Quietly Obsessed

I am quietly obsessed with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

I guess this post means I’m about to become less quiet about the obsession.

Basically, it’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, in a modern way. That, of course, has been done before, but… well, what makes this one new and different, and, to me, absolutely fascinating, is that it’s being done with new media.

Lizzie Bennet is a post-grad student making a video blog, and the story is played out not only using her video blogs, but also using twitter and tumblr (and so on). There have also been spin-offs, showing more of the story from the perspectives of Maria Lucas and Lydia Bennet via their own video blogs. The cast (and occasionally, the characters themselves) will interact with fans in the various mediums.

End result? It’s all exceedingly meta, and absolutely fascinating. I love the blurred line between what is real and what is not – apparently, there are enough stupid people out there that there are a few viewers who didn’t realise that it was fiction. How, exactly, that is possible I don’t know, but it’s an interesting thing.

I know the story of Pride and Prejudice really well, so I keep finding myself thinking ahead and trying to work out how the writers are going to adjust the original story to suit these new mediums. Modern retellings have to shift things around a lot – you can’t have people proposing marriage out of nowhere, for example. Clearly, things need to change. So far, they’ve been very clever in doing this to keep the integrity of the story; I can’t wait to see how the rest plays out.

The really wonderful (and awful) thing is that with two video diaries a week, the whole thing is more or less playing out in real time – and is likely to take another five months to finish. That is an awful lot of waiting. But it’s also an awful lot of new canon to squeal over, and I suspect by the time it does finish, I will be bereft. What will I do, when I no longer have new videos to wake up to twice a week?


An Anti-Ode

Let me preface this with a caveat: I am not a professional webdesigner. At best, I’m an enthusiastic amateur. I don’t ever want to be more than that; I actually have a lot of sympathy for people who do that kind of work, and deal with the kind of muppets they need to. Really, really truly.


We’re currently in the process of a rebranding at work, and the website (which is in desperate need of it) is part of that project. The whole thing has been dragged out for an awfully long time, and at this point, I’m not sure whether the fault for that is with us or with the company we’ve engaged to do the work. Either way, it’s ridiculous.

Finally, however, we have a working mock-up of what the new website will look like, which has been handed over to us for approval.

And it looks good.


It uses dropdown menus, which is fine, but only if they’re done well. They’re… not. I haven’t looked into the code to see how they’ve done them, but whatever method they’ve used, the submenus tend to disappear before one can actually click on them: as soon as your mouse is not hovering over the top-level menu, they’re gone. Most of the time, but not always, leaving me utterly confused. And if I’m struggling…

Moreover, not everything lines up perfectly when you’re using, for example, Chrome. Isn’t cross-browser testing standard these days?

And then there’s the problem that the design breaks when viewed on a mobile device. I can only assume they’re intending to create a second version of the site that is mobile friendly, and simply haven’t done so yet… but since they’re supposedly about ready to hand it all over to us, I’m not sure.

Validation fail

Validation fail

It certainly doesn’t pass W3C validation checks. (Admittedly, neither does this blog, but I didn’t design it, and I’m still intending to go through and try and fix it, because that annoys me.)

I get so tired of sloppy webdesign. So tired of websites that don’t work in all (modern) browsers.

It really shouldn’t be this hard.