Pixel Scroll 9/1/18 Knives, Pixels, Files, Scrolls Of Energy Raved Against The Screens Of The Dentless

(1) SPIDER STORY. Worldcon 76 GoH Spider Robinson’s hometown paper profiled him before the convention: see “Spider Robinson’s star shines in Worldcon’s sci-fi universe” in the Bowne Island Undercurrent.

In the waning charge cycles of a 12-year-old MacBook Pro, Spider Robinson is typing out his autobiography.

“I’m writing the serious, logical case that I’m the luckiest [person] who’s ever lived,” he said.

“My luck ran out, but all luck does.”

It’s extraordinary that a man who lost both his wife and daughter prematurely can still count himself as lucky.

But Robinson concentrates on the joy that his family and career brought to his life.

The well-known science fiction writer, winner of three Hugo awards and a Nebula award, has lived on Bowen Island since 2001.

This week, Robinson is one of the guests of honour at Worldcon, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, this year held in San Jose.

(2) CANON FIRE. Foz Meadows’ “Trash and Treasure” column for The Book Smugglers does a recap on Worldcon 76, including thoughts inspired by the Author vs Fan Ownership panel there wasn’t enough time to unpack:

 …Afterwards, multiple audience members asked for my thoughts about the recent trend in claims by some fandom extremists that fans literally own the stories they love, whatever those stories might be, just by straight-up virtue of passion.

To give an example of two of the more toxic examples of this sense of fannish entitlement, taken from both ends of the fan-political spectrum, consider both the MRA Star Wars fans who tried to crowdsource funding for a new, lady-free version of The Last Jedi, and the lone Voltron: Legendary Defender fan who tried to blackmail Studio Mir into making their gay ship canon. In both cases, there’s a belief that wanting a personal, idealised, specific version of the narrative to exist in canon should not only trump the plans of the creators, but effectively constitute a shouted BECAUSE REASONS! override of their actual, legal ownership….

(3) MAINTAINING TWEET SILENCE. Is Wil Wheaton coming back to Twitter? Eh, no. He turned it off one day in August, for reasons he explains in “The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.” Then he thought he found another social media home, but the administrators wearied of the flood of complaints (see post for explanation) and he left there too.

As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network that gives Alex Jones a platform to spew hate, hurt innocent people, and incite violence was the final straw for me. But I haven’t regretted leaving for even one second. Having that endless stream of hate and anger and negativity in my pocket wasn’t good for me (and I don’t think it’s good for anyone, to be honest).

I was on Twitter from just about the very beginning. I think I’m in the first couple thousand accounts. I remember when it was a smallish group of people who wanted to have fun, make jokes, share information and tips on stuff that was interesting, and oh so many pictures of our pets. It was awesome.

It started to get toxic slowly at first, then all at once, starting with the misogynist dipshits who were behing the gate-which-shall-not-be-named. That was clearly a turning point for Twitter, and it never really recovered from it. I watched, in real time, as the site I loved turned into a right wing talk radio shouting match that made YouTube comments and CSPAN call-ins seem scholarly. We tried for a couple of years to fight back, to encourage Twitter to take a stand against bad actors (HA HA LIKE ME BECAUSE I AM A BAD ACTOR RIGHT YOU GOT ME HA HA HA). Twitter doesn’t care about how its users are affected by themselves, though. Twitter cares about growth and staying on the good side of President Shitler’s tantrums….

(4) LIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT. An event called KekCon set out to publicize itself at Dragon Con and drew criticism on social media. Lura Groen’s thread starts here.

Groen, who received at least one threat after tweeting her thread, reports the KekCon reps left Dragon Con.

(5) PRESCRIPTION FOR ENTERTAINMENT. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie thinks Filers may enjoy The Third Pill, which BBC Radio 4 has just put on iPlayer.

The Third Pill by James O’Neill

Greg works in children’s publishing but feels middle aged and out of touch. Then something pops up on his computer that will transform his life. A comedy about finding that elusive elixir of youth.

Surely it is a scam, or is it?  And if it works, what are the consequences….

(6) A STROLL DOWN MEMORY ROAD. “A graphic tale: the visual effects of Mad Max: Fury Road” is a nuts-and-bolts of how many of the shots were built over bits of reality. From 2015 – but may be news to you!

