skull_bearer: (Skull Bearer)
Okay, maybe it's because of spending waaaay to much time reading Nazi propaganda as part of my MA, but I sometimes find myself pinging like a fucking pinball machine in an earthquake when I feel soemthing trying to pull my strings. Sometimes I can let it go because I know it's propaganda for my kind of worldview (oh John Brunner, how I love you) but sometimes it's just so blatant I weant to punch someone (Avatar, my knuckles in your teeth). And sometimes, it's both painfully blatant and completely opposed to my worldview, at which point the implement I am consuming it on goes out of the window.

Which is why my computer is now littering the streets, and I am typing this on my microwave.

Oh Elementary. Why did you do that?

Spoilers for early season 2 of Elementary )

Dear Elementary: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I pee in your eye.
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Going on the example of this book, I think I'd be better off sticking to fanfiction, if this is an example of pastiches. I wanted to get out a big red pen and start annotating 'stop summarising the original' 'stop stealing lines form the original' 'for god's sake do something about the characterisation' and 'this plot makes no sense'.


Cut for spoilers )
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Zombie I&E bunnies have returned, and I'm trying to advance the storyline. Problem is, I have no idea how to make Legends work. It's just such an unholy mess I have no idea how the plot can progress without cutting Raistlin's part out entirely.

No wonder I quit writing this for so long. Holy shit.

Any advice welcome. For now let's just say Legends will be adhering relatively close to canon.

It's not that I want to stop writing this, I have tons of great ideas for what happens after. I just have to get through this mess.
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Normally I'm not one for Holocaust piety. Quite the opposite, Eli Weisel's philosophy of unimaginability, unknowbility, and a host of other negatives sometimes makes me want to rub his face in something smelly, but this one is sorta testing even me. A literaty interpretation of the Auschwitz Scrolls.

(for the mercifully unknowing, the Scrolls were written by the Auschwitz sonderkommando, a group of people who had to burn the bodies of those killed in the gas chambers, lead the latest deportees into the gas chambers, sort the belongings of the dead, and after three months they'd be gassed in turn... yeah, so they wrote them and buried them around the gas chambers. Fuck know how many there were, I think we've found about six or something.)

I mean, I'm not about say 'no damn, that's awful, try again' or anything like that. Actually, for a bunch of people who were living literally hell on earth, and barely had time to eat, and would have been shot if they'd been caught writing, and weren't sure if this time when they went in the gas chambers they wouldn't be locked in and killed, they writings are really, really good. Zalman could give Lovecraft a run for his money for the use of purple prose to illustrate the unimaginable, and I really love Leib, he writes as though these are just things he needs to remember for a future time, Loewenthal is an exercise in focus, since just about every other word is missing (you bury a manuscript in a tin can for nearly thirty years and see what happens), but is a brilliant example of proto-survivor testimony, the structure is almost identical - except, you know, the survivor bit :'(

Anyway, the thing is, these texts? Worthy of serious respect. I really, really don't want to put a foot wrong on this, because then it would be ugly. And that's bloody hard, ebcause for some unfathomable reason, these texts, which should be more important than Primo Levi, Weisel and Borowski combined (and I love Borowski) are almost impossible to find anything about. The British Library has one crumbling book (I managed to beg some photocopies from a tutor who sold his soul for a copy of the same book) and even the internet falls down on this. I think I'm going to have to email the bloody Auschwitz-Birkenau museum for more details. Maybe Yad vashem might help too.
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Question (post war): Is it a good thing that Jewish parents in ghettos gave their children to be looked after by nuns and priests, who would convert them away from their Jewish roots?

WTFBBQ ON WHAT PLANET IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION?

Planet religion, apparently.

*headdesk*
skull_bearer: (Default)
FUCK! FUCK! YEAH, FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! WHO'S THE BOSS NOW? YOU ARE SO MY BITCH NOW! FUCK YOU!

I hate rockstar so much.

Still, it's working now.
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Wizards of the Coast have packed it in, realised 4th ed will continue to stink like month-old salmon and announced a fifth edition. Am really rather pleased. 4th ed was to D&D what Vista was to Windows and the best thing to do is to go back to the winning formula and stop the 'we want to be Apple MMORG' thing that's just pissing money away.

