Pixel Scroll 3/22/18 And The Pixels Were All Kept Equal By Hatchet, Ax And Saw

(1) TECH IMPROVED, ETHICS STAYED THE SAME. The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr., in “Yes, we should be outraged about Facebook” analyzes The 480, a 1964 near-future sf novel by Eugene Burdick (co-author of Fail-Safe) in which “people who work with slide rules and calculating machines which can remember an almost infinite bits of information” have divided the U.S. into 480 demographic groups in order to manipulate them into supporting a dark-horse Republican presidential candidate.  Dionne brings up this novel in the context of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal and notes that Burdick based his novel on efforts by Simulatrics Corp. to support the Kennedy campaign in 1960.

(2) INVOLUNTARY EXPERIMENT. The Guardian says Kim Stanley Robinson told them — “Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet”.

Cities are part of the system we’ve invented to keep people alive on Earth. People tend to like cities, and have been congregating in them ever since the invention of agriculture, 10,000 or so years ago. That’s why we call it civilisation. This origin story underlines how agriculture made cities possible, by providing enough food to feed a settled crowd on a regular basis. Cities can’t work without farms, nor without watersheds that provide their water. So as central as cities are to modern civilisation, they are only one aspect of a system.

There are nearly eight billion humans alive on the planet now, and that’s a big number: more than twice as many as were alive 50 years ago. It’s an accidental experiment with enormous stakes, as it isn’t clear that the Earth’s biosphere can supply that many people’s needs – or absorb that many wastes and poisons – on a renewable and sustainable basis over the long haul. We’ll only find out by trying it.

Right now we are not succeeding. The Global Footprint Network estimates that we use up our annual supply of renewable resources by August every year, after which we are cutting into non-renewable supplies – in effect stealing from future generations. Eating the seed corn, they used to call it. At the same time we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate that is changing the climate in dangerous ways and will certainly damage agriculture.

(3) TOLKIEN AND LEWIS AT WAR. As reported here in December, a five-part documentary film series A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War about “the transformative friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien forged amid the trauma of war,” is in production. A new trailer has been posted. The film’s release date is set for November 11, 2018, to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

The documentary film series, “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War,” explores how the experience of two world wars shaped the lives and literary imagination of two internationally famous authors and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Based on Joseph Loconte’s New York Times bestseller, the film examines how Tolkien’s combat experience during the First World War—at the Battle of the Somme—launched him on his literary quest. The film reveals how the conflict reinforced Lewis’s youthful atheism—he was injured in combat—but also stirred his spiritual longings. The film traces the careers of both men at Oxford University, and their deepening friendship as they discover a mutual love of medieval, romantic literature. Facing the threat of another world war, Tolkien and Lewis reach back into their earlier experience of war as they compose their epic works of fantasy, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.


(4) HOWARD AWARD. The eligibility list for the 2018 Robert E, Howard Foundation Awards has been posted.

This is full list of eligible candidates for the 2018 REH Foundation Awards. Legacy Circle Members will select the top three nominees in each category from this preliminary ballot. From those final nominees all Premium REHF members will vote for the winners. The awards will be given out at a special ceremony at Howard Days in Cross Plains on June 8.

(5) APOLLO STILLS PUT IN MOTION. Mark Hepworth sent a link to these “Very cool Apollo gifs” at Medium “I looked through all 14,227 Apollo photos… and made GIFs.”

A few days ago Jared Kinsler compiled an excellent selection of the photos of the Apollo missions, which you should check out here…

(6) DINO LUST. They look like horns, but in reality they were babe magnets: “Triceratops may have had horns to attract mates”.

Dinosaurs like the Triceratops may have had horns and frills to attract a mate, a new study suggests.

Ceratopsian, or horned dinosaurs, were previously thought to have developed this ornamentation to distinguish between different species.

This has now been ruled out in a study published in a Royal Society journal.

Instead, the aggressive-looking armour may actually have evolved to signal an animal’s suitability as a partner, known as socio-sexual selection.

“Individuals are advertising their quality or genetic make-up,” explained Andrew Knapp, lead author of the research reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“We see that in peacocks too, with their tail feathers.”

(7) SF OBSCURE. Echo Ishii’s search through TV history leads to “Hard Time on Planet Earth”.

Hard Time on Planet Earth was an American series broadcast for 13 episodes in 1989 starring Martin Kove. An elite alien military officer is sentenced to earth as his penalty for rebellion. He is given human form-much weaker than his older form-and sent to Earth to improve his violent behavior. (Or maybe curb his violent instincts or learn about goodness, it all gets a bit murky.) Anyway, he’s banished to Earth with an AI system called Control to monitor him. He’s given the name Jesse. Control  is a giant, floating mechanical eye. Jesse has to help people in need to get back into the Ruling Council’s favor.


