Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Rules, 1-25


1. When in doubt, do something crazy. No-one ever expects it.

2. A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.

3. It’s only late until it ships, but it sucks forever.

4. If it doesn’t involve you, stay the hell away from it.

5. There is no way to be nice about denying someone equal rights.

6. Never rule out extreme measures.

7. If all else fails, cheat like a bastard.

8. Just occasionally, new technology doesn’t run around giving people wedgies.

9. Perspective is a politeness most princes don’t possess.

10. If you’re making a plan, and you don’t consider the consequences, you’re an idiot.

11. Evidence and logic are usually the best basis for making a decision.

12. People who say “you can’t think scientifically all the time” are usually not good at thinking scientifically.

13. Don’t be afraid to dismiss bigoted nonsense.

14. Show respect for the views of people who are willing to show that same respect for others. If they are not willing to show that respect, ignore them.

15. An infomercial is fundamentally a means of getting your money.

16. Never vote for anyone so devoid of empathy that they can read an Ayn Rand book without detesting the main character.

17. All things being equal, you might as well be yourself.

18. Context matters, but so does content.

19. Some authors produce good stuff, some produce entertainingly bad stuff, and some produce frustratingly dull nonsense. Try not to buy anything by the third.

20. Competence, benevolence, mass appeal – in Australian politics, you can have at most two of them.

21. If you hear it on Fox News, you can rely on it – it’s wrong.

22. Reality TV has very little to do with reality.

23. The people who yell the loudest about “impending fascism” are usually the ones who have the least understanding of what fascism actually is or how it works.

24. Most corporations only behave ethically when someone forces them to.

25. Anyone who romanticises getting back to nature has never actually encountered it.

– OSM out

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Today’s challenge: punch a Youtube commenter


First things first: I’m not going to name names. I’m going to mention a Youtube video and you can track it down and figure out the name yourself.

Second things second: I’m sorry this is nearly two days late, but I forgot. Then I found this moron and decided it merited a reply.

So I watched a Youtube video depicting President Bartlett from The West Wing chewing out a homophobe by quoting the more bizarre, disproportionate, almost insane laws found within the books of Exodus and Leviticus. And then I read the comments.

Yes, you’d think I’d have learned by now not to do that. No, I haven’t. Hopefully with some therapy I will recover.

As you would expect, given that this clip involves the idea that LGBTQ people might actually be human and deserve consideration*, there was one loud, ethically myopic, arrogant, stupid bigot who, by his** very existence, makes the human race slightly less worthy of survival. He made a lot of bad points and I think a few of them need to be addressed.

Point 1: “Opposition to Gay Marriage Isn’t Hate”

Yes it is.

I mean, let’s think about this. You’re denying someone the right to equality under the law. That’s hate. That is categorically a hateful act. There is no way to formulate “[group] should not be considered equal under the law” that does not boil down to “the law should hate [group]”.

Okay, it’s theoretically possible you’re not motivated by hate***. That actually makes it worse. That means you don’t even have the excuse that you were blinded by strong emotion. That means you are calmly engaging in a premeditated betrayal of all that is good in humanity. You are, without the slightest qualm of conscience, discarding empathy for a group simply because you do not belong to it****. That’s a terrible thing to do and a terrible person to be.

So you might not be a bigot. You might just be a sociopath. I don’t consider that a point in your favour.

Point 2: “Why don’t you tolerate my intolerance?*****”

There’s an old saying. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Since you are agitating for a policy of uncloaked spite towards a certain subset of the population, I think it would be fair if “we”, that is to say the left, showed you what that felt like.

Except that wait. We’re not. We haven’t driven your family to shun you; we haven’t fired you from your job; we haven’t demanded bans on straight marriage, oaths of atheism, or posting the Laws of Thermodynamics in public places. The degree of intolerance you are shown largely consists of a) people disagreeing with you, b) people calling you on your prejudice, and c) people not permitting you to wield unchecked legislative power in the name of that prejudice.

As a result, I suppose it makes sense that you have no sense of proportion. It makes sense that you have such a loose definition of disenfranchisement and prejudice, since you’ve never been on the receiving end. It makes sense that you’re afraid of the Other, because you’ve never associated with it.

It makes sense that you are all of these terrible terrible things. It just doesn’t make sense that you seem to think this is a good state to be in.

Point 3: “Most LBGTQ people are hateful bigots!”

Um, no, that’s not even slightly true. You are in fact thinking of the voices in your head. Most LBGTQ people are like most other people – they’re calm, sensible, reasonable people. This is true of virtually every group except “extremist wingnuts”.

Frankly, I’m amazed more LBGTQ people aren’t outspoken heterophobes. Given the quantity of crap they have to deal with, mainly thanks to people who agree with your nonsensical, bigoted, incoherent rants, it’s astonishing how few gays and lesbians succumb to “he who fights monsters”.

Of course there are a few outspoken loons. There are outspoken loons in every ideology. In fact, your own form of religiously annotated homophobia has produced rather a lot of them******. I’m pretty sure that makes you a hypocrite – “the more out-there of your side discredit the whole thing! …Please ignore the more out-there of my side.”

Point 4: “Marriage is not a right.”

Actually, it kind of is.

Have you perhaps heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the UN? Article 16 states that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” It does not specify that the men and women have to marry each other.

Plus, Article 7 states that all are equal before the law.

Meaning that yes, marriage actually is a right. More to the point, gay marriage is also a right, since if you can only legally marry the one you love if that person happens to be the other sex, that’s inequality under the law.

