Pixel Scroll 11/28/19 I Cannot Tell A Lie, Officer Opie, I Put That Envelope At The Bottom of The Death Star Trash Compactor

(1) TOP 30. Yesterday Ellen Datlow did a cover reveal for Edited By:

(2) OWL AIR BNB. Real Simple is excited — “You Can Stay in Harry Potter’s Childhood Home on Airbnb—and We’re Heading for the Floo Network Right Now”.

Other than the Hogwarts acceptance letter we’ve been stubbornly awaiting for the past 20-something years, this is the best possible news a grown-up Harry Potter fan could hope for. The cottage where Harry Potter was born is now available to rent on Airbnb.

De Vere House appeared in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the home where Lily and James Potter raised baby Harry, until (obvious spoiler alert) Lord Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and left him with the badass scar (which Prince William also has). After the attack, he was forced to live in a closet under the stairs at the Dursleys’ house.

The village of Lavenham in Suffolk, in which De Vere House is located, also appeared in the movie as the fictional town of Godric’s Hollow.

(3) FORTRESS UNHIDDEN. The Guardian reports that the inevitable adaptation will be performed November 28: “Japanese theatre to stage kabuki version of Star Wars”.

The classical Japanese theatre, which combines highly stylised movement and unusual vocalisation, will swap samurai swords for lightsabers and replace feudal warriors with the forces of light and darkness.

Star Wars Kabuki-Rennosuke and the Three Light Sabers, which are being staged in Tokyo, will combine plots from each of the franchise’s latest trilogy, substituting plots drawn from the days of feudal clan rivalry with drama from a galaxy far, far away.

Ichikawa Ebizo XI, Japan’s pre-eminent kabuki actor, will take to the stage as Kylo Ren, the conflicted son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, in front of 50 winners of an online lottery.

A livestream will be accessible on YouTube:

(4) LIVE, FROM 1964! Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus will be all over the Southern California map in December.

  • Loscon, Los Angeles, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM

Crest of a New Wave“, discussing 1964 in science fact and fiction

Talking about “What Science Fiction got wrong…and right!

The First Moon Race“, talking about the troubles and ultimate triumph of Project Ranger.

Once more, talking about the Women Pioneers of Space Science at another great dark sky site.

(5) DRAFT OF EMPIRE. “See an original Star Wars script and more at ‘Fahrenheit 451’ author’s IUPUI center” — the IndyStar tells the unexpected reason why Ray Bradbury had a copy.

The second movie in the original trilogy is the one Bradbury almost co-wrote. 

In the early 1940s, the writer studied with Leigh Brackett, a pioneer for women and the melodramatic space opera in science fiction. That gave way to a collaboration with “Lorelei of the Red Mist,” a novella about a powerful, siren-like woman who controls the strong, barbarian body that a convict has recently been transplanted in.

Brackett went on to become a screenwriter and was a co-writer with Larry Kasdan on the “Empire” script. But she was in failing health, so the producer asked Bradbury whether he was familiar enough with her work to finish it if she couldn’t.

“Ray Bradbury said, ‘Yes, I do. But I want her to have credit,’ ” center director Jon Eller said.

As it turned out, Brackett completed her draft before she died in 1978, so Bradbury never had to work on it.

But the script — a fourth revision that doesn’t even contain Darth Vader’s big reveal to Luke because that detail was so secretive — remains part of Bradbury’s collection

(6) IN THE MOMENT. Barbara Ashford tells five ways to “Make Your Big Moments Sing!” on the Odyssey Writing Workshop blog.

3) Use your own experiences to help you create emotional resonance on the page.

This is another acting technique that can help you get closer to a character. If you’re writing a scene of grief, go back to a moment where you lost someone or when you first learned of this person’s passing. Write down as many specific details as you can recall.

* Your physiological responses (e.g., shaking, goose bumps, pulse racing, face/skin flushing);

* Your physical responses (e.g., recoiling, fleeing, turning your face away);

* Your emotional reactions (which could be conveyed via action, dialogue or inner monologue);

* The small details that intruded on the moment, like the laughter of children playing a game or the scent of your mother’s gardenia bush outside her bedroom window. Choose details that will show readers what the POV character is feeling. Does the laughter make the character angry because it reminds her of her loss? Or comfort her because she realizes life goes on?

