In a comment on a friend's post, something that's been bugging me finally came together in my head.

In various recent events (Peter Watts' Squidgate, the g20 mess, etc.), there has been a bunch of commenters (live and on the net, natch) who seem to cheer louder the more it looks like the police have abused thier power. These are the folks who say things like "if a cop tells you to do something, you do it *immediately* or you deserve what happens to you", "if you haven't worn a uniform, you don't get to complain", etc.

The general idea of Authoritarian Apologism is that anyone that gets beaten up by the police, or the border guards, or anyone with a bade or a uniform, deserves what they get. That those forces are always justified in whatever they do to thier citizens.

I've been trying to figure out what it is that drives me so nuts about this position, besides the obvious. It finally clicked today - it's the same logical fallacy that drives Rape Culture victim-blaming and shunning of people who are ill. It's the idea that Bad things don't happen to Good people. So when bad things happen to someone previously presumed to be Good, the Apologist makes the inference that the person must be Bad. Because the alternative is that Bad things *do* happen to Good people. And that's terrifying - the Apologist naturally sees zirself as a Good person. If something bad can happen to some random writer, to some random jogger or random tourist, then it means that something bad can happen to *me*!

And a lot of people can't face that. So they go to great lengths to come up with reasons why people deserve to be beaten by cops, to be raped by thier "friend", to get cancer or AIDS. I mean, of course that guy deserved to be arrested and held in a pen in the rain overnight with no drinking water - did you *see* what he was wearing? He was *asking* for it! Good thing I'd never do something like that, so I'm safe.

It's all about Othering victims so that the Apologist can feel safe knowing that bad things only happen to bad people. It's about fear, and letting that fear make your world ever smaller.
curgoth: (Default)
( Jan. 7th, 2010 09:40 am)
New thing of the indeterminate time period: Super jobs.

Take as given that, in the real world, there is no place for super-powered vigilantes running around beating the hell out of criminals that they just happen to run into while rooftopping. There are a host of reasons why comic book style heroes aren't realistic.

So, with that, if one found one's self suddenly in possession of super powers, what could one do with them? How would they a) make daily life easier, and b) how could one use them to Get Rich Quick? How would being super change your employment prospects?

Each of these short articles will consider a specific super power.

Today's power: Teleportation.

While one of the weaker fight-crime powers, teleportation is great for "normal" life.

First of all, a teleporter doesn't have to commute. As someone who spends close to two hours a day getting to and from work, that would be miracle enough. Party hopping and being able to see folks over distance would be pretty great, too.

So, with that, even if you could only teleport yourself (and, hopefully, your clothes), you've already made your life better. The two most common variation points on comic book teleportation are distance and weight allowance. Nightcrawler can only handle short distances, and can't carry much weight. He still has to commute to the X-mansion, but he can at least get to the Blackbird in a couple hops without having to wait for the elevator to the hanger. Lila Cheney can transport herself and a sizable entourage over intergalactic distances. Magik can move herself and her team a fair distance, provided no one minds stopping in Limbo first.

To make a living with your teleporting, you've got a few choices. The simplest is comeptition for UPS - when you absolutely have to get it from point A to point B *right away* the teleporter is the way to go. Mass and distance effect what you can do here. If you're 'porting letters across town, you're not going to make as much as the guy who can shift a dozen shipping containers from Taiwan to Boston. Mass is especially key. If you can only transport small things, your business will have to specialize in very valuable small things - bags of diamonds from Russia to Washington or something like that.

"Something like that" brings us, of course, to the more dangerous ways to make money; to whit, illegal jobs. Becoming a smuggler is the logical extension of the courier job. Being able to move drugs, stolen goods or just skip around customs agents makes the teleporter valuable to the black market. If you can move people around, too, so much the better - grab the product, put it in a vault, then bring the buyer and seller there, and everyone gets cleared out without much risk of a double-cross, since no one knows where the product is.

Becoming a thief, while also easy for the teleporter, is significantly riskier, and likely with no better a payout. Just because no one can stop you getting into the bank vault or museum doesn't mean you won't leave evidence behind when you grab something. Plus the stolen goods still need to get fenced, so you still need to be hooked into organized crime. Even if you steal cash, there's a risk of the cops tracking the bills back to you.

There are, of course, the insane badass careers of assassin, spy, terrorist and counter-terrorist, but unless you happen to be into that sort of thing before you start teleporting, odds are you won't really get into it afterwards either. Plus, a CIA operative doesn't make as much money as the ones in the movies do.

