Just remember the whole OJ thing, and you'll have an example of why.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The last thing I wanted to write today was an angry screed about "Doctor Who." I've been watching the show loyally for four decades; I've been through every up and down and alien invasion. No matter how much it may frustrate me in a given episode or a season, I love it so much. It's about people without guns who roam around trying to do good and save people. With a screwdriver. At its best, "Doctor Who" irreverent, whip-smart and deeply humane.
So I was going to be disappointed and not a little furious if the Thirteenth Doctor was yet another white man.
For more than 50 years, every Doctor has been from that demographic, and of course, some versatile actors have done wonderful work in the role. I'd have a tough time picking my favorite: Is it Tom Baker? Peter Davison? David Tennant? Peter Capaldi? Matt Smith? Jon Pertwee?
(It's Baker. They're all fantastic, but of course, it's Baker.)
The fact is, we're living in a time in which a lot of people feel frustrated and fearful about the state of the world. Women, people of color and the LGBT community feel especially under siege. The daily headlines are like something out of a "Doctor Who" (or "Black Mirror") dystopia.
So if women were once again going to be asked to go to the back of the line and wait their turn when it came to the idea of seeing themselves as one of the iconic interstellar heroes — well, many people would have been upset. Even some white guys.
But no one had to wake up to that disappointment, thank Gallifrey. Coming from one of the biggest media franchises on the planet, the news that the new "Doctor Who" is female is huge — and almost completely delightful.
Some might be disappointed that this makes for the thirteenth white Doctor in a row. I do want to see a woman of color, or a non-white man, as the Doctor, of course. Those fans are still being asked to wait, and it would be hypocritical not to note that that is still not ideal.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Writer and avid fan Jenny Colgan - who has written several Doctor Who novels and audio dramas - said she was "absolutely delighted" that Whittaker was the new Doctor, describing her as "brilliant and bold and brave".Twitter has been savage since the announcement, a few people saying they didn't like it and being dog-piled by feminists screeching at them to get over it.
She said: "When I was a little girl I thought I was the only female Doctor Who fan in the world. Now Jodie Whittaker is taking it to a whole new place, and I am absolutely delighted for all of us wee Whoviennes, old and new."
Asked what she would say to anyone unhappy that the new Doctor is a woman, she said: "People are always unhappy when there's a new Doctor, that's just the way of it.
"Then new stuff happens and it's brilliant and everyone loves them and they have to leave and then everyone gets sad again."If you really would stop watching Doctor Who because it was a woman, I don't think you really understand the entire ethos the last 55 years of The Doctor has been about."
Welcome to all you camel toes from Crapestros Flopatron's blog. Or both of you, anyway.
Monday, July 10, 2017
But wait, there's more.
A couple of years ago, six social scientists published a paper describing a disquieting occurrence in academic psychology: the loss of almost all its political diversity. As Jonathan Haidt, one of the authors of the paper, wrote in a commentary:
Before the 1990s, academic psychology only LEANED left. Liberals and Democrats outnumbered Conservatives and Republican by 4 to 1 or less. But as the "greatest generation" retired in the 1990s and was replaced by baby boomers, the ratio skyrocketed to something more like 12 to 1. In just 20 years. Few psychologists realize just how quickly or completely the field has become a political monoculture.
While the paper focuses on psychology, it briefly mentions that the rest of the social sciences are not far behind:
[R]ecent surveys find that 58–66 per cent of social science professors in the United States identify as liberals, while only 5–8 per cent identify as conservatives, and that self-identified Democrats outnumber Republicans by ratios of at least 8 to 1 (Gross & Simmons 2007; Klein & Stern 2009; Rothman & Lichter 2008).
As these studies are now approximately ten years old, it's quite plausible that the gap has widened further over the past decade (as it has in psychology) meaning that these figures most likely underestimate the current left-to-right ratio across the social sciences.
Now, this all comes as no surprise to anyone who's gone to university in the last 25 years, or was in any way paying attention. The state of affairs is as Harris says, there's no doubt. The problems inherent in a monoculture of one politicaly acceptable view are manifold, and obvious.
