[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

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Further discussion about the recent attacks on Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn [Trigger warning: these incidents involve harassment and threats of rape and violence]:

  • Video Games, Misogyny, And Terrorism: A Guide To Assholes | Badass Digest: “The only way the ecosystem can improve is through the involvement of more women, more LGBT people, more of anyone who doesn’t conform to the white gamer-bro stereotype. That is exactly what the Twitter terrorists seek to prevent, and awesomely, is exactly what’s happening. Female gamers are rapidly on the rise – 48% of gamers are female, and adult females now double the number of the once-central under-18 boy demographic – and the collected assholes of the world can’t do anything about it. Women play games. If you can’t deal with that, maybe there’s something fundamental to your worldview you need to examine.” (August 26)
  • The Truth About Zoe Quinn | Elizabeth Sampat: “I could tell you stories about the voices we’ve lost, the women we’ve scarred, the people we’ve left behind. I want to, but I’m not sure you’d get it. I tweeted earlier today, We should have a war memorial for all of the women we have lost to this. We should lay flowers and grieve and see our reflections in stone. And I meant it. I wish there were a way to honor the people our industry has wronged, and a way to visualize the enormity of what we have lost because of it— some representation of the gap between what games are and what they can be, and the pieces of the bridge between that have fallen away.” (August 27)
  • Fanboys, White Knights, and the Hairball of Online Misogyny | The Daily Beast: ““White knighting” is a pejorative term bigots use to undermine such actions from men who are using their voices for support, not for condemnation and misogyny. Bigots use it to claim men are supporting women in the hopes of sleeping with women. Because, apparently, that’s the only reason you would ever want to treat someone as a person.”  (August 28)
  • Will the Internet Ever Be Safe for Women? | The Daily Beast: “The technologies that we use to communicate with each other online, it seems, were built and continue to be operated by the people who can feel safest on those technologies. These platforms are like 4-foot-wide roads built by motorcycle riders: Those of us stuck in cars are left wondering how we fit in while motorcyclists zip past us.” (August 28)
  • Dan Golding | The End of Gamers: On the evidence of the last few weeks, what we are seeing is the end of gamers, and the viciousness that accompanies the death of an identity: “Due to fundamental shifts in the videogame audience, and a move towards progressive attitudes within more traditional areas of videogame culture, the gamer identity has been broken. It has nowhere to call home, and so it reaches out inarticulately at invented problems” (August 28)
  • ‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over. | Gamasutra: “When you decline to create or to curate a culture in your spaces, you’re responsible for what spawns in the vacuum. That’s what’s been happening to games.” (August 28)

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Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

linkspam didn't read the manifesto

Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:54 pm
cofax7: Daniel reading (SG-1 - Daniel Happy Ending)
[personal profile] cofax7
This is adorable.

Some stuff I didn't know about DuckDuckGo.

The New Yorker profiles Anonymous.

How to spot an ATM skimmer.

Saved for later viewing: Mallory Ortberg reading male novelist jokes.

I feel conflicted about this article. Hmm. Too much about the heroic archaeologists, not enough about the tribe's concerns (or the difficulties of complying with a recently-passed statute with some gaping holes in coverage).

If I recall correctly, this is about the epic WWII sleight-of-hand prior to the Normandy invasion. "Look! Over there!"

I love procrastinating, but probably I shouldn't.

Interesting article showing the intersection of technology and food practices (and preferences!). Why Southern Cornbread Shouldn't Have Sugar.

I made roasted beet pesto last week, now I think I might have to try this roasted fennel pesto. Looks pretty yummy!

I also am intrigued by this series about bread-making. Why don't I have a couche?!!


There is too much shitty stuff going on in the world right now. So last night I watched the SG-1 episode "1969", and it made my world a little better, for a little while.


Sep. 2nd, 2014 10:19 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase

Custom exhaust

Sep. 2nd, 2014 10:32 pm
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
I had a not-very-expensive exhaust repair thanks to knowing a custom exhaust shop that will cut out and replace a worn section of pipe while you wait (i.e. in considerably less than an hour and for considerably less than just the replacement part if I had had to swap out the hole pipe).

fuck. yes.

Sep. 3rd, 2014 03:41 am
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
[personal profile] kaberett
my hands and shoulders hate me - as well they might, I spent most of yesterday pipetting and a startling amount of today typing - but I have DONE THE THINGS. Or at least first drafts of the things. And I think I found something out earlier this week at around this time of the morning. And I have an alarm going off in four hours in order to get the next batch of chemistry done so I can keel over without feeling guilty tomorrow evening (seriously if I am not in bed by 8pm local PLEASE shout at me) before, um, Thursday + Friday on the mass spec. (which if I feel proper rotten tomorrow morning I will convert to friday+saturday, saturday's currently free, so I can do that no penalties).

i am the human being of only-wanting-to-set-CHX-on-fire-about-twice, probably-has-an-appointment-before-2015, holy-crap-the-wait-for-phlebotomy-was-preposterous.

