Pixel Scroll 11/12/17 I Saw A Pixel Order A Perrier At Trader Vic’s. And Its Scroll Was Perfect

(1) COURTING FATE. At The Millions, B.J. Hollars remembers “Ray Bradbury’s Keys to the Universe”.

I marvel at such miracles; in particular, Ray’s ability to forge his own fate as the opportunities presented themselves.  But I marvel, too, at his refusal to leave anything to chance.  Perhaps his stick-to-itiveness is best illustrated by way of a story he shared with me during my visit to his home all those years ago.  How, as a young, broke, telephone-less writer in L.A., he’d given editors the telephone number of the gas station payphone across the street.  His bedroom window flung wide, whenever that phone rang he’d leap out the window and sprint across the street. Then, as casually as possible, he’d answer, “Hello?”

Now that’s how it’s done, I remember thinking.  That’s how you become a writer.

(2) WWWWD? Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot wants Warner Bros. to pull the plug on accused harasser Brett Ratner. Page Six broke the story: “Gal Gadot will only be ‘Wonder Woman’ again if Brett Ratner is out”.

“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot is continuing to battle accused Hollywood sexual harasser Brett Ratner by refusing to sign for a super­hero sequel unless the movie-maker is completely killed from the franchise.

A Hollywood source tells Page Six that Gadot — who last month backed out of a dinner honoring Ratner, where she was due to present him with an award — is taking a strong stance on sexual harassment in Hollywood and doesn’t want her hit “Wonder Woman” franchise to benefit a man accused of sexual misconduct.

Ratner’s production company RatPac-Dune Entertainment helped produce “Wonder Woman” as part of its co-financing deal with Warner Bros. The movie has grossed more than $400 million internationally, and Ratner’s company will take a healthy share of the profits. A Warner Bros. insider explained, “Brett made a lot of money from the success of ‘Wonder Woman,’ thanks to his company having helped finance the first movie. Now Gadot is saying she won’t sign for the sequel unless Warner Bros. buys Brett out [of his financing deal] and gets rid of him.”

(3) MORE HOLLYWOOD HARASSMENT. Classic Trek’s Mr. Sulu, actor George Takei, is one of the latest Hollywood figures to be accused of harassment. The Guardian has his denial — “George Takei responds to accusation he sexually assaulted a young actor”.

The Star Trek actor and gay rights activist George Takei responded on Saturday to an accusation that he sexually assaulted a young actor nearly 40 years ago. The alleged event “simply did not occur”, Takei said.

On Friday, Scott R Brunton told the Hollywood Reporter that in 1981, when he was 23, he was invited into Takei’s condo in Los Angeles. Brunton implied his drink may have been spiked, saying he passed out and awoke to find Takei trying to strip him and groping his genitals.

(4) SHOULDN’T BE A MYSTERY. On Friday night, the Jeopardy! game show had a “Science Fiction” category during the “Double Jeopardy” round. How did the contestants handle it? Andrew Porter supplied this narrative:

The category was in Double Jeopardy. I guess no one reads SF.

$400: This “Dune” author’s first published sci-fi tale appeared in Startling Stories Magazine in 1952.

No one answered.

$800: In John Wyndham’s 1951 novel “The Day of” these, “these” are carnivorous plants that can walk and kill a man.

No one answered.

$1200: Like “World War Z”, “Robopocalypse” is labeled this kind of history; it’s told by those who survived a robot war.

Wrong answer: “What is an alternate history?”

Correct answer: “What is an oral history?”

$1600: In “A Princess of Mars”, this fictional Civil War vet is transported to Mars & meets the beautiful Dejah Thoris.

No one answered.

$2000: The cover of this Isaac Asimov novel claimed, “four men and one woman journey into the living body of a man.”

Again, no one answered.

The final Jeopardy question, under “Awards & Honors”, was: “The Victoria Cross is for military bravery; this ross first given in 1940 & named for Victoria’s Great-grandson is for civilian bravery.”

Answers: “What is the Edward Cross?” – wrong; “What is the George’s Cross?” also wrong; “What is the George Cross?” – correct.

(5) BOOK RECS. Ann Leckie praises some “Things I’ve Read” beginning with —

I got an advance copy of Emergence, the next volume in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. Look, I’m a longtime fan of these, and I enjoyed the heck out of this one. If you’ve read the previous volumes, you’ll enjoy this one. If you haven’t, DO NOT START THE SERIES HERE. Give Foreigner a go–that’s the first volume–and see what you think.