In fact, Haidt recently reported on a remarkable survey that was conducted among the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, which, as Haidt notes, is:
… a professional society composed of the most active researchers in the field who are at least five years post-PhD. It's very selective—you must be nominated by a current member and approved by a committee before you can join.
As part of the survey, members were asked to identify their political affiliation on an eleven-point scale, from 'very liberal' to 'very conservative'. (One point in the centre and five on each side.) The results are telling. Only 2.5 per cent of respondents chose a conservative point, and only 8.3 per cent chose the centre-point, meaning that 89.3 per cent identified as left-of-centre.
Intriguingly, the least popular point among the left-of-centre points was the most moderate one (5.8 per cent), and the second-least popular was the second-most moderate one (15.6 per cent). More than two thirds (67.8 per cent) chose one of the three points furthest to the left on an eleven-point scale, and more than a third (38 per cent) chose one of the two points furthest to the left. And 16 per cent chose the furthest possible point to the left on an eleven-point scale.
This means that there were almost as many people who chose the furthest possible point to the left as there were who chose all the conservative points, the centre-point and the most moderate left-of-centre point combined (16.6 per cent).
It seems likely to me that there are self-reinforcing mechanisms at work. As the ratio of liberals to conservatives increased, a tipping-point was reached where conservatives were actively excluded from the social sciences, and as they have disappeared the more radical liberals are now outnumbering the moderates to the point where they too are being gradually excluded. In other words, it appears that social science is undergoing a purity spiral towards an increasingly radical left-wing ideology.
Liberalism is the culture of the New York City intellectual elite, among whom are counted publishers, editors, etc. As the years wear on and more old guys retire, the people who replace them are very keen to show they are serious and On The Right Side. Zero new Conservatives are hired, of course, because Conservatives are yucky. Who wants one of Them around? As Harris says, you keep that kind of osmotic pressure going for 40 years, you end up with the present situation. No Conservatives working in publishing, no Conservatives joining the literature clubs, no conservatives voting for awards.
Those damn Conservatives intruded! How dare they?!
This year the Sad Puppies have stopped intruding, and the Hugo Faithful are still reacting to what we did two years ago. With no one to introduce anything different into the mix, the SF/F awards season is looking extremely Lefty/SJW this year, as it always does.
Saturday, July 08, 2017
As seen first at Small Dead Animals.
A new study found adjustments made to global surface temperature readings by scientists in recent years "are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data."
"Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever – despite current claims of record setting warming," according to a study published June 27 by two scientists and a veteran statistician.
The peer-reviewed study tried to validate current surface temperature datasets managed by NASA, NOAA and the UK's Met Office, all of which make adjustments to raw thermometer readings. Skeptics of man-made global warming have criticized the adjustments.
Saturday, July 01, 2017
Three hundred grand and three million calls recorded, for -zero- results. But you did not hear about it on CNN, right?
The wiretap order authorized an unknown government agency to carry out real-time intercepts of 3.29 million cell phone conversations over a two-month period at some point during 2016, after the order was applied for in late 2015.
The order was signed to help authorities track 26 individuals suspected of involvement with illegal drug and narcotic-related activities in Pennsylvania.
The wiretap cost the authorities $335,000 to conduct and led to a dozen arrests.
But the authorities noted that the surveillance effort led to no incriminating intercepts, and none of the handful of those arrested have been brought to trial or convicted.
The revelation was buried in the US Courts' annual wiretap report, published earlier this week but largely overlooked.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Their goal: to influence behavior and identify lawbreakers.
By 2020, the government hopes to implement a national "social credit" system that would assign every citizen a rating based on how they behave at work, in public venues and in their financial dealings.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Yes, the problem in places like Toronto and San Francisco is that all the houses cost over $800,000 and the taxes are astronomical. That has been the situation in New Your City for a very long time, New York City policemen and firemen haven't lived in NYC proper for 30 years. They commute. Some of them come more than 60 miles, usually by train.
