Sunday morning Reading Material Second Sunday in July 2012- Love the Pundit, Hate the Pun Edition

It’s Sunday morning, or nearly so. Sundays are for enjoying the new desktop wallpapers the girlfriend has given you. Sundays are for hanging with friends. Sundays are for ice cream. Sundays are for having one last day before heading to work from a long weekend. Sundays are for watching EVO.

This week, John Scalzi announced a new book-like-thing that he’s, um. Well, ok. Remember when Dickens used to get paid by the word to write fiction for major magazines? And then Asimov did the same thing? Scalzi and his publisher are bringing that sort of serialized novel into the digital age. What’s old is new again, human the desire for storytelling will survive long past the 21st century.

Pete Seeger is not someone who powerful people should feel comfortable around. He made a career out of telling the world that America can and should be a better place than it ought to be. That’s going to threaten the power of a whole lot of Americans. Yet there he is, performing a song about de-privatization of America with President Obama in the audience. I’m honestly not sure if this means Seeger won, or if it means Seeger lost.

Over the course of 15 seconds, San Diego set off all the fireworks. All of them.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, private individuals and companies have been building private space vehicles for private purposes. The idea that space could be roped off as some sort of VIP club, fit for only the rich and their servants is terrifying.

Point 1: many or most workplace regulations are aimed at getting workers the wages they’ve agreed to accept. Since, as everyone knows by now, “wage theft” is a serious and ongoing problem for millions of American workers. So maybe instead of managers having the right to search their employees, it ought to be the other way around. Unlimited right to pry into company accounting, perhaps?

The soaring triumph of American democracy has been the widening of the right to vote to all citizens over the age of 18. Well. In theory. The party of right white men would desperately like to stop having their vote diluted by non-whites, non-men, and non-white non-men. In other countries, it is the responsibility of the government to clear all impediments between citizens and the ballot. In America, under Republican administration, government creates those impediments. But only for people who are less likely to vote for white men.

Watching Doctor Who is like having that great date you’ll want to tell everyone about.

This is a story about two men who cannot do their best work in the inevitably poisonous atmosphere of a major corporation. Every attempt made by either men to do something innovative and awesome is met by ridicule or attempts at outright theft. This is a story of corporate America. This is a story about a couple of men who want to make video games.

Once upon a time, America birthed a generation which worked it’s way out of the greatest depression in modern history. It then fought the biggest war in human history. When the men of that generation returned home, they (and their younger siblings) created and led the civil rights movement. That generation put a human being on the moon. I supposed it would be too much to ask for that generation to also have been good parents. The children of the “greatest” generation destroyed the president who created the Civil Rights Act, they formed the ranks of the Hard Hat and Bourgeoisie Riots. The children of the Baby Boomers authored Proposition 13, and starved schools for money. The greatest Generation safe guarded and put an exclamation mark on the wealth of the American nation. The Baby Boomers cashed out. And Aaron Sorkin has the nerve to call the generation cleaning up his mess “the worst generation ever”.

If you live in America– and most of my readers do– Wall Street has been steeling your tax dollars. Yes, they refused to compete with one another, drove up the cost of your town’s school construction, and stole money from your children. Remember: it’s not Class Warfare until the poor fight back.

I’m not the sort of person who watches news on TV. Much like reading romance novels or building rockets, it’s simply not something I do. Until this week, the only things I knew about Anderson Cooper were that he’s a reporter, and that he’s gay. I’ve since learned that he has pulled children out of war zones, told off a sitting Senator (while on air!), and has been the target of death threats while reporting from Egypt. In short, the man is fabulous.

As is probably obvious by now, I’m a digital guy. I download (legally) my music, download (legally) my books, download (again, legally) my movies and TV shows, etc. The problem of a world of pure download is the loss of discoverablity. I can’t walk into Amazon or Google Play and just happen to hear something that the clerk put on at whim– something I’ll fall in love with and enjoy. Algorithms are great (truly!) at telling me what I’ll like based on what I’ve already liked. The best math in the world doesn’t seem to be able to find things I’ll enjoy that are utterly unlike all the things I’ve ever enjoyed before.

“Drink if you experience a sudden flood of shame at the realization that you haven’t done much to deserve really any of the things to which you aspire.”

I have no idea what it is to be a trans person. Even after having read this article about the experiences of a specific person, I have no idea what it is like to be a trans person. I can’t even begin to understand it. All I know how to say is that we share a common humanity, and therefor I owe it to her to try and understand.

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that no matter what it’s called, a tax is a tax. This week, the European Court of Justice ruled that no matter what it’s called, a sale of goods is a sale of goods. No longer, in the EU, is the sale of software considered a “license”. This means that if I buy a copy of Windows, I can resell it. If I buy an ebook, I can resell that, too. The same way I’d be able to resell the Mona Lisa if the Louvre were foolish enough to part with it.

I say this a lot, but our brains are weird. They’re wired to go looking for patterns, and the brains find patterns, even if those patterns are not there at all. On the plus side, we can entertain ourselves by looking at clouds. On the downside: racism. This is value of a liberal arts education, incidentally. A liberal arts education trains students unsee patterns that do not exist.

That traffic jam that just sits there forever, never getting better despite years of construction? That’s citizens (not)getting the services we’re (not)willing to pay for.

I think if I were to say what this article is about, no one would click the link. Instead, I’m going to challenge you to read the first paragraph without finding the writing to be so much fun that you’re compelled to share it with someone else. Go on. Try it.

If you click just one link:

Live an extraordinary life.


3 Responses to “Sunday morning Reading Material Second Sunday in July 2012- Love the Pundit, Hate the Pun Edition”

  1. I’d desperately like to stop having my vote diluted by anyone who’s on the government dole, but that’s just me.

    Oh, wait, I’m white and I’ve voted Republican in the past. What I meant to say is that I don’t want blacks, gays or women voting. Now I remember.

    Democrats commit rampant voter fraud, Republicans discriminate rampantly against Democrat voters. It all evens out.

    The Overthinking Person’s Drinking Game would be funnier had I not had literally every single one of those thoughts at some point in my life.

  2. Thank you so much for linking to that Popdose article I wrote about Tower Records!

  3. Mike: The advantage of the Internet is rarely having to back up your claims. To wit: your use of the term rampant is suspect:

    rampant[ ram-puh nt ]
    In full sway; prevailing or unchecked: a rampant rumor.

    Prove, beyond doubt, that unchecked voter fraud only among registered Democratic voters occurred in the last two elections. Now, can the same be said of Republican voters?

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