[sticky entry] Sticky: Compendium

Aug. 9th, 2017 06:47 pm
amyvanhym: fiction + reality intertwine (Default)


===== Stranger Things =====
Beyond the Silver Rainbow | Mirrors: AO3 | FFN | WP
A search for Jonathan. Post-S1 canon divergence, most main characters appear, ~58,000 words
Fear wasn't all bad. A little fear could be good for you. Maybe it was sort of like medicine, like plant food for love.

===== Game of Thrones =====
A Very Empty Place | Mirrors: AO3 | FFN | DA
S7E3 canon-compliant Jon & Tyrion conversation, ~3000 words
Jon didn't like his new chambers at Dragonstone.


Dissecting Social Autopsy | Mirrors: Archive
My April 2016 analysis of Candace Owens' bullying tool "Social Autopsy," detailing the many alarming inconsistencies in Owens' promotion of the website, its great potential for abuse by bullies (indeed, its near inability to be used for anything but bullying), and Owens' refusal to take responsibility for potential harm. Owens reacted to my criticisms by demanding my legal identity, blocking me on twitter and lumping me in with her personal enemies in her generalization of criticism as an abusive conspiracy by her competitors.
A year and a half later, after establishing herself as a political commentator under the nickname "RedPillBlack," Owens showed her true colors on the Rubin Report.

That time a lobotomized Jerry wrote an episode of Rick and Morty | Mirrors: none
A critical review of Rick and Morty's anti-intellectual "Pickle Rick" episode, with particular focus on Dr. Wong.

Why Stranger Things 2 was so disappointing | Mirrors: none
In short, Stranger Things 2 betrayed the first season and broke my heart. Here are about six thousand words explaining how and why.

More under the review tag.

amyvanhym: (intomadness)
Kit Harington and Matt Damon have now both made public apologies for speaking their minds intelligently and innocuously on subjects of sex and gender. What happened? Are they getting credible threats of some kind -- blacklisting maybe? Are there more cases I'm missing? Will the trend continue?

Kit Harington has taken issue with the media's excessive focus on his sexuality:

The “Game of Thrones” star retracted and apologized for an earlier statement about men experiencing “sexism” in the entertainment industry. “[T]here’s a sexism that happens towards men…as well,” Harington told The Cut last year, prompting the ire of feminist writers and Jon Snow fans everywhere.

Sexism against men is called misandry. It is indesputably prevalent. It is the reason these men are expected to apologize for honestly expressing their beliefs and feelings.

“I was wrong there, though,” he told The Guardian. “Sexism against men is not something I should have really said. I think what I meant was, being objectified.”

My only contention here is that I reject this Anti-Sex-League-tier concept of "objectification" in the first place. To view someone sexually is not to treat them as an object. Human beings are not attracted to objects sexually except in the case of abnormal fetishes. Human beings are attracted to human beings. If anything, sexuality is humanizing.

But this is beside the point. Kit doesn't like having his acting work overshadowed by sexual elements that he didn't introduce himself. That is completely fair. And there may well be some misandry involved. The matter is worth discussing.

He continued: "At that time, I did feel objectified… I do think men can get objectified. I do feel I have been objectified in the past, sexually as well, in pieces that have been written about me… Has that made me feel uncomfortable in the past? Yes. Do I think my position is the same as a woman’s in society? No. They’re very different things, and I should have separated them. I was wrong.” [source]

Like a whipped dog.

Matt Damon weighed in on the 'sexual misconduct' witchhunt in Hollywood:

"We're in this watershed moment, and it's great, but I think one thing that's not being talked about is there are a whole s[hitload] of guys – the preponderance of men I've worked with – who don't do this kind of thing and whose lives aren't going to be affected." [source]

And then,

He told host Kathie Lee Gifford: "I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this. [...] I think ultimately what it is for me is I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything I do or say, so for that, I’m really sorry," he continued. "[With] Time’s Up, a lot of those women are my dear friends, and I love them and respect them and support what they’re doing and want to be a part of that change and want to go along for the ride, but I should get in the backseat and close my mouth for a while." [source]

What sort of pain could Damon possibly have caused by pointing out the goodness in his fellow men? Who but a villain feels pain when confronted with assertions of human goodness?

The articles accosting these talented, intelligent, fair-minded men are written as though it's a given that a man isn't allowed to speak on a subject because women are his betters, as though the actors should know better than to step out of their inferior position. And it looks like women, ideologue women at least, are just gobbling this degrading hatred right up. The insidiousness of such ideological browbeating is nauseating, as is the apparent ease with which these men have backed down and apologized for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Exactly what sort of blade is being dangled over their heads? Don't they have enough money? Have they received credible threats of harms deeper than the financial?

Do Harington and Damon just love women so much, as men tend to do, that it's too psychologically difficult for them to withstand so much ire from the beautiful mouths of the indoctrinated?

