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Monthly Archives: May 2016


Everything Has to Really Be Something Else

Gillian Anderson is cool with being a James Bond incarnation, because the Internet brought it up:

Anderson is on Tumblr under the name Chewie’s Girlfriend (a reference to Chewbacca from Star Wars). She recently answered a series of questions on the platform, one of which was “What’s the best rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?” Her answer: “That I might be the next Bond.”

It’s mostly a non-serious, non-story; it’s like asking me if I’d be okay with a few million dollars. Who would say no to that if it were offered? But it’s indicative of the way things have been going with storytelling, where a Japanese national is actually half-Jewish and half-Danish*, the Anglo Alexander Hamilton was black (Hamilton), and three white male nerds and an vaguely-educated black guy are really three white female nerds and an uneducated black woman (Ghostbusters). Have writers become too lazy to put the plot twist in the actual plot, instead of phoning it by playing the “wait ’til you see how we’re going to urinate on the source material this time” game?

* One thing to note about Japanese culture is that it’s extremely racist ethnically homogeneous focused on self-preservation. The idea that a non-Nipponese woman would be involved in such sensitive, high-level political matters is too absurd to even think about. I’d like to see how the writers of the new Ghost in the Shell film maneuver around that.

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 14

The Fall of Venezuela. Prepare Yourself Accordingly. – Surprise! A socialist nation turns into a sick, broke, starving, boiling-hot dystopia.

What Are the Dreams of Blind People Like?

FDA Claims the Power to Define Words

What the Hell? – “The language you speak is the language you think, and the language can seriously hold you back from thinking the way God designed us to think.”

Plants may form memories using mad cow disease proteins – Someone get Orson Scott Card on the phone.

How to compress language

Sheryl Sandberg Admits Its Hard For Single Moms to Lean In – “Leaning in” is only possible for women who have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

Plus-Size Male Model Opens Up About Body Image Struggle – Ugh. Not the guys, too.

Another “science guy says the universe is an illusion” story – Why should I trust his conclusions?

BABYMETAL REACTS TO YOUTUBERS REACT TO BABYMETAL – Reaction videos are terrible; reaction to reaction videos, even more so. But this is the cutest thing you’ll see this week.

On despising politics – “The 10,000 citizen association that Aristotle was thinking of when he spoke of man as a political animal, or the Friary or 300 member parish that St. Thomas had in mind when speaking of the common good as the highest good can’t be scaled up six orders of magnitude to the 300,000,000+ modern USA.”

Every 20th Century War Novel

“Say, I really like Thing X,” said the private, who was Jewish or from a southern state.

“That’s dumb. You’re dumb,” said the other private, who was the opposite ethnicity of the first private. “You’re such a racial epithet.”

Later, after tossing around more ethnic slurs, they searched for food or booze, fooled around with native women, and did something undisciplined to enrage their CO. Their CO was a buffoon or a despot.

One of the privates got killed.

The end.

Goodreads Giveaway for Pale Blue Scratch

The Goodreads giveaway for Pale Blue Scratch is now a go. Look to the right, or down below if you’re on mobile, so read about it and enter, or just click here to enter. Go for it!

Giveaway is over, and the winners have been selected. Thanks for checking it out.

Movie: Millennium Actress

I posted the full movie a few years ago, but YouTube had taken it down, most likely because it was an upload from a random user without the copywright. However, the Paramount Vault channel recently uploaded it in full, so it looks like it’s here to say. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqq0nVu29g8

How to Make “The Running Man” a Better Movie

The Running Man is on Netflix. I re-watched it. It’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that missed the mark commercially, but it was the perfect blend of all of the more popular Reagan-era dystopian movies: Robocop, Tron, They Live, with a little bit of Total Recall foreshadowing.

It wasn’t a bad movie, aside from Arnold’s lame one-liners (he used “I’ll be back,” again?), but it could have been better. Here’s one way: at the start, instead of showing what really happened in the helicopter during the riots, show what was broadcast—the heavily edited version that framed Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) gunning down the protesters, against the command of his CO to back down. You could even show it as it’s on a television, as some clips are shown at other parts of the movie, instead of with the standard film production values. Also, cut out the “government controlled media” thing from the pre-footage exposition, to make everything less obvious.

