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 23:06 on 08-12-2013, Andy G
Two slightly different perspectives on issues that have been discussed on Ferretbrain before and are now in the news due to recent studies:

Firstly, the decline (or not) of British education.

Secondly, hard-wired differences (or not) between "male brains" and "female brains".

Plus, Who Said It: Steven Moffat or Fake Steven Moffat?

Particularly enjoyed this from Fake Steven Moffat on "Christopher Eccleston’s absence from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special":

“His exact words were, ‘A fucking reset button? Like fuck am I coming back to canonically nullify my character arc.’ I still can’t figure out what he meant by that.”
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at 19:57 on 08-12-2013, Melanie
Sometimes, you just have to ask "why?" And "what?"


...Well, bravo.
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at 18:43 on 06-12-2013, Adrienne
Aha. Along the same lines as sites like PUAs.txt (and family), then. I'll keep it on my radar, thanks. )
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at 13:37 on 06-12-2013, Arthur B
"Fundies Say the Damnedest Things", allied with sites like "Racists Say the Damnedest Things" and "Conspiracy Theorists Say the Damnedest Things".

Basically it is about highlighting silly and/or awful things said by people on the Internet, usually with a hyperconservative fundamentalist/Biblical literalist spin. Think a Web 1.0 version of Shit Reddit Says. Used to have a nasty Smug Atheist streak but that's lessened now that they've started to occasionally throw in quotes from obnoxious atheists (though they could do more of that).
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at 11:23 on 06-12-2013, Adrienne
What's an FSTDT? I mean, i'm looking at it, but i don't know anything about what it's for and i have never heard of it before. (And it doesn't seem to have an About page; i looked.)
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at 11:25 on 04-12-2013, Arthur B
Pretty much. FSTDT seem to have noticed Wright due to this latest series and have been showcasing some of his greatest hits, like the time when he said that no real man would actually want his wife to have shred of independence.
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at 03:08 on 04-12-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: Nope, can't make heads or tails of it. Or any of the previous parts, for that matter. Seems to be lots and lots of paragraphs of pining for the good old days when men were men and women were women and everyone was a capitalist like God intended.
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at 18:30 on 02-12-2013, Robinson L
Thanks for the boost, Michal. I'm a little bummed, because this is the first year since I started doing NaNo when I did not finish my novel within the month of November (I'm still in the midst of the climax). On the other hand, it's also the first year since I started doing NaNo that I broke 50,000 words more than two hours before the 1 December deadline (I probably passed it somewhere on the 29th, but didn't validate until the morning of the 30th).
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at 07:10 on 02-12-2013, Orion
Arthur,

Perhaps schaemenfreude?
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at 04:04 on 01-12-2013, Michal
Seeing as it's the end of the month, congrats to everyone who was doing NaNoWriMo and finished. And if you're doing it and haven't finished yet, well, get typing?
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at 16:26 on 30-11-2013, Arthur B
Oh no! What's it about?

Here, I'll DoNotLink it and you can try to figure it out for yourself. It's yet more barmy notions about the crypto-Marxists littered with blather and ignorance. (At one point he uses the amazingly inaccurate term "speciation into sexes"; men evolved on Mars, women evolved on Venus?).

That said, he's a bit more direct about his overall agenda in the first post of his in the comments (towards the top of the comments, replying to "Stephen J", where he basically says that adventure stories are boys' stuff and love stories are girls' stuff and that's how it's to be forever and you can't put female protagonists in adventure stories without either neutering the protagonist or turning it into a love story.
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at 07:26 on 30-11-2013, Adrienne
Oh no! What's it about? Also, I would like to commend unto FerretBrain the service DoNotLink, for linking to odious sites without giving them googlejuice or a link back here. (It's a redirect, so it hides the referer; and it sets rel="nofollow", meaning it doesn't improve pagerank.)
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at 05:53 on 30-11-2013, Michal
Ye gods, there's a Part 5!
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at 15:34 on 29-11-2013, Adrienne
Though for Wright his main problem seems to be their rebellion against King and Pope, those two bastions of anti-authoritarianism.


Yes, this was the association I was making. I do understand that Cromwell was terrible in his own way, but to call him "totalitarian" in contrast to the existing authorities of the day is a giant WTF.
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at 10:38 on 29-11-2013, Arthur B
...I haven't read the new Wr*ght piece yet, but I'm a bit confused by anyone who can manage to conflate "Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans" with "the spirit of totalitarianism". WTF?

To be fair, if you were Irish Cromwell's rule was not a happy time. And the Puritans are popularly associated with banning plays, Christmas, dancing and anything else which might be fun.

Though for Wright his main problem seems to be their rebellion against King and Pope, those two bastions of anti-authoritarianism.
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at 05:53 on 29-11-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Michal:

Even the notion of medieval Europe as a Catholic wonderland is laughable...

