Pixel Scroll 11/14/16 The Fen From S.C.R.O.L.L. And P.I.X.E.L.

(1) TRUTH IS STRANGER. Norman Spinrad has posted on Facebook the original English version of the afterward commissioned by the French publisher for the special 40th anniversary edition of the first French edition of Bug Jack Barron. That anniversary is now far enough in the past that Spinrad finally lost patience with the book appearing and gave the piece its freedom. Heinlein features in this afterward.


by Norman Spinrad

It must have been 1969 because I had returned from London to Los Angeles and was writing for The Los Angeles Free Press, and the Charlie Manson trial was going on. We were covering it locally, it was a big national story and it came out that Robert Heinlein’s novel STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND was one of Charlie’s fave raves.

In this novel, the sympathetic lead character “discorporates” people who piss him off, always for a righteous reason of course, and Charlie Manson believed that Heinlein’s fictional justification for this likewise justified his own self-given license to do likewise.

I chanced to run into Bob Heinlein at some science fiction convention, and I just had to ask him how he felt about the widely accepted notion of his novel having inspired the Sharon Tate Murders or at least served as Charlie’s moral template for giving the marching order to his murderous posse.

He looked at me deadpan straight in the eye and hit me with a punchline that has stood me in good stead from then until. now.

“The manufacturer,” said Robert Heinlein, “takes no responsibility for the misuse of the product.”

Thus as the author of BUG JACK BARRON I thereby absolve myself of responsibility for the successful political campaign for Congress of Robert K. Dornan, the unsuccessful campaign of Pat Buchanan for the Republic Nomination for President, the march to the far reaches of the far right by the Republican Party, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation….

(2) ANCIENT BRITFANDOM. Martin Morse Wooster is enjoying Rob Hansen’s history of British fandom, THEN (recently published in book form by the redoubtable Ansible Press). Here’s his latest favorite anecdote:

This is from the memoirs of British fan Jim Linwood.  LXI con was the 1961 British national sf convention, where Kingsley Amis was GoH.

“The other famous author who made his debut at LXICon–Martin Amis.  He was 10 years old and spent most of his time running screaming throughout the corridors to the annoyance of the attendees.  A few years later, Kingdon Road fans cheered when we saw him fall to his death from the rigging of Anthony Quinn’s pirate ship in A High Wind in Jamaica — his only film performance.”

(3) DON’T TRIP ON TROPES. At Tor.com, “Charlie Jane Anders, Alyssa Cole, and Rumaan Alam on Avoiding Blind Spots When Writing Outside Your Experience”.

All agreed that tropes are an important tool for playing with genre expectations, as you can set up a particular familiar trope and then change them in a way that’s fresh and exciting for readers. Tropes “can help, can hurt,” Anders said, as they can be “a way of focusing your intentions in the story” but might also lead a writer astray by binding them to the often outdated, cliché, or downright offensive depictions of certain characters that genre. These blind spots occur when writers fall back on their knowledge of a movie for a certain character’s background rather than doing independent research into the personal histories and experiences of people other than the writer. “You should stop and educate yourself,” she said; if instead you think, in this kind of story, this always happens, “that’s death—that’s death of storytelling.”

When asked how to recognize when you’re in a blind spot, the panelists all shared their experiences and key pieces of advice:

  • Get beta readers and sensitivity readers who are familiar with the backgrounds of the characters you’re trying to write. “If you know you have a blind spot, you can even think that you’ve overcome a lot of the blind spot, but you haven’t,” Cole said. “The bottom line is, always have beta readers, but especially make sure you have beta readers from the particular group you’re writing about—if it’s not aliens or something.”
  • Have more than one sensitivity reader if possible. Cole found that in writing a suffragette novella set in 1917, with a main character from India, that two of her readers were from different regions of India and had different experiences; not necessarily contradictory, but enough that it provided more nuance to her work. And compensate them for their time!
  • “You also have to do a gut check 100 times,” Anders said—put the piece aside for a month, then return to it with a fresh perspective.
  • “It’s OK to get it wrong,” Alam said. Sometimes you can work the lack of understanding into the book by putting that perspective into the mouths of your characters; that can be just as valuable.

