Jan 24

Look What They’ve Done To My Song

A cover by Miley Cyrus.

She is very talented. The music industry exploiting her? Ha. Way to deny female agency in choosing her own path. She’s fucking good even if I don’t like most of her pop work.

Check out her cover of Bob Dylan, too. It’s great. I hate Dylan, but she makes this song real. She’s the best modern country singer I know of when she sings that style. Really fantastic.

Jan 24

French culture

I’m likely one of the few Americans not of French origin who had ever heard of Charlie Hebdo much less read it before the Paris massacre.

Not some sort of humblebrag, but context. I read French periodicals and though I don’t speak French well at all – about like a four-year-old — I understand it spoken fairly well and read it just fine.

That said, most Americans – and especially Tumblr – writing about the magazine really just have no fucking clue.

They don’t understand French culture, they don’t understand satire and have no idea of the context of the debate or even really any knowledge of history.

That’s what’s tricky about two-layer satire like Charlie Hebdo’s: the joke only works if you see both layers, which often requires conversant knowledge of French politics or culture. If you don’t see that layer, then the covers can seem to say something very different and very racist.

Yeah – after the massacre, I saw consistent and pervasive interpretations of the cartoons as being racist when all the ones I saw cited where specifically and (to me) obviously making fun of racism and racists.

That’s what context and actually knowing something about French culture can do for you.

I’m amazed at how many people are willing to spout off at the mouth or at the keyboard in reference to things about which they have absolutely no clue at all.

Jan 24

Down

Why in so many personal ads and similar do people insist that they are “down to earth?”

This isn’t appealing to me at all. I am not interested in people who are down to earth. This translates to “boring” to me, almost invariably.

Since I am barely convinced I was born on earth, this is a sure sign we’d have nothing in common.

“Down to earth” means in reality “I hold all the conventional opinions of my milieu and social class, and will not challenge you or your ideas in any way.”

Damn, hell no.

Jan 23

Races

It’s always amusing when people pretend that the only racist place in the US is the South.tumblr_miqsg8kEUX1rp4s2uo1_500

History and current events say otherwise.

Of course, the South is used as a scapegoat and a culpability transference mechanism for others in the rest of the country to show how racist they (allegedly) are not.

I do actually agree that there is probably more racism in the South. I think probably 60% of whites are actively racist there, and in the rest of the country it’s probably 40-45%.

However, personally, the most racist statement I’ve ever heard anyone make was – check this out – in Seattle.

And I grew up in the South where I heard some truly heinous racial utterances and imprecations.

Anyway, for most white people their idea of racism seems to involve something like attempting to run over a black person with your car, while their thoughts about how black people “really are” are just the obvious truth.

That form of racism knows no boundaries, and is nearly as prevalent in the North and West as anywhere else is what I’ve found.

Jan 22

SEO

I didn’t realize there was some dumbass SEO argument for not putting dates on posts.

There are sites I don’t visit any longer because of undated posts.

Probably relates to my field and me being picky, but if I’m reading about something in IT, it really, really matters if it was written two years ago or today. If I can’t figure that out, I won’t be visiting your IT-related site again.

I think that proclivity has spilled over into my browsing of non-IT sites.

Jan 19

Toxicity

Something I figured out early in life is that a lot of people — like most of my family — will tell you that you are doing something wrong merely because you aren’t doing it the way that they would.

But that’s not all of them. Some — like some other parts of my family — actively want to harm you.

Both sorts of people are toxic, but the latter are far worse. Finding out that they way — which is typically unusual — that I prefer to do things is actually faster and better in real world performance most often was a real revelation, as most of my teachers and my family castigated me extensively for my methods.

I’m over it, but it’s worth remembering that not everyone works the same. What to you appears scatterbrained and disorganized is how I best remember things, and how I’m best able to learn them.

Jan 17

Weird

I was going to comment on this article from Wired, but it’s so confused and confusing I don’t even know what to say.

As usual when they discuss anything to do with the internet or net neutrality, it gets many things wrong, but what does the headline mean in the context of the article?

“Sprint’s Net Neutrality Reversal Shows How Bad Things Are for ISPs”

What does that have to do with the article? Bad for what ISPs?

It seems that Wired — which pretends to be a technology magazine — would get some writers with experience in the technology industry. Instead, they just write up whatever comes in the press releases their corporate sponsors send them and call it good.

Hey, Wired, I was a photojournalist for five years and have worked in the technology industry for 15 more after that.

I’m available, though I doubt you could afford me.

Jan 14

Threats

Those who think human extinction is impossible are incredibly, fantastically naive.

Just as those who think AI and nanotechnology aren’t real threats are also complete naifs.

Their argument to shift scales a bit amounts to declaring, “Well, I haven’t died yet, therefore I will live forever!”

Anyone can see how ridiculous an argument this is. Yet when you aver that human activities are quite likely to lead to human extinction (especially while we are limited to one interconnected planet) on a medium to long time frame, well, then you are just nuts.

Jan 13

Culture matters

I was going to write something about French culture in relation to Charlie Hebdo and in fact had started it, but this is better.

Basically, don’t listen to anyone writing about the whole affair who doesn’t know anything about French culture.

They will (and have been) getting it wrong. Very, very wrong.

I can’t fucking believe we have to defend secularism and free speech against “liberals,” but there you go.

You know I used to believe that the Right was utterly fucking crazy when they talked about how the liberals tend to embrace objective evil if it’s cloaked in the veil of oppression. But now that I’ve seen the liberal reactions to Muslim oppression of women and now Charlie Hebdo and secularism, you know what?

The Right was fucking, well, right  — a little, at least.