The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas – Compact Analysis

I’ve seen some posting on “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” Ultra-compact analysis: 1. Le Guin asks YOU to imagine a Utopia with whatever in it YOU think would make people happy 2. This Utopia will have all those pleasures (including sinful ones) with NO DOWNSIDES. 3. You don’t believe it, obviously. 4. She creates a negative condition that magically eliminates the downsides: constant neglect and abuse of a single innocent child. 5. Most people in Omelas end up accepting this, despite not liking it. 6. Post-hoc rationalizations are given – the child can’t really be saved because of…

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Covid Baby

“Covid Baby” is a term my wife used recently to describe our daughter. She just turned two, and since it’s been more than a year of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” she’s lived a life that that is very different from my son when he was the same age. We noticed this when we recently travelled to Texas. She won’t sit for long at a table in a restaurant without getting bored and wanting to get up and move, even if she has toys. She doesn’t know what to do at a supermarket or a mall. She doesn’t like…

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Show Trial

I’m writing this before the Chauvin verdict comes in, because there is a real question, and one that may not even be answerable: Is it a criminal trial, or is it a political trial – a show trial? This is one of those points in time where politics penetrates both culture and civics. At least for the actors outside the courtroom, the trial is not about “justice” in a particular case, which is what our criminal court system is supposed to decide in the lower courts, but rather a competition between “friend” and “enemy.” Chauvin represents a member of the…

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Blind Spots on the Right

Again, “left” and “right” are outdated, but quickly get to the point – friends and enemies. The American right has a huge blind spot, and that is the near-religious support of certain elements of the state, specifically the military and enforcement wings of the state, even when these elements are acting against their interests. I pointed this out in “Republican Bugmen” – that the republican bugman is still obsessed with state solutions to personal problems, just with a different focus – and it ruffled a few feathers. The defense of these parts of the state is a natural reaction, due…

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Republican Bugmen

I wrote a recent article on the profile of a bugman. Because this included many traits that have been recently associated with “the left” (for lack of a better term), a few people have wondered whether there are bugmen on the “right,” or as part of the republican party. There absolutely are. Not only are there Republican bugmen, they are a very large and vocal part of the Republican apparatus, which explains to a large degree why we are where we are. The real divide is between the corporate and the local, not right/left. That’s why we have the modern…

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Little Blessings

My daughter had a hard night. She couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight, then she woke up at about an hour later scared and crying. That woke my son up. I really hadn’t hadn’t slept at all, but I stayed up all night with them. I spent a few hours playing King’s Quest, a Sierra adventure game in the tradition of… Sierra adventure games, with my son, and we all had a blast with it, despite the fact that I was so tired. I was reminded of how things were two years ago, right after my daughter was born.…

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2007: Gaming Ground Zero

Maybe you’ve heard of cultural ground zero: 1997. Now let’s talk games, because unlike other institutions of culture, the games industry kept on growing and innovating for another 10 years. Then 2007 happened, and as far as the bigger publishers are concerned, games reached their peak and no more change or risk was required or even advisable. Gameplay seemed to stop changing almost entirely after 2007, and the extent to which it did change is usually in the negative, involving the watering-down of mechanics and general reduction of difficulty. Of course, there were plenty of amazing games prior to 2007,…

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Attempted Programming

If you are seeing crap like this all the time, you aren’t the one: Nothing is organic when it comes to legacy media. If you remember the Gamergate days, it was proven through a leak/hack that all the games journos had a big chat going where they would decide to, in concert, talk about the same game, same issue, or dogpile a target across all separate publications. “Dad bod” is the latest, but certainly not the most ridiculous, attempt at “narrative saturation.” If you were paying attention you’d have seen it before with eating bugs, living in pods, “amazing” child…

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Rabbits and Social Credit

Courtesy of Brian Niemeier, I read a great short graphic novel (available free and digitally) by Minna Sundberg this week regarding control, social credit, and human conditioning… through rabbits: https://www.hummingfluff.com/lovelypeoplecomic.html I think this is a great comic for a few of reasons. First, the subject matter is on-point and topical. We in the west tend to look over at China and their social credit system (sesame credit) and think we are much better when it comes to thought control, and in a way, we are. That is to say, the west is good at controlling thought in more opaque manner.…

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Profile of a Bugman

Yes, this is a stereotype and not every Bugman is going to hit every point, but most bugmen will represent some concentration of most of the following, including bugwomen: White Overweight Childless, even if married At least one bad physical consumption habit (drinking beer, starbucks, smoking, etc.) At least one purposefully unattractive physical choice, such as colored hair or messy beard Lives in a city No real religion Carries a large amount of debt Seemingly large amount of disposable income and budget for entertainment Somehow always has a new phone and other gadgets Low long-term planning and investment ability Moves…

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