(4) THE POWER OF SFF. Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj will partner in the creation of Invisible 3, a third volume of collected stories shared by authors and fans “about the importance of representation in science fiction/fantasy.”

These stories help to create understanding and connection. They expose the power of our genre both to help and to harm….

We’re looking for personal, first-hand stories between 400 and 1000 words talking about the impact of SF/F stories and what it’s like to see yourself misrepresented or erased, or relegated to the backgrounds. We’re also interested in the ways underrepresented and marginalized writers have worked to reclaim space in the genre.

Accepted works will first be published online, and then collected and published in an anthology. Contributors will receive a $10 payment.

Once author and artist payments have been covered, all additional proceeds will go to the Con or Bust program, helping people of color to attend SFF conventions.

(5) CALL FOR PAPERS. The annual Literary London conference, will be held July 13-14, 2017. Their theme is “Fantastic London: Dream, Speculation and Nightmare.” They are taking proposals for papers until February 1.

Proposals are invited for papers, comprised panels, and roundtable sessions, which consider any period or genre of literature about, set in, inspired by, or alluding to central and suburban London and its environs, from the city’s roots in pre-Roman times to its imagined futures. While the main focus of the conference will be on literary texts, we actively encourage interdisciplinary contributions relating to film, architecture, visual arts, topography and theories of urban space. Papers from postgraduate students are particularly welcome for consideration. Indicative topics and writers who might be addressed:

  • Gaslight romance, the urban gothic, London noir, steampunk & speculative poetry
  • Future catastrophes, technological dystopias, nightmares of policing & surveillance
  • Forms of fictional flight into alternate ontologies of nationhood and urban belonging
  • Architectural caprice, replication and ruin in the development of the built environment
  • Stories of financial catastrophe, uncertain inheritance and precarious fortune
  • The search for ontological wholeness in a divided, doubled or allotropic city
  • The uncanny, arabesque and magical excrescences of the urban everyday
  • Dramatizing the life of hidden underworlds, anti-worlds & allegorical environments
  • The Weird: H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Lord Dusany, M. John Harrison
  • ‘Elsewheres’: Doris Lessing, William Morris, J. G. Ballard, Jean Rhys, Anthony Burgess
  • Urban Gothic: Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Thomas De Quincey, Charles Dickens
  • Underworlds: Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Michael Moorcock, Michèle Roberts
  • Make-believe: J. M. Barrie, Cassandra Clare, Philip Reeve, Christina Rossetti, John Clute

Please submit all proposals using the links under ‘Conference’ above. If you have any queries, please contact the conference organiser Dr Peter Jones at conference at literarylondon dot org

(6) STAGE PRAISE. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won a London theater award.


  • November 14, 1851 Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, was first published in the U.S. And one hundred years later, Ray Bradbury wrote the script for the movie.

(8) THE DOCTOR IS OUT. Both Peter Capaldi and new companion Pearl Mackie will leave with Moffat — “Expect ‘Doctor Who’ In 2018 To Be A “Clean Slate… A Brand New Show” says ScienceFiction.com.

Expect a lot of loose ends to be tied up in the upcoming 2017 season of ‘Doctor Who’.  After this, showrunner Steven Moffat and star Peter Capaldi will depart the hit series, which unfortunately has seen waning ratings in the past few years.  They’ve never come right out and said it, but this is possibly because of the switch-over coming at the end of the new season, but it sounds like the changes will be sweeping!

Insiders are saying that when new showrunner Chris Chibnall takes over for the 2018 season, he will be left with a “clean slate” in order to build his own “brand new show.”  Reportedly this “brand new show” won’t be 100% fresh, however.  Instead, it is reported that the BBC, which has not only been unhappy with the weaker ratings of the Capaldi era, but the sharp dip in sales of “dolls, books, DVDs and toys” are looking to return to a winning formula….

Perhaps the most startling change is that Pearl Mackie, who has yet to even debut as new Companion Bill, is also expected to depart the series along with Moffat and Capaldi.  Often, Companions are used to help transition between Doctors and in a sense serve as guides until the new Doctor gains his bearings, as was the case with Clara Oswald, who bridged the gap between Matt Smith’s version and Capaldi’s.

But reportedly Mackie only signed on for a one-year contract.  She, Capaldi and Moffat are expected to make the 2017 Christmas Special their swan song.

