How Evil is Google? Read This!

evil

Photo credit: Daily Sun

For the record, I’m going to say that the information in the Mercola article Google — A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known is horrifying.

I use Google and Gmail all the time, along with a lot of other products and services this story mentions. Oh my stars, they are not only spying on us, but totally manipulating public opinion on a whole bunch of levels.

Please click on the link and read. It’s long, but well worth it. I didn’t watch the video, but I was so influenced by Dr. Joseph Mercola’s content that I had to write about it.

Oh, my wife sent me the link, which is how I became aware of it.

I guess this falls under the heading of science fiction becomes dystopian fact.

But let me back up a second. The 2016 Hugo Award for best science fiction short story was written by Naomi Kritzer (and I’m stunned it won an award) and is called Cat Pictures Please (the link takes you to Clarkesworld.com where you can read it for free).

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“I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” or How to Succeed in Both Offending and Encouraging Readers

clarkesworld

Cover image for issue 160 of Clarkesworld Magazine – Zarrio by Edwardo Garcia

UPDATE – January 18-2020: Fortunately someone archived the original story, so it is preserved, even though Clarkesworld it offline.

UPDATE – January 16, 2020: This story has been pulled from publication by the magazine, and the rationale can be found here!

On twitter, I happened across a tweet by Cora Buhlert. It was referencing a story written by Isabel Fall for Clarkesworld Magazine called I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Actually, I saw that Buhlert was referencing a twitter conversation of someone called The 1000 Year Plan (actually a Marxist blogger named “Gary” who announces personal pronouns as “he/him”) commenting on Fall’s story.

As you can guess, he didn’t like it.

What got my attention first is that Gary tweeted:

All of the comments are absurdly over-the-top praise that appeared almost immediately after the story was published. There are way more of these than is normal for a Clarkesworld story.

I looked at the story and couldn’t see any comments anywhere. Slightly earlier, Gary tweeted:

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How Ricky Gervais Offended Everyone in Hollywood and Restored My Faith in Comedy

ricky

Ricky Gervais hosting the 2020 Golden Globe Awards – NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images.

Perhaps you’ve heard of comedian Ricky Gervais, or rather his hysterically scathing commentary on Hollywood, including some of the most famous icons alive. This happened at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards last night, and quickly became a social media hit.

The only place I could (quickly) find the full video of his intro to the “Globes” was on Caleb Hull’s twitter account. I promise, it’s not to be missed.

I’m writing this because, as you know, I’ve been critical of awards ceremonies, particularly in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve made numerous commentaries, including Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?, The Hugo Award Will Not Be Renamed and Why Are All Conservatives (seemingly) Called Alt-Right?, and Once More On Awards And How Your Heroes Will Never Be Perfect.

I’ve suspected more than one awards ceremony has been politically rigged to bias heavily in one direction (left), and last night, Gervais illuminated his live and television audience with just how true this mess in Hollywood is (as if we didn’t know, but it’s nice to have confirmation).

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Telling Someone Else’s Story

jemisin

Screenshot of J.K. Jemisin from YouTube – Found at Vox.com

Once again wandering around File 770’s Pixel Scroll, I came across item 5 “Writing About a Different Race.” I was ready to read and cringe, imagining how white, male authors were going to be targeted as racist, misogynistic, insensitive, and so on.

Fortunately the Vulture article Who Gave You the Right to Tell That Story by Lila Shapiro wasn’t particularly cringe-worthy. The subtitle is “Ten authors on the most divisive question in fiction, and the times they wrote outside their own identities,” and one of them is triple Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin. She’s one of only two people (that I’m aware of) who has blocked me on twitter (the other is Rep. Steve Cohen who didn’t appreciate my saying he had a “fast food body” after he tweeted a photo of himself eating KFC chicken as a snub to Attorney General William Barr). Oh, I can log out of twitter and see their tweets fine, I just can’t tweet to them.

Anyway, Jemisin, who is a woman of color if you didn’t see her photo above, discussed her experiences in writing characters who are unlike her. She states in part:

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Why Ed Kramer is Evil but Marion Zimmer Bradley Isn’t. Go figure

bradley

Undated photo of the late author Marion Zimmer Bradley found at Wikipedia

The world is a funny place. On Mike Glyer’s “fanzine” File 770 this morning, I read an article called New Child Porn Charge Against Ed Kramer. I’d never heard of Ed Kramer before, so I looked him up. According to Wikipedia, he is:

an American editor and convicted child molester. Kramer lives in Duluth, Georgia and was a co-founder and part-owner of the Dragon*Con media convention. Kramer has also edited several works in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Before pleading guilty in 2013 to three counts of child molestation, Kramer was the subject of a long-running legal battle that began with his initial arrest in August 2000.

The word DragonCon got my attention. DragonCon has been associated with more conservative elements in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In and of itself, that means nothing. If you’ve been sexually abusing children or been into child porn, you are evil and deserve to be in prison, regardless of your politics.

But what gets me is that certain demographics in SF/F fandom seem to give other, similar people a pass because of their politics and because they are feminists, or at least they seem to do so.

