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fight the future!
literary criticism
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Monday, 24 April 2006
You must see this.
Topic: fight the future!
You must see this documentary. I can't say more now.

link to

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 5:40 PM MDT
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Saturday, 22 April 2006
In regard to magic realism, and other such drivel
Topic: literary criticism
Don't get me started on magic realism. It's just a transparent attempt on the part of those horrible neo-romantic psuedo-intellectuals to co-opt the SF 'n' F community without even trying to appreciate or understand it.

In regard to the neo-romantics and the Oprahistas: When will they understand that:

1) a plot and the unique interaction between character and setting are two of the cornerstones of a well written story. That's why its called a story instead of a memoir

2) 'authentic voice' is not requisite for a story A good writer can and should do whatever they feel necessary to write well. Being a member of a specific group does not give you any special restriction or right to write about any toher group or occurence. Granted, there are people who abuse this by appropriating other voices and then abusing them for money. And also there are more than a few well-meaning fools who make dumb mistakes when they try to write about things they don't (I won't say can't) understand. However, neither of these validate the so-called "Write-what-you-know" approach. Enforcing such a thing only dampens creativity and emphasizes boundaries that would better be forgotten.

3) Speaking of "Write-what you-know," I've notice a disturbing trend to view autobiographies (of anyone other people with really eventful lives) as something other uncreative drivel. Yes, I know you have a life story. Yes, it had many tragic events. Yes, the government is a hegemonic cabal of evil white guys, that, due to its racism/classism/sexism/antisemitism/homophobia/insanedrugpolicy/any-combination-of-those-traits ruined any chance your pathetic life might have for even a moment of happiness. GET OVER YOURSELF!!! THAT STORY COULD APPLY TO, literally, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!!! Why do think your whining makes an interesting book? If you managed to be happy, good for you. If you didn't, it isn't the fault of me, or, since I'm working class, any of my ancestors. Why, more to the point, do you think having a tragic life makes you anything other than a hack. Talent is spread more or less randomly, and, even then, it usually takes even a gifted author years to rise above mediocrity. Why should your tragic little tome not apply to this basic and logical concept. Even if find some solace in writing such a thing, which does seem reasonable, why, if you're authentic and persecuted like you assure us you are, why would you want the resultant memoirs published? Why would anyone publish them, if your class/race/gender/religion/sexual preference/addiction/whatever is so universally despised? Or are you just appropriating the voice of millions of people, who, just because you share some topical characteristics with them, you feel fully entitled to degredate them further by portraying them as talentless and victimizable and screwed-up as you are; and all for your own personal gain. The only type of person worse than you is the filth that would buy your book. Don't give me any of that nonsense about "showing such-and-such being about written with 'authentic voice' (that is, by a such-and-such), is inherently good, because it gives validation to all the such-and-suches out there, who never see themselves reflected in the 'hegemonic Rich/White/Male/Straight/non-practicing-Protestant/sober/whatever literature.'" In addition to the inherent problem I have with the idea that someone can only really emphasize with someone who looks and talks like them, which the validation concept seems to rely on, to some extent; I just can't bring myself to believe that people would really sooner identify with a real-life self-effacing hack who looks like them than an interesting and relevant fictional character that exists for the sole purpose of being related to, but who has a slightly different background. If that kind of reasoning makes sense, then my everlowering estimation of humanity is still far to high. (I assume everyone who writes like that is a hack because they can't think of something original, or they would be writing an 'enhanced autobiographical novel' instead of a strict autobiography. [1] I know they're self-effacing, or they wouldn't write about being victims.)

Seriously, if I have to read even one more skreed about yet another dirt-poor lesbian (who happens to be a coked-out creole-speaking Jew of color who grew up in a part of the south unfairly characterized as particularly intolerant before being abused by everymember of her family, running away at a young age and turning to a life of crime and degredation in New York City, before eventually fleeing to some random second-world country and eventually find some solace in a twisted relationship with the barmaid at the local club med who is twenty-five years her junior, on even more drugs, and suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome [2] and reflecting back on how all evil in the world, past, present, or future, can be blamed on American men.) I will scream, vomit, and then jump of a five-story building. This kind of stuff isn't literature, and it shouldn't make anyone feel good. It just perpetuates mindless stereotypes, lowers literary standards, and makes money for some greedy expatriate who probably doesn't need it. What it does is serve the purpose of 'emotional pornography.' That is, they make stupid and shiftless house-wives [3] feel good about themselves for empathizing with people they feel guilty for hating.