But the intense Namibian shoot, and further filming in Sydney, was only half the story in the creation of Fury Road’s insane stunt action and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Hundreds of visual effects artists, led by overall visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, would spend considerable time crafting more than 2000 visual effects shots and helping to transform the exquisite photography into the final film that at times feels almost like a single car chase. Even more plate manipulation would also be carried out by colorist Eric Whipp, weaving in a distinctive graphic style for the film with detailed sky replacements and unique day for nights.

(7) A STACK OF REVIEWS, AND A STACK OF WAX. Links to the reviews below at Patti Abbott’s blog: “Friday’s Forgotten Books, August 31, 2018”.

  • Mark Baker. LOST LEGACY, Annette Dashofy
  • Yvette Banek, MURDER MAKES MISTAKES, George Bellairs
  • Les Blatt, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW, Elizabeth Daily
  • Bill Crider, EPITAPH FOR A TRAMP, David Markson
  • Kate Jackson at CrossExaminingCrime, TILL DEATH DO US PART, John Dickson Carr
  • Martin Edwards, THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Minette Marrin
  • Curtis Evans, THE MAN WITH TWO WIVES, “Patrick Quentin”
  • Rich Horton, THE FOUR FEATHERS, A. E. W. Mason
  • Jerry House, ELECTION DAY 2084, ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
  • George Kelley, THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES AND NOVELS, 9th SERIES, T.E. Dikty and Earl Kemp
  • Margot Kinberg, FACES OF THE GONE, Brad Parks
  • Rob Kitchin, THE SHINING GIRLS, Lauren Beukes
  • Kate Laity, SWITZERLAND, Joanna Murray-Smith
  • Evan Lewis, WATERFRONT FISTS, Robert E. Howard
  • Steve Lewis, SEEING IS BELIEVING, Carter Dickson
  • Todd Mason, 1960s audio recordings: THE ZOO STORY, Edward Albee; NO EXIT, Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Paul Bowles); LUV, Murray Schisgal; JUST SO STORIES, Rudyard Kipling
  • Matt Paust, LAST BUS TO WOODSTOCK, Colin Dexter
  • James Reasoner, THE WATER BEND FEUD, William MacLeod Raine
  • Richard Robinson, A FALL OF MOONDUST, Arthur C. Clarke
  • Kevin Tipple, BAD LITTLE FALLS, Paul Doiron
  • Tomcat, FLASHPOINT, John Russell Fearn
  • TracyK, DARK PASSAGE, David Goodis

Links to online archives of some of the recordings under discussion at Todd Mason’s post: “THE ZOO STORY, Edward Albee; NO EXIT, Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Paul Bowles); LUV, Murray Schisgal; JUST SO STORIES, Rudyard Kipling”

(8) EC COMICS REMEMBERED. The Society of Illustrators in New York City will exhibit “Tales from the Crypt: The Revolutionary Art of MAD and EC Comics” from September 5 to October 27, 2018.

For the first time in NYC, an exhibition of the EC comic book art that struck fear in the hearts of arbiters of good taste will see the light of day. Featured are more than 70 large original comic book art pages by comic art masters. On display September 5 through October 27 in the Hall of Fame Gallery….

A big business in the fifties, as many as 100 million comic books were sold monthly. Although the superhero and funny animal titles were popular in the forties the appetite had turned to subjects that reflected current trends and interests.

Perhaps the most prominent comic book publisher at the time was Entertaining Comics (EC), led by William M. Gaines. An aspiring high school teacher, Gaines found himself the 25 year old head of a struggling publishing company when his father died in a boating accident. Gaines knew little about the industry but hired young, creative editor/artists Al Feldstein and Harvey Kurtzman to test new formats and launched a broad slate of revolutionary titles covering science fiction, horror, crime, war, suspense and humor.

The EC team would later be called among the most talented assembly of comic book artists and writers the industry had ever seen. While quickly copied because of their unprecedented success, EC stories were markedly different from the competition. They were expertly illustrated, written for an intelligent audience and offered an unexpected twist ending. Critics would point to the violence depicted in the crime and horror titles or the mature nature of the story subjects. Gaines had assumed an intelligent audience comprised of young adults and older readers and not children who would otherwise find little meaning in the work.

