David Thompson


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March 03, 2014



Yes, it accepted that the party was socialist, “but what our correspondent was trying to get across was that it is authoritarian.”




I’m still trying to fathom the BBC bod’s thought process. Presumably socialism isn’t regarded as at all authoritarian by this employee of our state broadcaster, whose salary, like the salaries of his colleagues, depends on socialist coercion. And where heading further left takes you is apparently unutterable. Because ‘left’ must, simply must, equal virtue. You just have to squint until you see it.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

"The front page of a local newspaper in northern California featured the headline The Promise Denied, lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering. "

I feel their pain.

I have been engaged in a long-running dispute with the Council ever since they stopped weekly bin collections and started expecting me to sort my own rubbish into a kaleidoscopic array of coloured plastic vessels of varying sizes and shapes.

My first thought was that they wanted me to complete the most depressing Crystal Maze style puzzle ever, but it soon became clear when they attached a passive-aggressive leaflet to my bin that they seriously believe I'm going to spend my evenings separating my waste into five different containers. My wife can't even get me to replenish the toilet roll holder, and she's a lot more persistent than the Council.

So a deadly game of cat and mouse has ensued, in which I physically cram as much garbage as I can into the black bin, and sometimes cunningly disguise household refuse under a layer of garden waste in the green bin. It's exactly like when the Allied POW's were smuggling out excavated dirt from their tunnel in The Great Escape.

Anyway, always on the look out for a rhetorical stick with which to beat the Council and its fascist waste collection officials, I decided to challenge them on their sexist employment practices.

"You there, miscreants!" I cried in the general direction of the day-glo-jacketted Troglodytes the Council sends round to enforce its Bolshevik recycling agenda.

The one I took to be their chief, a big fat hairy creature with unkempt sideburns like Wolverine after an all-weekend bender, replied "What did you say?"

"Don't get smart with me, laddie!" I retorted, warming to my theme. "How come you don't employ any women binmen? Is it because you're sexists, or is it because the fairer sex finds you too malodorous to be around?"

The street suddenly seemed eerily quiet as conflicting emotions of confusion and hurt crossed the face of my verbal sparring partner.

"I *am* a woman", she replied, before taciturnly stalking off to empty some bins.

Advantage: Steve


I really should put a lock on that liquor cabinet.


Not sure if I picked up this tale of a Good Samaritan here or at Ace or whereevs, but just got to reading it:


What amused me most is his statement “This is not the worst experience of my life. It’s certainly not the most troubling thing to happen in San Francisco that evening.” One ponders how having one’s arm re-broken, put in a cell with the dregs of society, treated like an animal (worse even), being stripped naked, held in a feces (and peanut butter?) splattered room, etc. was “not the worst experience of my life”. Of course in some areas of SF, such is nothing more than a quiet evening at home.


the under-representation of women in computer engineering

Trust me: software engineering firms are too desperate for competent programmers to get picky about their employees' personal plumbing.

Programmers all fall somewhere on that Asperger's <—> Autism spectrum, and that particular brain config affects men more than woman.

Blame Mother Nature, ya fools.



Yes, it accepted that the party was socialist, “but what our correspondent was trying to get across was that it is authoritarian.”

Stalin and Lenin and Mao weren't authoritarian? That's the one where Spock has a goatee.

Doubting Rich

The conclusion that must be drawn is that the BBC and HuffPo themselves have quotas to increase the representation of stupid people.



As Sowell says,

Women, like so many other groups, seem not to be dedicated to fulfilling the prevailing fetish among the intelligentsia that every demographic group should be equally represented in all sorts of places. Women have their own agendas, and if these agendas do not usually include computer engineering, what is to be done? Draft women into engineering schools to satisfy the preconceptions of our self-anointed saviours? Or will a propaganda campaign be sufficient to satisfy those who think that they should be making other people’s choices for them?

The Guardian’s Bidisha, a self-described “non-white angry political female,” was particularly incensed that women aren’t behaving as she thinks they should. So much so, she denounced “cultural femicide… the erasure of women from public life.” And of course The Patriarchy, with its designs on a “virtually woman-free world.” One target of her ire was a philosophy festival, the organisers of which had made great efforts to entice more female participants, such that a slim majority of those headlining the festival were women. However, almost all of the women originally invited - five out of every six - chose to do something else with their time. A not unreasonable choice, given the nature of the ‘festival’ and its predictably leftist premises. Naturally, the actual choices of actual women were insufficient, indeed inadmissible, as an explanation for Bidisha.

