[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2017-05-15

The problem of “free speech”

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:13

For most of my life, I have been a steadfast supporter of “free speech” — the principle that anyone should be allowed to say anything, as long as they do not cause physical harm to another person. By “allowed”, I mean legally allowed, which is not the same thing as being socially acceptable. I have opposed laws against “hate speech”, for example, even though I think that in everyday conversation, such remarks should be condemned by others who hear them.

The problem is that we have somehow become a society that does not recognize the vast gulf between “socially acceptable” behaviour and “legally permitted behaviour“. Americans have accepted the premise that anything legally permissible is also acceptable.

I’m not sure how this happened. I suspect that it is a result of our attempts to legislate against things which have been considered socially unacceptable (the American war against drug users being the most obvious example). If socially unacceptable behaviour is against the law, but ruthlessly harassing someone for being female isn’t against the law, it must be okay, yes?

Whenever challenged on their obnoxious behaviour, the worst examples of human garbage proclaim they are simply exercising their right to “free speech”. The cry of “free speech” has accompanied the rise of “talk radio” in the 1980s (which is little more than Nazi propaganda masquerading as news), the spread of white male supremacist asshat movements like “gamerhate” and “sad/rabid puppies“, culminating with the election of a vulgar narcissist as President of the United States.

How have Americans come to value vulgarity above civility and factuality? I think it is because we have placed too much emphasis on our “right to free speech”. It has become a sort of idol, which we worship by saying the most egregiously offensive things possible. That is bad enough. What concerns me more is that we have entire media empires spreading fiction as though it’s news, and huge portions of the population are rejecting facts and embracing the most ludicrous of falsehoods.

Frankly, I think it’s too late to fix it. The avalanche of lies has started, and it’s too late to stop it. We elevated “free speech” to a religion, and we are paying the price.

But I have a suggestion for the survivors of the next revolution, when they begin writing the next set of sacrosanct documents by which they will chart their destinies:

Limit “freedom of speech”. Prohibit the promotion of discredited scientific theories and outright falsehoods, and give serious thought to prohibiting language that encourages the victimization of any category of people. Somehow, make it clear that there is no need to “tolerate intolerance”.

Maybe if the next civilization extols civility, factual accuracy, and scientific inquiry, rather than “free speech” and “freedom of religion”, they can avoid our mistakes.

Thursday, 2017-05-11

MST3K Kickstarter swag

Filed under: Movies,Television — bblackmoor @ 20:13

This arrived today: my swag from the “new” Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter. I am debating whether to keep them or sell them on Ebay. I am leaning toward selling them: they are a painful reminder of what could have been. “What could have been”, of course, is a new Mystery Science Theater that is actually good. Or at least, not utterly dreadful, which is what it is.

Utterly dreadful.

It needn’t have been dreadful. It could have been great. If they’d not edited the movies for time or content (they are actually shorter than the Comedy Central episodes!). If they’d not taken the lazy way out with the invention exchanges (I mean, seriously, why did they even bother). If the riffs were not being recited at double-speed like old-timey auctioneers. If the voice actors for Tom Servo and Crow didn’t sound indistinguishable from each other. If the lyrics of the opening theme didn’t jar egregiously with the melody, and if it didn’t pause inexplicably for ten seconds for no apparent reason (why? why??). If the three-person puppeteering of Tom and Crow wasn’t worse than the worst that Josh, Trace, Kevin, or Bill ever did. If the interior of the Satellite Of Love didn’t look like a cheap painted backdrop. If the Hexfield Viewscreen (TM) hadn’t been replaced with a simple screen that drops from the ceiling. If Gypsy hadn’t been attached the ceiling for no apparent reason, limiting her movement and interactivity. If they hadn’t made Tom Servo’s arms stiff and even less articulate. And don’t get me started on the dysfunctional in-theater performances (flying stiff-armed Tom Servo, random Gypsy luggage-handling, lip-synced riffing… again: why??).

Did I mention the completely unnecessary editing of the films? That, by itself, is enough reason to eschew this travesty.

And yet, I am glad I supported the Kickstarter. Because it might have been great — or at least good. It might have been worth what I — and hundreds of other people — spent money on. It might have been….

sigh

Update: I sold some, gave away the rest. It has been a relief not to have those reminders around.

Monday, 2017-05-08

Taglines for Republicans

Filed under: Humour,Politics — bblackmoor @ 11:06

I think Republicans need some help selling their message to folks who aren’t yet completely on board with embracing evil. So I wrote up some taglines for them.

“Remember: there is always someone poorer than you. Hate them! They are to blame for their problems — and yours!”

“Good is weak; evil is strong. Support the Republican Party, and maybe we won’t kill you!”

“The only way to help yourself is to never help anyone else. A penny spent to help someone worse off than you is a penny wasted!”

“The United States is a Christian nation! Only the Republicans will preserve your precious religious freedom to support a Republican theocracy.”

“Remember: minimum wage laws are Socialism, which is anti-American. People who cook and serve your food deserve to starve!”

“War is good for the nation. Never question how much we spend on it. The more war, the better!”

“Remember: being a Republican is your only hope of becoming a victimizer, rather than a victim.”

“No matter who you are or what you believe, the Republican Party hates you: but we hate women and foreigners even more!”

“This message brought to you by the Republican Party: the party of lies, hatred, and death!”