Ps, My favourite system is in fact 2nd ed, but 3rd ed and 3.5 sold so many books its ridiculous, there were entire shelves of the things in my house. But for some reason WotC went, 'you know what, we'll scrap these hundreds of books that have been making us money from sheer variety, and start over with a massively limited system, firing the guys who wrote most of the last books, and now we're standing blankly staring at where our heaps of money used to be'.
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It was good, if somewhat incoherent at the end. The mixing of HOUND and DEVI was kinda cool. The constant 'we're not gay' refrain had better be going somewhere otherwise it just looks like the makers are so paralyzed by their ownm homophobia that they constantly have to scream at the audience THEY'RE TOTALLY NOT GAY. Also, makers? Less screaming at the audience period. On what planet do people comment on other people's relationships as often as side characters do in this series? Stop telling us what to think and tell that damn story.
Also, work on the fucking characters. No idea who that was meant to be but Dr Watson is not that much of an arsehole. Neither is Sherlock Holmes. The ending, bloody fuck (imagine if in DEVI Holmes had subjected Watson to the poison, knowing what it was going to do, by himself, just out of curiosity). Please stop being so terrified of people thinking they're gay and SHOW US WHY THESE PEOPLE LIKE EACH OTHER. Because right now I'm drawing blanks.

Yeah, pretty critical. It was good overall (putting it just below Study in Pink).
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Take a deep breath. Now rant about something.

View 322 Answers


What the hell Sherlock?!!!

Spoiler for spoilers of new series )
skull_bearer: (Default)

Take a deep breath. Now rant about something.

View 322 Answers


What the hell Sherlock?!!!

Spoiler for spoilers of new series )
skull_bearer: (Default)
It's basically like if someone tried to make Soylent Green and Gattica into one film. It doesn't work, there's no real connection between the two, the story is split on it's two driving forces, there's no connection to reality and the characters are so underdeveloped 2D would be a compliment. Which is a real shame because I thought the first was very clever. Turns out this one was made by both the director and his wife, which makes sense, it has the feel of a collaborative work which didn't quite come off and eneded up being less than the sum of its parts.

So, in short; should have been two episodes, the reality tv one, and the kill-all-fatties one. Still haven't a clue what the reality tv one was actually trying to say, so maybe they cobbled together the kill-all-fatties out to fill in the gaps?
skull_bearer: (Default)
It's basically like if someone tried to make Soylent Green and Gattica into one film. It doesn't work, there's no real connection between the two, the story is split on it's two driving forces, there's no connection to reality and the characters are so underdeveloped 2D would be a compliment. Which is a real shame because I thought the first was very clever. Turns out this one was made by both the director and his wife, which makes sense, it has the feel of a collaborative work which didn't quite come off and eneded up being less than the sum of its parts.

So, in short; should have been two episodes, the reality tv one, and the kill-all-fatties one. Still haven't a clue what the reality tv one was actually trying to say, so maybe they cobbled together the kill-all-fatties out to fill in the gaps?
skull_bearer: (Default)
Recently, Australia decided that all people being equal and capable of making their own decisions, they would relax the prohibition against women serving actively on the battlefield, and make all branches of the military equal in terms of gender. I applaud their decision, and hope it's implimented everywhere.

And then I saw that some feminist groups are 'torn' on the subject, citing concerns about how women are more 'sensitive' and 'physically weaker' than men, and thus shouldn't be in active roles on the battlefield.

I cannot tell you how pig-biting mad this makes me.

Here we are, the feminists, the ones who are supposed to be tearing down the destructive, miserable, restrictive world of the patriachy, and these idiotic morons are propping it up! This statement that women should be restricted in their roles in active service, is as good as telling us that women can't be relied upon to make informed decisions about their lives and what they are capable of, and thus should be descriminated against for their own good.

Sound familiar?

Oh yeah, really damn familiar, I think we've heard this line something like ten million times where women's rights are concerned.