“The discrimination is obvious,” said she.

Patrick Brown

On a theme this blog has covered before:


Another artist who thinks the world owes him a living. To summarise, webcartoonist John Campbell runs Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of his comic strips. Asks for $8000. Gets $51,615. Is refusing to fulfil all his Kickstarter pledges, and has vowed to burn a book for every enquiry he gets as to why not. And, this is the good bit, says he's looking for someone to pay his food and rent without him needing to do anything in return, because "money is a bad joke we use to hurt each other" and "if you spend your life in a small room thinking, you deserve to live and breathe the same amount as someone who spends their life doing intense physical or mental labor".



Another artist who thinks the world owes him a living.

Blimey. That’s the biggest tantrum I’ve seen in quite a while.


The socialist/authoritarian thing reminds me of a point I've seen made about men and women.

The thought experiment goes thusly. First, imagine a world with absolutely no restraints on male behavior, where they can do whatever they want. Most people picture a brutal world with lots of wars, repressed women, rape, etc.

Now, imagine a world where women are completely unconstrained. What does that look like? Most people can't imagine it. Most people try to downplay the failings of women and have a hard time picturing this scenario.

Similarly, I think these journalists have a picture of what extreme right-wingism would look like (possibly correct, I'm not a historian, though it seems like most of the "extreme right-wing" examples are actually left-wing). But when you ask them to picture an "extreme left-wing" society they can't really imagine it, aside from the general idea of "utopia."

This is probably partly because "progressivism" has no real endpoint or goal. As soon as we get somewhere it tends to want to "progress" some more. The extreme leftists of twenty years ago wouldn't have imagined gay marriage as a goal, whereas now support of gay marriage is a requirement simply to not be a bigot. It's also because they're trained not to think of the failings of left-wing ideology, and thus can't imagine what a society would end up like.


Another artist who thinks the world owes him a living.

Oh, the graun regularly has plenty on this - indeed this rickety barge has floated a few of these anguished tales in the past - but the graun keep 'em coming. Only this weekend I read of the traumas of an author whose income is so wretched that he struggles to maintain the costs of his London office and must necessarily create a nice attic conversion at home to supply the right environment for his literary creativity. He simply doesn't make enough money you see to maintain the lifestyle he wants - as he says: "I have no private income, no rich wife, no inheritance, no pension. I have nothing to look forward to. There's no safety net at all." He, and many others, are having to face up to unprecedented questions about their survival as writers.

Why he simply doesn't do what the rest of us do when our preferred way of spending our time is not sufficiently lucrative - ie go out and get a better job - is not explained.


'Crowdfunding' is a new and interesting phenomenon - it seems to cover a range of activity from directly sourcing freelance fees in an 'I'll-do-this-in-return-for-you-raising-that' direct contract (ie Peter Jukes funding his twitterage of the Coulson/Brooks trial), to the most blatant of blagging and scrounging to fund a chosen hobby with no guarantees (such as Campbell in Patrick's link above). More sadly I've seen it used to fund desperate and implausible cancer 'cures' before someone genuinely in need gives up hope.

The difference in the examples above would appear to be a perception of entitlement - which Jukes didn't seem to have, the cancer sufferer fantasises that they have, while Campbell is verily smothered in it and knows no other way.


In the past I've had polite and productive correspondence with John Campbell, and I suspect with enormous sadness that his recent behavior is the product of mental illness. This is not to excuse his tirade or mismanagement of funds, but I'd hate to see him lumped in with this blog's parade of aspiring artist-freeloaders who make such choices out of unmitigated entitlement. I'm afraid that something bad has happened to his mind.

Thank you for the Daniel Hannan link. It ended up being further illuminating to my post today.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Patrick - By the power of Greyskull! I haven't seen such an epic meltdown since the nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant in 'Raiders'. Thank you for sharing.

For a guy who draws stick figure cartoons, Mr Campbell sure has an overgrown sense of artistic temperament.

Apparently he's a university graduate, which might explain where he picked up some of his ideas and attitude. It's very Occupy:

When we allow ourselves to believe that certain people/animals/things have value we simultaneously and necessarily believe that other people/animals/things do not.

Deep, man!

The backers who gave me the most money received the least "reward" from me.

Take that, fans and paying customers!

