Pixel Scroll 2/16/16 Think Pixel, Count Scroll

(1) CARNEGIE AND GREENAWAY LONGLISTS. The longlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals have been announced.

The Carnegie Medal, established in 1936, is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The Kate Greenaway Medal has been given since 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children.

Locus Online has identified the works of genre interest on both lists.

(2) TOLKIEN POEMS DISCOVERED. Two poems by J.R.R. Tolkien have been discovered in a 1936 copy of a school annual reports the BBC.

The Shadow Man, and a Christmas poem called Noel, were found at Our Lady’s School, Abingdon.

It is thought Tolkien got to know the school while he was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.

The poems were printed a year before Tolkien’s first literary sensation The Hobbit was published.

The Shadow Man is an earlier version of a poem eventually published in 1962 in Tolkien’s Adventures of Tom Bombadil collection.

The existence of the poems came to light after American Tolkien scholar Wayne G. Hammond got in touch with the school.

According to The Guardian

The first poem, The Shadow Man, is an early version of a poem that Tolkien went on to publish in his 1962 collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It tells of “a man who dwelt alone/ beneath the moon in shadow”, who “sat as long as lasting stone,/and yet he had no shadow”. When “a lady clad in grey” arrives, he wakes, and “clasped her fast, both flesh and bone;/and they were clad in shadow”.

The second, Noel, is a Christmas poem, albeit one set in scenery that would not be out of place in Middle-earth. “The hall was dark without song or light,/The fires were fallen dead,” writes Tolkien, going on to portray “the lord of snows”, whose “mantle long and pale/Upon the bitter blast was spread/And hung o’er hill and dale”.

(3) TWITTER WISHES. John Scalzi, in “What I Want Out of Twitter”, explains the changes he’d like to see made in this social media platform.

What I’m more interested in is how Twitter can make itself better, which is a different question than how Twitter can be saved. Twitter’s major issue, as everyone except apparently Twitter’s C-bench knows, is that there are a bunch of shitheads on it who like to roll up to whomever they see as targets (often women and/or people in marginalized groups) and dogpile on them. That’s no good….

So, if Twitter were asking me what I wanted out of Twitter to make it an optimal service for me, here’s what I would suggest, in no particular order:…

Other things to allow filtering of:

  • Profile keywords: If I could filter out every single account that had “#GamerGate” in its profile text, as an example, my replies would have been a lot quieter in the last couple of years.
  • Accounts based on who they follow: Right now I’m thinking of five Twitter accounts of people I think are basically real assholes. I suspect that if you are following all five of them, you are probably also an asshole, and I don’t want to hear from you. In this particular case I think it’d useful to have the filtering be fine-grained, as in, rather than just filtering everyone who followed one account, you’d filter them if they followed Account 1 AND Account 2 AND Account 3 (and so on). It would also be useful to be able to do this more than once, i.e., have more than one follower filter, because often it’s not just one group being annoying.

(4) THE HAMMER. Robot6 asks “Are you worthy to wield this Thor’s Hammer Tool Kit?”

Noting a serious lack of geek-themed hardware, Dave Delisle came up with an idea for a tool set to tackle virtually any home-repair project in the Nine Realms, even the famed clogged drains of Jotunheim.

As you can see, the Thor Hammer Tool Kit looks like the fabled Mjolnir, until it’s opened to reveal a claw hammer, wrench, screwdriver, socket set and so on.

Click through to see an animated gif that makes it all clear.

(5) UNREADY PLAYER ONE. Science Fiction.com reports “’Ready Player One’ Moves Release Date To Dodge ‘Star Wars’”.

And now that the release date for Rian Johnson’s ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ has officially moved from May 2017 to December 15, 2017, it looks like even the legendary Steven Spielberg is jumping out of the way in hopes of not getting steamrollered.

According to Variety, the iconic filmmaker’s latest film ‘Ready Player One’ will push back it’s release date to March 30, 2018. Originally slated for December 15, 2017, the movie based on Ernest Cline’s acclaimed nostalgia-filled sci-fi adventure has vacated that spot to give a galaxy far, far away some space. After all, they definitely don’t want to end up like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s ‘Sisters’, which went up against J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated blockbuster during this past holiday season and didn’t stand a chance against the intergalactic juggernaut.

(6) A MUNDANE YEAR FOR GRAMMY. The 2016 Grammy Award winners didn’t have much of genre interest. I’m really going to have to stretch a point…

Best pop duo/group performance

“Uptown Funk”: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Although the music video for the song wasn’t a Grammy nominee, it’s the main reason I’m reporting any of these awards, because fannish actor Ed Green appears in the background of it beginning at :25 — he’s on the left, speaking on the pay phone. (He also appears at right, below, in the title frame.)