(7) DEVELOPMENT HEAVEN AND HELL. Tor.com’s own Stubby the Rocket has compiled a vast list of “(Almost) Every Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV or Movie Adaptation in the Works Right Now”. For example —

Adapted from: The Eternals by Jack Kirby / Eternals by Neil Gaiman (writer) and John Romita (artist)
Originally published:
1976, Marvel Comics / 2006, Marvel Comics
Optioned for: Film (Marvel Studios)
What it’s about: The Eternals are a race of humans created through experimentation by the alien Celestials, intended to be defenders of Earth against the unstable Deviants (also experiments). Plot details for the film are unclear, but there is some suggestion it may follow the Gaiman miniseries.
Status: Chloe Zhao (The Rider) will direct a cast including Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • November 28, 1987 — Next Generation’s “Haven” aired in which Deanna Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi was performed by Majel Barrett. She would go on to have a role in every Trek series produced up to her death. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 28, 1911 Carmen D’Antonio. In the Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe Thirties reel, she was Ming’s Dancing Girl, she’ll show up in the soon to be released Arabian Nights as a harem girl. And her last genre performance was in The Twilight Zone. (Died 1986.)
  • Born November 28, 1946 Joe Dante, 73. Warning, this is a personal list of Dante’s works that I’ve really, really enjoyed starting off with The Howling then adding in Innnerspace, both of the Gremlins films though I think only the first is a masterpiece, Small Soldiers and The Hole. For television work, the only one I can say I recall and was impressed by was his Legends of Tomorrow “Night of the Hawk” episode.  That’s his work as Director. As Producer, I see he’s responsible for The Phantom proving everyone has a horrible day. 
  • Born November 28, 1952 S. Epatha Merkerson, 67. Both of her major SF roles involve Robos. The first was in Terminator 2: Judgment Day as Tarissa Dyson; a year later, she had a recurring role as Capt. Margaret Claghorn in Mann & Machine. And she had a recurring role as Reba on Pee-wee’s Playhouse which I can’t remember if the consensus here was that it was genre or genre adjacent.
  • Born November 28, 1962 Mark Hodder, 57. Best known for his Burton & Swinburne Alternate Victorian steampunk novels starting off with The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack that deservedly garnered a Philip K. Dick Award. He also wrote A Red Sun Also Rises which recreates sort of Victorian London on a far distant alien world. Emphasis on sort of. And then there’s Consulting Detective Macalister Fogg which appears to be his riff off of Sherlock Holmes only decidedly weirder.
  • Born November 28, 1981 Louise Bourgoin, 38. Her main SFF film is as the title character in The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, directed by Luc Besson. Anybody know if it got released in a subtitled English version? She also played Audrey in Black Heaven (L’Autre monde), and she’s the voice heard in the Angélique’s Day for Night animation short.
  • Born November 28, 1984 Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 35. She was in the 2011 version of The Thing. She was in Sky High which is a lot of fun followed by a series of horror films such as the cheerful holiday charmer Black Christmas that earned her a rep as a Scream Queen. And she’s Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) in the forthcoming Birds of Prey film.
  • Born November 28, 1987 Karen Gillan, 32. Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor. Nebula in the Guardians of The Galaxy and in later MCU films, Ruby Roundhouse in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Two episodes of Who she was in did win Hugos, “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” and “The Doctor’s Wife”. 
  • Born November 28, 1988 Scarlett Pomers, 31. The young Naomi Wildman on Voyager, a role she played an amazing seventeen times. Retired from acting, one of her last roles was in A Ring of Endless Light which at least genre adjacent as it’s written by Madeleine L’Engle. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

Grant Snider (Incidental Comics) did this for a magazine with stories and comics for kids.

(11) THAT’S COZY, NOT CRAZY. Sarah A. Hoyt continues her Mad Genius Club series about writing cozy mysteries with “Meet Interesting Strangers”. Tons of advice here about the need for colorful supporting characters.

REMEMBER — this is important — eccentricities in fiction must be larger than in real life to be perceived as such.  In real life Stephanie Plum and half the cozy heroines, including my own Dyce Dare would be locked up in the madhouse. (So would half the characters in sitcoms) BUT on paper there is a tendency to see things as less extreme than in real life. So exaggerate all the interesting bits, or your character will come across as very very boring.

(12) VAST MACHINERY. “How a cake company pioneered the first office computer” – a BBC video takes you back.

In the early 1950s the British catering firm J Lyons & Co, pioneered the world’s first automated office system.

It was called LEO – Lyons Electronic Office – and was used in stock-taking, food ordering and payrolls for the company.