Titles presented in the exhibit include Aces HighCrime Suspenstories, Crypt of Terror, Extra!, Haunt of Fear, Frontline Combat, Impact, Piracy, MAD, Two-Fisted Tales, Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Weird Fantasy, Weird Science, Weird Science Fantasy, MAD 3-D art and more. Artists featured include Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Will Elder, George Evans, Al Feldstein, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingels, B. Krigstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Orlando, John Severin, Marie Severin, Angelo Torres, Al Williamson and Wally Wood.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 1, 1902A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) is directed by Georges Méliès is released.
  • September 1, 1954Tobor the Great premiered.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 1, 1885 – Edgar Rice Burroughs. Pulp writer (and no I’m not being disparaging with my use of that term) of many series of which I’ll single out the BarsoomPellucidar, Tarzan and Venus series.  Both Rudyard Kipling and Ray Bradbury considered him to be an influential and entertaining writer. Edgar Hamilton in an interview said once that “We sort of grew up on Edgar Rice Burroughs.”
  • Born September 1 — Diana Pleasance Case Gillon, 103. Only one novel, The Unsleep, but noted here for one hundred and three years old! Or at least that’s what three sources think.
  • Born September 1 – C.J. Cherryh, 76. Author of several major series set in different settings including the Alliance-Union universe, the Foreigner universe, the Russian stories, Heroes in Hell, the Fortress universe and Ealdwood. I think my favorites are the Russian stories, particularly Rusalka which was a Locus Fantasy Award nominee. Downbelow Station and Cyteen both won Hugo Awards as did her short story titled “Cassandra.”
  • Born September 1 – Timothy Zahn, 66. I’ll admit that I’ve not read anything by him on and only know of him by his work in the Star Wars Universe. His other work appears largely to be milsf and largely on Baen Books.
  • Born September 1 – Brad Linaweaver. His Moon of Ice novella was a Nebula Award finalist and the novel length version won a Prometheus Award

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frank and Ernest decide it’s better to go with their second favorite name for a new invention.

(12) A COOKIE WITH MORE BITE TO IT. Oreo has introduced two new cookie flavors — wasabi and hot chicken wing. For now, they are only available in China.

(13) A LITTLE LIST. Kendall has read the comments here before and introduced this as “Another list for people to slam!”

Unbound Worlds, who posted a ‘100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time’ list a while back, now has a 100 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time list. As before, they’re clear they just asked staffers for top sci-fi recs…

Hey, there are a bunch of books on this list I like, and if I’ve read 41 of them, your count probably will be even higher.

(14) IT’S NOT EPIC BUT IT IS FANTASY. Camestros Felapton reviews Matt Groening’s new series for Netflix, Disenchantment.

A new series from Matt Groening of Simpsons and Futurama fame was bound to generate some excitement. Using an epic fantasy/fairytale faux-medieval setting sounds like a fun premise for the kind of genre subverting humour that worked for Futurama. I’m up to the last two episodes and well, it isn’t great. It isn’t terrible but it isn’t great.

There are two issues:

  • Quite a lot of Futurama wasn’t that great either but your brain edits in the best bits.
  • Disenchantment leans too much on standard jokes and tropes used in its predecessors, making the show feel less fresh and novel.

It gets better, mainly because the characters start working on you and sometimes because of basic plot development.

(15) DOCTORDONNA IS IN. Sometimes the unexpected happens at Dragon Con. Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams encountered actress Catherine Tate.

(16) SIDEBAR. Cat Rambo found comic relief at the SFWA business meeting during Dragon Con.

(17) RUGRATS. Airboy notes, “There was a ‘weird news’ story on the front page of August 31’s Wall Street Journal on the odd carpet design of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Atlanta that is one of the DragonCon Hotels.  It had an odd carpet that was eventually removed due to age.  Some fans obsessed over it creating dresses, camo outfits, and eventually a group of them marched together in the annual DragonCon parade in downtown Atlanta.”

The article is online behind a paywall at the Wall Street Journal, “‘We’re Spending Our Hard-Earned Money to Dress Up Like Carpet.’ The Tight-Knit World of Rug Fans”.

These are the people who are obsessed with carpet and rug patterns in hotels, airports and office buildings; Dragon Con at the Marriott

Here’s a lot more material (free!) at the Dragon Con Eternal Members site: “Marriott Carpet Pattern”, including the famous photo of two prone cosplayers whose camo military uniforms blend almost perfectly with the rug.

(18) IN CASE YOU’RE CURIOUS. I’d never seen a photo of Dragon Con CEO Pat Henry before (not that they aren’t available). Writers of the Future’s John Goodwin posted a photo of them together.