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media

Birdman

Antonio Sanchez, composer

Then, Jimmy Carter won the Best Spoken Word Album category, where Janis Ian was also a nominee.

(9) ONLY IN IT FOR THE PUN. The Telegraph says “BBC to axe television and radio divisions as part of radical management overhaul”.

Lord Hall, the director-general of the BBC, will not replace Danny Cohen, the corporation’s recently departed director of television, and is instead moving ahead with radical plans to abolish the broadcaster’s radio and television divisions.

“’Doc Martin’ and ‘Doctor Who’ to be combined into new programme, ‘Doc Who’,” reports Andy Porter.

(10) LE GUIN. Ursula K. Le Guin continues answering people’s questions about writing in “Navigating the Ocean of Story (2)” at Book View Café.

Do you consider it a good idea to offer your work in progress to numerous and/or unselected critics? If so, how do you decide which criticisms are valid and useful?

To offer work for critique to an unselected group on the Net, people who remain strangers, is to extend trust to absolute strangers. Some of them will take advantage of the irresponsibility afforded by the medium.

Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth: Don’t do it unless you’ve considered the risks. Pay attention to any comment that really makes sense to you; value any intelligent praise you get. That’s about as far as trust can take you. Keep an eye out for know-it-alls who make like critics, spouting secondhand rules. And remember some may be there because they want to make soup out of your bones.

This is not the voice of experience. I never gave my work to strangers to criticize in first draft or at any stage. I never submitted a piece to an editor or agent until it was, to the best of my knowledge and ability, finished.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 16, 1923 – Archeologists opened the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born February 16, 1958 – Lisa Loring, the actress who played Wednesday Addams in the original Addams Family TV series.

Lisa Loring as Wednesday Addams

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 16, 1926 – Rusty Hevelin
  • Born February 16, 1957 – LeVar Burton, Jr., who played ST:TNG’s Geordi LaForge.

(14) CHAOS HORIZON. Chaos Horizon comments on the final SFWA 2015 Best Novel Recommended Reading List. It’s interesting that only six novels have more than 20 recommendations.

Gannon [Raising Caine] and Schoen [Barsk] have shot up this list like rockets, going from nowhere in November to dominating by the end. Those 34 and 33 numbers are so impressive it’s hard to imagine them not getting Nebula nominations at this point. Overall, there were 728 total recommendations; that has to represent a substantial amount of the final Nebula nomination vote. Gannon and Schoen will raise some eyebrows if they get nominations; these SF books certainly got less press, acclaim, and online discussion than other SF books like Sevenves or Aurora. The Nebula is quirky like this, often favoring smaller authors over the big names. If they get nominated, I think the question is whether or not one of those books can win. Will Gannon follow the McDevitt route—get nominated enough and eventually you’ll win? Will Barsk grab a ton of new readers and take the Nebula? I think there’s a definite advantage to being fresh in your voters’ minds.

(15) WRIGHT BACKS HIS BEST EDITOR. John C. Wright adds his endorsement to the Rabid Puppy slate.

The Puppy-kickers are our ideological foes bent on replacing popular and well crafted sci fi tales with politically correct science-free and entertainment-free moping dreck that reads like something written by a highschool creative writing course dropout.

The Puppy-kickers have repeatedly and vehemently assured us assured us that soliciting votes from likeminded fans for stories you judge worthy was a “slate” and therefore was (for reasons not specified) totally and diabolically evil and wrong and bad, was not something insiders had been doing for decades, and was always totally inexcusable, except when they did it, and voted in a slate to grant ‘No Award’ to categories where they had lost their stranglehold over the nominations.

In that spirit, I hereby officially announce in my capacity as the Grand Inquisitor of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors, that the following list is the recommended reading list of our Darkest Lord only, and not a voting slate.

These are the recommendations of my editor, Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day, the most hated man in Science Fiction, but certainly the best editor I have had the pleasure to work with.

(16) MESSAGE FREE. Those who feel the yarn is the most important thing may find themselves voting for this —

Geeknits

(17) MILLENNIALS. “Millennial Fans: An Interview with Louisa Stein (Part Two)” conducted by Henry Jenkins at Confessions of an Aca-Fan.

Many of the shows you write about as Millennial programs are also shows with strong female leads and targeted at female consumers — Friday Night Lights would be a notable exception on your list. So, what happens to the gendering of fandom as we move towards Millennial fan culture? 

Issues of gender permeate millennial culture, fan culture, and the relationship between the two. Masculinizing—or feminizing—fan culture has been one way industry interests tame fandom’s perceived unruliness. Seemingly masculine forms of fandom (and I would emphasize that these areas, like gender itself, are social constructs) have already been categorized as industrially legible and profit friendly. The fanboy stereotype has its share of taboo associations, going all the way back to the “Get a Life” bit on Saturday Night Live that Textual Poachers opens with; but the fanboy position has since been spun into industry heralded narratives of superfans and fanboy auteurs (see Scott, Kohnen), with the lines toward brand support and profit already clearly delineated.

