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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-07-01 04:51
Subject: [links] Link salad sees a city in its mind
Security: Public
Tags:art, books, culture, funny, games, gay, green, grief, links, personal, photos, politics, process, reviews, science
criada reacts to The Specific Gravity of Grief — I was very touched by this one.

A reader reacts to Green — They really, really didn't like it. My favorite part of the review: I should have bought an IT book or something. Best book diss EVAR.

Some thoughts on uniformity — Paul Jessup on story telling.

Engendering Utopia: From Amazons to Androgyny — A reprint of an old IROSF article by specficrider and me.

Okay, kids, play on my lawn — Roger Ebert on video games as art (again), with reference to Shakespeare and Clive Barker.

Science Historian Cracks the 'Plato Code' — This is cool. (Thanks to e_bourne.)

Get Fuzzy on kosher dolphins

The fanciful vehicular concept art of 1930s Japan — Very cool stuff from io9.com. The future that never was ours.

Inspiring vintage science fiction art — (Via Dark Roasted Blend.)

The First Photo of a Planet Outside Our Solar System — Wow. More from Centauri Dreams.

More on Research 2000Daily Kos on the invalidity of their own polling. This is a serious problem with process, accountability and accuracy. Probably not so much with underlying trending, as this piece points out. For example, Harris says: 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" (Thanks to ericjamesstone for the nudge.)

Montana GOP seeks to 'keep homosexual acts illegal.' — As has the Texas GOP. This is keeping government out of private life, which was all the rage for conservatives during the HCR debate? Tell me again how the conservative movement isn't grounded in bigotry.

?otD: Are you on the road to nowhere?

Writing time yesterday: n/a
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (solid)
This morning's weigh-in: 226.6
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 2/10
Currently (re)reading: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

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User: bradrtorgersen
Date: 2010-07-01 16:56 (UTC)
Subject: Bigotry enough to go around
Posted here, 'cause your WordPress blog comments seemed to kerflunky my post.

Jay, please. Let's not pretend that bigotry is a game for conservatives only. I spent too many years living and working in the PNW -- was privy to too many jokes and conversations which would have been scandalous had they come from the mouths of conservatives, as opposed to card-carrying progressives -- to ever believe that bigots do not in fact populate BOTH sides of the spectrum.

Thing is, liberals often give other liberals a free pass on bigotry. Either because it's the "correct kind" of bigotry, or because the bigot in question is simply playing for the "correct" team. Which is something conservatives do too: giving their compatriots a pass on gross principle violation, if only because the offender is a "team player" and the "team" has to stick together, right?

I've complained for years that both the Left and the Right run roughshod over their own principles, in the name of "team cohesion" or other circled-wagons tactics. Because the "team" aspect trumps ethics and clarity, and that's why Washington D.C. is a filthy place filled with hypocrites.

Now, you might be tempted to argue that liberals don't try to export their bigotry via legal means. I beg to differ. I could point to how Seattle residents -- some, not all -- actively tried to have U.S. military recruiters and military personnel legally banned from all public Seattle school campuses. Imagine that, law-abiding servicemembers being legally prevented from even going onto a public school campus -- one wonders how a servicemember drops off or picks up his or her kids? -- because of who they work for.

Golly, sounds like bigotry in action to me -- but then, many liberals hate military members whole cloth; at least when a Republican in in the White House. Ironic, how a lot of that has died down now that "team member" is in the white house.

Imagine further if a conservative town or city tried to "ban" people from similar public places, because they work for ACORN or the ACLU or are affiliated with the NAACP or the Democratic Party. It would be a big howl of liberal indignation from one side of America to the other. But lots of liberals think just this scenario is acceptable -- provided the affiliation in question is the "wrong" kind of affiliation.

Jay, you're an astute guy. I do wish you'd frame some of these blanket statements -- "conservative movement grounded in bigotry" -- with a little common sense.

Are some conservatives bigoted? You bet.

But plenty of self-identifying liberals are bigoted too -- in all kinds of surprising ways -- but you too often appear to have a blind spot for them. Or so it seems, because I don't ever see you chewing out liberal bullshit in your link salad. Just pot shots at conservatives. Kinda makes you look like a "team player" yourself.

I hope not!
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-07-01 22:48 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
Don't have time to answer in detail, but you'll note I was talking about party platforms, which are formal declarations of principle, in essence, and the conservative movement, which (presumably) adheres to its own principles. Not about individuals, conservative or otherwise.