Thursday, 2017-05-04

Republicans are evil

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 17:21

Anyone who calls themselves a Republican, or votes for a Republican, is just unapologetically evil. That wasn’t always true. But the Republicans of the 21st century aren’t the Republicans of 150 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. It’s become the party of lies, hatred, and death.

Your Highness (2011)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 08:49

I have been rewatching a lot of 1980s fantasy movies lately. While putting Warrior And The Sorceress back on the shelf, I happened to notice Your Highness, which I’d completely forgotten about. I really like this movie. It’s a comedy, but it’s not a spoof. It’s like what would happen if a guy who really shouldn’t be in a 1980s fantasy movie got dragged into one against his will. Great cast, very funny, and has all of the best parts of the 1980s fantasy movies that I love.

Monday, 2017-05-01

Still really trying to promote what I love etc.

Filed under: Comics,Movies,Philosophy,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:08

It’s really hard to “promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate” when what you used to love (Star Wars, Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, mainstream superhero comics, etc.) has been turned into crap by people squeezing every last dime they can out of it.

sigh… But I’m trying. I really am.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate

Saturday, 2017-04-29

Five acceptable responses

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 15:44

This is a public service message.

When someone† posts, “Here is something I like!”, there are five acceptable responses. I will list them here.

1) “Tell me more about this thing you like!”
2) “Did you know this fun‡ fact about the thing you like?”
3) “I like that, too!”
4) “The thing you like reminds me of this other thing, which I like!”
5) (silence)

Now you know.

† “Someone” means “Someone who is not a full-blown Nazi, sexist scumbag, or overt racist.”
‡ “Fun” means actually fun — not mean, snide, derogatory, or judgemental.

Know your zombie

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 12:46

One of my most enjoyable convention panels, back when I used to do that sort of thing, was “gearing up for a zombie apocalypse”. I insisted that before you could make that kind of plan, you needed to answer three questions about the zombies:

  1. Are they fast?
  2. Are they aggressive?
  3. Are they infectious?

The answer to each of these questions dictates the gear you will need to survive. The most important factor is #3. It’s the infectious nature of modern zombies that makes them a civilization-ending threat. Even if every person who died eventually became a zombie, that’s a much easier situation to deal with than one where you get bit by a zombie today and turn into a zombie tomorrow.

Monday, 2017-04-24

Tipping is bullshit

Filed under: Fine Living,Food,Philosophy,Politics — bblackmoor @ 21:05

Tipping is bullshit. American “tipping” has created a whole class of beggars. People who work on my car work just as hard as the people who bring me food, but they’re not dependent on the kindness of strangers to pay their damned bills. And how much my mechanics get paid doesn’t depend on the cost of the part I have them install, or whether they’re young and cute.

I tip well, because I can (this was not always so), but I would much prefer that businesses actually pay their employees to do the job they were hired to do, so that the price I am quoted when I place my order is the price I actually pay.

“Tipping” should be abolished. It’s unfair to the people who pay, and it’s insulting and unfair to the people who receive.

But with the current political trends in this country, I suspect that most Americans will be depending on “tips” to survive before too long.

Thursday, 2017-03-30

In the event of my death

Filed under: About Me,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 16:32

My death is inevitable, and there is a reasonable chance that someone I know will outlive me and have some interest in my passing. As such, these are my wishes for the treatment of my remains and memory upon my death and for a short time thereafter.

First and most importantly, I won’t be there, so it really doesn’t matter what I want. Take my corpse to Nags Head and parade me around like Terry Kiser, and I won’t know any different. But if you care what I wanted, here you go.

  1. No viewing. Don’t bother putting my dead body on display. I wasn’t all that great to look at when I was alive, and I seriously doubt I got better looking afterward. Personally, I think putting dead bodies on display is grotesque.
  2. No prayers, no platitudes, no religious balderdash. I’m not in a better place. My death wasn’t part of some divine plan. That’s all bullshit. As far as the universe is concerned, my death matters as much as a light bulb burning out. I was alive. Now I’m not.
  3. No obituaries. Don’t waste money announcing my death in the newspaper or anywhere else. Anyone who cares if I’m dead already knows.
  4. Keep things cheap. My remains don’t need a fancy headstone, casket, funeral service, or anything else. Dispose of them in the cheapest, simplest way possible. Use my bones, skin, corneas, and various organs if you can, and toss the rest in a landfill, for all I care. Cremation and resomation (alkaline hydrolysis) are probably the most cost-effective means of disposal. And for pete’s sake, don’t keep the leftovers. Throw them away.
  5. Throw a party, preferably somewhere you don’t have to clean up afterward. Have an open bar, and invite the handful of people who actually care that I’m dead. I doubt it would be more than a dozen people, plus my family.
  6. No eulogy. I’m gone, and it’s too late to assign any meaning to my life. If you feel an uncontrollable desire to hear yourselves talk, here’s an activity for you: each person raises a toast to my memory, says one good thing about me, and one bad thing about me, and then everyone drinks. Both the good thing and the bad thing have to be sincere, and they have to be something no one else has said yet. If the person whose turn it is can’t think of one good thing and one bad thing, then they just say, “To Brandon!”, and everyone drinks.
  7. Try to find a place for my various pet projects before my web sites expire. I hereby declare everything I wrote during my life to be given to the public domain after my death, not that I think anyone actually cares about a word of it.
  8. If Susan’s dead, find a loving home for our cat. Use as much money as needed.
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