  • Born March 22, 1931 – William Shatner

(9) HE’S FEELING BETTER. An ad was gaining clicks by falsely reporting Shatner’s death, and the actor teed off on Facebook: “William Shatner Rails at Facebook After Being Told That He’s Dead”.

“Hey @facebook isn’t this your messenger app? What’s up with you allowing this Acocet Retail Sales ad to pass your muster? Thought you were doing something about this?” Shatner wrote.

A Facebook employee later responded with the assurance that the ad and the page had been removed from Facebook. Still, news of Shatner’s demise couldn’t come at a worse time for the actor, as he is expected to turn 87 on Thursday.

It also couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, which has been reeling recently over news that 50 million Facebook users unknowingly had their information lifted by data firm Cambridge Analytica.

(10) MEMEWHILE. Elsewhere on the internet, #AddShatnerToAnything was the order of the day. For example…


  • John King Tarpinian tuned into Broomhilda just as she was about to take gas.

(12) CONS AS PUBLIC UTILITY. Will Shetterly considered himself to have nothing in common with Jon Del Arroz apart from also having been banned from a convention. Well, now that Shetterly has cast shade on Jim C. Hines’ post about JDA’s track record of harassment, in “Two privileges of attending science fiction conventions, and a little about Jon Del Arroz’s law suit”, they have that in common, too. However, this passage struck me as the most interesting part of the post:

Before conventions began banning people, the fundamental privilege of attending science conventions wasn’t discussed because, by capitalist standards, the privilege was fair: anyone who had money could go, and anyone who didn’t, well, capitalist fairness is never about people who don’t have money.

But now that conventions have begun banning people, it’s time to acknowledge the second privilege. Though the genre has grown enormously, it’s still a small community at the top. If you hope to become a professional, it can be enormously helpful to attend WorldCon, the World Fantasy Convention, and literary conventions like ReaderCon, WisCon, and Fourth Street Fantasy. Once your career has begun, you need to be able to attend the Nebulas Awards too. Obviously, only the very privileged can go to most of those conventions regularly, but anyone who wants to make a career in this field should, every year, pick one from from Column A (WorldCon, World Fantasy, Nebula Awards), one from Column B (ReaderCon, WisCon, Fourth Street Fantasy), and one from Column C (local convention, regional convention, major commercial convention like DragonCon).

Being banned from any convention is an enormous blow to a writer’s ability to be a writer, and especially to a new writer’s ability to last in the field. It keeps you from meeting fellow professionals and getting useful tips, and it keeps you from making new fans.

(13) HIMTOO. Shetterly’s post prompted this recollection from Bruce Arthurs:

(14) BRANDED. The logical companion volume to Gene Wolfe’s The Death of Doctor Island and Other Stories and Other Stories, eh John?

(15) NEVER TOO LATE. Kim Wilde is making a comeback, with added science fiction: “Kim Wilde says aliens inspired her pop comeback”.

As a keen sci-fi fan (Arrival and ET are her favourite films), Wilde is fully embracing the theme of her new album – from the sleeve’s terrific B-movie artwork, to the stage show for her upcoming tour.

“I’ve got this little wardrobe set up, of fantastic capes and cloaks,” says the singer, who previously bought her outfits at jumble sales.

“We’re going to go a bit sci-fi and we’re going to a bit glam rock. It’ll be sexy and fun and something to put a big smile on people’s faces. I’m really excited about it.”

(16) A CLOCKWORK COD. Do Asimov’s Laws apply here? “Researchers create robotic fish that can swim underwater on its own”.

Observing fish in their natural ocean habitats goes a long way toward understanding their behaviors and interactions with the surrounding environment. But doing so isn’t easy. Using underwater vehicles to get a look at these species is one option, but they often come with a slew of limitations. Some are loud and use propellers or jet-propulsion that disturb fish and their surroundings. And many are designed in a way that doesn’t allow them to blend in with the marine environment. Controlling such vehicles is also a challenge and in many cases, they have to be tethered to a boat. But researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come up with a potential solution — a soft robot that can swim on its own underwater.

(17) SEE FOOD. Apparently no fish were harmed in the making of this food? “3D-printed sushi looks like the perfect 8-bit meal” at Cnet.

At this year’s SXSW, Japanese technology company Open Meals revealed its Pixel Food Printer, which 3D-prints edible sushi, and other food, that looks like it was meant for a retro video game.

The pixelated food, including sushi and burgers, is printed first by using the Food Base digital platform that stores data on the exact flavor, shape, texture, color and nutrients of foods.

Then the actual Pixel Food Printer uses a robotic arm that prints out small pixel cubes made of edible gel with the corresponding flavors, colors and nutrients of the type of food being printed out.