So, back to magic realism, it is just appropiating the culture and acheivements of an ostracized and frequently over-looked segement of the population for the gain of greedy and ignorant outsiders; namely the science-fiction-writing-american.

[1] of course, Oprah would kill them if they were caught

[2] this is edited so, while still being technically accurate, it seems less sordid

[3] Is there any other kind? Real people work for a living.

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 1:45 AM MDT
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Monday, 17 April 2006
I, for one, welcome our new crustacean overlords.
Topic: Crayfish
While considering how a modern house-holder might become more efficient, I considered the possibility of raising crayfish for meat. It isn't a new idea, or a bad one. But, the more I thought about it, the more a new inevitability struck me:

This is what I know about the humble Crayfish: It, despite its aquatic habit, is almost fully amphibious. Many live their whole lives out of water, in caves, holes, or simply in burrows, making ensure their gills don't dry out completely. Crayfish mothers look after their young, not letting them alone until they are old enough to look after themselves. Crayfish live for several years and can have three clutches of one dozen babies each in that each year. Crayfish hide instinctively, having a strong nesting instinct in fact their name is a corruption of the French "crevice." Unlike most small animals, Crayfish can and will defend themselves from larger predators. Crayfish can and will eat anything.

Consider now another creature of which I have a some-what-more-than-passing knowledge of: the common mouse, Mus Domesticus (I'm guessing on the nomenclature, but thats the Latin of what I just said, more or less). This beast descends from the Gerbil-like creatures of central Eurasia, evolved to eat seeds. Though it is omnivorous, a mouse will thrive on and prefer oil and starch in the form of large seeds over any other food, requiring little else. Like all rodents, it is adapted to the niche of (semi-)desert herbivore, having the ability to digest starch and the curious characteristic of a hyper-devoloped small intestine that desicates it dropping to eliminate moisture loss. Due to this heritage, mice eschew damp holes, prefering a dry den, even if it inferior. Also, due to its natural diet, a mouse must shorten its teeth, gnawing on wood if no seed are availible. The mouse has litters as often as once a month, but few survive from each. A mouse will not live for more than two years, and often far less. The only two defences mice have are their nesting instinct and their fast reproductive rates.

Riddle me this: Which would do better in a modern home, with its leaky pipes, sealed boxes, and cowardly pets being the only predators: A creature that will thrive on any diet, eat any filth, no matter how small, feed on houseplants and insects. One that can detter a pampered, cowardly cat or small dog. This is a place that is moist and cool, and air-conditioning makes it more so. The creature that due best is the one that evolved to scavenger oppurtunistically in a swamp, not eat seeds in the dry plains.

A crayfish.

As we advance into the wilderness, we have displaced the native wildlife. Most died confused, but, already, we are seeing creatures that found new ways to live of the largess of their would-be conquerors: racoons, foxes, even falcons. The age of the Crayfish is nigh.

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 6:29 PM MDT
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Saturday, 15 April 2006
Cannibalism: the next great cause
Topic: cannibalism
I am astounded by the neumber of stupid people I run into. You've all seen them, people who support causes without knowing what the implications of those causes are. Example: the environmentalists who talk about reducing population constraints, ending genetic experimentation, and eliminating nuclear and combustion-based fuel use: these are causes, and I've heard them said so they sound really good, but actually trying to do these things would result in the destruction of civilization, billions of deaths, and the eventual extinction of the human race. A few minutes thought and a working knowledge of populations that are maintained at artificially high levels should tell you why. You will notice I chose a liberal cause. I did this because I, myself, am liberal on most issues, and didn't want to imply stupidity and progressivism are mutually exclusive. Whether conservatism and intelligence are mutally inclusive, I shall remain stoically silent...

Anyway, stupidity abounds. A review of presidential elections will show, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, the (percieved as)stupider canidate always wins. Ignoring Gore and Bush II (genius-nerd and cowboy), or Reagan and Carter (senile actor v. weakling genius-nerd) look at Clinton v. Bush I, (bubba v. chilly new Englander intelligence agent) Bush's loss is obvious once you realize his old occupation.

I am proud to say that I don't have any qualms with how others live their life...

