ihcoyc: (St Camillo de Lelis)
Donna Douglas, quae Elly May personavit in Rusticis Beverlacensibus, transita est aevo LXXXI.

Donna Douglas
ihcoyc: Bad literature (Bad literature)
Look at all the delightful and highly entertaining films that came out in 2014.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Lego Movie
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • 300: Rise of an Empire
  • Hercules
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

This has in fact been a fairly stellar year for movies. I don't expect any of these films to be shortlisted for an Academy Award. If any are, it will be among the last two. Oscar prefers unwatchable dreck like 12 Years a Slave to anything that people choose for entertainment value. This is why I find it impossible to take the Academy Awards all that seriously.

Replay value is a major, major factor in my assessment of a film's quality. I own Gladiator, but think less of it than I do of 300, or Troy, or for that matter of Triumph of the Son of Hercules, each of which I've watched many times for every time I've seen Gladiator. And Gladiator is supposed to be a great film in one of my favorite genres. Gladiator takes itself too seriously and as a result is much less entertaining. In retrospect, the best thing about it was the soundtrack.

Since objectively speaking I'd rather watch Triumph of the Son of Hercules than Gladiator, I'm not sure what it is exactly that is supposed to make Gladiator the superior film here. The high-seriousness of the proceedings? That's part of what leaves me cold. The lack of reliance on stock genre plots? I consider the embellishment and refinement of stock plots and characters to be an art in itself, and I wouldn't have become a fan of the genre if the stock scenes and characters did not amuse me. Why should I prefer something that deprives me of part of the pleasure and part of the point of choosing that kind of film?

Replay value is huge for me. It's to the point where I use films for other purposes. When I want to brush up on my ability to understand French, I watch Barbarella or Le pacte des loups again. There are artier French films, but none I like better. Same thing with understanding Scandinavian; there I turn to Ronal the Barbarian.

I'm fully aware that this makes The Rocky Horror Picture Show the greatest motion picture ever made. As it certainly is.
ihcoyc: Apocalyptic Price (Apocalyptic Price)
The world really would have turned out better if the opinion prevailed that YHWH and Zeus were two names of the same entity.
ihcoyc: Bad literature (Bad literature)
My problem with the Hunger Games backstory is that it isn't good for Americans to portray the people with culture, fashion, and philosophy as the bad guys, while the good guys have woodsy skills, family ties, and live simple lives. That sort of thing appeals to the worst in us.
ihcoyc: (Default)
I, for myself, wonder how the 'feminist' label got so toxic. To the point that people say stuff like 'I'm for equal rights for women but I'm not a feminist.'

This sort of thing is part of the problem. The sheer priggishness of it all, and the drive to inject unanswerable personal drama, are simply unhelpful. ("Tone argument". Yes, I've heard it before. That's another part of the problem. Have you heard the news about another gospel of Jesus Christ?) Labels like "mansplaining" exist because the people who use them want to control the conversation. Dissent is met with canned doctrine, slogans, and labels.

My take remains that he was a clever but somewhat awkward fellow who got an awesome birthday present and may not have the world's best social skills, but up to now has lived in a world where his eccentricities are tolerated. Now he's been made a target of Internet bullying and been forced to grovel. He's too sympathetic a figure; he did not deserve this. Amanda Marcotte called his shirt "pornographic", and it surely is not. It's a piece of lowbrow pinup art. Camp, in other words. I want a world that's safe for camp.
ihcoyc: (Default)
To claim that "the personal is political" is to invite the United States Senate to supervise your sex life. What else could it mean?

Unless your politics includes an agenda you want a government to put into action, it isn't politics. It's just whining. Fortunately, this kind of whining isn't done by politicians, but by "theorists" of various ilks.
ihcoyc: Apocalyptic Price (Apocalyptic Price)
If you, like me, switched to Pale Moon from Firefox, and you still have a 24.* version, you are going to want to at least temporarily turn off browser updates, at least for the interim, because you don't want to be frogmarched into version 25. If it happened to you involuntarily, you can get the last good version here.  Be sure to turn off updates as soon as you run it.

One thing that the 'update' does to you involuntarily is that it no longer tells websites that it's a version of Firefox. This breaks many sites, including in all likelihood many banking and credit card sites. It also broke my legal research site. It also broke DeviantArt.

Apparently the old version was "lying" about which browser it was, which breaks Robot's Rules of Order or some such. Now I know that the Firefox user base has been in freefall recently, as a result of arrogant decisions by those programmers forcing detestable changes in the interface, and their arrogant response: "don't like it? Install another add on." I think Firefox jumped the shark when it removed the ability to turn off Javascript. You don't disable a security feature without telling anybody. Their arrogant response then: "Don't like it? Edit your about:config file....Or install another add on." Well, fuck you too.

So I kind of understand Pale Moon's desire to announce itself to the world, and let the dataminers know that its users aren't using Firefox any more. But this breaks the web. I understand that they're going to fix this in another update, but it hasn't been fixed yet.