You'll find jerks of all kinds in any group of people. I'm the first to agree with that statement. But there is a significant difference between formally trying to suppress by legal means and having objectionable personal opinions. Are you arguing that the unfortunate actions of "a few people in Seattle" are really equivalent to the formal adoption of party platforms?

FWIW, have you ever seen me criticize the military as military? I certainly have my opinions on the wars in which we're engaged, but I don't confuse the military doing their job with the political establishment (of both parties) which defines both the job and the parameters under which it can be pursued.

Somewhat tangentially, but related, were you reading me when I posted this? http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1602544.html

Also, sorry about the WordPress comment issue. That side of my blog has been severely troublesome over the past day or so.

Edited at 2010-07-01 10:48 pm (UTC)
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User: bradrtorgersen
Date: 2010-07-02 00:23 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
Hmmm, party platform. I have to think about that for a bit, because "conservative" is not a party nor a platform, but a popular label -- like 'liberal' -- applied across a broad range of opinions and positions that do not necessarily mesh very well with one another.

And no, I had not read that account of your conversation with the Iraq veteran. Sounds like you had a good conversation -- which bolsters my assertion that you are fundamentally a gentleman.

For the record, I am not accusing you of anti-military anything. Though I think perhaps this makes a good point: my 'blanket' statement on liberals hating the military elicited a response on your part, demonstrating how this blanket statement did not apply. I often feel 100% the same when you issue your own 'blanket' statements on conservativism.

Since President Carter left office, the Republican party has tended to be the default party choice of the conservative -- small c -- but this cohesion has splintered over the last dozen or more years. Lots of people who are conservative of one brand or another aren't tremendously happy with the Republicans right now, nor is Republican platform policy consonant with all or even some brands of convervativism. Which perhaps explains why the Republicans got ass-beat in the last series of national elections, and don't seem terribly reorganized going into November 2010.

I think a lot depends on what part of the country we all live in. When I lived in the PNW I was the 'conservative' guy. Now that I am back in Utah, I am often the 'liberal' guy, at least in contrast with many other Utahns. One of the big reasons I don't enlist with either Democrats or Republicans, and increasingly struggle to label my views as any one thing, is that when I try to match or adobt a label, invariably I run unto an issue or issues on which I hold views that are off-label. And I don't feel invested enough in the label -- or the party -- system to shove square pegs into round holes.

As I close in on my 40s I tend to emphasize the small-c 'conservative' flavor of my beliefs, as shorthand for people that I am not necessarily a kool-aid drinker.

Right now my top concerns are economic concerns, and I don't think the Republicans nor the Democrats in Washington D.C. understand at all how to get our economy out of the dump, nor how to slow down, stop, and reverse the national plunge into the debtor's prison. If I had to rate the two parties on economics, I'd give them both an F- and wish very hard for a wholesale cleanout in D.C.

Secondarily, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan need to be resolved, and I think this, combined with economics, should be front-and-center for 2010 and 2012 elections, though I realize that a host of 'carnival' issues will likely ensue to swamp or push aside these important topics for all concerned.

Okay, I am wandering on in my response, my apologies for the unexpected essay. I suppose you got me riled with the "conservatives are foundationally bigoted" thing, as I could spend a lot of energy illustrating -- in high dudgeon -- why that's too broad of a statement.

Quickie: libertarian conservativism is ostensibly at odds with the moral conservativism that drives anti-gay measures in public policy. If forced to choose, I'd slowly wander over the line and be a libertarian conservative, because I believe in equal protection under the law for all law-abiding citizens, though I do agree with the spirit of some moral conservativism which worries about a wholesale redefinition of marriage in America.

But then, I'd rather see moral convervativism tackle -- long before gay marriage -- the problems of infidelity and rampant divorce. Kinda hard to pick on gays when straights have so horribly abused the institution that I am surprised there are any straights left who give a damn. How can gays be accused of 'destroying' marriage when straights have already done their worst? Marriage has been burnt to the ground already.

Again, sorry for the unexpected essay. So many issues, bleeding into one another...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-07-02 12:32 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
Never apologize for having an opinion on my blog, even (or especially) at length.

Also, you're right, I owe you an apology. I do stand behind my basic statement about bigotry, but I should have pointed my finger at the Republican Party, not the conservative movement as such. I did insult you, and that was wrong. I apologize.