Soon it was being hired out to UK government ministries and other British businesses.

Mary Coombs worked on the first LEO computer and was the first woman to become a commercial computer programmer.

(13) IS YOUR FAVORITE THERE? Entertainment Weekly brings you “The droids of the Star Wars universe, ranked”. The one I went looking for isn’t ranked – could be those Roomba-style things that dodge underfoot don’t have enough IQ to qualify as droids.

In honor of the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will introduce a tiny wheeled green droid named D-O, EW has put together an extremely serious and extremely scientific ranking of the best droids in the galaxy. From tiny cameos to starring roles, these are the finest and most memorable droids depicted on the big screen. (A note: We’re limiting this list to the Star Wars films, so our apologies to Chopper from Star Wars Rebels and IG-11 from The Mandalorian.)

(14) WATCH YOUR WALLET. Over the summer, SYFY Wire ranked “The 12 biggest genre box office bombs of all time”.

The movies are ranked by their estimated loss (per BoxOfficeMojo). Where that is given as a range, SYFY Wire has generously used the lower end of the range as the ranking criterion.

Aaaaaand the winner among losers is Mortal Engines, with an estimated loss of $175 million.

(15) SECURITY BREACH. Whose side is Poe on, really? “Star Wars: How did John Boyega’s script end up on eBay?”

It’s one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, shrouded in secrecy. Yet that didn’t stop the script for the new Star Wars sequel ending up on eBay.

And it was all because Britain’s John Boyega left it under his bed.

Speaking on US TV, Boyega said his Rise of Skywalker script had been found by a cleaner and that it was subsequently offered for sale online “for £65”.

“So the person didn’t know the true value,” he continued, admitting the situation had been “scary”.

“Even Mickey Mouse called me up [saying] ‘what did you do?'” the actor joked – a reference to the Walt Disney Company which now owns the Star Wars franchise.

(16) TIKTOK ACCOUNT RESTORED. BBC reports “TikTok apologises and reinstates banned US teen”.

Chinese-owned social network TikTok has apologised to a US teenager who was blocked from the service after she posted a viral clip criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims.

The firm said it had now lifted the ban, maintaining it was due to 17-year-old Feroza Aziz’s prior conduct on the app – and unrelated to Chinese politics.

Additionally, the firm said “human moderation error” was to blame for the video being taken down on Thursday for almost an hour.

TIkTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has insisted it does not apply Chinese moderation principles to its product outside of mainland China.

Ms Aziz posted on Twitter that she did not accept the firm’s explanation.

“Do I believe they took it away because of a unrelated satirical video that was deleted on a previous deleted account of mine? Right after I finished posting a three-part video about the Uighurs? No.”

(17) DOG YEARS. “Siberia: 18,000-year-old frozen ‘dog’ stumps scientists” – BBC has the story.

Researchers are trying to determine whether an 18,000-year-old puppy found in Siberia is a dog or a wolf.

The canine – which was two months old when it died – has been remarkably preserved in the permafrost of the Russian region, with its fur, nose and teeth all intact.

DNA sequencing has been unable to determine the species.

Scientists say that could mean the specimen represents an evolutionary link between wolves and modern dogs.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Let’s revisit this 2015 video of a Sasquan GoH showing his musical range.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren plays Amazing Grace on the bagpipes from the International Space Station.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mlex, Contrarius, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of Turkey Day, Daniel Dern.]

119 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/28/19 I Cannot Tell A Lie, Officer Opie, I Put That Envelope At The Bottom of The Death Star Trash Compactor

  1. @Vicki 

    I thought it would be clear from context that by “go and stand with” I mean attend the Worldcon they are asking us to support.  

    @jayn

    The article doesn’t say Ken Liu was denied permission to enter China. Rather, he was trying to get a long-term visa. They have coveted ten year visas and a few others where you don’t have to reapply every time you go. The criteria for who gets the long ones are not 100% clear. Getting new short-term visas is expensive and time consuming and they take up a lot of space in your passport, which is a problem for a busy professional who travels often.

    Bear in mind that with the rise of online forums, lots of fiction is no longer traditionally published in China. That novella by Baoshu Ken Liu gave the first official publication to is all over the internet on sites like Douban and everybody’s read it. It within the realm of possibility that Ken’s books were held up in the mail because some stickler customs officer received the box for inspection and opened it and looked at the Table of Contents and said, bureaucratically, “Is this a licensed publication in China?” and they checked, and it wasn’t. But everybody’s read the stories including the unpublished one. 

