[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2018-01-22

Celebrate your oddities

Filed under: Entertainment,Fine Living — bblackmoor @ 15:22

I’m not a fan of professional football, myself, but there’s room enough in the world for people to like what they like. Physical performance is a form of art; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It would be hypocritical of me to criticize someone for what they find fun, don’t you think?

If you are having a good time and not hurting anyone, more power to you.

celebrate your oddities, your work, your sexuality
celebrate your urges, celebrate humanity,
celebrate your fetishes, my message is clear,
there’s no such thing as normal: everybody’s weird

Wednesday, 2018-01-17

Illegal immigration: an observation

Filed under: Civil Rights,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:03

Observation: the core disagreement that people have over “illegal immigration” is based on whether they think people should serve the law, or the law should serve people.

Tuesday, 2018-01-16

The sexual harassment witch-hunt

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 14:23

I believe that the crusade against “sexually inappropriate behaviour” has gone off the rails. No one should have their career ruined for going on a bad date. No one should be fired for patting an upset colleague on the back to console them.

Just as supporting “Black Lives Matter” and respect for honest and competent police officers are not mutually exclusive, it is not a contradiction to treat sexual assault as a real and under-reported problem, while also pointing out that Aziz Ansari and Garrison Keillor have been treated unjustly.

Intent matters. Context matters. And human relationships are messy: misunderstandings happen, even between people who genuinely care about each other, and sometimes things go badly without anyone being at fault for it.

P.S. A bit more on the Aziz Ansari incident. I rather like this part:

All of this put me in mind of another article published this weekend, this one by the novelist and feminist icon Margaret Atwood. “My fundamental position is that women are human beings,” she writes. “Nor do I believe that women are children, incapable of agency or of making moral decisions. If they were, we’re back to the 19th century, and women should not own property, have credit cards, have access to higher education, control their own reproduction or vote. There are powerful groups in North America pushing this agenda, but they are not usually considered feminists.”

Except, increasingly, they are.

(from New York Times, “Aziz Ansari is guilty. Of not being a mind reader.”)

P.P.S. Personally, I am hoping that this current loud trend of demonizing flirtation and treating “bad date” and “clumsy advances (when the advances are from a man)” as akin to sexual assault will go the way of “bra burning” and not shaving one’s underarms. I hope that ordinary common sense and the human desire to form couples will assert itself, and this will be seen as a quaint but temporary cultural oddity that happened around the same time that actual sexual harassment became far less of a problem, and actual sexual assault ceased to be an underreported crime. (Note: Yes, I know that feminists did not literally burn bras.)

The case against home automation

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:04

I have said (and will continue to say) that if a machine can do a task as well and as inexpensively as a human, it should. No one wants to wash clothes by hand, and no one should have to perform drudgery just to give them a job to do.

However, I was an early adopter of home automation. I had voice-activated indoor and outdoor lights in the 1990s, for example. I eventually realized that most of the time, it’s easier to use a button.

I see little use for these voice-activated Google/Amazon gadgets. In the time it takes to turn down the TV or music and speak clearly, I could have typed in “Ewan Macgregor birthday” and found out how old he is. If you have hands and a phone, you don’t need a Google Echo, or whatever. You certainly don’t need one that smiles at you. They’re the current generation’s version of those countertop gadgets that collected dust back in the late 1980s/early 1990s (quesadilla makers, sandwich fryers, etc.). Useless frippery.

Saturday, 2018-01-13

Trainspotting, again

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:15

We watched “T2: Trainspotting” (2017) tonight. To put it in the vernacular of the film, it wasn’t shite. I enjoyed it. Quite a bit, actually.

And if you’ve not seen it recently, you really should see the original.

T2: Trainspotting

We have gotten the whole “shithole countries” thing wrong

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:12

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

— President Donald Trump, 2018-01-11

A lot of people have become irate at the phrase “shithole countries”, and responded, in effect, that it’s racist because there are no “shithole countries”.

I think they are wrong, or at least half wrong. Put down the pitchfork, give me a moment, and allow me to explain.

