Trump Metaphors

I quite liked how this person put it after Trump instantly flip-flopped on NAFTA:

[Trump] walked into the control room, thinking he’s gonna change everything and it’ll be great. But the walls are plastered in tiny buttons and switches and dials and he realises he doesn’t know what 90% of them do.

There was a big new switch on the wall labelled “TPP” that was in the ‘off’ position. He said he wouldn’t turn it on, and he successfully doesn’t turn it on. That was easy. How hard could this be?

He pulls the lever marked “BORDERS” down, towards the ‘off’ position. Mission accomplished. But after a moment it springs right back up on its own. He pulls it down again, and it springs back up again. Embarrassed, he quickly moves to another part of the room.

He goes over to the dial marked “NORTH KOREA” and starts twisting it in a clockwise direction, upon which an alarm on the ceiling starts ringing and flashing red. Everyone’s watching him and he wants to look like he knows what he’s doing, so he decides to leave it in its new position and see what happens.

Then he wondered over to the big switch labelled “NAFTA”, but the crowd behind him made a huge commotion, and his assistants caught his eye and shook their heads, so he’s backing away.

Meanwhile there are a bunch of pressure gauges creeping into the red, but he hasn’t actually noticed them yet.

The equivocation of ‘censorship’

There is a common discussion that I see popping up whenever activists succeed in shutting down an event from some sort of reactionary, recent example being the cancelling of talk by notorious right-wing troll Milo Yannopoulos.

Among other arguments on the morality of events, I see people bringing up the idea that shutting down such events is censorship. As soon as this happens, usually an argument starts on whether it really is such. One side claiming that it is not because it’s not a state actor that is suppressing free speech, while the other is claiming that in the absolute technical terms, it totally is:

censorship
ˈsɛnsəʃɪp/
noun
1.
the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
“the regulation imposes censorship on all media”

However what seems to me is happening is rather some kind of equivocation. An equivocation in fact, between two meanings which on a word that don’t appear to be formalized yet as distinct in dictionaries.

Specifically, it there’s the popular concept of censorship which takes the above definition and adds “by state actors” in the end. Not only that, but more often than not, one will imagine also brutality involved and 1984-like images might come to mind. As a concept, this is the one that makes people icky.  In fact, this is the concept one attempts to invoke when they use it as the basis of the argument: “But it’s censorship!”

What is happening specifically is that all the unwritten baggage of “censorship”- which do not belong to its official definition but are attached to it anyway due to many years or red scare propaganda – are being used to undermine an act which does not share those characteristics at all!

The actual “censorship” currently happening, let’s call it censorship-lite for reference, might be technically accurate as a term to describe the effect, but if seen without relying on defining it, is quite a mild effect. In the case above it effectively involved people exerting peer (or sometimes market) pressure on some venues to not provide a platform to known reactionaries.

One would think, if such censorship-lite is not a big deal, why does it keep coming up from such valiant defenders of free speech (/s)? There is a further unspoken argument being packed in the accusations of censorship, in the form of the slippery slope fallacy. The point being made in subtext is: “This is how it starts, today you stop Milo Yannopoulos’ speech and tomorrow a boot is stomping a human face – forever.”

Please forgive my exaggeration but I hope it makes my point clear what is actually happening and why such arguments on the definition of the word never seem to lead anywhere.

 

Truly Orwelian

Saw this on reddit, and I had to share. Go read all of it.

Quoth SarcasticSadist:

Trump has demonstrated an uncanny, almost unbelievable ability to just bend the past however he wants. And you can protest all you want; nobody is really stopping him. We all get shocked in the moment – How could he have the unmitigated gall to say this shocking thing? But he delivers these shocks so regularly that nobody has time to fully process them. If a scandal blows up for more than two days, Trump will just do something else outrageous and the former story will be dropped to cover the new one. Trump is exploiting the media’s goldfish attention span. He’s overloading the news, giving them so much scandal that they don’t even have time to cover it all.

