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.
Also, it mentions a number of different "enclaves", essentially gated communities-cum-city states, which include a redneck confederate/South African version which enforces apartheid - and the novel absolutely doesn't defend that. There's not even the faintest whiff of the libertarian "racism = bad, but it's private institutions' right to be racist if they want to be" apologetics.
I think the sense of superiority over "ordinary" lives is common to geekdom in general, though there's an alarming overlap between geekdom and libertarianism.
(I am, of course, convinced that I'm utterly fascinating :-), but I suspect I just look that way because of a bit of a culture gap - we have compulsary military service here, and it's always possible to spin a couple of funny stories out of that.)
Arthur: That plot point made much more sense when William Burroughs used it in the Nova Trilogy.
Huh, then I guess I ought to check that out sometime, because I actually found the religion/language/virus stuff cool and mind-bending when I read the book. What got me most were the abrupt ending, and the long and (for all that I could figure out) pointless world-building tangents.
That was several years ago, though, and I was not at a point where I could really recognize much less evaluate the extreme libertarian setting.
@Tamara: the more I learn about you, the more fascinating your life sounds. (I mean, I've been in similar social milieus in educational settings - but not in a military setting.)
I don't remember the sex being that bad - there's only one that I can remember and it's like two paragraphs long at the most. What did bug me was Hiro's ex-girlfriend being built up through his memories of her, hints dropped that she's doing something really really important, and then she just shows up right near the end and does like one thing and then that's it. The plot seemed to imply that she'd be delivering some sort of epic revelation, but no, I guess not.
All that aside, I still enjoyed the other parts of the book a hell of a lot. Absolutely style over substance, but that's cyberpunk for you.
By the way, was anyone able to decipher that bit about religion,languages, and viruses all being the same thing? The book lost me there.
That plot point made much more sense when William Burroughs used it in the Nova Trilogy.
Which is pretty damning as far as Stephenson is concerned.
(The Libertarian Police Department did crack me up because I served in an infantry company consisting almost entirely of various brands of Marxists, Socialists, Anarchists and a few gently mocked Social-Democrat-Liberal types...and I did once agitate for a strike in a military kitchen when we were in boot camp.)
Did you ever read Snow Crash? Its setting is basically a libertarian "paradise" taken to a ludicrous extreme, complete with competing private police organizations and private prisons that are franchised out like (and sometimes in) fast food joints.
This is hilarious.
My favourite part: "Their reasoning is that an exchange that shuts down without warning is bad. Since that's what tacoX did that means it was a bad exchange. Since tacoX is now closed, it means that the free market got rid of a bad business. This means the free market works and that's good for bitcoin."
but it has something to do with encryption. That means it's secure
I'm not up on the roleplaying scene, so how ugly would this campaign get if it was discovered that Mr. Rash, say, preferred nWOD to cWOD?
Given that Onyx Path are now actively supporting both lines, it'd probably be less controversial than it might have been a few years ago because you don't have cWOD fans sore at not getting any love.
On the other hand, if he firmly came down on one side or the other about some specific storm-in-a-teacup controversy that only fans of a specific game care about then wow, watch the sparks fly.
(Also, judging from his comments, it seems like Chazz Darling was the vampire equivalent of Jordan Belfort, so it looks like he should be a great fit with the party.)
Still, I am grateful for this news, for it is a sign we are entering a golden age; an age where public figures are judged by the crap they put on the Internet when they were teenagers. In fact, I imagine that sometime before 2030 you will be able to turn on CNN and watch two grown men seriously discuss the presidential frontrunner's archive of Supernatural knotfic. What wonders the future will bring!
(Oh, and if anyone reading this doesn't know what I'm talking about...please don't find out for yourself. Trust me; the knowledge will not make you a happier person.)
If anything, in a way, DW is more interesting in some ways than Buffy. We can agree or disagree with Buffy's feminism, but actually analyzing it's attitude to gender is harder in some ways, because we have to get under that layer of what it's shouting from the rooftops first. I see the argument that Rory is a very interestingly feminist character, for example, and about the companions having lives outside the doctor...does that let us credit him as a feminist? I dunno. Are those deliberate subversions? Dialectical attempts to solve contradictions? An organic search for variety? Do they outweigh the problematic stuff?
I mean, I guess we could argue that had Moffat gotten a shiny fresh new blank piece of paper, he might create a Buffy, but since he has an established mythology to work with, he's subverting what he's got instead. But Buffy itself comes from a mythology, a set of tropes and tradition. Buffy IS a subversion, a very deliberate one. Arguably, her story is still all about how women have to relate to men and men's power and aggression, but I'm with the article here that utopian art is the less interesting kind of critical storytelling, opposed to the kind that makes you shift uncomfortably and think deep down "it's not really like that...is it?"
But then what hits that point and what just makes us uncomfortable because it's just nasty is just so idiosyncratic that I'm not even sure how to have a conversation about it. Maybe the key (I've been reading Roland Barth) is emotion? Buffy made me happy and sad and generally gave me pleasure. When it also made me uncomfortable, I was forced to consider that discomfort, to examine it and try to understand it's roots. DW, on the other hand, mostly bores me. It engenders no particular emotion, and it's attempts to create an examined discomfort therefore also fall flat. I have no loyalty to the story, so to speak. (I literally could not get through the new Sherlock either.) Which kind of takes it out of the hands of the authors intent. It doesn't matter if Moffat or whoever is trying to be feminist, it just matters whether his storytelling is skillful enough to succeed with a particular viewer.