Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 13:40 on 07-03-2013, Wardog
Flies wouldn't even land on your carcass!
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at 13:24 on 07-03-2013, Arthur B
We can!

I don't know if skulls come in the core rules but I'm sure we can houserule something. :D
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at 12:58 on 07-03-2013, Wardog
Really? Gosh. Can we ... play it?

And can I be a floating skull so Shim can lose me?
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at 12:38 on 07-03-2013, Arthur B
I'm actually excited enough that I've pre-ordered the Muna Muna tabletop RPG to tide me over until the CRPG comes out. :D
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at 09:43 on 07-03-2013, Wardog
Gosh, watching the Kickstarter of Torment: Tides of Whatevs is exciting. Weirdly, this seems to be the best part of kickstarting. The aftermath is just boring.
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at 01:45 on 06-03-2013, Melanie
That is charming!
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at 23:07 on 04-03-2013, Jamie Johnston permalink
at 23:04 on 04-03-2013, Jamie Johnston
Oh, you're at McGill! I have a couple of friends who studied there. ... That's less exciting / surprising than it seemed before I typed it out.
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at 20:46 on 04-03-2013, Michal
Indeed we do. It's Reading Week so I have the run of the place to myself, which compensates for being on campus during Reading Week.

But I am obviously procrastinating right now and should get back to work.
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at 20:11 on 04-03-2013, Wardog
You have wi-fi your chapel? Wow. Times do change.
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at 19:54 on 04-03-2013, Michal
Where IS everyone? I'm the only new post in 4 days?

I am currently in a chapel writing a paper on necromantic manuscripts in the later Middle Ages. It's probably better if you don't hear from me in the next while.
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at 19:04 on 04-03-2013, Wardog
I've been crazy busy, at work and at home. Growl.

But, yes, I'm happy to participate in book laundering - drop me an email :)
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at 17:48 on 04-03-2013, Adrienne
Where IS everyone? I'm the only new post in 4 days?
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at 02:48 on 04-03-2013, Adrienne
Hey, British ferrety folks -- is one of you willing to work out some sort of thing where I could send you some money (via Paypal or such) to have you buy a few ebooks for me? Stupid geographical restrictions argh.
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at 16:17 on 28-02-2013, Dan H
I'm actually a bit behind on the prequel trilogy - I've not read Clockwork Prince yet. I'm waiting for it to come out in *normal* paperback size. And I think there's the sequel series *as well* I have to deal with at some point.
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at 00:11 on 28-02-2013, Bookwyrm
Rejoice, for this means another CC post at Ferretbrain in due time!

Oh it gets better. There's a movie adaptation coming out this summer. Oh joy, now we get to see His Mortal Instrument ads everywhere.
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at 22:16 on 27-02-2013, Cressida
I was in Chicago not too long ago, and I saw a big, glossy poster in the window of a Millions of Books store advertising the next Cassandra Clare novel, due out in March. I believe it's to be called The Clockwork Princess. Rejoice, for this means another CC post at Ferretbrain in due time!
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at 15:57 on 27-02-2013, Fishing in the Mud
And the social justice issues you ferrets usually deal with aren't a political matter for me, but an ethical one. Of course, you can have agendas in this matter, but for me, there's not really two sides to the issue that need to be heard. There's an objective right and wrong which can easily be sussed out through empathy.

That's great, but plenty of people who feel just as strongly that there's "an objective right and wrong" about these issues come to the opposite conclusions that you probably would. Even if you consider them non-issues, when other people decide to argue for positions very different from yours about issues that actually affect your life, you don't get the option of ignoring them.

The problem I have with aligning yourself with a fixed political position is that it often turns policy discussions into a battle, and people become more solidly entrenched in their original points of view than they would have been if they had been arguing about topics that didn't have the "politics" tag attached to them. That doesn't mean these topics aren't relevant to real life or that no one considers them controversial even if you don't.
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at 12:47 on 27-02-2013, Andy G
I'm rather baffled why you would think my comment was offensive, so I can only assume we're talking at cross purposes, and I am sorry if I have inadvertently caused offence. In particular, my choice of "would be justified" was deliberate: I wasn't claiming that your view was in fact blanket cynicism; in fact, my sense was that you and Robinson might have been talking at cross-purposes. I was trying to distinguish between (a) writing from a perspective structured around a certain political conception and directed towards certain political ends, and (b) propagandistic writing which distorts matters to fit a particular political end. I don't think (a) is bad at all - in fact, I think all writing is necessarily (a), as the idea of politically neutral writing is incoherent. However, it is incoherent only if "political" is being taken in a very broad sense; it could consistently be the case that for a narrower sense of "political" (for instance, explicit programmatic -isms), all "political" writing was dangerous and untrustworthy.

Anyway that's all I have to say on that subject here so I shall leave this topic alone now. Again, if I've offended you, sorry.
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at 10:34 on 27-02-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
"Why are Americans Afraid of Dragons?"

Wait, what?

