Periscope Depth

2012 best of blog

Until new content inspires me, I’ll run down some of (what I think were) my best posts from 2012:

On the SOPA Blackout: “If you object to SOPA, you object to the system that created it. If you don’t object to the system that created it, you don’t really object to SOPA. And don’t tell me that you understand the potential for corruption, but you hope that by electing “more and better” Ruling Party members that you can get good results, etc, because you can’t. It doesn’t work. You want a super-intelligent shark that’s not going to eat Samuel L. Jackson. Well, I’m sorry, but the super-intelligent shark will always eat Samuel L. Jackson.”

Writing as Chemistry: “Ferrett’s right to say that writing isn’t magical, but let’s not throw away all the metaphors yet. Let’s say instead that writing is not alchemical but chemical. Writers do not tap into Atlantean wisdom and brew potions to turn lead into gold. Instead, writers show up in the lab every day. They study a hundred different samples and jot down figures in a wilting marble notebook. Then, if they’re patient and they’re diligent and they don’t hurry to publish, they may just discover a miracle.”

The Death of Hardware: “The First World’s demand to be entertained is effectively unlimited. Get in front of that and produce interesting content with whatever means are at your disposal and you’ll do okay. Try to interrupt it and you’ll be shocked at the force of the response.”

Accountability: “You can’t teach a lack of respect for authority: even if power-worship weren’t wired into the human genome, skepticism and iconoclasm run counter to the principles of instruction. “Never take anyone’s word at face value, except mine, and only about this!” Perhaps the solution is to stop teaching, or to teach a different set of skills that will grow into independent thought, or to accept these occasional outbursts of group monstrosity as the price of a civil society.”

The Hunger Games: “While I don’t want to take anything away from the importance of The Bully Project, it is just as important that every teenager in America sees The Hunger Games on the big screen. They need to see a world where people accept income inequality as the just outcome of wrongdoing two hundred years ago. They need to see a world where young adults are marched off to death with no objection. They need to see a world where the voices and faces of media are tools of social control. They need to see a world where it’s the villains who call ritual slaughter a “sacrifice” that needs to be “honored,” not the heroes.”

Big Two-Hearted Racetrack: The symbolism will mean a little more to people who knew me personally in spring 2012, but I still think it works. Plus it’s a literal story that actually happened.

Living the Dream: “If you’re wondering whether or not a particular dream of yours is your true calling in life, ask yourself: how long would I be willing to labor in fruitless obscurity just for the joy of pursuing this dream?”

The Three Female Fates: “Maybe this was just the final straw. Maybe this was what burned me out after years of watching women shoved up against chain link fences, tied up in basements or covering their mouths as they look at pregnancy tests. I wasn’t offended at seeing rape on screen. I was just bored.”

On Guns and Mental Illness: “So maybe the truth about guns isn’t clear, nor will it be for some time. But we can say this with certainty: anyone who takes a weapon of any sort and wades into a crowd of civilians, slaying indiscriminately, has mental health issues. This is true for killers with ostensive political motives and for those without. This is a common denominator that unites all of them. So if we can’t make headway on the guns issue, maybe we can make some ground on mental health.”

On Contracts and Creators’ Rights: “Not only is Kurtz’s viewpoint wrong – the producer is just as much an actor as the artist is, and is therefore just as damned for drafting a shitty contract as the artist is for signing it – but it’s ugly. He’s hearing the grievances of men who’ve been discarded by the companies they trusted and he’s not saying, “That ain’t my problem.” He’s saying, “That’s precisely what you deserve.” He’s siding with the great against the powerless. That’s a tone from which nothing good ever emerges, save “the laugh in triumph over a defeated foe.” That there’s an audience for this sort of shit worries me.”

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