Every 4 years

When you rely on one vote every 4 years to be the epitome of all your democratic power, it’s expected to become depressed when your choice doesn’t make it.

Organize and attempt democratic control in all aspects of your life: Work, Neighborhoods, Online Communities etc. Then not only will losing that 4-year vote not make you quite so sad, but you’ll see it doesn’t matter anyway.

PS: Holy shit the drama today is overflowing.

Out of ammo

As you may have heard by now, Doomtown:Reloaded is being discontinued. As part of the design team for the past 3 years, it’s been a rough but wonderful ride and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in terms of balance and gameplay.

Unfortunately the writing was on the wall at this point as event attendance had slumped, and online activity was barely existent. Even with some of the best tools available for a card game, in the form of DoomtownDB and OCTGN for online gameplay – things that are not given for most card games – it seemed like we were struggling to retain people’s interest. Of course I’m speaking only as an observer since I don’t really have an insight into sales records of any sort, but it felt to me that the past 6 months were more anemic than is healthy.

So while sad, I can’t say I’m horribly surprised by this turn of events. Nevertheless, the upcoming expansions are some of the best we’ve put out until now, and the final Pine Box’s new homes will open a lot more avenues for gameplay as well.

I plan to write a “post-mortem” from my perspective on Doomtown:Reloaded, so keep an eye out if you’re interested.

Outrage Culture or Male Indignation

The latest Wondermark comic once again hits the spot perfectly, but I feel it also makes a secondary point more obvious to me. I’ve always wondered why so many dudebros online just get so unreasonably upset about someone calling them out on something, even the smallest issue in the most polite way, and I just realized that it’s not really “outrage” per se that they’re expressing, but rather a sort of pre-emptive indignation at someone pointing out they might be wrong about something.

In other words, it’s not really a case that someone is upset about SJWs taking over popular culture and other such nonsense, but rather a case that someone not wanting to accept or hear that they might have done something shitty.

The reason I think this is because it’s a classic result of toxic masculinity to react aggressively to any suggestion that they’re not perfect, or that someone else might be better at them at something. And it doesn’t have anything to do with how aggressive you are when you make such a statement, or even a specific subject. This reaction might be triggered from something as innocuous as a suggestion that they may not know as much about cars as another dude.

Toxic Masculinity then demands that they re-assert their dominance, and when they’re clearly in the wrong, their options are rather limited;  either unwarranted aggression to cower the opposition or denial and misdirection. Both of these examples are plentiful in the recent examples of reactionary outrage against feminist strides in online spaces. From the constant harassment of prominent women (and other minorities) online in an attempt to silence them, to “sealioning”, to conspiracy theories and constant regurgitation of debunked lies.

So, in the end, I feel a lot of the reaction I see from dudebros is not really truly an expression of outrage culture1 but rather a case of classic male indignation to the idea that someone else might be better than they are at a subject.

  1. even though I find it exquisitely funny how this is another perfect case of dudebros perfectly exemplifying a concept they claim to be railing against []

Windows finally given for free?

What’s this then? My 9 years-old prediction is finally coming to be? Huzzah!

To be fair, this isn’t exactly direct free giveaway, but it’s pretty much the next best thing. Microsoft is finally starting to feel the heat about their market share coming from mobile devices and the upcoming Steam OS, and I’m suspecting they are trying to get ahead of the game. Legitimizing pirates makes sense, if it will retain their OS market share.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much good it will do them. Sure the pirates will be legal in Windows 10, but they’re still not going to be buying the OS. I suspect this is more an attempt show developers that the important development platform for games and apps is going to be Windows 10, rather than someone else like Steam OS. Of course, profits from those apps/games do not go to Microsoft, but if by the time Windows 11 comes around, PC users are again solidly within their technologies, Microsoft does not have to offer the same thing once more.

So this is more like a honeypot offer to avoid attrition before requesting money again. It’s classic Microsoft. It will be interesting to see how many will take them up on their offer and where it will lead.