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The caustic opinions of a politically incorrect fat cranky jackass.
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Jul. 24th, 2016 @ 02:54 pm Another Potterverse entry.
Fanfiction being what it is, and with fanfiction writers' predilection for making their version of the source material at least a bit darker than the original, it should come as no surprise that most fanfiction writers' portrayals of the world of Harry Potter have a lot of darker sociopolitical atmosphere. In even the mildest, there is an assumption that the Potterverse is rife with prejudices, bigotry, and archaic caste systems brutal in their medieviality.

Not to deny that there is obviously some of these things in the canon material (the mistreatment of house elves, Umbridge's loathing of non-humans and non-purebloods, etc) , but I think the fanwriters, for the sake of drama, are steadfastly ignoring any contrary signs. The wizarding world cannot be nearly as racist or bound by pureblood privilege as the fanwriters like to portray it.

First thing to consider: hate groups are made up of those who believe themselves disenfranchised. The IRA's ranks are filled with irishmen harboring bitterness against the British crown, not lords and dukes sitting in Parliament. The KKK did not even exist until AFTER the Civil War, and was made up of white men who blamed the blacks for their downfall. If Wizarding England was as feathered a nest for purebloods as most fanfics portray it, Voldemort would never have filled the ranks of the Death Eaters.

Second thing to consider: Taboos. Draco Malfoy may spit "mudblood" with every other sentence, but early on it was established that this was regarded as so outrageous a vulgarity that Ron Weaseley immediately went for his wand when Draco used it. Compare and contrast the usage of the word "nigger" in the United States today. The word is so verboten that people--- even in supposedly racist "Deep South"--- actually have to bolster their courage to say or even type it, in even a purely academic setting. You don't get a taboo like that unless the sentiments behind the word are already in exterme disfavour.

Third, you don't get nobility going to school and mingling casually with commoners. When the working class nouveau riche in Great Britain started moving into upper class circles due to the rising wealth of the Industrial Revolution, and started putting their children into higher education, children from "commoner" families underwent a gauntlet that makes the worst of Hogwarts look benign. The sons of Lords would not be rubbing elbows at the same dinner table as the sons of textile merchants. Yet in Hogwarts there is no caste division at their tables or their dormitories--- divided by house and year, certainly, but caste doesn't even make an appearance. Except at the Slytherin table. In fact the Slytherins are effectively a dumping ground for all the pureblood prats whose families STILL want to make a big deal about their lineage, while the rest of the houses intermingle "upper" and "lower" classes indiscriminately. The very existence of Slytherin, once the house of the cunning and ambitious, now demoted to the House of the Inbred and Isolated, shows how far into disfavor the worldview of lineage and caste has fallen.
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pestering
May. 25th, 2016 @ 03:51 pm Things Missing from the Harry Potterverse
1)SYSTEMS AND UNITS OF MEASUREMENT. They have magic. Yet they have no quantitative way of MEASURING magic.... to determine how much of a magical charge an artifact has, or how fast it is draining or recharging, no equivalents to volts, watts, ohms, amps.... seeing as this sort of thing is a matter both of human nature and utility, they should have SOME sort of system for measuring magic, if for no other reason than objectively establishing which wizard was "stronger" without a dueling tournament.

2)This is coattailed by ENERGY CONSERVING DESIGNS. Regardless of how endless or "free" magical energy is, wizards get tired and enchantments run down--- which means there's high motivation to produce designs that are more "fuel efficient." Take brooms: At least one person had to have hit on the notion of attaching a bicycle seat to a broom rather than waste magical juice on a cushioning charm, for example.

3)Expand into general DESIGN PHILOSOPHY, Other than tradition. Regardless of where you start, under the influence of individual need, FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. A chair, regardless of culture, needs to be shaped to hold up a butt.....

Continuing with brooms, you don't see equivalents of headlights, navigation lights (port and starboard), luggage and cargo capacity (such as saddlebags), multiple passenger size. Magic carpets have that at least; it would take someone cutting off their nose to spite their own face to outlaw those things. Why not a flying la-z-boy recliner, for comfort?