Obsession_inc (and many others citing her) have termed this divide “affirmational fandom,” versus “transformative fandom,” with the latter perceived as more the practice of female consumers who transform media texts into art and fiction, often in so doing significantly changing their meaning. In Millennial Fandom, I actually argue that transformational and affirmational fandom are more deeply intertwined than we might at first assume, but nevertheless, at a discursive level, the distinction helps us to see why and how transformative (perceived “feminine”) practices have been and continue to be treated as suspect, marked as taboo, and policed.

(18) AQUA JODHPURS. “Our first good look at Jason Momoa’s full Aquaman costume comes from ToyFair” at Yahoo! TV.

Then along came ToyFair 2016. Ahhhh, good old ToyFair. Hosted in New York City at the beginning of each year, the convention showcases the best of upcoming merchandise to look forward to. It’s also ALWAYS good for a spoiler or two. One of this year’s was a complete look at Jason Momoa’s costume in Batman v Superman, complete with colors. Behold!

The tattoos on Aquaman’s chest appear to continue onto his pants(?) which are a murky green. The better to blend into the ocean floor with. Of course, the camo look is marred by the bright gold knee-highs, but a king has to make concessions for style. I’m curious if Aquaman’s asymmetrical armor has a backstory is just there to look cool. Also, he is totally standing in rubble. Could it be that Wonder Woman isn’t the only superhero to show up at the end to clean up Batman and Superman’s mess?

(19) SHATNER BOOK REVIEW. Ryan Britt at Tor.com says “William Shatner’s New Memoir Leonard is Surprising and Moving”.

Whether they’re in their Kirk and Spock guises, or just being themselves, it’s hard to prefer William Shatner to Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy just seems more comfortable and real of the two, whereas Shatner appears to be putting on airs. Over the years, William Shatner seems to have figured this out and embraced the fact that no one will ever totally take him seriously. All of this makes the publication of a memoir written by him about Leonard Nimoy both look like a cynical cash-grab and a disingenuous maneuver of faux-love.

But if you’re a Star Trek fan, or casually interested in Leonard Nimoy, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man reveals that not only is Shatner a good guy, but that Leonard Nimoy may not have been the cool one, and did in fact fight all sorts of demons both inside and out.

(20) CORREIA’S SCHOOL FOR BUSINESS. Larry Correia says “One Star Reviews Over Book Prices are Dumb”, which is absolutely true.

I know writers aren’t supposed to respond to reviews, but I’m not responding to this as a writer, I’m responding to it as a retired accountant.

I am the author in question. Your review doesn’t hurt anything except my overall average. You aren’t sticking it to the man. You aren’t harming the corporate fat cats. If you think the book sucks, give it one star. That’s awesome. That’s what the stars are for. But you don’t use one star to bitch about the price of eBooks. That just makes you look stupid. We shouldn’t still be having this conversation with anybody who isn’t a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Now, Accountant Hat on. This is pretty basic stuff. This is how basic costing works, not just for books, but quite literally everything. But today, we’ll talk about books, because your ridiculous review has pissed me off.  I’m going to dumb this down and keep it simple as possible.

The rest is a long but lighthearted lesson about the business of producing books that makes cost accounting entertaining. (I know you think I’m being facetious, which is why I need to say, no, I really found it entertaining.)

(21) ANOTHER OPINION ABOUT THE KENYON SUIT. Amanda S. Green at Mad Genius Club begins her “And the World Keeps Turning”  column: “I will give the same caveat here that Sarah gave in her post. I have not read the pleadings filed on Ms. Kenyon’s behalf. Nor have I read Ms. Clare’s books.”

On Friday of last week, the Guardian published an article that addresses, from Ms. Clare’s point of view. Two things stood out for me and, yes, I know I am paying attention to lawyer-speak but the attorney, John Cahill, does bring up some interesting questions. First, “the lawsuit failed to identify a single instance of actual copying or plagiarism by Cassie.”  The second is that Ms. Clare has been writing these characters and series, iirc, for ten years. That’s a long time to wait before filing suit and part of me wonders if the fact Ms. Clare’s series is being made into a television series wasn’t the impetus for the suit.

To be fair, the suit does allege that Ms. Clare, in her series, does, “employ a line of warriors who protect the normal world from demons”, both cover how “a young person becomes part of the Dark-Hunters’ (or Shadowhunters’) world after being saved by a gorgeous blond Dark-Hunter (or Shadowhunter)”, and “both Dark-Hunters and Shadowhunters have enchanted swords that are divinely forged, imbued with otherworldly spirits, have unique names, and glow like heavenly fire”.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of any number of books, short stories, TV shows and movies that could fall under that description. Those are, indeed, story elements, but does it rise to the level of plagiarism and copyright infringement?