I am making the loudest sound I know how to make. I know that some people will be personally offended that I am doing this, but I am doing this in large part because our culture has developed in such a way that some of the intelligent, empathetic people who follow me will believe they feel more psychological pain because of books being burnt, their money and my attitude about them than because of the destruction of the natural world, the continuation of classist, racist, abusive patterns of behavior and representation, etc.

John's not sending you the stick figure drawings you paid for because racism. That college degree was worth every penny.

I will not be responsible for the manufacture of any more unnecessary physical objects. The natural world is being destroyed by unnecessary production.

It just IS, alright? And yes, John's typing that message on an iPad he whittled from organically grown fairtrade bamboo. Henceforward, he shall eat shiny berries from local bushes and make his own clothes out of dried leaves and cat dander and trim his hipster neckbeard with his razor sharp social critique.

I’m not a "man”

OK John.

I want direct funding for my living necessities. I want to establish relationships with a group of people who can pay for my baseline needs like food and rent. I am looking for people who do not feel they need to see any “return” on their “investment.”

So... he wants a Mummy and Daddy? Fight the power!

People who own restaurants and theaters and businesses and homes, have offered to lend me money when things have gone badly for me. I could not believe it, every time, that these people who should be the ones who understand that money is a joke, these people who can forget about thousands of dollars they have just sitting around, their big empty houses, their equipment and tools and instruments and toys sitting around unused until they can no longer be used by anyone. They still think it’s real, it’s still their money, and it’s still my job to give them back their definitely real money.

Take that, anybody who ever tried to help John!

I want to try to “give up my privilege” to see what happens. It’s impossible for me to do this, since I carry my privilege around inside of me forever, but I can subvert it in ways I’ve never seen — like forfeiting my ability to manufacture objects and sell them for profit

John genuinely doesn't seem to understand that all that "privilege" he was told about in college is a hoax spread by equality hucksters who make a nice career out of filling impressionable people's heads with guilt and nonsense.

I am confident that I can find a handful of people who will help meet my needs, and then someone else’s needs. Because the truth is, that is not very much money, for a lot of people. We don’t need much. The truth is there’s more than enough money and resources for everyone to have their needs met, without worry, every day.

Money's a joke, so send John your money, you working suckers.

I don't want to be too harsh on our stick-figure-drawing hero, he mentions not taking his antidepressants and that's clearly a factor in his behaviour.

I take crazy pills myself, and even on my mild dosage if I miss one it can lead to heightened emotions and ill-advised altercations with random strangers such as airport security guys and burly binwomen. There was also an unfortunate incident that led to me being no longer welcome in the local laser quest centre, but I now fully accept that I am *not* Predator and have repeatedly apologised to the parents of the kids at that 11th birthday excursion.

Anyway, John's meltdown is what happens when millennial narcissism, campus leftism, and an unwise decision to suddenly stop taking the medically prescribed brain candy intersect.

But burning his own comics? That's so gauche, like a teenager tearing down her One Direction posters because her parents refused to buy her a new iPhone. Vincent Van Gough was a *real* artist and he cut off his own ear all the way back in 1888. And it was totally worth it as he's now famous thanks to Don McLean.


Franklin - It's hard to stretch the sympathy for whatever is going on in Campbell's head to cover his wilful destruction of items he has promised (and sold) to others.

On the other hand, I can understand giving a bit of benefit-of-doubt when the talent is, ah - unique. Eg any sense of financial entitlement from Steve2 on his much anticipated tome: "The Esoteric Contributions to a Rickety Barge" might be more difficult to resist, far less condemn.

But ultimately that is how things lie - if something we is have is of sufficient merit/popularity we can sell it, and we how much we make will reflect that merit, whether it is our perception of artistic genius or the less exciting but perfectly respectable work doing the same sort of grind that many do. My issue with the 'entitled' lot is that they appear to turn their nose up at the latter as though it were beneath them, having unilaterally decided they deserve more.

Patrick Brown

Franklin - yes, he could be having a breakdown. On the other hand, he could be pulling a Shia Leboeuf-style publicity stunt, which is all that seems to count as art these days (aside: did anyone else see the Times' "pop school" series a few weeks ago, where they printed a supplement listing the 20 best bands of all time, and the KLF were number two?). Or he could simply be a monstrously spoiled individual trying to get out of commitments he made by throwing "social justice" buzzwords around. If it is a breakdown, it's one expressed entirely in confused left-wing political terms.