(6) ALL IN BLACK AND WHITE FOR A DIME. Field Notes, a quarterly publication, will be doing a Dime Novel edition.

Inspiration for Field Notes Quarterly Editions can strike anytime, from anywhere. For our Fall 2017 edition, it struck from all the way back in 1860 in New York City and a pair of brothers: Erastus and Irwin Beadle. The Beadles had published a variety of inexpensive paperback books on subjects ranging from the tax code to baseball, but when they released Ann S. Stephens’ frontier tale Malaeska as the first of their orange-covered “Dime Novel” series, it sold more than sixty thousand copies and started a trend for cheap pocket-sized genre fiction.

Beadle’s Dime Novels eventually topped 300 titles, each selling 35–80,000 copies, and inspired countless other publishers to imitate (or often steal outright) the Dime Novel’s format, style, characters, and content. Along with imitators came an epic brotherly feud and a long series of lawsuits. It’s a complicated story, but in the end, a fair argument can be made that the Beadles created the mass-market American paperback

There’s also a four-minute video at the link.

(7) BRADBURY FOREVER. J. W. Ocker showed highlights of his Ray Bradbury artifact collection on his website in “Collecting Ray”.

Obviously, I wear my Ray Bradbury fandom on my [straightjacket] sleeve, but I’m also a Ray Bradbury collector, too. And I don’t mean his books, although that is part of it. I’m talking artifacts. Pieces of his life, his works, and those works inspired by him. They range from a brick from his now-demolished Los Angeles house to a test sketch by artist Joe Mugnaini for one of the illustrations for The Halloween Tree to a particularly disturbing prop from the movie version of his Something Wicked This Way Comes. Next time you come over to my house, I’ll show it all to you.

… See that wiry, coppery mass in the lower right corner? That’s actually the top of an award given to Bradbury in 2010 for “contribution to world peace through literature.” And it now sits on my shelf about a foot away from my desk, like I was the one who win it or something.

Ocker’s new book just came out, Death and Douglas. Here’s the front cover blurb:

“Spooky! Hilarious! And beautifully written. Ocker’s Death and Douglas now joins Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree as an annual autumn read.” — Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why and Piper.


  • November 12, 1982 Creepshow premiered in theaters.

(9) YOUR DIGITAL SJW CREDENTIAL. The internet has a cat. Its name is Purrli.

(10) $PACE COMMAND. Marc Scott Zicree’s Kickstarter to fund Space Command: Redemption hit its basic $39,000 goal in the first three days and now is ticking off its stretch goals.

They’ve raised $45,434 as of this writing. Should they hit $80,000, there will be enough to pay for Part Two of Space Command: Redemption.

(11) PULP REVOLUTIONARY. Galactic Journey tells readers what they have to look forward to in the December (1962) issue of Amazing — “[November 12, 1962] HEADS ABOVE THE CLOUDS (the December 1962 Amazing)”.

Roger Zelazny’s Moonless in Byzantium—his second Amazing story, fourth published—might have a broader appeal.  It’s a surreal riff on one of the more familiar plots in the warehouse, the lone rebel face to face with an oppressive regime, in this case the Robotic Overseeing Unit.  In this dystopia, machines are in charge, people are mostly machines, and our protagonist is charged with writing Sailing to Byzantium on a washroom wall.  He is also charged with illegal possession of a name—William Butler Yeats, which he appended to Yeats’s poem.  This is the world of Cutgab, in which language itself is drastically restricted and simplified, and writing forbidden.  ROU accuses: “You write without purpose or utility, which is why writing itself has been abolished—men always lie when they write or speak.” The outcome is inevitable save for the accused’s final and futile defiance.  This is one that succeeds on sheer power of writing; in theme and style, it suggests Bradbury with sharper teeth.  Four stars for bravura execution of a stock idea.

(12) CLAIM JUMPER. Richard Paolinelli is always trying to get mentioned in this space, but making claims like this isn’t a good way to do it. He often tweets about his Dragon Awards finalist Escaping Infinity, but yesterday’s tweet also identified it as a Nebula nominee.

So what is that supposed to mean? Everyone knows his book wasn’t a Nebula finalist. Did someone cast one vote for it? Interestingly, the tweeted honor isn’t even listed on his website’s Awards page.

(13) ASK UMAMI. As usual, everything you know is wrong: “The real truth about whether our tongues have ‘taste zones'”.

