Category Archives: Blog Thoughts

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 out 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,l 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.

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

Casting votes

Time is nearly up for casting your Campbell votes for best new SF writer. As I said to Vox, just being on the ballot is kind of funny, and while I think winning would be pretty cool, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a loooooonnnnnggggg shot. Anything above “No Award” would be fantastic, but below that is quite a conversation piece, too.

“So, how did you manage to come in 6th of two when five were nominated?”
“Well, it’s like this, you see….”

And good times were had by all. If you vote for me at Sasquan, thanks, I’m honored, I truly do appreciate it, and it’s good to know my work was not for nothing. If you didn’t, as long as you voted honestly and not politically or “strategically,” then thanks for your consideration.  I hope to see a few of you in Spokane – I plan on being there.

Speaking of, being the unemployed sort that I am – anyone living in/near Spokane have a couch or spare bed I could crash on for a few nights in mid/late August, so I can avoid the hotel expense if possible?

Happy 4th of July!

Yeah, we may be a republic in decline, but we’re still one of the greatest places in the world to be. Don’t believe me? What nations have a higher immigration numbers than us? No, that’s not the only metric, and yes, there are lots of ways to slice those numbers, but the fact that it’s still one of the most attractive places in the world to go to is testament to its qualities.

We are a nation founded in revolution – revolutionary ideas, revolutionary war, and revolutionary ways of doing things. Imperfect, but willing to admit our flaws (unlike so many other nations in the world) and doing our best, however indirect a course we may take, to improve.

I hope all is well with you and yours, you stay safe, and here’s to another year with banner sales, accomplishments, and a record year of prosecutions of government employees.