While Feminist ideologues like to get up on stages and complain that "Society teaches men not to share their feelings," it should be clear by now that their true complaint is, "Society permits men to share feelings other than the feelings Feminism requires them to have."
amyvanhym: (lightheaded)
(Goodreads mirror)

A sturdy set of entertaining adventures, published 1958. Spoilers ahead.

2066: Election Day (by Michael Shaara) - A computer tasked for many years with selecting qualified U.S. presidents finally finds that no one is qualified because governing has become too complicated a job for a human mind. Readers are expected to believe, despite the long preceding period of prosperity created by the computer's ability to select capable presidents, that a failure to elect a president one year would immediately cause nationwide war to break out. Why? How? It doesn't seem any opposing factions exist, nor tensions between political parties. Still, the situation is urgent, and so a group of powerful men refuse to let the machine itself govern the country, and instead choose a political science professor as a figurehead whilst planning to all work together to govern. The dying president passes the torch to the new president in private. The ending came abruptly, before the story reached a satisfying philosophical conclusion, so that it seemed like a pointless exercise. The prose had a few problems: for example, I found the phrase "a long moment" four times in as many pages.

The Mile-Long Spaceship (by Kate Wilhelm) - After suffering a serious head injury in an accident, Allan Norbett develops a psychic link with some aliens in a distant spacecraft. He receives visions which occur only in sleep and assumes them to be just a series of dreams. The aliens try to use the psychic connection to locate him, and through him the Earth. They stimulate curiosity in Allan, hoping he will thereby learn their astral mapping language and reveal his location to them, but instead he pursuses atomic engineering, without ever realizing they exist. The aliens react by deliberately and angrily destroying themselves. I don't know why.

The Last Victory (by Tom Godwin) - Technocratic authoritarianism, liberty-loving 'outlanders,' a crash landing on a new planet, a struggle for dominance resolved by solving an alien mystery; a heroic dog, some cute kittens, a herd of headcrabs, a hero's redemption, a happy ending. Awkward and unclear prose at times, especially when describing action, but the concept was fun and the story itself was structured well.

Call Me Joe (by Poul Anderson) - A story somewhat like Avatar, minus the lame McGuffin. Many inventive uses of science for worldbuilding. I loved the deeply alien nature of life on Jupiter. Anglesey the crotchety cripple was a great character, as was his physically capable avatar Joe by extension. While I liked the puzzle Cornelius and Viken had to work through (relating to Anglesey's subconscious reactions to Joe), as well as the twist created by resolving an error, I didn't find those two men themselves to be very compelling characters. But then, if there had been much more to them than just their intellects they might have crowded the spotlight and muddled the story. The links between the puzzle, Anglesey's character, and the overall mission formed a satisfying whole.

Didn't He Ramble (by Chad Oliver) - A dying music-lover builds himself a robo-replica of 1920s New Orleans, and spends the rest of his life there. This one probably would have been more interesting to me if I knew much about the specific musicians and time period replicated. Meh.

The Queen's Messenger (by John J. McGuire) - I didn't 'get' this one. I'm reminded of Vonnegut's eighth rule of storytelling: "Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible." It seemed as though the author kept deliberately skipping over bits of relevant information, creating artificial tension via confusion to make the story seem smarter than it was. I was able to recite the plot after reading, but I lacked a sense of the driving force behind it, which is not normal for me.

The Other People (by Leigh Brackett) - An investigation into a human-alien hybrid child. Vivid descriptions. Great secondary characters: the destitute human family as well as the alien 'other people.' It felt like an X-Files episode, albeit with a socially inept newbie Mulder and no Scully at all. I found myself immersed for most of the story, though the weird unsexy kiss threw me off. Older stories and movies have a Weird Unsexy Kiss problem sometimes.

Into Your Tent I'll Creep (by Eric Frank Russell) - Upon contacting humans, an alien finds that he has a psychic connection with dogs, and that the dogs are the true rulers of Earth, as they control humans by flattering them. This alien is the only one with a psychic connection to dogs, and it is never discovered why. This piece of writing is more argument than story: the aliens debate the topic on board their ship, where they're also keeping a few dogs given to them by humans. The psychic alien openly discusses his special knowledge, and his fear that dogs might come to dominate his own people as well, within earshot of the dogs. Predictable ending.

Nor Dust Corrupt (by James McConnell) - Long after humanity has spread through the galaxy, men create, and capitalize upon, the longing people have to be posthumously buried on Earth soil. These men charge gajillions for it because space is limited. A cool concept, but I wasn't quite convinced people would care so much about where they are buried, and the 'gotcha' ending (a wealthy man who wishes to be buried on Earth turns out to own the company that provides fertilizer for the graveyard gardens) was too shallow for such a weighty theme.