Keep everything else in the film the same: Richards will continually claim innocence, where Amber (Maria Conchita Alonso) will be the only one, both in the real-world audience and in-film characters, who would doubt the official story because of the airport incident. That would make her character more weighty, especially since she’s willing to put herself in physical/legal danger by snooping around the raw and edited files of the Bakersfield broadcast. That would make the hijacked broadcast of what really happened inside the helicopter more damning, since we would be wondering all along if Arnold is a liar or just crazy.

The SFWA Has a Gender Problem

The 2015 Nebula Awards were announced today. Glaring inequality abounds* inside the sci-fi and fantasy world, and it’s not okay:

Earlier tonight, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America handed out the Nebula Award in Chicago, and this year women have swept one of science fiction’s biggest awards.

This year’s Nebula Award Banquet toastmaster was actor John Hodgeman, who opened the show with a fun performance of ‘Radio SFWA’, pitched his own novel idea, A Feast for Bros and lamented the lack of genre NPR shows such as Car Talk: Fury Road.

The science fiction world has had its share of drama with the Hugo Awards as various slates have worked aggressively to push against the growing numbers of women and people of color appearing on award ballots. The Nebula Awards have demonstrated, for two years in a row, that science fiction and fantasy literature remains a strong, inclusive body of literature.

I jest, I jest. The reality is, of course, that gender problems live in the eye of the beholder, since it’s based on imagination, some Internet histrionics, and one’s preferences concerning diversity (which, as I’ve said before, has nothing to do with morality). People are free to nominate and vote for whomever they like, for whatever reason.

The bigger questions are: was this a change from recent years, and how did this change occur? There’s an entire domain of ethical considerations packed in these two questions, and one shouldn’t be surprised if there is pushback from people who just want to read and write good sf/f without a moralizing finger wagging in their face.

* Bonus points if you can make a low-road joke from “women swept,” from the post’s title, and domestic duties. There is a joke in there, somewhere. I’m sure of it. I’m just too lazy to think of one right now.

Photo: Bicycle with Built-In Cup Holder

I was getting a pinch flat fixed over the weekend, and I saw this beauty.

I don’t know if this a “commuter bike” proper, but I’d think a cup holder of this kind is a prerequisite.

bicycle_with_cupholder

A Playlist of Possible Interest

Thought I’d share my (mostly) video game music playlist. It’s good for background music for reading or quiet working, though if you really like some of the songs the experience can be interrupting. Youtube has a 200 video limit for embeded playlists, looks like, so go here to the actual playlist page for all the videos (247, right now).

I noticed I like a lot of songs involving symphonies (or simulated symphonies), and choral works. A lot of the choral pieces have female vocalists, which I prefer in that setting over male voices. Female, and youth voices for that matter, tend to have less peaky midrange and are able to cut through the instrumentation better than male voices, so the melodies are more clear and “grab-on-able.” Midrange-heavy sounds tend to be more ambient in feel. Some favorites of the former type:

The Vision Of Escaflowne – Angel
Xenoblade Chronicles – Satorl, The Shimmering Marsh (Night)
Xenosaga III – Hepatica (KOS-MOS)
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey – The Hospital Room

Enjoy.

“Gaslighting” is the New “Ad Hominem”

Or possibly the new “triggered,” but not quite yet. It needs to grow.

There was a time in the not too distant Internet past, where discussions and arguments devolved quickly when someone invoked the “ad hominem” fallacy accusation. Or the exchange’s devolution had already happened and the accusation was just a signpost. Whether or not the offender actually committed the fallacy was irrelevant, the usage of the fallacy was broadened so much, and its usage overemployed, that any kind of personal attack (or mere observation of a personal matter) was an ad hominem.

Enter “gaslighting” and its rising popularity, according to Google Trends. “Gaslighting’s” rise mirrors that of “triggered,” though the latter has greater, and more consistent, raw numbers:
ad_hominem_triggered_gaslighting

I won’t explain what “gaslighting” is here. And yes, like “triggered,” the term’s usage has broadened, from a very specific phenomenon into an umbrella term to explain and pathologize all sorts of criticism, valid or not. Undoubtedly, someone can safely confirm I’m probably gaslighting by posting about it in the first place. That may be an accomplishment.

The saner Internet users caught onto the ridiculousness of “triggering” quickly, though its usage doesn’t seem to have waned. “Gaslighting” is about to be new kid in town, the favored term du jour to excuse one’s self in the event your questionable behavior is brought to light. Enjoy responsibly.

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