For years, economists, mayors, and urbanists believed that high-tech development was an unalloyed good thing, and that more high-tech startups and more venture capital investment would "lift all boats." But the reality is that high-tech development has ushered in a new phase of what I call winner-take-all urbanism, where a relatively small number of metro areas, and a small number of neighborhoods within them, capture most of the benefits.
Middle-class neighborhoods have been hollowed out in the process. In 1970, roughly two-thirds of Americans lived in middle-class neighborhoods; today less than 40 percent of us do. The middle-class share of the population shrank in a whopping 203 out of 229 U.S. metro areas between 2000 and 2014. And places where the middle class is smallest include such superstar cities and tech hubs as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Third, they can engage the wider business community and government to upgrade the jobs of low-wage service workers—who now make up more than 45 percent of the national workforce—into higher-paying, family-supporting work.
Richard Florida is a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and the cofounder and editor-at-large of the Atlantic's CityLab. His books include The Rise of the Creative Class and the just-released The New Urban Crisis.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
But the most radical bit of the concept is the self-driving car. What may appear to be a gimmick is actually a carefully designed space. "The vehicle provides an in-between space," says Jordan. It's like a CVS Minute Clinic on wheels, with a patient self-directed as to what to do next via software–cutting down on the staffing costs behind routine measurements often gathered by nurses. "You can take the model of a patient going to Walgreens and doing the automated pressure cuff," says Jordan.The floor automatically weighs you when you walk in. Its pressure sensitivity can measure BMI, and posture, too. The chair has built-in acoustic sensors, which hear your respiration like a stethoscope. And a wraparound screen provides augmented reality interactions, to guide the patient through the experience. They may even be asked to literally point to where it hurts.
On the Democratic side, the combined efforts of the Ossoff campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee help build a monster operation unprecedented in Georgia Democratic politics. By the end of the race, they had knocked on more than 500,000 doors, hired 100 staffers, recruited 12,000 active volunteers and spent more than $11 million on ads on everything from the Today show to Korean newspapers and gospel stations.But, and this is the part that will sting Democrats for a long time: It still wasn't enough.
But after $23 million, a candidate who genuinely ignited the grassroots, and a Republican president who may or may not be (but probably is) under FBI investigation and can't stop talking about it, the real question Democrats need to answer is: What's it going to take to win an election in the era of Trump?As of Tuesday night, they still have no idea.
It might be that Trump is not the fool the Dems think he is, and that putting Americans first in their own country is what they really want.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Scores of dairy farm workers and activists marched Saturday on a Ben & Jerry's factory to push for better pay and living conditions on farms that provide milk for the ice cream maker that takes pride in its social activism.
Protesters said Ben & Jerry's agreed two years ago to participate in the so-called Milk with Dignity program, but the company and worker representatives have yet to reach an agreement.
"We can't wait any more. We are going to pressure them and see what happens," said Victor Diaz, a Mexican immigrant now working on a farm in Vergennes.
Friday, June 16, 2017
"The ward where this fire took place is, I think, the poorest ward in the whole country and properties must be found - requisitioned if necessary - to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally.
"It can't be acceptable that in London we have luxury buildings and luxury flats left empty as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live. We have to address these issues."
Displaced by a government who put POLYSTYRENE on the outside of an apartment building to increase insulation. I'm sure an engineer somewhere left memo after memo that this was a Bad Idea, but the government machinery made the call. Because it is a Green Initiative, you see.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
The New York Times used the attempted assassination of dozens of Republican congressmen by a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter to attack former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with a baseless conspiracy theory blaming Palin for inciting mentally ill Jared Loughner to shoot Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011.
"In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin's political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs," the editors wrote.
They added later: "Though there's no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right."
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
I didn't expect to have anything more to say about Wonder Woman after publishing my short review of it. But in the week that followed, the film has stayed with me, particularly the ways in which it complicates (and fails to complicate) the conventions of the superhero narrative.
There's a world of comedy right there. "complicates the conventions of the superhero narrative", forsooth. Or doesn't, as the case may be. The pretentious gas-bagery right there simply screams Wasted Ivy League Education.