Nightsound (by Algis J. Budrys) - Two paragraphs into the story I said aloud to the page, "You are an amazing writer." I felt a hopeful sense of kinship with this author, who I hadn't heard of before, as I imagined that this is how I might write on a good day. This is what I aim for when editing. Vivid descriptions, smooth prose, relatable pathos, and never too much of anything. The ending is truly a tidy and hopeful beginning, and yet no information is missing. It's a simple story: a man finds a communicator among his dead father's things, and the communicator leads him to an alien who needs his help. It is also my favourite in the collection.

The Tunesmith (by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.) - Good music struggles to survive in a corrupt commercialist dystopia where all available music takes the form of commercial jingles (Coms). It was easy to get invested in the musician protagonist's struggle, so although the characterization was pretty flat, I really rooted for him as he rose to the top on his own merits and threatened the established music monopoly. I didn't like the last line, which stated the hero had gone deaf in his old age -- it seemed like an attempt at tragic irony but came off as a shallow quip.

Hunting Machine (by Carol Emshwiller) - A couple, spoiled by advanced utopian technology, go on a hunting trip, and rent a machine to do the hunting for them. The husband hacks the machine in order to direct it to hunt a forbidden brown bear. The couple is inept at hunting, but the bear is no match for the brutal and methodical hunting machine, which saves them at the last second. After their near-death experience, the couple decides they don't like hunting after all. They go home, leaving the previously coveted bear carcass behind to rot. Between the hunting machine's resemblance to a mechanical hound and the clever and humorous descriptions of advanced conveniences reminiscent of 'There Will Come Soft Rains,' I suspect this writer is a Bradbury fan.
amyvanhym: (intomadness)
That words derive their meanings solely from one another, reducing all of language to a circular argument and rendering it inherently meaningless, is a foundational belief within postmodernism, and it is absolutely, almost hilariously (were it not infecting the humanities to an epidemic degree), wrong.

Words do not derive their meaning from one another. Words derive their meaning from interactions between consciousness and objectively occurring phenomena. We communicate that meaning to one another by using other words, by using dictionaries, thesauruses, etymologicons and encyclopedias, but that's just overhead, the work that the system of language must do to maintain efficient, consistent organization. Overhead is the computing power needed to run a complex system, and so overhead is necessarily self-referential, but with the exception of useless machines, overhead is never what a system is about. It makes no more sense to say that words derive their meanings from one another than it does to say that words derive their meanings from the letters of which they are comprised. To conflate the definitions (or the spellings) of words with the meanings of words is to try to eat money as though it is inherently nourishing. It is to try to smoke Magritte's pipe. It is to expect to physically live on and on, breathing and thinking, in Terry Pratchett's clacks.

To disprove this claim of meaninglessness in language, consider the onomatopoeia, which is a word formed from a sound as a reference to that sound. Examples include 'achoo' and 'bang.' More expressly than any other words, onomatopoeias do not derive their meaning from other words, but rather from objective external phenomena: the sounds that the words sound like. Thus it is proven possible for words' meanings to rest on more concrete objective foundations than the definitions of other words. It is now the postmodernists' task to explain why onomatopoeias are so fundamentally special -- why the whole of language doesn't work like onomatopoeias with additional abstract steps -- without employing special pleading tactics. Good luck.

The belief that words derive their meaning from one another is a symptom of not truly living, perhaps of refusing to live. It is a symptom of spending one's time sheltered from the world by the psychological equivalents of straitjackets and padded walls. The postmodernist declares, swaddled within an ivory tower of denial where consciousness has been sheltered both from suffering and from love, that straitjackets and padded walls are all there is, and that the reality he is missing was never there to begin with. The natural progression from here is to go to war with the primary threat to the postmodern perspective: the notion of truth itself, and thus all linguistic, artistic and sociocultural structures built from human knowledge. In other words, the postmodernist's mission is to undermine everything a sane person loves. Thus we find postmodern artists declaring that a concept is worth executing simply because "nobody has done it before," sharing with fundamentalist progressivism an elevation of mere shallow novelty above all else. Such artists seem incapable of conceiving that they were preceded by a long heritage of visionaries who found success by deciding against bad ideas, and that's why so many pieces of 'art' elevated by postmodernists and progressives for their novelty have not been "done before."

Meaning is housed within the consciousness of the individual, while communication is the sharing of that meaning among individuals. In its attacks on language, postmodernism reduces meaning to its communication without grounds -- it must artificially remove the world's source of meaning in order to get away with declaring that nothing is truly meaningful. At its core, postmodernist philosophy denies the conscious mind of the individual, the most precious thing in existence, in order to declare the mind's main communication machine -- language -- useless. No wonder postmodernism, progressivism and collectivist identity politics are such close bedfellows. This is why the term 'Cultural Marxism' is so poignant. This is why it is such a threat to the people it describes that they seek to erase it from public consciousness by removing its Wikipedia page. Meaningful language is anathema to these people, especially when directed right at them, as they find their power in obfuscation. Using a term like 'Cultural Marxism' to encompass their slippery artificial subdivisions is like dumping water on the wicked witch.