(9) IT’S ABOUT NOT MUCH TIME. Did you know Time Tunnel only ran one season? That’s one of MeTV’s “8  time-defying tidbits about The Time Tunnel. ABC network programmers then screwed the pooch picking the successor —

The replacement didn’t fare much better.

The Legend of Custer went on to replace The Time Tunnel on Friday nights, but the new series only lasted 17 episodes. Ironically, an episode of the sci-fi series took place during the Battle of Little Bighorn, a.k.a. Custer’s Last Stand.


“Let’s make a series about a young guy with long blonde hair who doesn’t surf or play in a rock’n roll band,” said the executive, who hadn’t noticed it was the middle of the Sixties.

(10) MORE VINTAGE SF TELEVISION. Echo Ishii continues her SF Obscure series.

So for this week’s post I decided to cover the half hour, SF/action show CLEOPATRA 2525.

The year is, uh, 2525. Humanity has been driven underground because the surface is controlled by giant floating robot armchairs (That’s what it looks like anyway) called Baileys.  Two fighters Hel(Gina Torres) and Sarge (Victoria Pratt) are resistance fighters who battle the robot overlords. helped by a mysterious voice called ‘Voice’ that taps into Hel’s brain. Anyway, Sarge gets hurt and needs a kidney so they go and get one at the local buy-a-body-part depot. Thus, the meet Cleo (Jennifer Sky), a women cryo-frozen in 2001 when her breast augmentation surgery went awry and she was stored until humanity had the tools to save her life. I am not making this up.

(11) BELLS AREN’T RINGING. A Wyoming bookstore banned the use of electronic devices on the premises.

A Wyoming bookstore is aiming to remind customers that its “a place for books” by refusing to offer WiFi and banning use of electronic devices.

A sign posted at the entrance to Wind City Books in Casper informs customers that there is no public WiFi available and calls on them to keep their laptops and cellphones out of sight inside the shop.




(13) GRIND ZERO. I don’t know if it’s a good column about writing, but Dave Freer sure has a lot of insights about “Making Sausage”.

There are myriad sausage recipes. Sausage made of everything from bear to squirrel, pork to beef, turkey to fish. Even vegan. Sausages with everything from cranberries to chardonnay in them. But oddly they have two essential ingredients, in essential proportions. Stray too far from either and your sausage doesn’t work. And those are fat and salt. Not the obvious – people say it’s a bear or boar or chicken sausage. They don’t say ‘it’s a fat sausage’. “Yuck!” would be the response. And indeed yuck is appropriate if you don’t get that proportion (around 20%) right. Too much and it becomes a greasy horrible thing. By the time it cooks out the sausage meat and other ingredients taste greasy and overcooked. And too little and it is dry and tasteless. Vegan is particularly difficult because of the whole ‘fat’ thing. I gather it’s considered bad to suggest using plump ones. But I gather one can buy vegan suet.

For me, in writing, that’s the story, the action, the adventure. In some shape or form it has to be in every worthwhile read. Yes, actually you can have too much. Or too little, and vast focus on the other ingredients – be they the setting or the social justice outrage of the week – they tend to dry and un-appealing. And the salt… well those are the characters. And yes, once again there is such a thing as too much – or too bland when it is merely count the pre-expected tokens. I wait with amusement for the first orange haired villain s to appear…

(14) THE BULLET BOX. Larry Correia provides “A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership” at Monster Hunter Nation.

That title isn’t joking. This post is aimed at my liberal readers. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican and gun expert, who thinks you are wrong about a lot of stuff, but I’m not writing this to gloat about your loss. For the record, I disliked all the presidential candidates.

Judging by your social media over the last few days many liberals have been utterly terrified that your government might turn tyrannical or that evil people will now be emboldened to hurt you. I’m going to let you in on a little thing the other half of the country is familiar with to keep those unlikely, yet catastrophic, events from happening.

And that my lefty friends, is 2nd Amendment.