Green steps into the judge’s shoes, for at least a few sentences, to voice skepticism about the plaintiff’s case. Not having read the complaint, Green missed the opportunity to see its list of the statutes the judge is asked to apply. With the help of Google she could have tested lawyer Cahill’s argument, as well as her own doubts that the infringement is actionable.

(22) A MENU ALOFT. Rick Foss was interviewed by Leanna Garfield for her Tech Insider post “We’re in a golden age of airplane food – for some people”.

When American Airlines recently launched a 15-hour direct flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, it also debuted a new menu. Flight attendants offer first-class passengers complimentary glasses of 2010 Penfolds Grange Shiraz (normally $850 per bottle) and roasted sirloin steak with red wine sauce.

Travelers in the economy cabin are still only treated to peanuts (But hey, at least they now get complimentary spirits — quite the perk).

The improvements in first and business class have more to do with the economics of the airline industry than they do with a desire to provide better service, Richard Foss, culinary historian and author of “Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies,” tells Tech Insider.

Foss has studied the history of airline food for over a decade, from the glory days in the ’70s when airlines served lobster to today’s inflight tuna sandwiches. Here’s a look at that history, and how airlines are trying to bring back the golden age of airline dining for high-paying passengers.

[Thanks to Will R., JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jonathan Edelstein.]

247 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/16/16 Think Pixel, Count Scroll

  1. Re Feersum Enjinn – I haven’t yet read it myself, because like several other of his books I’m saving it for later*, but I don’t anticipate any problems with it. Firstly, because though a Sassanach, I spent enough of my teens and twenties living in Scotland to unconsciously acquire a mild Scots accent myself (since lost, sadly). Secondly, because I knew Banksie well enough to be able to read it (in ma heid) in his voice.

    Also, I had no trouble at all with Riddley Walker: I just needed 5 minutes reading to recalibrate to the shifted language.

    * I don’t have a TBR pile so much as TBR rooms. Only one room in my (sole occupancy) house doesn’t have any books in it. Without having actually, y’know, counted in the last 15 years, I probably have around 5,000 unread volumes, 80% of them SF/Fantasy, and I’m still buying faster than I’m reading. Stocking up for my retirement, y’see.

  2. @JCW
    I was merely responding to your wife’s comments in the thread combined with how you described VD.

    I most certainly was not mocking David Hartwell. I was praising David Hartwell for all the things he does as an editor and how he went above and beyond for authors he believed had promise.

    Based on your memorial post to him it seemed logical he would show up on your Besl Long Editor list. It was a surprise not to see him mentioned by you.

    You really need to try reading comprehension and stop falling back on everyone else is evil. It makes you look pathetic and like a cardboard cutout villian.

    Given how you treat people who comment on your blog I wasn’t going to stop by to be made a target for abuse and harassment. I get enough of that for being a Jewish, disabled, geek woman in real life. I don’t need to go out of my way for more thanks. If you ever show signs that you are able to talk to people without making polite insults or threats I’ll reconsider my stance.

  3. JCW has expanded upon his comment somewhat.

    Leaving aside his nonsensical claim that anyone has said anything denigrating of Hartwell, here he is on VDs editorial skills:

    By way of contrast, Mr. Vox Day at Castalia House books suggested the very striking and apt curtain line for the novella version of ‘One Bright Star to Guide Them’ and make specific comments on every paragraph, practically every line.

    I should explain: The short story version of this tale appeared originally in the Magazine of F&SF, and disappeared without notice and without fanfare. No one read it. For personal reasons, it is my favorite story of everything I have ever written, but as a short story, it was a flop.

    When I expanded it to novella length, adding and adjusting according to Mr. Day’s coaching, this novella was nominated for a Hugo.

    So it is not a hasty conclusion for me to say that this editing took a mediocre short story and reshaped and polished it into something fit to win the top award in the field.

    Now, I will entirely agree that VD was instrumental in JCWs story getting a Hugo nom, but I’ll disagree that it was through his editing skills….

  4. JCW wrote: So it is not a hasty conclusion for me to say that this editing took a mediocre short story and reshaped and polished it into something fit to win the top award in the field.

    He took a mediocre short story and reshaped and polished it into a turgid and dreary novella that was among the crappiest pieces of work to ever be gamed onto the Hugo ballot. It then was judged on its merits and placed behind “No Award”. Great job.

