This short piece by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
Dense, but worth the effort.
This short piece by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
Dense, but worth the effort.
The author of this falls under the category of, “he said things critical of Jewry, Israel and/or the Holocaust” which therefore means he must be an anti-semite and a Nazi, even though he’s actually a poet who lives in a small town in Vietnam. Maybe it’s even risky posting that link here and not immediately disavowing everything he says.
But, it’s a good article. For example:
Hedges has written quite a bit about how enthralled we are to illusions and pseudo-events, a make believe universe of distortions and lies that has removed us from reality. The mass produced images are the virtual bricks of this faux cosmos, and it all started with photography, invented during Whitman’s lifetime.
The fact is, there is no need to erase Whitman, for he and every other poet are already all but invisible in this nation of mirages, trivia and distractions, where sexed up, mass produced images have erased contemplation, reflection and, ultimately, thoughts. Poetry is no longer viable in the United States.
I don’t care much about poetry myself, lacking the cognitive ability to process it very well (or maybe I’m just impatient and lazy with what I read). But, taking the gist of what he’s saying, it’s apparent that he is spot on in a general sense. Take poetry as a metaphor for a larger spectrum of experience, things that used to be basic parts of human existence but which no longer fit into a world where everything is part of some media campaign or strategic plan.
Everything is fake now. I go to a nearby wildlife refuge for a walk and the boards in the footbridges there turn out to be made of plastic with a little sawdust mixed in, then imprinted with a wood grain pattern and colored to make them look “real.” Or, have you noticed how hard it’s gotten to find casual clothing that doesn’t have someone’s brand name clearly visible on it? A winter jacket, for instance. Try finding one that doesn’t have a logo on it. Or pants. We’re not wearing pants, we’re wearing “Dockers” or “Levi’s” or whatever the hell are the current brands (I know Dockers and Levis aren’t anymore). Even underwear has the logo of some company obnoxiously emblazoned around the waistband for fuck’s sake. Can a man take off his damn pants without becoming yet another advertisement? Apparently not! Our choice is to either be an ad, or run around completely naked.
We even have fake people now. A woman who I’ve known for pretty much a decade has a personality which I would describe as 100% artificial. The sad thing is, she’s quite intelligent and reasonable, with a good sense of humor, and yet, somehow she manages to not only act as if she’s never had an independent thought in her life, the impression she creates with her persona is that of a scripted TV character, and not a very well written one either. And she’s like that all the time. It’s not an act! It’s just how she is.
It’s a sad day when we don’t just have to put up with endless, tedious ads every damn place we look, or third-rate, one-dimensional characters in our entertainment, but when people start to lose the ability to see how artificial and narrow these things are, to the point where they themselves subsume their entire identities and personalities into them…all I can say is, that’s fucked up. And I have no clue how to fix any of it.
Maybe I should press “f” now.
For some reason today I found myself wondering about the old The Spearhead blog, which used to be located at the-spearhead.com (don’t go there now, though—the site which currently owns that domain is pretty fishy looking).
I’d count The Spearhead as one of the first three or four manosphere blogs that I’d ever read on a regular basis, and for a long time it was my first blog read of the day, every day. It was a tremendous resource.
I did a quick search to see if there was some kind of archive available. There didn’t appear to be one readily available. Further searching may turn something up, but for now, this is the best tribute to The Spearhead that I was able to locate:
If I ever do find a real archive of what was once the nexus of the early Manosphere, perhaps the most influential blog of its day, I’ll post it in the “MIA” section in the sidebar.
This made me LOL, but it’s a pretty good article, and of use to non-liberal newbies as well:
I’ve been meaning to arm myself for some time, and started thinking about it more seriously in the run-up to Nov. 8 when things were looking increasingly dicey. Simultaneously to that, I realized that when things are suddenly looking dicey is not a good time to be buying a weapon. Better to have one already at that time, right? And to acquire one when things are not so dicey, so better care can be taken in the process.
In the mean time, I still have some other issues to work out. One is being a former liberal myself, raised by a foaming-at-the-mouth anti-gun pacifist, I was instilled with a fear of guns at a young age, and steeped in liberal culture for most of my life. I find it’s a hard thing to overcome. Oh, the logic of gun ownership is plain enough, but the emotional reaction is harder to argue with.
Then there’s the issue of money. A decent weapon, ammunition, training for myself, and regular practice: I’d have to fit that within my existing budget somehow. That would mean giving up something else in exchange, and there aren’t a lot of things I could easily give up right now.
Lastly, there’s simply the matter of time. Researching what sort of weapon I would buy, learning how to use it, and keeping up on skills, plus time spent familiarizing myself with the law in my state. Time is short. I suppose I could cut out some sleep time, right?
But the main thing I suppose is the fear.
Observe a river from a distance. It appears to be one smooth, uniform body of water, flowing simply and evenly in one direction.
Now move close to the river, along the shoreline. Walk along and observe the river closely in different spots. In some places you’ll notice eddies in the flow, where the water changes from its primary direction, perhaps flowing sideways, backwards, even in circular motions.
Life is an eddy in the river of entropy.
February 29! It only comes once every four years. Kind of like the Olympics, only shorter. And with less fooling around.
My normal source of political news has been on lockdown recently, so I’ve been having to look elsewhere for information and reading material. This has led to a good deal of stumbling across unexpected but interesting items like this:
Feel free to skip over the introductions and go right down to the good part, which is a list of science fiction writer jargon often heard at writing workshops, along with definitions. For instance,
“Call a Rabbit a Smeerp“
A cheap technique for false exoticism, in which common elements of the real world are re-named for a fantastic milieu without any real alteration in their basic nature or behavior. “Smeerps” are especially common in fantasy worlds, where people often ride exotic steeds that look and act just like horses. (Attributed to James Blish.)
An ailment endemic to genre writing, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to the point of the story. The actions of such characters convey an itchy sense of irrelevance, for the author has invented their problems out of whole cloth, so as to have something to emote about.
(Many current day TV writers could take a hint or two from that one.)
The Grubby Apartment Story
Similar to the “poor me” story, this autobiographical effort features a miserably quasi-bohemian writer, living in urban angst in a grubby apartment. The story commonly stars the author’s friends in thin disguises — friends who may also be the author’s workshop companions, to their considerable alarm.
There’s a whole slew of these things. Pretty interesting, often funny.
When you’re done reading those, go back up to Bruce Sterling’s intro section and have a go at it as well; its description of how a typical SF writing workshop works is pretty amusing.
I suppose why this stuff caught my interest at this moment in time is because I’ve been toying lately with the idea of writing a novel. Of course, I have no idea how I would go about doing that, nor how on earth I would find the time. Maybe I could give up sleeping.
A more likely scenario is that I’ll get my eyeglasses updated and start reading fiction for pleasure again. It’s been quite a while. I used to be an avid reader, one of those who was always in the process of reading a book. As soon as one book was done, I’d start the next one; there was never a day where I wasn’t currently reading something. But that started to fall by the wayside a number of years ago, and more recently I’ve gotten so thoroughly out of the habit that I have no idea how I used to find so much time for it. The last fiction novel I managed to get all the way through was Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which I read two or three years ago I think.
Anyway, I’m going to add the Turkey City Lexicon to the sidebar links and see how that sits.