Having just gone through a war against a tyrannical government, the Founders understood that governments can go bad, so they made sure to note our God given right (or we’ll say naturally occurring right, since a bunch of you are atheists) to keep and bear arms in order to defend ourselves. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or “sporting purposes”, it’s about having weapons that you can fight with. As an added bonus, being able to protect yourself from a tyrannical government means that you’re a lot better equipped to deal with any common criminal who decides to hurt you. Before I get into the details about how to enjoy your newly discovered 2nd Amendment rights, let me just say that I get you’re sad, angry, bitter, and fearful. But just like my people over the last few elections, you’ll get over it. The really hyperbolic freak outs about Literally Hitler make you sound just like the Alex Jones crowd worried that Obama was going to herd Christians into FEMA camps last time. So take a deep breath and relax. Your friends and neighbors are the same as they were last week. The vast majority weren’t voting because racism, they voted against the status quo and a really unlikable Democrat. And no, they aren’t going to round you up into cattle cars….

(15) CROTTLED PEEPS.  Daniel Dern advises, “Be sure to watch to the very end. Even better than when a character on The Good Wife said ‘A Lannister always pays his debts.’” Shared at io9 by James Whitbrook: “A Breakdown Of My Scattered, Confused Thoughts While Watching This Game of Thrones Sodastream Ad”.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Jim C. Hines, Martin Morse Wooster, and Daniel Dern for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cadbury Moose.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

124 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/14/16 The Fen From S.C.R.O.L.L. And P.I.X.E.L.

  1. @Bill –

    If you hadn’t noticed, everything has a political dimension. To imply that the NRA was trying to keep the CDC out of politics is pure farce. What they were trying to do was stifle potential voices of dissent. Any conclusion that implies that guns harm society could be said to “promote gun control,” therefore they can’t do any analysis period.

  2. @Bill

    The officer who shot Castile has just been charged with manslaughter.

    That’s good to hear, though it would have been much better for Castile, his wife and the officer who shot him, if the whole incident never happened.

    For comparison, in Germany police officers fatally shoot approx. ten people per year. Taking the fact that the US has a higher population into account, US police officers still shoot 25 times as many people per year as German police officers (Figures taken from here, only in German, sorry).

    Ambiguous or clearly wrongful deaths caused by police officers are thankfully rare and happen only every couple of years. I couldn’t find a complete list anywhere and what data there is often includes cases of deaths in custody or protesters run over by police vehicles. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of wrongful deaths due to police involve either leftwing protesters (Benno Ohnesorg is the most famous case, but there are others) or minorities, though there have also been cases such as the innocent pensioner who was mistaken for an escaped convict and shot. If charged, police officers are pretty much never convicted.

  3. Bill: This is an exaggeration. The appropriation for the Center for Disease Control says “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

    Now you’re definitely being deliberately dishonest.

    The CDC’s mandate is to investigate causes of morbidity and mortality. Collecting data on gun violence falls into that category. So does collecting data on the incidence and spread of HIV.

    The CDC has been forbidden to collect data on gun violence because the NRA knows where that will lead, so they bought off a bunch of legislators to ensure that such data could not be collected.

    A similar faux argument could be (and has been, in the past) made that collecting data on HIV may be used to advocate or “promote a homosexual agenda”.

    Both of those arguments are utterly spurious. And I am sure that you are well aware of that.

  4. My personal opinion: The 2nd-Amendment hardliners who voted for Trump voted for a government where the prospects of having their gun rights taken away are higher by at least an order of magnitude.

    How will that happen? I think the first thing will be the establishment of a “no-guns” list, similar to the “no-fly” list for air travelers. Who’s on it? That’s classified. What’s the criteria for being placed on it? That’s secret too. How do you get off it? Ha ha ha, you funny.

    But if you’re on the list, you get a big surprise the next time you try to buy another gun, or ammunition for any guns you already own.

    See, that doesn’t invalidate any public right to own guns, it only applies to specific individuals. It’ll only be applied to “bad” people, dangerous people.

    Like, oh, a lot of Muslims. And a lot of black people. And of course anyone who takes part in a public protest.

    And, eventually, anyone who’s said they’ll fight back if the government tries to prevent their owning guns. Most of whom, I’d wager, won’t bat an eye when Muslims and blacks and protesters are forbidden from buying guns and ammo.

    I’d also expect carrying concealed weapons to be re-criminalized.

    (Actually some people might be able to get off that hypothetical no-guns list. All they’ll have to do is join a “citizen militia” to help support police and military forces preserve the peace and round up the bad people, and wear a colored shirt and armband.)

