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|Wednesday, September 21st, 2016|
|So, there are debates coming up.
Since everybody else is saying what Clinton and Trump need to do to win the election, here's my thoughts.
WHAT CLINTON NEEDS TO DO FOR HERSELF:
Granted that the media has basically allowed, even aided and abetted, the Trump campaign to define Hillary Clinton to the public, she hasn't done herself any favors. Her campaign speeches are laundry lists of mostly small-ball detailed proposals with no common theme. Clinton needs to define that common theme, and it needs to be something beyond, "Vote for me to continue Obama's legacy" and "Vote for me because I'm not Trump." Without that theme, you don't really get the enthusaism needed for big turnout on election day... and it's been reported all over the place that Democratic voter enthusiasm is way, way down.
Trump has pulled close to Clinton both by dragging her down to his level and by offering his supporters a simple, easy-to-understand (and of course deceiving) message: "The Democrats weakened our country. We need a strong leader now to fix it, and that's going to be me." Clinton has nothing like that, and the debates are really her last chance to make that happen.
WHAT CLINTON NEEDS TO DO TO TRUMP:
Trump's biggest enemy is Trump himself. Clinton needs to lead him into making gaffes and factual errors, and that means pushing him off-balance and off-script. By all reports the best way to do this is to attack Trump's self-image. This can NOT be done head-on; Trump can shrug that off. It needs to be done in passing, a bit at a time, and carefully targeted- references to how he inherited wealth and nearly squandered it all on failed business deals, how most of his projects failed miserably, how his tax returns would show his lack of wealth, etc. This will get him angry and prone to counterattacks- and those counterattacks, though his base will love them, will destroy him with everyone else.
WHAT CLINTON NEEDS TO AVOID:
(1) Don't make the debate a referendum on Trump. If all Clinton does is give the case for why Trump is disqualified, then TRUMP WINS IN NOVEMBER. It's never sufficient for any candidate to simply say, "I'm not the other guy." Clinton needs to slip a few bits in about Trump, but her focus needs to be on why voters should choose her over any other option, even if Trump weren't in the race at all.
(2) Don't go full wonk. Clinton loves to try to teach people in her political messaging- even more so than Barack Obama. And it's boring. If Clinton details her specific proposals, the listeners will tune it out and absorb none of it. Clinton needs to stick to broad principles and intentions and address specifics only when unavoidable. KISS principle needs to be the guide.
(3) Don't try to go toe to toe with Trump in a shouting match. Responding is fine, if kept very brief and witty, but when Trump gets angry and attacks Clinton needs to stay calm and quiet. It's unfair but true that there is a lot of sexism involved in the electorate, and if they see an angry man and an angry woman going hammer-and-tongs at one another, a majority of Americans will by default side with the man. An angry man and a quiet but firm woman, on the other hand, goes the other direction.
Now for the part I hope nobody reads to The Donald:
WHAT TRUMP NEEDS TO DO FOR HIMSELF:
The Sarah Palin strategy. Palin managed a draw with Joe Biden in their 2008 debate by memorizing about a dozen talking points and steering every question to one of those. As a result, only people who were listening very carefully (I was driving and heard the whole debate on the radio) could tell how rehearsed and repetitive her answers were as opposed to Biden's. Trump needs to do the same thing: have a script of talking points and stick to it absolutely, positively, no matter what. If Trump improvises, he will be (justly) eaten alive for his misstatements of fact and his inevitable bigoted gaffes.
WHAT TRUMP NEEDS TO DO TO CLINTON:
The aforementioned script needs to have several very specific attack points on Hillary's honesty and integrity. Merely saying "Lyin' Hillary" might work on the stump to the base, but it won't fly in a debate. Trump needs to bring up specific cases with evidence for his accusations. And he needs to do this again, again, and again, dragging her down into the muck with her while appearing to be a prosecutor instead of a reckless mudslinger.
WHAT TRUMP NEEDS TO AVOID:
(1) Don't ad-lib. By all reports Trump has refused to do any prep work for the debates, insisting that he can do it ex tempore. Bad move. If Trump improvises, he gaffes.
(2) Don't miss the chance to denounce racism and bigotry. If Trump could go two weeks straight without himself or one of his surrogates making a white-supremacist remark or re-Tweet, he'd probably have this race sewn up by now. As it is, a substantial portion of normally Republican voters is currently supporting Clinton for the very reason that Trump is blatantly white supremacist. If he loses, this above all else will be what cost him the election (which is already looking like an exercise in whether a president can be elected anymore without a single non-white vote). If the opportunity comes to demonstrate that he hasn't got a white robe and hood in his closet, Trump must sieze it decisively and forcefully. If he hedges, or worse (as he has done elsewhere) he defends whatever white supremacism is at question, he fails.
(3) Don't lose your temper. Trump's charisma is based on the smiling, confident, loud Trump. The angry cry-baby Trump we see now and again will lose the election. Whatever provocation Clinton manages, Trump has to shrug it off as a lie from a desperate woman, beneath his notice. He must NOT try to shout her into submission. If Trump tries to bully Clinton as he did the other GOP candidates once upon a time, Clinton will walk away looking like a saint, leaving Trump exposed as the Satan he actually is.