But, against all odds, it gets funnier. These are a few of my favorite things:
"In particular, I've been struck by discussions of the film's visual language, and of its avoidance of typically male-gaze-ish approaches to depicting powerful women. And, in the other direction, there have been some trenchant critiques of the whiteness of the film's feminism..."
"How does Diana's bemusement at the concept of marriage face up to the discovery that almost all of the people she meets in 1918 would consider it acceptable for a man to beat his wife?"
"How does her decision to engage in heterosexual intercourse change in light of the fact that she is moving through a rape culture?"
"How does her joy at seeing a baby withstand the knowledge that most women in that period have no choice in when or whether to have children, and that many of them die in childbirth?"
"...women of color are mostly relegated to the background, and in the WWI segments, they are almost entirely absent..."
"... how does Diana know what a slave is?"
"...when what she should be decrying as slavery is the very notion that one should have to work to earn the means of survival."
"The more I think about it, the more it feels like the biggest flaw in Wonder Woman, not just as a feminist work but as a film trying to establish Diana as her own unique kind of hero, is the near-total absence of women after Diana leaves Themyscira."
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Sunday, June 04, 2017
According to the article, BBC and AP also used footage and pictures from the staged event.
A video released a day after the Islamic terror attacks in London show a CNN crew staging a scene with Muslims holding signs saying "ISIS Will Lose".
Thursday, June 01, 2017
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia has cut off internet access nationwide until at least June 8 to try to stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media, a government official said on Thursday....
"The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year," Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia's Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.
"We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings."
Mohammed did not give a precise date regarding when the shutdown would be lifted, but added it would last throughout the exam period.
Friday, May 26, 2017
According to The Seattle Times, the first time you visit one of the two AmazonFresh Pickup locations, a concierge will enter your name and vehicle's license plate number into Amazon's systems. That way, during subsequent visits a license plate reader will automatically identify you and signal to employees that they should bring your order out to your car.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Two white women have been forced to close their pop-up burrito shop after they were accused of cultural appropriation.
Kali Wilgus and Liz 'LC' Connelly opened Kooks Burritos in Portland, Oregon, after taking a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, last December.
For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.
But that's when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Williamette Week led to them being accused of stealing their success.
Cutting to the chase, according to the quotes in the Williamette Week article, the two women went to Mexico, liked the tortillas, asked about them, watched ladies making them in Mexico, then came home to Portland and did research to figure out how to do it themselves. Then they spent a bunch of money creating a successful business out of it. Then came the ravening hordes of the perpetually offended, screaming for their heads.
And call attention to it we did. As soon as Willamette Week, who has a history of publishing racially insensitive food commentary, published this story, people of color were outraged. Even some of those aforementioned super liberal white people. The comments on the article went up in flames, and pretty soon the story was even picked up by a national outlet.
Following the WW's article, one commenter said: "Now that you all boldly and pretty fucking unapologetically stole the basis of these women's livelihoods, you can make their exact same product so other white ppl don't have to be inconvenienced of dealing with a pesky brown middle woman getting in their way. Great job."
Week after week people of color in Portland bear witness to the hijacking of their cultures, and an identifiable pattern of appropriation has been created. Several of the most successful businesses in this town have been birthed as a result of curious white people going to a foreign country, or an international venture, and poaching as many trade secrets, customs, recipes as possible, and then coming back to Portland to claim it as their own and score a tidy profit.
In less than six months, Wilgus and Connelly have managed to build a business. And, depending on how you look at it, their methods are either genius or the latest example of white folks profiting off the labor of people of color.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils - the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana.
What did the Pontiff of Rome do?
Pope Francis joined an international chorus urging Donald Trump to meet U.S. commitments on climate change in talks at the Vatican Wednesday.
Francis gave the U.S. president a copy of his 2015 encyclical calling for urgent, drastic cuts in fossil-fuel emissions after a half-hour meeting in his private study.
Francis's choice of gift suggests he is adding his voice to those pressing Trump not to renege on the Paris accord, which is the cornerstone of global efforts to limit climate change. The Vatican said in a statement that the talks focused on international affairs and the promotion of peace, with particular emphasis on health care, education and immigration.
