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undereducated and overopinionated

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joined 2022 September 04 21:27:04 UTC


User ID: 157


undereducated and overopinionated

0 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 04 21:27:04 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 157

Never played them, so I have no idea. Reading discussion about it, it's allegedly very different from the preceding games in that series.

The voice acting is bad; the lines are needlessly made worse; the characterizations are butchered; several people have their races swapped or are made openly bisexual (note that having gay or bisexual characters isn't a problem to me, but they rewrote established characters lamenting old boyfriends coming back to life - a strangely hypersexual comment given that this crew was only established for this mission and had only been there for a few weeks). These people were creative and to my eyes had to subversive agenda. I genuinely think they saw it as a more natural story to have everyone look like southern Californian hip creatives.

That's the "modern audiences" bit from one of the Rings of Power producers which I can't now find but did stumble across another article which raised my blood pressure; I'm not impressed by multiple Hugo winner N.K. Jemisin's work in the first place ('the Origenes are allegory for Strong Black Women who get feared and hated by Black men and of course racist whites which is all whites' 'okay but these people literally have the power to destroy the world' 'you racist! that's why you don't like them!'), but this takes the cake - Nora, Tolkien was not writing about you back when he was inventing his own personal mythology inspired by the Warwickshire countryside pre-First World War, so put away your performative indignation about how very dare he not be 21st century Californian liberal and go find something else to be professionally aggrieved over while you wait for the plaudits of how wunnerfully talented and amaaaazing you are to be cast at your feet yet again:

Defenders of the series also say Amazon Studios isn’t being woke – it’s being savvy. All-White casts are no longer acceptable to modern audiences. “The Rings of Power” is being streamed in more than 240 countries.

“They want to have as many people watching as possible,” says Coren, the Tolkien biographer. “So, morally, economically, culturally on every level, it (diverse casting) is the right thing to do.”

Others say Amazon Studios did a public service by expunging some of the implicit racism in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

N.K. Jemisin, an acclaimed Black fantasy and science fiction writer, has criticized Tolkien’s depiction of “orcs,” the dusky-hued, villainous foot soldiers who terrorize hobbits, elves and other pale-faced heroes. She said they are depicted as “faceless savage dark hordes” that exist so the good guys can “gleefully go genocidal on them.”

“Think about that,” Jemisin wrote. “Creatures that look like people, but aren’t really. Kinda-sorta-people, who aren’t worthy of even the most basic moral considerations, like the right to exist. Only way to deal with them is to control them utterly a la slavery, or wipe them all out.”

EDIT EDIT: In fact, Nora, if any ethnic group has a right to get riled up by the depiction of Orcs, it's - Mongolians. Not Black middle-class college educated professional women:

From the Selected Letters:

Orcs (the word is as far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc 'demon', but only because of its phonetic suitability) are nowhere clearly stated to be of any particular origin. But since they are servants of the Dark Power, and later of Sauron, neither of whom could, or would, produce living things, they must be 'corruptions'. They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in. The name has the form orch (pl. yrch) in Sindarin and uruk in the Black Speech.

  1. Why does Z put beaks and feathers on Orcs!? (Orcs is not a form of Auks.) The Orcs are definitely stated to be corruptions of the 'human' form seen in Elves and Men. They are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types.

Erik Kain has a good go at this notion of "updated for modern audiences".

EDIT: Is Nora a little bit racist herself? Or is it that "you can't be racist about white people"? Because this privileged Black woman is carrying on as though she's a poor black single mother living in poverty in the Deepest Deep South, while her entire life has been one of middle and upper-middle class achievement and garlanding with laurels:

Jemisin was born in Iowa City, Iowa, while her parents ...were completing masters programs at the University of Iowa. She ...received a B.S. in psychology. She went on to study counseling and earn her Master of Education ...worked as a counseling psychologist and career counselor before writing full-time.

Jemisin's debut novel ...was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award and short-listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Award. In 2011, it was nominated for the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel, winning the latter.

...delivery of the Guest of Honour speech at the 2013 Continuum in Australia

Jemisin was a co-Guest of Honor of the 2014 WisCon science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin. ...She was the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. In January 2016, Jemisin started writing "Otherworldly", a bimonthly column for The New York Times. In May 2016, Jemisin mounted a Patreon campaign which raised sufficient funding to allow her to quit her job as a counseling psychologist and focus full-time on her writing.