  5. Cally: Could someone make me one of today’s Lucky 10,000 and tell me the derivation for this thread’s title? It’s probably really obvious, and I’ll bonk myself in the forehead for not getting it…but I’m not getting it. And there aren’t enough non “Pixel” and “Scroll” words for Google to help me.

    You can have Google do searches by saying, “find me occurrences of this phrase” by enclosing a phrase in double quotes. You can use an asterisk as a wildcard, where the asterisk is any word. So the Google search
    "think * count *"
    returns as its first result the Wikipedia entry for the Cordwainer Smith story “Think Blue, Count Two”.

  6. I am, in all modesty, the finest opiner qualified to opine on the quality of my own work opining today. 🙄

  7. So it is not a hasty conclusion for me to say that this editing took a mediocre short story and reshaped and polished it into something fit to win the top award in the field.

    It is perhaps not a hasty conclusion, but it is clearly a flawed conclusion. We all know that Wright got his nominations because of slates, not quality, and we all know how he fared in the final.*

    It’s “conclusions” like this that make me think it would be a good idea to change the Hugo rules to say that nominees that finishes below No Award are not to be counted as nominees.

    * To be fair, “One Bright Star” did get significantly more votes than his other two novellas. That’s something, I guess.

  8. @all: I don’t remember ever NOT being able to read — family legend puts it as some time between 2 and 3, but even they didn’t notice. So those of us with a knack for it really CAN read that fast and get content, style, and such. And I simply could not EVEN with “Feersum Endjinn”. Maybe I could try an audiobook. Or perhaps after years of LOLCat, I can haz it nao?
    Like Rev. Bob, I correct ebooks and share if the writer wants it. I am a compulsive proof-reader, which sadly I was only ever able to do for money for about 6-7 months (Indie authors, hire me!).
    So, once again a Puppy disses people for an inborn tendency that they can’t grok.

    JCW: Now who’s putting words in someone’s mouth? Everyone here has shown more public respect for David Hartwell than you have. And Teddy isn’t worth licking the boots of the other gents you mentioned, who are properly titled “assistant editors”. (That’s something I’d think someone as worried about the precision of language as you seem to be would know. Words have meanings, John.)

    And of course Mr. Hartwell never set you up for public humiliation, making you the man who sat there watching surrounded by his peers as he finished behind No Award a record number of times. God grant that doesn’t happen to anyone else; a sentiment I’m sure you join me in wishing.

    Bruce Baugh said it best “Mr. Wright, we are expressing contempt for your judgement in declaring Mr. Beale a better editor than Mr. Hartwell.” The only one spitting on Hartwell’s grave is YOU, for saying that Teddy is a better editor than he was. Your fulmination has absolutely no bearing on what was actually said here, but whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

    @Johan P: Oh, I agree with that. If something finishes behind No Award, that means that the voters didn’t think it should have been on the ballot, therefore why should it glory in the title of “Hugo Nominee”? That’s a small but worthy change. Sadly, we can’t make it retroactive, but plenty of people will vote No Award in the future.

    @Dann: Your Overton window is definitely missing its entire left side. Secretary Clinton is a straight-down-the-middle moderate (even in religion — she’s a life-long Methodist), comfy with big business and the status quo. She voted for the Iraq War and the bank bailout. She thinks abortion should be rare. Only in America is she considered at all left-wing; the rest of the world would see her as center-right. While I like Bernie’s proposals, Kurt Busiek explained perfectly how Hillary stands a better chance of working with the House and Senate the next President (whoever s/he is) is going to get.
    And Bernie isn’t going to take your guns as long as you don’t do something stupid; he even voted for the law that says gun sellers can’t be sued for murders and mass shootings, even if they sold the gun illegally (underage, felon, etc.). Other than single-payer health care and free college for all, Bernie’s centrist as well, coming from the MYOB, largely-rural state of Vermont.

  9. I think, because of the way eligibility is defined in the Hugo rules, that Mr. Hartwell is only eligible for Best Editor, Short Form this year — he didn’t edit any novels in 2015, only a collection. That’s where I have him on my ballot b/c of discussions here after his death. But he is damn well there and has been since I was able to determine which category was appropriate.

  10. @Aaron

    I see the problem. I prefer a fixed point of reference instead of one that shifts with prevailing opinions.

    5 arrows shot in a 3″ grouping that is 5″ to the left of the bullseye is not an indication that the bullseye is in the wrong spot.

    @lurkertype

    One of the tertiary reasons why I left the Methodist church was because of their socialist leanings. But I do appreciate your jumping to conclusions about my theoretic motivations relative to guns. I was already aware of Mr. Sanders thoughts on the issue, thanks just the same.

    Regards,
    Dann

  11. Follow the eyes, not the waving hands. Just because David Hartwell didn’t line-edit JCW personally doesn’t mean JCW can’t nominate Hartwell for a best editor category. Most eligible nominators haven’t been edited by ANY of the people they nominate.