Imagine a beautiful Louis XIV sideboard. It is solid, beautifully figured mahogany. It has ebony and rosewood inlay. It has gilded feet and gilded scrollwork drawer pulls and door handles. The top is a marquetry masterpiece, veneers laid to depict a view of the French countryside as envisioned by Charles Le Brun. Fragile, precious and complete unto itself, having no purpose other than to be what it is. A work of breathtaking wonder.
Pope Francis has it out in the kitchen. He's cutting meat on it and storing onions inside.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Typography is much bigger than a "gotcha" moment for the visually challenged. Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts.
I'm not interested in whether Clinton or Trump had good logos. I'm interested in the different values they reveal. Clinton's typography embodies the spirit of modernism and enlightenment values. It was designed to appeal to smart, progressive people who like visual puns. They appreciate the serendipity of an arrow that completes a lettermark while also symbolizing progress. In other words, coastal elites who like "design."
Trump's typography speaks with a more primal, and seemingly earnest voice. "Make America Great Again" symbolizes "Make America Great Again." It tells everyone what team you're on, and what you believe in. Period. It speaks to a distrust of "clean" corporate aesthetics and snobs who think they're better than Times New Roman on a baseball cap. Its mere existence is a political statement.
The two typographies are mutually intelligible at first glance, but a lot gets lost in translation. We live in a divided country, split on typographic lines as cleanly as the Serbs and the Croats.
The stakes are higher than you think. The next generation of fascists will not love geometric sans serifs as much as Mussolini did. They won't be threatening journalists in blackletter.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Sadly, I must disagree with Mr. Robson on one point. They are not worthy of Zeus' lightning. I think a nice plague of boils is more what they deserve. Appropriately appropriated from the Jews.
This rubbish about cultural appropriation, if taken seriously, would produce not broad views but unimaginable narrowness, a death by suffocation of dialogue and sympathy. What would To Kill a Mockingbird be without black characters? Or Invisible Man without white ones? If we share Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of judging people by the content of their character not the colour of their skin, we should do the same with books, including efforts to see the world through the eyes of others to explore questions of morality and culture. Like, say, Percy Jackson's half-brother Tyson struggling against bigotry because he's … a cyclops.
I guess that's not appropriation, just as nobody's going after J.R.R. Tolkien for depicting hobbits, elves or trolls. But if you can't see that the Lord of the Rings is a profound meditation on the human condition, you need to get out more … to a library. And if you think Tolkien should have stuck to bookish male Oxford professors, as his subject and audience, you deserve to be cast into the company of orcs.
Indeed you have put yourself there, for Tolkien himself called this world's bullies who detest life in its infinite variety "orcs." Like those who decry "cultural appropriation" to silence the human conversation with nasty narrow zealotry.
May Zeus strike them with lightning bolts. Borrowed if need be.
But I get the last word. Because its my blog.
I give zero fucks about you people losing your jobs because you dared to talk like a normal person for once.
You are all — and yes, I KNOW THIS — closest conservatives.
You are the elites Charles Murray (who is JUST AS BAD half the fucking time, too, actually) identifies as "not preaching what you practice," to the detriment of the rest of the "society" you pretend to care about.
You present yourselves as liberals for careerist hack reasons, but you all live un-diverse, non-green, traditional-family lives, with your private schools and your genetic lottery media complex.
You also think my friends and I are "deplorables" and so on.
We're your mopeds, your shadows, your whatever Freudian thing that is.
You all commit the only sin liberals still recognize — hypocrisy — every day.
And finally, you and your Filipino nannies and Moleskine notebooks and "play dates" and French immersion and Priuses and artisanal jam just went boom.
Slather on your Burt's Bees and kiss my lumpy ass.
I will borrow from Canadian Indian culture, or American Indian culture, or Australian Aborigine culture, or Chinese culture, or Indian-from-India culture, or Greek, Roman, French, German, Nordic, or any other culture I goddamn well please. Furthermore, I will get stuff wrong at times, and I will even make shit up from whole cloth to curtain over the gaps in the story.
