The following discussion was seen on G+, where a significant portion of the most interesting discussions on the internet is taking place outside the view of most of SF/F fandom. The impetus for the discussion was GenCon’s list of Featured Presenters for 2016, which consisted of 50 percent women, and 10 percent people you’ve heard of. Blogs such as gomakemeasammich (Google it yourself, we don’t link to whiners here) were lamenting that this huge win was actually a sign of how bad things are because all too many people questioned the wisdom of putting no-names, activists, and community organizers on panels at a game convention instead of, you know, actual game designers and writers.
At any rate, Misha Burnett (linked to because we do link to excellent writers here) hit a grand slam, out of the park home run with this observation about the insidious forces at work within the culture:
Yeah, it’s not about wanting something, it’s about wanting to take something from someone else.
We could start a group devoted to men carrying buckets of mud around, start posting pictures of ourselves lifting buckets of mud and walking from place to place with them, start writing columns about mud-carrying, with arguments about which kinds of mud are best to carry around, and what kind of buckets are the coolest, and make up an award for the guy who carries the most mud and another for the guy who carries the mud the farthest, and so on.
Inside six months we’ll get an outraged group of SJWs who are insisting that we recognize them as being mud-carriers and award the mud-carrying award to their designated person, and if we don’t it’s proof that we’re racist/sexist/homophobic.
These people don’t care about games, what they care about is proving that they can take away anything that we can build.
No thank you, you don’t look like you believed me the first time.
One of the less fortunate aspects of this modern world is it’s overwhelming reliance on sarcasm and irony. Much like the Red Pill itself, once you notice the pervasive use of sarcasm in modern conversation, you can’t NOT notice that it is everywhere. As a dullard, the source, reason, and rhyme behind the modern tendency to lean heavily on sarcasm is beyond my ken and analysis. What is clear, even to a dullard like me, is that most of the men most deserving of respect tended to use sarcasm sparingly. They spoken plainly and meant what they said. For men like Cincinnatus, George Washington, and H.L. Mencken, sarcasm was a spice best used carefully and in moderation. Compare to today’s constant conversation as typified in places like Facebook, Twitter, and what the kids call IRL. You can’t swing a birthday cat gif without stumbling across a clever sarcastic bit like this one. The genesis of my own feelings on this matter started when working a stint in San Francisco where a co-worker recommended checking out a long-running stage musical called, “Beach Blanket Babylon”. My response was as follows:
No, because it sounds pretty gay. And I don’t mean that in the pejorative sense, just in the descriptive sense. The radio ad sounds extremely campy and tongue in cheek, as though the producers, stars, and everyone involved lacks enough faith in what they are doing to simply present it for what it is.
That’s a problem for me. I like stage musicals. For their own sake. Not because they are silly and work despite the goofy conventions like people breaking into song and dance at the drop of a hat. I like them because when done well, the conventions fade and allow the story and the art to take center stage. People who produce campy musicals lack the elegance necessary to pull off that trick and use camp to disguise their incompetence.
An odd speech to give a co-worker on the way to lunch, but he was warned before I launched into it. Hopefully it was presented with enough charm and humor that he didn’t think it too terribly strange.
Lately, it seems like more and more people are using sarcasm as a way of avoiding making an actual argument. To borrow a demonstration from Maddox, this short video on the use of the word, “Really,” as a shortcut to dismissive discourse is illuminating.
Preach it, Brother Maddox.
As a guy whose mid-life crisis seems to be one focused on making himself a better man physically, mentally, and emotionally, this one is a no brainer. Stand tall, be yourself, and be more forthright. It’s right there in the Scout’s Code for a reason, after all.
Turns out it is a lot harder to break the habit than expected.
It’s very easy to just parrot back or rephrase a stupid argument and follow up with a figurative or literal, “Really?” At first, you catch yourself mid-phrase, stop, and recalibrate. After a while your brain stalls out before you shoot off your damn fool mouth, and that’s an interesting feeling. To think, “This is my first instinct, but let’s see if we can turn that around and do it without the snark.” It puts your arguments on much more solid ground, and leaves no doubt about where you stand.
For years now, your humble author has been a ‘no words on my clothes’ kind of guy. My body is not your billboard*.
And then a t-shirt showed up under the Christmas tree that changed everything.
Everybody loves Vault Boy.
That t-shirt is a simple black shirt featuring Fallout’s Vault Boy giving the ol’ two-finger-gun-salute. People compliment this shirt all the time. This shirt is so relentlessly optimistic and fun, people can’t help but get caught up in the feeling. No doubt wearing this shirt inspires a man to walk a little taller, smile a little more, and just generally be more pleasant to be around. Which inspires compliments, which makes a man feel more energy, which…
It’s a positive feedback cycle in all the best ways.
Funny thing, I don’t even play the game. Love to, no time. No matter – some people recognize it and some don’t, but you don’t have to recognize it to love the feeling it inspires.
The other article of clothing that inspires that feeling is my #MAGA hat. It is so relentless optimistic and fun that it makes a man feel two inches taller. The comments one gets – good or bad – are worth the price of admission alone.
Rando: “More like, ‘Making America HATE Again,'” Jon: “Whatever it takes to make it great, brother.”
Rando: “Are you wearing that hat ironically?” Jon: “Irony is for chumps! Chumps don’t want to make America great again.”
Rando: “Nice hat!” Jon: “It’s a great hat, a beautiful hat. Believe me, this hat is so great, you can’t even believe how great it is. I gotta tell ya, it’s so great…I’m getting tired of how great it is!”
For a guy who has never voted for a Republican in his life, it’s a very strange feeling.
I think they call it ‘hope’, but not having experienced such an emotion since Reagan, it’s hard to say what it is.
*Okay, I wear race t-shirts for events that I’ve run. Those are more braggadocio for having done a thing than to advertise a thing.
Welcome to one man’s attempt to cast off the shackles of the corporate cubicle farm and start a new life as an independent author, voice talent, and freethinker. There are a host of articles smeared across the internet providing inspiration, advice, and nuts and bolts instructions on every step of the process, and this blog is happy to join in the chorus. It is an informal log of the ups and downs, the blind alleys and dead ends, and the victories won and treasures earned by a random guy in the suburbs with a good job, a great wife, and the happy life.
As a just-starting-out kind of guy the blog is a bit sparse at the moment, but stick with me, here, people. We’re just getting warmed up.
What Does a Seagull Have to Do With All This?
In the early 1970s Richard Bach published a book about a seagull who turned its back on the day to day grind of life in the flock to pursue his true passion – the art of flight. After mastering both flight and himself, he returns to the flock to teach and guide other seagulls so that they too might leave the flock to pursue passions of their own. The book was a sensation, spending 38 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It may not have aged well, but in its day it was a novel approach to the sort of inspirational self-help fiction that the Oprah Book of the Month Club takes for granted today.
This blog seeks to emulate Jonathan’s own journey by slowly breaking away from the flock, finding new avenues of satisfaction, and helping to guide others to turn their backs on the role society has tried to thrust upon them.