  12. @Dann

    Almost uniformly, the examples that get tossed my way are nations that experimented with having much more “progressive” social welfare policies and learned the truth of Lady Thatcher’s aphorism the hard way.

    One of the tertiary reasons why I left the Methodist church was because of their socialist leanings.

    Would it interest you to know that Thatcher was a devout Methodist?

  13. I see the problem. I prefer a fixed point of reference instead of one that shifts with prevailing opinions.

    That’s interesting, considering your declarations indicate that you have shifted well to the right of what would historically be considered normal political references. In short, you don’t seem to be aware that the water you have apparently been swimming in has pushed you far to the right. Given your various declarations, you’re probably well to the right of Reagan right now. If a politician showed up tomorrow espousing Goldwater’s policies, you’d probably say they were “far left wing”.

    5 arrows shot in a 3″ grouping that is 5″ to the left of the bullseye is not an indication that the bullseye is in the wrong spot.

    This statement makes me wonder if you even know what the Overton window means.

  14. @John C Wright: “Stop mocking the dead. Stop spitting on the grave of a man I (and everyone who knew him) admired and loved.”

    So sorry to hear about your demise. My condolences.

  15. @Dann:

    Methodism has “socialist leanings”? I’m curious-just what tenets of Methodism do you view as “socialist leanings”?

  16. @Robert Reynolds: Methodism has a secret text called the Book of Luke where their “Savior” commands, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise” You gotta admit that’s pretty socialist.

  17. JJ

    You can have Google do searches by saying, “find me occurrences of this phrase” by enclosing a phrase in double quotes. You can use an asterisk as a wildcard, where the asterisk is any word. So the Google search
    “think * count *”
    returns as its first result the Wikipedia entry for the Cordwainer Smith story “Think Blue, Count Two”.

    And I’m one of today’s lucky 10,000 again! Thanks!

  18. @Jim Henley:

    See, that’s where I’m curious. I thought that was part of being a Christian. Whereas socialism is where the government owns and controls a business or businesses, employs the workers and calls all the shots. Individuals engaging in Christian charity don’t meet that definition of socialism, so I’d just like to know if there’s a different one.

  19. I’m curious-just what tenets of Methodism do you view as “socialist leanings”?

    Oh, you know, feed the hungry, aid the poor and sick, that sort of Commie rubbish.

  20. @Robert Reynolds:

    You are correct. The New Testament teaches communism (economic), not socialism (political).

  21. @Rev. Bob:

    Give the man a cheroot! I’d hand you an internets, but you’ve scored so many of those in here that it would be superfluous.

    Marx, for one, would be aghast at the idea that a religion, of all things, might advocate communism, so he’s probably whirling in his grave!

  22. There was a discussion on RASFF, many moons ago, about what The Chairman would think of the new, capitalistic-ish China, and I mentioned that his gyration is so vigorous and constant that when they take the Three Gorges dam offline once a year for maintenance, they make up the deficit with a belt going into the tomb. “Electric power,” I concluded, “Comes from the barreling of Zedong.”

  23. Rev. Bob: You are correct. The New Testament teaches communism (economic), not socialism (political).

    The New Testament, especially in Acts, has examples of communal living, true. It does not advocate an economic ideology. People were sharing what they produced in the secular economic system, or received in donations. It’s not a planned economy but dependence on God — consider the Sermon on the Mount, and the analogy to the lilies of the field.

  24. True, Christ taught both self reliance and the expectation that His followers were also supposed to help those unable to help themselves, either temporarily or long term. Marx, strictly speaking, didn’t advocate communism, but Marxism, which is a political system advocating economic planning by the state.

    However, the teachings of Christianity are closer to “communism” than they are “socialism”.

  25. Robert Reynolds on February 18, 2016 at 3:12 pm said:

    @Jim Henley:

    See, that’s where I’m curious. I thought that was part of being a Christian. Whereas socialism is where the government owns and controls a business or businesses, employs the workers and calls all the shots. Individuals engaging in Christian charity don’t meet that definition of socialism, so I’d just like to know if there’s a different one.

    That is a weak definition of socialism and while not an uncommon one it is very much at odds with wider usage and historical usage. For example anarcho-socialists are not oxymorons (they may or may not be other kinds of morons but they aren’t oxymorons).

    Does Methodism have socialist leanings? Yes, but that isn’t all it has and that is not the same thing as saying Methodism leans leftwards. It means that there are strong currents of thought within Methodism that have been associated with left wing movements. That doesn’t mean all Methodists followed those currents.
    The same thing can be said about Catholicism which has overt traditions of social justice, multiple examples of left-leaning Catholics as well as Catholic movements associated with leftwing movements *BUT* also has the opposite.