    I like what Ken said about Chinese writers addressing politics obliquely, through ambiguity and multiple levels of meaning, and how it is a challenge to convey that to an English reader, and I like his approaches to that challenge. 

    In the old days it was difficult to talk about LGBT issues in China at all. Then the environment became much more permissive, things like film festivals and campus events flourished, and Chengdu with its big LGBT scene became known as the country’s LGBT capital. Recently, organizing LGBT events has become more sensitive again because of the perceived link with political activism, but it is still much freer than in the past. To repeat what I said above: I imagine it may be possible to have content such as a panel discussion on LGBT themes in SF – which is obviously different from organizing an LGBT rally, for example. It is best to engage the committee on this subject early, and let them know that without such programming many western fans may not wish support the bid. I hope it can get worked out.

    @Chip, you are incorrect. I made no claim about what was said by the bid representatives. If they said “that might be a problem,” that is of course right. Circumstantial evidence suggests they were young volunteers who wouldn’t know what approach the committee will eventually take.

    It sounds like your information about Chinese politics comes from biased sources, because you are not making an accurate statement about the term limit question.

  2. @Vicki Rosenzweig

    A policy of banning people because their countries of origin are [perceived as] Muslim is a religion-based policy,

    But that is not an accurate description of the US policy.
    The countries affected by it have only about 8.5% of the world’s Muslims. A ban that does not affect over 90% of a faith can hardly be said to be targeted against that faith.

    @Cora Buhlert on December 6, 2019 at 2:21 pm said:

    And yes, the ban never targeted all muslims.

    The ban never targeted most Muslims. A Muslim ban that doesn’t affect Indonesia or Pakistan (200+ million Muslims each) or Bangladesh or Nigeria (another quarter billion) is hardly a Muslim ban

    the Gulf States were never targeted, because . . . the US needs their oil

    Nope. The US is a net petroleum exporter.

    blanket ban on people from certain countries, including dual citizens

    You’ve mentioned this twice now. It is my understanding that if a person has passports from a country on the list, and another country, not on the list, he can travel on the latter country’s passport without the ban blocking him. If you know otherwise, I’d be interested in sources.

    it is nonetheless notable that the ban mainly targets people from muslim majority countries.

    What is even more notable is that these 6 majority-Muslim countries are either: close to failed states, without the internal security infrastructure to confirm that (in general) their people wanting US visas can pass a bog-standard background check; and/or are more or less in a low-level state of war with the US or its allies — either of which is a perfectly legitimate reason to say “No.” (and, BTW, Cuba is not on the list.)

    Another huge issue is the extreme rudeness of US border guards and the utter randomness with which they harrass travellers.

    This is a huge issue with respect to — what?

    And let’s not forget the internment of supposed illegal immigrants, including small children (several of whom have died in custody), in the US under the current government.

    Not “supposed” — it is in fact against the law to be in the US without permission. As it is in pretty much every place else you’d want to be.
    “under the current government” — and under the previous one (which built the cages the kids were in).

    But there are plenty of people who either can’t or won’t travel to a US WorldCon,

    I think, within the context of “people who go to Worldcons”, the won’t category vastly outweighs the can’t. We’ll miss you, but if it’s more important to represent “Orange man bad” than to get together with other fans, then do what you must.

  3. Brian Z.: I imagine it may be possible to have content such as a panel discussion on LGBT themes in SF

    Yes, you’ve demonstrated repeatedly in comments on File 770 that you have a very vivid imagination, which most of the time bears no resemblance to actual reality.

    Immediately after the Fannish Inquisition in Dublin, Chengdu issued a clarification on their muffed answer to the Code of Conduct question. They obviously felt that they could make a better response to that question.

    Given that they didn’t also issue a clarification to their muffed answer on the possibility of having panels featuring LGBTQ issues, it seems apparent that they did not feel that they could make any better response to that question and likely hoped that if they did not address it, people would just forget about it.

  4. Brian Z.: two young, inexperienced fans faced the Fannish Inquisition, that’s probably what they were. Students, maybe? Does anyone think two young fans who volunteered to staff a table are going to be in charge of deciding whether or how to include a panel on a sensitive topic?

    Brian Z.: Circumstantial evidence suggests they were young volunteers who wouldn’t know what approach the committee will eventually take.

