Hell is me being forced to decide every day if men will reply to my jokes with a worse joke, or the same joke but told worse.
Just had the most intense deja vu because simultaneously explaining to multiple men that their attempts to find permissible jokey variations of doing the thing being complained about will get them blocked while I eat a pickle in a bubble bath is a thing that has happened before.
Funny Men of Twitter, I don't know what percent of this is thinking you see an opening to show your stuff and what percent is deliberate boundary-pushing behavior, but I know it's a mix and they're both creepy and wrong ways to approach someone venting or laying out a boundary.
But to understand how and why, we should consider what is possibly the most famous quotation of all time on the subject of brevity, which is from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the tragicomic figure of Polonius.
See, Polonius as written is a hypocrite, and so most of his lines are meant to be faux-deep and tinged heavily with irony. But they're also written by Shakespeare, and so they're so quotable, and so they get quoted out of context.
"To thine own self be true," says the fraud.
"This above all: to thine own self be true, and thus it must follow, as the night the day, that thou canst not then be false to any men."
This line caps his advice to his son on how to make his way in the world, and on its face it seems pretty solid.
I have a dang hard time finding information about in online, I think because so many of the keywords just bring up legit medical stuff, but I have read in a couple of places about a married couple that claimed they could give cancer screenings via spy satellite.
It worked something like this: at fancy rich people dinner parties, when asked what he did, the husband would start off being evasive before "admitting", reluctantly, that he worked with the CIA and couldn't say much about it.
That would get people to beg him to say more, so he'd say something like, "Let's just say you can't believe what we can do with surveillance satellites these days." and then when pressed, they'd be like, "Oh, well, if a US adversary dies suddenly it can throw a region into chaos"
"Painkillers don't treat the root cause. Use ginger root and magnesium sulfate for pain management and anti-inflammation."
Uhhhhh that's not treating the root cause either, is it? Unless. Unless she thinks "root cause" means "caused by deficiency of roots, like ginger roots".
I just. I hate this trope in alternative medicine so much.
"Instead of constantly going to a doctor for your back pain, just see a chiropractor. The doctor can only treat your symptoms, you'll be going to them your whole life."
So... do I see a chiropractor once and I'm done?
If a chiropractor adjusting your back does better for you than going to a medical doctor then I am happy for you, but the argument of "the doctor can only treat symptoms so you'll have to keep going back" is meaningless propaganda *when you also keep going to the chiropractor*
Kind of amazed but also not really surprised to realize how much online "leftism" from guys is just repackaged homophobia and misogyny, shifted from "Fellas is it gay" to "Fellas is it bourgeois" without changing the subjects of concern one iota.
Fellas is it bourgeois to shower and wear deodorant? You're literally aspiring to an upper-class standard of cleanliness. Don't leftists believe in retaining the sweat of their labors?
Apparently the thing that was really counterrevolutionary about the charcuterie board was the aesthetic arrangement of it. You know, the part that was free? The part that required no buy-in to any system?
Comrade fellas, it IS bourgeois to want your food to look nice.
I have been -- am not currently, couldn't say if that will remain the case -- but I have been very invested in the song of ice and fire series, but even at my most invested I have long thought GRRM is better as an editor and facilitator (a la Wild Cards) than an author himself.
I'm way out of date in the Wild Cards series, even as I know more and more authors who are involved in it, just because I've had a years-long period where I struggled to read long-form fiction, out of a combination of eyesight-related physical strain and *gestures around*.
But this gives me complicated feelings about the pressure on him to finish his own series, as I'm sure one of the many factors there is his deep involvement with a complex machine of so many moving parts, that benefits and highlights younger and less established authors.
Let me explain why I do care that he's calling to delay the election and why I don't care about the "only Congress has that power" and "Constitutionally his term ends".
At a minimum, at the very best, he's providing cover to dismantle the USPS and enforce in-person voting.
That's the big reason for why NOW, why *this tweet*, when he's had an interest in delaying/not holding the election for a while: he is an opportunist and he sees an opportunity. Democrats are using public safety to push for mail-in voting? He will claim the high ground there.
"We get the leadership we deserve." is the kind of statement you can only make if you have never once in your life reflected on who you mean when you say "we", and who you are leaving out.
Who is "we"? Because there's a "we" who did this and a "we" it was done to.
Have you not been paying attention to the fact that there are people who aren't allowed to vote? Whose votes aren't counted? Whose votes are abstracted away by gerrymandered district lines?
We did not all get an equal say in the decisions that led us here and we do not all have the same exposure to the consequences, and by and large the people whose game it is and the people whose skin is in it are not the same people.