I suppose you could also make a killing as a stage magician.

Comments? Complaints? Suggestions for another power to cover?
curgoth: (Default)
( Aug. 26th, 2009 10:17 pm)
1. I did a last test on my red flat EL wire kit before e-mailing the company with a demand for replacement, and it just worked. No idea what went wrong the first time, but it's clearly functional now. Plans for glowclothes can proceed.
2. My pseudo jambalaya/paella/whatever recipe worked out okay
3. I didn't have to spend 2-3 hours sitting in rush hour traffic today.

I must look authoritative when in my work clothes - two people mistook me for someone who worked at the hospital today. Of course, one of them was later arrested after having twenty one stitches put in his face. The other guy seemed really desperate for pizza.
Go read the Grinder Dialogues.

As a teaser quote: "All technologies have just as much or more inherent utility as a tool of oppression, as they do as tools of liberty."

Long rambling rant about tech and freedom and... tl;dr )
As I sit here reviewing the latest Service Request document, listening to Dr. Steel sing about the Singularity with an article on transhumanism open in the web browser, it suddenly hits me: I am passively, yet eagerly, awaiting the future. The passivity bugs me.

The question I am asking myself is this; "What am I doing to make the future more awesome?"

How does one make the future more awesome? Technology is one way. Organ cloning, iPhones, collaborative technology and the stuff of incomprehensible buzzwords. The raw tools of the Amazing Future are the technological and scientific discoveries of today.

Another way is cultural1 - art, Art, music, fashion, literature and the other dozens of media that bond us all together. The simultaneous record and genesis of our collective unconscious. Vaguely speaking, contributing to intentionally changing society into something a little bit niftier.

I have friends doing thier part on the technology side. I have friends doing thier part to stave off the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, and friends working to be ready for when it comes anyway. Friends who write, friends who create art, friends that fight for political change, friends who are walking paradigm shifts2 in stylish shoes.

When I look at my own life, I find that I just sort of sit here waiting for the Future to arrive. I am a passive consumer of the Future, sitting around reading about tomorrow and wondering when my flying car and jet pack are going to arrive.

Now, having 31 years of experience of being me, I strongly suspect that I'm not going to undergo some major change of self that's going to see this changing.

In the end analysis, the answer to the question "What am I doing to make the future more awesome?" is simply "Waiting. Watching. And hoping I notice the Future when it comes by." I don't know that that is good enough, but it might be all I've got.

1And yes, I'm blurring media, art and culture together into one bucket. It is intentional.

2I cannot believe I just intentionally used the phrase "paradigm shift".
curgoth: (piggy)
( Jun. 9th, 2009 09:36 pm)
Sure, jelly beans come in all sorts of flavours.

But what about gummy bears? If you could have gummi bears in any flavours, what would they be?

Assume the standard colours are:
"White" (aka that pale yellow colour)

How fun would it be to have a liquor flavoured gummi bear set?
Red: port
Green: absinthe
Yellow: tequila
Orange: scotch
White: gin

Your mission is to come up with exciting gummi bear flavour sets.
curgoth: (Default)
( May. 27th, 2009 04:32 pm)
More on art. Warning - contains armchair futurism and unsubstantiated theories.
The cost of the internet revolution? )
curgoth: (Default)
( May. 14th, 2009 03:35 pm)
Anyone know where I can get a decent holepunch? Of the sort used for fabric. I had one I got from Home Despot, and while it was okay for putting new holes in leather belts, when I was using it to punch holes in denim for my utility belt, I sheared the metal in the wheel mechanism and it blew up. I have this thoery that somewhere there are more heavy duty holepunching tools, perhaps intended for use on heavy leather or something, that can handle going through a couple layers of denim.

Of course, I eventually also need to get myself stuff for working with leather, too, but that's another expenditure.

Also on the RFI subject; one of these days, I really want to learn basic wiring so I can build stuff with LEDs. I own a soldering iron, but have only a vague idea of how to use one.

I also need a month off to work on my various random projects.
curgoth: (my little pony)
( Apr. 25th, 2009 02:46 pm)
From: My Body
To: My Brain
Subject: Guess What?

Dear Brain,

Guess What? IT'S SPRING!

Attachment: Testosterone.hmn
curgoth: (Default)
( Apr. 14th, 2009 10:54 am)
New Blood: still missing two PCs. Plot needs work.
Nano-Victorian Future: still missing two PCs. Plot coming together.

Dudesical: Three filks written, one more to go, lyrics for two non-filks located.

