2017-10-20 03:56 pm
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The Secret Conspirator

The Exorcist and Red Dawn have something in common.
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2017-10-18 07:06 am
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The Continuing Mad Max Case, The Road Warrior

Last week, we looked at Mad Max, the first movie in the franchise. It's also the most low-key movie in the franchise. If you think about Mad Max, the franchise, you're likely going to think about the crazier set. If you think about Mad Max, you think about a certain style and spirit of post-apocalyptic movie. You're not thinking about the original tragedy of a man trying to resist the pull into monstrosity only to give fully in when his family is taken from him.

If it weren't for the production dates, one could be forgiven for thinking that Mad Max was an alright movie, but mainly a prequel of The Road Warrior with the standard issues that plague prequels.

For those who haven't seen it, The Road Warrior is the story of Max (the one that's significantly angry) finding himself stuck in a conflict between two sides.
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2017-10-15 09:30 pm

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 7 Why Savage Reservations?

I'm sticking with the end of Chapter 6 for another post to, before we actually get to the Savage Reservation, look into the question of why such a thing exists. In my bit of shameless self-promotion in the comments of other blogs, someone asked the question of why the Savage Reservations even exist.

The Doylist reason (that is, from the perspective of the author) is so that we can meet Jon. Jon will be an important counterpoint to the Fordly way of life. Jon needs to exist, to enter Fordly society, and not be perceived as a threat by Fordly society. For those ends, a Savage Reservation makes an ideal tool. It's outside Fordly civilization but small enough that the average Fordly citizen is aware of but not bothered by it.

The Watsonian reason (that is, from the perspective within the world of the fiction) is related.

It's also related to slavery and Rent.
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2017-10-13 04:02 pm

Black Hat Brigade: Episode 47

Establishing Shot: The town Thunderdome. Various people hang on the outer walls. A few in leathers and withs various styles of spiked hair. Some are orcs in traditional garb. At least one of them is Grodd in a metal breastplate and Roman-style cape. There is no chanting, but a hush as they watch something.

The camera pans down, past someone in a jersey and sipping at a beer, to the entry door.

Azrael: They're right through here.

Bartleby: Azrael, there's been something I've wanted to say.

Azrael opens the door, but pauses: What is it?

Bartleby: You... You were our friend. But, you manipulated us. You used us.
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2017-10-11 07:50 am
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The Case for Remaking the Mad Max Franchise

I want to be clear with this one. These Cases that I make aren't all efforts to get rid of the original. Early on in this series, I did a Case for re-remaking The Day The Earth Stood Still and, if at all possible, I will not allow that original to go away. Sometimes there are problems with the original that should be addressed in retelling. Sometimes, it's simply the case that there's more to be done with the idea.

In this case, it's both.

I want the original franchize to remain. All the movies are enjoyable. Yes, I even want to hold onto "Beyond Thunderdome", even with its kind of mess.

That said, the concept as a whole does have its issues and does have some untapped potential.
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2017-10-09 12:45 am

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 6 I Get Defensive Of Bernard

Chapter six spends some time focusing on how the world treats Bernard and how Bernard treats both the world and himself. And, in this chapter, I find myself getting defensive both of Bernard and of what it seems that Huxley may be attempting to criticize.

To the way the world treats Bernard Marx.
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2017-10-06 10:30 pm
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The Benign Violation Theory

This entry is late and I blame being sick for the past week. But, thanks to my body being able to fight off the infection and modern symptom-management medications, I'm capable of doing something to meet my self-imposed posting requirement.

That excuse out of the way, here's an entry into my Encyclopedia.

Benign Violation Theory seeks to explain why some things are funny and some aren't, as well as the specifics of who finds what humorous. The name pretty much explains it. In order to find something funny, you must both sense a violation of some sort and feel safe. Something is being violated, but nothing that causes you to feel yourself or those you care about to be harmed or under threat.
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2017-10-04 12:06 am

Pro-Gun Rhetoric Is Pro-Mass Shooting

I'm struggling to find something to say that hasn't been said before and I don't think I've found it here. But, in the wake of yet another high-profile mass shooting, there's always a set of rhetoric that doesn't just argue against a measure that would help curtail just this thing. It actively makes the next mass shooting more likely, regardless of gun legislation.
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2017-10-02 12:02 am

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 5 Death And Life

This is an entire chapter of more show-don't-tell in exposition. None of it directly serves the story. All it does is inform us of the world and a bit of how two of our major players fit into it. Still, I enjoy reading it and, were this translated into a television series, I would enjoy watching it.