There will be limits on who can serve actively on the battlefield, of course there will be. You will have to be mentally stable, physically fit, be able to withstand the rigours of combat, to carry equipment and use it, etc. What it won't have is 'and you have to be a guy'. Yes, it will be harder for women to fulfill these criteria, our bodies do put us at a disadvantage. But we can do it, and if we want to do it, we should be able to.

This, really comes back to the unfair advantages given by the patriarchy. And yes, women do have them. Not as many as men do, but they do do exist. Just ask Fathers 4 Justice. I knew a guy who was a member, and he was only allowed to see his children once a year for a few days. When my parents divorced, my mother could have made sure we never saw our father again (she didn't, but that was here choice). But some feminist branches are curously silent on that front, because in this the patriarchy has given us an advantage. 'Women's roles are to be mothers', it trumpets, which given women who want to be mothers an advantage.

Look people, this isn't fair. Our aim is to make things fair, but that means we have to throw off our golden chains as well as our iron ones. If we want women to have equal representation in the workplace, we have to let women be free to choose where that workplace can be, even if it puts them in danger. If we want the option of have fullfilling careers, we have to give up the automatic custody of our children. If we want to be taken seriously as equals, then 'women and children first' will have to become just 'children first'.
skull_bearer: (Default)
Recently, Australia decided that all people being equal and capable of making their own decisions, they would relax the prohibition against women serving actively on the battlefield, and make all branches of the military equal in terms of gender. I applaud their decision, and hope it's implimented everywhere.

And then I saw that some feminist groups are 'torn' on the subject, citing concerns about how women are more 'sensitive' and 'physically weaker' than men, and thus shouldn't be in active roles on the battlefield.

I cannot tell you how pig-biting mad this makes me.

Here we are, the feminists, the ones who are supposed to be tearing down the destructive, miserable, restrictive world of the patriachy, and these idiotic morons are propping it up! This statement that women should be restricted in their roles in active service, is as good as telling us that women can't be relied upon to make informed decisions about their lives and what they are capable of, and thus should be descriminated against for their own good.

Sound familiar?

Oh yeah, really damn familiar, I think we've heard this line something like ten million times where women's rights are concerned.

There will be limits on who can serve actively on the battlefield, of course there will be. You will have to be mentally stable, physically fit, be able to withstand the rigours of combat, to carry equipment and use it, etc. What it won't have is 'and you have to be a guy'. Yes, it will be harder for women to fulfill these criteria, our bodies do put us at a disadvantage. But we can do it, and if we want to do it, we should be able to.

This, really comes back to the unfair advantages given by the patriarchy. And yes, women do have them. Not as many as men do, but they do do exist. Just ask Fathers 4 Justice. I knew a guy who was a member, and he was only allowed to see his children once a year for a few days. When my parents divorced, my mother could have made sure we never saw our father again (she didn't, but that was here choice). But some feminist branches are curously silent on that front, because in this the patriarchy has given us an advantage. 'Women's roles are to be mothers', it trumpets, which given women who want to be mothers an advantage.

Look people, this isn't fair. Our aim is to make things fair, but that means we have to throw off our golden chains as well as our iron ones. If we want women to have equal representation in the workplace, we have to let women be free to choose where that workplace can be, even if it puts them in danger. If we want the option of have fullfilling careers, we have to give up the automatic custody of our children. If we want to be taken seriously as equals, then 'women and children first' will have to become just 'children first'.
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There was an article in the Guardian about Roald Dahl today, apparently it's been 50 years since his first children's book, James and the Giant Peach, was published. It also seemed to be a moment for everyone to start bashing him, which bewildered me.

I grew up, like just about every British kid my age, with Roald Dahl. His stories were dark, twisted and clever. In many ways they have more in common with fairy tales and fables than, say, the Babysitter's Club. Larger than life characters, winning through trickery over brute strength, vicious, filthy, monsterous bad guys (dear lord were they awesome). Dahl had a knack of getting into the minds of kids and playing to how we saw the world: huge, confusing, and filled with people we'd love to see get their just deserts.
Cut for long and ranty )
So yeah, rant-rant-rantedy-rant. Leave my childhood alone.
skull_bearer: (Default)
There was an article in the Guardian about Roald Dahl today, apparently it's been 50 years since his first children's book, James and the Giant Peach, was published. It also seemed to be a moment for everyone to start bashing him, which bewildered me.