    The British Labour Party has had its fair share of Catholics and Methodists. Draw a map of twentieth century Britain and look at where Methodism and Catholicism were most concentrated and within which social groupings the overlap between the religions and left wing politics is easy to understand (and also why that overlap was not the same as identity).

    Is Christianity socialist? It has enough bits in it that somebody who wishes to identify as a socialist for reasons of faith will be able to find sufficient justification for doing so. Obviously not so many bits that people who aren’t left leaning can still identify as Christian without bursting into flames.

  26. @ Robert Reynolds

    Marx, strictly speaking, didn’t advocate communism, but Marxism, which is a political system advocating economic planning by the state

    Actually he didn’t. Marx believed that after the revolution the state would become obsolete and basically fade Into nothingness. Under the Soviets, ‘Marxism’ and ‘all powerful state’ came to be synonymous, but I don’t think you can blame Marx for that personally.

  27. @BGHilton: I stand corrected. The state is not Marx’s goal. That’s what I get for relying on my memory, instead of fresh research.

    @Camestros Felapton:

    At this point, we’re engaging in semantics. Anarcho-socialism, to cite your example, is a variant form of socialism (hence the addition of “anarcho”). There are, indeed, many forms of socialism, with varying definitions.

    In my experience, most of the people who take issue with socialism have as a significant part of their objection to it the component of “public” (government) control of industries. The definition I used was selected with that in mind. It’s not just “a not uncommon one” but a definition which is widely known, understood and used.

    Given that the state is typically the most readily available tool and that its scope and size would be most useful for the implementation of the goals of socialism, it strikes me as a fairly strong definition of socialism.

  28. JJ, thanks I enjoyed that rant and I agree. I read Fire With Fire right after Ancillary Justice so I think it suffered by comparison. I also noticed the James Bond feel but I’m not a Bond fan. While I was reading I noted how Caine went from mild mannered reporter to James Bond to Superman to Bren Cameron. Not a bad book but too many eye rolls for my taste.

  29. @Robert Reynolds: Apologies in advance for gospelsplaining passages you may know better than I. A common retort about the injunctions toward caring for the poor and the weak in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles is that these are injunctions toward voluntary charity, not mandated state redistribution. I don’t think this holds up when considering the Bibles as a whole. For instance, when Ezekiel tells us the sin of “Sodom and her daughters” was failing to “strengthen the hand of the poor and needy,” it certainly sounds like the sin belongs to Sodom as corporate entity, as institution, as ruling class. And right after John the Baptist tells us what to do with our extra clothes and food he advises the tax collector. “Collect no more than you have been ordered to.” Don’t graft, in other words. But he doesn’t tell them not to collect taxes; he clearly considers that a legitimate thing for tax collectors to do.

  30. I hope JCW found a chance to tell David Hartwell of his tremendous respect while David was alive to hear it and be pleased.

    Telling us strikes me as being a bit like a performance to an empty theatre.

    Yes, we’re here, we’re real and all that. But the audience who should have heard it has left the building.

  31. @Jim Henley: And I’m a heathen, but I recall Christ said something to tax-payers about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s – paying your taxes without whinging (or, presumably, rebelling about it). Sounds more left than right-wing to me.

  32. Robert Reynolds on February 18, 2016 at 6:48 pm said:
    In my experience, most of the people who take issue with socialism have as a significant part of their objection to it the component of “public” (government) control of industries. The definition I used was selected with that in mind. It’s not just “a not uncommon one” but a definition which is widely known, understood and used.

    Certainly – but it is a bugbear of mine 🙂 so apologies for the rant in general direction. Assume you just triggered a rehearsed lecture and feel free to ignore the following while I get it off my chest.

    Socialism in a nutshell relates to the common, group, community, social or national ownership or control of parts of aspects of the economy for the purpose of ensuring more equitable distribution of the economic power. The US army isn’t socialist just because the government owns it, a farming co-op is *to some extent* socialist even though the government doesn’t own it and maybe none of its members are remotely socialist politically.
    If I, as newly appointed grand-dictator of the USA, mandated that all share holding companies in the US moved to a system of governance in which shareholders could only have one vote per person rather than one vote per share then that would be a definitely socialist measure (and many people not of a left leaning persuasion would undoubtedly label it as such whether it fit with their definition or not).

    Given that the state is typically the most readily available tool and that its scope and size would be most useful for the implementation of the goals of socialism, it strikes me as a fairly strong definition of socialism.

    Fair point – particularly as the state is the obvious mechanism of change, so that even if the intended outcome is not state ownership per-se the means with how to get from A to B maybe be via the intervention of the state.