BUT. I have lunch ready to go for tomorrow, i have washed my water bottle so it's usable, I should... really put my wheels on to charge, wow, no way am I walking anywhere worth a damn tomorrow, I can still write terrible code when half-asleep, I've tamed the work inbox to some degree, head of group apparently likes the short piece of writing I have done on thallium+lead=bffs???, and I have SENT OFF A FIRST DRAFT OF THE POSTER. Which, er, I need to print on Monday. did I mention my supervisor's on a boat somewhere off the coast of Taiwan working 12-hour shifts with fuck-all internet? yeaaaaaaaaaaaah. did I also mention I was supposed to have this two her by the 21st of August? yeah, well, medication happened, it was a bit shit, this is kind of why I'm thinking about going part-time. on the upside, I wasn't supposed to have the lead+thallium doc to her til the 11th, but that's already happened...

... and it was sunny and I ate fantastic food with [personal profile] sebastienne and geeked gender and reading and brains and life goals and fanfic and shit and it was pretty awesome, and i made pasta bake for dinner, and I should really do the washing up again one of these weeks before my housemate entirely justifiedly stream-of-consciousness glib metaphorical murder??? ) (either my s key' gone very sticky or my hands are even more fucked than i thought) (wrist braces + antiinflammatory gel tonight OH my) and I read a bunch of tiny bit of fiction by queer PoC so that was pretty awesome

and i have taken bedmeds and, via hand-care, SLEEP.

ps i still really like Scribus

also feel free to place bets on how long it takes me to disappear into avoidance and pretending i don't have a work e-mail address again

And in other news....

Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:12 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
[personal profile] pegkerr
Remember how I mentioned a YEAR ago that we had some tiles fall out of our shower? And we just hung a shower curtain over the gap and lived with it?

Thanks to several generous gifts from some of our family members, we are starting the bathroom reconstruction. Our ONE AND ONLY bathroom. The demolition phase is taking place while Rob is in the hospital, which will hopefully shield him from the worst of the dust and mold.

Yes, I will have no shower for three weeks. No toilet for two days (we'll probably stay with a friend or rent a hotel room for that).

Gutted bathroom 9/2/14

Gutted shower - 9/2/14

Rob's in the hospital again

Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:11 pm
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
[personal profile] pegkerr
Chemo, Regime 4, Round 2. Fiona swung by after her first day of classes to keep him company (and watch Alias with him on his laptop.

He'll be in the hospital until Thursday.

Hospital chemo visit - 9/2/14

Read more at his CaringBridge here.

I’ve prayed her into a dream

Sep. 3rd, 2014 12:05 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• “I had that!” Dave Lartigue reminisces on the weird way Alien toys were marketed to Star Wars-crazed kids who were way too young for the terrifying R-rated movie. I didn’t have the toy, but Richie Dombrowski had that Alien fotonovel — a kind of comic book constructed from pictures from the movie — and that thing gave us nightmares.

• Has there ever been an argument more forcefully and exhaustively proven by its opponents than Anita Sarkeesian’s? It’s like they set out deliberately to demonstrate the truth of everything she’s saying. (See also.)

• Here’s my catechistic response to the perennial “Adam and Steve” slogan. Zach Weiner’s response is briefer and funnier.


This needed to be said. And it can’t be said too many times. If you pen a paper and then tell people that you papered a pen, they will likely be confused by the odd use of those words.

How to get screwed-up by abstinence.

• I am torn. I am trying to reconcile my happiness over Michael Sam’s getting paid to play football with my principled commitment to never approving of anything done by the Dallas Cowboys.

The practice squad is an odd thing. Football teams need them — you’ve got to practice against somebody – and they need them to be good. When I worked at the paper, our Eagles reporter had a good series on a former University of Delaware quarterback who got signed to Philly’s practice squad. His salary was nothing like what the players made, but it was still more than I’ve ever made. Then the Eagles had a series of injuries and, for one game, that kid from UD got promoted to the roster. He spent a Sunday afternoon in uniform on the sidelines, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a clipboard. He never stepped onto the field, but he got paid more for that one day’s work than he did for the rest of the season on the practice squad.

We’re all gonna die! Of something. Eventually. Probably not from this. But still, yeesh.


[Stories] Magician's Feast

Sep. 2nd, 2014 05:49 pm
yhlee: Animated icon of sporkiness. (sporks (rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] cohomology. Prompt: recursive pepper. (Okay, so maybe it's a bit of a stretch...)

(Spork of fooding, not spork of sporkiness!)

