beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
So, a week(ish?) ago, I happened to get into a fan discussion about Reborn!/KHR on Plurk. Now, all I know about the series is from friends, but it's about Tsuna, an unlikely Japanese schoolboy discovering he was the heir to a Mafia family and that it started as a gag comedy manga but the author eventually decided to try to plot something. One of the points of Tsuna's characterization was that he was a good kid who was determined to not compromise that even if he was the head of a Mafia family.

So my Plurk friend was ranting about how fans of the series were all 'Mafia = serious business' and therefore that the logical thing would be for the series to crush Tsuna's innocence until he had to act all ruthless and how a Mafia boss should act, rather than have the plot be about Tsuna's conflict between duty and idealism* and let that take it where it may.

I commented this is a lot like how some Avatar fans reacted to the end of Season 3 of Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Spoilers here! )

And I'm still going! )

* I mean, this isn't an uncommon theme, especially in shounen anime/manga. The protagonist is an idealist. Usually he has an ally or rival that is a pragmatist. When he confronts the antagonists, he has to choose if he wants to compromise his ideals for a better shot at winning, or try to stick to his guns and win.
beccastareyes: Image of two women (Utena and Anthy) dancing with stars in the background.  Text: I have loved the stars too fondly... (stars)
Well, yes, I have many thoughts. Some of which are full of colorful language. These thoughts in particular about his whole 'space program thing'.

So, for my non-American readers, the Republican Party is currently trying to decide who they want to run as the official Republican nominee for President in November. Most of my thoughts on the candidates involve 'gentlemen, your policies are 99% bigoted garbage that I think will be horrible for America, and you seem engaged in a contest to see who can be the worst human being'.

But, Newt Gingrich, in an effort to distinguish himself from Mitt Romney*, decided he was going to be all 'Space is awesome, you guys!'.  )
beccastareyes: Text: Sigh.... (*sigh*)
So, anyone who doesn't want to hear me complaining about my minor health problems should skip the stuff under the cut.

Otherwise, click here )

Planning on spending my Friday night coloring art, considering [personal profile] anke has extended more than enough patience waiting on me finishing my [livejournal.com profile] mrcaex piece. After that I have archives to update -- I got an account at Artician and PaperDemon, so I want to play around and see if I like them. (And engage in the quest of 'how far back do I keep art around before it's all crap I hate'.)

* I do have active research, but it is currently stalled in the 'I should ask someone about this code because it is both doing exactly what it is supposed to do AND not returning a useful answer'. Basically, I am trying to find the best curve drawn through some data, and the program, depending on what method I use, does one of the following:
1. Returns my first guess to me immediately as its best guess.
2. Takes one step, then returns that guess, despite the fact that, by my eye, it looks worse than the first guess.
3. Goes off on a wild goose chase to give me something that looks worst than the first guess AND means something that cannot be actually true.
beccastareyes: (antisocial)
So, have some fail that has nothing to do with whose butts are in the chairs in DC (or Florida writing racist laws).

Fiction Ally, a HP fanfic archive, writes a grant for charity Includes such lines from the admins as "I've done the research and I'm here to tell you that there are far more sources of funding available to starving children in Africa than there are to fan-oriented websites." (Later edited out because most people were like 'Yeah, that's because feeding the hungry is more important than (over)-paying for your webhosting'.)

DeviantART displays massive ignorance about genderqueer/intersex folks... on Spirit Day Basically an almost willful misunderstanding about why someone might not want to choose 'male' or 'female', and that even the 'don't show gender' option still shows as pronoun usage. Someone seriously needs training on gender issues. (Also, seriously, it does not take much coding options to program in an 'Other'/'Unspecified' and have some (ugly) 's/he's and 'him/her's -- no one's asking to go down the list of third-gendered pronouns on Wikipedia. A small thing that creates goodwill with folks outside the gender binary.)

Cooks Source Magazine are Copyright-Violating Content Thieves Basically, writer writes an article on apple pies for her SCA site. Cooks Source takes it and publishes it, without permission or payment. Then the editor claims that anything on the interbutts is public domain (hint: it isn't unless it says it is) and she should be grateful for the exposure and that they didn't just slap on someone else's name (hint: you can't do that, even for public domain sources).

And, as a palate cleanser, have a story about my mother's cousin, who coaches high school football and is up for Boston.com's Coach of the Year. Because having his football team mentor a kid with Downs Syndrome is happy-making. I can also find you some kittens and bunnies, I guess...
beccastareyes: Image of woman (Sheska) with UFO, text: The Truth is out there.  Way out there (way out there)
I'm currently reading C J Cherryh's The Foreigner. In a nutshell, it's about a human colony ship that gets marooned somewhere far from Earth and where they are supposed to be. With their constructed space station failing, they are forced to land on a planet with an Industrial Age civilization -- which goes fine, until some years in, they nearly get wiped out because the aliens don't think like humans. The meat of the book is about the human ambassador to the aliens and both the internal politics that are looking to get him killed, and his own tendency to anthropomorphize alien thought processes*.

Cherryh and Octavia Butler, and probably others are authors I enjoy for playing with alien psychology. I mean, if you want a little alienness, a lot of people just go for the Planet of the Hats approach and have the Logical Ones, the Honorable Ones**, the Sneaky Bastards, etc. while some SF authors question a lot of universals of human psychology -- what if we weren't a hierarchical species, or if we were more of a hierarchical species? -- which gets a lot of weird aliens.

I mention this because something today made me realize that we don't always have to go into SF literature to find alien thought patterns.  )

--
* Doesn't help that he's the only human living off the island humans settled. Personally, I'd think that's a horrible setup and rife for trouble, but the aliens might not have agreed to multiple humans, and they probably wouldn't have gotten why humans would need a group.