Unless it ends up affecting me. Being stupid is fine, but, once you start acting like it is a positive aspect, rather than a dubious choice of lifestyle, I become engaged in your little struggle. When you start selecting our leaders based on their lack of intellect, I feel left out. (but since the Episcopelians run the bank and government, I can't object that much) But when Larry the Cabble guy gets a movie, religious dogmatism is on the rise, Oprah and the hacks that worship here are regarded as literature, while Terry Pratchett is regarded as an also-ran and sci-fi is ignored, and sex and violence abound while writers can backslide into recycling dumb idea over-and-over again, I simply must speak. But, When I was recently denounced for using long paragraphs and polysyballic words, instead of monosyballic, three word sentences, the way a trained chimp woulld be ashamed of, I realized simply objecting to stupidity is no longer enough.

I would like to change topic for a minute and describe the utiliatarian principle that says wrongness can only be attributed to something that causes harm. This is in disrepute among a lot of people, particuarly the religious. I also disagree, but for different reasons: I've come to the conclusion that something is wrong only is it is the cause of suffering that currently exists. And even then, it has to be the single, first degree cause. Actually, in practice, I think this is the reason the religious right and some libertarians, at least, object to the utilitarian principle.

Thus having murdered is not wrong, because the one made to suffer suffers no longer. Any grieving relatives are not the responsibility of the murderer, becuase she didn't cause their grief, the death did. That's a second order effect, and thus unpredictable and beyond the influence of any actor involved. Furthermore, the family is only grieving because they are conditioned to do so. This is an internal culutural value that is beyond the murderer's responsibility. If the bereaved even exist. The victim might have been an orphan, or universally hated. No one should be blamed for hypotheticals, even they turn out to be real.

Violating a corpse is also completely acceptable, because a corpse is dead, and thus unconcerned about its welfare.

Therefore, since there is a massive surpluss of stupid people I propose we eat them.

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 10:07 PM MDT
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Is sex really necessary?
My roommate and I had disagreement recently. He insists that humans are highly sexual beings and adults who are not are not as a result of illness. Furthermore, he insists that these cases, if they even really exist, are incredibly rare.

As an asexual, I found this slightly vexing. In response, he reiterated that, by his logic, I am not an asexual, but either a)deeply insane or, more likely, feigning an unreal position in order to annoy him and/or amuse myself.

If I were gay, and he touted his view that my sexual orientation was a result of mental illness or possibly lies, I know, based on my studies of the topic, that I would have some justification in taking more serious offense at this. However, I have to wonder if asexuality really is the result of madness, rather than a tenable view. I mean, it does pretty much preclude a large section of what others view as life. Of, course, mssr. Card, the writer, has used that same denounce homosexuals as inferior.

Seriously though, is sexuality really a fufilling and central aspect of human existence, or just a manifestation of an inbuilt addiction to chemical stimulation of the brain that can (and should) be over come? For that matter, given the time and resources sexually-active people spend on meeting their addiction, would they be better off, and even happier, if they didn't have it?

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 9:28 PM MDT
Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006 9:31 PM MDT
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Where is Tim Leary?
The conspiracy theorists would have us believe freeman Leary did not transend death, as he often and publically stated he would. They base this assumption on the technical feasibility of preserving his mind via-upload at the time of corporeal destruction. these same people would have us believe he died of natural causes, despite the obvious fact that it was prostate cancer that actually killed him, and we know, from evidence supplied by Jack Ruby, that they have the power to cause cancer at will.

For the uninitiated, Timothy Leary was a Harvard psychology professor who was expelled for preforming illegal experiments, often involving LSD(1) to undergrads without their knowledge, or even without their consent. About the same time, and afterwards, he was a celebrity among what the ober-culture refered as the 'counter-culture'(2). He was a seminal figure in the counter-culture science of cybernetics. To this end he said he would one day upload his mind into the internet, thus transending death. Figures influenced by him include the blessed Discordian living-saint Robert Anton Wilson, and John Lennon, who needs no titles.

so it comes to this: Mr. Leary, if you're out there, give us a sign, please. We need your guidance now more than ever.

(1) Which many did, and some still do, consider the physical representation of god.

(2) calling them the unter-culture would over play their hand

Posted by planet/hillarius-snow at 9:02 PM MDT
Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006 9:29 PM MDT
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