He also posted a photo of the Writers of the Future panel with Contest judges Kevin J. Anderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Resnick and Jody Lynn Nye.

(19) MORE CON HEALTH ADVICE. In advance of this weekend’s PAX West convention, the Seattle’s Public Health Insider warned con crud is a thing: “Gaming, Cosplay, and Con Crud, Oh My!”

PAX West opens on Friday and will bring tens of thousands of people to downtown Seattle. Be prepared for legions of cosplayers and badge wearers in downtown, even if you aren’t attending.

So… what is “con crud”?

“Con crud” is an artificial term that refers to the common cold, mild flu, or other non-threatening illness that may strike towards the end of a convention, or soon after leaving. You might have also heard it called PAX pox, festival plague, or even nerd flu.

The balance of the post advises ways to avoid getting it. [Via Ron Oakes.]

(20) AIR APPARENT. Fixing a flat: “Astronauts tackle air leak on International Space Station”.

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are having to deal with an air leak from a possible collision.

It has been traced to a small hole in a capsule that was used to deliver a new crew to the laboratory 400km (250 miles) above the Earth in June.

It is thought the damage was caused by the impact of a high-speed rocky fragment flying through space.

(21) BACK ON THE RAILS. BBC tells “How the Hogwarts Express was saved from a Welsh scrapyard”.

Emerging from the clouds of steam engulfing platform nine and three-quarters, the gleaming Hogwarts Express commands a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans.

Yet there was a time when the only place this engine could call home, was a south Wales scrapyard where it lay rotting among the hulks of a bygone era.

That is because the locomotive that entranced millions of Potter viewers and now sits proudly in Warner Brothers Studios, was once earmarked to be dismantled for the furnace.

Written off, abandoned and forgotten for 17 years, this lowly engine’s final destiny was originally far from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

(22) MORE THAN JUST ONLINE. “Telepresence: ‘My robot makes me feel like I haven’t been forgotten'”. – about helping shut-ins keep up with school.

Internet-connected robots that can stream audio and video are increasingly helping housebound sick children and elderly people keep in touch with teachers, family and friends, combating the scourge of isolation and loneliness.

Zoe Johnson, 16, hasn’t been to school since she was 12.

She went to the doctor in 2014 “with a bit of a sore throat”, and “somehow that became A&E [accident and emergency],” says her mother, Rachel Johnson.

(23) CASTING CONTROVERSIES. ScreenRant analyzes “10 Superhero Castings That Caused Fan Backlash.”

(24) ALMOST TIME. The House with a Clock in Its Walls – in theaters September 21.

In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment. The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead. Based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by master frightener Eli Roth and written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s Supernatural). Co-starring Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams and Sunny Suljic, it is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Todd Mason, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. And belated thanks to Joanna Rivers for an item the other day. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/1/18 Knives, Pixels, Files, Scrolls Of Energy Raved Against The Screens Of The Dentless

  1. Kek has been kek for several presidents now, and has nothing to do with the KKK. It has to do with limiting hostile smacktalk between opposing WoW players by replacing their speech with a substitution cipher. So that if an opposing player wants to tell you off for kicking their butt all over some organized PVP event, they have to go to the effort of creating a new character on your server.

    Heading back to my glorious golden troll pyramid in the jungle.

  2. @Charon:

    Yes, but now alt-righties are making Kekistan flags and flying them alongside Nazi banners and Slaver Rags* while marching for the cause of white supremacy. The context has changed a bit.

    * I no longer call it the “Confederate flag,” for a few reasons… only one of which is that it wasn’t. “The Slaver Rag” is a more honest and fitting name.

  3. @Rev Bob – not buying it. The universe of people who use “kek” in the WoW sense is far larger than those who use it in a channer/supremacist context. To a non-gamer it might seem like a word only used by channers but among gamers it’s as common as “woot” and “lulz” and “Leeroy Jenkins.” You’ll probably find those terms in some channer vocabularies too, because some channers are gamers, although not all, and not all gamers are channers. It would be similarly incorrect to say that all science fiction is sexist and tainted because there were Sad Puppies.

  4. @Charon:

    Everything you say can be true without diminishing my point in the least. Basically, you’re defending the wearing of swastikas in the 1950s: yes, the symbol has other, non-offensive meanings, but its association with genocidal white supremacists has tainted it beyond redemption. It’s not the symbol’s fault, but anyone using it either is or needs to become aware of the new association.

    tl;dr – Once the racists appropriate your symbol, it belongs to them. Attempting to reclaim it is futile.

