Having Been Human
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Thu May 17 21:18:28 2012
Conway's Bluff

Tonight I went to a presentation by Damian Conway to NYC's Perlmongers. The thing felt like a long SIGBOVIK paper, although with a more clued crowd and with an implementer that actually kinda-sorta implemented what he said he did. Well, or at least it resembled it enough that it could be traced alongside the claims with a certain sense of humour and well shallowly similar; claims that the program was actually sending data back and forth in time were amusing, and the actual weirdness the program was doing was at least useful in part.

Leaving the event, I walked by NYC's city hall, which was oddly disappointing. I think I may have been spoiled by Philadephia's city hall, which is truly epic (and which I saw a lot because PHL's Occupy was right outside).

I've been thinking a lot about the gulf between the differences between the various camps of feminists-at-large and the feminism-with-theory, the latter of which I consider deeply off-track; just as I consider the Marxians to have fundamental flaws in theory and (generally) larger flaws in practice/culture, so I consider those who heed feminist theory. Providing new foundations for a better socialism is an interest of mine, and I've been having some discussions with others in (really after, in groups of 2-3) philosophy groups that've helped me flesh out my intuitions for that. I think I'm ready to provide a framework for the pluralist market socialism that I think we need, abandoning the old theory and discarding the existing socialisms entirely (I owe Eduard Bernstein for some initial direction on this, although I believe I've made a much more solid theory that isn't entirely along his directions). I am ready for that with socialism; I wonder if I want to provide a new feminist framework too; I feel that many of the same flaws have developed in Marxian thought as in feminist theory, and I could do better, making a system that is more intellectually pluralist, that strongly rejects the narrow discourse and emphasis on offense yet is strong enough to actually achieve its ends and improve the world. I am sure that many women would be uncomfortable with the idea of a "moderate" theory coming from a man, but so what? I refuse to disqualify myself, nor to resign myself to being an "ally". I am a theorist. My involvement is there in support of my ideals, not to be in the backseat or fodder for any movement. I also have one of the more important things that any theorist can have: a broad variety of interests and commitments, rather than just a few. I am not captured by any narrow style of discourse, as I claim the feminists-with-theory generally are right now, and my argumentative tools, even when my opinions are radical compared to the status quo, are mainstream (when you see me arguing for socialism, this is immediately apparent).

My main worry there is not embarassment or condemnation from ideological foes; it's primarily that I have too many projects right now, and if I work on this it will take time away from providing a new socialist theory. Maybe this isn't a real worry though; my interests in philosophy have not generally been easily consistent between topics from week-to-week. Perhaps an extra focus won't cost me anything, just increase the amount of time I can write (and adding depth on the rare occasion that the topics connect; I believe marxian-feminist syntheses are generally deeply in wrong, but there are at least some foundational ties between my ideals for humanity (which are where my feminism, to the extent that it is distinct from the rest of my philosophy, comes from) and my notion of socialism.

Tomorrow will have one, possibly two interviews, one with G, another with T. I've been brushing up a bit on my C socket programming skills in case they're helpful with either. I wrote most of a C echo server, and am reminded why in the past I've always written wrapper libraries first; the boilerplate code, when done defensively enough to do error-handling well, is ridiculously big and doesn't have a lot of variation that really needs good handling. In Perl, I'd just use Net::SimpleServer, which handles all the boring details nicely. In C, glib provides some nice socket wrappers via the GIO subsystem. Doing this stuff with raw C is not that fun because you end up rewriting a lot of the basic functionality of those libraries. Still, good to know, I guess.