Once, in a far land, there lived a magician whose great passion was not her studies but her food. In her youth she had applied herself passionately to her studies, but her particular school of magic emphasized asceticism and long hours of meditation. However, once she left her teachers and founded her own tower (she was enough of a traditionalist to prefer a tower, and humane enough to call it out of the earth's bones in a remote location where it wouldn't trigger seismic disturbances or ghost-plagues), her discipline began to slip. Away from her teachers and her solemn fellow students, it was not long before she began dreaming up feasts of custard and roast goose, couscous and eggplant, quail eggs and minty lemonades.

Traders soon learned of the new tower from far-wanderers and dream-seekers. The first ones brought the usual goods favored by magicians: whirring jeweled orreries, dried plum petals gathered from cloud-veiled peaks during the new moon, crystals brimming over with their own iridescence. Although the magician was too kind to say so outright, none of these tools of her trade interested her much. She bought some of this and that so that the traders would see some profit for their journey, and bid them come back next time with exotic foods.

The traders went away well-provisioned and laden with the kinds of small gifts that only a magician could provide, such as charms of trebuchet-warding (very useful in certain siege-ridden parts of the world), bat-binding, and may-your-sewing-needles-never-break. And then the magician settled back into her existence of meditations broken by the occasional galloping thunderstorm, and the even more occasional fantasy of chicken stuffed with rice, jujubes, and chestnuts, or tea-of-quinces.

The magician was not entirely idle during this time. Her mechanical servants gathered rarities such as firefowl eggs (the yolks had an unfortunate tendency to overcook) and mistfruit and the milk of dragons. At first these foods pleased her, but after a while her palate grew jaded and even these palled.

A year passed and the traders returned. This time there were three-fruit marmalades and rose liqueurs; a herd of plump, comically nearsighted goats ready for the slaughter; kumquat pickles in jars painted jewel-bright. The magician took in the goats but did not have the heart to roast them.

The traders had yet one more surprise for the magician: a jar of chopped dried pepper, piquantly red and to be handled only with gloves. (The magician had plenty of those.)

"A pepper?" the magician said, a little dubiously. It wasn't that she disliked spicy food--she liked it very much indeed--but she wasn't sure how far a single pepper would go.

"Its taste is very subtle," said the oldest and wisest of the traders. "But chop it fine and sprinkle a little of it over each meal you wish to make special, and someday it will reward you." More than that they would not say.

Years upon years passed. The magician experimented with the pepper, and found its taste so subtle that she could not detect it at all. Nevertheless, each year when the traders stopped by, she made use of it in preparing the welcome dinner so that they would not think her unappreciative.

At last illness came upon the magician, and she knew that death would overtake her before the traders came again. Moved by whimsy, she made herself a simple meal and seasoned it with the mysterious pepper. But this time, when she ate, all the memories of those previous dinners came back to her: not just the savor of roast boar or rare slices of beef alternating with candied ginger, but the traders' convivial stories of seas where squid danced paeans to the kelp-gods, and the way they had laughed at the antics of her mechanical servants, and the pleasure of company after long months alone. And so it was at the end of her life that the magician finally understood the true value of what the traders had brought to her in their yearly visits.

give a book a home!

Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:41 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Anyone want my extra contributor's copy of The Mammoth Book of Warriors and Wizardry, ed. Sean Wallace? It includes my story "Effigy Nights," as well as stories by N.K. Jemisin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Aliette de Bodard, Saladin Ahmed, and more.

Leave a comment (or email me at yoon at yoonhalee dot com) if interested. I will decide by (pseudo)random generator at some point. Shipping's on me anywhere reasonable in the world (so, bottom of the Mariana Trench, not so much).

(Unrelated note: [personal profile] cohomology, I swear I'm working on your flashfic right now.)
wired: Picture of me smiling (Default)
[personal profile] wired
Read This Before Our Next MeetingRead This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I think this book is written from a position of enormous privilege. The key thing he wants us to take away is that you should only have meetings when you have already made a decision and the meeting exists to give people a tiny chance to change your mind, but mostly to figure out how the group will implement your genius, already made decision.

I am not a manager, but I am pretty sure that if I did that, I would get called a bitch. And if I "got buy in from individuals one on one" before my decision, it would seem like shady cabal building. I think this approach could only make sense if you were completely immune to people having feelings about lack of consensus.

Also, I think his "Modern Meeting" sounds like a template for sitting down the voices of typically unheard people. If there is a hard agenda, lateness penalty, priority on conflict and not consensus, you are describing something that I have left jobs over, because there was no way for me to contribute or make a difference.

To sum up: dude proposes "new" meeting model that would not be out of place in Mad Men, which coincidentally works best for dudes with pre-existing power. Fancy that.

Read if: You are running low on people mansplaining why multiple voices are bad for productivity. I never run low on this. At least it was short?

Skip if: You are interested in meetings that bring you new information or perspectives.

Read instead: Watership Down, still possibly the best book on leadership I have ever read.

View all my reviews

Well behind the herd....

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:23 pm
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

But I didn't have my iPod with me last week.

