[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2012-02-08

No gatekeepers needed

Filed under: Books,Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 20:11
Book in chains

There was a reason for the rise of the great publishing houses of yesteryear — not everyone could afford a printing press. That gave power to those who could afford them: the power to control what books were printed, and what books were not. The criteria publishers have used to make that decision have varied, according to the fashion and politics of the time, but the quality of the book itself has rarely, if ever, been the primary consideration.

There has been no need or reason for publishers to be wardens of our culture for at least a decade. Today, anyone can be a publisher. Where a few Goliaths once stood, now there are a thousand Davids. People who pine for “gatekeepers” and who sneer at ebooks simply because of how the book was distributed… it’s just sad. It’s like an ex-convict who can’t handle the outside world and wants to return to prison.

A good book is a good book, and a bad book is a bad book, and how the book reached the reader has no bearing on that whatsoever. I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who wants other people to control which books he may read and which he may not.

Monday, 2011-08-15

Where the Neuter Computer Goes Click

Filed under: Books,Poetry — bblackmoor @ 16:48

I have an update on that poem I was looking for.

I finally found a single reference to this poem, through Google Books, in The Columbia Granger’s guide to poetry anthologies, a book which is itself a listing and review of other books. The poem is called “Where the Neuter Computer Goes Click”, and it was contained in the anthology Of quarks, quasars, and other quirks: Quizzical poems for the supersonic age, edited by Sara Westbrook Brewton, John Edmund Brewton, and Quentin Blake, published in 1977. That’s not where I encountered it: as I mentioned, I read it in a literature textbook.

The anthology is out of print, but used copies are really cheap, so I went ahead and bought one.

Wednesday, 2011-06-22

The Neuter Computer says “click”…

Filed under: Books,Poetry — bblackmoor @ 00:14

When I was a pre-teen in the mid-1970s (I must have been nine or ten), the textbook for my English class had some great short stories, such as Harrison Bergeron and Who Can Replace A Man? One of the poems in it that still sticks with me was called The Neuter Computer. “The Neuter Computer says ‘tick’ / The Neuter Computer says ‘click’ / …”.

I have looked for that poem since, but have never found it — or any mention of it, anywhere. Even the mighty Google shrugs its shoulders at my query. Am I the only one who remembers this poem?

Monday, 2011-06-20

Defending Starship Troopers

Filed under: Books,Movies — bblackmoor @ 00:20
Starship Troopers

A fellow named Andrew Godoski has written a defense of the movie Starship Troopers over on Screened. The gist of his argument is that people dislike Starship Troopers because they don’t get that it’s satire. Critics gave it bad reviews because they didn’t get that it’s satire. People who complain about the plot, or the acting, or anything else don’t get that it’s satire.

You just don’t get it, do you? It’s satire.”

Well, in fact, I do get it.

First, critics are idiots. Anyone who needs to be told that the Starship Troopers movie is satire is an idiot — it’s obviously satire.

Second, the reason why a lot of people dislike Starship Troopers is because, in addition to it being a stupid movie (it’s fun, but it is a stupid movie), it takes a classic work of science fiction and basically craps on it. It’s like making a movie based on The Jungle and turning it into a 90-minute hot dog commercial (and not a satirical one). Starship Troopers the movie is to Starship Troopers the novel as the Phantom Menace is to the original Star Wars.

Paul Veerhoven can make good movies, and he has. Robocop was great fun. Black Book is brilliant. But Starship Troopers is not one of those movies. It’s entertaining in the way that many bad movies are entertaining (and many are), but it is by no means a good movie.

Wednesday, 2010-04-14

Never going back to Memphis

Filed under: Books,Music,Writing — bblackmoor @ 18:14

Serendipity is a strange thing.

I am working on my homework (I am in my twenty-third year of a four-year degree), and listening to music. I have a sizeable music collection, but for variety, I was listening to the “Blues” music channel on Comcast cable. “Never going back to Memphis” came on, and I thought, hey now — this is good. Who is this?

Google told me that it was Shemekia Copeland. Another quick search brought me to a lyrics page — hosted at a site called Spinetingler magazine, which is a site as much about the craft of writing fiction as it is about the fiction itself.

Which, as it happens, is something that had been much on my mind for the past few days.


Thursday, 2010-04-01

What’s inside your home is yours, except computer files

Filed under: Art,Books,Intellectual Property,Movies,Music — bblackmoor @ 15:04

This week, 50,000 new lawsuits have been filed against downloaders. It’s only going to get worse.”

“The history of copyright and intellectual property rights goes back to the 1700s. The free distribution of copyright works has never been impeded like it is today.”

“Surveillance methods being used are in the same league as those used by the NSA, CIA, MI5, MI6 and China. A real and genuine underground of revolt is brewing.

(from What’s inside your home is yours, except computer files, ZDNet)

Tuesday, 2010-02-16

‘Tis better to be alone

Filed under: Books,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:28

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

(From George Washington’s Rules of Civility)

George Washington’s Rules of Civility is pretty cool, in a Victorian sort of way.

Thursday, 2009-12-10

An it harm none…

Filed under: Books,Privacy — bblackmoor @ 11:17

“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” — Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819

“Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.” — Doreen Valiente, 1964

“I never hurt nobody but myself and that’s nobody business but by own.” — Billie Holiday

If you have not read it (or not read it lately), I suggest you spend some time with Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do, by Peter McWilliams.

Tuesday, 2009-01-13

What I am reading

Filed under: Books,Software,Writing — bblackmoor @ 11:44

A quick list of what books I am reading right now, or intend to read in the near future:

I need to read more fiction. I will start looking at novels or short story compilations after I finish with this stack.

Saturday, 2008-03-29

Peter O’Toole is cool

Filed under: Books,Movies — bblackmoor @ 00:20

Peter O’Toole is just so cool. I just found out that he has written two books (autobiographies, both), and is in the process of writing a third. I intend to read them. I will probably have to go to a library: they appear to be both out of print and expensive.

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