Archive for category: Politics

The Paranoid Style

06 Dec
December 6, 2015

This is a long piece, but really, really fascinating. I highly recommend a read.

Written in 1964, it talks about the “paranoid style” in American politics, but it’s a universal phenomenon. I’ve been calling it “bunker mentality” or “enemy at the gates mentality”, but “the paranoid style” seems more succinct.

Interesting to compare the spasms of social paranoia and political frothings of the past with those we’re seeing now. The fevered accusations against Catholics vs the rhetoric around Planned Parenthood etc.

You can even see it in GamerGate and its lengthy diatribes and volumes of “evidence” of a vast conspiracy against gamers.

History really does repeat itself.

As a side note, I’m not quite sure at what point I started finding political essays from the 60s fascinating, but yeah, that’s a thing now.

I was one of those apathetic people who didn’t even think it worthwhile voting until I was 25.

Getting older is weird, man.

#FEESMUSTFALL and not being a sneering whitey.

24 Oct
October 24, 2015

(First Note: This is going to be completely meaningless to my international audience. Feel free to skip it. Video games and tomfoolery will resume in short order. 😉 )

(Second Note: Racist shit in the comments will be terminated with extreme prejudice, be warned.)

The Facebook comments I’ve been seeing around the #FEESMUSTFALL movement have annoyed me enough to write a blog post. It’s a difficult, emotionally-charged topic, and as a middle-class white male, I’m not the best person to speak on it. So I may put my foot in it.

But regardless, here goes.

Fellow white people, could we stop with the “well, just vote for someone other than the ANC, then, duh!” comments. Please.

What do you expect, really? Do you think the black majority really sees a good, effective alternative at this point?

The DA is seen as the “white party”, regardless of who they elect as their “face”, and what white people did to black people in this country destroyed any possibility of majority trust in even the hint of “white rule” for the next few generations. That’s just reality. We white folk have no one but ourselves and our ancestors to blame for that.

And the other parties are small and fairly ineffective.

So what good alternatives are there? It’s easy to say “oh, they’re just stupid, why don’t they vote for someone else” as a white person, but I’m not the first generation in my family to be born free of slavery. I don’t have those scars etched into my soul.

The ANC, flawed as it is, is the political center of the movement that freed non-white people from bondage in SA. When it starts to lose its moral compass, its supporters are entitled to first try to reform it from within, give it a course correction, before they just discard their allegiance.

If you want to reform politics, support measures to broaden access to education for all. An educated populace is better at holding politicians accountable and less prone to believing exaggerated political promises.

Give those kids credit where it’s due. They marched on Luthuli House. They’re dissatisfied with their elected politicians and are organizing to hold them accountable. That’s an extremely positive thing, and could help bring about reform in the long run.

We need more of this, sure, but it’s a great start. Nourish that seed with your support, not sneering and ignorance. Change takes time, be patient and understanding.

Sarkeesian in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People

17 Apr
April 17, 2015

The Puppies need to learn the core lesson of GamerGate. That shit backfires SO hard.

You said it, Eder.

11 Apr
April 11, 2015

10 Apr
April 10, 2015

Feagus Urquart on Pillars of Eternity’s controversial joke.

Skin Deep

10 Apr
April 10, 2015

That Sad Puppies thing is still ongoing, drawing even George RR Martin into the fray. It looks set to continue for a while, this fight. And it’ll get uglier before it gets better, no doubt.

I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about it today. She mentioned how she’d tweeted an article about the Hugos and, as is par for the course with these kinds of things these days, some rando looking for a fight quickly found her and engaged her in “debate”.

And there was a point this guy made, one similar to what we saw deployed in GamerGate’s NotYourShield campaign. It goes like this: “We’re not against diversity! How can you possibly say that?!? Look here, we have black writers, interracial marriages, female writers etc! We’re diverse!”

The flaw in this argument is that the anti-diversity part is not just about who creates the work but also about what they’re creating. You can be a black lesbian author, no problem, but don’t write a story that’s an allegory for racism and homophobia! Don’t discuss gender roles in video games! And certainly don’t give those kinds of stories a bunch of awards!!! That’s too much, intolerable. They can only have won by cheating. Something must be done.

You must conform to the *tastes* of these groups, tastes which represent, primarily, white conservative males.

Both groups will happily welcome women, homosexuals, gay people, people of colour, transexuals, whoever into their ranks. Just don’t go writing about issues that specifically concern those groups. Don’t give your awards to fiction that scathingly critiques capitalism and nationalism. Don’t evaluate video games through a feminist lens. Don’t point out that existing media is problematic.

Just be a fan, that’s ok, that’s safe.

Maybe, maybe we’ll let you talk about those issues, just a bit, just over in that corner over there. Where it can be safely ignored. But don’t talk too much, don’t be too loud, don’t take center stage, don’t trespass into our domain.

It’s skin-deep diversity, deployed as a smokescreen, a shield.

Don’t be fooled.

On Fleas

08 Apr
April 8, 2015

Ok, so this post is likely to seem a bit random, for any regular reader of this blog. For an explanation as to why I am writing it, see this post. I follow a bunch of writers on twitter, they’re all talking about it, and it gave me a chuckle. So I’m posting.

There is currently a bit of a brouhaha around the Hugo awards. The Hugos, for anyone who doesn’t know, are a prestigious science fiction awards thingy. They’re not too meaningful or well-known outside of writerly circles, but within that community they’re a mark of quality and fairly coveted.

Now, this brouhaha. It’s pretty GamerGatery, really. Some dudes have staged what they call a “fan revolt against the SJW cabal who conspire to make sure only SJW books get Hugos.”

Sounds pretty familiar, right? Right.

Anyway, so these dudes formed the “Sad Puppies” campaign. Which in turn spawned the Rabid Puppies. Which is, as the name suggests, a more rabid brand of Puppy, obviously. The Rabid Puppies are organized by one Vox Day aka Theodore Beale, author and noted internet bigot, who was kicked out of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America a while back for referring to a black author as a “half-savage” using the organization’s official twitter stream. Nice chap.

So various breeds of Puppy brigaded the Hugo nomination process in the name of “fairness” or whatever. And, just coincidentally, managed to get 9 separate Hugo nominations for works from a little publisher named Castilia House.

Castillia House just so happens to be owned by Vox Day.

The brigadiers also scored 2 Hugo noms for Vox Day himself, personally.

So, just to recap, the Puppy campaign against “SJW corruption” organized, in part, by Day, managed to score 11 prestigious nominations either for Day or for works Day has a vested interest in.

Snicker. Try this one weird trick at home to set your credibility on fire!

There’s that saying about lying with dogs and getting fleas. It seems rather appropriate, here.

Obama’s Tribute to Mandela

10 Dec
December 10, 2013

It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well.


Damn. Whatever else you might think of Obama and his politics, he’s one hell of a speaker. Kudos to him and his speech writers.

I’ve got the live stream of the Mandela memorial playing in the background while I work, today.
You can read the full transcript of his speech here.