This is the ten random songs that came up when I put it on shuffle:
  • The Springfields, Silver Threads and Golden Needles
  • Smokey Robinson, Shop Around
  • Roy Orbison, Sweet Dream Baby
  • The Beatles, For the Benefit of Mr Kite
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire
  • Edwin Starr, 25 Miles
  • Tina Turner, Simply the Best
  • Abba, Chiquitita
  • Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  • The Who, I'm A Boy*

Which, you know, not untypical - nearly all has that 'listening to pirate radio in the 60s' vibe - and nothing actually embarrassing (hey, sometimes I like bubblegum pop!) but rather a narrow range: nothing from the classics menu, no blues, no Noel Coward or Rogers/Astaire, etc.

I'm not entirely sure what this says about me, except something about when my taste was formed and where it has largely remained ever since.

*This was particularly apposite at the time for external reasons.

Another PSA About Nude Photos

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:08 pm
deirdre: (Default)
[personal profile] deirdre

Chuck Wendig has the first PSA. Note: much swearing.

What I think annoys me most of all about this whole debacle is the implication that nude photos are okay to steal.

Dude. There are plenty of them that are consensually shared. Letmedothis.com is one of the better tumblrs full. (Since every site has a theme, this site’s is: at least two people, at least one of whom is female, involved in some sexual/sensual act with explicit nudity.)

But if you’re not going to act honorably and lawfully about nude photos, then it’s no fucking wonder why no one will take any with you. No one with self-respect, anyway.

If, instead, you happen to like nude photos, treat it as a gift when people consensually share that with you and trust you. Because it is.

And maybe, you know, you’ll actually get to see more of the good stuff.

Also: this interesting post from Nik Cubrilovic covers some bigger security implications.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

catvalente: (pic#941394)
[personal profile] catvalente

This is a horror story. I’m serious. It will thick your blood with cold; it will turn your hair the color of terror. We begin in London, amid the fog and freezing rain…

As some of you know, I spent the better part of August in the UK. I went to Worldcon, I went to Yorkshire on a research trip for a new book, I met David Tennant and Peter Davison (!), saw some old and new friends, learned to take the London Tube system as my legal spouse, to love, honor, and cherish it under construction and in good service, made puns as part of a Worldcon version of the iconic British radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, and ate approximately All the Pies. Important to note: my partner in crime during all of this running about was one Heath Miller, actor, director, secretly a Muppet in a human suit.

The other thing we did in London? Comedy. Now, I may not have made it totally clear how much I love stand-up comedy. I love it all the way. If I could I would probably go see comics two or three times a week. Even when it’s terrible, I still love it. I can’t even really explain why. Some loves are just pure. They have no provenance. They just are. Sketch comedy and improv also, but stand-up is tops for me. I spent so many hours watching old-school Comedy Central at 3 am, and only recently have actually gotten to go see live comedy, and OMG it smells awful and the food sucks and the drinks are weak and the walls smell like cigarettes and sometimes the comics are just the most old-timey misogynist jerks and you never know whether it will be any good at all or not and it is THE BEST. I know, it’s weird. But Dave Atell showed up to do a surprise set at the Comedy Cellar and it was my birthday and it was all I could do not to scream like he was The Beatles because EEEEE REMEMBER INSOMNIAC I LOVED THAT SHOW THAT SHOW IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. He did ten minutes about dogs and cats. It was awesome.

The point is, my comedy appetite approaches the insatiable. When Heath and I first started seeing shows together, I don’t really think he believed me when I said I am a Fan of stand-up as much as I am of SFF. He thought I’d bail the first time someone got up and complained about their wife. But I know that people being awful is just a standard hazard of watching comedians, like SFF has alien words with apostrophes in the middle of them or thinly veiled versions of orcs.

So we went to Edinburgh, where I went to University for awhile, and where my dear and nearly-oldest friend Kaite Welsh lives, and it was Fringetime, so holy crap we saw a lot of comedy. Most of it was great. One was memorably terrible–but half the fun of seeing live theater of any kind is talking about it afterward. It is our general philosophy that you either get your money’s worth from the show being wonderful or from the entertainment of tearing bad art apart afterward and figuring out how you would fix it if you were In Charge of That Thing. So I get value even from execrable theater. I am comfortable with the roulette-wheel of This-Thing-Costs-Way-More-Than-A-Movie-Or-Book-And-It-Might-Really-Suck. It’s COOL.

THE STAGE, SHE IS SET. Buckle up, kids.

Picture Heath and I, at the end of August, exhausted from traveling, both of us having brought a nasty cold home as a Yorkshire souvenir, climbing into the back of a lovely black car we’d arranged to take us to Heathrow. Looking forward to a long, quiet ride. Because one thing I’ve always loved about British drivers of cabs and car services has always been that they don’t try to talk to you the whole time. Sure, they may appear to hate you like the plague, but they won’t tell you about it. Here in Maine, it’s basically a constant barrage of questions and weirdness (my last cab in Portland? The guy drove with the driver’s seat reclined all the way into my lap, complaining the whole time that he was neither high nor drunk right now and really ought to be).