If language was a useless machine, it would be impossible to tell anybody so, rendering postmodern philosophy inherently futile. Thus the only sensible thing for postmodernists to do is to stop writing. Every argument penned in service to postmodernism is hypocrisy. Just stop.

... And so must I. A mountain of gingerbread dough awaits cookiefication and decoration. Gotta go earn my blackbelt in Wai Fu. Bai.
amyvanhym: (brainchild)
Mirror: goodreads

An easy read. Pleasurable infotainment where it confirms my preexisting positions, but unconvincing where it tries to change my mind. Educational in a shallow way: I acquired some new facts but no new arguments. Milo is often right, sometimes funny and sometimes trite. He is the most right about the most important thing: freedom of expression. He is also a character, though his exact degree of fictitiousness seems to be a closely kept secret. It's important not to take him more seriously than he takes himself, maybe even less so. While Milo is not an authority, this book contains solid recent political histories, a few good stories and some giggle-worthy jokes. He gets GamerGate right (ch10), having been so close to the centre of it. The story of his US college tour is also a good read. Unfortunately he doesn't always cite sources clearly enough to make it easy for readers to double-check his claims, which readers should do whenever skeptical.

I found the writing to be more witty than logical. It's great fun to watch Milo fearlessly eviscerate low-hanging extremist fruit in Feminism and Islam, but his higher philosophical aspirations are at times beyond his reach. For example, on page 203 he takes an anti-intellectual turn by claiming that a leftist ideologue's failure to understand a piece of fiction means we shouldn't think critically about fiction at all. He suggests that it's possible for a story to "simply be intended to entertain, shock, or amuse." But nothing (nothing good, anyway) can be that simple, as the conceptual tools used to elicit such reactions are always there, operating below the surface of a work. These meaningful tools, whether conscious or intuitive, are what good stories and performances are made of; likewise, their misuse is what makes bad work bad. They should be studied deeply. The real fight is to ensure that they are studied in an objective way rather than in a way driven by ideological bias. When one instead dismisses the whole matter of depth and seeks to "simply" elicit strong reactions from an audience, one becomes boring, cliche and irrelevant. If Milo truly doesn't understand this reality well enough to wield it, he may lose his grip on his influence and be forgotten much sooner than he would like.

Milo's deliberate cheeky offensiveness grows a bit stale when he is addressing an audience who, having sacrificed time and money to read his book in private, are very likely to already support him. I enjoy watching him troll others but am not easily trolled myself, so when he uses his provocative language in support of stupid things (like when he disparages abortion as "baby killing" and "child murder" while thoughtlessly conflating correlation with causation in the matter of post-abortion unhappiness in women, p88), I roll my eyes and get bored. Milo also appears to flit back and forth between supporting and attacking gay individualism throughout the book, as though it's okay for gays to freely direct their own lives as long as they don't freely choose domesticity -- also known as "heteronormativity," a far-left jargon term that would fit in well with some of his arguments against gays being anything but slutty shit-disturbers. Not that there's anything wrong with slutty shit-disturbing, of course.

I got bored enough to stop reading about two-thirds through the book, and came back a couple months later to get it out of the way before starting a new book. I expected the rest of the reading to be a chore, but I actually enjoyed the last few chapters, wherein Milo made fewer sociopolitical arguments and spent more time narrating his own activism. I'm much more interested in Milo's actions than in his beliefs, as the former are true adventures, while in cases of the latter I either already agree with him or already know why he's wrong.

One more small thing: on page 208, Milo spends a paragraph or two disparaging Richard Spencer as cringy, unconvincing, offensive, hateful and unfunny. Then he says, "I don't fear the ideas of people like Spencer, nor do I feel a need to hide them from view. [...] 'Sunlight is the best disinfectant.'" But while throughout the book Milo revelled in accurately documenting the words and actions of his opponents to expose their weaknesses, he did not do this for Spencer. He did not quote, paraphrase, refute or address a single one of Spencer's "forbidden (and bad)" ideas. Why not?
amyvanhym: (lightheaded)
A 13-Year-Old Girl Is Not “All Grown Up” - Mara Wilson on the Sexualization of Child Actresses and Millie Bobby Brown

The attention Millie gets is a little weird at times, but don't forget that many of the guys crushing on her are the same age. It is also the case that she sometimes dresses very maturely for her age. That she has an adultlike wardrobe is not sexual, and recognizing the maturity of it is not sexual. Maturity isn't primarily a matter of sexuality, and to treat a girl being described as "all grown up" as though it is necessarily about sexuality, is implicitly if not overtly sexist. The linked article that called her "all grown up" was clearly describing the maturity and professionalism of her style. It said nothing sexual at all.