I grew up, like just about every British kid my age, with Roald Dahl. His stories were dark, twisted and clever. In many ways they have more in common with fairy tales and fables than, say, the Babysitter's Club. Larger than life characters, winning through trickery over brute strength, vicious, filthy, monsterous bad guys (dear lord were they awesome). Dahl had a knack of getting into the minds of kids and playing to how we saw the world: huge, confusing, and filled with people we'd love to see get their just deserts.
Cut for long and ranty )
So yeah, rant-rant-rantedy-rant. Leave my childhood alone.
skull_bearer: (Default)
A few days ago there was a great show on the BBC (it's still on iplayer if you want to catch it) called 9/11 Conspiracy Roadtrip, in which a B-list comedian took a bunch of 9/11 truthers (all British) to America and tested their beliefs by having them meet actual experts and people who'd been there. It was really interesting, and the people they chose to take with them ran the gamut from completely obsessed it-was-the-illuminati (I wish I was joking) to reasonable well-okay-but-what-about-this.

Each member of the team have to give their main objection to the official 9/11 story and the comedian would find facts and experts to refute it. It was done quite well, although the comedian really got up my nose. He seemed to be taking their questions really personally and instead of just presenting the facts and leaving it up to them to hang themselves with stupidity on camera, would directly argue and row with them over stupid issues. It's a sad show when the presenter looks more of a loser than some of the contesters (in particular, the die-hard bearded bloke who was still capable of questioning his beliefs, and the reasonable black nurse who seemed to have realised how stupid this all was after the first expert talked to them).

Anyway, the end result was that two came off as complete morons (particularly illuminati lady) one came off as undecided (although I read a post from her later on the 9/11 truther boards and she hadn't been convinced at all so hey, bad editing) and the two sane ones (bearded bloke and black nurse) realised how stupid this was and thanked the crew for having just sat down and explained it. I have a lot of respect for bearded bloke, who was a real 9/11 truther die-hard, but when presented with the evidence considered it and was willing to change his position. It's a brave thing to do and if I ever meet the guy I'll give him epic kudos.

Anyway it got me thinking too. I have some sympathy for Illuminati lady, she was in New York during 9/11 and it clearly shaped a lot of her life since. She's made the truther movement the core of her life and having the abandon it would be horrible. The closest comparison I could come up with is if tomorrow someone came up with utter, complete and incontestible evidence that the Holocaust never happened. I put this on the same level of unlikeliness as the sun turning blue tomorrow, but if it did happen, my life would be pretty wrecked. A lot of what I've worked on in the last few years would be rendered useless and it would be very hard to recover from that. I can understand why someone would want to deny the evidence and carry on believing in what gives meaning to their lives. That's the very concept of religion, after all.

Also, I started wondering about why I believe the official story of 9/11, just in case I meet some truthers myself. The main argument I came up with is that in a way I'm studying a real life conspiracy theory. Not in the whole 'holohoax' garbage, but that when the Holocaust was actually happening, it was a government conspiracy. The nazis, not being total idiots, realised it would be pretty bad PR and tried to cover up their murder of Jewish people and various others as best they could.

And believe me, they had all the means at their command. The controlled the media, which was far more restricted than nowadays (no internet, no tv, not much telephone), it was a state of war (in which people disappearing can be explained and most people have enough to worry about as it is), they were targetting minorities they'd run a very successful propaganda campaign against, the actual visible effects of the conspiracy (other than people disappearing) was taking place in the middle of complete nowhere (seriously, try and get to Belzec or Treblinka or Sobibor, even now), and finally, they ruled with an iron fist and anyone dessiminating information would be very likely to disappear as well.

And the result?

One of the biggest failures in history.