Oh, we were so innocent then.

He seemed like a perfectly nice man. He started talking right away, but he was charming and pleasant. He was from Pakistan. He switched accents flawlessly about four times in two minutes while telling us where he was from and the assumptions people make about him. We were delighted. For a moment, a precious, shining moment suspended in the air like a brief, crystal raindrop, we were delighted.

Then, he put a portable DVD player in my hands. While driving. One already open, on, and cued to his performance at the Comedy Store Gong Night.

It was like looking into the abyss.

He told a couple of jokes. Not stand-up really, just question and answer jokes. The answers were 100% the most racist, sexist, ableist things I’ve ever heard out of a performer’s mouth in real life. When he ran out of those, he just tossed the mic from one hand to the other over and over, and when that ceased to amuse even the most hardcore microphone-tossing fetishist, he just dropped and started DOING PUSH-UPS on the stage. My mind has refused to retain the jokes themselves, having some sense of the traumatic ripple effect of holding those punchlines next to the more important, functioning parts of my brain. If I remembered them, I’d never write anything again. I’d just stare at the screen repeating: “If I had a dog named Syndrome, whenever someone came over to my house and rang the doorbell I could yell Down, Syndrome!” Oh, God. The emptiness. The dark.

We handed the player back, pale and shaking from our brush with utter nihilism. We thought it was over. I remember us then, so young. So gentle-hearted.

He worked us over with a few “What do you call a deer with no eyes?” numbers, which we just answered wearily (No idear) and prayed for death. I can’t even watch a television show in which the characters embarrass themselves. I hide my face like it’s a slasher movie, not a sitcom. So my heart was already trying to hide behind my liver like a kid watching the Daleks from behind a damn couch.

But then it happened. He asked us how broad-minded we were. Now, normally, when asked that question, I expect something good and wholesome to follow. Something that speaks to the world becoming more open and honest. Coming out. A confession of being aroused by Victorian rocking horses. A nice threeway. Hell, even “Would you mind carrying this package of drugs back to America with you?” would be better, warmer, fuzzier, than what was actually about to fall out of this guy’s mouth. So I made a non-committal sound. A “yes, I am broad-minded but mostly I am please-stop-you’re-hurting-me-minded so unless this is going to turn into something else please stop” kind of whimper. But Heath is wiser than I. He knew it was code. Code for: how offensive can I be right now? How shit can I make the shit I’m about to say?

Heath said: We are not. Broad-minded. At all.

It didn’t matter. The ritual to raise the Old Gods was already in progress. There was nothing we could do to stop it.

The driver started talking about how you can’t make good jokes anymore. Everyone’s so sensitive. Like, he can’t even tell that Down, Syndrome! joke anymore. (Heath broke through our rictus of politeness at that point and said: that’s because it’s a terrible joke. I couldn’t manage more than a sustained, high-pitched whine like my dogs make when there’s thunder outside. Good for him. I was trained too well to be polite to strangers. I could feel my manners trying to claw their way out of my eyes and flee screaming, but I clung to them. They were all I had.) But really, it should be ok for him to make jokes like that because he can take the mickey out of himself as well. At which point streamed forth a river of blisteringly racist anti-Pakistani “jokes” (The mildest one, and thus the only one my benevolent brain has allowed me to retain is: When I tell people I’m from Lahore, they think my mother’s a French prostitute!) that made him giggle like a schoolkid while I slid down in my seat, trying to vanish into the leather, whispering to the lock: Please, God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far, far away.

At this point, it was clear he was just practicing his “act” on us. And it wouldn’t end because we had no Gong to bang. We literally couldn’t leave. We were a captive audience–actually captives, in a four-door prison hurtling down the highway, driven by a warden barely paying attention to the road because he had to keep looking in the rearview to see our reaction to his star turn. He kept saying: you gotta have a hobby. It’s not easy, is it, being on stage. Writing material. It’s not easy!

Thing is, this driver was in a car with a writer and an actor. Both of whom have directed theater, both of whom have written comedy, both of whom are semi-professional dissectors of performance. Both of whom find being on stage and writing material pretty damn enjoyable most of the time. It is not our hobby. It is our job. So we rallied. We made the decision individually and began almost in unison. We thought: we can make him better. We can teach him. We have the technology. Mostly, we can make him stop talking if we talk louder.

We started giving him notes. Hey, you know, you’re pretty good at accents, that bit in the beginning was great, when you were telling us about expectations. You know, you could really make something of that, play with an audience so they don’t know what your real accent is, so they’re forced to examine their own preconceptions. And that really works better with story-based comedy rather than one-liner jokes, which is not really what stand-up is all about anymore. Try telling a story, something personal, something real, and shifting your voice so that your voice becomes part of the story. It could really work for you.