In this popular picture, Europe isn't really Europe as such, it is something that begins as the Western Roman Empire and then gradually expands along with catholicism, except at that time in the beginning, where most people forget that many of those Germanic tribes were christians already, even if arian. I guess, if were being charitable that the catholic church was just a very bountiful thing when it comes to written sources, so that might be a reason for people not knowing much of pagan Europe. The mental image of medieval Europe seems to be stuck somewhere in the high middle ages and the hundred years war in any case.

My objection is to Politically Correct piety. My objection is to the Thought Police.

My objection is to the spirit of totalitarianism.

It somehow seems so weak and pitiful for someone to so glibly throw words like thought police and totalitarianism(or the spirit of) around without being even remotely or symbolically in a position to claim anything like it. Or is he prosecuted by someone or are there governmental agencies seeking to shut him down and throw him to a gulag? I might have gone on about this before, but how exactly does he think that free speech works? Isn't a public discussion and judgment of said speech exactly how this sort of thing is supposed to work? If someone goes about denigrating large parts of the populace, it is very petty to starts shouting thought police when people disagree with him, however vocal they might be about it. Seems like he is very interested in totalitarianism, he just wants to be the one defining what is true and what is not. To be a bit unkind about it, but really? He has no real understanding of what totalitarianism even means. It has nothing to do with people disagreeing with a bigot on a public forum.

Not that that quotation with its ill-thought out and vacuous gushings on art and political correctness is exactly inspired in its other elements.
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at 04:54 on 29-11-2013, Adrienne
...I haven't read the new Wr*ght piece yet, but I'm a bit confused by anyone who can manage to conflate "Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans" with "the spirit of totalitarianism". WTF?
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at 00:34 on 29-11-2013, Michal
Is there a term from finding it amusing when people make themselves look like utter cartoons and don't realise how ridiculous they're being?

Voxificity? Then again, Vox passed from being cartoonishly monstrous to just being deeply unpleasant when he voiced his approval of the Taliban shooting Malala Yousafzai in the head (ditto when he commented about how women couldn't possibly beat up men because he beat up a woman once, then described the incident in excruciating detail that bore the tell-tale markers of a domestic abuse situation). JWC just comes across as a foolish little man.

We still have this strangely static view of the Middle Ages inherited from the Enlightenment that doesn't take into account the vast range of cultures and cultural interactions in Europe over the course of nearly a millennium, which (obviously) included shifting concepts of gender roles. Even the notion of medieval Europe as a Catholic wonderland is laughable...e.g. the Grand Duchy of Lithuania did not convert to Christianity until 1386.
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at 23:22 on 28-11-2013, Melanie
If someone is going to idealise the Middle Ages, could they at least start by trying to understand them on their own terms? Rather than just making things up and projecting their own social views backwards?


I think at this point it's pretty clear that this is never, ever, ever going to happen.

...I'm just saying, once you start idealizing some past period of time (especially one that you, personally, were not alive for) at all, you've already started down the Rabbit Hole of Historical Inaccuracy.
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at 20:56 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
So, part 4 of JCW's epic article on Strong Female Characters (which barely talks about such things because it spends most of its time going down utterly bizarre tangents) is out and wow, it's really out there. You've got John defining political correctness as part of an antihuman, anti-Christian heresy incorporating Islamist terrorists, the Soviet bloc, the Nazis, all the way back to the heresy's inception with Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. You've got him affirming his opposition to the Strong Female Characters in SF despite the fact that he goes out of his way to say he doesn't object to more or less every specific example he raises. But I think the part which caused me the most schadenfreude* was this:

So what is my objection?

My objection is to falseness, insincerity, propaganda, bad drama, bad art, and treason against the muses. My objection is to using art for propaganda purposes. My objection is to Politically Correct piety. My objection is to the Thought Police.

My objection is to the spirit of totalitarianism.


Yes, it all comes back (yet again) to him being sad that people yelled at him for being a raging homophobe back in 2009, and how he'd really like to have the right to say any objectionable shit he likes and never, ever get called on it.

*Not quite schadenfreude because Wright isn't actually enduring any suffering or pain for my amusement. Is there a term from finding it amusing when people make themselves look like utter cartoons and don't realise how ridiculous they're being?
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at 18:49 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
It is done. Though any DM will seem anticlimactic after this weird little dance...
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at 18:02 on 28-11-2013, Adrienne
@Arthur B -- also, in re: Twitter, I cannot in fact direct message you because while I follow you, you do not follow me. I'm @adrienneleigh if you would care to do that, at least long enough for me to send you a DM?
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at 15:08 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
I liked his Grognardia stuff too; like I said, he kept his politics and religion out of it mostly and some of the stuff he dug up was interesting.

That said, I wasn't too keen on the trajectory the blog took in its later phases, where he'd write exhaustive summaries of the contents of long-forgotten magazines and didn't really offer much in the way of insightful commentary, or where he'd post one week "Recently I've been thinking about getting a copy of [oldgame], but alas, it's so expensive and rare" and then the next week post "A kind Grognardia reader was nice enough to send me a copy of [oldgame], so here's what I think about it..."
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