You probably remember the diagram from school – a pink tongue with different regions marked for different tastes – bitter across the back, sweet across the front, salty at sides near the front and sour at the sides towards the back. I can remember a biology class where we made sugar and salt solutions and pipetted them onto different parts of our tongues to confirm the map was right.

At the time it all seemed to make sense, but it turns out it’s not quite this simple.

The famous tongue diagram has appeared in hundreds of textbooks over the decades. It’s sometimes blamed on a dissertation from 1901 written by a German scientist called David Pauli Hänig. By dripping salty, sweet, sour and bitter samples onto different parts of people’s tongues, he discovered that the sensitivity of taste buds varies in different areas of the tongue.

…Today we know that different regions of the tongue can detect sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Taste buds are found elsewhere too – in the roof of the mouth and even in the throat. As well as detecting the four main tastes, each taste bud can also detect the most recently discovered taste, umami – the taste that makes savoury foods like parmesan so more-ish.

(14) SUNDAY DRIVER. The BBC reports “US rocket launch aborted after small plane enters airspace”.

A rocket launch in Virginia was aborted at the last moment when a small aircraft flew into restricted airspace.

The unmanned cargo ship was about to be launched en route to the International Space Station (ISS) when mission control called “abort, abort, abort!”.

They had spotted a small aircraft flying in restricted airspace at 500ft (150m) near Wallops Island.

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “As a former lightplane pilot, I don’t know whether this was ignorance (of temporary rules closing the airspace) or deliberate stupidity.” The launch did go on schedule on Sunday morning.

(15) ANDY WEIR ON THE MOON. NPR interview — “In New Novel, ‘Martian’ Author Andy Weir Builds A Colony On The Moon”.

On where he got the idea for Artemis

I wanted to write a story that took place in the first city that was not on Earth. And I thought about Mars, I thought about lower Earth orbit, but the Moon is the obvious place to build it. If you were on a football field and you were standing at one goal line, and if Mars were at the other goal line, the moon would be 4 inches in front of you. So that is the distance scale between them. So, yeah, colonizing Mars before you colonize the moon would be like if the ancient Britons colonized North America before they colonized Wales.

(16) WEIR’S FAVES. Breathe a sigh of relief – for once your TBR pile is safe — you’ve probably read most of “Andy Weir’s 6 favorite science fiction books”. The sixth is —

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (Orbit, $16).

A fantastic look at what a post-scarcity society might look like. There’s no hunger, no disease, no war — just benevolent computers that take care of humanity and other beings. How could there be conflict or struggle in such a world? Well, Banks is a genius and spins one hell of a story about what happens when the Culture meets a spacefaring alien race with far less enlightened views. And it doesn’t go how you think it would.

(17) GET READY. Naragansett Brewery’s Lovecraft Whiskey Release Party takes place December 1.

About two years ago, we released the I Am Providence Imperial Red Ale… and we’ve been keeping a deep, dark secret ever since.

While you were busy enjoying our other Lovecraft offerings, I Am Providence was distilled at Sons of Liberty, and has been aging in twisted oak barrels ever since.

Just as Cthulhu patiently waits to rise from the depths to destroy us all, I Am Providence has been waiting for you.

On December 1st, we unleash the madness. Get ready.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Fabrice Mathieu’s HZ Hollywood Zombies, a meteor strikes Hollywood! And all the Movie Stars become… Zombies! Which movie star would you like to be eaten by? Here are a couple of the many choices — Daniel Craig and Natalie Portman.


[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Bill, Magewolf, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, Moshe Feder, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor the day Jon Meltzer.]

58 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/12/17 I Saw A Pixel Order A Perrier At Trader Vic’s. And Its Scroll Was Perfect

  1. @16: 5/6; is Ready Player One that interesting to someone older and not into games?

    @1: great story — but I’m surprised editors back then would have phoned instead of writing?

    edit: First!

  2. What is the answer to the Asimov question for 2000?

    @Chip You don’t need any gaming knowledge to enjoy Ready Player. You do need a lot of knowledge about 80s geek culture to get all the references in the book; without that you can still understand the story but will get pretty bored.

  3. @Chip it covers 80s nostalgia in many different ways other than games.

    Aside from nostalgia factor it’s fairly mediocre. But if you dig the various 80s movie, tv show, game references it’s more entertaining.