You see? We tried. Tried to engage, to help, to share what we knew. To steer him without pissing off the guy who held our lives in his hands, careening between cars and not wearing a seatbelt. When we die fifty years from now, grandchildren gathered around us, clocks stopped in the hall, the light softly fading on the mantle, both of us will whisper with our last, rattling breath: we tried.

And it seemed to unlock something deep in his soul. Something too big to keep inside.

“Oh!” exclaimed he. “You mean like…” And out it came. An “Asian” “accent” right out of the Breakfast At Tiffany’s school of subtle humor and sensitivity. And he did tell a story. In that voice. Nay, not a story. A folktale from the ancient mists. We’ll call it How Chinese People Got Their Slanty Eyes. (My brain was shrieking at this point: SAFEWORD NOPE NOPE SAFEWORD FUCK I NEED AN ADULT WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME I’M A GOOD PERSON). Do you want to know how? You don’t, you really don’t. No one does. Seriously, even circuit comics in the Catskills in the 40s would have thought this was a little much. It’s because they eat too much “flied lice” and it made them constipated, at which point, as a people, the Chinese nation strained so hard to take one massive, colossal shit that their eyes went slanty forever there is no God or goodness love is dead and the sun is as sackcloth. It was like being stuck in a car with a Dementor. Then he switched to a “funny” “black” voice and I felt as thought I’d never be cheerful again.


And I was. Clawing the window. Tapping the glass. Crumpled against the arm rest, my back turned toward the driver to protect my precious internal organs from shrapnel. I envied the birds outside, trying to land on pigeon-proof spikes. What is freedom? What is life? What is silence?

We kept trying. We were valiant. We would not give up on him. No, no, that’s still racist, we insisted. Like really, really racist. Tell a story. About you. About your life. Something personal. And for a moment, just a moment, a little butterfly of a moment flitting through the summer grass, he seemed to stop and think. And said: “You mean like…my father came to this country in 1963 with only five quid in his pocket.” Yes! “That’s the great thing about Britain, you can come with nothing and you can really make something of yourself.” Yes! “And now my Dad still has five quid in his pocket–it’s the same five quid!” No! Well, I mean, it’s the least racist thing you’ve said, only implies that Pakistanis are cheap, so I guess that’s progress? It’s not good but it’s better…

And with manic glee, he looked back at me and said: “Listening to my wife is like agreeing to the Terms of Service on a website. I have no idea what it means but I always click ok!”


Heath opened his mouth to cry uncle. To surrender and beg for terms. Just stop. Whatever it takes. Just stop the violence. But we were pulling into Heathrow and it didn’t seem worth it. Nothing seemed worth it. All hope had fled the universe. We stumbled out of the car and held up our arms in the rain like it was pure Shawshank up in that car park and we’d crawled through a river of shit to come out clean. He tried to overcharge us– 20 for the ride, 10 for the show, I guess–but we had strength enough left to refuse. We watched him drive away, our ears still ringing. Did that just happen? Is that a real thing that happened in the real world? How can we ever be whole again?

So we did what we could to heal. We went to the airport bar. And alcohol said: I am a merciful god. There, there. Tell me what the bad man did. And then tell the Internet, and Lo, you shall be cleansed.

And it is done.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Golden Witchbreed

The Earth of the near-future has faster-than-light travel of a particularly powerful sort; the entire Milky Way is just 90 days from Earth. Habitable worlds are common enough [1] and much to the Dominion of Earth 's surprise generally inhabited. How to adapt when there are millions of alien civilizations on the Dominion's doorstep?
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(no subject)

Sep. 2nd, 2014 05:55 pm
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[personal profile] synecdochic
In reassembling my workspace after the window installation, i've given up on the "no cats on my desk" rule and bowed to the inevitable.
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Magic ex Libris, Book Four

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:14 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Mostly for my own reference, today I wrote the opening paragraphs of the as-yet-untitled fourth book in the Magic ex Libris series.

I would share the first few lines, but they won’t make much sense until you’ve read Unbound [B&N | Indiebound | Amazon].

Anyway, yay! Deadpool approves of new books. And also of random violence, which should be starting in this next scene. Poor Isaac…


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 242-244

In Tim LaHaye’s End-Times theology, the Antichrist is the ultimate Bad Guy — in every sense of the word “ultimate.” The Antichrist will be the final evil ruler in human history, and his evil will surpass that of all who came before.

Mainstream Christian teaching views biblical figures such as Moses, Joshua and David as precursors to a future Messiah who would fulfill and transcend their promise. LaHaye believes this is also true of every biblical villain and evil ruler. For him, Pharaoh, Ahab, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus,* Herod and Nero* are all “types” and portents of the future Anti-Messiah who will fulfill and transcend every wicked scheme any of them imagined during the only time that matters — the early- mid- late- 20th 21st century, when the most important parts of the Bible will at last come true for the most important Christians who ever lived (us, obviously).