WHAT GARY JOHNSON NEEDS TO DO:
Hope both candidates make serious blunders and discredit themselves, then hit every morning pundit show the next day hard and fast. Fifteen percent, Binky; it's your only hope, and you've admitted as much.
WHAT JILL STEIN NEEDS TO DO:
Quit running for public office and let someone with more credibility than a Scientology outreach flyer be the face of America's far left.
|Sunday, August 28th, 2016|
|Thoughts about the slow collapse of Obamacare.
Insight of sorts- not that the idea is new to me, but the explanation might help some people understand the problem with Obamacare.
The key point is that Obamacare is NOT socialized medicine. Obamacare is an example of "privatized profits and socialized losses."
You might have heard that phrase in 2008 and 2009, in regards to the Wall Street TARP bailout. What it boils down to is this: the people who own stock in or run the biggest corporations in the country, especially financial institutions, can make wild gambles and blatantly stupid business decisions, because if it works they keep the profits, and if it fails government will step in to prevent the consequences from crashing the economy and throwing millions of people into poverty. In short, a few excruciatingly rich and powerful people can hold the common people hostage to their own shortsighted greed- all nice and legal.
The concept behind Obamacare is that, by getting more people insured and by raising co-pays on that insurance, people will force insurance companies to compete with one another, and insurance companies will have to do hard negotiating with health care providers and pharmaceutical companies. All this competition will, in theory, lower the cost of health care and make things better for the common American.
It's not working out that way at all.
There wasn't much competition in the public exchanges at the start, and that competition is shrinking fast. One of the things Obamacare did do was make health insurance a less profitable business to be in- not unprofitable by any means, but enough so that insurance corporations are beginning to seriously consider abandoning the field to focus on other, more profitable forms of insurance. By their standards, health insurance in a county or state is only profitable enough to "bother with" if there's only one company in the market. Which, of course, means no competition, and thus no pressure to lower premiums- and nobody's lowering premiums at all.
In fact, health insurance companies are demanding that caps on how much premiums can go up from year to year be lifted, because it turns out that all those healthy uninsured workers who would pay for the uninsurable sick... aren't so healthy at all. The number of previously undiagnosed ill working-class people has, apparently, overwhelmed the companies offering insurance in the public exchanges, to the effect that those policies really aren't profitable. (Remember, the whole point of insurance is to AVOID paying off. Every claim that is paid comes out of shareholder profits.) Yet another reason for insurance companies to bail out of the exchanges... which is why we're now seeing counties where the HealthCare.gov exchanges offer no policies at all for anybody.
But, you say, at least those fewer companies will have more buying leverage to negotiate with hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, right? Well... no.
You see, there are three things playing together, all factors that have been in play long, long before Obamacare came along, but which Obamacare blew up like charcoal lighter on a grass fire.
Item #1: HMO and medical networks. The original idea of HMOs and medical networks was that, by restricting patients to a small group of doctors and clinics, special negotiated deals would lower costs. This was a brainchild of the 80s and 90s that the Clintons loved and almost everybody else hated, but Obamacare actively ENCOURAGED them to form and get larger. What actually happens is, patients with an HMO or in a medical network get locked in. They lose all power of competition and negotiation; if some part of the system charges too much, the only way they can protest is to walk away from ALL OF IT, which means a massive amount of time and effort to find new doctors, get new prescriptions, transfer records, etc. etc. etc. In practice HMOs and medical networks stifle competition and raise prices while making it much, much harder for patients to choose somebody else.
Item #2: Insurance companies need health care providers a lot more than vice versa. Although hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can and do negotiate massive discounts from their inflated cash-and-carry rates, even those discounted prices go steadily up every year. This is not because it's more expensive for them to perform their services- aside from costs of college education, it's not. It's because, if an insurance company negotiates too hard, the health care providers can simply choose not to accept that coverage- and since Obamacare, a lot of providers have done exactly that. The buying leverage Obamacare relies upon to put pressure on health care corporations simply hasn't materialized- and it never will.
Item #3: Payor disconnect. The fact is, for many Americans even a simple, no-complications visit to a general practice doctor will run anywhere from $75 to $200- a very significant portion of monthly wages, and generally unaffordable except for emergencies. The idea that your average working American can do price comparisons for X-rays, MRI scans, blood work, surgery, hospital boarding, etc, is ludicrous, because they simply haven't got the pocket money to pay for any of it. So instead they get insurance, pay one or two or three checks a month, and hope the copays don't bankrupt them. The trade-off is that, for all those big ticket items, most Americans pay no attention to the amounts, because they're not the ones paying them. The outrage over $500 per pill of aspirin becomes background noise, an item to run on a slow news day in the second segment of the evening local news. This takes away much of the incentive to hold insurance companies accountable for not negotiating down those prices- so, of course, the insurance companies don't negotiate harder than they need to to maintain their profit margin. Health care providers, in turn, use this disconnect as a blank-check to charge what they feel like, regardless of how rapcious the resulting profits are. By expanding Medicaid and subsidizing private insurance policies with tax dollars, Obamacare throws more fuel on this problem, too. End result: even if ordinary Americans had leverage to negotiate costs down (they DON'T), they have little impulse to, so long as the matter is taken care of.
End result of all of this? Health costs continue to skyrocket, and increasingly the government is left to foot the bill, which enables health care costs to skyrocket even higher.