(17) SEA PLASTIC. Printing seafood may be necessary at this rate: “Plastic patch in Pacific Ocean growing rapidly, study shows”.

Predictions suggest a build-up of about 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” between California and Hawaii.

This figure is up to sixteen times higher than previously reported, say international researchers.

One trawl in the centre of the patch had the highest concentration of plastic ever recorded.

“Plastic concentration is increasing – I think the situation is getting worse,” said Laurent Lebreton of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation in Delft, Netherlands, which led the study.

“This really highlights the urgency to take action in stopping the in-flow of plastic into the ocean and also taking measures to clean up the existing mess.”

Waste accumulates in five ocean areas, the largest being the patch located between Hawaii and California.

(18) KGB. Ellen Datlow shared her photos taken at Fantastic Fiction at KGB on March 21.

Despite our blizzard, people did indeed show up for our reading. They were rewarded by hearing wonderful work by Kelly Robson and Chandler Klang Smith.

(19) SCI-FI SAVES DOG. David Gerrold’s “Jasmine and Friends Book Sale” at GoFundMe is raising money to pay a vet bill and assist a couple of friends. Donate to it and you get some of David’s books.

Our little Jasmine is sixteen years old. She specializes in naps and laps. A few weeks ago, she stopped eating and appeared to be in serious decline.

The vet determined that she had developed a serious abscess in her mouth and needed immediate surgery before she weakened further. She ended up having seven teeth extracted as well.

The good news is that she survived the operation, her mouth is healing, and she’s eating again. She’s out of pain and she’s acting like her old self.

The bad news is that the vet bill was high. Very high. We thought we’d be able to cover it, but despite the vet helping us with a payment plan, we’re still falling short.

Add to that, we have a couple friends who could use a serious financial infusion. Several people on Facebook asked if they could help, so we decided to do it this way.

We’re holding a book sale.

Any donation at all will get you a link to download a set of three stories: “The Bag Lady,” “The Great Milo,” and “Chester” (which was inspired by Jasmine’s best buddy of fifteen years.)

Any donation of $20 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “Jacob”, my vampire novel, plus all the previous.

Any donation of $40 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “thirteen, fourteen, fifteen o’clock” plus all the previous.

Any donation of $60 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “Entanglements and Terrors” (my short story collection) plus all the previous.

Any donation of $80 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “A Promise O f Stars” (another short story collection) plus all the previous.

Any donation of $100 or more gets you all of the above, plus a copy of the Megapack, a flash drive with a half million words of stories, scripts, and stuff. (You’ll have to include a shipping address.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Meredith, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dann.]

297 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/22/18 And The Pixels Were All Kept Equal By Hatchet, Ax And Saw

  1. … I’m continuing to be unclear, even if I accepted what you said as true, how “endorsing punching Nazis” counts as privilege theory which identitarians must protect to keep their status. OR counts as class analysis.

  2. No Will, you don’t get away with it.

    If Orwell was such an absolutist champion of freaze peach, he would not have been so vehemently against people for merely believing in the Soviet Union.

    His actions and his writings show very well that he was not such an absolutist, and saw absolutely no problem visiting violence (even by proxy, via the state) on those he identified as threats, whether they be Stalinists or Fascists.

    The very fact that you admit that he did so undercuts all your attempts at sophistry. Give it up. You have not read the man, at the very least in the sense of ‘understood’ him.

    And given the fact that you blatantly missed that I more or less agreed with him on his list shows that maybe, just maybe, your ideological blinders get in the way of your reading ability.

  3. It’s not a case of being a literalist generally. It’s a case of you using a quote I have *always* seen previously applied in a literal fashion as “about people being in denial to protect their source of income” in a metaphorical – and frankly strained – manner instead. Because one has to really stretch to turn the actual quote into anything that even vaguely resembles “Identitarians have to believe **punching Nazis** is sometimes okay because if they don’t they lose some kind of secret social status measure thereby.”

  4. “Obviously it is not desirable that a government department should have any power of censorship (except security censorship, which no one objects to in war time) over books which are not officially sponsored.”

    (Just a note.)

  5. [printed on a shipping label from Amazon for a copy of Animal Farm]

    “If the intellectual liberty which without a doubt has been one of the distinguishing marks of western civilisation means anything at all, it means that everyone shall have the right to say and to print what he believes to be the truth, provided only that it does not harm the rest of the community in some quite unmistakable way. ”

    Do note the proviso. This is a historical datum provided in the public interest.

    (h/t to John Brunner)

  6. Lenora Rose, so far, I have only seen identitarians and authoritarians endorse suckerpunching people for what they say.

    I do grasp that you’re having trouble understanding how that quote could be metaphorical. People’s ideologies often limit their ability to grasp metaphor.