I mentioned a while back that the Marxist slogan "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is an incentive to minimise your abilities and maximise your needs, and it's harder to imagine a clearer example. He apparently used to make a living from his cartoons, and now he's taken them all down off the internet and is refusing to draw any more, while demanding his needs are taken care of by others. I love the way he seems to think that having other people pay his way unconditionally while he sits on his arse and "thinks" is a more ethical and less selfish way of living than being good to your word and providing others with something of value, because that would be "capitalist". Much better to be a parasite on capitalism, apparently.


Thanks to dicentra, I now know all about "Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa"


"This in response to vindictive pearl-clutching in the SFWA (Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers Association), which has been commandeered by the types of women we've all encountered: They've achieved Awareness and they're not afraid to use it against you, the knuckle-dragging troglodyte. Cliquish, petty, and smug, they'll fundamentally transform your world into a Mean Girls nightmare wherein the worst rise to the top and the deserving are excommunicated from Humanity."

Being familiar with the SF world, albeit it was all a while back, I read a lot of posts linked to to try and figure out what the fuss was all about. And now this:


"Worldcon should be safe space for fans, and inviting a high profile media personality who has been targeted by the tabloids is going to cause collateral damage, even if nothing happens, simply by making many fans feel less safe," wrote [Charles] Stross. "If Ross is toastmaster, I can predict that at least one major Hugo nominee/past winner [McGuire] who was planning to be there won't be present at the ceremony, because Ross has past form for using women with weight issues as the butt of his humour. She says she doesn't feel safe, and I believe her: I wouldn't want to be there in her shoes ... I don't like seeing my friends mocked, so I probably won't be there either."

Set the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa to "emasculate".


If it is a breakdown, it's one expressed entirely in confused left-wing political terms.

I know, but it has the markings of paranoid boilerplate and is of a wildly different character than my correspondence with him.


If it is a breakdown, it’s one expressed entirely in confused left-wing political terms.

I suppose what’s interesting is just how well, albeit unfortunately, the two fit together. But then, I’ve often wondered how much of Marx’s output was an attempt to rationalise his own parasitism, spite and irresponsibility. To say nothing of his apocalyptic fantasies and issues with rage.

aside: did anyone else see the Times’ “pop school” series a few weeks ago, where they printed a supplement listing the 20 best bands of all time, and the KLF were number two?

Oh, I don’t know. Justified and Ancient was fun. Thanks in large part to the late Ms Tammy Wynette.



Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Deborah Orr is upset that more women aren’t choosing to appear on comedy panel shows. Although she offers no evidence that women are being discriminated against, by producers or audiences - indeed she inadvertently acknowledges the contrary - she nevertheless insists that the “gender imbalance” is an “injustice,” and so something must be done. According to Ms Orr, female comedians are shy, fragile creatures and often decline invitations to appear on comedy panel shows because there aren’t enough women on comedy panel shows.

In the same article we learn that comedian Dara Ó Briain thinks we need to make more women take up computer coding, urgently.

Patrick Brown

"Worldcon should be safe space for fans..."

Oh Christ, the safe-spacers are infiltrating another area of geek culture.

It's a very obvious trend. One by one, scepticism, IT, sci-fi fandom, are falling to strategically offended emotional blackmailers. Areas that are traditionally male-dominated because women don't like nerds, but would love to have more women involved and will bend over backwards to accommodate them. The entryists see that bending over backwards as a sign of weakness and go in for the kill. Rebecca Watson gets chatted up in a lift at an atheist event, Adria Richards overhears a double entendre at a programming event, and it's evidence of pervasive misogyny that must be stamped out, and the only way you can stamp it out is by treating women as exquisitely fragile porcelain puritans who can't cope with a bit of frank, and free, speech among grown-ups.

It's a power-grab, it's deliberate, and it's contemptible. What's worse, it's driving us back to Victorian traditional gender values where gentlemen were obliged to watch their mouths when there were ladies present, so if they wanted to discuss anything important they just waited until there were no ladies present. Male geeks need to lose the approval seeking attitude and the belief that any female participation is better than none, and stand up to these bullying cliquists.

Patrick Brown

David: "What?"

The KLF are best known, apart from that novelty song with Tammy Wynette, for burning a large amount of money. A publicity stunt that got them in the papers.