  33. Not meaning to pick on Robert Reynolds in particular, but every time I see a phrase like At this point, we’re engaging in semantics. the linguist in me screams, “Semantics is the entire basis of effective communication! I should hope you’re engaging in semantics!”

    Somewhere floating through the internets is a quote I left in a Usenet group many long years ago:

    For the life of me, I’ve never understood why people dismiss the importance of “semantics” in communication. After all, if semantics had no purpleness, you’d slitheringly go bold at by-sit it I’m climbing.

  34. @JJ: I didn’t know the wildcards worked within quotes in Google, thanks. That’s a bit odd, but quite useful for things like the Pixel Scroll title. Thanks for the info!

  35. Well, holy shit. I just read Think Blue, Count Two, and it’s like The Original MRA Call-out Story*. I really dislike it though, because it paints this sort of behavior as something inevitable that must be controlled by outside agency, rather than something that men choose or choose not to do.

    * I don’t recommend reading this, if stories about abusive behavior are upsetting to you.

  36. Heather, I love that entry from your virtual commonplace book. Thanks. 🙂

    JJ, in that way it’s very much a work of its time, and also of its creator. Before he got into writing sf for publication, he’d done other things. As Wikipedia summarizes:

    While retaining his professorship at Duke after the beginning of World War II, Linebarger began serving as a second lieutenant of the United States Army, where he was involved in the creation of the Office of War Information and the Operation Planning and Intelligence Board. He also helped organize the Army’s first psychological warfare section. In 1943, he was sent to China to coordinate military intelligence operations. When he later pursued his interest in China, Linebarger became a close confidant of Chiang Kai-shek. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of major.

    In 1947, Linebarger moved to the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where he served as Professor of Asiatic Studies. He used his experiences in the war to write the book Psychological Warfare (1948), regarded by many in the field as a classic text.

    (Later in his life he became increasingly pacifist.)

  37. I remember at a con once asking Harlan Ellison if, at the time of the potted bio he wrote for Dangerous Visions, he knew what Cordwainer Smith really did.

    He said, “You mean that he worked for CIA? Yes.”

    Which is funny because saying “Paul M.A. Linebarger worked for CIA” is sort of like saying “George Halas played in the NFL.” Linebarger and Halas were each central to the very founding of their respective institutions. Linebarger didn’t just “work” for the Central Intelligence Agency, he helped shape it during its formative years. He trained up the entire secret generation of Cold-War liberals who set about remaking third-world governments in the name of anti-Communism and the elusive Third Way. Alden Pyle from Graham Greene’s The Quiet American? Would have passed through Linebarger’s seminars for new covert-action officers that he held in his Georgetown rowhouse.

    There are places on the internet, the sort of left-wing sites devoted lighting up the darker corners of US black ops with varying levels of documentation, that locate Linebarger in some pretty dodgy places, up to Indonesia in the mid-60s (shortly before his death of a heart attack in 1966). In light of his career, the Underpeople stories and their focus on the never-ending Return of the Repressed sure look like Linebarger working through his guilty conscience over his second career. The biography I will never get around to writing, Another Man’s Name: Paul Linebarger, Cordwainer Smith and Their Times, discusses this perspective at length.

    Meanwhile, I highly recommend a book that does exist for a picture of Linebarger the intelligence mentor by a former pupil who seems to have had no idea of his tutor’s secret writing identity: the memoir, Portrait of a Cold Warrior, by “Joseph B. Smith.” Linebarger features in, IIRC, at least one chapter.

  38. Yeah, there’s a driven element in Smith’s search for a cosmic consummation that will make it all have been worthwhile that you don’t find so much in, say, de Chardin or Soleri. (De Chardin certainly had horrors for which he hoped there’d be a redemption, but they weren’t horrors he’d perpetrated.)

  39. @ Jim Henley, Camestros Felapton:

    So far as I’m concerned, if someone isn’t trying to actively do me harm, apologies aren’t necessary, particularly in discussions like this. You are both among the regulars here who keep me coming back just on the quality of your contributions.

    @Heather Rose Jones:

    I stand corrected. You’re right, of course. I’m not a linguist by training, just someone who buys his ink by the barrel, so sometimes I miss the other trees focusing in on a particular oak. “We’re splitting hairs” would work even better in such instances.

  40. Jim Henley: I highly recommend a book that does exist for a picture of Linebarger the intelligence mentor by a former pupil who seems to have had no idea of his tutor’s secret writing identity: the memoir, Portrait of a Cold Warrior, by “Joseph B. Smith.”

    Oh! My library has a copy stored in the basement of the main branch. I’ve requested it.

    Bruce, Jim, thanks for your comments on Cordwainer Smith. It will be interesting to learn more about him.

  41. JJ, you’re very welcome. On any list of the most interesting people in sf, he has to rank very, very high.

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