  4. Bookworm – Fantastic Voyage, though a lot probably remember Innerspace better so I can see folks guessing that one

  5. The Asimov Fantastic Voyage was a mere novelization – his only one, I think.

    Not sure whether the George Cross has ever appeared in a nominally SF novel, but the next-most-prestigious George Medal turns up as a plot point in John Brunner’s Players at the Game of People.

  6. The Gal Gadot situation is interesting and super impressive of her. She has leverage, but is also putting a huge payday on the line.

    Apparently she is not under contract for a Wonder Woman sequel. She had a three movie contract with WB, but the studio used two of those on BvsS and Justice League. Which means if she sticks to her guns on this she is potentially sacrificing a huge payday on the principle. It’s very impressive. She could have just asked that he was personally not involved and taken a huge cheque and no one would have thought less of her, but demanding that all ties are cut is a step beyond. Good for her.

  7. 2) Very cool of Ms Gadot!

    3) Someday, I’m going to look this one full in the face and emotionally deal with it. I don’t think that’s going to be today.

    4) I would have got every one except the 2000 one, and probably failed almost all the other categories, oh well.

    14) We get boaters going though the torpedo range near here all the time, so that surprises me not at all.

    16) Anyone else not in the least surprised that it’s all dudes on that list? I think Ernest Cline’s was pretty similar, actually.

  8. @Muccamukk re: Andy Weir’s favorite books

    Eh, it’s not a long list and is historically focused. At least four are obviously “what blew your socks off when you first read them at 12 years old” (which is legitimate).

    If it was a “What do you think are important things being published today” or “What’s going to shape the next decade of the genre” or “What’s in your TBR pile” kind of list I’d be looking for more diversity but I can’t hold a list of what was on their bedroom shelves growing up against anyone.

  9. @Ryan, That’s true. I think the Cline one was something like “Six SFF Books Everyone Should Read!” Which made it more annoying. I’m trying to think what my list would be. A lot of questionable ’80s/’90s fantasy novels probably.

  10. Not on the scroll, but I went to see the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library in London (https://www.bl.uk/events/harry-potter-a-history-of-magic) – I highly recommend it for anyone in the area. Lots of HP art, some original JKR documents, but best of all a selection of manuscripts and items from around the world showing common magical / fantastical elements. I especially enjoyed an ancient Chinese map of the heavens, Egyptian protective scrolls and a strikingly gorgeous Persian mss illustration of a Phoenix. Really wonderful reminder how much our modern standard fantasy idea of magic owes to concepts from around the world.

    And – they had an invisibility cloak! My five year old spent a good few minutes staring side eye at the case to try and detect its magical shimmer!

  11. @SamJ

    I’m hoping to get to that. The beeb had a nice documentary on it a couple of weeks ago as well.

  12. @Chip: RP1 is fine. It’s a bit like Harry Potter though, in the sense that anyone with a decent reading list will have seen it all before, but it happened to be in the right place at the right time to breakthrough – although not to the HP extent, I admit. It reads a bit too much like a movie novelisation at times (a bit like later Michael Crichton novels) and there’s occasionally a sense of “did you get that reference? wink, wink.” I will be moderately interested to see how Spielberg handled one of the “big reveals” in the movie version (it’s not desperately important to the plot, but it is a lovely character moment.)

    Talking of HP, I endorse SamJ’s recommendation of the British Library show; they have a sterling record of covering genre in their exhibitions and this one maintains their standard.
    One thing I do wonder about is the fact that we won’t have a lot of these “writerly artefacts” to look back at soon; things like the History of Middle-Earth will just not be possible when drafts etc. no longer exist as physical objects.

  13. Kudos to Gadot. Sadly, if they do buy Ratner out, he still makes money.

    Also, “hopped whisky” ? What crepuscular horror is this?

  14. Unrelated to genre with the exception of the anthropomorphic animals, Bloom County has also been rocked by public revelations of its own serial harasser.

    Start here, then keep clicking the left arrow.

  15. @Chip Hitchcock

    It’s pretty bad, to be honest. If you came of age in and around 80s nerd and pop culture, the first half is tremendous fun, full of interesting ways to reference it and tie it into a backward focused future culture. However, halfway through when the book should have started to tackle the big issues the world building has set up – like living in a collapsing climate changed world where most people stay in a VR construct, art and culture development entirely neutered for nostalgia worship, the basic dissolution of representation government, etc – it just doubles down on the geek references and adds a creepy ‘nice guy’ aspect to the writing on the main female character.