The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making Jemisin the first African-American writer to win a Hugo award in that category. The sequels in the trilogy, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017 and 2018, respectively, making Jemisin the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, as well as the first to win for all three novels in a trilogy.

...Far Sector, a twelve-issue limited series comic written by Jemisin with art by Jamal Campbell, began publication in 2019. It was nominated for the 2021 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.

Jemisin's urban fantasy novel The City We Became was published in March 2020. In October 2020, Jemisin was announced as a recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant. In June 2021, Sony's TriStar Pictures won the rights to adapt The Broken Earth trilogy in a seven-figure deal with Jemisin adapting the novels for the screen herself. In 2021, she was included in the Time 100, Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Oh, that poor woman, struggling unrecognised to break into the Old White Male SF Writers cosy club!

As to that novel The City We Became, well of course you can't be racist about white people. All the lead characters are BIPOC and/or queer, while the bad one is - naturally - a white woman:

On Staten Island, the borough's avatar Aislyn, a white librarian in her thirties, is approached by the Woman in White, who offers to protect Aislyn from the avatar of New York City; they bond over racist humor. ...In Staten Island, Aislyn's father invites a neo-Nazi to stay with them; he sexually harasses Aislyn before she uses her powers to stop him and leaves the house.

The avatars
The Primary: the avatar of New York City. A queer Black homeless young man. A graffiti artist and hustler.
Manny: the avatar of Manhattan. A queer Black man in his late 20s. When he becomes Manhattan's avatar, he loses most memory of his former life as a newly arrived PhD student, representing his role as a new New Yorker. He can allow non-avatar New Yorkers to see the Enemy if he needs to use them. He is a somewhat ruthless strategist and channels the violent cut-throat nature of Manhattan and to a lesser extent the power of the financial markets. He has a crush on the Primary and feels a need to protect him.
Brooklyn "MC Free" Thomason: the avatar of Brooklyn. A Black, middle-aged former rapper, lawyer, and current city councilwoman. She has a child and a sick father. Her power is rooted in music: she can use it to attack and can sense the music in the city's noise.
Bronca Siwanoy: the avatar of The Bronx. A lesbian Lenape woman in her 60s. She has a PhD, a hot temper, and a son, and works at the Bronx Art Center. She is the oldest of the six avatars and thus the holder of the city's lexicon of knowledge. She channels her power through steel-toed boots which she used to kick men who sexually harassed her when she was 11 and police informants at Stonewall when she was 17.
Padmini Prakash: the avatar of Queens. A 25-year-old Tamil immigrant graduate student living in Queens. Her first name means "she who sits on the lotus". She can use mathematical imagination to change physical reality.
Aislyn Houlihan: the avatar of Staten Island. A 30-year-old Irish-American woman who lives with her parents on Staten Island. Her father is an abusive, racist cop who calls her "Apple", though her name means "dream". She can become invisible.
Veneza: the avatar of Jersey City. A young Black and Portuguese woman who works with Bronca at the Bronx Art Center.

I see Nora managed to include a Lenape character, even though they pretty much don't live in New York anymore. Ah well, I guess this is what makes it fantasy.

“We love New York. We have a history there before the white man ever showed up, but the Lenape are forgotten because they haven’t had a presence there in decades, centuries,” says Curtis Zunigha, co-director of the Manhattan-based Lenape Center. The center’s mission is to promote Native American arts and humanities, environmental stewardship and Lenape identity.

Zunigha, however, lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he also works as the director of cultural resources for the Delaware Tribe of Indians. Like many Lenape, he uses the term “Delaware” — the federally recognized name for the Lenape — interchangeably with the group’s own name for itself. None of the three co-directors of the Lenape Center live in New York City, but they decided to base their organization there because of its ties to their ancestry.

Ah, yes: the racist, neo-Nazi, drunken, violent, abusive Irish. I love you too, Nora. But the name is not "Aislyn" (any bets she pronounces it "Ace-linn"?) but Aisling (Ash-ling) and it doesn't mean "dream" as such, which would be "bringlóid" (shout out to ST:TNG for using it!), it means more "vision" and is in fact an entire genre of allegorical poetry, sometimes set to music and sung. Hey, are you culturally appropriating my heritage there, Nora? Tut-tut! Naughty! If you're not that culture you are not supposed to use it!