Reminds me of a group of art students, a number of years ago, who for their finals raised a lot of money from local businesses to fund their art installation, and then disappeared for a couple of weeks, said they'd spent the money on a holiday and produced photos of themselves on the beach. After that got them in the papers, they revealed they'd taken the pictures at a local beach and still had all the money, and that got them in the papers again. That was their artwork, and they passed their degrees. That's what art is, and that's why the KLF are the second best band of all time.


"Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Deborah Orr is upset that more women aren’t choosing to appear on comedy panel shows. Although she offers no evidence that women are being discriminated against, by producers or audiences - indeed she inadvertently acknowledges the contrary - she nevertheless insists that the “gender imbalance” is an “injustice,” and so something must be done."

Quite right too. Indeed, we could do with someone like Deborah Orr chipping in on the refuse collection and sewer cleaning industries. These careers are dominated by, yes, you've guessed it, men! Anyone would think that they dna-test the application forms to check it was a y-chromosomed hand which filled it in.

I'm just fed up of the patriarchy doing this - excluding women, when anyone would tell you that when it comes to cleaning up the skid marks and tidying up the bins and leaving them in a neat row, women have talents thus-far unrecognised by those who could gainfully employ them.

We will never have equality until these dirty, low-paid, smelly, hazardous, ungodly-houred jobs are equally handed out on a quota basis until the genders are equal - Deborah, Harriet, where are you??



best known... for burning a large amount of money.

Yes, I remember that, vaguely. Though – assuming the money was real – at least it was presumably their own.

A while ago, I linked to a study that found some people are willing to pay to burn other people’s money. As one of researchers said, “The extent of the burning surprised us.” I can’t help thinking that illustrates a key aspect of socialist psychology.


There is one almighty racket outside my house right now. A bunch of - you've guessed it - men! - are strutting around in day glow jackets weilding big vibrating machines, hacking up bits of the road and boiling up hot tar to replace it with. They can't hear because the noise is deafening, they can't walk easily in their heat-retardent wellies, they can't see clearly through their goggles and it's raining on them. I don't know what they're going to do if one of them needs a wee or where they'll get their lunch from out here.

But - there's NOT A SINGLE WOMAN AMONGST THEM! I must write to the diversity department at my local council immediately, or perhaps see if the graun will commission an article on this injustice. While I'm at it, I could maybe drop Diane Abbott a line at the lack of ethnic representation amongst them. Why should it only be white males strutting about with power tools, eh? Something must be done!


I mentioned a while back that the Marxist slogan "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs"

But how to define 'abilities'? When it comes to earning your livelihood, I'd say 'that which others need or are willing to pay for'.

I'm struggling to see how some of the artsy stuff our leftist friends feel merit compulsory subsidy from others (ie arts funding from taxation) qualifies. Vaginal knitting anyone?

Patrick Brown

Yeah, but in this case, he did have an ability - people were willing to pay for his cartoons, to the extent that he was able to making a living from them. Now he's taken that ability off the table and is asking people to pay for his needs without expecting anything in return. Literally minimising his abilities and maximising his needs.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

David - I like Dara O'Brain. He looks just like Dizzy from Fantasy World Dizzy. If he says we need more lady programmers, that's good enough for me.

My mother in law is a lady computer programmer and she hates it. Long hours, constant pressure of deadlines, and having to deal with lots of difficult people with terrible social skills. The money's good because she has lots of experience in a specialised field, but most programmers aren't paid high salaries and the job security isn't great as their work can be easily outsouced to India. I can't think why young women aren't flocking to IT jobs. Maybe it's not a "safe space".

Patrick - The safe spacers are a menace to science fiction. They're like the Borg, if the Borg were passive aggressive and cried a lot. Or the Cybermen, if the Cybermen were called Cyberpersons and were really touchy about gender pronouns.

If Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, or Ray Bradbury were young writers today, the Cyberpersons would be lining up to twitterlynch them for having too many cis white robots in their stories.

Robert Heinlein would probably be exiled to Charon, but he'd no doubt surf the eruption of a cryogeyser into deep space and be rescued by the Rodger Young, then return to Earth to wreak a righteous and terrible vengeance on the Cyberpersons.

Seanan McGuire would be slouched on her throne made of Hugo awards, with Charles Stross chained at her feet in his Princess Leia slaveperson outfit.

"WHO DARES DISTURB MY NACHO FEAST?!!??" cried Seanan, her jowls aquiver with rage.