More tabletop game thoughts: in a recent episode of Dimension 20, Brennan said, after checking the math on a proposed monk stunt, "Isn't it great when a character can *just do* the thing everybody wants them to be able to do?"
He immediately followed that up by dropping a giant ice spear on the character and knocking him to 0 HP, because every battle in Dimensino 20 is a boss battle (which is not a bad format for TV) and this one seemed to have both lair and legendary actions.
But laying aside that very Brennan Gonna Brennan moment, the line sums up a big part of my philosophy for action-adventure games: the heroes should be able to do what the heroes should be able to do.
One thing I really like about Dishonored's game design is that while you gain in power as you go through the missions ("level up"), the kinds of threats/obstacles you face mainly increase in variety rather than power level so you actually can *feel* more powerful by the end.
The first levels of the numbered games have you escaping from captivity through hostile ground with nothing but the two most basic weapons in the game and no superhuman abilities, and it can get pretty desperate.
Then you get even a single mind-bending magical superpower that almost no one else in the game or world has and it immediately changes the dynamic.
"Cure is simple," the doctor says. "Have some cake."
"But, doctor," the man sobs,
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Charlie Brown would 100% be the DM, for much the same reasons he's the manager of the baseball team and the director of the Christmas pageant: everybody just assumes he'll do the thankless organizational tasks so they can have a good time, while giving him zero respect/authority.
Picture Charlie Brown's excitement when he finds out that everybody else is into D&D. He's had all the books for years and was mocked for it but suddenly tabletop is cool and mainstream and he's got a bunch of character ideas he thinks he's finally going to be able to play.
If you *don't* have JK Rowling's reach, if you're just somebody with a couple dozen or couple hundred or even a couple thousand followers, it doesn't really take more than one person with a bee in their bonnet and a larger (not even huge) platform to mess up your life.
And that can be messing up your social media platform, it can be messing up your support circles, it can be messing up your professional life, and if all of those things are tied together, it can be all at once.
Every single person who signed that Cancel Culture letter would absolutely speak out to defend an editorial calling for police to shoot more journalists in the head because that is what free speech means to them.
And if questioned on this they would say "Absolutely! Not because I agree but because where do you draw the line?"
But they have drawn it! They have decided the limits of acceptable discourse in this country! They are putting a limit on free speech to supposedly protect it!
And the thing is... a lot of the speech they want to protect us from is *also* motivated by a desire to protect free speech. Tom Cotton's "send in the troops" was a threat of violent force against free speech! The special treatment it received from NYT Opinions was also chilling.
Contrarian opinion: it might not work, but the Trump White House gambling that US voters will become numb to ongoing, needless death as a fact of life even in the face of other countries largely solving the problem is not just some wild, desperate idea they had out of nowhere.
It's been the Republican approach to guns, poverty, and pre-pandemic health care, among other things, and while it might eventually drive their party off a cliff it's been working out well for them so far, in terms of holding power.
H.L. Mencken wrote: "No one in this world, so far as I know-and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me-has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."
JK Rowling: "I love, respect, and affirm trans people, I just don't think the government should be converting children into giant hunter-destroyer cyborgs and this is why trans people of all ages should not have rights."
1. State that you're not a bigot. 2. Fearmonger/concerntroll about something that sounds bad and is absolutely not happening. 3. On that basis, argue a slippery slope that requires oppressing the group you've stated you're not bigoted against.
This is like, the smallest thing about J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series worldbuilding, but... I've gotten so much pushback over the years for pointing out that in her world, the exact same magic is called something different based on the gender of a practitioner.
So I agree with the threads and essays about how it's not super clever of video games to present people with violence and then hit us over the head with "See? See how your violence is Bad Actually?" but... after playing through Dishonored one and a half times...
...I really have to say that I like the way that this game in particular handles things in so far as you are put into a world that embodies the "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" view of life but where you can choose, to an extent, to be better, and make things better.
And the way the game's world reflects your choices and the game mechanics shape them are surprisingly deep and multi-layered. The game's lore is full of stuff about how the available magic corrupts people, but there's no "corruption" attribute that afflicts you.
The last WorldCon I went to, I made out with a beautiful rocket scientist who bought me six drinks and we had a fabulous time.
I keep starting to write a thread about how making cons safer means giving up on some fantasies but I don't think fantasy is the problem. Reality is.
Because the reality of something like that is, you have to put in work. You have to check in, and not in a super eager, "just to dot the i's" by saying the right words like they're a magical formula.
The reality is you can't get an experience like that - not with any reliable level of safety and not without a lot of collateral damage along the way - by an aggressive shot gun or machine gun approach, by shouting come-ons and loudly interrogating strangers about their habits.