** Actually read an interesting Star Trek: The Next Generation spinoff novel. One of the side plots advanced the idea that the Klingons were one of the few naturally-solitary species*** that achieved starflight without killing themselves, and the whole TNG-era strict honor code was essentially a cultural adaption to allow people who evolved from violent predators to get along without killing one another (too much). Not sure if I buy it, but it's at least an attempt to think about Klingon psychology other than Honorable Warrior Race or Those Guys that Shoot at Us.

*** Read: if humans are lions, Klingons would be tigers. Lions raise their young in groups, and even low-ranked males without a pride will sometimes form small groups. Tigers on the other hand, are rarely found in groups, outside of a mother and her cubs.

**** Okay, poorer and living in the United States, where poor means uninsured or underinsured.
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
Today on the news, there was a report of a shooting in Egypt outside of a Coptic Church getting out of Christmas Mass (traditionally celebrated on the 7th, not the 25th as Catholics and Protestants do). Six people died, and more were injured when a riot started when the bodies were picked up from the hospital. In November, there were riots, and the destruction of Christian-owned property. The motive was that a 12-year-old Muslim girl was raped, and the suspect was Christian. The Copts are a minority sect of Christians in Egypt that date back to the early Christian Church, and there have been complaints about discrimination in mostly-Muslim Egypt.

Just now I read a summary of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission's summary of the Top Ten Anti-Christian Attacks of 2009. You mentally can insert 'Fundamentalist' before 'Christian' in both cases -- they make it abundantly clear that they don't speak for all Christians. I won't bore you with the list, where a dissection can be found here, but allow me to summarize:

1. All events took place in America, a country where at least three quarters of the population, including the politicians, identify as some sort of Christian, and one party seemed to think 'secret Muslim' was enough to persuade folks to not vote for the current president.
2. There is constant conflation of 'Christianity' with 'anti-abortion' and 'anti-homosexuality'. The most egregious example was the listing of Episcopalian Bishop Eugene Robinson's role in Obama's Inauguration Ceremony. For those of you playing at home, the Episcopalians are a Christian denomination that came from the Anglicans. Bishop Robinson happens to be the first (edit: non-celibate) gay bishop ordained by the Episcopalians. So, one of the Top Ten Anti-Christian attacks of 2009... was letting a Christian participate in the inauguration of a Christian President.
3. There are several cases in which something happened but there is no proof (or significant counter-arguments) that the victim's religion played a role. A pastor is shot by a mentally ill man. One victim of a murderer who killed three people was protesting abortion. A woman's child is put into public school after her home-schooling attempts were revealed to be 'sit the kid down in front of a computer in Mom's room' and the child's father was getting upset about this.
4. There's also the standard scare-mongering about protests, like lionizing a man who broke the law keeping all protesters a set distance from health clinics, or complaining about hate-crime legislation.

It just makes me think... Look. We live in a world where six people died coming out of religious services, that they are being harassed because one single person of their religious group committed a crime, and you complain because you can't intimidate women getting abortions and that the president invites gay people to the Inauguration?

I know that there is this idea of being like Jesus -- about caring so much for an idea or a group of people that you are willing to martyr yourself. But bitching about how you have to share your pie with the heathens is not martyrdom, it's whining.

Also, cut it out with the no true Christian crap.
beccastareyes: Image of anime girl (Amelia from Slayers) posing, text: in the name of Justice... (justice)
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a network with a goofy name. There was also an organization devoted to discouraging GLBT discrimination. The organization noted which networks were doing good jobs of portraying queer folks in a fair light, and which weren't. As it happened, the network got a failing grade. So the network exec made a statement along the lines of 'We will try harder in the future'. Fair enough.

Apparently SF writer John C Wright was not happy with this. Seeing as he was morally opposed to anything other than procreative sex between a married couple, he issued a long rant about how the network was pandering to the evil Gay Agenda.

Most of you in fandom can imagine the explosion. While there are many explicative-laced rants -- I can provide links, or I can happily give you my own -- I am enamored of Hal Duncan's, linked by Elizabeth Bear and Shweta Narayan. It is wordy, but has some delightful turns of phrase, and profanity is used sparingly (I think there is only 'cut the crap') and in a skillful way to provide emphasis.

TLDR: I liked Hal Duncan's letter. )
beccastareyes: (hooray for iowa!)
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a network with a goofy name. There was also an organization devoted to discouraging GLBT discrimination. The organization noted which networks were doing good jobs of portraying queer folks in a fair light, and which weren't. As it happened, the network got a failing grade. So the network exec made a statement along the lines of 'We will try harder in the future'. Fair enough.

Apparently SF writer John C Wright was not happy with this. Seeing as he was morally opposed to anything other than procreative sex between a married couple, he issued a long rant about how the network was pandering to the evil Gay Agenda.

Most of you in fandom can imagine the explosion. While there are many explicative-laced rants -- I can provide links, or I can happily give you my own -- I am enamored of Hal Duncan's, linked by Elizabeth Bear and Shweta Narayan. It is wordy, but has some delightful turns of phrase, and profanity is used sparingly (I think there is only 'cut the crap') and in a skillful way to provide emphasis.

TLDR: I liked Hal Duncan's letter. )
beccastareyes: (election)
Politics depresses me. Perhaps moreso because my own conscience won't let me slide into the Benjamin-esque sentiment of 'things will continue like they always have -- badly'. I want to do something, to encourage the evolution of a system in the way I want to to go, or at least prevent it from getting worse. I just don't know how to go about doing this.

Warning, political talk ahead )

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