    Please stop infantilizing the women who represented the Chengdu bid at Dublin. That’s just so incredibly misogynistic and offensive.

  5. Re LGBT content: The OTW recently had to request volunteer translators because of a big influx of Chinese users, and the need to provide orientation to bring them up to speed on local fannish convention, systems, etc. The reason for the influx was that the Chinese government was cracking down on authors of LGBT content who published their work on Chinese website, and the AO3 is considered to be a safe place in comparison. Less likely to have your personal information handed over to the Chinese authorities so they can arrest you.

  6. @bill:

    Also, US Circuit Court decisions are only binding in the area (“circuit”) covered by that court. The court in Boston has jurisdiction over Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico.

    So, you would have legal protection against searches if you were entering or leaving the US in Boston or San Juan (or through a few smaller airports, e.g. Manchester, N.H.), or at a land crossing in Maine or New Hampshire. That’s a relatively small proportion of travelers. I saw an article on CBC.ca this morning, reminding/warning Canadians that this ruling doesn’t give any protection if you’re flying through LA, crossing the Detroit/Windsor land border, or using US “pre-clearance” in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver… (I might be flying to Logan, but I’d clear customs in Montreal.)

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/cellphone-border-searches-customs-border-1.5387612

    Yes, US circuit courts sometimes defer to each other’s decisions/reasoning, but that can’t happen until/unless they see a similar case. “The 9th Circuit will probably agree with us” has no legal force.

  7. @Brian Z: you are continuing to lie about my statements and yours; reread all the comments, including @JJ’s. And if you’re going to claim that NPR and the BBC are biased sources that have misreported the ruler-for-life situation, put up or shut up: present an unbiased source (not something that reflects your slant, but an unbiased source) that “clarifies” the issue.

  8. Brian Z.: two young, inexperienced fans faced the Fannish Inquisition, that’s probably what they were. Students, maybe? Does anyone think two young fans who volunteered to staff a table are going to be in charge of deciding whether or how to include a panel on a sensitive topic?

    Brian Z.: Circumstantial evidence suggests they were young volunteers who wouldn’t know what approach the committee will eventually take.

    Uh-huh, sure. Two women who actually LIVE in China and by their own account have LGBT friends there (and thus have personal knowledge of the social and legal pressures they face) tell fans that addressing LGBT issues at a Chinese con may face unspecified ‘problems’. And as JJ mentioned, Chengdu Worldcon took pains to correct their statements about racism and conduct codes, but let their statement about the problems LGBT writers presenting LGBT material stand without comment, their silence giving implicit assent to what was said.

    But LGBT fans should just ignore these silly young girls and the Chengdu committee at large and rely on the immense authority of Brian Z pulling reassurance from some unspecified orifice:

    Recently, organizing LGBT events has become more sensitive again because of the perceived link with political activism, but it is still much freer than in the past. To repeat what I said above: I imagine it may be possible to have content such as a panel discussion on LGBT themes in SF

    ….without backing up these statements with any citations whatever. You wisely advise the fans concerned with these issues: “It is best to engage the committee on this subject early, and let them know that without such programming many western fans may not wish support the bid,” while brushing off the actual effort to do this by denigrating the committee representatives as silly young things who MUST therefore not know the facts as they stand in their own country (when you don’t know their age), as well as by extension denigrating the judgement of the people who asked the question for taking their answer to the question seriously instead of disqualifying the information as the useless product of silly young girls, as you do.

    LGBT writers, fans and allies need to know if their visas will be unexpectedly blocked, their books confiscated, their speech at the con limited in some manner, or penalized after the fact, and whether Chinese fans may face serious consequences for associating with them. These are vital concerns. According to that article, Ken Liu’s translations of Chinese works were indeed confiscated, and despite his lifetime of experience in dealing with China, he does not know why. You brush off the worrying answer of the Chengdu committee with ‘ask again’ even though you admit yourself that the answers that the Chinese government gives are sometimes “not 100 % clear” and the article shows that the government often does not clarify things at all, and the comments here show that even when the government gives specifically reassuring answers, their word cannot always be relied upon.

    You brushing off the risks involved based on nothing but your unsupported reassurances does convey the impression that you think the concerns of the people who would take those risks if Worldcon goes to Chengdu are of little importance.

  9. There were male and female representatives. My only point is that the one who answered the question at the Inquisition didn’t seem closely involved in bid planning. Not knowing about the planned Code of Conduct supports that impression. 