You do get to run around and explore a bit, but it pretty much does lead you along the line straight to the finish. Replay value is in spinning up different characters and choosing "am I going to be good or evil this time round?" I had fun, but I'm a filthy casual and not a hardcore gamer or a D&D player, so I imagine the experience is different there.

I'm waiting for Season Two. We may possibly get it by the end of the year, or not. They're giving us two Saurons - first season original character Halbrand "bet you never saw this twist coming! oh, you did..." Sauron and finally because they blinkin' have to, Annatar Sauron (played by a different character, naturally, and I don't actually mind that they cast a British-Indian actor in the role because at least in canon, the Valar and Maiar can be any shape or form they please). Crazier rumours give us a possible third Sauron in the shape of "Remember Celeborn, Galadriel's husband? Well never mind, she didn't remember him either, but now he's back! Except in another stunning plot twist, it's Sauron in disguise yet again!!"

I'm not sure I believe that one, not because it's beyond the bounds of possibility (the showrunners seem to still be in charge and Eru knows they're idiotic enough to think this is an amazing ploy) but that it's too good to be true. I want to see the dumpster fire they make out of season two (no way this turkey is going to five seasons). Can they go even better than "The knife ears are taking our jerbs"?

Fools be talkin' 'bout darker, grittier season two but I want to know: will they give us Orc War Banner Celebrimbor? Huh? Huh? Have they the guts to do that? (Given what they've already done to the character, being tortured to death by Annatar would be a merciful release).

Payne compares Season 1 to “Batman Begins” and Season 2 to “The Dark Knight,” “with Sauron maneuvering out in the open.”

“We’re really excited,” Payne continued. “Season 2 has a canonical story.”

See what I mean about no originality, just copying older, successful properties? Though at least he's implicitly admitting season one was not canonical and they finally, reluctantly, have to give the fans what they want: tell the dang story as it stands, not with your mystery box twists.

Gosh dang it, I want to see the Dwarves of Khazad-dum marching out, by their intervention saving Elrond and Celeborn, fighting a withdrawal back to Khazad-dum and then slamming the doors shut right in Sauron's face, but will we get it? Nah, they'll probably decide that Galadriel needs to one-shot the lake monster instead or something.

With the collapse of ZAUM

I'm still not entirely clear what went on there, but wow. Talk about getting what you wished for and the need to be careful when wishing. One taste of success, and suddenly all the comradeship goes out the window. A shame, I would love a sequel. Hard to know what the story would be, but there's enough of the world and its history that you could set it in a different part of the world, new characters, and still have a fascinating game.

the tendency to emotionally heal traumatized women by boning them

That is an entire trope of its own within fanfiction, called the Magical Healing Cock (being fanfiction, it tends to crop up more in slash, but it's found all over).

Even going from BG2 to the critically-acclaimed Baldur's Gate III, it's hard to avoid the feeling that setting detail and plausibility, immersion, character depth, appealing dialogue, etc., have all taken a step for the worse.

I think that's mostly because Baldur's Gate III is a Larian game, not D&D game. If you've played their Divinity: Original Sin games, you'll immediately recognise the style. It's a Larian game (with their specific tropes) with the D&D mechanics just layered on.

Their dialogue is either snappy oneliners, built for movie trailers, or clunky exposition.

That's the main problem today; movies aren't written to tell stories, they're written to reference other movies/TV shows. They're written as pitches: "Imagine X and Y, but it's like Z!" The script is one-liners punctuated by the Big CGI Scenes (be those explosions, fights, battles, whatever). There isn't plot to speak of, the purpose of the plot is to get the characters from point A to point B (quipping and one-lining all the way) so they can do Big Thing, then move on to do Next Big Thing.

I've excoriated Rings of Power enough on here before, but that was the major problem with the showrunners: they haven't done anything. They have a writing credit on a reboot Trek script, they've worked on other projects that never went anywhere, and they've been around as rewriters for other scripts. That's it.

So they don't know how to make a show by telling a story. They throw together stock tropes for the characters ("Galadriel, but back when she's, like, young and feisty and full of fight, GirlBoss!") and have big set-piece scenes in mind, but they don't make connections or care about filling in the holes.

So the Númenorean army can set sail on three small ships that get to Middle-earth in a matter of days, to unload a huge cavalry charge (ripping off the ride of the Rohirrim, what us?) that ends up in precisely the right place at precisely the right moment to save the day, and never mind how unlikely this is, how much time is supposed to have passed (not helped by cutting between 'scenes happening at night in this place' and 'scenes happening during the day in that place'), or where all those horses and soldiers fit on the three small ships.

