For those who are not aware of the 1980s classic, "Revenge of the Nerds" is the story of Lambda Lambda Lambda's quest for revenge against their abusers.

The stage is quickly set. Using the 80s tropes, Lambda Lambda Lambda is a fraternity peopled by those who would be labeled "nerds", "dorks", and "geeks" interchangeably. For the most part, they're intelligent, technically minded, with interests in science, chess, and the less socially desired musical instruments. They also included a gay member, an immigrant with a thick accent, and one nicknamed "Booger". They interact among themselves quite well, but face social censure for who they are, despite causing no harm.

Their rival fraternity, the Alpha-Betas, are made up of the athletically accomplished. Or, in simpler terms, they're "jocks". Early in the movie, the Alpha-Betas burn down their building, quickly blaming that on faulty wiring, and are given the Lambda house. This isn't enough, they continue to humiliate the Lambda fraternity to the point of a mass-physical assault, which prompts an important question.

Louis Skolnick, the leader of the Nerds throughout the movie, asks the question. "What did we ever do to you?"

The response was "You were born."
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Here we start with Chapter 1 and already I realize that I'm going to have to cut Brave New World a tiny bit of slack that I did not cut for 1984. I did not forgive 1984 its sexism and I will endeavor not to do so for Brave New World. But, I just can't read Brave New World unless I forgive its science.

The first chapter takes us to the Central London Hatching And Conditioning Centre. That is, it's the place, in London, where humans are made. It's the place, in London, where humans are mass-manufactured.

Males and females donate their respective gametes.

the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months salary.

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I've heard the following line once, but I've heard the basic idea more times than I care to count.

"I don't want to this to be a conversation, but..."

There are other ways to do this. To respond to things I say with complaints that, they'll later insist, are not about me but are simply universal to... groups that include me. Of course, it's my fault for responding to make what was once a simple statement of position (be it on topic of politics, religion, or other high-emotion topic) and trying to turn it into some kind of divisive argument. And, of course, there is the tried and true method of pushing back against someone who is trying to take away your freedom of speech by bullying you with their disagreement.

From your perspective, when you say something like that or engage in such a tactic, it seems like you're being quite reasonable. After all, you don't want to get into this huge debate. You don't want to have to deal with disagreements that will only raise tensions and blood-pressure.
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In the pre-apocalyptic society from which I am writing this guide, part of the reason we are so pre-apocalyptic is that some of us long for violence. So many of us see the society around us not as something we build together, but as something that oppresses us. So many of us long to see it torn down and fully expect our neighbors to turn against us.

Even those of us who hold a self-image of holding to the highest standards of morality tend to imagine that the needs of the post-apocalypse are found in weapons and the ability to, through military means, isolate ourselves.

It boils down to a vision for the society after the apocalypse that can be summed up in the phrase "to the last alive go the spoils."
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A couple weeks ago, I presented my fan-theory that 1984 can be viewed as Party Propaganda. The purpose isn't to make the reader think of the Party or Big Brother as good or worthy. The Party, in its way, doesn't want to fool you. It wants you to fool yourself out of fear of the Party. No, what it wants is to be viewed as impossibly large and all rebellion to be viewed as impossibly small.
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Camera perpsective from a corner office in a tall building. The lights are off.

Camera pushes beyond the trees to an... eclectic community. Camera passes over a cave looking out at the street, with only a rocky space and a reinforced lawn-chair between it and the street. The mailbox reads Polyphemus

Next door over is the rib-cage of what must have been an elephant. The lawn is dry, cracked, and littered with smaller bones.

Next door from that is a shack with a green glow coming from inside, as well as a sign reading "Consultation with Friends on the Other Side: Side Entrance".

Camera rushes through a commercial district with such signs as "Needful Things" and "Poor Unfortunate Fashion Consulting" to focus in on a large half-sphere of metal grid and pikes. The sign reads "City Hall". The many who have climbed up on the grid are attempting to chant "Hegelian Dialectic". As the camera pushes into the dome itself, one of the chanters comments "the other one was easier."

One woman stands up in front of a microphone stand for the audience. She has the undeniable beauty and presence of someone played by Sigourney Weaver.

Alexandra: Excuse me, I thought the point of this community and this endeavor was for those of us who are treated poorly by our canons. I realize I'm new to this, new enough not to understand how Reepicheep qualifies-

Susan Pevensie is dressed in a smart, black blouse and black skirt, short enough to display her nylons.: I can get into that later.

Alexandra: But, George Bailey was done injustice by his canon.
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As a teaser for this week (because I like to pretend I have a wide audience that would spend the week anticipating the next installment), I said that I will ask if Oceana can last.

Dragoness_E immediately responded with a resounding "no" on the basis of unforeseen externalities. The externalities included a new disease a la Black Death, an extinction level asteroid (such as is found in late 90s movies and the far better done "You And Me And The End of the World"), a much more advanced civilization coming to conquer and colonize, etc. The phrase for the whole category is "Outside Context Problem".

