Blog: Staggering Feet

Staggering Feet
Staggering Feet
Date: 2018-Sep-17 01:23:48 EST

I recently saw a video on YT talking about behaviour of pet cats - one of the points that stuck with me is that cats rarely talk to each other but they talk a lot to humans. This does fit my memory, but I'm surprised I never noticed it. And there's still the question of what nuances I should read into it - there's a sample bias in that I only am around to see some cat interactions, while my cats are there at my home all the time. And a lot of my interactions with my cats come down to them bothering me for food or water, so it's structural. They mostly talk to each other as warning when play fighting gets too rough. I wonder too if talking for them is a second resort, to be tried after body language (which I presunmably only would sometimes pick up on). It's a fascinating topic and something that now resides in my head as another data collection impulse. Like a TSR from the DOS days.

I feel some empathy for Rick Scott in this circumstance, in that any kind of historical analysis is tough. I don't think I would or should get down to a short answer were I to be asked this - at the very least I'd start with the distinction between what we knew then and what we know now, and move on to analysis of effects, principles, and so on. To really get a yes or no answer, the question would have to be phrased differently.

Given how happy I was to see superdelegates largely drained of influence in the Democratic Party, I am still intrigued at various articles about it. There's a certain tendency to decide that certain groups deserve an extra balancing effort in our political representation, and this does go against that tendency. I don't have very strong feelings about this (the way our elections work do legitimately have this effect), but I've come to lean against that tendency, to the level of feeling enraged by the way NYC community board members are not elected, they're handpicked to be representative along whatever lines politicians find representative. This, I think, makes them illegitimate.

This article on CDProjectRed is in my view entirely wrong-headed - to argue that poking fun at some kinds of activism necessarily means hostility to whatever cause they're poking for is making an unfortunate leap, and if widely adopted would leave us unable to criticise bad activism.

CNN has a ranking of 2020 potential democratic candidates. They have at least 1 serious error upfront - that further-left candidates are winning, but it's still an interesting list. Among them:

  • Elizabeth Warren is someone I would wholeheartedly support for higher office, even though I wish she were less less forceful in congressional interrogations
  • I am wary of Kemala Harris (significantly because she is from California and the political culture there is more PC) but haven't yet seen much about her that actually bothers me. If she runs I'll need to learn more
  • I could support Biden, but reluctantly because I think he is very poor on foreign policy
  • I am wary of Kirsten Gillibrand for her stance on ICE (I think it's done just to appease nutty activists and I don't want the party to do that). Would need to learn more.
  • I think Bernie Sanders is too old to be president and I don't know where he is on foreign policy. If he's nominated I'd support him, but I don't think at this point he's the best choice.
  • I don't trust or respect Cory Booker.
  • I don't know much about the rest. If they become prominent I'll study them
There's been some backlash against Netflix pushing for Ciri, a main character in Witcher 3, being recast to be a minority race in an upcoming TV series. I am usually a little irritated when I feel choices are being made in fiction writing for activist purposes rather than what's good for the story or true to the world the story takes place in. I'd rather we societally turn our backs on authors that do that, and in our personal notions of canon, expel their works - "smells like activism" is a sour, unworthy scent. That said, I don't think it's ever appropriate to harass authors or actors or directors over stuff like this. We're not entitled to have fiction written to our whims, particularly when with any story, the pen is waiting there for us to weave what we like (if in our heads and in doujin) with whatever stories we have heard. For those of us who consider DrWho to have ended in the classic series, who is going to come to our doors and insist we change our views? Nobody. So there's no reason for us to harass others just because they got their canon turned into a movie or a comic or whatever. We still have our own canon, and harassment is not acceptable.

There are interesting issues with this call not to call Alamo defenders heroic. Namely, does one need to fight for a side that's geopoltically decent in order to be a hero, or is it enough to fight for one's community? Could someone defending a kibbutz built on stolen land be thought of as heroic? Could the attackers? Could there be heroes on both sides? Looking at the history of Texas, I think the American settlers were, at least as a group, dastardly and deserved to lose; the Mexican government offered them a place to build with the understanding that they would be Mexican citizens, and they broke with that. I am unsure how to define the word hero though, so I don't feel I can reach conclusion on this issue. I feel I at least know how I should think about it though.

Here's a cute article on Batman and fighting crime. I am intrigued to see a different critique of Batman from mine (I think Batman is mentally ill and deeply irresponsible, and don't consider him at all a hero), focused on more of a rehabilitation ethic. It's unfortunately unfulfilling in that it doesn't suggest a solution for the characters so much as a change in the narrative world to encourage readers in healthier directions. I would rather accept the given world and make Batman harsher. The Injustice storyline goes further and lays out the spectrum, albeit populated mainly at the extremes and gently suggesting that the death penalty is akin to fascism (Injustice Superman being essentially that).

Finally, Politico asks a fascinating question - what would a socialist America look like. There are many potential answers depending on flavour, but the flavour I'm imagining would be heavily Technocratic, influenced by Nordic countries (although getting the worker protections right would be incredibly fiddly), and still a weighty player on the world stage, in favour of healthy international norms. The cradle-to-grave care that is occasionally promised and talked about in the UK would be a guideline, but with fairly skeptical analysis of each right we might grant people. Economically, competition between collectives would be a norm for business.