I may even get people to pay me to do it! How about that, huh?
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
After I spoke last Thursday in the beautiful nation of Iceland, a Leftist in Reykjavik poisoned me.Perhaps I should have seen it coming. The international Left has rejected free speech, and has embraced violence as a suitable response to speech contradicting its narrative.
Read the article, but the precis is that some punk slipped drugs int Robert Spencer's drink, and he was in hospital overnight. He was several days getting over it. They caught the kid, which is good.
I learned my lesson. And the lesson I learned was that media demonization of those who dissent from the Leftist line is direct incitement to violence. By portraying me and others who raise legitimate questions about jihad terror and Sharia oppression as racist, bigoted "Islamophobes" without allowing us a fair hearing, they paint a huge target on the backs of those who dare to dissent.Those who paint the targets, and those who shoot at them, think they're doing something great. Not only does the Left fill those whom it brainwashes with hate, but it does so while portraying its enemies as the hatemongers, such that violent Leftists such as the young man who drugged me feel righteous as they victimize and brutalize for the crime of disagreement.
Being the Odd that I am, I've always assumed that I'm a target. One of the many reasons I remain The Phantom at this blog and on-line generally is the certain knowledge that if I stick my head up, there's somebody with a bat ready to knock it off. Or a pocket full of Ritalin and Molly. In "Real Life (TM)" I rarely bother to speak my mind anymore, the reception is invariably poisonous. Bad enough in person, without the knife-in-the-back that comes from an internet based attack.
|Rational? No, not so much. Dangerous? Yes, very.|
Don't read the John C. Wright story in the Hugo PacketI appreciate that is rather like saying 'don't stick beans up your nose' but I am seriously suggesting people don't read it. It is (I assume unintentionally) a nasty violent sexual assault fantasy with overtones of child abuse.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
I have a question: how objective can the managing editor of the official Canadian national news show be if one ill-considered tweet gets him removed? Is he going to report honestly about anything?
The managing editor of CBC's "The National" was reassigned Wednesday for what the public broadcaster called "an inappropriate, insensitive and frankly unacceptable tweet" he made as part of a controversial debate over cultural appropriation.
In a memo distributed to staff, CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said Steve Ladurantaye will now work on its digital "storytelling strategies" and reach out to indigenous communities "as part of his learning process."
"As you know, Steve Ladurantaye apologized for his action," said McGuire in the memo. "He has made it his goal to better understand the appropriation issue from the perspective of Canada's indigenous people.
"We will support Steve in these efforts and I am confident that the work and conversations we are engaged in will, in the long run, make Steve and all of us better journalists and better leaders."
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
No one is buying Marvel's lineup of social justice-themed comics. It's no surprise, given that few readers want politics to be forced down their throats. Thus liberal darling Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey's Black Panther & The Crew is getting the axe after poor sales, just two issues after its launch. Its cancellation comes just weeks after a Marvel VP revealed that comics with forced messages of "diversity" were responsible for the publisher's sales slump.
Joined by Luke Cage, Manifold, Misty Knight, and Storm, the titular superhero who entered the limelight with Captain America: Civil War gathers his all-black crew of superheroes to investigate the death of a civil rights activist who died in police custody. It has echoes of Sandra Bland's death.
Set in a near-future Harlem-turned-police state patrolled by robotic police officers controlled by a private security contractor, the comic has every element you'd expect from a comic attempting to tell a story inspired by Black Lives Matter. The cops beat people up for no reason, too.
Given Marvel's failed forays into "culturally relevant" storytelling, it's clear that any attempts to cultivate a new audience shouldn't come at the cost of alienating existing readers.
If there is any market at all for Black Panther & The Crew, it certainly isn't with the social justice warriors who cry when their stories are canceled but refuse to spend any money on them.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Cultural appropriation has become one of those Trump-era terms that gets people literally all a-twitter. But there's one thing you may notice when the topic hits your feeds and timelines -- the people who are dismissing it as a joke are, well, white folks.Wait, appropriation prize? This is good!