I will agree with this. For one thing, some of those problems are problems that would and could destroy any nation without needing to kill all or most of the people within. There's an Italian movie about a world-wide outbreak of crippling-to-lethal agoraphobia. (It's on Netflix with the title "The Last Days", if you don't mind reading the subtitles.) The affliction doesn't even kill anybody. It's the isolation and the breakdown in communications that causes civilization to break down.

Any such Outside Context Problem can destroy a nation that either does not or cannot adapt quickly enough. And, The Party will not allow Oceana to be adaptive. It cannot survive a world of changing people. It can only enforce a status quo that, given enough of an Outside Context Problem, cannot last.

That said, Orwell doesn't seem to consider anything like an Outside Context Problem. According to O'Brien and The Book, of which he is part author, the only external issue is another nation, but that is handled by Doublethink Agreement among the three extant nations. This leaves, under Orwell's examination and O'Brien's belief, only the internal matter of controlling the individuals within Oceana.

In a world without Outside Context Problems and externalities, could Oceana last as it is?

Let's take a look at what Oceana is. O'Brien will tell us, in fact.
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With the events of this past Saturday, I feel there are things that I should not have to say. I should not have to speak opposition to white supremacy, white nationalism, or the Nazis. I would hope that can be taken as a given. But, there is an element of many responses to the riot and violence, including one man ramming a car into a crowd of people injuring many and killing one, that I feel important to address. And, I'll address it in this series, because I hear it in these arguments, too.

When you discuss conflicts, particularly ones wherein your side or the side with which you empathize has done wrong, there will be a temptation. It will be tempting for multiple reasons. You might enjoy the feeling of being detached and above the conflict. You might seek a solution in which both sides are equally pleased. You might want the sense of having an advanced, complex understanding of the issues at hand without needing to go through the effort of understanding said issues.
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Setting: Waterfront park in New York. The bench faces the ocean.

Camera focuses on the profile of a distinguished, older man, wearing black suit and tie, speaks.

Agent K:Humans, for the most part, don't have a clue. They don't want one or need one, either. They're happy, they think they have a... good bead on things.

The other person from off camera.: Why the secrecy? People can be smart, certainly enough to adapt to a new normal.

Agent K: A person is smart, people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the earth was flat.

Other person: That is a modern myth. The size and shape of the earth had been mathematically verified thousands of years prior.
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First a quick note, based on some of the comments I've gotten. I know that much of my interpretation doesn't match up to Orwell's intent. I'm taking a Death of the Author approach and I'm outright stating where I think Orwell is wrong.

Now, into the deconstruction.

According to O'Brien, Winston has gone through stage one, learning. The next stage is understanding, which will be the task of the current chapter. The final stage will be acceptance.

The stage of learning included O'Brien's line about meeting where there is no darkness, a line of invitation to the thought that O'Brien is like Winston himself (which he might be). It included giving Winston the book so he could read it. And, it included reinforcing the very same things, via torture, that had been expected of Winston all along.

Now, we get to the question that most plagues Winston.
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(Note: This is a fan-theory. This is a way of viewing and interacting with the text. This is not, in any way, statement on authorial intent.)

Oceana and the means The Party has of maintaining their dominance strike me as... unbelievable. I fully believe that they'd try it. I even believe that they'd believe it. But, as means of control, these aren't very useful.

There are elements that just don't fit.
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A little backstory, because I don't know that there is a name for this Trope and I'm not about to get lost in a TVTropes search in order to find it. It comes from the comments in another webpage, wherein I had promoted the posts on my blog. Someone had noted that there is a common sexist trope that can happen in some of these kinds of movies. A woman makes ready to do a man's job and is shown to be silly for thinking she can do such a thing.

In some ways, our culture have already addressed this trope. The more common trope, these days, is that the woman announces her intention and, indeed, achieves that which sets out to accomplish. In fact, we've moved past that to a point where, sometimes, the trope is how outdated it is to even need to prove such a thing. The narrative either reaches a point where the protagonist outgrows the desire to prove herself to someone else or reacts, initially, with the roll of the eyes such a demand deserves.

Even so, we can still put in our own response. And, I dare to say that the 60's/70's style screwball comedy is exactly where we should put it.

My proposal is we set up something like a bet.
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Trigger Warning/Content Note: There will be discussion of torture. I won't go into detail and Orwell does more telling than showing, here (which actually works out well for readability sake). But, still, here it is.

The good news is that we're working our way to the end. After I finish off with 1984, I'll move onto Brave New World. To my recollection, there won't be torture, there. But, for the rest of 1984, the topic is going to be there and whatever you choose to do for your own sanity, including just waiting until the next book, is entirely the right choice for you.
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Last week's tip referenced someone who approached, nigh out of the blue, and asked me "have you found Jesus Christ as your savior?" Others have reported similar experiences with the message being the same, but the wording varies. "Have you been washed in the blood of The Lamb!?" "Have you been saved?" "Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior?" "Have you been saved from the fires of damnation!?"