    Mart, Orwell did not try to silence people who spoke in favor of Stalin. He tried to keep Stalinists out of a job where they could do harm to democratic socialism. That has nothing to do with free speech. Those of us who believe in free speech believe words and deeds are different things.

    And no, I did not miss you trying to have it both ways regarding the list. Life’s too short to try to address everything.

    I note that you have yet to quote a single thing to back up your claims, while I have quoted what Orwell actually said. If you want to back up your claims, you might start by looking in Homage to Catalonia, which I recommend highly. Good luck.

    imnotandrei, government security is a separate issue. I have no idea what Orwell would think of Daniel Ellsburg; I suspect he would approve.

    And “unmistakable” is a key word. Can you offer any examples from Orwell’s work?

  7. Mart, one thing more. You asked, “Are we talking about the same George Orwell who ratted out fellow writers to the Foreign Office because they were not sufficiently anti-Communist?” The phrasing says you are either biased or ignorant. His objection to the Stalinists was not that they were insufficiently “anti-Communist” but that they were authoritarians. Have another quote:

    “The Spanish war and other events in 1936-7 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.”
    “Why I Write,” Gangrel (Summer 1946)

  8. … I’m continuing to be unclear, even if I accepted what you said as true, how “endorsing punching Nazis” counts as privilege theory which identitarians must protect to keep their status. OR counts as class analysis.

  9. Lenora Rose, I’m not saying that responding to speech with violence counts as privilege theory. I’m saying the people who defend the practice are authoritarians, which I hope is obvious: libertarians on the right and left believe in letting people say what they believe.

    I don’t understand your connection of class analysis to punching fascists. Authoritarian capitalists and authoritarian socialists are equally happy to punch people who say things they don’t like.

    If your confusion is connected to the Upton Sinclair quote, I shared that to point out that identitarians like privilege theory because it does not threaten the class privilege that they have or hope to have.

  10. I am fascinated to see government censorship of publishing removed from the category of “free speech”.

    As for the datum in the public interest; those are Orwell’s own words; you are free to take up with him what he considered an “unmistakable risk”, but the existence of the category implies that he, like most people, had limits to the notion of free speech.

    You did ask for quotes. You now have quotes. I am amused to see you attempt to twist and dodge their clear meaning.

  11. imnotandrei, we’ve been speaking colloquially of free speech and punching fascists during peacetime. I agree with Orwell that the rules are different when your nation is at war. But I’m not as sure as you are that he meant we should blindly submit to government censorship. I see a difference between giving military secrets to the Nazis and giving the Pentagon papers to the American people, and I suspect Orwell would too. But I grant that, like you, I can’t point to anything specific in his writing defining what he meant by matters of government security. Maybe he was perfectly willing to accept government censorship.

    However, that has nothing to do with punching people in peacetime for saying things you don’t like.

  12. Will Shetterly on March 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm said:

    Lenora Rose, [….]
    I do grasp that you’re having trouble understanding how that quote could be metaphorical. People’s ideologies often limit their ability to grasp metaphor.

    That is a deeply jerky remark.

    Also, could someone please explain what in tarnation “identitarian” means? I don’t even know whether I should be insulted or not.

  13. Identitarian is a rightwing movement placed somewhere between nazi movements and nationalistic groups such as Front National.

    Shetterly, however, is using some kind of alt-right newspeak to make it mean people whose opinions he doesn’t like.

  14. I picked up “identitarian” from Adolph Reed Jr., who Katha Politt called “the smartest person of any race, class, or gender writing on race, class, and gender”. It refers to people who prioritize social identity. Clinton feminists like Sady Doyle, for example, are identitarians; Doyle said she favored Sanders’ politics but she was supporting Clinton because she wanted to elect a woman. She didn’t care that because poverty is disproportionately female, Sanders’ politics would’ve done more to help women than Clinton’s. Sanders feminists saw the relationship between gender and poverty more clearly.

    Hampus seems to be missing the fact that Adolph Reed is a black socialist.

  15. @Lenore Jones

    Shetterly is using it to mean “cares about combating racism/sexism/etc, therefore an enemy of the class struggle”.

  16. As far as I’ve been able to determine from context, Shetterly uses it to mean people engaged in “identity politics” or “Social justice”- ie, people who think that as well as classism, racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and ablism have a real and distinct effect on the world. People who say words like intersectionalism and mean them. (Like, say, me.)

    As far as I can tell, this includes a good 90% or more of people otherwise just as leftist as him. They can fight for income equality and fight for basic income and universal health care but if they ever suggest a disabled trans person or a Mexican-American has real problems not solved by income equality, they’re wrong wrong wrong. And by talking about it, they’re losing sight of the REAL ISSUE.

    Why he extrapolates this to mean everyone who thinks punching Nazis is sometimes acceptable he has yet to explain.