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A Little Fallout: Bias and the “Humanities”

fallout

Graphic depicting nuclear fallout – image credit unknown

Several days ago, I posted a link to my essay Concealment: Should I Have Used a Pen Name? in a private writers group on Facebook. The admin always holds links in mediation prior to approval. Usually the process takes a few minutes to an hour, but after a day went by, I figured I’d gone too far and he wasn’t going to approve it.

However, 24 hours later it appeared. Either he was too busy to approve of it prior to that time (doubtful, since he’d been active in the group all along), or he was pondering whether or not to approve it, maybe even consulting others.

Well, it was approved, and discussion in the group was pretty interesting and generally positive. That is, until this one, offered by an admin of another writers group to which I do not belong (and I don’t plan on asking to join):

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Cult: A Brief Commentary on Actress Allison Mack’s Descent into Darkness

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Allison Mack – Photo Credit: R. Umar Abbasi

Guilty pleasures confession time. I used to be a huge fan of the television series Smallville (2001-2011). I’ve watched every episode at least once, and I love the theme song (YouTube).

In case you don’t know, “Smallville” followed the adventures of young High School student Clark Kent for the ten years before he put on Superman’s tights and cape. Actor Tom Welling starred as Clark, and supporting actors included Kristin Kreuk as love interest Lana Lang and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, a sort of High School newspaper version of Lois Lane.

I heard of Mack’s arrest last April on sex trafficking charges and was stunned. In her role as Sullivan, her character started out with a girl-next-door charm and a nose for bizarre news stories, plus she was as cute as a button. Of course, that has nothing to do with who the actress was as a human being.

Mack’s in the news again, this time professing her innocence in documents filed in Brooklyn’s Federal Court, basically saying that if Scientology can get away with it, she should be able to as well. Notice, at no time does she actually say she never committed the acts of sex trafficking of which she’s accused.

More’s the pity.

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Contemplating the “Eve of Destruction”

nuke

The mushroom cloud of the first test of a hydrogen bomb, “Ivy Mike”, as photographed on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, in 1952, by a member of the United States Air Force’s Lookout Mountain 1352nd Photographic Squadron.

Disclaimer/Trigger Warning: If you’re already nervous about what Donald Trump is capable of as President of the United States, you probably don’t want to read the following.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

-from “Eve of Destruction,” written by P.F. Sloan in 1964
recorded by Barry McGuire July 1965

On twitter, I came across a comment made by award-winning, San Francisco based journalist Chip Franklin:

Trump can launch nukes whenever he wants. I’m not shitting you. NO ONE can legally stop him from a first strike. Mattis couldn’t stop him, and now he’s gone. Imagine Trump’s state of mind when his removal is imminent. So, once again, F*ck you GOP.

You can find that twitter commentary HERE.

Mr. Franklin included a link to the December 23rd Washington Post story Trump can launch nuclear weapons whenever he wants, with or without Mattis written by Bruce Blair, who decades ago was an Air Force nuclear missile crewman and now an Anti-Nuke activist, and Jon Wolfsthal.

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Resisting the Echo Chamber

inherit

Original cover for James P. Hogan’s 1977 novel “Inherit the Stars”

Somewhere on Facebook, I saw an image of a familiar book cover, the cover to James P. Hogan’s 1977 science fiction novel Inherit the Stars. I remember reading it while my wife and I were on vacation in Europe in 1985, traveling with a Catholic choir group (long story).

As with a lot of books I read decades ago, I remember liking it, but I can recall almost nothing of the plot. Yes, it all starts with the mystery of a dead human being found on the Moon, a person 50,000 years old. Intriguing.

I thought about adding it to my list of books to re-read, even though a day ago, I dedicated myself to reading science fiction and fantasy of a more recent vintage.

I was surprised to discover that “Inherit” was the first book in a five-part series. I was also surprised to discover that it was the first book Hogan ever wrote, and that he did so on a dare.

I decided to look up Hogan on the internet. He died in 2010 at the age of 69, just a few years older than I am now.

I also found out he wasn’t a nice man.

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Dabbling in Science Fiction Fandom

sf convention

Photo credit – Knoxville News – Science Fiction convention – place and date unknown

In recent comments on the File 770 SF/F news blog criticizing veteran SF writer Robert Silverberg over comments he made about author NK Jemisin’s Hugo Award acceptance speech last summer, one of the things mentioned is that Silverberg hasn’t read any SF stories written in the past ten years, like that’s a bad thing.

In comments I made on twitter last summer criticizing the objectivity of the Hugo Awards, one person accused me of not being “a fan,” as if being a fan were some sort of exalted and coveted position.

But as I continued to gather information about the Hugos and how one is nominated for an award, I realized that although the pool of voters each year is relatively small (I’d estimate anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand), probably all of them are avid SF/F readers and viewers who consume tons and tons of the latest available works. I guess that’s what my critic meant when she said I wasn’t a fan.

But wait a minute. How much SF/F do I read?

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