At this point conservatives will nod their heads and say that I've just proven that the only reasonable policy is to abolish all government funding of health coverage and go to a full laissez-faire open market.
Yeah, that's an idea... if you favor health care being a luxury good. Otherwise, not so much.
The problem isn't the idea of socialized medicine. The problem is that the United States's spasmodic efforts in health care policy have gone in a direction no other country on Earth was so stupid as to attempt; funding health care without really regulating the market. We pay the bills without doing much about how much those bills are, so of COURSE each bill gets bigger than the last. But the solution is not to stop paying the bills. The bills need to be paid. Everybody needs proper health care, and (though conservatives refuse to admit this bit) we need to have everybody around us as healthy as possible too.
We have privatized profits (health care companies hiking prices without apparent limit) and socialized losses (tax dollars footing the bill for much of it). The free market will not fix this problem- or, at least, it won't do it without a mountain of sick and dead.
What we need is socialized medicine as every nation who actually has it practices it- strict, strong, harshly enforced regulations and restrictions on the medical industry (especially pharmaceuticals), publicly funded hospitals and clinics, cheap or free college and training for medical professionals, the whole bit.
The Affordable Care Act, by design, touched NONE of that.
Adding the "public option" to it won't help, either. In fact, it will speed the process of collapse up, as providers either refuse to accept it or use its bottomless pockets to pay for ever-increasing profits.
We need socialized medicine and nothing else. Unfortunately, Trump is of the abolish-it-all party, and Clinton thinks a bit of duck tape and good wishes will fix Obamacare. Neither is actually interested in attacking the true problem in America's health care industry.
We need something else. (And, BTW, neither Johnson nor Stein is it.)
|Friday, August 26th, 2016|
|My Day (Or, I've Decided I Need to Use LJ More and FB Less)
Okay. When I got up this morning, my agenda was:
(1) Evict the eldest cat from the house for the day;
(2) Clean up the places where the cat has been shedding flea-dirt (Hartz anti-flea treatment not being effective) in the dining room (including, alas, the newspapers I'd been hoarding for when I finally clear out my grandmother's glassware);
(3) Put together mail orders to go out today;
(4) Lay down flea powder in dining room;
(5a) Post office to ship mail orders;
(5b) See if Beaumont has a Container Store where I can buy a lot of cheap boxes for use as grab-bags to clear out clearance items at cons;
(5c) Lowe's, to replace plastic tubs that have broken
(6) Return, vacuum up flea powder
What actually happened:
(1) Cat was evicted with no trouble, back outside with the other three. However, this cat has a history of "marking territory" when under stress or if the litter box is about half-used, and he'd left a big pile of cat crap right at the door joining the dining room to the living room (where cats are not permitted). So, out for a day turns out to be out forever or until I get forgetful about today. (Which is a shame, as this cat is at least fifteen years old, doesn't move as well as he used to, and needs to be an indoor cat... but not if he breaks training.)
(2) Newspapers and a lot of other trash gathered up and burned out back. Table first lint-rolled, then wiped clean to reduce flea-crap (and possible flea eggs) in the carpet. Chairs moved to kitchen, with a mental note that a wipe-down with bleach is necessary, or else pitching six dining chairs into the dumpster and replacing with folding chairs.
(3) The print job of packing slips never went through the previous night. The momentary power failure during the thunderstorm messed up the communications between computer and printer (as always), but this time one thing after another failed to get the two to talk to one another. It took over two hours of this-and-that, with me on the point of adding "buy new cheap printer" to my errand list, when I finally got the thing to work JUST in time to finish packing the mail order and get to the post office before it closed.
(3a) Observe that, of the four new tires I bought LAST WEEK for the convention minivan, three are showing pinched sidewalls. This means I will have to unload the van tomorrow so I can take it back to Wal-Mart and -try- to get replacement tires.
(4) The printer ate the time I was going to use for laying down powder on the dining room carpet. However, since the cat's not coming back in, I can do that tonight and let it sit overnight, vacuuming it up in the morning.
(5a) Arrived at post office in Kountze three minutes before closing. Got charged $7.15 for Priority Mail to Dallas on one package because it was one-and-loose-change pounds. Have a suspicion that, knowingly or not, the teller at the Kountze post office was feeding me a line on that.
(5b) No, no Container Store in Beaumont. I may make a stop in Houston
(5c) Bought four tubs, about half the number I needed.
(5d) Picked up $20 of groceries; the one on-sale thing I was looking for, wasn't on sale at the store in Lumberton.
(6) Groceries more or less put away; now to finally lay down the powder.
At some point before San Japan I need to find both time and energy to WRITE, dammit.
|Tuesday, July 5th, 2016|
Well, I just got chewed out, and probably deservedly so, for my knee-jerk reaction to the word "respect", i. e. "Anybody who demands respect doesn't deserve it."
Yes, I know and agree that blacks, women, gays, and a ton of other groups who get treated like crap demand respect because they won't get it any other way. In theory, at least, I'm on board with that, because my brain tries to compartmentalize "group respect" from "self-entitled loudmouthed stuffed shirt who wants an ego fluff."
And while trying to figure out a way to separate the two, I realized something: I really, really hate the word "respect."
Growing up (in the rural, conservative, Christian, and very white South), "respect" did not mean "treat as an equal." I don't think I ever heard it used that way.
