursor to Mortal Kombat Mythologies.

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