Category Archives: Blog Thoughts

Honor / Dishonorable

The concept of “honor”  – in the sense of ethical in conduct, meeting expectations of behavior, being an honorable person, etc. – is complex. The idea of “fairness” is pretty basic, one a couple of two year old’s being forced Mom to share a cookie understand can grasp; they know getting the smaller portion is unfair, regardless of the details. But “honor” comes in so many flavors – at least one for every culture and subculture – that defining it and explaining why it’s important is difficult. What is expected and honorable in one culture may be anathema, disgusting, and disgraceful in another. Continue reading Honor / Dishonorable

Heresy

Heresy : noun- (1) An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of Roman Catholic dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
(2) Adherence to such dissenting opinion or doctrine.
(3) A controversial or unorthodox opinion or doctrine, as in politics, philosophy, or science.

Heretic: A person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. Continue reading Heresy

Power of the laugh track

Pointed to it from Vox Day’s blog, I just finished listening to Owen Benjamin’s description (show number 494) of the sit-com Seinfeld and how the laugh track destroyed our culture. Pretty deep  stuff. But is it over the top? One thing that it brought to mind was how the Japanese military conditioned their soldiers.

It’s not a normal act to stick a blade into someone and be OK with it. So they’d tie up a prisoner (POW or civilian, made no difference to them), perhaps put them in a trench where they could not run away or retreat, and order a soldier to bayonet the victim to death. While he did that, his squad-mates would be standing around him, cheering him on, laughing, clapping, making a joke or game of it. They’d already done the same, or soon would be. It conditioned them to think it was normal, and fun, and it dehumanized the victim. But it was the cheering, laughing, and open mocking of the dead and dying while their mate butchered a man… or woman, or child… that made it such a powerful social pressure.

It was murder with a laugh track, and it was undeniably successful at its intended mission.

Yes, what Owen says is spot on. Not over the top. It’s psychos conditioning a whole generation. No wonder there are so many people today who need a shrink. Or, better yet, to purge their lives of screens.

Veteran’s Day

It’s that time – the day we commemorate Veteran’s Day. A somber day, not exactly a “Happy Holiday!” with a cheery smile sort of occasion.  This year, appropriately enough, the observance day is also the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps (U.S.M.C.). Happy birthday, Marines!The US military has been going through a rough patch in the last few decades, with more enemies domestic and internal (especially the most recent former C-in-C, whose policies were extremely destructive to the professionalism and moral of the uniformed forces, from what I’ve heard) than external… those the external threats, from ISIS to RocketMan are not inconsiderable.

I’m a veteran of sorts – served an uneventful (in terms of actual hot-war deployment) enlistment in the US Army Reserve. It’s enough that on some job applications I can check the “veteran” status box, but on others that list specific types of veterans (Vietnam War Era veteran, Service Medal Veteran, etc.) I cannot, because I don’t qualify as any of those specific types. Just a generic “signed up, served, went home, carry on” sort of thing.

I honor those who served, whether draftees like my dad, or volunteers like myself, friends who or family who served in war and came home like Joe Huffman’s son-in-law, or those who served and didn’t, like Adam Plumondore.

So bow your head briefly, raise a glass, or whatever, and thank those who served to protect your right to politely disagree with your fellow American, and helped to create the greatest country this planet has ever seen, flawed, decadent, and in decline though it may be.

Cheers!

Happy 4th

Happy 4th, he said ironically.

America’s birthday. But the corpse of the freedom she represented has been dead a long time, and I don’t see any resurrection miracles on the immediate horizon.

I still love this nation, and think it’s the best one on the planet. But far too many of her citizens no longer desire freedom, they demand freebies. Too many don’t want opportunity, they want guarantees. The masses don’t want free speech, they want freedom from offense, and demand to shut down the speech of those they disagree with. They demand their opponents be wrapped and tied down like Harrison Bergeron. Too many of those in charge at all levels don’t desire challenge, they want sure things: they are risk averse, bureaucratic, and mindless rule-followers, and if judgment is demanded they want another rule passed by committee in which to wrap themselves for defense. Continue reading Happy 4th

Debating reality

Reality versus feelings

Score: 1-0

I had a conversation recently. We had a minor disagreement over something – the details don’t matter – but it evolved briefly into a discussion over debate methods and why he didn’t like to debate against me. We dropped it, but it got me thinking, and I realized it brought back a memory from a conversation I had a long time ago (~25 years or so) at an SCA event. Continue reading Debating reality

Alien minds

One aspect of Sci-Fi is the idea of exploring different ways of thinking and looking at the universe, or even looking at each other. It’s always been tough to convincingly write utterly alien brains or societies, and most merely reflect common aspects of humans. Star Trek’s Vulcans are nothing more than smart and logical humans, Klingons the emotional and savage warrior (human), Romulans just the Machiavellian manipulator (again, human). Few writers have really good and totally alien minds/cultures. Continue reading Alien minds