"Respect" was something you did to your -superiors.- You shut up, listened, and obeyed... respectfully. You didn't disagree; you "respectfully suggested." You respected your elders, police, elected officials, but nobody ever thought that your elders, police, elected officials, etc. were under any obligation to respect you.
To respect someone else was, in short, to admit your own inferiority.
This is something worth thinking about: that our language and culture uses one word for two concepts which are not merely different but mutually exclusive- equality and subordination.
And in my adult life I admit that I've dealt with a lot more people (invariably male, usually but not exclusively white) who demand respect not as an equal but as a Cartman clone- "respect mah authoritah."
Another thing to consider: how gun advocates routinely refer to the "respect" people give a person openly carrying a weapon. And what that says about (almost universally white) gun advocates' definition of "respect."
I don't know if there's anything rhetorically to be done about this, or if it's even worth trying. (I mean, "honor" is even worse, and "acknowledge" falls far short of equality.) But I think there's an insight here somewhere that bears closer analysis, and might yield something useful.
But for the moment I will amend my statement: those who demand the respect of authority do not deserve it; and the best way to get the respect of equal treatment is to give it.
|Friday, June 17th, 2016|
|I now have a Patreon.
It's there in the title, folks. Or, rather, it's here:https://www.patreon.com/user?ty=h&u=3388493
To explain why I'm doing this:
First, last year (2015) was my most successful year as a convention vendor, which was good, because I'd taken on a bunch more personal bills (health insurance, house insurance, etc.). I still only notched up about $9000 or so net profit for the year, which is only liveable because I own my house outright.
But the first few shows of 2016 showed an general downward trend from 2015, with a few exceptions. First, here's the net profit from all the conventions I've sold at to date in 2016, with the difference from 2015:
Ushicon 2016 - $493 (-238)
OwlCon 2016 - $300 (did not attend in 2015)
VisionCon 2016 - $300 (did not attend in 2015)
CoastCon 2016 - $574 (+112)
Texas Furry Fiesta - $1,354 (+689)
TexanCon - $395 (did not attend in 2015)
AggieCon - $335 (-118)
CyPhaCon - $699 (-401)
ChupacabraCon - -$260 (-100)
MobiCon - $125 (-661)
A-Kon - $522 (-1413)
NOLA Time Fest - $45 (did not attend in 2015)
So, except for March, everything was down, performing below expectations. The biggest reason for this is my T-shirt line, which has dropped sales gradually over the past twelve months and PLUMMETED in the past two months- I sold fewer than half the number of shirts at A-Kon 2016 I did in 2015, and at Mobicon the drop was TWO-THIRDS. T-shirts are my largest profit item, so when they go south, so does my income.
Put it another way: I need about $1000/mth to cover my basic bills, including minimum debt service on my credit cards. This doesn't count non-monthly expenses, like the new stove I need, the four new tires on my van which will be needed imminently, or other issues.
Convention sales are about nine-tenths of my total income at the moment, so let's add up the profits above: $4,822 net so far (not counting non-convention business expenses like web hosting, credit card merchant account, etc.). That means, with one convention left in June and nothing confirmed in July until the very end of that month, I'm more than a whole month's worth of bills in the red...
... not counting the cost of all the extra merchandise I bought specifically for the last two cons, almost none of which actually sold.
So financially I'm in a bind, and I no longer have confidence that things will balance out down the road at other conventions.
Furthermore, 2015's success, such as it was, came at the cost of my creative productivity. I was too busy working at conventions or preparing for the next convention to relax enough to WRITE. The most I could do was toss-off little snippets for a crackfic collective project. I struggled to work on <A HREF="http://www.peteristhewolf.com/
eter is the Wolf</a>, and everything else just fell flat.
I've been thinking about Patreon for a long time, but I hadn't wanted to commit to it until Peter is the Wolf Book 2's IndieGoGo project was cleared out. That's taking forever, though. (Book 3 will be handed off to a professional colorist, rather than wait for Ben and his day job to cooperate.) And I don't think I can put off the begging bowl any longer.
Now, I've tried offering commissioned writing and soliciting direct donations for my writing before, and with a few exceptions it was a failure. My muse often wouldn't cooperate with the requests of the commissioners. I'm hoping that a bit more maturity, and the Patreon platform, will reverse that trend.
If nothing else, I want to be able to relax and write, dammit.
So, again, here's the Patreon link: https://www.patreon.com/user?ty=h&u=3388493
And I really hope this works.
|Monday, May 23rd, 2016|
|Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016|
|Thursday, December 31st, 2015|
|So I went to see the damn movie, already.
I actually like SW:TFA better than the original SW:ANH. I like the deeper characterization. I like how it actually feels like a war instead of a handful of people running down corridors. And, yes, I admit I'm a sucker for the fanservice Kasdan and Abrams kept shoveling out by the ton.
The movie isn't perfect. It could have done with a little bit more quiet time or bonding. Some reviewers say that the movie's constant action leaves one burned out by the end, and I can see their point. Only one of the new characters really grabbed me (Finn); the others I'm kind of meh on, though it's no fault of their actors (except for one, but he tried his best). They all did wonderfully.