    Reading the linked Code, it protects members from being approached or criticized based on gender or sexual orientation. A good starting point for discussion? 

    Writing and posting LGBT fiction doesn’t get you arrested. Rather, some Chinese people have gotten in trouble for selling pornography commercially, usually video but in rare cases written explicit erotica. One highly commercially successful self-published writer got jailed for “producing and selling pornographic materials.” There have been widespread calls to reform that obsolete law.
     
    @ Chip, let me try to thread the needle of giving you an acceptable citation. What about a Socialist journalist?  

    As Peter Symonds explains

    The announcement that the CCP will abandon its two-term restriction on the Chinese presidency has provoked shock, condemnation, concern and calls for action in the Western media. The US and its allies had expected, as the New York Times put it in its editorial, that the opening up of China in the late 1970s would lead to its integration into the post-World War II framework and that “economic progress would lead eventually to political liberalisation”.

    In reality, the US was hoping that “political liberalisation” for an expanded Chinese middle class—not the working class—could be manipulated to fashion a regime more closely aligned with Washington. That prospect has now been dashed by the installation, for the indefinite future, of a Chinese leader who has proven unwilling to immediately buckle to US demands and has sought to counter Washington’s belligerence.

    Thus, “while not suggesting that he is about to be ousted, several recent articles point to internal criticism of Xi,” there are “signs of a nascent pushback against Xi’s absolute power,” and “whisperings emanate from a variety of sources—retired leaders, rival factions within the CCP, the intelligentsia and the economic policy making apparatus.” 

    Rather that accept the propaganda emanating from Washington, DC reflected in those scaremongering “now president for life!” articles, I would instead (though I’m not a Socialist!) be inclined to agree with Symonds that:

    The consolidation of Xi as bureaucratic strongman, constantly referred to as the “core” of the party and the state, is not a sign of strength but of the regime’s brittleness. He is being built up to contain factional infighting within the CCP and also to try to suppress mounting class tensions through the use of police-state methods.

    …and that:

    The CCP regime is acutely aware of the potential for a social explosion, despite China’s extensive repressive apparatus, as the living standards of the working class deteriorate. The US threats of trade war and a further economic slowdown are fueling factional differences within the CCP bureaucracy over how to counter that danger, and this is undermining Xi’s position as political strongman. 

  10. Brian Z: There were male and female representatives. My only point is that the one who answered the question at the Inquisition didn’t seem closely involved in bid planning.

    You weren’t there. You have absolutely no idea how the bid representatives “seemed”. And the people who were answering questions were two women.

    Stop making claims and assertions about things about which you have no knowledge.

  11. Brian Z:

    “My only point is that the one who answered the question at the Inquisition didn’t seem closely involved in bid planning.”

    If this had been true, the Chengdu bid is already dead and we are just got going through the motions until it is dismissed. If they can’t find anyone knowledgeable enough to send to Worldcon to answer questions, then they don’t have a serious bid.

    On the other hand, it is just a deceitful and dishonest troll with a history of abuse and slander that claims this. One that used to be banned from this site. I am extremely surprised – in a negative way – that the dishonest troll has been allowed to start commenting again in the same dishonest and deceitful way as usual.

  12. Hampus Eckerman: I am extremely surprised – in a negative way – that the dishonest troll has been allowed to start commenting again in the same dishonest and deceitful way as usual.

    My observation has been that it is Mike’s custom to allow dishonest and illogical comments through because he knows that members of the community here will demolish such comments with logic and facts, and that it benefits the community for everyone to see these dishonest arguments debunked with citations to legitimate sources.

    Look at all of the damning facts which have been produced by Filers in this comment thread in response to the troll’s dishonest claims. It will have a lot of people scrutinizing the Chengdu bid much more deeply than they would have otherwise done.

    And now that the Chengdu bidcom has included a blatant falsehood in their bid questionnaire, it will surely be obvious to most people that any assurances given by the Chengdu bidcom that the government will not be exerting control over programming and content, and that con attendees will not be harassed or persecuted, cannot be taken on faith as being truthful.

  13. @Brian:

    So, your attempted refutation of the statement that Xi is consolidating power by making himself effectively ruler for life is an editorial saying that the fact that he’s doing so is a sign of weakness?

    Those of us who are wary of authoritarian governments are unlikely to be reassured by the claim that

    He is being built up to contain factional infighting within the CCP and also to try to suppress mounting class tensions through the use of police-state methods.