Any time the browser itself steps between me and what I'm doing, it's broken. I need unchanging, stable reliability from a web browser more than I need updates. Telling me the internet's a scary place just isn't persuasive any more. Whatever dangers lurk for the users of a months-old version are remote and speculative, while the problems letting the updates run are immediate and obvious. I suppose I can eventually go back to an extended maintenance last good version of Firefox, from the time before they decided to take Javascript control within the browser itself out of your hands.

But I don't need to be handed extra chores by browser programmers who decide to change the way the browser works and impose those changes automatically and without explanations before they're allowed to happen. I'm not really all that interested in the details of web browsers. I shouldn't feel the need to monitor the developers to be aware of whatever unwelcome surprises they're planning in future versions. All I want is for the browser to do its job and get out of the way.

One more thing: the 25.* versions of Pale Moon drop support for Windows XP. Their recommendations are typically arrogant: they want you to pay Microsoft for a newer operating system that will run like sludge on your systems specced for XP. What they're eager to tell you not to do is to keep the un-updated version that still works. Do they eat with the same hands that they type that stuff with?
ihcoyc: (Default)
When Women Become Men at Wellesley
One of those T-shirted helpers was a junior named Timothy Boatwright. Like every other matriculating student at Wellesley, which is just west of Boston, Timothy was raised a girl and checked “female” when he applied. Though he had told his high-school friends that he was transgender, he did not reveal that on his application, in part because his mother helped him with it, and he didn’t want her to know. Besides, he told me, “it seemed awkward to write an application essay for a women’s college on why you were not a woman.” Like many trans students, he chose a women’s college because it seemed safer physically and psychologically.

From the start, Timothy introduced himself as “masculine-of-center genderqueer.” He asked everyone at Wellesley to use male pronouns and the name Timothy, which he’d chosen for himself.

For the most part, everyone respected his request. After all, he wasn’t the only trans student on campus. Some two dozen other matriculating students at Wellesley don’t identify as women. Of those, a half-dozen or so were trans men, people born female who identified as men, some of whom had begun taking testosterone to change their bodies. The rest said they were transgender or genderqueer, rejecting the idea of gender entirely or identifying somewhere between female and male; many, like Timothy, called themselves transmasculine. Though his gender identity differed from that of most of his classmates, he generally felt comfortable at his new school.

Last spring, as a sophomore, Timothy decided to run for a seat on the student-government cabinet, the highest position that an openly trans student had ever sought at Wellesley. The post he sought was multicultural affairs coordinator, or “MAC,” responsible for promoting “a culture of diversity” among students and staff and faculty members. Along with Timothy, three women of color indicated their intent to run for the seat. But when they dropped out for various unrelated reasons before the race really began, he was alone on the ballot. An anonymous lobbying effort began on Facebook, pushing students to vote “abstain.” Enough “abstains” would deny Timothy the minimum number of votes Wellesley required, forcing a new election for the seat and providing an opportunity for other candidates to come forward. The “Campaign to Abstain” argument was simple: Of all the people at a multiethnic women’s college who could hold the school’s “diversity” seat, the least fitting one was a white man.

“It wasn’t about Timothy,” the student behind the Abstain campaign told me. “I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there. It’s not just about that position either. Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”

I asked Timothy what he thought about that argument, as we sat on a bench overlooking the tranquil lake on campus during orientation. He pointed out that he has important contributions to make to the MAC position. After all, at Wellesley, masculine-of-center students are cultural minorities; by numbers alone, they’re about as minor as a minority can be. And yet Timothy said he felt conflicted about taking a leadership spot. “The patriarchy is alive and well,” he said. “I don’t want to perpetuate it.”
More proof, if any is needed, that the counting coup of "privilege" and related cant only serves a war of everybody versus everybody else. You can't build a better world using ideologies designed to focus and intensify grievances. And if "marginalization" is ultimately what your grievances are about, you're already plenty privileged in the real-world sense. More importantly, those kinds of grievances aren't the sort of problem that real-world politics can address.

Now, what the promoters of the "privilege" ideology aspire to accomplish might be worthwhile. It claims that it wants to allow the presentation of multiple points of view, at least until it starts screaming. But here is an example of how it tends to actually play out when sown into fallible human brains.

The ideology is tripping over its own shoelaces here. It's fun to watch, in a Schadenfreude sense. It's like a medieval debate about whether God can create a burrito so big he can't eat it. By being a FTM transgendered fellow, the candidate's pigeonholed himself as "white male." But at a women's college, in an academic setting where the ideological Kool-Aid flows freely, claiming that identity can only make him enemies.

There's a cruelty at the heart of that way of thinking that comes shining through in this example. Like all other endeavors for moral improvement, and despite its high-minded goals, this ideology also turns rancid when it touches corrupted human hearts. For the taint in human hearts is contagious.
ihcoyc: (St Camillo de Lelis)
Zilpha Keatley Snyder domi transita est aevo LXXXVII. Ter vicit insignia Newberry, pro Ludis Ægyptiacis et aliis. Præcipue dilexi trilogium eius quod de Cælo Virido tractavit; ex imagine hac mihi gratissimus ludus pro C=64 confectus est, Infra Radicem.


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December 2016

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