    (Note he also insists on calling it suckerpunching even when people here have in some cases specifically mentioned warning of impending violence before initiating violence).

  17. I call it suckerpunching because Richard Spencer was suckerpunched: he was hit from behind by a masked coward who ran away.

    There may be non-identitarians who defend hitting speakers, but the only people I’ve noticed are identitarians.

  18. “As far as I’ve been able to determine from context, Shetterly uses it to mean people engaged in “identity politics” or “Social justice”- ie, people who think that as well as classism, racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and ablism have a real and distinct effect on the world. People who say words like intersectionalism and mean them. (Like, say, me.)”

    That has certainly been my observation of his behavior over the years.

  19. So I should be insulted. Okay, I figured I probably should.

    So he is only able to think about one struggle at a time, then? That’s kind of sad.

  20. That’s what I’ve been wondering, too.

    It doesn’t seem like he understands the concept of intersectionality. The class struggle isn’t the only struggle there is, and for marginalized populations, throwing in sexism and racism and the other isms only makes it worse.

  21. Since people are making this personal:

    I first marched for civil rights in 1964. I protested the Vietnam War soon after that—I was at the first Moratorium. I also identified as a feminist around then—probably in 1969. I’ve marched in protests against every major war this country has had since Vietnam. When it looked like Minnesota would ban gay marriage, I manned a table for the ACLU at the State Fair to help defeat that, and the next year, I manned a table again to help Minnesota become one of the earlier states to allow gay marriage.

    So if you want to think I’m a single-issue person, meh.

    That said, for poor people, there is a major issue: ending poverty. It’s a goal that does not particularly interest neoliberals.

    Have a quote from David Harvey, who wrote an excellent book on neoliberalism:

    “Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multi-culturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.”

  22. “It refers to people who prioritize social identity.”
    “There may be non-identitarians who defend hitting speakers, but the only people I’ve noticed are identitarians.”

    Well, Will, unless by “prioritize” you mean “pay attention to and notice, and consider worthwhile in a discussion on power and the way it works out in the world”, then you’ve met at least one.

    Hi, Will.

    Now, I fully expect you to go all purity police on this claim — but since I do *not* fit your neoliberal bill, as expressed thusly:

    “1. The gender gap is narrowing.

    2. The racial gap is narrowing.

    3. The wealth gap is widening.

    Neoliberals support all three of these.

    And socialists whose beliefs about identity come from liberals like Derrick Bell and Kimberle Crenshaw effectively support all three when they focus on the battles that are being won instead of the one that’s being lost.”

    (Please note: again, to pay attention to race or gender issues before class is, apparently, to “support” the increased wage gap. We are only allowed, I guess, to fight the battles Will wants us to fight.)

    After all, Will, you actively *undercut* women with statements like: “If you believe we are all equal, you believe anyone can make a mistake or lie. A better slogan than “believe the victim” is “take every accusation seriously”. (followed by a list of 17 cases (spanning 80 years, mind you) with a few generic “false convictions” thrown in there — a list that would do a Men’s Rights advocate credit —

    You might have marched for civil rights in 1964. You might have tabled for gay marriage. But your credentials are certainly tarnished by the use you’re putting them to now.

    In short, Will, while you’re lamenting the “fragmentation of the left”, you’re giving no one on the left any reason to believe you won’t sell them down the river as a “neoliberal” the moment they won’t dance to your tune and care about what you want them to care about.

    And from what I can tell, in terms of energy used, and in terms of harm caused to people on the Left, you’re all the ally people on the Right could wish for.

    And with that, I’m done wasting my time with you. I have work to do actually *building* things, and while it’s worth some time to avoid having people like you tear them down, it’s not worth *that* much time.

  23. Hampus seems to be missing the fact that Adolph Reed is a black socialist.
    I thought he was a black Marxist, which is slightly different.

    From what I can tell, saying “identity politics” to hard-core lefties is like saying ecumenical to hard-core evangelicals or ‘good of society” to libertarians. They’ve got the correct views and it’s heresy to consider other-wise. They can quote chapter and verse and round up all kinds of scholars and papers and articles explaining why they’re right. ‘Correct thought’ and all that.
    Why bother engaging.
    Intersectionality must really be giving them fits.

  24. “Hampus seems to be missing the fact that Adolph Reed is a black socialist.”

    No, I hadn’t, but I do not care much for your namedropping-tourettes. Newspeak is newspeak and your use of the term identitarian, used for rightwing groups close to the nazis, is definitely newspeak.

  25. “From what I can tell, saying “identity politics” to hard-core lefties”

    I must beg to differ — Will is one particular narrow variety of hard-core lefty. 🙂

    That phrasing, to me, would also indicate the speaker has a dismissive view of the idea, which means that I’d look skeptically at them (being also a hard-core lefty), but be quite open to being corrected as to what they meant by it.