Okay, enough. Now for details.( ;Spoilers ahoy, because I don"t give a damn, and it"s been two weeks anyway.Collapse )
So... after "Attack of the Clones" I had no desire to watch or read anything Star Wars related ever again. I went tonight because I wanted something to do for New Year's Eve, and almost everyone whose opinion I respect who saw the movie loved it. Now I'm eagerly looking forward to two years from now, because I have NO idea where the story is going to go from here... and I really, really want to find out.
That said, I do kind of wish I hadn't spent $25 to see it. (The popcorn and drink cost more than the ticket.)
And side note: I am NOT watching any more movies in 3D. My eyes still hurt, and the effect wasn't convincing to me. It was more like View-Master, with one flat layer atop another flat layer. Things in the foreground blurred to unrecognizable shapes when they moved quickly. If and when I rewatch the movie, it will be in blessed, blessed 2D, so I can see the crap I missed the first time round.
|Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015|
|Monday, October 12th, 2015|
So Tom Smith is on a filker group where there's been a writing quote: "do a Tom Lehrer song on pseudoscience."
So, here's a stab at it. (Tune: "Pollution" by Tom Lehrer)If you're feeling wan and weary
Try this old and trusted theory
Though evidence is razor-thin
It's not plain water, it's medicine!
The hypochondriac's favorite salve
The less that you got
The more that you have!
Dissolve your cure and have no care
'Cause water remembers what was there
Add more water, and still more yet
'Cause the more you add, the stronger it gets!
You know it's true because
It has the endorsement
Of TV's Doctor Oz!
But if this theory is on the square
Of the Pacific you should beware
One part per trillion of Fukushima
Oughta be enough to boil Godzilla
So go buy your homeopathic cure-alls today
The quacks say you oughta
Buy lots of water
And throw all of your cash- away!!
|Sunday, August 23rd, 2015|
|An open letter to Sad and Rabid Puppies supporters.
Caveat: I did not vote or participate in any way in Sasquon, the 2015 Hugo Awards, or anything associated with either. The reasons I did not vote are: (1) I didn't feel like reading all the things nominated for the awards, and I don't feel qualified to vote in awards polls without some knowledge of all the options; and (2) I regard the Hugos as an unimportant popularity contest, not worth more than an occasional hour or so out of my free time. I'm only writing this because of the incredible stupidity and insanity involved with the Sad/Rabid Puppies movement.
To the supporters of Sad/Rabid Puppies: You are all insane.
Having said the single most important thing in this post, I will now explain why I say it.( Or you can move on to read something else now...Collapse )
This is why I don't just think you're assholes; you're insane.
Only assholes do things for the primary purpose of making other people angry.
And only insane people think they can do asshole things and have their victims love them for it afterwards.
|Monday, May 11th, 2015|
|A post, in which I waste time and annoy Puppies.
So apparently somebody passed on my previous post to the online fanzine File 770
... which I really wasn't expecting, at all.
And of course I read the comments to see if there was any particular reaction to my post among the others in the article (on account of I am vain).
In those comments I found a few repeated, generalized points made by Sad/Rabid Puppies supporters which I feel deserve a generalized response, because on their face they have the appearance of valid points.( So let"s strip away that false appearance, shall we?Collapse )
As I said in my previous post: these people are toxic. Don't engage. Avoid when possible, but don't make a big deal about it.
(Of course, I'm a hypocrite here, since I just responded to Puppy droppings, but I don't intend to make a habit of it.)
|Saturday, May 9th, 2015|
|Sunday, May 3rd, 2015|
|Slowly, slowly dealing with my grandmother's belongings...
... and now it's time to get rid of one of the biggest things.EDIT: CAR IS NOW SOLD.FOR SALE - 2005 MERCURY SABLE GS
Segno (Livingston), TX
3.0 V6 engine
Automatic transmission (rebuilt 10,000 miles ago)
Just tuned up (new plugs, wires, coils, filters)
Bought new, mainly used for trips to church, beauty shop and grocery shopping (7-30 mile one-way trips).
Body has a couple of minor dents, some paint scrapes, and a large splash of concrete from highway construction several years ago. The concrete looks like mud but WILL NOT WASH OFF- nothing less than removing & repainting will fix. Interior in good shape. Factory original AM/FM/CD stereo, no USB ports. A/C in good working order.
|Monday, February 16th, 2015|
|I've about fucking HAD IT with GamerGate.
Here is what I know about GamerGate.
We begin with Anita Sarkeesian, who began doing review films from a radically feminist point of view about the inherent sexism in video games. (And quite frankly the sexism OUGHT to be obvious; consider how many of our games come from Japan, which is an unashamedly male-dominant society. How many times has Peach saved Mario, or Zelda saved Link? And consider some of the most popular video game series include the Grand Theft Auto and God of War series.)
This pissed off a lot of people who, quite frankly, ought to have been ignored, because they couldn't stand to have their cozy male-dominated world even brought into question. So Sarkeesian began getting false accusations, death threats, etc. Sadly, this is business as usual for the Internet.
Then along came Zoe Quinn.
Zoe Quinn is a game developer- one of the tiny minority of game developers and staff who are female. She had a bad breakup with her boyfriend, who retaliated by falsely accusing her of sleeping with or bribing game reviewers in order to get favorable reviews of her independent game project.