I'm not just giving credit where credit is due. I do like all three of the books that I'm deconstructing. I find them to be engaging reads, such that I could quickly read through any of them in a couple days. I'm trying to remind you (and myself) that, even though I sometimes make very loud objection, they're still valuable elements of our public discourse.

So, let's go over this example of exposition done well... and then get to the part where I get a little angry with Bernard.
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2017-09-29 12:25 pm

My Respite Theory of Ace Rimmer

If you haven't watched the "Red Dwarf" series by now, I encourage you to do so. It starts out as a sit-com that employs science fiction for the comedy. Then, it evolves into a parody of action-sci-fi movies. And, in the most recent season (well, it's UK, so series) involves talking to the universe about mid-life crisis. At its worst, it's mildly entertaining. At its best, it's incredibly memorable with its ideas and its character studies.

Let's pretend I did that joke where I advised you to stop reading and come back only after you've binged the entire series. Because, you know, that wouldn't be the worst advice. That said, I'm going to assume you haven't watched the series and, therefore, spoilers ahead.
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2017-09-27 12:28 am
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The Case for Remaking the Sam&Mikaela Story

Okay, I could make a Case for remaking the Transformers movie. There's enough material there for me to expound upon the problems and enough potential there for a good story to happen in its place. But, that's one of the problems of the movie that we have.

On the one hand, there's the story of a plucky NSA contractor computer tech which becomes a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a potentially good serious M-I-B style movie. On the next hand, we have a military squad in a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a potentially good Predator style movie. Then, there's two teens in a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a coming of age story of self-actualization. Oh, and by the way, there are transformers doing... something.

That's four hands, four stories for a single movie. I'm not going to say that this many stories can't be done in a single movie. That has been done much better than this movie. I am going to say that Michael Bay can't do it.

Of course, he couldn't do any one of the stories right in the first place. Michael Bay lacks respect... for anybody... or anything.
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2017-09-25 12:00 am

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 4 Fuck You, Helmholtz Watson

During the 1984 deconstruction, I repeatedly noted how, on the level of emotional maturity, the whole thing felt like High School. Winston Smith was a burnout who wasn't really rebellious but found a way of making his internal rebellion a source of perceived superiority to others. Well, the High School feelings aren't going away any time soon.

Chapter 4 is broken into two parts (and we're going to handle both parts in this post, no I'm not deliberately padding these things). The first part focuses attention on Lenina Crowne's perspective. She walks through the lift room, noting the various men there, having spent the night with most of them at one point or another. (Although, it should be noted, if she spent one night with all of them, that's okay and it's not like this sex-mandating purity culture would object. I just note the possibility as something Huxley probably didn't imagine.) And, she has her own aesthetic concerns on any of them.
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2017-09-22 04:33 pm

My Explanation For the Trump Presidency

Since Trump was elected, we've heard a number of explanations for the confounding question of how he got elected. Most of these explanations, at least the ones I've seen, have operated on an unstated assumption.

Conservatives elected Donald Trump because liberals called them racist!... for voting for Donald Trump. Or because liberals didn't respect them. Or because liberals wouldn't date them... Yeah, that's one of the reasons.

In short, we liberals weren't nice enough to conservatives or Republicans, thus forcing a portion of them to elect Donald Trump their nominee and the rest to hold their nose and vote for Trump. If only we were nicer.

I want to explore a few options that make a contradictory assumption. Let's look at the history of what got us here with the assumption that conservatives are responsible for their own choices. (If you need to take a moment to wrap your mind around that, I understand. Apparently, it just never occurs to some people.)

So, let's go through a bit of history and find out some of the reasons.
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2017-09-20 12:01 am
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Post Apocalyptic Society Guide: Societal Shame

This one goes to the root of a number of previous tips to this series. How does your new society handle societal shame?