And it shows. That's what got the show the most criticism: a lot of nothing happened at great length, then they crammed in the very necessary parts in the last fifteen minutes.

This is their idea for season two Sauron: "He'll be like Walter White or Tony Soprano". No originality of their own, just copying successful properties. And that's what modern movie and TV scripts are: copy what went before and was successful. So they end up not writing humans as they really behave, but copies of characters that are copies of characters that are copies of characters from TV and movies.

Pet Semetary is good, back before King's ego went the size of Jupiter and he got Too Big To Edit, and way before he finally ran out of inspiration (which is not to say that some of his latest novels haven't been good, there are a couple where he's shifted style to a smaller scale, but he's no longer the giant beast of horror as before).

I loved the ending, because you could see bad choices coming from a mile off, and yet it was understandable why the main character made that (very, very) bad choice. And King didn't wimp out of giving us that ending.

Dying from something easily preventable is also a stupid way to go.

Why not advise kids to smoke tobacco, too? They probably won't get lung cancer, and the benefits of nicotine are that they won't get fat and will have better focus!

I had a close relative who died of lung cancer from smoking, so "only a few people relative to the entire population are gonna die" isn't a good sell to me. It's a fucking miserable, humiliating, degrading, painful, awful, horrible way to die and I can't think dying of skin cancer is any better.

So it's an apprenticeship, and I think the problem will be that if you cut out the juniors and replace them by AI, where are the new seniors going to come from when the current lot retire/move on/die?

You haven't trained up the next generation of successors and if everyone has done the same thing by replacing the lower ranks with AI, you can't hire them on from elsewhere, either.

Even Australian safetyists?

Skin cancer kills almost no one.


Latest figures show that in 2014 as many as 1,041 people were diagnosed with melanoma in Ireland – the first time the number of incidences here surpassed the 1,000-mark since records began.

Cases of melanoma have almost trebled in the last 20 years. While cases have increased, thankfully so have survival rates; now, almost 9 in 10 (89.3%) of patients survive for at least five years after their diagnosis.

However, Ireland still has the highest mortality rate in Europe for melanoma, with, on average, 159 people dying from this disease annually.

And this is Ireland, not noted for "long hot sunny days year-round".

I suppose it depends what part of the country and how much sunlight they get. A bad sunburn is no laughing matter, and some parents are idiots who will set small children out under direct sun without any sun cream etc.

I managed to get myself very badly sunburned, in my twenties, sitting out on an Irish beach under an overcast sky because I assumed that if the sun wasn't directly shining, I was okay. I was wrong.

This isn’t different to when the US killed Soleimani in Iraq.

Which was also state terrorism. If we're going to go the route of "political assassinations are okey-dokey", then you can't object to foreign countries attempting to assassinate American political and military figures on American soil.

So, as far as you're concerned, terrorism is okay when Israel does it?

Or what do you call bombing another country's consulate? While Israel is already engaged in a war?

I hold no brief for Iran, but if they're terrorists, so is Israel.

So do you think this is why Israel bombed the consulate? Every reply so far seems to be concentrating on Iran as the aggressor, with nothing about "but their consulate was bombed".

Suppose an American consulate were bombed by anybody, what would you expect the US response to be?

What else could they do? Israel bombs their consulate and kills their people.

(1) We do nothing. Everyone now thinks we're toothless cowards and Israel takes this as carte blanche to do what they like when they like to who they like (2) We respond seriously. Now we've kicked off a war in the region and everyone blames us, the same way that clever bullies can get you in trouble by running to Teacher when you finally hit back at them. (3) We make a token response. This shows we are not just going to lie back and take it, but it also can be cooled down fast enough not to escalate things worse.

I think they went for option three and I think we're lucky they're sensible enough or cautious enough to do so.

I have no idea why the hell Israel decided that right now was a good time to kick the Iranian hornets' nest or what they hope to achieve out of it. Isn't Gaza enough on their plate? Are they really deluded enough to think "Uh-oh, international community is not buying that we are poor blameless victims anymore, better start something to make it look like we're poor blameless victims"?

We're damn lucky things cooled down so fast, but again - what the hell was Israel hoping to achieve by this?

Touching on this subject, and also following on from the previous Culture War thread where I was asked how I feel about the current state of the Catholic Church, here we go - something to offend everybody!

Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity, 08.04.2024

The RadTrads are already heresy-hunting, the media will be all over the bits about abortion, surrogacy, and transgender rights, and of course the Spirit of Vatican II types are disappointed, sorely and gravely disappointed, as per usual.

  1. The dignity of the body cannot be considered inferior to that of the person as such. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly invites us to recognize that “the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God.’” Such a truth deserves to be remembered, especially when it comes to sex change, for humans are inseparably composed of both body and soul. In this, the body serves as the living context in which the interiority of the soul unfolds and manifests itself, as it does also through the network of human relationships. Constituting the person’s being, the soul and the body both participate in the dignity that characterizes every human. Moreover, the body participates in that dignity as it is endowed with personal meanings, particularly in its sexed condition. It is in the body that each person recognizes himself or herself as generated by others, and it is through their bodies that men and women can establish a loving relationship capable of generating other persons. Teaching about the need to respect the natural order of the human person, Pope Francis affirmed that “creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.” It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception. This is not to exclude the possibility that a person with genital abnormalities that are already evident at birth or that develop later may choose to receive the assistance of healthcare professionals to resolve these abnormalities. However, in this case, such a medical procedure would not constitute a sex change in the sense intended here.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! As someone allegedly said, the Church may be a whore, but she's my Mother 🙆‍♀️

I honestly don't know what to say here. All those pats on the head about "slippery slope not real, only fallacy". Well, Canada seems to be doing its damnedest to ski down that slope right off that cliff.

The next time, the next time, someone tells me that I'm only "boo outgroup" or that why can't I simply accept that X is Y, I am going to - recommend their souls to the grace of Almighty God.

EDIT: As some kind of light entertainment after that story, this link courtesy of our friends over at rDrama. Seattle may be a damn clown show, but at least it's a clown show and not mutilating healthy people for fun and profit. Stephanie has been out there since 2012 and while I wouldn't have the road frontage or the guts to wear a top like that to work (or anywhere, really), the Seattle court system is made of sterner stuff.

I sadly have to agree.

Are you happy with the current state of Roman Catholicism everywhere? The German bishops? The current pope? Blessings for same-sex couples?

(1) No (2) Should all be defrocked (3) Not a fan but he's not Satan or an anti-pope (4) Again, not a fan, but once again that will likely be taken as an excuse by those who would do it anyway to go farther than intended

I think if we brought Luther forward in a time machine, he would recognise the Catholics as much the same as he had been fighting, but he would have no idea what the Lutheran church had become. So yes, I'm sticking to "the Reformers did found new denominations, not just reform the existing church". For one thing, they pretty much 'reformed' in different directions from each other, and the Anglican mess under Henry was "I'm only reforming" so he happily burned at the stake both Catholics for opposing him and Protestants for going further than he wanted. And when his son came to the throne, he had been influenced by the very Protestant nobility around him to take the 'reforms' even further. Then Mary tried reversing that with no success, and Elizabeth (and her spymaster) settled on making it a political question rather than religious - so now you would be executed for treason, not heresy, for not being in line with the state church and the monarch as its governor.

But the article doesn't mention race even once.

The cynical interpretation of this I've seen online is "in general, if a news report never mentions the race of the criminal/shooter/bomber/whomever, then you can safely assume they're black. On the other hand, if they're white, this will be mentioned twenty times and speculation about far-right ultra-conservative links will be every second word".

I think the trouble is precisely because it's small-scale authors and publishing houses (next rung up from self-published/vanity presses). They're the ones most likely to use AI-generated cover art, and I've seen a ton of such art on Kindle books; immediately recognisable as AI art, and a bare step up from the really scrappy cover images they would otherwise use (as cheap and generic and stock as possible, and can't pay for proper graphic design).

The big houses will have their own art departments, or a list of on-commission artists they regularly use, so this won't impinge on them for a while yet. It's the small publishers and mid to low tier authors who are the clients of the small freelancer artists living from gig to gig, who are the ones most impacted by "that author who usually gets me to do a piece is now commissioning AI art instead" and are the ones making the most fuss.

And of course, when it's genre fiction, you get the purity spirals as with YA recently but even further back, remember RaceFail? The smaller the stakes, the more intense the in-fighting. A tiny (relatively) fandom like furrydom is ready to rip itself apart over a "literally who?" author and their cover art.