matt_doyle: (Default)
Well, I definitely don't seem to be the only one whose reactions are mixed, which is a great relief to me.  Here are some other articulations of similar reactions.

And of course, in the wake of that moment of unity (however torn I feel about some aspects of it), the politics start creeping back in around the edges.  Some of it partisan and nasty, some simply food for thought.

There are also some dispassionate summaries and, of course, the obligatory memes.

It has been a day without caffeine, so I'm feeling a little too in depth for more detailed elaborations.  Still up for discussion of the issues, though, as always usual.

ETA:  Moving along, in the wake of this there's definitely some things to worry about with Pakistan.

And I feel sorry for this guy.

matt_doyle: (philosophy)
Tried to write a couple book reviews this morning and found that my current mindset about literature was uncritical and full of squee, which makes for dissatisfying one-note reviews about how awesome Scott Westerfeld's books are, go buy them right now.

I do love the books, but I'd like to discuss them intelligently.  So, in the meantime, here's my slightly more critical review of the real world.

Goldman Sachs has an analysis
of how and why the current budget cuts will hurt economic recovery.  I'm not a fan of Goldman Sachs, but it seems like it's in their best interests to be honest about what would or wouldn't help make money.

Meanwhile, while Goldman Sachs rates it as a low probability, here's some speculation on the likelihood of a government shutdown.

Of course, I'm not sure whether anyone is worrying about that, but that's because I'm not sure if they're paying attention -- only half of Americans know that the health care reform bill has not, in fact, been repealed.  Hopefully the half that wants it gone is the half that thinks it already is and we can just move on to the next set of big issues.

Like, for example, Obama's decision to stop defending part of DOMA.  This does not mean the law is repealed, or that it will not be enforced, but only that court cases challenging whether one clause of it is Constitutional will not be defended by the DOJ.  That doesn't mean, however, that this isn't a significant decision in a lot of ways.   Nor, as critics suggest, is an administration making a decision like this in any way unprecedented.  In slightly related news, some people think that permitting gay marriage is a step toward Sharia law.  This makes even less sense to me than stabbing someone who took your Girl Scout cookies. 

Wanting to secede from Arizona is a little more reasonable, but only a little. Everyone needs some space sometimes to just get away from politics they dislike.  I, in a clever editorial segue, even feel the need to do so in the middle of a post about the news, which is why I link to things like cookie-related stabbings, or, in better news, this cool piece about a blind man who beats video games by listening to them.

Returning to politics, however, the US military in Afghanistan has been employing PsyOp techniques on Congressional delegations in an attempt to get funding.  Is that both illegal and unethical?  You bet it is! 

The TSA is still pulling the same crap, and people are still not putting up with it.

And it's a short sentence, but I can't find a longer one that's more compelling..Save Americorps! 

I'm not going to talk about or link to everything I have read in the last few days about the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, or the amazing wave of democratic revolution sweeping North Africa and the Middle East (and meeting deadly resistance), because those topics deserve their own posts, and because the subjects overwhelm me.  In parting, though, I will give you one link to the renewed legislative assault on abortion and women's rights.  This is also a subject that deserves deeper treatment, but I'm not sure I'm the one to give it. 

Discussion on the subject, but no links. )
Anyway.  This has been another instance of livejournalism.  Hope it was useful to you.

matt_doyle: (Default)
No, sadly, this isn't the other book reviews I owe.  Some days, you just have to post a link salad full of crunchy blue hypertext, because typing out all your own thoughts would keep you here all day.

Joe Abercombie has some things to say in response to Leo Grin.  I think his post indicates very well why I like him as an author.  John C. Wright has his own response, which I can only stare at in bafflement, but he seems a good-humored gentleman, the sort I'm happy to disagree with and don't feel a perverse urge to actively argue with.  Adam Whitehead says a lot of things I agree with, but his commenters make some pretty interesting and articulate counterpoints.  Kate Elliott, who I did not even know had a livejournal (exciting!), talks about grittiness and about perceived differences in male- and female- written epic fantasyN.K. Jemisin and Foz Meadows also have very interesting things to say about women and epic fantasy.

Incidentally, I was clued into this whole discussion by Sherwood Smith, who has posts with extensive and excellent comment-thread discussions about this here, here, and here[ profile] superversive made two posts on the subject as well, and while I read the comments with interest, I elected not to join in that branch of the discussion myself, for various and sundry reasons.

Finally, in the process of looking through the Internet for conversation starters on dark fantasy, I found that there's an upcoming sequel to American McGee's Alice, one of my favorite games of all time.

Now, I'm off to write some more dark fantasy myself.  I can only aspire to the lofty heights of nihilism others have achieved, but hopefully my general decadence and moral bankruptcy will make up for it.  I mean, The Hellion Prince is about politics, so you know it's nasty.

matt_doyle: (writing)
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others have been shot in Tucson.  There are at least five fatalities, including an aide, a federal judge, and a nine-year-old girl. Law enforcement does not believe he was working alone, and while his YouTube channel shows a record of disturbed thought patterns, it includes a definite possibility of political motivation.  This possibility is strengthened and made more horrible by the fact that Giffords has long been on Sarah Palin's hit list of Democratic Congresspeople who need to be removed from power -- the map, now missing from Palin's website, marked Congressional districts with gun-sight graphics, and Palin's quote "Don't retreat, reload," takes on a sickening connotation in this context.  I am not implying that Sarah Palin took out a literal hit, or even that the incitement to violence was intended to produce violence -- but the rhetoric was calculated and deliberate, as well as despicable -- more despicable now that it appears Palin is trying to pretend it never happened.  Also memorable is the rhetoric of Sharron Angle, who advocated Second Amendment Solutions, and refused to elaborate on what she meant.

While hatemongering rhetoric and language of violence cannot be said to truly be responsible for an action such as this, I will be waiting to see if there is any recognition by the conservative politicians employing and endorsing such rhetoric that it can be damaging and that they utterly disown such rhetoric in light of these events.  At present, I doubt it.

I have qualms about assuming that the actions of an individual can be directly traced to partisan politics, and I am not comfortable with dwelling solely on the political ramifications of this attack rather than on the lives lost or endangered and the continuing manhunt for other suspects, if in fact others were involved.  Nonetheless the fact that this attack has a political component cannot be denied.  My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and the bereaved.

More updates on the subject can be found here and here, and will hopefully continue to post new news as it comes in.

ETA:  With more information now readily available about the shooter, it seems highly unlikely he was directly motivated by conservative rhetoric, but my unequivocal condemnation of that rhetoric, inflaming the partisan divide and inciting violence in any way, remains.  Conservatives are certainly not alone in having employed violence-laden dehumanizing speech directed at their opponents, and while I am less familiar with examples of liberals using such rhetoric, I would be equally quick to condemn them.


matt_doyle: (Default)

January 2014



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