Like late at night on May 11, when a host of media bigwigs "hilariously" started Twitter-organizing an actual "Appropriation Prize" in reaction to the resignation of Write Magazine's Hal Niedzviecki after online uproar surrounding his editorial calling for one.
It began with Rogers' exec Ken Whyte. Soon, National Post editor-in-chief Ann Marie Owens, Maclean's editor-in-chief Alison Uncles and CBC managing editor Steve Ladurantaye joined in, along with many columnists from various publications.
By this morning Steve Ladurantaye had tweeted an apology for his "dumb glib tweet about a dumb glib idea" and Owens joined in with "Apologies for any offence caused by what began as free speech protest thread -- Twitter no place for glib."
But their not-glib point was made clear if you noticed the pale skin tone of everyone piling on in that thread.
There was also more groveling. So much more. The editor groveled:
I regret that my words failed to acknowledge the profound and lasting adverse impact of cultural appropriation on Indigenous peoples. I began the piece glibly, which resulted in some readers misunderstanding my intentions. I understand and accept their point of view. I have the utmost respect for the Indigenous writers who contributed to this issue, and did not in anyway mean to diminish or demean their work, the importance of their authentic experiences and voices, or their struggle against racism and colonialism in Canadian society. To anyone who found the piece an inappropriate introduction to the work in the issue, I sincerely apologize. I have spent the last twenty years fostering and providing a forum to writing from the margins. Anyone who is familiar with my work knows that I would never intentionally demean or diminish the experience of other people. I appreciate individuals taking time to share their thoughts and respond to the piece, since I do value the opportunity to learn from this experience and from the thoughtful feedback of others.
I have resigned as editor of Write Magazine. In my time as editor I've worked with many great writers, helped to foster many voices, and am particularly proud of my collaborative work developing an ongoing column written by writers exiled from their home countries and now living in Canada.
Sincerely, Hal Niedzviecki
The Writers' Union of Canada deeply regrets the pain and offence caused by an opinion article in our member publication, Write magazine. The Writer's Prompt piece offended and hurt readers, contributors to the magazine and members of the editorial board. We apologize unequivocally. We are in the process of contacting all contributors individually.Predictably, some person from the Toronto (Red) Star had to throw her hat in the ring:
The intention behind the magazine is to offer space for honest and challenging discussion and to be sincerely encouraging to all voices. The Union recognizes that intention is not enough, and that we failed in execution in this instance. We remain dedicated to honouring the very hard work we have set ourselves, and to taking responsibility for systemic wrongs in which we as an institution with a place in helping to define Canadian culture have participated.
The editor of Write magazine has resigned from his position, and the Union has accepted his resignation.
We offer the magazine itself as a space to examine the pain this article has caused, and to take this conversation forward with honesty and respect.
The Writers' Union of Canada
The best-case explanation for the ill-advised support for the "appropriation prize fund" is they all thought it was a joke.These are but a few of the raging lunatics screaming for white blood to be spilled. I've seen comments about gargling glass on Twitter.
Did you hear the one about those people who can't use the Whites Only door? They finally got a magazine where they all got to write and, like, one of our own topped it with a piece gutting this whole appropriation thing, and all those people are spouting their usual rage.
Haha. Here's my money.
It seems to me that there is a very unwholesome interest in shutting people up on the part of some. That alone is worth me contributing money to an Appropriation Prize fund.
Shut-update! Jonathan Kay is resigning as editor-in-chief of the Canadian magazine The Walrus.
Having perused The Walrus on occasion, it is as Lefty a rag as can be imagined, and Jonathan Kay is well hoisted upon his own petard this time.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
The editor of the Writers' Union of Canada's magazine has resigned after complaints over an article he wrote in which he said he doesn't believe in cultural appropriation.
Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write — a publication for the union's members — published an opinion piece in the spring 2017 issue titled "Writer's Prompt." In the article, in an issue dedicated to indigenous writing, Niedzviecki wrote: "In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.
"I'd go so far as to say there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren't even remotely like her or him."
Oh noes! Quick, everyone grovel!