Magical suits of armor make terrible guards-- what could be less well-thought-out than sending out a warrior to fight who was nothing more than a hollow metal shell? They should at least have an internal load-bearing "skeleton" to put weight behind their blows and enable them to hold up against blows in return without crumpling. There should be separate floos for communicating and traveling--- using the dual system in the book is just begging to be kicked in the face by someone going the other way. in fact using them to communicate should be outdated: Sirius' two-way mirrors should be common as cell phones in the muggle world. Large magic mirrors, rather than a Wizarding Wireless, for entertainment-- and why not 3d tv using illusions cast by the wireless, at that? and so forth.

4)there should be MORE INFLUENCE FROM AND AWARENESS OF THE MUGGLE WORLD. A smaller society that hides within a larger one is going to, by necessity, be more aware of the larger. The Potterverse is the exact opposite: Muggles, from folklore and popular fantasy, have a better overall picture of the wizarding world than wizards do of the muggle world, despite being literally engulfed and surrounded by it. The wizarding world should be awash in Muggle art, music, clothing styles, pop culture, etc. just from the debris and litter the muggle world leaves behind (newspapers, magazines, books, disposable goods...) If anything, the wizarding world should be a mish mash classical folklore and the wildest imaginings of pop culture--- futurism, zeerust, etc.--- because unlike muggles they are not constrained by the limits of engineering or physics or even three-dimensional space. Think either victorian sci fi, Spelljammers... or perhaps even Dr. Who.
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pestering
May. 10th, 2016 @ 10:56 am "Newbie Dash"
Newbie Dash review

Okay, saw this coming. And I knew it was going to be cringeworthy. But this goes beyond the pale.

Let's face facts. Rainbow Dash is a solo act-- she has a huge ego and lives to be in the spotlight. This is precisely the opposite of what you want to have if you're going to work on a TEAM. So there was inevitably going to be an episode on this issue. But anything this episode wanted to achieve, it failed-- largely because of the show's own history and canon.


May I take a minute and first address the fact that putting Dash in the wonderbolts is just a horrible waste of talent? She's canonically the best flier in equestria, objectively better than anyone in the Wonderbolts. Blew the doors off all their academy records, the only one who can do a Rainboom... hell, she's good enough that they tried to poach her off the Ponyville Equestria Games team. And that's before addressing her role as a member of the Elements of Harmony. Joining them is like taking Micheal Jordan and putting him on the pee-wee basketball team.

Remember back at Wonderbolts Academy where Dash KNEW how to work on a team, actually looked out for them, and called Spitfire and Lightning Dust out on LD's reckless grandstanding? Remember how she led Tornado day, how she worked so well with the Equestria Games, Winter Wrap Up, and all the other times when she's been there demonstrating her ability to handle teamwork? Remember when she was what you'd expect from someone who's been doing this her whole life-- COMPETENT? The writers certainly don't.

But of course, as of this episode, somehow it never sunk home in all her years of being part of countless organizations and teams, as well as a Wonderbolts fan (idiot ball #1) that if she became a Wonderbolt, she wouldn't be the star of the show, she'd be just another pony in a uniform. And she suffers this sudden onset brain damage just because Wonderbolts, and only because Wonderbolts.

Oh you do get a sense of her wanting to BELONG in the group, but her approach to getting their attention has been to try and grab a spotlight. In this episode she's force-fed an Incompetence Ball as well so she's suddenly a sub-par flier who has to struggle to keep up with the illustrious anointed Wonderbolt veterans. (Dear GOD I hate those characters. Spitfire is at her absolute lowest, too--- I mean--- she gives Dash a team jacket with the insulting nickname “Rainbow Crash” embroidered on it? And cackles about how she'll mock Dash for YEARS about her wipeout? It's official, Spitfire is worst pony. And the rest of the Wonderbolts aren't far behind.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Back to the first point: the collision was inevitable. Dash the showpony colliding head on with what it means to be part of a team. And we all knew it was going to be painful to watch. But as always, whenever Dash is front and center, the writers decide she had a bowl of Stupid Flakes that morning and have her behave in ways epic in their idiocy. Her efforts to stand out-- or more properly, to get the respect of her (douchebag) teammates--- get more and more cringeworthy, till she finally pulls an epic boner and sabotages the airshow by having Scootaloo push a thundercloud into the middle of it so Dash could show off some extra stunts. Same routine as when she learned Tank was going into hibernation-- more and more foolish efforts till she does something that as a career stunt flier and a lifelong weather pony she would NEVER EVER do.