A maturing girl is blooming sexually. Acknowledging this fact can be done gracefully; is not necessarily dehumanizing. All of this -- how sexual Millie's maturity is or isn't, what maturity means and how a teen girl should be addressed in the public eye -- is a topic to discuss, but not one to get so hyperemotive about. Concerned and interested? Sure. "Sick and furious"? Tone down the hysteria, Mara. You are not the "big sister to the world." You are not the queen bee. The world will not benefit from the moral panic produced by your reduction of all discussion of Millie's maturity to an assault upon her sexuality.
amyvanhym: (butterflies)
Today has done a good job reminding me not to focus too much on miserable things. I'm always at least a bit anxious before appointments, and was a little more anxious than usual today even though it was just a haircut. Then I realized, I'm anxious for a reason. By focusing so closely on that tyrannical moderator bullshit last night, I've habituated my thinking away from socially lubricating and friendly styles. I'm anxious because I know I'm not equipped at this moment to bring what I want with me to meet this new person. So I had a half shot of whiskey, dressed nice, remembered some happy thoughts, got on my bike and had a wonderful time. This sort of thing is why I don't like to medicalize negative emotion as an affliction. Fear's a tool, not a sickness.

This hair salon in my city just... it doesn't belong here. I mean that as a compliment. My city sucks, and this place is a reasonably priced little oasis of professionalism and friendliness. My hairdresser today was conversational, explanatory, sweet, and really thoughtful about her job (on the other hand she recommended Oryx and Crake, but nobody's perfect). She knows more than I thought there was to know about hair, and is insanely respectful of customers' wishes to keep their hair long and natural. This place is the antidote to those hairdresser horror stories everybody's got at least one of. I just went for a trim, and that's what I got. Well, and a wash and a blowdry so my hair's all silky, and it seems even longer than when I went in because it's got the waves dried out of it. I could tuck it into my belt. I'd love to go out and show this off but it's a Tuesday. There is nowhere to go dancing on a Tuesday night.

See, this is why I don't write many happy entries. They're boring. Not to complain about my own lovely day, it's just that it's not very entertaining. Stories are built out of troubles, after all.

Oh I know! I saw a new vehicle I've never seen before. I saw it twice, both on my way to the appointment and coming back home. Dude must be a courier. This thing he was riding was like a standing motorized unicycle. Just a wheel held between the guy's feet while he zipped along down the road as fast as an e-bike. I assume he stood on some stationary pedals extending from the hub. It was awesome. I need to find what this thing is and try it.

Talking to the hairdresser about stories and art and such also reminded me that I don't do enough of the things I love. I haven't read enough authors, I haven't drawn enough pictures, I certainly haven't written enough stories. What the hell am I doing with my life?

So I guess that's it. I like to make huge bags of Christmas cards with little gifts inside to give out all over my neighbourhood a few nights before Christmas, and I've already gotten started on them, but I need more. I think I'll go do a bit more of that now. Bai
amyvanhym: (intomadness)
So this happened in a Stranger Things discussion in the Fans & Critics subforum (forum summary: "Wild about the latest book-to-movie adaptation? Disappointed in an author's new offering? Here's a place to rave or rant."). I'll just collect it and post it. I don't think it needs much more commentary than it contains.

(Damn I gots some speedy windowspaint wizardfingers. Put that on my resume and burn it.)

Enjoy. Or don't. I didn't. ) All is blah with the world. Goodnight.
amyvanhym: (themist)
Edit Nov 11: reddit thread

Oct 31st:

I'll try to be chill about this. After giving ST2 the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could, I stormed out of the living room a few minutes into episode 6 last night, and ranted a bit too angrily about it on Gab. I'm sure I'll go back and finish watching it after all, if only just to finish this entry.

Everyone's IQ has dropped twenty points, slowing progression drastically. They have lost sight of their common enemy to get into petty squabbles with each other. The plot is moving far too slowly and repetitively. There is far too much character-focused content with no plot backbone to provide tension and drive. Questions left open at the end of season one (how to harness eggo fuel, how to talk through lights, the role of energy) were forgotten rather than answered. The characters have lost their heart and heroism, the dialogue has lost its honest brevity, the story has lost its tension and mystery, and the pacing has lost its concision. The men are largely passive. The women are largely cold. Drama is constantly either nullified or blown out of porportion rather than resolved or developed. Ideals of justice, truth and honor, once central, are absent. In a story that was once about good people vs bad, the good people are going bad and the bad people are so incompetent they may as well be illusory.