“Daniel’s dream of four beasts,” a 1528 woodcut by Jan Swart. (Because you have to go back several centuries to find an illustration of this thing that doesn’t look like a heavy metal album cover or an airbrushed painting from the side of a van.)

The ultimate, superlative evil of the Antichrist is a foundational, central principle of LaHaye’s biblical scheme. The Antichrist — a title that never actually appears in the Bible — is coming soon, LaHaye insists, and he will be the evilest evildoer who ever did evil.

We’ve already seen this idea demonstrated here in Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist. In the past few chapters, the Antichrist has slaughtered millions of his subjects — mostly for kicks and giggles. Nicolae used the pretext of a rumored uprising led by the former president of the former United States to launch nuclear strikes against major population centers, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London and Cairo. He didn’t have to kill all those people, but he wanted to because he’s evil, evil, eeeeeee-vil, mwaaaaa-hahahahaaaaa.

The Antichrist’s bombing campaign against millions of hapless, unarmed civilians was, in fact, continuing even while Buck Williams met with Tsion Ben-Judah to figure out some way to smuggle the former rabbi out of Israel. In a hideout just outside of Israel’s eastern border, they decided that the best way to get Ben-Judah out of Israel would be to re-enter that country via the Jordan River, then cross the entire country at its widest part and sneak him across the southwestern border into what used to be Egypt.

It’s not Egypt anymore, remember. It’s just the Egyptian District of the new “Global Community” empire of the Antichrist’s tyrannical one-world government — the worst and wickedest regime in the history of the world. And a couple days ago, millions of people were killed in that Egyptian District in nuclear strikes ordered by that same evil tyrant.

Egypt, in other words, seems like a particularly bad place to seek refuge. But then, since the Antichrist’s one-world government covers the entire world, almost everywhere seems just as bad. There is, in fact, only one place left on the entire planet that’s beyond the reach of this ultimate evil ruler. There is only one sovereign nation remaining outside of his reign of unsurpassed wickedness.

That one place is Israel — the very nation that Buck and Tsion are desperate to escape from.

The implication is clear. LaHaye’s ultimate, superlative evil isn’t the very worst thing after all. In his theology, there’s one thing that’s even worse than the Antichrist: Jews.

That’s an ugly idea. Just writing about the bald anti-Semitism that LaHaye expresses here feels dirty. I feel compelled to reiterate that I vehemently disagree with this — to clarify and re-clarify that these are LaHaye’s views I’m describing here, not my own. But is there any other way of interpreting the premise of this entire escape-from-Israel subplot?

Buck and Tsion are so desperate to get out of Israel that they don’t care that this means getting back into the Antichrist’s one-world tyranny. They’re treating the Antichrist as the lesser of two evils. That other “evil” — Israel – has just been portrayed as a murderous, dishonest regime bent on slaughtering anyone who speaks favorably of Jesus. After Ben-Judah converts to End-Times Christianity, the Jews of Israel slaughter his wife and children, beheading them in the street. And they’ve launched a nationwide manhunt intent on capturing the former rabbi and doing the same to him.

So, once again, Buck Williams is racing for safety in the arms of the Antichrist. He’s done this before, remember, back in the first book, when he cut a deal with Nicolae Carpathia, offering to bury his story about the Rockefellers (“Stonagal” — get it?) and the Illuminati in exchange for Nicolae’s promise of protection from their conspiracy of international bankers. (I suppose LaHaye could protest that episode wasn’t anti-Semitic because he carefully never says that they’re “international Jewish bankers,” but that’s like claiming you’re not spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories because you only ever refer to “The Protocol of the Elders” and leave off the last bit.)

Tim LaHaye always seems perplexed and angrily indignant when he’s accused of promoting anti-Semitism. He points to his unqualified support for the IDF and Likud, and his significant personal financial contributions, direct and indirect, for the defense of the State of Israel. That, he argues, should forever shield him from accusations of anti-Semitism — even if that support is all based on his presumption that Israel must be defended in order to play its role in his “Bible prophecies,” wherein every Jew who fails to convert to his version of Real, True Christianity will be mercilessly slaughtered by God.**

Whatever you make of LaHaye’s long track record as an outspoken “Friend of Israel,” the fact remains that in these books, Israel is far more anti-Christ than even the Antichrist himself. The escape sub-plot of this chapter was sparked by the slaughter of Ben-Judah’s newly Christian children — a not-so-subtle variation of the ancient blood libel that has served as a “Christian” pretext for the persecution of Jews for centuries.