The same people who were attacking Anita Sarkeesian grabbed hold of the Quinn story, and began the same cycle of threats and harassment with Quinn. In order to make themselves look less like dicks, they claimed it was a protest to demand "ethics in journalism." (Never mind the simple fact that neither Sarkeesian nor Quinn are journalists. Quinn is a game developer, and Sarkeesian is a reviewer, NOT a news reporter.)
GamerGate became a thing. It was helped along in no small part by Breitbart and other conservative opinion outlets, who saw an opportunity to strike out at feminists and other "social justice warriors" who dared to threaten the conservative ideal of a male-dominant, woman-as-property society.
The harrassment escalated into stalking. The death threats became very serious and specific. And the #GamerGate supporters continued to excuse it all as "about ethics in journalism" or, at worst, "those aren't real GamerGate supporters making the threats."
And then the partisans of Quinn, Sarkeesian, and others attacked by GamerGate began fighting back. Death threats began to flow in the other direction, as did doxxings.
The battle even spread to Wikipedia, where GamerGate supporters used sockpuppet accounts to maliciously edit entries for notable feminist and anti-GamerGate figures. Feminists responded by undoing these edits and by trying to present the darker side of GamerGate on the Wikipedia entry for the movement. Wikipedia's top board of editors, the arbitration committee, responded by permanently banning the feminists from all topics related to sexuality.
So now we have a situation in which a group of people defends harassment and death threats against another group because "they were asking for it," or, "They started it first," or, "It's not about harassment, it's about journalism ethics."
BULL FUCKING SHIT.
Here's my full position on all of it.
You have the right to have an opinion, and to express it publicly. This is called free speech.
You have the right to say that someone else's opinion is full of shit. This is also free speech.
You have the right to make a feminist video game, or a misogynistic video game, or a blockbuster movie that presents blatant domestic abuse as voluntary BDSM roleplay. And you also have the right to say that people should or shouldn't spend their money on any of these things. This is also free speech.
And, finally, you have the right to point out that holding certain opinions, and expressing them openly, makes a person an asshole. Michael Moore is an asshole. So is David Barton. So is Bryan Fischer. So is Jack Thompson. This also is free speech, and you do NOT have the right to not be called an asshole.
You do NOT have the right to terrorize someone, through doxxing, stalking, harassment or death threats, in order to silence them. Ever. Not even if "they started it" or "video game journalism ethics" or "systematic misogyny" or any other excuse you can dream up.
And if you defend such tactics- and by the way, every time you post a pro-#GamerGate post, you ARE defending those tactics, because that's what GamerGate was started to do
- then guess what? You're an asshole.
And just to be clear, if you're a feminist or liberal and you retaliate using GamerGate tactics? I don't care. You're an asshole too, and YOU at least should know better than to lower yourself to their level.
And finally, I would be much happier if a certain number of GamerGate supporters came clean and admitted they don't give a fuck about journalism ethics, they just want to make sure nobody comes after their sexy fun times. That would be cool.
But I really am getting sick and fucking tired of #GamerGate, especially when I see the tag attached to the most vile and smug bullshit imaginable. Seriously- PICK ANOTHER FUCKING NAME. If you're actually serious about the journalism thing, try #NoGamePayola. If you want to defend your BDSM porn or your bikini-Amazon-chick in your favorite video game, try #PornIsGood or #SaveOurSex or something. But the name #GamerGate is poison.
If you're identifying as #GamerGate, then you're standing beside people who want to keep gaming a boys'-only club- or, at least, boys and those girls who aren't threatening to boys' fragile egos. You're using a name which is inextricably linked to harassing women.
So, if I happen to see a post from you that approves in any way at all of GamerGate, I'm going to regard you as someone who hates women unless they're subservient to you, and who is just fine with any and all tactics to force women into submission.
And if I happen to learn that you are a liberal cheering on (or even perpetrating) the same kind of bullshit GamerGate unleashes on its chosen targets in some idiotic notion of retaliation or "sauce for the gander," I'm going to regard you as someone who has lost all sight of moral standards for the sake of petty tribal bickering.
Either way, an asshole.
EDIT: If your movement is making people ashamed to be involved with gaming at all, YOU'RE FUCKING DOING IT WRONG.
|Monday, December 22nd, 2014|
|Lyrics: "I Saw Him on the Six O'Clock News"
While out and about today I listened to a two CD set of Harry Chapin's 2000th concert I picked up off Amazon. And it triggered the following, which I held onto as much as I could until I got home and could write it down. (The bridge was better in the car, but I couldn't keep it in memory.)I sent all my wishes to Santa Claus
But he never listened to me
I sent him my list and I tried to be nice
As good as I knew how to be
But Christmas Morning brought me sweaters and socks
And I didn't think it was fair
The bully in the mansion got the stuff that I'd asked for
And I wondered if Santa was there
But I saw him on the Six O'Clock News
Smiling and a-winking at me
Standing with the rich men in their three-piece suits
Grinning as wide as can be
I want to ask, "When do we get a choice?
Where is the help for the poor girls and boys?
How long till somebody hears our voice?"
But all I get is, "Wait and see."I sent all my prayers to God above
But He never listened to me
I prayed for His help and followed his rules
And watched his preachers on the TV
But they told us the people the Bible tells us to love
We really ought to hate and fear
Then they asked me to send them my cash when I'm broke
And I wondered, is God really here?