Thoughts on episodes 1-6 )

Thoughts after finishing the whole season. )

Edit Nov 6: It sure doesn't take much to get a block from Stranger Things writer/editor -- and lover of all things #RAW -- Jesse Nickson-Lopez.
amyvanhym: Matt Taylor is life (rockabillyscifi)
Update: Here's the KiA reddit thread for this entry. 100+ comments, most of them thoughtful. Turns out /r/KotakuinAction beats /r/RickandMorty for quality conversation about the show. Yay.]

"Pickle Rick" was a groundbreaker: it was the first episode of Rick and Morty written for fans of Rick and Morty who hate Rick and Morty. Or at least, it was the first episode written for fans who hate Rick and aren't interested in anyone else. Beth flipped wildly back and forth between being a deranged jerk and being absolutely right, the kids were mentally retarded, Rick was plain, and Jerry was absent. All to make way for...

the therapist

Behold this enormous sack of cringe, nope and word salad they've tried to pass off as a rhetorical crescendo. )
amyvanhym: Matt Taylor is life (rockabillyscifi)
Sometimes opponents in argument, especially opponents who adhere to some ideology or other, will deliberately blind themselves to your good faith. If someone says something like the following to you, either because they've learned of an affiliation you have (or are accused of having), or after you have tried to earnestly engage with them:

"Your hatred has become such a large part of you that it is now part of your identity. Appeals to reason and kindness will have no effect on you. There is nothing you can do to make me forget your true intentions."

It's no longer of use to you, or to your position, to continue to be friendly and forgiving with this person. What this cold, robotic and self-righteous projection really means:

"Hatred has become such a large part of how I view you that it is now part of the identity I ascribe to you. Your appeals to reason and kindness will have no effect on me, because the identity that I have ascribed to you precludes me interpreting your reasonableness and kindness as such. There is nothing you can do to erase my villification of you."

Such a person has revoked all willingness to grant you the benefit of the doubt. You may as well do the same, as all benefit you extend to the person will be taken advantage of, turned around and weaponized against you. This is why you should never apologize to an ideologue on a moral crusade if you intend to remain a free and independent agent. Zealots who smell weakness will not be satisfied until opponents are either destroyed or assimilated into the horde. This is especially true of the current climate's "Social Justice" Marxists, as their ideology denies the existence of altruism (when convenient), viewing all human interaction instead as purely a matter of power and authority. In other words, any compassion you extend is perceived by a Social Marxist as a power vacuum to take advantage of, which they will do if you fail to be sufficiently assertive.

Once you've realized you've been pigeonholed in such a way, it's about time to either back out of the conversation entirely, enact perfect robotic patience and deal exclusively in the facts, or lay the rhetorical smackdown. If you choose the latter, forget politeness. Mock and ridicule the person's unreasonable claims and standards. Get a bit mean. Bruise the opponent's ego. Reveal your disgust and disdain.

In other words, abandon the high ground in favor of the equal ground, and beat them there. You will win because you're free.

I felt like writing about this because of this hilarious clip: Middle-aged Man Triggered by MILO Poster at UC Berkeley.

The guys who were confronted by the man who tore their poster down didn't apologize or sympathize, didn't try to reason with him much and didn't get aggressive with him either. They just plain wouldn't take his shit and showed him that they found him ridiculous. They took the equal ground and laughed at him, and he downright shorted out.
amyvanhym: (intomadness)
Sargon has done a video, largely about PewDiePie, near the end of which he decries physically violent responses to racist cuss words. As a sane and reasonable individual, I agree with him. At 10:10 in the video (embedded below), after showing a violent clip, he said, "Did anyone feel good watching that? Did anyone feel good watching a black kid punching a white woman in the face because she said some words?"

It reminded me of a Philip DeFranco segment that I've been carrying with me since May. DeFranco tries to come off as a cool, chill, friendly, easygoing, conversational guy. That's the persona he projects to his 5.6 million YouTube subscribers. And I think that's what makes his open enjoyment of racially motivated violence so insidious and thus so memorable.

In May DeFranco featured a video of a black man and a white woman arguing heatedly on a bus which escalated to namecalling, which escalated to "nigger." The man waited for a chance to escape, slapped her extremely hard in the face, and ran away.

After showing the footage DeFranco said, "Violence is never an appropriate response to words, BUUUUUTT, I don't feel bad that it happened. Hitting that woman was wrong, it was illegal, it was technically assault, BUT, if I was that bus driver and that lady was like "Call 911! Call 911! Call the police!" I'd be like, "Okay... Oh no, I forgot how phones work! Oh no!"