  5. Eh, I wouldn’t blink at anyone using “kek” in Warcraft and Warcraft-adjacent communities; it’s our word and it never picked up any association with racists within our community. I still use it from time to time, in those spaces.

    Anyone outside of those communities who uses it is going to draw attention due to its acquired negative connotations. Main clue though is how they use it. Warcraft people, at least on the EU servers, haven’t really spread out much from using it as a simple conversational replacement for LOL (that’s the text it replaces in-game); chan usage is much broader. Someone using it chan-style is usually pretty obvious.

    I doubt it ever had much to do with referencing the KKK, though, even for the channers.

    That said, I am, shall we say, suspicious of KekCon’s repeated emphasis on “ethics.” I guess it’s a little reassuring that they’ve explicitly disavowed any connection with the alt-right, but… Hm. Either way, I wouldn’t have picked the name myself given how it would be seen outside of the community.

  6. @Meredith — I didn’t realize you were one of us! (assuming you’re not actually Alliance). I do hear it frequently in-game in its original WoW context as “lol.” I do not hear it used chan-style in game, or anywhere.

    @Rev — I still disagree with you, and I shall continue doing so. I also disagree with the practice of making concepts like “Nazi” and “supremacist” so dilute that they manage to describe every gamer who has ever typed “kek” instead of “lol.”

  7. @Charon: That you do not witness other uses does not erase their existence. Here, for instance. Charlottesville was quite the national story…

  8. (The network appears to have eaten my response; my apologies if this is a duplication.)

    @Charon: The fact that you do not personally encounter non-gaming uses of the term does not make the phenomenon less real. I easily found photos of the “Kekistan” flag from last year’s Charlottesville rally; here is but one example. (Note also that the “divided snake” promotional poster incorporates the flag; we’re not talking about one random weirdo.)

  9. @Charon D

    Troll main since TBC! Although at some point I really need to get around to doing Alliance-side Loremaster. I’m on a break while I reserve my spoons for elsewhere, but I’m sure the shiny siren call of new transmog models will draw me back in soon enough (it’s killing me to miss Trial of Style). Those internet dragons make excellent boots. Also, I really want to see Zandalar.

    @Rev Bob

    I believe Charon was agreeing with me that Warcraft(/gamer)-use remains a distinct thing from chan(/racist)-use rather than denying that chan(/racist)-use is a thing outside of Warcraft communities. Most gamers will have seen its original, legitimate use far more often than the alt-right one, and, like Charon, I have never seen the chan-use in-game or in net-based Warcraft communities, only in alt-right circles and on the chans.

    Obviously without the same weight of history or religion, but I consider it somewhat akin to your earlier example: The swastika is not typically in use by non-racists in countries where it did not have an established presence, but it is very much still in use, original meaning intact, in countries where it already had a long line of tradition behind it. In Warcraft and Warcraft-adjacent communities, kek is just kek; no racist baggage assumed. It’s still a blindingly foolish name to use outside of those communities, at best. At worst they’re dogwhistling.

  10. @Meredith: “In Warcraft and Warcraft-adjacent communities, kek is just kek; no racist baggage assumed. It’s still a blindingly foolish name to use outside of those communities, at best. At worst they’re dogwhistling.”

    You and Charon seem to be forgetting the context of this discussion thread, though: meatspace promotion of something called “KekCon” at a Southern convention. That simply cannot reasonably be expected to escape the racist baggage that has become attached to “kek” due to Charlottesville and channers. The organizers of the event are either deliberately courting racists or – to steal your phrase – blindingly foolish. Neither of those bodes well for the event’s success as a positive gathering.

  11. @Meredith – Taz Dingo, me too! My first toon was a BE hunter but when I realized how depressingly common they were I rolled a troll priest and she’s still my main, primarily because she has the most achievement points. There are some snooty new trolls in the expansion and they live in a drop dead gorgeous Aztec-like pyramid full of cheery flute music and soft jungle rain. I’m loving it!

    @Rev Bob – no, I am not defending swastika fashion in the 50s and that’s a ludicrous comparison. I’m saying there are millions of people using “kek” in its original gamer context who don’t know or care about the chan-context, and they are not about to discontinue usage due to the chan association. I also take issue with your assertion that once someone appropriates your culture, they have besmirched it for all eternity and you should just let it go.