    (Am I being alarmist or paranoid here? I sure hope so.)

  5. @Lee

    Not so much if you aren’t, especially with the way things are already unfolding.

    I was going to let this pass, but things are getting worse. You are correct. There are a lot of really ugly things going on right now. A couple of local lesbians had an epithet spray-painted on their door. A friend had her son receive some pretty ugly attention at school. Her husband is a naturalized citizen originally from a South American country; a nice guy that I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past.

    Elsewhere, some leftists have gone full brownshirt. Rioting in cities and vandalizing businesses. Assaulting people for wearing MAGA hats or otherwise supporting Mr. Trump. And most importantly, doxxing and then attempting to intimidate GOP electors into changing their vote from Trump to either Mrs. Clinton or Jeb Bush.

    I’m opposed to all of those kinds of things.


    The people here aren’t stupid. When you post things like this, it makes you look deliberately dishonest, in addition to looking like you think everyone here is stupid.

    Alternatively, you could have assumed that I am aware of legitimate concerns about the impact of equally legitimate efforts to reduce well-documented voter fraud. Because there is some actual information out there to confirm that assumption.


    Based on my experience, the gun community is well aware of those concerns and is equally concerned. I guarantee that the Democrats can take any bad GOP idea and make it worse. I guarantee the opposite, too!


  6. So, Dann, I click through to the “actual information out there” on your blog, about “well-documented voter fraud-…and of course the first item is a laudatory citation of John Fund.

    Because of course it is.

    Get back to me when you want to be serious.

  7. Alternatively, you could have assumed that I am aware of legitimate concerns about the impact of equally legitimate efforts to reduce well-documented voter fraud. Because there is some actual information out there to confirm that assumption.

    That’s a very clever piece of writing. It is entirely true, and yet gives the impression of saying something that is entirely untrue.

    It’s almost as if someone were playing rhetorical gamesmanship on File770!

  8. Dann on November 17, 2016 at 7:06 am said:

    Alternatively, you could have assumed that I am aware of legitimate concerns about the impact of equally legitimate efforts to reduce well-documented voter fraud. Because there is some actual information out there to confirm that assumption.

    For my sins (which are many and damming) I spent some time looking in detail at information collected by right wing sources on voting fraud in the US. Specifically the much touted Heritage Foundation ‘database’ of cases of election fraud, which collates many of the examples cited by people claiming that voting fraud (and specifically in-person voting fraud) is a major issue in America.

    e.g. https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/weird-internet-ideas-voter-fraud-in-the-us/

    and https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/weird-internet-ideas-the-voting-dead/

    Based on the HERITAGE FOUNDATIONS OWN DATA it is obvious that in-person voting fraud is a teeny-tiny issue in the US. What actual voting fraud there is tends to be around absentee ballots not in-person voting fraud.

    Yes, there are issues with errors and out of date information on electoral rolls but again the response to that from some quarters has been both disproportionate and counterproductive (‘counterproductive’ if the purpose is accurate rolls of eligible votes – if the purpose is to stop eligible voters from voting then its been very productive indeed).

    The only good news in all that was spending time better acquainting myself with this issue prior to the recent election meant that my feelings of anxious foreboding concern for the health of US democracy due to one political party apparently having adopted an almost overt principle of anti-democracy got a decent warm-up prior to last week.

  9. Dann: Alternatively, you could have assumed that I am aware of legitimate concerns about the impact of equally legitimate efforts to reduce well-documented voter fraud.

    Just as I was supposed to assume that you are capable of nuance with regard to the discussion of the supposed need for minorities and LGBTQIA to arm themselves for protection, despite the fact that you didn’t show any?

    Yeah, nah, I’m not going to assume anything, I’m going to go by what you actually say.

    If what you say doesn’t accurately reflect what you think, then you might want to work on that — instead of expecting me and everyone else here to do it for you.

  10. Dann:

    When the elected party has proclaimed that they want to create a register on people of one faith and representants for that party openly talks about internment camps as historical precedents – don’t you think “brownshirts” is a more apt name for the supporters of that party rather than the protesters?

  11. When you have one side saying brownshirt things, and another side doing brownshirt things, even though there is plenty of brownshirt to go around for everyone, I kinda believe the label sticks better to the doers than it does to the sayers.