(Frankly, a story like this doesn't HAVE to be cringe-tastic in skilled hands. Not everybody has to go through a gauntlet of humiliation to learn to work as a team, for crying out loud--- if they did nobody would ever join a team for fear of the inevitable humilation. Come on, go beyond the paradigm, writers!)

But beyond the cliche' cringe factor, the biggest problem with this episode is that any positive message about learning to be part of a team is lost in the fact that Dash is canonically a far better flier AND hero than her idols, so much so that realistically portrayed they'd be holding her back.... and in the fact that the Wonderbolts aren't a worthwhile group to belong to.

Let's review the list of crimes.

1)Incompetence. They bungled an air rescue so badly that Dash had to save their lives.
2)Incompetence. Bungled dealing with Mega-Spike, got taken out in literally a matter of seconds.
3)Dickery. Invited Dash into the VIP lounge at the Grand Galloping Gala.... then ignored her in favor of schmoozing various upper crust knobs.
4)Malice. At Rainbow Falls, tried to lure her away from the Ponyville team... despite being shoo-ins for the qualifiers, and knowing that it would torpedo Ponyville's chances entirely.
5)Malice. Lied to both Dash and Soarin' to facilitate the above.
6)Dickery. Brushed off the whole thing with a lucky pin and the most insincere 'boy we learned our lesson' speech ever.
7)Incompetence. Bagged instantly by the Changelings.
8)Incompetence. Flattened by Tirek instantaneously.
9)Malice and Dickery: one of their retirees frames Dash. The ENTIRE TEAM turns on her instantly, and demands that she prove she didn't do anything or be banned for life--- and give her one day to do it.
(reflect on the fact that this was instigated by a veteran of the team. Backstabbing appears to be a legacy sport with the Wonderbolts.)
10)Utter Dickery: Not only saddled her with an insulting nickname, went so far as to give her an official Wonderbolts jacket with the name sewn on as a patch.

These aren't a crack team of military fliers. They're a squad of bitchy high school popular girls. And Spitfire is their queen. And they have been this way for five seasons solid! They're obnoxious, egotistical and DISLOYAL. Why the HELL is Dash, the Bearer of the Element of Loyalty, even giving them the time of day?

There was no need for Dash to suddenly get an attack of the Stupids. If the episode was about belonging with the group, or being part of the team, it could have been handled so much better. But the writers ignored both her own five seasons of character development, AND the actual character (or lack thereof) of Spitfire and the Wonderbolts.

So what's the lesson here? The one they intended, “being part of the team,” has been lost to any non-adult viewer who won't pick up the nuances. What the target audience is going to pick up after all this time is going to vary from 'don't stand out from the group, that is bad' to “It's okay for the cool kids to treat you like dirt, so long as you finally get 'in' “.

And don't give me that BS about how “every cadet goes through it.” Yes, it's how crack squads induct the rookies, by giving 'em a rough time. It's also how frathouses conduct hazing, and schoolyard gangs initiate new kids into their ranks. And which scenario is the target audience of the show more likely to be facing? Kids don't need lessons in being 'part of the team' when the world is presently so full of blind followers.
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pestering
Feb. 1st, 2016 @ 06:03 pm Are they learning anything? Anything at all?
The scientific literacy of the average fanfic writer is beginning to appall me. For what seems the hundredth time I've just spotted a story where the protagonist learns that one of the characters lives in a hollow tree and assumes there must be "some sort of magic" involved to keep the tree alive.