    Intersectionality only gives some of us fits. 🙂

  26. Well, it’s been fun, kids. I’m unsubscribing to the comments now. Catch you on a future post, perhaps.

  27. Will, If you are going to shift goalposts on any answer, me going over to my ex’ to pick up my Orwell collection is going to be a wasted effort. Your reaction to iamnotandrie proves that exhaustively.

    You’re already playing stupid semantic games. Denying people a job, in other words impinging on their livelihood is curtailing their freedom of speech.

    ‘Speak what the state tells you to or starve’ is the same as a law ‘it is forbidden to speak of Stalinism’. No amount of sophistry will change that.

    I’m done. You are deaf and blind to anything not agreeing with you, and a boor in trying to overwhelm people with verbiage.

    Bye Will. Go ahead and claim victory.

  28. There have been people saying good thkngs and smart things in this topic. Alas, the person doing so whom I disagreed with and therefore from whom I might learn the most seems to have also left (though I freely admit I am not well read on either formal socialist theory or social justice originators so seeing them cited helps me in its Own way). Thanks to those discussing their positions sanely.

    (Wanders away)

  29. Y’know, I decided to come back because I was thinking about something:

    I’ve fought all my life for social identity issues—well, since I was nine, anyway. Those wars are being won. When I was a boy marching for civil rights, most people of all races opposed mixed marriages. Gay marriage was unimaginable. Women’s equality was a fantasy. None of theses battles have been completely won, but they are being won. Every major institution in this country supports diversity.

    Yet the gap between rich and poor continues to grow wildly under neoliberalism.

    Mart, you still don’t grasp the difference between words and deeds. Just as people are free to say someone should be fired for working for Nazis, Orwell was free to say people should not be hired because they work for Stalin. It has nothing to do with free speech. He did not say those people should be denied a platform. Free speech does not mean, for example, the New York Times has to hire me because I want to promote democratic socialism. It just means people can’t deny me a platform that I have been offered or that I do own.

    Lenora Rose, if you’re sincerely interested in learning about socialism, you might start with this very short piece by Albert Einstein: https://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism/

  30. Related to this struggle between identitarians and universalists: an article today should strengthen the Sanders Democrats and weaken the Clinton camp. From https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/opinion/2016-exit-polls-election.html

    “”By showing that the white working class makes up a larger proportion of the electorate than previously reported, the Pew report — taken together with similar results in a study sponsored in November 2017 by the liberal Center for American Progress — strengthens the case made by Democratic strategists calling for a greater emphasis on policies appealing to working class voters and a de-emphasis on so-called identity issues.”

  31. @Will Shetterly: “Every major institution in this country supports diversity.
    Yet the gap between rich and poor continues to grow wildly under neoliberalism.”

    If you’d bear down on this, abandon excessive rhetorical flourishes, and stick to the case you are making rather than shifting the goalposts, you’d get a better response.

    I don’t think you’re going to convince many people to abandon fights against lesser oppressions, which are still oppressions and are worth fighting, just because the primary issue–and I happen to agree with you on this–is the pro-capital neoliberal consensus. This sort of argument goes, I think, much further: A dwindling band of elites has long promoted “bipartisanship,” as a scheme by which the upper classes conspire to put one over on the masses by creating a bogus consensus, be it for austerity or imperial war. (Now the two parties have diligently built out their own separate branded strategies for achieving those aims.)

  32. John, I’m not trying to get anyone to stop fighting for any cause. I’m fighting for the working class, the fight that identitarians either ignore entirely or vaguely acknowledge as “classism”, then ignore as they focus on the fights that the ruling class supports.

    As for goalposts, people are placing them in places where I do not. The goal for socialists is not the goal for capitalists, just as the goal for defenders of free speech is not the goal for defenders of censorship.

  33. This particular incident in recent news illustrates how ignoring racism and anti-Semitism in one’s own ranks – like, for example, the party leader belonging to FIVE secret anti-Semitic Facebook groups (which apparently dabble in conspiracy theories about Jews causing 9/11 and Holocaust denial) who publicly objected to the removal of a grossly anti-Semitic mural, can sabotage and hamstring his party’s ascent to power.


    After Brexit, the Labour Party should be in easy ascent. Instead, through the leader’s affinity to anti-Semitism, it is shooting itself in the foot – and just as a personal note, making it a lot harder for me to argue with my far more right-wing family when they predictably will tell me this Passover, “Meh, the left-wing is as anti-Semitic as the right.”