  12. I personally think that attempting to use the label “brownshirts” is going to achieve nothing but misunderstanding and grief.

    The point here is to have a discussion about the way that people are able to perceive and portray one side or the other as “good guys” or “bad guys”, based on perspective.

  13. “brownshirt things”?

    What does that even mean? There are several groups that have taken to violence or harassment for political reasons. Communists, unions, anarchists and so on. What makes brownshirts, The Sturmabteilungen, stand out is their racist and fascist ideology.

    If they don’t have that ideology, don’t call them brownshirts. There are plenty of other epithets. Hooligans, vandals, criminals, etc. The nazis, the brownshirts, in US are supporters of Trump.

    And lets not pretend nazis or even Trump-supporters only say things. They do not stand above violence.

  14. I dunno. I think we’re about 2 posts from someone unironically breaking out the Na*i = National Socialist = Left trope.

    I’m also side-eyeing the equivalence being made between the rando supporters on one hand, and the actual frickin’ leadership establishment of the incoming administration

    But hey, we’re not just in a post-truth world, we’re also in a post-standards one.

  15. @snowcrash

    I dunno. I think we’re about 2 posts from someone unironically breaking out the Na*i = National Socialist = Left trope.

    I’m OK with referring to the rioters vandalizing cities and the bullies trying to intimidate electors as “the Cheka junior league”. Is that more acceptable? It certainly represents their motivations.

    (Note that I’m OK with protesters protesting and do not have pejorative adjective to add to the description “protesters”. I might disagree with their message, but I have defended and will continue to defend their right to present it. Rioting, bullying, blocking highways….not so much.)

    We’ve been living in a post-standards world for several decades. Why worry about it now?


    We agree on a couple of things. In-person voter fraud appears to be the least influential mode. And it is difficult to detect voter fraud; particularly when no one is looking for it.

    Can I add a couple additional data points to your collection?

    Roughly 4600 suspect votes cast in Milwaukee that likely were fraudulent. Enough to swing the state from Bush to Kerry in 2004. The votes came entirely out of over 7000 same-day registration/votes.

    The Coleman/Franken race in 2008 where over 1000 felons voted in violation of the law. Of those, 177 were convicted of fraud. Also, there were 4800 absentee ballots that were improperly rejected. IIRC, there was also an issue of “piles of uncounted ballots” being discovered during the recount process.

    Hundreds of dead voters in California. Dead voters in Colorado. The list goes on and that is without any concerted effort by the government to audit/secure the elections process.

    I highly recommend the first 50-60% of John Fund’s Who’s Counting. That part of the book is highly illuminating on the issue. The rest of it is an anti-Obama diatribe and thus not illuminating on the issue.


  16. Dann, I read that 67-page Milwaukee investigative report, and it does not say what you claim it says.

    Only 3 cases of double-voting were prosecuted; all the rest were investigated and dismissed as being errors of location, in which the voter still only voted once.

    It found that it was likely that 3 felons were incorrectly able to vote.

    Almost all of the “discrepancies” you list are attributed in the report to Election Commission worker errors — whether these were deliberate fraud by certified workers, or due to poor training and/or incompetence, is a separate question — but, because of those errors, it is impossible to prove evidence of voter fraud. You can’t claim that fraud exists, simply because you can not prove that it doesn’t exist.

    They were not proven to be “fraudulent”, as you claim.

    All of these felons that you claim were proven to have voted? Were cases where names were the same or similar to names on the felon register, but it could not be proven they were the same people.

    I have a highly-unusual name — and I still know of at least two other people with the same name as me. A lot of people don’t have highly-unusual names, and it’s not surprising that there would be legitimate voters whose name appears on the felon register because someone else has the same or similar name.

    Your blog post regarding the Coleman/Franken race links to an article in the Washington Examiner (a far-right propaganda newspaper) which provides absolutely zero evidence (credible or otherwise) to back up its allegations.

    I’m not going to bother checking the rest of the claims you’ve made in your post, since the first two are so obviously untrue.