The Holocaust turned out to be impossible to cover up. Too many people were involved, too many people were disappearing, and by the time concrete information reached the allies and made it out on the BBC, let's face it, most people knew. Even in the ghettos, where the nazis were working the hardest to keep information away from the people there, they had a pretty good idea of what was happening when people were 'sent East'. And in the Reich itself, if you went up to someone in the street and told them 'Hey, you know how the Nazis are getting rid of the Jews? Well, they're being gassed in Poland.' I'd bet the person wouldn't be surprised. He'd probably tell you to shut up right quick before the gestapo heard you, but still. People might not have had all the facts, but they could make a pretty accurate guess. This is becoming especially clear now, when the 'ordinary Germans' are now very old and more willing to discuss what went on, with the protective veil of 60+ years behind them.

Now, it is possible for conspiracies to work. The main example was the British intelligence coup of Ultra (the decoding of the Enigma messages in WW2), which remained a secret until the files were revealed the 1970s. I think in fact, that Ultra is the text-book example of what a conspiracy needs to work:

1- It has to involve as few people as possible.

2 - These people have to have as little incentive as possible to reveal the conspiracy.

3- If possible, these people have to have a disincentive to reveal the conspiracy.

Ultra involved a few thousand people, most of whom had only bits and pieces of information. It was vitally important to the war effort and everyone knew it. Finally, if anyone had revealed it, they would have been in a lot of trouble if they were still in the UK, and the only way to profit from it would be to take it to the Germans, something which would be very difficult and was guarded against by careful background checks on those in Ultra.

9/11 Truthers have none of these. If their theories are to be believed, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people would have to have been in on the conspiracy. They have no disincentive against revealing the conspiracy, in fact they have in incentive. Can you imagine what would happen if someone went public with clear and obvious evidence that 9/11 was in inside job? Fame, fortune, book deal, you name it.

Another successful conspiracy which it can be compared to is the Manhatten project. Again, it fulfilled the three rules above. Very few people, no incentive, a disincentive (you'd get locked up if you breathed a word of it to anyone). However, when the Nuclear Bombs were used, the project was revealed. It couldn't not be. It was too obvious. Ultra remained a secret because it was part of an espionage project that few people knew about. It operated in shadows, affected shadows and the results (more dead U-boats, less dead merchant shipping) were not obvious to the average layperson. The Manhatten project's result were obvious, and if 9/11 had been a conspiracy, it would have been too.

So, basically, a long way of saying that you can't cover up something this big, particularly not in this day and age. Didn't work in 1944, definitely can't work now. I suppose this is why people turn to the illuminati explanation, you have to rewire the world to make it make sense.
skull_bearer: (Default)
A few days ago there was a great show on the BBC (it's still on iplayer if you want to catch it) called 9/11 Conspiracy Roadtrip, in which a B-list comedian took a bunch of 9/11 truthers (all British) to America and tested their beliefs by having them meet actual experts and people who'd been there. It was really interesting, and the people they chose to take with them ran the gamut from completely obsessed it-was-the-illuminati (I wish I was joking) to reasonable well-okay-but-what-about-this.

Each member of the team have to give their main objection to the official 9/11 story and the comedian would find facts and experts to refute it. It was done quite well, although the comedian really got up my nose. He seemed to be taking their questions really personally and instead of just presenting the facts and leaving it up to them to hang themselves with stupidity on camera, would directly argue and row with them over stupid issues. It's a sad show when the presenter looks more of a loser than some of the contesters (in particular, the die-hard bearded bloke who was still capable of questioning his beliefs, and the reasonable black nurse who seemed to have realised how stupid this all was after the first expert talked to them).

Anyway, the end result was that two came off as complete morons (particularly illuminati lady) one came off as undecided (although I read a post from her later on the 9/11 truther boards and she hadn't been convinced at all so hey, bad editing) and the two sane ones (bearded bloke and black nurse) realised how stupid this was and thanked the crew for having just sat down and explained it. I have a lot of respect for bearded bloke, who was a real 9/11 truther die-hard, but when presented with the evidence considered it and was willing to change his position. It's a brave thing to do and if I ever meet the guy I'll give him epic kudos.