Each of these questions asks the exact same thing. "Are you a Christian?" But, they each communicate something else as well.
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The Assassination Bureau, for those who haven't seen it, is the 1969 comedy about the chairman of the company sharing it's name with the movie and the lady journalist who has a plan to address their existence. The journalist, Sonya Winter, gains the financial backing of a newspaper, sets up a meeting with the Bureau. She finds that her meeting is with the chairman of the Bureau, one Ivan Dragomiloff, and uses the occasion to ask for a contract on Ivan Dragomiloff. He obviously sets a high price which she meets and he, much to her surprise, accepts.

The reason that he accepts a contract is where this has the potential to get interesting. In a board meeting with his international board, he takes the other members to task. What had been founded, by Ivan's own father, as a means of ridding the world of evil, via careful judgment of anybody they're asked to kill, had changed. It seems that you can make the moral case for killing anybody and, once that's the case, financial reward is its own justification.

The contract on himself gives him a means, within the bylaws of the Bureau, of addressing that issue and returning the Bureau to what he sees as a place of upstanding morality. Because the contract was proposed, paid in appropriate price (some 20,000 lb, in pre-WWI money), and accepted, either the other board members must kill him or he must kill them.
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Here we are at Part 3, where that which was set up will lead to pay-off. This will be the part of the series in which you are meant to be at your most uncomfortable and that's a tall order. We're already uncomfortable with the ever-present eyes of Big Brother and your neighbors watching you. We're already uncomfortable with the degree that the people around us are willing to believe the obviously untrue, or at least pretend to in order to go along with everybody else. And, we're already uncomfortable with whatever degree of empathy we have for Winston Smith.

To remind, Winston Smith fantasized about raping and murdering the woman who, eventually, turned out to be his girlfriend. In one occasion, prior to getting to know her, he's internally honest enough to admit that the only reason he didn't murder her when he had motive, means, and opportunity, was a lack of trust in his own physical capacities.

He's internally spiteful of those around him. He's a judgmental prick with regards to the choices of the Proles, respecting them only in the abstract. Whatever absence of emotional abuse levied toward his wife must have been only out of fear and propriety, for all the disrespect we see, in him, toward her in his memories of their time together.

The reasons to hate him are many and I still find myself empathizing with him. In the coming chapters, with what Winston goes through, it'll be easy to forget all those reasons to hate him. Because, right here, in this part, he's somebody being tortured and, in the modern language of the real world, aggressively gaslighted.

His survival method has failed. Before he even broke from it, the foreshadowing that he would find himself here, in a room where there are no windows and the lights are never off (where there is no darkness), was set forth. Whatever else his sins, here he is.
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No, this isn't really the opposite of my earlier focus on not leaning heavily on a script. Consider this the balance to that.

Recently, while out for a walk, someone noted that they'd seen me on several walks prior. (I play Pokemon Go and I tell myself that the reason is that it gets me out walking.) Said someone then asked me if I was okay. That was... a strange thing to ask. It didn't seem to be based on anything. Potentially, he might have thought I was in financial difficulty and in need of a job? (Something I'd give serious consideration.)
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Fair waning given. This will be about both the book and the Starz series "American Gods". If you haven't read and watched, you may wish to do so before reading on, for here there be spoilers.
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The good news is we have another short chapter. It's even the end of part two of the book.

Yeah, that kind of suggests bad news, too. But, hey, it's not happening to you and Winston's a bit of a prick anyway, so let's get to it.

In the last chapter, Winston fell asleep after having read the first and third chapters of "The Book", Goldstein's missive on how The Party maintains power (with some massive oversimplifications of sociology) and the true purpose of war in the current world. Chapter ten of part two begins with him waking up feeling as though he'd slept a long time, but thinking that the old-fashioned clock (which would read 8:30) indicated that it was only twenty-thirty.

We're also told that, though Julia made sure the stove was full, it's now empty of oil. And, when they look out the west-facing window, "The sun must have gone down behind the houses; it was not shining into the yard any longer."
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Time After Time, for those who have the bad luck to not have seen the movie and the good luck not to have seen the recent attempt at a television series, is the story of H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper transported from their time to the (at the time of filming) present. Conflict and out-of-time drama commences.

In the movie, Doctor Stevenson reveals to his good friend, H.G. Wells, that he is the feared and infamous Jack the Ripper. Shortly after that, and shortly after discovering that said friend has really designed a real time-travel device, he uses that time-travel device to escape capture by the police.

Again in the movie, the reason H.G. Wells creates his time machine, iconic to the very one in his story of the same movie, for the purpose of going to his predicted Utopian future. Instead, he has to go in pursuit of his... the word "frenemy" actually applies.

In that future they both come to, in the movie that being approximately 1979, both are surprised by what they find. They don't find the utopia, exactly. In fact, they find a world that has, in some ways, degraded. In both versions, the Jack the Ripper character expresses, to Wells, the line that "[Then], I was a freak. Today, I am an amateur."
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