Returning to this chapter after a brief hiatus, I was particularly struck by the form of Christianity to which Tsion Ben-Judah converted. His conversion is presented as the result of his supposed scholarly inquiry into the identity of the Messiah, which led him to conclude that only Jesus fits the bill. (This is unsurprising once you realize that Tsion’s research, as described by LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, seems to have consisted mainly of modern, Christian texts — the sort of Christian texts, in fact, that tend only to be read by people who already agree with them.)

But Tsion didn’t merely conclude that Jesus was/is the Messiah — he also came to embrace all of Tim LaHaye’s theology, including his supersessionism. That’s the pernicious belief that Jesus introduced a new covenant which supersedes God’s prior covenant with Abraham and his children. It means the church — the Gentile church — supplants and replaces Israel.

I haven’t previously paid much attention to that idea because it just seems kind of dumb. God’s promises to Abraham are from everlasting to everlasting, and that doesn’t really allow for an expiration date. (Also too, Romans.) But I’ve been thinking about this more lately due to this thoughtful sermon by Jason Micheli, and to the discussion at Syndicate of Willie James Jennings’ The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, both of which have made me think more about the pervasive repercussions of this Very Bad Idea and the myriad ways it has distorted western Christianity. I’ve begun to realize that this is something that needs to be cut away, root and branch.

The bottom line here is that Tim LaHaye’s End Times scheme is entirely dependent on his replacement theology.*** In LaHaye’s scheme, Jews are damned and deserve only damnation unless they say the magic prayer and convert to real, true Christianity. The character of Tsion Ben-Judah is the personification of this theology, but it’s not just Tsion, and it’s not just the awkward plotting and incoherent world-building of Jenkins’ border-crossing set piece. It’s everywhere in these books.

So, yes, this subplot, specifically, which is based on the idea that Buck and Tsion are better off under the rule of the Antichrist than they are among the Christ-hating Jews, is nastily anti-Semitic. But that’s just one particularly explicit example of the anti-Semitic theology that stains every page of these books.

And but so, that was all a bit abstract — focused more on Tim LaHaye’s atrocious theology than on Jerry Jenkins’ atrocious writing. The latter tends to be a lot funnier. I promise we’ll hear more from Jerry next week, but let’s just close here with at least a little taste.

Buck Williams is still driving through the desert, musing on the passenger he’s trying to smuggle across the approaching border and into the radioactive wasteland of the Global Community District of Egypt:

Buck considered that God was providing Rabbi Ben-Judah to be the new scriptural and spiritual mentor for the Tribulation Force, but he didn’t dare suggest that. No way an international fugitive could become the new pastor of New Hope Village Church, especially if Nicolae Carpathia had his sights trained on him. Anyway, Tsion might consider Buck’s idea a crazy one. Was there not some easier way God could have put Tsion in a position to help the Tribulation Force without costing him his wife and children?

That question goes unanswered, which itself is an answer of sorts. Apparently, no, there was no easier way. The death of Tsion’s wife and children (and of his driver, and Michael, and Michael’s wife and children …) was evidently a necessary part of God’s plan for bringing New Hope Village Church a new pastor who can pick up where Bruce Barnes left off — neglecting the entire congregation to spend all his time as the “scriptural and spiritual mentor” for the four members of his extra-special inner-inner circle.

- – - – - – - – - – - – -

* LaHaye actually treats the biblical passages about Antiochus and Nero as being exclusively about the future Antichrist. He disagrees with the majority of scholars who see Daniel and Revelation — his two favorite books of the Bible — as responses to their respective regimes, although I think he treats one of Daniel’s visions as a predictive prophecy foretelling their future reigns as foretastes of the ultimate evil reign of the Antichrist. (I’m not sure — I’d have to look that up in one of LaHaye’s other “prophecy” studies to see what caption he puts next to the picture of the four-headed winged leopard.)

** I suppose the strongest defense for LaHaye against the charge of anti-Semitism would be a variant of the “He’s not racist, he hates everybody” argument. There’s some truth to that. When LaHaye implies that Jews secretly know, but stubbornly reject, the real truth of real, true Christianity, he’s not saying anything about Jews that he doesn’t also seem to believe about everyone else who isn’t his kind of Christian. And if he believes that Israel is murderously opposed to RTCity, that doesn’t mean he’s accusing them of anything unique — he seems to think that all non-RTCs are similarly, lethally intent on persecuting the elect. But he also believes that the Jews are a special case, and he seems particularly preoccupied with arguing that and illustrating that in his story, so I don’t think this defense really works.

*** Nicolae Carpathia’s one-world religion — the Enigma Babylon One World Faith — might’ve been much more interesting if he had followed LaHaye’s example and constructed his new faith on supersessionist claims. The EBOWF would supplant the old covenant of Christianity in just the same way that LaHaye teaches Christianity replaces God’s covenant with Abraham. His message to Christians like Buck and Rayford would thus be the same as Tsion’s message to Israel — repent and be converted to the newer covenant, or your eternal soul will be damned to an eternity of suffering.




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