    It’s worth a library read, because you can finish it in a couple of hours, and for some people it works. But for me, it basically fell off the cliff to the point that leads to eye-rolling silly climaxes and thinly veiled parodies of tech figures.

  16. 3) I think some of the problem has to do with the way gay courting worked back in the bad old days: words were often not involved; it was conducted entirely in terms of touches.

    There are a variety of reasons for that. One is just self-hate. If you and your partner never spoke during sex and never spoke about sex then you could pretend it wasn’t you doing it. But you couldn’t pretend you weren’t ashamed of it, and if it was with a stranger, you usually felt horrible about yourself afterwards.

    A second, practical, concern was that if you met someone in a public place, like a bar or disco, and you proposed sex to someone, then you ran the risk of being arrested, because it was illegal in most states to attempt to procure homosexual sex. Police would put undercover cops in the bars and try to get patrons to incriminate themselves. You didn’t pay a fine for this; you did prison time for it.

    I was living in Florida in the early 1980s when that policy changed. Not because the law changed but because after the Mariel boatlift, the sheriff forbade his men to do it, on the grounds that he needed everyone focused on real crimes.

    And, of course, if you met someone outside a gay venue, it was seriously unsafe to tell him you were interested. Instead, you used a complex method of lightly touching him, brushing against him, etc. to see if he pulled away or pressed closer. The idea was to preserve deniability if he wasn’t interested. (Now that I’ve read literature set in those times written by straight guys, I see that we weren’t really fooling them as much as we thought we were.)

    Finally, if you brought someone home from a bar, both of you fairly drunk, it was almost a cliche that once he sobered up, the other guy would deny remembering anything that happened. (And some people do have “blackouts”–periods they have no memory of.)

    So do I think George brought someone home and put a hand in his pants? Sure. Lots of times. Do I think it ever went wrong and the guy backed out? Sure, I can believe that too. Do I think George spiked his drink? No. Do I think any of this amounted to sexual harassment? No.

    I definitely don’t think this would be a good way to operate in today’s world, though, and I’m very glad that we don’t have to.

  17. (6) Field Notes’ “Expedition” notebooks are very good for actually using in the field. I carried them exclusively when I was up north of the wall building high voltage power lines.

  18. Ready Player One is all over the place. A lot of its references are to things from the late 70s. A Schoolhouse Rock! episode plays a part in the plot and I think that was from 1973.

    I like some Field Notes stuff. Their reporter notebook is nice and I find their steno book is really sturdy. All kind of pricey. Some of it is just the novelty of what new sets they’ll create.

    Pixels came naturally from Paris
    For scrolls she couldn’t care less

  19. Greg: Even in that atmosphere, trying to strip and grope someone who describes himself as having been been unconscious when it started is reprehensible.

  20. @Peter Card

    Also, “hopped whisky” ? What crepuscular horror is this?

    It’s whiskey, not whisky. Thankfully…


    Sith Lords do NOT pass out from Life!

  21. Speaking as a 67 year old who was only lightly into gaming culture, I found “Ready Player One” a great story. I got the audio book to use up a credit, because I love Wil Wheaton as a narrator. I enjoyed it so much I went and bought the Kindle version.
    It’s definitely a YMMV story, but it entertained me a lot, even though I wasn’t of the age group in the 80’s that the author was depicting.
    And, yeah, as a dystopia, the worldbuilding is pretty grim. It’s a fantasy in that if the top three ‘good’ billionaires teamed up (Gates, Bezos, Buffet) they could probably make major inroads in the downward spiral we’re in.
    Instead, people like the Koch Bros. and the Mercers are bent on enslaving the rest of us and destroying the USA to do it.

  22. @Lenora Rose

    Greg: Even in that atmosphere, trying to strip and grope someone who describes himself as having been been unconscious when it started is reprehensible.

    I’d agree with that. I’m just skeptical he was really unconscious. “Blacked out” is much more likely, I think. The guy probably believes he really was unconscious, but if he really was, he’d have been a rather unattractive partner for sex. “Blacked out” makes much more sense to me, and, in that case, neither of them is actually lying, even though no real assault actually took place.

    We’ll see if anyone else comes forward with similar stories, though. If he actually got off on unconscious guys, someone else is likely to speak up about it.

  23. I got all of the Jeopardy questions except ‘oral history’. I would have picked something like ‘post-apocalyptic story’. Of course, I never read either of the examples, since I am so NOT into zombies.