Almost all the games I'm playing in, I'm a returning, so I had very little character generation to do. Maybe I should make more NPCs to scratch that itch.

Not sure if I'll have time to make a cravat tonight, but the demon's done.
Technology that someone should have built by now;

  • LED bindi: a tiny light and battery that attaches to the forehead providing decoration and illumination.

  • Old school Trek communicator: An old school Star Trek flip open communicator that does either does bluetooth or is an actual phone.

  • TNG Trek communicator: A small pin that works as a bluetooth speakerphone.

  • Pocketwatch phone: A small gold clamshell phone on a chain.

Why aren't our gadgets prettier?
curgoth: (Default)
( May. 13th, 2008 11:07 am)
May 29th is the anniversary of Christopher (Kit) Marlowe's death. Take a writer to dinner, and don't haggle over the bill.
I have a peculiar fixation on Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

This goes back to steampunk RPG convention game I played in, where my character, a mad inventor, had a cigarette case full of dozens of tiny clockwork killer robot fairies that played Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, slightly out of sync, in a sort of cheap music box sort of tone.

I would love to hear Einsturzende Neubauten doing that song with crashing and banging, old school industrial style. I don't think they will, though.

If any of you ever come across a music box that plays that song, let me know. I wants it.
curgoth: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2007 08:16 am)
The caffeine has kicked in and my brain is racing.

And not thinking about work of course - that would be madness!

My thought is this; have TV writers started deliberately putting in slashy tension between male characters, is it a side-effect of the popular TV writing style these days, or has it always been there, and it is just that geeks have become aware of/started imaginging everywhere in our post-irony age of meta-content?
curgoth: (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2007 11:09 am)
From Warren Ellis's Bad Signal e-mails;

If you happen to stay in the Drake
Hotel in Toronto during the month
of September, you will be presented
with a copy of CROOKED LITTLE
VEIN. All month. Anyone who checks
in. Whether you want it or not.
And, when you retire to your room,
you will find on your phone there
a recorded message. From me.
Talking about CROOKED LITTLE

How bizarre is that?

Of all the promotional stunts I've
been involved with, this one is by
far the oddest.

I was planning to buy the book anyway, but the recorded message almost tempts me to want to book a room there for a night. Almost.
Weird thing seen on the highway today; I was following a dirty truck. I noticed something had been written on the back of the truck in the dirt. Then I realised that it was written in Norse runes. I tried to take a picture with my camera phone, but the camera on it is pretty awful, so one can't even tell that the truck is dirty, let alone see well enough to make out what's written on it.

Goddamned vandalous Vikings, man.
curgoth: (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2007 10:57 pm)
While I was at the gym today, an idea occurred to me. Has anyone ever done a female version of Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Tissue Paper"? Exploring how infeasible it would be for a normal man to have sex with Wonder Woman, perhaps. If no one has done it, maybe I should. Or not.

On a somewhat related note, while I watched it a while ago, I don't think I mentioned; "My (Super) Ex-girlfriend" is a better movie than it might have been; the ending makes it better.
curgoth: (Ravens)
( Jun. 28th, 2007 09:32 pm)
I am now on yaycation!

The purple pride hair is long gone. I dyed over it with black. This looked... terrible. I shaved the beard off except for the long patch under my lip, and it now looks better, but still suboptimal. I miss my beard already with its fuzziness and chin-enhancing properties. I also wish I had dyed that patch of hair that is left down there. It looks weird being mostly blond with the black hair.

I am now pretty much ready for camping! Plans have changed, so instead of a leisurely morning with me needing to be ready to go for 10 tomorrow, I now need to be up at Yorkdale for 6:45 am. So I need to get up *earlier* than usual! The reasons for this make sense, so I am not upset, just somewhat startled. (wait! I forgot about bananas, chocolate and chili! Those shouldn't go until tomorrow, but I had forgotten about them, I write this to remind myself tomorrow.) I also still need to make trail mix. [ profile] pez_minotaur will be by soon to pick up 95% of my gear.

Shit! Just realised that my plans to do laundry tomorrow morning to free up the remaining items of clothing I want to take will not work. Time to go violate the operating hours on the building's laundry room. See you all Monday.
curgoth: (Default)
( Jun. 22nd, 2007 08:54 pm)
Tonight is the night of pigment. I am going to go put dye in my hair, then pull out the polish and shine my boots until I can see myself in them. If there's time after dying Liz' hair, I may find my way down to Church St. If not, then tomorrow.


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