Except that living hollow trees exist in the real world. Animals live in them. Actual trees only have a narrow band of living tissue between the bark and the inner wood of the tree, where the xylem and phloem (the circulatory paths of the plant) exist; so long as you don't cut through that all the way around, the tree will live. This was once basic education in elementary science; how plants grow. I have known this since grade school.

Yet alleged high school and college age children-- you know, the ones who rant and rave about saving the trees-- are completely ignorant of how trees grow.

Forget grammar and sentence structure: basic vocabulary eludes many of them. If I had a dime for every time I have seen "leered" used in place of "glared...."
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pestering
Dec. 19th, 2015 @ 02:18 pm The Moon is Rightfully America's
Or at least it was, by some of the oldest laws known to humanity--- Right of discovery and conquest. From the moment we first planted an American boot on Lunar soil.

Until our government essentially it away.

"Thief! Thief! The American wants to steal the Moon!" Oh shut up. First time ever that we land on territory that doesn't have natives to wring your hands over or trees to hug, and you're gonna squeal that we wanted to claim it? Typical. You won't let us claim an airless, lifeless rock out of sheer spite. So our milksop government folds like wet toast and makes some blithering proclamation about how the Moon "belongs to the nations of the world"--- despite it being American scientists, technology, and astronauts that made the trip possible. Thereby guaranteeing that nobody would EVER go back.

We should have told y'all to go pound sand. The usual crowd of French popcorn farts would have squealed about American Imperialism (over a BARREN AIRLESS ROCK no less), and Kennedy should have looked them in the eye and said "You want to stake a claim there? Come and get it." And given presidential orders for a permanent lunar military base. Wouldn't have to be much: just a little space hut occupied continually by one or two men.

Within the week every country on the planet that could screw a nut onto a bolt would be building a lunar colony rocket, just to spite us. We and every other country on the planet would have mining colonies on the Moon today, and we'd be halfway to settling Mars, if we had just treated the Lunar territory like every other territory on the planet: first come, first served.

Instead we gave it to the biggest collection of do-nothing weenies on Planet Earth--- the United Nations. And the Final Frontier died on the pagan altar of collectivism, at the hands of the Tragedy of the Commons.

We could still do it today. We SHOULD still do it today. The Space Race would take off the next day.

But of course not. That would be too CAPITALIST.
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pestering
Nov. 25th, 2015 @ 12:26 am "You don't like it? You Can Always Leave--- but God Help You if You Try."
A pro-statist will argue that by living in a society, you agree to the social contract-- "and if you don't like it you can always leave." Many of conservative or libertarian leanings seem to be stumped for an anwer to this, or meander about with periphable questions I would like to say that there is a much simpler reply to that rather condescending statement--- one that will bring them to a stone dead halt:

"Can we?"

One of the first things states do is begin to restrict efforts to leave the state. What was the American Revolution but a British Empire trying to punish those who tried to leave it? They sent an armada across an ocean to

And the American Civil War--- the Union didn't give a damn that the South owned slaves Until the South tried to take itself and its land and leave the Union. Then the Union sent down soldiers and started KILLING people. Back then people still understood freedom, and this act was shocking enough that it induced at least two fence-sitting states to leave the Union in horror at such a crime.

Red China, the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea routinely murder anyone who attempts to flee their loving embrace. In North Korea it is illegal for citizens to leave the country even temporarily: at public exhibitions the "North Korean" audience is made up of Chinese hired by the government to fill the bleachers.

And theocracies are the same--- Islam calls those who leave the faith "infidels" and demands their beheading.

Even less oppressive societies such as America, Great Britain, Canada, etc. incline towards this. They throw heavy bureaucratic obstacles in the path of taxpayers (especially ones with deep pockets) who attempt to leave their control, and if you succeed in departing they will use any pretense that you "owe" them something to send agents of their revenue service to pursue you and take your money, or even drag you back in chains.

Any serious attempts to secede--- to depart the "social contract" with your property in the form of land still in your possession-- are effectively impossible; the state will implement violence to prevent it. In fact it's "common knowledge" in the United States of America that you "don't have any right" to do so. In America, the country whose very existence as a sovereign State makes this a lie.