    And, really, “Fantastic Voyage” was such a corny, campy movie! How could you miss it? I seem to recall Asimov shuddering that he had taken on the novelization and tried REALLY hard to make it SOMEWHAT scientific.

  24. Glad to see some good news today, though I have to wait for Emergence to be published for all us non-professionals.
    Weir’s list is indeed all male, though I too am a big fan of Small Gods.
    And on that note, has anybody anywhen seen my socks? I just finished Lincoln in the Bardo and they seem to have flown off. Reason 8,012 to flex your brain reading lots of SF: I plunged happily in, while some readers seem to have trouble with the form and style.

  25. WRT George Takei: Greg Hullender’s description of gay dating rituals makes a lot of sense, and not an interpretation I would have thought of. I had been thinking “Deeply disappointed” and now I need to go, “Huh, maybe not…”

    Frankly, the rituals and dancing going on around negotiation for sex can range from tentative to rape. I’m not sure anyone couldn’t be accused of sexual assault in retrospect. How do you balance “assault is in the eye of the beholder” with “someone is being way too sensitive”? I mean, the edge cases are easy, it’s the in between gray ones that hurt.

    I guess the only way is to look for a pattern, a continuation of behavior that has been called out.

  26. Re “Hopped Whiskey”: I would rather that they infused the whiskey with rabbits.

    Re Ready Player One: This is filled with references, some of which (to me) were a little too “wink at the audience – aren’t we cool?” For my taste.

    As for the ending: Fvapr v zneevrq fbzrbar jvgu n cbeg jvar fgnva ba ure snpr, v sbhaq ure ovt erirny gb or n ovg fvyyl. Nxva gb gur “cerggl htyl tvey” gebcr va grra zbirf.

    Side note: Rot-13 is hard to type on your phone without adding nonsense to your autocorrect.

  27. The little “six books” features in The Week are usually interesting. They often tie them to the author’s recent work. A couple weeks ago, Carmen Maria Machado, whose short story collection Her Body and Other Parties has been receiving much acclaim, picked 6 other recent collections, including ‘Tender’ by Sofia Samatar — the others being by Amy Parker, Jenny Zhang, Julia Elliott, Lesley Nneka Arimah, and Bennett Sims.

    Other recent ones (obviously I just grabbed a few issues at random) were: Brene Brown, author of Braving the Wilderness, on books “that inspired her to be braver”; Chris Ware picked books about looking back at one’s life, as he does in his new one Monograph; and columnist Bruce Bartlett selected books on economic and social policy.

    I can’t tell from the context if Weir was given any specific instructions. It may have been just “give us six sf books you like.” Or they may have asked him for something like six books about the moon, and he said, no, but I can give you this.

  28. Re: Friday’s Jeopardy! I was frustrated that all the contestants avoided the “Science Fiction” category like a zombie plague, but I guess they knew it wasn’t their skill set. One guy pretty much aced the “Classical Music” category, in which I could answer maybe one question (or should that be question one answer?). I got all of the SF ones except “oral history,” and had no clue on Final Jeopardy.

  29. Have I been using “blacked out” wrong all these years? I thought it meant fainted, lost consciousness.

    Oliver Sacks writes in On the Move of blacking out on a street in Amsterdam (having just staggered out of a bar) and coming to in someone else’s bed. “He had seen me lying dead drunk in the gutter, he said, had taken me home … and buggered me. ‘Was it nice?’ I asked.

    ‘Yes,’ he answered. Very nice — he was sorry I was [sic] too out of it to enjoy it as well. … ‘There is no need,’ he said, suddenly getting serious, ‘to get dead drunk, pass out, and lie in the gutter. This is a very sad — even dangerous — thing to do. I hope you will never do it again.’ ”

    I found this anecdote jaw-dropping. Clearly Sacks didn’t consider this episode to be rape, and was even grateful to the man for accepting his sexuality matter-of-factly, telling him about how it was different in Amsterdam, there were lots of places to go, etc. (in which case why was he reduced to raping a drunk guy, one wonders…). But I can’t see how the man could expect him to react that way.

  30. FWIW, my understanding of the term “blacked out” (not from any personal experience in my college days, of course) is to mean a situation where you were clearly impaired, but you were up & moving & talking to people, but have no memory of those actions when told about them the next day.

    (a.k.a. “Mr. Stupid has come to live in your body.”)