  17. JJ
    You’re right about same names turning up. My last name is mundane enough—one of the top three or four English surnames—but I haven’t yet met someone else who was actually named “Kip” from birth, and (another indicator) have never found my name on a piece of personalized junk in a store, whether sippy cup or miniature license plate. Nonetheless, Google turns up others with my name. One is apparently a porn star. One runs a music store sixty miles from where I lived for two decades. One is a philosopher, and even has the same middle initial.

    It really came home to me when I was in my days of carrying a Walkman-type cassette player. I found that, with these, it paid to get the extended warranty, so that I was buying one unit and getting two or three, serially, for the same initial investment. I was taking one in to Best Products, and I don’t recall the exact reason—maybe I had forgotten my paperwork—but I was shown a list of other Kip Williamses that had tens of entries. This wasn’t just other Kip Williamses. This was Kip Williamses who had purchased extended warranties through Best Products.

    If I felt unique before that moment, I certainly haven’t since. I don’t think some people grasp just how many individuals there are in this country alone, and how likely that makes recurring names. Sure, they know there are some millions of citizens, whatever, but when it comes to understanding that million, or visualizing it, or realizing what sort of statistical inevitabilities that brings about, they just don’t. It’s a big number, and that’s about it. It’s “many.” Or “forty.”

  18. I haven’t yet met someone else who was actually named “Kip” from birth, and (another indicator) have never found my name on a piece of personalized junk in a store, whether sippy cup or miniature license plate. Nonetheless, Google turns up others with my name.

    Imagine if your last name had happened to be Kroker!

    (ETA: Oh, wait, crap. That’s Kif Kroker.)

  19. @JJ

    I’ll take another look at the report on the Milwaukee 2004 election. I haven’t looked at it in a few years, but IIRC it clearly indicates a much larger number of suspect* ballots.

    I just hope this isn’t another instance where the only acceptable condition for accepting a ballot is fraudulent is if a prosecutor has obtained a conviction.


    *suspect meaning that a reasonable person has reasonable questions.

  20. Dann665: I just hope this isn’t another instance where the only acceptable condition for accepting a ballot is fraudulent is if a prosecutor has obtained a conviction.

    It’s an instance of when a report says “we don’t have enough evidence to even say that these voters are fraudulent”, they don’t get called fraudulent.

    I kept reading the pages and pages of the report, waiting for the statement that thousands of voters had been determined to be fraudulent, and it never came.

    It looked very much to me as though incompetent election officials were being used to claim voter fraud — and that does not fly with me.

    Neither that, nor the evidence-less link to the Washington Examiner, does your credibility any good.

  21. My father had a very unusual first name. About a hundredth of a percent of men have that name. He had an even more unusual last name; about a thousandth of a percent of US citizens have that last name.

    When he was a kid, listening to the radio, Walter Winchell said something like, “I know of 11 other Walter Winchells out there; no matter what your name, I bet there’s someone else out there with the same name.” And my dad thought smugly that nope, there wasn’t. Fast forward 40 years, and another man with the exact same name moved into the same town, and was the owner of a similar business.

    Walter Winchell was right; unless you or a recent ancestor made up your surname, and/or you or your parents made up your forename, someone out there probably DOES share your name. It’s a big country, and a bigger world.

  22. I worked in a place with two women named Kadiatu Mansaray. Probably not so unusual an occurance in Sierra Leone, from whence their families hailed, but in most of North america likely not an expected result. Yes, names you think are unique can still be frequently repeated.

    As far as I know I was the only existing person with my given names and maiden name, but having changed the last to something rather more common at Marriage, all bets are off.

  23. When he was a kid, listening to the radio, Walter Winchell said something like, “I know of 11 other Walter Winchells out there; no matter what your name, I bet there’s someone else out there with the same name.” And my dad thought smugly that nope, there wasn’t.

    That reminds me of something. In the early days of the internet, when web-based, searchable national phone directories just began to arrive but not everyone was aware of them (and not everyone had computers.) Someone (about a decade or so older than me) was over at my house having me design a newsletter for him. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but he only knew of 2 people with his first name/last name combination–him and his father. So I looked up the name in a phone directory and came up with around a half-dozen names and numbers. When he went home, he had to call all of those people–no matter how far away they lived (long distance rates applied)–and say basically “Hi, I have the same name as you!” (IIRC, their reactions were more bemused than anything else.)

Comments are closed.