    The idea that a government is only using police-state methods because the rulers are insecure is not exactly a reassurance on the individual level. And that, rather than the likelihood of genuine socialism in China, is relevant to the Chengdu bid, and to people’s decisions about whether to visit China.

    Since you note (in case anyone might otherwise be confused) that you’re not a socialist, I doubt you’re looking at things through a Trotskyist lens.

  14. Vicki Rosenzweig on December 8, 2019 at 10:29 am said:

    @Brian:

    So, your attempted refutation of the statement that Xi is consolidating power by making himself effectively ruler for life is an editorial saying that the fact that he’s doing so is a sign of weakness?

    Good point. That is hardly reassuring. It amounts to ‘don’t worry about the increased authoritarianism of the Chinese government because it is only a prelude to the collapse of the power of the Chinese Communist Party and the ensuing chaos that will arise from the break up of China as a unitary state’

  15. @ Vicki

    To argue that Xi declared himself ruler for life because they’ve changed the rules about about term limits, one must claim that Xi will never face opposition. It’s just not true.

    The Trotskyist lens is very important. The international socialist movement isn’t literally going to join hands with Chinese workers and throw out the leadership tomorrow. But we need a reasoned analysis which depends neither on the lionizing of the leadership found in pro-Beijing media reports nor the pro-Washington demonizing of them that is omnipresent in Western corporate media. Symond’s take on the fundamentals is spot on. 

    I know terms like police state tactics are alarming, though as you read the articles you’ll see he identifies similar things occurring in places like the US, France and Germany. Police state tactics have been used by Xi, Trump, Macron, Merkel. 

    My personal opinion about what this means for Worldcon bids is that we should not hold any of that against Chengdu, a place with a low crime rate that tries hard to take good care of its visitors. Things are alarming all over the world, including Chicago, Memphis, Nice, etc. Of course, I don’t impose my view on anyone else.

    @Camestros, chaos maybe. Or maybe China’s leaders will face criticism from within their own ranks and from China’s workers and poor, whose isolation from the world will be less than in the past, as well as middle class people who feel a sense of solidarity with them, leading to reforms. My own country has already come very close to making Bernie Sanders president; these days, anything’s possible.

  16. @Brian Z–

    To argue that Xi declared himself ruler for life because they’ve changed the rules about about term limits, one must claim that Xi will never face opposition. It’s just not true.

    That’s just ridiculous,. No, you don’t have to claim that Xi will never face opposition in order to point out that China changed the rules and because of that Xi was able to declare himself ruler for life. They did change the rules, presumably for the purpose of having Xi declare himself ruler for life. He may in future face opposition that brings him down.

    But that can’t help anyone till it happens.

    The short-term effect is likely to be violence and disruption, when/if it does happen. If it happens in the few years between now and the Worldcon Chengdu is bidding for, that’s not going to be a settled and comfortable situation to have a Worldcon in.

    More likely, it won’t happen that quickly, and it will “just” be the current totalitarian dictatorship in charge, which, yes, is objectively worse than the US currently, even though the US is worse than it used to be, and may be getting worse.

    In any case, Xi being brought down isn’t guaranteed to produce any great swing in favor of freedom, democracy, and human rights. It’s quite likely to produce a new dictator.

  17. @Lis, I don’t deny your concerns, but Xi didn’t declare that. He said he’s opposed to life-long rule. The Party’s leaders don’t have term limits, yet don’t take new terms after they’re a bit older than Xi now (66), because they don’t wish to have leaders who are very old or ill. It is true there is not a clear law against it, but when Trump (!) claimed “I called him president for life and he liked it” he was trying to tear Xi down, not butter him up.

  18. @Brian Z–

    @Lis, I don’t deny your concerns, but Xi didn’t declare that. He said he’s opposed to life-long rule. The Party’s leaders don’t have term limits, yet don’t take new terms after they’re a bit older than Xi now (66), because they don’t wish to have leaders who are very old or ill. It is true there is not a clear law against it, but when Trump (!) claimed “I called him president for life and he liked it” he was trying to tear Xi down, not butter him up.

    Your interpretation seems to, um, yours.

    Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure ‘for life’

  19. “when Trump (!) claimed “I called him president for life and he liked it” he was trying to tear Xi down, not butter him up.”

    No, Trump has a hard-on for dictators–that’s a compliment from him.

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