On Wednesday, the Writer's Union of Canada issued an apology for the piece, announcing Niedzviecki's resignation and pledging to review the magazine's policies.
"The Writer's Prompt piece offended and hurt readers, contributors to the magazine and members of the editorial board," said the statement. "We apologize unequivocally. We are in the process of contacting all contributors individually.
Nikki Reimer, a member of Write magazine's editorial board, announced her resignation in a blog post published to her website on Wednesday. She said she "would have strongly objected to this piece had I seen it prior to publication."
In the meantime, I'm having fun mocking them. Popcorn is hot, beer is cold, got my feet up and I'm loving the show.
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Marvel Comics continues to suffer from dwindling sales as it's looking likely that upwards of almost 30 titles will be cancelled.
Sales for April's issue reveal 28 titles have sold less than 20K, which is right around the cancellation threshold number.
I'll gladly point out that when I was promoting Abnett and Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova that they sold a solid 35K each.
Titles with an asterisk area already cancelled as of July.
New Blade Runner trailer. Not a single PoC. I'm no more willing to tolerate this than I was GitS. Uninterested in whitewashed futures.
But more recent psychological research, some of it presented in January at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), shows that it's not so simple. These findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are.
Filip Uzarevic, from the Catholic University of Louvain, in Beligium, has reported preliminary data showing that Christians were more biased against Chinese, Muslims and Buddhists than were atheists and agnostics, but they were less biased than atheists and agnostics against Catholics, anti-gay activists and religious fundamentalists (with atheists expressing colder feelings than agnostics). So, again, the religious and nonreligious have their own particular targets of prejudice. Perhaps more surprising, atheists and agnostics were less open to alternative opinions than Christians, and they reported more existential certainty. Uzarevic suggested to me after the SPSP conference that these results might be specific to the study's location, Western Europe, which is highly secularized and where the nonreligious, unlike Christians, "do not have so many opportunities and motivations to integrate ideas challenging their own."
But raw brainpower itself doesn't seem to be the deciding factor in who we hate: When Brandt controlled for participants' demographics and traditionalism (smart people were more supportive of "newer lifestyles" and less supportive of "traditional family ties"), intelligence didn't correlate with overall levels of prejudice.
Knowing all this, can we change tolerance levels? You might think that the mind-expanding enterprise of education would reduce prejudice. But according to another presentation at the SPSP meeting, it does not. It does, however, teach people to cover it up. Maxine Najle, a researcher at the University of Kentucky, asked people if they would consider voting for a presidential candidate who was atheist, black, Catholic, gay, Muslim or a woman. When asked directly, participants with an education beyond high school reported a greater willingness to vote for these groups than did less-educated participants. But when asked in a more indirect way, with more anonymity, the two groups showed equal prejudice. "So higher education seems to instill an understanding of the appropriate levels of intolerance to express," Najle told me, "not necessarily higher tolerance."Education's suppression of expressed prejudice suggests a culture of political correctness in which people don't feel comfortable sharing their true feelings for fear of reprisal—just the kind of intolerance conservatives complain about.
There are two solutions to this. The one being pursued vigorously by the "tolerant" Liberal Atheist Left is, hilariously, the suppression and silencing of anything they object to or don't believe in. Enforced conformity, pretty much.
An increasing number of Android applications are attempting to track users without their knowledge, according to a new report.
Over recent years, companies have started hiding "beacons", ultrasonic audio signals inaudible to humans, in their adverts, in order to track devices and learn more about their owners.
Electronic devices equipped with microphones can register these sounds, allowing advertisers to uncover their location and work out what kind of ads their owners watch on TV and which other devices they own.
The technique can even be to de-anonymise Tor users.
They found that, while six apps were known to be using ultrasound cross-device tracking technology in April 2015, this number grew to 39 by December 2015, and has now increased to 234.To me, that seems like some big companies have a very unwholesome interest in my location. If somebody out there wants to know where I am that badly, I should probably hide.
The study hasn't named any specific programs, but says that several have millions of downloads and "are part of reputable companies", including McDonald's and Krispy Kreme.