"The free men are here, Cyber-harpie! And we're gonna git you!" exclaimed Heinlein, as he levelled the atomic cannon on his powered armour and fired it, instantly turning Seanan into a cloud of superheated Dorito dust.

"That was for Wossy", said the once and future Dean of Science Fiction as he turned to high-five Johnnie Rico.

"Noooooooo!" quailed Stross, sifting through the tangy cheese flavoured remains of his late Mistress. "This was supposed to be a SAFE SPACE!"

Splotchy - So-called "power" tools are gendered artifacts of a phallocratic system of patriarchal hegemony built on femicide and exclusion of genderqueer womyn of colour.

Feminist workpersons would commune with Mother Earth and ask Her what form She wishes to take. There would be poetry recitals, diversity workshops, Wiccan magick, and dancing to the music of the Indigo Girls. No roads would ever get built, but isn't that what's best for Gaia?


Also, via Ace, Erik Wemple on the modesty of the media class:

Late last month, the Washington Post announced the hiring of the New York Times’ Catherine Rampell and called her “one of the smartest, most original journalists of her generation.” Uh-oh — she may have to compete with Politico’s Todd Purdum, who at the time of his hiring was “one of the most perceptive reporters and elegant stylists of his generation.” Politico is full of generational leaders, too, as Editor-in-Chief John Harris said of “Playbook” author Mike Allen: “One of the most exceptional journalists of his generation.” (Allen has a more humble view of himself as “one of Washington’s top journalists.”). Politico Magazine editor Susan Glasser was feted upon her hiring last year as “among the most respected thinkers and editors of her generation.” As opposed to Steve Coll, who was hailed as “one of the most experienced and respected journalists of his generation” upon being selected as dean of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Coll has written a great deal about the war on terrorism, so he’s doubtless familiar with the work of Gregory Johnsen, who, upon his selection as a BuzzFeed Michael Hastings fellow, was celebrated as “one of his generation’s wisest and most original voices on national security.” Both Coll and Johnsen, in turn, would be familiar with the work of John Pomfret, who over a quarter-century, per a Post memo, became “one of the great foreign correspondents of his generation.”

Unutterable brilliance, there’s a lot of it about apparently.


Speaking of the media class…

Channel 4’s Paul Mason – class warrior, Occupy booster and Laurie Penny groupie – seems to think we’re all going to be targeted by the police with water cannon this year. Though by “we” I think Mr Mason means the violent leftist malcontents and opportunist thugs with whom, being so hip, he likes to identify.

Mr Mason, that’s this chap, was formerly the BBC’s Newsnight economics editor and before that an enthusiast of the Trotskyist organisation Workers’ Power.


Though by “we” I think Mr Mason means the violent leftist malcontents and opportunist thugs with whom, being so hip, he likes to identify.

It's amazing anyone gets through life without being attacked with a police water cannon.


It’s amazing anyone gets through life without being attacked with a police water cannon.

And yet, astonishingly, we’ve both beaten the odds. For some strange reason, I’m reminded of this.


Those police water cannons pop up for no reason at all just when you least expect them.


"Those police water cannons pop up for no reason at all just when you least expect them."

Are you channeling Cory Doctorow? :-)


Steve 2: Steveageddon "If Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, or Ray Bradbury were young writers today, the Cyberpersons would be lining up to twitterlynch them for having too many cis white robots in their stories."

They would probably have difficulty getting published at all, thanks to leftist gatekeeper editors...until they found Baen Books or went the self-published ebook route.


That was their artwork, and they passed their degrees.

Oh, dear. Was the graduation ceremony another one of those occurrences of Hey, everyone watch us all shit on stage!!!?

Runcie Balspune

lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering

Seeing as the current trend of computer technicians are towards countries with high populations found in the top ten male gender imbalanced nations, this isn't going to get better any time soon.

Patrick Brown

Some spectacularly dishonest scapegoating from the New Statesman over the Jonathan Ross/Hugos fiasco. It turns out it wasn't the strategically offended identity politics brigade that ran him off, it over-territorial nerds who didn't think he had enough science fiction cred.




Demands for purity offer plenty of mileage to the passive-aggressive. It’s meat and potatoes to such people. And I’m still struggling with the notion that Jonathan Ross would be a “potentially controversial” figure at a science fiction gathering. His film about comic book artist Steve Ditko was quite good as I remember. One young woman was convinced that an appearance by Ross somehow meant that “women and other minorities need not attend,” (i.e., wouldn’t feel welcome). On the upside, the saga (such as I know of it) did reveal one thing. Some really obnoxious scolds think they’re the gatekeepers of science fiction fandom.