    Trouble is, racism and anti-Semitism (not to mention misogyny) are NOT based in logic. Therefore NO political movement – no matter how based in logic it appears – can smugly proclaim itself immune. They can occur in ANY political current unless vigilantly guarded against, no matter how reasonable it SEEMS that working toward Power To The Working Man makes all such guarding unnecessary.

    So I do find prolonged, sophistical arguments denying it’s a danger (which are orthogonal to the irrational nature of racism and anti-Semitism anyway) wretchedly tedious.

  34. John, this is sincere: Where did I change the terms? People have defined “free speech” in ways I never did; that’s not me changing the terms. I am not a free speech absolutist, and as far as I know, that’s an imaginary creature. I support libel and slander laws because I do not think free speech gives anyone a right to lie. I also can’t imagine anyone thinking free speech would be a defense against treason in war time. As for warning people about Stalinists, that’s exercising free speech, not preventing it. Those Stalinists were every bit as free to speak as they had been. Free speech does not entitle Stalinists or anyone to a job where they may promote their agenda.

    Jayn, the idea that Corbyn’s racist is nonsense that’s being promoted by neoliberals and conservatives who insist antizionism and antisemitism are the same thing. It’s like saying that anyone who criticizes fascist Italy is anti-Catholic.

    See https://www.timesofisrael.com/like-jeremy-corbyn-uk-chief-rabbi-also-didnt-mention-jews-in-holocaust-remarks/


  35. Ah, the No True Scotsman Fallacy, transposed to a No True Socialist key, and brushing off what I said briefly as ‘nonsense’ with an attempt to overwhelm with a number of links instead of actually discussing anything of what I wrote (anti-semitic mural defense, membership in closed anti Semitic Facebook groups, etc). Yay.

  36. Jayn, you provided links for your side, so I provided links for mine. Where does True Scotsman theory come into this? I’m not denying that capitalist Jews oppose him, and I hope you’re not denying that leftist Jews support him.

    Since you’re repeating the mural claim, I gather you didn’t bother to read the Mondoweiss piece.

  37. So you (again) rudely assume that I have not read your links when I have, and demand I engage with what you say in your post when you couldn’t be arsed to engage with what I said in mine.

    Despite that, just this once I shall do you the courtesy that you refused me; I read your links and will use them to discuss what you’ve said.

    I guessed your argument was ‘no true socialist’ because you didn’t actually present any argument, just called what I said ‘nonsense’ and gave me links without a hint of what you thought I should take from them. That’s on you.

    The Times of Israel piece is irrelevant, since it brings up nothing that I actually mentioned in my post.

    The mondoweiss piece is flat out apologism and contains several obvious lies, rather pathetically illustrated by a tiny reproduction of the mural in question so the reader can’t check the lies. I suspect you either didn’t really read it yourself, didn’t check the lies, or know they are lies but hopes no one else notices. None of these possibilities does you credit.
    The mural in its glory. The mondoweiss writer says there are ‘only two’ Jewish bankers with only 2 hooked noses, so what’s the fuss about? I count 3 stereotypically Jewish noses, one on the left figure that supposedly is ‘Rothschild’ as per the artist (though he resembles no Rothschild AFAICT), the right one who is ‘Warburg’ though the artist made his nose huge and the man completely bald, apparently to enhance his repugnance, and the middle bow-tied figure who is supposedly J.P. Morgan, though the artist gave him a hump on his nose that Morgan never possessed in life. Apparently the artist felt the best way to add evil to the figure was to give him a Jewish nose.

    Anyway the entire piece is irrelevant, because after Corbyn remained silent since 2015 when the Jewish community protested his praise of the artist, commiserating with him when the mural was removed, Labour acknowledged just last week that “the mural was offensive, used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed,” followed by an excuse from Corbyn that he hadn’t actually looked at the mural. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/25/jeremy-corbyn-regret-antisemitic-incidents-jews

    As for the AOL piece, not all leftist Jewish Labour leaders support Corbyn unconditionally, much less leftist Jews in the UK. She called out Corbyn for ignoring the Jewish communities complaints about the mural since 2015. What Luciana Berger is calling out here is a still-unfolding scandal in the Labour party. A Labour politician named Alan Bull posted a Holocaust denial post on his Facebook for ‘debate.’ A member of the Labour party made a complaint of anti-Semitism to the party and was ignored. Two Labour councillors took up the complaint, but Bull was still selected to run as a candidate. The councillors formed “Labour Councillors Against Anti-Semitism” and made their protest more public. They were attacked by their own party for “bullying and intimidating behaviour” and called “far right”. Finally they refused to campaign with Bull, the story became more widespread and Bull was suspended.
    That’s not all. The chair of Labour’s internal disputes panel then wrote an e-mail saying the suspension ought to be lifted because Bull had been ‘taken out of context.’ This e-mail leaked, and she has resigned, after either admitting or lying that she had not actually seen the Holocaust denying page in question. I gather she is an especially close crony of Corbyn’s.