 

Anyway, I apologise for trying to address actual significant issues rather than ranting about cheese or theodicy for 800 words. Normal service should be resumed on Monday.

– OSM out

 

* That this is in any way a contentious stance makes me despair just a little bit.

** I’m assuming this person is male because their username contains a male first name.

*** Although given that the comments in question are heavy on capitals and short on logical argument, I doubt it somehow.

**** Or, in some cases, because you are a member of that group and have no idea how to constructively deal with it, leading to a tragic spiral of self-loathing that culminates in you being caught in flagrante delicto with a male prostitute and yet somehow remaining in denial.

***** Phrased rather more clumsily and stupidly in the fantastically dumb posts I’m reading, but honestly, this is the most well-known formulation so let’s go with this.

****** Insert a cough, then your preferred right-wing loudmouth, then another cough here.

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Filed under Rants, Soapbox Mode

On the Value of Nicolas Cage


I have a confession to make:

I find jokes about Nicolas Cage funny.

Comedy sketches like the one about his agent, Homestuck’s Nic Cage Song, Slacktivist cracking wise about him signing on with the Left Behind movie reboot – I find them all funny.

And it’s only recently that I realised why.

It’s because I rather suspect Mr Cage is in on the joke.

Come on. Nobody could sign up to ALL those movies, be deep enough into nerd culture to take a surname from a comic book, and come out without noticing his reputation. Unless he literally NEVER googles his own name or reads reviews of his work, unless his agent regularly wraps bandages around his head, he must know that very few people think highly of his choice of roles. Yet he keeps doing it. Why?

Why would he sign up for Left Behind? Nobody needs cash that badly. I assume he’s either trying to help the movie find some kind of attention, albeit mocking attention, by giving them a big name to splash, or he’s well aware that people think he makes odd decisions and is trying to pre-empt them by making an odder decision than anyone would have expected.

Please say he’s deliberately doing one of those things.

– OSM out

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A Parable


I’d like you to imagine a scene.

You are second in line at a supermarket cash register. In front of you there is a guy attempting to pay with purple banknotes bearing an image of Raul Julia, and loudly arguing with the person behind the till over whether or not they are legal.

Making no progress, he leans back and asks you to back him up on his argument that they are legally acceptable currency. As inducement to do so, he offers you a large bunch of purple banknotes.

The moral of this story is to never, ever use Pascal’s Wager. If you’re going to bribe me, at the very least do it with real money.

– OSM out

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Tumblr social justice and why it is terrible


As I’m sure you’ve noticed, tumblr has a large population of social justice bloggers.

Wait, no. That’s not correct.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, tumblr has a large population of prickly, self-righteous jerks who think they’re social justice bloggers, but generally only serve to make actual social justice bloggers look like, well, prickly, self-righteous jerks.

I was sitting there, wondering why it is all kinds of awful, and then it struck me.

Tumblr social justice types are bad at social justice because they are the kind of people who think the best place to fight for social justice is tumblr. You know, the “all-devouring maw of content” (to steal a phrase from the TV Tropes forums) in which even the most meaningful commentary vanishes like dust on the wind after a few posts because the archive system is usually harder to navigate than a warp storm. The place where hundreds of self-righteous jerks who use made-up words like “whitesplaining” (yet somehow never get around to a) defining or b) justifying the accusation) have already poisoned the chalice so hard it’s beginning to eat through the bottom. And finally, because rather than actually fighting *for* social justice, they’ve decided to sit on their backsides and post incoherent rants on a regular basis.

And that’s why on tumblr, “social justice” and “circle jerk” are interchangeable.

– OSM out

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Dear Games Workshop, what is wrong with you?


As a lot of nerds like me know, Games Workshop models are notorious for being hellishly overpriced. I can deal with that. But overpricing digital products is a thing I wasn’t expecting.

Let me put it this way.

For just over AU$17, I can get a $30 Manual of Exalted Power in PDF format from drivethrurpg. Onyx Path Publishing does not sell ruinously expensive models, glues, and paints. And yet somehow I can buy a 240-page splatbook for about the same price as a Horus Heresy book.

Games Workshop is charging $80 for an iBook of its $85 Codex: Tau Empire.

No. That’s not how digital publishing works. You lower the price, because you don’t have to print it out. You make it PDF rather than iBook so that putting it on multiple machines is easy, and it doesn’t matter which one you have since everything has access to a PDF reader somewhere. You are trying to make it easy for people to give you money, and to provide them with a payout for that money without forcing them to buy an iPad or go fishing for pirate iBook readers. This is basic stuff. If you are going out of your way to prevent people buying your stuff, like, say, charging five times as much money for something less flexible and with more additional costs, then what, exactly, makes you think you’re running a business sensibly?

– OSM out

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How to Grind at Bearbarians


Bearbarians is an online game that basically takes the form of tribes of furries running around stabbing each other. You get cash for winning games, completing special objectives, and killing members of the other tribe(s) in the game.

Oddly enough, level grinding doesn’t take the form of repeatedly playing the kill-things levels. Rather, there’s a simple and easy way to do it.

1. Start a Capture the Flag game on…I think it’s the island map.

2. Grab the flag.

3. Find an area where the enemy have to jump to reach you.

4. Whack them in the head whenever they jump. This will rack up the string of hits in your combo. Since you get bonus damage with every hit, eventually you will be able to one-hit opponents, especially if you time the attack to hit them in midair so they can’t block.

5. Splat several hundred of them in half an hour.

6. Keep splatting until you level up.

7. You have now level ground.

– OSM out

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