[ Edited. ]


I managed to completely miss the fuss over Jonathan Ross despite the fact that I'm going to LonCon, but after reading the linked articles I think this one sums it up best: http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/jonathan-ross-vs-the-hugos/. The author defends Ross' sci-fi creds but points out that the whole mess was entirely predictable, and puts most of the blame on the organisers for ignoring warnings about the potential for controversy. Personally I don't have any strong feelings about Ross hosting the Hugos - I'm involved in the music stream, not the literary stream - but based on some of his behaviour in the past, I can see why people might object to him as MC. It does sound like the entire situation was handled very badly, in a way that did a disservice both to Ross himself and to the con as a whole.

As for people conflating 'right-wing' with 'authoritarian', it's annoying but it's no worse than conflating 'liberal' with 'left-wing', which happens all the time - including in this very thread. You don't have to be 'left-wing' in the economic sense to approve of gay marriage, for example.


I thought that the people who conflate right wing with authoritarian were the same people who call themselves liberals rather than left wing.


...not that I've noticed? Both types of conflation seem to be pretty widespread, at least in my neck of the woods, and not confined to any part of the political spectrum. For instance, the term 'far right' is generally used to describe neo-Nazi groups (as opposed to, say, anarchists or libertarians).


In the UK the tag Liberal coincides with a Political Party that is rather schizophrenic retaining remnants of it's Liberal forebears and a more modern strident illiberal (both economically and in the individual freedom area). Equally the Conservative Party contains elements that are to differing degrees economic Liberal (dating from 1920s onwards, dominant from Thatcher onwards) and individual Liberal (whilst there has always been a Libertarian element it has not dominated the argument). The Labour Party displaced the Liberal Party after the First World War as the principle left party. It claims a Liberal tradition in the personal sphere. Thus the term Liberal is largely meaningless in the UK without context.

In the US most progressives call themselves Liberals. That has a history dating back a very long term and survived the shifts in the Democratic Party. Thus to call yourself a Liberal in the US is to say that you consider yourself on the left in politics. The US has never had a dominant "workers party" like the Labour Party in the UK that displaced the Liberal Party and consequently Socialists found their home in the Democrat Party.

There's a distinction to be made. I would agree wholeheartedly that many self-described Liberals or targets for abuse Liberals are nothing of the sort. Precision in language is a virtue. However, erroneously calling someone a Liberal is a whole different order from erroneously calling them a Fascist or implying that they are. There is no offence in a person being thought "liberal". On the same principle, implying that authoritarianism is exclusive to right wing politics is consequently much worse than conflating Liberal with left wing.

Incidentally "Far Right" is used by leftists like confetti:
Here is the Adam Smith Insititute (Free Market Economics/Libertarian) so described
http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-bmj-sour-grapes-and-gutter.html (BMJ is ppv so this is a link to response confirming the use)


The Beeb has supplied Us with a new source of outrage!!!!

Clearly, we must ship all Guardian and other objecting columnists to Somalia to address this important issue!!!!

My predecessor in the president's office, another Brit, had a harelip. He was always known as Farurey, or Harelip.

Somalis would helpfully put a finger to their upper lip just to make sure you understood.

. . . .

Dentistry here is not what it could be, so there are plenty of Somalis called Genay, meaning Missing Tooth or Chipped Tooth.

Suffer from hair loss and chances are you will be called Bidar - or Baldy.

Somalis can be quite a xenophobic lot and foreigners are frequently given short shrift.

The Chinese are known as Indha Yare (Small Eyes), while Arabs are Dhega Cas (Red Ears).

Since I have been in Mogadishu I have met a Jilbo Weyne (Knock Knees) Shigshigaaye (Stutterer), Yare (Shorty) and Yarisow (Tiny).

Etc . . . .

Clearly merely holding forth on Twitter will not be enough, for this obvious issue of social injustice, only going in person will show one cares . . . . of course these are Somalis, and that will set off a different round of issues . . . .

Anyone got the popcorn?


Sorry if it's been brought up before, but in conjunction with Mr Sowell's comments about the so-called "under-representation of women in computer engineering", this might explain things. If this paper and some of the responses to it are representative of those who intend to resolve this "problem", I'd say it's not a problem, but rather an expected outcome.

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