Anyway it got me thinking too. I have some sympathy for Illuminati lady, she was in New York during 9/11 and it clearly shaped a lot of her life since. She's made the truther movement the core of her life and having the abandon it would be horrible. The closest comparison I could come up with is if tomorrow someone came up with utter, complete and incontestible evidence that the Holocaust never happened. I put this on the same level of unlikeliness as the sun turning blue tomorrow, but if it did happen, my life would be pretty wrecked. A lot of what I've worked on in the last few years would be rendered useless and it would be very hard to recover from that. I can understand why someone would want to deny the evidence and carry on believing in what gives meaning to their lives. That's the very concept of religion, after all.

Also, I started wondering about why I believe the official story of 9/11, just in case I meet some truthers myself. The main argument I came up with is that in a way I'm studying a real life conspiracy theory. Not in the whole 'holohoax' garbage, but that when the Holocaust was actually happening, it was a government conspiracy. The nazis, not being total idiots, realised it would be pretty bad PR and tried to cover up their murder of Jewish people and various others as best they could.

And believe me, they had all the means at their command. The controlled the media, which was far more restricted than nowadays (no internet, no tv, not much telephone), it was a state of war (in which people disappearing can be explained and most people have enough to worry about as it is), they were targetting minorities they'd run a very successful propaganda campaign against, the actual visible effects of the conspiracy (other than people disappearing) was taking place in the middle of complete nowhere (seriously, try and get to Belzec or Treblinka or Sobibor, even now), and finally, they ruled with an iron fist and anyone dessiminating information would be very likely to disappear as well.

And the result?

One of the biggest failures in history.

The Holocaust turned out to be impossible to cover up. Too many people were involved, too many people were disappearing, and by the time concrete information reached the allies and made it out on the BBC, let's face it, most people knew. Even in the ghettos, where the nazis were working the hardest to keep information away from the people there, they had a pretty good idea of what was happening when people were 'sent East'. And in the Reich itself, if you went up to someone in the street and told them 'Hey, you know how the Nazis are getting rid of the Jews? Well, they're being gassed in Poland.' I'd bet the person wouldn't be surprised. He'd probably tell you to shut up right quick before the gestapo heard you, but still. People might not have had all the facts, but they could make a pretty accurate guess. This is becoming especially clear now, when the 'ordinary Germans' are now very old and more willing to discuss what went on, with the protective veil of 60+ years behind them.

Now, it is possible for conspiracies to work. The main example was the British intelligence coup of Ultra (the decoding of the Enigma messages in WW2), which remained a secret until the files were revealed the 1970s. I think in fact, that Ultra is the text-book example of what a conspiracy needs to work:

1- It has to involve as few people as possible.

2 - These people have to have as little incentive as possible to reveal the conspiracy.

3- If possible, these people have to have a disincentive to reveal the conspiracy.

Ultra involved a few thousand people, most of whom had only bits and pieces of information. It was vitally important to the war effort and everyone knew it. Finally, if anyone had revealed it, they would have been in a lot of trouble if they were still in the UK, and the only way to profit from it would be to take it to the Germans, something which would be very difficult and was guarded against by careful background checks on those in Ultra.

9/11 Truthers have none of these. If their theories are to be believed, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people would have to have been in on the conspiracy. They have no disincentive against revealing the conspiracy, in fact they have in incentive. Can you imagine what would happen if someone went public with clear and obvious evidence that 9/11 was in inside job? Fame, fortune, book deal, you name it.

Another successful conspiracy which it can be compared to is the Manhatten project. Again, it fulfilled the three rules above. Very few people, no incentive, a disincentive (you'd get locked up if you breathed a word of it to anyone). However, when the Nuclear Bombs were used, the project was revealed. It couldn't not be. It was too obvious. Ultra remained a secret because it was part of an espionage project that few people knew about. It operated in shadows, affected shadows and the results (more dead U-boats, less dead merchant shipping) were not obvious to the average layperson. The Manhatten project's result were obvious, and if 9/11 had been a conspiracy, it would have been too.

So, basically, a long way of saying that you can't cover up something this big, particularly not in this day and age. Didn't work in 1944, definitely can't work now. I suppose this is why people turn to the illuminati explanation, you have to rewire the world to make it make sense.

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