  31. @HelenS – at least here in the US, it’s generally used to denote someone so drunk and/or high that they won’t be able to remember any or much of the night after they reached that point. You can pass out when you’re blacked out, too, or just be groggy and confused. Some people can black out and then seem completely normal – even sober.

  32. Helen S, I’ve seen “blacked out” used to mean drunk enough that, while still conscious and (apparently) functioning, even to the point of being able to drive a car, the person has no recollection of what they did. Short-term memory didn’t write correctly to long-term memory.

    Generally, you don’t know that a person has blacked out unless you make a reference the next day to them climbing up on a table and singing a terrible song about chickens, and they look at you and say, “I did WHAT?”

    They’re conscious, they’re moving around under their own power, but they have zero memory of what they did. (I’ve not seen them, but I understand that the “Hangover” movies are built around that premise.)

  33. @HelenS

    Have I been using “blacked out” wrong all these years? I thought it meant fainted, lost consciousness.

    You’re still walking around and talking to people when you’re blacked out. It’s just that your brain isn’t recording anything for more than about 5 seconds or so. “Passed out” means you lost consciousness. (Although I’m sure there are some very fine people who use “blacked out” to mean “passed out.”) 🙂

    You tend to get blackouts by drinking alcohol too quickly without enough food in your stomach. It’s not just quantity of alcohol.

  34. You tend to get blackouts by drinking alcohol too quickly without enough food in your stomach. It’s not just quantity of alcohol.

    Also, mixing alcohol and other psychoactive substances. I learned this with weed a while back. I hadn’t smoked any for years, then I smoked some on a night that I was drinking, though not all that heavily. I realized the next day that I’d blacked out. According to the people I was with, I seemed mostly sober.

  35. Greg Hullender on November 13, 2017 at 4:39 pm said:
    I have a great blackout story, but I’ll wait to tell it at the File770 get together in San Jose next year. ?

    When things will be all clear?

    Sorry. The time machine landed me in 2017 where bad jokes are the only coping mechanism we have left.

  36. Thing is, the context Greg mentions, while it might be new to some people reading here, wasn’t new to Brunton. He was part of that culture too. And he says this was a different and disturbing thing.

  37. Today I learned: if a woman accuses Harvey Weinstein of sexually assulting her she is to immediately be believed, full stop. If a man accuses George Takei of sexually assaulting him then we need need to remember that it was a diffent time back then and the so-called victim was probably not remembering things correctly.

    I find this a little confusing, actually.

  38. @Nancy, I was thinking the same thing. If you say those things with the genders changed, it’s pretty ugly, and I’m still inclined to think it’s pretty ugly when it’s two guys. Regardless of what the culture was at the time. ETA: “It was a different time!” is something we hear a lot of from guys who assaulted women, too./ETA

    It’s (so far) one accuser instead of five hundred, or whatever we’re at with Weinstein, but Takei essentially shrugging it off doesn’t make me think well of him.

  39. I’m well aware of the fact that my doubts about the story about Takei are at least partly my bias in favor of Takei.

    But consider the fact that the accusations against Spacey were also quickly believed. His show is cancelled, and he’s being replaced in a movie that was already in the can.

    My “not just pro-Takei bias” doubt comes from a couple of things. One is that Brunton says he’s been telling this story to groups of people for years. What he describes doesn’t sound typical of the behavior of victims of sexual assault, and in gossipy Hollywood, these stories never surfaced before. The other is that I don’t think sexual predators do it just once, and so far there don’t seem to be other accusers surfacing now that Brunton has come forward.

    Maybe others will come forward. Even if no one does, that’s not proof that Brunton isn’t telling the truth. Nor is the fact that his account of telling his story socially for years seems atypical to me.

    But it does mean I don’t have the same gut sense of the truth of his story that I have of the stories of the accusers of Moore, Trump, Weinstein, Spacey, Cosby…

    This could still change, but that’s where I am right now.

  40. As long as people like to get intoxicated and have sex–which is to say, forever–there are going to be a certain number of situations where no one knows the truth of what happened during a sexual encounter. That includes the people having that encounter. Short of Robert Sawyer’s “alibi archive”, some things experienced can’t be known.

  41. I’m willing to leave the story at “Nobody knows (except possibly Takei or Brunton)” until we have more information either way…

    But I emphasize that “nobody knows” is not the same as “Takei is obviously innocent” or “Brunton is obviously lying”. It is not. It is literally that nobody knows. Takei is Schrodinger’s assailant.

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