Writing this in 2017 America, the answer is that this is actually the source of a set of grave internal conflicts. One side will want to examine our history in order to better understand both the wrongdoings of the past and the consequences thereof. The other side will be a mixture of those who want to view America's past as one of ideals and/or treat any wrongs done as completely issolated within the past.
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2017-09-18 12:01 am

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 3 Three of the Major Players

We're still in Chapter three and we're only now meeting two... maybe three of the major characters in this story. All of what we've gone over so far has been exposition. And, let me say that Huxley did a great job with exposition, far better than Orwell.

Orwell just explained the various ministries, which was well enough in getting the information to us. And, hey, it was interesting enough information.

On the other hand, Huxley literally gave us a tour and answered our questions. The exact nature of the responses and which questions weren't asked also gave us information. And, he topped it off with a spite-filled rant about past sexual and familial politics that's well articulated but filled with enough bile that it might foam at the corners of the world-controller's mouth.

Good job to Huxley on that one.

Now, let's meet three of the major players.
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2017-09-16 12:38 am

Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday

Nothing big. Just a note that I have a patreon account I also have this e-published book if you'd like to purchase a copy and leave a review on Amazon.


I'm working on another. I'm just setting this out there, in case anybody wants to support this blog.

This way, I get this done and don't have to bother my regular posts with this.
2017-09-15 12:11 am
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Tip #87 Accept Loss

"A faith that makes losing a sin will make cheating a sacrament." This was said, recently, regarding politics of recent campaigns and adminstrations. It should have been applied, long ago, to Evangelism and Apologetics.

I haven't gotten into matters of logical fallacies. The internet is full of places you can go to see those. I bring them up because, as easy as they are to fall into by accident, they represent cheating. So can the bulk of the subjects of previous tips in this series.

For the most part, people who cheat don't cheat for its own sake. They cheat in order to win. In conversation and debate, often times, "win" takes on the functional definition of "not lose." And, the way to not lose is to organize your points and the effective rules so that your position doesn't have to be right in order to avoid losing.
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2017-09-13 02:16 am
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Scenes I'd Like to See: Dogma

Setting: A boardroom full of people sitting around a meeting table, looking to the chairman. His as yet empty seat is at one end. A golden-colored picture of a cartoon-like calf is at the other.

Chairman as he walks to his seat: Morning shoppers.

The board in unison: Morning.

Chairmen takes his seat: Anyone seen the overnights?

Various board members not in unison: No.

Chairman with a grin: We creamed 'em.

Light applause from the board.

Chairman: Last night was a rerun, which says to me that... *look up from his papers* Do I smell onions? *leans to the side and looks to see two men in casual dress, one cutting at an onion with a knife*

Chairman: Excuse me.

Loki (not the Norse god, played by Matt Damon): Huh?

Chairman: May I ask what you're doing in my boardroom?

Loki looks forward, indicating his friend: You may procede, mon frere.

Bartleby starts as he stands up: I have to start by apologizing. My friend has a penchent for the dramatic.
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2017-09-11 12:20 am

Brave New World Deconstruction: Part 2 Why?

Chapter two shows us a bit more of the conditioning, this time some eight-month old Delta infants. The area is prepared with bowls of flowers and bright, colorful picturebooks. All of it made to be enticing to little infants with little infant hands that like grasping bright, colorful things. The sun comes out at just the right moment to really make it all that much more enticing.

Much like for the babies, themselves, we're being set up. As all the identical babies make their way over to enjoy the colorful books and flowers, the head nurse presses a lever. Explosions, shrill sirens, alarm bells, all the things that exist to scare a baby... literally, that is their purpose. And, those are followed up with a mild electric shock to the infants.

Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks-already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined together, nature is powerless to put assunder.

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2017-09-08 12:03 am
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Tip #86 Don't Poke Wounds

This experience was relayed to me by an online friend. The person who said this to her had already made efforts to convert her to Christianity. Those efforts were reported to HR who made sure that said person knew that this was not acceptable work-place behavior. Still, upon a temporary move of office, said person, knowing that my online friend had recently lost a dear pet, said this.

"God wants me to tell you that if you accept him as your Lord and Savior you'll go to heaven after you die. You'll see your lizard again. She'll be there to greet you with him when you first get to the gates."

There's a great deal to be said about time and place. But, I'll focus on this.
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