Those who say "If you don't like it, leave," are really saying "If you leave your land, your homes, your properties, and your wealth behind we might-- just might-- let you escape with your lives." And that's if the State holding you at gunpoint is one of the more benevolent ones. Many will just shoot you.

In the argument about Statism and individual liberty, "You can always leave" is a lie.
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pestering
Nov. 6th, 2015 @ 01:27 pm Cherry Pickin' Word Weasels
BTW: if any of you see Wanderer Wolf lurking about, peppering my posts with "corrections..." Be made aware, he's a cherry-picking pedant who will use equivocation and obfuscation to contradict even the self-evident.... and then will shamelessly crawfish when cornered.

TL;DR: he's a lying word-weasel.

He takes advantage of the fact that few people have the time or patience to dig through the rubble for the truth about his surprisingly obscure "facts" or his inevitably questionable sources.

For example, in an earlier post on Facebook he tried to claim that a meme about the number of terrorist attacks (Christians 0, Jews 0, Muslims several thousands) was false-- because of "christian terrorists in asia." It takes a good bit of digging to find that this is pretty much a blatant lie--- The reality is that in the country of Tripura, they have a rebel faction which the current Communist regime is calling a terrorist organization... and is accusing the Baptist church of financially backing them.

Repeat: the CURRENT COMMUNIST REGIME in Tripura is accusing REBEL FACTIONS of TERRORISM and CHRISTIANS of being COLLABORATORS with TERRORISTS.

How progressive of them. They used to just call them "counter revolutionaries."

But don't ever expect Wanderer Wolf to disclose any of this RATHER RELEVANT INFORMATION.

Feel free to ignore him. Trying to break him of this little habit of his is like mud wrestling with a pig--it only exhausts you and the pig enjoys it.
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pestering
Oct. 3rd, 2015 @ 03:20 am The Origins of the American Public Education System: Horace Mann & the P...
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pestering
Sep. 13th, 2015 @ 08:19 pm Will you SHUT UP about the poor people?
You people, I'm a stone-hearted conservative and you're even honking ME off!

1. Admit it: minimum wage workers ARE being screwed. Taxes are eating them alive. Unseen taxes--- like fiat-currency inflation, social security, etc--- are making it worse. And their hours are being cut, too.

2. These people fix your food, clean your VILE FILTH up after you, and put up with your spoiled Western bullcrap every day. They do work that, by DEFINITION, you wouldn't do yourself. So shut up about how "lazy" they are.

3. Shut up about how it's their fault for not "bettering" themselves. When you're up to your ass in alligators it's a little tough to drain the swamp. Most of them are down at the bottom of a muddy pit, scrambling to try and climb out. Most of them won't make it.

4. The fact that there are people with doctorates waiting tables shows just how much your traditional "self betterment" works in the job market today, too.

5. Yes, they're ignorant of basic economics if they think raising the minimum wage will help. By the way, thanks for that sub-standard government education you gave them.

6. Yeah, they're going on strike. Just like your generation, your father's generation, and your grandfather's generation taught them to.

7. Either you can talk about how working an entry level job isn't meant to be lived on, or you can talk about how in your day you went to college and paid for it with your part time jobs. Pick one so we can decide which end you're blowing the gas from.

8. When TWO part time jobs aren't enough for ONE person to live on, yes, the situation is SCREWED, and it's not the part time worker's fault.

9.Laugh up your sleeve all you want about those automated burger kiosks.... you're going to need TWICE as many workers just to maintenance, repair, clean and babysit them. Boy you sure showed us.

10. The fact that your soldiers, Firemen and EMTs work for less an hour than the minimum wage workers want doesn't prove how greedy the burger flippers are, it proves what a stingy, selfish and ungrateful bastard YOU are!
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pestering
Aug. 8th, 2015 @ 04:41 pm Short-run Kickstarter--- less than 30 days left!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rhjunior/nip-and-tuck-redux
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pestering