I've tried to have faith in America's promise
So all of my grievances I've aired
But what is the point of going through the motions
When the people in charge just don't care?
I send my letters to my Congressman
But he never listens to me
I ask him what he's doing to help working folks
But I keep it phrased most courteously
But he's too busy raising money for his next campaign
Taking checks from his corporate friends
His opponent is doing the exact same thing
Is this how democracy ends?
And I saw them on the Six O'Clock News
Smiling and a-winking at me
Standing with the rich men in their three-piece suits
Grinning as wide as can be
I want to ask, "When do we get a choice?
Where is the help for the poor girls and boys?
How long till somebody hears our voice?"
(spoken): And the rich men say: "Never, if we can help it!"
(sung): I guess I'll wait and see
|Friday, December 12th, 2014|
First, a quick note- I'm in Biloxi as I type this, selling at Geekonomicon. At the end of Friday I've already blown past my weekend-long total for Fear Fete and have paid for pretty much everything except the merchandise to replace what's sold. This is looking like a good weekend, and I needed one, since too many shows I've done since Labor Day have either disappointed or outright tanked (see again Fear Fete).
But I didn't post to talk about that. Tonight it's golf. I do that sometimes, and with WLP building up its convention business a good bit this year, I do it a little more often. I've even slapped together a compact bag and five clubs that can squeeze into an otherwise loaded van so I can try to pick up a round on a course I haven't played going to or coming from a convention.
Yesterday I tried it out on the road for the first time, playing a round at a course I've played only a couple times before and not in over a decade, Henry Homburg Municipal in Beaumont, TX.
Quick course review: it's boring and flat, with most of the holes straight and none really challenging for anyone but a complete duffer. It's about as friendly to a weak golfer like myself as anyone has a right to expect. There are three water holes on the back nine, but the only serious water on the front is a drainage ditch in front of #4 tee and Chocolate Bayou, which runs on the left side of five holes beyond the fence. It's better maintained than average for a munie, and the price isn't bad ($26 for a round on a weekday with cart, $18 for a round without cart).
On the front nine I played close to the best I've ever played on a full-length course- perfect double bogey, 54. I had no pars, but I didn't self-destruct, either. The majority of my tee shots were crap, but they all ended up in the fairways, and my iron shots were workable. Even my short game became... tolerable. My putting let me down, since I could never get the feel of the greens, which is why I had only one bogey and no pars on the front nine. Still, if I could do that regularly, I wouldn't be so grumpy. I've never broken 110 on a par-72 course, but it looked like my day to do it.
At the turn I ducked into the pro shop for a bathroom break, and absolutely nothing went right after that.
Hitting the ball felt like hitting a metal spike in the ground, complete with my club turning open on impact. Balls went everywhere EXCEPT the fairway, and never very far. I could not get a tee shot in the air to save my life until, in desperation, I teed off with a seven-iron on the short par-3 #17, skipped it across the water, bouced it over the green, and knocked it into the embankment behind the green, ending up a putter head's length away from being on in regulation. (And then I four-putted, blowing a decent par chance completely.)
I finished up with ten strokes on the 440+ yard par-4 18th, for a back nine of 69 (which is my worst nine holes in a decade) and a round of 123.
To paraphrase another quotation whose source I can't recall: "30 handicap, round of 97, result: happiness. 30 handicap, round of 107, result: misery."
Those of you who golf already understand.
|Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014|
|WLP Holiday Sale Continues!
First, a reminder of what was posted Sunday night.
WLP Online Store: https://wlpcomics.com/shop/
Adults-only Store: https://wlpcomics.com/sbostore/
10% minimum off all books, games, DVDs, etc. with some things discounted 25%, 33%, 50% and even 80%!
20% off ALL T-shirts (and I've just updated http://www.wlpshirts.com/
with the newest designs)!And 33% off
the following four designs... which will get the axe if they don't sell some copies in December!
Have You Seen My Time Machine? - http://www.wlpcomics.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=62_71&products_id=666
Pimp Dalek - http://www.wlpcomics.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=62_71&products_id=766
Epoch Fail - https://wlpcomics.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=62_71&products_id=837
Legend Dairy - https://wlpcomics.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=62_71&products_id=839
Plus I'll be adding more books, manga, and ESPECIALLY DVDs (including classic Doctor Who stories and some great old-school anime) over the coming week!ADDED MONDAY:
the most recent Haruhi Suzumiya
manga releases!ADDED TUESDAY:
all the Spice & Wolf
manga, novels, and the complete DVD/Blu-Ray collection!ALSO ADDED TUESDAY:
eleven classic DOCTOR WHO
adventures on DVD!
TO BE ADDED WEDNESDAY: a bunch of great classic anime hits Kris Overstreet loves and thinks you should own!
Orders need to be placed by December 15th if you want them for Christmas delivery.
I need to reduce some inventory and get cash for the lean winter months- so please keep checking the online stores and shopping WLP!
|Wednesday, November 5th, 2014|
|The next couple years are going to SUCK.
Well, last night was worse than anybody expected, even me. Not only did Republicans win across the board (providing them a mandate for their destruction of the public sector and tax handouts to the super-wealthy), but the particular candidates involved- Ernst, Cotton, Purdue, Gardner- will make the Republicans in Congress the most radically pro-wealth, anti-government, far-right Congress in history.