There are places in the world where the ground is so hard and dry, where life is so difficult, where the rule of law is so fragile that hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people flee those places and try to find somewhere, anyway, else to live. I myself have used the phrase “third world hellhole” to describe such places. It’s not a condemnation of the people who flee — it’s an acknowledgement of the horrors they are fleeing from.

Some of the people who flee those places seek to come to the United States (rather than any of the kinder, saner countries). They walk, ride, or float on rafts for days or weeks or even months to escape the horrors behind them and seek a place to live where they can find food, shelter, and peace. A rather famous poem by Emma Lazarus calls such people “wretched refuse”.

So here’s the thing. Read the quote from President Trump again. What part of that makes you angry? If it’s the phrase “shithole countries”, I think you are missing the point of what makes that comment so horrifying, so inhumane, and so fundamentally anti-American.

“No, no, that’s part of it!” I can almost hear you say. Yeah. Sure it is. Which is why the phrase “shithole countries” is all anyone is talking about, rather than the Republicans’ racist quest for “immigration reform”. We’ve become a society that cares more about vocabulary than intent or outcome.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Friday, 2018-01-12

Wanted: a simple black computer case

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 17:30

If you want a new computer case that does not look like a glowing alien life support pod, good luck. I looked high and low for a simple black metal box with no weird protrusions, glowing LEDs, or peek-a-boo windows. I did eventually find one, at a good price, but it took a while.

PH-ES614PC_BK

Sunday, 2018-01-07

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 12:49

If you’re like me (and I know I am), you focus a large percentage of your politically-based irritation at people who vote consistently for politicians who will do them the most harm. I am, of course, referring to Republicans.

However, we should also realize that the political machine behind the American Far Right (and again, I am referring to Republicans) does have an ideological basis, and that ideology is a clear and direct threat to what America can and should be.

“I think actually what’s going on is that these people are extremely shrewd and calculating, and they understand that African Americans, because of their historical experience and their political savvy, understand politics and government better, in a lot of ways, than a lot of white Americans. And they are a threat to this project because they will not vote for it. So they want to keep them from the polls.

“Similarly, young people are leaning left now, and they don’t accept a lot of these core ideas that come from this project, so this project has been very determined to keep young people from the polls. Frankly, if they could keep women away, they would, too. Because they understand that women suffrage opened the way to greater government involvement in the economy, and greater social provision and regulation.

“We make a mistake when we think these are just reactionary prejudices, and we need to see them as shrewd calculations to keep people who would oppose this vision away from the polls.”

(from Slate, “What Is the Far Right’s Endgame? A Society That Suppresses the Majority.”)

Saturday, 2018-01-06

Return Of The Force Awakens

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:47
The Force Awakens

We are re-watching “Star Wars 7: Episode 7 The Force Awakens” (which, fun fact, is the only Star Wars movie to have its “episode” number match its actual number). 20 minutes in, and I am reminded why I rank this as among the best of the Star Wars movies.

  1. The characters have fun with each other.
  2. The comedy works.
  3. We care about the characters, because we like the characters.
  4. The characters accomplish things.

You would think that people making Star Wars movies would remember these four simple things. But historically, 2/3 of them don’t.

Even the spaceship fights are amazing in this. Partly because the choreography of the spaceship fights is creative and interesting, but mainly because we care about the characters and what they are doing.

And in case you are wondering how to correctly use a recognizable veteran actor in a movie like this, Max Von Sydow’s character is a perfect example — that’s how you use a veteran actor in a movie like this. They come in, they provide gravitas, they pass on wisdom, and then they leave (probably by dying). They provide motivation and support for the protagonists — they definitely don’t upstage them.

Want to see how not to use a veteran actor in a movie like this? Laura Dern in “The Last Jedi” is a perfect example of what not to do: swoop in, derail the story, make the protagonists look incompetent, and grab all of the attention.

Friday, 2017-12-29

Star Wars and what it means

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 14:05

This guy says a number of insightful things. I don’t agree with everything he says, and I think he’s much too kind to “Star Wars 8: Rogue One”, but no one’s perfect.

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