  12. Charon, I don’t think Rev Bob was saying that; rather the reverse. I haven’t seen him calling for it to not be used in-game. He is saying that the instance he was complaining about was not in-game, so the fact it doesn’t mean anything racist in-game is irrelevant.

    I hope I have understood you both correctly.

  13. @Lenore:

    I can’t speak for Charon, but you have adequately summarized my position. The “KekCon” item in the Scroll concerns a physical display at a physical event, promoting a physical gathering. Whatever the organizers think or want, that advertisement will attract racists. It will also make non-racists hesitant to attend… y’know, because they know racists will show up.

    Nothing said online in the game or its community changes any of that.

  14. Lee said something about “kek” being how kkk is pronounced.

    I replied: “kek” had been in use for a long time and was not associated with the kkk.

    Rev Bob came back with a non-sequitur dressed up as a correction: “Yes, but now alt-righties are making Kekistan flags …”

    I repeat: “kek” has been in use for a long time; the origins of this word are unrelated to the kkk.

    Whether alt-righties make Kekistan flags is unrelated to the origin of the word “kek.”

    With regard to the metaphor, everyone in the ‘50s knew what a swastika was. When someone ran a picture of the Kekistan flag here at File 770, explanation was needed, because it is obscure.

    Although I agree that the people who made that sign are pretty likely to be channish, I disagree emphatically with the idea that people who use the word “kek” are all using racist dogwhistles. Gamers say “kek” and “woot” and “fail” and other things, both in and out of game, without dogwhistling to racists.

  15. @Rev. Bob: tl;dr – Once the racists appropriate your symbol, it belongs to them. Attempting to reclaim it is futile.

    Always, everywhere, and forever? Man, I thought I was a natural pessimist.

    Circa 2002, I bought via mail-order two flags to fly at Chez Moen, which is my original family home. One is a 50-star Old Glory to fly now and then, as I’d sadly failed to find the 48-star one made at the time of my birth during the Eisenhower Administration, which would have been something more to confound the millennials alongside the fully restored rotary-dial wall telephone I procured for my kitchen. The other is a Gadsden Flag, flown for over 2 1/4 centuries as a symbol of liberty in the face of opposition to dumb government actions such as, say, the PATRIOT Act, then recently enacted.

    Many of my friends, more plugged into political fashion & symbolism du jour, inform me, to my annoyance, that the Gadsden Flag has no conceivable interpretation other than support for the Tea Party movement. This perception was widely held in, say, 2009-2010, before the teabaggers’ donation money was so completely exhausted by fundraising scammers that the movement was figuratively (but almost literally) folded up in the night and dissolved. My calendar, though, says that time’s wingèd chariot has moved on, and at some point the Gadsden Flag’s historical associations will no longer have the lingering odor of cheap tea and plastic tricorne hats.

  16. @Charon: “Although I agree that the people who made that sign are pretty likely to be channish, I disagree emphatically with the idea that people who use the word “kek” are all using racist dogwhistles.”

    Then I suppose it’s a good thing I never said anything like that. (Man, Straw Bob is a dick!)

    As far as origins go… that has nothing to do with the Scroll item under discussion, nor with any point I made or tried to defend. I know perfectly well where “kek” came from, just as I know that, like Pepe the Frog, the alt-right has glommed onto it to the point that if you see someone waving a Kekistan flag IRL, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re doing it to signal their membership in the alt-right. That said, the Scroll item is KekCon, not the etymology of “kek.” My point is and has been that KekCon’s advertising is going to draw in racists, which in turn is likely to drive those who aren’t racist away from the event. Whether by organizer intent or dumb accident, I look at KekCon and say, “there’s an event to stay away from, because it will be full of racist jerks.”

    Read that very carefully. Did I say that everyone who has ever said “kek” is a racist? No, I did not. I’m talking about the result I expect this specific event’s advertising to generate. No more, no less.

    Gamers say “kek” and “woot” and “fail” and other things, both in and out of game, without dogwhistling to racists.

    Yes, I know, #NotAllGamers, I get it!

    Again, I’m specifically talking about KekCon’s organizers and what result their efforts are likely to yield… and every time I point that out, you seem determined to swerve away and go back to talking about the online gaming community instead. It’s beginning to look less like misunderstanding and more like deliberate avoidance.

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