What happened? My thoughts:
(1) Democrats failed to stand for anything- AGAIN. The closest they came to a united front was on women's issues- equality, abortion, health care. Allison Grimes, Mark Pryor, and Wendy Davis presented themselves as pro-gun, pro-business, pro-fossil-fuels conservative Democrats, and still lost. The Democratic Party even failed to stand for the idea of having a Democratic Party by pulling their candidate in Kansas to make room for an independent who said he'd caucus for whichever party had a majority.
(2) Obama lost the support of the more liberal portion of his base, who stayed home and didn't turn out in the numbers needed to win. The Ebola scare was a factor, but the main issue was ISIS- and the fact that we're going back into Iraq, throwing away one of the very few permanent accomplishments of Obama's presidential term.
(3) Dark money. Right now conservatives are claiming that Democrats outspent Republicans by a factor of two to one. In the last three months of the election this just wasn't so. The Kochs and their allies poured money into advertising at a rate better than five to one above Democratic dark-money groups.
Note: I don't think electronic voting machines and voter-ID disenfranchisement played that great a role in last night's disaster. The trend was national, electronic or paper ballot, hidden-poll-tax or open voting. I still believe voter IDs should be absolutely free to all and that only paper ballots should be counted in any election, but that's because they're just the right thing to do- not because of any advantage one side or the other gets from them.
For a bit of number crunching, here's the rough margins in Texas in past statewide elections where R's and D's are both in the race. (Not counting races with Rick Perry in them; Perry has almost always been much less popular than the rest of his party.)
2002 - 57-41 R, Dems with 1,800,000 avg. votes
2004 - 60-39 R, Dems with 2,800,000 avg. votes
2006 - 59-37 R, Dems with 1,600,000 avg. votes
2008 - 55-43 R, Dems with 3,400,000 avg. votes
2010 - 61-35 R, Dems with 1,700,000 avg. votes
2012 - 56-41 R, Dems with 3,200,000 avg. votes
2014 - 59-38 R, Dems with 1,700,000 avg. votes
The remarkable thing, looking back on the results, is that over the past decade variations between candidates of the same party have grown fewer and fewer. In short, it no longer matters who Democrats and Republicans run for the most part. Voters are voting the party label, not the candidate.
Which means that Democrats, at least in Texas, can't hope to win by moving to the center or right and claiming to be "big business Democrats" like Wendy Davis did. And like Bill White did. And like all the others before, pretty much. If you're a Democrat, you might as well own the label, embrace the party platform, and go down swinging for what you supposedly believe in... otherwise, what good are you?
And for everyone who keeps hearing about "inevitable demographic shifts," "the new majority," etc... don't believe the hype. The above numbers are pretty damn stable. Republicans ran to rich white men, gave the middle finger to everyone else, and WON. They're not going to change, except to become more extreme as the rich white men demand more control, more privilege, and more money as return on investment. The only way to get Texas to shift to the left is to CAMPAIGN on a platform advocating a shift to the left.
And I don't believe the Democratic Party establishment is up to that- or even particularly interested in doing it, since so many of them are indebted to those same rich white men for campaign funds. Current Mood: depressed
|Tuesday, August 19th, 2014|
|Now that we've learned "No means No," how about "Get Help means Get Help"?
So, I had a splendid AnimeFEST- sales up, profits up (even after paying Mischa Jones, who was booth babe and frustrated artist at my booth), encounted a new game I need to buy, won another game in a "play game and get raffle ticket" thing... all in all, for me the only downer was the smoke-stank hotel room I had up the road at the Extended Stay Market Center.
Mischa, however, had a generally rotten time, especially on Monday. She locked her keys, phone, purse, and con badge in her car, and she didn't dare leave the parking lot for fear her car would be booted... since it requires you put the parking receipt on your dash, inside the car.
The helper at Pegasus Publishing's booth- not Lillian, but someone I don't think I've met before- was behind Mischa in line to pay for parking. Mischa asked her to send a message for me to rush down and help, but somehow the message transformed into: "Your helper's had a bit of a breakdown, but I sent a con staffer to get help for her, she's paid for her parking and the attendant probably has a slim-jim, so she'll be fine, we talked her down, don't worry."
Well, Mischa ended up spending two hours in the sun and $45 (which I covered) for the pop-lock. She got heat exhaustion, a sunburn, severe cramps, and a true capper on an already rotten start to her day... thanks to a game of "telephone" gone awry.
The key point here is that what I took from the message was: (a) "Mischa was upset, but we've talked her down and things are under control" (entirely wrong): and (b) "Mischa paid for her parking," combined with, "She locked her keys and phone in her car," which led me to assume (wrongly) that Mischa had her purse and badge on her. The purse was never mentioned, and I don't leave my hotel room without wearing my badge, so I ended up with a wholly mistaken take on the situation.
Mischa is furious, because she spent the rest of the day sick as a dog from the heat-cold whiplash between too long outside and the 65 degrees F of the dealer's room. I didn't have that, but I'm pretty annoyed too... mostly with myself. The next time someone says, "Your helper/friend is in trouble, but don't worry, it's under control," I'm going to say, "Fuck that. I'm going to make goddamn sure it IS under control." Because, apparently, I can't trust people to actually listen to what my friends are trying to tell them.