Yeah, that seems like an obvious thing, since they're really horrific like, with many sharp claws and multitudes of sharp pointy teeth. Plus the fly and have bad breath.

Michal: I hope it would be a joke. But maybe it's a bit too subtle, like when he blames Le Guin for using a strawman in her description of the typical american reader, which seems to be the case, and then starts dreamily to describe what the typical american reader is like! I mean, just saying that there are many kinds of readers and there are sales statistics to prove it would be much better than engaging in flowery elitism in an essai that specifically tries to attack elitism. I guess sentimentalism is to be preferred to left wing.

On the matter of politics, I'll subscribe to the idea that the preferred type is the pundit who is upfront about their views and then presents as honest an argument that they are able to support that argument. If the facts are right, embellishment and useless demonization of opposing views or the object of the text is not required, assuming that the writer actually trusts the reader to think for themselves. Of course, sometimes argumentative pieces are in order, but you can be upfront about that as well.

And the social justice issues you ferrets usually deal with aren't a political matter for me, but an ethical one. Of course, you can have agendas in this matter, but for me, there's not really two sides to the issue that need to be heard. There's an objective right and wrong which can easily be sussed out through empathy.


Do you mean that you don't need to b convinced on these issues, because you agree, and therefore don't see it politically? Because usually the issue with these sorts of things or politics is the problem of selling a moral viewpoint or a viewpoint that is presented as a moral one. And unfortunately, because ethical or moral viewpoints are usually perceived as objective by pretty much every one, even those who think that such viewpoints are subjective, it has a tendency to break down the discussion into a competition of rhetorics. And that's one of the reasons I enjoy these articles, they're usually insightful enough viewpoints into things I generally agree on and they are entertaining too, so if I ever get caught in such discussions, perhaps I can use some of the arguments. Not that I think that the Conan things are obligatory for anyone, but the comments are very illuminating of the problems of some fandoms which desperately wish to defend their things from any and all criticisms.
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at 02:19 on 27-02-2013, James D
Just a question - why wouldn't blanket cynicism about any writing with a political agenda be justified? I mean someone writing something with a political agenda in mind is trying to sell you their views, right? Caveat emptor. That's not to say you should just instantly dismiss anyone with a political agenda without any consideration at all, but I think it goes without saying that, if the choice is a conscious one, you're not going to buy the vast majority of "products" you are presented with.
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at 01:09 on 27-02-2013, Cheriola
If the issue is just with the propagandistic approach typically taken within the specific tradition of (so-called) communism, and perhaps also the agenda of that tradition itself, that's fine, but I don't think blanket cynicism about any writing with a political agenda would be justified.


It must be so nice not to grow up in an area with living memory of being successively seduced and betrayed by the promises of all three major options for political/economic systems today's world has to offer. (Yes, that includes the current system.) But the burnt child dreads the fire.

I had here a snarky explanation for why the above quote is also kind of thoughtlessly offensive on multiple levels, but I can't think of another way of explaining my point to a Brit and/or American than coding it into an abuse metaphor. And I don't want to go there. So lets leave it at this: We obviously have very different worldviews, based on our very different cultural history. Please don't act like you can judge my reaction "unjustified" if you've never walked in my shoes.
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at 23:00 on 26-02-2013, Cheriola
Well, he writes mostly about Doctor Who, which I am interested in. (I've tried to read a couple of your Conan articles, but... Sorry, the subject matter just doesn't interest me enough to invest so much time. Obviously it's interesting to you, so more power to you for writing the articles. As long as it's not considered required reading on this site...)

And while I'm currently rolling my eyes when he starts about capitalism and the evil petit bourgeoisie again, he does write about some other stuff that I can get behind. Such as the latest article. (Which doesn't add very much new to the topic it's about, but it was linked to me because it was the first one to make the distinction that River Song is a sexist character in the particular way of sexism as it exists now, and therefore comparisons to earlier eras of the show are moot. It's all a bit meta. You've probably got to be a loyal reader of certain other feminist Doctor Who blogs to understand why this article was necessary.)

Besides, there is a certain fascination to someone who gets this monomaniacal and obsessive about his pet topic. It's a bit telling that he links to "Mad Larry" (not my nickname) without irony and lists his blog basically in the same breath as STFUMoffat... (Note about Mr. Miles: I would like to link you to one of his more, shall we say, 'colourful' essays, but he has a habit of deleting them once shit hits the fan.)
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at 22:51 on 26-02-2013, Andy G
I don't think the issue is having a political agenda as such (if anything, I think it's admirable to be upfront about your political agenda rather than disguising it in a pretence at neutrality) but rather writing in a way that distorts facts to fit that agenda or reduces critics of that agenda to strawmen. That's aside from the merits (or not) of the particular political agenda in question. If the issue is just with the propagandistic approach typically taken within the specific tradition of (so-called) communism, and perhaps also the agenda of that tradition itself, that's fine, but I don't think blanket cynicism about any writing with a political agenda would be justified.
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