Amateur Windowspaint infographic and video embeds under the cut. )


tl;dr fuck that guy

Edit: Oh hey, and look what happened within five minutes of my submitting this entry to /r/DeFranco, Philip DeFranco's official subreddit: )
amyvanhym: (queenslayer)
A day after watching S7E7 I scrawled out a long, overambitious and scatterbrained mountain of half-hatched and stupid reflections. Over the next however long, I'll try to break up my thoughts into relatively bite-sized (or at least snack-sized), saner parts. I've been dicking around on reddit the couple weeks since, arguing here and there about Thrones. I wish reddit wasn't the main conversation hub but there the conversation be, churning on and on in the land of minimal individual identity, low comment shelf life and voting-induced splitting.

The Bittersweet vs Tragic Pseudodebate

Some in the reddit Thronesphere have suggested that because George RR Martin said the series will have a "bittersweet" ending, one of more main beloved characters (Jon, Daenerys) is likely to die. The popular counterargument? REEEEE BITTERSWEET DOESN'T MEAN TRAGIC REEEEEEEE

Except it does. Tragedy is the bitter part of bittersweetness. The sweetness is the meaningful thing you build using the tragedy or in spite of the tragedy. An ending can't be bittersweet unless it's also tragic. TVTropes confirms: "Somewhere between the Happily Ever After and the Downer Ending, the Bittersweet Ending happens when victory came at a harsh price, when, for whatever reason, the heroes cannot fully enjoy the reward of their actions, when some irrevocable loss has happened during the course of the events, and nothing will ever be the same again."

TVTropes' fourth example of a bittersweet ending: "When the victory is only achieved at the sacrifice of people dear to the heroes (if not the heroes themselves)."

It's a non-debate. Death of a beloved character is an element of the bittersweet ending. Calling it 'bittersweet' absolutely does not preclude the death of one or more beloved characters. This should be especially obvious in Thrones.

But this point was largely ignored when I first made it, and when I made it again, so I made a top-level post. There's some branching conversation there that I might blab about later.

My deadpool money's on Dany (and Jaime). The self-inserting shipper tweens in /r/freefolk don't like that very much, as demonstrated by consistent downvoting, yet most mysteriously refrain from explaining why. And this is why voting sucks: if you can't explain your position, it has no value, and so you have no place influencing the conversation in any way. When voting affects comment visibility and makes an implicit appleal to popularity, as is constant on reddit, voting is cheating.
amyvanhym: (queenslayer)
Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty and Sargon of Akkad are a few of my favourite things.

And I'd rather they learned to get along. )
amyvanhym: (khaluckdragon)
I'll be in my bunk.
amyvanhym: Matt Taylor is life (rockabillyscifi)
Today I wandered around reddit for an hour and all I got was a sinking feeling that I was the only Graham Chapman style straight-man within a hundred mile radius. I won't go into the details, but I will say that discursive environments in which participants are invited to judge all content by a numerical approval rating are not conducive to competent thought.

I wonder if the Internet is killing humor via Poe's Law, extending the law to encompass not just parodies of extremism, but all parodies and jokes. If everyone gets a voice, the stupidest get a voice, and will use that voice to say the most hilarious things with a straight face. Knowing this means being more likely to take humorous comments as though they are serious despite all reasonableness suggesting that they are jokes, which means tending to rage when it's more appropriate to laugh; and, maybe, getting both dumber and more unhappy as a consquence of taking so many stupid things seriously.

I forgot to talk about my experience of the eclipse, the eclipse being that thing humanity has seen many times before and practically everyone experiences the same way. I live in partial-eclipse area. Did you know that by making a waffle grid with your fingers, you can project an eclipse onto the ground? I did not know this until eclipse day. Safe and easy method for viewing. At 75% the light outside turned coppery and fake, like the moon was casting a sepia photo filter on us. Slightly surreal. Neato.

For a petition to be addressed by the White House it needs to get 100,000 signatures in thirty days. The petition to formally recognize AntiFa as a terrorist organization has acquired 300,000 signatures in about ten days. Not bad.

Some people believe that typically-feminine body poses are degrading. I do not (NSFW link). I think being fat is degrading. Complaints of "sexualization" (a jargon term in which I do not believe) are merely an effort to strip women of responsibility for their own sexuality, and thus the power that comes paired with said responsibility. This is also degrading. Hit the gym, fat feminists. I am not oppressing you, and I am certainly not a tool the men are using to oppress you.

When is the phrase, "_____ is subjective" not used to justify being either anti-intellectual or just plain unintelligent about _____? "Ugh, it's so totally closed-minded of you to want to explore the merits, flaws and essential nature of _____. People don't have to conform to your delicate sensibilities and personal subjective tastes. Could you please just shut up about it already? God. Everybody doesn't have to be just like you, bigot."