There's a very useful conversation to be had here about why I made that confusion, and I agree with some but not all of your counterpoints about it. Right now I must get ready for work, but if I can find the time, I'll come back to this. Probably elevated into a blog post of its own if I do, assuming you don't mind being front-paged.

Also, can you access my WP comments section now?
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User: bradrtorgersen
Date: 2010-07-02 18:36 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
WP comments appear to be working again. Thanks too for the apology. I wasn't fishing for that, as I try hard not to take your general comments about The Right too personally, but the apology is accepted and appreciated.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-07-02 12:44 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
I did want to mention one more thing before work swallows me. In your earlier comment you (I believe) took me to task for being partisan in whom I chose to call out.

Well, erm, yes, I am partisan. Not in the R-D sense, but in the sense of being a passionate liberal-progressive. Who, yes, happens to be a registered Democrat, but only because Oregon has closed primaries, and I had to register to be able to vote in them. I disagree with the Democratic party on a number of things, but no so many as I disagree with the Republican party, nor so passionately.

As for whom I call out, you'll notice I pound on vaccination denialists as much or more a I pound on climate change denialists. The autism-driven antivaxers aren't particularly partisan, but such as they are, they are definitely left leaning. Which is to say I call out idiocy, bigotry and hypocrisy, and my own observational bias sees a lot more of that on the Right than the Left. The sins of the left, in my experience, tend to arise from the weakening power of compromise. The sins of the Right tend to arise from the strengthening power of absolutism. There is certainly an absolutist cultural Left in this country (your encounters in Seattle), but they're fairly small and politically insignificant within the centrist-driven Democratic establishment and the general run of the media. The absolutist cultural Right has pretty much taken over the Republican party and represents a strong if not dominant voice in the media. (Unless you don't count FOX, Limbaugh, Beck etc. as media - the print media is right leaning but a lot less lopsided.)

Hence my choice of targets ... my own partisanship combined with a target-rich environment on the Right.

Edited at 2010-07-02 12:45 pm (UTC)
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User: bradrtorgersen
Date: 2010-07-02 18:50 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Bigotry enough to go around
To paraphrase Ben Kingsley from SNEAKERS, regarding the absolutist "wall" of the Right: don't kid yourself, it's not that organized. There are huge fractures in the wall which may not be apparent to the Left if you're the sort of Leftist who doesn't speak much with nor spend a lot of time around run-of-the-mill small-c conservatives.

I see three problems with the Right's cohesion:

1) Economic conservatives are tired of moral/religious conservatives. The economy is tanked, and economic conservatives do a headdesk at how the only thing moral/religious conservatives seem to care about is whether or not two men are being intimate with each other. For myself, if forced to choose sides, I wander over to the economic side.

2) Libertarian conservatives are also tired of moral/religious conservatives. I mentioned this earlier, and it's worth noting that not everyone who is a conservative is high on pushing his or her morals down the throats of America et al. The libertarian conservative is openly hostile towards notions of moral conformity, such that the libertarian conservative dislikes moral conservatives as much if not more than moral liberals.

3) Because moral conservatives are often the LOUDEST of the three factions, yet remain embarrassingly uninformed on a range of important issues, they often are the "face" of conservativism for most liberals who don't have an opportunity to interact with small-c people on a routine basis. Thus for many in the PNW the interior looks like a rabid pack of mouth-breathing religious fanatics. (NOTE: this works both ways, because the small-c interior thinks the coastal cities are populated by atheist communist America-hating freaks...)

Right now I don't see much driving these three factions back together, like in the Reagan years. Economic and Libertarian conservatives especially are kind of sick to death of seeing moral issues distract from the economic crisis, and the fact that the federal government continues to expand in all sorts of ways that aren't necessarily to the benefit of any American -- liberal or conservative. Yet moral conservatives pound endlessly on hobby horses which, in the immediate future, don't matter as much as other issues. Which only increases the external perception that conservativism (at al) is, "Out to lunch."
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User: jimvanpelt
Date: 2010-07-01 18:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
At the bottom of the io9.com link is some very cool footage of a high powered jeep driving across a half kilometer of lake. That's something I won't try in the family minivan.
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User: fledgist
Date: 2010-07-02 13:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Of course there's a Whaling Wall. Have you never heard of Captain Ahab?
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