    Filers of the UK, feel free to correct me on all of this. I’m an American just hearing about all of this 2 days ago.

    Your link from the Forward helpfully makes nonsense of your allegation that all this talk of left-wing anti-Semitism is “neoliberals and conservatives who insist antizionism and antisemitism are the same thing.”
    From the Forward:

    Of course, anti-Semitism on the Left is a problem. As a Jew who is very much on the Left, it is something I have experienced and battled against for years. In purely ideological terms, it is easy to say Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same thing, but in practice they are not always so easy to separate. As this whole two-year Labour-party-anti-Semitism-meshugas has proven, inappropriate Holocaust analogies are still far too popular among some Labour supporters, and too often glossed over, particularly when Israel is their focus.

    The writer also substantiates the larger point I made that you stubbornly ignore – anti-Semitism on the left IS a problem, and she acknowledges that the Labour party has ‘glossed over’ and ignored it, which has led to the current crisis.

    In the US, I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I gather that in Europe I’d be a moderate at best. Still, I WANT Labour to succeed the Tory party and undo the damage of Brexit.

    But if they take your usual stance toward the current crisis – ignoring people’s valid concerns to regurgitate talking points and snide putdowns, while maintaining a smug recto-cranial inversion conviction that TRUE socialists cannot possibly be racist or anti-Semitic, therefore anyone who presents evidence that they ARE (even if they happen to be Labour MPs or Labour Councillors) must be ‘identitarian’ bullies and cast out as impostors – Labour will disintegrate.

    And that would be a tragedy.

  38. Jayn, when you repeat something that has been refuted, it’s kind to assume you didn’t read it. The alternative is to assume you’re being willfully ignorant.

    Where have I ever demanded that anyone engage with me? Free speech gives you the right to refuse to engage with me. I wish more opponents of free speech would choose disengagement over censorship.

    I avoid telling people what to expect from links because I do not want to spin what they find there. I realize I’m an exception, especially in outrage culture, where people usually prime people to interpret what they are about to read.

    My point is simple: Socialist Jews support Corbyn; capitalist Jews oppose him. The Mondoweiss article is not irrelevant, but I see you’re doubling down on the idea that cartoon features equal antisemitism. The artist emphasizes noses, as I trust you’ll see when you look at the brown-skinned characters in the mural. And maybe the artist is antisemitic. I think he should repaint everyone’s noses and make them all less cartoony or more cartoony because they distract from what is supposed to be his point, that a small number of banking families have enormous and often unacknowledged power.

    JP Morgan did have a bit of honker: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/images/j-p-morgan-1.jpg

    And where have I said there’s no antisemitism on the left? I suspect Israel’s abuse of the Palestinians has resulted in shallow thinkers on the left becoming more antisemtic. Religious states are always bad for religions.

  39. Tsk. I said I would do you the courtesy of responding substantially to what you say ONCE, even though you refuse to respond to a single point I make. I certainly won’t do it twice, as you continuously refuse to reciprocate with anything but a toxic squidcloud of unsubstantiated cries of “refuted!” without refutation, goalposts shifting, and the odd snide putdown.

    I do wonder a bit whether, aside from your obvious exhibitionist pleasure in being an annoyance, you actually sincerely believe all you espouse and TRULY think your repellant presentation is the best way to convince the ‘right’ people – or if you actually believe the opposite of what you publicly say and are trolling in favor of ideas you hope will be forever tainted by the unconscious association with you in the minds of the people unfortunate enough to hear you ‘defend’ them. Regardless, you are too unattractive a mystery for me to want to decipher.

    Everyone else, Happy Easter, Passover and whatnot.

  40. Jayn, when neoliberals and identitarians get upset with me, I’m always a little sorry, but never surprised. Cognitive dissonance explains it, especially when people like you insult me because you think I have not responded as you believe I should.

    Go in peace.

  41. “He’s not able to seriously entertain evidence that contradicts his belief system.”

    It’s the human condition. Between confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, it’s a miracle anyone ever changes their beliefs. It almost never happens because of a debate. It usually requires a change in your life. And neoliberals tend to have comfortable lives, so they’re especially resistant to change–Upton Sinclair’s salary quote always applies.

  42. Jayn, since you’re concerned about Corbyn and antisemitism:

    From “YouGov polls show anti-Semitism in Labour has actually REDUCED DRAMATICALLY since Jeremy Corbyn became leader”:

    “Not only does the data show a marked decrease in the number of Labour voters in 2017 agreeing with anti-Semitic statements compared to those in 2015, the statistics show that all other political parties (apart from the Lib Dems whose results are comparable to Labour’s) have a far bigger problem with their voters agreeing with anti-Semitic statements.”


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