So much of the current cultural climate interests me. I've got about twenty argumentative essays and link/evidence compilations on my back burner, sitting in this journal as private entries, and a ton of research to do, none of which I should be doing. All of my writing energy should be going into fiction. So that's why I might get quiet for a bit, and not reply to entries and comments. There's so much intellectual clutter, and physical clutter, and chores, and errands, and books to read, and I should be drawing once a week, and blah, I think I'll just avoid all that and inject another three hours into Stardew Valley while listening to YouTube...-ism. Fuck I am so disorganized. I haven't touched my day planner in months. Shame.
amyvanhym: (khaluckdragon)
Man, I do not have enough shovels to make a treasure hunting post every day (I'm supposed to be writing, not surfing). Nor are my treasure chests large enough to hold all my treasures in one. Nor do I like mixing political treasures in with art and fiction treasures.

Today's treasure hunting: Game of Thrones treasure only. Then a bunch of writing about the last episode.


On Statues

Aug. 20th, 2017 05:54 pm
amyvanhym: (goodnight)
Statues and monuments are works of art. In the war on free expression the first things to go are works of art, because art encourages free thought by being simultaneously beautiful, accessible, multifaceted and mysterious. Art draws the audience toward psychological freedom. Authoritarians, who peer at the world though an ideological lens of pure power, understand that psychological freedom is a threat to their desired monopoly. So, they misrepresent nuanced works of art as single-minded and offensive, as "against us" for refusing to be "with us," and destroy such art as an act of political conquest. Communists, Marxists, Nazis, Fascists, Islamists -- all are art-hating authoritarians. All seek to destroy the value and meaning in the freely organic cultures they invade in order to install their own. They destroy art and replace it with propaganda in service to their own hubris, their own greed, their own insatiable lust for control over others.

Monuments don't exist to be blindly worshipped. Those who wish to tear them down are simpleminded types who worship their own ideas, and are projecting that unhealthy degree of reverence onto their perceived enemies. These monuments exist, and remain, as historical bookmarks, inviting the common people to live among them contemplatively, remembering the long uphill journey of progress. If an ideological enemy does worship a monument, the only way to dispel the error is through discussion, as removal of the monument only further entrenches the misconception that historical monuments are equivalent to idols, erected and demolished as meaningful acts of psychological warfare in a black-and-white world.

Video embeds and more writing under the cut. )

(Posted to [community profile] free_speech, [community profile] freedom_of_expression and [personal profile] amyvanhym. Yeah, by the way, I made a new community: [community profile] freedom_of_expression. I'm the only one there right now! Must find ways to siphon new members from below Dreamwidth's dusty desert...)
amyvanhym: (lightheaded)
I love ambient nature audio, especially thunderstorms. I use ambient soundscapes for concentration, for relaxation, for adding some extra atmosphere to music; for drowning out environmental noises like computer fans, air conditioners and that damn incessant ice cream truck that's been rolling down my damn street playing the same damn earworm jingle for five damn summers in a row.

A while back I was addicted to naturesoundsfor.me, where users can mix a small array of audio tracks to create different soundscapes. I made about twenty of them. But I don't use the site anymore, because they have removed user credit from mixes and no longer offer users a way to link to their list of mixes -- essentially, they've kinda taken our mixing work and made it hard to share content.

What I do recommend is MyNoise.

The site offers exponentially more soundscapes, a ton of customization, and great quality. Most of the sounds are recorded by the site creator, yet most features are totally free to use. I sent $5 a few months ago and the site still rates my 'support level' at five stars rather than ask for any more money. Please check out this site. The content is excellent, and the creator is skilled and generous. Seriously, and I'm not being paid to say this, try MyNoise if you're stressed at all, whether by the political atmosphere, by other bad news, by life in general. Or even if you're not stressed. It's quite elevating. You can preview the sounds by hovering over the links on the front page.

If you like it, do send a few bucks. We can't keep expecting to get quality content online for free. That expectation is what creates media dependency on advertisers, which creates clickbait, which relies on creating alarm and distress for attention, which has had a hand in creating the current sociopolitical mess we're in. Speaking of that mess:


30,000 people (or more?) have gathered in Boston to protest against a free speech rally because they believe it is filled with Nazis and the alt-right. Here is a picture comparing the size of the free speech event to only a portion of the crowd protesting it. Here is a picture from inside the event. Here is a sign I really like. Here is a conservative free speech activist walking peacefully through a crowd of people who hate him. Here is a free speech supporter getting screamed at in a racist way and then suckerpunched very hard for trying to have a conversation with protesters. The futility of the guy saying "Jesus taught us to love each other" makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Here is the police doing their jobs despite intense hostility from some protesters. Here is a man foaming at the mouth. Here is the apparent current state of a large number of American minds.

Circlejerks are bad, mkay?

[Edit Aug 20: just bookmarking a video I intend to watch and a discussion I intend to read]
amyvanhym: (brainchild)
Game of Thrones S7E4/5, freedom of expression



amyvanhym: fiction + reality intertwine (Default)
Amy VanHym

January 2018

 1 23456
141516 17181920


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios