[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2019-12-20

It was the Yuletide…

Filed under: Books,Family,Friends,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:36

Even Lovecraftian cultists love Christmas!

It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten.

— “The Festival” (Originally published in Weird Tales, January 1925)

Tuesday, 2018-08-28

Copyright is not a moral absolute

Filed under: Art,Books,Intellectual Property,Music — bblackmoor @ 11:36

People act like copyright is this intrinsic moral law of the universe. It’s not. It’s new. And it very clearly has become a tool to allow huge corporations to annex our shared culture, depriving future generations of what is rightfully theirs. People who shill for copyright are not much different than the polluters who want to keep pumping carbon into the air regardless of the effects it has on future generations — effects which are already very much apparent. It is, at best, grievously short-sighted.

loss of the public domain 2014

Wednesday, 2018-02-28

Dragons can be killed

Filed under: Art,Books,Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:20

I ran across this quote today (not for the first time). It occurs to me that our fairy tales might have changed, but the lesson is still the same.

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.”
— G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: “The Red Angel”

Sweet Halloween Dreams (begemott)

P.S. This is often mis-quoted as something like, “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” It’s succinct, and it’s true, but that’s not the quotation. I care about things like that. You might not.

Sunday, 2017-02-05

Happy birthday to William S. Burroughs

Filed under: Books,Philosophy,Poetry — bblackmoor @ 21:04

Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs — American novelist, short story writer, satirist, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer.

William S. Burroughs

Tuesday, 2016-06-07

Looking back on copyright

Filed under: Art,Books,Intellectual Property,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 18:30

Prediction: In five hundred years, our current system of “intellectual property” (copyright, trademarks, patents) will be considered an archaic affront to basic human rights, rather like “creative feudalism”. It will be mentioned alongside multi-level-marketing and trickle-down economics as one of the peculiarly unchallenged scams of our era. People of the future will wonder how we could have possibly been so stupid.

Thursday, 2015-04-02

We do not see things as they are

Filed under: Books,Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 21:16

When confronted with the “antis” — anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-gun, anti-women, anti-science, anti-South, anti-sex, etc. — who seem so devoted to their agendas of hatred, ignorance, and irrational fear, I am reminded of a line from Anaïs Nin‘s “Seduction of the Minotaur” (echoing a much older idea):

We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Seduction of the Minotaur

Thursday, 2013-11-14

Harry Potter review

Filed under: Books,Movies — bblackmoor @ 19:22
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone

I liked the first Harry Potter book and the first Harry Potter movie. The whole setting is nonsensical, but it was fun to explore this wacky nonsense world, and Harry was a sympathetic underdog. I liked each successive book and movie less, as they became progressively less fun and more dreary, while remaining completely nonsensical, and while Harry became progressively less sympathetic.

Dreary, nonsensical, and unsympathetic is not a recipe for a good movie (or book).

My favorite character is Snape, of course.

Tuesday, 2013-06-18

Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

Filed under: Art,Books,Ecology,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:58
Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

I read voraciously as a child. I stumbled across Arcology: The City in the Image of Man in the library some time in the late 1970s, and it made a huge impression on me. I immediately created some imaginary worlds for people to live in within these immense structures. I have been thinking about the cyberpunk genre recently, in large part because of some conversations with Chris Helton. I made an offhand comment about cyberpunk being the 2020s as imagined by the 1980s, but really, I think cyberpunk has its roots even earlier, in the work of Paolo Soleri and Samuel Delany (Babel 17, Dhalgren).

Saturday, 2013-03-16

Sherlock Holmes and the public domain

Filed under: Books,Intellectual Property — bblackmoor @ 22:07
books_old

Susan and I had a conversation earlier about Sherlock Holmes, and whether the 125-year-old character was in the public domain (it should have been in the public domain before either of us were born, but that’s another topic).

In process of researching our discussion, I turned up this article regarding a suit filed recently in federal court in Chicago. A top Sherlock Holmes scholar alleges that many licensing fees paid to the Arthur Conan Doyle estate have been unnecessary, since the main characters and elements of their story derive from materials in the public domain (as of 2004, only 9 of the 60 Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle are still covered under US copyright).

Saturday, 2012-11-17

Copyright Law Destroys Markets; It’s Time For Real Reform

Filed under: Books,Intellectual Property,Movies — bblackmoor @ 10:58
The Future According to Disney

I had to double check to make sure this wasn’t an Onion article. This is amazing. I thought the media robber barons had successfully brainwashed everyone in Washington.

Copyright was an Enlightenment-era social experiment: use the power of government to prevent people from selling or copying creative works without the consent of the creator for a limited time. As originally conceived, I think it was relatively reasonable. However, the current perception (perpetuated by large media companies that seek to own and control our cultural heritage) that when someone creates something once once, that they (rather, the corporation they work for) should be able to monetize that and prevent other people from sharing it or building on it forever has caused and continues to cause severe damage to our common culture, and to the culture of future generations.

If current copyright law had always existed, there would be no libraries, because there would be nothing to put in them.

Update (2012-11-18): That didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after this “eminently sensible copyright position paper” was posted, the paper has been pulled and the Republicans are falling over themselves to placate the media robber barons. Money doesn’t win elections, but this makes it abundantly clear that money does buy politicians. (In case you doubted it.)

Should you want to read the paper, I have a mirror of it here, and there are also a mirror at KEI, and another from the MD Pirate Party.

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